The discovery of the Mass Relays decades ago by humanity is said to have been the greatest find in human history. It allowed them to grow with this new found technology and move into the future a full century before their time. Countless new inventions were created as well as hundreds of new areas of the galaxy were discovered. Humans were given the opportunity to create weapons, improve upon modern medicine and build ships that could reach farther than anyone could have imagined. It allowed them to explore new worlds, meet new alien races and find new technology. They continued to grow but not everyone was happy about all of the new advancements.
There were those that were fearful of how quickly humanity had been able to advance. They feared that if they continued to move forward before understanding what had been found then they'd be on a course for disaster. At the time most of humanity had ignored the doubters and naysayers. They stated that the opportunity for advancement that they had been given, along with having the ability to explore the new worlds should be embraced, not feared. For a time, all of their advancements were celebrated until contact with other aliens began to show humans that they weren't the only powerful beings out amongst the stars.
Throughout their history, Humans have always found new and improved ways to discover and invent wonderful things. Yet they have an uncanny way of destroying each and every creation they make as well as find new and improved ways to kill each other. This includes using weapons of mass destruction and not just guns and bombs, plagues have been used and with just as much of a mortality rate. So when contact was made with the Turians and a battle broke out not many human historians were surprised in the least.
The First Contact War between Humans and Turians had been a misunderstanding and required the Galactic Council to intervene but not before the bad blood had formed and illnesses had begun to spread. After a while though, it was realized that working together was better than apart and they were able to put aside their differences.
Then there was the Skillian Blitz, where pirates and slavers attacked humans on Elysium. Those aliens involved wanted to rid the Terminus of the Humans who thought they had a right to expand into their territory. The slavers were angry at the Alliance and their pirate suppression campaigns, stating humans had no right to stop them, they'd been doing it for years; who were these humans to say what they could or could not do?
This lead the Alliance to commence with their Torfan operation a few years later in order to wipe out any Batarian slavers. After Torfan the Batarian leaders went to the council and demanded the humans be stopped only to have their representative removed from council chambers until an investigation could be done.
Jath'Amon was the Batarian ambassador and head of the Hegemony and its slave trade. He became nervous after the council ordered the Spectre's look into everything him and his counterparts had been doing. Before he could be escorted out of the council chamber he spread a Blood Plague. He had planned on dispersing it when he met up with the human ambassador later that day but this opportunity was too good to pass up. He wanted to kill the entire Council but luckily enough his plan was found out. Unfortunately, the council members became sick and ultimately Shepard was called in.
She was able to find a cure relativity quickly before any of them died from it and they honored her for her actions. She was new at the time but her actions saved the council and garnered Humanity the respect it had been looking for. Her work began to be looked upon by the galaxy as a whole and Shepard became the hero of the Citadel.
Her greatest accomplishments to date have been saving the Councilors, curing the genophage the Krogan people had suffered from for centuries as well as helping the Quarian people finally regain their planet of Ranoch. She is also attempting a cure for their weaker immune systems so they can live without the assistance of enviro-suits once again but it is not an easy task.
Her career eventually brought her all across the galaxy and garnered her recognition by most of the alien races. She is single-handily responsible for curing most if not all fatal diseases each race has been plagued with. It seems every race had a rare sickness or disorder it became infected with and each was different just like the hosts themselves. Even though they never spread to other races, there always seems to be one illness that is hell-bent on trying to eradicate each race it touched and that was where Shepard came in.
Each time a new alien was studied they had to start all of their research over. It made her work a long process when a new project was started but it helped with the advancement of all races involved. When everything was concluded the councilors and representatives of each race involved met to discuss and share the findings. Most were forthcoming with their information and agreed to work with Shepard and her assistants, some not so much.
Those that did advanced and made sure that they would receive help while those that didn't were left out of the technological advancements each race gained as well as possible sanctions by the council. They'd make sure that any alien species that didn't share findings or were secretive about specific illnesses were quarantined and were unable to travel to certain areas of the galaxy, especially the Citadel. It left certain races with bad tastes in their mouths and they began to loathe the human hero. Humans were already looked down upon by some and this just added fuel to that fire.
