My computer had a RAM malfunction, which caused a two week delay on this chapter due to repairs :(. I hope you enjoy this chapter, as the story's background has already been laid out. It's time for Mass Effect :D. I do hope you are all enjoying this somewhat AU version, and would be grateful for any reviews!

Shepard groaned lightly as he saw the Alliance shuttle dock slow down beside the Moreh; a team of quarian protectors, analogous to a human police officer, customarily stood by the airlock in case of emergency. John stood a little away from the group, instead opting to stand by the only other quarian nearby, Daro, as he had already been given a farewell by the lab members and the captain. The last crate filled with his possessions was already beside the airlock, as he had donated the rest of the surprisingly light mechanically-advanced boxes to the fleet. He had no need to carry so many empty crates back with him, and the captain seemed more than happy to accept more resources. The man had even told him that he was always welcome back on the ship, chuckling as he told Shepard that Daro had even asked the captain if she would be able to venture off the ship on occasion, which he approved of course.

A soft and slightly metallic sigh came from his side as Daro tightly clutched his hand, either not knowing or not caring that the few passersby had given them both intrigued glances. They had not announced their relationship to any aboard, though he was certain many of the more keen quarians would be able to conclude on it. Her personality had drastically changed over the past week, at least towards him. Even in the lab, she was always right beside him, and she had taken to sleeping in the same room as him for the past week. Both of them were less social towards the other members of the fleet during the final week as they were more focused of each other. They did not intentionally ignore anyone, but were far less communicative unless they were directly questioned in the lab.

The two had talked extensively about their new relationship the day after their first kiss. Obviously there were quite a few questions Shepard had regarding how the interspecies relationships had worked with the asari on the emotional aspects He already knew from first-hand experience they were anatomically nearly identical to human females. John had never been one to go through relationships. Throughout his tenure on Mindoir, he was too young to be bothered with such things. On Sur'Kesh, he had pursued a few asari, and though he had lost his virginity, the maidens attending the university seemed to be uninterested in a prolonged relationship. It seemed as though he would never be with a woman of his own species, something he would share in common with Daro'Xen.

Daro had told him about the several stages of bonding, and how they were already well on their way in the first step of the process. However, she was reluctant to elaborate on the second and third steps, and he didn't push her for information when she was clearly uncomfortable. It was a strange feeling in his eyes, to know a woman from a completely different species was vying for your heart in a permanent relationship, but it was far from unwelcome. Daro was the one woman he could trust with anything on his mind, even more than his sister. She just seemed to understand his perspective, an entirely logical approach in most matters with not as much emphasis on the opinions of others, or their emotions. If there really was a possibility for a quarian to bond with a human, as she had continuously called their relationship, John was absolutely certain they would find the way.

Her beauty was revealed to him every night, her soft lips reminding him of how lucky of a man he truly was. The physical contact was obviously limited, their nights were without any sexual interactions, as many species would have likely partaken in. Shepard kept in mind what she told him on the second night, when he had inquired if that was what she wanted. Being a human male, when a woman strolled into your bed chambers and pounced on you, a few suggestive thoughts came to mind. However, he was perfectly okay with waiting. Quarians did not have sex until their bond was fully recognized by the fleet, regardless of how advanced their stages of bonding had progressed. Thankfully, this did not apply to kissing, which they did every morning and night after their first time. He learned though after the second night that grabbing her posterior, which had drawn a swat to the chest the first time, or gently caressing her spine as they continued kissing, furthered her passions exponentially. He had a few bruises on his thighs from where her powerful legs squeezed against his hips as she straddled him. Her immune system only had minor reactions to his microbes after unmasking herself multiple times in his presence previously, though she had told him after a rather intense make out session the day before he left that her immunities would be weaker as their time apart grew. The quarian beside him broke their his contemplations, and their almost comfortable silence.

"I don't care how hard you're training John. You'd better call me whenever you can." Daro demanded, though her voice carried clear undertones of sadness.

John chuckled in an attempt to liven the situation. "You'd have to try pretty hard to get rid of me Daro, especially now."

