A/N: Okay. This story, unlike Was It Worth It? is NOT complete yet. I would like it if you all give me feedback so I can make it a better story overall. If you don't, then I can't make it a better read for everyone. Understood? Goody. Now, for the key. . .
A small timeskip or a scene change is Z-ZThoughts
A larger timeskip/SC is -Z-"Speaking in common language."
A complete scene or CoF change is -Z-Z- "Foreign language/emphasis."
(This story is a Multiple Universe Crossover. Problem? Review and tell me it. Don't care if its just to flame , so long as it ain't only trite words and/or 'update please!' Give me something to work with. Oh, first chapter is the entirety of the first game and the beginning of ME2)
Shepard in this is a Soldier, Colonist, and both Sole Survivor/War Hero. My excuse is that Shep was on Elysium for a psychological leave, ended up being a hero. He also has the default appearance (and blue eyes, the bright bright blue eyes)
And warnings. . . Well, cursing. Gore. Alcohol. Violence. Characters being out of character. Et cetera. Oh, and it's all unbeta-ed.
And the only Disclaimer for the entirety of this Fic: I own nothing recognizable. I play with stories for my own amusement. I do not profit in any way shape or form from this aside from personal satisfaction.
Bully byShinedown, White Rabbit by Egypt Central, and Heartlines by Florence and the Machine are my recommended songs for this chapter.
Let the story begin! (Oh! And, Adhara is not an OC. . . You'll find out later, at the end of this chapter!)
The Beginning and the End
. . .
"Fucking shit-headed assholes! Let me out so I can rip off that damn Turian's head!" A loud crack filled the room. Commander John Shepard exchanged a look with Wrex and Garrus. "That one doesn't sound too happy with someone," Garrus needlessly pointed out.
"You godsforsaken bastards! Let. Me. OUT!" The last three words were punctuated by three loud cracks – they were hitting the glass of their cell. When Shepard's team got to the correct cell, they were shocked by what they saw: a diminutive, pale skinned, gaunt Human woman with bloodied fists. Her hair was black, short and messy, bangs falling over her right eye. Her left was a vibrant garnet colour.
"You lot here to stop that bastard Arterius?" she asked, eying them. "I'm Commander Shepard of the Alliance Navy. Who are you?" Shepard asked, not bothering to hide his suspicion. Hopefully she wasn't insane.
"Grimm. Adhara Grimm. Can you let me out, or should I resume my attempts to break the door?" Grimm asked dryly. Shepard glanced at his companions, then began to hack the cell's lock.
"You sure that's wise? She could be Indoctrined," Garrus pointed out, shifting to eye the woman suspiciously. John shook his head, "If she causes problems, Wrex can take care of her. Besides, she's more likely to get the drop on us if we leave her here." The Turian had to concede to that. It was best to keep enemies close, after all.
"So, can you shoot, Grimm?" Shepard asked when the door slid open, offering his pistol. "Can't with these hands. Soon as I finish unsealing my omnitool, I can use that, though," the woman replied with a shrug. The Commander frowned slightly, taking a closer look at her wounded hands. The knuckle bones were showing, making the blue-eyed man wince sympathetically.
"We've got some spare medigel," the Commander said, pulling out a spare pack. "Might be a good idea. Can you hand me – Hey! I can –" "Take a good look at your hands and tell me you can use them well enough to do this," Shepard growled, his eyes flashing challengingly. Grimm narrowed her garnet eyes at the tall man. They were sure she was going to continue to be obstinate, but then she shrugged and held out her hands as if it were her intention all along. "Get on with it then. We're burning daylight." Wrex gave an amused chuckle. He liked this female.
