The Ending of Commander Shepard
'We got to keep moving' cried Admiral Anderson as he waved on the troops of Hammer over the crest of the once straight road; which now looked more like a crater than a road.
'Move it Marines!' Another voice cried as everyone urged each other through the hell they were marching through… it had been a long time since they had marched into the hell and all you could do was move forward. No retreat, no surrender.
'Shepard!' Anderson cried as Jack ran up the hill, in the wake of a Mako assault vehicle rolling by. More Troops piling out of its belly as the ramp dropped.
'Anderson…' Jack took his friends hand and they shared a small embrace. They had both made it this far, only a small step to go. That small step was in fact a Five hundred meter dash down a steep hill right into the mouth of the most protected part of Reaper territory here on Earth.
"The Beam" as it was simply known shone bright in the night sky, they had no idea if it was day or night thanks to the everlasting black shroud that seemed to have covered the earth pretty soon after the Reapers arrived.
'You made it' Anderson spoke with relief; looking over at the last hurdle they would have to take.
'Yea, that last reaper dreadnought just needed a little push' Jack chuckled, the body of a dead Reaper dreadnought lay not 200 meters behind them; a hole in its front where the Missile Jack had spent the last ten minutes defending had blew the hell beast to the great beyond.
'Just like you Jack, nothing will stop you will it?' Anderson chuckled, to which Tali joined them; giving Jack's shoulder armour a punch with her two fingered fist.
'He just doesn't know when to quit' she added as the 3 stood on the hill, shortly joined by Garrus who had been giving a few orders to a small group of Turian marines that had made it through the assault of Reaper lines.
'Just one last hurdle and we will end this war.' Garrus spoke.
'Yea… one big hurdle' Jack added with a sigh. It had always been a big hurdle for them; no matter what they did, they always knew the Reapers were coming and now they were here they could not really do much other than fight back and try to survive. Shepard had changed that, he had rallied the biggest fleet in the known history, Asari, Turian, Salarian, Quarian, Krogan and even Geth. All of them amassed to create the Crucible… their last hope.
All they had to do was charge this line, charge this last line and enter the beam, arrive on the citadel and somehow open the great arms for the crucible to dock. It brought back memories of Elysium, his time fighting there, his loss. Well… no more loss; he would end this now.
'All right, you goddamn heroes… let us save the galaxy!' Shepard yelled and received cheers from the men and women around him. Taking a deep breath and looking over at Tali as she took his hand, giving it a squeeze, he took one-step forward.
Suddenly they were knocked to their knees, with a loud shudder filling the city. Everyone got themselves to their feet and stared into the sky as the Reaper descended through the cloud layer. A Sovereign class vessel with a distinctive six glowing eyes.
'Harbinger' Shepard mumbled. The silence broken only by the loud Reaper groan that vibrated their very hearts. 'Move!' Jack yelled and began to push soldiers who were stuck still in fear. The push was all they needed as they began to run down the hill. Jack nodded to Anderson, Tali and Garrus and began to run down the hill.
It was the longest few seconds of Jack's life. All he could see was Harbinger staring down at him, as if it stared into his very soul. Beams of red shot down across the open stretch and devastated the remains of Hammer. They were being torn apart; but all they needed was one… one person to get through.
An explosion ripped through a Mako and sent it tumbling at Jack, who slid to a stop and dived out the way. This gave him a chance to check on Tali and Garrus; he should never have brought them to this… especially Tali. If anything happened to her.
However it did. Another beam shot through a Hammerhead and sent it tumbling into a Mako, causing the Mako to head towards the pair before detonating in a hail of shrapnel and smoke.
'Tali! Garrus!' Jack cried and ran back, diving over the Mako's burning shell and saw the pair, bloodied and badly hurt. Dragging them to cover, he raised his hand to his ear and opened his comms.
'This is Shepard; I need an Evac at the beam!' He yelled into the coms. A shuttle coming down out the smoke.
'No… Don't go' Tali mumbled, she was very badly injured and blue blood seeped out of her airtight suit.
'I've got to get you to safety Tali' He instructed her and handed her to Garrus, who could barely stand.
'Please don't leave me' She begged, tears falling down her face as her visor leaked its internal air supply; clearing out the fogginess so her face was clearly visible.
'I love you' Shepard told her and ran a hand down her visors cheek plate before running off; he had to get going before Harbinger targeted the shuttle.
'No!' Tali yelled and had to be held back; the shuttle's door closing and taking off as it narrowly avoided the deathly beam of Harbinger.
This was it, Shepard had to do it; barely anyone was alive and he was one of the closest. Pushing every inch of strength into a charge, he was nearly there… 250… 200...150….100!
'Commander Shepard' Harbinger's voice rang in his ear. Shepard slid to a stop and looked up at Harbinger, whose gaze was dead to rights on him. The beam cut through the ground where Shepard had been stood. He had dived out the way but it was no use.
Shepard opened his eyes, everything hurt; his eyes looked around and caught Harbinger taking back to the skies; probably going to go back to the battle over in the skies of Earth. Sitting up slowly, Sheppard checked himself out first. His armour was devastated and was leaking blood from everywhere. Letting out a long cry as he peered down to a hold in his side, a long piece of metal was stuck through his side. Pulling it out hurt a lot… and left him bleeding badly.
Making his way to his feet, no one was stood up. Jack's comms were cutting out, he could barely hear anything; his ears were ringing so much. He thought he caught a message that sounded like 'No one made it'
Picking up a pistol from the ground, Shepard began to limp towards the Beam, it was unguarded, he had to do it; it was his chance!
Soldiers lay dying around him, groaning in their last breaths before passing into whatever afterlife awaited them; Shepard knew if one existed, it would be mighty crowded right about now.
Suddenly Shepard felt a shot rip through his shoulder, turning his gaze to the beam; a Marauder had appeared from behind rubble and taken a shot at him. Lifting the pistol was difficult; firing it caused his arm to hurt even more, but the Marauder fell with a few shots.
'I can do it' Shepard told himself, picking up the pace and covering his eyes from the bright light ahead of him. 'I can do it!' he told himself again as he felt a sudden coldness take his body.
Jack hit the metal floor with such force, it sent the pistol scattering from his hand and all breathe from his lungs leaving his chest. With a cough and a groan, he pulled himself to his feet.
'Shep… ar…d...' A voice spoke, looking around, Shepard realised it was his radio in his ear.
'Yes… it's me' he spoke back; the voice was filled with static but sounded familiar. 'Anderson? That you?' Jack spoke, he had not seen his body on the charge but then again, most caught in a beam from Harbinger simply vanished into nothing.
'Yea… I made it up after you… But we must have come out of different places, I'm in some sort of chamber' Anderson replied. Jack finally looked around to find hundreds, thousands of bodies scattered around, all of them dead and some rotting. Their stench filled his nose; causing him to gag.
'Yea…there are bodies here… hundreds, maybe thousands of them' Jack replied, starting to limp forward. A Keeper stood nearby shorting through the bodies, looking for gods knows what.