Daro responded physically, putting an arm around his waist and bringing him closer to her, resting her head on his shoulder. "I only hope you are not busy for long. I have never been happier than these few months than any other time in my life."

The sound of an air lock opened, and John's mind raged internally on whether he should say what was on his mind. In that moment, he decided to just speak his mind and hope it wasn't too much. John turned so he was facing her, his helmet inches away from her visor. "Daro, I don't know how it's going to be for either of us in this. I don't know how long I'll be busy, or how long it'll take before I can see you again in person... but I want you to know..." He paused for a moment, and she held his gaze as the internal debate still raged within him, but he pursued on. "Well.. I think... I think that..." His resolve faltered, and he earnestly continued. "I care about you more than anything and anyone else." He wished he had said exactly what was on his mind, that he loved her, but he was terrified of her response.

Daro quickly threw her arms around him, squeezing him tightly as the sounds of the airlock door opening reached his ears. She quietly whispered. "I know John, and I hope you realize I feel the same about you. Please, come back to me."

"I will Daro. I promise." He replied just as quietly.

Shepard gazed at the drive core in awe, letting the soothing hum of the element zero relax his mind, both of which were a common occurrence for him whenever his shift ended in the engineering section. Although he'd always been confident in his abilities in technological fields -and more recently on the battlefield- , being recently assigned to Captain Anderson as his XO was an extremely surprising, though not unwelcome, opportunity. The SSV Normandy was the most advanced stealth frigate ever created, and he had the chance to learn all of the details about its operation; from weapons systems to propulsion schematics, countless years of research sat at the tip of his fingers. John was known for his technical genius long before he was in the military, but out of respect he did not make any changes without consulting Adams. Ships were not his specialty, though every day he found himself more and more comfortable with the ship's design. After just a couple of weeks on the ship, Shepard had already concluded that Adams was completely different than his old director at Kassa, a man who wanted the job done as quickly as possible and with little training in the subject. Chief Engineer Adams wanted the job done as effectively as possible, and was always willing to hear any suggestion from even the lowest engineer on the deck. John respected the man, quiet, easy going, but one of the smartest human ship engineers he had ever encountered.

Being the XO of a ship wasn't what he had expected after completing the training in Rio de Janeiro, and afterwards the various other uninhabited exoplanets where the latter levels of N7 training were held. Soon after completing the first tier of the program, the one what really weeded out most of the commitments, the Lieutenant had been bumped up in rank to a Lieutenant Commander rank. Much of his training involved utilizing his tech abilities in the heat of combat, and he had shown a proficiency in longer range shooting. John had chuckled as he first saw that one of his biotic squad mates was using an Arc Pistol to compensate for any shielding his powers weren't very efficient on. I guess I was wrong, it does seem like it'd be perfect for an agile biotic. He had thought.

Twenty six months of the most grueling physically and mentally strenuous conditioning of his life. Hell, at one point during the N5 training, he hadn't even realized his 26th birthday had passed, as the planets they had trained upon had vastly different orbital and rotational patterns than the standard human timescales. During the training, Shepard had demonstrated skills shown of a supervisor, always taking charge of a situation, directing the fellow trainees towards logical assignments best suited to their particular talents, and even encouraging team mates at the verge of mental breakdowns to continue pushing themselves. Even though he was of equal rank to his squad mates, most members of the Alliance special forces and upper brass knew about his survival on Akuze, which they still seemed to credit to a heroic feat of some sorts. It afforded him a level of respect among his peers, which constantly increased he used the opportunity to become an effective leader.

