The History of Commander Shepard
'So Jack, when are you going to take me to that bar you blabbed about on the shuttle' Elena chuckled as she relaxed back in the taxi as it flew through the air.
The 22 year old next to her chuckled as he turned the wheel and brought them down for a landing on a nearby landing port. Climbing out the taxi and swiping his Omni tool across the sensor, Gunnery Chief Jack Shepard motioned with one hand behind him to a bunch of pre-fabs and a couple of old wooden buildings that had clearly been one of the first buildings to be built on this world.
'Right now' Jack smirked and began to head towards the bar, he'd been on shore leave for a few days and was enjoying himself; the SSV Maiden had come into dock on Elysium and had coughed out its tired crew. This was one of many tours Jack was on and was just about to end his latest. It was at least a month on tour and then he'd be heading to Earth for a vacation. If only he knew what Elysium would be like and how this world would change his life.
The bar was busy, the beer was chilled and the food was hot; Jack loved this place, he'd been brought up on so many vessels as his parents jumped from ship to ship; but it wasn't until he was two that he stepped foot on a planet, that planet had been Earth. His mother, 2nd Lieutenant Hannah Shepard had brought him specifically to this world. It wasn't the best memory he could have made for his first trip to the heart of the Systems Alliance.
The funeral lasted a few hours and the gunshots scared the young child, people walked past him in droves and had given their respects. Looking up at his mother, she had not shed a single tear; of course she was tearing up inside but on the outside she had to be strong, she was an Alliance soldier.
His father had passed away during the first contact war with the Turians, and his mother had harboured a little bit of hatred to them; which would take a few years to dissipate. As Jack reached 18, he followed in the footsteps of his family and enlisted into the Systems Alliance. He had been through basic training and even advanced training. Jack's superiors had kept a keen eye on the flourishing soldier; even now they knew he would be a leader.
Jack had just come onto shore leave in the wake of a promotion to Gunnery Chief and had been given a small squad of soldiers to command. This was his little celebration. Elena lifted a glass as she shouted out to the bar to be quiet; Elena had been with Jack since basic back on Earth, they always seemed to be shipped off together. Something flourished between the pair and Jack was nervous about it getting serious.
'Quiet!' She called and raised her glass. 'A Toast, to the next hero of the galaxy! Gunnery Chief Jack Shepard!' She laughed and the entire bar cheered; this was clearly a military bar, the walls were lined with photos of star ships, soldiers and framed medals. Some of the pieces on the wall were old, very old, some ancient earth relics; Jack was sure he'd seen one of the ancient 'old west' six shooters. A time when weapons were still so primitive and could only carry six rounds of lead made Jack shake his head; how had people survived back then?
'Right on chief' a voice from across the room spoke, Terry ran over and patted Jack on the shoulder; Terry was in Jack's squad and was his second in command. The entire squad was here, all drinking and all relaxing on their shore leaves. It was quiet, peaceful, no one to ruin this perfect moment. Turning to the side, Jack pressed his lips to Elena's as she got down from the stool she'd been standing on.
'Nice speech' Jack smirked and tapped the bar for another drink.
'You like? Took me all week to write' Elena smirked and kissed him again, a few 'woooo''s filled the room as Shepard waved his hand at the soldiers around him.
'Get back to work before I demote your asses' he joked. Looking at Elena, she was beautiful; dark brown hair that ran all the way down to her lower back, something she'd been told off for numerous times but she could easily tie it up into a combat helmet. Her green eyes stared back at Jack with total adoration; they were the perfect couple.
Jack woke up with a long groan, his head was killing him and he was sure he wasn't in his quarters. The pink bedding gave that away pretty quickly, turning over; Jack saw Elena's brown hair covering most of her face but it was defiantly her. Sitting up slowly, Jack reached up and ran a hand through his short brown hair; it wasn't standard buzz cut hair but it was allowable.
