My Big Fat Quarian Wedding
A Mass Effect fanfiction by Andrew Joshua Talon
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit fan based work of prose. The Mass Effect series is the property of Bioware and EA Games. Please support the official release.
Based off of the "The Airlock is Ajar" snippet thread on Space Battles dot com, this is a storyline I and Damar wrote together. Please enjoy.
Tali'Zorah vas Normandy approached the hill slowly. It had been a long discussion with the other admirals over the post-war recolonization of Rannoch, and frankly she was looking forward to returning to the ship overhead for some shut eye and relaxation with a certain human captain. She still blushed hotly under her helmet at the thought, a reaction that made the geth in her suit lower the temperature.
"I'm quite fine with that sort of reaction," she said, a bit sharply.
She looked up and frowned. The Normandy's shuttle was nowhere in sight. Rather, a very large pile of boxes sat there. She heard rummaging sounds, and she rounded the pile to find-
"Shepard?" She asked as her mate dug through one of the containers. "What is this?"
"Hm? Oh, hey Tali," Shepard said. He blinked. "Why are you back so early?"
"One of the admirals may have had a minor suit malfunction," Tali admitted carefully. She shook her head. "What are you doing here? Where's the shuttle?"
"Oh, the Normandy's been pulled for refit. It's going to take a few weeks," Shepard said.
"You mean... We're going to be alone here?" She asked, her heart pumping a bit faster. Shepard smiled.
"Still, that is an awfully large pile of luggage," Tali pointed out. Shepard grinned, a transformation of his face that seemed to make him look much younger.
"It's not. It's building supplies," Shepard said. Tali blinked.
"Building supplies? For what?"
"Your house, of course!" Shepard said. He held up his omnitool and displayed some schematics. "I had some stuff shipped down."
"Oh, thank you Shepard," Tali said with a warm smile. "So, who have you hired to do it?"
"Hm? Hired?" Shepard asked as he pulled out a bar of radiation treated steel. He frowned at her. "What do we need to hire anyone for?"
"Well, to build the house Shepard," Tali said carefully.
"Hey, I promised I'd build you it, right?" He said, wrapping an arm around her waist. Tali blushed again, and nodded.
"Well, yes, but I didn't think it would be quite so literal."
"Come on, you're an engineer, I've been a colonist... Or spacer..." Shepard frowned. "Maybe I grew up on Earth... Anyway! I'm sure we can figure it out. I mean, it even comes with instructions!"
"Shepard, I don't know," Tali said, feeling a bit apprehensive. It seemed like a lot of work, and the schematics were far more complicated than a pre-fab. They'd have to harvest the other materials themselves, like wood and stone.
Shepard held her and turned her to look into her eyes. "Tali... We can do it. If we took down the Reapers, I'm sure we can put one simple house together." He grinned and held the bar up again. "How hard could it be?"
He tossed the bar back into the box... Which tipped over and slammed into a larger, taller container that also tipped over, knocking over the next and the next. With a series of crashes and thuds the contents of the containers had spilled out all over the grassy field. Shepard very slowly lowered his arm, and looked over at Tali.
"That... That totally doesn't count," he said. "Just stuff falling over."
"Could have been worse," Tali said wryly. "It could have blown up."
"Don't give it any ideas," Shepard grumbled.
In a prefab warehouse for lumber supplies, six conservative quarians had gathered to discuss their dislike of the current situation. Han'Gerrel, disgraced former Admiral of the Heavy Fleet and leader of the very small movement that conspired against the quarian-geth peace, had the word.
"-So aside from assisting with building infrastructure, provide housing, agriculture, heating, medicine, preservation of ancient culture, restoring the enviroment and rapid accelerate our body's immunity system to adapt to Rannoch, what have the geth ever done for us?"
Someone was about to say peace, but that remembered it was Shepard intimidating Han'Gerrel into submitting that brought peace so he wisely kept quiet.
"It's clear the geth need to be removed, but who is to help us? Koris is a well-known geth lover, Raan is a coward who follows the vocal majority, and it is clear where Tali'Zorah's allegiance lies."
One of the slower quarians spoke up. "What about Admiral Xen?"
A uncomfortable silence came over the group as the quarian looked around with confusion. "What?"
Han'Gerrel reluctantly spoke up. "She was a useful ally in the past, but after that…'incident', we are best to stay clear off her, are we to have any respectability in future politics."