John Shepard was awarded the N7 ranking for his exemplary performance throughout the program, one of the younger humans to be awarded such a prestigious classification in its history. After careful considerations towards his skills, and the lack of biotic affinity reducing his classification choices by half, he was designated an N7 Shadow. Many N7 graduates continued on towards even more specialized training as they became humanity's finest warriors. Every classification had their own specialized class, such as soldiers and the N7 Destroyer. However with John, even considering his large physical build, he utilized positioning and finesse as more of his outlook in battle, unlike the overwhelming force of a soldier. His infiltrator training had taken another five months of specialized training in a field he had never expected. Although Shepard had trained extensively on pistols, sniper rifles, the standard assault rifle, and even a little bit into submachine guns and shotguns, he had never delved too deeply into melee weapons. The signature weapon of the Shadow was the long katana they wielded, though it was not simply a piece of metal. The sword was electrically charged, making it incredibly efficient at removing a shield in close quarters; unfortunately, it required a specialized omnitool to siphon energy from, making it inefficient for biotics who used a similar tactic to bolster their own powers. The weapon was not limited however to a simply being a electrically enhanced blade. A button easily accessible near the hilt allowed the energy in the blade to discharge away from the omnitool. It was very short range, weaker than a standard overload and definitely less powerful than the Arc Pistol, but could be very effective at disengaging an enemy for a quick return action.

Life has a way of completely changing on one in an incredibly short period of time, many time without any warning. Less than a week before he would be deployed to train with a new squad as their sniper support, an older individual of a darker skin complexion came to speak with him personally. The man had actually interrupted a video call with Daro'Xen, but thankfully hadn't made any remarks about him talking to a quarian; they quickly, though reluctantly, had said their farewells without the usual caring words in included as they weren't in private. Internally, Shepard had been quite displeased at the intrusion, as he had few opportunities since his introduction into the program for an actual video program. However, he was still a soldier, and showing respect towards your superiors was not up for debate. He straightened his back and saluted the man in the customary fashion, and interestingly the man chuckled, returning a salute before telling him to sit and relax. A few hours of conversation and a hand shake later, his orders were changed to deploy on the captain's stealth frigate, the position he was currently in. Incredibly, the Admiral, though he was called Captain more often aboard the ship, had promoted him to a Commander position to reflect his new status as an XO. It was incredibly quick he felt, but then again, most of the occurrences in his life had been at an accelerated rate.

Commander John Shepard quietly left the engineering section, nodding to Adams as he departed. Resisting the urge to call Daro, as she had stated earlier in the day she would be busy with her duties until further notice, he walked towards the elevator with no clear objective in mind. Free time was not something he was accustomed to, especially after the N7 training, and once again his mind wandered back to his quarian. He felt the hij'zan still on his left wrist, the spot where it had rested since it was gifted to him, which was the only physical reminder he had of her. John had never expected the band to become a symbol of so much, but looking back at it, he felt like it was the beginning of their connection to one another, of more than just friends. I guess dad was right when he caught us in the living room...I honestly wonder what he would think about us right now, being together. I know I love her, but it would have been easier to tell dad about it first; mom would have just asked for way too many details, and probably let the cat out of the bag long before I had the chance to tell her myself. John shook as head as he thought about his sister. She still had not a clue about his blossoming relationship with Daro, which was long past a mere friendship; he hadn't been alloted the time to visit her at medical school. I need to visit Tara when I get the chance.

The walk towards the elevator from engineering was short, but gave John enough time to return to his thoughts about a certain woman on the flotilla. Their lives had changed so much in the few years apart, but their feelings for one another seemingly continued to increase, much the opposite of what he had expected in a long distance relationship. I still can't believe she's already the head researcher on that ship. I thought my life was changing quickly, she's only five years older than me and she's basically a few steps away from being the head of multiple research ships... The Arc projector must have been even more efficient than I had imagined when I left. John chuckled as he remembered how excited she had been mid-way through his training when she had told him about the weapon. Apparently it had been finished a week prior, and the heads of the ship and planetary infantry combatants had highly approved of it's showing, the cost being the only thing from equipping every marine with one. She spent almost a million credits buying supplies to mass produce those things, and it still wouldn't be a common weapon around the fleet's marines, only reserved for the proven and lucky few... I need to snag that final schematic at some point and see if I can fabricate my own. He again struggled to keep his mind off her as the unpleasantly slow elevator finally reached its destination. Might as well kill some time with 'Joker' before we land.

