Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Disclaimer: I do not own Bioware, EA (If I did it wouldn't be as stupid as it is), Mass Effect or anything related them. Edit: I decided to change her name a little. Just sort of last minute change, and considering the story isn't too far ahead... I figured it wouldn't be a big problem.
A/N: So, like... New to Ao3.. O_o hoping this posts. And I started working on this story about 2 years ago, but life is crazy and sometimes I just lose that creative spark... Started working on it a bit again, but sadly the site I was posting it to seems to be falling to shreds, so I thought a new place, a new start. I will warn you, there's a lot of swearing in this story, some graphic violence, and dark tones. I am always open to feedback, good or bad (as long as it's constructive). The goal of this story, for me... was to drag my sorry rear end out of the comfort zone, do something bold (for myself), and different while remaining faithful to the franchise. So.. as I said, work in progress.
This first chapter is short for a reason. It's basically to set the tone. But, with any luck, you all will like what lays ahead. Let's get started shall we?
The Art of War: First Spectre Mission
Historical Document: Lieutenant Commander Micah Nicole Shepard
Date of Birth: 2154, April 11th
Physical Profile: Caucasian,5'9, shoulder length red hair, green eyes, and athletically built. She has a Chinese styled dragon tattoo that covers most of her back.
Personal Past History: Much is unknown. Shepard was born to Hannah and John Shepard on board a System Alliance vessel, which was destroyed before the age of 1. Hannah and John both died as result of the attack. Shepard was among a handful of survivors. Mostly children and a single care taker who managed to board an escape pod.
Service History: Joined the System Alliance on 2172, April 11th. Past history includes aggressive behavior, reprimands for disobeying orders, arguing with senior officers, and physical confrontations with fellow unit members.
Shepard has quickly raised through the ranks, despite aggressive behaviors, for show of leadership skills. Put through officer training, and passed all courses with above average scores.
Shepard took part in the counter strike against the Batarians during the year 2178. 3/4 of her unit were killed after taking command. War crime charges were presented but quickly dropped for classified reasons.
In the year 2179, Shepard was put through N7 training and graduated top of her class. Also promoted to Lieutenant Commander in the same year.
2183 Assignment: Executive Officer of the prototype vessel SSV Normandy, under the command of Captain David Anderson.
Mission parameters: Classified.
My life has always been a carefully guarded secret. Only those on the need to know basis knew what that entailed. Basically the only people who needed to know was the brass in high Alliance command, my recruiter, and myself. I did not choose the life I have lived, but only to fight to live another day. Life has been one fucked situation to the next. This situation was probably the most fucked of them all.
There has been a saying passed from one generation to the next on my home world. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. I use to find this saying to be a pile of varren shit. I use to think: let no one close, and those who tried needed to learn their place. I will not be dragged down into the dirt because someone wants to share their warm fuzzy feelings with me. I am not warm, and most definitely not fuzzy. That was how I survived for so long. Keeping friends close wont help you survive anyhow. It only shows weakness, opens doors to betrayal.
Betrayal leaves you open to getting killed by those you thought trust worthy. At least from my enemies I know what to expect. I knew they wanted to rip my fucking head from my shoulders. That I had a cure for: they can try, but I'll have theirs first, but not before they regret their foolishness.
At least that's how I use to think. Life has a way of fucking with your views when you least expect it.
I joined the Alliance because I only had two choices. Jail, or serve my time in the marine core. At least it's a sentence I got paid for. They knew I could get the job done. They knew I'd take the dirty assignments that no one else would bother with. I'm not afraid to tarnish my pretty record. It's already a right mess, but at least I can admit I don't give a two shits.I was also never afraid to do what it took to survive, and if that meant doing the Alliance's dirty work, then that was fine by me. The battle on Torfan? Ya that was me. The demon who got most of her unit killed. The public seems to think me some butcher.
Well fuck the public. I did what I had to do. It was us or them. The batarians aren't known for playing by the rules, and those of us stuck in the trenches knew it. I only took command after our CO got his brains blown out because everyone else was too afraid. I about lost my pension over that. Hell at the time I didn't know why I had not. I didn't care who lived or died, as long as we got out of there. All I knew at the time was I was looking at some hefty charges, then the next thing I knew they were dropped.Five years later I was the XO of some new prototype frigate, the SSV Normandy.
That's when things went from shit to fucked. The ship was some big to do with co-development by both humans and turians. Personally I could care less who made it, but I will give the ship one thing: it was impressive. State of the art tech, a drive core unlike any other in the Alliance fleet, and stealth systems unmatched by any other vessel. Her details were classified so only those of us who flew her knew what was what. She was advanced though, you can be sure of that.
I suppose that hints at my weakness. I love ships. I've always been good at the tech end of things. I'd of given up my damn biotic training to attend advanced tech classes. But I was just an Alliance lap dog. They told me to jump and I tell them to kiss my ass. They don't like that much though. Good, I didn't much care for them ordering me around either. The only thing we all had in common back then.
But this isn't a story about some pain in the ass marine. This is a story that started like any other, then shit hit the fan. Half the time I wondered why the hell it had to be me. But at the end of the day it has to be someone to deal with shit like what you are about to hear, and it always had to be me.
So this is not just my story, this is everyone's story. The story that changed everyone's lives. It just happens to be from my view point. The rest as they say, is history.
Ok so that's the start of it. I hope it's an interesting start at least. I will update as the ideas flow to me, this isn't a story that will be updated on a set schedule... Right now there are 13 chapters in total, and I will put more up slowly. For now it'll be just this chapter and maybe 2 and 3. It's gonna be a slow process without an upload button and figuring my way around Ao3. But let me know what y'all think. =D
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
~Five years before Normandy Shakedown~
The council had taken notice when the Alliance made a counter strike against the batarians on Torfan. They had especially taken notice of Shepard's actions. The way she handled the situation was brutal in the eyes of the public. To some extent they were right. She had shown no regard for the lives of the soldiers she tossed onto the battle field to fight off the batarians.
They did not die as needlessly as the media had suggested, however. The batarians were brutal fighters and it takes someone of the right caliber to make the push Shepard did. She gave her unit a reason to fight. She sparked confidence in her comrades and it brought those who did survive home. Few were better then none at all.
When the council presented the chance to select a human Spectre, they had began to selectively watch certain prospects. Nihlus had taken a personal interest in Shepard's candidacy as the first human Spectre. He had heard about her swift actions on Torfan and how she took command. She did what it took to get who she could off that moon, and for that he saw a potential in her. Not many others could have done what she did.
When he had heard of her being charged by the human military for war crimes he had been tempted to step in. As a Council Spectre he had the authority to over see these charges. Humans were apart of the council races after all, it was well within his jurisdiction. He could have those charges dropped with the snap of his finger if the humans didn't want to lose their spot in the galactic community.
But he stood back, ever observant of the situation. He would intervene at the opportune time. Too soon and it could ruin her chances as a Spectre.
That was why he had attended this meeting. As one of the Council's top agents he wanted to over see the selection process, perhaps steer it in his direction. He had seen the files, most of them he triple checked, gaining as much access in the lives of the candidates as possible. He saw potential in them all, but Shepard stood out.
There was something about the young woman that had just caught his attention. She got things done, no matter what it took. If she had the proper training she could make an excellent agent for the council. But her history was more then rough around the edges. She had an attitude problem with her peers and superiors, even disobeyed orders. But she defied all odds on Torfan. No, he was certain, she was the one he wanted to see gain the Spectre status.
"Well, what about Shepard?" Question Donnel Udina. He quickly swiped up her information on his computer, showing her record on the large screen at the end of the conference room. The record was long, and riddled with disciplinary notes and the pending charges she now faced. To the naked eye Shepard looked like as likely a candidate as a criminal. But she also had the highest success rate of getting her missions done then most other soldiers of her rank.
David Anderson, the man responsible for Shepard's placement in the Alliance spoke up, "She's had problems in the past, but her record has shown a steady increase in better behavior. Give her a few more years and I'm sure she will season out more." He said in her defense. Nihlus watched Anderson with some interest as his madibles twitched in approval. Anderson must have seen her potential as well.
An older man shifted in his seat slightly. "We could do better then Shepard. She's improving, but hardly the person I'd want to represent our species." Steven Hackett commented. If turians could frown Nihlus was doing such now. Surely a veteran soldier would recognize the talent of another. Or perhaps it really was about a political ploy to squeeze their way into a council seat. A poster child to make their race look ready for such power.
The human ambassador spoke up next, "It won't matter if she straightens out her attitude if she is incarcerated." He pointed out in his own annoyance. Nihlus never trusted Udina. He was always sniveling over something with the counselors. Then he'd turn around and try to... how did the humans put it..? Crap nosing? Snot nosing? Nihlus sighed as he tried to pay attention to proceedings before him.
"Shepard is hardly the star child of the human race, I will not have someone who can't even look after her own unit represent us in such a high position." Udina continued his rant. Of course, Nihlus was right after all. It was about appearance over who could do the job. "She is reckless, compulsive, and lacks any regard for her own kind." He added for good measure. Nihlus' mandibles twitched once more. This time in annoyance.
He sat a little taller in his chair as he eyed the three men before him. Each was given a reason to be apart of this decision. Udina, because he was the ambassador, Admiral Hackett, because he was a top-ranking official of the System Alliance, and David Anderson was given the chance to participate because of his former candidacy as a Spectre. With this in mind, Nihlus had to find a way to bring Shepard into the spot light.
The Spectre cleared his throat as he carefully watched all three humans as he folded his hands together on the table. "Gentlemen, this is not about appearances, but who can get the job done. I have read through all of the files handed to the Ambassador so far and out of all of them, Shepard has already started showing skills needed of a Spectre." He began as diplomatically as he could. He paused for a short moment to survey the responses.
When he only saw an expectancy to continue, he stood from his seat. "With time, temperance, and additional training I would like to see her candidacy taken more seriously." He then said as he faced the big screen at the end of the conference table. He then glimpsed back at the three men who only looked at each other.
Udina glowered however as he firmly placed his hands onto the flat surface of the table. "I would rather see a Williams as the next Spectre!" He chided. Nihlus folded his hands behind his back as he stood facing the humans once more. He was growing more agitated with Udina every time he opened his mouth. Why he was the representative of the human race he would never know. The man was more concerned with his own career then his species.
"Ambassadors, I need you to consider this as a very serious matter." Nihlus said to Udina very sternly. He knew what he spoke of when Udina brought up Williams. He knew of General Williams, the man who was, in his opinion, wise to surrender under such circumstances. It saved more lives in the end. But that was not why he was here.
Udina balled his hands into fists out of frustration. "I am taking this very seriously!" He shot back. Nihlus sighed as he lifted his talons towards Shepard's picture. Her picture was devoid of any noticeable emotion. Her eyes glued to the camera in front of her, yet she looked to be miles away. Her shoulders her straight and stiff, her lips neither smiling or frowning. Straight and narrow.
"I was asked to over see this decision, to help you make the best choice. It is ultimately up to you, Ambassador, but I once more strongly advise reconsidering Shepard's position." Nihlus said loudly, making it crystal clear on where he stood. The choice was theirs alone, but Nihlus would not give up so easily.
Anderson stood next as Udina muttered to himself. "Spectre Nihlus is right. We can send her to the N7 program, give her proper training. If she passes the courses maybe she really is our best option." Nihlus' madibles twitched some as he watched the human Captain. Finally, someone who saw reason. Nihlus believed in the human potential but he was beginning to understand why the other races found them so... stubborn, and emotional. They acted more on impulse then rational thought.
Steven Hackett cleared his throat as he looked up to Anderson nodding for him to sit back down. He looked over to their turian guest who looked back at the eldest man in curiosity. "The N7 program is the best of the best. They go through hell in their training, and only few graduate." the Admiral began. "If she is what you make her out to be, Spectre, she should pass N7 training without problem, but if she does not..." He trailed off still watching Nihlus.
"If she does not, you may do what you will with her. I am only here to see that you all come to the best decision possible, not interfere in your justice system." Nihlus replied. Hackett nodded at the turian in silence. He then looked to Udina who seemed the most displeased with this idea. "Ambassador, would you make the call?" He requested politely.
Udina got to his feet, muttering the whole while as he marched out of the conference room. Nihlus bowed at the remaining two humans before he excused himself, leaving Anderson and Hackett to discuss what ever else they thought necessary. Hopefully Shepard would make it through this N7 training... He would hate to have put so much faith in a stranger who could let him down. But he was sure that his faith was placed right where it should be.
Alright, sorry for another short chapter. I assure you they will get longer as it goes. I just sort of wanted to get the.. foundation I suppose when I first started this story.
I do apologize if it's still too short.
I figured out the site quicker than I assumed so I might have all 13 chapters up tonight lol. With any luck that is.
Also I know the wiki says Hackett was one of the few who strongly pushed for Shepard to become a Spectre, but I wanted to change things up a little. Make it a little fresh. Something unique and different, considering the kind of Shepard I am creating here.
Anywho, chapter 3 to come.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
It had been a few weeks since Shepard had returned to the Arcturus station after her tour on Torfan. She had been arrested the moment she had stepped foot off her ship and was housed in the holding cells in the belly of the space station. There she had spent a week before they gave her house arrest, confining her to her apartment. This was standard routine, as the holding cells were few and they had to keep them as available as possible.
She knew the charges she faced were serious though. She was, as of now, relieved of duty until further notice. She was kept under tight surveillance with guards posted outside her door around the clock, and on her wrist was a nearly skin tight thin bracelet. The bracelet served as a tracking monitor, and her omni tool was taken, along with her extranet privileges.
The only real thing she had for outside contact was her television. Aside from constantly cleaning and recleaning her apartment it was one of the few things she had to entertain herself with. She had a few books on her reading pad but she was never a big reader.
Otherwise her apartment was rarely used. Always on assignment, out in deep space or planet side. Her apartment was fairly bare aside from the furnishings, a small two person dining table, and a few dishes. She didn't even have but a few movies downloaded onto her television set. The only time she ever used it was for shore leave and... well in this case it was like her prison cell.
Decorations were nearly non existent, minus the one sitting on her dining room table. She was surprised to even see it when she was confined to her apartment. It was a two foot fake Christmas Tree. Being out in space for so long the months seemed to fly by, and one could lose track of them easily. But it was in fact December. But she was not the one to put it there.
When she had read the delivery note she rolled her eyes. Some over zealot Christmas fan sent them out to everyone apparently. Spreading the good will, the note had said. If there ever was a real Scrouge it was probably Shepard. She wasn't big for holidays at all. She found them to be an annoyance. However she let the Christmas tree sit there. Was not like she could do anything with it.
Right now, though, she was taking a shower. Long since done with the shampooing and cleaning of herself, she just stood there, enjoying the spray of hot water. It was relaxing to be able to take long showers for a change. Normally while on duty one couldn't enjoy the luxury of a lazy shower like the civies. The rule was three minutes to do what you had to do and get out. But most commands allowed five, unless they were jackasses. Shepard had seen a few fuckwad superiors who pressed the three minute rule.
But now she was starting to run out of hot water, which was a real shame. She sighed as she turned the shower off before stepping out, grabbing the towel off the rack. She wasn't sure what she would do next now. Sitting on her ass in front of the tv was not really her thing that was certain. She wished that she was at least allowed to walk around the station's running track once every few days. She hadn't really seen beyond her apartment door since she was placed under house arrest.
Ass holes. After all she went through to get those who lived back home this was the thanks she got. She half wondered if her squad mates decided to turn against her. Fuck them up the ass if that was the case. She felt she didn't deserve to be used as a damn scapegoat to play nice with the fucking batarians. Why couldn't they be the ass kissers for a change?
Once she felt dry enough she threw on her Alliance gym shorts and t-shirt, thinking maybe she'd work out in the living room. It was better to keep busy then to sit on her ass for the rest of the day. She took a glimpse at her image in the mirror, her bath towel around her shoulders as she looked herself over.
She was still healing from her fight on Torfan. A new scar forming on her chin and right eyebrow to show for her trouble. Her right eye was also still slightly bruised from taking a fist to the face during a hand to hand situation against a batarian infiltrator. She also harbored a knife injury in her side from that fight. Fucker pulled out a boot knife and practically tried to gut her with the three inch blade. If it weren't for her thick armor he might have succeeded. It took some fast thinking and a bit of luck to patch up in the middle of a fire fight too.
She sighed as she turned to step out of the bathroom shaking the thoughts from her head. She went back to toweling off her still wet hair as she rounded the corner of her small one bedroom apartment and into the living room. She stopped in her tracks, however, the moment she fully entered her small living room.
There, on her couch, sat an elder man in dress blues, the insignias and metals on his uniform jacket suggesting he had seen more then his share of action. "Don't you people ever fucking knock?" Shepard asked impatiently as she made her way for the kitchen. She knew he was an admiral, she noticed the ranking on his uniform. She didn't give a damn however. He was an intruder as far as she was concerned.
Admiral Hackett frowned at just how rude she was in addressing him. "Is that how you speak to your superior officers, Lieutenant?" he questioned, his tone suggesting he was unimpressed with her. Shepard didn't give a shit though. He could shove it up his ass, as far as she was concerned. She wasn't on duty, and he was in her home, even if it doubled as her prison currently. Her home, her rules.
She opened the fridge in her kitchen as she grabbed a water bottle before closing the door and twisting open the cap. "When they invade my private apartment, I sure as hell do." She said, equally unimpressed. She could care less if he was her superior, on or off duty. She probably would have given him shit despite.
He watched her from his sitting position on the couch, seeing through the breakfast bar and into the kitchen. "You lost your privacy privileges the moment you took command on Torfan." he stated in his own annoyance. He then stood from his seat as she came back out into the living, standing there, her weight resting on her right leg and foot, looking impatient.
This was the first the Admiral had met Lieutenant Shepard. He only had her files to go on as far as what to expect. He had seen the notes of disrespect for her peers and those who out ranked her, but he didn't think she'd have the balls to talk back with an Admiral. It only affirmed that she was not ready to take on the responsibilities to represent her race in his opinion. To say he was second guessing his agreement to go along with this was an understatement.
For her, she only grew more agitated. Bringing up Torfan was a poor choice in her opinion. "Permission to speak freely, Sir?" She asked, emphasizing the word sir. He noted the look of growing anger in both her posture, and in her eyes. In the back of his mind he was glad to have invoked that sort of response. If the reports were accurate she deserved the charges that were brought up against her.
He simply nodded in her direction, folding his arms behind his back, straightening his stance, feet together, his stature defining his authority. "Do you even know the kind of shit batarians are capable of?" She questioned loudly. He perked an eyebrow at the question. He had seen many things while on the battlefield, so her question seemed rhetorical at best.
She didn't give him a chance to answer though, "Those fuckers had us pinned down like cornered animals! It was us or them, and when Captain Fletcher got his damned brains blown from his fucking skull someone had to do something!" She began to pace the length of her small dining area, her hold on her water bottle only tightening. She was not happy, and she was about to unload on the admiral. "Fuck what the damn press says, I brought my men home!"
She felt the accusations against her were more than unreasonable. She fought back the only way she could. The batarians had done more atrocious things, they deserved what they got in her opinion. They had brutalized male prisoners, raped any female they captured, poisoned the water supply, killed her commanding officer in front of her men, but not before doing unspeakable horrors against him. It was a mercy killing in the end, but that didn't excuse them for what they did.
"Most of your men were killed, the rest traumatized, you used inhumane tactics against the enemy, and you seem proud of what you've done." The admiral retorted coldly. If looks could kill. He physically didn't appear effected by the look she gave him, but he would admit: it was intimidating. "However, you are being given a second chance here, Shepard." He said, cutting off any sort of argument she might of had.
That seemed to put her in her place. She grew a bit confused, and he began to march for her door. "You will report to Captain David Anderson at O'Six-hundred tomorrow at docking bay twelve. Pack your bags while you're at it, Lieutenant. You're new assignment will be off my station." He ordered more then anything. She watched him as he stopped by her door, turning back to face her. "If I hear so much as a single screw up, you will be facing more then just a court martial, you understand me, Marine?" He then questioned, his tone firm in his conviction.
She turned to face him more, straightening herself out. "I read you five-by-five, Sir." she replied with her own firm, yet sarcastic tone, while emphasizing the sir once again. He scoffed slightly at her sarcasm. If he weren't her superior he'd have to give her credit for being so ballsy but he found it rather annoying instead. He then shook his head as he opened the door, walking out stiffly, as any veteran officer would. He could only hope that Anderson and Nihlus was right about her.
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
A/N: So this chapter will start out with text that looks like this. That is Shepard sort like.. narrating I suppose. Just something I wanted to throw in for this chapter at least. I don't know if I'll make a habit of it or not. Perhaps on some occasions, but not in every chapter. Only when I find it fits the story's purpose.
Anywho, on to the next!
At the time I had no idea what to expect. Admiral Hackett had ordered me to report to Anderson; I figured the brass couldn't find enough evidence to support their charges so they just dropped them. But I couldn't help the passing thought of the warning the Admiral had given me. It had to have meant something more then just letting me go. There was more to it I knew that, but I never thought much more on it then that.
People say they make their own destiny. Most of us would like to believe we control the events of our lives, and perhaps some blissfully believe it. Most get to believe that everything that happens is a matter of the actions and decisions they made that lead to an event's happening. Like it was all carefully planned the whole while. What a load of bullshit.
I blindly believed in this once. I was in control over my own damn life, screw what everyone else thought. Perhaps up to a point I was in control. Everything happened because of the choices I had made, the actions I have taken. But the day Hackett sent me in Anderson's direction it was like everyone but me had control over my life. To that I say: fuck fate and destiny alike. It's a cruel joke humans don't seem to understand.
0530, right on the dot. Shepard never liked being late, and yet she never liked being right on time either. Thirty minutes early or she was in a foul mood; her whole schedule considered fucked up. Being early gave her adequate time to adjust something if things changed on a moment's notice. In this case she highly doubted a last minute change, but one never knew.
So Shepard sat in the seating area outside of docking bay twelve. The area was relatively empty, aside from the two guards ordered to escort her. They had yet to leave, leading her to believe they were also ordered to be sure Anderson received her. Like she would seriously make an escape attempt. After joining the military is the only life she knew. Where the fuck would she go? She joined the damn Alliance to avoid jail time, not to face a court martial for being AWOL and land behind bars anyways. She wasn't a fucking idiot.
However everyone seemed fine by treating her like one. It was any wonder she gave them all attitude. Ass holes, all of them. Perhaps if they had treated her with a little less hostility. She smirked at the thought though. Perhaps her first day in basic wasn't exactly the best of impressions. Damn now she had no one to blame but herself. Fuck.
So she sat, sighing to herself, leaning back against the cheap plastic chair with only a thin layer of what felt like cheap carpet as "cushion". She wouldn't exactly call it comfortable, but what did you expect? Airport lounges spread through out history never exactly had plush lazy boy recliner chairs. Such was the story of human history. Comfortable beds, huge homes, plush chairs at the movie theaters in the early 21st century, plush car seats even, but screw airport chairs! They had to be plastic pieces of shit.
Shepard folded her right leg over her left, her ankle resting just above her knee as she loops her left arm around the neighboring seat, only occupied by her duffle bag. She glimpsed over at her babysitters as she scoffed to herself. They kept their distance, not so much as a word spoken to her. They did give her quick glimpses now and then however as they waited for Anderson to show up. She'd just smirk at them every time they realized they noticed, and they would snap their eyes straight forward instead.
She glimpsed over at her duffel bag in the neighboring chair. It was roughly half her height in length, and only half full. She had all her uniforms, and whatever body armor she may need, along with her issued side arm most personnel had with them at all times, but as far as personal belongings... She had a couple pairs of civie clothing, her gym clothes, an extra pair of shoes, and that was it. She packed light, and outside of the military owned very little.
She glimpsed up at the clock that was mounted above the door that lead deeper into the space station. 0547. Perhaps being a half an hour early was not always the best of ideas. This whole time she did nothing but brew on the situation she now faced. She wasn't even sure what her new assignment was, and she wanted to know what the hell was going on with the charges she was facing not even 24 hours prior.
She then heard the familiar hiss of the opening doors on the opposite end of the room from herself. She sat closer to the docking bay doors, wanting to keep as much distance from her babysitters as possible. She didn't like feeling she had to be guided by the hand everywhere, and she knew she'd probably bite their heads off if given the chance. "You're early." She heard someone say. Ah right, the doors...
At first she lazily looked towards the person speaking to her, not thinking twice on who it might have been. When she saw the familiar face of Captain Anderson she quickly sprang to her feet, standing at attention. She may have given her superiors a hard time but when it's drilled into your brain to snap to when a superior officer walks into a room, it becomes habit. Perhaps habit was not the right word, instinctual would be a better choice.
"Lieutenant Shepard, reporting as ordered, Sir." She said in a crisp loud voice. Anderson couldn't help but smirk at the young marine. Yes he had followed her progress closely since she signed on. He could see the potential within her from day one, and even though she had made some poor choices he continued to have a sense of hope for her. With the right guiding hand she could become someone truly amazing.
Anderson cleared his throat as he dismissed the guards, both marching out the door without pause. "At lease, Lieutenant." He said as he walked closer to the young woman. She really had grown since she was 18. She still looked youthful of course, but more like a young woman now then the thuggish teenaged girl she was. "Grab your gear and follow me." he then said as he walked right past her.
She quickly grabbed her duffel bag by it's velvety handles and quickly threw the semi heavy bag over her shoulder. "Sir, what the hell is going on?" She questioned without regard for rank. With Anderson she knew she had a little more leeway then other with other senior officers. Mostly because he was one of the few CO's she could tolerate. He also happened to be the man responsible for getting her a get out of free jail card when she was 18.
He didn't even look back at the young marine. He quickly swiped his key card before putting in a security code at the docking bay doors to his ship. "You're on thin ice Shepard. You've been put under my watch." Was all he said as the doors swished open, allowing entrance. Shepard huffed some as she followed him close behind.
What she didn't know was everything was about to change. Perhaps not quick enough to notice at first, but it had already began. From this point on her fate was at the mercy of the Citadel Council. She would not know anything about these plans for years to come either. She was to do as she was ordered, and make sure she stayed out of trouble. Anderson had put his own reputation on the line, but he saw something in Shepard that not many did. He was willing to risk it in the end.
Shortly after the new year rolled around I was placed in the N7 program. At the time I decided to take it as the recognition I so rightfully deserved. Like I was some special entitled little shit. How arrogant can one be? I may have been living in the adult world, doing what everyone else did but I knew shit about it. It was how life made me out to be, and I was determined to shove it right back in it's fucking face.
The N7 program was no cake walk. I may have been the second top graduate in my class, but I worked damn hard for it. It was a challenge like none I had faced before, and it was exhilarating. The combat sims were insane, the lectures I endured were mind numbing, and the survival classes had a way of chasing out the cubs from the lions. I was a fucking predator and everyone was in my way.
In the end I passed, and it was from that point on I began getting more recognized as the woman who got the damn job done over how it was done. I was a special agent for the system Alliance, not many of us existed, and we were the best of the fucking best. It really didn't take long for me to forget all about the charges I once faced and why they were dropped in the first place.
Maybe if I had known about the shit going on behind my back I would have rather taken the jail time. At the time would have thought, "Well hey at least I chose my own fate." But then this story would be a hell of a lot different. Maybe fate exists for a reason, I don't know. Peel away all the layers and expose the core of the matter and I just give the fuck up. I accepted my fate before I even knew I had.
Tada... Introduction over of most everything done xD. So from here out it should be the story within itself.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
A/N: I just realized there was one more chapter before Normandy launch. This one will involve a certain.. Well you'll see.
~One month before Normandy Launch~
Liara T'soni was enjoying a peaceful afternoon planet side. In her hands were the common tools of her trade as she worked carefully to unearth Prothean artifacts from the ancient dirt below her. She always felt a sense of excitement while she worked to uncover the mysteries of the long since extinct species. There were always more questions than answers concerning the Protheans, and even the ancient races before them. She wanted to be the one to discover all their secrets.
The skies above were blue, a few puffs of white clouds floated by lazily as the bright sun of the solar system shined down on her dig site. She was always at her happiest when she sat digging in the dirt. Anything involving the Protheans made her sore in the highest clouds. Her excitement was undefinable when she discovered a new piece of evidence, or a new clue to their extinction.
But her happiness would not last as she sat up from leaning over the precious trinket she was carefully uncovering. She wiped at her brow, knowing her face was probably smudged with dirt. She then looked up at the skies to see an ominous black cloud as it began to roll in fast. Perhaps too fast as it blanketed the once blue skies.
She felt a sudden sense of panic as she sprung to her feet, the world around her shifting, new shapes taking form as the hard dirt floor began to turn into multiple shades of color. The world began to grow dark as the black clouds began to flash odd bolts of lightning, the thunder near deafening. It made little sense as her heart began to race. She quickly fled in fear of the storm running in the direction of some cliffs that were not there but moments before She was hoping to seek shelter in caves, if there were any.
As she ran, the fear overwhelming her, she could hear distant sounds of screaming. She could also hear an awful sound of screeching metal grinding together. She reached to cover her ears, hoping to muffle the noise as more tumultuous thunder clashed around her. The storm seemed apocalyptic by nature, and the world around her was now as dark as night. This storm was not there two minutes ago, but now it seemed to cover the planet entirely as the sun all but disappeared.
She was close to the caves though. Perhaps she would be safe there; safe from the screams she heard all around her, yet so far away. Safe from horrendous lightning and earth shattering thunder, the odd shapes and colors the storm created. How was this even possible? Her mind scrambled for an answer, but could not find one.
Then she heard a calming voice amidst all the chaos. "Liara." The voice sounded so familiar as her frantic run turned into a slow jog as she looked around. "Liara, come to me." She heard it again. Her brow furrowed as she looked around herself. She had to find that voice.
She stopped moving altogether as she tried desperately to find that calming voice in the center of this nightmarish storm. "Hello?" She called out, her voice trembling with fear. She hugged herself tightly as it was so hard to see now as the storm clouds choked out all form of light. She now stood alone, Goddess knows where, as her eyes frantically searched the darkness.
She about lost hope when the storm began to dull to a dim roar, the sounds growing muffled. She could still see bright flashes of light from the multi-colored lightning but the screams had vanished, the thunder now a distant rumble. Her panic was still at it's high, though her confusion began to creep into play. What was going on?
"Liara, you must obey me." she then heard that voice. Only now it was no longer soothing, but more aggressive. She began to realize a circle of light began to shine through the black clouds, lighting the area around her, if only a little. The source of the voice slowly walked into the light from the dark world outside.
Liara's hand quickly moved to her mouth as she saw her mother there. She had not seen or spoken with her mother in over fifty years. She stood there as she once remembered her, radiating in beauty, though her expression was not that of happiness or content. She looked angry, a dark mist surrounding her. "I do not understand?" Liara questioned as she stood rooted in her spot.
Her mother extended her right arm, her hand palm up as she beckoned for Liara. "Do not disobey me, Little Wing. His will must be ours." Matriarch Benezia said sternly. This caused Liara to feel more confusion, her fear mostly forgotten, but still slightly present. More questions only seem to take shape as she watched her mother take a step forward, arm still out stretched. "Come!" Her mother commanded loudly.
Liara felt as though she could not trust this image of her mother. Her mother was always so kind to her, gentle. Only if she had done wrong would her mother raise her tone, or give her a disappointed stare. But this was not like her mother. The Benezia before her oozed with a darkness untold, her eyes uncaring, calloused, hardened. She then began to glow with biotics as Liara's eyes widened, the fear returning. "No!" She cried out as she turned and began to run in the opposite direction of her mother.
She could hear her mother in hot pursuit as she ran. Why was her mother doing this? Liara's breathing had turned into short pants as the fear once more overwhelmed her senses, her feet carrying her as fast as they could. "You cannot live without me!" She could hear her mother yelling from behind her. That was when the sounds of grinding metal returned, the world feeling as though it now shook violently beneath her feet.
She ran what felt was for hours, her mother continuously yelling for her, the tone she carried angry, and full of malice. When Liara felt as though she could not run any longer, her legs gave out as she began to fall forward. She yelped in fear as her arms reached out for anything to catch her. She felt fear of her mother, the darkness that surrounded her, of the storm that felt would never end. As she fell the lightning was relentless, the sounds even more so, she feared it was trying to consume her. But she never hit the ground.
Instead she felt strong arms catch her, and it was in that instant she knew she was safe. She looked up at the person who had caught her from falling, from being caught by her mother. She could only catch vague details of her savior. The person was definitely a woman. It was hard to make out specifics, but Liara was fairly sure she was not Asari. Human, perhaps. Liara didn't care as she quickly latched onto her unknown protector for dear life.
