A Mass Effect Fanfic

By: Allora Gale

Chapter 1: A Disturbing Revelation

Liara had . . . mellowed. At least, she liked to think she had mellowed in the last century since helping to defeat the Reapers and giving birth. No more suicide missions. No more charging into the unknown with only a hope and a prayer to ensure her survival.

She was responsible now. A mother. A former Asari representative. A well respected member of society, even despite her species. Goddess knew that wasn't easy these days. The human's had been grateful to the refugees that had been left on Earth in the wake of the Reaper invasion and the destruction of the Mass Relays at first.

But those sentiments had soon worn off.

In the wake of the Reaper invasion, the human population had been practically decimated. They didn't have the numbers to sustain their previous balance of power. And instead, they had refugee populations of a dozen alien races that needed a place to live – refugees who had, in many cases, left their own worlds to burn as they had come to Earth's aid for the final fight with the Reapers.

Without the numbers they had previously enjoyed, the humans were afraid that they would lose control over their home planet. It hadn't take long for some human politicians to begin a pro-human campaign that would have made Cerberus proud had the organization survived. But then, perhaps the Illusive Man had been right, and Cerberus couldn't be killed by mere bloodshed.

Most aliens chose to remain on the small, token reserves of land the humans had deemed to grant each species in the wake of the invasion rather than be subject to the ridiculous taxes and restrictions that were placed on aliens in human cities. At least on the Settlements the laws were upheld by members of their own species. In her case, she was lucky. Maybe it was just that the Asari shared a similar physiology with humans, but they could live in human settlements without the same degree of rampant racism as other species, like the Turians or Salarians.

She had tried to counter this trend during her time in office, but humans were a stubborn people and unreceptive to negotiation with those they considered threats. For ten years she had served as the Asari representative in what was left of the Council. The Citadel was almost dead in space after the Crucible's destructive discharge had forced the Reapers to withdraw and destroyed the Mass Relays. Today, it was primarily inhabited by Quarians and had lost all of it's galactic influence.

Without the Citadel to act as neutral ground for all of the species to come together, anyone who wasn't human was at the mercy of human politics. The Council still existed, in a way, though it had lost most of it's power and had to defer to the human Councillor's will in almost every decision. It was a raw deal, and she had worked tirelessly during her time in office opposing legislation that would restrict aliens on Earth until she had been forced to resign by the human Councillor.

It was not an ideal situation, but with the memory of war with the Reapers still fresh in their minds and with their populations still recovering, there was nothing anyone could really do about it. Courtesy prevented the Asari from interfering with the governance of the human home world. It was the same with the Turians and Salarians, and the Vorcha and Batarians didn't have the numbers to do anything about it even if they wanted to.

It was discouraging, but Liara had retired from politics. She had briefly forayed back into her first passion. But the thrill of discovery had quickly worn off. Archaeology on Earth was not the same profession she was familiar with. She had decades of experience digging up Prothean ruins and studying ancient Prothean technology dating back fifty million years. Looking at cobbled together stone tools and early metalworking dating back less than an Asari lifetime ago had gotten old really fast. It had been mildly entertaining to learn about how quickly humans had developed, but it hadn't been enough to keep her attention.

Instead, she had returned to her other job. Though her sphere of influence had been greatly diminished, information was still a commodity of high demand. The Shadow Broker was still alive and well in the Sol system. She had agents inside of every government on the planet, as well as on the Citadel in the pockets of civilization in the ruins orbiting Earth. There wasn't a city on the planet that didn't feed her information about the who's who of Earth, be they human, Turian, Salarian, Krogan or Asari.

Which was how she had come across the piece of information currently scrolling across her holo terminal. It wasn't the first time she was viewing it, but she couldn't help coming back to it. She almost couldn't believe it. Almost couldn't understand how the humans could be so shortsighted and cruel.

But the information was what it was and it wasn't the first time something like this had come across her desk. One other time, a century ago, when human colonies in the Traverse were going mysteriously missing, a very similar report had been sent to her.

She closed the report as she heard intruders outside the door to her office. Her family. The people she cared most about in the galaxy. Her daughter Janezeia and Septim Nero, the stoic and chivalrous Turian she had taken as her partner. His disapproval of the anti-alien trend in human politics was quieter than her own, but no less vehement.

"Mother." Janezia said with a smile as she came in. It had been a while since they'd seen each other. Unlike Liara, Janezia was discontent with living in a predominantly human city and had withdrawn to the remote Asari concession in the Canadian north to join a commando unit. Janezia was more like her . . . other mother . . . than she had ever been like Liara.

"Janezia," She greeted with an equally warm smile. "How was your flight?"

"Not bad." The girl shrugged. She was nearing maturity now, almost a full century since she'd been born and was Liara's pride and joy. She was strong and righteous and everything a good daughter should be. "Not long. I slept most of the way. Glad Septim came to pick me up though, traffic was crazy on the way over here. It's human's Christmas, right?"

"Yes, but that's not why I asked you to come." Liara said, ignoring the way the girl still refused to call Septim 'Dad' or 'Father'. He wasn't really, but it was still polite. It wasn't that Janezia disliked him, or like she was doing it to snub him. By all accounts, she was extremely fond of the Turian.

But years ago, when the girl had been little more than a child, she had asked who Liara's partner had been. She'd refused to answer. Janezia had been stubborn even then and had sworn up, down and sideways that she would never acknowledge another as her 'father' until she knew who had contributed the other half of her DNA.

