The usual drill. Copyright Bioware/EA and so forth.
Staring down his terminal like it was some kind of mercenary in the light of his fish tank, Shepard sighed for the fourth time in fifteen seconds.
Shepard really didn't want to be do this. But... well. Jack had discovered she could do Puppy-Dog eyes, and do them so well even Miranda caved to them within five seconds. After he'd shown her the stuff Liara had found on her (He hadn't looked himself. He wasn't stupid; Jack would never forgive him if he had) she'd found a lead on her mother, her... family?
To save you an exposition onslaught, half a second of puppy-dog eyes followed by just over a week of digging by Liara and Shepard was about to, quite simply, call Jack's parents.
If he could only work up the courage.
Jack couldn't face talking to them, apparently suddenly incredibly self conscious about herself, and Shepard was unsure what exactly he was supposed to say on her behalf.
"Hi, I'm Commander Shepard, you know, that guy the Council made out to be off his rocker, and it turns our your dead daughter isn't dead but was engineered into a weapon and spent the last decade or so in-and-out of various prisons getting tattooed, shot, stabbed and raped just to name a few things. Also, she now bangs me almost every night after joining up for a suicide mission that went off perfectly."
...yeah he could see that going down so well. Oh well, nothing for it. He'd just do what he did on Elysium. Jump. He'd fly... or fall.
Here's hoping it went better than Horizon.
As the video/audio connection was established he felt nervous as hell. Scared shitless even, worse than when he'd got into contact with his mother. What if he made Jack look bad, what if he made himself look bad? What if-
"Hello, Reynold's residence?"
Shepard felt himself blink, blurting out the first thing that came to him. "Bloody hell." It was a male Jack. A bit younger, no shaved head or make-up, but the actual face was almost identical.
To Male-Jack's credit, he didn't seem too taken aback by the swearing. Then his eyes widened as he realised who it was calling him. "C-Commander Shepard!" He all but yelled. Shepard suddenly felt painfully self concious at the obvious fan boy-ism before he realised he could work with this. This was in his comfort zone. Slipping effortlessly into his 'public' face, he gave the young man an easy smile.
"Hello..." he trailed off searchingly
"Everyone calls me Steve, Sir. Thi-this is an honour, wait to the others hear abo-"
"Others?" Shepard couldn't help himself. Jack had siblings? How was she going to react to thi-
"Oh, my family! Mum, dad, Susan, Rebekka, Rachel, Adrian and Nathan."
'Six? Oh bloody hell Jack is going to... worry about that later, he's finally wondering why I called.'
"Wow. You have a lot of siblings," Shepard remarked in an effort to buy himself some thinking space.
"Yeah, well..." Sadness flickered over the boy-young man's face momentarily. "Our eldest sister, she died when she was a baby. Mum and Dad they..." He blinked, realising he was regaling a family tragedy to what was a stranger. Before he could comment an girl's voice off-screen announced a third party to the conversation.
"Steve who are you talking to!" A girl that couldn't have been older than thirteen appeared on-screen next to Steve. Short, scruffy red hair with only eyebrow shape and lips to suggest a relation to Jack. The girl took one look at Shepard and squealed with delight as her face coloured and her eyes shone in adoration that only a girl with a teenage crush could.
'Oh god, Jack's going love this' thought as his mind cringed.
Fortunately before he had to deal with the Second Wave of fandom a woman's voice cut off anything the two were going to say. "Susan, Steve, who are you talking to?" Shepard knew that voice, he'd heard that iron tone during his own childhood. It was the voice of a mother. Giving the two one of his grins, he asked "Is that your parents? I was hoping you could put them on for me."
Steve gave a nod and turned away from the screen, calling for his mother. He turned back to the screen. "She's coming."
Sure enough a few moments later, the background started to move (Portable? Those vidphones are fairly expensive... guess they're well off.) When the woman's face appeared Shepard gasped. 'She has her... no. Jack has her face."
"Commander Shepard?" She had a lilt to her voice, like Jack when she spoke gently. The jaw. The lips. The eyes (but not the colour)... everything about it screamed 'Jack'. She even had the same buried pain in her eyes. Her eyes even narrowed the same way as Jack's did when she was getting anno-oh. Crap. He cleared his throat and flashed another easy smile.
"Sorry, I... you look like someone I know," he explained, deciding to go with the truth, his heart jackhammering as he suppressed his trembling. He hadn't been this nervous since... ever. He was returned with a gentle smile.
"Don't worry, I clearly startled you. Nice to know I haven't lost my looks quite yet," she chuckled.
...jump. "Is your husband there too?"
"No, he's working." He knew that suspicious look. "Why are you calling us?" Shepard knew that tone too, and raised a hand.
"It's al right, I'm not bringing bad news," he soothed, even as he wondered if he did. But they had a right to know. Jack had a right to her family.
Mrs. Reynolds was clearly unconvinced. Jump.
"Mrs Reynolds, I've discovered something concerning your family. As I said, it's not bad, but I think you might need to sit down for it."
Oh he knew that look, and half the (now dead) Terminus knew it too. "What! Are you one of those recruiting for those bastards from the Alliance! You already took Jacqueline, you aren't taking another!"
