Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect this belongs to Bioware. Please enjoy.
Chapter 1: Holo.
Commander Zo Shepard sat in her room wading her way through requests and messages that she had received. Messages of "thank you for saving us" and "why did you blow up Virmire?" were the usual but she stared at one message. The orange screen flickered as a smile traced her lips. Her fingers played with the strands of her burnt brown hair while her deep blue eyes scanned the words that danced across the screen.
Subject: RE. RE So bored!
How's everything since I left the Normandy? I heard from Anderson that the council has you chasing Geth (idiots). Spectre training is alright but it's not like the Normandy, and my father isn't taking it well.
Tell Tali I said hi back, but now I'm interested about your family. I told you everything about mine but I knew nothing about you. But didn't something happen on Mindior? I can't look at the file since it's with the Alliance database. I know I shouldn't poke my nose in but you know me I like to saver the last shot before popping the heat sink…wait forget that!
Also…WILL YOU STOP BREAKING THE MAKO! I swear if I get back on that ship the first thing I'm going to do is fix all your patch jobs and make sure it's properly working. Yes Shepard what you call fixing it is to me a patch job. Is Kaiden bothering you that much that you need to get off the ship to get away from him? Maybe the second thing I'll do is tell him myself to back off.
Be safe Shepard and don't get into too much trouble.
Shepard laughed at the message, she hadn't laughed for a while and it felt good, Garrus always put a smile on her face no matter what he was saying even if she could interpret it in many ways. As she read the last few lines of the message asking if it was Kaiden bothering her, she almost lost her smile because in truth Shepard missed Garrus since he left for the Citadel. She missed their talks and she missed the sound of when he worked on the Mako while she sat on the wheel. Ever since Garrus had left the ship felt empty, even with Kaiden following like a lost puppy (which was getting tiresome) the ship felt hollow. Some nights she would go down to the Mako and simply break the engine so that she had something to keep her mind focused or she would ask Joker so find a planet for her to have a drive on. Anything to keep her mind off Garrus. Shepard started on her reply but as she typed every word of encouragement to do well and not to worry she thought back to when he left.
Garrus stood at the elevator to C-sec waiting for something to urge him on. Shepard watched him from the hanger door clutching something in her hand but the butterflies danced in her stomach so much that her throat started to get the sickly feeling she usually got before a big fight. She approached Garrus from behind; as she did her eyes wandered his armour drinking in his form and shape while she heard his mandibles click against his mouth.
"Garrus" Shepard spoke softly as he turned round.
"Shepard" he smiled, Shepard had gotten really good at seeing all the different facial expressions from talking to him.
"I came to give you something" Shepard felt silly but it meant a lot to her. She reached for his hand and put a small holo devise into his palm. Garrus blinked as a small picture of Shepard smiling up at him. Shepard shuffled from one foot to the other as she judged Garrus's face, he seemed confused but held a slight soft smile.
"Whenever you feel low, message me or look at this" Shepard smiled as the holo flickered off. Garrus gave a nod in thanks and as she rubbed the back of her neck he started for the elevator. Her stomach tossed as her heart pounded for him not to leave, but instead she found herself running towards him, her feet moving on their own.
"Garrus" Shepard whispered loud enough to get his attention, he turned to be greeted with Shepard throwing her arms round his neck and pulling him into a close hug. Shepard felt Garrus's surprise through his stiffened body, his armour dug into her arms but she made her body lift towards his and managed to get as close as possible.
"I'll miss you" Shepard whispered before she let him go and hiding her eyes, she hated crying in front of people it made her look weak and not the Commander Shepard people wanted to believe. She felt Garrus's eyes on her until she felt his talons under her chin pulling her to meet his gaze. Shepard could have melted at that moment looking into his eyes that had softened. She heard a faint rumbling coming from his chest almost like a cat purring for its milk. But the moment wasn't to last, Kaiden marched out of the hanger door with a glare in his eyes. As he pulled Shepard away from Garrus he slid his arm round her waist, Shepard felt the urge to punch him but she merely shrugged him off and nodded to Garrus and marched back inside the Normandy.