Scratching the thin beard that was growing on his cheeks and chin; Jack got up and recovered his clothes from the room, getting a shower before dressing in the fleet overalls. His name and rank sewed into a patch on the front and on his shoulders, the Gunnery Chief rank patch was brand new and fresh from where ever they were made; it was strange to see it after spending so long at his last rank but it was worth it.
'You going to cook me breakfast or what?' the low voice spoke from the covers as Elena stretched; letting the pink cover fall from her shoulder and reveal her naked body.
'Maybe, I was thinking of just dashing out and never returning' Jack smirked, playing the little thing they did. Some would say it was strange or weird but it was just their thing.
'Fine, leave... I don't care' She replied and on cue as Jack walked out the room. Jack had yet to see her accommodation but all these prefabs were the same, so began to make breakfast. A real cook breakfast was good for the stomach; most vessels in the alliance did not have cooks on board and the crew went on with ready to eat meals. Jack loved his English breakfast, his mother used to make them for him every morning until he left at the age of 18; whenever they had the chance to meet up she always made him it. Those times were getting further and further apart.
Elena came out of her room dressed in a similar uniform to Jack; she was part of the engineering corp. while he was a special operations infiltrator, but without a war to fight in, Jack was just a marine. It had been a long time since war had occurred with the Systems Alliance; not since the First Contact War.
They ate breakfast and spoke about what they would be doing today; Elena explained that there was a presentation on Drive Cores and new fittings to enhance faster than light travel with Mass Effect fields. Jack didn't mind going to her with it but it wasn't his bread and butter.
'I'm thinking of heading with Terry to the firing ranges, he thinks he can shoot better than me and I am thinking of putting his face in the dirt along with his words.' Jack explained and chuckled, Elena let out a sigh; of course Jack would head to the firing range, he was career soldier and all he did was train.
'Jack you're on shore leave, that means you relax, you don't go to the firing range.' She told him, this was an argument that was going on for quite some time, the usual outcome would be one of them heading out and then the pair not talking for the rest of the day before they met up that night apologised to each other and escorted the other to either's bed.
'I know Elena, but It relaxes me, I like to keep myself busy with things like this' Jack explained and finished the last slice of toast before grabbing his bag and heading out. Jack headed off into Illyria, the capital of the planet and met up with Terry; the pair heading to one of many firing ranges that Terry had scouted out. It was a holographic range so the pair ran through several battlefields as they challenged each other to challenges; fighting with one hand behind their back, fighting with a single pistol etc.
In the end they ended up just going to a firing range area and seeing who could out-snipe the other.
'So, how are you and Elena' Terry asked casually as he made a long shot, beating Shepard's last one.
'We're fine... she still gets angry when I go training off-duty' Jack explained as he beat Terry's shot.
'Well, you do over-do it sometimes' He added and missed his next shot.
'You got to always be ready, never know what is around the next relay' Shepard explained and fired a shot into the target, extreme range and furthest they had ever done.
'I know, but you're still early in your career, and you two really need to start settling down' Terry chuckled and missed the shot again, firing again and trying to beat Shepard's shot.
'I ain't ready for that yet Terry, hell, I am only twenty two' He chuckled and re-aimed his rifle, firing a shot that beat his own last shot.
'Damnit Jack, slow down so I can beat your ass' Terry laughed and hit the next shot; just as a loud buzzer ran overhead to signal their time was over. 'Beat you this time Jack' Terry smirked 'Better luck next time huh?' he slapped Shepard's arm and the pair began to dissemble their rifles into their bags.
'You only hit that because I was distracted' Jack told his friend who laughed.
'Sure... it's the only way I can get you to mess up' Terry admitted and slung his bag onto his back. 'So, where you want to go next? I know a nice place where there are some Asari dancers that...' Terry began but was interrupted by Jack who held up his hand.
'No Terry, you know I am with Elena' he told him firmly, 'I am not going to any strip club' He added to the warning as Terry held up his hands.
