Disclaimer: EA/Bioware owns the rights to Mass Effect.

AN: Just a little something that had been running through my head.

Force of Nature

I don't know how it happened. It just went by so fast in my eyes. One moment, I was sitting in the cockpit, trying to save my baby. And then the next, Commander Shepard was telling me that the Normandy was lost, that I shouldn't go down with the ship. I knew that she was right, but I felt like I was abandoning a part of myself, a part of my family.

But damn, Shepard was right. I know that she knew that…

All of a sudden, that woman PULLED me out of my chair, breaking my arm in the process. She dragged my ass to the escape pod and was about to go in after me when that beam hit. The horror of what I was seeing hit my straight in the gut. My commanding officer was blasted away from the pod and I could see that she was barely hanging on to the corner of the wall she was holding onto.

"COMMANDER!"

I shouted, trying to get her to look at me, to try to get her ass back to the pod. When she did finally look at me, it almost felt like my heart stopped. Her eyes…those hazel eyes that belonged to the woman I had come to admire. They stared at me, as if she was looking right into my soul, my very being. I almost thought I could hear her in my mind.

Don't worry about me, Jeff…my time has come. Take care of everyone for me. But…most of all, take CARE of yourself, flyboy…

"SHEPARD!"

I didn't care that my arm was already broken, I didn't care that I probably fractured my legs in the process. I got up from my seat just as she had hit the button to eject my escape pod and rushed to the small, round window port. I banged my fists uselessly on the harsh metal, crying out the Commander's name as that enemy's weapon struck my Normandy again. I saw her fly away with the debris from the ship. The last thing I saw of her was the air leaking from the back of her suit.

I numbly sat back down on the seat in the pod, not caring about the physical pain in my arms and legs. If this pod crashes and I die, then…then so be it. I closed my eyes and waited for my fate…

XXXX

I opened my eyes and tried to sit up, but the pain I just experienced made me lay back down. I carefully looked at my surroundings and I realized that I was in some sort of medical center. I heard a moan off to my left and I was surprised to see Chief Williams there. She was obviously sleeping, but I didn't see anything wrong with her. No signs of bandages, no IVs hooked up to her arms. Why is she just sleeping on one of the medical beds?

"Ash?" I said softly, trying to see if she was really sleeping.

Ashley shifted her body enough so she could face me. Her eyes were red and puffy and her dark hair in disarray, not in its usual bun. She seemed to realize that I was awake and sat up hastily, causing her to slightly sway.

"Oh, remind me not to do that again," she complained as she slowly got off the bed and stood up. She walked over to me, her steps a little hesitant. She then placed a hand gently on my forehead. I glanced up and sighed. The look in her eyes; it was telling me that I better expect some hard questions.

"Joker…where's the Commander? Where's Shepard?"

I wanted to close my eyes again. I wanted to stay in the darkness that I woke up from. I did not want to be alive at this moment. But, what I want doesn't matter in this messed up galaxy.

"Dead."

XXXX

Damn it all to hell! Worse, I think those moronic Councilors need to have my proverbial foot up their uptight asses! They think that the Reaper menace was all in Shepard's head and even the Alliance is backing that claim! How dare they! And then that farce of a funeral on the Presidium. Saying all of these niceties about Shepard in front of the public, not really giving a crap for all the good she had done for the Council and this galaxy.

I glanced over to what remained of the Normandy's crew. Ash was a mess, her eyes red and puffy from crying. Liara, that asari, was standing close to Ash. I could see that she was trying to give Ash some comfort. A little ways in the back, I saw Tali cover her faceplate with her hands while Wrex appeared to be as stoic as ever. However, what really surprised me was the turian, Garrus. He always had this stick up his butt; he never really relaxed and was very uptight. But now…

I saw anger in his eyes. Anger that I also felt towards the Council. He turned his head and I'm sure that he felt the same thing and he nodded. He recognized something in my eyes and then looked away. Huh… I think I saw something else in his eyes. I think he truly misses Shepard. I do recall one time when Shepard told me how she feels that Ash, me and Garrus were her best friends…

I noticed that Garrus glanced up at the person who was currently speaking. It was Captain Anderson, now Councilor Anderson. At least he was someone I respected enough to give a tribute to Shepard. He was extolling Shepard's virtues, her skills, and her history of service. Everyone knew what she did on Akuze, that she was the only person to survive the thresher maw attack on her unit. After he was finished, a strong, confident woman approached the raised podium. My god…she looked almost exactly like the Commander.

"Thank you, everyone, for coming to give tribute to Commander Veronica Shepard," the woman began, her hazel eyes looking at each person deeply in their eyes. "Veronica was the best daughter a mother could have ever hoped for. She was a fine person, an outstanding symbol of courage and what humanity stands for." For some reason, this Shepard seemed to seek me out and when she found me, her eyes locked in onto mine.

"In case that some of you do not know who I am, I am XO Hannah Shepard of the SSV Kilimanjaro. We come from a military family, our history dating back all the way to humanity's First World War in the year 1918. We always stood for truth, for justice. But most of all, we stood for honor. And because of that, the only people here today that I am honored to be around are Councilor Anderson and the remains of my daughter's crew."