"No. I'm not recruiting for anyone!" Shepard replied, quietly throttling the panic behind his cool exterior. Jack was apparently her mother's daughter, so keeping calm was probably the best thing to do. "I... look, Mrs. Reynolds, I'll explain why I'm calling but I really think you should sit down," he interrupted before she had to chance to say something, "If anything because it's going to take a while why I'm calling you..."
And so, with Mrs. Reynolds seated, Shepard explained.
"As you know, I was declared dead for just over two years. I hope you understand I can't go over details with you, but events during that time culminated a few months ago with me leading a very high risk mission which we accomplished a few weeks ago. I had to assemble a team for this, and so I ended up scouring the galaxy for the best and brightest."
Okay, this was going well. She'd sat down in what he guessed was a bedroom or lounge or something, and he could tell she was genuinely interested in what he was talking about, while it helped him relax and prepare for the bombshell he was lining up.
"The team consists of...well. It's mismatched. Salarians, Asari, Krogan, Turian, Human... anyway. One of the people I recruited was a criminal from the prison ship Purgatory." He smiled at her curious look. "Yes, I'm why it sank. Several people have remarked I have a habit of making things explode when I show up." She chuckled at that. Good, she's relaxing.
"She had trouble settling in, but as we fought together we... became close." He felt himself blush and struggled to maintain eye contact. Disapproving look. Will she reject her because she's a criminal? "Very close. When she began to trust me she started talking about herself. Her past. It... it's not pretty. She was... weaponised in a Cerberus facility. Tortured physically, psychologically. Her earliest memory is being in that place. She escaped and became a criminal, because she didn't know how else to live..."
Mrs Reynolds was clearly oozing sympathy at this point.
"After the mission was over we... we did some digging. A friend of mine trades information, like a commodity and they'd found something. So, we asked them to follow the trail. It lead to you."
Mrs. Reynolds looked blank. "I... don't understand."
And now for the kill.
He sent the audio log that had started all this. While it transferred, he locked eyes with her.
"My lover is about twenty-four years old, and a biotic. She at least rivals the most powerful Asari in the galaxy."
He saw the seed plant itself in her mind-
"Her name is Jack."
-and bloom. To her credit Mrs. Reynolds remained very calm. Mostly-she was clearly shaking slightly.
"Y... you must be mistaken," she calmly replied. Then she read the log Shepard had sent. She wasn't even halfway through before she was shaking so hard she dropped the data tablet she'd downloaded it onto.
"But...sh... she died. The doctor said she... she-" a sob wrenched itself out of her and racked her body. "My baby died! My little Jacqueline is gone!" she wailed to Shepard, burying her head in her hands and beginning to sob uncontrollably.
"But she didn't die. She's on board now a-"
Oh hell. The grieving woman's head snapped up from her hands and Shepard knew all-too-well what that look was. It was the same one Jack had given the YMIR mechs when he'd released her from cryostasis so long ago.
"Get her. Show me."
Shepard considered trying to respect his love's wish not to be introduced against that look and that voice. For about a millisecond. He didn't get the chance to say anything though.
"I'm here," a soft voice announced from around the corner. Turning over his shoulder, Jack rounded the corner and entered his vision, dressed in the biker outfit (sans shades) she'd bought a month or so ago. She gave him a gentle look before a cry from the terminal reminded them of Mrs. Reynolds, one hand balled on her leg and another over her mouth. Jack gazed at her, clearly nervous. Shepard suddenly wondered if Jack would reject them.
"My... my baby..." she cried again. Evidently Shepard wasn't the only one to see the resemblance. "Come closer, let me see you," the older woman demanded, pulling the vidphone onto her lap as tears of happiness streaming down her face. Jack edged nervously to the terminal, before sitting on one of Shepard's legs, one hand holding Shepard's in a death-grip, the other reaching a out towards the image of the older woman, who herself was reaching towards her.
"You're... you're grown up," she hiccuped.
"Yeah," Jack managed to choke out as tears brimmed in her own eyes.
"I thought I'd lost you," her mother sobbed.
"You did. And I found you," Jack replied before a sob broke free with her own tears.
"I... I want to hold you. When can I see you?" The was desperation and even a hint of hysteria in her mother's voice. Shepard leaned over and muttered into Jack's ear, "We can be at Eden Prime by this time tomorrow."
"Tomorrow. We'll be there by tomorrow... mum."
So yes, more Jack stuff. I have a third thing lined up too incedently that I started writing for this. Been chewing over a scenario like this (specifically the scene between Jack and her mother) ever since I saw the Lotsb entry and my Muse decided to grace me. Since she's a fickle bitch with a short attention span, I promptly hammered this out. I imagine Susan and Jack almost coming to blows over Shepard myself. ("Back off, she's mine!" and all that.) I know I'm probably asking alot since Jack's not very populer (apparently the main reason is because she's different looking and doesn't automatically kneel to worship at the altar of Shepard) when I ask for some reviews, so I hope you enjoyed the read at least. As always, my title references something I'm listening to. This time it's the music to the Deus Ex: Human Revolution 'Icarus' trailer and it's viral website.