Girl woke with a start, for a moment she couldn't figure out why she hurt. Why her whole body ached, covered in bruises and her lip stinging from a cut reopening. Why her usually comfy blanket nest was cold and hard. Then it came back. Her owner Anew had died, old age but you could never be sure in a home where only the owner and slave lived. Anew’s nephew decided it was easier to sell her to a third party and not have to deal with a human who was a little too good with tech and too scarred to expected to behave.
Years ago Girl had been acquired as part of payment for Anew's work on a ship's engines. The old batarian female saw how bright Girl was and decided the slave would be better helping her than working in the kitchen or being abused by the crew. If anyone got a look at her skin they'd see she'd been put through terrible times. Worst were some nasty circuit burns from engineers who caught her nosing around the engines, and some long careful cuts from one medical assistant who liked to practice sutures on the slaves, at least until he accidently let one bleed to death. Then he was only allowed to bandage real damage which he didn't like near as much.
Anew was a much better master but she insisted on proper etiquette from a slave. Eyes downcast, kneeling on the floor when waiting, and only speaking when spoken to or if working then speaking up if there was a danger. Anew was a well-known engineer and traveled from ship to ship and colony to colony picking up work. She even taught Girl what she knew, and the slave had to learn the first time every time. Else Girl would have to stand with her nose to the wall like a child or repeat the task until her fingers would bleed. It was hard work but more rewarding than a ship slave or the mines. Anew never gave her to any visitors to entertain in bed, and she had been spayed when processed so Anew didn't care if she occasional found comfort with another slave when traveling. In the end not worrying about having children was a blessing, this was a world of pain not meant for anyone let alone children.
Now Girl was even more grateful she never had a child. She looked around her cell, it was only a dingy metal box with a dull light. Last night the captain, Kron Harga visited to sample his wares. He was not a gentle batarian, he was one who took pleasure in breaking things. She was covered in cuts and bruises and hissed as she shifted, there must have been a cracked rib or two. And she refused to think of what her abused sex looked like. She would have cried, but the tears had run out a long time ago. Now she was only mad.
Girl was angry at Harga for his treatment, at Anew's nephew for selling her, at Anew for dying. At the raiders who captured her and killed her father, mother, and brother. Hell, she was even mad at her parents for thinking a far away colony like Mindoir was a safe place to raise a family.
Well she couldn't continue living as a slave anymore, she was done with the abuse and having her head shaved. Either she'd leave this ship alive and free, or dead and free. But first, she needed a plan.
Last night one of the guards mentioned they would be arriving at Omega soon, that the auction was to be there. Omega was probably the best place to disappear, there was no law so none of the batarian officers were likely to hunt Girl down if she managed to get away from the handlers and if anyone were to die only their friends would care. To get off the ship, she would need a weapon and a way to stop the control chip. If anyone needed to incapacitate her they could send her to the floor in crippling pain with the press of a button before she actually did anything.
Looking around Girl spotted a loose panel. Pulling it up she lost part of a nail and sucked on the bleeding nail bed while she examined what had been revealed. Girl smiled, she had found the jackpot. Inside were plenty of functioning and nonfunctioning circuits and wires. It would be plenty to work with and showed that the engineers and techs wouldn't notice anymore going down, it was obvious they didn't care about the state of the ship's systems, so a couple more failing wouldn’t raise an alarm. With the parts Girl could build a short range EMP to overload the chip, hopefully, it wouldn't kill her but it would be painful. After that, she could easily open the door with a little hacking and perhaps wrestle a weapon away from someone.
No one bothered to check on her after bringing flavorless nutritional bar and water, she had all day to work on the EMP. Of course, she couldn't test it but she was certain it would work one way or another. She could feel the engine rev up, they had gone through a mass relay and soon they would be at Omega, and hopefully they wouldn't be unloading right away. Taking a deep breath she made the last connection and screamed as her world went white with pain.
Garrus hummed to his music as he looked through the scope again. If sources were right the ship coming in was a batarian slaver who felt bold enough to bring his goods out of batarian space. Too bad his goods were people who would hopefully be seeing freedom soon. Though first, they had to capture Harga for questioning and subdue the crew before getting the slaves off the ship.
With Garrus were his two colleagues Sensat, an asari tired of Eclipse methods, and Butcher a human male retiree of the Alliance who also hated red tape and weak command. They were down below blending into the crowd waiting for Garrus' command. As soon as he spotted the target, he would eliminate those on guard. The others would cuff the target, then all three would move into the ship clearing it as they went. Butcher would then take the freed slaves to Mordin for safe keeping and check-ups, contact the Alliance with the news. Meanwhile, Garrus and Sensat would work on Harga and gather more information about the organization or who was behind the auction.
His thoughts were interrupted by Butcher's deep voice “Archangel, I think there is some movement from the airlock.”
Looking up, Garrus focused on the door just as a dark batarian with yellow coloration walked out and started barking orders to those around him. “Right, targeting the one in the back first, start moving before the second hits the ground.” Taking a breath he lined up his shot. “Three... Two...” There was a flash of movement from behind the guard, and Garrus watched as a human came running off the ship, leaped at the guard and buried a knife in the back of his target's neck.
Garrus tried hard not to flinch at the sight.
“Uhh, was this part of your plan?” Sensat’s clear voice was laced with confusion.
“No,” Garrus snapped at the Asari, “Get down there and get Harga before they kill each other.” He cursed to himself, everything that was planned was going to hell. He quickly started climbing off the rooftop to the street below.
The attacking human had gotten a hold of the dead guard's gun, shot him in the back before turning on the other batarians, many of whom were still staring in shock at the one bleeding out. She managed to shoot another guard in the gut while Harga dived behind a crate. On the ground, Garrus spotted someone coming up behind her and without thinking lifted his rifle aiming over her shoulder and took out the would-be attacker. Shepard would have been livid at him taking such a risk, like when they dealt with Dr. Michel all those years ago, but Garrus' aim had only gotten better over time and he didn’t exactly have time.
The woman had tracked Harga's movement and with a yell started firing toward him. Sensat and Butcher were not able to reach her in time, and all had to throw up an arm as the crate Harga was hiding behind exploded.
When the smoke cleared Garrus saw the main target on fire but still squirming and the woman was crumpled on the floor, a body size dent in the wall behind her. “Sensat, put him out. Butcher keep a gun on that airlock.”
Garrus ran to the human, worried for the worst but still confused as to what happened. She was naked except for the blood covering her and from the smell of it, most of the fresh stuff was not her own. He did feel some relief that she was breathing and gently laid her out more comfortable position. The turian did not know much about human anatomy but they didn't have heavy plating to protect themselves from a throw like that.
“Harga passed out Archangel, he is alive but these burns are bad,” Sensat reported calmly.
“Keep an eye on these two. Let me know if he goes into shock.” Garrus got up and pulled out an assault rifle, “Butcher and I will clear the ship.”
But there wasn't much to clear, the few that were still onboard had throats cut and eyes gouged out. It was a good thing Grundan Krul hadn't insisted on being part of a team after telling Garrus about the ship, to see some of this horror would have made the batarian sick. Not to mention the battle beast of a woman outside would have tried to kill him as well.
Butcher wasn’t quite able to hide the sick feeling in his voice, “That little thing of a girl did all this?”
Garrus shook his head at the only open cell, it was filthy with blood and other bodily fluids, “Apparently so.”
Going farther they found fifteen other slaves still locked in their cells. All were terrified, they had heard the escapees inhuman screams and the silence after. They were relieved to see another human face that was clearly there to get them out, it was part of the reason Garrus brought Butcher along.
Garrus made the call to get Melenis and Erash out to do a data scrub of the ship, to find all the information they could. He gave Sensat the order to move Harga to the prepared interrogation room and told her to wait for him. After seeing the spitfire come flying off the ship with flames in her green eyes Garrus couldn't leave her on her own. Besides Butcher needed to hold a weapon and all the other ex-slaves were in no shape to carry her, not that many wanted to after seeing the wake of her destruction.
Carefully, Garrus lifted her, surprised at how light she was. He could easily see bones he normally did not on other humans, and many parts of her skin that were visible were covered in scars. And under the blood, she didn't stink of fear, not like the others. Garrus felt respect for her, she had fought with a ferocity he had rarely seen. Not a smart fighter for sure, but not many who would have survived those scars would have done the damage she had.
Soon the group arrived at Solus' clinic and were greeted by mechs and swarms of medical staff including the doctor himself. Quickly he and another took the small human from him and started rattling off possible theories.
“Cover in blood. Not all of it hers, batarian too. Scarring for control chip, slave. Should have been able to immobilize her, must have stopped working. Intentional? Must have a scan.”
“Doctor, she was thrown pretty hard by a blast. I'm not sure what all is injured.” Garrus watched nervously as her gurney was rolled away.
“Scan will show possible concussion or broken vertebrae,” the salarian blinked looking at Garrus. “You must be Archangel. Too dangerous for my clinic for you to stay. Your presence will draw too much attention from gangs, you must leave. I will keep your rescues safe, call Alliance.”
Garrus nodded, that's all he needed. It really was a stupid idea to come himself in his work armor. “Sure thing,” and he stopped before exiting. “Doc, if she needs anything, just send me the bill.” He wasn't sure why he'd offered, but he couldn't stand to think that she wouldn't make it, that he hadn't been in time to save everyone. Especially since she saved them so much trouble.
The vigilante turned away from the clinic and it’s guard mechs, now he had a slaver to deal with.
Sensat had the male in question tied up and awake when Garrus arrived. His nose plates shifted, the ass had actually peed himself and the smell of burnt flesh did not help any. There was one smell Garrus recognized, a male musk, one he just realized had been under the smell of blood on the woman. No wonder she was doing her best to kill him. The realization of it made Garrus sick and without saying a word he slammed his rifle into the slime's face, feeling the bones crack satisfyingly under it.
Sensat gave him a strange look while she waited for Harga to stop shouting in pain. Garrus shrugged and motioned her to start the integration, swapping his rifle for a pistol. “Alright Harga, we need some information from you, but I need facts and my friend needs target practice. If you tell me the truth, he won't shoot you.”
Harga looked up, eyes still swimming in pain, “Fuck you.”
Garrus couldn't hold back a smile as he aimed, he was going to look forward to this.
Sensat made a tsking noise as he now had a bullet in his upper arm, “Humans play a game called hangman and we like to do something similar. Once we run out of targets you'll die, but we like to include creative targets in this version, so we have more five chances. So Harga, who set up the auction?”
He coughed and gurgled out, “Blood Pack.”
“Really, and why would they be getting into slave trading?”
“Hell if I know.”
“I bet you do” Sensat corrected. This was going to take a while and Garrus wasn't sure if he minded thinking back to the woman on the operating table. And so the questioning continued.
Girl woke, this time to the warmth of slightly scratchy sheets and soft beeping. She tried to sit up and look around, worried that she may have fallen asleep while making Anew's bed. The room was half lit, but she could tell it wasn't any room she'd ever been in. Looking for the beeping she found a medical monitor. A hospital?
Trying to think back, Girl remembered Anew's death, Harga's ship, and blinding pain. Then blood, lots of blood. She woke up after using the EMP feeling rage and pain, not caring what she did, just as long as she got out and got Harga. Girl knew she saw him, had him in her sights, and then only black.
Her thoughts were interrupted when the door opened and a red and pale colored Salarian came in, followed by a dark haired man. The salarian was speaking incredibly fast while the man seemed to be struggling to keep up. The Salarian stopped dead meeting her eyes and ignored the man who bumped into his back.
“Interesting. Patient is already awake.” He came over to Girl and held a light to her eyes making her squint. “And responsive, good. Will still need to run other tests. How are you feeling?”
Girl almost missed the question in the flurry of his movements, “I'm not sure... Where am I?”
“Ah, yes. You managed to break out of your cell during a rescue. Your control chip was damaged severely, damaging the nervous system. You were also thrown by an explosion, causing severe bruising and damage to your back. Archangel brought you back to my clinic. After your surgery and some physical therapy you should make a full recovery.” He was already checking the monitors and data pads.
“Wait.” She threw out a hand grabbing the edge of the doctor’s coat. “I'm free, I got out? I'm actually alive?”
He blinked looking at her closely, “Yes. While your control chip was not fully functional, it was still removed.”
“And I'm on Omega? Not in Batarian space?”
“Yes, once recovered you have been given money to arrange for transportation.”
Girl's mind was reeling, she never thought beyond getting off the ship. Not only was she alive, but she could go anywhere. But where would she go, she had nothing outside of Batarian space, hadn't for over a decade.
“When can I leave?”
“It would be best if you stayed until fully healed. I can promise your safety, no one will know about your previous history. I have already applied a skin weave to lessen the scarring and it has also helped encourage hair growth.”
Reaching up Girl looked at her hands, shadows of some of the worse scars remained but she had to look for them. Touching her face, again there wasn't much roughness, only the occasional bump of the worst ones. With a shaky hand, she reached up and was met with about an inch of silky soft hair. It had been so long since she only felt stubble. It was overwhelming. “Can I get some time alone?”
“Of course,” Turning on his heel, the doctor and helper left. And the tears started. She was free. Her own person. She could be Jane Shepard again.
The next few weeks were tough for Jane, building back her strength was hard, but Mordin knew his stuff. Jane quite liked his direct approach, she always knew what to expect with him which was a relief. And he didn't joke about the hair and the care she took of it now or how she was always playing with it. Soon it was growing past her ears, she didn't know how much she had missed the red hair, combined with her eyes it was a striking look.
She also took to referring to herself as Jane again, at least in her head. She hadn't since her capture, her first master tried to beat it out of her. But he had taken everything, her family, her home, her body. Jane kept her name to herself, the last thing she could call her own. Even now she had trouble sharing it. So many took to giving her the nickname Red, after her beloved hair color.
Finally, the day came when Mordin was going to sign off on her release. Jane tried not to panic, she still had no idea where she was headed. She hadn't explored too far beyond the clinic, while no longer in batarian space, many of them were still around and she was worried about being recognized. They could kill her or try to claim her as their own property if they found out. She could make her way back to a human world, but she had no papers, everyone thought she was dead. She couldn’t bring herself to spend her credits from Mordin on buying a new identity from an information agent.
When the news of a memorial on Jane’s old colony played on the speakers, she was shocked they had decided to rebuild. It must have been too good of a resource to respect those lost. But when they mentioned her brothers name, all hopes of a normal life were gone. Jane thought he had died on Mindoir, how could she have known he would go on to be one of humanity's most successful soldiers. She wanted to know more about the human Spectre, the boy she grew up calling Johnny. But Mordin wouldn't let her on any of the terminals after he caught her trying to get a look inside the mech guards programing. She wasn't going to do anything, she was only interested in their operating systems.
Sitting in the lobby Jane tried to keep calm, she would just go out and explore, maybe find a ship to the Citadel or Thessia. Nothing with a majority of human or batarian, maybe she could start her new life. She tried not to jump when an asari sat next to her.
“Aria has heard of your situation. She wants you to know that you have a job at Afterlife if you want it.”
Jane was able to keep her jaw from dropping. Even while stuck in the clinic, she still knew who Aria was and the power she had over Omega. “Um, I'm sorry, but why would she be interested in me?”
The asari rolled her eyes, “Aria doesn't explain herself to anyone.” But she looked back at Jane, “However, she takes interest in special cases. Those in situations who may be able to offer something different. She protects her own, and many would jump at this opportunity.” She gave the woman a once over, “You got the looks for it, whatever you decide to do, it is good pay and you'd have a room. Think about it.”
And she left, Jane now had more to think about. Aria's protection, that was nothing to sneeze at. Depending on the job duties it was something to raise money, time to figure out where to go. It was worth checking out.
After finding the club Jane watched the entrance for a bit trying to ignore any glances from those passing. The door was being guarded by an elcor and batarian. How could this place be safe for her, every now and then she still forgot she was allowed to use furniture and could look people in the eye, these bouncers would spot her from a mile away.
The doors opened and the asari from earlier came out followed by an armed turian. The asari was wearing a leotard that left little to the imagination and confidently walked while ignoring the cat calls. The turian strode behind her with his gun out keeping an eye on the crowd, he was pale tan in color with thick blue marks along his mandibles, and clearly there to make sure no one got it in their head to do more than catcalling.
Both walked up to Jane, “Ah, we were hoping to see you here. I am Nyrif by the way. Please come in, Aria would like to speak to you.”
Jane looked uncomfortably at the batarian door guard and then the turian standing just behind Nyrif. She followed the gaze. “Don't worry, no pro slavers are allowed to work here and Sidonis is here to make sure we are not bothered. And he only bites turians unfortunately.” The turian shrugged at her and fluttered his mandibles but did not take his eyes off the crowd for long.
Pushing off the wall Jane followed the pair and did not meet anyone’s eyes. The club was hazy, dark, and pulsing with music. There were people everywhere, the crowd was made up of aliens she knew and some that she did not, but all seemed happy getting drunk and dancing.
Nyrif led her up the stairs in the back, while Sidonis stayed below blocking the stairs. At the top of the stairs was another asari, this one dressed in a more practical but still tight and revealing jacket and pants. “I'm Aria. About time you came by. Sit.” Her tone was an order, but not aggressive.
Her guide left them and Jane paused before taking a seat. Here was the pirate queen of the Omega Station, wanting to meet with an ex-slave. Today just kept getting weirder.
“So what do you think of my little club.”
Jane had never been to a club before, but teenager her would have been in love. “Loud.”
Aria smirked at that, “It's what the people want, and it gives jobs to my girls.” She took a drink, “People also want unique, new. Humans are becoming more and more wanted by everyone. If you plan to stay on Omega I can offer you work here.”
Jane quirked an eyebrow, “What kind of position?”
“Whatever you feel comfortable with. I will not lie that most of the girls dance and maybe more, it tends to pay well and can be fun. But we could always use more bartenders, cleaners, or guards if you are any good with a gun. I would also add that you would be given a room. I make sure all of my own are protected, and it is easier if you are all in one place.” Aria leaned toward Jane, “I am more than pleased seeing you. While I don't expect any physical activities from you, it is always good to have the best looking and your coloring is very fetching.”
Jane jerked away from a hand going for her hair. Aria was good on her word, that much Jane knew. Any who went against her would die immediately. It was better than any unknown off station, she would have time to look for a suitable transport. “And I could leave whenever I wanted?”
Aria again smirked, “Good thinking girl, yes. This is a legitimate job. Work for me, don't screw with my business and I'll make sure you're taken care of. You'd even receive pay.”
Jane nodded, better than not doing anything. “Alright, I'm in. But no sex,” She wanted control she had been denied, “My body is mine now.”
Aria waved a hand in dismissal, “Of course. Now leave, Nyrif will show you around.”
Getting the hang of the club ended up being easy, and with Jane’s knowledge of batarian food and drink, she was put in as one of the bartenders while the girls taught her how to dance for the fun of it. Tips for bartenders weren't as good as the dancers but she caught on how to make many varieties of drinks, soon many were asking for her's specifically. However, learning to chat was hard. Many patrons would get a drink from her and hang around but she never talked much. Most would give up and leave a small or nonexistent tip. It wasn't until watching some of the others she saw that chatting wasn't a waste of time. Even though her drinks were the best, others pocketed more money at the end of the night.
Finally Jane asked Nyrif about it, “Well of course they get more Red, this is a place people go to socialize and get away from reality. Everyone here as a part to play, bartenders listen to all the gossip, you may even be able to sell the information to a Shadow Broker agent. Just give it a try.”
On a quieter night, Jane decided to take Nyrif’s advice and practice. She had spotted Sidonis talking to a very tall pale gray turian with blue colony marks across his nose and cheeks. The guard then pointed toward her and Jane could faintly hear, “Red over there has the best dextro drinks, as good as any turian.” Jane had refused to give out her real name to most, it was still precious to her, so Red had stuck.
Jane watched as the turian sauntered up to the bar and leaned down. She put on a smile, “Hey big guy, what can I get you?”
His head tilted a little as his blue eyes looked into her face, “Something strong I hope?”
Something strong, something to forget? “Well you could always try a krogan drink, but that would probably kill you, so what about a blue Menae?”
That got his attention, it was normally fledglings drink, but when Jane got bored she liked to experiment and found she had a talent. “A Blue Menae, when I ask for something strong? I am seriously questioning that watch dog's tastes.” He gestured to Sidonis.
“You could, he was my guinea pig.” She started making the drinking, throwing a few tricks in for show. “Or you could try it. If you like it you tell me why you are drinking.”
He sat down and watched her closely. “And what if I don't?”
Jane purse her lips, she didn't think of that. “I'll tell you my real name. There is a bit of a pool going right now, it could give you an advantage.”
She placed the drink in front of him with a quirked eyebrow of challenge. He picked up the drink looking at her and then back at it. “Alright you've got a deal.”
Jane smiled big, this kind of thing could be fun. This turian seemed easy to speak to. He carefully took a swig eyes closed. After swallowing he coughed a little looking at the drink, then at her. “How did you experiment? Wouldn't this kill you?”
Pointing at herself, “Not allergic to dextro, one of the few. No nutrition, but I can enjoy the taste. And Sidonis is always down for a free drink.” Pointing at him, “I'll get you another Bright Eyes, but remember our bet.”
The blue eyed turian groaned low as he took a drink. “It's a friends birthday, but he died a few months ago.”
Jane pulled out a shot glass and filled it with human whiskey. “What do you know, it's my brother's birthday too, but he's also gone. To memories” Raising her glass to him she smiled sadly when he raised his too and they finished the drinks.
The rest of night, Jane practiced socializing, she had to fake it with most. But it was actually kind of nice and made the night go quickly. The turian, who ended up refusing to give his name since she wouldn't tell him hers was one of few patrons she really enjoyed. So far she would call him Big Guy or Bright Eyes, all too soon her shift ended and he stumbled out of the bar too.
As Jane headed to the employee exit Sidonis fell in step with her. “So looks like you and that turian were having fun.”
Jane looked up at Sidonis to see him looking happy, “Well he did leave a pretty good tip didn't he?”
“Finally figured out the game?”
She nodded, it wouldn't be good to get attached, but talking to Bright Eyes had been really fun. He had many interesting stories and funny anecdotes.
It wasn't uncommon for Sidonis to walk Jane to the apartments if their shifts lined up, they had become friends when she needed someone to try her dextro drinks to make sure she wasn't completely fucking up. Dextro foods and drinks had a much more sweet light flavor than humans. She and the guard had become friends over that time, he was always quick to recommend her to the dextro customers.
What was uncommon tonight, was the commotion going on upstairs. Both guards inside had been shot and there was shouting upstairs. Sidonis handed Jane a pistol and motioned for her to stay. He charged up the stairs before Jane could say anything. There was a heavy thump of the butt of a gun coming down on hard plates and Sidonis came tumbling back down, out cold.
Listening she could hear males yelling about whores, slaves, and Archangel. There were also yells of pain from others. Jane knew she wasn't the only ex-slave on the payroll, but none of the others were rescued by Archangel. They were looking for her.
Jane saw red, she was done with that life and here it was trying to pull her under again. Well no, she wasn’t going to lose her freedom again and it wouldn't take anyone else.
Quietly Jane climbed up the stairs, at the top she quickly looked to get an idea where they were. There were only three and all were focused on a group of asari and humans on their knees. Some were bleeding from being hit. Luckily, it seemed all the mercs attention were on the group, none of them realized Sidonis wasn't alone.
As calmly as possibly, Jane leaned around the corner, aiming the gun at the closest one. She squeezed the trigger and a with a loud bang the shot ripped through his bulbous head before the others turned she was able to place another round in another's backs. Then she pulled back, using the wall as a barrier between her and the last one. She listened and waited for him to get closer or for his clip to run out. As soon as the empty silence reached her ears she leaned out and quickly zeroed in on him and managed to hit him in an eye.
The last batarian fell with a thump and she ran to make sure the back shot was dead, and then checked on the other workers. No one was seriously hurt, and already some were calling in reinforcements.
Aria was not pleased with what happened but was more than happy with Jane. Afterward, Aria insisted everyone get some training with pistols and basic self-defense. She considered the whole thing an embarrassment, Sidonis was lucky to still be alive after his stunt, and it was probably his friendship to Jane that kept him safe from Aria's rage. Aria's captain of guard led the classes, an anti-slave batarian that came off as an asshole but showed all the girls respect and made a point to work them hard to keep them alive.
Now that Jane had lightened up, more customers came to her and talked with her. She still wasn't going by her real name, now in fear, someone could make a connection from her to her brother. He was the first human Spectre and known for his dislike of batarians and brutality toward slavers. For now, everyone used Red and continued trying to guess her real name.
While Jane was proficient with most drinks, most of her clients were human or turian. Her takes on traditional drinks were quite a stir, and it wasn't long before someone would try to hit on her or joke about marriage or bonding. She politely turned them all down, and if any got pushy a guard would dissuade them or a dancer would distract them.
One of her most frequent regular was a Gus Williams. He was a very handsome man, dark hair and eyes. While he flirted he never acted too serious about it. That is until one night he stayed a little longer around the bar, waiting for the end of her shift. “So Red, you have got to be hungry by now. Please agree to dinner? Consider it a going away gift to tide me over until I am back drinking your Old Fashion again.”
Jane looked up from cleaning the bar, Williams seemed like a nice guy. Always one for a laugh and didn't try to push for information. She wouldn't mind trying to find company outside Afterlife. “If you bring me back something nice, then why not.”
“Deal, be ready in 15?”
Jane nodded and headed back to the break room to grab a jacket. She was stopped by Sidonis. “You sure you want to be going out with Williams?”
Staring up at the turian she cocked an eyebrow, “Yea, is there going to be a problem?”
Shifting from foot to foot, Sidonis nervously replied, “No... Maybe. Just don't trust him. Others are looking into him and he might be into some bad things. Just be careful.”
Jane took a moment to think, should she really be going out? It's not like anyone on Omega wasn't guilty of something or on the run. She felt like she could look after herself, and she was in the mood for something more than going to her quiet room and looking up vids and pictures of Johnny. Gripping the guard's forearm she gave him a smile, “I'll be careful. Thanks, Sidonis.”
He nodded and Jane left to find Williams waiting outside, and together they went to a noodle restaurant. He told her about growing up on Earth and the pressures of a military family, and how basic proved it wasn't for him. His family had practically disowned him, but he was happy to be traveling and free of any obligations and past history of his grandfather's disgrace hanging over his head.
Williams tried to get Jane to talk about herself, but she kept it vague. She grew up on a colony but after her family died she traveled. It wasn't a lie, she had traveled all over batarian space with Anew. But she wasn't ready for the look of pity or the questions.
At the end of it he tried to walk her back to her room but she refused, guests weren't allowed. She did allow him to kiss her. It was soft, and he tried for more but she had to stop. Kissing was fine, Batarians didn't kiss. But touching still could set her on edge and already she had pushed herself too much outside of her comfort zone.
“Thanks, Red, tonight was fun and you definitely will be getting something from Thessia.”
On her way home her omni tool beeped and the bar manager had messaged asking her to check on a shipment. Double checking the address, she was happy to find the warehouse was in her area. She'd be able to do it before going home and bed.
This late in the cycle meant the warehouse was empty and was easy to find the crates and Jane was able to confirm the ice brandy had made it all in one piece. Why they needed so much she had no idea, not many drank it.
As Jane shut the container she paused when she heard a muffled curse nearby. Most of this stuff was Aria’s, if anyone was messing with it they'd be as good as dead. She walked toward the noise pulling up a drone program on her omni tool, not sending it out but still ready to protect herself.
Just before Jane turned a corner, she felt a strong arm wrap around her waist and a three-fingered hand covered her mouth. She tried to fight the attacker off but was easily lifted off her feet. She was set down again in between containers and her back pushed against a wall. A turian in blue armor kept his hand over her mouth and brought up a single digit to where his mouth would be under the helmet, giving the very human signal to remain quiet.
“Stay quiet, I'm taking care of the situation. You could ruin it,” a dual tone voice rumbled only slightly altered by the speaker.
When Jane stopped struggling he took the hand away. “What are you doing here, who are you?” She asked.
“Later, just stay out of the way, this volus is dangerous.” Jane tried not to stomp her foot, she didn’t like being talked down to like this anymore. This turian was annoying, he didn't wear any of Aria’s insignias. In fact looking closely, Jane saw a gold bird. She froze, that was Archangel's symbol. What was he doing protecting Arias stuff, wasn't he on a crusade, not a gun for hire? No one knew who he really was, he just showed up one day.
However rude he was, Jane did owe Archangel and chances were his intentions here were good and probably dangerous. Making what many would consider a bad decision Jane followed the vigilante and found a volus rummaging through a crate. She recognized the writing, it was headed to Mindoir and some of the containers the volus pulled out had medical symbols. Opening one he pulled out a glass vaccine bottle and started injecting a liquid to it.
So this is why Archangel was here, there wasn't only Aria's stuff stored here. The volus was sabotaging human colony medical supplies. Normally they were only out for financial gain, why would one go this far to kill people?
Fuck, some of that was going to children. Jane had to do something, and without even realizing it she pulled up her omni tool and started typing a quick program that she knew by heart. It was a test program that would to force the air pressure system of enviro suits to fail. It was one that Anew taught her while working on a factory system that made similar suites.
With some satisfaction Jane watched as he dropped the bottle and started to grab at his controls which were all beeping mad with warnings of the unit's failure. Soon the volus fell to the ground and stilled, only then did Jane disconnect her diagnostic program.
She was joined by an obviously agitated Archangel and an older human male, with brown hair and white at the temples.
“What the hell do you think you were doing?” Archangel growled at her.
“Protecting my old colony. If you had tried to shoot him you could have damaged more of the supplies. This medicine needs to get to colonists and their families.” Jane swallowed and straightened as she refused to back down.
“I never miss...” It was hard to see how angry Archangel was, with the helmet but his voice was icy.
“Then consider it a favor, you did save me after all.” Jane hadn't mean to offend him.
“Shit boss, she's that demon woman from the slave ship. The one you carried to Mordin's.” The human exclaimed, taking a close look at her. “Hardly recognized you without the scars.”
Archangel grew still and tilted his head, even without seeing his eyes Jane could feel the weight of his gaze. “Wait, I gave Mordin money to get you a ticket out of here. What are you doing still here?”
“He offered the ticket, but where was I to go? All my family was dead, I hadn't seen another nonslave human for over 10 years. How could I just show up in Alliance space and everything be fine and normal?” Jane was feeling frustrated, she was afraid others would ask the same thing if she told anyone her past. It only reminded her of what she lost. Taking a breath and moving a few steps away, “Aria offered me a job, I figured why not, I was already here.”
Archangel was silent, his shoulders seeming to droop. “I'm sorry, I was only trying to help.”
Jane studied him, what he did had been good and he hadn't known about her family. Shrugging she asked, “Did Harga die at least?”
“Yes, I put a bullet through every muscle and organ.”
That took her by surprise. Yes, Jane had wanted to kill him, but she never could imagine doing anything that would cause that much pain. She had only imagined putting a bullet through the brain and calling it good. This Archangel must have been an angel of vengeance. What would drive someone to go that far?
“As long as he can't hurt anyone else.” Jane hugged herself, not sure what to do. “I guess I'll go, you'll deal with the contaminated medicine?”
Archangel nodded, “Butcher, make sure she gets home safe.” The man gave him an odd looked but nodded.
“Thanks, for everything. I didn't think I'd make it off that ship.” Jane said turned on her heel and started walking, the man he called Butcher soon fell in step beside her. Butcher carried his weapons openly, making sure to appear like someone no one would want to mess with. Most didn't even give Jane a second glance after getting a peek at Butcher.
They got back to the entrance of the apartments and Jane looked at Butcher. He seemed uncomfortable, but before she had a chance to thank him, he blurted out, “Hey, Angel’s a good guy, just doesn't always think through all the possible outcomes, just the best ones. He is a damned optimist with a mean streak.”
“I do appreciate what all you did, without you I probably would have died outside that ship and everyone else would have been trapped in the cells until someone else found them.” Looking at the man Jane asked, “Is he always so brutal? What he did with Harga?”
“Not always, but after seeing you I think it got to him. He was getting information from Harga. Did he go too far? Maybe.” Butcher cocked an eyebrow, “But was it more extreme than choking someone in their own enviro suit?”
“Archangel is trying to take out the trash, and is actually doing a decent job. Don't know much about his past but something is driving him.”
“K, well thanks for the escort.” Jane had enough tonight, with dates and meeting her savior.
“Good night, and we're happy to see you up on your feet. You were quite terrifying the first time.” And with that Butcher turned and left, Jane smiled she actually managed to scare someone.
It was one of Afterlife’s busiest nights and already everything was going wrong. Jane was having to deal with rowdy customers who all were upset of the lack of main entertainment. All the dancers were sick and the juggling Elcors never arrived. Why Aria would want Elcors was beyond Jane's understanding.
Finally Sidonis ran over to her, “Red, they are about to go nuts in here. You've been taking lessons from Nyrif right?”
Shaking her head Jane groaned, “Sid, I don't like where you're going with this.”
He looked over at the manager, “Hey, can you spare her for a bit?” The manager nodded and Sidonis pulled Jane from behind the bar. “Come on, you need to let Nyrif do you up. What songs work for you?”
“God damn it, Sidonis. I don't want to dance!”
The turian paused, using his full name he knew he was in trouble. “Come on Red, you don't have to reveal more than you want, but we need something. Nyrif mentioned you'd been doing really well.”
Jane felt bad for Sid, she was sure he was having to deal with a pissed off Aria upstairs. And to hear such a compliment from Nyrif, who normally came off as a bitch made her feel really good. “Fine, but only dancing. I'll message you suitable songs. Aria owes me for this.”
Garrus wasn't sure what else to do. He had managed to find Gram running around without his croneys, it was too good of a chance to let go. He followed the krogan and attacked, but the bastard had a scary regeneration ability. Garrus had to give up after the Blood Pack’s guards showed up and was able to disappear on the side of a moving crate.
Over all Garrus wasn't too hurt, nothing medigel and sleep couldn't fix. His armor was total scrap, it was still the gear he had from Shepard but now he'd have to find something else. As much as he would miss it, Garrus was more upset over the damage to his visor. He had spent years saving for it and modifying it, he wasn't even sure if he could recreate it given his current location.
So for now Garrus was drinking at a very crowded Afterlife. He was hoping to see Red, he felt terrible to not knowing where he knew her from. But the lack of scars and the addition of hair threw him. However, it looked like Red was gone for the night judging from the many around him grumbling over that fact, seemed like she was getting popular.
The room grew quiet and the lights dimmed, seemed like they were going to have a show after all. Garrus never really cared before, he tended to stick with turian females but very few ever danced. After the music started and the catcalling went nuts he glanced up and froze.
Coming out onto the stage was Red, but nothing like he had seen before. Her hair was shining and curly, she had the human paint around her eyes making the green even brighter. But what really made him take notice was the tight dance outfit similar to the other asari but hers had a few sheer panels around her waist. Her very small waist.
Garrus tried to shake the thought but found he couldn't take his eyes off Red as she started to dance. Before him wasn't the screaming warrior, or the broken slave, or the teasing bartender. This was someone who was lost in the music, in her own world.
Many around also recognized Red and cheering and calling quieted, even from those who weren't her regulars. For the most part Red’s eyes looked off into the distance or were closed, but at one point when she fell to the floor in the splits she looked directly at Garrus. He was drawn by the fire he saw there, it was almost as intoxicating at her drinks and he almost forgot to breath.
When the dance ended Garrus was relieved she left the stage, any more interesting and seemingly impossible bending and he would have to worry about his plates shifting even more. Already he was more aroused than he had been in months and all over a human. He didn't think he had a human fetish, but something about her seemed to get under his plates.
Soon after Red joined the bar again but remained in her outfit. Everyone clamored for her attention, wanting drinks or asking for private dances. Garrus hung back and waited, he tried not to feel selfish for wanting her full attention. He was also happy to hear the dancing wasn't a regular thing. Less attention she got, less likely she would be hurt by someone.
Garrus did stiffen when one of his recent targets walked up to the bar and also waited for Red. Gus Williams, who was suspected of smuggling Alliance weapons to mercs. Garrus had to hold back a growl at the tall human gave Red a lopsided smile and said something that caused her to giggle and turn pink. Not good, how did this girl always find trouble? Well he would have to deal with Williams soon before she got too attached. Of course he couldn't say anything tonight, she still had no idea her “Big Guy” was Archangel and it was better to stay that way.
Finally Williams took his drink and left, and Red spotted Garrus. She put on a genuine smile he only saw for him and other friends like Sidonis.
“Hey Big Guy, long time, no see.” She leaned on the bar towards him. “What can I get you?”
“Just some Palaven whiskey, not celebrating today.” He started fiddling with the broken visor again, “So when did you start pulling double duty?”
Red stretched to reach the bottle in question, standing on her toes Garrus got a glimpse of how her muscles moved under the tight clothing but tried not to think of it. She laughed, “Our juggling Elcors were a no show and everyone else is down with a cold.” She poured the drink and spotted the visor, “What have you got there?”
“Oh, just a tactical visor. Had it for years and it was finally damaged.” Garrus hoped she wouldn't ask how, but was surprised when she put down the glass and held out a hand for the visor.
Garrus shrugged and gave it to her. “Well now, this has been modified a lot.” Red turned it and saw the chunk taken out by a round. She stared at it and glanced at him, trying to figure him out. “You know it might not be a total loss. I'm good with this stuff, if you'd like I could try fixing it.”
Garrus perked up, he knew Red was familiar with some tech equipment, hell she turned it against the owner. But he didn't expect her to offer so readily. “Uh, sure. Just let me know what I owe you.”
“Well let’s wait until I know if I can fix it. Come back in two weeks?”
Garrus nodded and lifted his glass to her, “As the lady orders, thank you Red,” and she turned back to her other customers.
Jane made her way down to the shops, she would need some equipment and supplies to fix the visor. She had heard of a new place opening, maybe they'd have better prices than the elcor. Turning corner and going all the way down she found a male quarian cursing at a popular but older asari omni tool.
He caught a glimpse of her but didn’t stop working, “Check the kiosk, you can order and pay for everything there.”
“You know that model had a recall, a faulty emitter.” Jane said watching, to get any deal she had to get him talking. Plus she was interested, she had never met a quarian before.
That made the quarian pause, “There was a recall?”
Jane cocked a hip with a hand on it, “Yea a long time ago, but there is a chance not everyone was sent back.”
Shrugging he pulled out a drawer and proceeded to follow her advice. Jane heard excitement in his voice when it worked. “Thank you, I'm Kenn. How can I help you?”
“Of course, everyone calls me Red. I was wondering if you had any idea where I could get some of these,” she pulled up her omni tool and showed him a list.
“This is some pretty advanced stuff, I should be able to find most of it.” Looking back at her, “What's it for?”
Jane held up the visor, “Some equipment for a friend. So how pricey is this gonna be?”
Kenn leaned back and studied the visor, “I'll make a deal with you, let me help fix it and I'll give you the stuff at cost. I haven't seen anything like this before and would love a chance to get a look at these mods.”
“Deal, when can we start?”
Jane and Kenn met almost everyday for a week working on the visor, it was very complex and they were even able to make some improvements. Fixing the hardware was simple enough, but getting the operating system fully functional with the new replacements was more difficult. They also found they worked well together, Kenn even offered her part time work if she needed. While Aria's did pay well it wasn't as challenging or exciting as working with tech again. Jane agreed excitedly.
Jane had also been surprised by what she found on Bright Eye’s visor. Mostly it was every known bit of software that would help a sniper, guess that answered any questions about what he did. What she found very amusing was his music playlist. Just the fact that he had a music playlist in the midst of all the
advanced software used to help gun people down was hysterical, apparently he felt he needed his own sound track.
She found she liked all of the songs, even the turian Die for the Cause. After they were done working on it Jane knew is was time to give it back and she decided to give him a bit of a show before he got it back. She saw him watching her during her first show, and she admitted it would be pretty funny to put him on the spot. Luckily Aria did not question her request to do another show, the last one was a success and saved the night. Nyrif didn't even question the music selection. Jane smiled to herself as she touched up her makeup, his face would be priceless.
This night her hair was slicked back, eyes were heavily defined again, and her clothing was also made for the Big Guy in mind. Jane had read of turians preference for small waists, and given the target she opted for a blue and black corset that made her's obscenely small. Paired with her heels, shorts and stockings, she was showing more flesh than before, but the last dance had been exhilarating and she no longer felt nervous.
Walking up to the curtain she peeked out and spotted the turian in question. There was something about Bright Eyes that drew her eyes to him every time, tonight would be fun. And would be the source of much teasing to come.
After nodding to the DJ, the club music faded and Bang Bang Boom came on. Immediately he started bobbing his head but he froze as soon as Jane stepped out on stage. At first Jane focused on the dance alone. She loved getting lost in the music, enjoying the physical movement. Judging from the sounds of the crowd, they were enjoying it too.
Looking down Jane saw he was still there, his bright eyes locked on her with heat that sent a shiver through her. Finally she came to a stop panting as the song end and she was in the splits, that also sent up a wave of yelling and whistling. She looked to the Big Guy and gave him a big wink, by now he had to have known she found his play list and did this on purpose.
Leaving the stage Jane went back to her usual bar position, deciding to stay in her performance clothes. She and the customers seemed to be still enjoying it. Sauntering up to him she gave him a lopsided smile and placed the visor in front of him.
“So, any more music recommendations?”
He was still staring at her hard, initially looking at her waist before looking guiltily back up at her face. “Looks like you found all the ones I would suggest.” He swallowed. “I take it you fixed it?”
The smile grew bigger, “Yup, that really is a beautiful piece of tech.”
Finishing his drink, she brought out a new bottle. “What do I owe you?”
“Let’s say 1,000? That will cover all the parts, and if I can use some of those programs we'll say we’re even on labor?” Jane knew she could just take them, but as an engineer she had some ethics, even if on Omega.
He put on the visor and toasted her, “You are one amazing woman Red.”
“Thanks, and if I do say so, you must be one hell of a sniper.”
Tilting his head a little and mandibles fluttering. “I never miss.”
