One month after the devastating Geth attack on the Citadel, the galactic community struggles to rebuild.
The Alliance fleet made a tremendous sacrifice to save the Citadel Council and earned humanity membership in their prestigious group. Now the Council is forced to respond to evidence that the Reapers – enormous machines that eradicate all organic civilisation every 50,000 years – have returned. To quell the rumours, the Council has sent Commander Shepard and the Normandy to wipe out the last pockets of Geth resistance. Officially, they blame the invasion on the geth and their leader, a rouge Spectre. Saren Arterius.
But for those who know the truth, the search for answers is just the beginning.
The Normandy was coming out of FTL over the Planet Alchera, reengaging its stealth drives as it entered orbit over the planet. Despite the ship being filled with a well-trained crew it felt empty. The over powering presences that had once filled its decks were gone; Feral, Wrex, Garrus and, despite her kindness, Tali. Liara had stayed on board and so had Kaidan but it still felt so empty to Shepard.
Currently the three were geared up in their armour but it was a precaution in case they ran into any Geth in this system. However after spending 4 days trawling up and down the system and absolutely nothing he highly doubted it would even be necessary. Kaidan was toying around in the Mako, trying desperately to put the machine back into the prime Garrus had given it.
Liara was sitting in her office past the med bay, it hadn't changed much but after a month she had managed to get some of the clutter out and some more equipment in. She'd even been able to convince Feral to teach her how to tune up computers before the Normandy had departed from the Citadel. Her way of making him say sorry for walking in on her and Shepard before Ilos.
Shepard was sitting in his quarters, resting in the sofa opposite his computer as he sat quietly. His computer was keyed in to show him any immediate updates from the helm. He really had nothing better to do at this point, a month ago he'd probably have been sitting in the cargo bay with Feral and Garrus playing cards. He would be with Liara as they were still going strong, their relationship had developed significantly after a month together but 4 days sitting in armour waiting for Geth to kill hadn't really created a loving atmosphere.
So there he sat, staring at the holographic screen waiting for anything to come up. 4 days and he hadn't seen anything on it. Until now, one of the long range scanners was detecting a ship the size of a cruiser. Finally something, anything! Grabbed his helmet as he jumped up to his feet, quickly stepping out of his quarters and heading over to the med bay to grab Liara. Any excuse to get them acting like the elite squad they were was a good excuse.
He'd barely gotten to the mess hall table before the entire Normandy shook, the artificial lighting dimming and an orange emergency lighting taking over. Alarms blaring out across the ship as his eyes darting to the screen at the end of the sleeper pods. He quickly ran over to it, jumping up the small stairs and down the walkway. The Normandy was under attack, kinetic barriers were done, weapons were offline and they had multiple hull breaches.
Shepard couldn't believe what was happening, a split second passed before he regained control of himself. Hitting the buttons on the screen as he did something he never thought he'd have to, he launched the distress beacon. A priority one signal calling any and all Alliance ships in the vicinity for help, though he knew that help wouldn't arrive in time to save the Normandy. The ship was going down and all he could do was get as many out alive as he could.
Pulling his helmet over his head and locking it in place, snapping the oxygen tubes in place in case another hull breach removed the atmosphere. As he did he quickly thought over what had happened, they had been attacked while the Normandy had its stealth drives engaged. He had no idea what had attacked them or why but he knew one thing, it wasn't the Geth.
He turned his head as he heard a voice call from behind him "Shepard!" Liara screamed, she had come running out of her office and she scrambled to put her helmet on as she watched Shepard lock his in place. "What are you doing we need to go!"
Shepard turned around and looked over his shoulder "I just launched a distress beacon, the Alliance will be on their way" the ship lurched to the side again, another direct hit from the unknown enemies weapon. A panel exploding into flames just behind Liara, grabbing a fire extinguisher as she regained her footing.
"Will they get here in time?" Liara asked, he could hear panic in her voice. It wasn't that surprising, of all the things she had seen in her time during combat. A ship exploding around her wasn't one of them.