Shepard could still feel the softness of his neck while he held her chin with the faintest of touches so not to hurt her. As she looked out her window a chill ran through her body, a chill she knew too well, some people would have called it a vibe or stirring in the gut but to Shepard this was a chill. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end as she carefully watched the stars zoom past her window.
"Brace for evasive…Argh" Joker sounded the radio as the ship suddenly banked tossing Shepard onto the floor. She hit the floor hard as she felt her shoulder almost pop out of place. She struggled to her feet to see the attacking vessel only to see a yellow beam heading towards the window. Her body reacted quicker than she could think as her Alliance training kicked into gear. She bolted to the door and quickly shut the door before she heard her room being broken apart and spaced.
Shepard was greeted to a scene she thought she'd never see again, dead friends and comrades little the ground, just like Akuze. She ran to her locker and brought out her environmental suit quickly clipping and pulling tighter round her body. The searing hot flames almost burnt her skin as sweat poured down her face. As she grabbed her helmet she punched in the instruction for the distress beacon to launch.
"Commander!" A familiar voice called as she clipped her helmet on and looked at the cables round her as they sparked. Communication cables, if she could fix them.
"Commander, the Alliance will come won't they" Kaiden spoke as it broke her thought. She patted his shoulder as she pasted him to start putting out the fire (even though she knew it was hopeless).
"They won't abandon us" she reassured him.
"Joker is still in the cockpit, he won't leave the ship and neither will I" Kaiden spoke out trying to act brave. Shepard rolled her eyes and turned to him.
"Kaiden get everyone to the escape shuttles, I'll get Joker" she started to reconnect the cables as she heard her Omni-tool ping to say it has a connection.
"Shepard I'm not leaving" Kaiden shouted over an explosion from the direction of the med lab. Shepard glared at him, which even through her helmet he flinched.
"Kaiden. Go. Now." She told him as she felt his face drop.
"Aye. Aye" Kaiden ran towards the shuttle pods as Shepard went back to the terminal. She launched the beacon before another beam ripped through the hull of the ship. Shepard bit her lip as she connected her Omni-tool to the holo she gave Garrus. It showed the connection as available and she clicked to record a message.
"Garrus, the Normandy has been attacked and it's not the Geth! It's going down and I don't know what will happen. Garrus you're my best friend, please pray to the Spirits for me." Shepard laughed as she felt her tears fall. Her heart was pounding in her chest as mixed memories of her ordeal on Akuze and her time with Garrus seemed to blur together.
"Garrus…if I come out of this alive…I'll…I'll…" she couldn't finished the sentence just in case the worse comes so instead she took off her helmet and brought her free hand to her lips and effectively blew him a kiss. Shepard smiled as she put her helmet on; another explosion sounded sending a shock wave through the ship as she nearly lost her balance.
"Pray for me" She closed the connection and started to run towards the cockpit. Her heart cried as her ship was blowing up around her and hot flames gathered in its falling debris. She made her way to the bridge but as she opened the door the sudden vacuum took her off guard as she quickly activated her magnetised boots to keep her grounded.
It felt weird; suddenly there was no noise except her breathing. No fire and debris floated past. Above her, an open wound to the ship ran along the width almost ripping the ship clean in half. The planet floated in the space giving a sense of peace but her memories of Akuze pushed her forward, she wasn't going to loose more of her friends to some damn monsters. She pushed past chairs that floated by to find Joker still trying to fly the broken down Normandy.
"Joker we need to get out of here" Shepard pleaded with him.
"No! I can still save her" Joker begged with Shepard. She understood why he was like this, the Normandy was his life and his love and now she was going down it was tearing him apart like he was loosing an arm or leg. But Shepard needed to get him out.
"The ship is gone Joker, don't throw your life away" Shepard watched his face dawn on the realisation of what was happening round him.
"Yeah ok, come on help me up" Joker started to get out of the chair as Shepard opened up the near by escape pod. But suddenly the yellow beam ripped through the Normandy blowing most of the bridge. Shepard ran back to help Joker even though she grabbed his arm a bit too tight, she managed to drag him to the pod. Making sure he was in and almost sorted she tried to get herself into the pod.
"Their coming round for another attack!" Joker shouted but it was too late the beam ripped through the hull as an explosion knocked Shepard flying. She reached out to stop herself and found the control panel for the escape pod.