Initially, her job was simple, cure epidemics that have the possibility of spreading to each and every race and eradicating the Galaxies population. Then came the political aspect of it and it made her job that much harder. There had been a recent discovery that suggested that a disease had wiped out an entire race of people nearly fifty thousand years ago. Shepard had been adamant about preventing this, so after the evidence was found the Alliance, or more notably Shepard, tried to have the council mandate each species to cooperate with each other so history didn't repeat itself.
The council told her that they couldn't back or mandate a law with only limited evidence being presented and told the Commander to come back when she had more proof. Frustrated she tried to argue that even though each race of alien had different DNA markers, they were all relatively similar. And even though it hadn't happened yet the possibility of a galaxy-wide plague was high, but no one listened.
Since her discovery of an information beacon on Eden Prime that showed her an entire race being killed off by an unknown disease, Shepard continued to push the notion to the council. Even with her status as a hero, not many believed her. Her 'end of the world' speeches to the council was brushed off as ramblings of a woman with a history of mental illness.
Shepard thought she'd be taken a little more serious when an Asari archeologist, Doctor Liara T'Soni reported similar findings. She had found limited information on how another race some millennia ago had been eradicated. Proof had been found that a single mutated cell had appeared out of nowhere, attacked their immune system and they could not fend it off. It eradicated the entire race in a matter of a few years and steps needed to be taken to make sure it didn't happen again.
It apparently brought the galaxy to its knees and nearly ended all life more than fifty thousand years ago. The race was called the Protheans and their scientists were brilliant but not quick enough. Luckily for the current races, there were some that survived long enough to try and warn future races. They dubbed it the Reaper virus in the messages they left in the Beacons and Shepard has been desperately trying to make sense of what the rest of the messages mean. Not everything is clear but what she can understand is that the possibility of life ending is high and the galactic leaders need to listen.
The problem is with some of the other council races like the Turian and Salarian representatives. They only have heard proof from two sources, Shepard and T’Soni that a virus or something like it that killed the Protheans could happen again. The council easily dismissed the claims time after time since the human had a history of mental breakdowns and the Asari Maiden was considered too young to be an expert on anything. Up until now, the two scientists had never worked with each other yet they were going through the same problems with regards to anyone believing that this illness was returning.
Even with the reports that were beginning to surface from different areas of the galaxy about thousands of people dead or dying from an unknown sickness the council wouldn't concede to it being a galactic genocide. It isn't galactic news since it is too widespread to be considered an epidemic but Shepard knows it is too large and deadly not to be ignored. The next logical step that needed to be done is combine the two scientists in order to try and end this disease before it can spread. When Anderson was contacted by Councilor Tevos about the two working together he jumped at the chance even though he knew that Udina would benefit as well. Not concerned about the political aspect he just wants his daughter to get her mind off her past by working.
Shepard is an Alliance soldier that has flourished at defeating the impossible, and the position she found herself in, put her under tremendous stress at a constant. Still, she made sure to be the best but in the end what the galaxy saw was a shell of who she actually is, and try as she might she had her secrets and could not escape from them; at least not until today.
This was supposed to be her last mission, only the Alliance, or more importantly, Anderson didn't know it yet. She had been making sure her disappearance was made to look like an accident so no one would come looking for her as well as keeping her family alive. It would be easy for her to disappear since her reputation gained merit on each mission she went on.
During all of her assignments there seemed to be a revolving theme, someone dying. Her first quest had sent her to Akuze. It was her first year out of the academy and she had not yet made a name for herself as a geneticist. Her secondary expertise was in environmental engineering and Akuze was supposed to be a new colony. She had been sent there to investigate whether or not the planet was habitable. The Alliance wanted to avoid the disaster that was attempted a few years prior while they tried to colonize the planet Aeia.
A few years after the Mindoir massacre Humans began looking at different planets to quickly colonize them. They began to send out ships loaded with people and equipment to find different worlds and colonize them on their own. Udina was rushing and had made it to where each ship was to contact the Alliance only after the planet was set up to handle more life. Most ships were successful and new worlds were found and settled, while other ships came back finding nothing. There was one ship however, that was thought to have found a planet to colonize since there wasn't any contact, but they didn't.