Limping forward, Jack began to move through the hallways; bodies were littered everywhere, they must be trying to create another Reaper, just as they had on the Collector vessel.
Anderson mentioned a large room up ahead, but Shepard had yet to reach the door; when he finally did, there was no sign of Anderson, who was now talking about a large control room. Limping forward and gripping on to a wall for support, Jack spotted what could be a bridge.
Trying to pick up the pace, Jack moved as fast as he could, but Anderson's communication filled with static. Coming up the bridge and a slope, Shepard entered a control room of sorts, a huge platform with multiple entrances and a single console looking out into the expanse of the citadels arms.
Looking out into the vast expanse, Shepard almost felt insignificant.
Anderson was at the console, 'Anderson!' Shepard tried to yell but it came out as a moan. Anderson looked just as bad as Shepard did. Slowly Anderson turned around and began to limp towards Jack.
'Shep...ard... I can't...' Anderson groaned as he struggled to control himself.
'I underestimated you Shepard' a new voice came from Jack's right. Stepping into view, The Illusive Man smirked at Jack. He was a mess and not in the same way as the two soldiers. The Illusive man's neck and face were almost, husked... filled with Reaper technology and tearing through the skin like a rash. The Illusive Man's appearance brought back memories of Saren at the citadel's council chamber all those years ago.
'You!' Jack snarled and raised his pistol, but his arm did not respond. A shrilling shriek filled his head as what felt like static began to fill his thoughts.
'Control is the mean's to survival, Control the Reapers and of you... if necessary.' The Illusive man began his long-winded speech.
'Their controlling you! Don't you see?' Anderson snarled; the Illusive Man simply chuckled.
'I don't think so... Admiral.'
'Controlling me, is a lot different than controlling a Reaper' Jack replied, still trying to bring up the pistol, but the shrieking just got louder and louder.
'Have a little faith' The Illusive Man explained and went into a long speech about the first contact war, the first discovery of the Relay's and the advancement of humanity through technology.
Jack raised his gun, but it was not him doing it; the control was getting to him. 'No...' He snarled,
'You're playing with things you don't understand!' Jack tried to reason with him, 'We're not ready to do this!'
'There is always another way' Anderson added but it was no use, The Illusive man was way too strong, the trigger pulled and Anderson fell to one knee; Jack shot him, but it wasn't his own will.
'Can't you see their controlling you?' Anderson snarled.
The conversation went on for what seemed like an Eternity, Shepard and Anderson trying to convince the Illusive Man to let them go release them from the control so they could stop the Reapers but it was like talking to a brick wall.
Before Shepard knew it, Anderson was dead; The Illusive Man shot him in the back of the head. Jack let out a scream and fired. The Illusive man fell to the ground as Jack felt the static disappear. Finally able to move, Jack limped forward, dropping the pistol and leaning on the console.
Fumbling with the holographic controls, Jack found the release for the arms. The vast arms began to open up to a destroyed battlefield above the Earth; dead ships drifted and debris grouped together like wasps to a nest.
'There... Earth' The Illusive man mumbled in his dying breath. 'I wish you could see it Shepard, How I see it...' He added as his cold and machine blue eyes stared at the vast whites, blues and greys of the Earth's scarred skin. 'It's so... beautiful...' He gasped and died.
Looking back, Jack sighed and stared down at the Earth; he would did it... the Arms were open. Now it was up to Admiral Hackett
'The arms are opening! They did it! Launch the Crucible!' Hackett barked over the bridge and into the radio. Outside; the vast machine began to drift closer to the Citadel; slowly its casing began to launch away and reveal the inner workings of the Crucible itself. Slowly the machine began to drift closer and closer until its very centre docked to some unseen port on the bottom of the citadel's council platform at the very centre of the Citadel.
'The Cruciblehas docked... is anything happening?' Hackett asked around the bridge, but no reply came.
Nothing was happening.
Shepard fell back against a raised platform, sat beside Andersons body, he had done it... that was his last mission; they had won.
Staring out at earth, Jack enjoyed the silence; it was the first time he had been able to relax in a long time. Peering down at his wound from the Marauder, it was bleeding badly; he had been in enough combat situations to know this was a no-return wound.
'She... pard' a voice crackled in his head again, looking around in a daze, Jack called out. 'Hel...hello?'
'Shepard, Nothing is happening' It was Hackett, now the arms had opened; Jack could receive fleet messages.
'I... I don't... Know what... why... What do you... need me to do?' Jack stammered and crawled on his belly towards the console again. It was a struggle to even do that, pulling himself slowly up the console; Jack saw one line on the blank screen, which had once been littered with holographic text.
'Accept new Command' Jack reached up and pressed the Yes button.
The Citadel began to vibrate, the entire structure shaking as the Crucible began to charge and sap energy from the Citadel. A small bar began to fill on the screen in front of Jack, who was unstable on his feet; he could pass out any moment.
'It's... charging... I think... I can fire it from here' Jack spoke into his radio, suddenly a whole dictionary of words appeared on the screen, filling in thousands of languages that Shepard could barely even see never mind understand. Although he did see one word, 'Fire' the text seemed to fade in and out and change to a strange language, which he had seen many times. Prothean, thanks to the cipher inside his mind, Jack could understand Prothean language
'It... its ready to fire' Jack spoke again, and thought he had heard Hackett tell him to fire it, but as his hand raised; Jack heard two words he would never have wanted to hear break inside his mind.
The world went black as Shepard tired to blink away the darkness; it took a few moments before a light appeared in the black.
'Commander Shepard' a voice spoke from somewhere in the darkness, slowly walking into the small spotlight was a figure, the darkness folding back to reveal a reaper flying towards him; towering high into the sky.
'Harbinger' Shepard mumbled and tried to back away, but no matter how far he ran the light remained the same distance away and so did Harbinger.
'You cannot run from me Shepard, I will have control of you' Harbinger's booming voice spoke out with the bass of a thunderstorm.
'You won't win Harbinger! Not while I still live!' Shepard turned and yelled up at Harbinger, pointing his finger at him; even face to face with a Reaper, Jack would never back down.
'I have already won Shepard, you are indoctrinated, I have control over your body and mind' Harbinger's voice boomed as Shepard stood his ground; checking his body for his wounds and any weapons, he found none. His body appeared to be unharmed and was dressed in his formal Alliance blues.
'If you have my mind, then why are you talking to me right now?' Jack barked back, a smile on his lips; he did not believe for a moment that he had been taken over fully by Harbinger, he might have lost his body but his mind was still strong. His will was still there.
'You are a remnant of your mind, an echo of its demise' Harbinger explained, but Jack did not believe him.
'I don't care if I am an echo or a ghost, you won't break me' Jack snarled and stood in a aggressive combat posture; concentrating on the things he loved; Tali, Liara, the Normandy and her crew, his friends and family, Anderson and the Alliance.
Harbinger began to laugh and disappeared back into the darkness.
'It is useless to resist, you are an echo in space' a new voice spoke as a new figure stepped into the spotlight; this one was male and familiar.