"The relay is hot, acquiring approach vector." Joker said barely loud enough for him to hear as he reached the navigational stations. "All stations secure for transit." Moments later. "The board is green . Approach run has begun." There was a short lull in the pilot's speaking, before he finalized. "Htting the relay in 3...2...1..." The sound of the ship hitting a mass relay filled his ears as the ship's internal inertia dampeners completely negated the incredible acceleration forces outside of the ship. Looking ahead, he saw the armored form of the newest arrival on the fleet, a turian Specter by the name of Nihlus. Shepard silently strode over, wondering what the group could be talking about.

"Thrusters... check. Navigation... check. Internal emissions sink engaged. All systems online. Drift... under 1500 K." The pilot intoned, the biotic marine Kaidan nodding his head from the co-pilot's seat.

Nihlus spoke up, his baritone voice easily discernible from a human's. "1500 is good. Your captain will be pleased." The turian turned and left the cockpit, giving Shepard a slight nod, which he returned, before continuing towards his next destination.

John arrived at the cockpit, but the pilot spoke up before he could comment. "I hate that guy."

Kaidan turned his head, the man's expression changing to a slight hint of confusion. "Nihlus gave you a compliment... so you hate him?"

Shepard had a feeling the pilot was rolling his eyes as put his hand on the man's seat, making his presence known. Joker wasted no time in responding, customary to his nickname. "You remember to zip up your jumpsuit on the way out of the bathroom? That's good. I just jumped us halfway across the galaxy and hit a target the size of a pinhead. So that's incredible!"

Bosh'tet... Shepard thought with an amused grin, though he didn't say anything aloud. He'd only been on board for a little over two weeks, and already people had been speculating just who he was communicating with on his omnitool, ducking and hiding the connection as soon as anyone would come near. The last thing he wanted to do was add fuel to the fire. Nothing stays a secret aboard a ship for long. He quickly took his thoughts away from his quarian yet again as Joker continued. "Besides, Spectres are trouble. I don't like having him aboard. Call me paranoid."

Kaidan glanced his way, his facade again the customary neutral expression. "You're paranoid. The Council helped fund this project. They have a right to send someone to keep an eye on their investment."

Joker didn't seem to agree as he retorted. "Yeah, that is the official story. But only an idiot believe the official story."

Kaidan didn't seem too pleased with the remark, but Shepard interjected first. "They don't send Specters on shakedown runs." The disgruntled marine shook his head before focusing on the boards in front of him.

Joker, however, was much less apt at keeping himself silent. "So, there's more going on here than the captain's letting on."

Before John could retort, the captain's voice entered the conversation. "Joker! Status report."

Although he was nicknamed for a reason, Joker seemed to be able to switch to a proper Alliance pilot when the need arose. "Just cleared the mass relay, Captain. Stealth systems engaged. Everything looks solid."

Captain Anderson hardly ever sounded like many of the upper brass members John had met, many of those who would often speak in a very abrasive tone or constantly demand respectful pronouns before and after their main statement. Anderson was a large part of the reason he was excited to be aboard the ship, though the thought of exploration while doing missions instead of being stationed planet side was also pleasant. He never had done well with those kind of superiors. "Good. Find a com buoy and link us into the network. I want mission reports relayed back to Alliance brass before we reach Eden Prime."

Shepard rescinded his previous thought as Joker casually retorted. "Aye, aye Captain. Better brace yourself, sir. I think Nihlus is headed your way."

The captain's voice came out more stern, but far less than John would have expected from others. "He's already here, Lieutenant." Joker's hands froze on the holo-terminal, his eyes likely widened. The captain was thankfully a very lenient man, and continued in his normal tone... though something sounded off about it. "Tell Commander Shepard to meet me in the comm room for a debriefing." The communication channel cut out before the pilot had any more witty remarks.

"You get that, Commander?" Joker questioned again back to his nonchalant self.

"He seems angry." Shepard mused aloud. "Something must have gone wrong with the mission." What could have happened to the colony, it's an agrarian world with a very spread out population, not a metropolitan center like Mindoir. Slavers would have to be pretty desperate to hit it, especially since it's one of the more protected colonies.

