The Citadel wards were crowded with people. The crowds I had become used to over the long weeks of debriefings, awards ceremonies, and a short victory tour, the loneliness I had not. The crew had scattered after the death of Sovereign on Ilos. Tali had returned to the Flotilla almost immediately upon setting foot on the Citadel with all of the data she had gathered on the Geth. Wrex had also left with a hefty payment and a look of determination. Garrus had stayed on longer, dodging C-Sec's pleas to rejoin them, but he eventually left too. The Alliance members of the crew stayed on longer. I spent the whole tour swapping stories with Kaidan and Ashley, but our victory lap soon came to an end. The lion's share of the credit had gone to the Citadel fleet, though the entirety of Admiral Olmos' task force had been awarded high honors by both the Alliance and the Citadel. At least the battle had roused a fair bit of pro-alien sentiment among the human colonies. Liara I missed most. She had stayed on Ilos when we left. We had all been their when Vigil had been unearthed. The blue-skinned scientist had almost fainted there and then. She was scheduled to give a presentation on her findings in a week.
And now it was my turn. I sat back on the bench in my civilian clothes. Shepard sat across from me in her dress blues, new medal proud on her chest.
"I'm sorry, Liddle, I did what I could. The only way would be to enlist, and even then I couldn't guarantee you a place on my ship." She gave me a half smile.
"Thanks anyway, I don't think the navy's really the place for me."
"If you ever reconsider, you know who to call." Shepard made to stand up, a motion which I mirrored. The Commander clasped my hand and shook it lightly before stepping back to offer me a salute. I returned it and smiled. "You're a good kid, Liddle, but the Council is leery of having an undocumented colonist running around one of their Spectre's ships."
"I understand, Commander. Doesn't make it any more fun to sit around here day after day."
"I hear you've decided to fix that little issue. Booked a ship to one of the colonies."
"Yes." I nodded. It had taken the sale of all my weapons and armour barring the chunky red pistol I still had clasped to my belt, but the ship to Cook's Landing was well appointed, and the planet pleasant enough.
"What will you do?" Shepard began to walk beside me as I made my way through the wards towards the docks.
"Oh, I don't know, find something to fill the days." I said knowingly. In truth, I had considered striking off on my own to try and prepare for the coming of the Reapers, or else striking out for Omega to try and find a place in Aria's organization, but I eventually dropped them as overly ambitious and overly dangerous respectively. "I thought I might try my hand at farming." We arrived at the spaceport just as the bulk transport began loading.
"Goodbye, Shepard." The hatch slid closed, blocking my view of the platform. With a rumble of engines, the great ship took off for the stars.
Here it is, the end of the first sequence. I think it's fair to call this one complete. I'm glad I've been able to share this with you, and I hope you will continue to read this story as it continues in Interloper 2: The Collector Crisis. Before I close off this segment, I would like to give a brief shout out to a few of my readers. Firstly, Dracconnis, who has had many a kind word to say about this story every step of the way. And secondly, FollieofMadness, who inspired me to pick this project back up after it took an extended vacation. To you, and to all my reviewers, followers, and readers, thank you. See you next time.