Epilogue: Rannoch, 2173
"He has much more potential than I got from your report." Daro spoke to the crack in the window of the luxury car. "I should have remembered you understate everything."
They had been watching the Rugby match for the last half an hour or so. The game itself was not the draw. It was the boy leading the team that they were hear to watch.. He blew through quarians and humans with great ease, like he was easily ten years older than what was written on his birth certificate.
He was charming too, He was strong and could have led the team to victory himself, yet he didn't hog anything, he knew how to lead, there was a raw talent that was beginning to develop. It made Daro'Xen shake in anticipation for what this boy could do one day. He wasn't like her other students. One was a sociopath Eurasian, the other a rich girl with issues. To her this was much more preferable choice, a blank slate with natural talents. He would fit into the Cerberus organization quite well.
"I should have known you would be here once again."
Daro turned her eyes from the match and found a well dress man approaching her. A quarian with the largest scowl she had ever seen on a man's face. He was apparently not very pleased with her unwelcome appearance. Daro could appreciate that, this was after all his daughter's school.
"Miss Xen." The man greeted the well-dressed woman carefully, as though expecting an attack. Instead, Daro'Xen merely smiled.
"Ah, Senator Zorah." The Cerberus operative and representative of the Daedalus Industries CEO greeted the veteran politician. "Strange we would meet here of all places. I trust your family is flourishing?"
The Senator didn't like the remark. Daro didn't want him to like it. Here was this politician who was a part of the traditionalists, who wanted Cerberus to do their dirty work for them, useless chickenhawks. All the true traditionalists were back in Germany; Quarian and Human alike, all of biding their time until they took control of the Commonwealth.
"Relax Senator, I assure you it has nothing to do with your eldest."
"But it has to do with John Shepard." Rael countered, his hand grabbing Daro's forearm. "Did you really think he didn't notice you watching? He even went so far as to investigate you. The boy only looks thick. He's surprisingly intuitive."
The boy launched an investigation? This was impressive to hear.
"I am only here to watch." Daro murmured back to the senator. "I do recommend you taking your hand off me, however."
Rael obliged and dropped his hand to his side.
"He's untouchable, Miss-."
"Senator, you will have to forgive Daro for her attitude." A soft, feminine voice spoke to him. "We're only here to watch the game. She tends to make things look somewhat more sinister then they truly are."
Daro arched her brow as the door to the stretch car opened. One delicate leg, wearing a simple high heel and a billowing white dress the touched down to the top of her shin, touched against the Rannoch soil. Next a hand came out, daintily requesting Rael'Zorah to help her.
He did as she requested, his hand feeble covered hers as she stepped out of the car. Standing there as a homage to Aryan beauty was Teresa Harper, or as she preferred, Tess. She stood taller than Daro, with her heels, taller than Rael himself. She stood there, scanning the game briefly. Her bright blue eyes hidden behind large, dark sunglasses, a wide brimmed sunhat that covered her platinum blonde hair.
Daro watched the senator blink as he. She knew from reputation that he didn't hold much of an interest in humans. To see him stunned like this was quite amusing.
"Miss Harper." Rael finally got out to the staring woman, "It…it's an honour to meet you."
Tess Harper inclined her head slightly, a delicate smile was offered to the quarian senator. Daro rolled her eyes. She could not believe she was watching this.
"Likewise Senator, I have heard so much about your lobbying the council to send aid to the turians. Such a terrible thing, would you not agree?" She spoke in a high falsetto to the staring Rael. "I cannot believe that the Shadow Broker would do this. They must have made some serious offense to him."
The conversation died down as approaching them was young, pretty girl approaching them, her hand carrying a datapad that was still on. Rael frowned, the last thing he wanted to do was expose her family to all of this. Yet here she was, getting involved. Daro glanced to Tess, who was smiling almost motherly at the approaching girl. It was... odd to see.
"Tali Alexandra." Rael nearly growled at his daughter. "What are you doing out here?"
Tali'Zorah simply stared at her Father's terse greeting that involved her middle name. Her thin brow rose at his reaction as she slung her bag over her shoulder. Her eyes glanced over to the game where the crowd cheered.