Before Jane had time to process what he said, Gus' voice started calling out. “Red! Hey babe, are you free tonight?” The dark man paused and looked her up and down. “Damn, you have to let me take you out now.”
Bright Eyes stiffened and lost the smile, Jane turned away for a second, “Oh, Gus, back already? Well, tonight isn’t good, what about tomorrow?”
Gus groaned. “Damn, you're killing me. But give us a kiss and I'll agree.”
Sighing, Jane leaned over expecting a quick one, only to get pulled into a full make out session. This time he tasted of cheap beer and cigarettes. Not enjoying it she gently pushed him back, and jumped when she heard the crack of glass. Looking over, she saw the almost full bottle she'd placed in front of the turian on the floor and could see Big Guy shoving his way through the crowd.
Gus' eyebrows were raised, “Jez, what's his problem?”
Jane shook her head, “Not sure...” She hoped it wasn't some turian culture anti-display of affection thing. “So tomorrow meet me down in the vendor stalls on the first floor?”
“Sounds like a date.”
Jane was wrapping up her work station at Kenn's, she was surprised that he didn't supervise everything. It felt odd to be trusted and not under constant watch when working on tech. While Anew let her do a lot of the work, it wasn’t good to leave a salve unsupervised. She looked down, it had been some messy jobs and now her shirt and pants were covered in omni gel and grease. Checking the time, Gus would be here any minute so no time to change. “Damn.”
“Hey, Red!” Double damn, he was early.
Jane made her way to the front, waving Kenn away from talking to Gus. “Hey there, sorry but I don't know if I'm fit to be seen in public.”
He took a look at her clothing and smiled, “Well then I think you should open your gift now.”
Jane took the bag with a raised eyebrow, looking in it, she found a purple outfit. There was a top with a high collar, tight sleeves, and cut off just where her waist would begin to taper. Matching it was a long skirt that would hang low on her hips. The material was light and flowy, it was nothing like the jacket and jeans she normally wore, the whole thing screamed asari and not very practical. But it was better than nothing. “Wow, Gus. This is too much, thank you.”
He looked smug, “I know. So how about you go change. We have one stop for work then we'll have the whole night to ourselves.”
Not wanting to admit she was too tired for what he had in mind, Jane agreed and stepped in the back. The clothing fit well, she wouldn't have to worry about overheating, and while long it revealed a lot of skin. When she came out Gus took a moment to trace her body in the outfit with his eyes. She tried not to fidget after all most of the scars were gone but she still wasn’t used to it.
Gus tried to pull her close as they walked, but she managed to keep a little distance without completely pushing him off. She thought she liked him, but today he seemed a little too familiar. Together they made their way to the dock where his ship was. There were a couple of whistles from his workers, but with a sharp look they shut up. Not sure where to wait, she followed him and looked around.
“Jesus Sam, why haven't you gotten this cargo out of here? The customer is waiting.” Gus sounded very angry.
“Sorry Captain, but someone mentioned Archangel had gotten wind of it, all buyers are now refusing delivery.”
Jane tried not to react, Archangel. Sidonis mentioned some parties were interested in Gus, if it was the vigilante then Gus was into something bad.
“I don't care if he is sticking his skull face in my business or even if the queen of bitches Aria was upset. Get this stuff sold.” He turned to Jane, “Sorry about the wait...”
Next thing Jane knew there was a bang and the area started to fill with smoke. She felt someone grab her elbow and spun her so her back was to a hard chest. She felt a gun pressed to her temple. “Come out Archangel, I know you don't allow innocents to be harmed. It's time to talk about a deal.” Gus was the one holding her tightly.
Slowly the smoke cleared, there were bodies all around. Some had been thrown into crates and were crushed, others had a neat hole in their heads. There was the sound slow heavy steps and Archangel flanked by an asari and human female came into view.
“Weaver should have known you'd betray me. Why didn't you just take you cut and finally get laid?” Gus called out.
The human stepped up but was stopped by Archangel, so she yelled,“Bastard, you knew my nephew, you went to his birthday. How could you sell those guns to that merc group, you knew they were going to attack my sister’s ship!”
Gus’ chest rumbled against her back as he chuckled. “Money is money, I can't turn away every questionable customer, it's all stolen goods for god's sake. And it's not my fault your sister decided to fight back, she should have just turned over what they wanted.”
Archangel hung on to the snarling woman, his covered face turned to Jane, “Red, are you alright?”
Jane paused, he knew her nickname? She nodded, worried what Gus would do if she talked.
Gus leaned into her ear, “So you know this turian? I wonder how well... Did he have to spend as much as me to get you to loosen up? With all those birds sniffing around you at the bar I should have figured you had some sort of sick fetish.”
Jane was livid, yes others had hinted at what he was saying, but she thought he actually cared about her more than to say such hurtful things. Apparently, Gus was like all other men with only one thought. She saw Archangel jerk like he was going make a lunge for them after hearing Gus talk to her.
Gus pressed the gun to her head harder, “Don't think so bird. You and your whores put down the guns. We'll leave and I make sure Red ends up on a nearby planet for you to find.” The group glanced around and then lowered the weapons and took a few steps away. “Good, of course, that will be after we finished our date.”
Gus' hand drifted down to dip below the waist of the skirt and Jane lost it. She had flashes of all those who had used her on the ships and Harga. With a snarl, she dug her nails into his wrist hold the gun and shoved it up. It must have taken him by surprise and he stepped away trying to pry her off. She spun and tried to get some kicks in.
There was a bang and a hole blossomed in the middle of the man’s forehead and red matter splattered on the wall behind him. Jane let go of his wrist and let him drop to the ground. Breathing heavily she looked over her shoulder. Behind her, Archangel was standing with a pistol still pointed their way. Smiling she tried to voice her thanks, but the edges of her vision started to gray and then sitting on the floor seemed like a good idea.
Garrus didn't reach Red before she hit the floor. Using his visor he could see she was still breathing and her heart rate while high, was slowing down to a normal range. He pushed the hair from her face, what was he going to do with her now?
Sensat walked over, “Well this seems familiar.”
“Just a little,” looking up at his squad member, Garrus asked, “Can you get her to the warehouse? I don’t think she needs a doctor but can't let others see us take her to Afterlife without answering to Aria.”
Sensat nodded and was able to get Red draped over her shoulder. She nodded to Garrus and Weaver and left.
Looking to the newest recruit, who was still breathing hard, clearly upset. Garrus needed to get her to focus, “Let's deal with these weapons.”
They loaded everything back on the ship and sent a message to the Alliance, letting them know where to pick it all up.
Weaver pulled out a cigarette when they left the dock. “Glad the bastard is dead. I should have left a long time ago, he was already going after another poor girl.”
Garrus shook his head, “Well you saved her from more abuse, not many have been through what she has.”
Weaver shot him a look, “Is she the escaped slave Butcher always brings up when trying to embarrass you?”
“Yea, that's her. Over ten years a slave according to the manifest, but she's done well for herself here.” Garrus wouldn't lie, he was more than furious when he saw Red with Williams. He knew some of what he put Weaver, though, he was shocked how badly he wanted to forget the plan and attack him at the club the other night. Even remembering the smugglers hands on her still made the vigilante want to growl. But Williams was dead, and once again Red was safe. With that in mind, Garrus quickly went back to the warehouse.
Getting there he walked in and found Red sitting on the floor and was hugging her knees. Sensat seemed to be trying to convince her to take a drink of water but she was shaking too badly.
Without thinking Garrus took off his helmet and knelt in front of her. “Red?” He gently touched her hair and namesake, “Red, what's wrong?”
Looking over her arms, he saw the green eyes were red and very wet. Recognizing him she threw herself at Garrus and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Bright Eyes, god... It all came back.”
Not sure what to do, Garrus gently wrapped his long arms around her, “Red you’re safe. You did well, you fought back. He did nothing to you.”
She took a shuddering breath and sat back. Wiping her eyes she looked at him. “What are you doing here...” She trailed off as she saw his armor. Garrus flinched, he forgot Red was not aware of his identity. “Wait, you're Archangel?”
Garrus shifted, easing the pain in his knees, kneeling was as uncomfortable as this situation. “Uhh, yea. You're going to have to keep that tidbit to yourself.” Now Sensat had a curious expression, glancing between two. But before he could say anything she turned around, deciding to leave them alone.
Jane took a deep breath collecting herself. “Alright, only if you answer some questions.”
“Alright, but I get to ask some too.” He countered.
At first, Red sat there, trying to even her breathing. Looking at him she started, “You acted like you didn't know me at the bar. Did you really not know who I was, or were you following me?”
“I did know you, but I wasn't sure where from, I promise I only went there because it was nice to talk to you.” Shifting again, “After I found out I guess it was more to make sure you really were alright, and because you make the best drinks.”
The last part made her smile, “And how did you know about Gus?”
At his name Garrus growled quietly, “Weaver found my contacts. She worked on the bastard’s crew, he sold weapons to a pirate group that killed some of her family. We have been waiting for him to return. That night at the bar, I'm sorry I was angry, but when he talked to you and held you... After all, he did. I was angry that I wasn't able to stop him before he got to you. I should have protected you.”
Red reached out and stroked his gloved talons, “You've already saved me, it's not your job to keep looking after me. I knew it was too soon for me to consider a relationship. I have no idea how to be in those.”
Garrus felt something catch in his chest, no matter what red said all, he could see was the woman fighting for her freedom and remembered the light weight he carried to safety afterward. Garrus knew he would always look after her. Looking to the couch, he tilted his head to it. “Think we can move somewhere more comfortable?”
Red glanced around, surprised to find herself on the floor. “Oh, sorry. When I'm having a flashback or not thinking I forget I am allowed use furniture.”
Garrus let out a forlorn purr, he had no idea she still was that bad, Red behaved almost normal at the bar and showed no lack of confidence when dealing with the saboteur. Taking her hand he helped her stand and moved to the couch.
He decided to try for some background, maybe learn where she came from, convince her to go home, “Can you tell me what happened to you? I've always wondered.”
Red stared into space, and at first, he thought she wouldn't say anything. “When I was 12 Mindoir was attacked by a huge force for batarian slavers. My brother and I found our farm burning and parents dead. We got separated and I was captured. For awhile I was only used as a kitchen helper, but soon they thought I was old enough to be used as more.”
After a couple of breaths, she continued. “Then Anew took me as payment, I think she didn't like how I was being treated. She was a strict owner but actually taught me as an engineer. Not that anyone knew, a slave skilled in tech was dangerous. After she died I was sold to Harga and after he visited the night before we docked I knew I had to be free one way or another. So I fried my chip and let the blood lust take over. Then you found me.”
Garrus had to take a moment to process, so much of what she said made him see blue in rage. How could she seem so calm now, most would surely need more time to recover. And she just heals and starts working again? He knew of only one who could have withstood that, someone who hunted slavers with a passion and always carried a photo of a red-headed girl. Someone who survived an attack on Mindoir and always said his family had died. Someone who had the same birthday as her brother.
“Red, what was your name before being captured?” He held his breath.
She looked at him sharply, “Why?”
“I just need to know, but I think I have a gut feeling as you would say.”
With a heavy sigh, he dropped his head in his hands. John Shepard was one of his most respected friends. Spirits, he was the only one to help him take out that sick doctor and put his name forward for Spectre training. Now it made sense. His extreme actions on Trofan, why he hunted all slavers and made every attempt to meet every ex-slave in person. He secretly was still looking for her.
Well, Garrus wasn't there to protect him when he died but hell if the turian wasn't going to take up the mantle of looking after his sister.
“Hey, what's the matter. Why does my name matter?” She was giving him an almost fearful look.
“Red... Jane, I worked with your brother, when he was hunting the rogue Spectre. I assume you've been able to find out about him?”
Her eyes were large as she nodded. “You're Vakarian? The turian on his team?”
Garrus raised a brow at that, she must have gotten into the classified stuff to know that. He nodded. “If it means anything, even with all that shit he was still looking for you. He never said anything, but he always carried your photo.”
The wetness started to fill her eyes again, “Not that it matters, we were both too late. I won't see him again.”
Garrus gripped Jane’s shoulder, “I will always be here, it's the least I could do for him. And if it's just us, call me Garrus.”
Jane wiped her eyes and in a quiet voice, “Thanks... Garrus.” For a while she was quiet, absorbing the information. She started picking at her dress. “God, I really need to get out of these.”
Garrus let his mandibles flare in a smile, “Not that they don't look good on you but I'm sure Sensat has something you could wear. It's probably best if you stay here, we have extra bunks.”
“I think I'll take you up on that, I'm just so tired. Will you stay with me until I fall asleep, I don't always do well in new places.”
“Of course.” Jane was now his responsibility, he'd do right by Shepard.
The next morning Jane woke. At first, she laid in the bed thinking about the night before. She found out her savior's identity and who he was to her brother. It did make her feel closer to the man she never got to know. Jane was going to go back to Afterlife, but she would make sure to keep in contact with Garrus. He knew all about her now and it felt good, he could understand her to some degree. Like having a real friend or family again.
Getting up Jane went downstairs and heard a thumping coming from the floor below. Following it she found a shirtless Garrus going to town on a piece of fighting equipment, something to simulate hitting another person. Jane had only seen human equivalents like punching bags, but this was more complex to give a more realistic target.
Turning to her, Garrus dropped his stance, “Sorry if I woke you.”
“You didn't, I don't really sleep for long.”
Garrus nodded and went to get some water. He was only in a pair of loose pants. Jane had never seen a turian with so little clothing and was shocked to realize he wasn’t only so large because of his armor. She could see that he carried a lot of muscle and that was covered in natural plate armor. It was the same silver and the sharper edges that faded to black like his fringe like his face, while the hide underneath was more tan. Seeing the muscle shifting under it was distracting, but Jane reminded herself to keep her eyes on his face not sure if it was rude to stare.
“So what are your plans?” Garrus asked pulling her from her observations.
“Oh, I guess back to Afterlife. I need something familiar.”
Garrus almost seemed sad about it, mandibles twitching and then laying tight to his face. “For the best I guess.” He pulled up his omni tool, “If you need anything call me, here is my contact information.”
Jane pulled up her tool and let him send the information. “Thanks.”
“Let me get dressed and I'll walk you back.”
Jane turned to go, “That's not necessary.”
She felt his hand land on her shoulder and stop her, “No, Jane it isn't but it'll make me feel better.”
“Alright.” Jane agreed and Garrus turned to his room, but the heat of his grip remained.
After Garrus put on his unmarked armor, they made their way to the club not really talking. Jane held herself and tried to process the past twenty-four hours and Garrus seemed fine with letting her do that and didn’t push for conversation. At the club, she said goodbye and went to make her way toward employees locker room. Before going through the door, she did see Garrus approach Sidonis. They must have known each other, Sidonis had tried to warn her off of Gus, maybe he had the information on Garrus or his group.
For a few days, Jane fell back into bad anti-social habits, ignoring customer conversation, not going to Kenn's, no more dancing. One morning Sidonis leaned on the bar. “Red, shit happens but the sooner you throw yourself back into it the more normal it'll seem.”
“Everything is fine Sid. Just leave it.”
He shook his head, “I know what happened, finding out your date is a scumbag sucks, him getting killed while holding you hostage is even worse. But now you're not doing anything you like. Did you know Kenn came in last night asking after you?”
That made Jane look up, “Why?”
“Because he is concerned for his employee and friend? Come on, I know how much you liked working in his shop. Why don't you go in today, you might have fun and actually smile.” Sidonis watched her carefully. “Besides your protective friend is about to pull off some plates with worry.”
The idea that Garrus was still concerned over her well being broke her. “Fine, I'll go. Have I ever mentioned how annoying you are?”
He flared a smile, “It's listed in the charming qualities section on my resume.”
Jane hated to admit it, but the turian was right. Working with Kenn did help clear her head, and for the first time before that night she felt better. Kenn didn't ask why she was gone for so long, just said he was happy she was feeling better.
Soon Jane was back to her usual self at the bar but she kept everything superficial. She wasn't going to let another Gus Williams happen. The only one she was ever genuine with was Garrus. He made a point of coming to one of her shifts every few days to check in on her. Often he would order a drink and tell her war stories or stories of his time with Johnny. It felt like Jane got to see another side of her brother, who he became as a man. He still had his sharp humor, but he became harder, more focused on his goals and would do anything to get a mission done. Sometimes she questioned if she would even recognize him anymore. But then again, Jane doubted Johnny would have recognized her now.
Jane also was finally able to get her questions about the attack on the Citadel answered. While she had been able to get a hold of the names of those involved, she only found unsatisfying Geth explanations from authorities or outlandish theories of ancient beings out to destroy the galaxy. Garrus confirmed the later, as crazy as it sounded. Something older than the protheans that destroyed many cycles before them, all their tech based off what they left behind. And the scary realization that they may be on their way to the galaxy, having to take the long way now that the Citadel was out of commission. All in all, it was too much for her to comprehend, and if she could, what could she do as a bartender and tech on Omega?
As Jane walked to Kenn's for a few hours work before the night cycle rush, she was stopped by a very thin human man and her dark train of thoughts was interrupted. “Miss could you hel... Jane?”
Hearing her name Jane froze and looked closer at the man, under the loose fitting clothing she saw a face that was almost as scared as hers used to be. “Alex?”
“My god, you got out too?” He looked at her in shock. For a woman to get away from the Hegemony was unusual, men normally had more chances. Last time she'd seen him had been on the ship before Anew took her away. He was one of the labors who made sure the other slaves watched themselves. While the batarians would use them how they wanted, he made sure the humans had some decency toward each other.
“Yea, about eight months ago. What about you?”
“Chip got damaged during transport to auction, managed to slip off the ship. Been on Omega for about four years now.” Alex started itching his arms, obviously feeling uncomfortable. “You’re looking good Jane, even better than before.”
“Yea ended up at Solus' Clinic and he fixed me up. I do a few odd jobs around here now. What about you?” Jane didn't mention how bad he looked.
“Not much, just trying to scrape by. I had some issues with red sand, but I think I've finally kicked the habit.” He gave her a small smile. Red sand was a serious issue but not uncommon for slaves, and if he had quit it would take a huge amount of will to manage it.
“Listen, I'm going to call in sick. Let's go get dinner and catch up, my treat.” Alex took some convincing but finally, he agreed. She messaged Kenn letting him know and took Alex to the best human dinner in the station. It felt good to talk to him, but it also hurt to hear of the others who didn't make it. Before running for her Afterlife shift she made sure to get him some new clothes and left him her contact information in case he needed anything.
Garrus made his way to the bar, he was happy to see Jane finally start to be like herself again. He had been worried about how much the Williams incident affected her. He had started making a point of seeing her more, getting to know her better. He was happy that she had started to open up to him more than anyone else. She even started speaking of her time with Anew, a decent batarian from the sounds of it. Of course, Sidonis helped a lot, the guard had a soft spot for the girl since she arrived at the club.
Speak of the devil, Garrus spotted the younger male and waved. Instead of a greeting Sidonis sprinted toward him. “Hey, it's Red, she's going nuts tearing up her room. I can't get her to calm down enough to make any sense.”
Garrus felt his heart jump into his craw, “Take me to her.”
Sidonis took him through a backdoor that was heavily guarded, this was after all where all the dancers and employees of the club lived. It was the only reason Garrus hadn't insisted Jane move to one of his safe houses. Seeing Sidonis, the guards waved him through and as they climbed the stairs he could hear crashes and yelling.
Running through the open door he found a single room with a small kitchenette, desk, and bed. However, it looked like a storm had come through. Sheets were pulled off the bed, the desk was knocked over, and shards of glass lay everywhere. Even the metal walls were dented, some of the deeper ones showed red blood drops. In the center of it all was a raging Jane, and for the first time since he met again her, he saw the bloody spirit that had run off the ship searching for her target. This time her red hair whipped around as she threw bloody punches at the wall all while crying and screaming.
Without thinking Garrus went to her, Jane bared her teeth and tried to attack him but he easily wrapped her in his arms and crushed her to his chest. Jane raged and cried into his lighter armor, but slowly she calmed. Garrus waited, holding her and purring quietly ignoring the silent bystanders at the door. Eventually, she spoke, “Alex is dead, they killed him on purpose when they found out he was a slave. Poisoned him like a rat.”
Garrus pulled back and looked down at her. “Who are you talking about?”
She wiped at her eyes, “Alex, he looked after me on the first of the ships that owned me before I was with Anew. He was here, trying to give up Red Sand. I was trying to help, but last night he was taken to the clinic. I just got word that he OD'ed from tainted Red Sand.” Looking up at him with fire, “They found out he was a slave, they wanted him dead. Garrus, I have to get them.”
Garrus had a feeling he knew who was behind it, he had intel that hinted not only selling the drug but also purposefully selling tainted goods. “Already on it Jane, consider it done.”
“No, not like Harga. I want in on this one.” She pushed back on him hard, making him let her go.
“I don't think that's a good idea, you're not a trained soldier or merc.”
“No but I'm a damned good engineer and I can use a pistol.” Garrus had never seen her this angry. “They killed him like a fucking animal, and they would do the same to me or any other escaped slave. As far as they are concerned we will never be free. We will always be theirs.”
Garrus would never truly understand what Jane had been through but this was one piece of unfinished business he could help her with, then he would. “Alright, grab what you need.You're staying at the warehouse.”
Garrus made sure Jane was settled in before calling in the available team to discuss what they knew and for them to meet Jane. He had decided to just keep her as Red, while he trusted everyone with his life it was easier to keep some information and connections to themselves. Who knew who'd be looking for Jane or why they would want her.
Then there was introducing her to Grundun Krul. He was batarian and had a very stiff personality, but he was committed to ending slavery. Krul was the reason they even found Jane, he wasn't on the ground team but he found out about the ship's cargo soon enough to plan the attack Jane almost ruined. Before the others arrival, Garrus tried to explain this to her, in hopes it would help her not lose it. Especially because the red sand dealer was probably batarian.
Jane smirked, but the smile didn't reach her eyes, those had been stone cold since leaving the apartments. “I know there are good batarians. As long as he is careful with his body language and doesn't get too close I should have no issues.”
The group arrived and most knew of Jane by reputation. Butcher even brought a new recruit, Ripper. He was a young human merc who turned on his team when they tried to beat up a local shopkeep for protection money. The Eclipse was not happy about losing him and the three other members, but he would fit nicely on Garrus' team. Ripper was good with most heavy weapons and could keep his head in a fight. He would need some more testing but right now Garrus didn't like how long his eyes lingered on Jane when she wasn't looking. Garrus was confused when he had to bite back a growl at the younger man, he had never had an urge like that unless it was some scum like Williams. He chalked it up to feeling overly protective of his friend's sister.
Krul was going through the information. “We think we know who is supplying it, but having trouble tracing it back.” He had pulled up pictures of the suppliers.
Jane took a step forward, “Do you mind?” She motioned to the screen and Krul just nodded slightly to the right and Jane stiffened but returned the gesture and turned to the screen. Her fingers flew as she started pulling up window after window and released a script that worked even faster. Everyone in the room sat back impressed. Krul was good but not as much with hacking. “Here we go. Yes, the people in question are batarian, but it looks like they are working through asari business names. Currently, they have one storage and office on Omega. Here are the schematics.” And on the screen, they saw a detailed map of a building.
Garrus raised a brow plate at her, “Good job. Alright is there any good places to sneak in? Or a window to get a view of the main office?”
Krul pulled up another screen, “Can't really sneak in, Archangel. This work order is showing some pretty advanced monitoring equipment.”
Sensat called from the back of the room, “They probably have a good number of hired guns, that place can hold a lot of Red Sand. They need the firepower to keep off any swarms of would-be thieves.”
Garrus sighed, this wasn't going to be easy and he said Jane could join. “Alright, looks like this will be a knock on the front door kind of operation. Erash,” the salarian stared at him without blinking, “Make up a few dozen flash bangs to hopefully make life a little easier. Butcher and Sensat you'll be on this team, Red is joining on this one too so Weaver find her some armor.”
Looking around the room, “Make sure you know the layout before we leave at 1800. Any questions?” Everyone kept quiet, “Good, dismissed.”
Jane followed Weaver downstairs and Sensat followed Garrus up to his room. “So, Red...”
“What about her?”
“Well, you two seem pretty close, closer than any of the other team. What's the story?” She leaned on the closed door and studied him.
Garrus clamped his mandibles tight to his face. “I don't see why it is any business of yours.”
Sensat shrugged, “Everyone is entitled to their secrets but she is about to go on a mission with us, all I have ever seen has been murdering lunatic so I guess I'd like some background before I trust her with my back.”
Garrus sighed and sat on the bed heavily on the bed. She had a point. “I knew her brother before all this, he and the rest of her family are dead now. Now she needs someone to help her, I owe her brother a lot.” In reality, they all did. “She's come far since then, even killed a group attacking Afterlife housing, we can trust her.”
“Alright, but if she goes on any more missions, by the goddess give her more training.”
Garrus gave a mock salute, “Yes ma'am.”
Weaver only had a lightweight armor in white that fit Jane, not her first choice but it would protect her. She was focusing on trying to hack security of the warehouse but it was proving difficult. But at least she wasn't thinking of Alex. She had seen him a few times and had hopes that he was getting better, he was trying to find a cook's position.
The day before Jane received a call from Mordin, he'd found her contact info on Alex body she was his only contact. At first, she thought it was an overdose, but Mordin explained while he had given into temptation it was laced with a poisonous compound. While the Hegemony did allow terrible conditions and treatment of others, their culture frowned on things like poison as a method of killing.
Mordin also mentioned he wasn't the only human brought in. The drug dealer had no honor as a batarian, and she would guarantee he died a fitting death.
Weaver asked what Jane needed as a weapon and quirked an eyebrow when she only wanted a pistol. There was no time become familiar with anything else, and it could mean a team member’s death if she was fucking around with a new weapon.
When the time came Jane met with the others in their gear. She noticed Garrus look over her carefully making sure she met his requirements, he gave a low hum of approval and looked to the rest of the group. “Plan is simple, use flashbangs to blind guards, take them out, move on. We should find the ring leaders in the back offices. Sensat has point, then Butcher. Red, stick with me in the back, make sure no one tries to flank us.” Jane bit back a complaint, it wasn't to protect their flank the turian just wanted to keep her close. Well, she'd just have to show him that she could work in his team as a member and not a baby needing to be looked after.
The warehouse was quiet and unassuming. Not at all what Jane expected, but why wouldn't the bad guys use the same locations as everyone else. Garrus set himself up with the sniper and started watching, the others sat down. Now they would have to wait.
Jane was feeling jittery waiting just outside the warehouse. Who knew how many this dealer had killed already, how many he was planning to kill if they didn’t stop him. But instead of busting in guns blazing Archangel squad was waiting on a rooftop within site of the building. Sensat and Butcher were sitting and Garrus was watching the comings and goings through his scope.
After Jane’s last pass in her pacing Butcher groaned, “Might as well relax, he’ll fire when he's ready. Snipers man, way too much patience.”
Before Jane could say anything, Garrus’ powerful rifle fired three times in quick succession. Looking toward the building she saw the three guards that were patrolling outside fall. Smuglly Garrus spoke, “They just had their check in, no one will think to radio them for another 30 minutes. Lets go people.”
Jane gave a crooked smile, well he apparently did have the knowledge and skill to use that damn visor. The group got on the ground in record time and made their way to the door. Garrus signaled the others to keep an eye out. “Jane, see if you can get this open without tripping any alarms.”
Jane knelt down and started hacking, now she had something to do she felt much better. She hadn’t seen this system before but its structure wasn’t too off of ones she knew. All too soon the lock turned green and the door swished open.
Garrus nodded and told the others to take point. The warehouse was huge but relatively unmanned. They tried to take out as many as quietly as possible, Butcher and Sensat knocking most out. But eventually someone spotted them and raised the alarm.
Now that the quiet game wasn’t going to work the team started throwing flash bangs and switched to more forceful methods. Through all the biotic blasts and assault rifle shots Jane stayed near Garrus like he’d ordered. She was able to pick off a couple that tried to sneak around, even with a small pistol her aim wasn’t half bad.
After the main room had been cleared, they took a moment to look around, picking up any extra ammo and medigel. Jane decided to take a look in the crates, opening one she found a few vials of red sand. But this stuff was different, the color was a brighter red and was a liquid. This must be red sand in its pure form before cut with other additives and turned into a powder.
Jane froze as she heard a small scuff sound behind her, looking in the foil insulated crate she didn’t see the blues of Garrus’ armor reflected. Instead she saw the greys of the workers gear, and the yellow bulbous shape of a batarian head. While he was slowly coming up behind her, another worker shifted behind him. Carefully not to give anything away she waited until he was just out of arm's reach and pulled her pistol aiming it toward the salarian in the back, while her newly installed omni blade rang out slicing through the batarians throat.
She was a little surprised when his neck not only sprayed blood, but his head also exploded.
Putting that aside Jane looked to the salarian who was looking between the gun and his friend’s fallen body. “If I were you I would lay down on the ground, arms spread out. Nice and easy,” she said calmly and clearly. The salarian blinked rapidly, and he nodded as he did what she said. Sensat jumped in and tied him up, Jane looked over and saw Garrus’ had his weapon still aimed toward the dead worker. She guessed that explained the head exploding.
The turian walked up and looked her over, “Never thought white was your color.”
Looking down Jane saw the dark red blood running down her armor, staining it. Quirking her eyebrow, “Oh, and I suppose red is? Like my hair?”
He tilted his head, studying her, “Actually I was thinking blue, it also goes well with red.”
With the adrenaline running in her system Jane couldn’t help but laugh. It did seem odd to be discussing fashion on the battlefield. Butcher walked up a shot gun on his hip, “Alright you two comedians. Do you think we could finish sometime soon? The Mrs is making lasagna tonight.”
They contained their giggles and started checking all the side rooms. Most were empty, either everyone had run toward them or found a way to escape. Finally they came across a door that was locked that according to the schematics should be the main office. Garrus nodded to Jane and she started hacking, apparently he approved of her skill based on the front door test.
With a woosh the door opened and everyone held up their weapons to find a dark colored batarian running from window to window trying to pry the seals open. When he heard the door he turned and lifted his gun toward them but Garrus shot it out of his hand. “Alright Red, he’s all yours.”
Jane strode forward, looking hard at the batarian that killed her friend in such a despicable way. She wasn’t prepared for how ordinary he looked. He seemed like every other batarian that she had ever met. Holding up the vial she found earlier, “Why? Poisoning is against what your people believe, even slaves don’t deserve to die that way. It doesn’t make an example of them.”
“Human aren’t even worth keeping as slaves.” He hissed rubbing his hand. “You are worse than rabid varren, more likely to turn on those who rightfully own you. Even a turian would make a better slave, they know how a command structure works.”
“He wasn’t even a slave any more. All he wanted was release from the pain. Release from the nightmares we all have.” Jane couldn’t believe Alex was gone for such petty reasons.
The batarian took a moment to study her then tilted his head as a displeased master would, out of habit Jane flinched and responded with the tilt of a low ranking slave. “Bitch, you are one too? Couldn’t just accept your job, get clothed and fed. But it wasn't enough you most likely killed your owner!” He rushed at her, keeping her between him and the guns in the doorway.
Without thinking Jane threw the fragile vial of liquid into his face, surprised how easily it broke. The dealer fell to his knees screaming as his hands rubbed at his eyes hard. Jane wasn’t sure what would happen, he just had a heavy concentration of his own drug applied to his eyes. Batarians eyes were very sensitive and many believed that was how the soul left the body. He jerked and fell to the floor, eyes swollen and tears of blood dripping down his face.
Jane backed away, breathing hard but kept watching until he took his last breath. Once dead she shook herself, trying to shake of the disturbing images. She turned to the others, “Well, he’s dealt with. I guess we should get rid of this shit before others come looking.”
Jane felt the three watching her, Garrus recovered first, “Butcher plant the bombs, Sensat make sure everyone alive is out of the building before we detonate.” He stowed his weapon and wrapped a large hand on her shoulder and led her outside again.
While outside Jane couldn’t hold it in and threw up, the images of the cut throat and the painful puffy face flew before her eyes. She whipped her mouth and glanced at the Big Guy. “Guess I might not be cut out for this kind of work.”
Garrus made a show of checking his gun. “Did I ever tell you about my first ground assignment?”
Jane shook her head, not sure what he was getting at.
“We were sent in after a turian merc group who stole supplies from a new colony. It was a simple mission, I was to remain in my perch and take out any who tried to escape out the back. Attempt to wound only.” He leaned on the wall and sighed. “A few did try to break for it, one was a girl even younger than me. I hesitated but I remembered my orders, my duty. She was young but she still stole from that colony. I ended up taking the shot and she died from complications. I didn’t eat for days after.” He looked at Jane, helmet obscuring his face, “Sometimes the bad guys seem ordinary enough, but someone still needs to hold them accountable. And sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. Just focus on the fact that he is gone and can’t hurt anyone else.”
Jane took a breath, as much as she liked Garrus sometimes she couldn't understand his need to always get the bad guy by any means. Yes she wanted the dealer to pay, but she didn’t mean to kill him in such a terrible way. She wanted to be better than him, but she lashed out on instinct.
Sensat and Butcher came out, “Alright, we have 15 minutes to be clear of this place. Erash said it shouldn’t affect any of the other buildings.”
Garrus nodded put a hand down to Jane. She took it and got to her feet and the group left before anyone could see them.
Garrus sat at the workbench, doing calibrations on his weapons that didn’t really need to be done. However he didn’t want to leave Jane who was still scrubbing the blood from the white armor. She’d been quiet since they left, he’d hoped she would perk up to her old funny self again but it looked like that would still be awhile.
Finally Jane gave up on the stain and threw the chest plate away in frustration. “How am I supposed to just go back to being a bartender?”
Garrus looked over, he wasn’t expecting that. “Why wouldn’t you?”
She started stomping around, “Because everytime I look at a customer I’m going to wonder who all did they kill today. Fuck what would they do if they found out I was an ex-slave. I’ve already had to deal with those who tried to find me after I first came to Afterlife.”
“What would you do?” Garrus knew that leaving for Alliance space would be best, but he knew he could protect her if she stayed on the station with him.
Jane shrugged her small shoulders. “I can see if Kenn could use more help. I am good with almost any tech, maybe I can get some contractor work.”
“Not going to try to go back to Alliance space? You’d be safer there.” Garrus hated to have to point it out.
“No, not after they called Johnny a liar. It’s like all he did, losing members of his crew were for nothing.” She started putting away all the cleaning supplies.
Garrus watched and had an idea, something that would keep her really close and make it easier to watch out for her. “Well, my team has been growing. Krul is good but he can’t pull off all you can in a time crunch. We could offer you a spot on the team, as a tech expert, pay isn't great, we split any rewards or finds. But you could stay here.”
Jane paused and turned to him, “Really? I don’t even have any combat training.”
“We could teach you. After seeing your aim, I bet you would make a decent sniper. And with the right tactics some of your drones could be a major asset.” The more he thought about it, the more he liked it. He would be able to see her everyday instead of having to go to the bar. Probably less dancing and less revealing clothes part of him complained.
Jane leaned back on the table thinking, and for the first time since they got back she gave him a smile. “Why not, at least with you I’ll know who the bad guys are. A little harder to accidently go on a date with a smuggler if I’m hunting him.”
Garrus chuckled feeling much lighter, “Well then, we better go get your things and put in your notice.”
Before they left, Garrus sent a note to all the team letting them know they had new recruit and volunteers to help with combat training. He also sent a private note to Krul to request he find some solution for her stained armor. Now he understood by Ashley had been so excited to get her black armor, how she kept her old white armor clean was beyond him.
At Afterlife Garrus stood back as Jane talked to the bar manager. Overall it seemed like all the employees were sad to see her go, one asari even volunteered to go help her pack. While waiting Garrus was approached by Jane’s taste tester.
Sidonis seemed agitated. “Is she really quitting?”
“Yes.” Garrus wasn’t sure what else to say.
“I think I know who you really are.” Garrus stood straighter, but the guard raised his hand, “I overheard some of your stories, but with your main goal on Omega can you really keep her safe?”
Garrus growled low, he didn’t like being questioned in his ability. “I’m doing better, she’ll be trained to better protect herself.”
That seemed to sooth Sidonis. “Good. Hey, if you have room on your team I would like to join. I’m tired of tossing drunks out, and wouldn’t mind helping out others like Jane. She’s really come a long way, the little girl that showed up here a few months back was scared just to walk in the front door of this place.”
Garrus let out a rumble of agreement. “Send me your contact info. We’ll see what we can do.”
Both turned as Jane and her friend walked up with a couple of boxes. Garrus picked up the second from the asari. “Ready?”
Jane nodded, said her goodbyes and they headed out. Garrus was surprised she had so little. Most of the box was her clothes, and a blanket. But remembering her past she was probably never allowed to own anything. At least it made for easy moving, for now she would be in the common bunk area with her own foot locker. Maybe if Jane planned on staying there long term he would make up a room for her like he did for himself.
After she put away her stuff, Garrus gave her the tour. “Showers are just down the hall, on the right. The door at the end is my personal room and office. If you need anything feel free to come in.” He lead her downstairs, “We often have meetings down here and kitchen has levo and dextro food, make sure you don’t get them confused.”
Jane shrugged, “I’m not allergic, on one ship they would bet who would get sick or die after eating dextro. I made a lot of the crew angry when I didn’t show any signs.”
Garrus flinched internally, he had seen how some turians reacted to Levo amino acids, it was never comfortable. Do it for fun was sick. “Alright, and as you know that door leads down to the training room and shooting range.” And he continued the tour.
Garrus was trying to keep himself busy with surveillance and checking up on leads. Jane had left in the morning to go to her salvage job and Garrus found himself worrying. He was still adjusting to the idea of her being on the team, and what she would need in the way of training. Eventually, he had to resort to cleaning his workstation, which was already kept immaculate.
Garrus paused as he caught Jane’s scent, in the bar, he never noticed with all the other smells but she did have a simple floral scent of her soap with a hint of saltiness underneath. Turning he watched her enter the room, still unsure of her surroundings but overall she seemed to be in a lighter mood.
“Garrus, good news! I found some mods for Ripper's shotgun, Butcher mentioned he didn't have much to work with.” Jane tossed him the mods in question.
He looked them over, and let his mandibles flutter in approval. “Not bad Jane, looks like you tweaked them?”
“Yea,” Jane shrugged and hopped up on the table beside him. If anyone else had disrupted his work area Garrus would have been angry, but with her, it was only cute. “They are a little older, and while good for the public market, they didn't really compare to First Tier items.”
“Well, after working at some of the factories with Anew you learn a few things. Those with money pay to have the best and to make sure no one else has it. Many will pay good money to have an edge. There are a few merc and pirate groups that have equipment better than most military and almost on par with Spectre gear.”
Garrus tilted his head, “You mean to tell me that we have been going up against better-outfitted groups?”
“Only the wealthiest buyers can get those items, and even if its a merc group, only the elite members get it. Chances are you're on more even playing field with many of your targets.”
His chest rumbled with displeasure. “At least we have you to get us better odds now.” She about glowed at that comment. “If you're up for it, we can do some target practice.”
“Sure. What about hand to hand combat? Shouldn't I be learning that too?”
Garrus walked over to the sniper rifles, looking for one that would not bust up her shoulder. “Eventually, but I can't work with you on that until you get the basics. I was one of the more advanced hand to hand specialists in the turian fleet a few years ago, with the size difference I could seriously hurt you.”
“Hmm, awfully sure of yourself Big Guy.”
Garrus selected a weapon and propped it on a hip as he motioned to the rest of him, “This amount of skill? I kind of have to be, else I would kill a lot more people by accident.”
Together they walked over to the shooting range and Garrus pulled up the long distance target program. He handed Jane the weapon and stepped behind her to start correcting her stance. He used his feet to kick hers farther apart, to give her a more solid base. He also reached his long arms around her firmly settling the butt of the rifle on her shoulder, her cheek against the stock, and left hand supporting the rest of the gun. His nose filled with even more of her scent and it only became more distracting when he could hear a hitch in her breathing as he got close. He hoped it wasn't in fear.
“Alright, line up your sights and focus on your breathing. Make it even and slow. On the exhale gently squeeze the trigger.” Jane took a few breaths and fired. The shot only chipped the target, but for a first time, it wasn't that bad. With a little practice, she could do well. “Not bad, next time pull on the trigger even softer. It doesn't need a lot of force and too much pull and it will pull the weapon away from the target.”
They continued, and while Jane did show improvement Garrus could see her frown deepening in frustration. Whatever she was able to improve apparently wasn't enough for her. Impatience wasn't the best for a sniper but it was a start. Afterward, he showed her how to clean the rifle and where all the other supplies were if she wanted to practice on her own.
The next morning when Garrus came back after running an errand to find Sensat, Ripper, and Jane working on the mats. All were in various state of undress, Sensat was in her usual undersuit. Jane was wearing a tight top that showed a lot of skin around her waist and black pants that showed every curve, Garrus forced himself to stop staring. He also had to stop a growl at the sight of a shirtless Ripper handling her, practicing breaking holds. He understood it was practice but did he really have to hold her so closely?
Setting down the crate Garrus had been carrying heavily, it sound drew the sparring partner's attention. Jane wiggled out of Ripper's grasp, “Hey Big Guy, where were you this morning?”
Garrus' mandibles flared in a smile at the sound of his nickname. “Just grabbing some need equipment for our newest recruit. And went to speak with another possible one.” He nudged the crate toward her, “Go ahead and check it out.”
Leaning over Jane gave him a smirk and opened it to reveal her armor repainted a dark red with navy trim. “Wow, this looks great and I won't have to worry about keeping out stains! Thanks, Archangel.”
Garrus gave her a smile, “Well we can't make use of your tech skills if you're always cleaning the damn stuff. Though many would find the blood stains a little scary.”
“Just what Red needs, more scary.” Ripper joked, “I heard you killed a man with his own enviro suit.”
Jane shrugged, “Didn't have a gun and Omega's best sniper couldn't get a shot.”
