Roarkshop here: Welcome to the new and improved Sense and Flexibility. Big long authors notes are a thing of the past as I will post them on my blog from now on so those who do not with to read them, do not have to. Your comments, reviews, faves, and feedback are always read, appreciated, and loved. Thank you all for the tremendous support, you all are what keep me writing. Thank you so, SO much.
For a list of links to my other sites, blogs, pages, and work, please see my profile page. I await you all eagerly.
This is a fan fiction, all themes and character belong to Bioware. No copy-write infringement intended.
"Commander Shepard? Garrus Vakarian," he said with a slight, respectful, nod. Garrus was no xenophobe, but the First Contact War hadn't been long ago and the stereotypes about humans existed for a reason. As was apparent by their gunning for a human specter. Councilor would be next, no doubt. He didn't so much have a problem with humans, but most he'd met were over ambitious, demanding respect even if it hadn't been earned, and most of all, did not like turians. So when he saw the human specter candidate approaching him with her two Alliance lackies, his mandibles twitched with irritation. But, he had heard stories about her, far be it for him to disrespect her. "I'm the C-sec officer in charge of the investigation on Saren."
"You must really want to catch him," she said, sinking into a hip and crossing her arms. Her head motioned in the direction his boss had left in, obviously referring the conversation that had just ended.
"Damn right, Saren's hiding something. I couldn't find enough evidence in my investigation; he's a specter so everything he touches is classified. But he's dirty, I know it. Like you humans say, I can feel it in my gut."
She was silent as her eyes traveled from his eyes, down to his toes, and back up again. He imagined this was what a slab of meat on a butchers table felt like. Suddenly he felt like he hadn't done enough, like his effort was insufficient. He bunched his hands into fists anticipating reproach from the human Commander.
"I think they're ready for us, Commander," the man behind her interrupted. She nodded without taking her eyes off the turian.
"Good luck, Commander. Maybe they'll listen to you," Garrus offered as she started to walk past him. She put a metal hand on his shoulder and made eye contact with him, a sad smile on her lips. And without her saying a word, he understood that she already knew what he knew. For whatever reason, he felt the need to apologize to her as he watched the three of them walk away, but opted to stay quiet. The other female looked back at him with a sneer.
The Commander had barely spoken to him, but she had touched him like they were comrades. That was unexpected. Humans usually avoided touching him, or any turian for that matter. Now that he thought about it, he couldn't remember ever seeing a human touch any other species, except the Asari, of course. He decided he would reserve judgment on her for now, considering the unique first impression.
Not to mention the sudden shame he felt. He didn't know why he cared about some human Commander's opinion, but the way she had looked at him was...troubling. He suddenly felt the need to do something.
It was only a few hours later when he saw her again; In a hostage situation with Dr. Michele, of all places. He was crouched behind a pillar, listening to the merc threaten the doctor when Shepard and her humans whooshed the clinic door open. He'd never seen a human arm themselves so fast. She made eye contact with Garrus and a smirk crept across her face.
"Freeze right where you are," she shouted, as the man turned to put the doctor against his chest, his gun pointed at the intruder. Garrus took the opportunity to turn around the corner and send a bullet through the side of his head. Three more, who were in the back of the room, raised their guns, but Garrus put a round between the eyes of the nearest one. In a flash of crimson, Shepard dove over the counter, wrapping her arms around the doctor and crashing to the floor with her behind one of the crates against the wall. Her team barely had time to react before he had head-shotted the last two mercs.
He went to the two women as Shepard was helping the doctor up. Both seemed completely unharmed, the doctor only mildly shaken.
"Thank you," the doctor said. "Both of you."
Dr. Michelle went on to tell Shepard about the quarian who had damning evidence on Saren, and how Fist, a local crime lord, was a fool for having crossed The Shadow Broker, the infamous information broker. Shepard thanked the doctor and turned to leave, patting Garrus on the shoulder and nodding at him as she left.
"Commander wait," he said, before he even knew what he was going to say. She turned to him, sank into her hip and crossed her arms again, giving him that appraising eye. "I uh... I know this is your show but I want to catch Saren as bad as you do, let me come with you."
The pause before she spoke seemed endless. Her piercing green eyes studying his face. For what though, he had no idea. "You're a turian. Make me believe you want to bring him down."
"He's betrayed the Council and he's a disgrace to my people. I couldn't prove it, but I know what's really going on. And if I don't get a chance to bring him down, and he gets away with whatever he's planning that's on my head. That's my failure."