'It's not a strip joint, it's a bar where there happens to be dancers that will do this weird thing with their...' Terry began but was cut off again as Jack raised his hand. 'What?! Fine ... okay we won't go'
'Shush! You hear that' Jack mumbled, the area they were in was busy, all forms of life were walking around and trading; ships flew overhead, shuttles zipped around and mech's moved through the streets carrying heavy goods.
'Yea... its Illyria, the cities once big noise ball' Terry began but Jack simply raised his hand again.
'No... That whistling... ' He mumbled, just as an explosion rang out about a mile away from them. The noise instantly was replaced with a dark silence before a second later panic filled the streets. Explosions rang out in the distance; something was going down outside the city.
They were under attack.
Terry was frozen, they'd not seen much combat, in fact the only real action they had seen was with pirates and bandits but it was usually just bar fights or riots in the street; never full on combat.
'What do we do' Terry panicked, not like the civilians around them who were fleeing the area, the pair pushed to the edge of the street to get out of the waves of civilians and colonists heading to the centre of the city.
'We find Elena and then we report to the Colony's administration office' Jack spoke straight off, even as shit was going down around him, he kept a calm head and went through all options. That was why they chose him to lead men.
The pair dashed through side streets, their rifles now in their hands as they avoided the main roads; which were all blocked by civilian traffic. It took them over an hour to make it to the Administration office; where soldiers were barking orders and pointing to men to do things.
'Who are you!' a soldier barked, most likely one of many soldiers on leave here on Elysium.
'Gunnery Chief Jack Sheppard' Jack reported with a firm salute as Terry stood beside him.
'Service Chief Terry Archer' Terry added with a not so firm salute as he kept his eyes on everyone around him.
'I want you two to bolster the eastern defences. You two got long range rifles right... You're under command of Commander Vakila, she's keeping the bastards at bay' the soldier barked as he held his Omni tool out in front of him; apparently he was organising everything around him.
'Who are we fighting sir' Terry asked, the soldier shrugged.
'Fucked if I know, all I've been told is to direct you guys, ask Commander Vakila when you get there.' The soldier explained and began to yell at a band of soldiers who were moving a barrier in front of the main road.
The pair headed to the eastern defences and met up with a lot of soldiers who were just as confused as they were. Jack led them to the defences and even rendezvoused with his own squad, who followed his Omni tool signal when the attack began.
When they reached the Commander, she was barking more orders to the troops who were setting up small barriers. As Jack's squad arrived, they were ordered to spread out and defend certain alleys from troops sneaking by. Jack set them out in pairs and he went up on a two story building; setting up his rifle with Terry on a building across from him.
It was about an hour before the fight arrived to them; they had known this before the fight began as civilians flooded past their defences like an ocean wave. Soon enough the fight arrived to them.
The first shot hit one of the younger soldiers who had been watching the main street, Jack couldn't get his eyes on a target yet, and the dust and smoke was hiding the enemy soldiers approach. They looked humanoid but were not wearing anything that made them Turian; Shepard was glad that they weren't Turian; he didn't want to see another incident like the First Contact war.
Jack fired his first shot at a live target, killing the target with a single round through the helmet. Quickly pulling back the lever and letting the rifle's heat sink cool down a moment before firing another. This round clipped a soldier and sent him to the ground; Jack was as good a shot to real targets as he was in the simulators and the fake targets.
Terry on the other hand was having trouble; being the first combat experience he ever had, he was shaky; nervous... worried about shooting and killing a real person.
'Terry, you read me?' Jack spoke over the Omni tool's radio.
'Y...Yea...' Terry replied as his next shot missed again.
'Take a deep breath Terry, Prove you're worthy of beating my score' Jack bolstered his friends confidence, and it worked; Terry took a deep breath and fired another shot into the advancing enemy; killing a soldier.
The fight finally reached the defenders as the enemy neared into range of the standard rifles. Soldiers ducked behind cover as grenades flew through the air and drones sent forward. The defence team had a Biotic with them, who began to throw balls of biotic energy at the advancing enemy; getting them out of cover for the men and women of the alliance to kill them.
