Straight to the Head

A crack fic, inspired, by a fic I read back in 2006.

I don't own Bioware.

Commander Shepard for this story is Jack Shepard, basically Jack Sparrow in space. Liara is LI, but with a heavy bromance with Joker, Kaidan, Garrus and Jacob.

ILLUSIVE MAN'S HEADQUARTERS

SOMWHERE VERY EVIL AND SINISTER

THE IMPERIAL MARCH IS ALWAYS PLAYING TO REMIND THE EMPLOYEES JUST HOW EVIL THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE.

The Illusive Man was deep in conversation with his inner circle. Unfortunately, since Miranda Lawson, his last, best, right hand woman had flipped him off and left Cerberus, and he himself had ordered Paul Grayson to be turned into a Reaper slave, his inner circle consisted of several none too bright field operatives. The smartest among them was undoubtedly Kai Leng, but he was also incapacitated, in hospital for months of painful physical therapy while his legs recovered from being kneecapped by Admiral Anderson.

"Alright!" he yelled, silencing the debate about the best ways to get revenge on Lawson. "Jack Shepard thought he could betray me, he thought he could betray Cerberus. Well, I've got news for you gentlemen, I won't allow it. I have a plan!"

Cheers and thunderous applause erupted from his eager followers as they sat cross legged on the floor around him.

"SILENCE!" he smoothed his hair back, gaining control of his frustration. Well, when you had to recruit men and women absolutely loyal to humanity, you had to be prepared to make a few concessions regarding intelligence. "Now, with Kai Leng in hospital, Miranda Lawson…"

"BOO!" A bull necked female operative screamed. "Down with Lawson!"

"Yes, yes I know," TIM patted her on the head. "But as I said, with all my best planners, strategists and soldiers either abandoning me, killed by Shepard, the Shadow Broker or any of the other mercenary or government organizations that ruthlessly serve the alien agenda, I have come up with my own plan!"

More cheers and applause, they launched into a bad rendition of 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.'

"I shall," he paused for mass dramatic, evil effect. "Plant an infiltrator on Shepard's crew!"

Dead silence. "But boss?" one spoke up. "None of us are infiltrators. You already said that the guys best suited to infiltrating have already been killed, kidnapped or mind controlled."

"I know you idiot," TIM facepalmed. "That's why I'm doing this myself!"

A chorus of 'oh's' and 'ah's' floated from the assembled operatives. "But boss? How are you going to get on board? Sure Shepard knows you by sight?"

"Ah, but I've already covered that," Illusive Man stood up and turned away from them, he fumbled with something. "Allow me to introduce you to…" he turned back around, now wearing a gigantic, drooping, false mustache and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. "…Millusive Tam! Badass aging mercenary!"

Dead silence. "He's with the Alliance! GET HIM! What you done with the Illusive Man!" Outraged cries came from the operatives as they sprang to their feet, charging towards him, pulling out a selection of barbaric, cruel weaponry. (Did I mention that these guys were really evil?)

"No you idiots! It's me!" Illusive Man whipped the disguises off. Another chorus of 'oh's' and 'ah's', one of the operatives wasn't even paying attention. He was simply playing with his teddy bear (But a really evil, twisted, teddy bear)

"But boss?" Another operative piped up. "Commander Shepard is in full command of the Normandy now. All those resources, including an AI, you wouldn't stand a chance."

"You don't know Shepard like I do," The Illusive Man replied scornfully. "And I know, if he wanted to, he could order the entire crew to fellate him, and they'd just get in line on the cargo deck. We can all give thanks that he's the type of modest man who would never let power go to his head."

MEANWHILE, IN THE CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS, NORMANDY SR-2

"You wanted to see me Commander," Ken Donnelly whistled appreciatively as he surveyed Shepard's quarters. He'd never been up here before, not because the Commander was a snob, heavens no. Commander Shepard was the kindest, fairest, most noble man Ken had ever met. The Commander had proven that by the sheer badassness he had demonstrated during the assault on the Collector Base, bringing everyone, including the crew, back home to the Normandy. The Commander remained as delightful and charming as ever.

"Ah yes Chief," Jack patted Ken on the shoulder. "Why don't' you take a seat, pour yourself a drink."

"Yes sir, wait…isn't this the brandy that Doctor Chakwas bought a week ago?" Ken was surprised; the doctor usually didn't let anyone near her private reserves.

"Yes, she gave it to me as a gift for saving her life from the Collectors," Shepard shrugged modestly. "She was quite insistent."

"Well…thanks sir," Ken cheerfully gulped down a glass. A small favor, but a sign that maybe the affection the crew, and the galaxy in general, was showing Commander Shepard, was beginning to erode his natural modesty. 'Nah,' Ken thought. 'It's Shepard, would never happen with this guy'. "What did you want to talk to me about?"