The Hugo Gernsback had been sent out to deep space so contact from the Alliance ship wasn't expected for a while. The ship’s captain was a good man but too inexperienced to lead the expedition. He had begged to be a part of the expedition since his family had been involved in the Mindoir tragedy and he was granted command. The problem was he was grossly inexperienced and when difficult decisions needed to be made he crumbled under the pressure. Mistakes were made and people lost their lives because of his lack of leadership ability.
According to the reports the problems started as soon as they reached their destination. There was never an initial team sent planetside once they arrived at Aeia. It was always the policy that a team would be sent to investigate the surrounding area that was to be colonized.
The Captain only had samples taken from the atmosphere to see if the air was breathable. As a result, the fact that the plant and animal life had been toxic to those who ate it was missed. It caused cellular degeneration of brain tissue which lead to the colonists showing signs of severe schizophrenia.
The remaining survivors reported that the hallucinations had been so bad that they found themselves worshiping the ship’s captain. It was proven that he had figured out that the food was toxic and let the remaining crew members become poisoned while he ate the rations from the ship. It had also been determined that the distress beacon had not been damaged and the Captain of the ship, Ronald Taylor who was Jacob Taylor's father, killed all of the male colonists leaving the remaining females to believe that Taylor was their savior and needed to be worshiped. There was never a search for them until a rescue beacon was activated by Taylor himself since he had run out of food.
The entire incident had given the Alliance a black eye among the galactic community. Admiral Hackett made it a priority that the next colonized planet needed to be studied long before humans were to live there. This brought Shepard to her first assignment, Akuze.
Akuze had been on Udina's radar for years and it was determined that it would be perfect for colonization. After some lengthy discussions between the three councilors, it was agreed that the humans would be allowed. The Alliance sent a team in to investigate if it was habitable or not and Shepard was a part of the initial team. Her entire squad of Marines she was sent with died from a Thresher Maws attack. After the monsters were all killed off, human colonies started to form all over the planet. This was still done even though Shepard had continually warned against another attack, vowing never to go back there again. It took years and hours of therapy but she eventually moved past this until her next mission.
Due to that mission, she turned away from that part of her life and continued on into the field of genetics. She had excelled in every class she took and never wanted to focus on one aspect of her degree. Wanting to be able to cure any and all diseases to include those that infected alien races. That mindset brought her to her next assignment to the Hanar home-world Kahje, in order to help the Drell, but with it, her reputation followed.
She had been sent to help cure kepral syndrome. A disease that infected the Drell race by deteriorating the lung tissue of those that became ill with it. The Drell had been used to living on dry, arid planets but once their homeworld began to die the Hanar uplifted them, allowing them to live on their planet.
They became indebted to their saviors but the disease was becoming widespread since it thrived off of humid air and Kahje is one of the most humid atmospheres of any planet in the galaxy. It was the reason the Drell were becoming sick, to include the doctor that Shepard was sent to assist, Thane Krios.
Having been diagnosed with Kepral syndrome six months before Shepard had arrived to help, Thane would eventually succumb to the disease. A cure was found a short time after and many lives were saved but Kerry had been devastated since she had become so close to the Drell scientist. She had been with him while he took his last breath along with his son Kolyat. After it was reported that the syndrome was cured the reporters began to arrive. Not wanting to speak, Shepard pleaded with the younger Drell to talk to them. He said it was the least he could do and told the galactic news network that his father died reciting the Drell prayer to Kalahira, directing it towards the human woman who saved his people.
He went on to say that even though both of his parents succumbed to the disease they just cured, Thane died knowing his son would not have to deal with the debilitating illness that plagued his people. In the end, Thane was reunited with his wife who had died a year prior but their savior, Kerry Shepard, made it possible for the Drell to flourish and live amongst the Hanar without worry of becoming sick. Both Hanar and Drell races were grateful for Shepard's assistance and honored her as such but these instances seemed to start a domino effect and nearly every mission she went on had a casualty attached to it.
