Well I don't own Mass Effect,Duh. This is my first multi-chapter fic and it will go on as long as I can come up with story ideas. It is a sequel to my first fic "Mass Effect:Something to live for" so you may want to read that to get a grip on how I ended the Reaper War and what Shepard is up to before reading this. This story will take a little while to get started but once it does it will have plenty of action and adventure in it. One last thing I don't know how Quarian children age so I am assuming these kids were born just before or during the Reaper War and that the ships their parents were on were destroyed so they are all between 5 and 6 years old. Oh and as always please leave reviews. I hope you enjoy this.

Mass Effect: Building a better Galaxy.

Written by

Matthew G. Given

Chapter 1

"Come on down kids we need to get going, you know how Joker hates it when we are late" John Shepard yelled up the stairs of his and Tali's family home. Finally two of the kids the oldest Rael and the youngest Raan came down the stairs with a travel case strapped to each of their backs, Raan was also holding a small white teddy bear in her hands. Quarians didn't have bears on their planet but Pablo was a gift from Jacob that was given to her when he and his family had visited a short while after she was adopted and she never let him go, to the point that the much loved toy was getting very dirty and so worn that some of his stuffing was coming out. Shepard had to smile whenever he saw her with the bear, Quarian and Human kids were not as different as he had been afraid they would be.

"Well what is the hold up?" Shepard ask looking down at the children who were now in their suits and ready to leave the planet.

"Jeff is being a baby" Rael said a little cruelly "He started yelling and locked himself in his room!" "He is such a baby"

"He is not!" said Raan leaping to the defense of her more sensitive brother who was the same age as she was. As she did so she stood between Shepard and her older brother and stamping her foot. "He is just sad about something and said he didn't want to go!"

"But we have to go it is our duty and a good Quarian always does his or her duty no matter how hard it is" Rael retorted repeating the first lesson their mother had ever taught them. "So he is being a baby."

"Okay." said Shepard stepping in before a real fight broke out. 'That is enough" "Rael you don't need to be so mean, it's okay to be upset and sad sometimes" "Now you two go get in the car and I will go see what is bothering Jeff."

"But Dad" Rael whined unwilling to lose an argument to his sister. "What I said was true, he is being a baby"

"Go now!" Shepard said firmly and with that the two children left.

Shepard walked up the spiral staircase and onto the second floor of the house, he then turned down the hall, and walked four doors down until he got to Jeff's room. He knocked on the door there was no answer but he thought he could here the faint sound of crying.

"Jeff this is your father" He said in an understanding tone. "Are you alright?" Still no answer so he decided to try a different tactic. "Jeff we are going to be late you need to come out so we can go" He said in a firm but gentle tone. This got a reply.

"Go away!" Jeff shouted and there was no mistaking the sound of tears in his voice this time. "I don't want to go back to the Citadel, it's a bad place!"

"Please open the door" Shepard returned still keeping his voice calm "Why don't you want to go there, why is it a bad place?" No answer. "You can tell me, I will understand"

"No you can't because you are human"

"What does that have to do with anything?" Shepard asked now feeling a little worried about his son, what could the problem be? There was still no answer and then Jeeves walked up.

"Perhaps I would be able to reason with the young master" He said in a helpful tone.

'No thanks Jeeves, I will handle this" Shepard knew the Geth meant well but as much as he liked to think of himself as being as smart as his namesake Shepard knew that when dealing with people and their feelings he was closer to Bertie Wooster then his namesake.

"Jeff I am your father and I am ordering you to open up this door" Still no reply, he was just about to go downstairs and get the key card when Tali came up behind him.

"John, Rael and Raan told me what is going on, please go downstairs and let me talk to him"

"Okay I guess I have tried everything I can do" Shepard agreed and then he slowly walked away. He was worried, it wasn't like Jeff to act like this and he couldn't figure out what was wrong.

"Jeff'Shepard Vas Ranoch this is your mother" Tali said turning to the door and knocking on it. "Open this door I just want to help you stop crying" The door slowly opened and on the other said Tali saw the face of a very upset and scared boy that would not look up to meet her gaze.

"Am I in trouble?" He asked shifting from one foot to the other.