She felt one arm of her unknown savior around her form as well, seeing her raise her free arm, a gun in hand, aimed for her mother who was not far ahead of them. She could see the familiar glow of biotics surround them both as her protector fired her gun towards her mother.
Liara felt a new sense of anguish as she knew in that moment what was going on. The woman who she was clutching onto so desperately was shooting at her mother. If only to keep Liara safe from her.
Liara awoke with a jolt in that instant. She clutched onto her blanket as she quickly looked around, taking in her surroundings. A dream, it was just a dream. She let out a sigh of relief as she let herself fall back into her bedroll. She was on Therum with a small group, excavating a Prothean structure far below the planet surface.
She began to breathe more deeply as she closed her eyes trying to center her mind. She had been having this dream repeatedly for the past year, only each time she had it, it seemed to progress further along. This was the first she had been saved from being chased by this evil version of her mother. It was almost vexing how she instantly felt safe in this stranger's arms. It was almost as if she instantly knew this person, whoever she was, and knew she would not allow harm to her.
"Do not be silly, Liara!" She then scolded herself in her frustration. It was simply a dream, nothing more! It meant nothing, it was her subconscious telling her she worked too much. That was it. She was just working too hard, and she had not seen her mother in what felt like a life time. Perhaps a visit home was in order after her work here was done. That would mild the dream, she was sure of it.
She would return home, her mother would be happy to see her, and she could take some time away from her Prothean studies. She could catch up with old friends, and spend time at the T'soni estate, and recollect herself. She had been exhausted of late, and a vacation back home could be the remedy she needed.
With her mind made up she got out of bed, got dressed and exited her tent, determined to speed up the process of her work at hand. If she got everything she needed to do done faster, the sooner she could go home and clear her mind of this annoying dream. She would just have to convince her small team of this. Goddess willing, they would eagerly agree. They were all in need of some time off.
Ok... Now I'm satisfied lol. We'll be moving on here next chapter. I just felt like Liara should get some introduction as well. xP
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
~Three days before Normandy Launch~
Liara ran, her breathing ragged, her lungs hurting, her chest felt as though a heavy weight pressed against it. It all happened so fast. Her team had just started with the day's work on Therum. Their excavation nearly over, there was little left to survey. Then they were suddenly under attack. Many people died within the first couple of minutes as everything was in chaos. Nobody expected it, and they had minimal means of defense.
Normally a dig site was the last place to expect such an attack. Perhaps a few bandits every now and then, even indigenous life had been known to attack as a matter of territory, but this? Their had been 20 people, mostly scientists, some were there as manual labor, and to help fix equipment..
But now only six remained those that had participated in the dig. Liara prayed that this was not actually happening. Goddess let it be another silly dream! The Geth were here though, and it was all real. They were the ones behind this attack, and they had no mercy for those they gunned down. They were unarmed scientists! Why would the Geth want to murder unarmed scientists? "Quick in here!" another asari, Kaira, shouted out with panic.
They could all hear the chirping and computer like garbling of the Geth not far behind. Liara, Kaira, two salarians, and two humans, one male and the other female, quickly ducked into a dark crevice within the rocky walls of the caverns. Luckily the crevice turned out to be more of a miniature version of a cave. It was just big enough to fit them inside and perhaps two more people... if any others had survived.
They all tried desperately to stop their heavy breathing as the Geth slowly walked by, all of them tucking themselves as far into the stone walls as possible. Each of them sucked in a deep breath as they watched the opening in silence and fear. They could only hope the Geth would walk right passed them.
For a brief moment they watched as the Geth slowly passed by, perhaps ten feet ahead of the crevice. One of the two humans, a young man, breathed a sigh of relief. The rest followed in his relief, but there was one element they did not expect. Before they even knew what was happening, the young man was snatched by the collar of his shirt and violently yanked from their shared hiding place.
"Please, no!" The man shrieked as a Krogan lifted the man off the ground by his throat, squeezing it tightly. Soon after there was a sharp snap as the struggling man suddenly fell limp, eyes rolling into his head. The Krogan tossed the man aside as he stepped into view of the others who shrank within their hiding place.
"I want the asari." He rumbled loudly, Liara and the other asari looking to each other in fear.
Shepard sighed as she dumped her heavy duffel bag onto the floor of her temporarily assigned apartment. She was only staying on station for a few days. Her new assignment was to become the XO of some new frigate class ship, the SSV Normandy. She had not been filled in on much more then it was the ship's maiden voyage. She was expecting to be briefed about it in a matter of a few hours.
It would be a busy week, that she was sure of. She was to meet her new unit, her new CO, get the ship straightened out, and to get the crew ready to go. She would also have to learn the specifics of this ship, and why such information was classified. She figured that would be part of the briefing. All she knew was this crew was hand picked by the CO, and for now no one knew who that all entailed.
She glimpsed around the pre-furnished apartment as she peeled off her officer's jacket and tossed it onto the dining room's table, next to a bowl of fruit. The apartment was an exact duplicate of her old one five years back. The only real difference was it was a guest apartment, and already furnished and arranged differently. She sighed heavily as she walked over to the two seater couch and plopped onto it heavily.
She had not been on the Arc in five years. When she last left the Admiral had been fairly clear she was not welcomed on his station. He had her things removed from her old apartment and already assigned it to someone else before she had even stepped foot into the N7 program. Whatever, he could shove it up his ass as far as she was concerned.
After her N7 training she had been kept fairly busy. Moved from one assignment to another, the brass keeping a close watch on her every move. It was as though she was never fully pardoned for what happened on Torfan so many years ago. She sighed at the thought, muttering a curse word as she laid back on the couch, one arm drooped over her face, covering her eyes as she closed them feeling an oncoming headache.
She thought about getting some sleep in before this briefing took place. She had been run ragged the past few days. She had just finished one mission just to be put on the next shuttle to the Arcturus station to be put on a new classified mission. Where was the damn shore leave she was promised?
Just as she had began to doze off the doorbell chimed loudly, causing Shepard to jump and practically fall from the couch. "God damn son of a bitch!" she called out having been completely caught off guard. In the process of her startled flailing she had smacked the back of her hand against the edge of the hard glass coffee table that sat but a foot from the couch.
"This had better be damned good." she muttered as she marched for the door. Her being sleep deprived led to a much more crankier mood than usual. She cradled her now throbbing and possibly bruised hand as she got to her feet, storming for the door, muttering the whole way.
Upon reaching the door she reached out with her uninjured hand pressing the button that would open the door. As it gave a light hiss, separating down the middle before disappearing into the walls to reveal the person standing outside of her door.
She had never seen the kid before, but he was certainly younger then her. He looked to be maybe 19 or 20. Green, she could see it in his eyes when he looked up at her. He was a good deal shorter, almost by a foot. Didn't help she was nearly six feet tall. That was of average height these days, so he was just a runt by comparison. He was thin too, and his shaggy brown hair made him look like he was perhaps a pencil pusher.
She glared down at him angrily none-the-less. It was intimidating to the young man as he swallowed hard at the steely gaze she gave him. "What the hell do you want, Private?" she questioned angrily. Once more he swallowed hard. He was just the messenger but he had heard much about the Commander. Ruthless in battle, temper shorter then a mother cougar protecting her cubs.
He rang his hands in pure nervousness as he did his best to not look away from her hard green eyes. They almost had a tinge of red in her apparent anger. "I was sent to inform you that the Admiral wants to see you..." He said, doing little to mask the intimidation he felt over the older woman. She rolled her eyes as she stepped back into her apartment, seemingly uncaring.
She moved to the dining room table as she picked up an apple from a bowl of fruit as she picked up her jacket. "What the hell does the good Admiral want from me?" She questioned, her tone less angry, and perhaps a bit more sarcastic. She almost sounded disinterested. She glimpsed over her shoulder before she moved further into the apartment, jacket slung over her shoulder. The young man had not moved from his spot as she opened a closet door, carelessly tossing her uniform jacket inside. She didn't even bother to hang it up.
The young Private straightened out more, seemingly less nervous now that she wasn't starring him down. "The Admiral didn't say, Ma'am. He just said that it was imperative that you came now." he replied finally. He still felt cautious about the woman though. He had heard stories of her dealings over the years, as did many soldiers.
Micah rolled her eyes before she turned back to the man who stood outside of her door. "You gotta be fucking kidding me. I just got here, I haven't slept in over a day, and the damn meeting isn't for another three hours!" She said sounding angry again. He shrank a little at her outburst.
She was definitely not someone he wanted to be around for very long. Even now he felt he was around her long enough. "Excuse me, ma'am, but I have other duties to attend to." he said with hopes she would dismiss him. Preferably before she took it out on him any futher. Don't shoot the messenger, as the old saying went. He'd prefer to live to tell the tale.
She waved her arm at him, and he took that as his permission to leave. He spun on his heel and quickly marched out of sight as she muttered to herself. Damn old bastard can't leave her alone. All she wanted was a nap. But iff she could really have her way she'd stuff his attitude up his old wrinkly ass.
Shepard strode into the conference room, her uniform crisp, the way she carried herself defined her as a well trained marine. Nihlus looked to the door as she entered the room before stopping, standing straight, presenting a salute. "Lieutenant Commander Shepard reporting as ordered." She spoke as a soldier would, her voice firm, eyes forward.
Admiral Hackett and Captain Anderson stood from their seats. Hackett eyed the Commander firmly for a moment before returning the salute. "Have a seat, Commander." he then said as she dropped her salute.
This was the first time Nihlus had laid eyes on the Commander in person. She was tall, her build athletic. She showed slight muscle tone in her arms, her uniform outlining how her body was in shape, and ready for any combat situation. His mandibles flared once as he watched her take a seat at the end of the table, closest to the door.
The Admiral sat back down in his own chair on the other end of the table, while Anderson sat in the middle, across from Nihlus. "Commander, as you are aware, the mission details are classified. Strictly on the need to know basis." Hackett began as Shepard eyed the three men in the room.
She could assume why Anderson was involved, but the turian. She had never seen him before, not that she had really seen many of them in the first place. But last she checked turians weren't normally apart of Alliance operations. She kept quiet however, figuring there would be an explanation on why he was even here. "Shepard, we've been assigned for a covert pick up on Eden Prime. Officially, this is just a shakedown cruise for the SSV Normandy."
"Sir?" Shepard questioned as she looked to Anderson. She had been apart of few covert ops since her N7 training... But she had a feeling this time things were going to be different. Especially if a turian was involved. She couldn't help but look in his direction. He was watching her intently, which only drew a sense of suspicion from her.
Anderson'a omni tool chirped as he brought it out, clicking a few buttons. Shepard then returned her full attention to the briefing, knowing things were about to be explained. Before her was a enlarged image of the new frigate that she would be on, the SSV Normandy. At first look it was definitely a new design, at least by human standards. It definitely had a slick look to it. "This prototype ship was co-developed by humans and turians." Nihlus finally spoke up as he stood from his seat.
He approached the image as Anderson began to bring up the ship specifications. "It has an advanced but experimental tantalus drive core." Nihlus continued as an image of the drive core popped up, information about it branching out from it. "It helps power the Normandy's new stealth systems for deep space reconnaissance missions." he continued.
Shepard sat a little taller in her chair as he had her full attention on these specs. She was always into ship technology, or anything tech related in general. She eyed the schematics of the Normandy as the turian continued to ramble on about the ship, how the stealth system only shielded heat admissions, and how it was sponsored by the council.
"What the hell does the council have to do with this?" Shepard suddenly spoke up, interrupting Nihlus mid-sentence. All three men looked to her, Hackett frowning at her less than professional behavior. She had improved over the years, but she still didn't hold regards for protocol or manners, it seemed. Something he wanted to correct now before it got out of hand.
Anderson spoke up, however, before Hackett could even comment. "Shepard, we have been trying to get a human into the Spectres for years. We have now found an opportunity to try." Anderson explained. Micah raised a brow as she looked at him. She had a feeling she did not like where this was going. She made a sideways look towards the turian, who was still watching her closely. Something was amiss here.
"Nihlus will accompany the Normandy crew." Hackett added. He didn't sound too pleased by the idea either. Micah perked a brow once more as she eyed the crusty old Admiral. He was hiding something. She could not tell what it was, but she could sense it in the way he spoke. Frowning at her constantly did nothing to hide it either.
Shepard leaned forward now, one arm resting against the hard wood table surface. "So this covert pickup on Eden prime has something to do with the Spectres?" she questioned. She was purposely avoiding who this Spectre candidate was, just as Hackett did. She suspected who it was the selected target, but she was already a lap dog for the Alliance military, she did not want to become the pet of the Council on top of it. She could only hope to high hell it was not her.
Hackett stood next as Anderson cleared the images of the Normandy. The Admiral lifted his left arm, activating his own omni tool, bringing up maps, and images of a colony and farm land. "While the official records say the Normandy is slated for a shakedown cruise, the real purpose of this mission to pick up a prothean beacon that was unearthed during colonial development." the older man stated.
Shepard's omni tool chirped as she looked down to it, mission details scrolling on a small window. She skimmed it as quickly as she could before it shut down, her omni tool going back into sleep mode. "So that explains you." Shepard muttered as she looked up at Nihlus who stood tall, hands clasped behind his back. "But what does this have to do with a human Spectre?"
Nihlus' mandibles flared once as he nodded towards Shepard's superior officers. It was as though he was giving her superiors permission for something. Something Shepard was not going to like. "You are the one selected as the candidate." Hackett said with a straight face, tone firm, yet lacked any enthusiasm. This was probably the one thing Shepard and the Admiral could agree on.
"Oh you have got to be fucking kidding me." Shepard muttered, hand reaching for her forehead, the headache from earlier returning.
It had taken the sacifice of one person for the remaining four to break away from the Krogan. The second human, a female, had lunged for the krogan, giving everyone else the chance to escape. A mere human female scientist against a krogan battlemaster. She did not stand much of a chance, but she had given them the time they needed to run. Liara had not known many humans, but this woman had given her life to save the others. It seemed contradictory of what Liara had heard of them.
She had no time to dwell on this concept though. She was both upset, and grateful for her sacrifice however. She had saved their lives, at the cost of her own. A selfless act, one that Liara would not soon forget. It had given them a chance to get away from the geth and the krogan who appeared to be leading them. It was unclear what the krogan wanted of either her, or Kaira, the other asari in her team. For now they did not dare to stop and ask.
The remaining team was now under fire as the geth shot at them as they fled in terror. They were heading for the large tower at the center of their dig site, hoping to seek refuge there. "This way!" Liara called out, her breathing heavy. They had little choice but to follow her lead as she ran further towards the structure they had once assumed was a holding facility of some kind.
"Spare the asari! We need her alive!" they could hear the krogan battlemaster shout from the distance. The geth chirped and garbled as they then pointed their weapons for the two salarians who threw their hands up, both pleading for mercy. They did not receive any however as the geth gunned them both down where they stood.
Kaira shouted in horror as the salarians fell to the dirt floor with a thud, bullet holes in their chests, green blood freely flowing from the injuries. It was too late for them, as they died nearly instantly. "What do you want from us?!" Kaira cried out, tears rolling down her cheeks as she shook with fear, frozen in place.
The krogan stomped towards the prone scientist as she coward before him. "You aren't the one we need." he said with a menacing grin as he lifted his shot gun. There was a loud crack as he fired his weapon, tearing Kaira's chest open, killing her instantly.
"Goddess!" Liara shrieked as she turned and began to run again, stumbling over the uneven floor. She yelped as she fell foward, landing hard on her hands and knees, but she did not dare to stop moving. She crawled helplessly as the krogan took quick strides, catching up to her without much effort.
He gripped the back of her scientific uniform, pulling her off the ground with ease. "You however, we do need." He growled as she reached behind herself trying to grab at his large hand, her feet kicking in the air. She did not know what they wanted from her, but she was not about to let them take her alive. Not if she could help it anyways.
"Let me go!" she cried out as she summoned the might of her full biotic potential, the energy bursting outwards all around her. Thankfully it was enough to get loose from the krogan's grip as he stumbled backwards. She fell to her feet and she wasted little time before breaking out into a desperate run for the tower.
She could hear the krogan roar out in anger as she entered the tower, reaching for the only console in the entrance. She frantically began to press buttons, hoping beyond hope they would bring up the tower's defenses. She knew the tower had strong barrier curtains. The team had tested them many times during the initial investigation of the ruins.
Just as the krogan stepped up to the entrance she had pressed a number of buttons, activating the barriers, effectively keeping the angry battlemaster outside looking in. She let out a sigh of relief as he began ramming the barriers with his heavily armored shoulder, growling the whole time. But just before she could truly relax in the assurance the barriers would hold the krogan, and geth, at bay she suddenly found herself in a new problem.
There was a whirring sound as she was suddenly engulfed in a blue sphere, pulling her to the center of the chamber, effectively trapping her inside. "Goddess!" She shrieked as she could not move a muscle. Her arms and legs were restrained outwards, an unknown force keeping her in place. It almost seemed like a stasis field, but not one Liara was familiar with. It didn't take long for the krogan to catch wind of her new predicament as he gave a toothy grin.
She knew that this now meant it was only a matter of time before the krogan found his way into the tower, and she knew she could not do anything to stop it. That was, if she didn't starve to death first. Goddess, please don't let it end this way! She pleaded in silence.
I tried to make this chapter longer, considering all the other chapters thus far has been so short. I hope it didn't drag. I also wanted to do something involving Liara's situation when we find her in the ruins on Therum. They never fully give detail how she ended up there, just that she was chased into the situation.
I also know that she mentions in the game that she is usually alone on digs, but those ruins on Therum had to of had a whole team involved. No way a single person could manage an excavation like that alone.
Anyways, I hope this is a satisfying update, considering it's been a long wait. Please bare with me as I cannot promise faster updates at the moment. School is starting in a exams now.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
A/N: I know... I tend to jump around a lot... I apologize for that, I am a weird writer haha.
~ Two days into the Normandy Shakedown~
Blood. It was everywhere. All over the dead bodies, the ground. It soaked in the hard soil on the moon Torfan, staining the normally grey tone a dark red, almost black. The bodies were scattered everywhere, leading to an underground bunker. The bodies were broken, shredded. Some bodies were missing limbs, others torn wide open, revealing the innards of batarians and humans alike.
Shepard stood at the center of an endless sea of the dead, her armor eaten away by battle, chunks of it missing. She looked down at herself, covered in red, her gloved hands dripping with the blood of her unit. She felt a sense of shame, and dread. She feared herself and what she was capable of. She fell to her knees, next to the body of a young man, probably barely 19 years of age. Just another victim of the war. No, not the war, a victim of her, Shepard. The woman capable of causing so much destruction.
On the outside she normally appeared callous to the carnage. She did not show signs of remorse, and some days she believed her lack of empathy herself. She refused to accept the responsibility of the lives lost. It was for the mission. It was to push back the brutal bastards who could do unspeakable horrors. She was hell bent on showing them how humans could be just as destructive, that they could give as good as they got.
But that was not how she currently felt. Regret, guilt, an upheaval of emotions buried along with the dead on Torfan. But she could not hold it back. This was not the heavy weight of simple guilt clinging to her conscience. This was fact. This was memory. A nightmare that repeated itself time and again since she took command on Torfan. She was not experienced enough to take charge in such a situation. She did not know how to handle the responsibility, and her own personal rage against the batarians. She let her anger control her. It made her decisions which lead to the deaths of good men and women.
She let out a primal sound that echoed all around her. It was as though she was in a large empty room with walls that easily carried sound. It was a half wail, half roar, both anguish and anger. It was the woman she trapped inside of herself looking for release, but to never find it. She would never let that woman out.
Micah snapped awake, nearly colliding face first with the glass door of her sleeper pod. She had caught herself just in time, palms flat against the glass, her body shook uncontrollably, her breathing heavy. She could feel racking sobs trying to make their way to the surface, but she swallowed hard, keeping it at bay. Her fingers curled into half fists against the glass, feeling sticky with cold sweat.
She hated those dreams. She hated feeling that way. It was weak. The fuck is wrong with you? She questioned herself as she tried to take steadying breathes. She finally fell back against the upright bedding, trying to relax tensed muscles. She hadn’t had a dream about Torfan in a long time. It had caught her off guard. She didn’t like thinking about it, she preferred to keep it hidden in the dark recesses of her mind.
She ran a hand over her face before reaching above her head. She pressed a few buttons that controlled her sleeper pod, hearing the slight hiss from the door as it gave a slight jolt before slowly opening, letting her out. She stepped out and onto the hard metal floor below her, feeling a head ache forming against her forehead and eyes. Seriously, Shepard, get a fucking hold of yourself. She thought angrily. Not the best way to start the day, she thought.
“Commander, you ok?” She then heard next to her. She looked to her right spotting Alenko. He held a look of concern all over his face. She half glared at him. He was too damned genuine for his own good. It bothered her for some reason. She knew he was just being nice, but it rubbed her all wrong. It was an annoyance.
She sighed heavily as she began to walk away from him. “I’m fine, Lieutenant.” She barked with a raspy voice. She needed a shower, not later, but now. She felt disgusting in her sweaty clothes. It made her think too much about her dream. A shower would cleanse her of the clinging sweat and the dream, and they could get on with the damn day of standing around on Eden Prime dealing with geeky ass scientists. No doubt they will attempt to drone on about this god forsaken beacon, hindering the whole process.
The sooner they were there the better. She was close to the crew showers before she heard her name being called. She felt another hint of annoyance. “Shepard!” he called out again. She was about to reprimand the fool who bothered her at such an inconvenient moment but spotted the captain waving her down. She suddenly felt a bit dismayed by his presence.
“Sir, can it wait... I really need a shower.” She pleaded. She rarely did such things, and Anderson noticed the oddity in her tone. She was usually a woman of action, but she almost seemed... vulnerable. He perked a brow as she tried to put on a hard stare. She could tell it was too late to take it back. She attempted to straighten herself out, to give a look of indifference but she was failing, and miserably.
But thankfully he never questioned. “Make it quick. We’ll be reaching Eden Prime within the hour.” Anderson said, not keeping her a moment longer. She simply nodded once, turning on her heel and marching for the showers. Thank fucking god for small favors. Was all she could think as she hastily marched into the women’s shower room and began to strip her uniform uncaringly to the floor before the doors even had a chance to close.
As soon as the shower head began to spray water over her naked form, Shepard felt an instant sense of relief. It was like washing away the remaining guilt that clung to her. Why should she even feel guilty? She had to do what was needed. She had to get back at those batarians, make a point. She had to keep her unit together. She was fierce, not weak.
She began to scrub at her skin harshly with the soap. Some days she didn’t know who she was trying to kid. Everyone else, or herself.
“I don’t like this, Anderson.” Shepard said without hesitation. She was already geared up, clad in her N7 onyx armor, weapons in their places, ready for action. She walked with Anderson to the crew deck, both heading for the elevator. They had just received the distress call from Eden Prime. The look of that mother ship in the video feed was unlike anything she had ever seen. Something felt off.
They stopped in front of the elevator, the door slowly retracting into the floor. “I don’t either, Shepard but we have to retrieve that beacon.” He said firmly, allowing no room for argument. “We don’t even know what is stored on it. It could be nothing, it could be medical advances. It could be a weapon of mass destruction.” He continued as they both stepped forward and into the elevator.
The door closed and the elevator began a slow descent towards the cargo hold. “I just don’t like this feeling. Something’s not right about this.” Shepard stated. Anderson looked to her once. She had been acting odd all morning. The jump through the relay, the meeting with Nihlus in the comm room, the distress signal. She was usually ready for action, but today she seemed hesitant.
“Shepard, what is on your mind?” He questioned. She just looked to him, perking a brow. She didn’t like people trying to get close, he knew. But perhaps he was the closest thing she had to a friend. She never truly confided in him, but he wished she would.
Finally the elevator stopped and the door began to slide into the floor as she rolled her eyes. “Don’t fucking get soft on me, old man.” Was her short reply as she stepped over the receding door before it was done opening. He shook his head as he watched her march towards Jenkins and Alenko. He then stepped out of the elevator to meet with the ground team.
“Approaching drop point one, Captain.” Joker’s voice came over the comm system in the cargo hold.
“Copy that, Lieutenant.” Anderson replied as he stepped in front of the three marines. Shepard eyed Nihlus who was checking on his weapons, preparing for the drop as well. Alenko and Jenkins stood side by side giving each other confused looks. They still had no idea what was to come. Need to know basis... They will figure it out once they reach the package, but for now...
“Nihlus, you’re coming with us?” Jenkins questioned curiously. It was odd for a council Spectre to join an alliance operation. Especially on a human controlled world. Shepard kept her mouth shut, but listened carefully to the exchange as the cargo bay door began to open. The ship made a slight lurch motion as they began to come to a stop.
Nihlus readied his gun, unlocking the safety, never even looking at the corporal. “I will be ahead of your squad, Shepard.” He began. “I work better on my own. Keep radio silence unless I contact you, or the mission parameters change.” He said, not exactly answering Jenkins. Shepard only gave a nod as she folded her arms over her chest as she watched the turian. He gave her one last look before he rushed for the cargo bay door, leaping out onto the planet and out of sight.
Anderson looked to Shepard who only looked back at him. Joker announced their approach to the second drop point as the ship moved forward. “The mission is yours, Commander. Secure the package, all else is secondary.” He ordered firmly.
Shepard glimpsed at the two marines behind her, both keeping silent. “Aye, Sir.” She replied. Anderson eyed her a moment. Something was definitely off this morning. She barely swore, barely put up a fight. She was not her normal self. She knew something was wrong, he could see it in the way she was acting.
“Be careful down there, Shepard. We don’t know who was attacking.” He then added as Joker piloted the Normandy into position for the ground team’s drop off. Shepard rolled her eyes as she reached for her assault rifle, nodding to Alenko and Jenkins to be ready.
She then looked back at Anderson, putting on a near unreadable face. “If anyone gets in my way they’ll regret it.” She retorted. That sounded more like her. But it did little to put the Captain’s worries to rest.
He backed away as Shepard motioned for her team to move out. All three soldiers walked down the ramp and onto the planet’s surface. Soon as they were outside of the ship the Normandy lifted off quickly, the cargo bay door closing up tight. Joker began to pick up speed, flying back into the atmosphere of the planet to take standard orbit until the team called for the pick up.
It had been more than a few days since Liara had been stuck in the prothean bubble. She could feel it giving her some form of sustenance, but it wasn’t enough to keep the hunger at bay. Her throat felt parched, her stomach twisted in knots from the hunger. Goddess I’m really going to die in here! She could not help the fear that came with every waking minute. The Krogan had tried many ways to break through the barrier curtain but so far had little luck.
If he can just keep focused on the barrier he won’t spot the mining laser... Oh Goddess please do not let him be smart enough to notice the mining laser. She paused her thinking as she tried to tug at her limbs. She knew it was futile, but they were getting so sore. She felt as though she had just competed in a sporting marathon. Every joint, tendon, and muscle ached. I do not know which is better... Dieing like this, or letting the krogan have me! She then thought. “Do not be silly!” She then cried out loudly, gaining the attention of her Geth guards.
They turned their metal heads, almost tilting them in a sense of curiosity. She could only manage a meek glare at her captures before they looked straight forward again. She let out a small silent sigh. I am beginning to lose my mind... She could not help but feel the despair creep over her. It would not take much more than two more days before her mind would seriously take a turn for the worse. Anything between hearing things, seeing things, and losing most of her reasoning. She may not be a medical doctor, but she knew well enough what starvation and dehydration could do to the mind and body of any species. She was also lacking proper sleep in her stasis bubble.
Where is your hero now, Liara? She questioned herself of her dreams. The mysterious woman who would save her from an evil version of her mother. “She is not real!” Liara then yelled in her frustration. The Geth seemed to ignore her this time as she began to thrash in her bubble. Or as much as she could anyways, which was not very much at all. Her stress levels were beginning to peak, and it was the start of the inevitable break down.
She could only hope someone would send a search party for her team, and soon. The university who funded this expedition had not received word since the Geth attacked, surely someone will come looking. Please someone come looking...
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
A/N: This is where things get a bit... well violent and bloody. So that is a warning for those who do not wish to go any further because of that.
“Good God who could have done this?” Jenkins questioned as the three soldiers took in their surroundings. Shepard had heard a bit about Eden Prime, it was suppose to be a world of beauty, but as she stood there looking at the landscape... It was anything but. Structures of the colony and farms laid in ruin, smoke filling the air as fires consumed everything in their paths... It looked like something out of one of those movie vids Shepard watched on rare occasion.
Kaidan too tried to take in the ruined colony, but struggled with what he saw. “Why would anyone want to do such a thing?” He questioned quietly. Shepard gripped her assault rifle, trying to keep her silent furry in check, however her biotics gave it away. As she saw the hints of dead bodies lying in the burning fields and roads below them, a blue biotic hue suddenly flared around her, catching the attention of her two squad members. This was not what she had expected to see, and she could not help but feel anger. She didn’t know who was behind this, but she could only make a guess at who it might have been... The scene before them looked similar to military vids she had seen after the Batarian attack back on Elysium.
Shepard turned away from the cliff side as she began to march with a purpose, her biotic flare dissipating quickly. “Whoever did this will fucking pay.” She muttered as Jenkins and Kaidan looked to their Commander’s back before looking to each other. Jenkins gained a serious look and nodded to Kaidan once before gripping his own assault rifle tighter and quickly following after Shepard.
“Wait up, Commander!” Jenkins called out as Kaidan also began to trot after the young corporal. Kaidan had a sudden bad feeling that this mission wasn’t going to go as planned... Not that it had to start with, but something more tugged at his gut. Whoever was attacking had hit the colony fast and hard.
Kaidan quickly caught up with Shepard as he walked beside her, trying to keep up with her quick strides. “Who do you think is doing this, Commander?” he questioned as he noted the look of absolute anger on her face. She barely even regarded him with a sideways glance with her eyes alone. She didn’t even answer him as they walked through a pass between a couple of rocky hills.
She then quickly took cover as she signaled her team to hold their position. Jenkins and Alenko quickly took cover behind her. Shepard had thought she heard some enemy fire not far ahead of them. “Jenkins, take point.” She said quietly, their comm devices sure to carry her orders out. Jenkins nodded as he lifted his rifle to his shoulder as he moved, crouched over, but moving quickly for the next rocky cover in the open area before them.
He quickly ducked down behind the rock as he took quick looks at the area ahead of him. “What do you see?” Shepard questioned. She watched him closely as he remained silent. It didn’t take him long however to suddenly break his cover, assault rifle up as he began to fire wildly.
“You son of a bitch!” he shouted in anger over her ear piece.
“God damnit, Jenkins get down!” She called out in her own anger as she suddenly broke cover, biotics flaring as she turned to face what he was shooting at. She heard him scream in pain right in her ear over the comm link and she cringed, but tried to keep focused as three floating turrets came into view, firing freely at the vulnerable man.
He quickly fell over as she focused her biotics into a warp field as she launched it, fully charged, at one of the turrets, causing it to explode on impact. Kaidan came out of cover as well while Shepard began to open fire at the turrets to cover her two squad mates, keeping the drones focused on herself.
Kaidan grabbed hold of Jenkins’ hard suit by the collar, dragging him into cover behind the rock he had hid behind. Shepard glimpsed behind herself seeing her two squad members behind the rock and let off one more warp field, wildly flinging it in the direction of the drones before diving behind the rock as well.
She looked to Kaidan as he held Jenkins up against himself, both Kaidan and Shepard looking Jenkins over as he coughed, choking on his own blood, some of it running out of his mouth and down his chin. “I-I’m sorry, C-commander.” He stuttered, trying to talk over the increase of blood flow coming out of his mouth. Shepard then looked down at his abdomen to assess his injuries. When she looked she saw that where his stomach should have been was a gaping hole, blood freely poring out.
“Why didn’t you stay in cover?” Kaidan choked out as he tried to support the now dieing man. Jenkins coughed once again, even harder than before, his face quickly growing pale from all the blood loss. He suddenly reached out grabbing hold of Shepard’s arm, surprisingly tightly. He looked up at her, his face mixed with fear, pain, and perhaps even confusion.
Shepard wanted to be angry, wanted to yell at her subordinate, demand an answer for his sudden outburst. But she couldn’t find her voice. “I.. just wanted... to..” And just like that he fell limp, his grip on her arm loosening before his hand fell to his side, his head falling forward, limp. Kaidan looked horrified down at his now dead crew mate, Shepard slamming a biotically charged fist into the rock.
“Fuck!” She shouted in anger as she suddenly broke cover, the drones shooting at her the moment they caught sight of her. “You sons of bitches!” She hollered as she launched a fully charged biotic shockwave at the drones, both sparking upon impact before crashing to the ground, exploding nearly instantly. She breathed heavily as she stood there for a moment, fists tightly clenched as she looked at the now ruined turrets on the ground. Get a fucking hold of yourself, Shepard! She chastised herself.