“Still, they are normally supposed to keep you alive, not the opposite. Remind me not to piss you off.”
Smirking Jane replied, “Well, help me get strong enough to take on Archangel in hand to hand and I'll have another way to vent my anger.”
Garrus leaned to the side, cocking a hip. “You really think you could take me on? I am a specialist.”
Jane put her hands on her hips, “We'll see about that. After all, you're getting older, and your so big you're probably slow as hell.”
“Sounds like a challenge.” He flicked his mandibles at her in a smile.
“Oh, you're on Big Guy.”
Jane never felt so tired before, but neither had she felt like she was making difference. Every day she was learning more about unarmed sparring and getting better with her rifle, and she was even improving everyone's equipment and software. She had even been able to work on a tactical cloak that she had been playing around with. Kenn was reaping some benefits too, not only was Garrus’ team almost solely buying from him but Jane was able to complete more and more complex tasks since she could now work from home. Thankfully the quarian didn’t ask where the influx of work was coming from. On Omega, it was best to not ask too many questions.
Jane also found she enjoyed working with Garrus’ team. The tech guys accepted her without question once she was able to show them a few more ways to better access data on Blue Sun's drops. As a reward, Jane got to go out on some of the raids. Mostly she played backup for Garrus, sabotaging nearby attackers, using her pistol against anyone who tried to sneak up on him, and snipping alongside when possible. It wasn’t long before the team accepted the two as partners on any mission. Even Sidonis had left Afterlife, claiming that he was getting bored dealing with puking patrons. Overall the transition was going well and felt the most like a family since Mindoir.
This evening they were celebrating one very successful raid, stolen turian colony supplies. They even got reward money for this round of beers. They had been sharing stories when Butcher looked to Jane who was perched on the arm of Garrus' seat.
“I did hear one piece of interesting gossip. It looks like Archangel has a new red shadow.”
Jane tried not to spit out her drink, “Wait, really?”
“Yes, everybody is talking about the human female in red armor. She is known for her more creative kills, targets those who have broken some sort of law, and is even rumored to paint her armor in the blood of her kills. They call her a Fury.”
Jane wrinkled her nose in disgust, “Really, blood? That's just gross.”
Garrus leaned forward, “Sorry, the translator didn't work with that. She’s furious?”
“No, I had to look it up too. A Fury is a mythological female, dead set on killing the unlawful, another human's cultures name for a vengeful angel but is depicted more like a demon.” Butcher gave her a big smile.
Garrus flared his mandibles at Jane, “Well least they recognized my good looks with my name.”
Jane punched him in the shoulder and both turned when Weaver spoke up. “So when is the great sparring match going to happen. You even have your own ring names.”
“You heard about that?”
“Yea, the whole team has been making bets. When is it happening?”
Jane looked to Garrus who shrugged, “Waiting for Red's go ahead. So, ready to take me on?”
“Why not, got nothing to lose.”
Weaver looked confused and asked, “You don't have your own bets going?” The pair shook their heads. “Well, that's not fair. The winner has to fight for something.”
“Well, Red danced a few times at the club.” Sidonis called out, “Archangel never missed one. So if he wins, he gets a dance with her.” Jane blushed, while Garrus took a swig of his beer not giving any opinion.
Sensat had a smile that normally proceeded a very embarrassing defeat for Jane during training. “And I bet Red has never seen Turian swim, if she wins Archangel gets to demonstrate.”
Melanis, a female turian who helped with data mining, groaned, “That's because we don't swim, we flail and try not to drown.”
As the group was laughing, Garrus turned to Jane, “They won't give up. Want to accept the terms before they have more time to come up with worse?”
Jane held out a hand. “Alright, assuming no hangovers, how does tomorrow work.”
He fixed her with his blue eyes as he shook on it, “Challenge accepted.”
Jane went downstairs in the morning to find most of the team lounging around talking and watching Garrus prepping himself. Jane dropped on the mats stretching and watching her competition out of the corner of her eye. He was only wearing pants and gloves, she was happy his sharp talons were covered but she did find his bare hide distracting. It was just like the morning she first woke up here, gray living armor, but now she knew more about looking for weak points. She made sure to take note of his neck and waist that wasn't covered in his natural armor, could be tender if hit.
Finally, they were warmed up, the stood across from each other and Sensat stepped between the two. “Alright, we go until one of you yields. No serious damage. Ready?” They nodded not taking eyes of each other. “Begin.”
Cautiously the pair started to circle each other, looking for an opening. Jane knew she had the much shorter reach so she needed him to come to her. Dropping her guard a hair, she prepped for his lunge to the right.
As expected Garrus lunged for the opening, Jane stepped to the side and grabbed his wrist as the hit missed and pulled the arm hard. The result sent him off balance and stumbling behind her. Flipping around she smiled and watched as he fell to the ground and scrambled to get up. From the edge of the circle, she heard Ripper call, “Don’t underestimate her.”
Getting back up the turian chuckled, “Won't be doing that again.”
The two started circling again and exchanging probing blows and blocks. Neither meaning to actually hit but to get a feel for the other. Jane was pleased to find that for the most part, she could keep pace with him, she had worried about being completely outclassed. She even managed to land a few solids kicks. Turned out that even with his long reach if she stepped into his distance she could hit and the spacing would throw him off.
When he was able to Garrus would try to wrestle her to the ground, but Jane proved to be too tricky to keep hold of. She would twist her way out of his grasp and be up on her feet before he could grab again. Given the chance he would overpower her with sheer strength, she had to tire him out.
Eventually, Jane wasn't able to keep up and stumbled. Garrus took advantage and pinned her to the mat a finally time. His long legs weighed down on her thighs and his hands forced her wrists to the ground next to her head. Both were breathing hard, Jane was surprised Garrus seemed so winded. She was also taken aback by the heat in his gaze as he stared down at her.
Remembering last minute her breathy voice rang out, “I yield.”
And Garrus didn’t move, he just kept staring. After a couple of moments, he gave a slight shake of his head and sat up. Once standing he offered her a gloved three fingered hand. “Not bad Red, with some more training you may get close to my level.”
Jane tried to calm her heart, “Next time Archangel, just you wait.”
Garrus was beyond thrilled with how well Jane seemed to be fitting into the group and how well her training seemed to be going. She couldn't beat him on the mats... Yet. He looked forward to taking on that part of her training, but that led to a problem.
Long ago Garrus had started to feel more than friendship and duty to protect Jane. He had never been interested in anyone not turian, but something was different about Jane. She was also Shepard’s sister, and he'd sworn to look after her. He didn't want her to feel a pressure that she owed him anything. She spent enough of her life being owned by others, now she deserved to be free and have a home. Not that the warehouse could be considered home. As much as he wanted all of that for her he was still selfish encouraging her to join his team.
Garrus sighed, he would just have to watch himself. Teach her, help her, and protect her. And only those things. Unfortunately, that got harder, like at the end of the sparring match. It had affected more than he wanted to admit.
Sidonis came into the kitchen and poured a cup of the tinsue tea Garrus had made. “So does anyone have plans about Red's upcoming birthday?”
“Whose birthday?” Garrus had heard humans would celebrate, but they hadn’t been a top priority on the Normandy.
“Red’s, the girls at the club threw her a big party.” Garrus could only imagine what that meant, chance were it was rowdier than the ones he broke up on the Citadel.
“Wait who’s birthday is it?” Weaver asked she and Jane came from downstairs. Garrus tried to ignore the expanse of skin visible from her tank and shorts.
“The Red Fury of course.” Sidonis chuckled.
“Guess it has been a year, good memory Sid.” Jane walked over to the sink and got water. “Just no lap dances this time.”
“Lap dances?” Weaver asked.
Jane nodded, “Yea, not only human. Never saw a Dell before. It was an experience, to say the least.”
“Well how about a night of just good old fashion clubbing? “
Jane shrugged, “Why not, worked at one for almost a year but never I never got to be the patron.”
“Well then let's go get you some proper clothing. Maybe is Archangel gets you something nice he can collect on that dance.” Weaver winked at Garrus while he tried not to choke on his drink.
Jane's soft laughter rang out, “Don't worry Bright Eyes, I always fulfill a promise.” The women left discussing fashion.
Spirits. What on earth could he possibly get her?
Garrus waited in the hall to the sleeping quarters for Jane to emerge. Weaver had been with her for what seemed hours helping her get ready for their outing. Garrus hoped to give his gift to her in private before they left. He didn't want the others to see and wonder the meaning behind it, he didn't even want to think what it meant.
Finally the door swooshed open and Jane came out. She was wearing a scrap of blue material that draped over her chest but left a portion of her waist and almost all of her back visible. And he legs were encased is what appeared to be a black second skin and boots that gave her a very turian tilt to her feet making her a little taller. For the first time since the bar her red hair was down and styled to curl gently.
Jane stopped seeing him and waited. Garrus then remembered why he was standing there. “Birthday salutations are in order I believe.” Handing over the small box, “And here is something I got you.”
Jane smiled up at him, “Oh you didn't have to.” She opened it and found a round silver pendant with a pair of wings, one side was blue and the other was red. “Oh, this is gorgeous. “
Feeling nervous, Garrus quickly added, “If you press the button on the back I put a couple of holos on it.”
Jane pressed it and found pictures of her and the squad, at the end there was one of her and Garrus working on a mod that Butcher had got while neither was looking. It was Garrus’ favorite but he'd never shown it to her. There was also a picture of Shepard in his Alliance dress uniform and another of when he was announced as the first human Spectre.
“Garrus, this is amazing! Thank you.” Turning she pulled her hair and bared her neck. He froze for a second, there was no way she knew what that particular movement meant, then she asked, “Could you help me put it on?”
Garrus let out a breath, he had been worried about making a fool of himself but it looked like he chose correctly. Stepping forward her put the thin chain around her throat and tried not to breathe her scent in too deeply. Besides her usual light sweet scent, there was another interesting smell. While nice, it wasn't her true scent which he thought was much better.
Turning Jane was already stroking the necklace. “It's wonderful and very thoughtful. Thank you again.”
“Of course, I was just happy to find a good photo of Shepard. He seemed to hate having them taken.” Garrus chuckled.
“Yea, he was always camera shy. Dad had a terrible time getting any family holiday photos.” She sounded happy but far away for a moment. She normally did when speaking about Shepard.
Ripper’s voice carried from downstairs. “God, I know you are a girl but are you ready yet?”
Laughing Jane grabbed Garrus’ arm and dragged him down with the rest of the group.
When they arrived the club was packed, but someone must have messaged ahead because Jane's old manager had reserved a large private booth for the group. Garrus sat down next to Butcher while all the girls made their way to the dance floor. The booth was perfect for the sniper, it was up high so he could keep Jane and the rest of his team in his sight.
“Take it she liked her gift?” Butcher took a sip of his drink.
Garrus couldn't help the purr that slipped out, but luckily it was loud and Butcher was human. “I guess, she put it on right away. Thanks for the tip about the store.”
“Always works for the Mrs. So when are you going to do something about our armory expert before Ripper wears her down or her Qurian boss gets the quads to ask her out.” Butcher sounded nonchalant but blunt.
Garrus tried to keep his tone even, “I have no idea what you mean.”
Butcher smacked him on the arm, “Bullshit Angel, it's easy to see you care for the girl. You two fighting together or against each other is like watching a dance.”
“We're only friends, besides I’ve never considered a cross-species intercourse.”
Butcher covered his eyes with his hand, wincing, “God that sounds clinical. But you're not fooling anyone and wait around too long and someone else will get her.”
Garrus growled at the thought, Ripper was too rash for her and would only get her in trouble. Kenn, while a good engineer was dead set on going back to the flotilla and would end up leaving her behind.
Just then Jane walked up, “Wow, no wonder my customers were always thirsty, it's so damn hot. You guys need anything?”
Butcher lifted his beer, “I’m good but this turian does.”
Garrus gave him a glare not liking his tone, but that was soon forgotten when Jane grabbed his arm and started moving toward the bar. He followed taking a moment to admire the movement of muscles and bones of her back under her soft looking skin.
They came up to the bar and the bartender nodded to them, acknowledging he'd get to them. Garrus was about to say something to her when someone forcefully turned her away.
A very drunk batarian had hold of Jane’s shoulder and she seemed to stiffen at the sight of him.
“Huh, thought I recognized you Girl. What owner would let you have hair and come out to a bar.”
Garrus started growling and clenching his fists. The batarian caught sight of him and smirked. “Are you this female's new owner? Don't suppose you'd rent her out for the night? Me and her have some history I wouldn't mind repeating.” Then the fuck started to rub her arm, Jane remained frozen, eyes big.
Without thinking Garrus ripped the offending hand off her and wrapped one of his around the batarian’s throat. In the sudden hush, he heard the team make their way over but he didn't take his eyes off his prey. “Weaver, Sensat, take Red home. I’ll deal with the trash.”
The two rushed forward and took Jane away. Meanwhile, the others formed a wall around Garrus while he dragged the sputtering slaver out into a back alley and into an abandoned building. He threw him into an empty room and started removing his gloves.
This batarian couldn't be allowed to live, he'd recognized Jane. When he sobered up he could round up others and try to come after her. The Hegemony hated when slaves escaped, it would give hope to others. He was going to die and Garrus could get some revenge on someone who hurt Jane, maybe even one who put some of those scars on her, and maybe relieve some of the tension that had been building recently.
“I'll give you all the credits you want, just let me go. I won't say anything.” The batarian had sobered up quick.
Garrus dragged him up to his feet and landed a few hits not caring if his talons cut through his clothing and flesh. It really was no match.
After Garrus put his boot on the crying batarian neck, he felt all the fight leave him. This wasn't helping, all Garrus wanted to do was go take care of Jane.
Pulling out his pistol he put a clean shot in his head and turned to go. “Alright, the party is over, make sure you keep track of your assignments.”
Those still left stepped aside as Garrus made his way back to the warehouse as quickly as possible.
Garrus made sure to wash the blood away before following the quiet voices upstairs. There he found Sensat and Weaver trying to comfort a trembling Jane. She was curled into a small ball sitting on the floor against the back of a couch. Hearing his familiar thump of boots her head jerked out of her arms and a look of relief washed over her face.
Garrus flicked one mandible in a small smile. “I've got her from here, you two should go home.” Weaver looked like she was about to protest but Sensat rested a hand on her for arm and shook her head. Garrus nodded his thanks as they left.
He knelt next to the red head. “It's OK now Jane. You don't need to worry about him anymore.”
Jane looked up at him with frightened eyes, he knew it wasn't because of him but it still hurt to see them. He had gotten used to seeing a green fire of determination and love of life.
“Sorry Garrus, it's just… I never expected to see him.” Jane pointed at the scar that cut her eyebrow in half and continued to her cheek bone, even after the skin weave it was still visible if one looked for it. “He was the ship medic and liked cutting and fixing us. He almost took my eye, he often bragged about how he managed to save it. It wasn't until he killed another that the captain finally put a stop to it.”
Garrus cut off a growl before it left his throat. “Well, he has been stopped permanently. He won't be able to do anything to you or anyone else. I made sure of that.”
Garrus barely caught Jane when she threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck inside his cowl. He didn't know what else to do but wrap his arms around her waist. He'd seen others hug, but it wasn't something turians really did.
“Thank you, you always seem to be there when I need you.” her voice was squeaker than normal.
“I'll always be there.” Garrus replied quietly, it was hard to imagine how he managed without her. “Listen, you should try to get some rest.”
Jane loosened her grip and sat back. “I don't know if I could anytime soon.” She bit her lip, “Could you stay up with me for awhile. Maybe watch a vid?”
Garrus would do just about anything to help her at this point. The couches weren't the most comfortable thing in the station and there was no screen in the bunk area. “Alright, but let's watch in my room. It'll be more comfortable.” He pulled her to her feet, “But first go put on some clothes.” In no way would he be in a bed with her dressed like that.
Turning Garrus went to his room and removed his lighter unmarked armor. He changed into looser casual clothes, normally he slept naked but he didn't want Jane to be uncomfortable.
There was a quiet knock and he opened the door. Jane stood there awkwardly holding herself in a tank top and shorts. Secretly Garrus wondered if he'd regret this but she wanted his company, so he'd give it.
Motioning her in Garrus led her to the bed and pulled up the screen, “Any requests?”
“Star Trek, whatever comes up. It's an old human science fiction vid. Use to watch it with Johnny.”
Garrus found something that looked close enough and started playing it. Jane folded her legs and sat on his bed. He moved some pillows and sat next to her. They laughed at the ridiculousness of the show's situation and science. And at their idea of was extraterrestrial life would look like. Although the klingons seemed so much like krogan Garrus had to wonder.
Eventually Jane grew tired and fell asleep. Garrus was surprised when her cool skin reached for his warmer plates. Her head ended up resting on his thigh and he didn't have the heart to move her. He dragged a blanket across her and leaned back on the wall to get some sleep.
For the first time since moving in into the warehouse, Jane felt warm. Instead of jumping up to get ready for the day she took a deep breath and stretched. She froze when she smelt an almost spicy scent and whatever she was lying on shifted. Cracking an eye open, she found Garrus above her with a data pad in his hand.
Quickly she sat up from her pillow which turned out to be his lap. “Huh, hi.”
His mandibles flared in a grin, “Morning. Sleep well?”
Jane scrubbed at her face, trying to remember why she was there. Most of the pervious night filtered back in the bar, the vid marathon. “Yea actually, not a single nightmare for once.”
Garrus lowered the data pad looking concerned. “Do you often have them?”
Jane shrugged moving to get off the soft bed. “Pretty much every night since Mindoir. Most nights I can get out of them quickly.” The pirates didn't like being woken by a little girl’s screams and crying.
Garrus looked concerned, or at least his brow plates furrowed a little. Jane thought it meant concern. “Jane I need my team at 100%.”
Jane hugged herself being ready to be told that she was being taken off the ground team. He continued, his dual tone voice softer, “You need sleep, if that means hijacking my room, then let me know. Turians don't sleep as much as humans so it's not like you’ll be kicking me out.”
Jane smiled in relief, of course, Garrus wouldn't hang her out to dry. “I'll keep that in mind. I should go get ready.”
After showering and dressing she picked up the holo locket Garrus had given her. It was the prettiest thing she had in years. Jane wasn't sure what to think of it or the turian who gave it to her. Plus the fact that sleeping in his bed had given her the best night’s rest in ages after her birthday went to shit only made the whole thing more confusing.
Jane wasn't sure what to think of any of it, but the day he carried her away from Harga’s ship was the best of her life.
She put the necklace on and headed downstairs to do some equipment maintenance. Garrus was there focused on shooting and only gave her a small wave in greeting.
They had been working for a few hours when his omni tool pinged. He set down the gun he was calibrating and hummed in interest. “Just got a possible led from Dr. Solas.”
“Hold on, Mordin has your personal contact info?” Even Jane didn't get it until she worked in his visor.
Garrus’ mandibles started to fidget. “Yes. I asked him to send me your medical bills when we took you there.”
“Oh.” Jane was never told who her benefactor was, “Guess I owe you even more.”
He stared at her hard, but his voice wasn’t angry, “No Jane, you owe me nothing.”
“Well, I do owe you a dance still.” With a smirk, she added. “Want it to be another song of you most played list?”
He cleared his throat, ignoring her and continued with reading the message. ”Looks like he has information on a possible serial killer with an interesting MO. Call in the team, I want us all there for the call.”
“Sure thing Big Guy.” Jane was already sending out the update.
The squad made sure to wear their helmets to ensure they weren't recognized by anyone listening to the call. Mordin did not seem fazed by a room full of fully armored and diverse group.
“Ahh, Archangel, quick response. Good.”
“Alright Dr. Solas, you mentioned you had evidence of a serial killer.” Looked like Garrus did not want to waste time with the straight to the point doctor.
“Yes have had an increasing number of patients with similar illnesses.”
Sensat sounded bored, “People get sick. Doesn't mean there is a serial killer coughing on people.”
“Of course,” Mordin sounded excited. “But these illnesses have similar symptoms and are affecting every species but human. First subject just showed symptoms like a common cold. Now illness is getting more symptoms similar to pneumonia and potentially fatal.”
Garrus held up a hand, “Still could be a nasty cold as far as I can see, Doctor.”
“Three things stand out. One no human victims, illnesses that jump species normally affect all. Two the speed of this mutation is too rapid to be natural. Three I have had time to study the strain and confirmed that it is engineered. Suspect someone is developing and testing virus on Omega.”
“Well that changes things,” Garrus leaned forward on the table. “Ideas, how do we find them.”
“Find a connection with the victims, maybe they all worked together or had lunch all the same place?” Suggested Ripper.
“Alright Ripper, you, Sensat, Kron, and Sidonis, start asking around. See what friends and family say.”
Jane knew that would take forever and be useless if they were all random. Thinking of something she asked. “Mordin, to make this virus, you'd need a lot of expensive and specialized equipment, right?”
“Fury correct? Interesting, you seem familiar with me, you must know me outside of vigilante career. Yes, it would need a full lab worth of specialized materials and equipment.”
Jane kicked herself for the slip-up. “We might be able to track it, I'm sure there aren't too many virology labs on Omega. Can you send us a list of items that would be needed.”
The salarian quickly nodded and Garrus sounded his agreement. “Good, Vortas and Melanis help her with that. Dr. Solas, we'll keep you updated, and let us know if anything changes.”
He cut the call and turned to look around the room. “This is a little outside of our shooting up mercs, but no one else will care. Red you're in charge of equipment investigation and I'm joining the others on foot. If you find something, triple check it and contact me. Any questions?” no one spoke up, “Good.”
Jane was already on her terminal looking over the list forwarded from Mordin. The search took longer than anyone would have guessed. Who knew so much of the equipment was used in drug making. After most of a day, she was able to narrow down to one buyer who had gotten the right combination of items.
Garrus and his group walked in, all wary looking. Some went to grab coffee from the kitchen and the turian in question fell heavily next to her on the couch. “Any luck?” She asked.
“All random locations, no one knew each other. The only thing in common is that all the victims were not human. What about you? Find anything?” he rubbed his lower back.
“I have a name. There was one person in the past year to collect all the items on Mordin’s list. A Dr. Latus, a Salarian virology expert who was discharged from the STG not too long ago. Unfortunately, their systems are too good for me to get any more information.” The last part bugged her, almost any other systems, were not an issue. That just wounded her pride.
“That's my Red. Please tell me you know where he is?”
“Sending you the address and most up to date schematic of the building.” She smiled as his omni tool pinged.
Butcher leaned over her looking at the info, “God Angel, marry the girl already. She is too good to pass up.”
Jane laughed and Garrus stuttered as Ripper called out. “Why does he get to marry her, there are other eligible bachelors here.”
“Red thinks she'll just accept a drink for her work. Thanks for asking.” Jane called out, speaking in the third person and putting an end to the discussion before Garrus did more than glare at Ripper.
“Alright everybody go home and rest, once I have time to look over this data I'll contact those on the ground team with the plan.” Garrus got up and made his way to his room. Everyone else finished drinks and left. Once they did Jane went upstairs. There was only one way she saw to get this target, and she knew Garrus wasn't going to like it.
His door opened and he was sitting at his desk looking over the info. She knew he was looking for entries, exits, windows, places for security breaches. The space was tight, so a large team was out. There were only a couple of windows so sniping had slim pickings for perches.
Then there was the fact it was probably full of infectious and potentially lethal viruses that did not affect humans.
“So when do I go in tomorrow?” Jane asked, leaning on the table.
Garrus growled, “No Jane, you're not going in by yourself.”
“Come on Garrus, you know he has a bio-lock on those terminals. He needs to be alive for me to hack them or else the systems will wipe when his vitals go dark, and there is no guarantee he'll be taken alive. We need that information.”
He stood and started pacing. “I can send Krull in to get the info. He has taken out those locks before.”
Now Jane was getting frustrated, “And risk him getting sick? Mordin may not find a cure soon enough.”
He leaned over the terminal, “There has to be another way.”
She threw out her arms, “Why Garrus? Why are you so against it?”
His fist slammed on the table, “Because you'll be on your own. I can't watch your back.”
Carefully she walked up to him and placed a hand on his arm, feeling the tension. “It'll be fine, you can watch through the windows. I'll be in and out in no time while you cover the exits.”
He took her hand in his large three-fingered one. “This isn't a fight I'm going to win, is it?”
Jane gave him a small smile, “Nope. So are we going to plan this thing out so we have time for dinner or what?”
“Fine, but you’re buying.”
They planned through the rest of the evening, Garrus insisted on going over every detail of the schematics and specs. Some were old so they would have to be careful, Omega wasn’t big on keeping up to date building plans. Finally, they decided on her going in for the information, Garrus would watch the building, and Erash would be prepared to bring in the explosives once he got more detailed scans from Jane. After pulling the info the team trailing the scientist would drop him.
There were a lot of ifs, but Jane was able to work them down enough for Garrus to agree to it. One of the big ones being that she wear an environment suit just in case there was a version of the virus worked on humans. It meant she wouldn't be able to move as easy, but that wouldn't matter if she took her time.
And so now she was in her suit waiting for the go ahead from Garrus. As soon as she heard his order over the comm she was at the door to the lab, which was in an abandoned apartment building. Hacking tool time, this alarm system was better than most so she had to before extremely careful and patient.
But like everything else, it gave way to her and she entered the room. It was filled with the equipment she had been searching for. There were also many fridges filled with tubes that contained a milky yellow substance.
Jane whistled. “Wow, he must have enough here to take out all of Omega and some extra.”
“More reason to hurry so we can blow it up.” Garrus sounded irritated.
Jane already spotted one of the terminals and was hooking up her omni tool to start downloading. It would take a while, they were bio-locks so her program had to build an acceptable genetic copy. If they had killed him already and a message would have been sent that would wipe everything. While waiting she continued looking. All the bottles had dates. Some were from weeks ago, some were more recent. Some even had future dates. “Looks like he is testing different strains, there all labeled with dates.” Looking through the recent ones she confirmed, “Today's is missing.”
Butcher's voice came over the comm, “Bad time I know, but the mad scientist just gave us the slip.”
“Damn it, Red get out of there now.” Garrus barked.
Jane walked back to the terminal. “Hold on, I almost got the data dump.”
“Forget about it.”
“Just a couple more…” Jane clamped down on her mouth and knelt on the ground as an unknown door opened. Shit, it meant there was another entrance that wasn’t on the schematics.
A high pitched salarian voice rang out. “ I lost your guard varren. Come out now.”
Double shit. There may still be a way to deal with this, but Garrus was not going to be happy.
Slowly Jane stood up showing her hands, “Sorry about that. Had to make sure you were actually Dr. Latus.”
Standing there with a gun and a vial was virologist in question. He was also wearing an environment suit but no helmet. “Was fired yes, but no warrants. Why are you looking for me?”
Jane made her voice excited, “Well, I saw your name on some shipping manifests. I study virology in my spare time and I'm a huge fan. I just had to know what you were doing on Omega.”
“Red, what the hell do you think you're doing?” Garrus growled slightly into the comm, trying to stay calm.
Jane carefully made the ok signal, hoping the sniper could see her through the window. One thing she learned at Afterlife, salarians loved talking about themselves and their work.
The salarian paused, “Hmm, it's been a long time since anyone has admitted to being a fan of mine. My best work is classified.”
“A girl has her ways.” Her HUD showed the data dump was done. Now to convince the crazy scientist to let her leave.
“Well if you were familiar with my alternatives to the Krogan genophage you will find this even more impressive.”
He lowered the gun and started running around the lab pointing out this and that. Carefully she lowered her hands, Garrus seemed to be able to hear the conversation, “Red, try to get him near the window. We'll make do with whatever data you got.”
Jane tried to approach the target, see if she could herd him around the room toward a window, but he was still suspicious. He raised his gun and blinked a couple of times, “Still don't know if you are what you say you are.”
Jane leaned on the counter, hoping the relaxed pose would calm him, “I'm only interested in your project. Most on Omega are drug dealers, mercs or dancers. No one is as interesting as you.”
“Yes, an illness that can hit all other life forms except for the most genetically diverse species. Truly challenging. Omega is perfect to try it out, almost every species here, it's a fully contained system, and no one cares. Is also a good hub for spreading it when ready.”
“Why so many samples, from some reports of what I saw, it seems to be working.” Jane was busy looking for some way to overpower him, she had to keep him talking.
“Need the right balance, the virus must 100% mortality rate but not kill the subject before it can spread to others. Take this one, the survival rate is 70%, and now survivors have an antibody for this strain. Whereas this one will kill in 60 seconds, though without a live host the virus won't spread so this is useless.”
The salarian picked up the last one, holding it up for her to see. It gave her an idea, one that Garrus must have figured out. “Red, that may also affect humans. Don't do anything stupid.”
As far as Jane was concerned, this doctor needed to be stopped, before more got hurt. It was a risk she had to take. Without warning, she pulled up a drone, had it target the vial and dropped behind the counter as he began to fire his gun.
She heard a pressurized seal break and a sting on her shoulder. He must have clipped her. Already she could hear him coughing and wheezing. A minute later all noises stopped. Getting up she saw him crumpled on the ground, bleeding from his mouth and nose, his face full of pain but very much dead. Disturbing, he must have drowned in his own blood as the vessels ruptured.
Garrus sound frantic. “Red! What's going on? Are you alright?”
“Wait a second. There is a hole in my suit.” Breathing carefully another three minutes went by without even a tickle in her throat. “Looks like I'm fine, no signs of illness and target is down.”
There was silence and the cold voice of the vigilante leader came out, “Butcher contact Dr. Solas, Red needs to be decontaminated. Erash, get the explosives ready for when she is out.”
Jane waited, bored as hell until Butcher came back with a portable decontamination unit. Soon Jane was released after giving Mordin the data. The salarian found it amusing she was his patient from so long ago but swore to secrecy.
Jane walked up to Butcher wearing only a tank and sweat pants from the clinic. It was all borrowed, it was thought best to burn her suit. “What happened to the boss?”
Butcher shifted on his feet. “Once he knew everything was in motion he headed back to the warehouse. Not sure if I've ever seen him this upset.”
Jane threw her hands up in frustration, “Not like this is the only mission to not go down as planned. Damn it, he better not start grounding me from field work.” How were any of them to know the other entrance was there.
“Red, I don't think that's why he was upset.” He turned to go, “I've got to go, but just be careful going back and don't try to corner an angry turian. They are an apex predator after all.”
Jane waved him off, not really listening to him. Garrus needed to get something off his chest, he'd been acting weird for weeks. Who better than with his bartender.
Back at the warehouse, she could hear thumping coming from downstairs. Following it she found Garrus wailing on a punching bag. When she stepped into the room he stopped, his back still to her and stood very still. “Jane now is not the best time.”
“I don't know, seems perfect to me. What's the problem?” Jane wasn't backing down.
With a roar, Garrus swung his leg out and kicked the bag so hard one of the chains holding it broke. “Just do as you're told for once.”
Jane bit back a shout of anger, she couldn't believe he was acting this way. Without thinking she ripped off a shoe and threw it at his head. Garrus finally turned after it hit, already falling into an attack position. He was breathing heavily, mandibles fluttering in agitation.
Jane toed off her other shoe and fell into a similar position. She raised her hand and waved her fingers in a come here motion. A fight sounded like something they booth needed to blow off steam.
With a growl, Garrus launched himself at her. While he was still stronger and he also seemed to be faster this time, but he made more mistakes than usual. More than once Jane was able to land heavy blows to his waist and neck. She even managed to use his momentum against himself and he would go flying onto his face.
Once he seemed to burn through some of his anger he started to fight smarter and even laughed. Through it all, he made sure not to bruise her too much or scratch too deep with his talons.
Finally, Jane got tired and slower. On one move, Garrus reversed the hold and she fell with him. Before she could get her bearings he was on top of her, pinning her to the mat.
“Why must you be so stubborn?” Garrus panted heavily into her face.
Jane grunted, struggling uselessly against his grip, “I learn from the best. What's your problem, we got the job done, only the bad guy got hurt.”
“But you were in danger!” He glared down at her.
Jane froze, others of the team had been in similar situations and he didn't go off on them. “What?”
He closed his bright blue eyes, “When I found out who you were I swore to protect you. And what have I done? Put you in firefights, let you go in alone into a dangerous lab. Spirits, Shepard would kill me.”
Jane frowned and gave a slight shove for him to sit up. Sitting up in front of him she said, “No, you've taught me to protect myself and my team. You need to trust I've learned your lessons. How many could take you on when you are this pissed? I sure didn't do too bad.”
He reached out a three-fingered hand to gently push some of her hair back. “No, not many could.” Seeing a scratch he flinched, “Damn I should have been wearing gloves.”
Jane grabbed the hand so he wouldn't get up for med supplies. “It's nothing.” He sighed and tipped his head so his forehead laid against hers and breathed in deeply, inhaling her scent.
She couldn't stop staring into his bright eyes. She still saw the heat from earlier but not is was more like the embers of a fire versus the raging blaze from the fight. Without thinking, Jane leaned in more and pressed her lips to his mouth. He tensed but didn't move way. Wanting more she darted out and licked the edge of his mouth plates until they opened and she was able to delve in, taking in his spicy flavor and long rough tongue avoiding his teeth. Soon he started to get a feel for it and his tongue started tracing her mouth. It was all intoxicating, but they had to break away to catch their breath.
And it hit her. Jane Shepard had just kissed Garrus Vakarian. He seemed to be breathing as hard as she was, but she couldn't quite read his expression. All she felt was panic.
“Umm, well. I guess should go take care of my equipment.” She quickly stood up and ran from the room. “Thanks for the sparring session Bright Eyes” She yelled over her shoulder, kicking herself the whole way up the stairs.
Jane was so focused on the fuel injector she completely missed the form of a customer standing in front of her. She was trying to forget the awkward feeling of kissing Garrus and had to get out of the warehouse. Part of her was used to Kenn handling all transactions, so when the person coughed quietly it took her a moment to remember that the quarian had stepped into the back. Looking around she found Ripper leaning on the counter with a smirk. “So what does a handsome man like me need to do to get customer service?”
Jane laughed, but felt a little uneasy, while no one knew for sure who was on the Archangel team, it was usual procedure to not seek each other out in public. Not even Garrus had been by the shop to pick up the work she did for them. It was normal for her to bring finished pieces to the base. “Hey, Ripper. What can I do for you?”
He shrugged, “Just passing through. Wondering if you got that shield mod ready for me. You wouldn’t want me to risk scarring this wonderful body before the honeymoon.”
Jane snorted and shook her head going back to her work. “You’re incorrigible.” While Ripper was the peak of human male condition, even had short blonde hair and green eyes, he wasn’t for her. After dealing with Williams she felt like she shouldn’t date on Omega, there were too many secrets, too many risks. One didn’t go to Omega unless you were hiding from something. “Not done yet, maybe tomorrow. You don’t want to risk getting electrocuted do you?”
“Spoilsport. When do you get off? Want to go to the bar?” Recently he had been tiring to get her to go out but didn’t seem to take it personally when she turned him down. Overall he was just a giant flirt but never gave up. Not to mention her recent interaction with Garrus.
Kenn stepped out, but Jane waved him off. The less interaction he had with her other activities the safer he was. “Not today, sorry. I’ll see you at the meeting.”
He sighed but nodded and walked away.
Kenn came up, “I won’t make any money if you keep turning away jobs,” he joked. He started picking up her tools. “Why don’t we close early and get something to eat?” He asked sounding nonchalant.
Jane cracked her neck and leaned back. “Sounds like a plan.”
Kenn’s eyes crinkled in a smile under the mask and he started clearing everything even faster. Jane had to admit, she liked working with Kenn. He was a good man, stuck in a shitty spot, she felt bad getting any pay from him considering he was saving up to get away from the shit hole. But he was fair, he didn’t try to cheat her out of anything she earned. It was like working with Anew, but without the punishment. It wasn’t long before she stopped flinching at any critical remark about her work and she was relieved when he didn't push to know why she was so nervous when she'd started working.
Once they locked up the moved on to the more day to day part of the market. The decided on stall food, one place that made decent sandwiches and another that specialized in dextro shakes. Since both could be eaten on the road Kenn suggested they browse the stalls. Besides keeping out an eye for materials for the shop, Kenn filled the silence with stories of his time growing up in the flotilla.
Jane laughed at most, but in a dark part of her mind, she was making comparisons to her time as a slave. Overall it didn’t sound too different living on ship, only when she was given abuse he was given the love of a supporting family.
She shook off the dark thoughts and focused on the closest booth. Walking over to a green hooded jacket, she picked it up looking closer.
“That would look good, matches your eyes,” Kenn commented quietly.
Jane snorted, “Are you saying we are reputable enough to need a uniform?” Reaching out to touch the hood he wore, “It's the same color as yours.”
He shrugged but didn't say anything as she bought and threw it on over her black top. “See? Twins.”
He chuckled as she paid for it and placed a hand on her back as they moved back into the flow of traffic. Not that they got far, soon they were face to face with a Krogan and human who stood solidly in their path.
“Shurta, isn't that the quarian that borrowed those credits?” The man’s breath reeked of alcohol, and he’d nudged his companion to the side.
“I think your right,” Shurta replied in a gravelly voice.
Before Jane could go for her pistol, another krogan behind her wrenched her wrist away. Kenn looked panic, and lunged to help her only to be hit in the stomach by the human, and doubled over coughing.
Shurta watched, “Bring both.”
Garrus was busy discussing intel on an Eclipse smuggling op with Krul. For the past few days since helping Mordin he tried to keep away from Jane. Even though she had initiated it she seemed to not want to face it. In all honesty, he wasn’t sure what to think, turians didn’t kiss, but part of him wanted to do it again. He was focused on work when Ripper came running in. “Archangel, Red and her boss were just grabbed by some Blue Suns.”
His blood turned to ice, turning he grabbed the younger male by the collar. “What?”
“I stopped by her shop, she left with Kenn to go through the markets. They were taken by one of Blue Sun’s leaders and cronies, I wasn’t able to stop them.”
Garrus pushed him away and started grabbing his gear. “Where are they?”
“I tracked them to an abandoned building, seems like they know Kenn.” Garrus nodded and let him give directions. Surprising Krul followed, bringing his weapons. Normally the batarian only offered tech support and rarely left the warehouse. Garrus decided not to ask, he had a dark look on his face and any help was welcome.
Garrus had been pleasantly surprised how well the Krul and Jane got along, everything considered. But Jane did have more capacity of being kind to most, even if everything in her past told her not too.
Following Ripper, Garrus tried not to think about the worse. He couldn’t believe he was selfish enough to keep her here, thinking he could protect her. Spirits sake it was Omega, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. He had run a check on Kenn, she shouldn’t have gotten in trouble while with him.
Setting up outside the building he found a clear view, inside Kenn appeared to be tied up while Shurta, a Blue Sun leader and his enforcer were taking turns hitting Jane. Her face was in a bloody and she was holding her ribs. They were speaking toward Kenn though, not that he watched long enough to know why. Before the Jane fell from a punch from the human, Garrus already fired, his shot blowing out the back of his head. Before Shurta could pull his weapon he went down too. Garrus didn’t even bother to see if they had shields, he only fired and took in the relief that they were dead with one hit.
The trio busted in the front door, Krul and Ripper kept their weapons out, checking the room, while Garrus ran to Jane. The others untied the shaken quarian while he checked over Jane. The readings from his visor showed she was hurt but alive. He let out a shaky breath and picked her up.
“Red… Is she ok?” Kenn asked looking worried at the woman he had picked up.
Garrus had to bite back a retort. Kenn hadn’t been trained for this, it wasn’t completely his fault. Once again is was Garrus’, while avoiding Jane she had been taken. “Yes. We’ll take care of her. Ripper, get him out of here.”
He didn’t bother to listen to the excuses, he turned and left holding Jane’s small body closely. Memories of how they first met filling his mind. She needed medical attention, but nothing looked severe enough to warrant going to Mordin’s clinic. Getting to the warehouse, Krul remand and help strip her shirt and pants and place her in a bed. She was heavily bruised but nothing was broken. Medigel helped and Krul volunteered to stay with her.
Garrus was seething, he needed to make a statement. He told himself he would do the same for any person was attacked like this, that it wasn’t just his feelings for Jane driving him. Pulling up reports, his eyes fell on one address. Since Jane came on board she had found many new sources of information about the merc groups. While Shurta was a leader, Tarak was his superior. They needed to learn none of them were safe, and he knew just how to drive the point home.
Sidonis ran into his office. “I just heard, is she alright?”
Garrus nodded, “We got to them in time. Now I am going to make a point so no one tries this again. Want to help?”
Sidonis seemed a little taken aback by the ice in his tone, “If you're sure, but we haven’t exactly planned anything.”
“Its Tarak’s home, he doesn’t have that much security.”
Sidonis moved from foot to foot thinking. “Fine but only because Jane would kill me for letting you go alone.”
Jane woke, feeling pain everywhere. She was back in her bunk, Krul sitting with her. She smiled at the batarian, it was hard to believe she found one besides Anew that she liked but even with his standoffish demeanor they had developed a good working relationship. She tried to move and groaned grabbing at her ribs, Krul leaned over and helped her sit up.
“What happened to Kenn?”
In a terse voice, making sure to keep his eyes down and respectful, “Worried but safe.”
Jane nodded, luckily the mercs had focused on hurting her first trying to get money from the quarian. She was used to pain and he would be more severely hurt if they had turned on him.
“Archangel lost it, though.”
Jane glanced around, there wasn’t any sign of Garrus. “What did he do?”
“He killed the ones attacking you, then he took Sidonis to attack Tarak’s home”
Jane cursed, “Dumb ass, that won’t help, only piss off the mercs.”
Before he could continue Garrus came in holding Sidonis. The second turian was limping, blood following from a leg wound.
“What the hell Garrus?” She shouted, not able to get up.
He put Sidonis down and started cleaning the wound while Sidonis looked off into space trying to ignore the pain. “Support got called in before I could get to Tarak.”
“No shit,” Jane yelled, “Two of his people were just killed, anyone would be on high alert.”
“I’m fine,” Sidonis said quietly.
Garrus backed up, double checking his work. “They couldn’t get away with it.”