"I just got out of class, Father." She returned her voice neutral. "I'm going to go watch John play... "
Tali trailed off, her expression distant as she watched John shift changed off the field, His direction turned to her, a large grin on his face as he noticed Tali watching him. Daro'Xen rolled her eyes at the display of puppy love, it was sickeningly sweet. The Father did not seem to share the opinion, he cleared his throat, making the teenager turn back and refocus.
"This is Tess Harper, head of Daedalus Industries." The Father informed the daughter. With the introduction down, Tess bent slightly and surprised Tali with a hug and a peck on each of her cheeks.
"It's quite a pleasure to meet you, Miss Zorah." Tess greeted, allowing Tali to pull back from her hug. "I keep an eye on talent, and you have been marked on the top of my list."
The girl blushed at the recognition, her father on the other hand was not impressed, but he could not exactly do anything about it. Being a part of a Cadre that hired Cerberus to attack and annex the Shadow Broker, then deployed it against the Hierarchy left him with little to say without him sounding hypocritical.
Tali turned away and glanced up to her Father.
"Father, I'm going to see John. I already missed the first half." She informed her Father. She turned back to Harper and added, "Miss Harper, will you be joining?"
The CEO and inheritor of the Augmentation Corporation smiled and shook her head.
"I am afraid not. I'm only on Rannoch for today." She spoke regretfully to the teenager. "I wish that I could, though. A Raincheck is in order, perhaps?"
Tali returned the smile nodded. The two shook hands and with that, Tali left at a near sprint, leaving her Father in the two older women's company. Rael turned back to human and offered her one of his rare smiles.
"Perhaps if you don't bring along your attack dog this time, Miss Harper… Xen's have always been bad news."
Glancing at the fuming Daro, Tess giggled at the Senator's remark as though he had said something terribly hilarious. Rael's heart soared slightly, he might have been married, but still he did not mind that she was flirting with him. Daro turned away and rolled her eyes, her fingers pinching the bridge of her nose. She ignored the man kissing the human's hand before turning and leaving the two women alone.
They stood there in silence for a good log moment until the Senator was back at the bleacher. Tess narrowed her eyes and glanced at her hand, her eye brow raised.
"I need to sterilize my hand. Christ, I hate this planet." Tess hissed, her tone lacking any patience.
Daro did not rely, though she agreed that Rannoch was a virtual hovel compared to Earth, this was still the world of her ancestors. A least one Earth they allowed expansion. Rannoch was stuck with an environmental friendly government. The damage in the two wars was still being cleaned, bodies from the exile still being buried, apparently losing your world for a hundred years made you appreciate taking care of it.
"I trust my brother knows what he is doing, as I trust you do as well. This could get very messy, very quickly." Tess warned the Cerberus agent. "Guiding a Senator's daughter and a mid-level Commonwealth officer's son fate..."
Watching the Senator's daughter looking up the Shepard boy, her arms around his waist, Tess sighed and climbed back into the car her hand clutching her hat as the wind picked up. Daro lingered for a few moments longer to examine her future experiment, stubbing the cigarette out, she followed her Sister-in-Law not far behind her.
She had always fancied herself an excellent runner.
Of course she had not factored running with a Tempest Machine Pistol in one hand while being chased down by a whole unit of furious mechs was a completely different matter. These were not the severely retarded LOKI automation. No, these came straight from the Cerberus brain trust, HYDRA drones Many times more durable, manoeuvrable and armed significantly more than the LOKI's She turned back and fired at the closest machine. They were the closest to geth she would ever see alive.
She turned back, her neural implants firing yet another burst of induced adrenaline and dopamine simultaneously, making her forget about the tearing in her muscles as she forced herself to move faster. Bolting and ducking, her ocular implant noticing three HYDRA drones roared out in front of her, Targeted, she fired at whatever cracks in the armour.
Her hand turned blue, as she snapped out and punched a hole through it chest. As she pushed through the doors leading to the main training room of the Cerberus organization, a burst of incoming fire through her off balance, before she hit the floor. She reacted with a biotic burst which exploded the mech unit that took a shot at her.