No one wanted to talk about how Xen took the new-found ability to upload geth into their suits to a much more 'enthuastic' level than other quarians. By the time fleet marines managed to subdue her, 1182 geth programs had been stored inside forcefully. What she exactly done to them was unclear, but between Xen's manical laughter and disturbing moaning, and that many of the freed geth programs still remained glitchy after intensive defragmentation, nobody was interested in the exact details. Save for Fornax, who sent representatives to the improvised prefab mental ward where Xen was being held and asked for her on an upcoming Sensual Synthetics special.
"We don't need her. We only have to remove one man to send the whole peace with the geth facade tumbling down and that is…SHEPARD!"
"No need to be so dramatic, Pash."
"No! It's him! HERE!"
All turned, and saw the confused human standing in the depot's entrance. "Sorry, but I was just looking for-"
"GET HIM!" Han'Gerrel commanded, and than stood back. He still could feel the pain of Shepard's punch on cold days. That still left five bulky quarians recruited for their brawn and not their brains charging a single human. A human with a billion credits worth of subdermal cybernetic upgrades.
When it was done, and the quarians were on the ground, unconscious or crying, Han'Gerrel had backed up against the wall, his eyes appearing wide even through the dim visor. "Shepard…Shepard please! This was a misunderstanding."
"Yeah, if there was another person 'to get' with five goons, I'd be totally understanding. But as you can see, there isn't, so I'm not."
Shepard hit him in the lower abdomen, not enough to break anything, just enough to squeeze the recycled air out of him and leave the former admiral gasping for a minute.
"Now, if you're done with trying to kill me, the geth and your own race in the bargain, can you tell me where I can find Northern seawood?"
"Tali asked me to pick some up, to make furniture for in the kitchen. If it wasn't too much trouble, she said with that sweet voice of hers, as if I had to go through the Omega 4 Relay again to get it. Which I would have. So just imagine what I would do if the only thing standing between me and that wood is the bosh'tet who tried to kill me and her once, and only because saner minds prevailed, was prevented from genocide of at least one species. So what it's going to be, Han?"
A tense silence followed, only ended by a terrified Han'Gerrel telling Shepard that the Northern seawood was in the back, by the second shelf on the left. Only when Shepard got what he wanted and left, did Han'Gerrel move away from the wall, and considered perhaps his continued retirement would be for the better.
All right, Shepard thought to himself as he read over the instructions. "Let's see... To finish your basement it is advised you first start with... Blah blah blah," he snorted and closed the holowindow. "Yeah right."
He took the crate of freshly manufactured bricks and dropped it into the hole, before jumping down himself.
Shepard activated his omni-blade, and dug it into a container of bonding paste. With a grunt he wrenched it open, and set it down on the pre-fab floor that had been installed in the hole in the ground charitably referred to as the basement.
He reformed the omni-blade into a more rounded diamond kind of shape, and scooped up some of the paste with it. He slathered it over the first brick, and set it into place. He smiled, and repeated the motion. Again and again, building up the walls. They sealed into place almost instantly and thanks to a bit of nanotreatment, the bricks bonded to form a perfectly smooth, insulated wall.
Now this was the way it should be done. Just a man, a trowel, bricks and mortar. Building a house for the woman he loved. It was a bit old fashioned back on Earth, but when you were back to basics old fashioned was deeply satisfying.
Well, the basics with 22nd century technology but still...
"Shepard?" Called Tali from above. Shepard looked up and smiled as the quarian engineer stood above him.
"Tali! I'm almost done with the basement," he said cheerfully. "See? Only a few bricks left."
Tali nodded. "I can see that. I did have a question though."
"Yes?" Shepard asked.
"How are you going to get out?" She asked. Shepard laughed.
"What kind of a question is that?"
"Well," Tali said, checking the instructions on her omnitool, "it says you are supposed to start with stairs."
"I..." Shepard looked around the basement, and looked up the basement walls. He grimaced and jumped up. And while he was conditioned to jump higher than most normal humans, his fingers just barely scratched the top of the wall.
He slid down, and looked to the side with an embarrassed cough.
"Yes, well... I might need some more bricks for that," he said. Tali giggled.
"Creator Tali'Zorah. Construction of your dwelling would proceed far faster with our assistance," the Geth, dubbed 'Jinn' by Shepard as another reference to his home (and possibly religion, he hadn't made that completely clear) to Tali as the two of them sat on a pile of wood planks near the construction site. Tali sighed and nodded.
"I know, and I agree," Tali said. "But Shepard takes his promises very seriously. He stood up for me as my captain, and he and I are... Er..."
"Intimate at regular intervals," Jinn stated matter of factly. Tali nodded, catching her first impulse to berate the geth for being so... Brazen.