'Anderson?' Shepard mumbled as Anderson stepped out into the light, hands behind his back as he approached Shepard. 'No, you're dead' Shepard firmly spoke as he watched Anderson circle him, moving his hands in a defensive form in case this Anderson tried to attack.
Anderson looked healthy and normal, not like the Anderson who had died on the citadel with Shepard moments before by the Illusive Man's hand.
'Harbinger is right Jack, You cannot win against them; surrender and let them finish the cycle, and it is the only hope for the galaxy.' Anderson explained and looked to Jack; Now Jack did not believe this, Anderson would never blindly give up like this.
'You're not Anderson' Jack snapped, and moved in time with Anderson's orbit.
'You do not understand, the cycle must be returned to the start' Anderson insisted but Jack shook his head.
'You see what we have done, we are winning against the Reapers, no cycle ever did this, and we have changed. The cycle cannot go on anymore' Jack explained; using all he had learned from Javik the Prothean, Leviathan; the original Reaper creator and all he had learnt over his time fighting the Reapers for the past few years.
'The cycles always believe they are winning; until they fall to the same result that the previous cycles fell to; Organics and Synthetics cannot live together in peace; they will always destroy each other.'
Anderson spoke as he continued to circle Jack. Jack Shepard knew what he was saying was correct; he had learnt that from Leviathan.
'Harbinger! You cannot fool me with your trickery... I know this is not Anderson.' Jack shouted and Anderson faded into the wind like a cloud of mist, suddenly replaced by Tali, dressed in a black dress, not her suit. Her purple hair ran down her back and her beautiful light purple skin was glowing with a smile.
'Jack, you have to listen, just look at my race; the Quarians and the Geth were not first race to start this; your own race would go through the same; as does most other races. This occurs every cycle; you cannot stop it because it has already been set in motion. The only way now is to end this cycle before the war between the Synthetics and Organics destroys too much for the cycle to be restarted.' Tali spoke as she walked forward, about half way through her speech she had ended up face to face with Shepard and ran a hand down his chest, which Jack pushed away and took a step back.
'Harbinger, I am sick of your games, she is not Tali, he was not Anderson, who else are you going to bring out to try to talk me out; I will always fight you!' Jack yelled into the air, the figure of Tali was not Harbinger, neither was the Harbinger before; the entire place was him.
'How about me instead? Will you listen to me?' a new but again, familiar voice spoke behind Shepard.
'Elena?' Jack turned around suddenly and was confronted by the beautiful girl he had almost married, if Elysium had not happened.
'Yes Jack, I am glad you remember my name, seems you might have been distracted with others' Elena turned and looked away from him. 'What are their names? Liara T'Soni? Tali'Zorah vas Normandy? Did not take you for a Xeno-lover' Elena spoke; it hurt Jack, just as much as it hurt him when he saw Anderson and Tali's form. Elena was his girlfriend right up to the point she died in his arms on Elysium.
'No... No you're not Elena' Jack snapped and turned away, but found a pair of hands rubbing at his shoulders; just like the way she used to. It brought back so many memories that it brought a tear to his cheek.
'Get off!' he snapped and stepped forward, turning and pointing his finger at Elena. 'You are not Elena, you are not Tali and you are not Anderson. I will not help you and nor will I surrender. I will fight you right until the end.' Jack snapped and stood with his arms crossed.
That was when someone else appeared out of the shadow, an old and again familiar face that Jack had once fought to the bitter end. 'Saren...' Jack mumbled.
'Yea, Me. I once tried to stop the Reapers, in my own way. It started as me against them, then I realised that they were unbeatable; you might have won the battles but you can never win the war. They have defeated so many races, so many alliances of races and all the cycles they have destroyed! If we surrender now, we can try to save some of our people.'
Saren was speaking just as he had done when Jack had fought him inside the Council's hall. He was right, in some ways. They could not think to win, only fight and try to survive but that was the key, survival.
'No... We fight because we have to, to survive and keep on living. If we are stuck in a cycle of death and a life of blissful ignorance at the inevitable death; then what point is there in even living? We fight because we want to live and survive; that is why I will never give up and you will never win, as long as there is hope; the Reapers will never win.' Jack smirked and the world began to fade away, the black growing lighter as the single light now turned into a bright light room.
Harbinger could be heard yelling something that sounded like 'No' but Jack could not be sure because another voice had begun to ring in his right ear.
'Shepard, do you read me? Jack! Fire the Crucible... We cannot hold out much longer... Jack! Jack!'
Jack's hand slammed down the few inches it had been hovering for gods knows how long. The holographic console flickered out of existence and the entire citadel began to vibrate. The entire superstructure was moving; Shepard could feel it through the entire station.
Normally the movement of the station would not be able to be felt thanks to its Mass Effect fields but something was different. Watching the station's arms from the control room, Jack could see them begin to extend out further than they would normally. He would not be able to watch for long as his legs finally gave way and he fell onto the console in front of him, his body sliding down the sleek material before slumping in a pile at the bottom.
The starships of the United Fleet watched as the Citadel extended out in a large five-pointed star with the Torus at the very centre of the shape. The Crucible extended out the back of the Citadel and connected to the bottom of the Council tower. After a few moments of the citadel's movement ceasing; an arch of purple lightening shot from one of the small extended pylons of the Crucible and shot up to meet the very peak of the Citadel's top most arm.
After a few moments another one shot out, then another, each one hitting the next arm in a clockwise motion. This continued for a few minutes before the energy discharge began to increase in frequency as more bolts shot out; until five minutes later, the frequency was constant and a large beam of energy connected all five arms.
'All ships, this is Admiral Hackett. Shepard has done it; he has fired the Crucible. Pull back to the rendezvous point; all ships furthest away from the Citadel, form a rear guard and pull back to the Relay once all ships have escaped the system.' Hackett spoke on an all channel frequency to all ships; replied to with a chorus of "yes sir's", a large amount of vessels formed a large wall of ships and fired on the Reapers that had began to either flee from the system towards the Relay or were chasing the United Fleet.
'What about Shepard? We cannot just leave him on their' Joker spoke on an open channel to Hackett, who bit his lip and shook his head.
'There is no time to try to find him, he could be anywhere on the citadel, fall back to the rendezvous Normandy' Hackett replied and cut the link. Joker swore profanity and turned the Normandy towards the Relay.
As the citadel looked like it was about to detonate in a massive explosion, a large beam shot out from the arms and hit against the out-pointing council tower; causing a wave of energy to suddenly begin to surround the citadel. This wave began to extend out into the system, as it surrounded Earth, Luna, and began to pass through the system towards the Reapers, the United Fleet and the Relay.
As the wave passed through the ships, the Reapers seemed to slow down and then stop as a huge crack of energy surrounded their ships, but then they started moving again.
Hackett was consulting with every scientist he could; no one had any idea what the Crucible would do and apparently, it had done nothing.
Then a message came from the Normandy; using her sensitive sensor network build into the Normandy with her Shadow Broker computer and the advanced computing power it contained, Liara T'Soni had worked it out.