The enemy began to try to flank them once they realised these were not civilians they were playing with; the teams Jack commanded began to take heavy fire and Commander Vakila ordered them to pull back. Jack was one of the last men to start to pull out, keeping his team together; none of them were dead but had taken a few serious injuries.
That was when Jack witnessed his first team member killed. As he turned to pull one of his men through a door; a single shot hit the poor lad in the back. Jack was pulled down by the body as it lurched forward. Hitting the ground hard, Jack leaned down and picked up the poor lads rifle and fired it down the alleyway; killing the attacker and causing its helmet to fly off. Jack saw the face of his enemy.
Diving behind the door as it was sealed behind him, Jack was panting as a soldier came over and helped him to his feet.
'Batarians!' Jack gasped; the soldier stared at him for a moment.
'You sure?' He asked and Jack nodded.
'Saw it clean as day' He told him and the soldier lifted his Omni tool, radioing command.
'Sir, this is Chief Zandrick down on the East defences, we have identified the attackers as Batarians' The soldier reported, receiving orders to pass on to the Commander which Jack missed as he checked the body of the poor kid who'd died in front of him.
'Sir, we've been ordered back to the next set of defences' the soldier who'd he'd been talking to explained, Jack nodded and grabbed the dead soldier's dog tags before heading back.
Meeting up with the rest of his squad, Jack told them the loss they'd suffered and who the enemies were.
'Batarians! Those bastards!' Terry swore and kicked a rock.
'Calm your shit there Terry' One of the females in his squad told Terry off; Jack was too busy talking to the Commander to tell Terry to calm down, they needed a plan.
'Shepard, put your squad here… I will take a squad and watch this street here; hopefully we can hold them off until the Alliance sends more troops' the commander ordered as she pointed to a holographic map being displayed from her Omni-tool.
'What about the civilians Ma'am' Jack asked, there were a lot more civilians than they had expected, the problem was this was a trading colony; so there was a lot more civilian traffic passing through here than a normal colony.
'They are in the shelters here.' She pointed to the map as a waypoint appeared; it was less than a mile away; dangerously close.
'We can't let them get past us Shepard' the Commander spoke, Jack nodded, he knew his duty, he'd lay down his life for these civilians.
'I know ma'am, I won't let them get anywhere near them' He replied and saluted; Armour had been passed around to them at the second checkpoint, proper armour; not just the clothes they had been in before the attack.
The assault was hard on them, the teams held on for over 4 hours, they lost so many in that few time that the defence was growing thin.
'One on the left!' Terry yelled as he dived under cover, Jack popped up and put a single shot into the Batarian's head, dropping him in a slump as he convulsed in his last breath of life.
'Last Mag!' Someone cried, followed by 'take mine!' That two word call 'last mag' had begun to be a common occurrence, and the defenders were taking single shots; some even braving the no man's zone in front of them to collect enemy weapons.
Jack popped up from cover and threw his last grenade into a group of enemies; they were not stopping and the defences had pulled back so much that it was less than one hundred meters to the vault doors of the civilian shelters. Commander Vakila was dead, she had died over an hour ago and the chain of command was getting very short.
A young soldier ran over, they had lost their communications about an hour before and had resorted to using runners; who were a higher chance of getting killed now thanks to the fact they had to charge through open streets at certain points.
'Sir, Message from West wing, their pulling back, last point, South wing has pushed them back but can't re-take land or open a weakness for us..' the soldier began to go down the list before Jack stopped him.
'Why are you telling me this? Go find the Lieutenant' Jack spoke; the poor kid shook his head.
'He's dead, about 10 minutes ago… 'Jack was about to go down the list of superiors but the kid butt in. 'They're all dead sir, you're the highest rank here'.