Shepard winced and sucked on his thumb. He glared at the bonding agent can.
"Well... Now I know I can cut myself on an omni-blade," he muttered. He produced another blade and stuck it into the corner of the lid. "Come on, come on you bastard, open!"
"Indeed, the interval seems to be increasing as of late, from a 50% chance of sexual encounters daily to a 67%-" Jinn continued, but Tali stopped him.
"Have you been monitoring us?" Tali asked. "Wait, don't answer that..."
"Affirmative," Jinn said.
"Affirmative you have been watching us, or affirmative you will not answer my question?"
Tali sighed again.
"Gaaahhhh!" Shepard groaned, yanking back as hard as he could on the lid. "You... Stupid... Goddamn... Piece of crap!"
He released the lid, huffing and puffing. What, did they make this thing out of Reaper armor? How the hell was he supposed to open it?
He leaned back against the wall, glaring at the can, his hands instinctively sliding to his gun. He was prone to it when he was agitated-Came from fighting technozombies and gigantic Eldritch abominations from beyond the stars for several years.
Reaper armor, hmmm... He looked at his gun. He looked at the can.
"Possibility: You are using intimacy to persuade Shepard to allow our intervention," Jinn suggested.
"That's not true. That would be crass and dishonest and... And..." Tali sighed, bowing her head. She looked back up, a determined expression on her face.
"The point is, I love Shepard. I'm willing to work with him to build my-our home here. Even if it's not done quickly, I'm still willing to let him continue," Tali said. "It gives meaning to the work if he does it himself-An expression of our affection for one another."
Tali shot up to her feet. "Shepard? SHEPARD!" She ran for the source of the shot, Jinn right behind her. They pounded down the stairs of the basement (recently installed). Tali came to a halt first, and held a hand to her faceplate.
There stood Shepard, covered from head to toe in bonding agent with a gun pointed at a now empty can. Bonding agent that was rapidly hardening, judging from the grunts and growls coming from the increasingly statue-like human.
"Tawi... Little... Help...?" He managed through stiff lips.
"Observation: Intimacy will be far more difficult," Jinn stated.
Tali sighed. "Yes Jinn... Yes it will."
After the bonding agent was cleaned off, Tali suggested Shepard should do something more according to his skillset. Like building a fence, in case other quarians didn't have an entire world to choose from where to build their homes. Shepard protested that the nearest quarians were miles away and he should start on the drywall, but he could not put up a fight against Tali's pleadful expression that radiated through the visor.
But as he went to work, forming his omni tool into a hammer to put the poles into the ground, his mind began to have ideas. A fence really was nothing but some wood and wires, barely a hinderance to a volus, let alone a dedicated ground assault force with aerial support. Not to say he expected something like that to happen, but one could never be too careful about where his loved one, and perhaps if wonders happend, a family lived? He began to regret never asking Mordin about the possibility of quarians and humans interbreeding, no doubt the salarian doctor would have had pamphlets that contained way too much information.
Shepard swept away the thoughts, and instead began focusing where the first and secondary defensive perimeters would be located, considered that ridge a prime location for an GARDIAN battery, and that hill would provide a clear line of sights for a double-barred Thanix cannon turret. He was just deciding where the minefields would go, when he heard someone walking up the road.
"Howdy neighbour! Came to see how your homestead came along"
Shepard turned around at the sound of the familair voice, and almost recoiled in suprise. At first he thought it was a human due to the similair shape and hair, but realized it was a quarian by the pale violet skin, the wider hips, three-fingered hands and the markings that Shepard found so fascinating whenever he and Tali were intimate. So it wouldn't have bothered him...if the quarian wasn't almost as naked as she was during those times, save for a pair of combat boots and a boxershort.
"Nice day, ain't it?" The male quarian said, smiling with a wide grin. He had a short military crewcut, the muscular build that could only come from intensive workouts done by men like Zaeed and Jacob Taylor, and riddled with battle scars.
Shepard's shock grew even more when he finally recognized the voice. "Kal? Kal'Reegar?"
"Yes sir. Heard you was shacking up with Tali'Zorah, quite the accomplishment for some Earth boy."
"And I heard you were dead. Killed on Palaven." Shepard rememberd receiving the Alliance newsreport, reading about losing yet another friend, and the realisation Tali propably received it at the same time he did. Going down to Engineering, he was suprised to find her still working behind the console, focused on her work. While her voice slightly trembled, she was determined to continue helping Shepard in defeating the Reapers, or else Reegar, the crew of the Qwib-Qwib, her team on Haestrom, even that idiot Prazza, all their deaths would have been in vain if she allowed it to hinder her work.