"Damn it, Shepard! The next time someone decides to strangle you, I'm bloody well letting them if it means I get hurt." Adhara was most definitely not pouting as she limped along next to the Commander, grumbling under her breath about crazy ass Turians, or shooting the wound in her right thigh death glares for existing. And, of course, she was in no way trying to cheer up the depressed Commander, who had been forced to leave behind a woman he called 'Ash'. Right. You should work on your denial, Adhara thought angrily. She had become . . . attached to the man, Void only knew why. Adhara had just met him, after all, but then again, he had an odd charisma about him.
"You're the one who put yourself in the fight, despite having no weapons or kinetic barriers," Shepard pointed out, her attempt at humour falling short. Not that that would stop her. "Then who'd save you from crazy Indoctrined ex-Spectres, hm?" She retorted, offering a teasing half smirk. The Commander finally let out a small grin in return, his demeanor relaxing by a tiny amount.
"Has anyone given any thought as to why she is the only Human we found in those cells? One of two that managed to 'resist' Indoctrination, I might add!" Grimm glanced at the man who spoke, tilting her head slightly in some confusion. Why was he being so hostile to her? What had she done? Perhaps he had been involved with the woman that had been left to die. . . "You shouldn't question what your Commander has chosen to do, Lieutenant. At least, not if you trust his judgment," she admonished him, raising her eyebrows at the man. The Lieutenant – Adhara thought she had heard him called 'Kaiden' – flushed and started sputtering indignantly.
"Enough. Grimm has had ample opportunity to either let us die or kill us outright. She hasn't done anything to harm any of us," Shepard asserted, slipping back into the battle-hardened Commander role.
"-Commander, you have a wave from Udina. Claims it's important.-" That, if Adhara was correct, would be the Normandy's pilot, 'Joker'. He didn't seem to like Udina, who was the Human Ambassador on the Citadel. Grimm glanced at Shepard, who sighed heavily. "Patch it through, Joker." He didn't seem to want to deal with the Ambassador either. She wondered if something had happened between them. "-Aye, aye, Commander,-" Joker replied.
"-Shepard? I should thank you for locating Agent Grimm. . . You're to escort her to Arcturus Station and hand her over to the awaiting men.-" Adhara bristled dangerously. "Who the fuck are you to order me to be 'handed over'? You're out of your jurisdiction, Ambassador!" she bit out, a growl like quality to her voice.
"-Under section eleven paragraph seven of the Charter, you are –" The woman cut him off, "Again, you are out of your jurisdiction. I am not under your control, and you have no right to invoke the Charter, let alone to me. The Commandant himself gave me the mission that has now become joint with Spectre Shepard's own." The occupants of the room were looking between her, the Commander, and Udina's hologram like an odd tennis match. Even Shepard seemed confused.
Udina looked like he had been force fed a combination of Varren shit and Vorcha piss. "-Very well. I'll be reporting your failure to comply with orders to the Commandant.-" The holo fizzed out of existence before anyone could retort.
"So. . . You're a Phoenix?" Shepard asked after a moment of silence. Grimm nodded once. "You were a prospective one, correct? I was friends with the Mercury that evaluated you." The commander's eyebrow rose at that. "I was evaluated by a Mercury? Huh. I was told she was only a Gold." Adhara hummed softly, gnawing on her lip. "No, she was Mercury at that point," she said with conviction.
"So. . you're a . . .?" he prodded cautiously. Usually the ranks were closely guarded. "Me? Onyx." Adhara shrugged slightly. "I got caught because I was too preoccupied looking for a friend of mine and I had let my guard down," she explained with a scowl.
"Sorry, but what's a Phoenix?" the Quarian – Tali'Zorah – asked, confusion obvious. "Phoenix is basically the Human's equivalent to the elite of the elite of the elite. Very hush hush, usually," Kaiden explained with a frown.
"I'll be joining you on your 'eliminate Saren Arterius' mission . . . I had been assigned to watch the Spectres, evaluate if any of them could make good allies. Arterius is very much on my shit list for boxing me up and making me listen to those damn whispers," Adhara explained with a slight shrug.