She tried to focus, but she was much, much to burnt out to focus. Her optics were flickering. Quietly, she disabled it and with shaking hands, she wiped her hands through her hair.
"Get up, Operative." A cold voice called over the commlink in her ear.
She obliged the order and pulled herself from up off the floor ad collected her machine pistol. She should looked better, A mech rushed in swinging a blade that caught her forearm, shredding through her uniform and flesh. She cried out in a fit of rage and she threw herself backwards and hit the machine with a biotic burst.
Hot blinding pain shot through her body again as a blade cut through her side, she turned around and pushed the machine pistol into its face and tore it to shreds. She limped away ducking as a dozen more droids entered the fray. Hitting one of them and knocking another to the ground in a violent blue blast.
Breathing hard she tried her best apply a injection of medi-gel into her knife wounds. With her free hand she fired blindly over the barrier.
"Get up, Lawson." The same cold voice called out over her intercom, this time with much greater annoyance. The woman under fire did not listen, She had to wait until the medi-gel took hold.
This was a mistake Lawson would soon come to regret quickly. You see unfortunately for her, as she later learned upon her graduation, was that the instructor, more than furious took command of one of the mech units personally and had the machine threw a concussion grenade over the cover, no more than a few feet from her.
That got her moving alright, but it was much too late. The concussion weapon went off; it would have wrecked her eardrums had it not been for her ear pieces. The grenade however did its damage; the force blew the woman off her feet and back onto the ground. The mechs closed in, she struggled to get up and fire. She failed and pushed herself along the floor, wincing and moaning as she tried to summon enough.
"Use your biotics."
The voice, cold and emotionless did not need any feelings to convey just how disappointed she was. The girl tried to focus, but she couldn't she had exhausted her biotic abilities. Her head was paining, her nose bleeding possibly from the strain on her implants.
She disobeyed the orders. She threw up her omni-tool and hacked the nearest two mechs into providing cover fire so she could scramble out of this mess. In her ear piece she could hear the cold voice groan in terrible frustration.
That one noise deactivated the mechs, leaving the operative in training lying on the ground, gasping for air.
Jesus fucking Christ, she was going to pay for this.
Exhaling with great difficulty, she pulled herself up from the floor, her hand clutching her side. She winced; she must have cracked a rib or something in the concussion blast. She looked down at the fallen mech close to where she was sprawled out, shattered and lifeless. The blade in its hand was coated in her blood. Thankfully, however the wounds were just a graze. Cerberus would not have ever programed it to kill her.
"Yet again you have failed to impress me. How is it that I am never surprised by this?" The voice from the earpiece spoke to her like she was scorning a four year old.
Okay... perhaps programming the VI's to kill her would not be that much of a stretch, especially when it came to Daro'Xen. It was no secret that the lass thing she wanted to do was educate a recruit. Heaving hard as she wiped the blood from her lips, Miranda Lawson turned back and stared hatefully into the eyes of her instructor, Daro'Xen, who'd down at the younger woman contemptuously. In her hand was a cigarette, the cancerous smoke draining from the dark quarian's nasal cavity.
She leaned forward; her free hand reached out and yanked control of the Miranda's chin. She turned the human's head back and forth, as though inspecting the damage. Slowly, the right hand of the Illusive Man sighed, as though thoroughly disappointed.
"It appears my generously lenient attitude has been poorly offered to you." The older woman lamented. "It is not your fault, really, but more mine."
Daro'Xen shook her head and turned to walk away. Miranda blinked, unable to believe what she had just heard. She was in the middle of a study session when the mech's had stormed into the room, shooting at her. She had to scramble to find a weapon and an omni-tool in a facility that had been completely devoid of any life but her own.
"Lenient?" Lawson repeated, trying not to display her temper to the quarian. "I signed on to help in the science departments. For some reason or another you want me as some godforsaken field agent. If I wanted to be like Kai Leng, then I would have ask-"
Before Miranda realized is, Daro struck out, hitting the teen hard in the face with what turned out to be an activated stun baton. Miranda's legs gave out from underneath her. She crumpled hard on the floor, the pain in her rib exploded in agony as she writhed on the ground as Daro yet again struck her. The electricity shot through her body and didn't leave, leaving her limbs twitching as she fought to focus on the impassive Daro'Xen.
