A/N: Oh look, an update! How grand! Second draft due at the end of next week and I have a fuckton of work, so I can't guarantee regular updates anymore. I'm super fucking sorry about that.
Also for some reason this was published on Tumblr like two weeks ago but not here idk man I was probably half asleep so here.


Attempt

She was beginning to look pregnant.

Shepard eyed her image in her tiny head's small mirror as she held up her shirt with her teeth, turning to inspect it. While the accumulation of weight on her stomach and hips would have made many other women happy, or even excited, it had a far different effect on the captive Spectre. For her it was far more frustrating than it should have been. It was one thing against her ability to escape — more weight meant less mobility, and weight there meant less flexibility. She had already lost much of her capabilities just from being unable to use her biotics — she didn't need this added restriction.

Not for the first time, she wondered what it would be like to be having a normal life, or what passed as one in the postwar era. But to have Kaidan with her ... she sniffed, biting her lip through the fabric as she studied the curve that was beginning to alter the plane of her torso, enough that anyone looking to see if she were pregnant would be able to tell but not enough that it wouldn't have been easy to hide had she not been held by some whackjobs who were banking on it. For what was certainly not the first time she found herself wishing he was there, that any time now he would cover her hands with his own and everything would be all right.

But no, it was just her in baggy grey sweatsuit, barefoot on the metal floor of what may as well have been a glass cell with the cameras and the eyes she could feel watching her every move.

She let her shirt fall back into place, a slight wet spot the only evidence that she'd been holding it in her teeth. Leaning on the sink, she bowed her head slightly. The head was the only part of her cell blissfully unmonitored, and she needed to ensure the threatening emotions — she would blame hormones — were in check before she left.

How long before she'd be too large to escape? With her shirt down you could barely see it — it looked as if the shirt just somehow managed to hang straight off her chest. But that didn't mean a thing. That meant they had — oh, what had her research said? A few weeks? Maybe a month and a half? — until she wouldn't be able to handle any guards in any real way, and she couldn't ask Joker to make up for it.

A month. She'd say a month.

They had a month.

She left the head, resuming pacing as she did. How long had she been in here, anyway? It had been at least a day since the guards had reactivated her terminal, and the silence was nearly overwhelming.

They could at least play some background music or something. Hell, she'd even take year-old Citadel News Network reports.

She was on the far side of the room from her terminal and had just decided to head back over and open up the shitty solitaire application they'd given her, when the locks on her door chimed. She froze in place, hands settling on her stomach as she whirled towards the door. It opened to admit an armor-clad guard, who approached her with his weapon drawn.

Shepard launched into action.

She cleared the room before he was able to react, driving her elbow into his wrists and wrenching the gun out of his hands, simultaneously driving her knee into a poorly-armored section of his waist and sending him crashing to the ground.

Inadvertently this action put her back to the door, and had she paused to actually think that there would be more than one guard (or, really, more than two or three), it may have worked.

As it stood, he was one of eight.

Three of them were immediately on her, one of them fighting her for her purloined weapon. While he distracted her, though it earned him a nasty crack in the face from the butt of the gun, another slammed his foot into the back of her knee. Shepard yelped, letting go of the gun as she started to fall. The last seized her arms, wrestling her to her knees, as the one who had kicked her dug his gun into the base of her skull. She stopped struggling, breathing heavily as she closed her eyes.

Fuck. Three months ago she would have been out of there, no matter how many there were.

"Are you willing to cooperate?" the one holding her arms hissed. She nodded mutely, trying to ignore the feeling of embarrassment at being taken down by four guards, two of whom were currently bleeding. He hauled her to her feet, and the guard who had been threatening her seized her other arm and marched her, limping, out of her cell.

They frog-marched her over to the examination table she recognized from her arrival. Without further words they forced her onto it and, with some struggle, bound her down. Shepard swore vehemently, finally falling limp against the table and staring at the ceiling with a quiet huff.

"How long have I been here?" she finally asked the guard standing closest to her, his gun still held ready.

For a minute she thought he wasn't going to answer, but he did. "Four days."

"Only four days?" It felt like it'd been months.

"That's what I said, isn't it?"

Shepard looked back over at him. "Did you wake up on the wrong side of the asshole cage or something?" He didn't rise to her bait, and she shook her head. With the guards silent, she sighed and let her head fall back onto the table.

The door to the hallway finally zipped open, and Shepard let her head roll to the side. She wasn't sure what she expected, but the person who emerged was the doctor she had met a before, rolling a cart and studying a datapad. The door closed behind him, and he looked up. "Shepard."

"I told you before." She affixed him with a hard glare. "You have to earn the right to use my name."

"Fine. Major." He set the datapad down on a machine cart and wheeled it over.

"Look, I don't care who you are. I'm here because I'm forced to be, not because I'm on vacation. So cut the crap."

"Major, we can do this the easy way or the hard way," Couzier replied heavily. "While I see you are already insisting on the hard way, I would like this to be a one-time event. You understand."

"I don't need this," she argued. "I didn't volunteer for this. My friend and I got abducted off the Citadel and I got locked up in a tiny-ass cell with nearly no human contact because your boss is a psychotic nutjob."

"Technically, the fact that the Illusive Man rebuilt—"

"I don't owe his memory or any organization built off a group of defunct terrorists a goddamned thing."

"Major . . ." He shook his head. "Be reasonable."

"Reason has nothing to do with this. Reason would be letting me go. You're a smart man, you should realize that."