"Whispers?" the Asari Liara T'Soni asked. "'S what I heard. Of course, I was the only one to listen at the time for the things out of place. Thoughts that weren't mine, I mean." That drew even more confusion. "May I see?" Liara asked out of curiosity.
"You don't want to do that," Kaiden and Shepard said at the same time, shaking their heads. "Why?" "The Phoenix are trained to resist Asari Melding. It wasn't intentional, of course, but once we found out that we could, well, levels above Apprentice are trained as such," Adhara elaborated, "I believe the most common affect of a Meld after training is brain death for both parties." That earned horrified looks all around, even Wrex seeming to be appalled.
"What if the person is fond of Asari?" Garrus asked, seemingly confused. "Then they either don't advance past the Apprentice ranks or find a new fondness," she replied, "It's for security reasons that we ask them to choose." "I don't believe you. Asari are compatible by the nervous system of any sentient creature," Liara said stiffly.
"I've had five other Phoenix – four Journeymen and one Master – attempt a Meld. None of the Asari involved were Ardat Yakshi, yet in every case the Phoenix involved ended up dead or worse, while the Asari became just plain dead. I can't divulge much else on this," Adhara snapped angrily, then spun on her heel and left. She was sick of people questioning her.
"So, you're the infamous Joker." The off-handed comment made the pilot start in surprise. "How the hell can you do that?" Joker shot at the woman, glancing down at her wounded leg. "Lots of practice," she replied dryly, flopping down into the co-pilot's chair and taking a quick glance at their trajectory. They were headed to the Citadel.
"Anything in particular you wanted, Ninja-Bird?" Joker asked after a little while. He knew she wasn't scheduled to co-pilot at all. Grimm shrugged slightly. "Had to get away from Alenko. Since he found out I was Biotic . . ." A theatrical shudder passed through her frame, making the Flight-Lieutenant chuckle at her expense.
There was a short pause before Grimm held out her hand. "Adhara Grimm," she offered. "Joker Moreau," he replied, shaking her hand. The woman held his hand loosely, as though afraid of breaking his hand. He wondered if she had always been like that or if she knew about his Vrolik's. Either way, she made no mention of it, turning out to be pretty decent company for the sarcastic man.
Alenko was a stalker. He followed Adhara around like a lost puppy when he wasn't too busy following Shepard. She wanted so badly to hit him, if not for being such a stalker, then for complaining so goddamned much over his Biotic training. Unfortunately, she couldn't do as such. There was a reason she was so careful with other people, alien or not. The woman could seriously injure them. Grimm had a number of genetic modifications, some of which Phoenix used, some of which weren't very widely used at all. The main one that could do more harm then good was the muscle-density modifications, resulting in the fact that she was a lot stronger then a woman her size should be.
Considering how long Adhara had fought, though, the modifications and alterations to make her a better fighter and generally harder to kill usually did less harm then they would have for someone who was more interested in a home life, or a life outside of war. For the woman, they were virtually her bread and butter. If there was one thing Adhara had been good at even at a young age, it was fighting. The number of scars her body possessed – most faded greatly over time – attested to that fact.
"I fucking hate politicians," Grimm growled, flopping down on the deckplates next to Joker's chair. It had become a favorite of her spots to take a break at. "You don't wanna go with Shepard? He's likely to tell Udina off," the helmsman said in curiosity. "No. . . An old friend of mine promised me a tour, but since Saren got a hold of me, I haven't been able to take him up on it."
Joker frowned, an odd twinge forming in his chest, one that he really didn't want to decipher. "You, er, can't get a hold of him?" She scrubbed at her face, a weary sigh falling from her mouth. "No. He – . . . He's a Spectre. I checked the frequencies and feeds he usually uses for messages, but none of them have been used recently. He's probably on a long term mission." The Phoenix didn't sound as if she really believed that, though, her worry all too obvious to Joker.