"Get up." She commanded once again. "Get up you contemptible little bosh'tet."
Daro wasn't waiting for the recruit to stand up, instead she reached down and pulled the woman up by her ponytail and forced Lawson onto her knees. Breathing hard, Miranda wiped the blood coming out of her nose, her teeth were bared and bloodstained, one tooth was missed, several chipped by the blow to the face.
"I-I TRIED!" Miranda cried out through the mouthful of blood pooling in her mouth. "I TRIED MY DAMNEST, YOU FUCKING BITCH!"
Screaming did not faze the woman. She simply burned her bright eyes into Miranda's. She did not notice Lawson's hand tightening into a tight ball.
"Your best isn't going to cut it." The quarian taunted her voice smug as she leaned in to smile. "You came here, running away from your Father and looking for safety in the Illusive Man's pocket. Well you should have known that you would have to earn your place with blood, sweat and a lot of agony."
Miranda's fist snapped out, catching the quarian in the cheek. Daro's head snapped back, had she have been a normal person, the blow would have dropped on the ground she did not make a single noise. She took it without as much as a wince. Miranda shuddered to think what she had to endure to get that strong.
The moment Daro raised the baton once to strike her made Miranda lose all of her sympathy for the woman.
"Miss Xen, I'm going to assume that this lesson is wrapping up."
Stopping the swing moments before she beat Miranda senseless, Daro, now nursing a bruising cheek and the bloodied Miranda turned back and found the Illusive Man standing there no more than a few metres from the two warring women. Miranda stood up straighter, wiping the trickling of blood from her lips and swallowed whatever blood that was pooling in her mouth.
This was the man that Miranda wanted to work for, not Daro. Illusive Man was the man with the plans. All Daro did was lead the experiments and occasionally took on new students.
Behind the Illusive Man, stood a fully armoured Kai Leng, his arms crossed, his face hidden behind his helmet. He simply looked at her with a great deal of contempt. Miranda could not help but smirk. Perhaps the education Daro'Xen was giving her was meant to make this son of a bitch obsolete. She might have wanted to take the intellectual path, but if this meant that he would be out of a job, then it would be so worth it to forget her values.
Daro shot Miranda a considering look. Finally she allowed the stun baton to power down.
"I believe that she has had enough." Daro commented idly as she slung the baton into her holster. She sounded as thorough she had not just beaten the human senseless.
Before the head of the organization could continue, Illusive Man closed his eyes and smiled slightly to himself and turned back to face the two pairs of heavy boots stamping towards them and coming to a stop.
"Mister Massani, Mister Reeger." Illusive Man greeted the two soldier types. "How may I be of service?"
His words on paper sounded servile to his men. His tone on the other hand made both Zaeed Massani and Kal'Reeger freeze in place, Massani less so. Age had made the grizzled old marine turn mercenary into someone who wasn't fazed by anyone. The younger of the two was far less okay with harassing the head of Cerberus in the middle of a training session.
"I hate to interrupt all this hands on education, but I gotta speak to the two of you." Massani spoke; his voice was accented strangely in Miranda's opinion. "I can't say, we're too goddamn impressed with our new marching orders, Illusive Man."
Glancing briefly to Reegar, who had chosen to let the old man do the talking, Illusive Man merely allowed his smile to remain plastered onto his face.
"No, I did not think you would be, but we all must make sacrifices, Mister Massani." Illusive Man agreed, though he sounded reluctant to discuss it. Pausing, he looked back to Miranda and added. "Operative Lawson, go and get yourself cleaned up, I will schedule you in for some dental surgery. We will have our discussion tomorrow."
Miranda tried to smile confidently as Illusive Man patted her arm, but remembered the gap in her teeth created by Daro'Xen's education. Instead her and the Illusive Man traded respectful nods. He left, leaving with Mister Massani and Daro'Xen with Reegar trailing several paces behind them, leaving Miranda alone with the contemptible Kai Leng, his arms were still crossed as he silently stared at her through impenetrable plate glass.
Suddenly, an electronic sounding laugh escaped Leng's mouth as he uncrossed his arms.