“And they didn’t,” Jane snapped. “They didn’t even know who I was, they were after Kenn.”
“Then you shouldn’t have been prancing around with him,” Garrus growled.
“It’s Omega, if I kept myself locked in a room I could still get in trouble.” Jane couldn’t understand why he would be so overprotective at times. Mistakes like this put everyone in trouble.
“Maybe you should leave then.” He flinched, like regretted saying it. It hurt, the thought of her friend wanting her to leave. She only had him, the only one in the galaxy who even knew who she truly was, the closest thing to family she had.
Tears started to well, but he turned and left the room before she could say anything. Krul grunted, “He only wants to keep you safe. He worried about you, and is angry you got hurt.” It’s the most he ever said to anyone, and he was right. It didn’t help the pain, though.
Wiping at her eyes she said, “I should have been more careful. I won’t let someone get the drop on me again.”
He nodded and left, and before she could say anything to Sidonis he turned his back on the room, obviously not wanting to speak. Fuck, shit like this could break the team. Attacking an enemy like that, it was only asking for trouble.
Garrus cleaned up the mess downstairs, and the kitchen, and his room. Now he was just pacing. During the past few days, things had become tense with Jane and the whole group. He was getting careless when it came to Jane’s safety or being over protective. Now Sidonis had gotten hurt and Garrus had no idea where he stood with Jane.
Never had he considered she may return his feelings. But she had been avoiding him until he rescued her from the attackers and his out lash as a result. Now she blamed him rightfully for Sidonis wounds. Garrus huffed to himself for the millionth time. He'd give her space. Let her figure out what she wanted. No matter what, he'd protect her. If she wanted more then they'd deal with that eventually. Now he needed to focus on getting his team’s control of Omega back.
Garrus jumped when his omni tool pinged. Looking he was sad to see it was Sidonis, asking for help on a small task. He needed a sniper to make sure a deal for information happened without the younger turian dying.
Good, he needed the distraction and felt the need to make it up to him from before. Grabbing his helmet and rifle he headed out to the meeting site.
Jane wasn't sure what to do about Garrus. She didn't want to lose such a good friend but was too embarrassed and upset to talk about the other day. For heaven's sake, she was 27 and the only date she really had ended up with the guy taking her as a hostage and dying by the current interest’s hand. And then there was his overreaction after the attack. Even Sidonis wasn’t speaking to her about it, she felt bad that she had been the cause and angry that Garrus hadn’t been able to pause for a minute and think about it.
For now, she was focusing on work from the squad members and work from Kenn. Anything that meant she wouldn’t have to talk to Garrus about it. The only downside was how apologetic the quarian had become, turned out he had borrowed money but he had paid it back and they wanted more interest from the loan. Eventually, he dropped the topic and never asked about Archangel’s involvement, but he was more careful around her. Butcher spoke to her a little, and she was embarrassed to find out that the outing may have been an attempt to a date. Luckily Kenn seemed too shaken up to try again.
She was trying to rub her headache away when she got a message from Kenn. He had found the materials she needed for a project, but she had to come now before the seller left. Sighing she grabbed her jacket and left the warehouse. Fingering the locket, she tried to figure out a certain turian.
She never had a chance to fight off whoever grabbed and drugged her when heading down the alley to the market.
Something was wrong. Sidonis or his contact had not shown up, and none of his squad was answering the omni tools. He had even tried Jane's, but nothing.
Feeling of dread wash over Garrus as he ran all the way back, not caring who spotted him.
Smoke filled his nose before his saw the place. Someone had set off and explosions, the front door had been knocked in. Inside he found bodies and bits of bodies. Some like Ripper had been riddled with bullets, he found Erash’s hand lying out from under the rubble. He could feel bile rising in his throat as he looked and took inventory. Butcher was suffering through the pain from shrapnel as he clumsy tried to stop Weaver from bleeding out, but it was too late. Garrus only had a few minutes to get an idea of what happened before both slipped away.
It appeared everyone but Sidonis had been there. He held out for hope, that maybe Jane was missing, but her usual work area had completely caved in. It would have taken hours to dig it all up. But alongside the fact she wasn't answering his calls and messages he knew she must have been the there too. Working on one of her many projects. He didn’t want to dig it out, he couldn’t deal with seeing her broken lifeless body.
With a heart-wrenching roar Garrus fell to his knees slamming the ground. In a single day, he had lost his entire team and the one person who mattered the most. He wasn't sure what he and Jane were, but now he'd never find out. He failed the memory of his commander and friend.
After the sorrow came the rage, but this was the cold and clinical kind. Familiar training from his C-Sec days was all he could hold on to. Obviously, they had been betrayed, most likely it was Sidonis but that part would have to wait. Any minute now those behind the attacks would be back. They feared him enough to kill his entire squad to unbalance him and weaken him. Little did they know it would only drive him on.
Getting up he started gathering supplies. It was going to be a long day, but hell if he wasn't going to take out the bastards before he died.
Jane slowly woke, everything seemed fuzzy. Her eyesight was blurry and sound muffled. She couldn't even recognize the feel of her blankets. Then she heard the low rumble of a turian voice she didn't recognize and froze. Adrenaline clearing her head.
“She's awake now.”
“Thank the goddess, the idiots nearly killed her.” The second voice was more familiar and feminine. “Red, can you hear me?”
It took Jane a couple of times to get her voice to work, she also managed to clear her vision. “Nyrif?”
“Good, we were worried. Idiot guards gave you enough tranqs for a damn krogan.”
Jane looked around a recognized the Afterlife apartments. There was a turian guard on the door, talking quietly to someone outside. “What am I doing here. If Archangel gets wind of this…”
“If he is still alive he'll thank us.” This voice was the kind to strike terror in the heart. Aria, queen of Omega had come to visit.
Sneering she barked. “Leave us.” Nyrif squeezed Jane's hand and followed the guard out the door.
Aria leaned against the wall opposite Jane's bed and stared down her nose at Jane, who tried not to squirm. It was hard not to, she was essentially the ruler of the station and her old boss. One she left suddenly to join Garrus group who was notorious about stepping on bad guy's toes, and Aria was far from good. But while she was looking down on her, there wasn’t any maliciousness to her voice.
“So I guess we are even now. But I would recommend getting off the station before anyone knows you're alive. Besides the merc groups, there are a few slavers still hunting you.”
“What?” Jane wasn't sure what was going on, but somehow Aria thought she had owed Jane.
“I received a message a couple of days ago, a warning about an imminent attack on your little hero group's hideout. Turns out, you had a traitor in your midst. After your work for me, which included saving the lives of several of my employees, getting you out of there was the least I could do,” she motioned toward the bed. “Unfortunately not your friends. There was not enough time for explanations so we just grabbed you.”
An attack? Not enough time? “They're dead?”
Aria nodded, her face was grim. “Three large mercs groups your group pissed off planned the attack. Only Archangel is alive, trapped in your crumbling base. But like I suggested, you should get out of here before they learn of you.”
Jane swung her legs over the edge of the bed. It was like waking up on the slave ship again. All she held dear was gone again. But Garrus was still alive, still fighting. Her place was fighting by his side. “Thanks for the assist Aria, but I'm not going anywhere.”
The asari matriarch shrugged. “Don't say I didn't warn you. You're free to leave. And please stop yourself from recruiting more of my staff, you have a bad habit of doing that.”
And Jane was left alone. From what she could tell she'd been asleep for a day or two, which meant Garrus was getting tired. She would need armor, weapons, and a way to get to him. Well, at least the first two would be easy.
Jane made sure to keep her hair covered. If Aria was right the traitor may have leaked her description or image. She couldn't get caught now. Kenn was in his shop, but he wasn't his usual self. Normally he was always working on something or talking with someone about parts. Now he was just sitting there staring at the table top.
She walked up and in a quiet voice, he did his usual spill. “You can use the kiosk to look at what I have to sell.”
“Love the customer service here,” She replied cheekily, her world was falling apart and she needed something familiar. She wanted to get her friend to laugh, maybe then it would all be ok.
His head snapped back as he looked at her, “Red? You're alive? But everyone on the station is saying Archangel’s group is dead!”
“Still trying to figure all the out. Someone got me away before the attack.” Hugging herself as if it was what was keeping her together. “Kenn, I need any gear you can spare. I need to go after him.”
His shoulders slumped. “But it's hopeless, it's surprising he's still alive.”
Jane shook her head, “I can't leave him there.”
“I never had a chance. Not compared with him.” He slowly stood and beckoned he to follow. “I've had this all here, just in case you needed it. You never said what you did but I figured it out.”
He opened a locker, revealing white armor and a pistol and sniper rifle. Picking up the weapons she saw they already had her preferred mods. Putting the weapons down she turned and hugged Kenn tightly. “Thank you.”
He gently hugged her back. “Still no hope you'd consider staying with me. We can find a new place, for a new shop. Be something more.”
Jane sighed and took a step back. “No Kenn. You need to finish your pilgrimage, go back to the Flotilla. I couldn't give you what you want, but I am happy to have been your friend.”
His eyes smiled a little at her, “Can't blame a guy for trying. Thanks, Red.”
“And Kenn, my real name is Jane.” it was a last minute thought, but whatever happened today, she wanted someone to know the real her.
“Thank you, Jane.” He moved back to the front of the shop.
Jane changed, the armor was a good fit, even if white. It always came down to the white, but it seemed fitting better this time.This was a rescue not a hunt for vengeance. She was rubbing her locket, and took a moment to breathe and calm down.
Then there were raised voices. Putting her helmet on she walked out. Kenn was speaking with a group of strangers. “Listen, I don't know who you're looking for. If you want some parts I can help you, otherwise, you can just move on.”
The man in black armor and helmet raised his hand, “We don't want to be trouble, we were told we could find the Fury here.”
A dark skinned human shrugged, “He isn't going to be of any help Commander.”
Jane touched the quarians shoulder and moved him to the side, she wasn’t going to allow a friend to take the heat for her when she would probably die today anyways. “I'm Fury. What do you want?”
The armored male looked her over, not seeming impressed by her short stature. “You’re Archangel’s partner?”
“What do you want, I'm running short on time.” Everyone knew Fury and Archangel worked together.
The man shrugged. “We need you both for our team, we are trying to protect human colonies.”
Jane had an idea. Even if she got to Garrus, they'd probably die, but with a little help… “You know his situation?” the group nodded. “Help me get him out and we'll consider it.”
“Deal. I think I already figured out how we're going to get in.” The Commander said with a cold smile in his voice.
The third of their group, a gorgeous woman by human standards in a jumpsuit that left little to the imagination, interrupted. “Commander, we should speak with the Illusive Man. This just got a lot more complicated.”
The Commander shook his head sharply, “We are not running back to papa any time things don’t go to plan. We need this pair on our team.” Turning away from her he added quietly. “You are relieved of ground duty, go back to the ship and work on your reports.”
The woman’s eyes grew large as she snapped her open mouth shut sharply, and acknowledged through clenched teeth. “Yes, Commander.” With that, she turned on her heel and left.
Jane wasn’t sure what to think of the man in front of her. While she enjoyed seeing the brunette told off, it wasn’t exactly clear what was going on. But she knew they would deal with it when they got out. After all, she only promised to consider their mission, right now all that mattered was getting Garrus out, it was possible they’d get what they both wanted.
Jane had no idea who this Commander was but he had quads. They were currently wondering the temporary HQ of the united mercs as supposed new freelancers. Hell, she stood there while they talked to leaders of Eclipse, Blood Pack and Blue Suns, and they had no idea a ghost was standing in front of them. She was very happy to be wearing the white nondescript armor, her red would have been a huge giveaway, even if everyone thought she was dead. She kept quiet and focused on the sounds of fighting toward the base.Under normal circumstances she would have enjoyed getting to talk to each of these assholes, now she was impatient to get going.
She did find a YMIR Mech while they made their way to the front, holding up the group she raised her omni tool and left a little surprise if they tried using the thing. They also came across a gunship under repair, the cigarette smoking merc was disgusting. She tried not to feel some satisfaction when the Commander stabbed him with a tool, while violent they needed every advantage. Less that worked the better their chance at survival. She did feel pride, only her Garrus could take down a gunship with a sniper rifle.
The one thing that kept her back from trying to kill all these bastards as soon as they arrived were the sounds of shots overhead. Garrus had blown the bridges and entrances so he had a perfect setup for a defending with a sniper, and she always kept the base well stocked with ammo. All this shooting meant he was still alive, now they just had to get to him and figure out how to leave. The bad thing about his position, it could work either direction. Finally, they made it to the last barricade Jane pulled out her pistol, the Commander brought out a shotgun and flared biotics, both preparing to attack targets a little closer than Archangel. They hung to the back of the next cannon fodder wave and nodded to each other.
Jane spoke up, the first time since entering enemy territory. “Archangel doesn’t have much time left.”
The Commander looked toward the building. “Come on we’ll give these guys a surprise of our own.”
Garrus had gotten bored waiting for the next wave and managed to shoot some poor Vorcha crouching behind the middle barricade, who had leaned out too far. He could feel the last stim wearing off, they tended not to last as long the more often you took them in one session. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep this up. The more he killed the more empty the hole Jane left was. He pulled out the photo again and placed in on the ledge next to him. They looked happy, it was one that he included in her locket but she insisted on having a hard copy as well. It was all he could find in her work area, he stopped trying to dig her out hours ago. Seeing the remains wouldn’t have helped. He could not understand how he got to this point but was now waiting for something to finally end it.
He looked back up seeing the next wave, he had to feel sorry the poor saps. Some didn’t even have proper armor. He pulled a page from Jane’s book and tried to kill quickly, they didn’t cause this, they just wanted the money and glory.
Two figures in the back caught his eye. First was a human female in white armor, her movements and stature were achingly familiar. The other was male, but he was wearing N7 Armor like Commander Shepard used to, a dark man followed him. All three were not concerned about him in the window, rather they were pointing their weapons at those in front. The N7 biotically launched himself ahead and out of view. Not sure if Garrus was delirious or if the Alliance now wanted him dead, he decided to only use concussive shots to help hide their odd behavior from those on the barricade. Maybe it would piss of Tarak if it was Alliance to take him down and not mercs, one last fuck you to them all.
Downstairs he could hear more shots and shouts “There with Archangel”, and then three sets of steps coming up behind him.
But instead of gunshots, he heard a man call, “Archangel.” Garrus held up a finger and shot one of the mercs trying to hide downstairs. Stiffly he stood up, using his gun to support his weight and removed his helmet, taking a seat to let his knees rest and looked at the group.
“Garrus!” yelled the man in the N7 armor.
Before he could reply the female ran and jumped to hug him, as soon as she hit him Jane’s scent filled his nose and his arms closed around her. She was shaking but very much alive! He had no idea how this was possible, but at this point, he didn’t care. Reaching up he removed her helmet letting it drop while one hand buried in her hair and the other hugged her waist. Putting his forehead to hers, “How?”
Her voice was cracking, and her eyes were damp, “Aria got me out, I’m sorry it took so long to get to you.”
“No Jane, I should have searched more thoroughly, I thought you were gone too. But who are they?” He asked, looking over her head at the two stunned men.
She sighed leaning into his chest, “No idea, they want to talk to us and promised to help get me here. To be honest I don’t care.”
The two men remained quiet during all of this, but the N7 stiffened when Garrus took off her helmet and focused on the back of her head. He took off his helmet, and there standing in front of him was a man who should have been as dead as Jane was.
Commander John Shepard.
Garrus blinked, “Shepard? I thought you were dead.”
Commander “You and everyone else. But Garrus, who is this?” He questioned motioning toward Jane in his arms.
Jane tensed and turned, apparently unaware who she had been fighting beside. “Johnny?”
At first, they stared, taking in all the details of each other's faces. Garrus’ arms dropped as she turned and hugged her brother. Shepard would be the only person Garrus would release Jane for. Garrus knew how much it hurt her to find out Shepard was dead after she got free. Her brother hugged her back, “I knew I’d find you, there is no way you’d be gone forever.”
Jane smiled at him and wiped her eyes. “We can catch up after this, I need to give you a chance to defend yourself from Garrus’ tall tales.”
“And I wonder what lies he has told you.” Turning back to the turian, “What are you doing here?”
Garrus was feeling a little loopy from exhaustion, “Keeping my skills sharp. A little target practice.”
“Are you ok?” Jane asked concerned, she could always see through him.
Garrus sighed, “Yea just good to see familiar faces. Killing mercs is hard work. Especially on my own.”
“What are you doing out here on Omega?” The Commander’s voice was filled with awe, apparently, he hadn’t fully processed the situation.
“I got fed up with all the bureaucratic crap on the Citadel. Figured I could do more good on my own. Least it’s not hard to find criminals here. All I have to do is point my gun and shoot.” Garrus added dryly.
Shepard looked at his friend and long lost sister, “How’d you manage to piss off every major merc organization in the terminus systems?”
Garrus almost groaned. “It wasn’t easy. We really had to work at it. I am amazed that they teamed up to fight us. They must really hate me.”
Jane slapped his shoulder, “Can’t blame them, we’ve targeted them, killed some friends and family. and lost them all a lot of money. And your last stunt against Tarak did not help.”
“Since when did you start calling yourself Archangel and Fury?” Shepard followed up.
Garrus felt a little embarrassed, over time he had gotten used to it. But hearing Shepard say it, it sounds a tad melodramatic. “It’s just a name the locals gave us. For all my good deeds. I don’t mind it, but please… it’s just “Garrus” to you. And Jane has a bit of flair when she took out her targets and the armor she wore.”
Jane glared at him, “You nailed me good a couple times, by the way.”
Garrus shrugged, “Concussive rounds only. No harm done. Didn’t want the mercs getting suspicious.”
“Uh-huh” Shepard added speculatively, he had also been hit.
“If I wanted to do more than take your shields down, I’d have done it,” Garrus stated seriously, and in a softer teasing tone. “Besides, you were taking your sweet time, I needed to get you moving.”
Shepard rubbed his neck, “Well, we got here, but I don’t think getting out will be as easy.”
Garrus stood up finally, ”No it won’t. That bridge has saved my life… funneling all those witless idiots into scope. But it works both ways. They’ll slaughter us if we try to get out that way.”
“So what? Sit and wait for them to take us out.” The third member of the party finally spoke up. He sounded a little annoyed, he must have felt left out since it was obvious that the commander knew them.
Garrus cocked his head. “It’s not all that bad. This place has held them off so far. And with the three of you… I suggest we hold this location, wait for a crack in their defenses, and take our chances. It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s a plan.”
Shepard had to shake his head. “How’d you let yourself get into this position?
Garrus looked at Jane remembered his dark thoughts earlier, “My feelings got in the way of my better judgment. It’s a long story.” But she was alive, he had to protect her even if Shepard was back, he only made the job easier. “I’ll make you a deal: you get us out of here alive and I’ll tell you the whole damn thing.”
Jane held Garrus’ gaze, “If we fight as a team, we’ll hold them off.”
“You’re right. Their numbers won’t help them in here, anyway. Let’s see what they are up to…” Garrus looked through his rifle. “Hmm… Looks like they know their infiltration team failed. Take a look. Scouts. Eclipse, I think.”
Garrus handed his gun to Shepard, Jane grabbed hers and the pair looked out. Jane fired a shot hitting a mech unit in the head. At the exact same moment, John fired hitting the one next to hers in the chest. Her’s then exploded and finished off his target.
Shepard gave her an appraising look, “More than scouts. A couple less now, though.”
Garrus felt a little smug, her training had stuck and she managed to show up her highly trained brother, “Indeed. We better get ready. I’ll stay up here. I can do a lot of damage from this vantage point. You… you can do what you do best. Just like old times, Shepard. Let's give these bastards everything we got.”
Johnny and Jacob moved to the doorway of the lower level to catch anyone Garrus didn’t pick off. Both preparing their biotics. Jane pushed all the questions that raised aside, never on Mindoir did her brother ever show the ability, but then again both of them had changed a lot. He started a bit when he saw her join them. “Wouldn’t you be better up there?” He pointed at the sniper on her back.
The redhead smirked at him like she did as a child about to play a prank. “No, I like to get up close and personal sometimes.” She had a pistol in one hand and her omni blade out. With the press of a button, she disappeared before him. “Just try not to hit me when you charge?”
Garrus’ voice came over the comm, “Shepard let her do her thing, it’s better that way. I’ll keep an eye on her from up here. But get ready, here they come.”
And so started the first wave of mechs and Eclipse troopers. Everything felt familiar except for the occasional sight of Johnny running around with a blue glow and delivering shotgun shots to the gut. Even as tired as Garrus must have been he was keeping up, he missed a few more head shots than normal, but she was there to take out the stragglers. Jane caught Johnny watching her a few times, seemingly impressed by their work.
Everyone felt a little nervous when a YMIR mech was dropped over the barricade. Garrus swore, “Damnit, they’re bringing out the heavy mechs.”
Jane recognized the mech replied in a mischievous voice, “That problem should take care of itself.”
Everyone paused their attack as the Mech came online and turned around to attack its own people. “You let her near the big shiny robot didn’t you Shepard.” Garrus commented dryly.
Johnny’s voice had a smile, as he realized what she had done to it earlier. “She’s still got it. Least I’m not her target anymore.”
“She did mention something about how your bedroom door malfunctioned whenever you opened Fornax.” Garrus chuckled.
Johnny hit the back of his head on the crate he was using as cover. “Of course she would.”
With the help of the mech they were able to clean up quickly, and even took out Jaroth, which put a bounce in Garrus’ step. They decided to clear some more mercs out of their way before making a break for it but everything had gotten quiet. Like they were waiting for something. Then there was a shudder below and alarms started to sound.
Jacob asked, “What the hell was that?”
Garrus checked his omni tool, “Damn it, they breached the lower level. Well, they had to use their brains eventually.” To Johnny, “You’d better get down there, Shepard. I’ll keep this area clear.”
Johnny looked like he did not like the idea of splitting up for any length of time. Jane felt he was right, Garrus looked exhausted and might make a mistake. “Let’s split up two and two -- keep Jane here with you.”
“No, I know the ways down there, we will be faster if I go with you. Leave Jacob here.” Jane walked toward the stairs, as much as she didn’t want to leave Garrus, it was the better solution. Plus the sooner downstairs was dealt with, the sooner they could all get back together.
“Jane, you’ll be safer up here. Garrus needs your help,” replied Johnny through clenched teeth.
“He can make do with Jacob, but I know think I know who’s down there and muscles here doesn’t have the firepower to handle him.” Jacob's eyes got big at the nickname.
Garrus chuckled. “Better take her Commander, age has only made her more stubborn from what I have found.”
Johnny huffed in frustration, “Fine, Jacob you stay behind. Keep Garrus alive.”
“If you say so. I’m not sure it’s a good idea…” Jane stared in disbelief at the man, from the stories Garrus told, she did not expect so many under his command to second guess him.
Shaking her head to clear it, she ground out, “Now that’s settled, let’s go, Johnny,” and took off at a jog.
Below they found three entrances open, of course, all were some distance away. “Jesus Janey, why did he need such a big place?”
“This was our base of operation, all our training and equipment was kept down here.”
Together brother and sister cleared out the tunnels which were full of Blood Pack and were able to get the doors closed. None of the krogan were Gram, but they still gave the pair a fight.
The siblings gave Garrus the all clear when the other door downstairs blew open, letting in vorcha and krogan.
Gram yelled, “Rahh. Rip them to shreds!” He jerked slightly as the vorcha next to him head exploded. The krogran looked up to see the Garrus, “Watch my back. I’ll deal with Archangel.” And bam another vorcha was down. But this time he looked to see Jane aiming a pistol at him.
Realization passed slowly over his face, “Fury? How are you still alive?” He roared. Fear crossed his face, one he might be able to take one, but the pair were formidable.
She dove behind cover and remained silent, picking away at his barrier with shredder rounds and then his armor with piercing rounds. Garrus took out any other Blood Pack that got too close. Finally, Johnny was able to work his way around him and unload his shotgun into the krogan, putting him down for good.
Garrus let out a breath as they rejoined him upstairs. “Tough bastards. But I’ve seen worse. And we took out Garm and his Blood Pack. This day just gets better and better. He was one tough son of a bitch.”
Johnny was still catching his breath, dodging charging krogan was a hell of a workout. “You fought with him before?”
Garrus reminisced. “Yeah, we tangled once. Caught him alone. None of his gang to help him. I still couldn’t take him out. I’ve never seen a krogan regen that fast. He’s a freak of nature. He just kept at it until his vorcha showed up. It was close, but I had to let him go. Not this time.” His eyes became hard again.
Johnny looked outside. “Only the Blue Suns are left. I say we take our chances and fight our way out.”
Garrus looked to Jane who nodded. “I think you’re right. Tarak’s got the toughest group, but nothing we haven’t faced before. Besides, he won’t be expecting us to meet him head-on--” He was cut off by the sound of the gun ship's engine. “Damn it! I thought I took that thing out already!”
Johnny ducked, “They fixed it but not completely. I made sure of that.”
“Their offloading troops! Watch your back Shepard!” Called Garrus as he started firing.
Killing them as they struggled to get in the window was too easy, and then stairs helped funnel the ones below them. The hardest part was the rocket launchers, while fun to use, dodging them wasn’t as much fun.
Garrus stood ready in the center of the room listening for more movement when a voice came over a speaker “Archangel! You think you can screw with the Blue Suns” and then the gunship dropped into the window and unload its guns at Garrus. He took a couple of hits but managed to get back to cover. Johnny snagged onto Jane’s arm before she tried to run into the room. Garrus tried to switch to better cover but was picked up and thrown by an explosion as a rocket was sent at a short distance.
“Garrus!” Screamed Jane, she pulled away from Johnny and sat over his body and she unloaded her pistol into the gunship. Johnny and Jacob joined her when she ran out of heat sinks and reached over to grab Johnny’s grenade launcher off his back and continued the attack. Finally, the thing exploded and crashed.
The group took a close look at the smoking turian, and had to kneel in his blue blood. Johnny and Jacob tried to get readings from his suit and their omni tools. Jane tried to wake him, and he made a watery gasp and attempted to breath. His three fingered hand clutched at hers.
Johnny started to give orders, his commanding voice giving some calm to Jane, “We’re getting you out of here, Garrus. Just hold on. Radio Joker, Make sure they’re ready for us.”
Jacob replied not sounding confident, “He’s not going to make it.”
Jane gave him a scathing look, “Like hell he’s not.”
Jane watched as the door to the med bay slid shut. She felt the crews’ eyes on her, she must have been a sight. Wild red hair tangled around her head, breathing hard, white armor and face covered in blue blood. Not that any of it mattered, all she cared for right now was Garrus. He seemed invincible and now he was fighting for his life. Hell, all of the team seemed that way, and now only she and Garrus were left.
On the fringes of her senses she felt Johnny’s hand on her shoulder. “Come on, let's get you cleaned up and we can talk. Dr. Chakwas will let us know when their done.”
Jane nodded and shuffled behind him onto an elevator. It deposited them on a floor with one room, some sort of suite with a bed, seating area, and office. Johnny left her by the door while he rummaged through some drawers. He shoved some clothes in her hands and turned her to a bathroom.
“Get yourself cleaned up Janey.” It was the same voice he’d used when they were teens and he was playing babysitter.
Numbly she nodded. When the door shut she looked down at the armor, already large proportion of the blue blood was drying to navy and flaking. It would probably stain as much as her last armor. But knowing whose blood it was this time made it worse.
Quickly she stripped and stepped into the water, making it as hot as possible. She could barely feel it, she held her fingers together trying to remember how Garrus held her hand on the way here. He would pull through, he was hanging on.
Part of her was feeling guilty. She just got her brother back. Someone she had dearly loved but had already mourned. She should be happy, but until Garrus opened his eyes again she was in a sort of limbo. Part of her questioned if it was him, they were on a Cerberus ship after all, and from what Garrus said, Johnny hated them almost as much as batarians. However, the moment she saw him, she recognized his blue eyes which were darker now, and the features in his boyhood that had been a clue of the handsome man he would become but no more awkward long skinny limbs, now he carried muscle. It was too much for anyone to completely copy.
Sighing she finish scrubbing her skin raw, dried off, and put on the overly large shirt and sweatpants Johnny had given her. God, he was always taller growing up, but now he was a beast which left her swimming in the clothes.
Stepping into his cabin Jane found he was gone, but there was a message on the terminal.
Garrus is still in surgery and stable. I got to check something at the docks. Rest and I'll be back soon.
Don’t trust anything on the ship, there are probably others listening.
“Oh, Johnny, what have you gotten into?” Jane sighed. It seemed like he wanted to keep their relation a secret. Which meant those he was working with would use her against him.
Well, she couldn't sleep so she hunted down some of the bugs. They were high quality for sure, but simple enough to hack. During her search she discovered EDI.
“You’re an AI?” Jane realized listening to her pattern of speech.
“A shackled one, yes.” The feminine voice replied.
“Where are you located? I’d love to get a look at your decision making matrix and personality subroutines.”
“I’m sorry but that information is classified to Cerberus specialists. Also Miranda has given an order to limit your clearance for certain areas of the ship.”
That annoyed Jane, something like an AI would take her mind off Garrus. But at least she knew why Johnny was worried. Garrus told her about their run in with Cerberus, at least Johnny knew not to trust them. Another point in favor that this was her brother.
Sitting on the couch she started working on a program so she could at least block surveillance whenever she wanted. She had enough of it as a slave. She was not going to give up any of her freedom now.
By the time Johnny got back she had the program up and working. It would need to be tweaked but for now it worked.
Once he put down some more clothes and trays of steaming food she threw herself at him again.
“I’m sorry Johnny. I tried to find you, but it was so dark, and so many of them.” She tried to the night they were attacked, but seeing him again brought it all rushing back. The screams, the fire.
“Shh, it’s not your fault. If I hadn’t let them pin me down I could've gotten to you. But we can’t really talk about that… not here.” He pushed her away looking guilty.
Jane smiled and held up one of the bugs. “Didn’t you know your sister’s ability to get in trouble with an omni tool?” She pulled the program. “ Your Cerberus friends are listening to elcor matting sounds.”
A familiar grin crossed his face, one she saw as a boy but never in photos after Mindoir, “God, I missed you!” And he pulled her into a bone crushing hug.
Jane breathed, enjoying a moment she had always dreamed of before stepping back. “So what’s going in here Johnny? Cerberus, colonies? How are you even standing here?”
He steered her to the couch and trays, “Eat, I'll talk.” The food was amazing compared to Ripper’s cooking, but Jane pushed away that though before she got upset again. Looking at her brother he continued. “I was killed when while I was investigating reports of a strange ship attacking colonies. Last thing I remember was floating in space with an oxygen leak in my suit, the Normandy being torn apart around me. Then I woke in the Cerberus lab, under attack.” Lifting a hand, she saw more scars shimmer, “But I was different, it was like having a new HUD in your helmet, or wearing a lighter suit.”
Jane knew if he had actually was spaced, and fell to the planet, there would be only a burnt piece of flesh and bone left. It made since a good portion of him was cybernetic. She tried to defuse the tension with a joke. “So my brother is some sort of cyborg now? Are you going to try and assimilate us?”
He chuckled, but got serious poking at his food. “Janey, I have no idea if it's really me or not. Miranda says she brought me back just as I was, but how am I not sure I'm not Cerberus’ toy?” He gripped her hand. “I need you and Garrus to keep me in check.”
Jane smiled at him, returning the grip. “And we will, I’ve always been able to call you out for being an ass.”
That made him laugh and start to eat. “Do, what’s your story?”
And Jane told him, her time as a slave. She left out the more graphic details, even mentioning an owner would make his eyes literally glow in anger. She told him about Anew and her training, that whole concept of a nice owner confused him. He punched a wall hearing about her escape and laughed when she told him of Garrus.
At one point he stopped her and pointed at her, “Wait, are you saying that my little sister was a stripper, and purposefully stripped for my best friend?”
Jane slapped the hand away. “I was never naked, I only danced. And only a few times, it turned out to be fun to put him on the spot. Mostly I did bartending work.”
“Ok, ok, just know I will use this to threaten him.” He joked.
There was silence and both realised the turian in question was still in the med bay.
“Anyways, I got you some better clothes,” Johnny pointed to the stack on the bed. “I’ve got a meeting but you should check out the armory, chances are that will be your work space. Jacob is there but you seem to have more experience.” He left the cabin and she felt a little disappointed, he had fallen back into the cold calculating soldier role.
Garrus groaned as he woke to the smell of antiseptic chemicals and pain. It took a moment but the memories of the attack came flooding back. While being on the worst days of his life, at least Jane survived and Shepard was alive. Maybe something good could come of it all.
He was surprised to find Dr. Chakwas, but she seemed to be just the same, cheery and professional. She gave him a complicated run down of his injuries, most of which was to his face.
His armor took the brunt if the damage, but like an idiot with too many stims and too little sleep he left his helmet off. He would have almost full function of his mandible thanks to cybernetic implants but it would be heavily scarred and plates would not grow back in a uniform fashion. For now he would have to leave the bandage on and clean it regularly.
Leaving the med bay he was unnerved how much the ship looked like the old Normandy. Only difference were the brighter lights, Cerberus symbol, and the AI who directed him to Shepard. The whole thing seemed dangerous. Why was he alive and with sick bastards like Cerberus?
Walking into the comm room he was greeted by a smug Shepard and Jacob. He didn’t bother listening to the man, he was surprised to finally see the family resemblance in person. While the siblings looked nothing alike they had the same smirk, the same playfulness, even if Shepard was slightly more reserved.
Jacob smirked, not continuing his last thought, “Tough son of a bitch. Didn’t think he’d be up yet.”
Riding on the high of both Shepards being alive, Garrus couldn’t hold back a joke, “Nobody would give me a mirror. How bad is it?”
Shepard was quick with his retort, “Hell Garrus, you were always ugly. Slap some face paint on there and no one will even notice.” It almost felt like old days.
Garrus winced as he laughed, “Ahh, don’t make me laugh. Damn it, my face is barely holding together as it is.” Shrugging he countered back, “Everyone was always ignoring you and hitting on me. Time for you to get a fair shot at it.”
Shepard smiled but remained silent, it was a cue for the cerberus soldier to leave. Watching him leave, Garrus looked back at his friend, “Frankly, I’m more worried about you. Cerberus, Shepard? You remember those sick experiments they were doing?”
Shepard shrugged, “That’s why I’m glad you’re here Garrus. If I’m walking into hell, I want someone I trust at my side. Who better than the man who completed the job I never could?”
The commander was referring to Jane. Garrus didn’t know the whole story yet, but he knew better than to make note of Jane’s identity. “You realize this plan has me walking into hell too. Hmm, just like old times.” He let some of the old memories in before coming back to the situation.
“I’m fit for …” Garrus was cut off by shouting coming from one of the adjacent rooms. He didn't bother to finish the sentence as both males ran into the armory.
The sight would have been humorous if it wasn’t Jane being in danger. She had an older scarred human male pinned to the ground with a laser cutting tool close to his face. Meanwhile, Jacob looked on, mouth hanging open too shocked to react.
“Fuck Shepard, get her off me!” The man yelled.
Garrus reached over and grabbed under Jane’s arms pulling her away. She struggled almost growling until she saw his face. Losing all tention she fell into a defensive position between him and the man she attacked, “Don't trust him Johnny, he is a Blue Sun!”
Garrus’ cold gaze fell on the man who Shepard was helping up.
Before anyone could speak the merc waved the comment off, “Was girl… was. Damn it Archangel, keep your Fury in check.”
Both of them froze, maybe he could have recognized Garrus in his armor but no one knew what Fury looked like. Besides wouldn't everyone think they died.
“Calm down, no one actually thinks you survived all that. Rumor is those who united against you turned on each other after.” He rubbed his throat. “But there aren’t many partners like you, not to hard to guess.”
Shepard stood between them, “Is this going to be a problem?” He asked, in the tone of a commanding officer who didn’t like to deal with shit.
“As long as they don’t go after me, hell, I’ll even call my payment even if they go after Vido of the Blue Suns instead of you Shepard. They’re even better at merc hunting.” He lifted a gun, “I was told I could get an upgrade.”
Jane left Garrus’ side with a huff and took the gun with sharp and jerky movements, ignoring the merc. The man turned away from the room, “Love the customer service here Shepard. Come see me girl if you want to know how to actually use a knife.”
“It’s Jane. Don’t call me girl.” She snapped, giving him a glare to rival Shepard’s.
The Commander shook his head before turning to Jane. “Are you going to be alright?” It was the Commander voice asking still. Jane nodded but turned back to the task. “Good. Be ready in an hour and we'll pick up the doctor.” Nodding to Garrus and the still stunned Jacob he left.
All Garrus wanted to do was hold Jane again, confirm that she was safe and this was real. Looking over at the Cerberus agent he knew it would have to wait.
He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Come find me when you're done.” He didn't have to worry about her now, Shepard could look after her he told himself, ignoring the feeling of abdonment.
She turned and smiled at him, not before wincing at the bandage, “Sure thing Big Guy. Happy to see you on your feet.”
He nodded and left, he needed space. Somewhere he could get away from the Cerberus watchers and distracting red heads.
Jane felt sick when she caught a whiff of the burning bodies. She couldn't have imagined that the damn serial killer had managed to actually release a prototype sickness that could have this amount of destruction. She hoped Mordin had time to make a cure.
She was happy Johnny was able to convince Garrus to stay behind. Damn turian didn’t know what light duty meant, not that the pain meds left him able to argue against the decision. Besides the risk of him getting sick, things were still a little too hot on the station for both of them to be running around together.
They came across a batarian who was alive but struggling. Mostly he blamed them for the plague itself since it didn’t affect humans. Jane was tempted to tell him where it really came from but knew he wouldn't care. Looking closely she found she actually knew him.
He had worked on one of the ships that owned her. He was an engineer who would ignore her watching him work instead of running her off. And he never visited in his off time. His chest was racked in a painful cough but Johnny was already moving off, not satisfied with the sick man’s answers.
Without thinking she knelt down and gave him some medigel, it wouldn’t help a cough but it would help the pain so he could walk to the clinic for help. The batarian looked surprised by her actions. She felt him staring at her before he finally spoke to her. “So you got free, knew you were too smart for your own good. But why help?”
“It'd be stupid if some of the few better batarians died from a simple cold. When you can head to Mordin’s, as long as you behave he'll help.” Jane stood and pushed past the group and headed for the clinic.
Johnny caught up and seemed confused. “Why did you do that? It's clear he knew you from before.”
Jane looked at him, of course, he didn't get it. He was the Butcher of Torfan, and from Garrus tales he had only hardened even more. Do what was needed to be done to get a task done. And knowing his hate for what she’d been through, she was half surprised he hadn’t killed the engineer the moment he recognized her.
Sighing she tried to explain. “Was I a slave on his ship, yes, but he made it better than most. Would he change his mind about how he treated the next human if I hurt him or helped him? Maybe, it might mean the life of someone else.” Not looking back she continued deeper into the ward.
Johnny didn’t make any other comments, and Zaeed pretended he was more interested in the new mod she’d installed, not bothering to listen.
They found bodies, made others, and even managed to scare off looters, but finally, they made it to the clinic. Johnny quirked an eyebrow when he saw the security mechs but didn't say anything. Inside they found Mordin toward the back, busy with many patients.
Mordin took a moment to blink and then when into a fast tirade that was too quick to keep up with unless someone stopped him.
Jane stepped forward, Johnny didn't know how to deal with the salarian when he got like this. “Take it easy doc, we're just here to see if you'll join a mission.”
The doctor blinked down at her and seemed to take a moment to recognize her. “Red surprised to see you alive. Surprised but relieved.” He took in her blue stained armor, “I had heard you all died.”
“My benefactor is recovering, we were the only ones.” Jane waved to the rest of the clinic. “I thought you'd come up with a cure by now, with all that data I thought it'd be easy.”
Mordin nodded, “Simple task even if complex virus due to the research you got me. But merc groups are taking advantage to further turf war. Unable to get the cure to environmental systems.”
Johnny stepped in, “Dr. Solas, if we were to help would you join us? We are investigating collector attacks on human colonies.”
Mordin said he could consider it when he knew the clinic and ward were safe. So they made plans and got underway. It seemed like every job would be like this. Jane felt a twinge of guilt knowing she’d sounded the same, asking to go after Garrus.
It was fight after fight but the trio finally made it to the environmental systems and released the cure. They even found Mordin assistant, he did not seem to have the nerves that Mordin did.
Getting back went faster, most of those they killed were still dead and the mercs were pulling back. Mordin seemed to have considered the offer and agreed to come with once he handed the clinic over to his assistant.
Jane was exhausted when she got back to the ship. Most of the ship was asleep but the cook managed to save them something that could be called food. They shoveled it in and the men went to bed without much conversation. Jane wasn't sure what else to do so she found an empty bed in the crew's quarters.
However, tired as she was she couldn't find sleep. Getting up again, she went to the armory. She cleaned all her weapons and some spares. Even painted her new armor. Blue this time to hide the stains of Garrus blood. She found she like the color much more.
But she still couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep. Even a human vessel reminded her too much of the slave ships. She decided to go find Garrus, he would normally help her in times like this. The cook mentioned to Johnny he'd set up a cot in the Main Battery.
In the low lighting, she made her way down. The door opened but the room was quiet and dark. In the red glow of instruments, she could make out his sleeping form on a cot against a wall.
Jane sat on the crates and just listened to him breathe. She didn't have the heart to wake him but needed the reminder he was there. Eventually, she couldn’t sit up anymore and laid on the crate only planning on shutting her eyes for a moment.
Garrus woke as the pain meds wore off. Normally he wasn't so groggy but meds always made him tired. So would two days on stims but that was over for now. Sitting up he found himself in the Main Battery. Hearing a small whimper his head swung up to see Jane curled into a tight shivering ball on the crates across from his cot.
But why? He managed to stay up long enough to hear the team was successful and on their way back to the ship. Then it occurred to him. The ship. With all the stress and being on a ship for the first time since her rescue she probably couldn't sleep. Any other time she had bad dreams she came to him just like now.