As Shepard walked away, the parting comment from the pilot reached his ears. "Pfft. Captain always sound like that when he's talking to me."

He rolled his eyes, but then chuckled as he barely heard Kaidan's wise ass remark. "I can't possibly imagine why."

Shepard made his way down towards the CIC at a casual pace, and noticed that Navigator Pressly gave him a respectful nod. I'll have to chat with him later, might as well get to know the whole crew, not just the engineering section. Unless Daro's free after this meeting, then he'll have to wait. The crew originally gave him strange looks at first, being a 6'5" human with a rather large katana at your side apparently was not a common sight. However, by now he was simply another crew member.

John smiled lightly as he walked past the man, returning the nod. He noticed the ship's resident medical practitioner, an older woman by the name of Dr. Chakwas, standing by a man he had seen before, but had no idea who he was. The man, or should he say boy spoke rather loudly as Shepard strolled by. "I grew up on Eden Prime, Doc. It's not the kind of place Spectres visit. There's something Nihlus isn't telling us about this mission."

I guess more of the crew than just Joker think that the Spectre, or even Anderson, are hiding something. Maybe I can pry some of the information out of him. He walked past them, hearing the woman, Dr. Chakwas he recalled from the preliminary physical inspection, reply. "That's crazy. The captain's in charge here. He wouldn't take orders from a Spectre." Damn right he wouldn't.

When he entered the communication room, he was surprised to only see the turian in question, Spectre Nihlus, leaned against the large terminal and gazing intently at picture of Eden Prime with a strange structure on it. The alien must have heard his footsteps, turning around and taking a few steps away from the terminal. His baritone voice spoke. "Ah, Commander Shepard. I was hoping you'd get here first. It will give us a chance to talk."

Doesn't sound like it'll be a friendly chat...John decided to be cordial, however. "What about?"

The turian began slowly pacing as he continued musing. "I'm interested in this world we're going to – Eden Prime. I've heard it's quite beautiful."

I've heard it's beautiful as well to be honest. That's why it was named with 'Eden' in the name, the old religious garden of paradise. He shrugged his shoulders slightly. "I've never been there."

Nihlus nodded, contemplating for a moment before retorting. "But you know of it. It's become something of a symbol for your people, hasn't it? Proof that humanity can not only establish colonies across the galaxy, but also protect them. But how how safe is it, really?"

Shepard was surprised, and he unwillingly let it show on his face. However, the turian seemed uninterested in his reaction, turning to stare at the screen once more. With a hint of defensiveness over his species, he questioned. "Do you know something?"

The Spectre responded, his tone never changing throughout the conversation. "Your people are still newcomers, Shepard. The galaxy can be a very dangerous place." Another pause occurred before the alien continued. "Is the Alliance truly ready for this?"

Is he trying to threaten us? Before the commander could interject his opinion, the more familiar voice of the captain broke into the conversation. "I think it's about time we told the commander what's really going on."

Nihlus added from behind him. "This mission is far more than a simple shakedown run."

John rolled his eyes internally, though his facial expression didn't reflect his emotions. "I already figured that out."

Anderson spoke, gaining his attention. "We're making a covert pick-up on Eden Prime. That's why we needed the stealth systems operational."

I guess he still doesn't trust me enough for that kind of information... which really doesn't seem like his character though... Instead of worrying about the past though, he respectfully questioned. "What's the payload, Captain?"

Anderson quickly replied. "A research team on Eden Prime unearthed some kind of beacon during an excavation. It was Prothean." The normally stoic though friendly captain paced uneasily as he finished.

Prothean? How the hell would something 50,000 years survive and still be usable. Well, Eden Prime is a garden world, probably less seismic activity than most planets. Does that mean they used to inhabit it? He kept his wandering mind in check yet again. "What else can you tell me, sir?"

Anderson seemed to become more animated, his expression still showing slight signs of worry. "This is big, Shepard. The last time humanity made a discovery like this, it jumped our technology forward two hundred years. But Eden Prime doesn't have the facilities to handle something like this. We need to bring the beacon back to the Citadel for proper study."