She surveyed the area carefully, noting that was clear and Shepard looked back down at Kaidan who held a blank look as he looked off over the horizon. “Alenko.” She waited for a response, but he seemed frozen where he was, still coddling the dead soldier against himself. “Lieutenant Alenko!” she called out, her voice still laced with the anger she held.
Kaidan blinked his eyes as he looked up at Shepard finally. “I should have stuck with him.” Was all he could say. Shepard lifted a hand to rub at her forehead. She didn’t like losing people any more than the Lieutenant but they did not have time to sit around and mope either. Who knew when more of those drones would return, she had to get them moving. She needed to find that damned beacon, and finish the mission. Losing one corporal would not get in the way of her objective.
She looked back down at Kaidan, her facial expression firm. “We don’t have time to sit here with our thumbs up our asses, unless you wanna get killed too.” She said a little more angrily than she probably should have. But she kept her emotions in check... Or well mostly anyways. This whole situation was full of fucks but Shepard couldn’t give any back if they planned to get out of this alive.
Kaidan only nodded as he carefully lied Jenkins onto the ground before he stood taking one last look at the fallen soldier. “He was so young.” He said quietly. Kaidan had never really lost someone like this. Not like this, and not right before his eyes anyways. Shepard bit back a snide comment from coming out, but couldn’t keep completely silent either.
“Lets go, Lieutenant, keep your head in the fucking game.” She barked as Kaidan looked to her. He held a questioning look, almost a disbelieving one. She knew that look, it asked how she could be so heartless. She didn’t have the patients, or time, to coddle the man though. No time to give him answers, no real appeal in sharing how she operated. “Move out.” Was all she said to him as she readied her weapon and began to move forward.
Kaidan could only nod before he looked once more down at the dead marine on the ground. He wished there was time for a burial, for Shepard to have a little more compassion for the situation. But she seemingly had none. Perhaps the rumors about her were true after all. He had heard them, of course. Butcher of Torfan, the attitude problems, the rumors that circulated shortly after her tour on Torfan... The rumors that she would be charged with war crimes. But when no trial happened he assumed it was all false.
He shook his head as he looked back to the Commander, seeing her already a few paces ahead of him and he quickly took the rear as she lead the way.
It didn’t take long to navigate through the area and towards the last known location of the beacon. Shepard had remained silent after the encounter with those drones. She was deep in thought, despite being completely aware of her surroundings. Those drones did not look familiar to her, and it made her wonder who really was responsible for this attack. Batarians were not known for using turret drones like the ones that killed Jenkins. After having fought against the Batarians on Torfan she just knew better. They resulted to dirty tactics, and pure brutality, not high tech weapons like flying drones..
Something was not right here.
“Commander!” She suddenly heard Alenko call out. She halted her position as she looked back at the Lieutenant as he pointed off to their left. She followed his line of sight and spotted what he had seen. One lone human running as more of those flying turrets chased after her, firing at her wildly as she attempted to zig zag as she ran.
Shepard quickly signaled for Kaidan to cover her as she began to head in the direction of the lone woman, moving half past the speed of a trot, her rifle at the ready. She watched as the unknown woman fell over, rolling onto her back squeezing off a couple of shots at one turret. The turret sparked before bursting into flames and falling to the ground exploding on impact.
“Get to cover!” Shepard shouted out at the woman as she raised her aim at the last remaining turret. Once the woman was out of way she pulled the trigger to her gun, letting off a spray of rounds, which made contact with the drone taking it down with ease.
Shepard lowered her weapon as she and Kaidan approached the woman, who was bent over at the knees behind a large rock, catching her breathe. “Thank God you came when you did. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna make it...” She said, sounding out of air. Kaidan approached the woman, looking her hard suit over for any damage, and to see if she was injured at all.
Shepard lowered her weapon as she looked to the woman. “Who are you, what the hell happened here?” She questioned shortly. The woman tilted her head ever so slightly towards the Commander, almost looking a bit confused. She then removed the helmet she wore, revealing her sweat drenched hair. The bun she had tried to keep her hair in was now loose, and her bangs clang to her forehead as they had come out the hold they were in.
“Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams, ma’am.” She started as she gave a stiff salute. Shepard nodded at her once to continue. “I was in charge of the 212 here, and we were out on a routine patrol when my squad was ambushed..” She looked down the ground as though trying to recollect herself. But she looked back to Shepard just as quickly, continuing with her story, “Most of them didn’t make it past the surprise attack.”
“Where’s the rest of your unit, Williams?” Shepard questioned sharply. The Commander had some hope for back up if the situation was as bad as it looked and sounded. Williams looked to Kaidan before back to Shepard.
Ashley let out a heavy sigh. “All dead, ma’am...” She said with a quieter tone. Shepard cursed under her breathe. Just what the hell was going on here? A full unit of marines didn’t normally get taken down that easily. Even during a surprise attack. There had to be an entire army planet side, but where were they?
Kaidan seemed to have the same question in mind as he spoke up next. “Do you know who’s attacking?” He questioned. He still looked a little raw after losing Jenkins, and his voice gave it away.
Ashley shrugged. “I think it’s the Geth.” She answered simply. Shepard gained a disbelieving look as she looked to the Gunnery Chief.
“The Geth haven’t been seen beyond the Veil in 300 years, Chief.” Shepard then retorted. Her tone was disbelieving, and Ashley’s eyes narrowed some. Shepard cocked a brow, still disbelieving the chief, despite her look of anger. “What the hell would the Geth want with a farming world anyways?” Shepard continued to question.
“I don’t know, ma’am, why don’t you ask them yourself?” Ashley shot back in her annoyance of being questioned. Shepard found herself both annoyed with the Chief’s attitude, and yet somehow amused. She wasn’t sure whether or not she liked Williams. Perhaps a little, considering she herself usually gave lip to her own superiors.
Shepard retained her firm look however. “Watch your tone, Williams.” Shepard then glimpsed back at Alenko and sighed. “We’re moving on ahead, get yourself to damn an evac point, we’ll take it from here.” Shepard then said as she reloaded her weapon with a fresh thermal clip. If it really was the Geth she’d have to be on her toes.
But before Shepard could head out again, Ashley spoke up, “Wait! Let me go with you. I’m ready for some pay back.” Ashley said, her tone hinting that she would not take no for an answer. Shepard smirked as she nodded her head once. Perhaps she liked this Ashley Williams more than she first thought.
“That’s what I like to hear, marine.” Shepard said before turning on her heel to move forward. “Move out people, I want to be back by dinner.” Shepard commanded as she began to march forward, rifle lifted, senses sharp.
“Aye, aye!” Williams called out as she and the Lieutenant followed quickly behind the Commander.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
Nihlus had taken a back route to the last known location of the beacon. He had expected to meet more resistance than he had, but all he had encountered were a few turret drones. Upon reaching the dig site where the beacon should have been he discovered it to be abandoned, and the beacon gone. Just as he muttered a curse under his breath he heard his comm link come alive, “Nihlus, this is Shepard.”
He holstered his weapon as he began to examine the dig site for any clues on where the beacon may have gone. “Go ahead.” He replied as he noticed a few burnt marks, along with bullet holes, around the ground and walls of the area. Signs of a fire fight.
“So apparently we have Geth in the area.” Shepard said, not sounding very pleased by the notion. His mandibles twitched once at the thought. The geth? What would they want with a prothean beacon? Something about this wasn’t right. His gut told him that there was more to this than met the eye, as the Geth hadn’t been seen in a long while.
He thought for a moment longer before finally replying to the Commander, “The Geth? How do you know?” He questioned. Having only known Shepard for a short time, he knew she wasn’t one for lying. She was far to blunt and too the point. So much so it was probably her biggest flaw.
There was a short pause as he awaited an answer. “I found one surviving marine. She claims her unit encountered the Geth. I’m inclined to believe her.” Nihlus looked closer at the weapon discharges along the stone wall on the other end of the dig site. He recognized most of the discharge patterns as human weapons, but some... Some did look foreign to him.
“What makes you sure she knew it was the geth?” He questioned just to be on the safe side. He didn’t like walking into a situation blind. He heard Shepard exhale loudly, annoyed perhaps. He gave a turian sort of smirk knowing he was testing her limits. But she needed to learn to handle it, if she were to ever become a Spectre.
“You either fucking believe me, or not, Spectre.” Shepard retorted. A brief chuckle escaped Nihlus. Somehow her attitude amused him. It reminded him of himself when he was younger. She would season out with time, he knew she would. But that was later, the situation was now. They needed to handle it.
“Change of plans. I’m heading for the space port. Meet me there.” He then said as he ended the conversation by cutting off his comm link, leaving the Commander to do her job as he needed to do his own. That beacon needed to be recovered, and soon. Who knew what information was contained within it, and in the wrong hands... Well he’d rather not think of the damages it could cause the galaxy.
“Fucking, really?” Shepard said as her group walked along a downhill slope. Ashley and Kaidan exchanged looks. Kaidan simply shrugged at their new squad member. There was little time to explain the Commander, and he could tell Ashley was curious as to her unusual and unorthodox way of running things.
But before anything more could be said from any of them Shepard halted in her tracks. “Movement.” She said, suddenly all business. Kaidan and Ashley quickly took cover as Shepard pressed forward, summoning up her biotics as a precaution. If it really was the geth, as she just informed the Spectre it was... Well she would not let those damned tin cans get the better of her. “Cover me.” She said, just loud enough for the comms to pick up.
As she crept forward, just past a large ruined stone wall she cussed. “Damnit!” She hissed as she heard the sounds of garbled computer like sounds. Just ahead of their positions, by about 20 feet, were in fact geth, mounting a badly injured man onto some sort of device. But before Shepard could do anything about it a giant spike quickly shot out from the center of said device, impaling the man through his chest and lifting him high up into the air, his cries of pain gurgled as his mouth filled with his own blood.
“Commander!” Kaidan called out as Shepard couldn’t stop the anger that seeped through her veins as she squeezed onto her trigger, hard, sending a rain of thermal charged bullets at one of the three geth that surrounded the impaling device. It didn’t take but a mere millisecond for the geth to register Shepard’s presence as their one companion fell to the ground with a hard thud, sputtering and sparking before going limp.
Ashley quickly took to action as well as she stood from her squatted position behind her rock, opening fire on a second geth, catching it off guard. Her spray of bullets, however, met a generated shield around her target, not allowing a single bullet through. Kaidan was soon to follow as he summoned his own biotics, quickly throwing a lift at the third geth, watching it free float into the air, it’s head looking around in confusion as it ascended.
“You fuck tards!” Shepard called out as she continued to move forward as she didn’t let up on her rain of death on the already “dead” geth on the ground. It didn’t take long for her rifle to over heat when she didn’t release the trigger. She quickly dropped her rifle just to bring out her shot gun just as the still remaining geth turned to fire at her.
It’s gun’s laser like discharge tore through her shields with almost little effort, hitting her in her right leg, but it seemingly didn’t effect her goal. “Eat this you tin foil piece of shit!” She called out in anger as she pointed her shot gun right at the geth, firing repeatedly at it’s chest. Her shot gun had more effect on it’s shield as it too sputtered that garbled sound before falling backwards.
As it lied on the ground, attempting to move Shepard walked up to it, Kaidan and Ashley quickly catching up behind her. “You’ve fucked with the wrong species.” She said in a dangerously low tone before stomping on it’s head with her left leg, effectively deactivating the machine. Just as she let out a huff the third geth landed about five feet away, the impact of it’s long fall taking care of it near instantly.
“Commander... your leg...” Ashley then said as she looked down at Shepard’s punctured leg armor, the blood showing the Commander was injured.
“Is just fine, Chief.” Shepard retorted with annoyance as she grabbed a pack of medigel from her utility belt. She ripped open the tube, harshly jabbing it into the hole of her hardsuit, squeezing the tube with a vice like grip before tossing the near emptied packet to the side. “Move out.” She then said with anger, picking up her assault rifle and moving forward.
It seemed that the Commander had spoken some truth, as Nihlus had encountered a few geth on his way to the space port. What they were doing here was still bothering him, and it wasn’t exactly as simple as asking one of the geth to find out. He made note to launch an investigation as soon as this mission was over, but for now... he needed to recover that beacon. No one knew what was on it, and if it had anything to do with weapons the geth simply could not get their hands on it.
As Nihlus crept up a small flight of stairs, shot gun in hand, he noticed a lone figure standing in the center of the platform. There were no signs of geth, and from behind the figure looked turian. That was a curiosity within itself as this was a human colony. As far as Nihlus knew from the research he had done before coming to Eden Prime it was rare for non-human species to come here.
Once he reached the top of the stairs the figure spun on his heels, pistol in hand. “Saren?” Nihlus questioned the moment he saw his fellow turian’s face. Saren seemed to relax, his arm dropping to his side as he turned his back on him once more. Nihlus relaxed as well, holstering his weapon on his back. “What are you doing here?” Nihlus then questioned as he stepped up to Saren.
Nihlus did not expect to see a fellow Spectre on this mission. The council never told him to expect back up outside of the Alliance. To see Saren here raised questions, but he was glad to see him all the same. With the surprise attack it would be handy to have an extra hand in retrieving the beacon, and Saren was capable soldier.
“The Council thought you could use some help on this one, Nihlus.” Saren said casually, never even holstering his gun. Nihlus looked around the cargo port, keeping an eye out for any geth that may try to sneak up on them.
Nihlus finally looked back at Saren though. “It’s a good thing you’re here. The geth are attacking this colony. I suspect they’re after the beacon.” Nihlus then said as he began to walk ahead of Saren, to search out for any clue about the beacon’s location. He didn’t even see Saren mess with his pistol.
Spotting an abandoned data pad, Nihlus bent over to pick it up, hoping for information in the logs. “You don’t need to worry about that. I have it under control.” Saren muttered as he raised his arm, gun pointed for Nihlus’ back. Before Nihlus could even question his fellow Spectre, Saren pulled the trigger, shooting Nihlus in the center of his back, successfully hitting his spine.
Nihlus collapsed onto the ground almost instantly. With his guard lowered he didn’t even think to bring up his shields. He then saw Saren step up next to him before kneeling down. “What... what are you.. doing?” Nihlus questioned weakly, feeling his life beginning to slip by. He could barely lift his head to see Saren, who was giving him a near dull expression.
“What I must do.” was all Saren said before Nihlus went limp on the ground, his life expiring.
“Did you hear that?” Kaidan questioned as Shepard’s ground team neared what they had hoped to be an outpost for the scientists that had been studying the beacon. “It sounded like a gunshot over that hill.” he then added as Shepard spotted more of those spike devices, like the one they had seen that man get impaled on.
Shepard was about to respond to the Lieutenant when the sounds of metal screeching against metal filled the air. The group of three raised their weapons as they watched the tall spikes descend back into the strange devices, lowering impaled bodies with them. “What the hell?” Williams questioned, sounding both horrified and confused.
Shepard gritted her teeth as the spikes vanished into their housing units, the bodies now moving to remove themselves from the tips. “Oh God, those look human!” Kaidan shouted as Shepard already took aim at one of the creatures as it pulled itself off the spike.
The creature gave a screech like sound, arms raised, as it began running towards the group of three. “Take them out!” Shepard ordered as she began to fire her assault rifle at the first human husk. Bullets made contact with the creature, small pieces of it flying off as it continued to advance quickly on the Commander.
“Jesus!” Ashley shouted as she herself began firing wildly at two other husks, Kaidan at her side firing away with his pistol. Shepard gritted her teeth as she took a couple steps backwards her gun over heating with her continued spray of bullets. Just what the hell were these creatures? They looked like cybernetic humans almost. Their bodies covered in a blue glow of light, eyes sunken in. They looked frail, but were tough at the same time.
Shepard lowered her gun to throw a biotic warp at the one approaching her. As the warp made contact the husk flew backwards, impacting hard with the ground as it landed, no longer moving. Shepard looked to her left to see Williams and Alenko take down the other two husk like creatures. “What the hell were those things?” Ashley questioned, her voice sounding shocked.
“We’ll figure it out later.” Shepard replied, also sounding a bit startled by what just happened. It was almost like something out of the old classic zombie movies from Earth. The husks held a certain degree of creepiness, even for Shepard. But Shepard shook it off as they pressed towards two trailer like buildings, hoping to find any survivors.
Saren walked down a flight of stairs towards the beacon. With Nihlus out of the way he no longer felt the need to rush. He knew of the three humans slowly making their way through the cargo port, but felt confident that the Geth could handle them easily. Once he had acquired the information he was seeking he felt sure that no one could get in his way. Especially with Nihlus dead.
Saren approached one of his Geth troopers, looking down at it. “Set the charges. I want this area to be a crater.” He commanded the machine. The geth didn’t seem to give Saren much of an acknowledgment accept to turn and walk away, perhaps to do as it was told. Saren’s mandibles twitched once when he looked to the beacon at the end of the dock.
Saren stared at the ancient device cautiously. For the briefest of moments he wondered if he was doing the right thing. But just as quickly as that thought entered his mind he felt a sharp pain in the back of his brain, forcing him to bring his taloned hands to his head, giving a short sound of pain. He could hear the sounds of multiple whispers running through his brain and in his ears for only a few seconds before the sudden headache disappeared. The whispering also stopped and suddenly his resolve felt strengthened.
He was doing the right thing. The only thing he could do, for the sake of the galaxy. With that he marched up to the beacon, eyeing it curiously. He wasn’t entirely sure how to even use the device and he just stared up at it for a moment. Just as he took a few steps closer, wondering if it was even working, he felt a sudden pull in his head. Just as he felt that pull he was lifted off the ground, images flooding his mind’s eye. He couldn’t make them out, it was all happening so fast, and he could hear the sounds of metal on metal, screams, and sounds of destruction.
Just as suddenly as it happened, it was over and he dropped to his feet. He felt a sense of dizziness as he stood there a moment, echos of what he had just experienced lingering. A warning, impending doom. That was all he could make of it. “Ready for pickup.” Saren said groggily into his comm.
The fight was grueling. More geth than Shepard would have cared for. More than any of them could care for. On top of it all they came across a bomb the second they stepped off the cargo train. It took time to deactivate each bomb they could find, especially with the Geth hot on their six. Deactivating bombs wasn’t exactly within Shepard’s training either. They were all lucky she didn’t blow the place herself messing with the things.
Luckier still was when they reached the final bomb. They literally had seconds to spare by the time Shepard deactivated it. “Fucking coward.” Shepard said as they made their way down a flight of stairs and to the space port’s docking platform. “Son of a bitch just leaves a bunch of tin heads and some bombs and runs off.” She continued to rant to herself as she let off a biotic warp towards a geth that broke cover, effectively shutting it down. “He needs to grow a pair and face me like a damn man.”
“Commander, the beacon!” Alenko called out. Shepard looked over towards the ancient Prothean artifact, hearing Ashley pop off a few rounds at another human husk. Damn things were everywhere, along with the Geth. It was hell just trying to get onto the train let alone after they got off.
Shepard quickly marched over to the beacon, looking up at it, noting a green energy like mist coming off of it. “Normandy, package is secure and we’re ready for a pickup.” Shepard said into her comm link, turning her back on the beacon. She then faced Ashley who began to ask the Commander questions about her post on Eden Prime.
When the two women were conversing over that Kaidan decided to get a closer look at the beacon. He could only hope whatever was on this beacon was worth all the lives that had been lost. Jenkins, Ashley’s squad, civilians. Then, just as he was about to turn and return to the other two the beacon gave off an immense glow as sparks were flying off the ancient relic.
Kaidan tried to back away but found himself being pulled on by invisible strings towards the beacon. “Commander!” Kaidan called out as he suddenly felt himself being lifted off the platform and into the air, unable to resist or get away from it.
“Damnit!” Shepard called out as she saw the man being lifted off the ground, making a mad dash for the Lieutenant. Ashley froze, like a deer caught in the head lights as she watched the situation unfold before her. She felt like she was unable to do anything but watch with a sense of fear.
Shepard leapt into the air, grabbing hold of Alenko. She gritted her teeth as she called onto her biotics, tossing the Lieutenant away with a light biotic shove. He flew a few feet in the air before landing with a hard thud onto the platform, rolling away from Shepard and the beacon before finally coming to a stop. Shepard tried to struggle against the beacon herself, but whatever force was coming from it had latched onto her and wouldn’t let her go.
Suddenly the world around her flashed into wild images, and all she could hear was the sounds of metal scraping and grinding together, drowning out all other noise around her. Wild fiery images began to burn themselves into her brain as a searing headache came over her. In just seconds the pain spread through out the rest of her body as she couldn’t hold back the shout of pain.
More images overloaded her brain showing silhouettes of humanoid looking creatures, and machines fighting each other. She could hear the sounds of screams, both frightened, and in pain.
More flashes of buildings and planets on fire before they were mixed with more confusion and chaos. And suddenly she felt herself flying backwards and before she even landed on the ground she lost all consciousness.
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
A/N: This chapter will be a little different, something we don’t really witness in the game again. Also... this chapter was not my best chapter ever. I do apologize for that.
Visions flooded her mind, and she could not escape them. Strange beings were being slaughtered all around her, and she could not do anything to stop it. The skies above her were clouded over by smoke, ash, and strange ships. She could hear the screams, the sounds of gun fire and explosions. Death surrounded her, the ground beneath her feet was soaked in blood.
She didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know what was happening. One moment she could see everything clear as day, the next she was blinded by random pictures, events, sounds of metal on metal. A chaotic jumble that didn’t make sense. Fear over took her senses and she struggled to get away, but couldn’t even move. She brought her hands to her head, clutching onto her own hair as she felt a pounding headache, wanting to scream in pain, but couldn’t find her voice.
Suddenly the image melted away, forming a new scene around her. Torfan, it was all back to Torfan. Dead humans and batarians littered the landscape, the soil under her buried in a sea of blood. Shepard could feel her heart pounding with a mixture of confusion and a sense of fear. All she wanted to do was run away from these god forsaken scenes that played out in her mind. But no matter how hard she struggled she couldn’t wake from this continuous nightmare.
Once again the world around her melted until there was nothing but darkness. Shepard tried to look around but wasn’t even sure if she was moving. The pitch black felt like it was swallowing her whole. She felt no hope, no sense of direction, and with no light to guide her back she was utterly lost and alone.
Just when she felt like there was nothing she could do to break free of this darkness the world began to light up again. Slowly images began to fill her vision. Buildings, people, the noises of a day to day life.
Suddenly she found herself on Illium. A planet she had once found herself on when she stowed away when she was around thirteen years old. She never stayed in one place long. She would stow away on any large vessel whenever she found the opportunity. Anything to keep away from the police. She had to steal everything in order to survive. She was also able to hack into most terminals in order to get what she needed to through the day. That meant being constantly on the move. Never allowing herself to get comfortable in one place, on one planet.
Shepard wandered the streets of Illium, reliving the past in that moment. It was just the start of what would end up being a long five years. Resorting to crime and theft. It was her means to make it to the next day, whatever it took. She never knew her parents, was abused as a little kid by foster parents, and ran away from them when she had the first chance to. She was on her own, no one to depend on. She raised herself.
And just as suddenly as she found herself on Illium, her surroundings suddenly erupted in flames. Asari, human, and salarian alike found themselves being torn apart by husk like creatures. The skies blackened with giant warships, and explosions were heard from all around her.
The teenaged version of Shepard fled in terror, looking for any place to hide from the sudden horrors going on around her. She could hear the screams returning as the familiar species all around her morphed into strange aliens she had never seen before. More hideous creatures appeared, and began to chase her through the streets of Illium. There was no where to hide. Something in the back of her skull told her as such.
Just as the creatures closed the distance towards Shepard, she let out a horrified scream.
Micah jolted up in her bed, arms suddenly shielding her face and head as she let out a sudden shout. The images from the beacon replayed themselves in her mind’s eye as she felt hands grabbing at her arms and she struggled against her assailant. “Commander Shepard, it’s alright!” She heard a woman calling out to her. “You’re safe, you’re aboard the Normandy!” The voice continued to shout.
The visions faded away, but her eyes remained tightly closed as her head throbbed in pain. She let out shaky breathes of panic and pain, but she stopped struggling against the person trying to calm her down. Shepard slowly blinked her eyes open, the dim light feeling blinding as she tried to adjust to her surroundings.
Shepard finally realized she was in the med bay, doctor Chakwas standing over her as the Commander sat on the examination table. Shepard tried to control her breathing, trying to push away the panic that still flooded her system. Once Shepard lowered her arms, Chakwas activated her omni tool running a quick diagnostic scan on the Commander. “Are you alright, Shepard?” She questioned, the concern noticeable in her tone of voice.
Shepard nodded some, inhaling deeply before exhaling. “Yeah, I think so.” she said, her voice hoarse and quieter than normal. “Though I feel like the day after shore leave at the moment.” she added as she reached up with one hand, placing it over her eyes, the head ache still present.
“Your bio readings look normal, aside from an excess of adrenaline.” Chakwas stated as she deactivated her omni tool. “We should really run a few exams before you leave the med bay, however.” she then added as she looked at Shepard, noting the paleness in her face. Sweat beaded around Shepard’s face as well.
Shepard shook her head as she swung her legs over the edge of the table, letting her hands grasp the sides of it. She then looked up to the doctor, her breathing mostly back in control. “How long was I out?” Shepard questioned. Nausea suddenly filled her senses, but she swallowed hard keeping it in check. It was bad enough she appeared weak and vulnerable in front of the doctor. The last thing she wanted was to start puking too.
Chakwas wandered over to her work station, picking up a data pad as she began typing onto it, “About 14 hours. You had us all a little worried.” she informed Shepard. Shepard’s eyes narrowed as her brows furrowed. Fourteen hours was a long time to be out. She racked her brain for the last thing she could remember before all the weird visions and nightmares.
She was on Eden Prime. Jenkins was dead, the geth were attacking, and they found Williams. Then they had found Nihlus dead at the cargo port, and the beacon. The beacon had to be the source of these bizarre visions. “Captain Anderson is in the CIC. Once I’ve cleared you for duty he wants you to meet with him there.” Chakwas then said, re-approaching the commander.
“Where are we right now?” Shepard questioned, not feeling well enough to give any resistance to the doctor’s examinations. She felt exhausted despite being out cold for fourteen hours. She felt more like she had been awake for two days. She had little fight in her to give any fucks about who wanted what. As long as it meant not having to deal with too much crap.
“We are docking with the Citadel as we speak.” Chakwas replied as she ran her tests on her omni tool before hooking Shepard’s arm up to a blood pressure machine. Shepard simply nodded as the machine began to run it’s readings.
Shepard looked to the screen noting her blood pressure. It looked normal, given the circumstances. “Well everything seems normal, and you should be able to go straight back to duty.” Chakwas stated as she began typing away once again at her data pad. Shepard watched the older woman as she began to speak again, “Just take it easy for the next day, drink plenty of water, and have a good meal. It may help regain your strength quicker.” Shepard once more just nodded.
Chakwas continued to note the pale complexion, though the sweating had gone away. “How are you feeling, Shepard?” the doctor then asked. Shepard gave her a meek glare. She was hoping that by not resisting all of the medical technicalities she could be on her way quickly.
“Just a damned head ache from hell.” Shepard said. Chakwas folded her arms over her chest. She had heard of Shepard’s short temper. Her psyche profile was littered with attitude problems, and disciplinary actions. But she supposed if the commander felt well enough to get rowdy than it was a good sign she was fit for duty. “Can I go now?” Shepard then questioned impatiently.
Chakwas nodded as she returned to her work station, once more busying herself with the data pad.
Liara could barely keep conscious. Exhaustion and her sore limbs kept her from both staying awake and falling asleep. Her hunger and thirst was unbearable and it twisted her stomach into knots. Her head hung forward as she tried to moisten the inside of her mouth and her chapped lips. But it did little to make her feel better.
But she knew she still had to cling to hope for being rescued. She began to feel like it was just wishful thinking however. The geth and that krogan battle master were still trying to find their way in. Whatever hope she had would lie in an army to reach her. But she had to hold on. She kept telling herself she only had to wait a little while longer before someone came looking.
She heard footsteps approaching her cell and she slowly and painfully lifted her head to see the krogan approaching the barrier curtain. “Tell me how to get past this barrier and you might live.” He rumbled. She just didn’t have the will power to bite back at him anymore. So, instead, she refused to say anything at all.
The krogan kept trying to convince her that her salvation lied in allying herself with the Spectre Saren, but she refused to believe it. If Saren was looking for her and in peace, her whole team wouldn’t have been murdered in cold blood. She was naive to the galaxy outside of her studies, but she wasn’t stupid. The krogan growled as she just gave him a half hazy stare. The krogan tried ramming himself against the barrier once again. All the while the asari continued to stare at him with silence.
“When I find a way in there, you will regret, asari!” he roared out, ramming himself into the curtain still. Liara just let out a huff of exhaustion before letting her head drop once more, no longer caring about the pain her body was in. Giving in to sleep was all she currently cared about.
It took some effort. Effort and a lot of running around between the Citadel wards and presidium, but Shepard had exposed Saren for the traitor her was. What was more, it took some extreme patients on her part to convince the council to allow her to pursue the now ex Spectre. With some carefully considered words, and convincing from Udina Shepard was now the first human Spectre.
That was not all she did on the Citadel however. In her investigation against Saren she had recruited the help of a turian named Garrus, a quarian named Tali, and a krogan bounty hunter named Wrex. She also ended up putting a bullet in the face of a man called Fist, an ex employee of the Shadow Broker, and lacky for Saren. She also recovered data from Tali which exposed Saren. Data that also helped Shepard decipher the vision that was burned into her brain.
Reapers. It explained her vivid nightmares while she was out cold after Eden Prime. The war ships she saw in said dreams, also the strange ship her squad witnessed on Eden Prime. The strange beings in the vision could have been the protheans too. So much information was swimming about Shepard’s head even she wasn’t sure she could believe the beacon’s vision, and apparent warning. But she could feel it in her gut, and Anderson was the only one between the council and the human ambassador that believed her.
Now her newly recruited help, along with Ashley and Kaidan, were heading back to the Normandy. Shepard was looking forward to some sleep now. Real sleep, not that crap she experienced after the beacon knocked her off her ass. But once her team reached the docking bay they were greeted by Anderson and the asari councillor.
Shepard motioned for the crew to head into the Normandy as she stopped in front of the asari and the captain. “Shepard.” Anderson greeted. Shepard folded her arms, the look on her face telling of her impatience. Exhaustion also etched across her features, and she was sure everyone around her had noticed. She folded her arms across her chest as she glimpsed between one and the other, waiting to hear what they had to say.
Anderson stood straight, folding his arms behind his back. “I have stepped down as the commanding officer of the Normandy. The ship is yours now.” He then stated. Shepard perked a brow at him.
“What the hell is going on?” She questioned. It was obvious she wanted a simple answer for her question. The asari observed the newly appointed Spectre with a sense of skepticism. It was something Shepard was use to though, and it didn’t seem to bother her in the least.
Anderson looked from the Normandy once back to Shepard, “You’re a Spectre now. You need a ship of your own, and you know the crew. It’s time I stepped aside.” He said. At least he understood Shepard well enough to give her a clear and easy explanation. Shepard sighed all the same as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. She was feeling in a hurry to get some sleep.
“Alright,” Shepard started as she looked towards the asari councillor, Tevos, “That explains the Captain.” She then reconsidered her original set of words. She had to play nice now. Or as nice as she could make herself anyways. “What do you need?” She questioned Tevos. The asari perked her own brow, only made visible by her facial markings.
“I have received word that a prothean dig site has been comprimised.” Tevos began with her diplomatic tone. Shepard couldn’t help but perk her brow once more. “Dr. Liara T’Soni has been there for some time, researching the ruins.” Tevos went on. Shepard began to wonder what the damned point was. “She is the daughter of Matriarch Benezia.” Tevos finally stated.
Shepard once more crossed her arms over her chest, shifting her weight onto her left foot. “And you want me to do what exactly?” She questioned impatiently. “Is she in lead with Saren?” She continued to question. Tevos seemed to shift her own weight, with a look that spelled out hesitation. Shepard wondered if this was going to be something she would like or not.
Tevos then straightened out as quickly as she had shown contemplation. “We do not know if she is on Saren’s or the Matriarch’s side. Asari daughters rarely question the requests of their mothers. Especially if their mother happens to be Matriarch Benezia.” Tevos explained. She paused, as if searching for her next set of words. “If Liara is innocent in all of this it would be a personal favor to me to keep her in protected custody.” She said, but suddenly stopped.