'Their weapon and shield-less, the Beam's energy candled out their advanced energy weapons and shield frequencies, their vulnerable to our weapons.' The message was simple and quick. Hackett realised the advantage quickly and ordered the fleet to turn around and reform. He knew the fight was not over and knew that even though they had fired the Crucible, it was still going to be close.
'All Units of the United Fleet, the enemy has been weakened but they still need to be beaten. We can do it; Commander Shepard has bought us this chance! Charge! For every race in this galaxy, for every race that ever has been or will be; charge!' He called out down the communications channels to all ships. A surge of cheers yelled on all ships and the United Fleet reformed into a mass wave. Normandy shot up at the front as it took the charge, Hackett seeing it only fitting for the ship that started it all to be the ship to end it all.
The Normandy fired all its weapons at the lead Reaper as the other ships behind her fired all their weapons in unison. The lead reaper took the first hit but shrugged it off, however the second one seemed to have some effect; the shots had passed straight through where the Reaper's advanced Kinetic Barriers should have been. The missiles and rounds hit all the lead Reapers and in moments, several detonated in spectacular explosions.
Cheers left the mouths of every man and woman on the bridges of every ship. They had a chance! Ships buzzed around the orbit between Mars and Earth as vessels of the United Fleet and the Reapers as the danced in a battle of the Gods. Meanwhile, the ground forces took their opportunity to fight back with renewed strength; although they had a harder time than the fleet, they were fewer on numbers but they had another advantage. The Reaper ground forces had no weapons or Kinetic barriers, it looked like all Reaper weapons were disabled by the Crucible's wave. It would be a hard fight but they had spirit, will and determination.
The battle raged outside the Citadel's window as Jack Shepard leaned against the small step that ran back towards the entrance of the control room. He was bleeding badly as his hand moved away sticky and coated in his own warm blood.
'Shepard' a voice rang through the room, until he realised it was in his head; lifting his heavy head up to peer out the window, Shepard caught sight of a Reaper flying towards him, its eyes shining through the black space between them.
'Harbinger' Jack mumbled and smiled, just as he saw what Harbinger was running from; 'Normandy' he chuckled and smirked as a missile left Normandy and chased after Harbinger right until the point it collided in the crook of its back.
Harbinger went up in a ball of plasma and flame; Jack smirked and tried to cheer but his energy was fading quickly.
'Good one... Normandy' he mumbled as his eyes faded slowly, his body sliding to the right and falling in a slump at the foot of the staircase. Normandy made a 180 turn and flew through the debris or Harbinger as his body began to drift out into the orbit of Earth; soon to unceremoniously burn up in the atmosphere.
The crucible began to shake as the energy from the beams faded and dissipated, a small plasma fire began to ignite in the Crucible, which caused an explosion; then another, and another. The explosions passed onto the Citadel and began to take over the entire Citadel; soon, the arms began to drift off as the explosions severed their connections.
The Citadel began to drift away but scans of its trajectory showed that it would remain in orbit but the Citadel would never be the same again.
Something gripped Shepard's armpits and began to drag him up the stairs. His eyes drifted open a little and looked up to the figure dragging him; its six legs supported the familiar frame of a Keeper, guardian of the Citadel. Passing out several times, Jack's final memory was being lifted into some sort of casket and a panel sealing him inside. With a high pitched hissed, Jack's eyes drifted closed for the final time.
The Battle was won but at a heavy cost. Almost two thirds of the United Fleet was destroyed and on the ground, they had managed to keep a quarter of the men and woman alive.
The Reapers were fleeing en mass and cheers had filled the bridges of every ship. They had won against a threat that had destroyed every cycle that had come along. There had been heavy losses, the area between mars and earth was littered with the carcases of dead Reapers and United fleet ships.
The Reaper forces were dead and drifting but the United Fleet ships still had survivors who were now being picked up from escape pods and various vessels. The Reaper forces that had not been destroyed were fleeing the system in such as hurry that it was impossible for most of the larger vessels to accelerate after them.
They would be finished off later while the forces rebuilt and repaired their vessels; now the Reapers had something to fear, it was more a fair fight than ever before.
The Citadel was a mess, the arms of the once eon aged structure were drifting separately in Earth orbit, although they were still relatively close to the main ring.
Once the Reapers were pushed out of the Sol system, Hackett lead a force in pursuit while a small force moved back into Earth orbit to help the ground forces. It took the United Galactic forces two weeks to clear Earth of any major threat, the Reapers taking to the shadows. A search and rescue team was sent up to the Citadel via the beam in search of any survivors; including Shepard.
The bodies of the Illusive man and Anderson were found relatively quickly; as the beam lead them to the control room but there was no sign of Commander Jack Shepard; only a pool of blood that was identified as Shepard's.
Over the next year, the United Forces cleared out most of the Reapers from major systems, while most of the Reapers fled back into Dark Space from whence they had first hid away.
Life began anew with hope of a new future; cities were rebuilt and vessels repaired. Civilisations began to regroup and the races all helped each other, just as Shepard had wanted. The Council took their place as head of the United Galactic Alliance from their temporary home on Earth. Humanity's Commander in chief; Admiral Hackett was given the key seat in the United Galactic Alliance, Chairman of the United Galactic Alliance because of Humanities will to pool all the races; no... Not Humanities; Shepard's.
Life flourished in the next few years; Tali'Zorah Vas Normandy now adopted the name most of the Quarian people had; Vas Rannoch, the name of their new home. Tali fulfilled her father's wishes; she built her home on the very spot she had told Shepard the day they retook Rannoch.
Her children would love it. Tali was pregnant, she had been surprised by the very concept and was told by several Quarian, Geth and Human doctors that it was the first ever Human-Quarian Interspecies birth. The news did not stop there; it was twins.
Nine months later, Tali gave birth to a Quarian Boy and Girl, whom she named David and Miranda, after David Anderson and Miranda Lawson respectively. Liara and the old gang helped as much as they could, but Liara had returned to Thessia to try and rebuilt the Asari home world, Wrex had returned to the Krogan Home world of Tuchanka to restore his people, Garrus had returned to Palaven to help Primarch Victus bring order to his people once more.
The rest of the crew all moved on; Grunt followed Wrex, whom had given birth to several children; all who had been named after those who died, Mordin, Jack (after Shepard) and Thane. EDI and Joker had returned to Earth to help rebuild and EDI being honoured for her service, had been given the ability to permanently be removed from the Normandy and allowed to live a normal life.
Javik sadly went through with his vow, and performed suicide after returning to the spot his squad had perished Fifty thousand years earlier.
'The Battle of the Reapers' was renamed 'Commander Shepard Day' throughout the galaxy. The title 'Hero of the Galaxy' was awarded to Jack and a statue of his likeness was erected in London on the spot in front of the great beam, which was still used as a transport from the surface up to the citadel wreck.
For his actions, the Alliance posthumously promoted Commander Jack Shepard to the rank of Admiral, which everyone agreed was the least the Commander should get for his actions. He had brought together every race in the galaxy against a common threat and had ever asked for anything in return; even when no one believed him about the Reapers, he had always pushed on.
All was well and life continued with the new hope of a new life; free of the impending doom of the Reapers.