Jack couldn't believe it, all dead! 'Okay...' Jack stood up to the job straight away. 'Tell south to send backup to West. Have North split into two and go to us, blocking off the north approaches to west and east' He began to give orders as the runner left.
'So, you're first Battlefield command... How's it feel' Terry half joked as he lay on his stomach, firing rounds over a dead Batarian who'd charged the lines.
'Not so good…' Jack mumbled, 'too many dead' He added and fired another shot.
Soon the troops from the north sector arrived and bolstered the defences. Elena ran over to jack and dived behind cover next to him.
'Jack!' she cried and kissed his lip, she was holding a Batarians rifle, probably ran out of ammo earlier.
'What are you doing here Elena? Shouldn't you be…?' Jack began but Elena shouted over him.
'I was with the North Sector, Command sent us here!' she called, Jack laughed softly.
'He's command' Terry explained to a shocked Elena.
'Really?!' she asked and Jack nodded
'Who'd had thought' he shrugged and fired another shot, killing a Batarian with perfect aim.
'What's the plan?' She asked and Jack shrugged.
'Keep the civilians safe until reinforcements' he explained, as Elena waited for more but none came.
'That's it?' She asked and he nodded.
'All I can think of right now' Jack spoke and killed a Batarian that was charging the line. The Batarians were getting closer and more of them arriving by the minute. Jack had to do something. Jack told Elena to patch him into the entire forces defending; she managed to do this with her Omni tool, they could probably get one message to everyone before the Batarians blocked the signal.
She aimed the Omni tool's camera at Jack as he sat with his back to the wall.
'Okay… You're Live Shep…' She told him.
Biting his lip, Jack spoke out to the men and women defending the civilians, even the civilians heard him.
'Men and Women of the Alliance. I am Jack Shepard, the Batarians think they can come here and attack our colony; they are mistaken. The Batarians think they can come here and defeat the System Alliance's Military… they are mistaken. WE are the Alliance; WE are the ones who will defend the population of this world. We have taken casualties, but we will make them pay for every life, every step they have taken tenfold… Fight, Fight for your homes, the people in the vaults behind us and their homes! Fight, Win! For the Alliance!' Jack shouted.
All Around him, everyone was cheering. Elena looked at him and smiled. 'Nice speech' she began and suddenly fell back with a shout. She had taken a shot through the barrier. Her kinetic barriers had broken instantly and she was bleeding badly from her stomach.
'Terry! Sort her out!' Jack yelled as Terry pulled her into cover; Her Camera was still broadcasting, she slowly raised it to view Shepard standing, unloading a clip into the enemy in an almost heroic pose out of the vids.
'Marines of the Alliance! Charge! They want a fight; we'll give them one! Charge!' He called and dived over the barricades. They managed to push the enemy back to the outer reaches of the colony where the outer defences were keeping them at bay; having not been activated when the attack first happened.
Rushing back to the vault, Jack searched for Elena who had been taken inside a Medical area to be treated. Terry was outside the area, blood on his hands and uniform.
'Elena, where is she?' Jack asked but Terry shook his head. 'Where is she' Jack repeated.
'Shepard, she… she didn't make it…' Terry bit his lip, looking away. Jack stared at him before suddenly losing it; throwing his rifle down on the ground and kicking over a trash can that stood beside the door. Terry pinned Jack to the wall to stop him from doing something stupid. Shepard actually began to cry; his body slowly sliding down the wall until he just sat in Terry's arms.
'Damn Batarians!' Jack mumbled 'She didn't even want to fight… she was an engineer… not a marine!' he yelled. A soldier came running over as he brought a message for Shepard. The Batarians were breaking through the defences. Jack wiped his cheeks and stood up.
'Tell all forces to get to that breach and prepare for the assault.' Jack ordered, Terry was about to go with the soldier but Jack stopped him.
'Go amass the civilians in the shelters main door; I want to speak with them.' Terry nodded and ran off. Jack spent a few moments in quiet thought, before going to see Elena. She was silent, calm, and peaceful. She lay there with her eyes closed and her hands crossed over her chest.