And here he stood, in the flesh. Most of which was disturbingly uncovered.
"Reegar! You came like you promised!" Tali and Jinn had come from the house, Shepard for the first time thankful she was in her suit, and appeared to have no shocked or suprised reaction to Kal's miracle resurrection. Tali noticed his growing confusion and explained.
"Kal'Reegar called up last night while you were...stuck, and I completly forgot to mention it when you were finally freed. He said the turians assumed him dead by the number of breaches to his suit and assumed infection had done him in as he refused evac, but it appeared our marine squad leader was tougher than everyone imagined."
"Wasn't really expecting to get out alive myself. That was my private Miracle of Palaven. That's why I'm celebratin' being alive and on my native homeworld."
"...By stripping to your underwear?" Shepard said in disbelief, against which Tali rose up with a huff.
"Shepard, don't critize a quarian's rights to do away with 300 years of enviromental suit tyranny if he wishes so. And you didn't complain about me wearing even less the night before."
Shepard faced too much death and horror to blush, plus he suspected Cerberus forgot to rebuild that part of him, but still was uncomfortable by Tali's inappropiate mentioning of private matters. And became even more so when she began touching Kal'Reegar, prodding his biceps and visibly admiring what she was seeing.
"Oh my, it's been so long since I saw an adult quarian so exposed, and such a fine example. Shepard relies way too much on his cybernetics to do any workouts, and he's so shy."
"So shy he even prefers working on the house over spending time with me." Oh dear god she is pouting, that's cheating, Shepard thought. "So I was thinking, maybe I should spend more time with my own people. Especially someone who clearly has better priorities and knows to have fun." She was drawing her finger over Kal'Reegar's chest who by now was smugly smirking. "He's even invited me go out with him tonight to that new bar down the road..."
"NO!" That came out louder than Shepard wanted, and the others stared him at him in anticipation of what would follow.
"Because...I was already planning to take Tali out tonight to...Zero City."
When the quarians landed planetside, they made a forward outpost at one of the larger cities that had been rebuilt by the geth, and named it Base Zero as the starting point of their retaking of Rannoch. When the peace was made, Base Zero was rapidly expanded, growing from a simple military FOB to a full-fledged settlement that housed a fourth of the total planetside quarian population along with the main civillian and military headquarters, and many believed it to be officially made the new capital of Rannoch very soon. The original name stuck, even the geth liked a city named for the first and most important number.
"And I will take her to the best establishment in town!"
"Faaaan-cy. What's it's called?"
"...You probably never heard of it. It's been nice to see you Kal, even in your condition, but me and Tali need to prepare for tonight's date." And with that said, he gently but firmly grabbed Tali by the arm and pulled her away and back to the house.
With a very convincing and audible gasp of shock, Tali tried to protest. "But Shepard, it's still hours away from dusk."
"Not a problem, the bedroom requires maintenance."
As Shepard dragged Tali off, the female quarian looked back to Kal'Reegar and Jinn and gave a conspiratorial wink that was quickly returned by the quarian but not the geth as they lack the ability for winking of any kind. Soon only they were left alone on the road.
"I will inform the others that Operation: Bait was a succes and they can proceed with work on the completion of the house within a few hours. Creator Kal'Reegar. You are aware that preemptively discarding your enviromental suit whilst still recovering from previous heavy infection and physical injury, indicates a 92.28% chance of becoming ill again?"
Before Kal'Reegar could respond, they heard the approach of a vehicle. The transport, an older wheeled model with an open top, came to a stop beside the two. Inside, three quarian females were staring and giggling until the bravest among asked if Kal needed a ride.
"Like the ma'am once said my geth friend, totally worth it."
Zero City had the beginnings of skyscrapers and several completed ones already. Many of them were converted older ships that had relied on acceleration to provide gravity like ancient rockets, and so were built like skyscrapers versus the common "airbus" configuration many starships went with due to orientation issues.
The "skyscraper" design though was still utilized in a number of starship designs primarily to save power by directing all the energies of the mass effect fields into one direction, and hence the ships were somewhat more reliable.
One of these ships had been an older System Alliance liner, and towards the top was a torus-shaped hydroponics area that granted the greatest view of Zero City and the surrounding countryside. In honor of the ship it was atop, it was christened "The Merimbula Club."
It was here Commander Shepard and Tali'Zorah came, the sound of music banged, strummed, pounded, and plucked on real instruments ringing out over the pleasant indoor garden.