Shepard watched her expectantly. “And if she’s not?” Shepard pushed. She hated when people would beat around the bush. She lacked patients for it. If you were going to say something you had to say the whole thing, or don’t bother. That was just how Shepard operated though.
Tevos looked to Shepard with a serious look now. “If she is not, you are to place her under arrest and brought to the Citadel for questioning.” Tevos said simply. Shepard nodded once.
Anderson then spoke up next, “The reports say Dr. T’soni is on the planet Therum out in the Attican Traverse. Go to the Artemis Tau Cluster, and recover her.” He stated with his commanding tone.
“If we find any more details on Saren’s whereabouts, or any suspicious activity from the Geth we will contact you.” Tevos then added. “Remember, Shepard. You are a Spectre, everyone will be watching you. Make your choices wisely.” Tevos then said before she walked passed Shepard and towards the docking bay’s elevator. Shepard had to wonder what the hell that was suppose to mean. But she just didn’t have the energy to question it.
Shepard then looked back to Anderson, expecting he had more to say as well. “Take care of the Normandy, Shepard. Stay safe out there, we’re all counting on you.” He simply commented. He then patted the commander a couple of times on the shoulder before he began to walk off towards the elevator as well.
Shepard sighed as she watched the two step into the elevator, disappearing behind the door as it slid shut. “No fucking pressure or anything.” She muttered before turning towards the Normandy. She could only hope she could at least catch a nap before they would reach Therum. She was running on empty and she now faced a long ass mission.
Once she stepped foot into the Normandy, Joker looked over his shoulder at the commander. “Set a course for Therum in the Artemis Tau Cluster, best possible speeds.” Shepard ordered as she turned to look at her pilot. “And give me an ETA.” She then said, rubbing her hand over her face once.
“ETA, five hours.” Joker said as he began to initiate departure from the Citadel. It would take a half an hour before they were given leave from the Citadel, it was standard procedure. This meant an extra half hour of sleep maybe. Shepard turned on her heel, facing the CIC.
She began to march forward, issuing one last command, “Assemble the ground team an hour before we get there. That includes our new... guests.” Shepard muttered, leaving the pilot to his duties.
She then rounded the CIC heading for the stairs. She was in dire need of some sleep, and with her newly assigned quarters she could only hope it was better than sleeping in a damn pod. She also hoped that she wouldn’t have any dreams given her experience with the beacon. But she somehow doubted it would be so easy. Nothing was ever easy.
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
A/N: So this chapter was meant to make up for the lack of… stuff in the previous chapter. So hopefully it makes up for it.
Onto the next!
Micah tossed and turned in her bed, gripping at the sheets tightly, sweat rolling down her forehead, cheeks, and neck. She made sounds of both terror and anger. It only lasted for a few short moments before she flew up into an upright sitting position in bed, still clutching at the light sheet for a blanket. She panted heavily as she looked around her dark room, running a hand over her face, wiping away at the sweat in her eyes.
Another damnable nightmare from that beacon. Micah threw her blanket off, storming out of her bed and to her private bathroom. She looked herself in the mirror, seeing the sore sight that she was staring back at her. Her hair matted and wild, her military issued tank top damp from the sweat, dog tags in plain sight, not to mention the dark circles around her eyes. “Is it too much to ask for some fucking sleep?” She questioned her reflection as she turned the fossette on, cupping her hands beneath the running water.
After splashing some water over her face she shut the fossette off and turned to the small shower in her bathroom. She began to peal off her tank top while kicking off her gym shorts in dire need to get clean. She was just so tired of waking up in sweat clinging clothes. She scoffed to herself as she turned the shower on, stepping into the stream on hot water.
It was bad enough she had normal nightmares on a regular basis, but now this? The message on that god forsaken beacon may as well have said, “Ha! Now you’ll never sleep!” If it weren’t for the seriousness of the matter Micah would have assumed Protheans were little more than damned trolls for leaving such a thing laying around, just to torment some unsuspecting soul.
Once she finished showering and getting dressed into her uniform Shepard looked to her clock. “Fucking figures. Only fourty damned minutes of sleep?” She questioned in annoyance. She sighed and grabbed a couple of her data pads from her desk and left her quarters deciding she may as well do some actual work.
Some research was needed on their destination. Knowing the terrain and maps of this dig site would be more than handy if they came across trouble. Shepard somehow doubted it would be anything less. Nothing was ever just easy.
After some time of reading over maps, and what info there was on this dig site Shepard sighed as she glanced up at the coffee pot sitting on the kitchen counter. She stood, taking her data pad with her as she walked towards the pot, scrolling through the briefing notes. She grabbed the coffee pot and a mug and poured herself some of the dark liquid into the plain white mug.
As she brought the mug to her lips and took a sip she heard the elevator door hiss as it opened slowly on the other end of the deck. She looked over towards it seeing one of the new aliens, the quarian, step into view. Shepard hadn’t really assigned the new comers any sort of assignments just yet and wondered if she really should. She wasn’t sure if any of them were completely trust worthy just yet. But her gut told her they all happened upon circumstance, especially the krogan, Wrex, and Tali. But still, she wondered if she needed to keep them busy, just to keep them out of trouble.
“Oh, Commander!” The young woman squeaked through her transmitter. “I-I’m sorry, I hope I’m not disturbing you.” She stammered and began to turn to leave. Micah couldn’t help but smirk some at the apparent nervousness in the quarian. Come to think of it Shepard thought she should probably get to know some of the new people now residing on the Normandy. Make sure they were as eager to help as they claimed.
Shepard shrugged as she leaned against the counter, setting down her data pad but keeping her mug in hand. “It’s fine.” She simply said as she observed Tali. Tali turned around again, taking a few steps closer towards the kitchen, wringing her hands nervously. Or Shepard assumed it was out of nervousness. It was hard to tell due to Tali’s suit.
Tali then nodded as she stopped a few feet from the Commander, looking off to the side. “I just wanted to say thank you, for allowing me to be here.” Tali said as she looked back at Shepard. Micah perked a brow as she watched the quarian still. She wasn’t use to anyone really approaching her with words of thanks.
Shepard shrugged again as she took another sip of her coffee. “Well you seemed pretty quick to join.” Micah replied. Small talk was not really Shepard’s forte. She didn’t know what else to say really. Not without getting cranky at her apparent guest.
Tali let her hands drop to her sides finally as she suddenly stood taller. Shepard half wondered what the girl might be thinking. Reading expressions was something Shepard could do, but it was hard to predict what Tali might be thinking, let alone what she might say behind that mask. “Your ship is amazing!” Tali then chirped with a sense of excitement. “Engineer Adams let me look at the engine room a little, and the drive core is like nothing I’ve ever seen!” She continued with her excitement.
Shepard suddenly felt a bit out of place by the way Tali just seemed to suddenly relax and jump right into conversation. Shepard was more use to people being skeptical towards her, or even nervous. Maybe Tali didn’t know of her history. Shepard really didn’t know how to react. “B-but he didn’t tell me much about it!” Tali suddenly fretted as she rubbed at her left arm, looking nervous again.
Shepard shook her head as she stood straighter, grabbing her data pad again and walking back to where she was seated before. “The drive core is top of the line stuff.” Shepard decided to say. She kicked herself inwardly wondering why she was even bothering suddenly. She wasn’t the social sort, so what was the deal? Lack of sleep, that’s what it was. In all honesty she didn’t have much energy to even want to put up a fight.
Tali seemingly perked up again as she quickly sat across from Shepard, who went back to her work with the data pad. “May I ask you something, Commander?” Tali spoke up again. Shepard glimpsed up at Tali once before shrugging and typing something into her briefing notes. “Would.. Would you allow me to help out in engineering?” Tali asked sounding nervous again.
Tali didn’t want to over step her bounds, she already knew she was lucky to even be on such a ship like this. Especially when it was ran by the human military. They weren’t known for much diversity in their ranks. “Would you even know what the hell to do?” Shepard questioned, giving the young quarian a skeptical and half annoyed look. How could a kid like this even think she could be useful with such sensitive equipment?
Tali began wringing her hands in her lap. Tali knew she would have to prove herself with the Commander. “I know how to work on ships, it’s what I use to do in the flotilla.” Tali said trying to muster up the courage. Tali had to admit, when Shepard looked or even sounded irritated she could come off as intimidating.
Shepard rubbed at the bridge of her nose sighing loudly. Maybe assigning the new “crew” stations wasn’t such a grand idea after all. “I will talk with Adams about it. If he approves of you, you can work in engineering all you want. But for now, no. Just hell no.” Micah said tiredly.
Tali wrung her hands a bit more feeling like maybe she was out of place after all. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.” Tali said as she stood, as she began to head back for the elevator. Shepard about planted her forehead onto the table top for realizing how much of an ass she really could be.
Shepard stood from her seat as she rubbed her forehead at the headache that pounded in her skull. The headache had been there for quite some time and it was just finally grating on her nerves. “Tali, look. No promises alright? I’ll see what I can do though.” Shepard said as she walked passed Tali and towards the stairway that would lead to the CIC, mug and data pad in hand.
Tali watched Shepard march up the stairs muttering to herself before disappearing out of sight. She then heard someone clear their throat from behind her, startling her. “Don’t mind the Commander.” Kaidan said as he stepped up next to the quarian. Tali remember him from when he, Ashley Williams, Shepard and herself presented the evidence on Saren to the council. “She’s a bit short tempered.” Kaidan added with a shrug.
Tali tilted her head in some curiosity. “Is she always like that?” She questioned. Kaidan smiled at the quarian and patted her shoulder once gently. He gave her a nod as he began to head towards his work station.
“Yeah, but you’ll get use to it.” He said calmly, leaving Tali to her thoughts.
Shepard had began making her rounds, checking on all the stations and getting status updates. Being the captain of a ship was sort of new to her, and she really didn’t know what to do with herself. She had made extensive plans for the planet Therum and thought on possible scenarios, checked on the time at least four times in the last hour, and went over her briefing notes at least three times.
Now she was just trying to find something to do with herself. Damn the brass for thinking my being a Spectre was a great fucking idea. Shepard complained in her head. She was more than content with being a common placed soldier than this. “Commander, the armory is set up.” Ashley Williams said over her ear comm. Shepard sighed as she left engineering after talking with Adams about the drive core status and keeping Tali busy with simple tasks.
“Ya, ya.” Shepard muttered. “I’m coming.” She then said as she marched out of the engineering room with a purpose. Shepard crossed the cargo hold towards the lockers and work bench where Williams had stationed herself, glimpsing towards Wrex on one end, then Garrus on the other.
Wrex sat on a crate, working on his shot gun, while Garrus seemed to busy himself with another servicemen on the mako. Micah really didn’t care what they did, as long as they didn’t cause any trouble or disruption to her crew’s duties. “Give it to me, Williams.” Shepard said firmly as she came to a halt next to the work bench, eyeing the weapons lined up.
Williams stood to attention in front of her superior. “I modded the weapons per your request.” Ashley reported. Shepard picked up one assault rifle, examining the weapon carefully. Micah could spot just about any flaw in a gun without even trying. It was something she had somehow excelled at during basic. Shepard was impressed with the Gunnery Chief’s skill though.
Shepard put the rifle back exactly as she found it, examining the rifle. Shepard had to be sure it wasn’t just a fluke, or good luck. She had to know whether or not Anderson made a good call by allowing the Chief to join the crew. Shepard examined each gun closely, checking them for any visible flaw from where Williams had upgraded them. “Damn fine job, soldier.” Micah said as she put the last gun down.
It was rare for Shepard to to compliment anyone, but she took a small liking to the chief pretty fast. “Thank you, ma’am.” Ashley said, trying not to smile at the compliment, knowing she had not been given permission to relax her stance.
Shepard brought up her omni tool a moment to check the time for a fifth time. Hour and a half before they would reach their destination. “You have 30 to get our gear loaded into the Mako, Williams.” Shepard then said giving her leave to do what she needed to. Ashley saluted Shepard, relaxing her stance finally as Shepard began to turn to leave.
“Commander!” Williams then called out. Shepard stopped and turned on her heel, folding her arms under her chest. “I won’t let you down, ma’am.” Williams said with a confident look in her eyes. Shepard rolled her eyes however as she turned around heading for the elevator, waving her hand into the air.
“Then don’t fuck around and load the mako.” Micah said half annoyed as she stepped into the elevator to disappear behind it’s closing door.
Ashley quickly began to load a cart with guns, grenades, and medigel packs. “I like her. Straight to business.” Wrex rumbled from where he sat as Ashley pushed the cart towards the mako. Williams scoffed at the old krogan who continued to mess with his shotgun. Ashley wasn’t sure why the Commander even allowed the aliens on board in the first place, but she would wait to ask another time. When she knew she wasn’t at risk for a transfer.
Shepard sat in the briefing room, watching her ground team sitting into the chairs around the room. Shepard loaded the map of Therum onto the view screen as everyone got seated and turned to look everyone over. Alenko, Williams, Garrus, Tali and Wrex looked back at her expectantly. “This mission should be easy enough.” Shepard started as she sat into the only chair left. “We’re going to find this Liara T’Soni and figure out if she knows anything about Saren or Matriarch Benezia.”
Ashley spoke up, “Isn’t Benezia Liara’s mother?” She questioned, sounding a bit skeptical. Shepard gave the Gunnery Chief a half stern look.
“Yes, so I need you on top of game.” Shepard replied as she looked towards Wrex. “Wrex we may need you on this one. I don’t know what to expect down there and it couldn’t hurt to have some extra muscle.” Shepard stated. It was more an order than a request. Wrex gave a short huff in reply.
The Spectre than looked to the turian, Garrus. “You too, Vakarian. I’ve looked over your files and see that you are proficient with a sniper rifle.” Shepard then said. The turian gave her a short nod of agreement. Micah stood from her seat, moving over to the map. “The intel we have is very little. This Liara was out there on some prothean dig, and could be apart of Saren’s group.” She began as she highlighted an area on the map.
The crew looked to the map, seeing that the planet’s lay out was hazardous at best. A volcanic hot spot. “Satellite images shows some hostile activity close to the dig site so we will take the mako and land over here.” Shepard said as she brought up her omni tool inserting a new command. A red line began to spread from the landing zone and around a treacherous path around volcanic rivers. “We will then head for this compound and dispose of any unfriendlies who gets in our way.” She stated simply.
Shepard than circled a small area on a hill. “Vakarian, we will drop you off here where you can set up a sniper perch.” Shepard continued on. “Give us some cover fire, and lead us through any blind spots, you should have a pretty damn good view of the compound from there.” Shepard finished as she looked to the turian.
Garrus stood and approached the view screen, examining the area. “I’ll adjust over to this position if I have to, but I can handle it.” Garrus said as he pointed to a small spot not far from the original spot. Shepard nodded as Garrus moved to sit back in his seat.
“Williams, I’ll need you to scout ahead, let us know if there’s any other patrols. Think you can handle it?” She questioned as she looked back at the Chief.
Ashley gave a firm nod. “No problem, Skipper.” Ashley replied. Shepard gave her an odd look and a perked brow at being called Skipper. But she let it go just as quickly.
Shepard then looked to the young quarian. Given their conversation previously Shepard knew the young woman was itching to prove herself worthy. Shepard had reservations about allowing the quarian to be apart of the ground team. The girl was young, and probably inexperienced with these situations. Shepard was a hardass, she wasn’t going to deny it, and she didn’t know if the quarian would fuck something up, or get herself hurt.
Shepard sighed some as Tali looked right at her. Or she assumed Tali was looking at her. “Tali, you will stay in the mako, if we come across a situation where we need your help, we’ll radio you.” Shepard stated with a hint of uncertainty.
Tali seemed to perk up at that. “Yes, Commander! I won’t let you down!” She practically chirped with excitement. Shepard smirked a bit. She had to give the quarian one thing, she was easy to please and eager to help.
Shepard finally looked to Alenko. “You will accompany me and Wrex in the main ground team.” It was an easy enough order. Shepard may have been irritated by the lieutenant in the past, but he was a damn good soldier, and an even better biotic. She may not have entirely liked him but she would not toss him aside when she needed someone of his talents at her side.
“Understood, Commander.” he simply said in return.
Shepard straightened up and deactivated the view screen. “Alright, you all have your assignments. When we find the Dr. T’Soni we will not, I repeat, will NOT harm her. I need her in one piece. If she is apart of Saren’s plot we need her for information. If she isn’t then we will hand her over to the council.”
Shepard looked everyone over as they all gave her a nod or vocal agreement. “Dismissed, you have thirty to suit up and be in the mako.” She then ordered her team. Everyone stood and filed out of the room with a purpose. Shepard watched them leave one by one and had to admit to herself. They were a damned promising team. She would not admit it aloud, but she knew there was promise with these people. She only hoped none of them would fuck up and screw up her mission.
After everyone else left Shepard marched out of the briefing room herself and for the stairway that lead down to the second deck. “Joker, status.” Shepard said over her comm link as she trotted down the stairs and towards her personal locker next to the med bay.
There was a momentary pause before Joker replied, “Fourty minutes out, no signs of hostile ships.” Micah nodded to herself as she pulled out her combat armor. Right on schedule, she thought to herself. She hated being anything less than on time.
“Good. Let me know when we reach atmo.” Micah said shortly, cutting off the comm as she grabbed her gear and went for her quarters to suite up and get ready. With any luck this mission would be smooth sailing. Who the hell are you kidding? She questioned herself internally, shaking her head as she disappeared into her room.
I just wanted to play with how they may have set up for a mission, also wanted a chance to properly introduce the characters since I sort of rushed through all that in the last chapter. For that I apologize, someone brought it to my attention and I agreed with him/her. So I will try my very best to slow things down for the sake of characters <3
Chapter 12: Chapter 12
A/N: So this one jumps around a bit again. I just wanted to stuff some extra things in and I am not the best at transitioning. I hope it’s still easy to follow
The day we hit Therum was the day my life was fated to turn completely upside down. Or that’s how it damn well felt back then. I didn’t know what to expect when we landed in the Mako. I figured a simple pick up the asset and call it a day type of scenario. Fuck if I ever knew what was going on around me. Sometimes I wonder how I was able to even effectively command when I was so blissfully oblivious to the shit around me back then.
I was more naive than I ever wanted to admit. Would I change a single moment of it though? Hell no. I didn’t know it at the time, but what came to be was exactly what I damn well needed. Something to put me in my place. Make me grow the hell up even. It took a while to catch up to me. And of course even then I had put up a fight. But now I’m just getting ahead of myself.
Being the first human Spectre would normally be the moment everything in someone’s life changed. But I didn’t care about that shit. It was Therum. Therum was the day my world started to take an inside out approach.
Shepard had been requested to the bridge by Joker after they reached standard orbit around Therum. After making sure all the gear was loaded into the mako and piling everyone in she had made the unscheduled trip to the bridge to see what was so damned important. “This had better be good, Joker.” Shepard said, annoyed as usual.
“Geez, haven’t you pulled that stick out of your ass yet?” Joker questioned, looking over his shoulder and up at the Commander. When all he got was a glare in return he threw up his hands and returned to looking at his read outs. “So, the reason I called you was this.” He then said with less sarcasm. He pulled up a window of a map of the surface where the team would be landing.
Shepard looked over the man’s shoulder looking at scans. The compound was heavily guarded and the road between the landing zone and a few clicks beyond the compound was littered with patrols. “Sensors say it’s the geth.” Joker then went on. Shepard glowered at the screen a moment longer before pointing out a darkened area.
“And what’s this?” She questioned, though she knew she could make a wild guess.
Joker adjusted in his seat before bringing up another screen of just the darkened zone. “It’s supposed to be the dig site.” He replied as he began typing away at a holo keyboard. “The geth have sensor blockers set up throughout the area.” He then added.
Shepard let out a heavy sigh. “Shit just gets better and better.” She muttered to herself before speaking more loudly, “Can you clean it up?” Joker looked up at her once more, as if looking like Shepard was stupid for asking.
He then went back to typing at his keyboard. “Think I haven’t tried, Commander?” He asked sounding just as annoyed. “I mean I guess I could try asking the geth if they’d allow us to see what they’re hiding.” He then said with a tone of sarcasm. “Hey, Geth, so we’re friends right? Is that a present you got for us and does it explode?" Joker went on waving his hands about to add to his sarcasm.
Shepard folded her arms over her chest as she glared down at her pilot. “I’d rethink the damn attitude, Flight Lieutenant.” She said before making a 180 turn on her heels and began to march back down the long neck of the Normandy, feeling sourer with every step she took.
Joker looked behind his chair at the retreating form of the commander as he shook his head. “Hard ass." he muttered before he turned to focus on his task at hand.
The drop was always rough. The Mako was built to withstand long distant drops but the landings were never smooth. Being tossed out of flying ship guaranteed that much. But they had been on the surface for close to an hour. Given it was a volcanic hot spot the heat was becoming unbearable for a majority of the squad sitting in the vehicle.
But they had to wait for Garrus and Ashley to get into position. Resistance had been light so far but the closer they got the compound the more resistance they were sure to run across. Micah sat in the driver’s seat tapping the armrest with her fingers itching to get a move on. She was exhausted due to a lack of sleep and the heat was not helping.
“Do you think they met unfriendlies?” Kaidan asked, breaking the silence. Micah lifted her head from the back of her chair pulling up sensor readings which flashed across the windshield via holo porjectors.
Wrex grunted once. “Hard to say.” He said sounding a bit sour over it. He was likely itching to find himself a fight just about as badly as Micah was ready to be back on the Normandy. She was still feeling the effect from that damned beacon back on Eden Prime. She just wanted a real night of sleep, was that so much to fucking ask for?
“Fuckers have a sensor block up.” Micah muttered in annoyance. For god’s sake what was taking so damned long? They let Garrus off practically at the base of where he needed to perch himself. Ashley got off shortly after that and it had been nearly forty minutes. Micah sighed loudly as she shut off the sensors and let her head flop back against her seat, resuming her previous drumming on the armrest.
Tali messed with her shotgun, as if she were inspecting it in her seat next to Wrex. Kaidan sat from across them both as he watched the young Quarian. “You sure you can handle that...?” Kaidan asked, second guessing Shepard’s decision to allow Tali a weapon let alone coming onto the mission. She was just a kid, probably inexperienced in combat. He doubted she even had proper training.
Micah perked her brow, craning her head around to look into the back end of the mako, curious to see how Tali responded. Micah knew Kaidan was only anything but concerned for the girl, but it also agitated her that he would so openly put doubt in her ability to command properly. Tali did look at Kaidan however, holding her shotgun up. “So is this the dangerous end?” She asked holding up the barrel of her weapon. “Or this end?” She then questioned, holding up the butt of the gun. “I can never seem to quite remember.” She finished, her voice heavily laced with sarcasm.
Micah couldn’t help but snort in her amusement while Wrex lett out a deep rumble of a laugh. “I like you, kid. You’ve got a quad.” He said to Tali as she rested her gun back in her lap, head held high as though in pride.
Kaidan just shook his head with a heavy sigh. Micah smirked to herself as she looked out the front of her window, seeing nothing but ash, rock, and the hot ground around them. Served him right for questioning her resolve on bringing Tali along if you asked Micah.
“Commander, this is Garrus.” A turian voice suddenly popped up over the comms. About damned time too, Micah thought. It felt like they had been sitting there all day.
Shepard sat straight up in her seat. “Report.” Shepard said, her tone nothing but serious. She was ready for this mission to move ahead so that she could grab this asari and be done with the day. She didn’t give a damn whether this Doctor T’Soni was in cahoots with Saren and Benezia or not. She just wanted to grab the girl and go.
“We’re in position. You’ve got about 15 geth sitting within the compound with an open side entrance guarded by a turret.” He began as Shepard began the start up sequence for the mako, engine slowly winding to life. “But only one way out, and the gate is closed. You’ll have to find a way to open it in one of the buildings.” He went on.
Well that was just fucking fantastic, Shepard thought to herself. Shepard then muttered to herself, “Nothing is ever fucking easy.” as the vehicle lurched forward heavily. “Williams, status.” Shepard then barked, the agitation clear in her voice.
“I’m at the side entrance, can’t get by that turret without some support.” Ashley said sounding about as exhausted as Shepard felt. The heat was probably taking more of a tole on the Gunnery Chief having to be outside in it.
“Alright, we’re on our way. Stay out of sight, we don’t need them calling more fucking tin heads.” Shepard went on as her squad behind her began to ready themselves for the rough ride. Shepard’s driving wasn’t exactly the smoothest experience ever, but they dared not comment on it as she pressed the Mako forward, hitting every rut and bump along the way.
“Copy that, Commander.” Garrus said before the line went dead.
“Alright people, stay frosty.” She barked at them as they barreled forward feeling every lurch and bump of the vehicle as they barreled forward.
The Krogan Battlemaster was handed a data pad with some crazy report about a squad of a mix of humans and a few other species tearing up a compound. He growled to himself figuring it for a rescue team for the asari. She refused to say a word for the past day and he just gave up on trying to convince her on coming out of that barrier she was behind.
This he could use to his advantage however. Perhaps this team could get her out for him. Then he could collect his pay and call it a day. “Go make sure our guests know where we are.” He said to the Geth who had handed him the data pad.
It did nothing more to acknowledge the krogan as it turn and walked away, calm and emotionless. The krogan snorted as he turned and stormed off to make his own move against the strike team making a slow approach to the ruins.
It had taken less effort than Shepard would have expected to despatch of the Geth within the gated complex. With Garrus sniping from his perch and Ashley laying some cover fire for the Mako, and with Kaidan on the main gun it only took a mere few minutes. Shepard pulled the Mako up to the gate they needed to get through before stopping the Mako short.
“Vakarian, can you see inside the buildings?” Shepard asked as Ashley climbed back into the passenger seat of the Mako. Shepard and Ashley exchanged nods as they awaited a reply from the turian.
After a short pause the comms came alive again. “Negative, Shepard. I can’t see crap, and if anything is in there they aren’t hovering by the doors.” Garrus replied as Shepard let out a sigh.
Micah rubbed at her somewhat sweaty face with her gloved hand. “Alright, Ash, you sit here with the Mako. Tali, Wrex, and Kaidan, you’re with me.” Shepard said, the exhaustion clear in her voice. Kaidan and Ashley exchanged looks as Wrex was practically already heading for the back door of the Mako, ready for some action.
Ashley risked to speak up, “Shepard, is it wise to take the Quarian?” She questioned as Shepard began to open the driver side door. If looks could kill, Ashley would have been dead on the spot with how the Commander looked at her.
“For all we fucking know the geth have the gate code locked, Chief.” Shepard barked. Ashley visibly cringed. “Tali understands the Geth better than the lot of us combined, I might need her to open the gate so we can get a damn move on.” Shepard continued. She was too fucking tired to deal with people questioning her.
Ashley sat back in her seat feeling a bit put off herself. “Aye-aye, Commander.” She replied as Shepard shook her head before exiting the Mako, seeing Wrex already outside and ready to riddle the geth with holes.
Kaidan was hot on their heels, Tali right behind him. “And my name is Tali.” the young quarian said sounding agitated herself as she exited the Mako, the chief making a face mimicking Tali.
“Garrus, keep an eye out for any reinforcements while we get this gate open. Then head for the LZ for a pick up by the Normandy.” Shepard said as she readied her assault rifle. She heard a short reply from him as she took point slowly approaching the first building, ready for anything to be inside.
Sovereign floated further out of the solar system, all ears on Therum. In reality Saren wanted little to nothing from Liara T’Soni. But he was hoping to use her status as Benezia’s daughter to lure Micah Shepard into a trap. If he could get rid of the young Spectre he would have very little left to worry about.
“The Geth report that Shepard made it past the gates.” Benezia said calmly, almost coldly. Like she was void of any grace or kindness she was once so well known for. Saren’s mandibles twitched as he looked over the reports on Therum.
In truth the Geth knew about the mining laser all along. Saren, however, ordered them to ignore it. He’d worry about the prothean expert after Shepard was dealt with. Liara could still be useful to decipher any prothean data he had recovered over the months, and maybe even help understand the vision from the beacon that Sovereign had wanted him to receive back on Eden Prime.
But if she perished before he could get his talons on her he had other ways to understand the vision. But she was also good bait for the young human. He knew the council would want to protect Liara from Benezia after they were exposed, so knew they would send Shepard to retrieve her.
“Once Shepard is dead we can move on to the next phase. We must be quick in completing our work.” Saren said. “The Reapers must return soon.” he added as he shut off the feeds from Therum and calmly walked away feeling confident his Geth could easily dispose of one frail human.
Benezia still stood where she was. She felt a small portion of her worry for her daughter. But she tried to suppress that feeling. It was weak. Her daughter would either do as they needed or die along with the rest of the sheep on Therum. It mattered not. Yet that small part of Benezia continued to lash against the hold on her mind.
That was until she felt a pressure on her very being, whispers clawing at her mind telling her that everything was at it should be and that Liara was weak and a burden to the Matriarch. And as quickly as the pressure came it was gone and all thoughts of worry over Liara vanished. Liara was always such a disappointment.
“I should have joined up with you sooner, Shepard!” Wrex barked sounding rather happy despite the rough fight they just had to deal with against a Geth Armature. Shepard was feeling drained having to reinforce her hard suite’s shield with a biotic barrier. Shepard was a fairly powerful biotic but trying to keep herself alive against a giant fucking machine with powerful weapons was rough even for her.
It had taken some time to get to this spot and at one point they had to abandon the Mako. The only path here was too narrow for the bulky vehicle to make it through. So Shepard had Ashley go pick up Vakarian and had them both return to the ship.
Shepard scoffed as she holstered her assault rifle as she began to march forward, kicking a no longer functional geth drone along the way. “Stick around, I’m sure there’s more where that came from just waiting in line.” Shepard retorted as Wrex let off a deep laugh as he rested his shotgun on his shoulder, stomping right over the geth Shepard had just kicked.
Kaidan shook his head at the pair as he followed behind them, keeping an eye out for anything they may have missed as they all made their approach to the dig site’s tunnel entrance. If he didn’t know better Shepard was a krogan in disguise with how well she got along with the old krogan merc. He had yet to hear her get gruff with him. Or if she had the krogan took it with ease, perhaps it was not so foreign to him given the species he belonged to.
“Come on, I believe we have a date with a nerd.” Shepard said not sounding nearly as positive about the situation as Wrex had been. Wrex was loving every moment of the uphill battle they had ran into since the gates. Kaidan looked up at the hot skies of Therum and sighed. Perhaps it was the heat but even he felt ready to be done with this.
Liara had already begun to slip in and out of the world of sanity a while ago. It had taken everything she had to just focus. Trying to focus on focusing just seemed like a chore after a short period and Liara had just given up. She didn’t even know how much longer she could last as it were. If she did not get help soon… She even began to wish that the krogan battle master and his geth would find a way to get to her. A few days ago that thought would have been crazy, but anything was better than slowly wasting away.
Though hoping to see beyond Therum was beginning to become a burden to her already weakening mind. She had begun seeing things, mostly just shadows and silhouettes that did not have solid form. That had been her breaking point and thinking she could live to see another day, let alone any other dig site. It was just not something she was going have soon.
Liara did not wish to suffer this fate. She wanted to hope that help would arrive, but between sleep deprivation, starvation and dehydration the only thing she could only hope for was a swift end.
But when she heard dull sounds outside of her bubble she slowly looked up to see what was going on. She had wondered if the Geth or the Krogan had finally figured out there was was a mining laser. She suddenly found herself unsure of which was better. Dying in her prison or dying at the hands of this Saren or his Krogan Battlemaster.
Chapter 13: Chapter 13
A/N: So here we are… I will be working on chapter 14 as soon as I am able. Next few days will definitely keep me busy and then tired. I work all day Monday, close Sunday night and Tuesday will likely be way too out of it to wanna do anything rofl. Hopefully these first 13 chapters will be enough for now =P
“You would think they’d be running out of fucking Geth by now.” Micah muttered as they slowly made their way down the tunnel systems below the surface of Therum. It was just Wrex, Kaidan and her at this point having sent the others back to the Normandy. They had fought through waves of Geth since they left that compound behind. And it felt like the Geth were in unlimited supply.
“I hope not. My blood is just starting to pump.” Wrex commented as he had this gleeful grin on his face, his eyes looking more alive than Shepard had ever seen since meeting the old krogan on the Citadel. Micah rolled her eyes. She had to admit though, she liked the old krogan.
Kaidan shook his head unsure of the company he currently kept. While he wanted to make a comment he wasn’t sure how the Commander would take it. So he just kept silent as they made their way down another set of stairs leading towards an elevator. “You’re fucking crazy, Wrex. But I suppose that’s why I can tolerate you.” Micah commented, earning a laugh from the krogan.