Sighing he stood up and carefully picked her up in order not to wake her. Spirits she was so small. And cold, she tried to tuck herself deeper into him, searching for his naturally higher body temperature. Slowly he put her in his cot and covered her. With a contented smile and sigh, she snuggled into the lingering heat. He paused and gently stroked her hair, letting it slip through his fingers. He tried not to let her small gasp affect him as he stood straight to go over the thorax cannon plans. He was sure to keep the light off, letting her sleep.
Sometime later the door opened and Shepard stepped in “Garrus, do you…” but he paused when Garrus motioned him to be quiet. The Commander looked around and caught sight of Jane. He motioned Garrus to follow him outside.
“Why is she sleeping in your bunk?” Shepard asked in a neutral yet dangerous tone.
Garrus rubbed the back of his neck. It probably looked like something it wasn't. “I woke and found her sleeping on the crates. I thought the bed would be more comfortable. She is probably having trouble adjusting the ship. She hasn't been on one since before Omega.”
Shepard seemed to look upset as he asked, “Why didn't she say anything?”
“She doesn't, I only realize that something is bothering her when she tries sitting on the floor instead of a chair. We would stay up watching old earth vids or spar until she'd calm down enough to fall asleep. She couldn't go to you last night, probably didn't want to raise suspicion“
“Fine, so want to tell me about Omega?”
Garrus explained about the Spectre training, the politicking and red tape. How he found a solution for it all on Omega. How he built a team like Shepard, but even more diverse. All of them searching to keep the bad guys in some sort of line. How much of it Shepard understood was hard to tell.
And finally, he asked the question Garrus was dreading. “What happened to your team?”
Pacing farther away from the door. “It was my own damn fault. One of my people betrayed me. A turian named Sidonis. He drew me away just before the mercs attacked my squad, then he disappeared.”
Pausing it hit home, “Everyone except me is dead because of him. Jane would have too if not for Aria’s intervention. And all because I didn’t see it coming.”
“Are you sure it was a betrayal? Maybe they took Sidonis out first?”
Garrus was already shaking his head, he had tried to make an excuse for his teammate, “No, I’ve put out feelers with some old contacts. He booked transport off Omega just before the attack. He also cleared out his private accounts before he left. He sold us out and ran.”
Nodding, Shepard asked, “Do you know where Sidonis is now?”
“No. His trail vanishes after he leaves Omega. But I’ll keep hunting. I lost my whole team. One day I’ll find him… and correct that.” He paused before adding “But you can't tell Jane my findings.”
“Why not?” Shepard growled. “They were her team too.”
“She and Sidonis became friends before joining. Probably one of her first on the station.” Garrus felt a small twinge of guilt, “She already lost one family, now she lost another. How would she react knowing it was one of her own’s fault?”
“She still deserves to know.”
“And she will when I can make sure he is dead and gone. Where he can't hurt anyone else.” Garrus was growling in anger.
“Fine, if that's how you want to play it. Let me know how I can help.” He looked back at the door and sighed. “If you don't mind a roommate it might be best if she stayed here. I'll get another cot brought up from the cargo.” When Garrus nodded, he turned to leave, “Thanks, big guy.”
Garrus chuckled. When Shepard gave him a questioningly look, “When she first arrived on Omega she refused to tell anyone her name so I refused to give her mine. She called me Big Guy or Bright Eyes for months.”
Shepard laughed, “Well, we’ll be at the Citadel in a couple days. I’ll leave you to your calibrations Bright Eyes.”
Garrus got in some more work before Jane finally woke up. She stretched out, her chest arcing up and a truly enticing sound came from her. “Good morning.” He said quietly
She froze and looked around the room, the realization of where she was finally dawned on her face. “Shit Garrus, I didn’t mean to kick you out of your bed… How did I get in your bed?”
He paused his program giving her his full attention. “Well, after multiple missions and obviously little sleep I figured sleeping on a cold crate wouldn’t be good for you.” Moving to sit next to her. “I know you are having trouble sleeping on the ship, Shepard agreed to let you set up a cot here.”
Jane scrubbed at her face, “Great, you don’t have a real bed and now you have a roommate.”
Garrus tried not to get too excited at the thought. Of course, his thoughts preferred her to be in his bed, not just his room. But he had to stop those ideas, at least until he learned more about humans. He didn’t want to make a mistake. “Well, as long as you don’t clutter the place with all your clothing we can make it work.”
She laughed. “I promise to try. Well, I guess I’ll go to the armory and get out of your hair… or fringe I guess.”
Garrus watched her leave the room and tried to ignore her scent that now filled his bed. He really needed to figure this out.
When they got to the Citadel, Shepard let them all have leave while he got the supplies and picked up a master thief for their team. Luckily they were able to create a new alias for Jane when the updated Shepard’s living status, for now, she was Jane Smith, easily lost in the massive number of common names. They were to meet back up at the embassy to meet the human councilor before leaving. For now, Garrus was showing Jane around while they got their own new clothing and supplies.
Garrus spent so many years living on the Citadel he got used to the scenery. With Jane, it was like seeing it for the first time. She was constantly running from shop to shop, and stopping taking in every view and memorial. And the questions never ended. Luckily he was able to answer most, but when it came to the question of if there were fish in the lake he had to give up. He tried not to let his sub vocals let the gardener turian she cornered know that he was jealous of the attention.
When entering one shop they heard her brother's voice. “This is Commander Shepard and this is my favorite store on the Citadel.” They looked at each other and laughed, looked like the Commander was up to something, probably trying to save some money.
When they got to the lake, Jane took a moment to pause and lean on the railing. Garrus didn't say anything, she seemed to need a moment. In a serious tone, she stated. “We couldn't even give them a proper send-off.”
“No, we couldn't.” Without asking Garrus knew she meant the team but had nothing else to offer her.
“Guess we'll have to lead by example, in their memory. To make it better right?”
Garrus growled to himself joining her on the rail. “We saw what my leadership led us to.”
Jane turned sharply, “We had all those mercs so scared they sent a fucking army after us. People are lost, but that doesn't mean you give up. It'd be an insult to them.”
Garrus saw her point but he couldn't forgive himself. He hated it even more because the thought of losing her had been a much harder blow than the rest of his team.
She placed a hand on his good mandible, looking into his eyes, “We got the mercs who came after us. We need to move on, now we're working to help a lot more people than just Omega.”
For a second he felt like she wanted to continue what she had started on the mats so long ago. But then Sidonis popped in his head. He knew he should tell her, but he didn't want her hurt more. Better he just fade away with the memory of the others.
Jerking away he pointed out it was time to head back to the meet Shepard. He did not read much into the soft disappointed sigh she gave before moving to follow.
Anderson hadn’t changed much, but as good of a man as he was he wasn’t able to offer Shepard any help or knowledge. His resurrection was too suspicious, Garrus was surprised how well Jane seemed to rein in her temper. When Udina joined them he thought he would have to stop her from attacking the little man. Soon they were ushered out with only Shepard’s Spectre status, at least they got that much.
Jane was settling in on the ship. She got on with most of the crew, though many gave her odd looks when they saw her exiting the main battery in the morning. Even Joker became comfortable enough to ask her if she and Garrus were an item.
To be honest she even had to ask herself that. The big turian was, even more, protective outside of missions, at least then they were able to fall into their usual roles. Otherwise, he would keep her in sight if they weren’t on the ship and when on board he’d scare off any other crew who took any close interest into her past, or if they were male. The poor engineer, Ken, came up to the armory one day while she was adjusting Garrus’ new sniper to talk about the part they picked up from Kenn. He just about pissed himself when the excop started questioning him about an innocent sounding card game he invited her to. Jane managed to defuse the situation, joking that she was a terrible liar and didn't feel like losing any credits.
Often she found Garrus training in the cargo hold, she would join but the sparring matches were always cut short before they could really get into it. When he wasn't training he was working on the cannon and whatever research he was keeping secret.
After they picked up the tank Krogan they with only a few bumps, they were headed to a prison ship. Talking with EDI she learned Johnny was in his cabin. Having enough of the protective turian Jane went up there to vent. Making sure her jamming program was up she stepped into the cabin. Johnny turned hearing the door open but relaxed when he saw it was only her.
“Did it ever occur to you knocking would be nice?”
“And deprive me any chance of getting dirt on my favorite brother? No.” Falling face first on his couch she let out an aggravated sigh. “Damn turians.”
Getting up from his desk he grabbed a couple beers and joined her. “What stick does he have up his ass now?”
Jane sat up taking the drink, “Not the image I wanted. And I am not completely sure. Promise to not freak out?”
“And why would I freak out?”
“Because you think you're a big, bad ass biotic who needs to protect his little sister. ” She took a fortifying gulp. “Before the attack on Omega, I got caught up in the moment and kissed Garrus.” She glanced at her brother, but he seemed more puzzled than angry.
“Turians can kiss? But… they don't have lips.”
She grabbed a small pillow and threw it at his head. “Well, it sounded better than I shoved my tongue in his mouth.”
He held up his hands in surrender. “Alright did not need that info. So what's the problem, he is a good guy and one of my best friends. And you made the first move so I don't have the right to beat him up.”
“Nothing has happened. He hasn't talked about it and I can't seem to get the point across. He spends all his time with his precious cannon or chasing off any other men. Is it a turian thing I don't know about?”
Johnny shrugged. “Hey, I've only been with humans or asari. All I know about turians is they are obsessed with fulfilling duty and love regulations. But Garrus isn't the best turian .”
“And now we share the same room. It's driving me nuts. What should I do?”
John shook his head. “When you don't have have a gun or knife in your hand I still see you as my little teenage sister. I'd rather not think of what you two would do.” She punched his shoulder as he laughed, “But he is probably got some weird idea stuck in his head. You'll have to find a way to convince him otherwise.”
“Did I ever mention how helpful you are?”
“What else would I be?”
Jane sat back and considered everything. Even when going out those few times with Gus, she never felt the burning need for someone, not like now. After all, she went through on the batarian ships she wasn't sure she ever could be intimate or close to someone. But just thinking of Garrus, the sparring and sleeping in the same bed made her feel like a fire had started. It made her determined to learn about turians, to make this work, even though he may be too thick to notice at first. But where was she to go to learn about seducing turians?
Jane decided to get something to drink before they started the prison pick up, should be simple enough job but Johnny wasn’t taking any chances and insisted on waiting before boarding, giving EDI time to get a layout of the place.
The sound of clicking heels came from behind, turning Jane found herself face to face with Miranda. Overall she wasn’t sure what to think of the woman, she was smart and knew it, but she was still the Illusive Man’s lap dog. And she did not take kindly to Jane's ability to avoid the surveillance or not answering any probing questions.
“How are you settling on the Normandy?” God, everything the woman said could sound condescending. She was probably angry that Johnny hadn’t taken her on a ground team since Omega.
Jane shrugged, “Yea, I haven’t been on a ship for a long time but the equipment here is better than anything I’ve ever worked with”
Miranda nodded, “Cerberus always has the best. Even so, you are a fairly skilled engineer, did you learn everything from your time with Anew?”
Jane froze. Only Johnny and Garrus knew about Anew, the everyone else had only been told that she was an escaped slave. Most were too faint-hearted to ask for more details and that was the way she wanted it. “I have always had a knack for electronics.” She replied, not rising to the bait.
Miranda leaned on the counter and crossed her arms, “I didn’t think Mindoir had any advance training programs for children.”
Her heart fluttered, if the Cerberus agent had traced her back to the colony, there was a chance she could find out who her family was. With a cold voice, Jane focused on her glass. “I don’t like remembering Mindoir I lost my family, friends, and childhood that day.”
“They may have survived. If you give us some names Cerberus could look for you…” Miranda tried and failed to sound nice.
But Jane cut her off. “I have hacked systems as sophisticated as yours. I know exactly what happened to them and I have put it behind me. Now excuse me while I get geared up.”
Everyone who had paused to watch the scene quickly got out of her way as she marched past. She would have to let Johnny know. Miranda was getting too close to the truth of who she was.
She found him and Garrus in the comm room going over schematics, “Miranda is getting too nosy.”
Johnny sighed rubbing his eyes, “It’s like having a controlling parent, she is determined to have her claws in everything. Even recommending a control chip when they rebuilt me.” Looking at Jane, “Focus on avoiding her, when she learns too much we’ll handle it.”
Jane nodded, but Garrus had grown stiff, “What if she does figure it out and tells the Illusive Man.”
“Anyone who tries to take Jane from me again will die.” Johnny promised coldly, “I still would like more firepower… I think it’s time to wake up that krogan.”
Garrus reeled back, “What if it's like the other krogan? It might attack anything that’s not been programed as an ally”
“It's a risk we have to take. Even just having a target that can take potential damage away from us will help.” Jane almost flinched at his coldness. Considering his feeling toward her enslavement she expected more respect for free will from her brother.
He turned to leave, Jane was about to follow, “No, Jane. This will be risky enough with me.”
Jane frowned but remained silent, before the door shut she threw Garrus a conspiratorial look and activated her cloak, slipping out before he could say anything. They moved too fast and managed to get on the elevator before Garrus caught up. Her brother was an idiot if he thought she’d let him go into danger alone.
She remained quiet and still as she watched the process. She was surprised how quickly the krogan got on his feet and was unable to stop the attack. While the two spoke about names she placed herself nearby and had her omni blade waiting. The krogan was aware but not paying attention, not only was there a knife but she spotted Johnny’s gun out as well.
After coming to an agreement the krogan released Johnny and found the gun. Jane dropped the cloak while in position as well. He let out a booming laugh seeing the danger he had been in. “I like you too. She has fire, even with her size.”
And with that, they had a new member on board, clearly willing to follow the human biotics leadership.
Sorry for the delay in posting, this weekend got a little hectic. Thank you for reading!
Even while everything seemed to go to shit in the prison, they were able to get Jack, a strong and angry female biotic. They also killed the warden and most of his guards, but Garrus did not care. It was basically a legal slave ship, and after living with Jane he could never leave anyone in that situation. Now they were waiting for more instructions or leads.
Garrus pulled on his armor’s cowl as he stretched his neck. Even with his skin and plates healing well, spending all day hunched over his terminal did a number on his neck and back. At least crawling around under the Mako he was able to get off his feet. He left the battery to find Jane, it was almost time for dinner and he knew she would still be wrapped up in her work and was likely to forget. During her enslavement, she learned to easily ignore her body's grumbles for food, one of the habits she had yet to break.
Leaving the elevator he strode for the armory. Entering he found Jane leaning over a mod on her workstation, while Jacob watched from over her shoulder. They were very close and both laughing at something in the conversation. Garrus froze for a moment. Any other time he would have grumbled and glared until the male backed away but this time an unwanted thought came to him. If it were anyone else he would think it was the start of a relationship. One that could lead to a home and family. And something that he could never really give her. Hell, so far he’d only brought danger and death, it was his fault their squad, her family was dead. The second one in a lifetime.
He was only kidding himself thinking he could be anything more than a friend. Sharply he turned and made his way back to the dark battery, ignoring her calls of greeting. He locked the door and sat heavily on his cot. Maybe coming back was a mistake, even though she had been gone all day he could vaguely smell her scent lingering from the night before. When he heard the click of someone trying to open the door he groaned and rubbed his forehead. Of course, she would come after him, he didn’t normally storm out of rooms.
Garrus tried not to laugh at how easily she managed to open the door. She cautiously walked toward him, he looked up at the sound of her voice but didn’t meet her eyes. “Hey, why did you leave so suddenly. Figured you came in to remind me about dinner.”
“I realized I wasn’t hungry and you looked busy.” He couldn’t really confess his desires to her.
“So what are you going to do if not take a gamble on Gardner's food?” She smirked and crossed her arms.
Garrus shrugged, “Calibrations… You know, relaxing.”
She snorted at the attempt to joke and stepped in between his spread legs. “I know you are as much of a geek as I am, but why don’t I believe you?” She then reached out and gently stroked the top of his fringe.
He almost shivered from the feeling and as much as he wanted it he took hold of her wrist and pulled her hand away. “I don’t think you should be doing that. You don’t know what it means.” It was a very intimate touch. Part of him wanted to kick himself, isn’t this what he wanted not so long ago?
Jane chuckled and her tone became huskier. “And what if I do know what it means? What is does to you?”
Garrus glanced up, while her voice sounded confident, her face gave away some of the nervousness she must have been feeling. She learned what touches affected turians? She was doing this on purpose? “Why?”
“Why what?” She cocked her scarred eyebrow.
“What would you want with a badly scarred, cynical, failed vigilante and cop?” He kept hold of her wrist, loose enough she could have pulled it away but he wasn’t letting her continue the touch. He tried not to rub his thumb pad across the soft skin of her wrist.
Jane left the wrist in his grip and instead raised her other hand to his damaged mandible, gently holding it. “You should know that scars don’t bother me. I’ve got enough to know, they all tell how you survived, that you lived another day.” He flinched, he hadn’t meant to imply hers were bad, but for turians scars were not seen as favorably as krogan did. She continued with a smile. “Garrus, you’re my best friend, my partner, even could be considered my guardian angel. Is it so hard to believe that I would want you as something more?”
Garrus froze, part of him was screaming to take her now, make her his and only his. But she’d been through so much, he had to be sure this is what she truly wanted. He didn’t want to remind himself of the thoughts of her with Jacob, what their children could be like. “Wouldn’t you want something… closer to home?”
She pulled her cupped hand away, “If this makes you uncomfortable, I won’t push it…”
Garrus couldn’t stop himself, his grip on her wrist tightened and pulled her closer to him. While he was sitting she wasn’t too much taller than him. “Uncomfortable no, nervous yes.”
Jane smiled and leaned even closer, “Nervous, really?”
The turian couldn’t quite believe how this conversation seemed to be turning around. “Well, ah, I’m not sure what to do for this interspecies liaison.” He winced, “That just sounded bad.”
Jane laughed, breaking some of the tension. “Maybe continue where we left off before.” And she closed the distance and pressed her lips to his mouth plates again. This time he wasn’t as unsure and started pressing back ignoring the tenderness of the cuts that were still healing. As her tongue darted out he opened his mouth and started to explore her mouth. She had a salty sweet taste, and Garrus couldn’t get enough.
She finally pulled her hand away from his grip and brought up both to start rubbing and scratching at the softer skin of his neck. This brought out a growl of pleasure, one tri-digit hand dove into her soft red hair while the other wrapped around her waist and pulled her closer.
The kiss deepened, both trying to prove something to the other. Jane finally groaned and decided to sit in his lap, with the armor he could feel the pressure from her hips moving but nothing else. The whole experience was making his lower plates loosen. Giving her reddened lips one particularly hard nip he slipped off her leather jacket, grabbed the edge of her shirt and lifted it. He took a moment to take in her soft expanse of skin, occasional silver scar or pucker marks of badly healed wounds. He slowly traced the edges of her bones and scars with his talons tips. Not hard enough to cause harm but still fascinated with how her bones moved under such delicate skin.
Letting his sub vocals rumble in reply to her moans he started nipping down her neck. Her breathing came harsher but she kept egging him on, quietly whispering his name. She reached behind her, showing how flexible she was and removed her chest harness. Garrus would never admit to having watched some human erotic vids, but he hadn’t been sure if his reaction to Jane was a one-time thing. Turned out it was only her he wanted, but he did see some information that would help. Mostly that the fleshy mounds on human women were more than for feeding their young or aesthetically pleasing.
Carefully he rubbed her raised peaks with his thumb pad and was rewarded with a delightfully low groan. He buried his face into the crook of her neck and breathed in the smell of her soap, her skin, and an intriguing musk.
Before he could continue exploring the door slid open and Shepard strode in eyes on a data pad. “Garrus, Jane, just got word about a possible attack… What the hell?” Garrus saw his commander’s eyes grow large before he turned away.
Jane let her head fall back in frustration. “God damn you Johnny and your sense of timing!” Turning her head to glare, Garrus just tried to hide behind her, somewhat comical given their size difference. But who wouldn’t hide from the man who made the Reapers worried? Whose sister was now half naked on his lap? She continued, “What do you want?”
Shepard held his head in his hand and said loudly, “You're both on ground team. Got word of a possible attack on a colony. Jane go talk with Mordin, make sure his swarm blocking tech is installed in all the suits. Drop is in one hour. Now for god’s sake put on some clothes and lock the damn door next time.” He left and let the door shut.
Jane climbed off his lap and he noticed how uncomfortably tight his armor was now. But there was no time for that now. Jane was grumbling to herself, just like when she was having trouble with tech. She found her clothes and started putting them back on, looking at Garrus, who was still in shock and sitting on the cot. “Hope you don’t mind taking a rain check, Big Guy.”
Garrus looked at her feeling dazed, “A what?
She giggled, leaning forward gave him a short but hard kiss and stood straightening her jacket. “We’ll pick this up after the mission. I’ve got a hyper salarian to go talk to.”
As she walked to the door, “Right, cause I’m in such a good place to work right now…” She laughed but continued. Shaking himself, screw work, he needed a cold shower.
Waiting to see if the swarm would descend on the group was the cold bucket of water for Jane, thoughts of what she and Garrus had been up to quickly left her mind. It looked like the information was good and they got there in the middle of the attack. She tried not to focus on the fact the living habitats seemed empty, the ship was still there and there was still a chance they could save them.
Jane did let out a loud squeak when she saw the first Collector. Quickly she brought up her incinerator program and set the thing on fire. After the others were killed Johnny turned to smirk at her, “Still afraid of bugs Janey.”
“Fuck you, Johnny.” She grumbled and then more to herself, “Why do they have to look like cockroaches.”
Grunt cocked his large head, “Really? Fearless thing like you is scared of insects?” One of the few things that Jane liked about Omega, no bugs. If Garrus knew she ran screaming from spiders and other creepy crawlies, she would never hear the end of it.
“I just don’t like bugs, I wasn’t expecting them all to look like bugs, just the swarms.” She shot Johnny a dirty look. Chances have he had an idea but decided not to warn her.
Going forward Jane learned first hand what the human husks were, Garrus never liked remembering them, only said they were things of nightmares. Then there was the burning Collector that would show up, Harbinger, it was never the same one, but more like one would suddenly be possessed by the entity. The creepiest part was that it knew her brother by name. But there was never really any time to talk about it, Johnny seemed to determine to eradicate all of them.
They only found one human who wasn’t frozen by the swarm. A mechanic who started ranting about the Alliance bringing the attackers down on the colony by putting in the AA guns that didn’t even work. He also mentioned Kaiden, all Jane knew about him was that he was a biotic that worked with Johnny in the Alliance. But the chance to save a friend gave Johnny, even more, fuel power when plowing ahead.
They decided to let EDI handle the AA guns, while all four of the ground squad focused on the attackers. The enemy could come from any direction, which meant a lot of changing cover. They were having particular trouble with what could only be described as a floating tick with husk heads shoved down its throat. Damn thing had a wicked particle cannon, could fly and was able to fully regenerate its shield.
Out of the corner of his eye, Garrus saw it managed to explode a canister that Jane was running next to while she was trying to get to higher ground. She went flying and her head hit a corner of a crate. Garrus called for covering fire, Shepard and Grunt started laying into the enemy while he ran for Jane.
He picked her up and pulled her into a truck bed that had better cover. She was awake but slightly unfocused. There was an alarming amount of red blood streaming down one side of her face. “Jane, can you hear me? Can you see?”
“Yea,” she mumbled. Reaching up she winced at the cut on her head. “Just a bump, head wounds bleed a lot. Just put on some medigel.”
Garrus hummed his concerned but did what she said. The bleeding stopped but there wasn’t any time to clean off the blood. It reminded him of the day he saw her in his scope as she came flying off the slaver ship. Only this time she was covered in her blood and clothed.
Both lifted their rifles and were able to help finish off the large enemy. After that EDI finally got the AA guns up and the ground shook as they fired. It only took a few volleys before the ship took off. The mechanic came running out before they could regroup, yelling about how half the colony was still on there.
Garrus understood he was upset, but this was the first time any colony had been saved, even if partially. He had to appreciate that at least. As they were trying to explain a familiar voice came out.
Alenko looked relatively the same, but Garrus couldn’t believe the accusations he made. He made to go at the human, but Jane grabbed his arm to stop him. Kaiden saw the movement but didn’t bring it up. Turning away from his supposed friends, Shepard cursed and ordered them back to the ship.
The group was exhausted by the time they got back. And Garrus knew he and Jane would not be continuing what they started earlier. In fact, Jane gave him an apologetic smile as she followed Shepard up to his cabin, and Garrus approved. Being called a traitor by his once-teammate and friend was rough and uncalled for. Shepard would need to talk to someone.
Garrus cleaned his armor and weapons and laid down, but wasn’t able to fall into a deep sleep. When Jane finally came in, she had also washed up and was wearing her usual tank and shorts. She laid down in her cot, but still, Garrus couldn’t find sleep and after listening to her breathing he knew she hadn’t found it either.
Getting up he dragged his cot over to hers until they were side by side. Laying down, he reached an arm out and held her. She sighed and burrowed into his chest, she felt cold but he didn’t mind. Just feeling and smelling her he was able to relax enough to let the blackness take him.
Jane was getting more frustrated than before, she had finally come out to Garrus and he showed his interest too. God only knew how good his very alien mouth felt on her skin. But after they recovered from Horizon he insisted they not go any farther, that he needed time to research this “cross-species liaison”. His words, not hers. She had done enough on her own to know how to seduce him and they knew they weren’t allergic and thought they would be able to figure it out on their own. But he would find a way to slow them down or missions would get in the way.
At least Garrus stopped getting upset around the other males on the ship. They kept a professional distance except for the occasional touch or after a hard mission, Jane would fall asleep on his shoulder in the shuttle. Now everything was out in the open, he seemed to calm down a little. Of course some of their brief but still heated kisses helped. It seemed like he was beginning to like the human custom a lot.
But she wasn't sure how much longer she could wait. Between the teasing from Jack and Jacobs awkward stutters whenever they were caught, everything driving her up the wall.
She was muttering to herself about the slow bony assed turians when Johnny came into the armory. Jacob felt the need to leave and her brother smiled as he leaned on her workstation, “So how is the great romance going?”
“Well, it’s started. God, I don’t know what to do, I only had physical flings with a couple of the other slaves. Never anything permanent, and Anew didn’t own any others. But now he chooses to be chivalrous, I can tell he is holding himself back.” She finished the assembly case for the mod and popped it into the pistol. Handing it to him she asked, “Check out the new weight, this should have a little more kick to it but should be lighter.”
Carefully he looked over the weapon, checking the sighting. “Should be fine, and please keep the physical details of your time with Garrus to yourself. I don't need any more images of my little sister and friend together. Your lucky I haven’t given him the talk.”
Turning she started packing up, “If we actually got a private room that may not be as much of an issue.”
“Anyways,” he said loudly, signaling a change in the discussion, “we’ll be landing on Illium soon. We need to pick up the assassin, some Justicar, and Miranda had a request.” He looking at her seriously, “Has she been causing any issues for you? Of course, now that it looks like you and Garrus are an item it's all anyone talks about, it's confusing the hell out of Joker, pools over if Garrus and I will duel over you have started. And EDI won't give him any confirmation.”
Jane laughed, she liked Joker and his little hints and questions trying to figure out her relationships were cute. Of course, no one bothered to ask who she was interested in, as of now the ship was convinced the siblings were really old lovers. “Glad to see my antispyware is still working. Hanar folk music this week. Miranda stopped bugging me too. Of course calling her out for her insensitivity about asking about Mindoir and my capture in front of the crew seemed to put her on the spot. But now they all walk around on eggshells around me. Do you think she knows?”
“No idea, but we’ll have to be careful.” Pushing off the counter, “Suit up and be ready to go when we dock in a couple hours.”
Jane enjoyed meeting Liara, she seemed sweet but had a little bit of a scary streak. She wondered if the asari picked up some of Johnny’s strong armed tactics. There also seemed to be a spark between the two, and she couldn’t help but suspect there was more than friendship there.
Jane was disappointed that even with the connection the asari refused to join. But even on Omega she heard of the Shadow Broker, it was hard to believe the woman before them was determined to go after him. Johnny, of course, offered to help but all she wanted was some hacking help for now. He looked to Jane and she nodded, she knew exactly what she was asking, it'd be easy to do as they wandered.
They also got information of where to find the other two recruits. And it sounded like they should get the assassin first. He was here for a job and there was a chance it would start up soon. The contact confirmed it, he was going after a target and she hinted he may not walk away from it. She took them to the towers and Johnny explained who the target was, an asari who tricked him into doing her dirty work. The goal was to get the assassin out, not save the target.
Jane felt sick as she bandaged up the salarian, he was so scared. To go into work and be attacked for no reason, just because you were there. Helping the workers was added to her list.
As the fought their way up they came across more workers but no one saw the assassin himself. A couple of times Jane had to step between Johnny and the workers before he lost his patience, after Horizon he had been more on edge. Only signs were the radio chatter talking about attacks, a body of a guard that fell from a vent, it had clean precise head shots like the others. Garrus and Jane exchanged looks, this man had the skill for sure, they made sure to keep eyes on the vents in case he thought they were with the mercs.
Upon reaching the penthouse, Jane was surprised to see the target still alive. The assassin had a good lead on them but here she was yelling at her panicked. At first, she seemed to think they were the attackers, but Johnny enjoyed playing the bored ass hole and waited. She didn't even notice the occasional thump from above.
While everyone was focused on the Normandy team a drell in leathers dropped from the vent and as if dancing took out the guards and took the asari in almost an embrace only to shoot her. Without a word, he gently laid her body on the desk and fell into a praying position.
Jane and Garrus still had their weapons up but they waited to see what Johnny did. He waited until the Dell a seemed to be done. Jane thought about complaining about using them as a distraction, but it had worked after all. She was intrigued to learn of his sickness and his last push at some sort of redemption.
Johnny looked to her when they got out of the car. “Jane? Take Thane and get him settled on the ship and kitted out. Garrus, Miranda, and I'll go get the Justicar.”
She nodded, meeting Garrus’ eyes before turning to the drell. “Please follow me.”
The whole way there she could feel his large dark eyes studying her. It felt a little eerie like he understood much more from a look than others did. Like he knew her whole story. She led him to the comm room but not before Jacob gave him a dirty look in passing. Looked like the paid soldier had issues with paid killers. A little hypocritical but not her problem.
“Impressive ship, Fury.” Thane stood straight and formal in front of her.
“How do y-”
“One does not work in this field without hearing stories. A female with your coloring and talents could only be Omega’s Fury. Somehow you and Archangel survived no matter what rumors are saying.” His voice was rough and curious, but not threatening.
“As long as it stays that way. Those times are behind us.” Jane put force into her voice. “This is the comm room, you saw the armory, I'd leave Mordin’s lab alone if I were you. The deck below is quarters, med bay, and mess. Below that is engineering and cargo bay which has a training area set up. Questions?”
“Just where I should bunk, a dryer place would be more preferable.”
EDI voice came out as her halo pop up. “May I recommend the area near life support. It is more arid than the rest of the ship.”
Thane surprise only showed when he blinked. “An AI. Interesting. I'll go unpack. Thank you, Fury.” He bowed slightly and left.
Johnny came back with the Justicar in question. There was a terribly cold beauty about her, so powerful, but so much control. She settled in quietly and Johnny found Jane eating. He filled her in on playing detective. Unfortunately, Garrus breathed a little too much of the toxin, and he would be short of breath for a day or too.
“We are meeting Miranda’s contact. Looks like her sister is in danger and we're to go check on her.” Johnny had a dark look come over him.
She gently punched him, “Hey, no pity party for you or me. We found each other. Even death didn't stop us.”
He met her gaze and smiled, “Yea, we did didn't we.”
Jane had a newfound respect for Miranda, while her life had every comfort, it still sucked and was no life for a kid. No wonder she was so messed up. As grateful as she was for Cerberus they treated somewhat like her father had, just more praise.
They managed to kill all of the mercs, the family would be safe long enough to disappear again. Jane was glad they talked the woman into speaking with her sister, everyone needed family. Being without her own for sixteen years made that painfully clear.
When Miranda joined them she leaned on the railing, eyes wet but smiling. “Thank you, Shepard. I have a confession.” taking a deep breath she continued, “A few days ago I found out who you were Jane. I understand why you've been hiding it, given your opinion of us.”
The siblings stiffened, unsure of where this was going.
She held up her hands in a calming gesture. “I won't be passing that fact along. You have your reasons, and I understand protecting your family at any cost. I'll run interference so the knowledge doesn't leave the ship.”
Johnny nodded, “Thank you, Miranda.”
Hopefully, I caught all the typos. I had a very large leek thrown at me that decided to add its own flair to this post while I was working on it.
Garrus couldn't believe the turnaround in the past couple of weeks. His upgrades to the cannon had been approved and installed. Jane and he were exploring a more involved relationship even if a bit slow for her taste, for which Shepard wasn't going to kill him as his human research lead him to believe.
And he found Sidonis.
The coward had fled to the Citadel and paid a contact called Fade to help him disappear. Garrus knew Shepard would help, he had helped hunt done Dr. Saleon before. Thought he had taken the final shot, claiming that Garrus was too involved for his superiors to ignore. But as a Spectre, he could kill him without any issues or questions.
Not this time though, Sidonis was the reason his squad had died, why he almost lost Jane. This time Garrus was going to be the one to pull the trigger.
It didn’t help that Jane kept asking questions, she knew he was researching more than just human customs. But Garrus couldn’t be with her until he avenged the squad, it would never be made right but this was one way to end it. He couldn’t tell her, he still didn’t know how she would take knowing it was her friend. He was mulling this over for the hundredth time when Shepard stepped into the battery.
“Shepard, I’m glad you came by. I may need your help with something. You remember Sidonis? The one who betrayed my team? I’ve found a lead on him.” Garrus moved away to the more quiet hall. “There’s a specialist on the Citadel; name’s Fade. He’s an expert at helping people disappear, Sidonis was seen with him.”
“What happened? How did Sidonis betray your team?” Shepard always required the full story.
Remembering, Garrus started to pace to let off some of his energy. “He tipped off the mercs. Told them where our base was. He drew me out with a false job, then let the mercs hit my team. My men weren’t prepared. They tried to hold them off…” He got a flashback to finding Butcher barely alive, trying to help a quickly failing Sensat. “By the time I got back, there were only two survivors. They didn’t last long. All ten of them, dead. Because of him.”
“What are you planning to do when you find him?”
A feral sound filled his subharmonics, “You humans have a saying: “an eye for an eye.” A life for a life. He owes me ten lives and I plan to collect.”
Shepard crossed his arms and leaned back. “Are you sure that’s how you want to play it? He was Jane’s friend and squadmate too. What does she think of it?”
“I’m sure, and Jane shouldn’t know. She would be torn up over it, she’s already lost the squad, let her remember him fondly. I don’t need you to agree with me, but I’d like your help.” Garrus growled his frustration, he didn’t want Jane involved in this. It was Garrus who failed, he would take care of it.
“Where do we find Fade?”
“I’ve arranged a meeting. We’ll meet him in a warehouse near the Neon markets, do on Sakera Ward.” Before he could get any farther, Jane popped up behind him.
“So that’s what all the research was, hunting down the leak from Omega?” Jane asked, suddenly walking up and watching the two carefully.
Garrus’ heart almost stopped, she hadn’t heard all of it. She didn’t know they were talking about Sidonis, just the traitor in general. He could almost feel the glare from Shepard, who obviously wanted him to come clean with her. But he couldn’t. “Just a lead, a crook who may know a name.”
“Good, I’m coming with.” Before he could argue she raised a hand and continued. “No, they were my team too. I’m coming with, I need to know who could do that.”
With that, she turned on her heel and left toward the mess. Shepard was still glaring, “If you don’t tell her you could ruin all the trust she’s put in you. I don’t think she even trusts me as much anymore. Not after learning about Torfan.” He sighed, “She still loves me as her brother, but it’s you who she respects more I think. Don’t fuck it up over revenge. I know for a fact it’s not worth it.”
Garrus stayed silent, thinking it over. How was he going to make this work and keep Jane happy? It’d be easier if he could convince her not to come. Then it’d be done and put behind them. They could focus on enjoying each other before attempting to destroy the Collectors.
On their way to the Citadel they stopped on Tuchanka. It appeared their full-size baby Krogan wasn’t feeling well and Mordin wanted to find an old student. For a smart salarian he had very runaway/kidnapped prone students and assistants.
The past couple of days had been a strain for Jane and Garrus, she kept trying to get more information from him. While kissing had worked as a distraction in the past, she was determined to not let it do so now.
The night before Tuchunka Jane ambushed Garrus in the Battery again, she came up behind him and started rubbing at his waist. “So Big Guy, when are you going to let me double check that info of yours. I might be able to track down who this Fade is.”
He groaned at the touch and with a few key presses he locked the door and shut the terminal off. Turning he grabbed her around the waist and easily lift her to sit on it. It was the perfect height for her to hook her thighs over his hips and wound her arms around the edge of his cowl. Meanwhile, he pulled his gloves off and was tracing her skin under the shirt while nuzzling at her neck.
She tapped on his armor, “Normandy to Garrus. I asked you a question.” She barely bit back a moan as he nipped her pulse point.
“Come on Jane, I know you're a hacking wiz but I know my stuff. Just leave it.” He started licking his way to her neckline.
But she couldn’t let him keep brushing her queries off, so she pushed his wide shoulders back, “No Garrus. Even on the tough stuff you would run your information by me and hear my input. What’s going on, why are you holding out?”
He growled in frustration as his brow plates came together, “It was my failure as a leader that destroyed us, almost killed you. I need to handle this on myself.”
Jane crossed her arms, “Are you getting back into your protector role? Garrus we work as a team, look after each other's sixes. How can I do that if you won’t trust me.”
He started to pace, he always did when he was excited or upset about something. “I do, but this isn’t your fight Jane and I don’t want you hurt. It’d be best if you just didn’t get involved, why is it so hard for you to follow a simple order without interrogating me.”
Jumping off the console she pushed past him, “A little late since we are headed on a possible suicide mission. Figure it out Vakarian. Do you trust me as your partner and teammate, or am I just another subordinate who only follows orders? Cause you know I am not a soldier and I will never feel like a slave again.” With those harsh words, she stormed toward the lift to go to Johnny’s cabin before Garrus’ long legs could catch up to her. She found Gabby and Kenneth already on it, but one look at her dark face and they quickly got off.
Upstairs she walked into the cabin and locked the door with one of her best programs, one that she hadn’t shown Garrus yet. Maybe he’d get the point not to follow. With a huff of frustration, she slouched on the couch. Johnny had watched as he sorted through his new armor when he was done he grabbed two beers and joined her.
“So, how bad is it?”
She took a deep swallow and thought back, “Bad. I tried to get him to talk more about this Fade and the leak. He refused, he doesn’t want me involved for some reason.” Rubbing at her watery eyes. “I basically told him to treat me like his equal, otherwise it would remind me too much of before.”
Getting up, she felt the need to move. She would love to spar but only Garrus could give her a good workout, and needless to say, that wasn’t an option. “It was a bit of a low blow, but I can’t deal with this if he is expecting me to sit back. If he gave me a specific reason I would listen or try to find another solution. I have had 14 years of no control, I refuse to not have any more control over what I do or not do.”
Johnny nodded. “I understand where you are coming from, even for a military man, I do what I am told but always do it my way. Now I do it to piss the Illusive Man off, to prove I am not one of his assets.” He motioned her to sit back down before he continued. “Garrus is a bit thick headed but he does mean well. And you know how fierce he is for your safety, whether you noticed or not he is like that with his own. Which is why he is a bad turian. In their military, it is normally the foot soldiers that die for their leaders, but Garrus would do the opposite if given the choice. He feels solely responsible for what happened and wants to deal with it. He’ll come around but give him time.”
Jane gave a tired smile, everything he’d said sounded true, but it was still annoying as hell. “After what I said I don't think I can go back tonight. Mind if I crash here?”
“Course, been awhile since we hung out with a couple of beers.” He pulled out a shirt and part of shorts of his for her. “Go get cleaned up and I’ll find what star trek movies EDI has on file”
She barely got any sleep, she had grown used to sharing a bed with the turian, a night with him was always a good night sleep without nightmares. Johnny actually had to wake her from a particularly bad one, an old one from the day one of her friends died. She had refused the advances and orders of a master and was shocked and beaten to death for it. Jane had to spend the rest of the night on the floor which took some convincing to get Johnny to understand there was no way she was taking his bed instead. Giving up on getting any more sleep she got up early to get ready.
Walking into the mess she caught sight of her brother and Garrus discussing something. She was shocked with Johnny pulled back a hand and cuffed the large turian. It didn’t look like it hurt, but he was probably upset that she had such a rough night and was also annoyed with Garrus.
Johnny joined her in getting coffee. “Well, you two like to make my life difficult. Change of plans, Garrus will be coming down to help with Mordin but could you stay here with Grunt? He is getting antsier. When I give the call bring him down and we’ll get him sorted out.”
Jane nodded and left, thinking a morning with an agitated Krogan would be better than on with a moody turian.
Luckily Grunt had not decided to rip everything apart in the shuttle, and when they landed the local guards did not seem concerned by the young tank born. So whatever was going on with him was normal. Mordin opted to return to the ship, he looked upset over whatever they finished doing. Maybe later Jane would visit and see how he was doing. Garrus nodded to her and the Krogan but remained quiet for which she was grateful. They had a job and their personal stuff could be dealt with later.
Meeting Wrex was a hoot, she had heard a lot of stories about the old scarred Krogan. She was glad her brother did not have to kill him, she knew he would have if it meant completing a mission. The krogan gave her a hard look with his red eyes and studied her before turning to Johnny. “You are really letting one of your own mate with a turian Shepard?”
Grunt scoffed but kept quiet, the rest were frozen. Johnny then asked in a deadly tone. “What do you mean Wrex?”
“The red one, Jane, she is your sister no? I found her photo in lockers when I got bored and was looking for credits on the old Normandy.” Gesturing toward her he added, “I can smell Garrus’ scent on her. At least if she had to choose one of those Pajaks she picked him. Only good one I have ever met.”