"Ah, welcome to the Merimbula Commander, Admiral," the maitre d said, his suit a crisp black and red. He gestured to a table near the center of the garden. "Right this way!"
"Thank you," Tali and Shepard both said graciously. They took their seats and relaxed into the chairs. Tali in particular was very relaxed, and hummed as she sunk back. Shepard himself was still grinning.
"I feel almost like an archaeologist," Tali said at last. Shepard blinked.
"Rediscovering things about my ancestors. The sunrise, the sunset..." She blushed, visible through her faceplate. "The ah... Gravity and how it affects... Performance."
"Good effect or bad effect?" Shepard asked. Tali smiled coyly.
"What do you think?" She asked, purring towards the end of her question. Shepard grinned back, and sighed as he looked over the beautiful garden, the peacefully chatting and eating Quarians, the geth who walked about appreciating the new input...
"Hello. We are designated Yaoguai, we will be your waiter tonight," a geth with a fine napkin over it's arm stated. Shepard smiled up at the Geth, as did Tali.
"May we recommend the special tonight for you ma'am, a Rakasian casserole. For you Commander, we have a limited selection of human foods."
"I would love the casserole," Tali said.
"What kind of human foods?" Shepard asked.
"Milkshakes of multiple flavors, tomato soup, potato soup, beef in the form of soup, carrot juice-"
"Er..." Shepard raised his hand. "Do you have anything that isn't in the form of a liquid?"
"If you are referring to human food, then no," Yaogui said. "However, non-protein based dextro-amino food stuffs should be suitable for your consumption."
"So in other words," Shepard began. Tali giggled a bit.
"Yes Shepard. On this planet you're a vegetarian."
"Swell," Shepard sighed.
Jinn looked over the designs of the house, and then back at the circuit diagram for the electrical system. He tested them, but they still failed to respond as desired. The rest of the domicile was complete though, so it was a fairly minor difficulty.
However, Creator Tali'Zorah had requested it be done before she and Shepard Commander returned home, so Jinn's programs had voted to make sure it was completed. It was the least they could do for them, after all.
A fellow platform that had taken the name Imp was studying the grid nearby.
"Jinn, we believe we have resolved the electrical malfunction," the platform stated. With something similar to trepidation, Jinn looked to Imp. It was so named because all of it's programs were new, and had been developed with extensive input from the Extranet. In particular human forums, primarily for the purposes of better understanding the species that had saved the galaxy.
The platform, however was... A bit unpredictable. In some cases, such as dealing with a Reaper via the crude (if effective) method of a kinetic missile bus made of an actual bus, they had proven effective. In other cases, such as the macaroni dinner for visiting Earth personnel, Imp had been...
Less than effective.
"What is the solution you have devised?" Jinn asked, deciding to err on the side of trust in the young platform. Imp went over to the portable fusion reactor that Shepard had brought along and plugged it into the grid.
"An old human proverb: It appears this will require more powah," Imp stated, activating the reactor.
Jinn, by this point, had run several simulations and come to a conclusion that elicited the same simulated response as Shepard's means of excavating the house's basement.
"Imp, cease all activit-!"
Shepard munched on the... Well, he supposed you could call it a salad with some reluctance.
"Shepard? Are you not enjoying your meal?" Tali asked. She dropped another piece of her casserole into a processor and sipped it through a straw.
"It's okay. Just not very... Exciting." He looked up at her and smiled. "I'd love to give my own shot at it, maybe try some spices and sauces... Tali?"
The Quarian admiral began coughing violently. Shepard frowned.
"Tali? You all right?"
"Ah... Yes... yes, I-I'm fine!" Tali squeaked as she zeroed in on the bright explosion that had flashed on the horizon through the windows.
In the exact same spot as their house.
"Sure? You look shaken, something wrong?" Shepard asked. Tali shook her head.
"N-No! Nothing's wrong!"
"You know, we could head home early if you-" Shepard began, but Tali raised her hands and waved them.
"Home? Why head home? It's so early, we just got here!"
"Ah, well, why don't we go look out the window for a while?" Shepard asked with a smile. He stood up, blocking the bright orange spot that was unmistakably a fire from Tali's sight. "You know, I bet we can see our house from-"
"No!" Tali cried, much louder than she'd thought. She reached out and took Shepard's hands, pulling him back down into his chair. She ignored the looks of the other patrons and looked Shepard deep into his eyes.
"No, I-I'm quite fine with the view here," she insisted. Shepard chuckled.
