This is the result of a prompt from masskink again...
original prompt wanted some Shepard/Turian Councillor action, with them fighting together side by side at some point, and the turian Councillor being quite a badass.
So, here's my take on that. And before anyone calls me out on it, yes, I know there's some dispute on the 'net what his name is and how it's spelled. In my defence I can only say I like this spelling better.
The ground under Shepard's feet shook from yet another explosion as she picked her way through the corridor. Not for the first time she wondered why the hell she was doing this. The answer was, of course, the same as ever: Because it was necessary.
The attack on the Citadel had come too fast, too unexpected even for Shepard who by now was almost used to planning for worst case scenario. It was worse than last time, where there had been at least a hint of a warning. This time, there were at least three Reapers circling the Citadel like sharks, while one had taken position at the Citadel Tower.
The Council fleet hadn't fared as well as last time, either, and she wasn't sure the Destiny Ascension had made its escape through the relay. All she knew was that she'd been shopping for some supplies and information, while the Normandy was off running another errant when the alarms sounded.
The Reapers had even sent a message this time, an ultimatum to all organics to leave the Citadel within the span of twenty standard hours. From that point on, it had been the expected panic as everyone was trying to get off the station immediately and at the same time.
She didn't want to think about the things she'd seen in the last few hours. Since the last time the Citadel had been under attack, there had been some changes implemented, and in theory there were evacuation protocols for a moment like this. It never was that easy, of course, not when it was about very many civilians being very scared, not with a population size of several millions.
Shepard wasn't exactly in a position to tell with certainty, but from what she'd been able to see from patching into the vid streams of the Citadel's few remaining VI systems, the Reapers hadn't been interested in the civilians so far. They had torn through the Council fleet readily enough when the fleet had attempted to defend the Citadel, but the Reapers seemed to ignore ships moving away from the Citadel.
For now they just wanted the station, and all life forms gone from it. From their point of view, it made sense. They were not in a hurry, and their enmity against organic life wasn't something stemming from any sort of emotion. It wasn't personal, and they were all about efficiency.
A Citadel population's worth of frightened fugitives fleeing to the other civilised worlds across the galaxy, spreading panic was an almost fool-proof way to disrupt what little order there was.
The balance between the different species in the galaxy was precarious enough; a push like that was almost certainly enough to make them turn on each other again as soon as fear made everyone stop thinking altogether and old-but-not-forgotten grudges and enmities and ambitions resurfaced. If the Reaper played it smart, and showed a measure of patience, the so-called intelligent life forms would do most of their work for them all by themselves.
It was a depressing thought. She had done what little she could here, maintaining a semblance of order in her immediate vicinity, shouting at lots of people and hitting a few to make them come to their senses and have them cooperating in some minimal way, but she wasn't sure how much good that had done.
There was a small scout ship waiting for her in the lower docks close to the Presidium, with enough modifications that she didn't worry about it being stolen or easily damaged. However, she couldn't make her own escape yet.
Things were bad enough, but maybe the worst could still be avoided, when those that were supposed to be leaders did exactly that. Of course, to do that they needed to be alive.
Which brought her to her current problem.
There was nothing she could do to help the Council members that were aboard the Destiny Ascension, but they had been one member short when they had been evacuated. Councillor Velarn had reportedly been in his private residence when the attack hit. His quarters were close to the Presidium, of course, and the whole building complex had been badly damaged when the Reaper currently on top of the Citadel Tower had rearranged things to its liking and thrown a few stubborn Fleet warships around.
Communication had been down, of course, and there had been no word from him. The sensible assumption was that he was lost.
Shepard wouldn't even have tried either, but when she patched into the vidstreams again to at least try and determine the best escape route left, she found that first, the building Velarn was supposed to be in was still standing and second, the whole site was almost overrun by Keepers intent on cleanup.
She at least had to take a look, then. If she could save him, she would. He might be an idiot, but he was one idiot people listened to, and this was something that would be needed very soon.