"No you are not Jeff" Tali answered in a comforting voice while bending down and taking him in a big hug. "I do need to know what is wrong, you don't have your helmet on yet"

"I don't want to put it on" Jeff said while crying into her shoulder. "I hate the suit"

"Now Jeff" she said explaining it to him. "You know that you need it to be healthy off world, it has never bothered you before so what has changed?" The small boy looked down at the ground again. "Why don't we go sit on your bed and you can tell me all about it. She offered. This seemed to do the tick and he looked up at her eyes red from crying and she carried him to the bed and they sat down.

"So what is the problem?"

"Well" he said looking shy and upset. "Promise you will not laugh or be mad like Rael"

"I'm your mother I would never do that" She said looking him straight in the eyes. She was a little mad at Rael right now, he was a good enough kid but he did sometimes go too hard on his younger siblings.

"Okay I'll tell you" He said wiping the tears from his eyes. "last time we went to the Citadel I was in daycare while you and Dad did your work and none of the kids would play with me. He stopped for a few seconds finally Tali urged him to continue but she was sure she already knew the reason. "They said I was a worthless Suit Rat"

"That's was very wrong of them." Tali said patting his shoulder trying to comfort him. She knew his pain all too well. "But those children were stupid and you can't let what stupid people say bother you."

Jeff interrupted her and continued his story barely holding back the tears. "They kept following me yelling Suit Rat Go Home! I got into a fight with them and the teacher made me sit in the corner."

"Why didn't you tell your father or I about this?!" Tali asked her voice a mixture of shock and anger at the kids who had dared pick on such a sweet little boy.

"I told Rael and he told me not to." Jeff explained looking down. "He said that you and dad had more important things to do and a good Quarian takes care or his own problems. I am so sorry" he said now crying and hiding his head in his mother's lap. "I didn't mean to be bad, I am sorry I am told you about this!" Tali thought for a few moments about what she was going to say and then lifted her son's head up dried his tears and spoke to him making sure he was looking her in the eyes.

"First of all Jeff, Rael is an idiot." She said gently but warmly. Either she or John were going to have to have a talk with the lad. "A good Quarian can always count on his family and should bring all his problems to them. Being close and handling our problems together is what makes the Quarians great and strong, if anything is bothering you I want you to tell me or your father about it do you understand?" The child nodded. "Second those kids were idiots and were just picking on you because they were cowards and saw you were alone, but getting into a fight was not the right thing to do."

"But what they said hurt and I was mad." The boy said looking up at her a little confused. "What should I do?"

"Tell your teacher next time and if they don't do anything about it call your father or I using the comlink in your helmet and we will come and deal with it and we will have some strong words for your teacher."

"That doesn't stop them from making fun of me." The boy looked down pouting. "They are being mean why can't I fight back?"

"Because not getting into a fight over words makes you the better person."

"It sure doesn't feel like it.

"Well it does." Tali said firmly. "The Quareans have always been treated badly by other races but we don't fight them and that has made us all the stronger"

"How did you handle it when it happened to you?" The boy ask looking up to her.

"I am sad to say that I didn't handle it much better then you did." Tali said with a little laugh. "And I was much older then you but guess what something that was done to hurt me ended up being the best thing that had ever happened to me."

"How could that be?" The boy was very puzzled now.

"Well said Tali if you will put your mask on and start packing the things you need to take with you I will tell you ,do we have a deal?"

"We have a deal." the boy said smiling for the first time since his mother had entered the room.

"Well it all started many years ago." Tali began the story "This was before the Reaper war and before we had made peace with the Geth and we had a home world. You know how I told you that Quarians used to live on ships?" The boy now with his mask on looked over at her from the other side of the room where he was doing his packing and nodded. "Well this was back then. I was on my pilgrimage and while I was on a deserted planet looking for a gift to take back to the fleet I was attacked by the Geth!"

"What happened?!" The boy asked shocked, he was six and only barely understood that his mother and father had been hero in a war that ended just about the time he was born.

"Well I had to run from them for a long time but I managed to destroy them after a few days on the run. When I finished fighting them I found some data that proved a SPECTRE was a traitor and that he was trying to bring back the Reapers."

"What did you do then?" The boy ask now completely engrossed in the story.

"I got a ride on a passing ship and went to the Citadel, the counsel needed to be warned."

"So you warned them?"