"Well Ken, it's about the bulkheads…"

"Ah hell, now what," Ken slammed down the cup. "If Jack and Miranda were having another one of their 'I'm more of a psychotic biotic bitch than you are' contests, I'll…"

"It's not that Ken," Shepard clasped his arms behind his back. "It's just that they're dirty."

Donnelly blinked. "Dirty…"

"Filthy," Shepard confirmed. "Inexcusably so. As a matter of fact, so is every part of this ship. Everything stained with dust, dirt, grime and grease. From the cockpit to the hangar bay, even the Hammerhead and Kodiak are covered in it."

"Oh," Ken replied, his voice slightly strangulated.

"And the crew aren't much better," Shepard shook his head in sorrow. "You see Ken, every part and member of this ship combines to form an image. That image has to be good. If some parts of that image contrast with each other-like for instance, a dirty ship under the command of a brilliant, death defying, physics busting, Collector destroying, Reaper crushing Commander-well, people might get confused. We don't want people confused, do we Crew Chief?"

"Ah…no, we don't want confusion sir," Donnelly replied, despite currently suffering from that very same ailment.

"I want it all cleaned," Shepard announced. "Every single part of this ship. The vehicles as well. Every deck, from under Joker's seat to the inside of the Thanix Cannon barrel. I want everything spotless. The crew too, everyone will undergo full barracks inspection from Lieutenant Taylor and Officer Vakarian each morning. Anyone whose uniform, armor, weapons and bunk aren't made and cleaned to specifications will be assigned to various duties, such as teaching Jack table manners, conversing with Legion about the nature of the mortal soul, and serving as a test subject for Mordin's more harmless projects."

"What about the members of the crew who don't…uh…"

"Everyone means everyone," Jack Shepard looked surprised at Donnelly's question. "Samara, Kasumi, Zaeed, Jack, anyone who thinks this is a pleasure boat is in for a rude surprise Chief. I want everyone and everything to look their best and perform at their best. So that they'll be worthy of this ship. And its commander. Do you understand Ken?"

"I'll…tell my people to get right on it," Ken suddenly wished for another drink and a competent psychiatrist. Well, surely the diploma from the University of Paris that rested on Kelly's wall meant something. Maybe…

"Oh no Chief, your people aren't touching my ship." Shepard shook his head. "I want only the best cleaning the Normandy. That's you Ken," he pointed at Donnelly, whose heart was currently sinking. "You're the best. You're the only one who gets to clean the ship and vehicles. Apart from me, obviously, and Tali. But you're the only one I trust to really clean everything."

"Commander, I don't think…well…permission to speak freely sir?"

"By all means Ken," Shepard made an inviting gesture. "No doubt you want to thank me once again for kicking the asses of both the Collectors and the laws of physics, and in doing so saving you, your future wife Gabby, whom you were previously too insecure to ask out, and your future child who shall have your eyes, and preferably your wife's face, from being turned into grey paste and pumped into the body of a giant Human Reaper. That is what you want to say, isn't it Ken?"

Ken hung his head. Even sanity was powerless in the face of overwhelming badassery. "Aye sir."

"Ah, you're welcome Ken. Oh, and one more thing."

"Yes?" Donnelly's body went rigid. Surely it couldn't get much worse…

"Like I said nothing but the best touches my ship. That means none of your greasy engineer's rags. Only pure, Thessian, silk."

"I…Where would I…?"

"There are exactly two Thessian silk handkerchiefs in the entire length and breadth of the Terminus Systems," Shepard held up a small square of silk. "I use this to clean my Claymore. No one lays a hand on it but me." The Vanguard held up an even smaller square of silk. "I was planning to use this one to polish my boots, but nowadays I can Tali or Kelly to do that with their tongues. Sometimes I make them fight each other for the privilege. It plays havoc with Tali's immune system though. So you take this," he tossed the silk to Ken, "And you just scrub your little heart out on my ship until it's as beautiful as its commander. The handkerchief will probably get dirty eventually, so wash it as many times as you need to. And step to it, Liara will be arriving in a few days."

"Thank you sir," Very carefully, trying to hold back tears, the engineer pocketed the silk. "Will there be anything else?"

"Well… now that you mention it, I have been a little bored…" The Commander's eyes narrowed. "Dance." Ken's eyes widened, and Shepard nodded. "You heard me. Dance. Sing, too. Something uplifting. Now dance!"

Down the elevator shaft, the crew of the Normandy went about their daily business. Through the doors on various decks, a voice could be heard belting out "Land of my high endeavour, Land of the shining river, Land of my heart forever, Scotland the Brave!" while another voice cried "Excellent! Keep it up! C'mon, put your legs into it! Dance! Dance!" If any of the crew heard this, they gave no sign.

BACK IN THE ILLUSIVE MAN'S EVIL LAIR

"Ah boss," one of the more shy operatives raised his hand.