"Commander" Joker shouted as she looked at him, she could have made it if she pushed herself with enough force, but the vacuum was too stronger than she was. All she did was smile as another explosion made her loose her grip; she reached out and managed to push the button to launch the pod. As she watched the pod fly away with Joker banging on the window shouting her name, she floated in the void of space. Her heart pounding and her muscles aching, debris falling to the planet below. She looked round for the ship that attacked them but all she could see was debris falling.
Suddenly she felt herself chocking, she heard the hiss of her oxygen pipe while her Omni-tool sounded an alarm. Panic set in as she reached round to try and seal the pipe but she couldn't reach, she couldn't feel the rupture. Fear ran through her body of the things she was going to miss, she could see her death right in front of her. Admittedly this isn't how she saw herself dying, she thought she would have been shot down by Geth or blown up by one of the Krogan mercenary bands. To be spaced and now her air escaping her suit was a little insulting. Watching the sun peer over the horizon giving it an endless look, something inside Shepard think that was already entering the gates of heaven.
"Ten second of air remain" Her Omni-tool told her as she tried to catch her breath, her throat burning from the lack of air while her vision was going hazy.
1…space is beautiful
2…I'm sorry everyone
3…Liara learn how to deal with Joker's humour
4…Tali, you make your people proud
5…Ash, forgive me
6…Wrex, kill some Geth for me
7…Kaiden…do your best…
9…Garrus… tears ran down her eyes as her vision started to go black, she could hear the faint sound of her Omni-tool beeping as it counted down. Then a message popped up on her Omni-tool, the name on the screen made her smile.
10…Garrus…then everything went black.
(On the Citadel)
Meanwhile Garrus was relaxing after a hard day of Spectre training. His room was small and cramped and about the size of a broom cupboard but he didn't complain, at least he didn't have to share with everyone else. He lay on his cot that stood against the wall across from the window; he could see one of the arms of the Citadel spreading out, almost as if it was reaching out beyond the serpent nebular. Although Garrus couldn't get over the fact that he was living on a giant Mass relay and that a few months ago this place was still a wreck. The Keepers had done a fine job in fixing the Citadel which seemed to amaze everyone.
He sighed as he looked at more paperwork that had piled up; messages from friends, letters from his father that told of his horror that his own son wanted to become a Spectre and blame Shepard for putting the idea into his head. But most of the message scattered about his makeshift desk were messages from Shepard telling him about what she was doing. He already told Anderson that it was a waste of time sending her to look for Geth when even he knew the Reapers were the real threat. Garrus was still waiting for her to reply to his last message but though he'd read her last message again, he picked up the pad and scanned through till he found it.
Subject: RE so bored!
Sender: Commander Z. Shepard.
Nothing much happening again, this would be the third time we search this sector of the Terminus system. Caught a few pirates and slavers with Tali's and Liara's help, felt good to actually do something with them besides just sitting around talking about things. Tali says hi by the way.
But in the middle of everything I started thinking about Mindior and everything that happened there, that's right I never told you about my family. Well when I see you again I'll have to tell you because telling you like this, you would be reading for ages.
I kinda broke the Mako again, don't worry I fixed it and I know I'm not as good as you, but I went to drive through the mountains again…at full speed…so yeah the suspension was wrecked after that. But as I said I FIXED it so don't worry.
I hope your training is picking up the pace you sounded so bored in your last message. You can do it Garrus and when you do become a Spectre I'll be the first one to congratulate you.
Garrus had sent his reply a day ago and was still waiting for her to reply. Usually Shepard was quick to reply and wondered if all she did was wait for him to answer but he knew she couldn't do anything like that no matter how happy it made him to think of it. He could recall Shepard's driving skill from the various planets they explored and wished she would have let someone else drive. Sufficed to say, Crazy woman driving wouldn't have been able to describe it, it was more like "who cares about Mountains" bordering on the edge of suicide. The amount of times she would let the Mako free fall off the cliff edge to simply land on top of the enemies made Garrus's stomach flip. Shepard was the best driver when she had her head on straight, like she proved on Virmire when she gracefully drove round the rocky columns and slid past the Geth Armatures with ease. But her crazy driving got everyone laughing and screaming making it a better driving experience (expect for Liara).
