Mass Effect: Reunion

Captain Inara Shepard strode out of the rebuilt council chambers and entered the elevator to the Presidium. With short black hair, green eyes and a rather pale complexion she looked like someone you'd bump into one the street and wouldn't give a second thought. That is if you ignored the faint but large scar on her left cheek, the Predator H X armour she wore and the four conspicuous weapons she had on her at the time.

As the impossibly slow elevator continued its climb down, she sighed and leant against the wall. Things had become dull. Three months ago she had stopped the Reapers from returning, got a whole shower of award from every race, chosen Captain David Anderson as humanities representative on the council, that she had saved, managed to get the leaders closest to Ilos in the Terminus systems to allow a council research fleet into the area, started a relationship with an extremely young asari only to have the put on hold because now that same asari was in charge of the research on Ilos.

Now her job seemed to be floating around Ilos (a plus that she could be with Liara while there) or heading to the citadel to give reports. It had become routine.

Finally the elevator reached its stop and she stepped out. Kaiden Alenko was waiting for her in civvies and carrying what looked like a bundle of papers presumably for her to sign about all the weapons, armour and mods he had bought in her name.

"Shepard." He said with a smile, "How'd it go?"

"Dull, routine and the same." She replied grimly, "I don't think with the exception of the captain that they get the idea the archaeology takes time and mine is better spent looking for alternate leads."

"They might even be sceptical that the Reapers are still a threat after we destroyed Sovereign."

"God, don't go down that road."

They started walking down the path when a voice called out.

"Is old Gunny Shepard too important to notice her old buds?!"

Shepard stopped dead in her tracks and an ear-to-ear grin spread across her face.

"Now the only person I know that's cocky enough to speak like that to his superior is Corporal Malcolm "Longshot" Reynolds." She replied.

Shepard spun on her heel and saw a tall man with short untidy dark hair, tanned skin clad in a long brown coat over his military uniform. He had a large duffel bag slung over his shoulder.

Shepard and Reynolds burst out laughing before grabbing one another in a large bear hug.

"Mal you son of a gun, what the hell are you doing here?" asked Shepard as they broke apart, "The last I heard you were in the reserves train local militias and cops."

"I heard about the attack on the citadel and what you did, your promotion. Thought the alliance and you could do with a man that can thread a needle with his rifle and requested a transfer."

Mal reached into his coat and pulled out a transfer form and continued, "The top brass knew I'd served with you for our first few terms outta basic thought it'd be a good idea to put us back together."

"I'll bet it was Hackett's idea." Remarked Shepard, "well we'd better get you kitted out."

"I already got my guns and armour gunny." Replied Mal giving the duffel bag a shake.

"Not like mine. Best Money can buy."

"Well if you're payin'."

Kaiden cleared his throat at this point.

"Ah Kaiden." Said Shepard, "This is… hang on what is your rank now?"

"Commander."

"Impressive, This is Commander Malcolm Reynolds. The best damn sniper in the alliance."

"Mal, this is Lieutenant Commander Kaiden Alenko. The strongest biotic that isn't an Asari."

Kaiden on impulse went into a salute, which Reynolds dutifully returned.

"Now please." Said Mal, "Never salute me again, if I wanted salutes I would have joined the army."

On board the Normandy three hours later…

Malcolm Reynolds had finally finished tinkering with the HMWSR X sniper rifle as well as the HMWP X and the Predator M X armour that had been bought for him. Now he was nervous, the transfer had happened for three reasons. 1) He though Shepard could use his help. 2) The top brass had thought it was a good idea. 3) They both had some business to take care of.

He knocked on Shepard's door in the Normandy, which slide open soundlessly. Shepard was sitting at her desk doing paperwork by the looks of it, but she turned to face him.

"Mal? You need something?" she asked.

"Uh yeah Gunny." He replied awkwardly, "Have you checked your mail recently?"

She looked at him confused before saying, "No."

"Check it."

"O…K…"

Shepard turned back to her computer and brought up the extranet for her post.

"Spam, spam, spam, banker having panic attack, spam, sp… Jimmy?" she said suddenly.

"I got it to." Said Mal.

Shepard opened the message and a recording started.

"Gunny, Longshot, I really hope you're hearing this. I'm in trouble, I was helping a medical company get supplies to Eden Prime after the attack. Long story short I got captured by this weird ass lot. Most of the crew got taken alive, but they've done things to them. I dunno what but they've just been jabbering away like a bunch o loonies. I snuck away but I can't get outta here I'm on a damn ice cube I don't know where but I was taken in the Utopia…

HEY GET AWAY FROM THERE!!!"

The recording was just buzzing and static after that.

Shepard reached forward as if in a trance to the ships intercom.

"Joker!" she said, "make sure all the crew is on board and then set course for the Utopia System. On the double!!!

"Yes Ma'am"

Shepard slumped back in her seat before heading to the ships galley.

On her way out she muttered to Mal, "I need a drink."