"You're going to make me blush as this rate, Tali," the human teased. He looked back with a frown as he saw a few quarians and geth heading to the window. "What's got them so inter-"
His head was turned back by Tali's hand, so his vision was filled with her and only her.
"Nothing of importance to us. This is our night out, Shepard," Tali said. "Let us... Make the most of it." She smiled at him warmly through the visor, and Shepard smiled back.
"As you wish, Admiral. I've only got eyes for you."
"Good, keep them on me. Only on me," Tali insisted, as a firefighting aircar flew nearby the windows for the blaze.
Jinn rose from some wreckage, the platform's ocular system still functional. As were the legs, arms... They would check the rest later.
It rose and observed the fiery conflagration that was once Creator Tali'Zorah and Shepard Commander's house. The effort expended to build it, by both Shepard Commander and themselves, had now been totally wiped out.
Imp stood near the singed but thankfully undamaged fusion reactor, looking more than a bit singed itself.
"Platform Imp, explain," Jinn ordered, in a deeper, louder and more grating tonality.
The geth turned around and seemed almost sheepish. As sheepish as a geth could look anyway.
"A... Minor miscalculation," the geth said. "It is repairable."
Jinn looked over at the flaming ruin, and then back at Imp. The programs that made up Jinn were learning so much: Now they were simulating a response based upon a near termination caused by miscalculation undergone by a younger program.
They decided to name this response anger.
And as their first expression of their new response, they whacked Imp over the head. It didn't do any actual damage to Imp, but it certainly made the programs simulate a more preferable emotional response: Satisfaction.
Shepard had gone off to the bathroom, giving Tali enough time to hit her communicator as she stared at the flame that was her house.
"Jinn! What the Keelah is going on?" She hissed.
"Apologies Tali'Zorah Creator. New platform Imp attempted to compensate for a power grid fluctuation with more power. The results were..." The geth paused, as though trying to find a way to explain it properly. And given it consisted of several sentient, hyperfast runtime programs that did not bode well.
"I can see that, what did the bosh'tet do? Hook up a fusion reactor?" Tali growled.
Quarians did not facepalm easily-Habits from living in space and not being willing to risk any component of their suits breaking. So it was only when pushed to the brink of their self control that they did it, and Tali did it with both hands.
"How bad is it? I can see the flames from here."
"... We suggest you and Shepard Commander commit as much time as possible to the evening. Out of direct line of sight with your dwelling," Jinn finally said. Tali groaned.
"Wonderful, what am I going to tell John?"
"Tell me what?"
Tali felt as cold and still as a statue, and she slowly turned her head to see Shepard standing there, looking confused. Tali coughed.
"That... That our reservations with my surprise for tonight were cancelled," Tali stuttered. Shepard frowned.
"Aw... I'm sorry to hear that. You didn't have to do anything for me you know," he said with a smile and a hug. That was one thing Tali enjoyed about her mate-Despite everything he'd gone through he was free with his physical affection for her.
Focus Tali, she thought to herself. "No, but I enjoy it," she said. "However, um, since that plan is ruined let's try something else! Something fun!"
"Well, I don't know much about Zero City-"
"It's all right! Let's just walk the night and find something fun to do!" Tali said quickly. "Let's just live for the moment, be spontaneous!"
Shepard smiled brightly. "I've got it! Let's find a dance club!"
Tali stared at him. "Dance… Club?"
"Sure! You guys do dance."
"Ah… But Shepard, you…"
"I what?" Shepard asked curiously.
Can't dance. At all. To the point dance itself becomes a sapient being and screams for mercy from an uncaring universe.
She sighed and steeled herself with a deep breath. "You're absolutely right! Let's go dancing!"
Shepard grinned and offered his arm. She took it with a weak smile and off they went after leaving a generous tip for the waiter.
After all, what was some public humiliation compared to Shepard's happiness? Not to mention preserving the two Geth platforms from their most likely termination...?
The firefighting aircars had arrived, and were dousing the flames as Imp and Jinn stood nearby observing the effort. Jinn turned its occular sensors to Imp, as Imp directed its sensors to Jinn.
"Prime Unit, we have a solution to this error."
"Platform Imp, why should we allow you to attempt to resolve this error when your previous attempt has led to the error? The complete destruction of Creator Tali'Zorah and Shepard Commander's dwelling?" Jinn asked, in that deeper grating tone. It got a fear based simulation out of Imp, which the platform found most appropriate. However, Imp was able to meet its ocular sensors suggesting it was processing the situation appropriately.
"Jinn, we believe we may have… A cunning plan," Imp stated.
"Explain." Said Jinn.