"I liked the part where the quarian kicked the shit out of you." He mocked her as he turned away to leave her by herself.
Miranda wanted nothing more than to crush the Illusive Man's pet assassin with her biotics.
"Insufferable little girl."
All Jack could do was cock his brow at his miserable looking wife as she unbuckled her body armour and took a seat next to him; her thin lips were drooped into a pout as she stared ahead to the holoscreen. He sighed, smoke escaping his mouth. Perhaps it was time to convince her to get pregnant or something. She needed to mellow down somewhat, curve the anger and her bitterness.
"You've been driving her much too hard now. Ease up on her for the time being." Jack warned the woman as he stubbed out his cigarette. "She's valuable whether you feel the same way or not."
Daro's eyes hardened at the remark. That was not the answer she wanted to hear. Well that was too bad. Since Miss Lawson's arrival, Jack had received nothing but praise from her instructors and fellow students. Her toughest critic was his wife. It was getting to the point where he was seriously reconsidering her role in the organization.
Daro was always the researcher, always the one to push the envelope. Her lack of ethical dilemmas was what he considered a strong point, but applying it to training field agents was growing to be bordering on cruel and unusual. Still, looking at Daro's bruised face, Jack was happy to see that Miranda had a spine. Not even Leng had struck her, and he wasn't above hitting and killing women.
"She's about as valuable as a bullet in the head, blabbering, idiot girl." Daro spoke again. She paused and eyed her husband. With a wilted smile she added. "Tell me that I wasn't as weak as her."
Jack could only offer her the slightest of grins.
"I don't consider myself a man who'll lie to you, so frankly yes, you were not much different than she." He reminded her, making Daro scowl even harder. "I distinctly recall you complaining about eating rations on our first expedition to Noveria."
Daro stood up from her seat next to him.
"Oh I hate you." She nearly growled.
The statement only made Jack's grin widen.
"Now that is a lie. I had thought we were past lying to each other."
Daro twirled in place. To many, her expression of rage made people shaker. To him, he found it cute.
"It was colder than space and the food was terrible. I will never forgive you for training me there." She nearly hissed at him. "At least Lawson trains somewhere temperature regulated."
Jack raised his index finger. Smirking, he tapped it three times. Rolling her eyes, Daro wandered back to him and leaned down, allowing her lips to lightly graze his.
The scowl was gone. Daro was smile once more as she pulled away and stepped out of his line of sight. Jack's slight smirk turned back into a smile as he turned up the volume on the holoprojecter where an asari was reading the news.
"-With the total destruction of the third reconnaissance fleet of the Palaven homefleet, the death toll has surpassed eight million." The alien reported without even blinking. "The outer colonies of the turian hierarchy have declared the end of the hierarchy control and the return to the clan state before the unification wars. The turian hierarchy still maintains a strict refusal of assistance offered by the human/quarian union known as the System Commonwealth."
The asari reporter flashed to an image of a quarian behind a podium surrounded by his fellow human and quarian lawmakers. It was Senator Rael'Zorah.
"We have over and over offered our assistance to the beleaguered military state and they have time and time again rejected our offers." The Senator lamented. "We in the System's Commonwealth feel the greatest of sympathy for the plight of the turians. Our concern however is of the Hierarchy's continued refusal of our assistance. Some are going so far as saying that they will not take charity. We are trouble by the pride being shown."
"There are concerns expressed by a few of our sources that the aid will come with stipulations. One of them being surrendering the Mehrkuri reserve fleets temporary, but Senator Zorah has stated on numerous times, this stipulation to the aid program are the result of anti-commonwealth lies spread by batarian propagandists.."
Daro turned off the feed and turned back to her husband, who was still sitting there idly with his drink only half consumed.
"Turians accepting aid from those they abandoned to the geth." Daro mused, trying not to grin to widely. She added. "I might not like Rael'Zorah, however he certainly knows how to make a situation ironic."
Smiling to herself, the woman stepped back towards her husband, her hands running down the zipper of her catsuit. She stepped out of the tight suit, her eyes narrowed as she moved behind him, her long arms wrapped around his neck, her hands touching his chest.
