Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect
After recently playing through Mass Effect 2…again… I got a few ideas stuck in my head. We all know how Shepard and the crew interact, but outside of a few cut scenes we really don't see how the different members of the ground team get along with each other. The following will be a collection of oneshots involving Shepard's team as they try to co-exist aboard the Normandy with laughs, tears, drama and friendship.
Episode 1: Welcome to Deck 4
Tali had been hesitant at first, hesitant to join a Cerberus ship and wary of having to work with their people. Despite Shepard assuring her that he was in charge she was less than willing to believe that the organization could be kept on a leash. Even by someone as…capable…as Shepard.
Still, the crew wasn't all that bad. Gabby and Ken were very nice and after getting to know them she found they had joined because of Shepard, just like her. Kelly was another who had dispelled her notions of what Cerberus was. She was polite, chipper and knew more about quarians than any human she had ever met. The other human, Jacob, was another story. He wasn't rude or antagonistic, but something about him "rubbed her the wrong way" as the humans say.
Then of course there was Miranda whose calculating and business-like manner reminded her of her father. She didn't trust the Cerberus lieutenant and she was going to keep an eye on her. It was Shepard's job to play nice, it was her job to watch his back. It was those sentiments that had her down in the ships bowels removing the fifth listening bug she had found so far.
"Come on you bosh'tet," Tali swore as she grasped for the device just beyond her reach. This one had been tricky as it was wedged next to one of the venting pipes using the heat to hide its thermal signature from scans. Judging from its location, they must have built the ship around it because it seemed unrealistic that any human could have placed it into the narrow confines of where it was now, a Hanar maybe, but definitely not something with fingers.
"Almost got it," Tali said as she stood on her toes trying not to fall off the cot she found herself perched on.
Tali's work was interrupted by the sounds of heavy boots trudging down the stairwell to the hold she was in.
"Well it doesn't sound like Miranda," Tali thought being able to recognize the telltale clack of the Cerberus officers heels a mile away.
If it wasn't Miranda then she could just lie to whatever member of the crew showed up about what she was doing here. She doubted that everyone was privileged to the information that the Normandy was bugged from bow to stern. Continuing her efforts to dislodge the stubborn device, she ignored the steps that grew closer by the second.
"What the fuck are you doing," an angry voice screamed nearly causing Tali to fall off her perch, the sound of an unfolding weapon warning her of this new intruder's intention.
With her hands hidden from view by the Normandy's water pipes, Tali activated her contingency plan from a few quick taps to her omni tool. Immediately, Chiktikka sprung from her hiding spot behind some crates and sent an electrical shock straight into Tali's assailants back.
"Fucking drone," Jack screamed as her biotics flared, sending poor Chiktikka shattering against the wall. The momentary diversion allowed Tali enough time to pull out her shotgun, wheel around and meet the angry voice face to face.
She had only been on the ship for a couple of days, much of her time spent in Engineering getting familiar with the new drive core. She had not really met everyone on the ground team yet, especially those who lived on Deck four that all tended to keep to themselves. She had heard stories about the woman in front of her from Ken and Gabby. A small woman with a shaved head, wearing little more than tattoos with a bad temper and burning hatred for Cerberus, Gabby's description was spot on.
"I didn't come down here to fight," Tali said trying to defuse the situation.
"Well that's too bad, because you got one now bitch," Jack sneered.
"I have a shotgun," Tali said weapon trained on Jack's head.
"Mine's bigger," Jack said, her lips curling in a cruel smirk.
The two stood looking each other over for a few tense seconds, Jack getting a better look at who was in front of her.
"By the three fingers and chicken legs I guess you're not Cerberus," Jack said, gun still pointed at Tali's chest.
"No I'm not, my name is Tali' Zorah vas…"
"I don't care who the fuck you are. I don't know you and in my book that makes you the enemy," Jack said with a harsh glare.
"Look," Tali said lowering her gun, "I don't work for Cerberus and I know you obviously don't. They would love to have us at each other's throats instead of keeping an eye on them," Tali reasoned seeing Jack slightly lower her weapon.
