They gave Shepard a Raw Deal. And nobody gives Shepard a Raw Deal. Wait, wrong intro.
"You son of a bitch!" Williams shouted at Udina, "You're selling us out!"
Donnel Udina turned calmly to her, smoothing out his cream jacket. "Oh I wish I was selling you out. I need the credits. I feel as though I've been wearing this same outfit forever," he said, plucking lint from his sleeve with a disdainful expression on his face.
"Yes," the salarian councilor put in from where he stood with the turian and asari, high atop their figurative ivory tower, standing in judgement over all. "You have been emitting what is, quite frankly, the most awful stench for some time now, Ambassador."
The asari continued, "We didn't wish to raise the issue before now for fear you might take offence and declare war on us but since you mentioned it..."
"Take a bath, Ambassador," the turian rapped out.
Shepard rolled her eyes, wishing for the nth time that she could simply pull her sidearm and shoot the lot of them between the eyes. Then she'd find that slag of a reporter, Ms Al-Jilani and cap her ass too. Her, Conrad Verner, that annoying git hitting up passers by for drugs outside Flux and pretty much everybody who'd begged her for one favour or another since she became a Spectre. God helps those who help themselves, after all. Not that Shepard was comparing herself to a god.
"After everything we've done for you..." Williams was protesting. Wrex simply stood immobile, eyeing the turian and salarian councillors as though estimating how many bites it would take for him to swallow them. Two apiece, he decided and bared his fangs at them.
"Oh come now," the asari said smoothly, "Surely a woman of your intellect, Commander, should have seen this eventuality coming. After all, we've done nothing but hold back humanity for the past twenty-six years. By the Goddess, you tried to tell us that Saren had gone rogue and we all but called you a liar. And now you act so surprised when we tell you we're grounding your ship?"
Wrex turned to Shepard and muttered, "She does have a point, Shepard."
Shepard shrugged eloquently, said, "Stuff the lot of yez," turned on her heel and stalked out of the Council Chambers. As Williams and Wrex jogged after her to catch up, Shepard delivered the one finger salute over her shoulder to the three gobsmacked Councillors as well as Udina who was discreetly sniffing the armpits of his suit.
The three stood in the elevator, enduring the long, looooong ride from the Council Chambers, and was it just Shepard or did the Citadel Tower not resemble a gigantic phallic symbol to anybody else? I'm going down inside a gigantic phallic symbol. I only just realised how filthy that sounds. I need a shower.
Hesitantly, Williams asked, "What are you going to do, Skipper?"
Shepard turned to face the younger woman, "Something I should have done a long time ago, Williams."
"Shoot Udina in the back of the head?" Wrex asked, feeling hopeful.
Shepard shot him a brief glance, "No."
Undaunted, Wrex asked, "Let me shoot Udina in the back of the head?"
"No," Shepard repeated.
Wrex folded his arms across his chest. "Dammit!" he hissed.
Arms crossed, Shepard glared at the krogan. "It's always shooting people in the head with you, isn't it?"
"Oh that's rich, coming from you!" Wrex retorted. "How many people have you shot between the eyes lately? Let me see...Jeong, Major Kyle, Corporal Toombs, that guy who abducted Chairman Burns, Fist...wait, that was me. Hell, you're even more bloodthirsty than I am!" Wrex said admiringly.
Shepard ignored Wrex and turned to Williams. "I'm taking some time out, Williams," Shepard said calmly as the lift doors finally hissed open and the group dispersed out into the C-Sec docking bays. "We've all been under the gun for far too long. The Council thinks they can handle Saren and the Reapers? Fine, let 'em. Me? I'm gonna sit down, put my feet up and watch Sovereign rip the bastards a new one."
Williams was shocked. This wasn't the same Commander Shepard who'd almost single-handedly prevented the annihilation of the colony on Eden Prime. This wasn't the same Shepard who'd risked her life to save her own on Virmire, sacrificing Lieutenant Alenko.
"Uh, Skipper. It has occurred to you that when Saren shows up, we'll still be docked to the Citadel and right in the firing lines. Hasn't it?" Williams almost pleaded.
Shepard stopped and turned to face Williams, a scary kind of intensity etched in her features. "Not my problem any more, Williams."
"Ma'am, with due respect, you can't just sit this out! You have to find a way to get off the station and fight Saren!"
"Oh please," Shepard rolled her eyes. "This from the woman who thinks we should treat the 'aliens' like a hunting dog and sic them on the bear and run for it."
"I....Skipper, I've changed since then! We need to do something or we'll all die!"
Shepard walked off, "Yap yap yap," she said, opening and closing her right hand to mime a blabbing mouth.
Willliams and Wrex exchanged glances, "She's gone completely insane," Williams concluded.
"I dunno," Wrex replied, scratching his jaw, "I kinda like the idea of making those bastards do all the heavy lifting for a change."
Williams shook her head, grabbed the krogan by the arm and dragged him in the direction of the elevator, "Come on! We have to find Captain Anderson, he can talk some sense into her."
Aboard the Normandy, Shepard paused in the airlock to remove her hardsuit, tossing the pieces haphazardly in the corner for somebody else to pick up. She was on vacation, damn it! And the time off was starting right the hell now! Clad now in her shipboard fatigues and with bare feet, the Commander walked along the aisle between the two rows of stations behind the bridge, enjoying the coolness of the decking beneath the soles of her feet.
I should do this more often. Stopping at a random heat monitoring station, Shepard waved off the salute of the crewman and said, "Serviceman Parker?"
"Ma'am?" Parker replied, wandering why the Commander was choosing now to pay any attention at all to the crew members. All she ever seemed to do was talk to Williams, Alenko and the aliens, sorry non-humans stashed below decks. And now that Alenko was free-floating atoms, now she decided to pay attention to the rest of the crew? Well screw her and the horse she rode in on!
