Author: the.subverter PM
Samantha struggles to connect with the disquieting Commander Shepard.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Samantha T. & Shepard (F) - Chapters: 3 - Words: 8,187 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 49 - Updated: 01-12-13 - Published: 12-29-12 - id: 8849520
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Ah, I've been on hiatus. And for some reason or another, the other stories currently not updated... just don't feel right (what I've written) and as such are not up yet. This thing which I'm sure will be infrequently updated has like 30 pages of Shepard backstory. But I cut all of that out to focus on the Traynor stuff. There's some I.T. stuff hinted at in here. I really meant this story to be sort of a pickup of Severed but it ended up being a new thing after all. Sorry and bear with me and any delays in updating. This is a short intro, so far it's 20 some pages and unfinished. This is going to have some I.T. (indoctrination theory! break out the tinfoils!) stuff in it so if that sort of thing is not your cup of tea, apologies- you probably won't enjoy this.
Commander Shepard commands not only the Normandy but also the hearts of many of its crew. Everyone is too deeply buried in the Reaper War, the struggle of survival to act on anything that isn't a setback to the Reapers. But Samantha Traynor sees how Liara and Garrus look at Shepard when they don't think anyone's looking. She can see them because no one sees her. She's new to the Normandy and she isn't the kind of soldier Garrus or James are. She's R&D. She isn't expendable—she knows that. Neither does she have the magnetism of the men and women who have followed Shepard into hell before, who come back bruised and bleeding after a fight with Reapers monsters.
She'll hand anyone their ass in a game of chess. As things stand, firing a shot off on most weapons leaves her trigger finger aching for days. Bugger. Of all ships to get trapped on. Of all the people to develop a crush on. Shepard doesn't know she exists. Not more than in a perfunctory capacity.
It's best. Shepard is her commanding officer. It wouldn't be right. That's what she tells herself when she remembers she doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell with her.
The crews' muttering lifts her head. Shepard's back from a mission on a Cerberus base. She pulls her helmet off, hair matted to her face. She's sweaty and bleeding, seemingly unaware of it.
"Specialist," Shepard says in her typical acknowledging way. Samantha can't figure out if there's a shred of anything more than professional courtesy in her tone or if she's only spoken to her because she caught her staring.
"Commander. Ah, you're bleeding," Samantha sputters out, straightens. Liara absently stops Shepard in her tracks, bringing a hand to the commander's forehead and wiping the blood away. The red looks bright against her pale blue fingers. Shepard frowns, pulling Liara's hand away. Liara, usually icy and reserved, brings a hand to her forehead and then moves to the elevator. Kaidan follows.
Shepard looks at Samantha as if she's done something or hasn't done something or has pointed out something that shouldn't have been pointed out. Samantha's spine goes rigid again. "You ah… have some messages on your terminal. When you're… ready and…" Jesus. "Perhaps you should see Dr. Chakwas. Ma'am."
"Thanks for the advice." Shepard proceeds to ignore it, going to the messages terminal, eyes focused and dark. She pushes the hair back from her face, leaving crimson streaks, like claw marks, along her forehead.
Diana Allers wears her skintight leather dress, gleaming in the lights of Purgatory. She's had a queue of men and women eager to buy her drinks for the majority of the evening, a perk of being the only news reporter access to the Normandy and Commander Shepard.
"I can't remember the last time someone bought me a drink," Samantha leans into the bar, trying to get the attention of the salarian bartender, being pushed forward every now and then by rowdy soldiers. She grimaces.
"Don't act like no one is willing to buy you a drink, Samantha. I've seen men and women ogling you tonight."
"Ogling you, you mean." She's lucky Diana's imaginary men haven't tried to buy her a drink. She'd feel awkward accepting, at making empty promises.
"The masses will always congregate around any celebrity, big or small." Diana snaps her fingers and gets the attention of the bartender. "A drink for my friend here," she says. She refuses the credits Samantha tries to give her and they move away from the bar, brushing past Shepard who heads towards it. Samantha tries, in vain, to think of a reason to go back. "Ah, maybe I should have let Shepard buy you a drink? Sorry, didn't mean to clit block you."
"The Commander doesn't know I exist," Samantha says. She looks back and sees Shepard resting her elbows on the bar, fingers massaging her forehead tenderly. "Do you think she's okay?"
It's too damn loud here. "Commander Shepard—" Samantha raises her voice. "It must be a lot of pressure."
"She was on Mindoir and Akuze. And then she got blown up by the Collectors?" Diana smiles back in Shepard's direction and to Samantha. "Luckily for us, Shepard doesn't know how to die."
Electronic communication is erratic at best. It's easier on the Citadel. She becomes separated from Diana at some point in the night, having returned from getting herself a second drink to find her missing. She doesn't bother dancing; no one catches her interest. She takes the time to send the few personal emails that she can. She doesn't expect a response but she can try. She has friends on Earth, on Horizon.
She gets no response. She hopes she will in time. She waits for Diana until she gets tired of waiting. She has an early morning and any slipups in her work could mean spending the remainder of her youth, perpetually in the real afterlife, not a club where desperate people go to forget and in the hope of getting some ass.
She's on her way out when she spots the familiar asari to the far left and on the couch. Shepard is passed out next to her. Samantha and Aria's eyes meet. "This isn't my doing," she tells Samantha dismissively.