'I am sorry…' Jack apologised before leaning down and kissing her lip one last time.
In the entrance hall, the civilians were milling round; most of them women and children while some were men old enough to sign up but had not and gone into business other than the military. Terry stood at the foot of an upturned box waiting for Jack. He saluted Jack as he came in and everyone turned to Jack; who walked with a firm stance.
Stepping up onto the box, Shepard coughed as everyone stared at him.
'Hello everyone. I am currently the highest officer on the lines, and I would just like to tell you something.' Shepard began.
'The Batarians are about to make another push on this city, and the Marines outside are trying their best to hold them back; they are giving their lives to keep you safe, I ask you, Men and women who are old enough and confident enough to wield a rifle to report to Chief Archer here to be given armour and weapons.' Jack was suddenly cut off by one of the colonists.
'We're Civilians; you guys are the military here! Shouldn't you protect us?' The man asked, clearly a wealthy store owner.
'We are protecting you. Men and women out there are dying to protect you; all I ask is that anyone who can hold a gun helps me, help you protect this colony. I just lost my love to these Batarians bastards, and I am going to make them pay for it… but I need your help.' Jack spoke, everyone went quiet. One man walked forward and saluted.
'I will help you' he spoke, then another stepped forward, and another… and another… more began to step forward and salute; men, women and even a small child, no older than 6 stepped forward and saluted. Jack smiled softly and stepped off the box, saluting the child.
'Okay Soldier' He removed his rank pip and attached it to the young boy's shirt. 'You have orders to stay here and keep everyone calm… can you do that son' Jack spoke to the kid, playing as if the kid was really joining up but he wouldn't do that… he was just making the kid feel special, raise moral.
'Yes sir' the kid spoke and saluted; being picked up by his mother who nodded a smile to him.
'Okay... Terry, get these people weapons; the rest of you, get back as far as you can into the shelter… we will hold them off but we don't know if we can do it for long.' He told them, and led the new recruits out.
Once they were all armed and ready to go; Chief Shepard led them all to the gates where the Batarians were trying to push forward. The men and women of the city stood all aiming at the single entrance that the Batarians were trying to get through. All other points were blocked by Barriers and debris they had created from trucks and shuttles. This was the one way they would get in.
When they blew the doors open, the shots began to fire instantly. The fight only went on for a few minutes but already there was so much death on both sides. Rockets and Biotic fields flew over each side and Jack had some of the few biotic he had with him set up barriers to protect the troops rather than attack them; the guns could kill them while the Biotic were better used as shields.
The guns were failing on the walls of the city and more Batarians were charging in; they had to get those guns back on and close the gates again, if they managed to do that; they could hold out even longer.
Jack told Terry he was in charge of the men on the ground, he was going to get the guns back on; Terry told him to take some men but he declined; he didn't want to get anyone killed.
Sneaking out the back and going through one of the many maintenance hatches, Jack crawled through and ended up near the control room for the gates and guns.
'You think these humans will last?' a voice came from the room, Jack leaned against the wall and peeked around the corner; a pair of Batarians stood in the room, a dead human at their feet. Clearly the control room's operator.
'Nah, their making their last stand, we've got this' The Batarian smirked; Jack walked around the corner and aimed his rifle at one and his pistol at the other.
'I don't think so' Jack spoke firmly. The Batarians turned around slowly; their hands up in the air away from the weapons that dangled on cords from their armour.
'Don't move' Jack spoke calmly at them and walked slowly into the room, one hand holding the rifle at his hip while the other outstretched the pistol.
'Be a nice little Batarians and turn those guns back on' Jack spoke, the left Batarian let out a chuckle.
'How about no Human' He replied and let out a snort, looking at the other who chuckled too. 'When our squad comes back from their patrol, you will really get it, you know that.' One of them spoke but Jack simply moved his aim to the Batarians head.