"No, not right away. You see I had to go to C-SEC and show them, back then a Turian was running C-SEC and he told me that all us Suit Rats were liars and thieves and he was not going to spend time listening to me and if I didn't leave he would lock me up. I was hurt and mad just like you and I yelled at him and cursed ar him but in the end he had his men throw me out. Getting angry at him for being an idiot didn't get me what I wanted in the end. A few years latter in the middle of the Reaper war that same Turian came to me and asked for my help getting Turians of fof one of their worlds that was under attack."

"He must have felt silly after how he treated you."

"He didn't even remember me."

"What did he do when you told him?"

"I didn't."

"Why not?"

"Because I wanted to be the better person and I saw that bringing up old pain would not help anything. Plus I decided that if he was such a fool that my actions alone would not show him what a fool he had been getting into a fight with him or yelling at him would not change his mind, Do you understand?"

"I think I do" The boy said closing his case and putting it on his back. "I still don't understand how getting kicked out by the Turian was the best thing that ever happened to you."

"Well" Tali said explaining "After he kicked me out I tried to make a deal with some crooks thinking that they would be able to get my warning out there. They double crossed me and tried to kill me but some one saved my life. It was John, your father he was looking for my proof and invited me to come with him to stop the Geth and the Reapers."

"Oh now I see." The Boy said understanding "If that Turian had taken your proof the Counsel would have had it and you would have never met dad."

"That's right." Said Tali smiling behind her mask. "Speaking of don't you think we have kept him waiting long enough."

"Yeah" said the boy giggling. "The President of the Counsel can't be late, he could get into trouble".

A few minutes latter the whole family was in the car with Shepard in the driver's seat. Jeeves was standing outside the house to watch them leave. Shepard decided to take a parting shot at the Geth. "Now no wild parties while we are gone and remember what happened last time if my fish die don't replace them I will know!" With that the car lifted up into the sky before Jeeves could come up with a response.

"So what was the problem I would not understand?" Shepard asked turning to his wife.

"I'll tell you latter when we are alone" Came her reply.

Shepard nodded and drove.

The flight to the Ranoch capital city of New Promise went quietly with the kids looking out their windows in awe at the plains, hills, and valleys that spread out under the car. Other then a few houses factories and mines there was not much between the Shepard house and New Promise most of the planet was still empty but after about fifteen minutes the glint of the sun off of the sky scrappers of the city could be seen. There were not many of them and in fact just barely a million people live in the city but it was still the largest one on the planet and the sky scrappers stood out on the empty plane like lighthouses on the ocean in days gone by.

"Can we go by the statue" Raan asked in her usual sweet voice. Shepard sighed he didn't like going by that thing. "PPPllllleeeeaassse" Raan pleaded.

"There is no need for you to be upset let them see it." Tali said sweetly.

"Oh alright" Shepard said giving in. He had never been able to turn down a request from both his girls. He lowered the car's altitude so that it was just above the ground ant followed the road to the center of the city. In the center was a giant bronze statue that was about fifty feet high and on the bottom were engraved the words "The moment of Reunion" The statue was really three figures a Quarian on the right, a Geth on the left, and Shepard in the middle reaching out and uniting the Geth and Quarian's hand in a handshake. The kids loved seeing it but Shepard hated it. He didn't like being turned into a larger then life hero and besides it was showing a moment that never happened.

Tali could tell what he was thinking and leaned over as they drove past it and said to her husband "I don't think it is that bad and besides look at it this way it inspires people to be better then they are.

"I guess I can live with that." Shepard said sighing "I just wish they were not looking at me to inspire them."

A few minutes latter they made it to the spaceport on the other side of the city and parked on the largest landing pad was The Normandy. The ship had been refitted to carry Shepard and his family wherever they needed to go in safety and comfort. These days it was it known as Counsel Star ship One but Shepard and everyone else who had served on her would always think of her as the Normandy, the best ship the Human race had ever built and the first proof he had ever seen that old grudges could be put aside, since the ship wouldn't have existed without the help of the Human's old enemies, The Turrians. It was the perfect symbol of what the New Citadel Counsel stood for and what John Shepard was fighting for every day as the first ever President of the Counsel.

Shepard parked the car and he and his family made their way to the ship as half a dozen crewmen came to get their stuff out of the car and take it on board. Shepard stepped through the airlock and turned to face the pilot's station.

