Disclaimer: I do not own anything! Mass Effect and its characters belong to Bioware. This is my First Fan Fic. Be gentle.
Author's Note: This chapter has seen many revisions since I first published it. All remaining chapters will also get a nice polish as well. I'll place an author's note at the beginning of each chapter so you know when it is ready. Enjoy!
Tali'Zorah vas Normandy stood at her station on the engineering deck. The soft hum of the mass effect drive was soothing to her senses. Currently the Normandy was orbiting a blue gas giant scanning for raw materials. The repairs were still ongoing after the ship barely escaped the destruction of the Collector base. Shepard had done the impossible and defeated the Collectors and managed to get his entire crew and team back in one piece.
Tali's hands stopped a brief second above the console and mused over the thought. He's always doing the impossible, and makes it looks so easy. I will never be like him. He's so much stronger than me. I couldn't even keep Prazza in check when on Freedom's Progress and most of the marines died because of his stupidity and my lack of ability to command.
Tali sighed and resumed calibrating the power settings for the mass effect core. She had a habit of beating herself up and decided it would be better not to let her past worries trouble her. Shepard made her Chief Engineer and she would be determined not to fail him.
Ken and Gabby where off to her right working on rerouting power grids and other projects she gave them. For humans they worked well and were never impolite with her. Besides Ken's habit of teasing her, which usually earned him a sharp elbow to the gut by Gabby.
They do make a good couple... Tali thought as she glanced over to were they had just started to argue over how to fix a particular problem that cropped up. Ken's Scottish accent was very clear whenever he spoke up.
"Listen Gabby, I know what I'm doing alright? I need to reroute the life support power through this power converter then stabilize it via..." Ken's explanation was cut short when Gabby cut him off with a sharp poke to the chest. "You can't do that Ken! You first need to stabilize power from the main grid, check your readings again. Sheesh!"
Ken gaped at her for a second and peered down to his schematics and squinted. Then he face palmed himself and grumbled something to himself that sounded like "Thanks mum." and then returned back to work. Tali smirked to herself and finished up her work. Just then her omnitool pinged and she brought it up with a quick tap.
To: Tali'Zorah vas Normandy
From: Commander John Shepard
Tali, how soon can you be in my cabin? Have something important I would like to talk to you about.
Tali's heart fluttered for a second in her chest and she felt that strange warmth spread across her body in her suit, as if the temperature in the room increased dramatically. She was very glad that her visor hid her features from others as she was probably blushing hard now. It had only been a few days since they shared themselves with one another before hitting the Omega 4 relay and there wasn't a day after their grand escape that she didn't think about it. It was her first intimate experience and she was beyond scared when she went up to his cabin, she was terrified. But not just for herself, for him. Commander John Shepard wasn't limited in his choices of women he could have been with. But of all the choices he had, he had settled on her.
She never asked why he picked her. She couldn't bring up the courage to do so. Maybe this would be a good time? Well he didn't turn away from me when he removed my mask. He must find me somewhat attractive at least. She realized she drifted off on this tangent of thought and hadn't responded to his message and quickly replied.
To: Commander John Shepard
From: Tali'Zorah vas Normandy
Sure Shepard. I can be up there in 5 minutes. Just finished my work.
Tali deactivated her omnitool and took one more glance at Ken and Gabby before making her way to the elevator on the engineering deck. Thoughts began to enter her mind as she stepped into the elevator and pressed the button to the Captain's cabin. As the elevator began its slow ascent she leaned against the back wall and let those thoughts drift into her mind. I wonder what he needs me for? He mentioned something important? Is it personal maybe? Oh! Maybe he wants to talk about our time together. Keelah, just that thought gets me into a nervous rambling fit. But it does feel good. Those strong hands, his soft warm skin, so very different than mine. His lips pressed against mine... She continued to fantasize about their intimate time together, however brief it was.
Tali eventually found the doors open and looked into the familiar small hallway that led to Shepard's cabin. As she walked up to the door the lock interface changed to green and opened up for her. She hesitated for a few seconds before stepping into the spacious cabin the rest of the crew had nicknamed "The Loft" which fitted the large room perfectly. Nobody on the Migrant fleet had a room to themselves like this. It could easily fit two to three quarian families with plenty of room left over. The light blue glow from the fish tank illuminated the room. Tali watched the fish swim lazily among themselves, oblivious to the outside world. Such a strange thing to have on a ship, but I do like to watch them swim. Tali reflected to herself as he looked around the cabin. Shepard had the lights dimmed. Tali thought this was strange and adjusted her visor to compensate for the loss of light. "Shepard?" Tali asked nervously.