“You like him, because he’s crazy?” Kaidan questioned as Shepard raised her assault rifle, preparing herself for the possibility of more Geth as they crept closer to the elevator, the cab of it on the level below them.
Shepard shrugged as she peaked over the railing to see what was going on underneath them. “No offense, Alenko, but you’re boring as hell sometimes.” Shepard commented as Kaidan glowered at the comment. She smirked to herself having gotten a slight rouse out of the man. “But I suppose one of us has to be sane, right? I mean the rest of us are fucking lunatics.” she then threw in to further her own amusement. Kaidan sighed heavily as his only reply as she snorted to herself.
“Heads up!” Wrex called as more Geth fighter drones floated up from somewhere below them, greeting them with a spray of gun fire.
Micah rolled out of the way and behind the only bit of cover to her left, by the elevator as Wrex let out a sound of excitement, his shotgun cracking loudly as one of the geth flyers took the heavy hit of his weapon, losing shields instantly. Kaidan quickly joined her as she let off a few wild rounds of her assault rifle as more blasts were heard from Wrex’s shotgun. “Well at least he’s happy.” Kaidan muttered as Shepard rolled her eyes.
She popped out from cover, Alenko following suite as they all unleashed a fury of rounds, causing the Geth flyers to burst into flames before plummeting to the depths below, the sounds of them crashing echoing through the tunnel systems. “Well if that didn’t give us away I don’t know what will.” Micah said as the krogan quickly entered the elevator.
“So let’s go give them a warm welcome.” He said as Shepard and Kaidan followed him into the small cab.
Shepard hit the button for the lowest floor possible as she smirked. “I like the way you think, Wrex.” She commented as he popped in a new thermal clip for his shotgun. She had to admit, his odd excitement for battle was a bit infectious and it put her in a better mood than when this mission first started. Maybe this whole ordeal wouldn’t be such an annoyance after all if she kept him around.
It took them little time to reach the bottom level, which would probably be the only place this Liara T’Soni would be at. If she was even alive at this point. Or not with Saren and her mother. Shepard felt unsure if she could trust the archeologist. But she didn’t have much more chance to think it through before they ran into another group of geth.
This time there were only a handful probably the last of them to be honest. They had to have mowed down the majority of them on the way here. They were also easy enough to dispatch of. Shepard didn’t even need to use her biotics. Some well-placed rounds was all it took.
“God damn finally.” Shepard said as she holstered her weapon as she looked behind herself. She was starting to run low on thermal clips and honestly started to wonder if they were going to even make it through this without running out of the damned things.
Wrex seemingly pouted though. “Aw, but I was just starting to have fun…” He muttered as Shepard gave him a look. While she liked the krogan his enthusiasm started to grow thin as quickly as she was starting to like it.
Kaidan stepped up to Shepard as he shrugged at her. “Let’s find this Doctor T’Soni and head home.” He said. Shepard couldn’t believe she was actually in agreement with the Lieutenant. She was ready to call it a day and try to get some damned sleep.
“A-fucking-men to that.” She replied as she started to walk towards the center tower, expecting to find Liara hiding somewhere within it. It looked like a good place for a defensive position considering she had seen it through the center of the tunnel systems on the way down and it had some pretty tough looking barriers. “She’s gotta be somewhere in this damned place.” Shepard then added as the other two followed hot on her heels.
As they got closer to the barrier curtain they could spot the asari floating in her bubble, arms and legs outstretched, head hanging down like she was unconscious. Shepard walked right up to the barrier reaching out with her hand, touching it. It felt like solid glass honestly. So she knocked on it, wondering if it would create a sound or not. Shockingly, it did, though dull. “Uh, you even freaking alive in there?” Shepard questioned.
Liara’s head popped up, her eyes dark from exhaustion, as she blinked said eyes several times. “What?” Liara said, her voice hoarse as she beheld two humans and a krogan staring back at her. Shepard actually looked confused as she looked behind herself, seeing Wrex shrug at her.
“I’m guessing you’re Liara T’Soni.” Shepard said, looking back at the asari, folding her arms over her chest, her posture leaning on one leg looking a bit impatient. Liara blinked her eyes again, sure she was hallucinating. Why would two humans and a krogan be looking for her? No no, she was delusional. She was sleep deprived, starving, and so very thirsty. She had to be seeing things.
“No, go away!” Liara suddenly shouted, her voice sounding rather… terrified actually. Shepard looked a bit dumbfounded to be quite honest. Here she was, to come grab this damned archeologist and she was being told to go away? Just what the hell even?
Kaidan and Wrex exchanged confused looks with each other from behind the Commander, also unsure of how to react to that one. “Excuse me? I fight through all these fucking geth to get to your ass and you’re going to tell me to go away?” Shepard barked, not happy in the slightest. Why the hell did she even bother with this shit?
Liara blinked again, looking confused herself. “For a hallucination you are rather rude.” Liara commented. Shepard just couldn’t believe this crap. This Liara sounded batshit crazy. Not the kind the Commander liked either.
Shepard threw her hands up in the air looking more and more impatient. “Do I look like a damned hallucination to you, lady?” She questioned, just not appreciating this one bit. She just risked her own ass to get this Liara, whether she was a traitor or not, and she just got called a hallucination. Was this some kind of cruel joke the galaxy was playing on Shepard?
Kaidan decided to speak up however, perhaps to calm the Commander down some. “How long have you been in there, Doctor?” He questioned. Oh Liara preferred him a bit more over the human woman. He was nearly as rude at all. Even though Liara was certain she was just seeing things. This was it, wasn’t it? The inevitable break down before she starved to death here alone in this old ruin.
“I do not know.” She answered as she tried to lick her dry chapped lips, but her mouth felt just as dry. “No, no this is not right.” Liara then went on as she tried to roll her head back to see the ceiling. “You are hallucinating. And talking to yourself. Goddess, am I going to die?” She then questioned as she just couldn’t keep a straight thought for even a single moment any longer.
Wrex fiddled with his shotgun, ignoring the rambling asari as Kaidan stepped up next to Shepard. “Commander, it’s possible she’s been in there for days…” He said as Shepard huffed as she looked at the asari who began to fret to herself over her situation.
They weren’t getting anywhere with this, and the asari before them was off her damned nut. “Hey, pay attention.” Shepard snapped at Liara, as Kaidan frowned. Well she could have been a little more tactful at least. But the Commander was a… unique case in terms of attitude and how she dealt with things. Still, Kaidan wished she had a little more patience than she did.
Liara blinked as she looked back down at the human woman. She didn’t understand why this hallucination was still happening. “How the hell do we get you out of there?” Shepard asked, as she looked around the front of the tower, hoping to find some kind of control panel she could maybe hack into. Grab the girl and go home? Sounds so simple, right? Why did this have to be so difficult instead?
Liara shook her head, fighting with herself, not knowing if this was a trick, a state of delusion or… someone working with the other krogan to get through the barrier curtains. But if this was real… Or at least partly real… How else would she survive this? “How do I know you are not with the geth? Or that other krogan?” Liara questioned. “Or real, even?”
“Other krogan?” Wrex questioned, the asari catching his attention. Liara nodded at Wrex, or as best as she could. Between the restraints and the soreness in her neck, it was a rather difficult task.
“Yes, he is with the geth. Can you believe that? Geth beyond the veil!” she then said as her eyes went wide, as if this was something she only just realized. “Goddess, I really am hallucinating! Why would the geth go beyond the veil?” She questioned herself.
Shepard grumbled to herself. “Calm down, Dr. T’Soni we’re really real.” Kaidan tried to interject in an assuring manner. The Commander however had enough of this. Whatever traces of a decent mood she had been in only minutes ago flew out the window when she realized trying to get the good Doctor was going to be a bit more work than she had hoped for.
“Fuck this, we’re getting nowhere, I think I saw a mining laser down below we’ll get in with that.” She said as she stormed off. Kaidan felt sorry for the asari to be quite honest. Here she was, trapped in this thing and her only hope for survival was Shepard…. Who was not very friendly to begin with.
Wrex followed after the Commander, Kaidan taking one last look at Liara who seemed disheartened, her head lowering once more as if she was losing consciousness once again. Kaidan turned and trotted off after the other two as Shepard made her way back down to the dirt floor beneath them. “You could have tried being a little nicer.” Kaidan said to Shepard who glowered at the Lieutenant.
She marched quickly towards the mining laser, which was code protected for safety purposes. So she brought up her omni-tool in order to hack into it. “We don’t have time for this, Lieutenant. We’ll sort it out on the Normandy. For all we know more damned Geth are coming and if she’s still half way sane apparently there’s a krogran running around somewhere.” She stated sounding a little angry maybe. But perhaps Kaidan was right. She was not exactly a socialite and she had very little patience for dealing with people. But she wasn’t about to apologize for it either. Her ego wouldn’t allow it.
“Let’s just get her out of there.” Shepard sort of amended as she began to run her hacking tool, tapping into the mining laser through a software subroutine. “You two keep an eye on shit while I try to get this thing running.” She then added as Kaidan only nodded once as he began to keep a look out, along with Wrex, both spreading out slightly, but sure to stay away from where the mining laser was aimed.
It took only a couple of minutes to bypass the security of the mining laser before she began to mess with the settings on its control panel. She didn’t want to blow herself from here back to Earth so she made a rough guess at what a setting would be minimal enough, yet still effective, to bore in under the tower, if that was even a way to get in. “With my luck it won’t fucking work.” She muttered to herself as she typed in a few more commands on the console before the laser began its process of borrowing into the earth.
But the wall of dirt and rock gave way easier than the Commander assumed as it all went flying every which way, revealing a lower level of the tower, the entrance wide open. “Wrex, Kaidan, take point.” Shepard called out as the two advanced to the new hole as Shepard shut off the laser before taking the rear feeling sure that if any geth remained they just heard what they were up to.
But the way was clear as they approached the center platform of the tower, all of them looking it over. “Suppose this is the way up?” Kaidan asked as Shepard spotted a terminal in the center of the large circular platform. She pressed the only holographic button available as the console came to life.
“Yep. Everyone get on, let’s collect the crazy nerd and get the hell out of here.” Shepard said, sounding a little less moody and perhaps just plain tired. After everyone was on the platform Shepard checked over the buttons as she pressed a couple of them. With a solid jerk of the platform it creaked and groaned before slowly rising to the level above them.
Kaidan tried to keep himself upright, Wrex looking wholly unaffected while Shepard kept a firm grip on the console as they ascended, until the elevator ride became much smoother anyway. “Wonder how old this stuff is.” Kaidan wondered aloud as Shepard shrugged her shoulders.
“Given that she’s some kind of prothean expert it’s gotta be at least fifty-thousand years old. Fucking old as shit but apparently built to last.” Shepard said as they saw the next floor coming into view, with Liara’s back to them as she remained floating there, head hung low. Shepard frowned to herself as she mulled over Kaidan’s words from a bit ago about playing it nice. What the hell was nice, anyway? Shepard was never really nice to anyone. Why the hell should she start now?
The elevator came to a rough halt as the three stepped off the platform, looking around themselves for signs of trouble, and perhaps some curiosity. Shepard made the first approach to Liara as she mulled over how to handle this situation. “Doctor.” Shepard said for a simple approach, though her voice was laced with frustration.
Liara blinked awake once more as she looked out in front of her not seeing anyone. “Oh, Liara stop being so silly, no one is here.” She said to herself, apparently losing all hope for her situation. Shepard gained a look that seemed unreadable to the others as she walked out in front of the bubble, so that Liara could see her.
Liara could see the sharp features in the Commander’s face much more clearly than earlier. Her vision had been skewed by her exhaustion and the shimmering barrier that had been between them. She could also see the fiery red main on her head that looked a bit messed up and matted from the heat and perhaps from fighting through the geth as she claimed, and her vibrant green eyes. “Oh Goddess, why do you haunt me?” Liara questioned, voice wavering between trying to keep herself calm and from losing control of her own fear and emotions.
Shepard half glared. “Listen here now, I am fucking real and I am here to get you out of this fucking hell hole, got it?” Shepard barked. Kaidan sighed from behind Liara, shaking his head. Shepard glared at the Lieutenant much more firmly and aggravated. He held his hands up as if backing down.
Liara shook her head slightly. “You ARE real!” She exclaimed, her heart filling with renewed sense of hope. “Please, get me out of this! I do not want to die in here!” She then all but yelped as the Commander felt a bit badly for having been such an ass with the asari. But that didn’t mean she trusted her as far as she could throw her. With Shepard’s biotic skill that was pretty damned far.
“Well how do you propose I do that, huh? I don’t even know how the hell you got in this damn thing.” Shepard said waving her hand towards the bubble as Liara tried to crane her head to her left at the console that she had messed with goddess knows how many days ago. Shepard followed her line of sight as she spotted the control panel, walking over to it.
Liara cleared her throat as she felt so tired just trying to form a solid sentence. “I used that to lock myself in here, but I must have touched something I was not supposed to. It is all in prothean so I do not know to fully translate it as it is a complex language structure.” She rambled as Shepard cocked a brow at the console, pressing the button that would bring it out of sleep mode. “I do not know how you will figure out how to get me out of this prison, it took us some time to figure out the barrier curtains.” Liara went on as Shepard looked over the console.
She understood it just fine, she wondered if the asari was just delusional still or not. Hell if Shepard knew anyway. “Alenko, get over here.” Shepard commanded. Kaidan quickly obeyed as he stepped up to the console looking over the strange language before him, his omni-tool translator doing nothing to decipher the text on the interface. “When I tell you to, release the asari from her little bubble.” Shepard said laying in some commands on the GUI rather quickly.
Kaidan cleared his throat softly as he looked from the computer to his commanding officer. “Uh, Commander… I can’t even read this.” He said quietly, dreading her temper. But she looked at him confused, like he just said something completely stupid. He shrugged at her though before waving at the console. “This is a prothean ruin, right? This all has to be in their language, I have no idea how you’re even understanding that.” He went on as Shepard’s brows furrowed.
She shook her head, finishing what she was doing. “Must be that damned beacon back on Eden Prime that tried to turn my brain into scrambled eggs. I don’t know what the hell it did to me, but this shit looks English to me.” She replied before she stopped her work.
“Beacon?” Liara questioned having been listening in. Shepard frowned, knowing she probably said more than she should have. But when she looked up at the asari she could almost see a childlike curiosity plastered on her nearly baby soft face. Shepard half growled to herself for having even mentioned the beacon when she wasn’t even sure if Liara was one of the enemies.
Shepard ignored her though as she turned to Alenko, grabbing his hand rather abruptly, placing it over the keyboard. He blinked as he suppressed a hint of a blush on his cheeks, finding it odd that he even had such a reaction. “When I tell you to, press this damn button so we can get back to the ship.” Shepard said rather sternly before letting go of his hand and making her approach back to Liara.
Shepard stood in front of Liara, “I don’t know who the hell you’re with, so I am taking you into custody under Spectre authority until we can sort this shit out on my ship, understood?” She said firmly as Liara blinked. Spectre? A human Spectre or someone the woman was working for that happened to be a Spectre? So many questions, but Liara felt too weak to prod any further. So she simply nodded her head at Shepard.
“Now, Alenko.” Shepard commanded as he nodded pressing the button Shepard told him to. There was a slight fuss with the console before it sparked, and went dead, perhaps from being so old, but it worked as the bubble quickly vanished.
Liara yelped as she was suddenly set free, falling to her feet hard. But she was so weak that she did not stay on her feet for long before falling forward with another undignified sound. Shepard blinked though as she simply just reacted as the asari fell on top of her, catching her before lowering them both to the floor onto their knees before Shepard too fell over from being caught off guard.
Liara, in her attempt to catch herself threw her arms around the Commander’s shoulders before feeling herself getting caught. Her mind was in such a sorry state that she could not make any sense of this suddenly as she looked up at Shepard who only looked at her like she was the weirdest thing ever. “Goddess, it’s you!” Liara cried out before just outright passing out on the spot.
“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” Shepard barked feeling so confused and frustrated over everything that was happening. Just what the hell was it with this asari who was now passed out in her arms, and to make things worse there was a sudden rumble as the underground cave shook violently.
Suddenly her comms came to life, “Uhh, Commander? I’m reading seismic activity at your position. You might want to get the hell out there, that thing is about to blow.” Joker said before the comms went dead as Shepard let out a sound of frustration.
“No, seriously, are you fucking kidding me right now?” She questioned sounding angry as she all but hurled the doctor over her shoulder as she hustled for the center elevator. “Move out, double time people!” Shepard ordered as they all piled around the elevator controls as Shepard frantically typed in a command, hoping that taking this thing up would be the easiest and quickest way out.
Wheew! O_o That chapter was slightly longer than I expected, but I hope it was worth the read. I wanted to take a slightly different approach to finding Liara from the game. So while similar it’s my own twist, and we still have a krogan battlemaster to face. So stay tuned, I will try and pump out another chapter soon! In the meantime let me know what you all think. I'd love to hear some feedback lol...
Chapter 14: Chapter 14
The elevator reached the top floor. Shepard didn’t expect anything less when they came face to face with the krogan that Liara had mentioned to them on the top floor. Well, honestly Shepard had hoped she was just crazy when she had mentioned it to them, but Shepard still wasn’t too surprised. He was accompanied by a few remaining geth even. Micah sighed heavily feeling a headache, both annoyed and in a hurry to get out of this pit as it shook and rumbled around them once again. And it was getting worse every time it happened.
“Hand over the asari and I just might let you live.” The old krogan said, though his tone seemed like he was excited for the idea that they would refuse. He was a krogan after all, the majority of them craved for conflict and fighting. Wrex pumped his shotgun as if wanting Shepard to refuse as well.
Just fucking really? She had thought to herself as she shifted the unconscious asari on her shoulder. It wasn’t that Liara was really heavy, but she had been slung over her shoulder for a few minutes now, and it felt like she was getting heavier by the second as well.
Shepard assessed her situation. One unconscious nerd, two battle hungry krogans, some tin heads, a volcano about ready to explode. “We are standing in the middle of a god damn volcano ready to pop its fucking top and you want to have it out?” Shepard questioned, sounding impatient and entirely unenthused.
The unknown krogan let out a rumbling laugh, much like Wrex would when he was amused by something, “Exhilarating, isn’t it?” He questioned, his voice perhaps full of mirth. Shepard looked up at the ceiling of the old prothean structure and grumbled to herself as the building shook more violently than before, causing almost everyone in the area to stumble slightly.
“Just get the hell out of my way before you regret it.” Shepard then said as she slowly looked back down at the krogan, her eyes hinting at her more dangerous nature. But the krogan did not seem intimidated in the slightest. In fact it only seemed to excite him, even as she allowed her biotics to flare around her.
But as the underground structure rumbled once again, debris began to fall. Bits of building and the rocks the jetted through the ceiling came crashing to the floor around them, causing everyone involved to scatter slightly to avoid being hit by debris. On second thought… “Come on man, this shit is not gonna hold up. Can I just get your number and kill you some other time?” Shepard asked, just nearly missing getting her head cracked in by some of that debris.
The krogan shook his head however as he let out a fierce roar as he began to charge at the group. Shepard summoned her biotics as she actually cringed, wondering just how badly this might hurt when something completely unexpected happened. As the krogan was half way through his charge another large chunk of rock came crashing through the roof from somewhere above them and landed right on top of him, halting him in his tracks.
No, seriously? Shepard thought to herself as she visibly winced at the sight before her, the krogan stone cold dead with a boulder much larger than him having pretty much crushed him. His own blood began pooling all around him instantly. “Ok, raise your hands if you didn’t fucking see that coming.” Shepard said as everyone looked at the crushed krogan, including the geth. Kaidan actually raised his hand.
Wrex actually pouted as he looked down at the dead krogan under the rock. “I really wanted to fight him too.” He said, his voice just as pouty as the expression on his face. Shepard rolled her eyes as she shifted Liara on her shoulder again.
But the geth only took advantage of the moment that caught the organics off guard as they began to open fire at them, catching them even further off guard. “Fucking tin foiled lamp headed dipshits!” Shepard shouted as one shot impacted with her shields, bringing them down to just under half strength as she scurried for cover, managing to keep Liara still slung on her shoulder.
Wrex lost all trace of his amusement as he began to charge at one geth himself, ramming it hard on impact and lifting it off the floor with ease before tossing it somewhere out of sight. Shepard shifted Liara who began to finally stir as Shepard nearly unceremoniously dumped the asari on the floor before grabbing at her assault rifle on her back. “Oh how nice of you to join us.” Shepard said, her tone heavily sarcastic as she began to lay cover fire for Alenko to retreat to his own cover while Wrex went on a rampage worthy of a krogan against the geth.
“What is happening?” Liara questioned, as the building shook violently, halting any effort the asari made at standing as she fell back onto the floor. Oddly to Shepard’s relief. Mostly due to the effort she had went through to retrieve her for questioning. She did not come all this way to have the asari get herself killed by a damn robot.
Shepard pulled the trigger on her gun, aiming right for one geth’s head, watching its shield shimmer before breaking and becoming riddled with bullet holes. “Oh you know,” Shepard started, her tone anything but humorous, “One minute you’re trying to leave a volcano all fucking nice and quietly, the next a damn krogan is squashed by a rock.” She went on in sarcasm as she watched the geth she was shooting at crumple to the ground.
Wrex could be heard letting off a laugh as his head collided with another geth, the sound oddly disturbing as the metal casing of the AI crunched beneath the impact. “I do not understand.” Liara said, her voice sounding like she wasn’t sure if she should be agitated with the commander or a little afraid of the fact that they were apparently in a volcano.
Shepard made a grab of Liara’s arm as she noted that there were no remaining geth. “Don’t worry your pretty little face about it.” Shepard said impatiently as she yanked the asari from cover, in a hurry to leave before they all became roast. Or like the dead krogan. “Alenko!” She shouted over the now near continuous sounds of the ground and building surrounding them breaking apart.
Alenko came running over as Liara stumbled over herself, her legs feeling weak, and definitely not appreciating the fact she was being tugged around like a rag doll. “Sorry, Doc, but we gotta fucking go.” Shepard muttered halfheartedly, and perhaps a little worried, as she slung one of the asari’s arms over her shoulder as Kaidan got the idea and did the same on Liara’s other side.
“Wrex, take point!” Micah had to holler over the sounds as the ground beneath their feet shook in absolute violence. Shepard, Kaidan, and Liara had to do their very best to not all fall over each other in a heap as the world around them became rather unsteady, following Wrex who ran at a full pelt ahead of them.
“Ground team to Normandy!” Micah then shouted, the worry becoming much more apparent in her voice, all usual traces of annoyance, anger, and aggression gone. Well, she may have been a hardass, but death by volcano was hardly her idea of fun either.
The reply she got came in a little choppy, perhaps interference from the seismic activity, “Commander, where the hell are you?” Joker came back as the group of four made their way through the tunnels trying to make their way up the many stairs that twisted and turned.
“We’re on our way, you had better be fucking here by the time we reach the surface!” Shepard continued to shout, trying to keep her cool as Wrex disappeared onto a level above them as they tried to climb, what Shepard hoped, to be the last set of stairs. Liara yelped though as the stairs began to give way to the earth quakes around them as Shepard and Kaidan tried to cling to the railings while keeping hold of the asari.
Shepard strained, her own muscles sore from all of the day’s fighting and hiking and now climbing with the volcano threatening to eat their asses alive. “Get a move on, T’soni!” Shepard hissed as Liara fell forward, desperately scrambling up the stairs, adrenaline fueling her exhausted and sore limbs. Shepard shoved Kaidan ahead of herself as the Lieutenant tried to hoist Liara back to her feet as they made it to the next level just in time to see Wrex rushing out the door and onto the planet surface.
Shepard could feel the heat rising, smoke and dust filling the air as the levels below them crumbled. She bolted behind the others, shoving them out the door, the Normandy waiting for them with the cargo bay doors open. “Go go!” Shepard yelled as Wrex hoisted the asari over his own shoulders as she looked like she couldn’t keep going, Kaidan and Shepard hot on his heels as they bolted their way onto the ship.
Kaidan and Shepard collapsed onto the floor, panting desperately for air, both hacking their lungs out from the dust. “We’re in.” Wrex said casually into his own comms.
Shepard rolled onto her back as the ship lurched forward, barely felt, but obvious still. She made an effort to look down herself to see the tunnel entrance collapse as the ship took off, the cargo bay door closing. Her head hit the cold metal floor of the ship as she continued to try and catch her breath. “Fucking never again.” She said after a moment.
“Couldn’t agree more.” Kaidan panted beside her.
Liara let out a pent up breath of her own as she was just wanting to sleep. “Wrex,” Shepard started as she slowly pushed herself off the floor, holding a hand out for Kaidan to help him onto his own feet. “Escort our favorite new buddy to the med bay, but keep an eye on her.” She finished as Kaidan managed to get up onto his feet, dusting off his armor which was covered in dirt.
“Uh-huh.” Wrex said as he turned and stomped off to the elevator, Liara still on his shoulder as she seemed dazed and confused before the door slid shut. “Joker.” Shepard then said as Ashley approached them, taking their guns for them to get cleaned and stowed away.
“Oh hey, Commander.” The pilot responded over the ship’s PA system, his voice holding that sarcastic tone he tended to use when making a joke. “You know, just for future reference, we shouldn’t play around Volcanos. It tends to melt the hulls.” He finished as Shepard muttered to herself, but too tired to really reprimand him either.
Shepard nodded at Ashley as she took the last of her weapons. Ashley gave a nod in return as Shepard stood straight marching for the elevator now. “Set a course for the Citadel and tell the Council we have T’Soni.” She said as she waited on the elevator, itching to get her armor off so she could wash up.
“Aye-aye, Shepard.” Joker said before the line went dead.
God Micah felt like she’d been mauled by a thresher maw as she rolled one shoulder trying to work a kink out of it. Kaidan stepped up next to her, also wanting to get cleaned up and out of his armor. “You got 15 minutes to get cleaned up, then go watch T’Soni so Wrex can do… Whatever it is krogans do.” Shepard said.
Kaidan looked to her a little confused as to why Shepard didn’t just assign a regular security detail. “If you don’t mind my asking ma’am…” He prompted. Shepard looked to him, and he could clearly see the dark circles under her eyes, but she waited for him to go on. “Why me?” he questioned.
Micah sighed. She rubbed at her left temple with her gloved hand, fending off a headache. But not one of agitation, but one from a lack of sleep. “Let’s face it, Alenko. She hardly seems to be in lead with Saren, but I still don’t trust her, and…” She trailed off a moment looking at the ceiling of the elevator as it slowly rose to the deck above them. “Well, you’re nicer than most of us, she’d probably appreciate that more than a damn krogan starring her ass down.” Micah went on.
Kaidan was a bit taken back by that statement. Maybe Micah wasn’t as cold hearted as she let on. “Or she might be putting on a damn ruse for all I know and you can just be happy-go-lucky you and lure her out if so.” Shepard added as they finally reached the crew deck as the elevator door took its sweet ass time opening. Kaidan frowned. Well maybe not.
Micah had a shower and took a much needed nap. She had given Pressley a short list of orders and left him in charge so she could get some rest. And thankfully, no visions from the beacon, and no dreams of Torfan. Actually, she didn’t have any dreams at all, and it was a Godsend.
So when Shepard woke up a few hours later she felt stupidly refreshed. But she had shit to do. She had left Liara in Chakwas’s care and Kaidan was to guard Liara, just in case she was not who she seemed to be. So that was a thing Micah had to deal with. So she got dressed in a crisp clean uniform and marched out of her quarters with a purpose.
She entered the med bay, spotting Kaidan sitting in a chair on one side, scrolling through some data pad. Chakwas sat at her desk, going through something on her computer and Micah spotted Liara sleeping in one of the medical beds, an IV stuck to her arm. “Ah, Commander. I was starting to wonder when you’d stop by.” Chakwas said as she stood from her desk, picking up a data pad as she approached Shepard.
Micah stepped further into the medical bay, the doors closing behind her as Kaidan regarded her with a short nod. “So, what’s up with T’soni here?” Shepard asked. Chakwas stepped up next to the Commander, handing her the data pad as Micah began to read through it.
Chakwas clasped her hands behind her back as she looked at her sleeping patient. “She will be just fine. She was severely dehydrated, and suffering from malnourishment along with sleep deprivation.” Chakwas began and Shepard read over the doctor’s medical report. “I have her on some fluids that should bring her back to speed, and she will need plenty of rest. I expect a full recovery within a few days.” Chakwas finished as Micah made a sound of acknowledgment and handed Chakwas the report.
Micah rubbed her brow some trying to think of how to handle this. “We’re on a course for the Citadel, so when she wakes up let me know. I’ll have some questions for her.” Micah said. Chakwas nodded before returning to her work station.
“Ma’am.” Kaidan said before Micah walked out of the medbay. She stopped in her tracks, feeling impatient already, knowing she had a damn report to fill out. Or at least part of it. Goddamn she hated paperwork.
Shepard spun on her heel, looking at the lieutenant. “What is it?” She questioned.
He cleared his throat, as he stood from his seat, “Permission to be relieved of duty? I could use some shut-eye.” He said, sounding rather professional in his request. He knew the Commander could be rather strict at times, but he figured even she knew it was late and that they had a long run on Therum.
Shepard actually did drop the stern look for a moment. “I’ll see to it a couple of security personnel is posted and then you can hit the bunk.” Shepard replied. Kaidan nodded at her as he sat back in his chair, looking over his datapad once more as Shepard exited the med bay.
I am actually going to end it here. I had found myself in a slight corner towards the end of this chapter. Sometimes it happens to me and I spend the majority of yesterday and today trying to figure out how to get myself out of it lol. Hopefully it didn’t fall too flat at the end as it was a rather… shall we say explosive start at the beginning of this chapter lol.
Do not fear though. A fresh chapter will be started soon enough as I have had SO many ideas of where to go after this bit. It was just trying to find a somewhat smooth transition to it that held me back.
So hopefully you’re all enjoying this, let me know if there’s anything I can do to better improve if something seemed out of place. =D Until next time.
Chapter 15: Cnapter 15
“So you’re going to hold custody over Dr. T’soni?” the Turian councilor asked. Micah never really bothered to remember any of their names. She probably should, but fuck it right? Maybe it’d push their buttons if she just gave them all random nicknames. She shook her head slightly though trying to keep focused on the call at hand.
Micah shrugged her shoulders at the three images of the turian, asari and salarian councilors. “My ship’s physician says she needs some damn rest, she’s been held up in that stupid fucking pit for god knows how long.” Shepard stated impatiently. Why couldn’t they just wait until she had a proper report to give them? But no, no… They needed to act like impatient shits and call her up the moment they docked on the Citadel.
“That ‘pit’,” the turian started using air quotes, “was a valuable prothean site, and you just blasted your way through and triggered a volcanic reaction.” He continued, sounding like he was talking to a two year old. Shepard glared at him, not appreciating that one bit. She thought about just biting her tongue… But she also wanted to call him out on it.
She folded her arms over her chest as she perked a brow at him. “Oh yes, I guess I should’ve asked the volcano to please not explode because my damn bosses might not approve.” She replied dryly. He glowered at her as the asari councilor ran her hand over her face.
“Enough.” She said to them both. “If Dr. T’soni needs rest then we can wait to hear the final report.” She went on, trying to end an argument before it really got started. Shepard let her arms fall to her sides, standing a bit straighter. “I assume you have yet to question her?” The asari further asked.
“As I said she’s passed out in the damn med bay, so no.” Shepard replied shortly as the three councilors looked to one another for a moment. “But right now I’m betting she’s got nothing to do with that rat bastard Saren or her mother. But until I can speak with her I don’t trust her.” Shepard went on as the others nodded to her once.
The asari stood taller as she clasped her hands behind her back. “We will be waiting to hear the report. Until then we are tracking some leads and will `give you more information when we find something solid.” The asari replied before their images shimmered a moment and the line went dead.
Micah sighed to herself as she rubbed at her brow. It took about a day to get to the Citadel and T’soni was still out cold. Though with how hard it was for Micah to sleep with that fucking beacon she almost didn’t blame the asari in the Normandy’s medbay for sleeping so much. Though she also felt unusually jealous that someone on this ship could get so much damn sleep.
Shepard began to march out of the comm room when she got a page on her omni-tool. Micah stopped short at the doorway of the comm room as she pulled up her omni-tool seeing a message from Doctor Chakwas about the asari showing signs of waking up. Shepard was rather tempted to ignore it and do some other needed shit like an inventory check so they could resupply while on the Citadel. Mostly just to spite the council and make them wait.
So Micah typed in a message telling Chakwas she would be busy for a bit, almost snickering to herself knowing that it would likely annoy the turian councilor more than the other two. “Fucking dick deserves it.” She muttered to herself as she began to head to the lower deck.