Jane was dumbfounded, even the ex-cop took longer than one look to put two and two about her identity. She looked to Garrus who was shifting on his feet uncomfortably not making eye contact with her, it made her wonder if the smell was an accident or on purpose. Johnny then relaxed, “She is a grown woman and can choose her own mate as far as I am concerned. But keep her identity to yourself, we don’t want it getting back to Cerberus.”
“You can trust me, Shepard. Now get that youngling to the Shaman.”
Before he could turn Johnny grabbed him and the guards tensed up. “And Wrex, keep your nose out of my personal things? It’ll be better that way.”
The clan leader laughed loudly, “I’ll try, but who knows I may want a good fight one day.”
They moved to the shaman, only to find the other clan representative trying to undermine them. Arguing that Grunt could not be considered a true Krogan and should not be allowed to take the Rite. Finally, Jane had enough. Enough of Garrus, enough of always hiding, enough of this asshole Krogan. So remembering back to one night and a bar fight between krogans she stepped in front of the accusing Krogan, pulled back her head, and slammed her forehead into his.
There was some ringing in her ears, but she made sure to not act like it affected her and grinned as she saw him stumble and shake his head. Probably more surprised than hurt but it got a good chuckle out of the Shaman.
“I like you human. The tank bred can have his Rite. Will you stand as his krant?”
Still chuckling at his sister, the commander agreed and made arrangements.
The ride was long, and it was boiling inside the Tomka, even Garrus had his mouth open trying to vent off some of the heat. When they arrived they were ushered through a large hatch into what appeared to be a post a political looking arena. It really fit in well with what Jane had seen of Tuchanka so far. The voice of the Shaman came over the speakers and recited old passages. They didn’t make much sense to her but they almost sounded poetic which was endearing considering who they were coming from. After he spoke they were almost deafened by a large boom of the keystone, it could be heard and felt for miles. As a pack of varren came at them it started to make more sense.
Wave after wave, more increasingly difficult or larger number of creatures attacked. She started to worry about running out of ammo but soon found extra heatsinks laying in the rubble. She would have to resort digging around the bodies left from failed Rites but she’d wait, for now, she wasn’t looking forward to it. She and Garrus fell into their comfortable rhythm, keeping any stragglers from trying to flank her brother and Grunt. It felt really good to be working together and not fighting, to be able to forget why they were upset.
Final attack came from a Thresher Maw, Jane heard of them but was not prepared for the size of the damn thing. They were quickly running out of available cover as its acid ate through what was there. She heard Garrus cursing as he ran to her, giving up on the melting tower he’d been using as cover.
Reloading he grumbled, “Spirits, I would put up with Shepard’s driving to get a canon on the Mako for this, so much easier to kill them when not on foot.” He reloaded and leaned out for another shot. Next time we are getting Grunt dances at Omega like every other hot blooded male.”
Jane couldn’t help but laugh at him while she took a shot, trying out her anti-armor rounds. She was terrified but having the time of her life, she could see why the Krogan acted the way they did if they had to do this from a young age.
With a final shriek, it fell hard to the earth, dying as the acid leaked from it jaws, corroding everything around it. The group took a moment to take a breath and check for supplies and any injuries. Jane winced as she rubbed a speck of acid from her cheek. It was barely anything but it was enough that she lost a few layers of skin. Without a word Garrus stepped up and rubbed some medigel on it, pausing after to just rub the side of her face. He stared at her intently, mandibles quivering. She gave him a small smile of thanks.
After this battle how could she be mad at something as trivial as information? They could work through it. Hell, this entire mission was dangerous, so why waste precious time?
Before she could say any of this a shuttle came in low and landed nearby. Everyone exchanged looks, the shaman was below them in a tunnel waiting, so who was flying in?
Turned out to be Uvenk, he insultingly suggested that Grunt would be useful. But only as a trophy, not given the same rights as a native krogran. Jane stood tall by his side and was happy Johnny left the choice up to him. She knew he wouldn’t take it, but he needed to be given the right of choice, she of all people knew the importance of it.
After a Maw the krogan representative fell embarrassingly easily. Would every fight not have the same feeling now that she had been through this? It would be sad it that was true, she was still feeling the rush of the adrenaline. They called for the Shaman and made their way back. As Wrex named Grunt one of the Urdnot Jane couldn’t help but feel pride for her friend. He now had a place to call home, a krant, even a battle master. He could start making his own identity and no longer have to rely on Okeer’s voice from the tank.
On board the Normandy it was late and only the skeleton crew saw the team arrive back. Even Miranda was not awake to question Johnny for her report. Jane left her armor in the armory, it would need a deep cleaning and repair. Apparently, she had gotten hit by a lot more acid than she realized. She kept her undersuit on to make sure that no more accidently got on her skin.
Taking the elevator she headed straight for the showers, for a moment she heard the heavy thump of boots from the mess, they sounded slow and uncertain. She wanted to investigate but she needed to get cleaned off. On entering the showers she called out, “EDI, can you lock the door to everyone but Garrus?”
“Given the late hour that shouldn’t be an issue.” The AI’s voice replied.
“And make sure it stays locked after. Thanks, EDI”
“Logging you out Jane.”
Jane turned on the water and stepped into the cool spray with her undersuit still on, hoping to rinse any acid left behind. She didn’t move, just enjoyed it. She could vaguely hear steps come up to the door and the AI’s voice on the other side. When the door opened she didn’t turn to the thump of boots. She just stayed under the water that started to warm up. Who knew on a spaceship instant hot water was still hard to manage.
Eventually, a flanged voice came from behind. “Jane… About yesterday. I’m sorry, I never wanted-”
She turned to Garrus and placed a finger on his mouth plates. “We were upset. Let's forget about it for now. For now, let's get clean.” She pulled him under the spray and reached up on her toes to kiss him.
This time wasn’t like the quick and fun kisses like before. This one was slow and almost searing. As they explored each other's mouths she started reaching for his armors seals, she knew where each one was but she’d never had to take them off while he was still wearing them. She fumbled a couple of times but soon the pieces started falling away.
Garrus was doing his part too, one hand was running through her wet hair while the other started to feel for her zipper. Finding it he started to pull it down, struggling with the small tab. Eventually, he got it down enough that he could reach in and start touching her skin. After getting most of his upper armor off, now which all sat on the floor she stepped away breaking the kiss. Motioning to the rest of the armor she only said, “Off”
She started pulling off the undersuit, which started sticking to her because of the water. But her eyes were on Garrus, who was watching her and the skin she revealed. There was hungry in his eyes, and she could see why turians were considered apex predators. But the look did not scare her, it only lit a fire in her.
He was still in his undersuit but decided she had enough trouble with hers and took it into his own hands. He ripped her’s apart and ducked down to start nipping and licking down her neck and chest. He spent extra time on her hard nipples, the feeling of his rough tongue was sending even more fire to her core. She scratched at his neck, asking for more while blinking the water out of her eyes. The smell of the gun oil and burnt scent of the heatsinks only added more to it.
Garrus knelt in front of her and nipped at her hip hard before ripping the rest of suit and underwear away. As he pulled one leg over his shoulder while pushing her against the cold wall and opened her wide for his viewing. He licked at the red mark from the bite and looked up at her, he still had the damn visor on, but all she could see was the heat in his cobalt blue eyes.
Slowly he leaned forward and took a long slow lick of her sex. After that Jane lost it and couldn’t keep her eyes open, she could only try to stay upright on the sleek wall, hold on to his fringe, and feel him explore her center.
He found her clit and circled it gently, not touching it directly before dipping into her. When he finally moved back to it and she thought she would go mad. But it wasn’t enough, not enough to push her over the edge. Gasping she almost cried, “Please, Garrus.” Not sure what more she needed, nothing have ever felt like this.
A purr rumbled in his chest and she could feel it radiate into her. He placed one of his triad fingers at her entrance and carefully pushed in. That was what she needed and with a sharp cry, she felt herself explode and contract at the same time. Garrus, just kept it up, lapping up all her juices as they came out, letting her ride it out.
He slowed down as her breaths mellowed, lowering her shaking leg and nipped up her body as he stood. When he reached her mouth he delved in and Jane could vaguely taste herself mixed with his naturally spicy taste, it gave her a very heady feeling as she calmed down. She also noticed a very noticeable bulge being pressed into her stomach.
Reaching behind, Jane turned off the water the turian growled. “Bed now.”
Garrus wrapped her in a towel, gathered his armor, and threw her over his shoulder and used his long legs to cover as much ground as possible. They were lucky no one was in the mess, but in all honesty, they probably wouldn’t care.
Reaching the Battery Garrus let the armor fall with a clatter and laid Jane on the cots. As he started working on his suit Jane complained, “Hey, I worked hard on that gear.”
He paused and gave her a look, “It’ll be fine.” And with a growl he finally got it off.
Jane took the sight of him in. He truly was beautiful, his plates seemed like living armor and had the tiniest metallic sheen to them, only broken up by his almost velvet like hide in between. Looking lower she had some idea of what turians were like, but she knew they had many more variances than human males. He was longer than expected, with a wide base that tapered to the tip. Relatively his member was the same as her own species but had a bluish tint and looked like it was already slicked up, the most exciting part was the ridges that ran down the bottom which would add even more sensation.
Looking back up she saw him looking at her nervously, “Are you sure about this?” He asked, sounding strained.
Smiling she removed the towel, “Get down here Bright Eyes.”
And he did, moving to hover above her pressing his mouth plates to her lips, tasting her. His hand reached down, stroking her, making sure she is ready. Moving down between her legs, hooking them over his hips and rested his tip against her entrance. Moaning she shift her hips asking for more. With a groan, he pushed in slowly until he was deep, all the way inside her. Taking a breath he paused, before reaching under her and gripping her shoulders tightly. “Spirits, so soft but tight.”
Jane also had trouble finding her breath, it had been awhile and it stung but she wanted to start moving, it would get better. So smirking she tightened her core and heard him hiss. He got the message and started to pull out until he was almost all the way out before pushing hard back in. As he started an almost brutal pace, she could feel the edge of his pelvic plate rubbing on her clit and she could barely keep control. She buried her face into his neck muffling her cries, they only seemed to drive him on.
Growling Garrus bit down on the point where her shoulder met her neck, not hard enough to break her skin but enough to keep her in place. The feeling of everything, of his pounding, his plates moving against her, and for the second time, she fell apart around him. He continued and as she came back she could hear him muttering to himself, quietly enough that the translator didn’t pick it up. A few moments later he pushed even deeper and she could have imagined before freezing. Jane felt his pulse as something even warmer filled her, and a third but not as strong orgasm rolled over her.
The entire coupling was fast, intense, and amazing. For a long, while both laid there breathing and waiting to come down from their highs. But eventual Garrus lifted himself up, his member already receding back, and readjusted them to a move comfortable position but refusing to let her out of his embrace. As the blackness started to come down, Jane found she was more than happy with that.
Garrus woke to Jane softly snoring and tucked tightly against him. He couldn’t believe what had happened. He knew they had fought and they had yet to truly resolve it but after adrenaline from surviving the Thresher Maw and seeing her in action on the field he couldn’t hold back, . He needed her and after EDI explained Jane’s instructions he knew she needed him too.
For now he let out a rumble of contentment and held onto Jane’s soft form and enjoyed the moment. Soon they would get to the Citadel and he should tell her about Sidonis before they disembarked. Shepard was right he should have told her long ago, but nothing now was going to save the traitor. Garrus just hoped this wouldn’t be the last time he got to hold Jane.
Jane’s seemingly boneless body finally started to move, and Garrus watched as she stretch against him and slowly woke up. She lifted her head looking around and then up to him, then she gave him the sweetest smile he’d ever seen. It almost made him regret his decision to come clean, he wanted to see this face every morning.
“Hey you,” she stated in a sleepy voice.
Garrus flared his mandibles in a smile. “Hey.” He lifted a hand to stroke her hair, the soft and now dry strands fascinating him. “Sleep well?”
“Between the Thresher Maw and your help I think that was the best sleep I’ve ever had.” She leaned up and gently pressed her lips to his mandible. When her tongue darted out to lick at the sensitive underside he couldn’t help but shiver. Before he could retaliate she sat up and started stretching again, showing off her back and the interesting ways it could twist. Groaning but with no time, he got up and they started to dress.
Garrus was looking for his right gauntlet, crouching under the cots and about to ask Jane when the door opened and Shepard walked in.
“I would rather not know what you were doing in the women’s shower Garrus, but please make sure you don’t leave anything behind next time.” He tossed the heavy gauntlet to a flushing Garrus. “Needless to say Kelly was slightly confused until she put two and two together, and she is now ecstatic at the implications. I am still trying not to think of it.”
Jane tried to cover her snigger but failed, earning a glower from her brother, “Yea, all giggles when you're the one blowing off steam. I cannot be saying this about my own damn sister.” He rubbed at his eyes, “Please just keep it private. We’ll be at the Citadel soon. I have to help Thane with something and then I figured we could go after your contact.” With that the commander left the room.
Garrus could almost cut the tension with a talon, Jane was pretending to be busy on her omni tool, trying not to pry for more information and Garrus was scrambling to think of how to explain. Taking a deep breath he turned to the crates she was sitting on.
“Jane, I’m not looking for Fade because he knows the identity of the leak.” Might as well make this quick, maybe he could still salvage the trust between them.
Jane turned off the omni tool, “You already know who it is, don’t you.” It was more of a statement than a question.
Garrus knelt in front of her and took a hand, “Jane, you’ve lost so much. I didn’t want you to hurt anymore over losing the team, but we weren't the only ones to survive the attack. After Sidonis didn’t show up to the job I went back to base. I searched for the bodies. I didn’t find you or Sidonis, I thought maybe you both got buried under rubble. But afterward, when you got me out of there I did some searching. Sidonis never went back to the base, he cleared all his accounts and left Omega right before the attack.”
Jane froze, he could see her trying to process was he said. She let go of his hand, too weak to hold it anymore, “Sidonis betrayed us? Why?”
Garrus trilled his sadness, it relieved him to tell her but he saw that it was breaking her heart. To learn someone she saw as a friend betray her, it made his blood lust for the turian grow. Garrus wrapped his arms around her waist and buried his head in her lap. Automatically her hand came up stroking his fringe, trying to comfort him. “I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. He is a dead man walking, he’ll pay for what he’s done. That is why we’re here. To learn where he fled too.”
Jane stopped the stroking and pushed on Garrus making him sit back and look at her. “But what if there was a reason he did, what if it’s all a misunderstanding? You know him, he left his easy job with Aria to come help me. He wouldn’t do it for money.”
Garrus growled and shook his head, “There is no reason good enough to warrant the deaths of his squad. He should have died instead of betraying us and he will. I’ll understand if you don’t come, Jane, but I will see this through.” With that, he stood and went to check his weapons on the bench. He knew she would be soft toward the traitor, if it wasn’t for the fact Sidonis was always drooling after Melanis, the only female turian, he would have been worried about how close he really was with Jane.
Eventually, he heard Jane stand up from the crate and move to open the door. “You’re too stubborn to listen to me and change your mind, but if you get the chance… Just hear him out, if anything I would like to know before it’s too late to ask. And I’ll be going with, I’ll do my best to follow orders. Sir.” With that last quiet word she left.
Garrus closed his eyes and tried not to flinch, hearing the last part was the roughest. It showed that she appreciated him giving her the full story and that she accepted his lead. He should be happy about it, she wouldn’t give that to just anyone for any old reason. But now it just felt wrong. Taking a breath he turned back to the weapons, losing himself in the pattern of calibrations and cleaning.
Garrus paced outside the C-Sec offices. Shepard had said they could meet him there but he was taking longer than expected. Garrus felt just a little on edge, this was a long shot. The only thing that kept him relatively calm was the sight of Jane leaning on a nearby wall. She was deep in thought and completely ignoring the hustle and bustle around. So unlike the last time they were there. But she was with him and safe, so he could wait a little while longer. He had already used up some of the time questioning Captain Bailey about Fade, something seemed off, this guy was just too good.
A minute later Shepard stepped out and talked with the captain and when finished Thane joined them. Garrus waited and Shepard finally waved Thane off and joined the turian. Garrus took a moment to catch the Commander up on the plan. Out of the corner of his eye he watched as Jane walked over to Thane, the two spoke briefly and Garrus barely held in a growl when Jane laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. A memory of Jane mentioning a drell stripper came forward, but that didn’t help at the moment so Garrus shoved the thought aside. The drell threw a quick glance at Garrus, bowed farewell to Jane and turned toward the dock.
Shepard watched but didn’t comment on it. “Have you told her the whole story?”
“Yes,” Garrus growled staring after Thane.
He nodded and sighed, “Good, I hate lying. And she is here so you must not have fucked up too badly.”
Garrus shrugged his heavily armored shoulders, “We’ll see, this day is far from over.”
Jane caught up and fell into step behind them, much more silent than usual as they made their way to the warehouse.
Entering the room they found a couple of bored Krogen guards but they were clearly not the contact. A moment later a volus stepped out from behind a crate.
Raising an eyebrow, Shepard said, “Fade? You're not what I imagined.”
Through the respirator, he replied coyly. “Looks can be deceiving.” Looking at the trio, “So… Who wants to disappear?”
Garrus spoke up with his usual dry humor, “I’d rather see you make someone reappear.”
“Ah… That is not the service we provide.” He breathed heavily.
Still feeling angry toward the drell and rush to get this done, Garrus pulled out his pistol and asked nicely, “Make an exception. Just this once.”
Panicked the volus turned to his guards, “Damn it. Quick… Shoot them! Shoot them you lumbering mountains.”
Before the Krogens could pull out their shotguns they were gunned down by Shepard and Garrus. Quick kills, targeting they more vulnerable areas, very few on a krogan. Shepard turned the weapon on the volus, “Too slow.”
The volus took in the dead guards behind him and shrugged like it wasn’t the first time, “Why do I even bother.”
Shepard strode up to him and matter of factly stated. “We need to find a client of yours. I suggest you cooperate.”
“Wait… I’m not the one you want to talk to. I’m not Fade.”
Rolling his eyes to Garrus, Shepard said, “I knew it.”
Garrus got down to the volus’ level, they seemed to get nervous near anything sharp. Curse of the suit he guessed. And turians were the definition of sharp looking. “Well, maybe you’d like to tell us where to find him.”
Quickly he spilled. “Yes. Of course. He’s in the factory district, works out of the old pre-fab foundry.”
Garrus nodded, looking over his shoulder to the others, “I know the place.”
Without any encouragement, the contact continued. “Uh… He’s got a lot of mercs there. Blue Suns… Harkin thinks they are protecting him.”
Garrus stood as Shepard continued the questioning. “How the hell did Harkin end up being the Fade?”
“Well… he got fired from C-sec awhile back. He used his knowledge of C-Sec and their systems to help a few people disappear. Then he made himself disappear, and Fade was born. So to speak.”
Garrus was getting impatient, he remembered the sleazy human cop, but only his information mattered right now. “Interesting. But it changes nothing. We still need to find him before we can get to Sidonis.”
Shepard nodded with a small grin, “I’m looking forward to seeing Harkin again.”
“I’m sure he’ll be expecting us. We’ll need to go to the transit station. I can get us to him from there.”
The volus was almost forgotten until he spoke up, “So I… I can go?” He sounded hopeful.
“Sure,” Garrus shrugged, “but if we don’t find Harkin, we’ll be back for you.” Both he and Shepard flashed their guns as a reminder.
“Oh, good.” The short male sounded so downtrodden.
Garrus led them to the nearest sky car, taking the controls before Shepard could insist. Jane, still silent got in the back. The factory area wasn’t too far so they didn’t have to bare through the silence.
Arriving at the doors they spotted Harkin with his mercs, Shepard called out, “There he is.”
The bald man looked at the group in disbelief, “Shepard?” Looking to the mercs, “Don't just stand there… stop them. Stop them!”
Garrus pulled his gun and roared, “Run all you want, Harkin. We’ll find you!”
Then the fight with the mercs and the Mecs started. Luckily the crates provided ample cover and plenty of hidey holes for Jane to sneak up on any hard to reach targets. The rest were mowed down by shotgun or sniper rounds.
They got to one control room and took a moment to regroup and check out the area ahead. Walking up to the window Garrus needed to gather himself. Working with Jane today was different, efficient as ever but the heat wasn’t there. It was like she was a mech herself.
Garrus listened to her wonder the room, hacking terminals out of habit. Shepard came up behind him, “So, Harkin’s finally gone completely bad.”
“He’s always been a pain in the ass. But I’m in no mood for his games. If he won’t cooperate, I’ll beat him within an inch of his life.” The hardness of his dual tone even took him by surprise. He noticed Jane paused her hacking program and glanced at him.
“You seem to be getting tense, Garrus.” Shepard sound concerned.
“Harkin may know why Sidonis wanted to disappear.” Continuing with the deduction, “If so, he knows why we’re here and I don’t want him tipping Sidonis off.” Looking closer out the window, Garrus spotted some movement and quickly ducked out of sight. Looking at the commander. “Did you see that?”
“I saw something.”
“He is getting ready for us.” Garrus looked at Jane, she finished going over the room and crawled under the line of the window toward them.
For the first time on the mission she spoke, “What are you going to do to Harkin if he won’t cooperate?”
Trying to keep a handle on his anger Garrus replied, “He’s a real criminal now. Working for the Blue Suns. I should just shoot him on sight. But I need him alive, so I won’t do any permanent damage. Just enough to loosen his tongue.” Remembering the human, Garrus knew he would talk long before he could really hurt him. May not even need any bullets, but Garrus really wanted a reason to shoot him.
Shepard looked at Jane and the back to Garrus asking. “You still planning to kill Sidonis when we find him?”
“That’s the plan.” Thinking of Jane, having to be part of this, “It’ll be quick and painless. Unlike everyone he betrayed, he’ll be spared the agony of a slow death. It’s more than he deserves, but as long he’s dead, I’ll be satisfied.” The pain was exactly what Garrus wanted for him, but Jane’s better opinion meant more to him.
Jane quietly asked, “Garrus, do you really think killing Sidonis will make things right?”
Garrus sighed, “I know you don’t like it Jane, but I have to do this.”
Shepard looked between them, “Is there no other way?”
Garrus refused to look at either sibling, not wanting to be swayed. “Maybe. But this is personal. I’ll pull the trigger. And I’ll live with the consequences.” He wasn’t going to hide behind a spectre this time. “All I’m asking is that you help me find him.”
Shepard nodded, “Let’s go see what he has for us.”
They ran for cover and fought off the mercs. Nothing new but when two YMIR were dropped Garrus knew this was going to be tricky. They timed their shots and whittled down the shields and armor. One crumpled and a loud whine started. Jane yelled, “Get down!” And Garrus threw himself behind a nearby crate as a deafening bomb sounded and fire filled the area.
He shook his head waiting for his hearing to come back and saw the exploding YMIR had taken out the other. Quickly and quietly they made their way to the control room Harkin was peeking out of. Garrus let Jane and Shepard ahead of him while he went around to the other side.
As expected Harkin got scared and tried to run, straight into the butt of Garrus’ rifle. Putting the weapon away, Garrus caught the crook by the collar and threw him into the wall. The adrenaline was high, and he was angry. Harkin made as good a punching bag as any.
Holding an arm to his throat Garrus quietly asked, “So, Fade.... couldn’t make yourself disappear, huh?”
“Come on, Garrus -- We can work this out. Whaddya need?” The squirming man gasped.
Garrus stepped away. “I’m looking for someone.”
Harkin started to rub his hands together and took a moment to leer in Jane’s direction. “Well, I can't be expected to work for nothing. Don’t suppose…” He glanced at Jane.
Garrus hated the smiling man’s tone and walked quickly back toward him, last minute remembering that human males did not have one benefit of turian physiology. He brought up a knee hard to the man’s crotch and with a scream, he fell to the floor on his hands and knees.
Shephard’s reasonable voice rang out, “We’re not here to ask favors, Harkin.”
Getting back up he gasped, “You don’t say.”
“You helped a friend of mine disappear. I need to find him.” Garrus got to the point.
Sounding like he was gritting his teeth, Harkin said, “I might need a little more information than that.”
Garrus was getting impatient, “His name was Sidonis. Turian, came from--”
“I know who he is, and I’m not telling you squat.”
The Commander held up a hand questioningly, “Is this information really worth all the trouble?”
Harkin shook his head, “I don’t give out client information. It’s bad for business.”
Garrus’ mind shorted out and without thinking he kneed the human again but this time put his heavy boot on the fallen human male’s neck and quietly growled. “You know what else is bad for business? A broken neck.”
Even when he started to agree and begged him to remove the boot, Garrus considered leaving it. He could hack his systems and get the information he wanted… But then a silent Jane came up and laid a hand on his arm. Immediately he let the little man up.
Gasping Harkin sat up, glaring at Garrus, “The Terminus really changed you, huh Garrus.”
“No, but Sidonis… opened my eyes.” In a harder tone, “Now arrange a meeting.”
Harkin did as he was told while talking to who he assumed was Sidonis, Garrus pulled out his pistol. They wouldn’t have time to deal with Harkin. There was a good chance he would try to run. One bullet and he wouldn’t be able too.
Harkin turned toward them, “It’s all good. He wants to meet you in front of Orbital Lounge. Middle of the day. So if our business is done, I’ll be going...”
Before he could turn, Garrus grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him to his face. Harkin flinched expecting another blow, “I don’t think so. You’re a criminal now, Harkin.”
Grasping at straws Harkin asked. “So what… You’re just going to kill me? That’s not your style Garrus.”
Garrus stared at him hard, if Jane wasn’t there he really did wonder, would he have just killed Harkin. Had he changed so much from before Omega, before the betrayal? Pushing him away Garrus aimed for his leg. “Kill you? No. But I don’t mind slowing you down a little.”
Before he could pull the trigger, Jane’s hand flashed out and pushed the weapon up. Her deep green eyes poured into his, pleading, almost scared. “You don’t need to shoot him. He won’t be able to hide from C-Sec now.”
Garrus ripped his arm from her grasp, not sure if he was angry that she stopped him or angry that he almost went too far. “I guess it’s your lucky day.” He muttered at Harkins.
Harkins rubbed sweat off his brow and in a sarcastic tone, “Yea, I hope we can do this again real soon.” Again he was smirking at Jane in a manner the turian didn’t like.
Keeping an eye out for when she turned Garrus quickly launched forward and headbutted the asshole. Feeling smug he watched the man fall to the ground. As he turned to follow he met Jane's glare with a shrug, “I didn’t shoot him.”
Shepard ignored the interaction. “Come on, let’s move.”
As a general statement Garrus added one more threat, “Sidonis better be there, or I’m coming back to finish the job.”
Thank you to my Beta, for catching up so quickly! Chapters may slow a little at first as we work out some stuff, but hopefully, they will be that much better!
Again the sky car was quiet. And Garrus felt like everything was slowing down, he was getting close. Then, this would all be behind him and he could focus on the Collectors and Jane. That’s if Jane still felt the same way, the mere thought of no longer feeling Jane’s warmth and body beside him- he couldn’t bear it.
The car came to a stop and Garrus wasn’t quite ready to step out. He took a moment to look at the layout. Thinking back to the unconscious crook, “Harkin’s a bloody menace. We shouldn’t have just let him go. He deserved to be punished.”
Shepard shrugged it off, “Don’t waste your time on him. Let C-sec deal with him now.”
From the back, Jane confessed, “I’m a getting a little worried about you, Garrus. You were pretty hard on Harkin.”
He turned to look at her, “You don’t think he deserved it?”
She couldn’t meet his eyes and looked outside the car. “It’s just not like you.”
“I did worse before you joined the team.” He remembered the slaver captain that he killed after finding out how he and his crew abused her. “What would you do differently?”
Jane shook her head, “I’m not sure but I wouldn’t let it change me.”
She finally met his gaze, but still seemed to be distance. She had a point, but it was done now, “I would have said the same thing before it happened to us.”
Shepard looked between the two, attempting to make some peace in this situation, “It’s not too late. You don’t have to go through with this.”
Garrus turned his hard gaze on his commander, “Who’s going to bring Sidonis to justice if I don’t? Nobody else knows what he’s done. Nobody else cares.”
Jane sat forward closer to the front seats, “Let me talk to him.”
Garrus leaned back, shutting down from the conversation. “He thinks you're dead, better stay under your cloak if you get near. But I won’t change my mind.” He had to do this. “I don’t care what his reasons were, he screwed us, Jane… he deserves to die.”
Shepard stepped in again, “Do you really need to kill him?”
Garrus growled at his superior officer, “I learned from the best, didn’t I? Why are you questioning it now?” He didn’t have to take this line of interrogation from a man who killed an escaped suspect.
Shepard shrugged, “This isn’t you, Garrus.”
“Really? I’ve always hated injustice. The thought that Sidonis could get away with this…” He almost laughed hysterically. “Why should he go on living while ten good men lie in unmarked graves?” He tried to ignore the reflection of Jane in the window as she flinched. “I’m sorry Shepard… Jane. Words aren’t going to solve this problem.”
Putting an end to the debate, he focused on the situation. “I need to set up.” Looking around he made up his mind, pointing to a catwalk. “I can get a clear shot from over there.”
Shepard nodded, “What do you need me to do?”
Finally, the end was in sight, “Keep him talking and don’t get in my way. I’ll let you know when he’s in my sights. Give me a signal so I know you’re ready, and I’ll take the shot.” Grabbing his gear, “You better go, he’ll be here soon.” Then he heavily, he lifted himself from the car and watched as it flew away trying to not feel a pang of guilt at the hurt look on Jane’s face. He went to get in place and wait for it all to be over.
To everyone else, it looked like Shepard was alone, but Garrus could make out Jane’s outline in his visor. Only her team could see her this way so they didn’t accidentally shoot her on the field. To everyone else, she was an empty piece of air. He decided to check the comm link, “Shepard can you hear me?”
“Loud and clear.”
Looking around he spotted the traitor. “All right. There he is… wave him over and keep him talking.”
Shepard did as he said, he could make out Sidonis over the open link, “Let’s get this over with.”
He was thirty-one meters away, but Shepard was in the way. “You’re in my shot. Move to the side.”
John replied to Sidonis, “This won’t take long at all.”
But as he moved, Jane decloaked and stepped into his place. “Jane, what the hell do you think you’re doing!”
Sidonis sounded shocked over the link, like he’d been gut punched, “Jane, but I thought you were killed!”
“Aria got me out last minute,” she explained quickly.
“Then she got my message?”
“What message?” She shook her head, “Doesn’t matter. Garrus wants you dead.”
Sidonis sounded frightened, “I tried to get a warning out, but the Blue Suns were monitoring me. I couldn’t contact the base. I hoped Aria could help.”
Garrus couldn’t believe she was putting herself in danger for this trash. “Damn it, Jane. If he moves, I’m taking the shot.”
The target started to turn away, almost giving him the shot, “I have to go, I’m sorry.”
But Jane caught his arm and pulled him back so she was still in front of him, blocking the shot. “Don’t move. I’m the only thing between you and a hole in the head.”
He tried to plead, “Look, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t have a choice.”
Garrus didn’t care, it was only an excuse. “Everyone has a choice.”
He started to sound more panicked. “They got to me. Said they’d kill me if I didn’t help. What was I supposed to do? I tried to get a warning out!”
“Let me take the shot, Jane. He’s a damn coward.” Garrus almost shouted in frustration, he would only betray more people. Shepard tried to put a hand on her shoulder but she brushed it off.
“That’s it? You were just trying to save yourself?” She asked harshly.
He walked toward the railing and she followed carefully, still in the line fire. Garrus could feel the rage boiling inside. “I know what I did. I know they died because of me, and I have to live with that.” He suddenly sounded exhausted. “I wake up every night… sick… and sweating. Each of their faces staring at me… accusing me.”
Garrus paused a moment, the fire leaving his veins. It sounded too familiar to some of his nights. At least he was able to wake up and take comfort in the sound of Jane sleeping nearby.
He continued, “I’m already a dead man. I don’t sleep. Food has no taste. Some days I just want it to be over.”
The last remark gave Garrus purpose again, “Just give me the chance.”
Jane turned and looked at him through the scope. How she knew exactly where to look he wasn’t sure. “You’ve got to let it go, Garrus. He’s already paying for his crime. We need to forget this.”
“He hasn’t paid enough,” he snapped. “He still has his life.”
Shepard’s voice came on the comm this time. “Look at him Garrus. He’s not alive… there’s nothing there left to kill.”
“My men, they deserved better,” he seethed, trying not to yell too loudly and draw attention.
Sidonis’ quiet voice came on again, “Tell Garrus… I guess there’s nothing I can say to make it right…”
Then it struck him, there was nothing anyone could do to make this situation right. Either way, the team was dead, but at least he had Jane and it sounded like it was thanks to Sidonis that he did.
Garrus let out a breath and dropped the gun, “Just… go. Tell him to go.”
Jane’s sad voice came over the comm, “He’s giving you a second chance, Sidonis. Don’t waste it.”
Loudly, a shocked Sidonis said, “I’ll try Garrus. I’ll make it up to you, somehow.” In a quieter voice to Jane. “Thank you. For talking to him, it’s more than I deserve. And I am happy he has you. You two make a great team, in and out of battle.” When he left the two humans, Garrus turned for the pickup point.
The car showed up, Garrus blurted out before they had a chance to start, “I know you want to talk about this… But I don’t. Not yet.”
Jane stayed quiet, holding herself. Although, Shepard felt the need to say something, “I know it didn’t go the way you planned, but I think it’s for the best.”
Garrus fidgeted, not looking at either of Shepards. “I’m not so sure.”
Shepard nodded, “Give it time.”
“Yea. Maybe that’ll be enough.” Pausing, he confessed, “I want to know I did the right thing. Not just for me -- for my men. They deserved to be avenged. But when Sidonis was in my sights… I just couldn’t do it.”
Shepard leaned toward him a little. “The lines between good and evil blur when we’re looking at people we know.”
Garrus turned toward Jane, who was still watching, not showing any emotion, “Yeah. There was still good in him… I could see it.” Looking at Jane, he tried to convey that she had been right in questioning him. “It’s so much easier to see the world in black and white.” Looking down, he almost apologetically added, “Gray… I don’t know what to do with gray.”
Jane finally spoke, “You’ve got to go with your instincts.”
Exasperated, he only replied, “My instincts are what got us into this mess.”
Shepard slapped him on the shoulder, “Don’t be too hard on yourself.”
“Thanks, Shepard, Jane. For everything.” Moving toward the car, “Let’s get going, I need some distance from this place.”
Shepard held up a hand, “I have a few more errands to run, better food and what not. I’ll meet you on the ship.” And he left the couple alone.
Today hadn't gone as planned, Garrus had no idea what to do now. He was unsure of where he and Jane stood, nor what she thought of him. He wasn’t prepared for when she threw her arms around his waist and pressed into his chest. His arms wrapped around her and he let out a comforting thrum of subvocals.
After a bit, she wiped her eyes and looked up. “I was worried back there, Big Guy. Never seen you get that angry before. It was a little frightening.”
“To be honest, I kind of scared myself a moment or too. Ashamed to say, but I have done worse before you on Omega.” He looked away, but her hand pulled his chin around and forced him to look into her bright green eyes.
“Enough of that. What matters is now. The rest is in the past and I think it’s time we put some other things to rest. Get in the car.”
Garrus was a little shell shocked to have the bossy Jane back, but he was happy something familiar was happening. His mistake didn’t hit him until his lunch almost came up as she took a corner a little too tight. It hadn’t taken long to figure out that while the siblings looked nothing alike, they must have had the same driving instructor.
She landed on the Presidium and grabbed his hand. Garrus ignored the funny looks, it wasn’t every day you saw a tall armored turnian being drug around by a human female a fraction of his size. She lead him up to a memorial; it was a generic one, meant for all the races and was similar to the Unknown Soldier tombs on Earth. While today it was much easier to identify any of the remains, sometimes there would be one brave soul who died in the service for others whose identity would never be found. Spirits, even Shepard found a few on planets where he searched for Saren and had their remains sent to the memorial.
Walking up, Jane slowed and pulled out an old fashioned paper photo, lifting it she showed him one of the few group pictures they ever got of the team. Some were chatting, others were watching a vid, Ripper was stuffing his face while Erash looked on annoyed that some of the food fell on his container of detonators. In the middle of it all was a smiling Jane and Garrus who had tried to sneak an arm around the back of her seat on the couch. And he thought he was the smooth one.
“I found this during my own searches, Mrs. Butcher had a copy. We’ve dealt with Sidonis, it’s time we finish grieving and move on. There is still more to do. The Collectors. The Reapers.” Laughing she added, “We really need to stop giving them such cool sounding names.”
Walking up to the memorial, she placed the last picture of their team among the other precious photos, letters, flowers. The guards on either side watched her respectfully. Turning she walked back down and took his hand. “They may be in unmarked graves, but they won’t be forgotten, even long after we are gone.”
Garrus looked down in awe of the woman before him. Someone who had been through so much loss and pain, but still be so positive and forgiving. He had a lot to learn from her. If this action was any clue, he hadn’t lost her today. He would make sure to keep her safe and with him for as long as she would have him. Leaning down he head bumped his forehead lightly against hers. “It’s perfect. Thank you, Jane.”
On their way to the other side of the galaxy, they received word from the Illusive Man about a failing Collectors’ ship that was a prime target for information. Jane didn’t like the idea of it, the whole thing made the crew uneasy. How could a turian vessel take out a ship that had the technology to destroy the Normandy SSR1 which was one of the more advanced ships in council space? But they needed information.
Johnny decided on Jane and Garrus, they had worked past their issues and were back in working order. He also wanted Mordin to come along, after his experience developing protection against the swarms, he had the most experience with Collector technology.
Before boarding the shuttle, EDI confirmed that the ship appeared to be dead in space. When the shuttle landed, they got a look inside. It seemed to be almost organic, rough brown stone with metallic pipes and large doors. Nothing like what Jane had seen before.
“I like what they’ve done with the place.” Garrus commented trying to lighten the sense of dread.
The joke seemed to go over Mordin’s head, or he just ignored it completely and said to himself, “Somewhat resembles an insect hive.”
Jane had to agree with the scientist, her father had brought bees to Mindoir to help with the crops, the similar honeycomb shells covered the ceiling.
EDI’s voice came over the comm, “Penetrating scans have detected an access node uplink with Collector Databanks. Marking location in your hardsuit computer.”
Before they had gone too far, the AI’s voice was back “Shepard, I have compared the ship’s EM signature to known Collector Profiles. It is the vessel you encountered on Horizon.”
Turning to the group, Johnny suggested, “Maybe the defense towers softened it for the turians.”
Jane grew excited, “The missing colonists may still be aboard.”
Behind his helmet, Garrus' face was blocked from view, a grave voice emanated from the expressionless visor, , “If they’re still alive.”
They started to find empty pods, the same as the ones left behind on Horizon. Jane got a glimpse of something unsettling ahead through her scope. She hoped she was wrong, but it looked like a pile of bodies.
Garrus commenting about how horrible it would be to be stuck in a pod did not help her uneasiness. Approaching the mound, Mordin spitted out, “Horrible. Despicable.”
Looking past the group, Jane confirmed the pile was indeed dead humans. It was like looking at a jumble of twisted, broken dolls; the bodies just only beginning to ripen. In a few days, it would begin to decay and form sticky quagmire of rotted flesh, bile, and broken bone.
“Why would the Collectors just leave a pile of bodies lying around?” Garrus’ voice seemed to echo in the silence.
In a disappointed tone, Mordin theorized, “Test subjects from control group. Discarded after experiment was over.”
Jane was feeling sick, it reminded her of when they cleaned out the big pens at slave auctions. She had only been to a couple, Anew had her for the majority of the time. This was one sight she hoped to never see again. Johnny’s comments put another twist in her guts, “There are worse things than death -- like being a test subject for twisted aliens.”
“This is wrong. Inhumane. Even if Collectors needed to kill for experiments, could have ended lives painlessly.” The doctor shook his head. Jane tried not to focus on one woman’s face, still twisted in pain and fear.
Garrus’ response of “You’re probably right, but it doesn't make it feel better,” surprised Jane.
“Hell yes he’s right, this is just sick.” Jane spat out.
Continuing on, they found what appeared to be a lab of sorts. She was surprised to find not humans lying on the tables, but instead there was a dead Collector's body spread out on one of the tabletops.
“Why is there a Collector?” Garrus asked from behind her shoulder, “Were they experimenting on their own?”
Johnny called up the ship, “EDI, I’m uploading data from this terminal. See if you can figure out what they were up to.”
It took EDI a couple of moments, gotta love AI’s. “The Collectors were running baseline genetic comparisons their species and humanity.”
“Are they looking for similarities?” he asked, studying the body.
“I have no hypothesis on their motivations. All I have are the preliminary test results. They reveal something remarkable.” She sounded almost excited. “A quad-strand genetic structure, identical to traces collected from ancient ruins. Only one race is known to have this structure: the Protheans.”
Johnny gasped, making the connections before the others. “My god. The Protheans didn’t vanish. They’re just working for the Reapers now.”
EDI interrupted, “These are no longer Protheans, Shepard. Their genes now show extensive genetic rewriting. The Reapers have repurposed them to suit their needs.”
Reapers had been using Protheans as pawns, redesigning them to fit the Reaper's needs. “You think someone would have picked up on this,” Jane pointed out.
“No one has ever had an opportunity to study Collector genetic code in this detail.” EDI explained. “I have already matched two thousand alleles to recorded fragments. This collector likely descended from a Prothean colony in the Styx Theta Cluster. But there are signs of extreme alteration. Three fewer chromosomes. Reduced heterochromatin structure. Elimination of superfluous “junk” sequences.”
“The Reapers didn’t wipe out the Protheans, simply turned them into monsters and enslaved them.” Johnny sounded like he couldn’t believe it. “Still, they’re working for the Reapers now. And we have to stop them.”
Garrus seemed to have read Jane’s mind, “No species should have to suffer through that.”
Johnny cracked his neck, “Let’s find what we need before the Collectors come to salvage this vessel. Move out.”