Shepard sighed inside his helmet as he sprayed the pressurised carbon dioxide onto the fire. "To save the Normandy? I doubt it" he threw the spent canister away and letting it roll down the walkway "To save the escape pods? I damn well hope so. Liara I need you to get everyone to the escape shuttles"
Liara had grabbed an extinguisher as well and was spraying yet another fire that had erupted from another panel in the Normandy's walls. The ship was being torn apart around them as they spoke. "Shepard when I was running to you I heard news from the helm! Joker is refusing to abandon ship!" she shouted over the explosions and the alarm. "I'm not going to leave you here either" she turned around to face him, looking through his visor.
Shepard just grabbed his lover by the arms and looked straight into her eyes "Liara I need you to get the crew to the evac shuttles. I can take care of Joker." He could see her want to defy him "Please Liara, get as many people as you can to the shuttles" turning around to try and fix a leaking coolant tube that was spraying cooling gas into the deck.
"John…." Liara began before she just looked as Shepard looked over his shoulder.
"Liara. Go. Now." He said firmly, he just wanted her to get out as fast as she could. He needed her to be safe and he'd never forgive himself if she got hurt or killed because she'd stayed for him. He smiled weakly behind his visor as she nodded before running off down the hall. She disappeared from sight as he finally managed to get a grip on the tubing. Taking a deep breath as he turned and ran for the stairs, he had to get Joker as fast as he could.
As he ran through the mess hall he could hear the mayday resounding throughout the comm system, Joker was calling for help. Any help. Shepard knew that his flight lieutenant knew the distress beacon had been released but he also knew Joker. The pilot would try to save his 'baby' until his dying breath, but not today. Shepard wasn't going to let the stubborn idiot go down with the ship.
As he opened the door to the CIC he was shocked and amazed by the sight that lay ahead of him, the sensation of all the air suddenly being sucked away as he stepped out into a vacuum. The roof of the Normandy had been torn off entirely, chairs floating inside the broken husk of his ship. The only lights illuminating the once great vessel was the reflected light of the planet below. He moved as quickly as he could towards the cockpit, he could see a force field ahead and he made his way there as fast as the magnetic boots would let him.
Finally he reached the cockpit, running up to the pilot as he tried desperately to save the Normandy "Joker! Come on we have to go, now!" he shouted to the man as he grabbed the back of his chair, turning him around slightly so he'd look back at him.
Joker looked at him briefly, slight panic in his eyes as he shouted back "No! I can still save her! I can still save the Normandy!"
"Joker the Normandy is lost!" Shepard shouted back, he could see the ship that had attacked them in his periphery. It was only a matter of time before they fired again and put the limping ship to rest at long last "Going down with the ship won't change that" he softened his voice slightly "Joker please we have to go now"
Joker sighed, dipping his head before turning his chair and letting his arm go up around the commander's "Yeah you're right….help me up" he couldn't believe he was abandoning the best ship he'd ever flown. It was like giving up his legs for amputation.
Suddenly a large energy weapon started to rip through the Normandy behind them. Shepard threw caution to the wind and grabbed Joker as fast as he could, the pilot crying out in pain as he was heaved up onto his feet. "We're leaving now!" Shepard just shouted as he dragged Joker towards the nearest, and last, escape pod. Practically shoving him into the open hatch before a large explosion threw him back across the Normandy. The energy beam moving up the walkway and coming between him and the pod.
Joker had locked himself into the pod before watching Shepard get blown back across the ship. He just watched in quiet horror as the orange beam came between him and his commander. What he saw next shocked him out of silence, screaming out "Shepard!" before the hatch closed and the evac shuttle roared into life. "No!" He screamed again, pulling up a camera as he watched the Normandy get smaller and smaller until finally it detonated one last time. Whatever had been holding the ship together for so long had finally given out. The Normandy was gone and its captain had gone down with the ship.
- A few days later in the Migrant fleet. The Neema –
"I wonder why the Admiral wants to see us so urgently. It's not as if that last mission went as badly as Helios" Tali looked over at Feral, his armour was covering his entire body as per the Admiral's requests and he still had his old recon hood. Though now it was adorned with several more scratches.
Feral groaned "Don't remind me, losing marines is bad enough but losing a rookie like that…now I know how Shepard felt when he lost Jenkins" the two were working their way from Feral's small live ship docked into the side of the Neema. It was about the size of an old studio apartment back on earth but it was enough to keep him comfortable and let him out of his armour without contaminating the entire Flotilla. "I swear to god though if this is about me sneezing in one of the drop ships again….how many times can I say sorry for that?"
