Due to unforseen cercumstances I am going to be needing to include a content warning with this fic.
PARENTAL DISCRESSION IS ADVISED
Mature Conent may or may not be involved, the following themes are:
Sexual Themes (Low detail)
Violence (No gore)
... IF YOU ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 14 PLEASE ASK YOUR PARENTS BEFORE VIEWING THIS CONTENT
This story is using a warped version of the indoctrination theory. However everything happened, but ended in a different way.
When Shepard was hit by the reaper blast while running towards the conduit he was knocked unconcious but his mind percieved otherwise. His mind had been taken hold of by the reapers and he was givin power without realising it. After being givin the choice to Control, Fuse, or Destroy Shephard chooses to destroy them, realizing that conroling them only prolonged the cycle and he felt it was wrong for him to make the choice to fuse everybody into synthetics.
After beginning to shoot the conduit on the platform the starchild began protesting and then the familiar booming voice inssued.
"YOU ARE MERELY PROLONGING YOUR SPECIES EXTINCTION, RELEASING CONTROL"
Shepard wakes up on the battlefield where he was hit and the child from his dreams walks up to him.
"Am I dead?"
The child replies, "No, however you had managed to break indoctrination, by choosing to destroy all synthetic life you managed to shut down the collective conciousness of the reapers."
"Why am I still here, near the conduit?"
"When you fell unconcious you were pulled into the center of the reaper's collective conciousness. In effect, you were within the citidel. However you were more of an anomoly in the system. When Harbinger detected your presence he saw it an advantage to use you in your weakened mental state. In other words, you've been unconscious this entire time and never moved."
"But what of the citidel or the Mass Relays?"
"The citidel was destroyed as Harbinger released a blast along its hull during death. However the signal was released by the crucible before the stations destruction. The Mass Relays are not gone, they are merely offline."
(I'm going to leave it here and you fill in the blanks, I'm only clarifying on this important piece of the story)
Tali looked around in amazement as the Geth and Quarians worked together to rebuild their homeworld. The Geth had done a kindness to the Quarians to repay them for their mercy even after a near genocide, they had managed to collect all of the ancestral data before it was destroyed. The Geth had rebuilt much of the ancestral grounds for which the Quarians had held in highest regard and proceeded remaking the VI's that had been destroyed over 3 centuries ago.
Shepard couldn't help but notice Tali was claiming land again as she stood near the edge of the same cliff they had defeated the reaper on. It was nearly 4 months ago when they had reclaimed Rannoch and Tali had said that she loved him. He remembered every moment of it, he had thought to himself that if the fleet hadn't fired when it did, he would not have been able to tell her he loved her too.
He walked up behind her and put his arm around her side, she stopped and immediately rested her head on his shoulder knowing she would never leave his side again, commander or not. He could sense a relaxation coming over her body as she grew more comfortable just standing there, watching as her world was slowely rebuilt and her people returned to their former life-style.
"Looks like we still have to go find a spot for that house," he said lightly as to not disrupt the moment.
"Keelah Shepard, that can wait. After all we have here and now don't we?" She said still trying to believe that she was expierancing this, even after the literal hell on Earth they had witnessed.
Two long hours went by as they sat with eachother reminiscing on the friends they had made over their journeys and the friends they had lost along the way. They chose to erect the equivalent of a Quarian ancestral shrine to those who played a vital role in the salvation of the universe. With help from the Geth they built the structure and the VI pedestals, with EDI's help they were able to make the VI's so that everyone who came here knew, Shephard was not alone in his fight, without them, failure was sure to ensue.
"Commander, good to see everything is going well planetside," Joker's voice crackled over the communicator.
"Joker, good to hear a friend's voice. By the way it's not commander anymore, I had the Alliance take me off of the duty rosters and place me on permanent leave," Shepard was almost suprised to hear Joker's voice, but Joker had become like a little brother to him over the course of their travels.
