Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect in particular or Bioware in general (although my dream is to work for them someday)!


In a rocky hillside somewhere on the desolate blue-hued surface of Zilgin, a human and a turian were crammed into a small crevice. The blue armor covering the turian's frame blended in with the rock seamlessly, making him quite hard to see. The high collar of his exo-suit was heavily burnt and scarred but still appeared functional. The human crouched next to him was a small female. Her entire body was a canvas for colorful tattoos that overlapped each other in seemingly random, chaotic patterns. She wore very little in the way of clothing: pants, boots, leather straps and a gas mask. The delicate face behind the transparent visor held an expression that was anything but delicate.

"Is it just me," Jack growled, "or is this plan even more retarded than the ones Shepard usually comes up with?" The human was as stretched out as she could in the small crevice. Her black-booted feet were propped up against the edge and her arms were crossed behind her shaved head, pillowing it from the unforgiving azure rock.

Garrus didn't look up from the partially-disassembled Mantis sniper rifle that was lying in his lap. The only sign that he had even heard what his companion had said was a slight shrug of his wide shoulders. After a second he deadpanned, "Shepard does what Shepard does." With a click he locked the long barrel of his rifle into place then added with significantly more feeling, "And then we clean up the mess." Jack was distinctly unimpressed by his attempt at badassery and gave a derisive snort.

Outside their sniper's nest, the wind howled. Zilgin was known for two things, its cobalt rich surface and stupidly toxic atmosphere. No one had told Jack quite how cold it was going to be. As if on cue, frigid wind blew directly across the pair. Garrus, being that he was encased in an exo-suit, gave no notice but Jack shivered violently. It wasn't the first time that night either. Generally, the biotic could deal with low temperatures in little clothing but generally she was also tearing people apart. For Jack the heat of combat had always been there to ward off the chill. The ex-con didn't mind fighting in the cold at all. Fighting anywhere was just fine as far as she was concerned. Waiting in the cold was a different matter entirely. "Yeah, well that bastard better hurry up and 'do what he does' soon. It's fuckin' freezin'."

Garrus glanced over his shoulder at Jack and tried not to snort in amusement. "Perhaps you should have considered a change in wardrobe," the turian drawled. He tapped the visor on his helmet with one armored digit to emphasize the point, "Notice how I'm wearying an enviro-suit." Jack snarled at the blue-armored turian but didn't deign to respond.


It didn't take long before Garrus's rifle was reassembled. As soon as his nimble fingers clicked the last piece into place, the turian raised the scope to his opaque visor and sighted down the hill. It didn't take him long to find Shepard. What are you thinking, Commander? Garrus wondered as he tracked his friend across Zilgin's surface. Despite his assurance to the volatile human beside him, Garrus had his doubts about the Commander's plan. Although there role as "clean-up" probably hadn't been exaggerated.

The lithe figure of his Commander made good time across the vivid blue surface of Zilgin, his long strides easiy eating up distance. Even if he hadn't been one of the few moving objects visible, Garrus would have been hard-pressed to miss his Commander. He was a difficult man to mistake for anyone else. The mottled black-and-green exo-suit he wore stood out like a sore thumb. But more than that, its design was unique to Shepard. The man had built it from scratch himself and it didn't look like anything else on the market. Where many exo-suits almost resembled suits of armor from many races' Steel Ages, Shepard's possessed a much more minimalistic design.

The thin armor only covered his legs and torso, leaving his head and well-toned arms uncovered. Pits glowing with pale-blue light dotted most surfaces on the armor, making him stand out even more against the gathering darkness. Even if Shepard hadn't been wearing his trademark armor, no else Garrus knew had circuit board tattoos on their arms or had the same shaggy blond hair.

Garrus shifted the scope and zoomed out slightly so he could get a better look at Shepard's destination. He'd seen holos of the low structure jutting out the cerulean ground in the briefing but the only thing Garrus ever trusted completely was what his eyes told him. Still, the building discretely built into the planet's surface was exactly as it had been projected by EDI. Garrus shook his head. This is really strange. Why aren't we down there with Shepard? We can't cover him from up here… Garrus glared at the tattooed woman who was softly snoring next to him, at least she can't.

As if she had heard his thoughts, Jack cracked one fiery brown eye open. She caught the look Garrus was shooting at her and held it, even though he tried to turn away. Both of her eyes were open now and tightened in anger, nothing new there. "Am I makin' you uncomfortable, Scarface?" the ex-convict snarled viciously. Blue lightening flickered dangerously across her face, highlighting her high cheekbones. Jack's patience with this mission had run out a long time ago. She needed to kill someone now and this turian bastard seemed positively begging for it. If he didn't stop pissing her off, Subject Zero was going to oblige him.

Garrus knew criminals. Looking away now would be a sign of weakness and weakness was fatal. He needed to meet this problem head on… with equally fatal force. He was about to round his rifle barrel on her and blow that snarl off her lips when his rational side kicked in.

No, he couldn't do this now. With Shepard's life was hanging in the balance, he needed to diffuse the situation instead. There would be time to settle this later. "Not the time, Jack" he growled, cheek flanges flaring under his visor. What was Shepard thinking, putting me with this animal? If this was Omega and I was still Archangel, she'd have gotten a bullet through the brain the moment I set eyes on her.