Thus far, they had both stood firmly in their camps, unwilling to bow to the other. It was an argument Liara had been prepared with maintain indefinitely. Until now.

"Is that so?" Janezia asked mischievously. "How mysterious. Did she tell you what this was about?" The girl asked, raising a questioning eyebrow at Septim.

"Of course not. I'm as in the dark as you." Septim said with a shrug. "You know your mother. The illusive Shadow Broker gets a kick out of secrets."

Which was fair, she supposed. She didn't really get a kick out of it, but there was still something about it – about the thrill of discovery – that appealed to her. Perhaps going from archaeologist to information broker wasn't really that far of a stretch.

She sighed as they poked fun at her, enjoying the carefree moment. Something told her it would be the last such moment she would be experiencing for a while. When they'd finally exhausted the most easily accessible jokes at her expense, she reined them in and back to her purpose.

"Have a seat, both of you." She said, gesturing to the pair of sleek, but comfortable leather armchairs across from her desk. They followed the order and waited, any further attempts to dispel the tension with humour abandoned.

"Okay, so spill it." Janezia finally said when she hesitated one last time. "What world-shattering secret have you discovered this time?"

"I'm going to tell you about your other parent." She answered, getting straight into it. "You always knew that my partner was a human, but I had all record of my time with them erased, primarily for our protection." Then she brought up an old holo of her and Shepard. It was an old image, from back on the first Normandy when they'd been racing Saren to the Conduit, always a step behind but determined to catch up. The image was still, but it didn't take much to imagine the motion, to see Shepard reaching to embrace her with a wide, loving smile on her lips. Tali had taken the image secretly, a candid of the infamous Shepard when she wasn't being 'the Commander'.

It was the only image that had ever been taken of just the two of them.

"What are you saying?" Janezia asked in bewilderment, staring at the holo. "Did you hit your head?"

"Shepard was nothing like what you've learned. The humans have bastardized her memory to suit their own purposes and made her into something she hated. She was never anti-alien of human-first, as the humans would have you believe. She had multiple aliens on her crew. I was one of them." She answered.

At first, she'd erased herself from the records of anything having to do with Shepard so as not to shame her memory. Even as the Asari representative, she had maintained her information networks – much of which was steeped in illegal activity, while Shepard was being practically deified by the survivors of the invasion. Later, when Tali was assassinated by the human government for outspokenly protesting the way they were using Shepard's memory for their own gain – even going so far as to say that Shepard would be turning in her grave if she could see what they were doing to her memory – her disassociation with Shepard had become more for her own protection and the protection of her newborn daughter.

It the humans couldn't tolerate verbal dissent, they would have never accepted an Asari daughter of the woman they liked to call the perfect human.

"That's . . . that's . . ." Janezia said, still at a loss for words. "Wait, are you saying she's my parent? That Commander Shepard, the epitome of human perfection, is my parent? She was your partner?"

Liara nodded mutely. Part of this was liberating. She had fully expected to carry this secret with her to her grave. But the Alliance had now forced her hand. She could not let this stand.

"So why tell us now?" Septim asked, taking over for Janezia who was still coming to terms with the new information. He had been kept in the dark as well.

"I have uncovered some disturbing information from my contacts within the Alliance." She explained. "It's common knowledge that Shepard was killed when the first Normandy was destroyed by the Collectors. It's also common knowledge that she was brought back to life by Cerberus. It seems that when we destroyed Cerberus headquarters, the information for Project Lazarus somehow fell into Alliance hands. I haven't managed to track how the Alliance got the information exactly, I only know that they received it.

"When rescue parties retrieved what was left of Shepard's body on the Citadel, they restarted the program. They rebuilt her as a safeguard against a return of the Reapers. They rebuilt her. Again." She growled, her tone turning icy. "Then they put her in cryogenic stasis so that she would always be at her prime if they should need her."

The revelation was met with the horrified silence the situation was due. Bad enough that they hadn't left Shepard alone, that they hadn't allowed her the peace that death brought. But it was so much worse to learn that they'd then frozen her in time, as though she were nothing more than a weapon to be used in times of trouble. The Alliance had treated as though she wasn't even a person. As though she were a tool and nothing more deserving of basic sentient rights than a gun or a bomb.

"As you know, the Krogan have been expanding into human settlements over the last ten years." She began to explain.

"Invading, you mean." Janezia corrected. Which was true.

Liara nodded. "As you know, even despite their fewer numbers, the Krogan have yet to be stopped. Admiral Raleigh recently proposed that Shepard be thawed and put to use against the Krogan. The reasoning being, I suppose, that if she can take down Reapers, she can certainly take down Krogan."

She paused for a moment, letting it sink in before finishing her speech. "I'm going to rescue her."

AN: The first chapter of a new fic is always so exciting. I should really be working on my other works in progress, but since finishing the ME3 storyline, this plot hasn't left me alone. Actually, the premiss was written after I finished ME2, but without knowing the details of the final fight against the Reapers, I didn't feel like I could adequately tell the story.

I will be juggling this story with my two other works in progress, so updates should come at about a monthly basis - providing it takes me a week to write a chapter for each fic - give or take. We'll see. I have the first three chapters of this sucker done, so those should come out quickly.

Anyway, let me know what you think. I don't usually write same sex pairing, but I always played Shepard as a woman and it just to happened the the only save file I had that included both ME1 and ME2 had her paired with Liara. In any case, even if the pairing isn't really your cup of tea, this fic isn't really going to be romance centered.

Don't forget to review.