Liara stirred awake. First thing she realized was that some of the soreness in her limbs was lesser, and she felt much more rested. And then she realized she was lying on a bed, and she suddenly sat up, looking around herself. “Where am I?” she questioned, feeling a panic rise over her. Did that krogan back on Therum succeed in getting to her? If so what was to become of her? What would Saren want from her?
But she heard a woman’s voice with a peculiar accent speak up. “Shh-shh, you are safe, Dr. T’Soni.” Chakwas said as she stood from her desk and approached Liara’s bed as she summoned her omni-tool. “I’m Doctor Chakwas, the head physician on the SSV Normandy, an Alliance vessel.” She said in a gentle and assuring tone. Liara blinked several times as Chakwas did a scan over her, looking over whatever came up on her omni-tool.
“Alliance?” Liara questioned as Chakwas smiled at her, looking nothing but kind and friendly. “Isn’t that the human military?” Liara then asked as Chakwas’s omni-tool vanished again as the older looking woman wheeled up an office chair next to the asari’s bed.
Chakwas nodded at her as she aslo had a data pad in hand as she took a seat, calling up Liara’s medical chart. “Yes, Commander Shepard and her team brought you here from Therum.” Chakwas said as she rested the data pad in her lap. Liara looked down, letting her hands fold into her lap as she starred at them in silence, as if in thought. “First thing is first, how are you feeling, dear?” Chakwas asked.
Liara looked back at the woman, giving a small smile at her, appreciating her bedside manners. “I am feeling better, thank you.” She replied as Chakwas smiled back, typing something on her data pad quickly.
Chakwas then sat her data pad down again. “That’s good. When you came on board you were several dehydrated and sleep deprived and hadn’t eaten in days.” Chakwas said before she pointed the IV feed in Liara’s arm. “I have you on some medications and of course have you rehydrated now. I’d take it slow when eating solids, stick to something easy to digest.” Chakwas went on as Liara listened to her carefully, nodding in understanding. Chakwas lightly patted Liara’s hands to show her more assurance. “You will make a full recovery, so nothing to fear.” Chakwas then finished as Liara gave her as smile of appreciation.
Liara then lost herself in thought again, trying to make sense of everything. She did not understand why she was on an Alliance vessel, and what the humans would want with her. And she tried to remember the last events on Therum, but some of the details seemed fuzzy at best. “Am I under Spectre custody?” Liara asked slowly, unsure if that was just something she had imagined or not, but it had been something she thought she recalled.
Chakwas regarded her for a moment. “Yes… The Commander is a Spectre, its fresh news, so if you have been in that dig site for a while I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard.” Chakwas said, knowing she could not give the asari too many details on what was happening. She did feel guilty in that sense, as Liara seemed like such a nice person on first impression. She looked lost and confused being in the medbay with no one she knew to give her any kind of support.
Liara nodded. “What is to become of me, Doctor Chakwas?” She then asked, looking concerned. Chakwas patted her hands again assuredly before standing, data pad in hand. The human woman gave her a look that seemed apologetic.
“I’m afraid I don’t know, dear. That is up the Commander. She should be by sometime soon.” Chakwas answered as she scooted the office chair back towards her desk before checking up on Liara’s IV to be sure that everything was going smoothly. Liara gained a look as if something unpleasant came to mind.
She looked at Chakwas, a frown on her face. “This Commander Shepard… I seem to recall her being rather crass.” She then said as Chakwas gave her yet another apologetic look before she turned and slowly made way for her desk. Chakwas felt nothing but sorry for the asari, knowing full well how the Commander could be.
“Yes… The Commander can be rather difficult at times.” Chakwas confirmed as Liara lied back into her bed. “Don’t worry, she won’t harm you in any way.” Chakwas assured, but it felt like little comfort for Liara. In fact she was sure she had made a fool of herself in front of this Shepard woman, and wondered if that would be held against herself. She hoped not.
An hour had passed, and Micah had seriously forgotten about Liara in the medbay. She had busied herself checking up on what they would need at the citadel that when her comm chirped at her she was a bit thrown off. “What?” Shepard said in agitation as she lost count on the thermal clips that they had.
There wasn’t even any hesitation when Doctor Chakwas spoke up, “Commander, I informed you an hour ago about Doctor T’Soni. The poor girl is sitting here looking lost, you are being a rather poor host.” Chakwas said sounding rather unamused. Shepard muttered to herself, not appreciating the way the doctor was taking with her as she saved her progress on her data pad.
“You will watch your tone.” Shepard said as she stood in the middle of the cargo hold, some of the crew looking at her only briefly before busying themselves with whatever they were doing.
Chakwas could be heard snorting in amusement. “Don’t give me any guff, Shepard.” She said, still sounding amused. Just what the hell was with this crew? Shepard grumbled, but before she could say anything further Chakwas spoke up again, “Please come check up on Liara, she might actually appreciate it more than you realize.” Chakwas said, not allowing for any argument as she cut the line.
Shepard threw her arms up in the air in frustration, grumbling before she stormed off for the elevator. This crew has no idea what the hell respect means. She thought to herself as she entered the elevator and pressed the button.
Shepard marched for the medbay, knowing she was working herself up and knowing she should probably not go marching in their yelling, but it was so stupidly tempting. So she stood outside of the medical bay, straightening and re-straightening her uniform shirt as she muttered to herself over her annoyance.
Shepard looked around for a moment and noticed some of the crew just… watching her stand there. She glowered at them. “Don’t you people have duties to attend to?” She barked as they all had this deer in the headlights look as they scrambled out of the mess hall and to where ever their stations normally were.
Shepard huffed to herself knowing she probably looked a bit crazy having stood there for god knows how long but finally she pressed the release for the door as it slid open and she stepped in. “Ah, Commander, there you are. I was beginning to wonder if you had gotten lost.” Chakwas said, her tone nothing but friendly, but she had this slight shit eating grin on her face too. Shepard frowned and glared at her.
Liara looked at the Commander from her bed, cheeks flushed a kind of violet color before she looked down at her lap, her hands wringing a bit nervously, having remembered the way she had acted on Therum. Goddess, that was embarrassing to think about. “So sorry for keeping you waiting.” Shepard said, her voice a little strained, but she eyed Chakwas as she said it. Chakwas just smirked slightly before she busied herself with whatever was on her computer.
Shepard grumbled as she pulled up a visitor’s chair and plopped it nonchalantly in front of Liara’s bed before straddling it backwards, arms resting on the back of the chair. “So ya, basically, I got questions for you, Blue.” Shepard muttered, sounding anything but kind. Liara frowned at the commander, not appreciating being called “blue” at all, thinking it may have referred to her skin color.
Shepard seemingly ignored Liara’s agitated look. “I’m a Spectre and I’m on a mission of importance, and you have the unfortunate position of being guilty by association. So I’m going skip the stupid shit and ask you straight up,” Shepard went on as Liara looked from Shepard to Chakwas. Chakwas just shrugged at Liara, looking apologetic once more. “Are you or are you not in cahoots with your mother and ex Spectre Saren?” Shepard questioned rather bluntly.
Liara blinked her eyes. Her mother? What did she have to do with this? She knew Saren wanted her back on Therum, but had no idea her mother was involved with him. “My… My mother? I do not understand, Commander Shepard.” Liara said, her tone and look giving away her confusion. Shepard eyed her carefully. If Shepard was ever good at anything it was being a living lie detector. And honestly Liara didn’t look like she knew what she was talking about.
Shepard gained a look of thought. She was not good with tact, and anyone who knew her could attest to that. “Your mother and Saren have been charged with treason by the council, I was sent to Therum to retrieve you ass to determine if you were a part of their stupid coo.” Shepard started as Liara looked rather upset in that moment. “Uh…” Shepard stopped mid rant as she looked to Chakwas as if she needed… something. Chakwas just frowned and shook her head at the Commander, obviously not approving.
Shepard ran a hand over her face, trying to think of a better way to put this. “I’m not a people person.” She muttered mor at herself than Liara, who looked like she had a million questions. But that look on her face. There was no mistake, Liara had nothing to do with this shit. Actually it was kind of a look like Shepard had just shot her puppy. “Ok, let me back up.” Shepard then said as she let out a heavy sigh. “Sorry this shit has been dropped on you out of nowhere, but your mother and Saren have been accused of some heavy shit, and I need to find them and stop them.” Shepard said, trying to ease off on her usual uncaring tone, but it wasn’t as successful as she had hoped either.
Liara nodded some, her eyes dropping to her lap, her hands clasped together tightly. “May I know what has happened to my mother?” Liara asked, unsure of how to process this information. She felt like her heart had been crushed. How was her mother a traitor? She was also so kind and caring… So wise, and always had a smile and was so accepting of others.
Shepard frowned to herself. In a way she just wanted to get this shit over with, but a small part of her kind of felt bad. “I’m sorry, I can’t give you the details.” Shepard stated flatly as Liara nodded once more, as if she understood, but that look said she really didn’t. “I have to ask, T’soni. Do you have any idea why Saren would want to up and kidnap you? Or what he and Benezia are attempting?” Shepard than questioned.
Liara looked back at the Commander, unsure if she wanted to dislike the Commander for how forward and uncaring she seemed to be, or appreciate that she took the time to find her. And give her the news about her mother being in on this. “I do not know…. I have not spoken with my mother in over fifty years.” Liara said, her tone sounding both confused and perhaps a hint of depression. “I had no idea she was even working with him, I have dedicated the past fifty years of my life to researching the protheans.” Liara added as Shepard sighed but nodded.
“Alright. I’m going to have to turn you over to the Council. They will give you a protective detail in case Saren or Benezia makes another attempt to grab you. I have no idea what they want from you, but whatever it is… Well it seemed pretty damned important with the shit I saw trying to get to you.” Shepard said as she stood from her chair. She picked the chair up as she turned her back to Liara.
Shepard didn’t even make any other attempts to say anything as she walked out of the medbay, leaving Liara feeling crushed and even more lost than before. Mother, what has happened to you? She wondered to herself as Chakwas went over and sat on the edge of her bed, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry about the Commander, Doctor T’Soni. She is not very good with this sort of thing.” She said gently as Liara nodded. “If you need anything, do let me know.”
Shepard had called for a meeting with her crew but not before she dealt with the damn Council. She had given it another hour to contact them so she could finish inventory and put the order in. It would take at least a day or two to get order filled and piled onto the Normandy, since some of it had to come from Arcturus station. They had given her a lead on some stupid planet called Feros, so she needed to go over it with the crew and how T’Soni was a dead end.
Micah stood against the console that dealt with incoming and outgoing calls, watching the ground team file into the room, taking seats in the chairs that circled it. “Alright, let’s just jump right into this shit.” Micah said as she stood, moving over to the center of the room, calling up some data from her omni-tool onto the big screen. “First off that running around on Planet Volcano was mostly a fucking bust.” She started as the crew looked at the screen, Garrus couldn’t help but snicker to himself for the Commander’s new name of Therum.
“The lead with Dr. T’soni went nowhere. I mean at least we got her out of that fucked up situation, but otherwise I’m pretty damn sure she has nothing to do with Saren.” Shepard went on as she pulled up the brief from the council on Feros.
Ashley spoke up, “So what are we going to do with her?” She questioned as the others nodded in their own curiosity. Shepard let her omni-tool return to sleep mod as she shrugged her shoulders, sighing heavily. She planned to do nothing with the asari but hand her over to the council.
“Not a damn thing. She’s the council’s problem now.” Shepard replied. Ashley sat back in her seat, as she simply nodded at the Commander’s answer. Shepard figured Ashley felt the same as herself regarding Liara. Out of sight, out of mind. She didn’t need some damn nerd hanging around on the ship being useless. This mission was too big, she needed people who could fucking do something.
Shepard gestured at the big screen after shaking her head at herself, trying to focus on the task at hand. “So apparently there’s a pretty credible lead on this dinky little colony on Feros called Zhu’s Hope. I have less information than what we had on Therum. Fucking figures.” Shepard said, muttering that last part.
Everyone looked at the information as it scrolled by on the screen, before running on a loop. Shepard walked to the end of the chairs so she could look at everyone, back by the console. “But, given what we dealt with on Planet Volcano,” Shepard started as she rubbed her face once. “I am pretty confident we can handle a few back world colonists.” She said, to which she saw a few of her crew sitting a bit taller. She wouldn’t often compliment whatever team she worked with, and while she knew she was a pain in the ass, she knew talent when she saw it.
“So what are we expecting on Feros?” Garrus questioned as she looked to the turian. She leaned against the console, folding her arms over her chest.
She shrugged her shoulders at him though as everyone looked at her expectantly. God damn if she didn’t feel incompetent with this mission. It seemed like every time they went out on the field she was given less and less fucking information, and she didn’t like looking stupid in front of her crew. “All I know is the colony went dark a few hours ago. The last communication to come from Feros was from some company called ExoGeni with claims of a geth invasion.” She sighed.
The crew looked to each other before Wrex spoke up, “If there’s geth, then Saren’s involved.” He said almost lazily. Shepard nodded at the old krogan. She was growing to like the mercenary. He was kind of like her. To the point, and wasn’t afraid to point out the obvious.
“Yep, in a nutshell.” She replied as she stood tall again, shutting off the video feed. She then regarded her team again, “Look, I realize we’re all running into this shit blind and no one is more agitated by that crap than me.” She started. She took a breath, trying to keep her annoyance at bay. “But we’re out here for a reason, and we’re gonna show that son of a bitch what we’re made of. He will not get away with this crap, no matter how little we know of what the hell is going on.” She concluded.
Ashley looked kind of smug with this smirk. “Hell yeah, Commander!” She said as Shepard could see everyone else nodding in agreement. Well, at least her crew was enthusiastic about this. Suppose someone had to be when all she wanted to do was tell everyone to fuck off and go back to a more normal routine.
“We’re leaving as soon as we’re restocked, so get your game faces on and be ready to move out. I’ll see what more I can dig up on this shit.” Shepard said. Everyone stood from their seats and began to walk back out of the room as Shepard eyed Garrus for a moment. While she was ready to be rid of the asari she did wonder if it would be worth the effort to keep tabs on her. If Saren came looking for her, it might lead them to him quicker than this shit of chasing leads around the galaxy.
“Vakarian, hold up, I want to talk to you. Privately.” She said as he stopped and walked back towards her. She waited for everyone to leave and rubbed the bridge of her nose. He looked at her curiously as she sighed a bit. “You’ve been a cop for a while, ya?” She questioned once they were alone.
He nodded his head as he watched her. “Yeah, why?” He asked feeling perhaps a little confused. She didn’t exactly come off as the type to just ask a question without reason. He just wondered what she was thinking that had to do with his days with c-sec.
“Let’s be fucking honest, this is my first command and it’s this big whole, ‘Shepard save us from the big bad things’ type of shit. I need some advice.” She started. He nodded as she frowned, feeling like she probably looked weak admitting that to him. She hated looking weak. She hated feeling it even more. “Well I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of shit out there fighting crime all that crap. T’Soni...” She stopped, looking like she was looking for the right words. “Think Saren would make another attempt to snatch our little nerdy friend?” She then asked.
Garrus’ mandibles flared as he saw where she was going with this. He was a cop, and she assumed he had dealt with simple kidnapping cases before. And she was right, he had. “Whatever he wanted from her before seemed pretty important.” Garrus stated, as Shepard had figured before. “You don’t spend that much time and man power to snatch someone if it wasn’t for some greater goal.” He added as she nodded at him.
“That was my thought.” She replied. He nodded at her. “You got any useful contacts on the Citadel?” She questioned him next as he gave a short chuckle. He actually admired the Commander. She was kind of like himself, if he ever had the guts to do half the things she’d done. And he knew exactly what she wanted.
He gave her a heavy pat on the shoulder. “I’ll put some feelers out. Don’t worry, if Saren tries again we’ll know about it.” He said as Shepard gave him an appreciative look and nodded at him. Maybe getting help from others wasn’t always such a bad thing after all.
Well then, there we are. I know I posted a chapter not all that long ago, but sometimes when I get going, I can’t stop haha. Anyway, thanks for all the kudos, bookmarks and all that stuff. It means more than you all know lol. So until next time!
Chapter 16: Chapter 16
Micah sat in the mess hall trying to look up any information she could find on Feros. She had allowed some of the crew to have a bit of shore leave, but making sure it was crystal clear that she could call them back at any given moment. She couldn’t afford to have her crew going out and getting fucking drunk or some shit. She needed them in a good state of mind, not hung over. A sluggish crew was useless on a mission like this.
She scrolled through a data pad, looking up information on this ExoGeni and what their purpose was on Feros, but was coming up short on anything relevant. What the hell would Saren want with a stupid little colony doing frontier work and research on stupid shit? None of it seemed relevant to the Reapers or the Conduit mentioned in Tali’s recording that helped them expose Saren back on the Citadel.
Micah sighed as she unceremoniously dropped the data pad, hearing it clatter onto the table with little fucks to give over it as she picked up her empty coffee mug, and walking towards the kitchen for a refill. As she poured more of that sacred dark liquid into her mug she could hear the light hiss of the medical bay doors open as she perked a brow to herself.
She turned, raising the mug to her lips as she blew on the steamy drink, spotting Liara sheepishly coming out of the med bay and into the open. Her brow perked further upwards at the nervous asari before walking back to the table, taking her seat again. “Commander?” Liara asked, her tone kind of shy and quiet as Shepard scooped up her data pad again.
“What?” Micah questioned shortly as she decided to see what info there was on the colony itself, not having found crap worth mentioning on ExoGeni. She wondered if Zhu’s Hope found anything worth Saren’s time, as it seemed the colony was built on old Prothean ruins.
Liara stepped up to Shepard’s table as she wrung her hands a bit nervously, unsure if it was even ok to be outside of the med bay. The Spectre didn’t seem to care she was out in the mess hall, but she also seemed rather…. Unpredictable. “Am I interrupting…?” Liara questioned as Micah leaned forward on the table, resting against the top with her arms.
Micah let out a heavy sigh as she sat the data pad down before rubbing her face, feeling rather tired to be honest. “Kinda, but I sure as hell aint getting anywhere with this shit.” Shepard said in frustration as she flicked at the data pad once with her hand, watching it slide across the table. Take that you piece of shit. Shepard thought to herself.
Liara eyed the data pad as it slid across the table after Shepard as flicked at it. Liara cleared her throat as she looked back down at Shepard who had thumped her forehead against the table top, groaning in annoyance. “I am sorry, I could come back later.” Liara stated as she began to turn back around towards the medical bay.
Micah sat back up as she rubbed her forehead almost instantly regretting having whacked it against the table top. “Fuck, you’re already here, what do you want?” Micah muttered as she let her hand plop back onto the table. She hated it when people played beat around the damn bush. It was a weird pet peeve for Micah Shepard.
Liara frowned as she turned to face the Spectre again, not really liking the way this woman spoke to her. “I was just wondering when I would be put into Council custody.” Liara stated rather flatly. Shepard perked a brow at the asari. Micah may not have liked people beating around the bush, and she was still agitated by being pushed around by Chakwas, but now Liara was already getting somewhat pushy. Was this some kind of fucking doctor thing, medical or otherwise?
“Whenever Chakwas decides you can get off my ship.” Shepard said back, just as flatly. The two stared at each other, the mess hall growing a bit tensely quiet. Shepard had to admit, Liara had some damn guts to be getting into a staring match with her. Not everyone was so willing to tango with Shepard. Well… Aside from Chakwas. Most everyone else backed out quickly.
“I do not appreciate the way you are talking to me.” Liara said, breaking the silence. Shepard looked at the asari in some disbelief. She was the one that started this. What the hell did I do to deserve THAT? She wondered to herself. As far as she knew she didn’t say anything she wouldn’t have said to anyone else.
“What the hell is your malfunction, Blue?” Shepard questioned in her own annoyance. Liara glowered at the commander, and Shepard could see that Liara looked down right bristled over that. Good. If Liara was going to be so damned moody, then as far as Micah was concerned Liara deserved it.
Liara folded her arms across her chest as she just could not understand this human. She did not work much with other humans before, and she always kept to herself on digs unless it required going over research with her colleagues. But none of them seemed even as close to as frustrating as Shepard. “Why must you be so rude?” Liara questioned back, getting to the commander rather quickly.
What the fuck is this shit? Shepard thought to herself as she stood. “Rude?? You want rude, you’ll be lucky I don’t just toss you off my ship right here!” Shepard practically shouted, which actually seemed to infuriate Liara further. “I won’t even wait for the damn protection detail for your sorry ass.” Shepard said, lowering the volume of her voice, but definitely still sounding angry.
“I almost wish you would!” Liara snapped back. Holy hell, no had ever been this forward with the commander before. And she almost didn’t even know what to do with it. Her fingers curled up at her sides as she just fumed with this whole damned situation. How the hell did it escalate to this even?
But before Shepard could say anything further, someone else spoke up. “If I didn’t know any better you two sound like an old married couple. What with the ruckus you’re both making.” Chakwas said sounding amused from over by the elevator as she rounded the corner and into sight.
Shepard sputtered, not even knowing what to do with that shit either. What the hell kind of statement was that?? Meanwhile, Liara’s cheeks turned a deep shade of violet. And rather quickly as she looked over at Doctor Chakwas who quickly approached Liara, putting her hands onto the asari’s shoulders, turning her towards the med bay. “Come along, dear. You really must rest.” Chakwas said as she led Liara quickly towards the med bay, not allowing for any further fuming between Liara and Shepard.
Shepard blinked her eyes in utter disbelief as she heard Liara stuttering over herself, unable to form proper words at all as she just allowed Chakwas to gently shove her along before they both quickly vanished into the med bay. “What the fuck even?!” Shepard shouted in her own confusion and frustration.
In the med bay Chakwas lead Liara over to her bed, patting on it before she went to her cupboards on the other end of the room. Liara took a seat on the bed silently, trying to fight the blush on her cheeks, feeling both embarrassed at having lost her temper so easily. That statement Chakwas had made when she had interrupted her fight with the Commander did not help the matter.
“You are one brave young lady, Liara T’Soni.” Chakwas said, her amusement clear as she rummaged through her cupboard under her desk, digging out a tea pot and a tea cup. She figured the asari would need something to calm her nerves and figured a nice cup of tea would do the trick. Or at least Chakwas had hoped it would. She wasn’t even sure if asari liked tea. Well, she could always try and find out.
Liara looked over her shoulder at the human as she began setting up the kettle to brew. “I am… I am so sorry, I do not usually get that way.” Liara stuttered a bit, still feeling embarrassed but also realized she had been shaking slightly, due to her fight with the commander and the adrenaline that had quickly filled her system from it. “I have no idea what came over me.” Liara admitted as she looked down at her lap trying to sort it all out in her mind, picking it apart like it was some new artifact she had found in the dirt.
Chakwas chuckled lightly as she stood by her tea brewer, examining the asari from afar. “Don’t worry, Liara. The Commander has a way of… Well getting on people’s nerves.” The doctor said as the water could be heard brewing in the little machine. “I will say that no one has ever managed to ruffle her feathers that badly onboard the Normandy before. You should be proud.” Chakwas said, amusement still lingering in her voice.
Liara furrowed her brows, unsure of why she should be proud of such a feat. Why would that be a good thing? “I do not see how that should be something to take pride in.” Liara said looking confused. Chakwas smiled gently at the asari, however, as if nothing was wrong at all. Wouldn’t it be a bad thing to anger the commanding officer on the ship? Shepard had authority onboard this vessel, and worse yet, she was a council Spectre. Liara had never in her life imagined she would get into a heated argument with a Spectre of all people.
The heated water began to pour into the tea kettle as Chakwas set two tea bags inside of it. “Shepard is used to getting her way. It’s honestly about time someone didn’t let her.” Chakwas mused as the tea kettle was quickly finished filling with water as she stirred the tea bags inside of it before beginning to pour the darkened liquid into the tea cup. “She will get over it.” Chakwas added as she approached Liara, handing her the cup.
Liara took it as she looked down at the steaming liquid in curiosity. She had known it was tea, tea was something fairly common among asari, but she had never tried the human’s version of it. “It’ll help you relax.” Chakwas stated simply as she poured her own cup before sitting at her desk. “Drink up, and then get some rest. I will clear you in the morning.” Chakwas said with a smile as Liara nodded.
Liara lifted the cup to her lips as she took a careful sip of the hot tea, tasting how sweet it was. She found herself rather liking its simple taste as she felt her nerves already relaxing. While Liara rather liked Doctor Chakwas she was honestly looking forward to getting away from the Commander. That woman perplexed her more than any living being she had ever encountered in her life.
After that stupid argument with Liara, for which the Commander was still rather angry over, Micah had just given up on the whole damn day and went to bed. But it was morning now, Shepard had the remaining crew sorting out their shipment of supplies, while she supervised, trying to keep herself as far from the crew deck as humanly possible. She just wanted nothing to do with the asari after that shit. No one had ever had the balls to fight back with Micah like that before and she still had no idea how to deal with that bull.
But she also knew she needed to call back the remaining crew so that they could get under way. So she left the supervision duties to Garrus, as he was just convenient in the moment and made her way up the ship and to the bridge. Shepard saw Joker at his post, per usual. That man did not leave that chair if he didn’t have to. She wondered why that even was.
“Oh hey, Commander.” Joker said lazily as she came to the side of his chair as she looked over the console’s multiple readings. Joker smirked up at her though as she looked down at him with a brow raised. “So I hear you got into a spat with your girlfriend last night.” He teased as Shepard just glared at the man.
He seemed un-phased by the look of death in her eyes as he let out a cackle. “Oh come on, you can’t expect me not to go poking my nose were it doesn’t belong when there’s nothing better to do.” He then said as she grumbled to herself looking out the cockpit’s window. She did not need to know that her pilot snooped around the crew’s business.
“Can it, Flight Lieutenant.” She said sharply as he shook his head and threw up his arms in a sign of surrender. She huffed to herself, glad that someone still backed down around here when she was not in the mood to deal with bullshit. She folded her arms over her chest feeling herself brood over the whole situation with Liara, and definitely not appreciating Joker calling the asari her girlfriend. She was nothing of the sort and never would be.
But Shepard pushed past her internal brooding so she could get shit done. “I need you recall the crew. We’re fucking leaving as soon as the cargo is loaded and that asari is off my ship. I want them here by the end of the day.” Shepard said angrily before spinning on her heels and marching away from Joker.
He let out a loud sigh of his own as he looked behind himself. “Does this mean I need to cancel the wedding invites?” He called back at Shepard as she visibly bristled. He actually swallowed hard as he quickly began pulling up the list of those who had been relieved of duty. “Shutting up now.” He said loud enough to make sure the Commander heard it.
“You had better before I give you a reprimand.” She called back, no trace of amusement in her voice at all as she walked down the deck towards the CIC. Joker slumped in his chair as he mocked the commander in silence as he began sending out a mass message for the recall.
“Hard ass.” He muttered to himself.
Shepard went right for the comm room as she punched in the frequency to call the council with. She was ready to get the hell out of here and forget the 12 or so hours. “What can I do for you, Shepard?” The asari questioned as her image popped up in front of the commander after only waiting about 15 seconds.
Shepard folded her arms over her chest. Tevos could clearly read the anger all over Shepard as she sighed to herself wondering what was going on now. “I need that protective detail for good ol’ Doctor T’Soni. We are departing for Feros shortly.” Shepard said flatly, not even leaving an invite to discuss the matter.
Tevos nodded to the Spectre as the councilor could be seen activating her omni-tool before fiddling with it. “Done. Can I do anything else for you?” Tevos then questioned, remaining professional despite the young Spectre’s obvious current state of mood. Tevos rather doubted Shepard wanted anything else, and half wondered why she even asked.
Shepard unfolded her arms as she reached for the console, “No.” She said shortly and abruptly disconnected the call before storming back out of the comm room. “Chakwas.” Shepard said hotly into her comm unit. She just wanted to go blow up some geth and get her anger out of her system so she could deal with more important shit.
“Yes, Commander?” Chakwas questioned. Shepard marched down the stairs and towards her quarters, avoiding anyone who might have been in the mess hall. She had a briefing to write up on the colony lay out and what tasks she wanted done on this upcoming mission.
“Get Liara ready to go. Her protective detail will be here shortly. Kaidan will escort her off my ship.” She said shortly before ending the conversation by cutting off the line, much like she had with Tevos. She entered her quarters and sat at her desk as she shot a message to Kaidan via omni-tool and then quickly began working on her mission details for Feros.
When Kaidan received Shepard’s message he had been sitting in the shared crew quarters, catching up on some personal reading. He was one of the few given some shore leave but had opted for staying on the Normandy, not having any real reason to go onto the Citadel. He stood from the table as he tossed his book onto his bunk before stepped out and down towards the med bay.
He opened the door as he stepped inside, giving a friendly smile to both Liara and the Doctor. “You ready to go, Doctor T’Soni?” He questioned, his tone nothing but kind. Liara oddly appreciated it after the drama from the night before. She had mixed feelings about this whole thing though. Part of her was afraid to leave to Normandy, unsure if Saren would try to take her again or not. And while the Commander was not exactly charming, she knew that on this ship she would be safe.
But she also couldn’t stand the attitude from the human Spectre. She was infuriating. And that drove Liara insane as she had dealt with other species who were like that before and she had never lost her temper quite like that before. Why was this so different?
Perhaps it was after everything she had been through recently, she reasoned. That really had to be why. She had been through a lot back on Therum in a matter of days. Feeling sure she had found the answer she spoke up, “Yes, thank you Lieutenant Alenko.” Liara said politely as he smiled back at her.
“Please, just call me Kaidan.” He replied as she smiled and nodded at him.
Chakwas looked to Liara. “Alright, dear. Remember what I said? Plenty of liquids, easy to digest meals, and more sleep for the next week.” She said dutifully to her patient. Liara nodded her understanding of her instructions as Chakwas smile and patted her on the shoulder in a friendly manner.
Liara then walked over to Kaidan who began to lead the way up to the top deck and through the CIC. Liara couldn’t help but gawk at the ship’s design, never having really been aboard a military vessel… Let alone a human military vessel. Kaidan could see her look of awe on her face as he smiled to himself slightly as she continued to lead her down to the airlock.
Once there Joker had opened the doors from his console, having kept quiet, deciding he did not want to get himself into any trouble with the Commander. So when the doors opened he just glimpsed behind himself as Kaidan and Liara disappeared from sight as he shook his head to himself and went back to preparing the ship for departure.
Kaidan spotted the security team waiting for Liara, one of them stepping forward, showing Alenko his badge with ID on it. Kaidan half wondered if Shepard should have been doing this instead of him, but it all looked official, and he trusted that the council knew what they were doing. So he nodded at the turian before him and then looked to Liara. “I’m sorry I haven’t really gotten the chance to speak with you, but I am sorry about the Commander.” He said to Liara who looked at him and half smiled. Well at least he was willing to apologize for Shepard when she clearly wasn’t mature enough to do it on her own.
“It is ok, Kaidan.” She said as he held out his hand to shake hers. She blinked but returned the gesture. He then nodded to her once before he made back for the ship as Liara stood there watching him leave her behind with her apparent body guards as she sighed to herself, feeling so uneasy with this situations he had found herself in. Goddess willing it would be over soon… And she could figure out what had happened with her mother and maybe get back to a more normal routine again.
Alright, ending it there. So I figured I’m going to need to explain some things lol… I wanted this story to be different from the get go. I never wanted Liara and Shepard to get along initially, so that is the reason for the drama in this chapter. My only hope is that it came out smoothly and not… TOO dramatic… or obvious that this was mostly done at the author’s own amusement. Cause he’s a weirdo that way.
Anyway, let me know in the comments =o Not sure if I’ll have another chapter up or not this week, while it’s a light load for me this week, I kind of want to sit back and play some video games and it’ll be Thanksgiving on Thursday. But we’ll see where my mood takes me lol.
Chapter 17: Chapter 17
A/N: So I made a bit of an oops in giving Shepard the Feros intel sooner than I was ready for. But I can work with it. I added an additional sentence in the previous chapter to help fix my oops to make this make more sense and… >> Well not have the events to come instant. Basically, I just added a day to after Liara is off the Normandy for the cargo to get loaded. So ya, nothing to go back for and re-read the whole thing, it was added when Shepard told Joker to recall the crew. So lets get onto the next lol.
Also have had issues with this chapter in general… uhg hopefully it turns out well lol..
Liara had been given temporary housing by the Citadel Council in the presidium. She was thankful, of course, but all the guards huddling around the apartment made her feel uneasy. So she had holed herself up in the single bedroom on a computer terminal doing idle research to keep her mind off of things. Mostly things that had happened on Therum and while aboard the Normandy with the human Spectre.