Five years later, and Earth was just as peaceful as it had once been; Thessia was soon be its old self but it would take longer for its once beautiful vista to be rid of towering cranes and construction sheets.
The Citadel was almost restored to its former glory. One of its four arms reconnected thanks to the help of the Keepers whom still tired on the Citadel in blissful ignorance to anything else. A restoration team had broken into a small room corridor that had once been a glorious hallway in some long forgotten cycle; it looked like it had never been stepped in for thousands of years.
'So, you planning on seeing her before she moves back to Thessia?' A Turian male chuckled as he ducked under the bulkhead.
'Yea, she's going to be meeting in the wards before she catches a charter vessel out to Thessia.' The human male spoke as he held out his Omni tool's torch in the direction of the hallway.
'What about that girl of yours? She took her too?' The Turian asked as he checked around the corners, using his Omni-Tool to make scans of the area.
'Yea, she's taking her until my Commission is over in six months; it's better than keeping her with me on the Citadel; I hear they found another cell of Reaper forces down in D-Section, took out an entire inspection team' The human explained and the pair went quiet. The Reapers had been a thorn in the side of the United Alliance since they were driven out of Sol. Small groups hid in dark corners and areas of the galaxy, trying to survive and maybe get back at the races of this galaxy.
'I guess so, but I could never leave our Kara with Yan for six months; I'd miss her too much.' The Turian chuckled and then raised his free hand as his Omni tool beeped.
'What you got Jetka?' The human asked the Turian who shushed his human friend.
'Energy signature, twenty meters down the hallway and around that bend. Karl, call security' Jetka whispered, this had always been how Reaper forces had been spotted.
Karl lifted his Omni tool to his mouth and after tapping his fingers against the holographic device; spoke. 'Command this is restoration team Charlie Foxtrot Five Eight in F section, wing forty two... we have an energy signature inside a sealed section, requesting a security team ASAP'.
Command responded quickly and a C-Sec squad arrived equipped with full armour and weapons for a heavy engagement; even if it was nothing, they had to be sure.
The security team turned the corner and prepared to fire back; but the only thing they found was a dead end to the corridor; that and a casket.
'What is it?' Karl asked as he ran the sensor over it, the security team was still guarded the pod. 'I think... it's one of those Prothean pods, Yen worked on a team where they recovered a dozen of these' Jetka mumbled, they both stared at each other. Prothean! Possibly a life Prothean? They had already seen Javik in the vids working with Admiral Jack Shepard but had never thought any more Prothean's would be alive.
Command soon had the pod taken out of the hallway and sent to a lab, a lab where the foremost Prothean expert was head of Research, Dr Liara T'Soni.
The team worked on scanning the pod for almost a month; there was indeed a life form inside but they waited for now. When it came time to opening the pod, a medical team was on standby, and an Armed Alliance team had heavy weapons trained on the pod in case it was a hostile alien.
Liara slowly tapped in the buttons she had seen Shepard do almost six years earlier on Javik's pod. With a hiss of escaping gas and the small pop of inter-changing pressure, the room filled with a light mist as the pods top slid out of place.
A gasp left the lips of Liara as her hand was brought up to her mouth in shock, the entire room was exactly the same; none moved for what felt like eternity until Liara stepped forward and brought her gloved finger to his neck.
A pulse... barely... he was alive! Jack Shepard was alive!
Jack Shepard was a mess as the medical staff rushed him into surgery and onto extensive life support, the pod being the only thing that kept him alive. Gone were his left arm, right leg and left eye; from the looks of it, they either had been torn off or were the result of an explosion.
Removing his armour slowly, they found his body layered in burns and cuts from the Reaper beam, including the gunshot in his side from the Illusive man; his suit had been the only thing holding him together.
The first person Liara called was President Hackett, having become the leader of the Alliance and Chairman of the United Alliance of Races, he had been very busy and stepped down, as the military leader of the Alliances navy so he could help run the galaxy and Earths devastated colonies.
Hackett ordered the entire thing to be hushed and kept off the record, he did not want a public scene of this yet; if Shepard did not survive, then it would be a blow to the moral of the galaxy. Yet if he survived, masses of people would turn up to see him and security would be a big threat.
Tali was the next person to be contacted and Liara did it in person. Turning up on Rannoch, she approached Tali's home that she and Jack had picked the spot of during the reclamation of Rannoch. Knocking on the door, Tali let Liara in with some surprise.
David and Miri were developing well, the pair sat on a carpet in the middle of the room, David playing with a toy version of the Normandy and Miranda playing with a doll. Both were Quarian but thanks to Jack's human DNA, their immune systems were much stronger than a normal Quarian; plus the advancements in their immune systems thanks to drugs and treatments created with the help of the Geth, they were out of their suits.
So was Tali; her long purple hair flowed down her back as she still wore her suit, but helmetless, this was almost the fashion for Quarians on the home world.
'David! Miri!' Liara bent down to one knee and held out her hands as the pair ran over.
'Auntie T'Soni!' the pair called and jumped into her arms, hugging her tightly and both rambling about what they had been doing. Miri had been getting very interested in archaeology and history and Liara had been teaching her a few things she had been taught by her mother when she was that age.
After a few minutes of small talk and chatting, Tali sent the kids off to play and sat down with Liara in the kitchen. 'So how is work on Earth?' She asked with a kind smile, sipping from a small Quarian cup.
'Well, I've got some good news for you Tali' Liara smile and took one of Tali's hands in her own. 'We found him' the smile crept along her lips. Tali was in shock, the cup fell from her grip and smashed on the tiled floor.
'You... found Jack?' her voice was uneasy, her hands were shaking. She was scared of the next bit of news. 'Is... He?' she asked, not wanting to say the next word.
'Yes... he is alive, but he is in Medical Coma at the moment; he was badly hurt but we are working to get him back to his old self.' Liara told her as Tali burst into tears, tears of joy. Liara pulled her friend into a hug as Tali cried.
The children had walked in at the noise of the smashing glass. 'What's wrong mummy?' they asked, Tali pulled them both in to her arms and hugged them tight.
'Daddy is back' She mumbled in a whisper through the tears, the children did not know how to react, they were in shock too; having never met their father, only heard stories from the other children and their mother. They began to cry too.
After packing up and putting the bags on the shuttle, Liara took the family of three to Earth. Tali left the house in care of Veetor who had moved in nearby. Upon reaching Earth, Liara got Tali and the kids a no-fee apartment for the duration of their stay with her Shadow Broker connections. Only the few friends knew she was the Shadow broker, not even President Hackett, who sometimes found it coincidental when something happened that he had mentioned off headedly with her nearby.
Making their way into the Military Hospital, Liara lead Tali and the children to the secure ward where armed guards stood on watch; even they did not know whom they were guarding, the person inside only known as 'John Doe'.
'Uncle Vakarian!' the children called out and ran towards the Turian who had been stood outside the door beside the guards. Garrus Vakarian knelt down and picked up the pair in his arms.
