This was my first attempt at writing a mass effect story. I tried not to use too much military jargon as I saw in many other ME-stories.


An unwelcome Guest

Normandy - CIC, docking bay D24 of the citadel

The quiet in the CIC was nearly complete, the light scaled down to a faint dim. Only from time to time the footsteps of Navigator Pressly could be heard, every time he walked the metallic grids of the gangway to another working station to make a few tests. With Captain Anderson left to meet Ambassador Udina and Admiral Hacket, and most of their maintenance work long done, Charles Pressly had allowed his men a few hours of rest on the citadel in preparation of the next voyage. Soon enough, they would leave the citadel again and God alone knew when they would have the chance again to drink something better than synth.

Like most members of the crew Charles Pressly had been handpicked by Anderson to be his Navigation Officer and he would never allow the slightest error to occur in his part of the ship. Officially speaking, he was the third highest officer onboard after the Captain and Staff Commander Logan Shepard and responsible for all women and men that helped the pilot to make the Normandy fly like a hawk in mountain air as she was meant to be.

But all too often the Captain had to do some political work with Ambassador Udina, some turian politician or other representatives. Logan – in spite of being a very competent military officer in Pressly's opinion – surely was not the most patient man around in respect of day-to-day-work. More than once it was Pressly's duty to coordinate the daily routines on the Normandy, to make sure that all went smoothly like well-oiled machinery. And he liked it exactly this way and felt proud that he was good in his job.

"You're guests are incoming, Charley." Pressly looked up from his workstation and quitted the information with a low grunt. Only a few men onboard would dare to take the liberty to call him 'Charley' – neither Anderson nor Shepard belonging to this circle – but Joker was a very special case.

Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau would be the correct address, but Pressly couldn't remember anyone call him any other than simply "Joker". His mix of bravado and unparalleled skill in the cockpit added to his frail health situation, allowing him a leeway most officers could only dream of. Sometimes he felt sorrow about Moreau's health but on other days he was sure that somehow Joker got more than his bit of poise out of the fact that he was one of the best pilots of the navy in spite of his glass bones.

Pressly activated the comm. "Lieutenant Kaidan, here's Pressly. Our guests are arriving. Show them their rooms and see if the Turian needs anything. And I want to see Lieutenant Commander Udina instantly." He had not to activate the monitor to see the expression on Kaidan's face, the same showing on Joker's right now.

Commander Udina on board of the Normandy, what have we done to deserve this? Captain Anderson hadn't given any explanation as he ordered to prepare rooms for the turian Spectre and the Alliance Officer. Pressly – as all officers of the Normandy – could only hope that his stay would be short.

The information he was able to gather in the short time since Anderson's announcement was very sparsely, much to Pressly's chagrin. Lieutenant Commander Rory Udina, born in Boston, Earth, on the 19th of August in 2157 – so he was only 26 years old now, three years younger than even Shepard. About his youth Pressly found nearly nothing apart from short stays on Gagarin Station and Grissom Academy, surely to train his biotic powers. To be exact the information is far too sparsely for an officer from such a well-known family. Added to this were studies at the MIT in electronics, focusing on communications, finished with honors 'summa cum laude'. Pressly thought about reading Udina's dissertation later. But with such a graduation he should have been able to select his positions, even disregarding the name and influence of his family.

Afterwards he a number of short-term deployments on a couple of stations in the alliance fleet, mostly white-collar jobs, the last being logistic officer on an embassy in batarian space. Pressly had been long enough in the fleet to smell the taste of 'military intelligence' in this résumé. Either Commander Udina had been able to negate the benefits of his heritage and education to earn those uninteresting posts or he had been some kind of agent, most likely as an eavesdropping specialist. They would have to be very careful and look out for bugs in the future.

Biotics and technics, the same combination they had in Kaidan. Those both would become very good friends or quite the contrary, Pressly feared.


