The familiar sensation of being pulled backwards hit Garrus once more as he felt his body land against the hard floor of the Normandys main battery, his head aching intensely.
But nothing was moving this time.
Fuck! Garrus hauled himself up from the floor, letting out a sigh of relief as he noted the distinct lack of human blood on his hands. He pulled up his omni-tool to check the time. 0424 hours in the AM, about half an hour before the Normandy experienced the first wave. The artefact is becoming more unstable and -
Garrus stopped completely as he finally realised what Joker meant. It was Shepard, her death was the trigger. But why?
He bolted from the main battery to the elevator at the end of the mess and headed straight for Shepard's cabin. No more, this was the last time he was living through this hell forsaken day and he needed help.
"Shepard!" He yelled at her cabin door. "I need to-"
It opened after a few moments with a hiss to reveal a very unamused Commander.
"Garrus." She pushed her messy hair from face. "Do you know what time it is?"
"I do, and I would be here if it wasn't important." He implored. "I need to talk to you, please."
"Ok, ok." She replied with a yawn, gesturing for him to come in. "What's going on?"
Garrus stopped in front of her fish tank and turned towards her. "I need you to hear me out, or this will all make even less sense than it already does."
Shepard crossed her arms across her chest as she stepped back, leaning against the fish tank. "I'm listening."
Garrus exhaled still trying to figure out the best way to explain everything. "Today will be the third time I've lived through most of this day." He started. "Soon the Normandy will be hit by a wave of energy that's coming off a star in the next system over that is generating large amounts of dark energy. It interrupts our systems but we end up locating the ship we're looking for, we board it."
He held up a hand to stop Shepard's imminent interruption. "You and I go to secure the artefact we're after, and you - you die." Garrus shook his head, the smell of her blood still strong in his memory. "Then I get sent back here by whatever the fuck is on that ship."
"I stuffed it all up so badly last time." Garrus continued, as she went to speak again.
"I couldn't save you. I know everything has been weird with us lately but I fucking love you Jane, and I can't watch you die again."
For the first time since Garrus had known Jane Shepard, she was speechless, opening her mouth to go and say something with nothing coming out.
"I'm fully aware I sound crazy, but I can prove it." Garrus said, replying to the look of utter confusion on her face. "You said you'd had a second chance and to not let Cerberus near your body again. You said EDI would have a message from you for myself and for Tali, as well as one for the mission. I don't know what they were exactly, but you said you had them just in case-"
"-in case I died unexpectedly again." She finished in disbelief as the information she hadn't shared with anyone was repeated back to her. "Only EDI knows about those files."
"Commander." EDIs holographic form appeared at the terminal behind her. "There have been no attempts or accidental attempts to access those particular files."
"I would never have told you or anyone else about those unless -" Shepards eyes were wide and looking at him intently now. "You aren't joking about this."
Garrus exhaled with relief. "I'm really not."
Shepard finally moved towards him and ushered the distressed Turian to sit down on her desk chair "Who went with us to the ship we find?"
"Mordin, Tali, Thane and Samara" He listed off for her, leaning down and resting his elbows on his legs, burying his face in the palms of his hands.
"EDI," Shepard called out to the AI, "get the crew up, we're going on full alert for the next twenty four hours. Tell Miranda, Tali, Thane and Samara that I want them suited up and in Mordins lab in twenty. Tell the rest of the team to be on standby and send through that data to the communications room once this wave has hit the ship."
"Yes, Commander." EDI replied before disappearing from sight.
"Garrus." She said quietly, leaning back against her desk and putting a hand on his shoulder. "Look at me."
Shepard was taken aback when he focused his eyes back on her, the last time she'd seen that look in his eyes was when she found him on Omega. Garrus didn't get upset or worked up for no reason, for the most part he kept his shit together almost as well as she did.
"We're going to get to the bottom of this." She explained. "I need you to go and suit up, and head over to Mordin." She gently leant her head down and pressed her forehead to his own.
"I'm not going anywhere."
"Look." Miranda commented as Mordin tinkered away at his console. Shepard had just finished explaining the situation. "We've all been under a lot of stress lately, are you sure he's not-"
"Definitely not crazy." Mordin cut in finally with a conclusive answer from his scans of various members of the team. "Abnormal energy readings much higher on everyone present on this ship during the time shift. Fascinating."