Tali giggled, pressing her back to one of the walls as a group of pilgrims-in-training filed down the hallway. "Oh please I can't imagine it's got anything to do with that…" she watched the group turn around a corner "Thank you for taking the blame on that one….we really didn't need anyone questioning how I'd gotten a cold"
She could see the corners of his recon hood turn upward slightly before he laughed as they headed back on their way "Yeah well….thank god you only get colds now" squeezing an arm around her side and pulling him to her as they walked "It used to be a lot worse"
Tali wrapped her arm back around Feral's waist as they stepped into the elevator that would take them to the bridge, they had time to cuddle "That's the benefits of having to share a live ship with you. Keelah I can't thank the admiral's enough for not fully trusting you." She purred playfully "Keeping an eye on you~ has easily been the most fun order I've been given since we got back"
They turned to face each other and coiled their arms around each other even tighter "Well what can I say Tali?" Feral purred back as their bodies pushed together "Being your dirty little secret has been the most fun I've ever had" leaning into each other as much as they could. Resting against each other despite the fact that only 20 minutes ago they'd been sleeping in the same bed on Feral's live ship.
Tali sighed happily as the rocked gently against each other "I still can't believe you're here, I can't believe you found a way to follow me back to the Flotilla"
Feral chuckled slightly "You make me sound like a wounded puppy…well…if I could be wounded for any period of time that is" rubbing his covered cheek against her helmet before the stepped apart again, Feral could feel the elevator slowing down and he could probably hear the crew on the bridge by now. His senses had gradually been getting better after several months of field work.
Tali sighed as they separated taking a half step away from each other "Keelah I'm so glad this will probably be over quickly…we need to get back to the live ship quickly and carry on with what we were doing" she purred out playfully before the elevator opened. It was slightly cruel, she knew that but then it was fun to wind Feral up.
The two stepped out, working their way through the bustling crew of the Neema as they acted as a member of the heavy fleet and also as its head. Nodding slightly as a couple of members including Kal'Reeger as he headed off with a data pad in his hands, probably another mission but then why would they be going to see the Admiral if Kal already had the mission.
Tali and Feral both shared a look as Kal quickly hurried off to the still open elevator. This couldn't be good news and now they were both a little worried. Best case scenario Feral was going to get a 'bollocking' as he put it, worst case their relationship had been discovered and that…really wouldn't sit well with Rael.
Admiral Han'Gerral vas Neema turned around from the holographic screen in front of him as the two approached him. Feral lazily stood at attention, something Han had taken a while to get used to, and Tali saluted her Admiral before he saluted back. "Thank you both for coming, we need to talk."
Tali was about to say something in their defence but Han just put his hand up to stop her "This isn't anything you need to defend yourselves over. I'm sorry you have to hear it this way but I just received the news from Councillor Anderson myself"
Feral tilted his head slightly "What news? What could possibly be this important?"
Han sighed and looked at the floor before looking at the two in front of him, they'd both become members of his crew and so far they had an exemplary history on his ship. "There's no easy way to say this so I'll just tell it like it is. 2 days ago the Normandy was carrying out a routine patrol, it was attacked and destroyed by an unknown enemy cruiser."
Tali and Feral's eyes went wide as they shouted simultaneously "What?" they'd both served aboard that ship and the idea of it being damaged let alone destroyed was almost impossible. They were about to keep asking questions but the Admiral cut them off again.
"Luckily most of the crew was able to evacuate before it finally went however the reason why it took so long to reach us was simply because it took 2 days to confirm that Commander Shepard has been killed in action" he finally ended, his voice sounded clinical and cold but it was the only way he could tell the news. He'd heard stories of Shepard's conquests and the death of such a ship captain was a loss any Quarian could relate to.
This time there was no shouting, Feral and Tali just stood there in silence. The Normandy was gone, the loss of a ship was tragic but it was only a ship in the end no matter how beautiful it was. But the loss of a friend was…too much for either of them. Losing Ashley had been hard on the both of them but Shepard was the fulcrum of their team, both of them owed the man their lives. Tali on the Citadel and Feral on Nepheron.
They stood in silence until finally Feral spoke "W-was…..do you know about any other casualties?" he briefly looked over at Tali, the woman was stunned into shock.