If Jack had one talent, it was killing people. If she had two talents, they were killing people… and reading them. Right now she was using the second one. Even from behind his dark visor, Jack could feel the bloodlust burning in Garrus's eyes. It was so turning her on. "You think I don't know what that look means, Ugly? I invented that look. I know what you're thinkin' and I'm thinkin' the same thing. I'm gonna enjoy pulling those plates off your face one by one…" A smile split Jack's face as she began to stand up, menace coiled in every line of her compact body.

"I said," Garrus snarled, "now's not the time. Look." The turian pushed his rifle's stock towards the half-risen woman. She looked at the weapon, momentarily unable to process why he was handing he his weapon. Did he want her to beat him to death with it? It took the tattooed biotic a moment but even when she realized he was refusing to fight, she didn't take the proffered gun. For all Jack knew, it was a trick to get her to let her guard down. But after he made no further moves, hostile or otherwise, she took the Mantis and raised it to one intense caramel eye.

She found Shepard quickly and wasn't terribly surprised by what she saw. For such a fuckin' smart man, Shepard sure does some dumb shit, she mused as her Commander politely knocked on the goddamn front door. Jack whistled in appreciation, her quarrel with Garrus seemingly forgotten, "Heh heh, either that bastard's finally gone insane or he's got more balls'n a Krogan."

Garrus snorted, "If you're finished admiring the Commander's balls, I need my rifle back." His patience with this mission, and particularly the tattooed human next him, was quickly running out.

"I ain't giving back shit," Jack stated "You've got magnification on your visor. Use it." There was no way in hell she was going to miss the moment the fireworks started. Shepard might be a pain in the ass but it was beautiful to watch him fight. A true fuckin' artist, Jack thought wryly as she zoomed in more on Shepard.

Garrus couldn't help himself, he growled at Jack. Doubtlessly, she was the most insufferable person he'd ever met but still… he'd actually growled at her. Maybe now is the time, after all… Luckily Jack was glued to the sight of his Mantis and didn't notice the sudden spike in his bloodlust. Even if she did, she chose to ignore it. Out loud, the turian said, "When Shepard gives the signal; my shots need to be lined up."

"Bullshit," Jack dismissed him, never glancing away from the scope for a moment, "Shepard can take care of himself. I wanna watch." The excitement was really getting to her. Already, the door's holographic display had turned green and the panel was sliding open. The stirring that violence always brought forth was beginning to pool in her stomach. The ex-con could feel the heat of excitement gathering in her body. She wanted, needed, to leap out of the sniper's nest (Why the hell am I in a sniper's nest, anyway?), charge down the slope and blow a hole through whoever or whatever stood in her way. All she was waiting for was Shepard's signal, which was a rather odd thing. Why should a man I barely know be able to put a damn leash around my neck? Jack wondered furiously. Still, she curbed her impulses. There was something about the dread-locked commander that she just couldn't find it in herself to disobey.

Still fixated on getting his rifle, Garrus began, "You're endangering the-"

"Awww, shut the hell up," Jack moaned, interrupting him, "If I give the damn rifle back, will ya quit your bitchin'?" Without waiting for his reply, she roughly tossed the Mantis at him. Garrus caught it in mid-air and glared at Jack before putting the rifle back up to his face. Jack glared right back although the turian couldn't see her do it.

In the time it had taken Garrus to convince the difficult woman he was crammed into a sniper's nest with to return his Mantis, things below had taken a drastic turn for the worse. The last the ex-Ci-Sec Officer had seen of Shepard, he'd been nearing the door without showing any signs of stealth. That had been worrisome enough. Now that he was surrounded by at least twenty heavily armed Blue Suns, Garrus was even more than worried.

The entryway to the structure stood open, casting harsh, clinical light on the scene. Shepard stood in the middle of a ring of large mercs, all their guns steadfastly trained on him. The commander had his tattooed arms raised in the air, showing no signs of attack. A single Blue Sun cautiously stepped forward and removed the pistol and submachine gun from Shepard's belt.

"This is not good…" Garrus groaned.

"What's happening?" Jack pressed excitedly, "Is he fuckin 'em up yet?"

"No…" Garrus's finger caressed the trigger, ready to put a hole through his first merc the second Shepard gave the signal, "They've taken his guns."

Jack chuckled darkly, "So what?"

Beneath his visor, one of Garrus's cat-like eyes twitched. That's it. I can't deal with this moron for another second. "So what?" Garrus snapped, "So, Shepard doesn't have his guns. He can't shoot people. Shooting is generally how we deal with Blue Suns." Give the damn signal, Shepard…

Jack sneered, "And that would matter if it were you down there. I'll start worryin' when they rip out his implants. He's gonna start poppin' skulls any second now…"


A/N: Hi everybody! This is my first fanfic and I hope you like it! I'm not the type whose big on the whole "plan thing" but I'll do my best to keep this story regularly updated. Don't worry though, I like writing and being current with this shouldn't be a problem. All reviews are greatly appreciated, especially those of a positive nature but I'll accept flames too :D If you're writing anything at all that means something was provocative to you. I love being provocative XD

In the next chapter: Popping skulls, really Jack? Must you be so crude? Real men call for evac.