"It is another human proverb," Imp said.
"By the mainframe," Jinn cursed, another organic trait.
"Allow us to explain. 'If we cannot make it, then we must fake it,'" Imp stated. "Subterfuge is required."
"Explaining the situation to Shepard Commander is more appropriate," Jinn said flatly.
"Tali'Zorah Creator disagrees. Deception is a part of organic interactions," Imp pointed out. "Lack of knowledge can be beneficial to some… And Shepard Commander was able to destroy Old Machines."
Jinn buzzed, but conceded the point.
"Acknowledged. Your plan?"'
The dance club was like most dance clubs throughout the galaxy-Colorful, stuffy, and loud. Shepard loved it.
"Wow… This is great! I love this song!" Shepard said with a grin. He moved for the floor immediately, but Tali rested a hand on his arm.
"Ah… Shepard, perhaps you should sit this one out?" Tali asked. Shepard frowned.
"Why? We can both dance, it'll be great!"
"Well, it's just that I'd like to have a drink first, relax, loosen up and then dance," Tali said. Shepard frowned thoughtfully, and then nodded.
"You're absolutely right. I dance a lot better after a few drinks anyway," Shepard said.
"Yes, quite," Tali managed. They made for the bar, and ordered some drinks. Tali took a rather generous serving of Quarian ale and sucked it down, while Shepard paced himself with some Salarian Ice Brandy.
"Eesh Tali, take it easy," Shepard said, holding up his hand. "You don't want to over do it."
"Trust me Shepard, I know what I'm doing, and it's totally necessary," Tali said in between sips.
Through the crowd of Quarians, a trio of Geth platforms came up to Shepard. The human turned on his stool and gave them a friendly smile.
"What can I do for you nice geth?"
"Shepard Commander, we are designated Israfel," the geth said. "We wish to partake in an activity with you from Unit Legion's memories."
"Certainly," Shepard said with a sad smile. Tali instinctively raised her glass in memory of Legion.
"This activity is called 'dancing'," Israfel said. "Unit Legion's memories suggested you were adept at the activity."
"What," Tali managed.
Shepard grinned. "They did huh? Well I'd love to show you a few moves."
"Excellent. There is a contest tonight and we were hoping to succeed," Israfel said.
"Contest?" Tali asked in disbelief.
Shepard grinned. "Don't worry. Just a little instruction from me and you'll be serving quarians left and right!"
"We already do, and in other directions as well," Israfel replied.
Tali groaned and ordered another ale. She was going to need it.
Imp stepped back from the domicile, looking as pleased with itself as a geth platform could. Jinn stared at Imp, and back at the house.
"Completed," Imp said. "Observe. The house appears intact behind this holographic façade."
Jinn stared. "And what will occur when Shepard Commander and Tali'Zorah Creator step through the hologram?"
"… We had not computed past that part of the deception."
Jinn considered the multiple responses it had available. It chose to whack Imp over the head again.
"First place?" Tali gasped. "How… How in the name of Keelah did you manage first place?"
She'd watched it and she still didn't believe it!
Shepard was still accepting congratulations and pats on the back from Israfel and its fellow Geth, and the Quarians who had been observing. He grinned at his mate with a twinkle in his eye.
"Well, there is a natural dance move all geth are proficient at. One that's been popular on Earth for centuries and is absolutely perfect."
Tali felt another facepalm coming on as she recalled some of the names for human dances she'd read up on during her various investigations into them.
"Don't tell me…"
Tali moaned and found solace in the ale again.
Against its better judgment, Jinn allowed Imp to devise yet another stratagem for correcting their colossal error. However, this attempt seemed to be working properly. Jinn surveyed the reconstructed home with its visual sensors and gave Imp as approving a look as it could manage.
"You have reconstructed the domicile entirely? How?" Jinn asked.
"Not entirely," Imp said. "Scan it in alternative wavelengths."
Jinn did so. The simulated response known as "exasperation" again appeared.
"You… Only reconstructed the frontal facade of the dwelling?" Jinn asked.
"Holographic projectors can disguise this fact for the amount of time required to repair the interior damage," Imp said. "We merely have to get Shepard Commander away from the domicile along enough for it to work."
"Hypothetical scenario," Jinn began. "Shepard Commander does this." The platform walked around to the side of the building, and signaled for Imp to follow. The platform did and stared at the pile of ashes and debris lying behind the centimeter-thick façade.
"… We did not compute from this angle," Imp admitted.
Once again, Jinn found it had no other recourse but to whack Imp over the head.