My mouth dropped. Shepard's mother was criticizing the Council and the Alliance. My god…now I know where Shepard got her speaking skills. XO Shepard was just the same as her daughter! And then, just like that, the woman left the podium and headed in my direction. The sheer force that this woman was exuding caused the crowd to part, no one wanting to be in the way of this force of nature. I could hear Ambassador Udina call for this Shepard to come back, but I could tell that she was just ignoring the backstabbing bastard.

I glanced back at Garrus and Tali for a moment and then I nearly jumped out of the wheelchair I was temporarily confined in. XO Shepard was right in front of me, staring at me with those familiar hazel eyes.

"You must be Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau." I just nodded, just staring at what looked like an older version of Commander Shepard. This older woman smirked a bit and walked behind my wheelchair. "Come on, let's get out of here. I want to talk to you about my Veronica."

I just nodded at the woman and let her wheel me away someplace quiet. It was nice, almost like having my commander again…

XXXX

A couple of months went by and I was just sitting in a public shuttle waiting area. I couldn't believe it…the Alliance took away the one thing that mattered to me. I'm not allowed to fly anymore! I'm the best damn pilot they got and this is the thanks I get? I should have figured that the government just wants us gone. Ash got a promotion to Operations Chief, Tali went back to the Migrant Fleet, and Wrex went back to Tuchanka. I think he said something about uniting all the krogan clans. I told him good luck on that…I don't think that it will happen though.

But what surprise me the most was Garrus. The turian went right into Spectre training as we all expected him to do. And then one night, as I was getting ready to close out my computer display, I got a strange message from him.

'Out of all the survivors from the Normandy, I think you are the only one who will understand. Shepard was a Force of Nature, Joker. She gave me purpose, she taught me many things. Now that she's gone, almost everyone is gone. She was the glue that held us together. I can't stay here on the Citadel any longer…I left Spectre training. Too much bureaucratic crap here. Nothing is getting done, no one wants to believe that the Reapers exist. I need to do something, but I can't do it here.

I'm going to follow Shepard's example and do things on my own. I'm going to use what she taught me. I'm dropping off the grid…if I die in the process…

DO NOT TRY TO FIND ME.'

After that, no one could find the turian. I couldn't tell anyone about the message he sent me. He always had a stick up his butt…but now…I'm afraid that he finally worked it out and will be trying to beat guys to death with it.

I glanced at my watch and I know I grumbled loudly because some asari looked over at me with disgust. Like I care what those blue aliens think…snobby people who think they're better than everyone…

"Excuse me, are you Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau?"

I looked up and my mouth nearly dropped. The woman in front of me was…well, she was gorgeous! Not to mention her uniform was tight in all the right places. I think she noticed where I was staring at glared at me. Like I care…if she's going to be dressed like that, she should expect men to stare at her…um…assets.

"Let me see," I replied, pulling out an ID with a photo of me on it. "Well, I guess I am…the person in this picture looks like me. I guess I am…but can the Flight Lieutenant crap. I've been grounded." Yes, I know I'm bitter…

The dark haired woman ignored my little sarcastic moment. Huh…I don't think she has a sense of humor. Figures…hey…that symbol on her outfit. It looks familiar.

"Well then, Mr. Moreau, I'm Miranda Lawson and I have a deal for you, and I think you might like it."

"Sure, let's hear it…it's not like I'm going anywhere…"

Miranda took me to a quiet spot and I realized that there's probably no surveillance in the area. Figures…this woman is screaming 'I'm a Cerberus bitch' all over and I guess she didn't want people to hear what she was going to say…

WHAT?

"If you are willing to work for Cerberus, we are prepared to do some physical enhancements to your body and body upgrades. We'll need your piloting skills in the future. We already recruited a Dr. Chakwas…"

XXXX

It's been two long years, but I'm excited! Cerberus managed to bring Commander Shepard back from the dead! And she's in the room talking to the Illusive Man right now…I know I need to bide my time, to make my grand entrance. Man, she does not sound happy, her voice carrying all the way up here. I looked over at Jacob and saw the man just shrug. He seems like a nice enough guy…way too nice for all the ways he knows how to kill people.

I heard my cue and walked down the stairs to see the holographic light die down and Shepard had her back to me. I smirked a bit…the armor she was wearing was similar to the Ursa Medium armor she wore back on the old Normandy. She then turned around and I saw shock in her eyes.

"Just like old times, eh Commander?" I asked, smirking back at her. Despite the glowing scars on her face, her eyes lit up and she gave me one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen. She had never looked more beautiful in my entire life…

Commander Veronica Shepard, a biotic Vanguard…my friend and also something else. I can't wait to see what she does with Cerberus…They don't realize it now, but I do. They've brought back something that can never be controlled, can never be contained.

They brought back a Force of Nature.

XXXX

AN: I'm going to mark this story as complete, as a one-shot. This was something that was wallowing in my head for a while. I love Joker, I really do, and I sometimes wish that they had him as a romance option. My favorite pairings are femShep/Garrus, femShep/Thane, and femShep/Joker.

Just a little info on this Shepard…She's a Vanguard with sniper rifles. Spaceborn and Sole Survivor. Paragon with some Renegade. In ME1, she pursued a romance with Kaiden, but left him to die on Virmire. He was the one left behind with the nuke.

I'm not sure if I'll make this into a chaptered story…