Chapter Two: Where I Belong

I have been called many things. My superiors call me "Lieutenant Commander". My subordinates call me "sir". A lot of people call me "freak", though not to my face. Scientists call me "impossible". My mother calls me "a miracle". But now I have a new title: Spectre. As I step out of the elevator onto the Presidium, my "uncle" is there to greet me. "I'm a little busy right now," I say walking past him. He follows, walking next to me. "I've got to meet Councilor Alenko on the docks."

"I know," the turian veteran replies. "That's why I'm here." We enter the elevator to the docks and Garrus selects the destination. When the doors open, however, I see an empty docking bay.

"Are you sure this is the right place?" I ask.

"I'm sure."

"Where's Alenko? And where's my mother, for that matter? I thought she would've at least come to watch the ceremony."

"Kaidan will be here soon."

"And my mother?"

"You'll see." If turians could smirk, Garrus would be smirking.

It's not long before the elevator behind us opens up and Alenko walks out onto the docks. "I was hoping to get down here before you," he says. I can tell he's hiding something, probably conspiring with Garrus.

"I thought you said I'd be getting my own ship?" I question him. Before he can respond, I hear the sound of a ship docking and turn to look at it. However, I see no ship in the dock. The docking clamps appear to be attached to thin air. I look closer and can just barely make out some slight distortions in the air where a ship should be. Then, I see a large shimmer as a frigate of human and turian design seems to appear out of nowhere. Along the side of the ship is written "NORMANDY" and "SR-3".

I'm so stunned by the ship's sudden appearance that I don't even notice as a quarian woman disembarks and makes her way over to us. "What do you think?" she asks.

I slowly turn to look at her. It takes me a moment to form words. The first semi-coherent thought I am able to express is "Holy shit."

"Yep," replies Alenko.

"Well said," adds Garrus.

"You didn't think we'd let you command just any ship, did you?" my mother teases. Even though I can't see her face behind the mask, I can tell she's smiling.

Councilor Alenko returns to the elevator as the rest of us board the third Normandy. Joker greets us from the pilot seat. The galaxy wide synthesis of organic and synthetic life strengthened his bones considerably, but he's still fragile by human standards. EDI is standing next to him, smiling at the look of awe that I'm sure is on my face. Garrus and my mother take me on a tour of the ship. Garrus makes a point to describe the upgrades he's made to the guns and my mother spends almost ten minutes explaining how she improved the stealth systems.

After introducing me to my new squad, which consists of Kolyat and Shiala, my mother returns to engineering and Garrus returns to the crew deck, mentioning something about calibrations. I thank Kolyat and Shiala for volunteering to serve under me and head up to my new cabin, the one part of the ship that wasn't part of the tour. The cabin looks almost identical to my father's old cabin, right down to the model ships and empty fish tank. Stories vary, but from what I've heard, either my father couldn't be bothered to feed them regularly, or Javik ate all the fish shortly after the end of the war with the Reapers. I'm more inclined to believe the former, but the mental image the latter conjures is too funny to dismiss entirely.

As I open my locker, two things catch my eye. The first is the leather jacket my father wore during the war. The second is a suit of armor I've never seen before. I take it out and lay it on the bed. It's mostly black and dark grey with a red stripe down the right side and "N7" on the breastplate. The armor appears to be a hybrid of human and quarian design. I don the armor that was made for me and head down to the CIC. As I stand before the galaxy map, a sense of familiarity washes over me. I am Kal'Shepard vas Normandy, and this is where I belong.