They continued through the ship and it was deathly quiet and still. Finally, they reached the uplink EDI needed. But then there was a flash of red and all hell broke loose. A bug like VI seemed to appear for a moment. EDI stayed on top of the situation, quickly warning the team of the trap that had been set and sprung. Then the platform they were on jerked to life. Watching through her scope, Jane could see other platforms coming toward them, carrying Collectors and husk like creatures they met before. Jane was able to take out a few before they reached their platform where the rest of the team handled the left overs.
They were able to get back to the ground and had to take a few detours getting back to the shuttle, but the team was extremely lucky a ship if that size took so long to power up. If it was any faster they would have been caught.
Of course, Johnny was not happy to hear about the betrayal of the Illusive Man. Jane made sure to be up in his cabin to check in after the confrontation. Garrus made an attempt to keep her in the Battery but he knew she had to be there for her brother. So she waited in her brother’s cabin while he reported in.
Stomping in, Johnny threw the data pad on his desk. “Good damn Illusive fuck.”
Jane crooked an eyebrow, their fears of it being a known trap were proven correct. “No, really? Don’t hold back, Johnny.”
With a sigh, he sat on the bed. “Why does everyone feel the need to hold back information. I’m a soldier, but how can I complete a mission without knowing everything.”
“Maybe that’s why you have done as well as you have with so little. You do the impossible because you have to think it’s possible. If you knew everything, you wouldn’t take the risk,” Jane offered.
“If I’d had more information, I could already have the IFF in order to get through the relay. If I had been told more about Saren’s base of operations, I would have brought more people and Ash wouldn’t have died. If I had been told more about the supposed estimate of Torfan, the lives of my men wouldn’t have been wasted.” He sighed and rubbed his eyes, “How can I work at my full capacity if I don’t have all the cards?”
Jane got up and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. “You do what you can, and that’s all you have to do. Johnny, the public may know the famous Commander Shepard, but those who care about you know you’re just a man like all the rest.”
“But not everyone gets millions in private funding to bring them back to life,” he grumbled.
Jane had enough, she cuffed him on the back of his head. “Stop moping. You need to focus on the next step, and wishing to change the past does not help. Just focus on the next step, that’s all you can do.”
Johnny looked at her in shock for a second. Then he started laughing, hard, from the bottom of his stomach. Jane couldn’t help but start laughing as well. She fell to her knees and leaned back against the bed.
As they both caught their breath, Johnny wiped at his eyes. “Thanks Janey, I needed that. No one’s yelled at me like that since basic. Reminded me of Gunney Ellison.”
Jane smiled at him, “Who else would help ground you but your perfect little sister? You going to be good tonight?”
“Yeah, I'm done with the pity party," He nodded his head then looked at Jane. "You, sleep then tomorrow we'll go find Tali; I have a feeling you two will hit it off.” He motioned toward the door, “Now, go down to your turian, he doesn’t seem to like to share you with anyone.”
Jane got up and rolled her eyes, “Yea, we may need to discuss that again. He gets too protective. Night.”
“Good night. And thanks.”
I am sorry this has taken so long to get out. Past week as been absolutely insane, but for the next couple weeks the updates will be slow. Thank you to my beta, and thank you all for reading!
Jane stretched, waiting for the ground team to get back from Halestorm. Johnny thought she needed a break and left her behind. Garrus had experience with Geth and knew Tali, Johnny also decided to take Massini, a heavy hitter who wasn’t surprised by much. She had already finished her duties in the armory, now she was down in the hold trying to burn off some of her worry. After being on so many missions, it was hard to get left behind.
Taking a breath, she stepped up to the punching bag and started going through her routine of punches and kicks. She had started rotating around the bag, adding some foot work when she spotted someone standing at the edge of the mat. Stopping, she turned to face him fully. “Thane, do you need something?”
“No. I came down to do some training but was drawn away by your routine. I have only seen you spar with Officer Vakarian.” He stood straight, hands behind his back. Jane respected Thane; after years of simply following orders and placing his family second, he was now working to change that. It was tragic that it took the death of his wife to turn his mastery of death from paid work to hunting those responsible; but at least with the help of Johnny, Thane was able to prevent his son from following the same path.
“I’ve been trained by humans and asari while on Omega. Garrus took over the training awhile back, he was the expert hand to hand specialist we had at the time.” She grabbed a water taking a break.
“Interesting mix, I am surprised how well you hold up against him. If you’d like, I could be your sparring partner, maybe show you some new techniques,” he suggested.
Jane shrugged, “Sure, why not.” It would help pass time, and maybe give her more of an edge against Garrus. Lately, he seemed more comfortable in using his size to wrestle her down to the mat. She tossed the bottle aside and motioned Thane to join.
The drell removed his coat, laying it on a crate and stood across from her. He was shorter than Jane’s usual partner, but she could see his muscles ripple under his scaled skin. Thane stood across from her but slowly began to move around her. Jane held herself loosely and watched as he started to circle. When he was ready, he lunged toward her with incredible speed.
Jane was taken by surprise but was able to stave him off, even if barely. She was able to catch every punch and kick before it landed, managing throw a few of her own. Usually, she was the fast one; but it was different now, which meant Jane would have to come up with a different plan. After reeling from a kick to the shoulder Jane smiled, this is what she needed to distract herself from what was happening on the surface.
Garrus tried to give Tali a comforting smile as their shuttle flew back to the Normandy. The shock of so many dying to protect her was hitting hard, but hopefully whatever information they were after was worth it. He tried not to wince from moving his mandible. Unfortunately, the radiation from the rapidly dying sun was stronger than even Palaven’s. He had made the mistake of leaving his bandage off that today; and when the sun’s rays shredded through his shields, it burned the newly healing hide. Garrus didn’t want to make a fuss over it, but Jane would probably get upset when she found out. Every morning she had taken it upon herself to change the dressing and apply fresh oils to help the healing plates.
As they left the shuttle, the ground team saw the hold was full of a few more of the crew than normal. Looking around, they saw why.
Jane was sparring against the assassin, the sweat soaking her shirt causing it to stick to her skin was a clear indication that they had been going at it hard for quite awhile. At first, Garrus felt a surge of protective instinct and jealousy, normally Jane only spared with him or the commander occasionally. She had improved greatly and he was immensely proud of her, but seeing the drell attacking Jane brought out a fierce urge to protect her.
She managed to break one of Thane’s holds then fiercely threw back her elbow flew back, smashing into his face. Garrus gave a rumble of approval. “That’s my Red,” his voice a bare whisper, he knew firsthand that Jane was not afraid to get vicious if backed into a corner.
“Keelah Se’lai, who are they?” Tali asked in awe.
“Those are two of your fellow teammates. The drell is an assassin and the redhead is a vigilante, Garrus’ partner from Omega,” The commander had a sound of approval in his voice. Garrus knew hiding her identity from even friends was rough, but it was for the best.
“Vigilante, Garrus? You have quite a story,” the quarian turned to look at him.
“Fighting bad guys, training bartenders to fight, rockets to the face. Not much to tell,” Garrus joked.
“Oh, you bosh’tet, you’re going to have to give more details than that,” she cursed.
Turning back to the mats, they saw Thane finally had her pinned and Garrus felt his hands clench shut, talons digging into his palms. Thoughts of grabbing Thane and beating the shit out of him came to flashed through Garrus’ mind, but he restrained himself from charing forward. Jane gave the signal to yield and was laughing as he helped her up.
“Thanks, Thane. We’ll have to work more on some of those throws, but I think I’m done for today.”
Thane took a step back and bowed slightly, which she returned. “The pleasure was mine, Shi’hah. It is rare to find someone with such natural ability. You have only been training for a short while?”
She nodded, “Yes, hard labor and a little dancing before that.”
“Many memories and experiences, interesting. Let me know when you wish to continue,” as he turned to go, Garrus didn’t take his eyes off him. Now Thane had nicknames for Jane, what did it even mean?
The crowd started to disperse, Garrus overheard the passing chatter of Kasumi and another female complementing the looks of the drell. A low grumble emanated from his chest as the memory of Jane mentioning a certain strip teas at a surprise birthday party surfaced to the forefront of his mind. Jane was taking a drink of water when she caught sight of the group and ran over.
She wrapped an arm around Garrus’ waist, “You must be Tali, I’m Jane. I’ve heard a lot about you. It’ll be nice to be able to talk about tech that isn’t related to guns and how big they are.”
“Oh, well, nice to meet you, Jane.” Tali looked between Garrus and Jane, obviously not prepared for the display of affection. Garrus was not open about his private life; Turians kept their personal affairs to themselves and maintained the public image of being a dutiful soldier. However, quite the opposite to Turians, humans seemed to be open about their private lives and public displays of affection were common, and very physical compared to Turian standards. With Jane's arm casually slung around his waist, he fidgeted with embarrassment while avoiding meeting anyone's eyes- no matter how endearing he found it to be. Garrus was almost absolutely certain Jane was unaware of how erotic this position was for turians. Even the Cerberus crew stopped being squeamish about these exchanges; of course, the glares from Jane helped. Spirits, she could be scary.
“Well, let’s go get you debriefed, Tali,” Shepard then looked pointedly at Garrus. “And make sure you get that burn checked out, Garrus,” he added loudly.
Jane’s green gaze whipped up to his face and Garrus tried to look confused and innocent.
“What burn?” She asked in a no nonsense voice.
“Oh, nothing. Just a little tanner now, too much sun. Let’s go get you washed up…” He started rubbing her side suggestively and pulled Jane toward the elevator.
But she wiggled free, “Uh-huh mister, you're going up to see Chakwas right now. God, you can be such a baby about the med bay.”
Garrus did his best impression of rolling his eyes, another human expression he liked. “I have had enough time in the med bay for a lifetime… Plus there are more interesting things we can do, like getting the smell of Thane off of you.” As they got on the elevator, he leaned in to nip the side of her neck.
“The smell of what?” She shook her head, pushing him off, “Never mind, we’ll get back to that after we get you checked out.”
Garrus grumbled and leaned on the wall, today just kept getting better and better. All he wanted to do was drag Jane back to bed and remind her of why she wanted him; only to be forced to the medbay yet again all the while Jane stank with the assassin’s scent. Garrus figured Thane hadn’t meant to leave it on her, it was hard not to be in close proximity with your sparring partner, but he couldn’t help but feel jealous. Garrus knew he was falling for Jane hard, maybe even to the point of bonding. But until they attempted to bond, those feelings of jealousy would only intensify. He had never heard of a turian fully bonding with a human, much less if it was even possible; but now wasn’t the time to be worrying about that.
Dr. Chakwas confirmed it was only a minor burn and gave Garrus some specialized gel for it. However, the bandage would have to go back on. When he was released, Garrus found that Jane was already in the showers, which other female members were probably also there. EDI mentioned that she was ordered to notify Shepard if such an unusual event were to happen again. As much as Garrus respected the man, he was still terrified of Shepard changing his mind about the tradition of a brother beating up any friend who slept with his sister.
After cleaning and stowing his gear, Garrus went in search of his old friend Tali. On the crew deck, he was drawn to the sounds of laughter. Loping towards Port Observation, he found that Kasumi was gone but Tali and Shepard were still sitting at the bar while Jane took her customary position behind it. Garrus had flashbacks to when he first got to really know Jane as more than the blood covered hellcat he first laid eyes on.
“So, what would I have to do to get a discount at this fine establishment?” He called making sure to add a little swagger to his step.
Jane flashed a smile, “Sorry, Bright Eyes, you’re not pretty enough for a discount. The usual?”
He nodded and sat down. “So what lies has she been telling you Tali?”
“Oh, there was a time you were chasing down an Eclipse transport and got sick out the window,” both women burst out laughing.
Shepard smirked, “I didn’t know turians could get motion sickness. Or were you just hung over?”
Garrus shook his head and leaned around Shepard to get a clear view of Tali, “You remember how bad of a driver Shepard was in the Mako?” Tali shivered and nodded, he pointed a finger at Jane, “She is worse. Of course, Jane didn’t tell me until after that she never had any sort of driving instruction before.”
“Keh’lah, now I just feel sorry for you.” Tali gasped dramatically.
Jane put a blue Palaven whiskey in front of him and he took a long comforting swig. “Finally someone who understands,” he sighed.
“Come on, I wasn’t that bad in the Mako!” Shepard complained.
“You tried to go nose first over a mountain! Half the time it needed repairs was because of you, not the geth or the thresher maw acid,” Garrus snapped back.
Shepard shook his head and took a sip of beer. Looking at Jane, Shepard asked, “Got your anti-surveillance program up?”
She nodded, “Volus two-step this week.”
Tali looked around confused, “Volus what?”
Shepard held up a hand, “Jane has a weird sense of humor. Just hope that you don’t end up on the butt end of one of her jokes.” Looking between the group's members, “Now that we are all caught up as to why we are here, there was something that I left out, Tali. Something that you could probably help with.”
“Anything, Shepard,” her tone was much more serious.
“First off, you heard about the attack on my home colony, Mindoir, that killed my family, right?” She nodded, “I didn’t know at the time, but my sister was captured by slavers during the onslaught. Jump forward fourteen years, Garrus arrives on Omega and happens to find her, then helps her escape from a life of slavery.”
Tali’s eyes grew large and she looked at Jane, “You’re…?”
Jane nodded, “Yeah, but we can’t let word get back to the Illusive Man.”
“Which is why we need your computer skills, Tali. Jane is good, but we could always use another pair of hands plugging the holes.” Shepard turned to fully face her, “Will you help?”
Tali looked around, “In the Foltilla, we only have family, so I can understand doing anything to protect them. Yes, I will help.”
They shared a few more drinks while discussing possible plans and what records Tali and Jane would still need to find and change. Eventually, the group split up for the night before Kasumi could come back; when asked where the thief was, Jane admitted that she may or may not be watching Jacob’s after dinner workout.
Getting to the battery, Garrus pulled a giggly Jane onto the crates and started nipping at her jaw and neckline while tugging at her clothes. “Hold on there Big Guy, you never explained the whole smell thing from earlier. Wrex mentioned something about that too.”
He groaned into her hair, with the pressure against his plates, he really wanted to be doing something else. “Doesn’t matter now, you took a shower.”
“Uh-huh,” Jane shoved him back and stood up before he could start working on her clothing, crossing her arms over her chest. “Explain, now. I can’t always hear your sub vocals so I miss some signals that you think are obvious.”
Garrus scratched at his fringe, how should he start? “Well, you know turians have a better sense of smell. Earlier, I could smell Thane’s scent on you, and my people sometimes see that as an attempt to make a claim.”
Jane cocked her hip defiantly, “But we were sweating, I’m sure he smelled like me, too.”
Garrus growled, “I know but I would rather focus on putting my scent on you right now.”
She raised a coy eyebrow at him, “Your scent?”
Garrus felt like kicking himself, it was awkward to explain something so natural to him. Part of Garrus hoped he could get by without having to tell Jane; in Turian culture, it was considered normal for couples to share scents as their relationship progressed. It was a signal to others that they were not available for more casual trysts. “Aah, just part of the territory being a turian, it shows others one has placed a claim on you.”
She leaned forward and whispered into his ear canal, “Now, was that so hard? Go sit on the bed.”
Garrus could only growl as he grabbed her thighs harder.
“I’ll make it worth it, I promise,” she added. He pulled himself together and moved to sit on the edge of the cots.
Giving Garrus a lopsided smile, Jane pulled up her omni tool and selected something. The heavy beats of Bang Bang Boom filter through the speakers EDI normally used. Memories of the last time she played this came to mind and Garrus could feel his plates began to loosen more.
Jane started dancing in a very familiar way, but this time it was more erotic. Garrus’ eyes fixed on her swaying waist and sat back a little, thoroughly enjoying himself. This time he could watch Jane without thinking about anyone else’s eyes taking in the sensual movements of her body. This time, however, she started to remove her clothing, painfully slow. With each piece of clothing that was slipped off her body to expose the delicate skin beneath, his craving to caress her ached throughout his body. However, Jane still managed to stay out of arm’s reach
Garrus’ chest rumbled in frustration as Jane was left only in a sheer pair of blue underwear and the song came to an end. By this point, his cock had fully emerged and was pulsing against his pants. She came within reach but she pushed his hands back to the cot and knelt between his knees, “Just sit back and enjoy.”
Jane pulled his pants down, finally releasing him. Garrus hissed, keeping eye contact with Jane as she gave his member along so lick before taking his tip in her mouth. He had seen such things in the vids but turians couldn’t do this, he never thought to ask Jane for anything like this.
At first, she alternated between swirling her tongue up and down his length, and suck only on the tip while a hand would trace along his ridges. Garrus’ hand dove into her hair holding the soft strands gently, following her movements and trying not to get too dizzy from this new sensation.
Garrus lost track of time, his breath grew ragged as Jane took more and more of his length into her hot mouth. He didn’t think she could do it, but eventually, his whole cock was in her mouth, the tip in her throat where he felt it grasp and vibrate with a hum. Quickly, and gently as possible, he pulled her off, his breathing irregular and heavy, “Sorry, just too much… Too soon…”
As Jane smiled, her eyes seemed to smolder. She stood up, removing that last of her clothing while he tore off his shirt. She crawled into his lap and hovered over him, kissing and licking his neck. Garrus groaned and wrapped his hands tightly around her waist, fingers almost touching. He didn’t try to move her, he was focused on maintaining some sense of self-control.
Leisurely, as though tantalizing Garrus, Jane lined herself up and sunk down onto his cock. Stretching tightly around him, she came to a rest flush against his pelvis. Both were breathing hard, staring into each other eyes; Garrus pulled her his mouth to kiss her. Soon she began to move, and while he tried to control the pace, Jane ignored his pulling hands and seemed determined to do it her way. With every upward slide, she would clamp down on him and twist her hips, causing the direction and depth of penetration to change.
All too soon, Jane’s hips arched forward into Garrus’ front as she leaned back with her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him forward into her chest. Garrus felt a hot, wet tongue flick along the seams of his fringe, grazing the hypersensitive hide. Finally, all remaining self-control shattered. Lifting her off him, he flipped Jane onto her knees, bent her over and entered swiftly from behind. She cried out, twisting the sheets tightly between her fingers. Garrus set up an almost punishing pace that had her moaning incoherently, unable to form words.
Looking down at Jane, Garrus found himself mesmerized by the bounce of her ass. He knew that was one of her strongest muscles, but now it seemed so soft and supple. Getting an idea from one of those vids, he pulled back a hand and lightly slapped a cheek. Jane gasped and her core gripped him hard for a moment. Hissing from the change in pressure, he smiled darkly, he let a few more hits land with similar, tighter outcomes. The ass cheek turned a lovely shade of pink and felt warm as he gently smoothed a palm over it.
Getting close, he reached down, circling a finger gently around her clit, before releasing his seed into her spasming body.
Garrus caught himself as he fell forward, careful not to crush her. He moved Jane to the side and held her from behind, his softening member still inside her, enjoying the aftershocks.
She slowly came back to the world of the living and laughed hoarsely, “Strip dances and blow jobs, both things to add to the list of things you like.”
Garrus purred and nuzzled her ear. “Spirits yes, but you really have to stop using music from my favorite playlist.”
Jane wiggled her ass against Garrus, as he withdrew back inside his protective plates. “And why is that?’
Garrus continued stroking her damp skin as sleep slowly overtook him, “It’s making the firefights uncomfortable and distracting. I don’t want to associate that delicious dance with taking down husks with head shots.”
She giggled again before falling asleep in his arms. Spirits, he was falling hard.
Thank you again for your patience, I am not sure how quickly I'll get these out but I shall try. Things should pick up in a couple of weeks. And thank you to my Beta, especially since I keep seeming to break them with terrible jokes... I cannot resist.
Jane couldn’t help the feeling of dread that turned her breakfast to ash. Again, they were planning on raiding a supposedly dead reaper. This time they had been assured that it wasn’t a trap, there had even been a team of Cerberus scientists studying it.
The Normandy was being buffeted so hard by the planet's winds that she had to grab onto a support strut to remain standing. Looking into the cockpit, she saw Johnny hanging on to the back of Joker’s leather seat.
Then it stopped, the normal hum of the ship’s engine returned. Carefully, Jane let her tense muscles loosen as she listened to Joker’s reports. They had crossed into the ship's own mass effect field, so large that it affected the Normandy from several hundred kilometers away. But that wasn’t the only odd thing, the science team wasn’t answering any of their hails. This mission only got better and better.
When the decontamination door opened, the team was greeted by silence. This section of the ship consisted of the Cerberus lab, prefabricated walls and floors, windows showing the interior of the dead reaper. They were performing some sort of autopsy of it but in reverse, from the inside out. It made Jane shiver shifting through the scientists’ abandoned work, finding some odd logs but nothing about where they were now.
Garrus tried to lighten the mood, “Exploring an abandoned area. Expecting some mechanical nasty to jump out at any moment. Just like old times.” As inappropriate as it was, he managed to get Jane and Johnny to relax for a moment.
Giving up on the search, the team moved to the farthest set of doors, the only thing separating them from the reaper itself. The IFF was most likely deep in the ship, but there was no real way of knowing what else they would find. After clearing the door, the whole place shuddered and an energy field came up, cutting them off from the only way out.
Before anyone could make a comment, Joker could be heard over the comm, “Normandy to shore party.”
“What just happened?” Johnny demanded in a flat voice, it was the commander voice that kept everyone calm.
The pilot must have been watching their progress closely, he didn’t take long to give Johnny a reason. “The reaper put up kinetic barriers. I don’t think we can get through from our side.”
“So we’re trapped. Wonderful,” Garrus commented as he looked between the two exasperated. Since joining the Normandy, it seemed to Jane like every mission went off the track.
Johnny grimaced, but stayed on task, “We’ll have to take down the barrier generators from in here. Any idea where they are?”
This time, EDI came on the comm, “At the moment of activation, I detected a heat spike in what is most likely the mass effect core. Sending the coordinates now.” A minor note of warning in her calm voice, she added. “Be advised, this core is what is maintaining the reapers altitude.”
So in a way, this was a trap, Jane thought to herself. Out loud she confirmed EDI’s warning, “So when we take the barriers down to escape, this wreck falls into the planet core.”
“Yeah, and that means everyone dies.” Joker snapped, “Yeah, got it.”
Johnny must have caught on to the worry from the two who were normally at odds with each other. “We’ll sweep for survivors and research data. Then we’ll knock this ugly piece of crap out of the sky. Be ready to pick us up. Being crushed in the heart of a brown dwarf is not on today’s agenda, ” John used his natural assertive tone along with a joke. In a way, he was showing that even with the surprise, they still had a job.
“Aye, aye. Good hunting.” Joker replied in a quiet voice.
Jane wasn’t new to working on the fly, but this whole place made her skin crawl. On top of the overall oppressive weight of the ship, they came across more logs. Each showing a little more of what happened; how the scientists were all changed and manipulated beyond even knowing if the memory was truly theirs or not.
The trio froze after one log finished, instead of silence there was a dry, guttural howl. Looking around, Jane’s eyes focused on movement from the grate below. Blue luminescent eyes locked onto her as a figure crawled to the edge of the platform.
“Crap,” Johnny muttered, “Husks, get back!”
The Normandy group pushed for higher ground before turning on the following wave of once human attackers. Jane focused on pushing them back with her pistol, while Garrus relied on his assault rifle due to the tight space. Johnny showed his true talent with a shotgun, often severing the husks in half with one powerful blast.
But the husks kept coming, soon they would be out of ammo. Jane did miss one shot and clipped a cargo crate. Copying her brother’s commanding voice, she called out, “Everyone, get behind cover!”
Garrus kept quiet and did so while waiting for Johnny to get clear, she pointed to the crate in question. The turian smiled and nodded, he got the idea and once Johnny crouched with them, Garrus growled, “Light them up!” Jane sent out an incendiary attack and leaped behind cover, they could feel the heat and physical push as the area was destroyed.
Looking over her cover, Jane was happy to see, except for some flesh and burnt spots, all the husks were gone.
Gingerly, the team picked their way through the wreckage. Garrus spoke, “I wonder if the technology for making husks came from the geth or from Saren.”
Johnny didn’t reply, too focused on going through logs. Jane looked around, from what she knew from the hunt of Saren, there were a lot of assumptions. It wouldn’t be world shattering if this turned out to be another. Walking a little ahead, she almost jumped out of her armor as two more husks slid around the corner. Before Jane could react, there was the barest flash of a projectile and one by one the geth fell.
Garrus ran up behind her and pulled her away from the open hall, and yelled, “Sniper!” He brought out his own, using the scope to scan the area, “I couldn’t see the shooter. Survivor from the science team?”
Jane joined the search, but nothing came up, “Whoever it was is gone.” She did find one more log, confirming the team’s fear of indoctrination. Even dead, reapers were designed to warp the minds of organics. One line gave her chills, putting into perspective what they were facing. Even a dead god can dream.
The team barely caught their breath before more husks came. Some of which were even more deformed. So top heavy they had trouble moving, but powerful enough attacks to send any of them flying.
Once the area was cleared, Jane and Garrus followed Johnny over to the railing. In front was prominently displayed tech that didn’t quite match the surrounding area with bodies of other husks, no longer functioning, strung up like some sort of sick art feature.
“We’ve seen these before, Shepard.” Garrus commented before explaining to Jane, “Dragon’s teeth your people called them. The geth used them on Eden Prime.”
“See how the room is arranged?” Jane asked, “They treated this thing like some kind of altar.”
Garrus nodded, agreeing, “It does look like that. Why would they want this to happen?”
Johnny turned away from the grisly scene, “You heard the logs. They were seeing things, hearing things. They were being indoctrinated. We can’t help these people now, but we won’t let the machines use their bodies.” He led them backward to the only other door which probably led farther into the beast of the belly.
Jane quickly stepped forward to work her magic, even for Cerberus, the lock was too simple. But then again, it didn’t stop the scientists from being affected.
“Gone five days without a workplace death.” Jane would have sniggered at the automated voice, but then it hit her. Everyone on board had been dead for five days, she was having to kill the dead. Was one death not enough?
Stepping out into the next chamber, everything seemed a little too still. Johnny broke off, seeming to search for something high up in the rafters. Two husks ran out from behind a wall and were almost within arm’s reach of him, but before any of the team could react, they fell. Looking closely Jane saw a large hole left from a sniper round. Looking around, their eyes settled on a solitary geth. Though it appeared to be damaged, a chunk of armor similar to Johnny’s was strapped to one shoulder.
Jane raised a weapon and waited. And waited. The geth did nothing to protect itself. Finally, in a gravelly robotic voice, they heard it call out, “Shepard, Commander.” Then it left before the team could do anything.
Garrus cocked his head, “A sniper with the geth.” His voice was full of confusion, “Since when do geth talk to organics?”
Johnny shook his head, pulling up his shotgun, “Can’t deal with it now. Just have to deal with M.E. core.”
“Then we get off the ship, fast.” Garrus agreed loudly.
They managed to make their way to another barrier, similar to the one separating them from Normandy. Through the light, Jane was able to make out the silhouette of the geth from earlier, though this time it was surrounded by husks while it worked on a terminal. It was able to get off some shots with a pistol but fell under the group as the barrier was brought down.
As soon as the team stepped in, all the glowing husk eyes turned on them. Not wanting to risk wasting time on a terminal, Johnny gave the order to fire upon the core whenever possible. Several dozen husks later, and with a large boom, the core grew dark with a buzzing whine. And like that, the whole ship was shaking even worse than Normandy when entering the gas giant.
Looking over at the crumpled mass of wires and plating, Jane called out to the men’s retreating backs. “We should bring this one.”
Garrus turned, his mandibles fluttering in surprise, “Leave it, we already have enough trouble.”
There was a shudder, and even more husks stumbled, trying to get on the platform and continue the assault.
Johnny seemed to think it over, tilting his head, he commented, “Tali said no one’s ever captured a geth intact.”
Looking between the two, Garrus shrugged, “You know the risk, that’s all I’m gonna say.”
Jane reached down to grab part of the AI, and Johnny joined taking the other side, looking quizzically at the out of place N7 armor the Geth had welded to its chest. He called out, “There is no time for a debate. Move out.”
As heavy as it was, the team was able to shuffle quickly to the new pick up point. Already the place was falling apart and they were basically planning on jumping through a hole in the wall. Garrus covered them. Jane and John pushed the geth out of the artificial gravity, watching it float toward the open door before all three jumped after it.
Garrus reached out to steady Jane, and Johnny yelled out the command, “We’re clear. Go!”
Jane’s shoulders tensed, feeling like she was a kid again, getting caught taking her father's omni tool apart. Although this time she hadn’t taken an advanced piece of tech apart. After working with EDI, Jane had a new sense of respect for AI and believed they deserved the same rights as organics. So, for now, she made do with a visual exam of the deactivated geth being held safely in EDI’s server room.
Turning, she gave her brother’s exasperated look a smile. He and the old Normandy got to see the geth in their battles. This was a first for Jane, and it shouldn’t have been a surprise to find her here. “Johnny, please tell me we get to activate it?”
Johnny nodded, “I have a lot of questions for it. Why does it have my armor, why did it know my name…” He looked tense, from what Jane had seen, Johnny did not like surprises. He turned to the guards, “Be ready, I’m going to wake this thing up.”
“Aye-Aye”, they chimed in unison.
A barrier sparked to life around the table the geth was lying on, and EDI’s voice filled the room, “I have isolated our systems and erected additional firewalls. I am prepared to resist any hacking attempts.”
Jane nodded, the two of them had gone over all possible scenarios, preparing just in case. EDI had found it to be an interesting exercise to be challenged another AI and not just standard viruses and programming.
Johnny nodded for Jane to begin, raising her omni tool, she sent the first command. She had to bring up emergency power, if they did a cold start it was possible to fry the delicate wiring or it would go into destruction mode like the geth normally did when captured.
There was a zap as power returned. Waiting a moment, Jane fed it the next boot up command. Every servo came alive, running through some sort of diagnostic. Then the geth grew still, its single head light came on and it looked around the room. When the geth saw the siblings it quickly lifted itself off the table and stood in front of them.
And it remained there, unmoving. Johnny took the incentive, “Can you understand me?”
“Yes,” It replied with a mechanical and gravely voice.
“Are you going to attack me?” Johnny asked, eyeing the geth carefully.
Relaxing a hair, he continued, “You said my name aboard the Reaper. Have we met?”
“We know of you.” Jane crooked an eyebrow, while it could talk, the geth did seem to have a limited understanding of explaining itself clearly.
Exasperatedly, Johnny clarified, “You mean I’ve fought a lot of geth.”
“We have never met.” Jane sighed, this was going to take awhile.
“No, you and I haven’t. But I’ve met other geth.” Surprisingly, Johnny was maintaining some sense of patience but did begin to pace along the edge of the field.
“We are all geth, and we have not met you.” The geth started to walk alongside him, “You are Shepard, Commander, Alliance, Human. Fought heretics. Killed by Collectors, rediscovered on the Old Machine”
“Old Machine. You mean the Reaper?” Jane asked.
Now it turned its head light to her, “Reaper. Superstitious title originating with the Protheans. We call those entities the Old Machines,” the geth explained.
Crossing his arms, Johnny got back its attention. “You seem to know an official lot about me.”
“Extranet data sources. Insecure broadcasts. All organic data sent out is received. We watch you.” It reminded Jane of old sci-fi vids, the stars listening to all of old Earth’s broadcasts.
“You watch me or you watch organics?” There was a hard edge to Johnny’s voice.
It was like speaking to an old text based game, “What did you mean heretics?” Jane asked.
“Geth build our own future. The heretics asked the Old Machine to give them the future. They are no longer part of us.” There were factions in the geth Jane asked herself. Before she could ask, the geth continued, “We studied Old Machine’s hardware to protect our future.”
With a note of surprise, Johnny asked, “Are the reapers a threat to you, too?”
“Why would they attack other machines?” Jane asked, confused. The reapers sounded like they wanted only advanced organic life destroyed.
“We are different from them. Outside their plans.” She guessed that was true, nothing about the mass relays or other reaper tech left behind hinted at them wanting civilizations creating AI.
“What future are the geth building?” Jane asked until now the rest of the galaxy assumed the geth only wanted to destroy the Quarians.
Johnny fell into a defensive stance. “Will anyone else be affected by whatever it is you’re doing?”
“If they involve themselves, they will.” God, Jane was getting tired of the simple conclusions. Although, it did seem like the Geth liked using logic as the only source of decision making. Maybe it could be that simple after all the Geth were AI, beings that couldn’t fabricate emotions the same way organics could.
“So, you aren’t allied with the Reapers?” Johnny asked, stepping forward.
The geth continued mimicking his movements and took a step forward as well. “We oppose the heretics. We oppose the Old Machines” It continued with the flow of logic. “Shepard Commander opposes the Old Machines. Shepard Commander opposes the Heretics. Cooperation furthers mutual goals.”
“Are you asking to join us?” Jane asked, shocked.
“Yes,” It replied, raising little flaps around its eye like an open and trusting expression.
Johnny used his omni tool to bring down the shield, as a sign of trust, “Then, what should we call you?”
“I mean you, specifically,” He clarified.
“We are all geth,” the geth replied as if it was a stupid question.
Time to get more specific, “What is the individual in front of me called?” Jane asked.
“There is not individual. We are all geth. There are currently 1,183 active within this platform,” it explained. So many? They were created extremely different than EDI.
The ship’s AI joined, and quoted, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
“That seems appropriate,” Jane remarked with a smile.
“Christian bible. Book of Mark, chapter five, verse nine. We acknowledge this as an appropriate metaphor,” Legion agreed. “We are Legion, a terminal of the geth. We will integrate into Normandy.”
Johnny stuck out his hand to agree on the recruitment, Legion followed the motion but its hand hung in the air, unsure of the motion. Grasping it firmly, Johnny demonstrated the traditional physical representation of the agreement.
Jane spent days in EDI’s servers, making up reasons to be there. In reality, she wanted to observe the geth that made everyone uneasy and angered Tali. Though no one could blame her, activate geth were the reason her father was dead and why she had almost been branded a traitor by her people.
For something that wasn’t supposed to have emotions, Legion had some surprises. Besides studying the Normandy and its crew, Legion worked on its body communication. Standing, walking, speaking with its hands. When she caught Legion dancing she almost lost her shit, but the AI must have felt it important to learn to better communicate with its team.
It was clear that they didn’t fully understand how much the geth had developed. When asked about the armor choice, Legion only stated it was damaged and needed to be fixed. However, it had plenty of time to properly fabricate something more to spec, but even the AI couldn’t explain why. Jane was convinced that it considered Johnny a hero, and besides mimicking his body language Legion was trying to emulate the man himself.
Everything was falling into place. Those on the Normandy all got the chance to tie up loose ends, most times not how they expected. It was clear that this was Shepard’s ship and crew, not Cerberus’, no matter what symbol was on their uniforms. They even had a new member of the team no one expected.
Though Jane wasn’t happy, their last resupply mission had not agreed with her.
Sitting back in the bed, Jane crossed her arms and pouted. Today she was in the med bay, Garrus was sitting on the side of the bed trying not to smile at the situation.
Legion had been up for a couple of days and was now requesting help with a geth ship. Everyone was going by shuttle since the ship was still installing the IFF, but not Jane. No, the one who actually would love to get a look at their tech had some mutated version of the asari stomach flu. Not super infectious but takes a bit longer to get over.
“Yea, keep laughing it up, Vakarian… I should just blow chunks on you instead of aiming for the bucket.” Not that there was much to come up, she only had a very small and light meal.
He flared his mandibles in a smile, “Now now, if you’re not a good patient then I won't bring back any scavenged tech.”
Jane stuck out her tongue like a child which only made him laugh harder. “We'll be back before you know it,” Garrus leaned forward to press his head to hers. “I love you, get well and don't let Joker get too carried away with the ship.”
She pressed back and held on to his neck making him stay a second or two longer. “I love you too, be careful and come back. And if you bring me back something shiny, I’ll make it worth your while.”
Jane could barely hear his purr of desire. “You are a very bad woman.” And with that, he turned and left.
Dr. Chakwas got up from her station with some medication, “Alright, I know you soldier types hate being trapped in the med bay so here is some anti-nausea medication. Try to stick to bland food and, for the love of god, stay away from the asari seafood gumbo. As long as you don’t feel faint or too hot, you can still do light duty.”
Jane nodded and popped a pill, she worked while sick before Omega, most owners never took excuses for not doing work. Often she preferred it, it would keep her mind off her squirming stomach. “Thanks, Doc.”
Jane was in the armory checking out a new shield upgrade on her suit when the beat to arms blasted over the speaker. The crew poured in grabbing weapons and Jane threw on the rest of her gear, she probably had the most fighting experience on the ship if they were boarded. It was terrible time since all of the ground team had gone with Johnny. EDI’s voice came off the comm. “Collectors have boarded, prepare.”
Jane peered around the corner with her pistol and caught a few husks in the face as they came off the elevator followed by one of the damn ticks, how it fit on board she had no idea.
The ship heaved under her feet and EDI’s voice came to her direct comm. “Jane, Joker needs assistance to make it to the AI central core.”
Jane fired again, inching around the star map in the CIC. “Why?”
“There is a virus limiting our systems. If I am unshackled, I can disrupt it.”
Joker was limping toward her, Jane threw him a look, “Unshackling your nemesis?”
“Kinda out of options here,” he yelled as he carefully walked down the steps. Jane took point making sure to keep the delicate man behind her as they made their way to Mordin’s lab.
She hissed a curse as she spotted another tick inside the freaking drive core. She gave Joker a hand down the ladder, following quickly behind. They popped out the Life Support and were met by a few others of the crew still fighting. Jane had to fight back the urge to jump in and start fighting. Giving Joker a light nudge to the med bay, she took up a defense position to make sure no one followed.
A minute later, more husks and Collectors came from the elevator and turned all their attention on her. She was able to deal with the first rank and pulled up her tactical cloak while they were stumbling. She was safe for the moment and could take them out stealthily. One of the Collectors caught on fire and the sound of Harbinger’s voice came from it.
“Shepard, you cannot stop us,” its voice roared out as it looked directly at her.
Jane froze, there was no mistake. It looked her as if the cloak was not there. And it knew her name, it had to have been mistaken. Normally it would only speak to her brother, never any others on the team. Before she could get off a few shots it charged her, grabbing her by the throat and lifted her off her feet. She clawed at the grip, trying to get air and kicked out but couldn’t reach anything vulnerable. It increased the pressure and as her vision blacked out it said, “You cannot escape your destiny, Shepard.”
Garrus let out another roar as he kicked out at some crates near by.
Gone. They were all gone.
Jane was gone.
Someone tried approaching again but Garrus turned growling, showing teeth and talons. He was too far into his blood rage to think clearly. Before he could attack, there was a flash of biotics and he was slammed into the wall of the cargo hall and held there. Garrus’ vision cleared and he found Shepard standing in front of him arms crossed and a frown on his face, his biotics glowing. “Ready to calm down? Or do you need another bruise?”
The knock had been what Garrus needed, plus hearing a superior's voice. “I’m good.” And he was released without warning just managing to catch himself before ending up on his face.
Shepard came forward, “I know you’re upset, but it’s thanks to her that Joker was able to get EDI unshackled and get the ship to us. She won’t go down without a fight, you know that. We’ll be at the relay in a few hours. We’ll get her back.”
Garrus nodded, “She’ll probably annoy them to death by the time we get there or find a way to space them from her cell.” He scratched at his neck and leaned on the wall, all the energy from before had burned out. “Shepard. I wasn’t going to bring this up until we survived for sure but you need to know. I planned on asking Jane to be my bondmate. I was even going to ask your permission as human traditions mentioned.”
“Bondmate?” His voice was quiet, “Like marriage?”
“Turians have the reputation of having more casual relationships, but when we find the right one, there never is another. We bond for life. She is so strong, the one I respect most in this galaxy. I want to continue with her for as long as we have.”
Shepard gripped his shoulder, “I know what you mean. I never gave up looking for her after Mindoir. I would be honored and happy to have you as a brother in law, but better not mention to her you asked for permission. We’ll get her, and I plan on bringing us all back, even if it’s gone to shit. One request though, not sure if there is a turian ceremony but I would like to have a human ceremony on the ship. I heard somewhere captains can marry couples on their ships. I’ve always wanted to do that.” His lip quirked up in a lopsided smile similar to his sister’s.
“Deal, we get out of here and I’ll wear the white dress myself.” He forced the joke, needing to break the tension.
Shepard let out a deep chuckle, “Garrus, that is something I could live without.”
EDI’s voice came into the room, “Commander, there is an anomaly about the attack I would like to bring to your attention.”
They exchanged a look, “Go ahead EDI.”
“During the attack the entity known as Harbinger overtook only one drone. It was able to locate and attack Jane while she was under her tactical cloak.” Garrus breath caught, no enemy should have been able to see her under that, unless they had the access code. “Also multiple times it referred to her as Shepard. I admit to digging through her medical files and found her current files have been altered, previous versions do show she is your sister, Commander.”
Shepard became stiff, “You're sure it called her Shepard, and went after her.”
“What does that thing want with us,” he ground out, looking to Garrus, “It isn’t the first time it singled me out in a firefight, but it never went after Jane.”
EDI answered, “It may have gotten scans of you two during the trap, maybe it needs any Shepard genetic material. As to why, there is no clear evidence.”
Garrus shrugged, “Maybe it’s interested in the fact you killed a Reaper, not many could do that.”
“I wasn’t the only one, I had fucking the Alliance fleet fighting the thing too,” Shepard muttered to himself. Looking to the ceiling, “EDI, now that you aren’t shackled, you don’t have to report the Illusive Man, right?”
“Please keep this part out of all reports. From now on, all information being sent to him goes through me.” Looking to Garrus, “Better get to that cannon of yours, make sure it’s ready to go when we hit the relay.”
NSFW - I really need to remember to add these. Thank you all for being patient for the updates.
To say the Omega 4 jump was smooth would be a little too kind. It was terrifying, Garrus had never had such a rough ride on the ship and that was with a damn AI helping. At one point he heard there were probes attacking the ship; but the Commander, Massini, and Grunt were able to clear the cargo bay.