"Any other places you could check for him? Maybe for messages?" Joker questioned, frowning. He didn't like it when Adhara was worried. He liked her usual sarcasm or friendliness. "Could have sent a message to my Phoenix terminal on Earth, but it'll have to wait until after I finish this up," she replied with a shrug and another sigh.
"Were you and him . . . ?" The crippled pilot trailed off, but only got a confused look from uncomprehendingly. "You know. . . together?" That drew a shocked look from Adhara. "What?No! As attractive some species can be, I don't usually find them . . . sexually attractive. I prefer Humans. . . Or at least having a Human-ish appearance and, you know, hair. I like hair. Very much," she stumbled over her words awkwardly as she tried to explain, making Joker snicker slightly. "Alright, alright, calm down, Ninja-Bird. It was a simple question, no need to get flustered," he said with a smirk in her direction. Adhara stuck her tongue out at him, a childish pout on her face.
It was only with him that she acted so free around, something Joker took great pride in. Even with Shepard, she had more restraint. Of course, Shepard was more of a serious man, and most of his time with Adhara was on missions. The Commander was usually too occupied running the Normandy and writing reports to visit too much with his crew, though he did try to at least once after each mission. That usually equaled out to around one visit every three days for the crew.
With a slight shake of his head, Joker refocused on Adhara, who was regaling him with one of the missions she had been on, where she had accidentally shot a Batarian in the junk, causing the rest of his squad to surrender in fear of her doing the same to them. That almost made Joker break a rib from laughter alone.
"Who votes for taking the Mako into the huge ancient tunnels?" Grimm chimed, glancing at her three companions. John had decided to take Wrex, Tali, and herself down onto Ilos, which, in fact, was only possible because of Joker's 'pure awesomeness' . . . Adhara would admit she had been fully prepared to stop the Mako from crashing if it had come to that, no matter if she had to reveal her powers or not. "Right. Only if your driving, Grimm," Tali replied, earning a guffaw from Wrex and an almost pout from Shepard. My driving isn't that bad, the Commander thought with a faint scowl under his helm.
"This isn't Geth tech," Grimm said, tapping the distinctly yellow force field thoughtfully. "What do you mean?" Shepard asked at the same time Tali asked, "How can you tell?" Grimm heaved a sigh.
"You ever notice the colour differences between all the tech we use? How Prothean interfaces seem to always have a green appearance? Geth usually has a blue-white, ours orange. It's a difference it the matrices, in how they operate. It's usually a minor thing, fixed with a little bit of work, but usually pointless outside of aesthetic preferences," the Phoenix explained, wondering if anyone had ever realized that fact aside from the Phoenix and a few of the more tech-savvy Humans.
"I've never seen a differently coloured omni-tool," Shepard said in confusion. Adhara pulled up her own, typing a list of things into it, causing it to turn an odd vibrant green. "Oh." "The Phoenix have made many modifications to common technology," she said in lieu of an explanation.
"Shepard! I found an opening!" Wrex called from the other side of the Mako. "Maybe it's a way around?" Tali asked hopefully. "Hopefully," Shepard agreed. He hoped Saren was still here.
As it turned out, it was an elevator leading to a room with one path leading to an actual working Prothean AI, albeit damaged. The first thing it said startled them all. "Confirmed survivor. Female. Diluted heritage. State your designation." "Uh. . ." Tali and Adhara exchanged confused looks. A survivor of what? "What do you mean?" Shepard asked cautiously. The AI's distortions stilled, and then a visible, four fingered clawed hand pointed directly at a startled Adhara. "Your designation," the AI ordered. "A-Adhara Grimm. What's this about? A survivor of what?" she asked in confusion. "What is your age, Adhara Grimm?" the AI demanded.
What the fuck is with this thing? were their collective thoughts. Why was it questioning Adhara? Why was it calling her a survivor? Surely she wasn't Prothean! "Twenty-five. You still haven't told me what you wanted!" Adhara said angrily. "Please tell the truth. You possess Professor Verrell's experimental cybernetic implants. I will explain if you are honest," the AI replied.