He didn't mean to have sounded as angry as he did. He also didn't like the idea of following a human's lead on his investigation. But Specters had no red tape to bog them down, and he might actually be able to get something done.
"Can you follow orders, Detective?" she asked.
"I'm a turian," was all he said. It was common knowledge that almost all turian enrolled in the military, and following orders was a critical part of their training. Good turian's follow even bad orders. He was never a very good turian, but she didn't need to know that until after they'd caught Saren.
"That's not what I asked you," she said, much to his surprise. She closed the gap between them, bringing her arms down to her sides. "You may be one for stereotypes but I, most certainly, am not. I don't care what color you are, what planet you're from, or how many fingers you've got," she punctuated the word by poking him hard in the chest. "Can. You. Follow. Orders?"
"Yes, Ma'am," he said. He didn't even mean to say it. It just came out that way. Like a reflex.
"Then let me make one thing clear," she pointed at the shivering doctor with one hand and pulled him down by the collar of his armor until he was eye level with her with the other. "That will be the last time you endanger an innocent civilian like that. Do you read me?"
"Do you read me, Vakarian?"
"Affirmative." Damn it. Again. His mandibles clicked territorially, but his military training ran deep. Garrus wondered if she brought out the soldier in everyone, if that was how she rocketed through the ranks like she did. She bared her teeth at him, and he almost did the same, but her lips upturned and he realized she was smiling at him, not threatening. She patted him on the side of the shoulder again.
"Welcome aboard, Detective. Let's nail this son of a bitch, hmm?" She turned to walk away, picking up the rifle she had dropped to get the doctor out of the line of fire. And it was only then that he noticed the blood dripping off the fingers of her armor. How could he have not seen? She didn't act like she was hurt at all, but now that he looked he saw the hole through the back of her shoulder armor. A hole that might have gone through the doctor, if not for her. He felt like a fool.
The male human glared at him while rifling through his pack for medi-gel and handing it to the Commander. She batted it away. "Jesus Alenko," she said. "I got shot, I'm not missing a limb."
Alenko almost looked like he was pouting as he tucked the packet back into his satchel and fell in step behind her.
Well, Garrus thought. I'm certainly sold.
They went and recruited a krogan mercenary, Wrex, that was also trying to get to the crime lord they were all after. Once Fist had been dealt with, they fought their way to the quarian. Tali'Zorah Nar'Raya was her name. Garrus found that he kept watching The Commander. Not just taking note of her, considerable, combat ability but, observing the odd ways she would move, the way she would touch people, trying to pinpoint what it was about her presence that was so profound. There was an undeniable power in her and Garrus realized she was either extremely fascinating, or extremely dangerous.
Upon finding the quarian, Shepard's immediate concern was her safety. Not the evidence she needed or if it was still in tact, but whether or not the girl was alright. This alien she had never met, and who belonged to a species typically known to be sneaky or thieving, was her first priority. She wasn't kidding when she said she wasn't one for stereotypes.
Udina was a vile little varren of a man. Garrus decided rather quickly that he disliked the human Ambassador, and was curious why someone as obviously powerful as Jane Shepard was putting forth so much effort to be respectful to him. The more indignant the Ambassador was to her, the more he could hear her breath forcing itself from her throat and her heartbeat increasing. She obviously didn't care for him either, but was trying very hard to hide it.
"Very well," The Ambassador droned. "Shepard, gather your team and meet me in the tower so we can show this to the council. I will set up the meeting immediately," he said, already walking out of the room. After he and the Alliance Captain had left, Shepard exhaled a large breath and rubbed the back of her neck.
"God, I hate that guy," she said in a harsh whisper, obviously talking to herself rather than anyone in particular. She turned around and her eyes scanned the congregation of people behind her. "Chief, Alenko, you're dismissed for now. Get some rest."
"You don't want us to come with you, Commander?" the man asked.
"No. Who knows where this cluster-fuck is going to take us. I need the crew rested. Report back to the Normandy."
"Aye, Aye, Skipper," Williams said. The two saluted her, then turned and headed out of the room.
"So what do you say," she asked the remaining squad. "Shall we head to the tower?"
"Us?" Garrus asked, motioning a hand between Wrex and himself. "You want us to go with you?"
"And why shouldn't I?" she said, sinking into a hip. "It's always nice to have someone as intimidating as Wrex around. Plus I figure, out of all of you no one's going to enjoy watching me shove this evidence down the Council's collective throats more than you."