Holy shit, this is big. Though it seems the Cou- Spectre Nihlus interjected before Shepard had time to process the information fully. "Obviously, this goes past beyond mere human interests, Commander. This discovery could affect every species in Council space."

"Why didn't we keep the beacon to ourselves?" John asked Anderson. It doesn't seem right to just give away such an important find. Information is the currency of the galaxy, and I guarantee there's plenty the council races have kept hidden, even from each other.

The alien responded, however. "You humans don't have the best reputation. Some species see you as selfish. Too unpredictable. Too independent. Even dangerous."

No shit... and yet the Council's history is full of foolish decisions. Anderson chipped in. "Sharing that beacon will improve relations with the Council. Plus, we need their scientific expertise. They know more about the Protheans than we do."

Shepard's omnitool beeped lowly, a specific sound which signaled Daro's ability to chat. Perfect timing, it seems like we're done here. He nodded to Nihlus who seemed unfazed by the noise and turned to John. The Spectre, unfortunately, had other plans and commented. "The beacon's not the only reason I'm here, Shepard."

Anderson continued. "Nihlus wants to see you in action, Commander. He's here to evaluate you."

Wait, what? John answered nonchalantly, though his mind was racing. "Guess that explains why I bump into him every time I turn around."

His captain explained. "The Alliance has been pushing for this for a long time. Humanity wants a larger role in interstellar policy. We want more say with the Citadel Council. The Spectres represent the Council's power and authority. If they accept a human into their ranks, it shows how far the Alliance has come."

Me? A Spectre? The turian Spectre added. "Not many could have survived what you went through on Akuze. You showed a remarkable will to live – a particularly useful talent. That's why I put your name forward as a candidate for the Spectres. Spectres need to know how to use their brains as well as their weapons."

Wait... Nihlus recommended me for the program? He allowed his confusion to show in his tone."Why would a turian want a human in the Spectres?"

The alien Spectre did not seem perturbed by his question. "Not all turians resent humanity. Some of us see the potential of your species. We see what you have to offer to the rest of the galaxy... and to the Spectres."

Captain Anderson spoke after the turian. "Nihlus will be accompanying you-"

Joker's voice quickly cut through the room. "Captain! We've got a problem."

"What's wrong Joker?" The captain replied.

"Transmission from Eden Prime, sir. You'd better see this." Joker said rapidly, devoid of his normal humorous tone.

"Bring it up on screen." Anderson ordered.

What was on the screen made everyone in the room quiet, and extremely nervous. An Alliance patrol on the planet was being annihilated by an unknown enemy, the weapon's fire sounding like nothing that had John had ever heard. The marines on the planet all stood gaping in awe before the video panned towards a giant claw-like ship descending towards the planet, then the video was reduced to static.

"Everything cuts out after that. No comms traffic at all. Just goes dead. There's nothing." Joker stated over the comms after the video had completed. "We're an hour out from Eden Prime Captain, going in fast and quiet."

John took an initiative, accessing the video terminal and rewinding it towards the oddly shaped dreadnought and pausing. The trio stared at the picture in silence. Out of the corner of Shepard's eye, he saw the Spectres mandibles twitch in what he assumed was nervousness. He quickly saved a copy of the video to his omnitool, an action that perhaps would have gotten him court-martialed by most captains, but even if Anderson found out, he felt safe from such punishments. I need to learn about whatever the hell that thing is.

A few moments passed, Anderson finally breaking the silence ominously. "This mission just got a lot more complicated. Both of you, grab your gear and meet me in the cargo hold in half an hour."

Nihlus seemed to snap out of his stupor with the screen and concluded. "A small strike team can move quickly without drawing attention. It's our best chance to secure the beacon. I'll go make some preparations." The turian walked away from the large monitor as it shut down, as did Anderson.