Most of her research was actually pointed toward the human race, trying to understand why they all seemed so very different from each other. She had even tried to look up the human definition of blue. That had resulted in some interesting… well answers. First and foremost was of course the color, but then there were a lot of sexual references and then the definition of someone looking rather melancholy.
While Shepard seemed immature and brash, Liara highly doubted when Shepard had called her blue it meant anything sexual in nature. But some of the more sexual references had made Liara turn a deep shade of violet. She vowed to never look up human word definitions ever again. How embarrassing that was.
But of course, per usual, she had fallen asleep at her terminal, head resting on her arms, an empty bowl of what had been soup next to the computer, and a half empty glass of water. This would not be the first time she would fall asleep in front of a computer and it would surely not be the last.
But as she slept her dream started out fairly normal… Fairly, anyhow.
She was studying an old relic of the Prothean Empire, carefully turning it over in her hands as she felt a sense of excitement, her stomach fluttering over her find. She could never properly explain the joys she felt in recovering new artifacts, the feeling overwhelming to her senses. She could talk and speculate for hours over what some mundane item from long ago could have been used for or why it was created.
She turned to see her Therum team doing their own tasks as she raised the relic in her hand, excited to show it off to her colleagues. But as she stood, covered in dust and dirt, cradling her precious new find there was a loud screech that filled the underground caverns, causing everyone to drop what they were doing to cover their ears, pain on their faces.
Even she dropped her find onto the ground to cover her own ears. The sounds were so defining and the world began to shake around them. And then the caverns began to fill with geth as Liara looked on in terror as they instantly began firing upon anything living around her, as the screams of her colleagues began to overcome the sounds.
The young asari wanted to scream, wanted to run away, to do anything, but she was frozen to the ground, unable to move a single muscle. She watched helplessly as her scientific team was slaughtered in front of her, blood spilling everywhere. “You will be ours, Liara.” Came her mother’s voice, silencing all other sound around her. Matriarch Benezia seemed to materialize out of nowhere, Liara’s eyes widening at her mother’s presence.
“No!” Liara shouted as she found the will to move as she bolted towards the tower in the center of the dig site, desperate for a hiding place from her mother. She did not want to be taken and used. She didn’t even know what Matriarch Benezia wanted from her, or what evil deeds she was now performing along with Saren. Liara just didn’t want to know.
So she ran, for what felt like miles. She knew she was moving, but it almost felt like she was only running in place, the tower stretching further and further away from her. “You must obey me!” Benezia shouted as she began to walk towards Liara, starting to close the distance with little effort. Liara felt absolutely terrified to the core, while she also felt so confused. Why was this happening?
Finally it felt like Liara became unstuck from her spot as she bolted across the cavern, the tower finally growing nearer. Her heart pounded as her chest felt heavy and pained by what was happening. She quickly scrambled up the broken ramp and into the tower, desperate to get away as she looked around herself, but could hear her mother approaching quickly behind her.
“Mother, please!” Liara begged as she turned to face the elder asari. Benezia looked cold and calculated as she approached her daughter, a dark mist swirling around her form, threatening to consume anything it touched. Benezia’s eyes were devoid of the gentle spirit she once had, replaced by ruthless determination. It was like someone else was inside of Liara’s mother, having choked out the beautiful person she once had been.
Benezia continued to move casually over to Liara, “We have such important work to do.” She said coldly as Liara shook her head, feeling like she was in such despair. She didn’t want to know what this work was.
Just when Liara was about to fall to her knees, beg for mercy, beg to be left alone, she heard a familiar voice behind her. “Hey, Blue.” Liara spun around seeing a familiar shadowed figure she knew she had seen before. Only it was like a veil had begun to lift around this mysterious woman, revealing a human with fiery red hair and piercing green eyes, with this almost charming lopsided grin.
Goddess, Liara never thought she would be so happy to see this person. “Commander!” Liara cried out, practically falling into Shepard out of fear of her mother, but also feeling completely safe within Shepard’s very presence, which Liara did not understand. She didn’t even really know this woman and she knew didn’t much care for her attitude. But she felt safe all the same.
Shepard then wrapped one protective arm around Liara as she began to glow a bright blue from her biotic potential, lifting a gun toward Benezia and firing her weapon.
“Mother!” Liara cried out as she snapped awake and into a sitting position. But when she realized she was sitting in a bedroom in the provided apartment she slumped back into her chair, trying to catch her breath as if she had just ran a marathon. She had been having these dreams for a long while now, only this one was different.
She did not understand why she continued having these dreams but somehow it had foreshadowed what was currently happening. Saren, the Geth… her mother and Shepard. Liara put a hand against her forehead trying to think. These dreams had begun occurring a year ago, and then suddenly… Shepard showed up with claims that her mother was working for Saren toward some end that needed to be stopped… And they were after Liara on Therum…
Liara knew what the only answer could be… Some asari had a rather rare and unique ability, one that was almost similar to a meld, but different. The ability to connect to the minds of those they were close to and had melded with. It was common practice for a mother and her child to meld as the child grew, and Benezia was no different when Liara was but a small child. And Benezia had such ability, though not many knew of it, as she rarely ever used the rare gift.
Goddess… If this was indeed the case that only meant Benezia and Saren had not given up on trying to kidnap Liara. A sense of dread overcame the young archeologist as she quickly flew out of her chair and out towards the living room of the apartment.
She could see the group of five turians sitting about the living room as they looked up at her, their commanding officer standing from the couch looking at Liara with concern as she probably looked rather panicked. “Doctor T’Soni, what is it?” He questioned as she quickly ushered him to her.
“Captain Mantis.” She said as he approached her, his men going back to their business. Once she was confident that no one was listening in she began to explain herself. “I believe my mother and Saren will try again. We must leave.” She said as his mandibles flared.
He looked at her a bit confused. “How can you be certain? No one knows we’re here aside from the council.” He replied as she looked rather flustered. She did not know how to explain it to the turian, but she was also certain she knew there would be another attempt.
“I cannot properly explain it, but I am sure we are not safe here.” She replied looking on edge. Mantis did not want to take chances. He was charged with protecting the asari before him by the council… And by others. Even if she was wrong, he felt it was better to make her at least feel safe.
He looked to his men in the living before looking back at Liara. “Alright, there’s a safe house my men and I have used down in one of the lower wards.” He began as Liara looked like some of her worry had lifted. “It’s not the prettiest of sights, but it’s served us well in the past.” He went on. She simply nodded, looking much more relieved than she had mere seconds ago.
He gave her a nod of his own as he turned around. “Alright everyone, listen up.” Mantis started as the other turians looked to him. “We’re going down to Bachjret Ward.” He said as everyone looked to each other in confusion. They hadn’t needed to use that safe house in a long time. Mostly due to the area, which was surrounded by criminal activity. But it was the last place Mantis figured Saren would look for someone of stature such as Benezia’s daughter.
His men began to get up, gathering up their gear as Mantis turned to Liara as he brought up his omni-tool. “There’s a reason I’m on this job, Doctor.” He began as he typed away at it before he motioned Liara to bring out her own omni-tool. She blinked at him before she summoned her omni-tool, holding her arm out to him. He swiped his omni-tool over hers before he looked at her rather seriously, “The human Specter, Shepard had Garrus Vakarian reach out to his contacts, to keep an eye on you.” He said as Liara almost didn’t want to believe it.
His mandibles flared a bit before he turned and began to gather up his own gear. “I just gave you her contact information. In case something happens.” He went on, his tone dead serious as he picked up his shot gun, pumping it once.
Liara did not think the Commander cared enough to bother keeping a watch on her after she had all but dumped her on the Citadel the first chance she had. Maybe there was more to that human than Liara had first assumed.
The Normandy was underway to Feros, having left the Citadel a few hours ago and had begun its approach for the mass relay. Shepard was heading for the cargo hold with a list from the shipment to give to Ashley, something to keep the gunnery chief busy and get their crap ready for the mission. “Williams.” Shepard called out as she stepped over the opening elevator doors, waving a data pad in the air.
The Gunnery Chief looked up at the Commander who was taking quick strides through the cargo bay to reach the Chief who was tinkering with one of the weapons at her work bench. “What’s up, Skipper?” She questioned as Shepard made a slight face. She didn’t much care for the informality but she was finally starting to get back into a more decent mood knowing they were heading off for another mission.
Shepard dropped the data pad next to the shot gun Williams was messing with. It looked like it was the one Tali used back on Therum. Again Shepard made a face to herself, almost not wanting to think about Therum but the argument she had had with Liara was still fresh on her mind. “It’s a list of some new weapons, mods, and armor from the shipment we got.” Shepard said firmly as Ashley picked up the data pad scrolling through it as she turned and leaned against the work bench.
“Damn, Shepard, that’s some heavy duty stuff.” Ashley mused as Micah folded her arms over her chest frowning. With the new Spectre status she had easily acquired some top level access equipment, she had every plan to take advantage of that shit. She didn’t know what laid ahead when it came to the damn geth.
“Yeah, well, when you got a bunch of fucking tin heads and a crazy ass ex Spectre to chase after, we need every advantage we can get.” Micah replied flatly as Ashley shrugged her shoulders but gave a quick smirk. Shepard just sighed to herself, feeling completely and totally off today. She didn’t normally have to interact with people so much, but having to be in command… On a long standing mission… it honestly took it out of her.
Ashley looked towards the other end of the cargo bay at the stack of shipping containers. “I’ll take care of it, Skipper.” Ashley said as she tucked the data pad into her belt as she called out for a couple of the service men to help her get some of the crates down to dig through them. Shepard looked at the ceiling, thanking whatever God that may exist for small favors. At least this crew seemed to know what the hell to do.
But the peace didn’t seem to last long enough as her omni-tool started chirping at her. Her brows furrowed as she raised her arm pressing in the command to answer whatever call she was getting, as it came from an unknown source. Who the hell would call her omni-tool? “What?” Shepard questioned bluntly as a shaky video image popped up.
Shepard couldn’t even properly tell what was happening, all she saw was blurry images of lights and buildings scrolling through her screen, as if someone was on the run. She could hear what sounded like gunfire and an all too familiar shriek. But then the image settled before a face came into view. Liara’s face. “Shepard!” she cried out, looking absolutely terrified.
Shepard felt more confused than anything as she starred back at Liara. “T’Soni? How the hell did you get my omni-tool info?” She questioned, sounding just as confused as she appeared. But Liara shook her head, trying to catch her breath.
“Please, Commander, you have to help!” She yelped as more gunfire could be heard, and what sounded like people shouting to “find the asari” and Shepard’s face grew firm. She knew what was happening in that instant as she quickly marched for the elevator, Ashley having over heard the call and quickly followed after the Commander.
Shepard regarded Ashley who looked confused as they stepped into the elevator. “I’m coming, give me your location and keep fucking running.” Shepard said firmly as Liara nodded, the image blurring again as it seemed like Liara followed Shepard’s advice.
The video feed cut out as Ashley looked to Shepard, a look of slight anger on her face. “We don’t have time to go chasing her around the Citadel, we need to get to Ferros.” She protested as Shepard looked to Ashley with a look like she was not about to take any arguments.
“Don’t fucking question my decisions, Gunnery Chief. We are going back to the fucking Citadel and that’s that.” Shepard retorted angrily as Ashley stood there, hands balling into fists. She looked like she wasn’t going to back down, despite Shepard being the one in charge.
“Ma’am, we have human colonists that possibly need help, the longer we wait the more chance we have at arriving in a damn ghost town.” Ashley argued as Shepard stepped off the elevator, heading for the stairs that would lead up to the CIC.
But she stopped short at the stairs, starring Ashley down, who actually seemed intimidated. Shepard noted the tone the Chief had, sounding like she didn’t much care whether Liara lived or died because humans were in trouble. Shepard was an asshole but she didn’t care what species anyone was either. “I’m the one in charge here, Williams. I make the damn decisions, you can either follow in line or get the hell off my ship. We’re getting T’Soni. End of goddamn discussion.” Shepard barked, catching the attention of the others in the area, Ashley feeling rather put off as she waved her hand at Shepard before storming back to the elevator.
Shepard trotted up the stairs and quickly entered the CIC, the guards posted at the door saluting her as she stormed past and to the galaxy map. “Joker, make a u-turn, we’re going back to the Citadel.” Micah said firmly as she marked the map. She may not have liked T’Soni much, but she knew she could possibly get a lead back to Saren from whoever was chasing her. That and she didn’t exactly feel right about leaving the asari to deal with it on her own. “And make it fucking snappy.” Shepard added.
Joker’s voice came in through her ear piece. “Just you watch, Commander. I’ll make the Normandy dance.” Joker said, sounding more than happy to break a few traffic laws within Citadel space. Shepard rolled her eyes as she sent out a message to Garrus and Wrex to get ready to go.
Ok so.. ending it here. Sorry this chapter took a bit longer than I had expected… It wasn’t for a lack of trying, I just could not get satisfied with it if I tried. In the end I just started it over from what I was originally writing it out as. I still don’t feel completely confident with it, but it’s better than it was starting out as haha. Anyway, until next time =x
Chapter 18: Chapter 18
Joker was breaking every speed limit he was able within Citadel Space to reach the station. Citadel space had some of the tightest space trafficking laws on this side of the galaxy due to the sheer numbers of ships coming and going. But with Shepard has a Council Specter, she was above the law and would be able to shrug off any stupid fine C-Sec or anyone else would try to give them for it. So she didn’t give a damn as long as Joker got them there in one piece. “We’re still 30 minutes out, Commander.” He said over her ear piece.
“Got it.” Micah replied as she was getting herself ready to go, throwing on her armor, expecting to come into contact with a shit tone of unfriendlies. After clasping her armor in place she summoned up her omni-tool to call up Executor Pallin. When she had originally met the turian on the Citadel he seemed to disapprove of her, probably because she was human, but she didn’t gave two shits right now. She had Spectre business to do and needed to acquisition a shuttle to reach Liara quicker than if she had gone on foot.
“Executor Pallin here.” The old turian answered as Shepard marched out of her quarters to head down to the armory for her weapons.
She pressed the call button for the elevator as she began to type something into her omni-tool to send to the turian. “Pallin, this is Spectre Shepard. I’m sending you my authorization code now.” She said firmly as the elevator began to open. She glared at the slow moving doors, never waiting for them to fully part before stepping in as she all but jammed the button for the cargo bay.
She could hear the turian mutter through her omni-tool. “What can I do for you, Spectre?” He questioned shortly as she waited for the elevator to descend. Fuck whoever made this thing, it was way too damned slow.
“I’m on Spectre business making an emergency return to the Citadel.” She began as the elevator slowly came to a stop on the deck below. “I need a damn shuttle prepped and ready to go in the BachjretWards.” She said as she stepped through the opening elevator doors, spotting Garrus, Wrex and Kaidan gearing up. She never told Kaidan to gear up at all and wondered what he was even doing. But she had other shit to deal with first.
Pallin didn’t sound too happy when he replied, “What could be so important that you need one of my shuttles?” He questioned as Shepard looked annoyed already by the old turian. Garrus looked to Shepard who came to a stop at Ashley’s work bench, who still looked annoyed with the Commander as she began handing off the Commander’s weaponry to her.
Shepard began attaching her guns to her armor as she spoke up, “I have an asset that needs immediate retrieval, if you got a fucking problem with that then you should tell the Council to do their damned jobs better.” She barked back at Pallin, and there was a brief pause.
Garrus and Shepard regarded each other as Wrex lumbered over to them, Kaidan not far behind as he worked at fastening his armor’s gloves into place. “You will have your shuttle, Spectre.” Pallin replied finally as he cut off the line. Shepard rolled her eyes as she was just too much in a damned hurry to get back to the Citadel to care.
However she did look to Kaidan. “Where the hell do you think you’re going, Alenko?” She questioned as he straightened himself out, standing to attention. God he was going to volunteer wasn’t he? Shepard fought with her need to let out an annoyed sigh.
“Ma’am, I figured you could use an extra hand.” He replied as Shepard looked the man over. She should tell him no, just to watch him mope or something to amuse herself… But she knew the extra person may come in handy too. She motioned for him to grab his guns.
“Whatever.” She said sharply as she stormed off towards the elevator, Wrex hot on her heels as he let out a good old krogan chuckle, looking ready to kick some ass as he slammed his right fist into the open palm of his left hand.
They both entered the elevator as Garrus and Kaidan quickly got their guns from of Ashley, as the doors slid shut. “You always seem to know where the fight is, Pup.” Wrex rumbled in his own sense of amusement as Shepard frowned at the old krogan.
“Pup?” She questioned half annoyed yet half unsure if she even wanted to know the answer for it. But she hardly felt like a damn pup, so she let her curiosity get the better of her in this case.
Wrex let out another short deep laugh. “Ya, Shepard. You seem more like a krogan than a human some days. You’re also young, so you’re a pup in my book.” He answered as Shepard grumbled at that. She was afraid he’d say something along those lines. But whatever, she would let him have his way. It wasn’t like she didn’t have her own stupid habit of nicknaming people.
Liara had been on the run for the last hour, trying to avoid getting caught by the people who had ambushed her personal guard on the way to the safe house on this ward. She tried to fend them off every chance she could with her biotics, but she was still recovering from what had happened on Therum. There were moments she simply just wanted to give up, but knew Shepard was coming for her.
Goddess, that woman would be a sight for sore eyes right now, Liara thought. They may not have seemed to get along, but at least Shepard seemed to want to protect Liara. Or, so she hoped… It wasn’t the time to wonder on that however. She had found an abandoned building in the shadier part of the area, hiding behind some no doubt empty crates. She has been hiding there for the last 30 minutes, but she was sure it was only a matter of time before she was found once again.
She sat with her back against the crates feeling so exhausted. She just wanted to fall asleep right there, but knew better than to do that. If she fell asleep she would never see her pursuers coming. But it was so hard to keep her eyes open. That was until she heard odd shuffling sounds within the building, and something being knocked over creating a loud crash sound as she clasped her hands over her mouth to prevent a startled yelp.
She lowered her hands as she heard the sound of a turian groaning in what seemed to be pain. She turned around as she gripped the ledge of one crate slowly and quietly lifting herself to her knees, daring to take a peak. She spotted Captain Mantis laying on the floor, clutching his side as he struggled to get back to his feet.
“Captain!” Liara called out in a quiet voice as he lifted his head, spotting the asari quickly coming out of hiding. He looked back towards where he came from, clutching a pistol in his free hand as Liara approached him.
He accepted her help as she brought one of his arms over her shoulder as he unsteadily got to his feet as she tried to drag him back to her hiding spot, though struggling as he was rather heavy. “Dr. T’Soni… You need to get out of here, they aren’t far behind.” He coughed harshly as she all but dropped him onto his haunches against the crates as she brought out her omni-tool doing a quick basic medical scan on him.
“I do not know how much more running I can handle…” She admitted as she noted the turian was in bad shape. He was not going to make it without medical attention, and soon. “Captain, you need to get to a hospital.” Liara said, her voice still hushed so that they did not attract any more attention. Mantis shook his head however as he looked down at his gut, noting the amount of blood covering his hand and abdomen.
His mandibles twitched as he licked the inside of his mouth, tasting his own blood as he let his head plop back against the crates. “That’s where they’ll look first.” He managed to say, sounding like he was out of breath. “I’m sorry, Dr. T’Soni… I did not know one of my own was dirty.” He said as he cleared his throat.
Liara frowned as she wished there was something she could do for the turian. But she had no medigel, and it looked like he had used up whatever he had by trying to slow the bleeding from his armor which had been cracked and chipped away by gunfire. “It is ok, Captain Mantis.” She tried to say in an assuring tone.
They both heard people talking towards the front of the abandoned building as he pulled out a grenade from his utility belt. “Time to go.” He said as she could see he was setting a timer on the grenade. She gave the turian a sad frown as he lifted his other hand, giving her the pistol he had. “I hope you know how to use one of these.” He said as she took the offered weapon as she nodded looking rather terrified in that moment. “There’s an exit straight through the back.” He said as she looked over her shoulder at a half opened door, which looked like it had lost power some time ago.
She turned back to face Mantis. “Thank you, for everything.” She said sadly as he gave her a turian smirk and a nod. She quickly got to her feet, clutching the pistol as she made a run for the door, her legs and feet complaining against being on the run again, but she had no choice.
She quickly exited the building as she heard someone yelling before the sound of a loud explosion as smoke poured out of the building, faint glows of a fire showing through the back door. She blinked back the threat of tears as she began to run down the back alley, hoping that Captain Mantis’ sacrifice would not be in vein.
The Normandy was finally docked as Shepard saw Wrex, Garrus and Kaidan eagerly waiting at the airlock with her. “Ok, we’re in, the shuttle is waiting down by the cab station just down the ramp.” Joker informed the Commander as the airlock doors gave a heavy hiss as they slid open for the ground team.
“Alright people, let’s get T’Soni and get the hell out of here, we got people on Feros waiting for our asses.” Shepard ordered as the other three trotted out the door with her right behind. They quickly made way for the c-sec shuttle as Shepard gave a half-hearted wave to the c-sec officer standing outside of it.
As the others quickly climbed into the shuttle she regarded the human more closely. “Any word on activity out there?” She questioned him. The younger looking male brought up his own omni-tool as he began to go through his feeds to see what he could find.
Shepard glimpsed into the shuttle, noting Kaidan taking the pilot seat while Wrex and Grunt took a seat on one of the benches lining the back wall of the shuttle. “There’s been reports of gunfire and grenade explosions. We got officers trying to figure out what’s going on but we can’t seem to keep up with whatever it happening. I’ll forward you the most recent location.” The young man said as he seemed to do just that.
Shepard nodded at the man as she climbed into the shuttle as she closed the hatch, moving up to the front of the shuttle taking the seat next to Kaidan. “Let’s fucking get going.” She said to him as he nodded, the shuttle taking a quick dive before he began to pilot it forward.
Shepard quickly looked up Liara’s omni-tool info as she began to call the asari, hoping she was still breathing out there somewhere. After a brief wait Liara answered. “Shepard! Thank the Goddess, please tell me you’re coming.” She said, looking and sounding worse for wear. Shepard couldn’t help but give the asari a cocky smirk, which oddly reminded Liara of her dream before all of this began to happen. If she wasn’t already outright exhausted she might have blushed at that smirk.
“Duh. Now where the hell are you? I’m on the citadel but I need to know your location.” Shepard said as Liara seemed busy with her own omni-tool on the other end. Shepard looked a little impatient but her omni-tool chirped indicating a text based message.
Liara looked back at Shepard through their video feeds. “Please hurry, Commander. I do not know how much longer I can keep this up.” Liara said, just sounding ready to give in to the situation. But Shepard couldn’t have that shit. Liara was… Well innocent in all of this. Shepard was an ass hole and she didn’t care much about anyone, but she had her duty to uphold. And for better or worse, part of that was not letting an innocent person get in harm’s way if she could help it.
“Don’t even fucking give up, T’Soni. I’ll be there soon, you’re doing good, just hold out a bit longer.” Shepard said as she cut the line as Kaidan regarded her with a side look. He had never really heard her talk to anyone like that before. It was kind of… out of place, but still refreshing to see the Commander wasn’t as cold hearted as she made herself out to be.
Shepard noticed Kaidan looking at her as she frowned at him. “What?” She questioned, her usual tone back in place. Kaidan sighed as he looked at the readouts as he piloted the shuttle. Or maybe not. He just didn’t get Shepard at all, and it somehow frustrated him at times.
He shook his head as Shepard displayed Liara’s location on the shuttle map. “Nothing, Commander.” He replied.
She sat back in her seat, thumbing the armrest feeling antsy to get this shit done so they can get their asses moving for Feros. “Whatever.” She muttered as he shook his head again.
After about ten minutes to speeding through traffic with the shuttle’s sirens blaring Kaidan sat it down in some dingy little district, shutting the engines down. “This is as close as I could get us.” He said as Shepard sprung from her seat heading to the back of the shuttle, releasing the door’s latches as it lifted open.
“Garrus, you know the Citadel better than we do.” Shepard said, her voice nothing but in command. Garrus nodded his head at the Specter, his mandibles twitching. She looked to Kaidan, knowing he’d probably rather come with her, but she felt better taking Wrex along. He had tracking experience while Garrus knew his way around this shit. “Alright two teams, Kaidan you’re with Garrus. You two find a way to flank these little shits, Wrex and I will try to get directly to the source.” She ordered as she hopped off the shuttle, readying her assault rifle as Wrex jumped down behind her with a loud thud, cocking his shotgun.
Garrus nodded at Kaidan, who nodded back as they got off the shuttle behind Shepard and Wrex as Garrus closed the shuttle up, locking it down. “Alright, let’s go.” She said as Wrex ran out ahead of her, looking ready for a fight with the Commander hot on his heels.
“I know the basic area Dr. T’Soni’s in, it’ll be a long route but it’ll flank the position.” Garrus said as he led Kaidan in the opposite direction of the Commander and krogan. Kaidan nodded as he took one last look at the fleeting forms of Wrex and Shepard before he trotted after Garrus, both of them with their own guns at the ready.
Shepard and Wrex ran down one part of the district, the whole area just looking like absolute shit. Trash everywhere, buildings in desperate need of repair. It almost looked like something straight out of fucking Omega. “I thought the keepers maintained this shit.” Shepard commented as they slowed down as Wrex looked around, spotting some bullet holes along the outside of some run down food joint.
He shrugged his shoulders as he followed the pattern of bullets as it lead down some side street. “They’re supposed to, but who the hell would want to hang around this place?” Wrex questioned as he followed the road before spotting more bullet holes, facing the direction of where they just came from. Shepard made a sound like she agreed as she kept a look out for any hostiles. “This way.” He then said as he took off at a trot, Shepard following closely behind.
Liara’s legs refused to carry her any further, even knowing that the turian who had been part of Captain Mantis’ team was right behind her, and she had lost the pistol along the way when she had tripped over herself. It had slid away and out of view, but she had no choice but to abandon the weapon and continue running.
“Damn, T’Soni. I thought I’d have to put a bullet in your leg for a bit.” The turian said chillingly casually as Liara turned to face the man who had been pursuing her since he helped ambush the very people he had worked with. She let out a heavy breath, just wanting to collapse on the spot and fall asleep. But she tried to summon her biotics instead, and nothing but a faint blue glow surrounded her before it puttered out. She was still too weak from not having enough nourishment back on Therum.
He let out an easy laugh as he waved his assault rifle around, closing the distance fast as he quickly grabbed Liara around the waist, easily lifting her off the ground as she kicked at the air, and wrestling with his arm. “Let me go!” She yelled out, trying to summon her biotics again, but nothing even happened this time.
“I don’t think so, Doc. See I’m getting paid a shit load of money to bring you back to Saren. I intend to collect.” He said menacingly as Liara tried to whip her head back, hoping to hit the turian in the face but he easily avoided that. “You got some fire, kid.” He mused as he began to carry her off. “Might have to see just how much fire later.” He laughed, as if he was making a joke with friends. Liara felt her blood run cold though.
“Hey!” A woman’s voice suddenly shouted as the turian stopped and lazily turning to see who would be stupid enough to interrupt his nearly finished job. He spotted a human woman, assault rifle raised, with fiery red… Oh what did humans call it…? Hair? And green eyes, and she looked armed to the teeth. But he gave her a grin.
She looked brimming with anger as her biotics flared as he held up the hand holding his own gun in mock surrender. “Oh no, a squishy human, what am I ever going to do?” He questioned, his tone sarcastic as Shepard glared the turian down.
“Shepard!” Liara yelled, her eyes lighting up with hope as she couldn’t even suppress the relieved smile on her face as she stopped struggling with the turian. She had never thought she would be so happy to see the rude Spectre, but Goddess her stomach did somersaults hoping this whole thing would be over soon. At least now with Shepard here anyway.
“I think I got dibs on rough handling the Lady.” She snapped back. That got him laughing and Shepard almost growled to herself. She was not putting up with this bullshit, not when she had crap to do. “I’m the Specte who’s going to fuck your day up. Now give me the Doctor, and maybe you fucking live.” She warned as the turian’s mandibles flared. He seemed to be thinking this over, all laughs and sarcasm aside.
Shepard eyed the man carefully, not having any idea what Wrex’s hold up was. They had run into some hostiles along the way and he just went crazy, finding the whole thing absolutely fun. She equally didn’t know what Garrus’ or Kaidan’s hold up was. She really needed the back up here. But no one was around. The turian lowered his gun as he suddenly dropped Liara back to her feet before he roughly pushed her into Shepard.
Shepard lowered her own gun, catching Liara with one arm who stumbled into the Commander as she caught herself around the human’s shoulders. “Hey, Blue, you alright?” Shepard questioned as Liara frowned at the nickname that seemed to be sticking. But Shepard’s voice genuinely sounded… concerned…
“I hate it when you call me that.” Liara said flatly as Shepard rolled her eyes, letting her guard down only slightly as she eyed the turian who seemed to give her a toothy grin. Shepard didn’t have much time to ponder it though as she felt Liara reach for her pistol.
Before Shepard could even ponder that shit Liara ran purely on instinct and empty fumes as she gripped the pistol tight, aiming over Shepard’s shoulder. “Commander!” She yelped as she pulled the trigger, letting off a round before there was a dull thud as Shepard spun them both sideways, looking at a downed salarian, who had a shotgun in his hand.
“Fucking hell!” Shepard yelled as she shoved Liara behind a giant trash compactor for cover before raising her assault weapon quickly, firing at the turian before he had a proper chance to react himself. He shouted out in pain as his shields stood no chance against Shepard’s new Spectre grade weapon, crumpling to the floor choking on his own blood.
Shepard quickly joined Liara squatting next to the asari, poking her head around the corner as a krogan and two more turians rounded the corner at the end of the narrow alley. “Shit!” Shepard said as she quickly ducked back behind the compactor as a spray of rounds went whizzing past her head. She looked to Liara who looked pale as she gripped the pistol in her hand tightly, shaking like a leaf.
Liara had never had to shoot a person before. She had small arms training growing up. Benezia wanted to be sure she was able to defend herself if the need had ever arisen… And it apparently had. The most Liara ever had to do was shoot warning shots at wild life if they ever came into a dig site that may have been their territory… But never in her life had she had to kill anything or anyone.
She felt a pit develop in her stomach as she faintly heard Shepard calling her name. She looked up at the woman who was trying to carefully pry the gun out of her hand. “Damnit Wrex where the fuck are you?” Shepard barked into her comms as she continued to try and coax the asari to give her the gun. While she was grateful Liara had probably just saved her ass, the asari did not look so good having to do it.
“I’m on my way!” Liara could faintly hear Wrex shout over the comms.
Liara swallowed hard as she finally released the weapon as Shepard tapped her on the chin once, perhaps trying to reassure the asari, but looking awkward over it. “We’ll get you out of this shit hole soon.” She said much less annoyed than she usually sounded. Liara could only manage a nod as she hugged her knees to her chest as Shepard released a biotic warp wildly at their attackers.
Shepard was trying to keep them back long enough for Wrex to get his happy ass to them, having heard additional guns going off. She dared to take a quick glimpse around the corner. Five of them, heavily armed. She sat back against the compactor, aiming her gun around the corner letting off a spray of wild fire. “Fuck this day.” Shepard muttered to herself feeling like a sitting duck.
But the she heard Wrex stomping full speed around the corner she had come from, letting out a battle roar as he charged after their attackers. She could hear a struggle, a few blasts of his shotgun and then dead silence. She looked to see Wrex standing over three of the five attackers as the other two were running like scared kids away from him.
But they were quickly cornered when Kaidan and Garrus finally made their appearance, guns raised. The two turians looked from them to Wrex. They then began to fire at Kaidan and Garrus desperate to escape the krogan, but Shepard’s team was quicker as they dispatched of the two turians quickly as they fell into a heap over each other.
Shepard stood, yanking Liara to her feet who still looked like she was totally anywhere but here. “Alright let’s get the fuck back to the shuttle and get back on track.” Shepard barked as the other three ran ahead of her as she looked at Liara. Her blue eyes looked to be light years away. Shepard almost cringed not wanting to sound like an asshole but needing Liara to get her ass in gear. “Come on, we can’t fucking just stand around here.” She barked as Liara snapped back to their current place. Liara just silently nodded as she followed after the commander as they trotted away from the scene.
Whew! O_o that was a longer chapter than expected. I figured I’d cut it off here and pick this up in the next chapter. So ya I wanted to do something different here again. Liara seemed totally naïve and innocent when it came to Shepard’s world in ME1… And definitely no soldier.. And for some reason that always bugged me so there. I fixed it haha. Hopefully it’s a good fix. We’ll touch up more on it next chapter =P
Until next time.
