In the heat of battle, the reapers were wiped out. All forces, asari, human, turian, salarian, all of them knew Commander Shepard was responsible. On the comms, in all languages, all frequencies shared cheers and laughter and cries of relief. The celebrating could be heard everywhere for days, but no one was allowed on the Citadel save for those with the highest clearance.
Two weeks passed and the Alliance released news on the death of Admiral Anderson. Not one word of Commander Shepard. The Alliance restricted alien access to their medical ships. Even high clearance personnel were not allowed on board. The wait was quiet and the silence made it seem even longer.
Despite incredible firewalls and passcodes made by human forces, Glyph intercepted a message to Maelon Heplorn and reported it to Liara as soon as she returned to her room aboard the Normandy. “Other Salarians are also permitted to board, however it appears Maelon is the only one permitted communications and freedom to travel,” the AI informed the Shadow Broker.
Liara skurried to her desk to check the information herself. “And Admiral Hackett still hasn’t returned our messages?” She inquired. Her eyes skittered back and forth over the screen as she scanned each line in hopes of finding news on Commander Shepard.
“There are no messages from Admiral Hackett, Liara,” Glyph informed.
There was a ding over the intercom, signaling Liara that EDI had a message for her. “Perhaps you should inquire about Lieutenant Cortez.”
The asari was silent for a moment save for her breathing as she finished reading over the intercepted message for the third time. She inhaled through her nose deeply, closing her eyes and pressed herself into her chair’s backrest.
“It is possible that one of the medical officers will slip up and speak of news on Commander Shepard,” EDI offered.
To her right, the door to her room opened up revealing Dr. Chakwas. “Liara, dear, I need to you come with me,” she announced casually, well aware that she was interrupting the asari’s obsessive search for news on their commander. “I know you’re looking for news on Shepard, but I believe there may be a better way to find it.”
Those were words Liara wanted to hear. Everyone on board was waiting for news on Commander Shepard but no one was any closer than anyone else in terms of finding and having actual, solid information. She steadied her breathing and turned to the grey haired human. “What did you have in mind?”
As it turned out, the asari were not the only ones to keep thorough records on their people’s relationships. However, the Alliance was far more interested in crewmates, human or otherwise, of their higher ups, and Shepard certainly was higher up. Liara, Garrus, and Tali, and even Wrex and Grunt were all listed as her crewmates, details that only Chakwas seemed to be aware of. “Come with me,” the medical doctor instructed, leading Liara back to the med bay.
Liara had hardly touched the med bay. It was where she spent most of her time in the original Normandy, but this one was different. Colby had made sure she had plenty of room to run her operations as the Shadow Broker, an offer only made by her. The asari clearly didn’t trust her, and she knew because the commander had spoken to whoever they assigned to keep tabs on Liara. She hesitated to sit on the cots but decided it was best. So she hopped up and made herself comfortable, pulling her knees to her chest. She stayed quiet in hopes that Doctor Chakwas would explain.
“I’m going to make a little call to Admiral Hackett about your health and state of well-being,” the good doctor informed with confidence.
Just as Liara was about to protest, the sound of Admiral Hackett’s voice invaded the medical bay, “How can I help you, Karin?” The asari was astounded. There was no way she knew that the admiral and Dr. Chakwas were on a first name basis.
“Steven, the crew is strained. Even our XO is beginning to show signs of severe stress.” Admiral Hackett tried to say something but Dr. Chakwas cut him off, “I understand that whatever has happened to our commander it is under wraps. But I urge you to at least give her asari bondmate some news. It wouldn’t hurt to have some moral either.” She paused and breathed in deeply. Her eyes flickered from the comm speaker to Liara. Even she wasn’t sure if her plan would pan out the way she wanted it to, but there was no sense in not trying.
The speakers were quiet, but he did not end the call. That was a good sign at least. The admiral let out a heavy sigh. “Alright,” he said, “I am transferring over to the medical facility shortly. Cortez is with her, so he’s seen her awake more than I have.”
“I’m going to need you to do better than that-”
Liara lifted her head. “Admiral Hackett, I request permission to board the medical ship in seven hours to see Commander Shepard.”
There was only a moment’s hesitation. “Granted,” Hackett informed her.