'Quiet, tell me… why are you here, Why come to this colony?' he asked but the pair just laughed. 'You really think we will tell you that?' he asked rhetorically, to which Jack shook his head.
'Well, if you don't mind, I think we better be going' One Batarian explained and jumped for his pistol; Jack put a shot in his head and stared at the other.
'Whoa… don't kill me…' The Batarian spoke, 'I got a family to feed, a girl back home' He spoke and Jack sighed.
'Yea, well you're friends outside just killed my "girl"…' Jacks hand tensed on the trigger, but he couldn't do it… He just couldn't kill this unarmed Batarian, even after Elena's death.
'Get the frak out of here, before I change my mind' Jack snarled at the Batarian, who turned and began to run out the room.
'Oh…' Jack spoke and the Batarian turned thinking he would get shot now. 'Tell your men to get out of the gate… I am bringing the guns back on' He told the Batarian who tried to radio his men as he ran off. Did Jack do the right thing? Maybe… maybe not... he'll see soon enough.
The guns were easy to bring back online but the Gate was not operational. He needed something else to plug the gap. Looking down at the dead Batarian, he had a bag of explosives… Maybe, just maybe he could blow the gate house up and bring it down, but he would have to get right down into the middle of the enemy.
With a sigh, he picked up the bag and began to run for the gate house. Radioing Terry, he received a number of complaints as he got back to the defences. They weren't doing so well; they had fallen back pretty far.
Jack stood at the defences as he looked around. A shuttle was in the distance, still working but grounded thanks to the Batarian rocket troopers.
'I've got an idea' Jack spoke and Terry caught his gaze.
'Don't you even dare Shepard…? You'll get yourself killed...' He told him but Jack shook his head.
'I've got to do it. I am in command here and is my duty to do this' He told Terry, who bit his lip.
'The explosions going to be pretty big, I will get the troops back to the vault doors and get them set up inside. Just in case.' Terry explained and Jack nodded, hugging his friend goodbye as Terry passed Jack a belt of clips for his rifle.
'Good luck Shepard' Terry mumbled and Jack nodded.
'You too Terry' He replied and got into the shuttle. The thrusters ignited and Jack began to bring it into the air; he watched the defenders begin to fall back as the Batarians began to fire at Jack. The shuttle took a lot of hits as it skimmed over the troops; he kept it low so the rocket troopers didn't have much time to aim but one clipped the read thrusters and it went down into the gate, bringing it all down on the troops as they began to fill in where the defenders had fled.
The shuttle detonated in a huge gout of flame and debris, Batarians flew through the air as their bodies were carried by the shockwave, the flame or the rubble as it fell from the gate house. Crawling out from under a huge upturned truck, Jack had dived out at the last minute and got into cover behind the truck; it had been big enough for him to hide behind and kept him from the explosion.
Dead Batarians littered the area where the gatehouse had once stood. Picking up his rifle and firing several more shots into them as they began to regain their momentum; he dived behind cover and fired over the top, through the smoke as Batarians tried to push forward through the thick gouts of smoke and flame.
Jack held the Batarians off for over an hour, single handily bought the civilians enough time to get a radio working and send a message to one of the ships in Orbit; fighting off the Batarian forces.
Reinforcements arrived and the Batarians fled the scene back to their ships; chased off by the Alliance Marine reinforcements. They found Gunnery Chief Jack Shepard Slumped in cover, bleeding from several wounds which included a shoulder wound, a hip wound, and a small cut across his forehead and a long cut down his left eye.
Standing up slowly and giving a not so crisp salute, Jack Shepard let out a low mumble. 'G... Gunnery.. Chief… Jack Shepard; Commanding the… Illyria defence, reporting... sir...' He saluted the Commander who arrived with the reinforcements.
The commander returned the salute with a small smile, 'It's okay son, you did the job, a mighty fine job.' The commander spoke and ordered his men to get a stretcher.
'The civilians' he spoke, his first thought was on them, not his own wounds.