"Is everything ok? You look like your going to die if you don't start laughing," Tali said with a smirk.
"I'm just happy to hear his wise-ass voice again, after all it's not a real ending to a war without a reunion of of the Normandy clan," He had become accustomed to refering to the crew of the normandy as a clan rather than a crew.
After all they were all family, even Legion was as a brother to them all, without it's sacrifice the Geth would have wiped the Quarian people off the face of the universe or vice versa. He was also adopting the Quarians belief system, slowely he was becoming more Quarian than Human, even if his physiology showed otherwise.
Tali and Shepard made the trek back to the landing pad to meet up with Joker and EDI. As they walked they payed their respects to the fallen warriors and civilians who had died trying to retake or have one last glance of their homeworld. As they began walking up the metal staircase, Joker came hobbling out of the airlock with EDI firmly wrapped around his waist.
"Hey Com... Shepard, heheh sorry I guess I gotta get used to calling you that."
"Joker! EDI! How have you two been?" Shephard was overjoyed to see them, he had always appreciated seeing familiar faces, even Wrex was a sight for sore eyes back on Earth.
"Joker! How have you and your new lover been holding out," Tali asked still curious as to how a cynthetic and an organic could procreate or even 'be together'.
"We have had many 'rough' nights as Jeff calls it. He insists on sleeping with one hand over my platform's 'breasts' even though he is aware the last time he rolled over and fractured his ring finger on his left hand." EDI hesitated as she sifted through all of her databanks regarding Jokers behavior, still not understanding the concept of 'intimacy'.
"Safe for you to say, I actually enjoyed it. Not the fractured finger but all the other stuff, you know what I mean I've never been good at this mushy stuff." Joker was a little embarressed to reply but he couldn't help himself.
Shepard and Tali walked with hands around eachother into the Normandy. As they entered they noticed some changes to the interior. The Normandy had been retrofitted to support a single crewmember operating since EDI was capapble of handling all of the other systems. Shepard recognised some of the people on the Normandy as refugees from the Citidel.
"Hey guys, listen up!" Joker called out to the crew members in the mess hall.
"If you haven't met him you will now, Shepard this is the new crew of the Normandy!"
The small croud of people clapped and cheered as Shephard stood by joker, Tali was still locked to his side.
"Welcome to the Normandy! I used to be the commander here, but I chose to stay here with my little Tali to help her people and make sure Rannoch sees the peace we've waited so long for."
Tali kicked Shepard playfully after the 'my little Tali' remark but remained silent, she was to busy enjoying the company of her lover and old friends.
After greating everyone Joker pulled Shephard into the bridge. Tali knew Shepard would want to speak with Joker in private so she went down to engineering to listen to the all too familiar sounds of the Normandy, she noticed that this ship was not the same Normandy she once called home.
"So I see some modifications were made to the ship?" Shepard was leaning on the desk looking at the models he had collected over the years.
"Actually no," Joker said painfully
"This is a replacement vessel, the Alliance wished to keep the original Normandy due to it's still, 'classified', status. However, Admiral Hacked saw fit to commission a civilian class Normandy. It has few weapons and is designed with search and rescue in mind." EDI popped in over the coms.
"So thats why all those people were on board then," Shepard said curiously awaiting a response, he had already guessed there was more to it.
"Haha, actually believe it or not. They're the new crew, we've been running S&R missions for two months now, I think we've reunited more families with their lost ones than not. It feels kinda good to help out you know?" Joker was fidgeting around trying to get comfortable.
"Well it's good to see youve been doing something that makes you happy."
4 hours go by and the couple say their goodbyes. Joker managed to get one last message through to him before departing however, a message marked with a V.
'What's that old Earth saying? May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong and may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead. Drinks are on me. V'
Throughout this story please let me know if you see something out of place. I'm rereading it from time to time to maintain the storyline but sometimes I miss things. Also if you want more information added, PM me and I'll see what I can do.