Eventually, she would come to work alongside a brilliant Salarian doctor, Mordin Solus. The first time they had worked together was when Solus asked for Shepard by name and they cured a plague that struck Omega. It was an odd illness that infected every other race except for humans, and it almost seemed deliberate. Mordin had started a clinic in the slums but needed a human assistant since neither he nor his Salarian counterparts could go into the quarantined areas to help.
Mordin and Shepard cured the omega plague and camaraderie between the two was formed. They sent each other different files over the next few years and had worked together on countless projects. He respected Shepard and even her counterpart that the Alliance sent as her security. The Alliance noticed that most missions she went on became violent. Wanting to protect the Galaxies savior they sent her a protection detail. Shepard was paired with another human woman who happened to be Shepard's friend from Mindoir, Chief Ashley Williams. Williams had been her security detail directly after the Omega mission. The Alliance wanted to make sure the human doctor survived wherever she went and the chief was one of the best and she was needed.
Shepard had been in the middle of her mission with Mordin on Omega when they became caught in the middle of a mercenary war. As much as they tried the two scientists could not avoid getting captured by the blood pack. Apparently, the reasoning for them being in the area was known by all three Merc groups and the leader of the blood pack, a Krogan, became sick and sent out a search party to bring them back. He demanded they cure him and was about to shoot Shepard in order for Mordin to comply when a loud pop was heard and the Krogan layed dead on the floor. In an instant the blood pack members that had surrounded the two were dead, and another group of about twelve mercenaries was surrounding them, lead by a Turian named Garrus Vakarian.
Although they were mercs and aliens their leader had been more worried about the two doctors curing the plague for everyone, then keeping it for themselves. Shepard reassures the turian numerous times that they were only there to help and had no interest in keeping the plague. She did ask Garrus to send any information he had on the disease to her if it resurfaces.
In a short amount of time the Human and Turian became good friends. Kerry found him a little odd considering he seemed to be preoccupied with calibrating his sniper rifle than sleeping. Shepard began to believe if 'calibrating his gun' was code for something else but he was good to them so she let it go.
He made sure the two doctors were escorted around Omega until they were done and protected them. He called his group the 'archangels' and Omega was their home. They had been on Omega for years trying to rid the station of the different merc groups but it was nearly impossible with Aria running the station. Garrus had told them both that Omega wasn't much but it was their home and it needed to be protected. Once Shepard was finished and Anderson read the reports about Omega and the merc groups he immediately called Admiral Hackett. The Alliance Admiral immediately ordered the security detail be initiated and the two friends were reunited.
Williams had left to join the Alliance a month before the Batarian's attacked Mindior. She had wanted to help her family’s name and make-up for her grandfathers mistake during the First Contact War, and she eventually did with her work alongside Shepard. They had been friends since they were little. Ash had been a big reason why Shepard had made it through her family’s death, and the same went for Shepard. Williams had learned about it while out on a mission, that her homeworld and family were massacred. She lost her mother and three sisters that day but gained one in Shepard. They had been friends for a while but this atrocity solidified who they were to one another; they had each other's back over the next few missions. They saved each other’s lives on a few occasions during that time and Shepard made it a point to ask Anderson if Williams position could be permanent.
They continued to count on each other until a mission brought Shepard to Virmire. There were reports of a possible cure for the genophage and after meeting Mordin Solus and hearing his stories about how his people were responsible for not helping the Krogan cure it; Shepard began to investigate any information she could find to help. She ended up on Virmire where they met Urdnot Wrex, leader of the Krogan. He had been trying to broker a deal with the council that peace between his people and the council races could be obtained. He wanted the genophage cured as well and there was supposedly technology to do so on the planet. What Shepard found was an insane Krogan scientist, Okeer who was creating an army of tank bread Krogan that were not sterile. There was an argument between Shepard and Wrex about what should be done but soon the elder Krogan saw the truth in what Kerry was saying; that is wasn't a true cure, and she'd do everything in her power to help him, Okeer needed to be stopped.
Shepard had contacted Mordin about what she found on Virmire to ask his opinion but the transmission had been intercepted. Soon the Salarian Special Forces arrived with orders to eliminate everyone on the planet. At the same time Okeer let out his Krogan and a fight ensued. Ashley, Shepard and Wrex were all caught in the middle taking heavy fire from both sides. They were trapped but upon noticing a nuclear bomb being set up by the Salarians, knew they had to move. Eventually, Wrex pulled Kerry out of the fight and away from it all, knowing she would eventually be his people’s savior. Ashley stayed behind to cover their 'six' but became stuck.