"Major, do shut up." She fell stonily silent, gaze hard. He waved a hand, and the guards retreated from the table. "Now that we can be civilized, I'll begin the exam."

"This is not civilized." She tried to move, but couldn't. Cozier moved into the exam she remembered from the last time she'd been in a legitimate hospital, a routine she was sure she'd be familiar with shortly. "I don't get why the hell you need to check me every few days anyway."

"Boss' orders. He's put a large investment into this. He originally . . ." He tapped the syringe of blood he'd just drawn and nodded. ". . . wanted you checked every day. I talked him down from that."

"Thanks," she mumbled. "I guess. I still think it's pointless."

"Do let it go, Major."

Shepard didn't quail, but didn't answer either. Her eyes lingered on one of the tranquilizer guns across the room.

"There." After some silence he finished, and closed his omni-tool. She really wished she could move so she could kill him. "Everything looks normal. We're done here."

Couzier stood and rolled the cart over to its resting place, putting the data together. Her guard undid the restraints and jerked her arm. "Come on."

"Absolutely," Shepard replied as he hauled her to her feet. As the other moved for her other arm, she made her move. The palm of her hand drove into the approaching man's face, dropping him instantly, and her other seized the man holding her's gun. She jammed it back into his face, making him stagger back, then fired several rounds into Couzier's back.

At almost the same time she felt a few different rounds hit her, mostly in her arm or chest. They were small, tiny, and only sharp enough to penetrate the smallest amount of skin necessary for successful delivery. As soon as she felt the first she dropped the gun, holding up her hands. One-thousand-one. One-thousand-two.

Another guard moved in, wrenching her hands behind her back. Her ears started to roar, and her knees buckled. One-thousand-thirty. He kicked the tranquilizer gun away and said something about stupid moves and the promptness of her retribution, to which she thought she made a sort of half-laugh. Her knees gave out, and he was the only thing keeping her from collapsing as she closed her eyes. One-thousand-sixty. One-thousand-one.

He dragged her over towards the cell door, and she tried to move. She still could, still possessed some feeling in her limbs. Her feet and hands were starting to go numb. One-thousand-thirty.

Her last thought was one and a half minutes.

#

"She ... attempted an escape, sir."

He didn't turn. Oxley shifted on his feet slightly, uncomfortable at the silence.

"She is still in custody?"

"Yes, sir."

"What did she do?"

"She merely seized one of the guards' weapons and fired into Doctor Couzier."

"Couzier is alive?"

"Yes, sir. It was one of the anaesthetic weapons."

"Hm." He was silent for a few moments. "It was likely not a true escape attempt."

"Sir?"

"It was likely that she would — and still will — try several times to escape. It is why we had Moreau taken with her when the opportunity arose. Is she conscious?"

"No, sir. They returned her to her observation module but she is still sedated."

"Good." He took a sip out of the glass next to him, setting down a datapad and picking up another. "Carry on, Oxley, you know what to do."

"Yes, sir." Oxley turned and headed back towards the communicator, plugging in the appropriate contact information for the base where Shepard was being held. In a matter of seconds the security officer appeared, hands folded behind his back.

::Sir. The situation has been entirely contained. The subject has been returned to her observation module and is currently sleeping off the sedation.::

"Have you given any thoughts to her punishment?"

The officer was silent for a few moments. ::We were ... hoping that the boss would have a directive for us.::

Under any other circumstances it would simply be rote violence. Rote violence worked extremely well on most subjects, after all. However, Shepard's condition, her importance, and (quite frankly) her previous physical damage made rote violence the last option that would be effective. And, because this was — as his employer pointed out — a half-assed escape attempt at best, using Moreau as the leverage they had initially planned for was probably not the best course of action either.

He was merely his employer's assistant, for God's sake. He shouldn't be making these decisions.

"A verbal warning will suffice," Oxley said finally. "She will likely attempt to escape again — be prepared. My employer does not believe this was any more than a test of our defenses."

::Of course, sir.::

"Carry on."

#

Shepard groggily came to, lifting her head as she blinked drowsily.

She was back in her cell on her cot, where she had apparently been simply dropped and left. She shifted with a groan, moving her left arm out from under her painfully. It felt like she'd been laying on it for so long that her nerves had forgotten it existed, so she let a quiet hiss escape her teeth as she moved it. You've been shot, stabbed, poisoned, and killed. Twice, she chided. A little desensitized nerve is nothing.

To top it off, there was a hell of a pounding behind her eyes. She flopped her right arm over her eyes, trying to cut out the bright fluorescent gleam of the lights. God, it hurt.

::Good morning, Major.::

Shepard grumbled under her breath. Couzier sounded disturbingly chipper, for having been shot with the same shit she'd been.

::I'm disappointed. I expected a more impressive attempt to escape.::

"Come back down 'ere an'I'll show you impressive," she slurred, hand searching for her pillow to better block out the light. He chuckled.

::It does lead us to believe that it was not an actual escape attempt.::

After finding her pillow, she indelicately made an obscene gesture towards the intercom.

::You are quite fortunate, Major. The boss has decided that you should only be warned against attempting it again. After all, we would hate to need to visit Mr. Moreau, wouldn't we?::

She mumbled an obscenity and a nasty commentary on his mother and slapped her pillow over her head, sighing when it blocked the light. Fortunately he seemed to have lost interest in her, and a few moments later the lights shut off. Shepard curled tighter in on herself and slowly let herself drift into a half-sleep.