"I told you." Garrus replied smugly in Miranda's direction.
"Garrus called it, Miranda. That shockwave hit us right when he said it would." Shepard interrupted. "If it turns out that the rest is bullshit I will commit Garrus and myself to whatever anti-psychotics you want - but until then, we figure out a way to fix this time shift thing."
"Use Garrus' knowledge of events. Figure out a plan of attack most effective to counteract the loop trigger." Mordin confirmed.
"Everything is starting to…converge." Garrus told the salarian. "It's getting harder to distinguish between what happened on which loop, my head is killing me."
"I could perhaps offer a solution Commander." Samara's eloquent voice piped up from the other side of the room. "With Garrus' consent, I could join our minds and help sort through the overlapping memories, pick up any important information."
Shepard frowned at the memories of Liara helping piece together the beacon visions. Nothing had ever given her a migraine quite like those damn beacons.
"Do it." Garrus said, bringing Shepard out of her thoughts. "If it'll help. Do it."
"You sure, Garrus?" She asked. "I'm not going to lie, the whole melding thing with Liara wasn't exactly pleasant – No offence intended, Samara."
"None taken, Shepard." Samara replied. "But Miss T'Soni is quite young, I am well practiced."
Shepard looked between the apprehensive members of her team before finally giving in. "Ok, everyone else into the comm room to look at whatever EDI has pulled by now."
They all gave her a nod, Tali squeezing Garrus' shoulder as she followed the others out of Mordins lab. Samara walked forward, placing herself directly in front of the turian.
"Now." She instructed, as Shepard stepped back, giving them space. "You must focus on what you want me to see, instead of what you don't want me to see. Start with the first time you boarded the ship and we will go from there."
"Ok." Garrus exhaled. The cargo bay. That was the first place. Focus on the cargo bay. "I'm ready."
"Relax, Garrus." Samara closed her eyes. "Embrace eternity."
It was a bizarre feeling as he watched himself, Shepard and the rest of the team go through into the cargo bay.
"You are doing well, just keep following through where you went next." Samara was beside him, and it was relatively easy with her help. They followed himself and
Shepard up the stairs and to where they encountered the merc Commander.
Everything slowed as Samara took in the scene. Examining exactly how the events occurred. He looked away when the shot hit Shepard.
"Now focus on the second day."
The cargo bay, back to the cargo bay.
Everything in front of him blurred and they were exactly where he wanted them to be, repeating the process with Samara walking him through it. Garrus had been so damn caught up on concentrating on their assault of the ship trying to piece together as much as possible with Samara that when they finally reached the end, he realised what he had to watch again. It had barely been an hour for him since it'd happened.
Samara was intently examining what she could see of the mercenary Commanders weapons, ammunition, and the blast that sent Shepard to the floor. She stood back, watching Garrus crumble to the floor and tend to a dying Jane Shepard.
"You have relived this day enough, I am sorry." Samara placed a hand gently on his shoulder. He turned away, trying not to think about everything Shepard dying in his arms reminded him of, but it was too late.
The world blurred again.
"She didn't make it to the pods Garrus." Liara. Crying in his arms at the Citadel spaceport. "She told Kaidan to go and she went back to get Joker."
"You left her there Kaidan!" Liara in front of him, separating himself and Kaidan. "You left her to die!"
"You. Left. Us. You weren't there Garrus. Don't you fucking dare-"
"Please!" Tali begging them to stop as she tried to hold back her sobs. "We are a team, we are friends. Shepard wouldn't want this."
"Shepard is dea-!"
"We'll be back in three, four weeks tops." Sitting up on the Presidium with Shepard, that smug grin she had on her face every time she started teasing him. "I don't know what I'm going to do without you Garrus."
"You'll have to fix the mako yourself Shepa-"
Andersons office at the Embassy. "The Normandy was-"
He felt himself being pulled back, the memories faded and he was back in Mordins lab, Shepard with her arms around him, easing him down to the floor.
"- Samara, are you alright?"
He looked up at Shepards concerned tone for the asari, seeing her leaning against Mordins table. "I am fine, just a little tired."