There was a long pause, Adhara shifting to glance at Shepard, worrying her lip with her teeth. "Two hundred years as of fourteen standard days ago," she said softly, drawing shock and disbelief from her team mates. Before anyone could say anything, the AI spoke up again. "Truth. Thank you. I am the AI Vigil. You are the last known survivor of the Prothean extinction. Please come forward to collect the data disks."
"Data disks? On what?" Shepard asked, eying the AI suspiciously. "Why, on the Reapers and her heritage, of course. A Prothean should not be unaware of their heritage and culture." That earned even more shock. "I'm a Prothean? I look just like a Human!" Adhara protested. Again, Vigil's distortions stilled for a beat. "Protheans discovered a race of 'Humans,' as you call them, on the planet designated Myrrdin forty-seven cycles before the Reapers arrived. They were called Wizen and possessed untold of abilities. Many developed a form of Biotics as well. Most were found, and taken in and became Prothean. . . Please take the data disks."
With shaking hands, Adhara took them, losing herself in her thoughts. It was. . . unbelievable. Complete and utter bullshit. It had to be. The AI had to be insane. She wasn't a 'Wizen,' she wasn't a Prothean! Of course, what else could you be? Dying about as well as a cockroach or a Vorcha, staying in your prime even after having birthed three children and the Verell implants – the silvery material. What else would you be? her mind hissed at her treacherously. She had always wanted to be normal, to not have to worry about people wanting to dissect her or hate her for living so long. Adhara had never wanted to live this long.
"'Ra?" Grimm looked up at Shepard, her hands still shaking. "Let's go get Saren," the Commander said with a reassuring grin. He wasn't going to press. He would let her tell him, when she figured more out.
It was only as they raced to the deactivating Conduit that they realized just how powerful Adhara's Biotics were. An odd dark purple-blue triangle shaped field surrounded the Mako, creating a smooth and direct path to the Conduit while simultaneously holding off the fire of multiple Geth Armaments.
Adhara also radiated the same sort of energy, her eyes closed in concentration. The path built and collapsed as they went, their rear being covered as well as their front and sides. This level of Biotics was unheard of, even in Matriarchs of the Asari. Justicars had something similar they could do, but no one really found it necessary to find out if Biotics could do this sort of thing. Why would they? There had never been a situation like this before. The Phoenix let the energy dissipate as they finally hit the Conduit.
As the squad went up the elevator, Wrex was the one to ask Adhara just how strong her Biotics were. "I could do that three more times," she admitted, slightly unsure. She wasn't used to expending so much energy at once, though. "Do Phoenix get more training to be able to do that?" Shepard asked in curiosity. Adhara shook her head. "Not usually. It's. . . random, usually. Some Phoenix are able to utilize Biotics like that, but. . . We haven't had much to go on for trying to find out why some can, and others can not," she explained, a slight frown marring her face. "But as it is somewhat similar to Stasis or a Barrier, in theory, so I suppose a Biotic with sufficient power could be trained to do something similar."
Before she could elaborate, the elevator slid to a halt, drawing their attention back onto the matter at hand. "Remember, let me try to talk to Saren. He could be like Benezia," Shepard said, drawing Adhara's confusion, but also her acceptance. She didn't know what the Matriarch had to do with Saren, but she'd ask after Saren was dead.
Adhara followed John for a little while, but carefully slid into the shadows to provide some covering fire, if necessary, when Tali and Wrex flanked Shepard. She did not pay much attention to what Shepard said, specifically, and as such was completely shocked when Saren pointed a pistol at his head and pulled the trigger. The Turian had ended his own life.
After waiting a few moments to be sure he was dead (and putting a round or two into him with the Commander's consent) Adhara looked up towards the fighting outside of the Tower. Shepard had ordered the saving of the Destiny Ascension, knowing that the Councilors – and everyone aboard the flagship – were important. It would also hopefully endear the alien races to Humanity.