"If you want anything, you will tone down on your Lawson abuse."
Daro's caressing hands froze and gripped into his chest. She could not believe what he had just said. She pulled away from him and stormed around him to face him head on, paying no attention to her own nudity
"You're making deals with me. For sex." She demanded to know, Her teeth bared.
Jack merely crossed one leg over the other, his eyes taking in her form. He had to admit, no matter how often he had seen her nude, he still found himself impressed by her figure, the curves, the soft flesh, the torture and surgical scars she had received over the years that she refused to fix, but rather wore them as a badge of honour...
"Sex is cheap, my love. I could get Matriarch Trellani in my bed in one hour if I so choose." Illusive Man stated quite plainly to the scandalized wife. Smirking as he watched Daro course with rage at such a statement, he reached out, took her hand and added. "I would like you relax on her. You may want this Shepard boy, but that is long term. Lawson is our focus now. She's an intellectual type with brand new augmentations; you can't push like you did today. I will be taking over her education for the time being."
Staring at her husband for a good, long while, the quarian nodded her head, accepting his judgement.
"Whatever, more time for the Overlord Project." The woman muttered mutinously. She looked up and added. "Are we going to have sex or not?"
Wrapping his hand around the back of her neck, Jack pulled the naked woman onto his lap to properly give her his response.
It was the weekend when Rael finalized his course of action.
He did not like what he was seeing after the Rugby game encounter with Tess Harper and that bosh'tet, Daro'Xen. It looked innocent enough, but he knew what was going on. They wanted John and it appeared only he knew that they were blatantly planning out a future on John's behalf. Perhaps even Tali's, by the way Tess approached the girl in such a kindly fashion.
The Commonwealth wasn't safe for John. John's desire to serve was no secret to Rael or anyone really, what John, nor anyone else but him knew that Cerberus and the economic powerhouse that was Daedalus industries had their hand in every corner of the Commonwealth. They would pick the talent out and do their best to convert them to their way of thinking. Wealth and power were terribly powerful motivators to concede to them.
It wasn't that Rael didn't think that they were doing good work. In the long run, they kept human and quarian interests protected from the vultures and the leeches of the other races. They were stagnant and bloating. The reassurance of the quarian nation and the ascension of humanity frightened them, especially since humanity and the quarians were at long last granted their membership to the Citadel races. Something many humans and quarians felt was treason to the ancestors who were so mistreated by those who swore they would help before the exile.
As he opened the door to his study, he found himself blanking completely out.
Sitting on the seat was John, pressed on his lap and her back turned to the door was Tali, her arms wrapped around John's neck, their mouths latched tightly together as though they were eating eat other. How in the Ancestors was Lia condoning this? This was beyond what he had agreed to. He was fine if they wanted to court, kiss even, but here they were in his office! This was getting completely out of hand!
Speaking of hands, he could see John's under Tali's shirt, sliding up her spine and slowly moving around her diameter to cup her. Deciding that enough was enough, he cleared his throat, making John jump under Tali and snap his hand from off her. Tali turned back and tried not to grin at her Father, who looked near to having an aneurism.
"Father?" Was her much too casual, much too breathless response.
"Daughter, I would like a moment with John. If that is not too much an inconvenience." Rael sarcastically requested.
Tali glanced between her Father and her sort of boyfriend (Whatever the hell they were).
"I suppose not."
She smiled, assuming that John was in serious trouble. Well, she would be right on most other occasions, but this was much too serious to be concerned about some light petting that involved his baby girl.
Tali left, a slight skip in her step as she left John nervously glancing at the Father as he stepped closer to the teen.
"Sir... I know.. I'm sorry. She said she wanted to be dangerous and I told it it was a goddamn stupid place to do thi-."
Rael held up his hand. He did not want to hear this. He would much rather bleach his brain.
"Shut up John." He silenced the boy tersely. "I want to talk about something much more important: Your future."
Realizing that he wasn't about to be lynched by a protective father for copping a feel off his daughter, John smiled confidently once again, running his hand through his hair.
"My future is planned out sir." John spoke plainly, with that swaggering confidence that oozed out of his every pore.
Rael snorted and shook his head.