"Permission to come aboard Captain Joker" He said with a smile. Joker was now the captain but it didn't stop him from flying the ship.

"Get your ass on this ship, it took you long enough to get here." Joker said turning to face Shepard and then added "Oh sorry." when he saw the kids right behind him. Shepard just gave him a stern look and then laughed.

The Normandy now had a much smaller crew that lived on decks two and four. She could still hold her own in battle but she had been refit so a family could travel in her. Shepard and Tali's room was on deck one, little had changed over the years except some of Tali's stuff was still there and Shepard had moved his fish to his home on Ranoch. Deck three now not only had the med bay, mess,and main guns but it also had rooms for the kids and a big family room where the whole family could relax, play games, or watch some vids. Over all the changes were not huge but the Normandy was now a transport first and a warship second. It would take three days to make the voyage to the Citadel which was still in orbit around earth so the family took some time to settle in. After dinner Tali played with the kids while Shepard was up in their room doing paperwork, he hated paperwork. After the kids went to bed Tali made her way up to Her and John's quarters.

"Have I ever told you how sexy you look in that skin tight suit." Shepard said slyly putting down his paperwork and turning to face his wife.

"Really." Tali replied as she made her was other to him and they put their arms around each other. "Because as I recall the first time I came up here you couldn't wait to get me out of it."

"That is because you are so sexy in it I wanted to see what was underneath."

After a few moments they lay down in bed Shepard was looking at Tali as if he was getting ready to say something.

"What is it?" Tali asked.

"Well" John said. "I have been thinking that maybe getting the kids into suits and traveling every time I am needed at the Citadel is too much for them and maybe after this trip you should stay home with them and I should just go alone."

"Oh no." Tali said sternly "We are not doing that. I think the kids would be much worse off not seeing their father for months at a time. Plus the work Liara and I are heading up on that thing we found in the center of the Citadel is important, not only is it the key to get the Citadel out of earth orbit but it could also be the key to Mass Relay free FTL travel."

"I guess you are right." Shepard said with a sigh "I was just thinking about the kids and how hard this must be on them."

"You love them John, that more then makes up for how hard this is." Tali said as she brought her mask to his face.

"Yeah I just don't think I will have all that much free time this trip because of all the problems we are facing."

"Well you can't do anything about them tonight so just forget about them and let's have some fun." Tali said climbing on top of him and taking off her mask.

"That's why I love you" Shepard said with a smile. "You are smarter then me."

Well there you have it Chapter one. More chapters will be coming soon and I promise they will have action and adventure in them. I hope you don't see this as a pointless chapter I just wanted focus more on the family interactions then I did in my first story and show that problems like hatred don't go away overnight. Oh and I know that in the games they said that Quarian children live in bubbles but one of the reasons this took so long to show up was that every time I put the kids in them I could not find a way for the kids to interact with the story so I just put them in suits. Please leave reviews, even if you didn't like it I would like to know why,t he next chapter will be coming soon.

Okay so I know it has been years since I have written anything but I am no inspired. I am sorry for that and I know Mass Effect fandom is dying but I will finish all my stories just this one first. I will be editing the old chapters of this story before writing any new ones to get back into the swing of things. Edits and new chapters will be coming every day of the week except Sundays and Wednesdays because those days are still too crazy for me right now.

My life is finally getting in some sort of order so this will get done and if you are still reading this thanks, if you are new give it a chance. If you started reading my Castle stuff I am sorry but I lost my spark for writing that fandom and can't seem to find it again.

If you want to know what inspired me to start writing this again after all these years there is a new fan made mod that makes Mass Effect 3 a lot more playable. I know we can't post links here but if you search for The Extended Galaxy map mod, or EGM you should find it. Also I just finished a Let's play on youtube that if you are only getting the update for this story because you were following my Castle stuff and know nothing of Mass Effect, it should explain things. Search Youtube for my name here and look for a Let's play with credits for D.T.B.S productions and you should find it.

Sorry this was so long but I thought I owed it to you to explain why I am returning after all these years. I know there isn't all that much left of Mass Effect fandom so we all need to do our part and I am finally able to do mine as my life comes back into focus.

I am really sorry for the long note but thanks for giving this first chapter a chance and please leave reviews, I find even negative reviews to be very helpful.

See you next time, I hope.