She died in the blast as Shepard's ship lifted off and Shepard lost another friend. Ash died a hero that day and Shepard only had one more person she knew from Mindoir that truly knew about her past and it made her feel even more alone.
The death of Chief Williams was devastating in more ways than one. She lost a sister that day and it caused a rift between her and another friend from her home planet, Kaiden Alenko. She hasn't seen him in years and is not looking forward to it. Her thoughts move to the here and now as she sits in docking bay D 23 on the Citadel, dreading this entire trip.
Waiting to board the Alliance vessel that's to take her to Thessia, she can only sigh and shake her head at how much of a big deal Udina is making over this mission.
She is to travel on the newest ship in the Alliance Navy and they spared no expense building it. The Normandy is the Alliance's flagship that has been designed and built by a Human and Turian collaboration. It's state of the art with a stealth system that is matched by no other, with a stellar crew, lead by humanities first Spectre. There's nothing that comes close to it and it's as beautiful as it is impressive but Kerry wants no part of it. As Shepard looks out at the different ships that were arriving she wishes she could get on one of them, leave and not look back. Unfortunately, she knows that if she runs then the people closest to her would be in danger. Her only option is to go through with this mission and make everything look like an accident; she needed to make sure her family would not be harmed.
Waiting for Anderson and Kahlee, so they can do their usual ritual to make sure she has a safe mission, she begins to realize that this will be the last goodbye. It saddens her to no end but each time she tries to think of something else her memories from the previous night resurface.
Normally her dreams would take her through the brutal murder of her parents and end with her waking up in a cold sweat, but this was different. This time she saw visions that had been suppressed for a long time. They were easier to relive but brought more sadness since some of it revolved around her friends. From the times spent with the people, she was closest with like Miranda, Jennifer, Jacob, Kaiden, and Ashely, before the attack. It was a time when they were celebrating Kaiden Alenko and Ashely Williams, leaving to go off world to join the Alliance. They had been the oldest out of the group and left to follow their dreams and become Marines. Eventually, Alenko became an N7 and then a Spectre. Jacob, Miranda and her girlfriend Jennifer had the same aspersions of leaving Mindoir but were too young and ended up never having a chance at anything.
Her memories play on to when everyone celebrated Shepard's acceptance to the Alliance medical academy, only a week prior to the death of her family. Her parents had been so proud of her making it into medical school at such a young age. Shepard was supposed to leave for Earth in a few months time to start her new schooling and her family had been celebrating since they learned the news. Soon the entire colony was bustling over her acceptance into one of the most prestigious universities. Included were her best friends Miranda, Ashley and Jennifer. They were each celebrating their own acceptance; Ashley was shipping off to Alliance training to become a marine just like her father. Jacob was following his father as well while Miranda had planned on attending the same school as Kerry. Their last friend Jennifer had been enrolled in the Alliances new biotic training course.
She was an exceptional biotic, especially at an early age. She had been exposed to eezo when her mother was pregnant with her and implanted with the L5 chip when she was old enough. Her training came from her Asari stepmother since her birth mother had succumbed to cancer from the radiation. Her father had remarried a few years after her passing to an Asari but after her mother’s death, Jennifer became angry and hard to be around. Her Asari step parent tried to fill the void by training her but Jennifer wanted no part of it. It was hard for the Matron but soon a bond was formed and they started to become a family again until a tragedy took them all.
Shepard's dream eventually went to where it always ended up; directly before her mother's murder. Each time her visions take her to this moment her senses seem to be heightened as if she was still there. She can still hear the screams from outside her home as the Batarians attack her colony. Still smell the burning flesh of the corpses that were in the houses that had been set on fire. Still, see the silhouettes of her father’s dead body on the floor and her mother begging them not to hurt her daughter. She could feel the Batarians breath on the side of her face while he holds the knife to her throat forcing her to watch; how bad he smelled and she'd never forget it. How loud she screamed after her mother was shot and how cold the knife felt as it slid across her throat to silence her. How hard the floor felt after her body was slammed down when her attacker was done. Then how warm she felt as her senses slowly fade, watching her mother’s lifeless eyes while her own blood seeps from her wound.