'Look at you two, you sure have grown.' Garrus smirked, kissed Miri's visors and rubbed David's with his palm, a makeshift ruffling of hair for Quarians. David rubbed it off while Miri actually blushed and the kiss.
'Garrus? I did not know you were on Earth' Liara looked confused, it was embarrassing for the Shadow Broker NOT to know something.
'Hackett sent me a message while I was on the Citadel sorting out some of the new recruits sent for C-Sec.' Garrus explained as he looked over at Tali and nodded to her with a smile. Garrus was the Military Attaché to the Primarch, after the war, there had been very few high-ranking officers after the war and Garrus had not liked going from fieldwork to a desk.
'Tali, how you holding up?' he asked the Quarian as she bit her lip and nodded, she was now wearing her helmet now they were off the home world; so were her children.
'I am fine; I am just worried about him.' She looked to the door and Garrus nodded, pulling her into his arm after putting the kids down.
'I'll watch the kids, you go in' Garrus told her and Liara led Tali inside the sealed ward. After several checkpoints and security checks, Tali was face to face with Jack Shepard. His left eye covered up with a bandage, as was most of his face, his black hair poking through at several points.
His left arm bandaged at the elbow, where his arm had been torn off and then cleaned up. His right leg was in similar fashion, torn at the knee. Tali began to tear up instantly and looked away, before she sniffled and walked around the bed, taking Jack's right hand in both of hers and placing her mouthpiece to it.
'Do... do you think... he will wake up?' She asked after a few moments of silence. Liara bit her lip and shrugged.
'I do not know, but you know how Jack is; we thought he was dead once and then he walked back into our lives, he will do it again, even if it takes him a while to do so.' Liara gave a soft chuckle. Tali smiled under her visor and hugged her friend. She looked to Liara as a sister, even through Jack had once been in a relationship with Liara and even through Liara was still a little mad about being dumped by Jack; she knew Tali was like a sister to her and that she would die for either of them.
Tali sat down with Jack's unconscious body and stayed with him for most of the day, she would only leave his side to take the kids out for food and to go get what little sleep she could. The children took it very hard, but David was keeping his sister together. Tali knew Shepard would be proud of them.
Over the next two years, Tali stayed with Jack as much as she could, Garrus and Liara taking turns in taking care of the kids, until Garrus had to return to Palaven. He told them that he would try to stay around as much as he could.
The others began to filter in as the news spread to them on secure channels; Wrex was one of the first to arrive, storming through security and creating a hell of a mess of paperwork for Hackett.
'Where's Shepard' Wrex had snarled as he pushed his way through Security, whom had to be now told who was in there and given orders not to speak of it; having been kept out the loop. Grunt followed a day later, having arrived with Wrex but had an 'incident' with C-sec and had been held a day. Ashley, Joker and EDI turned up a few days later, along with James, whom had been working with Ashley on N7 business.
Jack and even Aria T'loak turned up a few times, having heard a small rumour that Jack had been alive; she'd came with Jack whom had been spending a few days on Omega at the time. All the gang turned up to see Shepard and Tali, whom was looking very tired through her visor. The children sure loved it when the old gang turned up, each former member and friend of Shepard was all 'Uncle' and 'Auntie' to them, Miri was fascinated with Jack's Tattoo's and led her finger along them in a small game.
Jack giggled as she picked up Miri and sat her on her lap. Wrex was a joy with the kids, even bringing his own, the Krogan children all playing with the Quarian children. Tali stood watching them with a soft smile as she turned to Shepard's unconscious body and smiled
'I hope you wake up soon… you will miss them growing up' She spoke softly.
The soft voice of Tali'Zorah Vas Rannoch sang through the halls of the hospital ward once more as her two children, now seven years old, sat in the room. David was reading from his Omni-tool while Miri sat with her visor off and letting her mother braid her long purple hair.
Admiral Jack Shepard still lay in his coma, the soft beep and hiss of the machines keeping him alive filled the room ever few minutes.
'I am going for a drink mum…' David spoke and stood up, heading out the sealed room and past the guards with a wave to them. The guards who had been watching Shepard for the better part of two years now had become familiar to the family and the friends of Shepard that passed in and out. David usually went to talk with them and talk about war and fighting. Tali knew that David would grow up to be just like his father.
Tali continued to sing and hum away when there was a slight movement in the corner of her eye. Turning her gaze, she had expected it to be just the life support machine in the corner. That was when she saw it.
His finger moved. It was the first movement Jack had done since being found. Tali jumped up so fast that she almost knocked her daughter off her knee.
'What is it mummy?' Miri asked and followed her gaze to her father.
'I saw his finger move…' Tali told her daughter, who walked over slowly and stared at her father.
'Are you sure?' she asked, and in answer; Jack's finger moved again.
'Say something again!' Tali told her daughter, whom looked to her father and took his hand in hers.
'Daddy… We're here, please wake up' She spoke to her father like she had done on many occasions; begging him to wake up and getting no response to her prayers.
However, this time, she got one. His hand clenched around hers and tightened its grip. A large smile crept along her lips. 'Daddy!' she began to cry, Tali had ran outside and was calling for a nurse, whom came running in with several of their colleagues.
They spent the next few minutes testing Jack and found an increase in his brain patterns; his breathing was speeding up, his heart beating faster. He was waking up!
A few minutes later, a tired and unused eye began to open slowly, taking in the blurred surroundings as his eye ran into focus. White, white room… where was he? How long had he been out? Why couldn't he move?
'H…hel…' his voice croaked but found something in his throat, he began to cough and gag as a face came into focus.
'Don't speak… we are removing the tube' the blurred face spoke, as his throat began to clear, he began to cough a little more. 'wh...Where' he began as the face spoke.
'You're on Earth, at the Commander Shepard Memorial Hospital' the nurse smiled softly as Jack Shepard's eye began to focus on her, she was Asari and almost looked like Liara if it was not for the slightly darker skin.
Jack's mind had not even latched onto the name of the Hospital and it would not for a while. After all, he was waking up from a coma.
'Daddy!' a voice shouted through the room and something latched itself around his neck. Shepard began to cough a little and a new voice spoke 'Miri dear, your choking him, relax a little.' The choking around his neck cleared and a new face came into view; still without her visor, a Quarian girl stared at Jack as her features came into focus.
'Tali?' he whispered, only able to speak one word at a time with the energy he had.
'No No... I am not mummy… I'm Miri…' the Quarian girl smiled, Jack's mind latched on to the two words: 'Mummy' and 'Miri'.
'Mummy? Miri?' he managed to words this time, turning his head a little, Jack caught sight of another Quarian, standing with her hands on her visor's mouth port. He would recognise that suit anywhere and a smile began to run along his lips.
'Tali' he smiled and the Quarian he stared at burst into tears as she darted forward and took his hand.
'Oh Jack!' She cried and hugged him just as much as the smaller Quarian girl had.
'Mummy... You're choking him…' Miri spoke in almost exactly the same tone as Tali had moments before. Tali relaxed and the pair stood on either side of Jack, whom the nurses had now lifted up enough for him to sit at a forty-five degree angle rather than on his back.
