They were in the parking lot when the call came through.
Halfway to their car, almost bouncing with anticipation. One month of leave, a rented boat, and their brother were waiting for them at home. Vague plans of sailing up to the Princess Louisa inlet, see what kind of adventure they could find.
The sirens stopped them in their tracks, their blood turning to ice in an instant.
They were already sprinting back towards the base when their omnitool lit up, calling all crew of the SSV Jakarta to return to their posts immediately.
The next moment a deep, rumbling bass wail overpowered the sirens, vibrating the base of Brae’s skull, as Vancouver dissolved into chaos and panic around them.
The sirens bled into shouts and screams, the sounds of buildings collapsing, and gunfire as great black shadows descended through the clouds.
Panic warred with their years of military training, and Brae nearly lost track of which direction they were running, great red beams were slicing through buildings and ships alike, as they tried to find a clear path back to the ship. Adrenaline hummed through their veins as they dodged falling rubble, and soon the only sounds they could hear were their own pulse and the throbbing wail trying to pry into their skull.
A flash of light and heat came from behind, and Brae found themself thrown forward onto the pavement, a sharp pain blooming in their leg as something hard and heavy slammed into them from behind.
They tried to scramble back to their feet, but they couldn’t move their right leg.
They choked on the dust and smoke filling the air around them, and thought something must have hit their head, because they were starting to see shapes forming in the haze. Misshapen, only vaguely humanoid looking lumps, with glowing eyes seemed to be emerging from the debris. Brae scrabbled about, hoping their hands would land on something, anything they could use as a weapon, just in case the shapes were real. They tried to convince themself the shapes weren’t real, but they seemed to be getting closer.
Another rumbling screech, and Brae forgot about the shapes, clutching their ears in vain to block out the sound like a voice in their head that wanted to tear them apart.
Brae started awake with a scream lodged in the back of their throat, drenched in a cold sweat, unaware for a moment of where they were; until the faint medicinal tang in the air and familiar hum of a mass effect drive brought them fully back to the present.
The Normandy. Medbay.
They only barely recognized the unconscious man lying in the next bed over as the one who had used his biotics to lift the rubble off of them and drug them to safety while a larger marine had laid down cover fire.
Major Alenko and Lt Vega. They reminded themself, there had been terse introductions exchanged later, once the ship had safely left earth behind on the way to mars, as Alenko had set Brae’s broken tibia and encased their leg in an immobilizing mass effect field.
Shit, the Major looked bad. Bruises mottled the skin of his face and throat, and his whole head looked swollen. The only sign that he was still alive was the shallow rise and fall of his chest. Whatever had happened on Mars hadn’t been good. Brae shuddered as they remembered black shadows appearing out of the clouds and thought they probably had a very good idea what had happened.
And now they were en route to the Citadel.
They clenched a fistfull of sheets at the thought. They should be on Earth, fighting those things. Those… Reapers. They had a duty to protect their homeworld, their family , so how in hell had they ended up on a classified stealth frigate flying in the opposite direction?
They took a deep breath, pushing thoughts of the destruction in Vancouver and their brother waiting for them at the docks from their head. They managed to force their grip on the sheet on the sheet to relax, though the rest of them remained as tense as a tightly wound spring.
If Major Alenko and Lt Vega hadn’t pulled them from the rubble, they would never have made it to The Jakarta anyway. They would be dead.
As angry and frustrated as they were to have involuntarily left Earth, at least they were alive, and that meant there was still a chance for them to get back in the fight.
...as soon as their leg healed..
Fuck. they swore under their breath and racked their mind for somewhere productive to direct their rage.
What did they know about this ship? Commander Shepard was here, and apparently in command, despite having spent the last six months in lock up…
They clenched their fists again as they put the pieces together.
Shepard had been going on about a threat to the galaxy for years, even before he’d disappeared for two years and been presumed dead. The claims had been discredited, of course, but what if…
After what they’d seen today, Brae was suddenly inclined to believe him. If those...things.. were the Reapers Shepard had warned about, then it wasn’t just Earth. The whole galaxy was facing this threat.
Brae was still pissed off about leaving, but this new line of thought made them feel better about it. If this was a Reaper invasion, they’d bet anything Commander Shepard was going to be at the forefront of the galaxy’s defence, whether he was ordered to or no. The thick of the fight.. That’s where Brae needed to be.
They needed to get themself reassigned to the Normandy.