Suddenly, everything started shaking and a loud, angry screeching echoing in her head and around her. Red lightning arched off of Saren's corpse, and the entirety of the Tower shook as Sovereign raged above them.
Shepard and Wrex were knocked down next to her, Tali being trapped above them, unable to use her shotgun but trying to provide support with tech attacks. Shepard cursed as the Saren-Sovereign stood, a roar leaving its non-existent throat. Sovereign leapt at Adhara, flinging her into a wall as it launched itself at Shepard. Wrex intercepted the Thing, crashing to the ground and struggling to keep it pinned. Its lack of an actual body made it too difficult, however, resulting in it slipping away to clamber on the walls like a Stalker Geth. Adhara scrambled to try and hit it with her Biotics, scowling when it moved at the last second.
"'Ra! Get it pinned in one of those boxes, if ya can!" Shepard shouted, following Sovereign and trying to hit it with his assault rifle. The woman growled, then slowly inhaled, exhaled, settling her emotions. She had to get this right. She could not fail.
"Wrex! Move!" Adhara shouted. The Krogan had been closing in on Sovereign, but moved back when she yelled at him. A 'box' of sorts snapped into place around Saren's frame, making it growl and try to escape. Inhuman howls and hisses emanated from Sovereign, a low angry rumble coming from the Sovereign's ship-body above them.
"How many grenades we got?" Shepard asked, studying the cage in curiosity. Wherever Sovereign hit, near black and almost emerald hexagonal designs radiated out, overlapping and dancing together. "I've got three," Wrex grunted. "Six," Adhara hissed out, her eyebrows creasing in concentration. Shepard shook his head. Adhara had always liked explosions.
"So, that makes eleven total. Think that'd be enough, 'Ra?" he asked, tilting his head at Saren's frame. "If not . . . I could try becoming a trash compactor," she replied with a dark grin. "How do you plan on getting them in there?" Wrex demanded, his eyes narrowing. Without Shepard having to ask, Adhara made another box next to Wrex, the top missing. "Pile 'em in. Quickly. This is taking a lot of concentration," the Phoenix bit out.
The sheer force this thing is hitting with. . . Shouldn't be possible with how scrawny it is, she thought angrily. Angry at the fact that it really had been way too long since she last had a real tough opponent; angry that Saren had managed to capture her, then die before she could get at him; angry that she had been forced onto the Citadel before her godsdamned tour; angry that she had been an alien without even realizing it. She had known the implants, the silvery stuff, was not any Human creation, of course, but this entire thing, her being 'Prothean', being 'Wizen', was just Fate fucking with her, yet again. Go fuckin' figure.
Shepard cautiously removed Adhara's grenades from a little pouch on her waist, attached with a hook instead of a magnetic clamp like he'd been expecting. Her posture told him she was well and truly pissed, but he couldn't figure out what it was aimed at. Once all the explosives were in the box – including a little bit of old C-4 he had on him, just in case – Shepard gave the signal to Adhara, who in turn merged the two boxes, triggering the grenades. Another shield, solid and dark in colour, snapped into place in front of the three as the concussive force spread from the box.
"Not quite dead. . ." Adhara murmured, hands clenching tightly. A second explosion – probably the C-4 – rang out alongside the sound of tortured wails, then the sound of little chunks of metal hitting the floor. "Done," she stated with a smug grin. The bastard was dead for good, now. He wouldn't be bothering anyone else. There was a low groan from Sovereign above them, resonating through the metal in through their feet and into their bodies. It felt as if they were being shaken from the inside out.
Slowly, their eyes were all drawn to the battle still raging above them. They saw the Normandy loop around for the killing blow and exchanged triumphant looks when Sovereign began to fall to pieces. Adhara suddenly curse. "We might want to move," she told them as they realized where a lot of the Reaper would be falling. Almost as one, they all turned and ran back to the lift, but knowing not all of them would make it.