'Mummy?' he whispered, his voice still course with lack of use.
Tali nodded with a soft smile and put her hand on the shoulder of the younger Quarian girl. 'Jack, this is Miranda, your daughter.' Tali spoke softly; Miri stood smiling wider than a child was on Christmas day as Jack took in the information. He had a daughter. She looked so grown up, how long had he been unconscious?
'Dad' Another voice filled the room, this one male, and Jack's eyes drifted to the doorway where two alliance soldiers were flanking a young Quarian boy. Tali motioned for the boy to come over as he slowly approached Jack's side.
'Jack, this is your son, David' Tali explained and David slowly waved a shy wave and stood nervously next to the bed; his hands rubbing together much like his mother used to do.
'David' Jack repeated and Tali nodded.
'After Anderson and Miri after Miranda Lawson.' She clarified as Jack felt a small stab in his heart at the loss of them, but then the glow of the fact he had two children.
'How… long.' He managed to speak and Tali bit her lip as she tried to put it as calmly as she could.
'Seven… Seven years, we thought you would never come out your coma…' She explained everyone was in shock; even the nurses who slowly got to tending the machines and switching off those that needed to be off. The guards were just as stunned; the pair supposed to be outside but were so star-struck to see the great Commander Shepard awake, after this long.
Everyone turned up to see Shepard; Hackett, James, Liara, Wrex, Grunt, EDI, Joker, James, Ash, Samara, Zaeed, Kasumi, Chakwas. Even Gabby and Donnelly managed to sneak a hello in at one point. Jack was grateful for their appearance, although he did not like the fact that he was so badly injured; he played down his pain and injuries for everyone.
Tali and the kids stayed at his side pretty much twenty-four seven. The pair telling him everything that he'd missed with Tali filling in the blanks that they missed with their childish explanations of things.
It was almost too much to comprehend, the defeat of the Reapers, the post-humorous promotion, the fact he was a galactic hero. He had always suspected that if they ever survived the Reapers he would be seen as a hero; Jack never wanted that, he just did the job that no one else could do or failed in doing so.
Therapy was the hardest thing Jack had ever gone through, and he had been through the N7 Program and stood up against Reapers. Slowly getting used to the implants attached to his right leg and his left arm. They were almost perfect copies of an arm and a leg but still looked visibly like augmetics. The silver metal bone like struts inside the arm moved and whirred as he moved them with sheer force of will. It would take a long time for him to get used to these but Shepard had told himself that he would not let this get him down.
The one thing that did get him down was the nightmares. Every night when he slept, he dreamed of the Reapers, Harbinger; sometimes he found himself as a Husk, seeing the real world as if it was a dream.
Every morning he woke with a sudden jolt and a shortness of breath. The doctors told him the nightmares were the side effects from Indoctrination. Shepard could not believe it but accepted it; he had been around more Reaper tech than anyone in the known space, it was a surprise he had not been indoctrinated sooner.
The doctors had explained it had been Shepard's pure will that had kept him from being indoctrinated sooner, although this was just a theory.
It took another 6 months before Jack had finally got used to his augmetics. He had even been fitted with an augmented left eye which looked almost real if it wasn't for the scar tissue that lined the entire left hand side of his face, stretching from around his eye to the back of his ear and down towards his jaw.
Stretching his arms, Jack began to move slowly in a walk across the small section of the gym, holding onto the handlebars of the supports next to him as a physiotherapist guided him across and made sure not to fall. Jack also had another little helper as he moved; David was helping his father move by walking behind him, holding him up from behind.
Tali sat on a small leather seat with Miri, who was quietly humming to herself as she watched her father's recovery. Turning around at the end, Jack looked over and smiled at Tali as he began to move to the other side.
This was going to be the last batch of physiotherapy for Jack while he was here. Hackett had arrived again a few days ago to ask Jack if it was okay for him to announce is survival and recovery. Jack had nodded and allowed it even with Tali's worried mention that Jack would then have to deal with rabid fans.
Jack smiled to Tali and had told her that he handled hordes of Husks; a few rabid fans would not be too much different.
Sitting back down in the wheelchair they had borrowed for the time being, Jack sat Miri on his lap and ruffled the hair of David as they rested. Jack was getting much better and within the next few days, he would be leaving the hospital.
Tali and Jack had a number of long conversations about what they would do and Jack had agreed with Tali that he would stay out of military affairs, retiring and going back to Rannoch with her.
The day of the news conference loomed and Jack prepared himself, he got a shave, his beard growing rather unheroic during his rehabilitation. Tali had spent every few weeks shaving him while he had been in a coma but he had to do this himself now, although he avoided using his left arm in case he slit his own throat.
'That would ironic wouldn't it' Shepard spoke to himself as he shaved, talking to Tali through the mirror behind him. 'The Great Jack Shepard awakes from a coma after the battle of the citadel and slits his own throat shaving for a news conference to the galaxy' He smirked and wiped his face with a towel.
Tali chuckled softly and straightened out David's formal suit, which was just a normal Quarian suit but had more cloth that was elaborate and Quarian silk lining the outside.
'It's itchy' David complained but Jack smirked and turned around.
'Just be glad you don't have to wear that' He motioned to his dress blues which had been sized up for him after losing so much weight in his coma.
'You'll do great dad' David smiled and gave Jack a thumbs up. The family headed out to the conference in a black shuttle that hid the inside from the outside world. The shuttle landed on a private landing pad out of sight from any possible reporters and the family were shipped under heavy guard into a small stateroom ready to be presented to the galaxy.
Jack stood in his dress blues, his formal uniform for the alliance; the gold bars of Admiralty shone on his shoulder and weight heavy on him, in his own mind Jack did not deserve these; he'd only being doing his job. The same feeling echoed the ones he had had all those years ago when he had been promoted from Gunnery Chief after the battle of Elysium.
'Ladies and Gentleman of the Galaxy' a booming voice filled the room and echoed from the large screen on one wall. Hackett stood on a podium in his civilian clothing, it was almost hard to believe that Hackett even had civilian clothing; Jack had always seen him in his military uniform.
'I am pleased to welcome you to this conference, I am sorry for the suddenness of it but we have very exciting news for you all' Hackett began into the prepared speech he had written; Hackett never liked having someone else write his speeches for him.
With a small cough, Hackett went into the details of Jack's discovery, not mention Jack yet; only mentioning they found an active stasis pod. The crowd was silent, all holding some kind of recording device up in the air to get the news.
'We found someone inside' Hackett smiled, everyone was itching for the news, most of them were hoping for one name.
'Commander Jack Shepard was found inside the pod, in critical condition' he finally broke the news. Gasps filled the hall, the galaxy. 'He was taken to the Commander Shepard Memorial Hospital on Earth and treated for his extensive injuries. However for two years he was in a Coma' The word 'was' mumbled around the room, in fact everyone in the galaxy was pretty much watching this.
'Six months ago, Jack Shepard woke up from his come' the galaxy cheered as the news broke. Hackett stepped to the side and saluted. 'May I present, Admiral Jack Shepard'
'Showtime' Jack mumbled to himself and turned to his family. Tali urged him on, Miri was smiling bright up at her father and David was saluting up at him. Jack saluted back and then limped out onto stage.