Chapter 19: Chapter 19
I'm sorry to have to say that this story might get put on the back burner again. Some really... upsetting news was brought to the attention of myself and my fellow co-workers where we work and our store is getting shut down on Christmas Eve... So I am going to have to spend some time seeking new employment and I apologize for the delay in any upcoming chapters. For the lot of us where I work it is like losing our home and it was a rough day when we got the news. I will try to post, if I find myself in the mood, but right now I feel like I am... not in a good place of mind to do so. I am sorry for any inconvenience if anyone was anticipating more chapters. I have a bunch of notes on this story already written down I promise I will not lose track of where I was going at the very least.
The ground team quickly entered the Normandy’s airlocks as Shepard looked to Joker. “Emergency departure, Joker.” She said firmly, having been stewing over what had happened on the Citadel. She couldn’t even explain it, normally she could have cared less what would have happened to someone. But she couldn’t help but silently fume over the Council dropping the damn ball on this.
She looked to Liara who looked like she was about as close to looking dead as it were possible. She had barely spoken a word on the way back to the Normandy. She didn’t seem to be anywhere close to where they were, her light blue eyes looking dull and distant. About all Liara had said was what had happened when Micah asked about it. Even then it was in as few words has possible.
“Alenko, take the Doc down to the Med Bay, have Chakwas give her the once over.” Shepard muttered as the Lieutenant gave her a silent nod. He tried to smile at Liara warmly who could only fake a small one as he led her down towards the lower deck.
Wrex and Garrus followed after them as Shepard was ready to unload on the Council. “Set up a damn line with the Council, Joker. And then head for fucking Feros, I want off this station.” She said angrily as the pilot glimpsed up at her, but not daring to ask as he did as he was told. Shepard quickly marched down towards the back of the CIC to the comms room.
When she got into the comm room the images of the three Councilors stood before her, all of them looking displeased. Fuck them, though. They deserved what was about to come to them. “What the hell is going on, Shepard?” The turian demanded as she stopped short of the council, already unclasping her armor’s gloves, tossing them aside into one of the chairs. “We have gotten reports of a firefight and then C-Sec find dead bodies?! Where is Doctor Liara T’Soni?” He demanded.
She gave the turian one of the deadliest stares she could muster as he actually looked like he swallowed a bit. “I’d like to fucking know the same thing. What the hell? I thought you people were supposed to keep her ass safe?” Shepard shot back, her tone on the cusp of absolute rage. The three Councilors exchanged looks before looking back to Shepard.
“We had no idea Saren would make another attempt so soon,” The salarian began as Shepard looked him dead in the eyes. Or as close as she was going to get anyway, considering they were nothing but holographic images. “We were going to relocate her to a more secure location today, but obviously Saren had other plans.” He finished as Shepard scoffed at him.
She folded her arms over her chest as she regarded each Councilor carefully. “I am taking custody of Liara again. After that bullshit I am not letting her out of my sight.” She began as the asari councilor looked like she was about to argue against that but Shepard did not want to even hear it. “I don’t fucking care right now. You idiots fucking blew it and could have gotten her killed today, and my decision is final.” Shepard said as the turian began to sputter in his own anger. Probably from being called an idiot.
“Enough!” Tevos said sternly. Shepard glared. “If you feel it is best, then the choice is yours, Commander. We created the Spectres to work outside of the law to ensure the safety of both the galaxy and our government. If you feel it is best to have Dr. T’Soni with you then that is all you have to say.” Tevos went on, looking less than amused. Like Shepard needed the fucking lecture.
Shepard let out a pent up breath as she tried to calm herself down, not even understanding why she was getting so fucking worked up anyway. Since when did she care about what happened to others? But the fact remained, she was pretty damned livid. “Ya, I fucking feel it’s best.” Shepard said shortly as Tevos sighed.
Tevos began to wonder if it really was a good idea to have this Shepard as a Spectre or not… But they had made worse mistakes before… Such as Saren… Perhaps it was better to have someone they knew was upfront and rude… Than someone who seemed to want to protect the galactic community but secretly plotted its demise instead. At least Shepard’s motivations were clear cut. She basically just saw this as another job and knew humanity was using her to gain a spot of power within the council.
Sparatus seemed to be saying something to Tevos, who silently lifted her hand up at him, to silence whatever whispers he had. “Understood, Commander.” Tevos said as she let her hand fall back to her side as Sparatus looked away, unhappy, with his arms crossed over his own chest. “We will look forward to hear your Feros report.” She then concluded as their images flickered and vanished.
Micah sighed as she rubbed at the bridge of her nose before grabbing up her gloves and leaving the comms room. She needed to get shit back on track, still not having a whole lot of information on Feros and what to expect there. But right now she needed to go talk with Liara about staying on the Normandy for the duration of this mission. What the hell was she even going to do with a prothean expert anyway?
Shepard made her way to the medical bay as the door parted, Shepard walking in, her expression frustrated and perhaps on edge. “How is she Doc?” Shepard questioned. Micah had probably sounded as frustrated as she felt. Chakwas looked up at Shepard, having been running a few scans on Liara who sat on one of the beds.
“Given the rough week or so that she’s had, I’d say she is in good health. She needs more rest, but she should be fine.” Chakwas said as she handed Liara a cup of tea as the asari took it quietly, but doing nothing more than holding onto it with both hands, staring at the contents in the little cup, still looking downcast.
Chakwas walked up to Shepard, looking to Liara one more time before she looked to Shepard. “I don’t know what happened down there, but she hasn’t said a word since Kaidan brought her in.” Chakwas said quietly. She didn’t know what had troubled Liara so much, but she knew she was not going to succeed in getting the asari to talk to her about it.
Shepard frowned, her brows furrowing a little, perhaps looking… concerned? Chakwas took note of the look anyway, not usually seeing such an expression on Micah’s face. “It got fucking bad out there. I don’t think Liara’s ever had to kill someone before today.” Shepard replied. It was a rough guess, but after Liara had probably saved Shepard she hadn’t said shit. Chakwas frowned as she looked to Liara with this look that was full of sympathy for the young asari.
Shepard sighed as she rubbed her hand over her forehead not even sure how to handle this crap. She still remembered the first time she had to kill someone. For her it was out of vengeance and fear. For Liara is mostly to avoid getting caught up in whatever shit her mother was doing with Saren. It just so happened to save Shepard in the process. “Maybe she’ll talk to you then.” Chakwas suggested as Micah gave her a look of doubt.
“I doubt that shit.” She replied flatly as Chakwas gave her a stern look. Shepard sighed as she threw her hands up in the air. “Fine, whatever. Give us a fucking moment, alright?” Shepard said, her usual agitation showing yet again. Chakwas shook her head as she walked out of the med bay, leaving Liara and Micah alone.
Micah tossed her gloves off onto Chakwas’ desk as she approached Liara. The asari was still staring blankly at the cup of tea in her hands, which rested on her lap. “Alright, Blue. What’s eating at you?” Shepard asked, standing there awkwardly, not even sure how to deal with shit like this. Shepard was not a touchy feely person. She didn’t do the cry on my shoulder routine. She didn’t like getting close to people for a fucking reason. She had no patients, and she doubted anyone found her approachable to begin with.
Liara blinked her eyes as she looked up at Micah, not even sure how to decipher the tidal wave of emotions crashing through her head. She also just didn’t have it in her to ponder on more human phrases and euphemisms. All she could do was set her cup aside on the table by the bed before cupping her hands over her face and just begin to cry right there on the spot. Micah almost felt panic as she watched Liara basically break down in front of her.
For Liara it was just too much to even deal with. First what happened to her team and herself on Therum, spending Goddess knows how long in that prothean bubble, starving and dehydrated, on the point of mentally falling apart from the lack of sleep. Then the people tasked to protect her dying on the Citadel trying to do that very thing. Also still not knowing what was going on with her own mother, and then having to actually kill someone. It was simply too much.
“Hey, hey come on, don’t… don’t do that shit.” Micah said actually sounding sympathetic, though feeling panicked on the inside. She didn’t even know the first step in trying to make someone stop crying let alone making them feel… better. Truth be told she was more tempted at finding some lame ass excuse to run away then sit here and try to figure this crap out.
Liara looked up at Shepard, her face wet with tears as she continued to sob audibly, shaking and looking lost. “Why is this happening, Commander?” She questioned meekly, her voice shaken from crying. Shepard looked at her and shrugged her shoulders, unsure of even how to answer. Liara just needed… Something. Micah knew this but she didn’t know what the hell to give her.
So Micah squatted in front the asari when she looked back down, Liara still fighting back her emotions. “I don’t know, Liara. That’s the honest to fucking God truth.” Micah said. Liara couldn’t even process what she was doing next as she slid off the bed before clinging to the Commander as if she was a life line, hugging around her shoulders tightly as she began to let out a good and proper sob.
She had no one else to turn to. Shepard was not the person Liara expected to find comfort from, but at the same time Shepard had risked everything on two separate occasions to bring Liara out of dire situations. The second time Shepard didn’t even have a reason for it. Who else was she going to bare her distraught to? Her mother was not even an option and Liara had little in the ways of friends. She always preferred burying herself in her work on researching the protheans and their disappearance.
Liara had buried her face into the Commander’s armored shoulder, which was uncomfortable but given her current state of mind didn’t much care. Shepard went ridged as Liara clang to her tightly. What the hell was she supposed to do now? This was not exactly her area of expertise. She had never exactly been sought after by anyone to comfort them before. Like ever. “I have never had to harm anyone in my entire life.” Liara sobbed out, trying to process what had happened these past several days, and most of all, today.
“Er…” Shepard said as she felt so tense trying to hug the asari back, not exactly sure what else to do in this situation. “If it’s any consolation you probably saved my ass today… And I don’t thank people often so if you say shit about it I’ll deny it,” Shepard started as Liara sniffled heavily, still shaking with how overloaded she felt sobbing against the commander. “But thanks.” Micah finished, her voice sounding as stiff as her body felt.
Shepard barely felt Liara nod against her shoulder, considering the asari’s whole body racked with sobs against Micah. She didn’t know how long this shit was supposed to last and Micah was feeling uncomfortable as fuck as she stiffly held onto the asari, who continued to hang onto Shepard as if letting go would mean Liara’s very death.
So while Micah felt uncomfortable as shit like this, never being one to let anyone in her personal space, she just… Held onto Liara. What else was she supposed to do? She wanted to shove her away, tell her she had shit to do, leave the med bay and be done with it. But some small part of her, perhaps the part of her she never let out on the surface, felt that one act of kindness was not going to fucking kill her either.
In the end it honestly didn’t take Liara long to cry herself to sleep, her body feeling like it had gone a bit limp, her sobs and sniffles having, for the most part, silenced. God what the hell is it with this girl and passing out on top of me? Micah couldn’t help but wonder as she looked perhaps more agitated than not. Either way she did her best to scoop Liara’s ass off of their squatted position on the floor and cradled Liara in her arms.
Shepard carefully lied Liara down on the bed she had been sitting on. Micah looked the asari over once as she made a noise to herself wandering over to Chakwa’s cabinets in search of a stupid blanket. Why the fuck are you even bothering with this shit? Micah wondered to herself as she went rummaging through one tall and wide locker, pulling out some itchy ass looking blanket. Micah had no answer for her internal question as she walked back over to Liara’s bed unceremoniously dumping the blanket over top of the sleeping asari.
“What the fuck ever.” Shepard muttered to herself as she grabbed her gloves off the desk and headed out of the med bay as quickly as she could, ready to be far away from Liara. But she didn’t get too far out the door before she nearly marched right into Kaidan face first.
They both kind of startled each other when he rounded the corner right in front the Commander. “Fuck, man!” Shepard shouted as she was nearly ready to deck the Lieutenant in the face from having rounded the corner so fast in front of her. She was just so on edge, she hadn’t really slept in nearly 24 hours and now they had fallen behind more than a few hours on getting to Feros. Not to mention the weirdness of having to coddle someone she didn’t really know.
Kaidan blinked as he held up his hands as if submitting to the Commander. “Sorry, Ma’am, I didn’t see you coming.” He replied quietly as she let out a loud sigh and shook her head. She rubbed the bridge of her nose ready to be away from people now. Having Liara clinging to her so tightly and without care for who and how Shepard was… Well, it was enough socializing for one day. “I assume you saw Liara?” Kaidan then asked, as if reading Shepard’s mind.
Micah sighed heavily as she shrugged her shoulder. “Yeah, what of it?” She questioned shortly. Kaidan gave her a look before he shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, how is she?” He questioned. He kind of felt bad for the asari given all that she had been through. He wondered how she must have been feeling after all that she had survived in such a short amount of time. She needed a friend more than anything, and he doubted she would really find one in the Commander, but still. If she had seen Liara maybe it was… a start. He would leave it at that. It was a start.
Shepard brushed passed him heading for her quarters ready for some damn sleep. “How the fuck should I know? I’m not a damn mind reader.” Shepard said a bit snippy. In truth she had a pretty good idea but she didn’t need people to think she was about to suddenly start caring about stupid shit now. Not while they had people to stop. She just… couldn’t.
Kaidan sighed as he frowned watching the commander disappear into her quarters. Well that went nowhere fast. Kaidan actually wondered why he tried to interact with the Commander, but something about her just… Well it kept him from leaving well enough alone.
Micah Nicole Shepard used to have friends as a little kid. Or well something like friends anyway. They were a band of kids back on Earth, living on the streets in an old abandoned two story bar. They use to have so much fun, even though Shepard was always a quiet kid. But there was one friend in particular she really liked. A young boy. Or at least he said he was a boy. Shepard was only 9, she didn’t give a damn.
This boy was no ordinary boy though. He was 11 and he would say he was born a girl but liked the idea of being a boy. It was good enough for Shepard. But they were closer than the rest of the kids in their little group. The two of them did almost everything together. From hacking bank terminals to stealing food and causing general mischief and petty crimes.
And this run was no different. Micah and Toby were pick pocketing complete strangers in the richer part of Seattle, Washington. They were laughing together in a back alley as they showed off their loot to each other.
Micah looked up to Toby. He was a really nice boy, and he was the one that brought her to the group of homeless kids after she had run away from home. He always made sure she had food and a blanket at night to go to bed with. He even once stole a stuffed teddy bear for her from some store.
If Micah were honest she kind of crushed on him. She didn’t care if he was born a girl, she liked him all the same. He was always so nice to her, and always making jokes with her and stuff, even when the other kids either made fun of her or were scared of her for showing signs of being a biotic. But as they shared their loot of credit chits and other random items people would keep in their pockets a sudden terrifying screech filled the air around them.
That was when Micah saw something resembling husks running at them from the only entrance of the alley. The two kids screamed in terror as they fled in the only direction they could, being chased by these creatures that did not resemble anything living today. If Micah could, she would almost describe them as creatures from the very bowels of Hell. The world around Micah also began to morph and darkened, the sounds of metal scraping and scratching against metal filled the air as loud horns blared throughout the city.
The two young children ran into a dead end, cornered by these terrifying creatures with metal glowy bits sticking out of their sunken dark brown skin. “Nikki!” Toby would cry out as the husk-like creatures lunged at him. They began tearing him to pieces as Micah screamed in horror, seeing the gore unfold in front of her.
The world around her faded as suddenly the images from the prothean beacon started to flash across her mind, odd sounds and smells filling her senses as she couldn’t break away from the vision as much as she tried.
“Toby!” Micah cried out as she sat straight up in her bed, once more drenched in sweat and feeling like she had never been sleeping at all, feeling just as exhausted as when she had gone to bed. She breathed heavily as the faded remnants of the vision continued to play out in her head, blurring her vision as her hands clutched at the sides of her head, her teeth grinding together as she grunted from the headache the visions gave her.
Once the vision faded she panted heavily, feeling like she had just finished a 20 mile run at full speed. Her clothes clung to her body from sweat as she felt sick to her stomach, not having thought about her childhood, or Toby in a very long time, and mixed with the visions from the Reapers… Well it left her in a sorry mess physically and a bit mentally.
She quickly slid out of bed as she rushed for her bathroom, feeling like she was going to fucking puke. But when she reached the bathroom the sick feeling already began to pass. She knew Toby didn’t die from Reapers or husks or anything like that. In all actuality he had pick pocketed some gangster from the Tenth Street reds and lifted some red sand from the guy. Toby paid for it with his life at the age of 13.
Still the feeling was unsettling. She had once really liked Toby, and it was part of the reason she never dared to let herself get close to anyone. Everyone she ever cared about, or anyone in her life always fucking died. It was better to keep people as far away from her as possible. Normally she would never admit it. But she was full of shit if she denied the truth of the matter.
She washed her face off as she looked at her sorry ass in the mirror, knowing this wasn’t the first time this happened since Eden Prime, and forcing herself from hoping it would be the last. “Fucking get your shit together, Shepard.” Micah said to her reflection before she began to get herself ready for a shower, knowing she needed one after being soaked in sweat.
Alright end of chapter. I wanted to get into it a bit with Shepard’s past, but I always wanted to give poor Liara a moment to uh… have a moment considering I keep torturing the poor lady. Anyway, sorry for not updating sooner… Been a busy week and today kinda sucked but I finally managed to get myself in the mood this evening to update.
The updates might slow down for a bit, I’ll try to post once a week at least. So until next time!
Chapter 20: Chapter 20
Micah sat in the mess hall nursing a cup of coffee. She should have been doing checks on something. Either the mission ahead on Feros, or the ship’s systems, the crew. She couldn’t give a fuck less right now. She was exhausted and she felt like she was moments away from losing her shit. Whatever that beacon on Eden Prime did to her fucked her up bad. She could barely sleep, haunted by the visions burned into her brain.
“Commander..?” came a reserved voice. Shepard looked up, the usual fire in her green eyes dull and surrounded by dark circles from lack of sleep. She could see Liara warily approaching her table. Part of her wanted to tell the asari to go away, she just wanted to be left alone, but another part of her, a very small part of her that had started to fester since rescuing Liara on the Citadel, couldn’t just shoo the asari away.
Shepard took a healthy drink of her coffee before setting the mug back on the table. “What?” She asked, her voice sounded as exhausted as she felt. Liara looked tired too as she got a real look at her. Something about the image of a tired Liara put Shepard off. She had seen a spark behind those blue eyes, even a bit of a fire. Hell the archaeologist would need a certain amount of fire to go toes to toes with Micah. But it wasn’t there now. All that the spectre saw was sadness and a sense of exhaustion, perhaps even a hint of caution.
Liara quietly sat across from Shepard, looking for words. “I wanted to thank you... For everything you’ve done for me.” Liara started as Micah perked a brow taking a quiet sip from her coffee. “And I wondered what would become of me?” Liara questioned. Micah let out a quiet scoff, one that said it was a fair question.
Micah, the person... The person behind the titles, the accusations, the reputation she earn wanted to tell the asari she would be fine on the Normandy, out of harm’s way, safe and protected. Whether by herself or her crew. The spectre, and the facade she created wanted to tell her to figure it out for herself. Right now Micah didn’t know which route to take. And it drove her mad. Why she began to feel contrary to her usual method was beyond her.
“If I were to stay...” Liara started as Shepard looked back at the asari. Perhaps she wouldn‘t have to choose which way to respond after all. “If you were to have me, I wanted to offer my services. To help you with looking for my mother, and Saren... And to repay you for saving my life.” Liara paused, as if unsure. She looked to the commander, searching the woman for how she might respond. “I could... See if I could find any information on why my mother has joined Saren?”
Shepard sighed as she nursed her coffee a bit more. It was too early for this. Or perhaps too late... It was barely one in the morning according to the ship’s clock. Shepard just could not find herself going back to sleep after that hellish nightmare she had involving Toby. “I don’t have a choice, T’Soni. They want you, for whatever reason, and until I figure this shit out you’re stuck here. They damn well aren’t going to give up until they have your ass.” Shepard started, sounding less than thrilled over it. Liara frowned, perhaps agitated by the attitude. Shepard let out another sigh, as if surrendering to her better nature, if she had one. “If you can find me any information you’d be useful to my mission.” Shepard added. It sounded crude.
Liara figured that would be the best she would get from the brass Commander Shepard though. But Liara too was having trouble sleeping, and felt bold enough to question the Spectre on further matters. “If I may ask, Commander... What did you do when you... first had to kill someone...?” Liara asked as Shepard almost choked on her coffee. Dear lord this was not what Micah expected right now. She was too damned tired.
She looked at Liara almost like the asari asked her a stupid question. Liara frowned before looking away. Perhaps she should not have asked. But this was what had kept her awake. She couldn’t help but remember nearly every small detail about having killed that salarian. In cold blood seemed like it was not the correct way to describe it, but Liara felt guilty all the same.
Micah did not know what to say. Her first kill was based on revenge. And fear. She was a little kid, and she wanted to make the person who killed Toby to pay. But she also did it because she feared she would be next. “Look, Blue, I’m not the best of fucking people to ask this shit. My first kill is petty compared to the shit you went through yesterday.” Shepard said shortly. Liara nodded some, looking defeated.
Shepard stood from her seat, she couldn’t do this touchy feely bullshit, not tonight. She just couldn’t let herself do this. She already felt herself slipping with this mission. The visions keeping her up every night, the stupid touchy feely crap the crew tried to pull on her, or buddy up with her. It was all crap. Micah Shepard would not let her guard down. “You’re better off talking about that shit with Chakwas, or Alenko for all I care.” Shepard said almost coldly before she started to marched off to her quarters.
Maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was that Liara was the first person to truly crawl under her skin but she stopped before she got too far. She turned around, seeing how dejected the asari was, sitting there alone at the table. Shepard let off a quiet groan to herself. “Look if you’re after some kind of comfort about killing some idiot let me put it this way. It was us or him. Far as I’m fucking concerned you chose right. And you’re fucking breathing. That’s how you sleep at night.” Shepard said, sounding flat. But at the same time this was Shepard’s way of comforting the asari, and Liara somehow knew this.
Liara did nod in response before Shepard rolled her eyes and finally retreated to her quarters. Micah knew she was going to need to put her foot down hard before this shit became habit, and soon. But suddenly it felt like she was stomping on a damn helpless puppy. And it grated on her nerves like nothing else ever did.
Liara sighed as she sat back in her chair, staring at the holographic monitor in front of her. The ship was docked on Feros currently, and the Commander had requested her to look up something called the conduit. Or well, more demanded really… Liara didn’t even know where to begin with trying to figure out what this conduit was.
Shepard left little detail just that it was some “prothean piece of shit” and then left. In all of her many years of researching protheans Liara had never heard of any artifact called the conduit. Nor had she ever felt more annoyed by someone labeling such precious artifacts pieces of shit. She very much doubted it was even a real thing though. If she had something more to go on maybe she could find something close to it, but she had nothing. Not even a hint as to what it might even be used for.
It didn’t help there was remarkably little left behind by the protheans either. That was the core of Liara’s research, to find out what had happened to such a wide spread and mighty empire.
Why did they disappear, why was there so little evidence of their existence? If it weren’t for the Citadel and the Mass Relays and the very rare archeological site here and there no one would have known they had existed at one time at all.
In the end Liara continued to dig through old scholarly articles, findings, and other research. Maybe she would find some obscure mention of this conduit somewhere. Despite Shepard’s brash and… childish attitude Liara did owe her something for saving her life. Or that’s what she kept trying to tell herself anyway. If she were honest she didn’t know why she wanted to help Shepard at this point.
At least Liara managed to get some sleep after speaking with Shepard. Even if it was fueled with nightmares about killing someone.
It had been a long day to say the least. Shepard had brought Garrus and Ashley along with her to deal with the grocery list of problems the colony had. Low food supplies, no water flow, geth in the tunnels, that sort of shit. Meanwhile Tali was staying with the colonists, along with a couple of engineers trying to work on fluctuating power issues.
They had taken care of a majority of the issues by now. The alpha varen was dead, the geth eliminated, the water works were nearly back online. Shepard was going over the whole thing in her head. She needed to get to Exo-Geni, see if she could figure out what the hell Saren wanted with a wrecked backwater colony like this. Part of her wanted to tell the colonists to figure their own shit out so she could carry on with her own mission… But somehow she managed to convince herself it was better to help. Part of her started to regret that idea entirely. But she wasn’t a complete bitch either.
“What’s the status on the damn water valve?” Shepard couldn’t help but sound both exhausted and impatient. With the lack of sleep she was starting to run on fumes herself. Williams had been tinkering with the last of the repairs on the water system, Garrus standing lookout for them as Shepard took to seating herself on some fallen stone column.
These tunnels, this whole damned planet had seen better days. It was literally falling apart. Micah couldn’t help but wonder how much of this was the geth’s doing and how much of it was that these structures were just old as shit. “Not much longer, Skipper. Maybe five, ten minutes tops.” Ashley said, her eyes focused on some wiring behind a panel.
Micah checked the time on her omni-tool. They had literally been at this bullshit for ten, going on eleven hours. Between fighting geth, taking out geth coms, killing varen and dealing with the labyrinth beneath the colony itself, it had been a long fucking day. “Fuck, at this rate we may as well camp with the colonists and hit up Exo-Geni tomorrow.” Micah muttered. Though she’d almost rather just make the extra trip back to her ship and sleep in her own damned bed.
Garrus chuckled quietly not very far from the two human women. “Damn, I haven’t gone camping since I was in the turian military. Might be fun.” He humored. Micah rolled her eyes.
“Oh ya, let me just grab some fucking marshmallows and we can sing kumbaya.” Shepard replied sarcastically. She was not really in the mood for social antics, but apparently her squad mates thought she was kidding because they both laughed.
Ashley kept fixing away at the panel as she responded, “We can’t forget the campfire if that’s the case. Can’t have marshmallows without a proper way to roast them.” She said with a grin. Micah half groaned as she leaned forward, rubbing her gloved hands over her tired face.
“Heads up.” Garrus said suddenly as Shepard grabbed her weapon and stood, looking in the direction Garrus had nodded towards. Ashley too reached for her weapon, expecting geth but what they saw instead was a human male, wandering in their direction, muttering to himself, his hands making random gestures.
Shepard grumbled as she relaxed, but noticed the man’s antics as he walked closer, looking between the three people before him. “Great, just what we need, some crazy dipshit.” The Spectre muttered more to herself than anyone else. She just had no patients for this.
The man stopped as he eyeballed the turian and two women. “Hey.” He said casually, as if not a thing was wrong. Shepard perked a brow, her expression otherwise blank. She wasn’t sure how to respond to this guy. Garrus looked between him and the Commander, Ashley looking wary but going back to slowly working on the water lines.
“Yo.” Shepard replied, sounding off standish. The man smiled, but the look in his eyes spelled something wrong. Shepard decided to keep her gun close, to be on the safe side. Garrus seemed to follow her example as Ashley tried to keep her eyes on both the man and her task.
“Here to fix our problem?” He asked, still sounding so casual, and perhaps a little too cheerful. Shepard eyed him suspiciously, trying to get a read on him. All she knew was something didn’t feel right.
She tried to choose her next words carefully, actually feeling cautious. “The geth shouldn’t be bothering the colony for a while.” She chose as her reply. Garrus and Ashley both noted the way Micah spoke. Not nearly as harsh as she usually would, and her voice not even giving off a cautious tone, but the way she spoke... The others knew she was trying to assess this random stranger.
He shook his head as he gestured off in the direction of where the colonists would be. “Nah, the geth is the least of your worries.” He said as Garrus’ mandibles twitched. He didn’t seem to like the sound of that any more than Shepard did.
She cleared her throat, trying to get a foothold. “What the hell do you mean?” She asked, looking both lost and frustrated.
He gave a bit of a smirk. “You’ve got bigger problems than those damn tin heads.” He started. Shepard started to lose her temper, her body language shifting as she lost her patience.
“This is becoming a pain in my ass. Spit it out.” She said annoyed.
The man shifted his weight back and forth, looking uncomfortable suddenly, his smirk turning into a sign of struggle as he opened his mouth, straining to talk. “Not as much of a pain in the ass as the-” Suddenly his words fell short as he let out a pained sound, almost doubling over. “As the-” another howl followed by crazed laughter.
Garrus leaned in closer to Shepard as Ashley stood, stepping up next to them. “Careful, Shepard... Something’s not right.” Garrus said in a hushed tone. The spectre gave him a look that said no shit.
The sounds of the water works kicking on broke the awkward moment as the man stood straight again, trying to regain his composure. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Shepard barked as he gave her a chuckle.
This whole thing was unnerving. “Oh you know, invoking the master’s whip.” He replied, sounding casual again despite the batshit behavior he had. Shepard grumbled to herself.
“Master’s whip?” Ashley asked sounding confused. He nodded to her in response.
“The, AH!” he cried out again as he squated down, clutching at his head, making strained noises as he tried to say whatever it was he was talking about. All he succeeded to do was make more sounds of pain, mixed with laughter. “Oh ya, that felt good!” he hollered before he fell over to his side, passing out from whatever pained him.
They all stared down at his passed out form as Shepard groaned. “What the fucking hell?” was all she could say to the situation.
Ashley nudged at him with her foot, getting no response as she looked back to Shepard and Garrus. “Should we just leave him?” She asked, sounding uncertain herself. Shepard let out a loud huff as she threw her hands up in the air, still clutching her gun with one.
“Fucking may as well.” She started. “I mean fuck if I know what’s wrong with him, but something doesn’t add up either so just.. I don’t fucking know.” She said, sounding both defeated and exhausted. She needed some goddamn sleep. But in order to get that she needed to finish what they were doing here. And figure out why Saren and his stupid geth were so interested in this shit hole.
“Lets go, just don’t trust the others up top, something’s not right.” Shepard conceded as she stepped over the passed out stranger making her way back towards the colony. Garrus motioned for Ashley to follow the commander as he brought out his omni-tool, doing a quick medical scan on the fallen man. Perhaps there would be something in the results to explain what just happened.
Kaidan had decided to check on Liara. After everything he figured she could use a friend. She hadn’t exactly had the best of times since she came aboard the Normandy anyway. He walked into the sick bay, notin Chakwas working away at her terminal. “Ah, Leuitenant, need something?” She asked with a friendly tone, smiling up at the man. She knew he sometimes suffered horrible headaches from his biotic emplant.
He smiled at her and shook his head. “I thought I’d just check up on Dr. T’Soni.” He replied as Chakwas smiled a bit more. She rather enjoyed Liara’s company, she was a nice enough young lady, who deserved better than what she was dealing with.
Chakwas turned to fully face Kaidan, spinning her chair around as she remained seated. “Ah, of course. She’s in the other room. She could use someone to talk to, I think.” Chakwas noted as Kaidan looked towards the closed back room door.
He sighed slightly to himself. “I think she keeps trying to find a friend in the Commander.” He said as Chakwas chuckled some but nodded. She had observed the two and how the interacted. She knew neither knew entirely what to do with the other. They butted heads, but Chakwas didn’t think it was necessarily out of dislike for each other. The Commander just did not know how to hold herself in more social situations.
“Yes, and I do believe it throws Shepard off guard.” Chakwas pointed out as Kaidan looked back to the doctor curiously. “I think those two make for an interesting pair, don’t you?” She questioned Alenko as he frowned a little. He didn’t know why her statement made him feel uneasy, but it did. Part of him felt a bit left out of the loop.
“What do you mean? The Commander has been nothing but short with Liara.” He replied. Chakwas chuckled again. Perhaps she was the only one who saw the awkward chemistry developing between the two, or perhaps it was wishful thinking on her part.
She gave Kaidan a thoughtful look though. “I’m sorry, ignore this old woman and her gossip. I’m sure Liara would love to see you.” She said before turning back to her terminal as Kaidan made his way into Liara’s makeshift room.
Honestly, Chakwas cared a great deal for the crew on this ship. As the chief medical officer she took her duties seriously. She knew everyone here, and their backgrounds. She particularly worried over Micah Shepard and how well she’d handle this command. The woman would go out of her way to keep people away from her. Shepard would rather the crew hate and fear her than let them into her circle or even adore her. But she could see the way Micah reacted around Liara. And the effect Liara had on Micah.
Perhaps they didn’t see it themselves yet, but Chakwas felt that perhaps, if Shepard let the asari in, she could mild Shepard’s temper. Be a good friend to her, help her realize having people around wasn’t so bad. Or perhaps it was just Chakwas and her hopeful thinking.
I apologise for such a long... ungodly long pause in this story. Truth is I never wanted to consider it a dead story, or give up on it. Life has just been... life the past couple years. A lot has happened, and I am trying to get my life back together again. I never forgot this story, I had often wanted to pick it back up again over the last two years. But honestly I have had a lot happen, and a lot gone on. I’m hoping to continue this in a more timely manner. I apologize for the long wait.