"Yes Billy," The Illusive Man smiled benevolently. Normally he didn't' allow his operatives to question him at all, but he was feeling the need to monologue. Around Shepard, he usually had to keep the evil thoughts floating around his brain, for fear of what the Commander would do if he found his true (very evil) plans for the future.

"Well sir, I don't claim to be very smart," his fellow operatives slapped him on the back and comforted him. "I mean, I washed out of the Alliance because I was too dumb to be a infantryman, a cook or a cleaner. But what makes you think Shepard wants another crew member, even a badass aging mercenary?"

"Well, you see," The Illusive Man chuckled (evilly). "Millusive Tam is also a freelance reporter, who can tell Shepard's story to the world at large. He won't be able to resist the opportunity to have me."

TWO DAYS LATER

NORMANDY SR2 AIRLOCK

ILIUM

Exquisite moustache in place, Millusive Tam stepped up to Miranda Lawson. It had been a long three hours wading through the line of potential recruits for Shepard's team. All of the other pimply faced teenagers, wannabe asari Commandos, and a weeping blonde guy called Conrad Verner, had been turned away. Not him though, he had the perfect plan.

"OK, next," Miranda wanted to go back inside, go into the shower and not come out again. Of all Shephard's brilliant schemes and plans to recruit new ground team members, this was the one he had settled on. Posting an advertisement on the extranet and waiting for the results. "OK, Millusive Tam, your resume says you're a badass aging mercenary whose also a freelance reporter. Name one significant battle you've served in and one important news article you've authored."

"Ahhh…well," TIM began sweating furiously. "I was the Sole Survivor of Akuze. And I wrote an article called, ' Why Humans and Aliens Should All Get Along."

For a second, Miranda stared at him, her blue eyes seeming to pierce through his flesh. For a second he almost hyperventilated. Could she tell it was him? She had worked for him all those years, she had to know.

Actually Miranda was simply flashing back to a conversation with Shepard two days ago.

TWO DAYS AGO

"You know what would be really cool," Jack Shepard bounced a basketball up and down and sent it flying into the hoop he had had Garrus and Jacob put up in the cargo bay. "If we could recruit a badass aging mercenary."

"We already have one," Miranda pointed out as she used her biotics to retrieve the ball. A small part of her pride rebelled against using her powers to fetch and carry for Shepard, but then again, he was so badass, she couldn't say no. "Zaeed is still onboard."

"Two are better than one," Shepard replied sagely. "And besides, what if the badass aging mercenary was a Lone Wolf/Sole Survivor, and was also a reporter who loved aliens."

"Tell you what," Miranda handed him the ball. "If one turns up, I'll hire him on the spot."

PRESENT

"You're hired," Miranda turned on a heel and beckoned him to follow her.

'Must…restrain…maniacal…laughter' The Illusive Man allowed himself a proud smile underneath his magnificent (Yet strangely evil) mustache. Suddenly Shepard's voice echoed over the internal comms system.

=Attention all hands, this is the Commander. Drop your pants," Shepard paused. "That is all." The speakers fell silent again amidst the sound of flies unzipping.

"What the hell?" The Illusive Man said above the whump of thirty pairs of pants falling to floor all over the ship. It's probably just as well that Lieutenant Taylor wasn't around, or Illusive Man would have wound up with a broken jaw.

"Oh, the Commander does stuff like that nowadays," Matthews explained as he kicked off his pants, revealing what the Illusive Man assumed were standard issue undergarments aboard the Normandy. "At first he refused all the favours and stuff people were offering him for getting us off of the Collector Base, then he started accepting a few, then he started calling them in himself, and now… Hey, why are your pants still on?"

Illusive Man was about to explain to the LADAR operator in no uncertain terms exactly why his pants weren't going anywhere. But then he realised, that if not for Shepard, the Collectors would still be abducting human colonies and making the way clear for the Reapers. And taking into account how he jumped the Normandy through the Omega 4-Relay, then shot down the Collector Ship in two shots, and admittedly, destroying the base was just so freaking bad ass…

The Man watched with horror, unable to resist, as his hands began creeping to the zipper of their own accord.

"That's better," Matthews said approvingly. Miranda finished disengaging her own pants, then retrieved a set of boxers she had learned to keep stored in an emergency locker in the cockpit. She frowned as she stared at Millusive Tam's underwear.

"Why do your boxers say 'Too Illusive For You!" she enquired suspiciously.

"Ah…they were a gift from the…Anti-Cerberus League," The Illusive Man proclaimed triumphantly.

The part of Miranda that was always alert, always suspicious, always ready to bring the pain, screamed at her to look at the obvious. However, that part couldn't fight its way past the sleep and food deprived part of her brain. She shrugged and continued toward the elevator.

The Illusive Man was well and truly on board.

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A/N: Some crack a day keeps the trolls away.

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