This was the worst nightmare she could remember and she desperately wanted to wake up. Normally she would since she blacked out after she was thrown to the floor but this time there was more.
After a moment she can hear ships landing in the distance and then gunfire. Soon more shots are heard, then nothing until a hand is felt on her neck. She wakes up in a panic trying to push away whoever was touching her. A voice is heard talking to her in an indistinguishable language but it is soothing. In fact, it's the prettiest language she has ever heard, all be it a little garbled. After a moment her vision begins to come into focus and a face can be seen. It's that of her Asari protector smiling down on her as she applies Medi-gel to her wound. Shepard wants to hear her voice more but can't form the words to ask. The Asari shakes her head to try and communicate to the human that she shouldn't move. Even though Kerry cannot understand her alien protector, she can tell she's in pain, seeing wounds and blue blood.
The Asari's face soon morphs into that of a younger David Anderson looking at her with concern after he informs her of her parent's demise. How loud her screams were after hearing the news of her families death even with her throat wound. How her voice echoed off of the metal bulkheads throughout the ship, causing everyone stop and wonder what was happening. How much anguish she would go through over the course of the next few years, even with Anderson's support.
Memories move again to where Anderson is helping her and continually pushing her to go on with her education as she pushes back, not wanting to do anything. He wanted her to become the person her parents wanted her to be even though she wanted no part of it. How proud Anderson was when she finally graduated as he made sure she continued to live on even though it was difficult.
Feeling a hand on her shoulder she jumps and screams a little as she is brought back to reality. "Kerry...I'm sorry, are you alright?" Anderson asks with concern in his voice. When he doesn't receive an answer he continues. "I understand your hesitation about this but what is really bothering you? You have been distracted for a while now...even before Mordin passed away. I've noticed it and so have your other co-workers in the lab. What's going on? You can talk to me."
He had noticed Shepard leaning on the railing looking out into space, not moving. Calling to her but receiving no answer he did the one thing that all of her doctors said not to, startle her. She immediately turned around screaming, reaching for her throat. He felt bad for scaring her but after seeing her expression, he knew she was reliving something from her past. She looks like she's about to answer but quickly turns back around facing away from the two of them.
All Shepard wants to do is say something, anything to the Captain but she knows she would only put him and his family in danger if she did. Their safety is the only thing keeping her mouth shut so she has to tell him her normal excuse before he asks any more questions.
"I'm fine sir...just didn't sleep well last night...the nightmares came back and ...they normally keep me up at night but this last one was bad. Maybe your right and this trip will help me so I can get out of here clear my head." Even though what she tells him is true the real reason she's been distracted is eating away at her for lying to the man who saved her life. He raised her since she was a teenager and would probably understand why she did what did, but the lie is a necessity. She knew using this excuse would stop any other questions he had.
Seeing the pained expression; hearing it in her voice, makes him hate the fact that she had to witness her family’s murder even more. The fact that she keeps having to relive it angers him and he can still see the gruesome sight after walking off of his ship every time he closes his eyes. He remembers when he finally arrived and found her left for dead, her throat slit. All the blue and red blood that seemed to be endless, staining the floor and walls of the Shepard home. The Asari who began to scream at them to leave or she'd kill them all, how protective the commando was of someone she just met. Then to watch the Asari die from her wounds, it was all too much.
He still cringes whenever he is brought back to that time, and what she must have been going through. The silent promise he made after reading the journal her parents kept about how proud they were of her for making it into medical school. She had been accepted to one of the most prestigious medical universities in the galaxy and Anderson would see to it that she continued on. It was a long hard fought journey but eventually, she finished her dream and became who she is today. To say he is a father who is extremely proud of his daughter would be an understatement. It is difficult for Anderson since she is leaving as it always is when she goes on a mission, but he knows it will be good for her. It reminds him of the first time she left to go to school after she had finally enrolled into the Alliance medical academy. It had taken a while and some convincing but Kerry eventually signed up. They were all nervous about her staying at the university but she called every night to let them know she hated it but was okay.