"We have to watch out for each other if we're going to be part of the same team," Tali said folding her shotgun. "Shepard is my friend; I'm here because he asked for my help. You at least seem to trust him, so believe me when I say we are on the same side."
Jack mulled the idea over in her head. Shepard did let her see the files she wanted and so far he had done right by her. She knew it would just be a matter of time before he turned on her like all the others, but for now she had promised to be good.
"God you sound just like fucking Shepard," Jack said rolling her eyes, tossing her gun onto the cot and sitting on a crate. "You gonna try to get me to talk about my feelings so we can all have our periods together too? Do you guys even get periods," Jack asked scratching her head.
"What? I…no…I mean…I'm not here to talk about your feelings," Tali stammered uncomfortably. "I was trying to remove the listening device they installed down here when you…"
"The what," Jack snarled, blue energy rippling over her skin.
"There'a a listening device wedged between the thermal exhaust pipes," Tali said pointing to the space above Jack's bed.
Jack was up in an instant, pushing Tali aside and standing on her bed peering into the network of pipes with a glowing blue hand as a makeshift flashlight.
"Do you think you can get it," Tali asked.
"Oh yeah," Jack said grinning.
"Good," Tali said bringing up her omni-tool, "once it's out I can reprogram it. Just try not to break…"
"it," Tali said her arms falling to her sides.
Pulling her hand back, Jack deposited the remains of the transmitter unceremoniously on the floor in a heap, a satisfied smirk on her face.
"You broke it," Tali said dumbfounded.
"Yeah, so what? Isn't that what you were going to do," Jack said flopping down on her cot.
"I was going to reprogram it to only send recordings of background noise. If it's broken then they'll just send someone to replace it," Tali said exasperated.
"I'd like to see those assholes try," Jack said cracking her knuckles. "No one on this ship is dumb enough to come down here except for maybe Shepard…and you."
"Well…I'm glad that the bug is at least taken care of," Tali said unsure if she had just been insulted or not.
"Yeah it was a real fun time," Jack said picking up a data pad from the floor, "now leave."
Tali headed back upstairs irritated not only by the woman she had just met but having to clean out bugs to prevent someone from spying on her in her own engineering bay.
"Shepard will want to know about the bugs. They probably have them in his cabin as well," Tali thought to herself heading for the elevator.
Pressing the button for deck three, she figured to check the crew deck first and if he wasn't there he was probably in the CIC. The doors nearly shut before a massive hand prevented them, the metal groaning slightly as they were forcibly pushed open by one of the biggest Krogan she had ever seen…and she had seen Wrex.
The Krogan seemed to eye her over before snorting and lumbering inside, Tali moving over to accommodate the enormous lizard.
"Quarian…not quite as soft as the rest but still weak," Grunt said not looking at Tali but more or less talking to the corridor in front of them.
"Excuse me," Tali said her hand resting on her hip.
"The tank has imprints for your species," Grunt said staring down at her. "Weak immune systems make you a liability on the battlefield. You lost your home and your honor in battle and now fight everyday to regain what you lost. It is a…noble cause but your weakness will deny you victory."
Tali wasn't even sure how to respond to that when they were interrupted by a gruff sigh. Turning, she saw an older human in yellow armor with a jagged scar across his face looking rather annoyed by the lack of space in the elevator due mostly impart because of the Krogan.
"Nevermind," Zaeed said turning back to the recycling center, "I'll head up later."
The doors shut but the man's voice could still be heard by Tali's audio processors.
"Goddamn Krogan looks bigger than ever. What the fuck is Shepard feeding it?"
"That does it," Tali thought rubbing at her faceplate, "I am never leaving engineering."
The collection really won't have any chronological order to them but I'll let you know where we are in the game though dialogue or narration. If you have any people you would like to see then by all means drop me a review and a suggestion. As far as pairing goes I won't be doing any rehash of the Shepard and Tali romance but it will be mentioned by Tali or other characters like Kasumi and it will be used as a plot point for a chapter or two. Until next time read and review people.