Samantha wonders if Shepard's all right. She walks closer, tentatively. Is she tired? Is she the asari's lover? A more depressing thought: is she drunk? The asari shifts, the movement enough to rouse Shepard who opens her eyes blearily. The lights: blues, reds, greens splash over Shepard's face before her sight settles on Samantha. Samantha stares helplessly then looks away as Shepard struggles to a sitting.
"I know that's where I'd settle down for a nap," Samantha says. Aria's eyes narrow on her. Samantha winces with embarrassment but she still can't look at Shepard.
"Funny," Shepard stands, her voice empty of any humor. Samantha smells the alcohol on her, rolling off of her in waves. How much alcohol does it take to make this particular Spectre blackout, Samantha wonders. She knows she can't ever ask, not her commanding officer. In fact, she shouldn't have seen this at all. "Finished staring, Specialist?"
She flushes. "Ah—yes, ma'am. Sorry, Commander. After a few I tend to forget my manners—and all sense of protocol, it would seem."
Shepard rubs her eyes, looks around as if in a daze, as if listening. Then, as if having forgotten a conversation was in progress, she leaves her and exits.
The vid shows Shepard charging through the air in a biotic rage. People say that vanguards are brutes.
Samantha thought only asari were capable of that kind of raw, biotic power. L5 implants are the latest thing but given Shepard's age she must have been an L2 or an L3 when she first received hers. The process of upgrading is said to be tremendously difficult. Sometimes bodies reject the newer technology.
Unless she was implanted with it when Cerberus rebuilt her. It is a curiosity Samantha will likely never get an answer to, like many of the questions she has about the commander. Those records aren't publically available. As it is, she feels somewhat perverted even watching the vid, hacked from a Cerberus camera. Shepard is coiled in blue tendrils of energy, shotgun at the ready, firing off, blowing the Cerberus soldier in front of her to pieces. Samantha zooms in on the vid, cleans the image until it's clear.
The blast of the shotgun is a flash of fire and power. Shepard's eyes are dark and lifeless.
James' nose is battered, a steady stream of blood runs down, over his split lip, dripping down his chin and onto his shirt. He's grinning. He calls it a dance. Samantha likes his dance partner but is fairly sure Shepard could knock her unconscious with one swing if James is any indication of what the commander can do outside of the battlefield.
"You know, if the Commander was a guy I'd tell them both to just whip it out and measure," Steve tells her, leaning against the crate Samantha sits on. They're not the only two-crew members in the shuttle bay. James and Shepard's sparring matches have become a ritual in the short time that the current Normandy crew has been together.
"Mh, I'm sure you'd like that," she jokes. Steve allows a small laugh but Samantha sees the distant sadness in his eyes and is sorry she made the joke. Apologizing would make it more awkward.
"And I'm sure you wouldn't."
"Either way, I think Commander Shepard has James beat."
Samantha considers. "Maybe." Lieutenant Vega is a stellar example of manhood: all muscles and bravado, something of a flirt and one hell of a soldier. He might float her boat, if men were the type to float it but as is, she doesn't want one of his muscled hands on her deck. "But come on, Commander Shepard took out a Reaper and the Collectors. On Horizon, even. I have to be biased."
"All things considered…" he grunts. "I can't make heads or tails of her." They watch as one of her muscled arms reaches forward, connecting solidly with James' cheek. He's scowling now and at long last, Shepard has a smile on her face. "She's a good CO. Cares about her squad. I guess that should be enough. If anyone can get us through this, it's Shepard."
"Is she single?"
"A girl can be curious."
"So ask her."
"She's my commanding officer. I suppose I couldn't get you to pass her a note on one of your shuttle runs?"
Steve laughs. "You're the communications expert."
"It's hard to be expert at any communication when I get so damned tongue tied around her."
"Just don't let her hear that," Steve crosses his arms. "Or you'll never see the inside of the captain's quarters." He chuckles when she shoves him. "She's pretty down to earth. Just talk to her."
Samantha looks up to see James slam a fist into her stomach nearly doubling her over in the process. Samantha slides off the crate without meaning to, getting to a standing. The other crewmembers are split between cheering on James, cheering on Shepard or waiting with baited silence.
Shepard shouts, some unintelligible sound before lunging forward, arms at either side of James and tackling him to the floor. There's a loud smacking of his colossal body hitting the metallic floor. Shepard's fist, wrapped in pulsating blue power slams into his face once. Blood comes away, flying through the air, trailing her fist like an arc. Several crewmembers gasp.
Shepard's raising her fist again when she stops, fist poised above her, awareness settling uncomfortably on her. James lifts his arms, a ward. Shepard's fingers flatten. She breathes hoarsely and touches James' arms experimentally, his chest. He looks at her, groggily. For an instant, Shepard is the manifestation of panic. "You all right? Hey," she slaps his arm. He nods faintly.
Shepard rolls away from him. None of the soldiers look at James or Shepard but Samantha stares. Shepard looks around in a daze, squints, catches Samantha's eyes, seeing and not seeing. Steve moves away from Samantha to James but she's only peripherally aware. A line cuts through Shepard's forehead, burning. Shepard's voice is a whisper. "Do you hear that hum?"
Samantha doesn't hear anything.