"Say that all you want, but the future is never planned. I wanted to be in Artificial and Virtual intelligence research when I was about your age. Damned if I know how I ended up a politician."
John laughed; Rael could not help but chuckle as well.
"Being a soldier for the Commonwealth, it's a hell of a choice. I got to give you respect for it." Rael praised him, going so far as to smile. "Few kids choose that course, even fewer military brats to be honest. I guess they don't want to be involved in the same life their parents had."
Rael started to pour himself a drink. Pouring only a finger of dextro scotch, Rael drank it down quickly and turned to John, who looked as though he was to be afforded a chance to drink with his girlfriend's (or whatever they were) Father.
Well he was not going to get that chance.
"I have it on good authority that Tali is looking to go to school on Earth. She's aiming for Cambridge, Ancestors knows why." Rael told John. He paused, glanced over the human briefly and added. "I don't want her to be there alone and it's clear that you love her... And I guess I am fine with that."
Unable to believe that he was admitting that he was willing to let someone to love Tali who wasn't Lia, him or her sisters, he ignored the smirk coming off of John. He looked much too like his Goddamn father, especially when he caught Alexander making eyes at his sister. Rubbing his forehead, he exhaled and allowed his eyes to scan John's, who still looked dazed his latest session with Tali.
"What if I were to tell you I could get you into officer training in Königsberg?"
John's expression snapped back to reality, his eyes widened at the causally spoken words offered by the Senator.
"Königsberg... Wait a second... you're talking about Prussian officer training." The bug eyed Shepard nearly exploded, his arms flying up to grip Rael's forearms. "Are... Are you being serious, sir?"
Zorah pushed the hands off his arms, but it did not deter the large excited grin being offered by the teenager.
"Being a Commonwealth soldier is noble, but a great soldier is an educated one." Rael elaborated, as the boy listened to him faithfully. "The Prussians are tough educators and talented fighters, but they are the best. The turians have even praised them, and they've been a militarist state for a thousand years."
The excited look somewhat diminished suddenly. Shepard frowned to himself as he appeared to debate something to himself. Exhaling, he looked up to face Rael once more.
"I want to fight the batarians." The boy spoke to himself. "Will the school prevent that?"
Rael could not believe this. What was it with Shepard and wanting to travel across the galaxy to kill people that stood against them in one way or another. They were an odd clan that Rael would not have associated with if it were not for Lia and Hannah.
"No it won't stop you from joining the Commonwealth, nor do you want to fight." Rael had to chastise. "No soldier wants to fight, not any sane soldier anyways. The education provided by them makes sure you'll be a smart soldier."
Rael paused and glanced at the expression of defiance in John's face.
"Besides," He added. "If what you have with my daughter is what you want for a long term relationship, than making her a widow will put you into a world of shit from myself and Lia."
Reminding the eager fighter that death was a common side effect to military service sobered his enthusiasm quickly. He frowned and thought about it. He slowly nodded, accepting Rael's reminder as the truth.
"I will need to talk it over with my parents." John said. He smiled slightly and added, "Personally, I would like to accept it."
John offered his hand out to the Father. Rael glanced at it briefly before he took it. He nodded his head blankly.
"Good, now go on." Rael ordered the aspiring soldier. "I reckon you would want to see to that girl... and for the love of the Ancestors, try not to use my as a love nest again."
John rubbed his arm sheepishly and nodded his head. He started to make his leave but stopped himself at the door. He turned back to face Rael, a smile for the Senator.
"Thank you, sir."
Ignoring the warm feeling in the pit of his stomach, Rael nodded his head at the closest person he had to a son.
Watching the young man as he departed to go and find Tali, who was, by the sounds of it, in a screaming match with Hanaza. Rael took a seat on the chair the two had been sitting on. He ran his hand through his hair as he stared at his lap.
With people like Daro'Xen wanting to shape the future of children that did not belong to her, he had to meddle himself. He had fallen into the Cerberus crowd, though he never really felt at home with the organization. Since the attack on the turians, he could not help but feel disgusted, disgusted and willing to do something, anything to disrupt their plans and save someone he considered family.
Even if that somebody wanted to defile his baby daughter…