"Clear the station, Parker, take a break. Make yourself a coffee or read those girlie magazines I know you have hiding behind that loose bulkhead panel in engineering."
"Ma'am..I," Parker began but, seeing the look in the Commander's face, got up and left his station.
Shepard, ignoring the looks from the rest of the crew, settled into the chair and swung her feet up onto the station. "Oh yeah," she said loudly, "this is the life."
Clapping her hands together as though she were royalty, she said, "Somebody bring me an iced tea, chop chop!" then she laughed. And it was the laugh of the damned.
"Captain Anderson, thank God you're here!" Williams gasped as she and Wrex pushed through the doors into Udina's office. Anderson looked up as they entered.
"Where else would I be? It's not like anybody made any kind of allowances for me after I was kicked off my own ship! It's like they all expected me to just sit around twiddling my thumbs until a critical moment arose and I was suddenly thrust back into a position of all-too-brief importance before being shoved aside again!"
Williams and Wrex looked at each other for a long second. "He's completely lost it," Wrex whispered to Williams. "I swear, you humans don't handle rejection at all well, do you?"
"Captain Anderson," Williams said carefully. "Commander Shepard needs your help. The Council grounded her and instead of fighting them on it, she's just given up."
Anderson folded his arms across his chest and leaned back in his seat, "Uh huh. We all knew this would happen eventually. Given all she's been through," Anderson began ticking off points on his fingers, "Growing up alone on the streets, surrounded by criminals, then watching her entire unit being turned into Thresher chow on Akuze...I'm surprised she's lasted this long before going completely off her rocker."
"Captain, please! All I'm asking you is to talk to her, one soldier to another. Make her see sense!"
Anderson sighed. "Fine. It's not like I was doing anything important here anyway."
Getting to his feet, Anderson said, "I'll tell her to meet me at Flux. If I get enough vodka and red bull into her, she'll be like putty in my hands."
Williams frowned, "And when she sobers up and realises you manipulated her while she was drunk to the eyeballs? What then?"
"Hopefully by then she'll be locked in mortal combat with Saren and will direct any rage at me towards him. That'll learn him not to shaft me."
Williams and Wrex traded glances. "Get her drunk and pack her off to Ilos? Great plan, Captain. Great plan."
"Can you think of anything better?" Anderson paused for a few moments and when neither one replied, continued, "Fine."
"Uh Commander," Joker began, "There's a transmission coming in..."
"If it's Hackett, tell him to get lost!" Shepard yelled back from her station. The console before her was covered with empty glasses of iced tea.
"Commander, it's Captain Anderson and he says it's important," Joker persisted.
Shepard rolled her eyes, "Important, I'll just bet it is. I bet he's feeling all depressed and lonely and needs a drinking buddy."
"He said to meet him in that club in the Wards. Flux?"
"See?" Shepard replied as she swung her feet back to the floor. "Where are my boots?"
Eventually, with twenty glasses of iced tea sloshing around in her stomach, Shepard ventured forth from the Normandy which was currently little more than a horrendously expensive doorstop and proceeded to Flux. Once inside the club, she studiously ignored the pleas from various passers-by for help with one crisis or another and found Anderson. The former captain of the Normandy sat at a table alone, a glass half-full of an amber fluid before him.
"You wanted to see me, Captain?" Shepard asked.
"Take a seat, Shepard," Anderson invited. The Commander shrugged and sat in the chair then slouched down so that she was half in and half out of it. Maintain correct posture? Screw that!
"So, Chief Williams tells me that the Council grounded the Normandy?" Anderson began and sipped his drink. "What do you plan to do about it, Shepard?"
Shepard shrugged, reached up behind her head and pulled her hair out of its ponytail, shaking it loose. "Do? Captain, even if I wanted to, which I don't, I couldn't do anything!"
"So you're just giving up?" Anderson said, leaning forward and staring into her eyes, challenging her. "Just like that? You're disappointing me, Commander," he said and shook his head.
"Pfft. Don't try that on with me. Captain, we've fought for so long just for these bastards," she waved her arms around to encompass the room, "to take us seriously. For almost three decades we've carried the can for them, played second fiddle to them and this is how they treat us in return?"
Anderson nodded understandingly, and waved over a waitress. "Bring me a bottle of vodka and a case of red bull," he said to her. The waitress nodded and left.
"Vodka and red bull, Captain?" Shepard smiled slightly. "Trying to get me drunk?"
"Yes," Anderson said flatly. "If that's what it takes to get you to change your mind, I'll do it."
Shepard laughed and said, "I'll drink you under the damn table, Anderson."
Three standard hours and a great many drinks later, Anderson and Shepard, both cataclysmically smashed, reeled out of Flux, each using the other for support as they staggered down the stairs towards the nearest mass transit vehicle. As they went, they sang old sea shanties and giggled uncontrollably.
"What'll we do with the drunken sailor, drunken sailor, drunken sailor, early in the morning?"
As the vehicle lifted off and flew towards the docking bay, Shepard muttered, "You know what I oughta do, Andershon?"
"I oughta find a way to deactivate that lockout and go kick Saren in his manpartsh. Yeah, thass what I'll do! hic!"
Anderson smiled as Shepard passed out and began formulating a plan. A plan that involved punching Udina in the face.
And the rest we already know.
A/N: After seeing how well Random Acts of Virmire was received, I decided to write this. I wanted to poke a little fun at little things like Udina wearing the same clothes all the time and Shepard's penchant for shooting people in the head. And the tower? That's just begging to have the piss taken out of it.