"Over here Tali, Sorry about the low light. Was finishing up a chat with Councilor Anderson about what we found in that damned Collector base." Tali looked where his voice was coming from and stepped down to the back of the room. Shepard was leaning back in a chair in front of his personal desk near the bed. The computer terminal just flickered off and the lights to the room were being brought back on. Tali's visor readjusted the brightness of the light with a flick of an eyelid. Shepard turned and looked up at his Chief Engineer with a smile.
"Have a seat Tali." Shepard gestured to the sofa as he stood up. Tali nodded and tried to swallow the nervous feeling that was creeping over her. She firmly concentrated not to start wringing her hands together to show she was nervous in front of Shepard. Taking a seat on the sofa Tali placed her hands at her sides and focused on the strange Prothean Orb that Shepard found on one of his missions. The distorted image of herself on the orb intrigued her, the view was strange and warped. It felt like how she viewed herself within her suit. Never had seen herself truly outside her suit that she barely remembered how her own face looked like. Mirrors where a luxury on the Flotilla, most quarians had others to act as mirrors to see how they looked or to fix something on their suit they couldn't see or reach on their own.
Shepard sat down next to Tali but not close enough to where their bodies would be touching. Tali could still feel his eyes traveling up and down her body, examining her. She decided to keep staring at the orb or her emotions would get the better of her. Now she could see Shepard's own reflection on the orb, it seemed like he was so far away from the angle she was looking at. But he also felt so very near. She wanted him badly and never felt like this with anyone before, even after being back from her Pilgrimage two years ago.
Then Shepard spoke quietly, "I thought this would be a good time to discuss some private matters Tali. How you feeling by the way?" The concern in his voice was very evident and Tali wrenched her gaze from the orb to look at Shepard. His piercing blue eyes felt like they penetrated the purple veil of her visor as if he could will himself to see her behind it. That look made her feel strange, in a good way.
"Oh...I'm feeling much better. Fever is just about abated and that strange stuff in my nose has vanished, which I'm thankful for. It was such a strange feeling to be not able to use my nose. Um if that is what you mean you know, if I feel better? Unless you are asking how I feel about us..." Shepard raised his hand to stop Tali from rambling on, knowing she was nervous about being up in his cabin and near him. Thinking quickly he smiled and placed his hand on her thigh, squeezing gently.
"Hey its alight, you don't have to be so nervous around me Tali. We have been through so much since we first met up. I want you to be comfortable around me when we are alone. No need to be nervous." Shepard grinned as he looked into her glowing eyes.
"Oh right, so did I answer your question?" Tali's heart was beating harder now that Shepard's hand was on her thigh, she longed for his touch yet was trying to control the urge to just pounce him where he sat.
Shepard chuckled and nodded, "Ya you pretty much covered all the bases Tali." Tali cocked her head as if trying to understand something.
"Bases?" She asked curiously.
Shepard quickly replied, "Ah its a human expression Tali. Means you answered very thoroughly." Tali giggled at his quick answer. "Human expressions are so strange to me sometimes. You are so very different from quarians."
Shepard grinned and scooted a little closer to Tali, "Well that is one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you Tali, I want to know more about you and your people. You already know I'm very interested in quarian culture and there was one topic we really never discussed at length before."
Shepard was obviously hinting toward something and Tali could already guess what it was, but she was starting to feel more comfortable with him now that he was so very close. She decided to play along for now. It felt good to be like this with the great Commander Shepard and feeling a bit more confident Tali decided to try something.
"Oh, and what would you like to know John?" Tali whispered huskily at Shepard, using his first name to throw him off, she never dared use his first name before and she was pleased with the response she got from him.
Shepard's eyes widened slightly, and his jaw dropped open for a few seconds before he snapped it shut. Tali really wanted to poke him some more and laugh but held back. She just crossed her arms over her chest and let her eye's narrow in mischievous delight.
"You have never called me by my first name before Tali...I like it." He grinned. "Lets keep it like that when you are here with me privately."
Tali nodded happily. It felt a bit selfish to have something, even a privilege to call Shepard by his first name. It's not a feeling she has had before, being more open and sharing everything when she was back on the Migrant Fleet. This feeling of being selfish was intoxicating to her. And she loved it and feared it.
So there's my first dive into the Mass effect universe. You guys have enjoyed the story so much that I have taken it upon myself and a friend to clean up the chapters. Stay tuned!