Normandy - Airlock, docking bay D24 of the citadel

He had to admit that he was nervous and didn't know which guest caused him more inner turmoil. There was this Turian Spectre. Never before had he been in close contact with one, and as far as he had learned from the media this one, named Nihlus Kryik, was one of the best. And then he was accompanied by Commander Udina, some kind of nephew to Ambassador Udina as far as Kaidan knew. Surely he would tell his uncle everything he experienced onboard in no time.

The signal told him that the decontamination procedure had ended and the airlock was ready to be opened. There's no reason to let them wait any further. With a sigh he punched the button and a loud hiss of air went with the opening.

Apart from his white facial features the Turian seemed very ordinary to him. An unadorned armored suit encased the frame which was of medium built for his race. He appeared to be athletic but not very muscled, not that Kaidan had really much experience with his race apart from those Turians that formed the bulk of C-Sec. "Greetings, Spectre Nihlus, welcome on board. I'm …"

"Staff Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko, chief of the marine detail of the Normandy. You'll see him in action often enough in the future, I suppose, Nihlus."

Kaidan glared at the officer that interrupted him and took an instinct dislike. Gala uniform, the boots carefully polished, he had not a single spot on his whole outfit. Commander Udina was large, surely a handbreadth taller than Kaidan, but of slender built. Grey eyes stared intensely at Kaidan and a smirk played around the corners of his mouth. It didn't help in getting on Kaidan's good side that Udina wore his hair in some style that surely was of the latest fashion. Blond they were, shoulder-long on the right, very short-cut on the left apart from a single queue that fell from his left temple down to his shoulder, a small band set with tiny rubies holding the end together. With an affected move Udina put the queue behind his ear.

His salute was as exact as Kaidan had expected: "Lieutenant Commander Udina, permission to enter the Normandy?" Kaidan responded in kind but even with his normally pristine military behavior he felt odd and ungainly in Udina's presence: "Permission granted. The XO ordered me to show you to your rooms. Please follow me." His answer was much more unfriendly than he had wanted to, but now it was too late to change it.

In silence they completed the way to their quarters and Nihlus closed his door after negating Kaidan's answer about any wishes he could have for now. "The XO wanted to see you as soon as possible, Commander Udina."

Udina nodded. "I'm on my way soon enough, but first I have to change. I've really enough of this uniform. My Uncle loves it and surely it is the best to wear around someone as Fleet Admiral Hacket but … gimme a minute." With a low smile he closed the door.


Normandy - CIC, docking bay D24 of the citadel

Kaidan hastened to get some distance between him and the two officers and slumped on the seat beside Joker. The pilot's broad smile he answered with a low growl. "That will be some painful days until they leave again. Especially that tin soldier."

Joker simply blinked. "So nerve-wracking he is? But I fear that you're a bit wrong." He gave no further explanation and ignored Kaidan's look but switched a lever. Instantly the voices of Pressly and Udina filled the cockpit.

"Sorry, XO. I have no idea what's going on with him. We'll have to escort him somewhere and take care that his assignment goes smoothly, whatever it is." Udina's voice was very bland, not revealing any emotions or giving any hint if he was lying.

"And what will be your duty on this trip? Are you some kind of adjutant to him? I never heard of something like that especially for a human." Joker and Kaidan went very silent, eager to hear the answer.

Udina gave a short laugh. "Nothing like that. I was only ordered to escort him to the Normandy, haven't known Nihlus two hours ago. No, I'm here as your … reinforcement or something like that." Kaidan paled a bit. He'll stay longer? "I'm promoted to the Normandy as your new Communication and Science Officer."

"You picked a winner, I suppose." Kaidan could only glare at Joker, the pilot apparently unimpressed.

"At least I won't have him escorting me down on planets. I really don't feel like to be the nanny of a white-collar officer. But perhaps I'm lucky and he tries to make a real soldier from you," Kaidan joked.

Now it was Joker's part to growl. "He surely can try."