What hit him first was the flashing of all the cameras and the bright lights of the recording devices. His augmented eye changed its light tolerance to the same as his real one and Jack saluted back at Hackett.
Turning to the podium, everyone let out a small gasp at the injuries Jack still showed. They could not see either augmented arm or leg thanks to the clothes and a glove he wore, but they could see the large mass of scar tissue on the left hand side of his face.
Most of the hair on the left side of his face was missing and the scar tissue ran from just above his ear down to his left side of his jaw.
'Thank you' His voice echoed through the galaxy on every screen and Omni tool.
'Thank you all… for this honour' Jack spoke, not reading from a prepared script, he wanted this to come from his heart, as every speech did. From the bridge of the Normandy to the foot of Harbinger, he meant every word.
'I did not expect to survive the war that ravaged this galaxy, I knew that one day I would meet my end and that end would be in the service of the Alliance, the Galaxy and its people.' Jack looked down, turning to see David, Miri and Tali outside of view.
'I did not fight for honour, I did not fight for fame and I did not fight for credits. I fought so that every single one of you could live your lives how you wanted to, I fought with every single man and woman who lived and died throughout the galaxy. I was just one man among millions, billions. So I ask you not to cheer for me, but cheer for those who fought alongside me, for those who died in the service of duty.' Jack saluted and so did several soldiers and ex-soldiers in the crowd. Around the galaxy soldiers saluted too.
'I would also like to introduce several others that deserve some praise for staying by my side for two and a half straight years.' Jack turned to the break in the curtain and motioned his hands to Tali and his children to come out. David ran straight out and jumped into place alongside his father, Miri stared up at Tali who was once again going shy and had to be pulled out by their daughter.
The crowd instantly began to take photos of the four on stage as Jack leaned into the mic. 'I would also like to thank my team who visited me every chance they got.' Jack smiled and then left the stage to be ushered off to a shuttle before the crowds found them.
In the shuttle, Tali slapped Jack's shoulder lightly. 'How could you pull me out on stage like that' she blushed and Jack smirked, pulling her onto his lap as his kids groaned and "ewww'ed" at him kissing her visor.
'Got to give the praise where it's needed.' Shepard met with Liara, Garrus and even Grunt and Wrex at the hospital where they were going to be going straight to Rannoch.
Jack was even pleased to see the ship that was shipping them there.
As the shuttle rose into the star port, the gleaming and sleek hull of the SR2, SSV Normandy. Jack's smile crept along his lip as Wrex and Grunt sat either side of him; acting more like bodyguards than anything else.
'Thought we'd get the old girl to take you on your last trip' Garrus leaned forward and peered out the window. David and Miri were in awe of the ship, their visors pressed up against the window. David had always wanted to go on the Normandy but never had the chance.
'Admiral on deck!' a deck hand called out as Shepard limped onto the bridge; he had been given a small cane to help him walk with his augmented leg. A small smile crept along Jack's lips as he saw the Normandy's new interior, not the quickly refurbished ship that had wires and cables dangling and strewn about; she was neat, tidy and all ready for a battle if need be.
'Welcome aboard Admiral' A voice spoke from the main command nest up in the back, Jack's smile grew as Ashley Williams walked down and over to Shepard.
'Ash!' he smiled and pulled her into his arms. She hugged him back gently and pulled away. 'You got the Normandy?' he asked and she nodded.
'They needed someone else to command her and who else then the next human spectre.' She explained and walked Jack through the ship, giving him a tour of the new facilities but also giving David the grand tour.
David was full of himself; he asked so many questions that surprised even Jack. He knew almost everything about the Normandy; but with a Quarian like Tali as his mother, she could tell him what every screw and bolt was used for.
He even got to sit in the pilot seat where Joker had handed over the ship to another pilot while he and EDI were off the ship. EDI's core had been changed to another room and her systems having been removed carefully.
The trip to Rannoch was a nice calm on; the last time Jack had been here was in the wake of Rannoch's defence from the Reapers. Seeing the Quarian cities built in the years he had been away was a remarkable sight. Many of the Quarians Jack saw praised him and he even found the Geth doing the same; their independence and free will gifted to them from Legion's death showing its head. Jack was even pleased to note a statue of Legion in a small city.
The Quarians and the Geth were living in almost perfect harmony, of course there was the few times that either side got heated but it was to be accepted that there would be trouble transitioning from years of hatred to peace.
Civilian life was not easy to get used to, especially whenever you met someone they cheered and congratulated you, or asked for an autograph; but Jack was adapting. He and Tali settled in their home and Jack was pleased to see Veetor as a neighbour. The pair getting to know each other very well.
Jack picked up a few jobs here and there helping wherever he could. He had picked up woodworking and was starting to carve and build things for the household and the neighbours. In fact, Veetor's child was sleeping in a crib built by Shepard. Life was good.
However, sleep eluded Shepard every night. Every time he slept, Jack would have nightmares, horrible dreams of the Reapers, fighting his friends and family as a husk. Watching Tali being killed with his own hands as his body moved without consent.
Every dream would end with a towering Reaper flying towards him in black space; it's piercing yellow eyes staring right at him.
Jack would dart up, caked in sweat as he panted deeply. Tali had learnt to sleep through it; not every night waking up was good for her either. Standing up and walking through the house, Jack stretched the augmented arm and scratched the scar tissue along the part where the real skin met metal. He had begun to walk perfectly now with his false leg.
Peering into the kid's bedroom, it had been six years since he woke and his children were growing up fast. Each had their own room and it contrasted each other, even though they were twins.
David was destined to be a soldier, like his father; his room was covered in posters of soldiers and space ships; he even had a model Normandy half built on his desk.
Miri was just like her mother, an Engineer. She was helping Jack with his wood working too; in fact, she had built her first engine with the help of her mother at the age of 10.
Life flowed for Shepard, the yearly meeting of the surviving crew of the Normandy and the old team passed on every year and year. The children began to grow up and more began to appear. Liara had several children to a Turian and even Garrus had his own wife. Years flowed by, the kids went to school and left for University. David joined the Quarian Navy and Miri got a job at a star ship construction yard.
Tali went back to work and worked with Miri until she retired and Miri had long overtook her mother in promotions. Shepard however spent most of his time working around the city, helping wherever he could and working on his memoirs.
Most of the information was classified and he had to skim over some parts but those he could record he did. The book was a big success and had sold in the billions.
Admiral Jack Shepard passed away in his sleep at the old age of 89 at Kal'Reeger Memorial Hospital on Rannoch, surrounded by his family and grandchildren, friends and crew. Tali cried her heart out but at her husband's wishes, she tried to carry on. Tali'Zorah Vas Rannoch passed away several years later peacefully in her sleep in the very same room her husband had passed away.
The Shepard family carried on for many years and succeeded in some of the most historic events in the galaxy. The Name Jack Shepard was forever known as the Hero of the Galaxy and the Bane of the Reapers.