'…are fine… we are evacuating them to a secure location now; you gave them enough time to get us on the horn… You did fine work here… now rest son, you earnd it.'
Jack nodded and relaxed on the stretcher. The next thing he remembered was waking up in an Alliance hospital as several nurses treated his wounds. Apparently he'd passed out on the stretcher.
Terry found him pretty soon, telling Jack that they had been worried sick about him; the civilians were all praying for him when they got back to the shelters. Jack let out a soft chuckle and groaned, it hurt to laugh.
He was in the hospital for a few days before being discharged. Shepard found himself in the office of an Admiral who had commanded the fleet. Wearing his dress blue's and his left arm in a sling thanks to the shoulder wound. Jack had a bandage over the left side of his face; he had been told the wound would scar but it wasn't too bad, he wouldn't lose the eye as he thought.
'You did amazing work here Chief' The Admiral had begun, standing up as Shepard entered the office. 'Holding off a Batarian assault force for over an hour single handed. Not many would believe such a statement if we didn't have report from prisoners, the civilians and military personnel, you're a hero son' the Admiral spoke, pride clearly in his voice.
'Just … doing my job sir' Jack replied with full honestly, he meant every word. Protecting the innocent, upholding the law; these were his entire job.
'You did more than your job there chief, if it was up to me, I'd promote you right to admiral right now; but because we need men like you out there, I award you with the Rank of 2nd Lieutenant and all the privileges that come with it' the Admiral spoke and stood up, handing Jack a small box with the rank pips inside; he'd given his own to that young boy, but it did not matter now.
'And, you have been awarded the Star of Terra' the admiral added and opened a box with the medal inside. Jack stared at it for a minute before looking at the Admiral.
'I don't…' he began but the Admiral chuckled.
'Do not say you don't deserve it… You held them off single handed… This is an award that recognises courage and duty above the call of duty… I think crashing a shuttle into a gatehouse, then holding off the enemy to save civilians and your fellow troopers more than earns you this Lieutenant' The admiral smirked as Jack stood up and shook the Admiral's hand.
'Thank you... sir...' Jack was shocked, he'd never expected this; only true heroes got this award, he simply did his job.
'There will be a ceremony for the dead and your award tomorrow night; you rest up and enjoy your night. You earned it' the admiral told him and saluted.
Jack replied the salute and left. He told Terry who congratulated him and took him for a drink. Jack was given free drinks at every bar but he simply said to give a free drink to everyone in the bar that arrived that night. This earned him more praise.
'You are a damn hero Jack, you saved everyone' Terry told him, but Jack shook his head.
'Not everyone' he mumbled, thinking of Elena.
'She would be proud of you... and she would tell you off for pouting so much…' Terry told Jack, who let out a soft chuckle, he was right.
'To Elena' he raised his glass as Terry did the same.
'And to the Hero of Elysium. Lieutenant Shepard! Hero of the galaxy' Terry added, adding the joke at the end, just like Elena did.
Jack let out a long sigh as he stared out the window to Earth that had been so many years ago but those actions had made him the man who he was today.
The SSV Normandy sat in docks and was ready for her first mission out into the galaxy; this mission would be the start of the now Commander Jack Shepard's future.
If he had known he would be facing a Rogue Spectre, joining the ranks of Spectre; falling in love with an Asari archaeologist and a Quarian girl on her pilgrimage, finding out that the galaxy was in a cycle of death thanks to a race of organic filled space ships called the Reapers. If he had known he would die and be reborn thanks to the pro-human organisation known as Cerberus, that he would destroy a mutated army of Protheans, that he would face down a Reaper, that he would lead the biggest army in history against these Reapers in the defence of humanity…
…would he have stepped on board the Normandy?
…Yes… Yes he would have, he would do it all over again, why? Because it was his job; he did this because he had to, because he was the only one who could do it, because if he stopped, millions, billions… no... Trillions would die. He had to do it…
Because he was Commander Shepard.