"Garrus?" Shepard was in front of his face now, trying to get his attention. "You almost hit the deck there."
He nodded, trying to get a grip back on reality. He'd tried so damn hard not to think about all that for a long time. "I'm sorry Samara, I didn't mean-"
"You made an understandable connection between the day's events and your past experiences." Samara said, stopping him and straightening back up into her usual composure. "And I gained much information from your memories, we will be successful this time."
For what Garrus hoped was the last time, he entered the cargo bay of the MSV Khronos with his team mates. They had formed two full teams this time. Tali, Thane, Mordin, Grunt and Jack were going to take the first floor and engineering deck while Shepard, Samara, Kasumi, Legion and himself and were taking the upper floors.
"We enter through the emergency hatch in the cargo bay, all the guards and personnel here are dead." Samara explained as EDI brought up the schematic of the vessel in the comm room. They had extracted the layout prior to entering this time.
"The vessel is split into four levels, the engineering deck, and decks one to three." Shepard explained. "We'll be splitting up into two teams of five. Alpha team will take the engineering and first deck, securing any data from the ship. Beta will take the second and third and find the artefact."
They once again divided into their respective teams upon leaving the cargo bay, Tali and her team veering off to the left and theirs to the right.
"Here we have our key event. This mercenary appeared to have modded ammunition, possibly being affected by either the artefact or effects of the energy in this system - which is what makes it deadly to anyone it hits."
"We cannot let this guy hit anyone, or it's over." Garrus added. "It rips through barriers and armour like they don't even exist."
"Can't we just blast the fuck out of this guy?" Jack asked from her place against the wall.
"Been there. Tried that. Didn't work." Garrus replied with a shake of his head.
"What the fuck can even do that though?"
"The suns have been investing in experimental weaponry for some time now." Garrus explained. "They must have finally developed something."
"Tali, status." Shepard said, clicking her earpiece.
"Mercs have been eliminated, Commander." Tali replied quickly. "We have begun the data mine, and I took out their internal communications ten minutes ago."
"Good job Alpha." Shepard called back before addressing her team. "Alright, this is it. Kasumi, Garrus – charge it up."
They both gave her a quick nod as they charged their overloads and moved swiftly into the room. Legion held back switching to his heavy sniper rifle as Kasumi and Garrus moved forward, Shepard and Samara not far behind, biotics at the ready.
Garrus let out a slow breath as they waited, they were hoping that the mercs appearance would happen, even without Shepard walking to investigate the back rooms.
Their patience was rewarded when the mercenary Commander appeared at the doorway, armed with his shotgun, but with no target in range.
Garrus and Kasumi overloaded his shields, shattering them in one hit. The pulled their own weapons back out as Shepard and Samara sent an assult of biotics to his position, knocking him back before the three remaining team members opened fire.
It was quick, efficient and extremely effective, unlike Garrus' last two experiences.
"I'll go check him." Garrus said, cautiously beginning to move towards the body at the back doorway.
"Remember what happened last time you did that? No." Shepard cut in. "Kasumi, go dark. Legion be ready."
"You got it, Shep." Kasumi replied before disappearing.
Shepard and Samara readied their biotics, as they all closed in.
"Oh yeah, he's dead." Kasumi said, appearing beside Garrus. "He might have some crazy ammunition but he was still just a merc."
Shepard moved past Garrus and raised her pistol, putting one more bullet in the man's head. He was done.
"Let's get this thing and get the hell off this ship." Shepard said to her team before pulling up her pistol and rounding the corner to the last room.
The others followed cautiously behind her, weapons and biotics at the ready as she hit the button to open the back storage room.
"Well this certainly looks familiar." Garrus commented at the looked at the artefact. It was a silver, prothean, pulsating sphere.
Shepard put her pistol back to its place on her hip as she stepped in front of the artefact. "Here goes nothing."
She pressed her hands against the sphere to pick it up, letting out a gasp as the artefact lit up with a bright white light.
"What is it Commander?"
Shepard was looking down on…herself, Garrus and Tali. Over two years ago.
"An artefact maybe?" She watched herself say. "Liara would-" she began to recall what happened next. Other Shepard frowned as she reached into one of the pockets on her suit.