Then finally came the call that she had met someone and they'd become close. David was happy at the news but at the same time a little leery of Shepard being intimate with someone. Not only was his fatherly instinct kicking in but because of how guarded Kerry was with everything, especially her scars. Even though the surgeries she had helped, it still couldn't cover them all up completely. Like the one on her face that ran from her left eye down to her jaw. She tried to cover it up as well as the others that were inflicted on her by the Batarians but wasn't always successful. Most people would look at her and not react but others she had caught staring and it made her self-conscious.
The worst ones were on her neck that ran diagonally down the top of her chest. Since it wasn't straight across it was her only saving grace. She hated that one the most and covered that it up by always wearing high collared clothing. Even with all of her precautions, Anderson knew that eventually someone would see those as well as the burn marks on her back and make comments. Shepard never spoke about her relationship with anyone but Anderson knew it ended badly. But that was a different time and she has grown up and is no longer that scared little girl anymore, he hopes.
"You'll be fine child, this mission will be good for you." Trying to lighten the mood a little he smiles at her and says. "Who knows maybe you'll actually meet someone and get a social life..."
"And then what?" She snaps back at him, knowing what he means. "And then what happens, David?" Her voice is getting louder with each word spoken as she fights the tears that are threatening to fall. "I end up at the bottom of a bottle nearly ending my career before it gets started...like before...no, not this time, I do my job and I'm done, that's it!"
Seeing the dejected look on Anderson's face she apologizes, says her goodbyes and leaves to get settled on the Normandy. As much as she can't face Anderson or Kahlee right now she's dreading what is behind the airlock doors. The person who is tasked with her transport and protection had been a friend but blamed her for Ashley's death. He was the oldest out of the group and she always looked up to him, he was the first to leave Mindoir and her first crush, Kaiden Alenko. His family left before the attack when their son went to Alliance training to be closer to him. He reached out to Shepard and Ashley after Mindoir and eventually he got closer to Williams. They became engaged and were about to marry when the tragedy at Virmire happened. Now he's tasked with watching over Shepard, the same task his girlfriend had and he is not happy.
Upon seeing the airlock door open she salutes the Spectre then her eyes automatically look at the ground, not wanting to see the pain and anger Kaiden normally has when he looks at her.
Surprisingly there is no hint of anger in his tone when he addresses her. "Maam, if you're ready we should be going." Not really knowing what to say she makes eye contact and sees no contempt, so she smiles. "Congratulations Spectre Alenko. You deserve..."
"So did Ashley!" He snaps, his face contorted in anger. He moves closer, getting in her face, growling out his next words. "Let's get one thing, clear Commander, I am not here for pleasantries, you are not my friend and we are on a tight timeline so we need to get moving." The emotions she instantly feels after her old friend speaks makes it even harder to want to move. Before she can do anything Anderson moves in front of her, getting in the newly appointed Spectre's face.
"Alenko!" Anderson yells, startling some people who had been standing next to them. "Spectre or not, you better damn well give Commander Shepard the respect she deserves. Do you understand?"
Barely making eye contact with the Alliance Captain, Kaiden salutes giving Anderson an affirmative answer, then quickly turns and walks towards his ship after being dismissed. "Are you alright?" David asks as he turns to look at the now shaken up woman.
Forcing a smile as she chokes back a sob that's about to escape, Shepard wipes at her eyes and hugs the man in front of her, feeling safe as was always the case. The emotions were beginning to overwhelm her and feeling how protective Anderson is as he holds her she begins to doubt everything she has planned. But she also knows that she can no longer continue on her current path or people she loves will be hurt.
"I’ll be okay once I get there." She can barely look him in the eye as she continues to try and convince herself that the lies she's telling and the choices she's making are correct.
Finding it harder to leave the longer she stands there, Shepard grabs her bags, hugs her family one last time and heads towards the last Alliance ship she'll ever have to board. She is heading away from a past full of grief and tragedy, towards a future full of uncertainties but deep in her heart, she knows it's the right thing to do.