Tali and Wrex were in the lead, but were saved from being crushed by Adhara snapping a shield over them, then over herself and Shepard. What she didn't account for was the deck heaving and twisting beneath them as heavy metal crashed into it, making them all topple over into each other. Adhara hit her head on the deck, briefly falling unconscious.
A few minutes later, Adhara came to, surroundings lit up only by the shield she had managed to maintain. Shepard had pulled off his helmet, his blue eyes focused on her. "These shields. . ." he started, brushing a hand over it. Her smaller shields were almost viridian in colour, definitely not the typical Biotic blue.
"Yeah," Adhara sighed. She knew what he meant. She had saved ten people of nearly ninety on Akuze with these shields. The Commander had seen them, been shielded by them when she had found him. Of course, at that time she hadn't technically been Adhara Grimm, having to change her name from mission to mission to avoid getting too well known. "Why were you on Akuze?" Shepard asked softly.
"Suspicious transmissions and a code hidden beneath the distress beacon. I might have stolen a fighter to get there faster, but I still hadn't been in time to stop it all from happening," Adhara explained, just as quietly. John heaved a sigh, rubbing his face. The older woman silently looked at the twisted metal covering them, trying not to remember the scene of Akuze. Soldiers, flesh melted and torn, some missing whole chunks and body parts. The stench of melting flesh, bodily fluids, and fear had been so prominent. It hadn't been the worst Adhara had seen over the years, but it stuck out.
"You got a companion?" It took the Phoenix a moment to realize that John had spoken, another to decipher what he meant. 'Companion' was the general term, now, for a lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, or significant other while not being too rude. He had probably wanted to avoid memories of Akuze and had spouted off the first thing that came to mind.
"No. I did, a long time ago. But, we fell in love and married in a war. Aftermath got him killed by his own people, people who were our enemies," she finally admitted. "You fell in love with the enemy?" Shepard inquired, honestly surprised. That only happened in fairy tales, or so he had thought. "We met in a school tournament," Adhara explained with a smile, "Before all the fighting broke out. We kept in contact, afterwards, and after the War started, he joined me." She left out a lot of the details, of course, but it was inevitable. Couldn't very well tell John that it had been a war between Wizards and Witches, now could she?
"They just let him join your – side?" the Commander asked. That didn't sound right. "It wasn't a full out war, like the World Wars had been. It was more between less then a thousand people on each side, like two tribes fighting. We broke off into little guerrilla strike teams. Mine had a grand total of six people, including me and him. At the time, we were anywhere from seventeen to thirty-three years old, but my team knew me, like yours do you," Adhara pointed out calmly, "If I trusted him, they would trust me to know what I was doing." They had spent a long enough time musing over Adhara's past.
"What did Benezia have to do with Saren?" she asked, changing the subject. "Benezia had gotten Indoctrined when trying to help Saren see the light," Shepard replied, letting it happen. He knew better then to push on things like this. "She had been able to shove off the Indoctrination for a short time, but we ended up having to kill her." Adhara snorted. "At least Saren had the decency to do himself in," she mused grimly, "Still, so satisfying to blow up his corpse." The Commander let himself laugh and forget about the cost of the battle for now.
"I'm sorry, did you just say she was blind in one eye?" Commander Shepard asked Chakwas, surprised. "Yup. I have been for years, Commander," Adhara chimed, examining her new scar on the corner of her right eye. The same eye had a jagged mark similar to a Lichtenberg figure, but made of smooth scarred flesh and a jagged pupil. There were no cataracts, because of surgical removal, making it very hard to tell at all. The new scar itself was sort of like a curved trident, from a piece of metal that had hit her at some point in time.
John merely sighed, then turned to Adhara fully. "I came here to ask you something, not to bother you about being half blind," he explained, "I want to know if you would like a post on the Normandy for a while." He had a hopeful look on his face that Adhara knew she couldn't deny. "Alright. But not for too long. I've been meaning to take a break from missions anyway," she gave in, casting him a grin.