"This thing is responding to it?" She said, pulling out the trinket the asari consort had given her months earlier.
"Look, there's a slot." Garrus pointed out.
Shepard watched herself lean closer, putting the trinket in the slot before everything went white again.
"This little thing here." Shepard explained, switching the now small silver artefact from one hand to the other. "Has met us before."
Miranda and Mordin exchanged a look. "'Met you?'" The XO asked.
Shepard gave her a grin before continuing. "It's probably the same artefact I activated on Eletania over two years ago. It remembered Tali, Garrus and I, showed me before it deactivated."
"Hm." Mordin pondered. "Formed attachment. Maybe. Recognised Shepard, saw her death an anomaly. "
"And tried to fix it?" Miranda suggested.
"Precisely." Mordin nodded. "Many unknown factors, could have studied but artefact no longer active. Shame."
The Commander let out a sigh as she finally emerged from her bathroom, ready for bed. The time on her terminal finally indicating that it was past midnight in the ships current day/night cycle, and the mess from the day's events was cleaned up and filed away.
Except for the little silver sphere, that now sat next to the terminal on her desk.
Giving one last look at the object she made her way over to her bed.
"What's the diagnosis?"
Garrus gave her a tried grin. "Take these and sleep it off." He explained, shaking the little container containing two little pills. "But I still have to-"
"No." Shepard cut him off. "You are officially off duty Vakarian. Go use my quarters, take those, and go to sleep."
"It's either that or I'm camping out in the battery. Your choice."
Garrus was still sound asleep. He had barely moved the entire time she'd been finishing up her mission reports, whatever Chakwas had given him was heavy duty.
Shepard gently moved the covers back, climbing into the free side of her bed and finally resting her head down on her pillow.
"Hey." Garrus said groggily from beside her, snaking a hand around her waist and pulling her closer.
"Guess what? The day is officially over." Shepard told him, leaning back against his plated chest and intertwining her fingers with his. "How're you feeling?"
"Hazy." He mumbled back.
"You have already experienced death once, Shepard." Samara told her. "From what I saw, you have found acceptance of your own death. While you may not wish to die, you are ready to accept it when it happens. I believe Garrus and Tali'Zorah do not share this same acceptance."
The asari gave her a small smile. "And neither do the rest of us."
"Go back to sleep" Shepard replied with a small laugh as the Turian buried his face against her neck. "Garrus?"
"I love you too."
Shepard felt Garrus squeeze her hand before sleep took him once more.
Soooo we all stumble over those difficult points in game, where for whatever reason, everything goes wrong, Shepard goes down and that damnable Critical Mission Failure music starts up. Then you have to reload from the last save point, do everything all over again with a slightly different strategy, and hope you don't die again. Sometimes you have to repeat something several times over and over again. I want a fic wherein this actually happens to Shepard and someone on her team (Her LI?) notices. I.E., the same events repeating themselves and ending horribly over and over again. Like the plot of Groundhog Day, or Mystery Spot from SPN. Que LI's reaction-figuring out the patterns, panicked pleading, trying to prove and explain things to the crew and everyone thinking he's crazy, Mordin wanting samples for science, Shepard annoyed at her authority being questioned... Can be cracky, can be serious and angsty, I don't mind. I just really want Garrus (or another LI, if you prefer, anon) to be freaking out trying to fix things, save Shepard, and make the mission end successfully. Or maybe they don't succeed after all :( Up to you, potential a!anons!
I want a fic wherein this actually happens to Shepard and someone on her team (Her LI?) notices. I.E., the same events repeating themselves and ending horribly over and over again. Like the plot of Groundhog Day, or Mystery Spot from SPN.
Que LI's reaction-figuring out the patterns, panicked pleading, trying to prove and explain things to the crew and everyone thinking he's crazy, Mordin wanting samples for science, Shepard annoyed at her authority being questioned...
Can be cracky, can be serious and angsty, I don't mind. I just really want Garrus (or another LI, if you prefer, anon) to be freaking out trying to fix things, save Shepard, and make the mission end successfully.
Or maybe they don't succeed after all :( Up to you, potential a!anons!