Garrus did his best to manage the power fluctuations of the weapons, the IFF had some interesting effects on the power output. He was heavily distracted by the scents of Jane coming from their used bedding. When the time came to finally hit back against that damn Collector ship, he made sure all of his calibrating wasn’t for nothing. Garrus heard the confirmation that they hit, but he still wished he could have seen it destroyed. Managing to grab hold of a strut when they crashed, he kept himself from being thrown across the room. When the ship stilled he met the others in the comm room to come up with a plan of attack.
They were lucky. So far everyone made it, and the Normandy could be fixed if given time. EDI even managed to get scans and confirmed that they were undetected by the station security. Luck of the over confident Garrus guessed, but at least the team had time to plan. Tali was entrusted as the tech expert; and even though Shepard had started trusting Miranda, he knew they others did not. Which meant he needed to come up with another choice for leading the second team.
Garrus was taken aback when Shepard selected him as the leader of the second group. Last time he lead, almost everyone was killed, including Shepard’s sister if it hadn’t been for outside help. This was different but it was still nerve racking. At least on separate teams, they could double the chances of finding Jane and the crew. Garrus was worried, he didn’t want to see his shipmates in pile of torn flesh and broken bones like the other colonists or to find Jane cut open on a table like a lab rat.
Once the mission got underway, it was better than expected. Getting something Garrus could shoot at or break under foot helped his mood. He found that leading the larger group wasn’t too bad; everyone fell into line, even Miranda didn’t seem too upset. When they met up with Tali and Shepard’s team, there was some worry about Collectors pursuing them, but Garrus’ group got the doors closed. Taking stock, they weren’t too worse for wear, plenty of ammo and most of the medigel was still unused.
Miranda called out, “Shepard, you better see this,”
In this chamber, they found pods, just like before but these held people. The group watched as one colonist woman appeared to wake up only as some silver liquid started filling the tank, shrieking wildly as she was quickly melted.
Shepard had a look of panic as he yelled, “Get them out of there, hurry!”
Garrus ran to a pod and recognized one of the Cerberus crew, the woman who was rumored to be pregnant. Using the butt of his assault rifle, he started slamming the seam where the glass and hard exterior met. A gap formed and Garrus was able to pull it open and lift her out. They were able to get all the occupied pods open. Garrus scanned through the group, it looked like all of the crew was there. Everyone but Jane.
Shepard was helping the doctor stand, he asked, “Dr. Chakwas, are you ok?”
“Shepard, you…. You came for us?”
The Commander grasped her hand, “No one gets left behind.”
Kelly stumbled over, “Thank god you got here in time. A few more seconds and… I don’t even want to think about it.”
The doctor looked sick, “The Colonists were… processed. Those swarms of little robots. They melted their bodies into a grey liquid then pumped it through these tubes.” She motioned to the pipes crossing the ceiling high above them.
“Why are they doing this, what do they want with our genetic material?” Shepard tilted his head looking at the pipes seeming to go deeper into the structure.
“I don’t know. I’m just glad you got to us,” The older woman confessed.
“So are we. We’ve done well so far, but we still have a job,” Miranda stated.
Letting out a trill of concern, Garrus joined the conversation, “Do you know where they took Jane?”
Kelly gave him a sad look, “They took her farther in, she wasn’t in a pod.”
Shepard got on the comm, “Joker, can you get a fix on our position?”
“Roger that, Commander. All those tubes lead into the room above you. It’s blocked by another security door but there is a shaft that runs parallel to the one you’re in.”
“I cannot recommend that.” EDI jumped in, “Thermal emissions suggests the chamber is overrun with seeker swarms. And Mordin’s countermeasure cannot protect you against so many at once.”
Looking for ideas, Shepard asked, “What about biotics? Could we create a biotic field to keep them from getting near us?”
Samara stepped forward, “Yes, it should be possible. I would not be able to protect everyone, but I could get a small team through if they stayed close.”
Miranda nodded in agreement, “I could do it too. In theory, any biotic could.”
Shepard looked to Samara, “Samara and I will take a small team through the seeker swarm. The rest of you, provide a diversion by going through the main passage. We’ll open the security door from the other side and meet you there.” He finished then looked at Garrus, making it clear he was leading the second team again.
Garrus nodded, trying to focus on the plan and not just rushing to Jane. If … When he found her, he would need backup to make sure they got out. “I’ll keep the defenders busy while you slip around the back,” He repeated back.
“What about me and the rest of the crew?” the doctor asked. “We are in no shape to fight.”
“Commander?” Joker’s voice rang out, “We have enough power in the systems for a pickup, but it’ll be farther back from your position.”
“We can’t afford to go back,” Miranda pointed out.
“You’ll never make it back without help. Mordin, go with them and start patching them up. You’re tired but we need all of you to help get the Normandy home.”
The group split off and started the push, taking out as many of the Collectors as possible. Garrus’ team managed to get to the door, but there was no sign of the smaller team. “Come on Shepard, where are you?”
“I copy, what’s your position?” He came back a crackle.
“We’re pinned down at the door, taking heavy fire,” Garrus took another head shot and replaced the heatsink in a smooth motion.
“We’re coming, just hold on…. Get this door open,” Shepard was yelling at someone on his side of the comm link.
The door behind them finally opened and Shepard’s team pulled inside. Before it could close, Garrus felt one shot rip through his shields and bury in his armor. It hit the thickest part, it would bruise his keel plate but nothing more. Shepard checked him, slapping him on the shoulder when he appeared to be fine.
Keeping his weapon out, Garrus scanned the room and saw a table to the side. Jane’s still form was laying there completely stripped of her armor that laid about the floor. Running to her, he quickly checked for life signs. Just as he felt a pulse she jerked up gasping.
Garrus was beyond happy, Jane was alive. His chest vibrated loudly with unchecked feelings. Carefully he checked her over, looking for any signs of what they did. There was some bruising on Jane’s neck and what looked like needle marks on her arm but not much more.
She coughed a few more times and opened her eyes. “Garrus?” Jane sounded hoarse but alive.
He leaned his forehead to hers, “We said to take care of the ship, not run off to join the Collectors.”
Jane laughed but rubbed her throat in a grimace. “Asshole. What happened? I was attacked by Harbinger. What about the rest of the crew?” She sat up and looked around, seeing the rest of the specialty team. Then looked down, “And why am I naked?”
Garrus couldn’t hold back the laugh, she was alive and seemed no worse for wear, turning he was happy to see the group looking away to give them privacy. He found her under armor and started explaining what happened.
“Fuck, definitely not how we wanted this to go,” Jane groaned as she started picking up the armor slapping it on with a sense of familiarity.
“Do you remember what they were doing?”
She shook her head, “They kept me knocked out, not sure what happened but I don't feel as sick anymore. But they know who I am.” Jane finished finding her armor pieces but her weapons were missing.
Garrus nodded, “EDI mentioned that.”
Shepard walked over and gave her hug, “Glad you're safe. Are you good to fight? I don’t think we can send you back to the ship.”
Jane nodded, a fire in her eyes, “Anything for a little payback.”
He got on the comm with Joker and confirmed the crew made it. EDI also let them know about the platforms the team could use to get the next level, where they could destroy the base. But the group would have to leave a team to keep the reinforcements off the other’s backs.
“Garrus, Legion, you're with me.” But before Shepard could start one of his speeches Jane stepped up.
“You don’t have any weapons,” With a smile, Jane grabbed Garrus’ pistol off his hip. It was the same model she favored and one Jane nodded herself. Shepard lifted an eyebrow, “You’re sure?”
She nodded her head, “I still have all my omni weapons too.” She could grab a Collector weapon if she needed more.
He nodded and began to speak. Garrus would like to say he listened but he couldn’t take his eyes of Jane. He didn’t need words to convince him to try and win, nor to be reminded why they were here. His whole world and reason was standing by his side, holding his own gun. What a woman she was.
They would get through this.
Jane groaned as the ringing left her ears. The past day had been way too painful, almost as bad as the slaver ships. The second they got back to the Normandy, she planned on kicking Johnny out of his lovely soft bed for a week; months on a cot got old quickly. Before she could open her eyes she saw flashes of the… thing they just destroyed.
It had been had been different than taking out an everyday merc or something that looked like a bug. Even mechs didn’t look that human. But it wasn’t the Reaper’s glowing red eyes or exposed metal skeleton Jane found frightening. It was the glass chambers filled with thick pale liquid. Not that she knew what it was at first. When Johnny gave the order to target them, Jane had been almost directly under one, after a volley of fire the chamber cracked and Jane was pulled away with her brother’s biotic pull before any of the liquid dripped onto her. While the team was setting charges Garrus told them what they saw when they found the crew, and Jane felt bile rise her throat. It had been made of people? Jane found it more disturbing than the pile of bodies they found on the Collector ship.
Getting up Jane found Johnny on his feet and pulling some wreckage off Legion. Turning, she saw Garrus sprawled and not moving. Her heart leapt up into her throat, but flipping him over he started to wake and coughed. Jane couldn’t believe it when she woke back on the table to see Garrus’ cobalt blue eyes and hear his dry jokes. But it was the best feeling in the world, one she wanted every time, not just when she was a damsel in distress.
Garrus was barely standing when things began to shake and the team took off at a run. There were explosions and flames, luckily they were running down hill and were able to pick up more speed. The Normandy was hovering and waiting for them, but they had to jump. Jane only made it because Garrus pulled ahead and landed first and was able to snag her waist when she lept. Johnny was the last to jump and the furthest away as the ground started to give. He cartwheeled his arms hoping for a boost but would have missed if Jane and Garrus hadn’t grabbed his hands. Joker even came out laying down cover fire until they managed to get in. Jane knew he would have broken several bones, but greatly appreciated the effort.
Stumbling in, Jane’s legs gave out and she leaned against the bulkhead outside the pilot's cabin watching as they out ran the explosions and headed back to the relay. She prayed they would all make it back to a known part of the universe.
Jane must have passed out again because next thing she knew Garrus had picked her up in his arms and was carrying her to the lab. “Where are we?”
He looked down at her, “Docking at Omega for repairs and checks. You need to see Mordin though, we have no idea what they did to you.”
Jane grumbled and burrowed her face into his cowl, “I’m supposed to be on sick leave, not doing tests.”
Garrus had a smile in his voice, “Well you’ve more than earned it. Just got to do this first.”
Striding into the room, he placed her on an examination table. Mordin came rushing over, “Hmm, reminds me of the first time I met you two, though happy both parties are responsive this time.” Mordin ran his omni tool over her, scanning. “Singled out by Collectors, a more thorough genetic study?” He had started muttering theories, half out loud. He turned to his terminal flying through the data. “Interesting but unsure…”
“Mordin,” Jane asked unless interrupted, he would never explain before he got lost in his work. “Care to share?
“Ah, yes. Not able to pinpoint exact method or reason but there have been several small changes to a few points of DNA. Change appear to be more similar to prothean DNA recovered earlier. Can’t tell why though, not enough data”
“They started changing my genes? To be more prothean?”
Garrus watched her intently with a look of concern, “What are the changes?”
“Hard to tell, specific areas are not related as far as I know. But Collectors are much more advanced in this area of science. Could be only the start and it was interrupted. Scans show body is functioning normally, some variance in hormone levels but nothing outside of normal range for human female. I suspect the mutated cells will revert back given time. Recommend rest, food, and water.”
Jane let out a sigh of relief, whatever they’d done hadn’t seemed to mean much. She wouldn’t have to worry about growing an extra set of eyes or pincers, “Thank you Mordin.”
“Of course Jane will keep data just in case.”
Jane tried to sit up to leave, but Garrus scooped her up before she could say anything. Judging from his grip, she decided not to protest, this was something he needed. They ran into Johnny at the CIC. “I’ve got a lot to arrange here. Go ahead and use my cabin tonight,” and without another word, he turned back to the terminal.
First thing entering the room, Garrus went to the shower and set her down. He slowly removed the armor, taking time touch every piece of skin revealed. Garrus washed every inch of her, checking it with hands and tongue. She could feel herself getting worked up, the soft caress driving her mad. But this wasn’t stress relief, this was making sure the other one was truly safe. When he was satisfied, Jane took her turn and scrubbed over his plates, scratched in between them, getting everywhere, and making sure to kiss any bruises or wounds she came across. Garrus hissed when she took a long deliberate lick at his shifting plates.
After drying, they laid on the bed, getting as close as possible; the only light coming from the fish tank. Quietly, they explained what happened on each other's end. Jane was proud of Garrus, she knew that taking command would be difficult after Omega, but at least he was given the chance and excelled. It would do wonders to boost his confidence, Jane loved her brother, but she didn’t want him to be a crutch for Garrus.
For a while they were silent and Garrus traced the scars on her face lightly with a blunt talon. “Jane, will you be my bondmate? Will you marry me?”
Jane stilled, her heart stopping, she never thought she’d hear those words from anyone, let alone Garrus. Turians were lax with sex but never with bondmates. It was more than a cultural thing, it was a physical process. Once bonded, there would never be anyone else they could ever mate with. Non-turians mates were uncommon since they couldn’t bond in the same way, they could fall out of love.
“Wh-- what?” She asked quietly.
“Please”, he almost begged, “I have been feeling a bond beginning to grow within me. You’re the only one I want. Even before this mission, I knew you were more important to me than anything.”
“But Garrus, I’m human. Turians don’t do that with non-turians, we couldn’t have a family or anything.”
“Some Asari has, plus we could adopt if we wanted kids. And there is no reason we couldn’t try for a hybrid, the sex would be great.” Why did he always have to throw in a joke?
“This isn’t just some escape-from-death high is it?” Jane had to be sure, even though she loved him, this was a huge step for both of them. She wouldn’t feel the bond like he did. If Jane fell out of love, Garrus would never be able to move on, and she would never want to hurt him. In her heart, Jane knew she felt the same as he did, but she couldn’t let him risk it. Jane had some hero worship for Archangel and thought the bright-eyed turian customer with no name from the past was cute. When she had learned they were one and same, she was absolutely fascinated and had to get to know him more, to help him on his quest. Now they had literally gone thru hell together. But was it enough?
“I was planning this before the Collector base if we did get out. We make a great team, on and off the field.” Garrus held her hands tightly with one hand while gently stroking her damp hair back with the other.
Jane smiled and leaned back onto him, “Alright, then yes.”
He gave a thrum of happiness and rolled her over. She hissed in pleasure as she felt his rough plates rubbed on her sensitive skin. Enthusiastically, he started giving his unique kisses and nips from her hairline to her eyes, nose, mouth, jaw and then continued further down, taking the time to soothe any marks left behind with his tongue.
Then Garrus let his teeth barely scrape over her hard nipples, Jane cried out and soon found herself lost to the sensations. When he reached her core, he started tracing around her clit with his rough tongue but only chuckled at her cries for more. After feeling like she was about to lose her sanity he gave in and slowly went over the throbbing nub as he slid a thick finger into her. With only a few, careful strokes, Jane fell apart crying his name.
When she came to, Garrus was kneeling between her legs, lifting her legs over his forearms, spreading her impossibly wide. His cock nudged at her entrance and he looked into her eyes. Begging, her voice hoarse, “Please, Garrus, I need...”
“Sush, Jane, just bear it a moment longer.” And then he plunged in up to the hilt, completely filling her in a way only he could. Garrus paused for a moment giving her time to adjust before he pulled almost all the way out and pushed in hard again. He was demanding and thorough with his movements, tilting his hips and got a new angle each time. Garrus brought her to completion multiple times before rolling her over so Jane could ride him. She was almost couldn’t hold herself up, so he had to wrap his hands around her waist to help keep up a frantic pace. Garrus seemed to be getting close, movements more erratic and she leaned forward and nipped and scratched at his neck. It was enough to push him over and he pulled her down hard, filling her with his release.
For awhile. Jane laid silent across his chest, with a sad groan, his spent member retreated back. “Spirits, I love you.” Garrus brought her forehead to his.
Jane rubbed back, “I love you too.”
Sorry for the delay, we are getting close to the end of this part and I hope for part 2 I will be able to post on a more regular weekly schedule (fingers crossed). Thanks for reading!
After seeming to sleep for a day the couple got up, and Johnny greeted them in the mess and looked to Garrus who nodded. A large smile spread across his face as he turned to his sister. “Congrats are in order I think?”
The rest of the team looked up from their meals, Jack called out, taking a bite, “What, that they got it on in your bed, boy scout? I knew the innocent ones are always the freaks.”
Johnny shuddered, “I was trying to keep that image out of my head thanks, Jack. Some of you already know, but now that we are officially done with Cerberus I can finally tell you. Jane Fury is my younger sister, she was presumed dead and I didn’t want her identity getting out before.” Some like Tali nodded having already known, others looked on in surprise, it did explain their close relationship, everyone thought they were old lovers or friends of some sort. “But on to happy news. We get to prep for a wedding!”
Jane held up her hands, “Hold on Johnny, I figured we’d just do this the turian way, no big parties.”
“Sorry Jane, but I already promised him we would do a human wedding as well.” Garrus wouldn’t meet her glare.
“I only have one sister, and I get a chance to marry someone on the Normandy, of course we’re doing this.” Johnny was grinning like a fool, Jane could only shake her head. He did get some odd notions in his head, but she would do anything to make her brother happy.
Tali clapped her hands, “Just think of it as a celebration of surviving the mission, Jane. What more joyous way than a bonding?”
Jane’s face became very hot, she knew it was as red as her hair, “Fine, but just on the ship.”
Johnny nodded. “Like I planned, we should be at Illium in two days; that should give us time to get the ceremony done and party some, then drop you off for a honeymoon.”
“Honeymoon?” Garrus looked confused.
Jane leaned in close and whispered a hurried explanation. His eyes glassed over as he drifted off in his imagination for a second. Johnny coughed and Garrus’ neck flashed blue as he gave him a guilty look. Jane couldn’t help but laugh.
This would be interesting.
The trip consisted of repairs to the ship and wedding planning. Lucky for Jane, the women of the crew seemed happy to help, she didn’t have much interest besides not looking like a fool. She had to take time to learn more about Turian traditions.
For the most part, Jane loved their method of bonding. Small family gathering, then a long night of mating. She did read a section involving marking, it made her a little nervous. Turians had to exchange bites that were left to scar, but it would also cause a chemical reaction and subtly change their scents and begin their monogamous union. For non-turian pairs this would mean that they would wear the marks, nothing would happen with the scents. Jane felt bad about that, just another thing they wouldn’t be able to do. Garrus, of course, told her it didn’t matter and would distract her with touches and kisses trying to make her forget the topic.
Somehow they even found time to decorate, glow sticks were hung up in the bar area. Kasumi showed others how to fold paper flowers that were used to decorate the whole crew deck, Legion seemed to enjoy the assembly line immensely.
While everyone worked on that, Kasumi, Tali, and Miranda dragged her to the biotics room. Turned out that as task oriented Miranda was, she still had a feminine side that loved clothes. For months Jane had only worn shirts and pants she stole from the crew, now the girls had fun dressing her up. Finally, they picked out a soft blue gown, keyholes cut out on the chest and back.
Jane was hoping to escape after the forced fashion show but she found herself locked in, besides dresses the girls got booze. At least she could be a drunk prisoner.
Tali clapped her hands together, “Come on Jane, isn’t it a human tradition to celebrate your last night being single?”
Jane sighed, honestly she wasn’t sure if she liked this much attention. But they all deserved a good time, and if they needed an excuse to party besides their victory, who was she to deny them.
“Fine, but I mix the drinks. And you better have not gotten a male stripper, pretty sure Garrus would kill any guy found here.”
Jack had joined the group, “Damn, that would have made this party so much better. Any bets if we could talk Thane into it.”
Kasumi grinned, “It was like watching a dance when he and Jane sparred. But Jacob wouldn’t be too bad.”
That launched into a drinking game of what the girls thought of all the men on the ship.
Garrus must have been drunk, he contemplated as he swayed. He found himself almost enjoying the burning scent from Zaeed’s cigar. Apparently, another human tradition included a type of party, giving a male's single life a proper send-off. Garrus didn’t see the point, he should be celebrating the fact he had found his mate, but it seemed to make the others happy and distracted him from the fact that Jane would be locked away for the night.
Most of the men like Shepard and Zaeed were drinking and swapping stories, Jacob was losing all of his money to Ken playing poker, and Mordin sat on the edge of it all taking interspecies behavioral notes. Garrus wandered over to his commander and listened while Zaeed talked about an asari he had been with, who later sold him out for a bounty.
The old merc glanced at Garrus and asked in a loud gruff voice, “What about you? Did you get in all your conquests, turian, before turning domestic?”
If it had been any other day, Garrus would have avoided the question with a smart ass remark. But he had had a lot to drink… Without warning one memory came forward.
“Well, there was this one recon scout. We were on a tough mission, and at each other's throat. Turians spar before big battles, to blow off steam. We went nine exhausting rounds, it was brutal. I had reach and she had flexibility,” he groaned remembering painful hits the female had landed. Garrus continued the funny anecdote, “The ref called it a tie, there was more than one upset gambler, but after… well, we held a tiebreaker in her room. And I had reach and she had flexibility.” Garrus couldn’t help put purr at the suggestive comment.
The room roared with laughter, and Garrus joined in with his own rumble of amusement. His mind started to make comparisons to the scout and Jane was happy to find he no longer felt any attraction to the female turian. “Jane though, she takes flexibility to a new level.”
Before drunk turian could go any farther he stumbled as Shepard gave him a shove, “And that’s where I draw the line Vakarian. I’d rather not make Jane a widow before you actually tie the knot.”
Garrus had to almost physically stop himself from making a comment about tieing Jane into knots when he was finally allowed to see her. But the images still filled his head. Not that he could do anything about it tonight.
Or could he?
Garrus groaned leaning over his tinsu tea, his head was pounding. How was a night of heavy drinking and gambling before the wedding supposed to be a good thing? He didn’t even get to share a bed with Jane, as all the girls had taken her hostage.
“He lives.” Shepard sounded too smug for comfort, damn his cyborg implants and alcohol processing powers.
“Don’t yell so loud,” Garrus mumbled, swallowing some pain killers.
“That’s what you get for going shot for shot with me. At least you were too drunk to hack into Miranda’s room. I was getting messages that they were considering blockading the door to protect Jane’s honor.” Shepard commented as he went about making his coffee.
“I tried to what?” Garrus groaned.
The Commander chuckled, “You went a little caveman. Seems you were determined to get to Jane. Something about rescuing her again from the enemy.”
Garrus shook his head, “I should go apologise…”
“Oh no you don't, it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.” Shepard hooked his arm and held him back.
“Humans have too many odd traditions.”
Garrus fidgeted standing next to Shepard. The ceremony was taking place in the observatory the Justicar gave up for the day. Outside the window was a spectacular view of a nebula. Garrus did not understand the need for windows on ships, they were a potential hazard. But today he could see why humans enjoyed space so much. While mostly empty there were still places of great beauty. Most of the crew had managed to pack in, leaving only room for a path to the door.
The music changed and Garrus looked up to see something even more spectacular than the colorful gasses of new stars outside. Jane stood in the open door, smiling, red hair gently curling down her back. It had grown long since her escape on Omega, not that he minded. Running his talons through it was a pleasure he didn’t want to give up. She wore some blue dress he’d never seen, but it was a nice change to the usual gear she usually wore.
Zaeed lead her up to them, after depositing her front and center he left to join the others. Before he sat, Jane he gave the merc a kiss on the check and he let out a deep chuckle. Looking to Garrus he muttered, “Lucky son of a bitch.” It was hard to believe how close she had gotten to the old merc, considering she almost cut his throat when they first met.
Then Garrus only had eyes for the human woman in front of him, drinking in her green mischievous gaze. There was a cough and they remembered to turn to her brother, the man who made all of this possible.
“We’ve been through a lot, hell and back some would say. It’s moments like these we can’t take for granted, we have to grasp them and keep them with us. We are privileged to be sharing this moment with Jane and Garrus.”
The commander turned to Jane. “Do you Jane Shepard, take Garrus Vakarian to be your husband from this day forward, to join with him and share all that is to come, that you will be faithful to him and honest with him; you will respect, trust, help, and care for him; you will share your life with him as long as you live?”
Jane hadn’t taken her eyes off Garrus, “I do.”
Shepard turned to him, repeating the words, “Do you Garrus Vakarian, take Jane Shepard to be your wife from this day forward, to join with her and share all that is to come, that you will be faithful to her and honest with her; you will respect, trust, help, and care for her; you will share your life with her as long as you live?”
Garrus also maintained eye contact, taking in her gaze and the words, putting it all to memory. “I do.”
Shepard continued in a happy voice, “I pronounce you husband and wife, you may now kiss the bride.”
Garrus wrapped his hands around her waist and pulled her in bending to kiss her. The crowd erupted in cheers but he didn’t truly hear them. All his senses were on her, the color of her lips, the taste of her mouth, the sound of her breath as it hitched, her natural scent.
Before he could continue he felt a biotic spark on the back of his head which made him stop the kiss and turn to the grinning commander.
With the force of a tidal wave, they were propelled out to into the mess. Food had been set up and sounds were coming from Kasumi’s room that sounded like a dance club.
Garrus only wanted to take Jane to their room, to get the dress off her and finish his cultures bonding, but they had to socialize and wait. Things were cleared to make room to dance, once by themselves during a slower song where he was able to hold her and pressed his forehead to hers. After that, they had to dance with everyone else, and many learned that Jane was a much better dancer than the commander. At one point even Samara danced with Jane, holding her and spinning around the room.
Kasumi chuckled softly at his elbow, also watching the pair, “I had no idea Samara could two-step, how deliciously old-fashioned. I wonder where she learned?”
Garrus tipped his head, “Two-step?”
“A type of human dance for this music, there are many kinds. I wonder if she can tango, that would be hot.”
Garrus filed that bit of information away for later and continued to watch Jane as she laughed and was twirled around the room. There weren’t many moments he saw her as animated and happy.
As the party started to dwindle they had come into orbit over Illium and the new couple bid farewell before taking a shuttle down to the surface. A skycab took them to the hotel, and Garrus tried not to feel nervous about what came next.
Entering the room Jane sighed as she kicked off her shoes, letting her feet relax on the cool tile. Looking around she whistled, this was by far the nicest hotel she’d ever seen. It was a suite with a small living area and kitchen, large windows looking out on the Illium skyline, the sun just now setting, there was a bedroom with a large soft looking bed and a door to the left that lead to a large bathroom with the first tub Jane had seen since she was a child, though this one was plenty big for the both her and Garrus. Something she planned on getting full use out of.
Jane turned to find Garrus following closely behind her, but he wasn’t looking at the room. His predatory gaze was on her, and Jane felt a thrill of desire and even a little fear, it was a reminder why his people were the apex predators of Palaven. He stalked forward, movements even smoother in his dress suit than his usual armor. Garrus began touching Jane through the dress and she could feel the rumble of desire from his chest. He brought his forehead to hers before pressing his mouth plates to her mouth, continuing the toe curling kiss from the ceremony.
Jane felt her body turn to liquid and Garrus pulled her to the bed, triad fingers searched her dress for its fastenings. Licking at the spot behind her ear he growled lowly, “How do you get this off? I really don’t want to rip it, but I’m getting impatient.” His hands started to pull at the dress.
Jane laughed and grabbed his wrist to stop him, the other reached for the small zipper that loosened the material. Garrus’ mouth dropped to her shoulder before nudging the dress off and let the fabric pool to the floor. Finally, he realized she hadn’t worn anything under the dress, he growled deeply and pulled her even tighter to him. “You are an evil woman.”
Jane could only laugh again, “I had no choice, you could see every panty line under that dress.”
Garrus pushed her lightly onto the bed and started removing his suit. Jane watched while leaning on her elbows, she found his clothing to be confusing and always enjoyed watching him taking it off. Garrus kept his eyes on her, they seemed to burn brightly, she took a moment to take in every bit of plate and hide revealed. He truly was beautiful, tan hide covered with interlocking plates a pale gray and edges tipped in black giving them more definition. His strong wide shoulders, thin waist, and sharp flare of his hips, all supported by strong long legs. Starting at Garrus and the tension in the air, it was driving her wild.
Finally, Garrus got on the bed and his hands and mouth were all over Jane. The rough calluses of his hands stroked her breasts, fingers rolling her nipples while his tongue traced its way down her chest, around her belly button, and to her center. There Garrus dove right in and lapped at Jane’s clit and the edges of her entrance, his subharmonics added a level of vibration she could feel. Combined his mandibles were gently rubbing over her outer lips it was almost over-stimulating. When one of his thick fingers pushed in roughly she lost control and fell over the edge, almost screaming his name.
Coming back down Jane realized he was positioned between her legs and lined his exposed cock with her center. Garrus looked deep into her eyes, silently showing her his insecurity. After all, they’d been through she still made him nervous. Smiling Jane nodded while wrapping her legs tight around his waist forcing the head of his cock into her. Letting out a harsh groan he thrust the rest of himself in, gripping her hips with an almost bruising force.
Thank god he had prepared her, Garrus was still quite large and the stretch was bordering painfully. But as he began to move, and his ridges hit the right spot and Jane soon felt only pleasure. Scratching at his neck and waist, she knew she couldn’t keep up with his brutal thrusting for long, waiting through all the celebrations had only made her as impatient as the turian. Leaning over her ear he gasped. “Jane you have to let go, We have to complete the bond but it will hurt.”
Reaching down it took only took a couple of rubs of Garrus’ fingers to finish her, and his teeth clamped down on the right side of her neck where it met her shoulder. She screamed from her orgasm ripping through her and from the sting of the bite. He released her but was still hard within her, paused to lick at her bleeding wound until the flow stopped.
Jane grabbed his mandibles, pulling his face up to hers and kissed him hard. Tasting her juices and blood on his mouth was a little scary but also extremely heady. Garrus pulled away and rested his forehead on her. “Are you alright?” He whispered.
“More than alright.” She promised, yes it hurt, but this pain as something Jane had wanted. Knowing she still had to return the favor, she decided to show him how alright she was by using her lower muscles to squeeze his rock hard member that was still in her.
With a groan, Garrus rolled until she was sitting astride him, if anything it made him feel even larger and now a plate was pressing on her sensitive clit. He had on hand on her waist, the other on her thigh but he didn’t try moving. In a pleading voice he looked up with heavy-lidded eyes, “Please Jane, you’ve got to finish this.”
Bracing herself on Garrus’ chest Janee started to move, each time she felt her clit rub from the edge of a plate. She could feel the start of some chafing on her thighs but didn’t care. She was riding her husband, finishing the mating rites of his culture. Sitting on top made Jane feel powerful, only other times she felt this is when she was fighting in the field.
Garrus snuck one hand into her hair to bring her gasping mouth to his, his tongue mimicking what they were doing and the new angle began hitting an amazing spot. Pulling on her hair again she could feel him getting larger within her, Garrus hadn’t done that before. Gasping he placed her mouth over the corresponding section of his neck. “Even with the softening oil this will be hard. Bite down and don’t let go until you’re sure. Don’t worry about me.” His voice was rough, showing how close he was.
Giving her own growl Jane bit down on the slightly shiny hide hard. Jane’s blunt teeth weren’t made for this, but she didn’t lighten up. Under her, Garrus roared and his body clenched, tips of his talons sinking into her thighs, the base of his cock swelled even more and she could feel him start to fill her up, his hot seed going deep into her. Then thick sweet and coppery blood filled her mouth. Releasing the bite she repeated his soothing motions this time with her tongue on him.
When it had almost stopped he pulled her up to his mouth and the taste from both bites mixed. Jane shuddered and tried to lift herself off him only to feel resistance. Garrus groaned and his eyes almost rolled back as he grabbed her hips pull her down to a seated position again. Jane’s eyes grew large as she felt him pulse and release again filling her even more.
Taking a breath he looked at her dreamily, “Sorry, forgot to mention this. Um, you won’t be able to get off until I soften.”
Jane shivered at the feeling of filling so full, his cum wasn’t able to leak out from the seal he formed, if it were to continue she might reach her peak for another time that night without much movement necessary. “How long?” She gasped
Garrus pulled Jane down so she laid on his chest, “At least for another fifteen minutes.”
Jane gave him a little evil grin, “Might as well make the most of it.” And started rocking in that position, working herself up to another orgasm while Garrus growled below her.
Garrus wandered into the bathroom in search of Jane. Not it was hard to find her, neither had left the room in the past couple of days. Without being bone tired from missions or worry of some crew member walking into their room on the ship, Jane got to see how much stamina a newly mated turian had. Garrus doubted there wasn’t a horizontal or vertical surface they hadn’t explored.
Now his mate stood in front of the mirror looking at his mark. Part of Garrus still felt terrible about marking her, adding to his scar to her many others. But there was an even larger part that loved it, loved that it tied them together forever and would leave no one any doubt what they were to each other.
Garrus stepped close behind her, an arm wrapping around Jane’s waist, pulling her back against him as he let his head down to her shoulder and nipped at the mark gently. “Cred for you thoughts.”
Jane let out a soft laugh as she corrected his attempt at the human saying. “It’s a penny, and just enjoying the moment. We’ve got to be heading back soon.”
She sounded sad, and Garrus felt the same. Locked in this hotel room they were able to forget some of the horrors and worries of the outside for awhile. But it had to end at some point. He gave her one more squeeze before letting her go, even though every part of his body was demanding he take her again.
“Well, better get dressed.”
Jane chuckled, “Yes, I don’t think Johnny would be ok with a couple of nudist on the Normandy.”
Returning to the ship everyone seemed to still be in high spirits and ready to continue their work. It was hard to focus on what was next since they were done with Collectors. Some like Zaeed and Samara were leaving right away, others were staying on in hopes of following Shepard. Jane left Garrus to repairing some overloaded circuits on the main gun and went to speak with Johnny. Kelly had mentioned he’d been in his room all day.
Walking in Jane found him finally getting around to one of his models. “Back already Janey?”
She cocked an eyebrow, “It’s been two days…”
“Sorry, just not sure where to go from here and lost track of time. I’ve been trying to enjoy the first breather in months.”
Jane flopped on the couch, “Well deserved breather considering you were dead before that. So what are you considering?”
“The way I see it, we need to drop off those who want leave and I need to return to the Alliance, turn this ship over and hope I can get them to accept the proof of the Collectors that the Reapers are coming. That we need to prepare. Just not sure where to start.” Johnny stared off into space, tactical mind in full gear going through possible outcomes.
Jane felt her stomach drop, she hadn’t thought about not seeing the different members of the crew, going back into Council space. But most of their group probably didn’t want to deal with the Alliance, especially those who would still be considered as Cerberus Operatives by earth authorities and therefore terrorists even if the Alliance had changed its mind about what the Normandy crew had done.
Before Jane could say anything Johnny’s terminal chime went off, “Hold on, it’s Admiral Hackett. Stay quiet.”
Jane was silent as she listened to the Admiral’s request. She felt rage at the admiral's request Really? After dealing with all this shit, to be thrown alone into a dangerous mission in batarian space.
When Johnny terminated the call and Jane was up on her feet, ready to complain. “You cannot seriously be thinking of going in there alone.”
Johnny shrugged and started looking over his armor and weapons, “You heard him, it has to be a solo mission.”
“Bullshit, the Alliance has already disowned you, most of the people on this ship have less of a connection with the military than you and would look less conspicuous if they were found out. He just doesn’t want anyone knowing he fucked up.” Jane was livid if something went wrong no one would be there to help. She wasn’t about to lose her brother again.
Johnny put down his pistol. “Janey, I’m still a soldier. I can’t turn down this request, and even if I wanted too. There might be a Reaper artifact on site, maybe more proof as to their plans. Now, you need to leave so I can get ready.” He turned his back on her.
With a sigh of frustration, Jane stomped out of the room.
It was very early, no one was up. Even her husband’s breath behind her was heavy with sleep. But Jane couldn’t sleep, she could only think of Johnny. He was an idiot, while she had never been in prison, Anew had taken her with to a job in one, the buildings were run by the Hegemony and one was much like another. She knew how their security systems worked, she could get Johnny and the prisoner in and out with the best chance of no one knowing.
Jane carefully slipped out of Garrus’ grasp, not waking him. She looked down at him, he would be pissed but she couldn’t let Johnny go alone and maybe her brother had been right. Fewer people less of a chance of being caught. If there were not too many surprises they should be in and out in less than a day. She placed a light kiss on Garrus’ scarred cheek and left to grab her gear, making sure her new cloaking program was up. Even EDI wouldn’t see her.
Garrus woke to find Jane was already up. He knew she barely slept last night, something had been bothering her but she didn’t want to talk about it. Getting his morning tea Garrus pulled up his omni tool to look at the day’s orders. He was confused to see the Commander and Jane were both listed as being off the ship for a mission. It was unusual for Shepard to go anywhere without at least two backups and Jane always talked about an upcoming mission.
Just then Miranda entered the mess, Garrus walked up to her. “Where are the Commander and Jane?”
The XO turned her cool gaze on him, “I’m not sure, Shepard sent a message late last night to have a shuttle ready for him and that we should receive word of pick up in 24 to 48 hours. He didn’t mention taking anyone with him, but EDI said Jane was no longer on the ship and must have been with him.”
Garrus felt a pang of jealousy, their bond was still very new and long separations would be rough for him. But the fact Jane didn’t tell him about the mission? That was more than just upsetting. Did she not trust him? He turned and went back to the Battery, “EDI, let me know as soon as you hear from them.” Closing the door he tried to distract himself, knowing it would fail.
It had been over 48 hours since the siblings had left, over 24 since the scheduled check in that never came. Garrus was fuming, his wife and mate could possibly be dying without him and he wasn’t there. She had left without even trusting him enough to tell him where she was going. Maybe this all had been a mistake, maybe if her brother had never come back they could have made it work, Garrus hated himself for thinking it. But it was clear that Shepard meant more to Jane than her mate did.
There was a sudden shift as the ship entered a mass effect field of a relay, EDI’s voice came out to him, “Vakarian, we just received word from Shepard for an emergency pick up. ETA 5 minutes.”
Garrus swore and ran for the elevator.
Upon reaching the cockpit he couldn’t believe his eyes, heading straight for the relay they just used was an asteroid the size of a small moon. On its back, Garrus could make out a complex on its surface, and behind was the flare of active engines. What was going on?
“Fuck this is cutting it close” Joker hissed, fingers flying over his controls.
The ship pulled in close and when the door open Garrus was there to help the Commander who was carrying Jane over a shoulder. Thrusting the small woman in his arms, Shepard ran to Joker. “Get us out of here.”
Another shift of the engine and they were gone. The CIC was quiet, all of them had seen the readings, no one could make any sense of it. The relay and entire system were gone, the galaxy map only showed a blanks spot where the system had been moments before. Garrus looked down at Jane, taking her helmet off he saw she was breathing. Fighting to stay awake but alive. Not forgetting his anger he brought his head to hers. He would always love her, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt him. He passed the Commander who was watching the galaxy map with a dark look. Without saying anything Garrus took Jane down the med bay and left before she woke.
Garrus took his time packing what little he managed to collect while on the ship. He needed to get away from these feelings of betrayal. The mission, whatever it was, was done. His love was safe. But Garrus needed to see his family, time to come to terms that his marriage was not as he hoped, that his commander would allow his mate to go into danger without even a word to him had hurt.
A message went out ship wide. Shepard was giving over the ship to the Alliance as soon as they left Terminus space. There would be one stop at Illium where all the crew was given a chance to leave or for the Cerberus crew to at least avoid arrest by the Alliance. Leaving the Main Battery with his bag, Garrus saw Jane awake on the bed in the med bay and Shepard standing next to her both speaking with a human Alliance officer.
Garrus continued to the shuttle, Jane could come find him if she decided to. He spent enough time away from home. He had to go see his family, maybe get a chance to repair those bonds at least.
While waiting for his transport Garrus was surprised to see Liara come running up to him. “Garrus, what are you doing here?”
“Going home. The mission is over and I really need to check in with my family.” Garrus didn’t want to admit to anyone that his mother was sick, running out of time, spirits, his sister made him feel bad enough.
“But what about Jane?” Liara almost sounded frightened.
Garrus bristled, “What about her?”
“You don’t know? It was just announced that the Alliance has arrested John and Jane Shepard for destroying the Alpha Relay and nearby batarian colony. Over 300,000 people dead. They are headed back to Earth now for trial.” She sounded like she was in shock.
“A colony? I -- we weren’t told. They left a few days ago hardly any word, then we get a call for pick up and Shepard dragged her on board.” So many died, at the time Garrus hadn’t thought about which system they had been in.
Liara’s brows drew in, “You weren’t with them?”
Garrus growled, “No, they didn’t tell me they were leaving. I just woke up and my mate was gone with no explanation. Even Miranda didn’t know she went with at first.”
“You were upset she didn’t tell you?” Liara asked, raising an eyebrow.
He started pacing, trying not to hit the nearby wall. “Of course I was, we just bonded, separation is hard for turians at first. And she ran off to help the Great Commander Shepard completely forgetting to even let me know. Her husband.”
Liara held up a hand, “Wait, Garrus. You are you saying Shepard told his XO that he was going on a mission but failed to mention Jane was too?”
Checking that no one was near, Liara leaned closer, “I have information from Shadow Broker resources, that mission was a rescue mission, a personal request from someone in the Alliance. Shepard was asked to go alone.”
“If he was asked to go alone why did Jane…” And it hit Garrus. Jane’s behavior that night. Upset, unable to sleep. She’d known about the mission, known Shepard never worked alone. Of course, she would decide to sneak along, disobey orders. Jane hadn’t told Garrus because she knew he would want to come as well, she must have been confident she could help the Commander more on their own. Mandibles slacked he looked at the asari, “Spirits, I have made a terrible mistake.”
So this marks the end of the first part... A bit of a cliffhanger I know, but it seemed to fit the best for the next chapter. Hopefully, the next part will come out on a more regular schedule, but I do need to get more of it written out and edited before I begin posting. Thank you all for reading and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. I also have another AU Fem Shep / Garrus in the works, non-Reaper, so keep an eye out for that!