Author's Note: Chapter One of the fic is ready! This was supposed to be just a bit of a fun fill for the Mass Effect Fic A Thon over at the Live Journal ME comm, but when I started the outline, it kind of ran away with me. Hope razorangelwings likes it. More coming! Soonish. :3

Rough hands shoved Commander Shepard hard into waist high water. It was freezing cold and her captors had not bothered to remove her blindfold or restraints. The icy shock was a wake-up call from whatever they dosed her with to knock her out. It was an unpleasant reminder that they had taken her armor and weapons. She was groggy, disoriented, and pissed.

Getting to her feet was a struggle; she swallowed something fetid and nasty tasting while gasping for air. The smell of rotten flesh, decay and other unpleasantries almost made her gag and add to the pool of gross, but she bit it back, coughing roughly to get the crap taste off her tongue.

She heard a heavy door slam shut from behind her, and her vision went jet black. Hacking up more of the water she tried to get her bearings and swore, "Fucking hell."

A grave, deep voice echoed through the darkness. She couldn't tell where it was coming from. The echo was throwing off her sense of direction. But the sound, the tone, was very familiar.



"Shepard!" His voice was closer, but sounded like it was coming from above her, echoing around her.


"Shepard…" Closer, it almost had her laughing. She muttered, "Marco…"

"Who's Marco?" His voice was right behind her. She leapt up and almost took a dive into the frigid water surrounding them. "Fuck Wrex, that ain't fair." He grunted, pleased with himself. Half a ton of muscle and meat and he got the drop on her. Yeah, not living that one down.

The air next to her was warm. There was a mountain of krogan standing right next to her. She felt his hand on her face as he pulled the blindfold up and over her eyes, flinging it into the water with a small splash.

Blinking a few times to clear her vision wasn't working. It was still dark. Well, at least she didn't have to worry about things being blurry.

His voice rumbled from the darkness in front of her, "Plan B, huh?" She didn't need to see his face; her mind's eye was filling in the glare he was giving her at the moment.

"Stuff it, pyjak breath," she said. Her wrists felt raw where the cuffs were clamping down, and she felt him tug at them. Wrex said, "These are on solid. Think you can manage?"

"Yea, I'll be fine. Remind me to tell Miranda what a wonderful plan this was later." She tested the restraints again, but they were not budging. She hated having her hands behind her back. She wiggled a bit, trying to get her hands in front of her. Wrex moved away from her and was sloshing around in the muck. Irritated with her hands, she grunted, "Well, where the hell did they toss us anyway? It's freezing down here."

"Wastes energy to keep the sewers climate controlled." She could hear him wading through the water, long sweeping strides. It was almost as if he was looking for something with his feet while she squirmed in place. Of course he'd only make noise now, when she was staring right at him. Or at the dark blob that was Wrex. The splashing stopped and he grunted happily.

"Find something?"


She waited a beat for him to elaborate. He didn't. She paced, annoyed that her hands weren't where she needed them. Her fidgeting elicited a bark from the krogan. "Stop moving."


More sloshing around, but now there was purpose to it. Fuck it was cold. Her body started to shiver as the cold seeped through her muscles and into bone. With her hands bound, she struggled to make a weak barrier. She couldn't get the somatic to work. She started to shiver, but she knew she could use it to help bolster the barrier, so she clenched her fists tight, pulled her arms close to her back and up a bit into her body. It didn't do anything to keep the water out, but the air trapped between the barrier and her body started to warm a bit. The soft blue glow also gave her some light to see by.

Krogan look so unusually small without armor. She could see Wrex hunched over something, hands plunged into the thigh high water, when his head snapped up and he snarled at her, "SHUT THAT OFF!"

"What? Why?"

A hard yank on her hands was all the warning she got as she was flung backwards into the frigid water. She bit her tongue hard to not gasp for air. The coppery taste of blood and something bitter made her want to puke. Thrashing her legs in the cold sewage, she couldn't get her footing. Her arms burned with the pressure, her heart hammered against her chest. She had to swallow the sudden panic that surfaced as her memories threatened to take over –air hissing from her helmet, hands grasping at the leak, Oh God, she was going to suffocate – since she didn't have time to freak out. Something had her and if she didn't do something quick, that something was going to finish what the Collectors couldn't.

Then her world brightened, but only for a moment. Something blue streaked across her vision and then everything went upside down. Her head broke the surface and she inhaled bits of fetid water with her lungful of air. Her shoulders ached with the abuse, but she got to her feet. The roar of a battle master and the hissing wail of something else echoed around her.

Something heavy slammed into her gut and all the air she had taken in puffed out in one big burst. A thick rope of something wrapped around her and slide across her shirt, tearing it up and digging into the tender flesh beneath. It slid around her middle onto her arms, whatever rough scaling that protected it was also doing a fine job tenderizing her arms.

"Sonofabitch!" The pain was sharp, her arms felt ragged, but she knew she couldn't tackle this… whatever it was, with her hands behind her back. This is going to suck, she thought as it started constricting around her arms.

Gritting her teeth she tensed all her muscles, preparing for that flip and a twitch to get the nerves singing just right and when her blood was ringing with the shimmery blue glow, she charged in the direction of the growling and hissing.

The force of it dislodged the questing appendage but not before dislocating her shoulder. Pain flared and all her attention came to a focus at the glare of Wrex's angry red eyes. She charged right into his face, let instinct take over and round housed into something big and meaty that squealed in pain.

The lights went out again, and her shoulder was throbbing in time with her heart beat, but whatever it was that thought krogan and human were on the menu must have had its fill, because the waters became calm again.

"Damn, Shepard, you stink." Hot breath was on her face again, she'd actually never been this close to him. He was warm. She was freezing. She laughed, tasting the foulness in her mouth. "You're not smelling like roses either, sunshine. Fuck, stand still…" The benefit to having popped her shoulder out of place was that now she could move her hands under her butt, under her legs and around to the front.

Her shoulder complained forcefully with each inch. She hissed and he laughed, "Don't tell me a little jartik is going to make you whimper like a whelp."

Growling low in her throat, she got her hands in front of her and then, without warning, charged him. He had enough sense to not move out of the way and the force of the charge was enough to socket her shoulder back into joint while she shouted a few choice obscenities. It even knocked him back a few steps. "Want me to fix your hair too?"

"Screw you."

He laughed and then started wading through the muck again. Her eyes were better acclimated to the lack of light so she could follow him back to his whatever spot in the ground that he was looking for. "What did you find?"

Not bothering to see if she had followed him, he plunged his hands back into the muck. "There's a panel here. I recognize the make of this place. Just need to short out this and two other panels and we should be able to get through the door. Guards probably think the garbage disposal took care of us."

"Their mistake." Her shoulder still felt sore, but now that her restraints where in front, she could work on getting them off her hands. Nothing to pick them with, but she's broken her thumbs in plenty of fights over the years. Snapping them in and out of joint was a piece of cake comparatively.

She could feel his eyes tracking the cracking and snapping of joints, and he said with a tinge of respect, "Old trick?"
The flare of pain subsided once she let the shackles drop and she quickly popped her thumbs back into place. "Yeah. Breaking heads is hard work."