Garrus got up to put the message down and picked up the small holo that Shepard had given him, the picture lit up in his palm as a miniature Shepard smiled up at him with her dark blue eyes sparkling up at him. Garrus didn't understand at first why she had given it to him, for his sake, but then Anderson explained that giving things like this was a human trait or culture thing and that it meant that Shepard held Garrus close to her. Garrus smiled back at the picture and began to set it down so that he could wash up before lights out.
Suddenly a beeping rang from his desk. Garrus turned round as he saw the holo suddenly flashing, could holos do that? He picked it up and examined it closely. The holo stopped buzzing as a green light shone from the centre.
"Emergency message activated" the holo spoke making Garrus nearly drop the fragile thing.
"What the…" Garrus held it in his hand.
"Voice key accepted…Garrus, Turien." Again the holo spoke making Garrus wonder what it Shepard had really given him was.
"Playing message" suddenly a moving image of Shepard appeared in his hand, she looked battle worn even with her environment suit on, as she covered herself from the sounds of explosions sending a lump into Garrus's throat.
"Garrus, the Normandy has been attacked and it's not the Geth! It's going down and I don't know what will happen. Garrus you're my best friend, please pray to the Spirits for me." Shepard spoke as Garrus's heart went racing; the ship was under attack, not the Geth, Shepard's in danger asking him to pray for her, she only said that in dire situations like before the fight with Seren.
"Garrus…if I come out of this alive…I'll…I'll…" Garrus watched her as he heard her starting to cry, how he wished he could hold her and tell her it was going to be alright. He watched her take her helmet off as he saw her sparkling sapphire eyes glitter with tears. It was like she was about to say goodbye but instead she did something he didn't fully understand, she kissed her hand and blew on her palm like she was blowing something away. He didn't understand the notion but it seemed to hit him in a weird way.
"Pray for me" with that the message ended and the image of Shepard smiling up at him returned. Garrus bolted for the door and went straight towards the transport terminal to ask Anderson about this.
Garrus arrived at the Presidium with the message playing in his head, the words ringing in his mind. "Pray for me" that was what Shepard said, like she was saying goodbye but couldn't get the words out. He stormed into Anderson's office nearly making the human councillor jump out of his skin with shock.
"Garrus, what are you…" Anderson started to ask but Garrus rushed over to him holding back his growl.
"Where's Shepard? What's happened?" Garrus ordered as Anderson's face became stern and unreadable.
"We only just got the distress beacon signal Garrus, we've sent a team to investigate" Anderson showed him the report. Garrus looked at the data pad as it showed schematics and location of the signal. From what he could gather it was somewhere beyond the Omega sector. Garrus nearly threw the report across the room, although he didn't know why he was so angry. Maybe it was because he wasn't there and that's why Shepard was in trouble, he didn't like the thought of her in danger without him and he didn't understand it.
"The team has already left but this is an Alliance issue Garrus, how did you know Commander Shepard was in danger?" Anderson asked as he eyed Garrus nearly crushing the data pad with his talons. Garrus shook his head to calm himself as he put the data pad down on the desk and took out the Holo Shepard gave him. Anderson looked at the devise with interest.
"A message from Shepard came on this" Garrus held out the holo as he tapped the centre making it glow green again.
"Voice key needed" The holo spoke again making Anderson take even more interest.
"I should have known" Anderson whispered but not low enough for Garrus not to hear it.
"Shepard, she put an extra feature into the holo to give you a message, obviously for a time like now. She must have known something was going to go wrong on this mission and gave you that to warn us if anything did happen" Anderson explained. Garrus looked at the holo thinking that Shepard really did trust him enough with her life.
"What did it say in the message?" Anderson asked.
"They were attacked and it wasn't the Geth. She sounded like she was expecting the worst." Garrus spoke as he hung his head low.
"We'll have to wait a few days before any news comes back." Anderson assured as Garrus nodded and walked back to his room.
Once he got to his room he started to send a message to Shepard to put his beating heart at ease.
Please tell me you're alright
It wasn't much but it gave him something to hope for.