On the way, she had met no other survivors, but whereever she had looked there were Keepers repairing, clearing away rubble, dragging away bodies. She had never seen that many of them, not seen them work so fast. It was almost as if they had been half asleep until now, and woken to activity by the arrival of the Reapers. None of them had paid her any heed, though.
Shepard had also determined very soon how the Reapers intended to deal with any citizens left behind. She had been worried that they might simply shut down the station's life support systems altogether, but maybe they didn't want to lose the Keepers yet who were hardy but still dependant on air and moderate temperatures.
Instead, they had simply deployed large numbers of husks and let them handle the situation. It wasn't a quick way, but time didn't matter to the Reapers.
She turned around a corner, having almost reached the apartment that was her destination when she was detected.
Suddenly the corridor was full of husks.
Shepard tossed them a grenade, then scurried to get some distance between them and herself.
The resulting blast caught most of them, but a pair of them kept coming, shrieking like banshees. The damned things were fast as ever, and in her face before she had a chance to use the assault rifle on them.
She hated when they did that. With a suppressed curse, she reversed her grip on her rifle, slamming the butt of it into the face of one of the husks. The impact made it stagger back, its ugly face a good deal uglier than before, but the second one hit at her with its clawed hands, and she almost lost her feet. She administered her rifle to the second husk's head, and that was enough to drop it.
A sharp crack rang out - pistol, her mind supplied immediately - and the first husk went down.
She looked up.
Just a few steps away, in front of the suite's door was a turian in flat black armour, just lowering his pistol. Unadorned black was unusual, because it meant neither C-sec nor any of the military units she'd come across so far, but she was far from caring about niceties like that anymore. He was alive, and persumably on her side. Her first instinct was to just shout at him to come over and enlist his aid, because another pair of hands capable of holding a gun and pointing it the right way would certainly come in handy when escorting a civilian to safety, in case she could indeed locate the missing councillor. And this one had at least already proven that he could hit a husk at a few paces, at least.
His facial markings were vaguely familiar, though.
Then her mind caught up to the information provided by her eyes, and her jaw dropped.
The superior look he gave her removed all doubts about his identity.
"Commander Shepard. This is rather unexpected."
She was still stunned. "Where did you get that armour?" She hadn't meant to blurt that out, but the damage was already done.
"I won it in a competition." he replied coldly, and she couldn't for the life of her tell whether he was being sarcastic or not. Not that it mattered.
"And what precisely are you doing?"
The turian gave a contemptuous snort. "Trying to stay alive for the moment. My apartment went automatically into security lockdown when the attack started and power cut out. I had to wait until power was restored to override the locks and get out. What about you?"
"Trying to rescue you. Everyone's either evacuating the Citadel, already gone or dead, in case it has escaped your notice."
His eyes flashed over her, and she automatically lifted her chin in challenge.
"Where's the rest of your squad?"
"A far way off, unfortunately. I just dropped by the Citadel to pick up some odds and ends and sent the Normandy ahead on some other business when things went pear-shaped. Bad timing."
"Just you, then. In that case, the operative word is, indeed, 'trying'."
"Agreed. As in, you, trying my patience." she snapped back, her annoyance with him drowning out her reason.
He snorted again, but another tremble of the ground under their feet made them both discard the argument for now.
"So what is your plan?" he asked.
"I have a small ship's still in dock, so that's where we're going to go. Which is more than can be said for the Destiny Ascension. They already pulled out. You're probably already listed as dead."
"That's a reasonable assumption, given the circumstances." He was a lot calmer about this than she'd assumed, given that he had been stuck in his home in lockdown for hours.
She gave him another once-over, her mind still having trouble to reconcile her image of the arrogant, permanently irritated politician in fancy, flashy formal clothing with the calm turian in simple armour before her. Well, at least he had kept the arrogance, it seemed.
"What?" he snapped, aware of her look.
"Nothing. Let's go."