Han shook his head "I'm sorry I'm not aware of anyone else at this time. However I can tell you Jeff Moreau, Liara T'soni and Kaidan Alenko all escaped with their lives. Councillor Anderson wanted me to pass that along too."
Feral nodded slowly "That's…..good…..that's good to hear" he gulped and sighed "Will there be anything else Admiral?"
"No, not today. You two are in no position to go out with the marines. I'll give you both as much time as you need but…..and I'm sorry to say it like this but try to cope as fast as you can" he watched Feral nod before the man took Tali by the shoulder and started to lead her off the bridge. "I didn't know him but for what it's worth, I am sorry for your loss" he sighed as he watched the two best operatives on his ship slink off the bridge.
Feral was silent, he knew how to deal with death….he'd died enough to know how it felt but the loss of a friend was still relatively new to him, especially after his metamorphosis. Shepard was a good friend and a seemingly invincible leader and it was impossible to imagine he was gone. The two stood in the elevator and as it started moving down he looked over and gently squeezed Tali's shoulders.
He was instantly pulled into a tight embrace as Tali finally lost her inhibition, tears streaming down her face as she sobbed into his shoulder. He sighed as he wrapped his arms around her waist and held her as tightly as he could. Right now words were meaningless, all they could do was comfort each other.
The news spread around the galaxy within hours. The first human Spectre, the hero soldier who had saved both Elysium and the Citadel was dead. Some rejoiced at the news, most of them Batarians or bitter anti-humanists; however the majority of people mourned. He'd led by example and become a beacon of hope for changing times, unity between all races and now with him gone. The galaxy slowly but surely reverted back into chaos, it was argued that Shepard's death wasn't a factor but everyone wondered if things could've been different.
Within the months that followed Shepard's demise, his own team slowly unravelled. Kaidan Alenko retreated back into the Alliance, his expertise was valued but he became yet another grunt for the time being. Liara T'soni vanished, rumours said that she had been sighted on Omega but there was nothing concrete on her until she reappeared on Illium.
Garrus Vakarian had re-joined C-sec after leaving the Normandy but after weeks of trying to convince the council that Sovereign and the Reapers were more than a rumour but to no avail. His letter of resignation was discovered on his desk one morning and no one has seen the turian since. There are no clues to his current whereabouts but those who knew him have been heard praying for whatever sorry fools he was taking his frustrations out on.
Around 2 months after the destruction of the Normandy, the Idenna was attacked by Cerberus. Kahlee Sanders is yet fully clarified why the Flotilla was attacked by the terrorist organisation however despite claims that the super soldier known as Feral wasn't part of their decision. Communication between the Migrant Fleet and the Alliance broke down in the following month eventually leading to the decision to break ties as the Quarians began to look for new means of getting a new home world or regaining the one they lost centuries ago. Tali'Zorah remains a crew member of the Neema however Feral's whereabouts are being protected by Councillor Anderson.
2 years passed and the names that had won a major victory over the Geth slowly retreated away from public knowledge. However as the universe went back to the ways they knew best, Cerberus planned and moved to push their advantage. The knowledge of the Reapers and their threat to humanity had never been lost to the organisation. The most expensive experiment in the history of the organisation after Subject Zero and the super soldier program. The Lazarus Project.
In a remote space station a figure that should have been long dead slowly began to open his eyes, the distinctive sound of explosions in the background. The view of space and the exploding Normandy replaced by sterile white tiles, a feeling of déjà vu came across him, he was sure he'd seen them recently. Gritting his face as pain flooded into every inch of his body, panting as he slowly reached for his head before a voice called out.
"Shepard do you hear me? Get out of that bed now! This facility is under attack"
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed the prologue for the sequel to Mass Effect: Missing in Action. I have had some messages asking me whether or not Feral's time on the migrant fleet will be part of the story and honestly i'm not sure at this stage. I don't know if i can come up with a good enough storyline to make it a stand alone story or whether it'll be revealed in flashbacks over the course of this story. It really depends how much i can come up with and if i'm happy with it but it will be touched open during the events of this story.
This is only the prologue chapter and i will be updating as fast as i can, whenever i can. I hope you keep on enjoying and don't be afraid to let me know what you think.