He had never been to a meeting with the Council before, he had only been bogged down with their regulations and politics. While it was satisfying to watch them eat their words and revoke Saren's specter status, they still refused to see facts. Not surprising. Though they did yield and made Shepard the first human specter. If someone was going to step up as specter, he was glad it was someone who obviously cared more about people than policies.
"Bastard didn't even thank you," Wrex grumbled, referring to Udina's hasty retreat from the meeting.
"Thank me for what? Doing my job? That's like thanking you for being ugly," she said. The three of them had a good laugh as they headed out of the tower and elected to go their separate ways now that the job was done.
"It's been a pleasure, Commander," Garrus said, as she shook his hand.
"I'm sure we'll be seeing each other in the future, Detective Vakarian."
"I look forward to it, Ma'am," he said. As he headed back to his apartment, he couldn't help but feel satisfied with himself. He was sure to catch some flack for disobeying a direct order from Pallin, but in that moment he didn't care. He had done something right, something important, and it felt good.
He was almost sad to be going back to the world of paper-work and boundaries the next morning. Almost idly he thought he might have made the wrong choice turning down the specter training like his father had told him to. But he was back in the world of C-sec. His fathers world. He did, however, receive high praise for his work from his acquaintances.
The extranet screen beamed with her face as everyone watched her being interviewed on the case and being the first human specter. With a pat on the back from everyone in the room, he settled on a desk to watch.
"I am unable to comment on the identity of the rogue specter at this time," she said. "But I didn't do it alone, I couldn't have done it without Garrus Vakarian, Tali'zorah Nar'raya, Urdnot Wrex, and the crew of the SSV Normandy. This win belongs to all of them."
Everyone in the room cheered when she said Garrus' name and he couldn't help but chuckle as everyone shouted at him. Sharing the glory. She continued to surprise him.
He got bombarded with questions and comments after that. How did you end up convincing her to bring you along, can she fight, was she as nice as she seems?
"She looks scary," an asari woman said.
"She looks smokin' hot is what she looks," A human man said.
"I'd have to agree on that one," said another.
Garrus looked up at the screen, still beaming her vibrant green eyes and flame colored hair. He was surprised to find that she was attractive to the males of her species. Usually the men in the office preferred the soft squishy asari with their overly exaggerated curves and soft round faces. Soft round everything, now that he thought about it. Shepard wasn't those things. She was lean and she was sharp. Though, he supposed, her facial features were rather soft. Garrus obviously wasn't attracted to her but now that he looked, he could definitely see how she fit into the context of beauty for humans. Though he suspected it was her sudden power, not her character, that made her attractive to the men in the room.
"She could order me around any time," one man said.
"What was she like Garrus?" asked a woman.
He didn't really know what to say to that. So he just told them the truth.
"She brings out the soldier in you."
"I bet she made you stand at attention, eh?" the man next to him said, nudging him in the ribs with his elbow and raising his eyebrows.
"No, actually. She turned out to be rather casual." He had known what they meant, but didn't feel like indulging them. These men were part of her species and even they were being disrespectful. The one human he thought actually earned the respect she was given, and these humans still talked as if they were better than her, like she was just another object. He was trying to figure out why that irritated him so much when Inspector Pallin burst out of his office.
"Vakarian," his superiors voice boomed, "In my office. Now."
Garrus groaned and got up from the desk. He knew this was coming. But he was publicly acclaimed now, so surely the punishment couldn't be too harsh, right? As he entered the room, he made sure to leave the door open since he knew Pallin wouldn't shout when everyone could hear him.
Pallin didn't sit down, just leaned his hands on his desk and seemed to look past Garrus at the wall.
"So," he said. "Quite a show, Garrus."
"Yeah," Garrus replied as he sat down, not wanting to say anymore than he needed to.
"Well, you went and got yourself reassigned."
"Reassigned?" Garrus said, astounded. "I go and prove a specter's gone rogue and I get punished?"
"It's not punishment. It wasn't my choice, Vakarian."
"Oh? Then whose was it?"
"Mine," came a third voice along with the sound of the door shutting behind him. The gust of wind it gave off made a vaguely familiar scent hit him. He turned around as the closing door revealed her, leaning against the wall with a smirk.
Commander Jane Shepard.
"Commander?" was all he could think to say, as he stood to face her.
"I've got lives to save," she said as she approached him. "A rogue specter to hunt, and no time to waste. Think you're up to the task, Vakarian?"
"You bet your ass, Ma'am," he said with a grin.
She held her hand out to him, which he gladly shook.
"Glad to hear it, Vakarian. Don't forget that sexy rifle of yours."