The next day, Adhara Grimm was settled into the co-pilot seat of the Normandy, chatting away to both Joker and John, as happy as she had been for a long time. Even though they dropped off the aliens of Shepard's combat team – Garrus, Liara, Tali, and Wrex – off where they wanted, the Phoenix couldn't find it in herself to be upset. The pair of boys – Joker and John – made things too interesting.
It wasn't until they were forced to go out on a patrol near Alchera that things went downhill. In Adhara's mind, all she could think was 'No!'. She couldn't believe this was happening. She had fallen in love with the ship and her capable crew. Seeing everything torn apart was almost physically painful.
She moved with Shepard and Joker, trying to get the crippled pilot into the escape pod before the unknown ship could turn about and finish them all off. They didn't make it. Shepard had managed to get Joker into the pod and waved Adhara forward, but the unknown ship had completed its turn. The resulting beam made Sheppard and Adhara shoot in opposite directions, the latter being propelled headfirst into the wall of the escape pod and falling unconscious.
Grimm did not witness Shepard's death, him falling into the atmosphere of the planet called 'Alchera'. She was, in fact, unmoving for the better part of a day, according to Joker's omnitool. He had straightened her out, tried to straighten out an awkwardly bent leg, and generally watched her. The pilot had seen her head twitch, so he was pretty sure he wasn't going to lose Hera, which was good because he wouldn't be able to take it if he had.
Thirty-one hours after the Normandy had burned, Adhara stirred, nearly making him break something trying to get over to her so quickly. "Grimm? Adhara?. . . Hera, can you hear me? C'mon, talk to me, please." His voice was hoarse, scratchy from disuse, and cracked a bit as he worried over her, placing her head in his lap even as they spun lightly in zero-gee.
"Joker?" Her voice was very similar to his in quality, but sounded heavenly to the frantic man. "Thank God you're alright!" he exclaimed, "Shepard. . . The Commander. . ." Joker couldn't make himself say it. "It'll be alright," she told him, forcing herself to sit up, cracking her neck with a wince, then flexed her legs, much to his surprise. Hadn't that leg been broken? he thought, unaware of Adhara's own frantic ones, plans forming and being discarded. Not many knew that she knew when a person's time had come. Shepard's had not, and the ethereal plains whispered of things to come, things that Shepard was needed for, to defend against. Her time as Hero was long up, but that didn't mean she wouldn't follow Shepard if he asked.
To ensure that, though, Adhara would have to do some rather unsavory things. Her garnet eyes landed on Joker again. "You'd follow Shepard to Hell, if her were alive, wouldn't you?" she asked, "Trust him no matter who he worked for?" The pilot frowned at her in confusion. "Well, so long as it's not the Reapers, yeah. . . He's a great commander." The woman sighed softly. "Death can be an oddly transient thing. . . in this 'verse, with our technology," she said, then leaned in to whisper her plans, despite no one being around to hear them, except Joker and herself.
Terrible times were coming, and they needed a Hero to lead them. That Hero would be John Shepard.
A/N: I've gotten well into ME2 in my notebook – yes, I write all my fics in a notebook, then type them up whenever I have a chance, which isn't too often. This chapter is about. . . eh, eight and a half notebook pages, widerule, front and back. I've got around forty pages. Thing is, I won't type up anymore until I get a bit of feedback on this, because I love hearing what you lot think about my work. It's actually kinda disappointing to me that WiWi? got so few reviews, because NM had gotten quite a few in its first week. –shrugs- Enough with the selfpity.
Do a few things:
1: Leave a review
2: Try and guess WHO 'Adhara' (Who, I will say now, is my FemHP with partial Metamorph abilities.) married, had children with, then died. Seriously. I wanna see who gets it.
3: Then, try and guess who her kids'll be. First two are Twins – not necessarily in the same verse, but they do look alike – one boy and one girl; the third is a guy.