Well, there's a little bit of time to talk to Daro at least. He double checked to make sure the two had departed, before hailing his favorite quarian for a live video call, as the flotilla was close to a galactic comm buoy hub. It only took around ten seconds before he was greeted by the Moreh's head researcher and his exotic girlfriend, Daro'Xen.

"It's good to see you hun." John said with a smile as he sat on one of the comm room's surprisingly comfy chairs. He tried to keep the images he had just seen out of mind, but it was difficult.

"And you as well nehya." She said with a smile in her voice, but her head tilted slightly after a moment. "Are you alright John?"

I know I can trust her to keep this a secret. "No, I'm really not." He said earnestly, seeing his lover's eyes widen at the honesty. "I'll show you what's bothering me, but you need to keep it a secret, even from your captain."

"Of course John. Let me add some additional encryption to the channel first." The quarian replied quickly, her eyes focusing off the screen on to her omnitool for a while. After about twenty seconds, she continued. "Alright, it should be safe even from another aboard the vessel if you're ready."

John nodded, attaching a copy of the Eden Prime file before again nervously looking around the room. XO or not, sending such information to a member of another species, regardless of relationship, seemed like an easy way to get court-marshaled. He watched her mask after the video sent, and her wondrously luminescent eyes quickly widened. He waited patiently for her to finish watching the video, though she was the one to comment.

"Keelah John, those sounds, that has to be the geth." Daro said nervously.

How the hell did the geth find out about the prothean beacon? Although it pained him internally to do so, he didn't reveal the prothean discovery to his lover, mostly for her safety he told himself. "Do you have any idea why they would be on a human colony?" She had told him much about the geth in their friendship, from their structural designs to their networked intelligence, and everything she had elaborated upon had him conclude on one thing. They would be one hell of an adversary.

She shook her head sadly. "I do not have any idea, I'm sorry." She paused for a moment before adding in a worried tone. "You need to be careful John, they are extremely intelligent, and incredibly dangerous. We have very few samples of their weapons technology since the exodus, but I can imagine they have progressed substantially."

Shepard smiled ever so slightly at her obvious concern. "I know Daro, don't worry. It'd be a perfect opportunity to get some combat mission testing on the Arc Pistol." He added carefully. "Do you think the fleet would be against sending me a schematic of your Arc Projector? I can promise that it would only remain in my possession." There's no need to mention of why, she'll get even more worried if she knew I was traveling with a Spectre... as a Spectre candidate. "If there's geth in human space, that weapon might be incredibly effective. Plus, I could send back some footage and performance data."

"I'll see what I can do. You were helpful in the designs your short time here, but most of the flotilla is still distrustful of outsiders." Miss Xen replied earnestly, though she added with a chuckle. "Though once they find out geth have attacked human space, I can see many of our military leaders jumping at the opportunity for an alliance against them."

"Just don't tell them you got it from me, alright?" He replied, absolutely serious but attempting to put a humorous tone into it.

"I know John, and I realize the risk you took in sending me the information. Rest assured, I can easily convince the captain I had your an information tracker you had allowed on your omnitool, and he would understand why." Daro replied in a similar tone.

"I hope you're right Daro. I'm not entirely sure what the geth have been doing for three hundred years, but I can assume building their military was a priority." Shepard said after a sigh, continuing in a somber tone. "I hate to cut this short, but the captain will probably be expecting fully geared up rather soon."

"I understand John." She said in a slightly deflated tone, but her eyes showed her hidden smile as she more humorously added. "Still, you had better kill a lot of geth for me nehya."

Killing geth with the pistol we both designed, heck of a way to show your love. "I know dear, I'll make sure the first kill is in your name." The commander added jocularly.

"Keelah se'lai John'Shepard vas Normandy." Daro finished with a tilt of her head, a more easily discernible form of a smile.

Note to readers: Unless a word is specifically stated to be my own, in which a definition will be provided at the bottom, any terms used that you may not recognize come from the well-known stories by "Calinstel" which I am using as a basis for much of my quarian profiles. I'd highly recommend you read the story if you're a Tali-fan, but if not here's the link to the glossary page on his/her story :) [ s/6065449/109/To-Survive-Alliances]!