"No no no, I-I'm serious," Tali said, now leaning against Shepard on the couch they'd moved to. She didn't know why, she'd only fallen off the stool once. Maybe twice… "I love you."
Shepard chuckled, and Tali snuggled against him to enjoy the feeling. "I love you too Tali.
"No no no, I really… Really love you," Tali said, giggling a bit. Shepard laughed with her and stroked her back. That felt nice.
"You're such a light weight," he said affectionately.
"I'm not light… I'm heavier than I was on the ship," Tali whined. "Gravity's different… Gravity…" She trailed off, and looked at him excitedly. "Babies!"
"Babies! Have them, let's have them!" Tali said cheerfully. She swung her arm out. "All the babies we can have!" She nearly lost her balance, but Shepard held her tightly.
"Woah, slow down! We just got here," Shepard laughed. "Babies might be pushing it."
"No no no," Tali said, shaking her head. "We've defeated the Reapers and faced a Thresher Maw, having babies can't be as hard as that!" She pressed her faceplate against his cheek and tried to kiss him. "We totally should!"
"Okay, okay, I promise we'll have babies," Shepard chuckled, cuddling Tali up against him. She sighed happily.
"Though not right now," Shepard said. "I think we need to get you home."
Home? Home that was on fire still?
"No!" Tali said quickly, shaking her head. "Not yet! There's still so much more to do!"
"Tali, we've been at this for hours, and you're wasted," Shepard said with a smile. "Time to go home."
And then it came to her in a single, drunken moment of clarity. The solution to her problem.
"All right… But we need to get there in the most fun way possible," she purred, nuzzling against his chest. Shepard raised an eyebrow as he stiffened.
"Oh? And what way is that?" He asked with a low, thrilling growl.
"You will be recommended for deletion after this," Jinn said in what it felt was a very intimidating tone.
"It will function acceptably!" Imp protested.
"It is a pile of boxes with minor aesthetic alterations to resemble Shepard Commander's dwelling. It is not acceptable!" Jinn yelled.
"It functioned well enough in human culture-"
"FICTIONAL SCENARIOS WITHIN HUMAN CULTURE DO NOT ALWAYS APPLY TO ACTUAL SCENARIOS IN REAL LIFE!" Jinn bellowed, anger driving it to increase the volume of its vocal processor. Imp reared back in fear… Just as a high energy electrical motor was heard in the distance. Jinn turned and scanned the oncoming vehicle. It matched it against known vehicle profiles, and cross referenced them with intelligence upon driving skill.
In conclusion: There was only one being that could drive a Mako that badly.
"Withdraw! Withdraw!" Jinn shouted, running for it. Imp followed, barely leaping clear as the Mako drove up, flipped over for no reason and smashed into the house, reducing it to scrap metal. Something exploded from the rubble, which was quite the feat given it had already done so.
Shepard slowly emerged from the vehicle, looking a bit cross eyed but nevertheless grinning.
"Yeah… Another perfect… Parking job…" He trailed off and stared in disbelief at the wreckage around the vehicle. He looked and saw Jinn and Imp nearby. "Guys? This… This wasn't the house, was it?"
Jinn and Imp wirelessly consulted before nodding in unison.
"It was indeed, Shepard Commander," said Jinn.
"Completely destroyed by you and only you," Imp added.
"Oh no," Shepard groaned, covering his face. "Goddamnit! I can't believe this! FUCK!"
"It is all right, Shepard," Tali said from the vehicle.
"But Tali," Shepard said, looking back in with the most guilt stricken expression imaginable. "I… I totaled the house!"
"It is just a house, Shepard," Tali said earnestly, if a bit slurred. "You being here makes Rannoch home…" She hiccupped adorably and leaned forward, hugging him tightly. "We can try again… This time, maybe with some help?"
"Well… I…" Shepard looked into Tali's big, pleading eyes and sighed. He nodded. "All right… I'll accept help," he grumbled.
"Good," Tali said, nuzzling him again. "Now… I just recalled that the inside of the Mako can generate a sterile environment…" She grinned. "I wish to test how well that functions."
Shepard found a grin coming to his own face. "Goodnight Jinn and Imp, thanks for watching over the house," he said as he climbed back in and shut the hatch. Jinn looked over the rubble, and back at the Mako.
"The more we study the creators, the more confusing they become," it said philosophically.
"We look forward to assisting Shepard Commander with his new domicile," Imp said. "Perhaps he will allow us to handle the power grid?"
Jinn once more whacked Imp over the head.
Short, but sweet. Hope you enjoyed!