This is something I've been working/thinking/etc on for a pretty long time, and eventually just thought I'd start posting it :) originally I meant to post the entire work in one go, but now I think I'll do it in smaller chapters over time...

This fic will jump between 2 major POV's (first time writing first person, let's see how it works!) and a couple of different points in the Mass Effect timeline. Includes several OC's that play minor roles, mainly to fill in Reegar's squad during Haestrom and Palaven. Certain things will be explained along the way, including why I refer to Reegar as 'Reegar' instead of Kal. There are some very minor changes to canon, too, just as a warning!

Aside from this, I hope somebody out there enjoys this and thank's to Bioware for the characters and Rebellion DLC which made me fall in love with Quarians all over again...

(May flag more things in the future and/or change rating)

I've known, for almost as long as I can remember, that I'm different.

Had I been born to a different family, nobody would have cared, they would have been fine with it.

But I wasn't born to someone else, I was born an Admiral's son, and as far as he's concerned, I might as well be a traitor to my people.

The good part is I'll never let them know how I'm different. And the bad part, that they've probably already figured it out.

Squishy - Present

"I'm guessing the whole lighting up like an angry geth thing isn't part of Palaven's normal appearance."

Lirin should learn to shut his mouth once in a while. He should, but he doesn't. One day it will get him killed. He also should take it as an inclination that he's being inappropriate that Reegar gives him a hard stare. Or I think he does at least. Lirin shrugs and disappears out of the cockpit once more.

The transport shuttle we're on jerks unexpectedly and there's a grunt from one of the soldiers sitting in the bay behind us. I'm at the controls. Gabi'Vien, our pilot, is sitting next to me. Her fingers are dancing over the screen before her. Me, I'm just an engineer.

"It's crossfire," Gabi states. Unsurprising, really, given the the amount of fighting going on around us.

"I guess it would be too much to ask the turians not to fire at us by accident, as well as the reapers," Reegar mutters, mostly to himself. I can't help a snort and Gabi chuckles momentarily, before sobering at the task before her.

"There's the landing field." Reegar's leaning over the back of my chair and pointing towards a clearing. I hate it when he does that. I see the turian outpost nearby. "Can you get us down there?"

"I think..." Gabi trails off in thought, then nods. "Yes. Beir-"

"Kinetic barriers are at 80%," I interrupt, "they're holding but I wouldn't recommend staying airborne much longer if we can help it." Squishy's my nickname, these days Gabi's the only person who calls me by my given name, Beir.

This shuttle's more durable than most. It's designed for dropping off platoons of marines, not just small squadrons of four or five people. But it's still just a ship. Fire at it enough with reaper lasers, and it'll crash just like any other.

"Patch us through to the turians," Reegar orders.

"Of course." It doesn't take long for me to pull them up, and I figure Gabi's too preoccupied to do it herself given the way the ship's lunging. Reegar curses and grabs hold of one of the support rails on the ceiling.

"Sorry," Gabi mumbles to herself. I bring up the comms to the screen in front of us. The connection is patchy at best, the turian's image on the other end flitting in and out and static filling our ears constantly.

"This is Kal'Reegar of the migrant fleet, we are dropping our squad in your landing site as per requested by turian high command."

"Landing granted-... -omms system... damaged... rep-... General Kineka-"

"Well," Reegar starts, "looks like we're going to have to show them how to make a decent comms relay, too."

"You mean as well as saving their asses?" Lirin adds in a shout.

Reegar laughs and I find myself wondering, not for the first time, what it might look like.

Being a quarian sucks sometimes.

Reegar – nineteen years old.

"Hurry up!" My voice comes out as a hiss at first, but ends in a laugh.

"Oh I'm sorry," Beir replies sarcastically. "This is harder than hacking into the cafeteria menu to get something nice served for dinner!"

It's harder because we shouldn't be doing it. But we're teenagers, so what are you going to do? We'll be sent on our pilgrimage in a year or two anyway, might as well get the most out of our time left within the fleet. Beir's bent over a desk, fingers working the terminal before him. Me, I'm just keeping watch because it's all I'm really useful at. I'm not the best with tech like some other quarians are.

We're in his fathers cabin, Admiral Han'Gerrel, on his ship. Beir'Gerrel and I both grew up on the Neema. I've known him for as long as I can remember, and we've spent most of our childhood doing or getting into this we shouldn't.

Like Admiral Gerrel's private emails, which Beir is trying to right now.

"I'm in."

Or, just did.

I hurry over to him and stare at the screen. "What's there?"

Beir scrolls through his fathers emails. Most of them are pretty boring from the looks, correspondences with his subordinates, organisation of shipments and non-classified military matters, a few personal emails between him and Admiral Rael'Zorah. Beir pauses scrolling and opens one in particular. It's a long email, with numerous replies back and forth between Admiral Gerrel and Admiral Shala'Raan.

I'm not sure if it's Beir or me that gasps first. From what I'm reading, Admiral Gerrel's been pushing to take back our homeworld, but Admiral Raan keeps denying him. Nobody in the migrant fleet has even heard rumours that the Admiralty board was so much as contemplating fighting for Rannoch, so-

"We shouldn't have read this," Beir states nervously. "The public shouldn't know about this."

"Why not?" Beir's grown up with politics drilled into his head because of his father. My family's always been strongly military based, we don't question our orders, we just point and shoot.

"Because the logistics haven't been considered yet, if the public knew and voted in favour of taking back Rannoch and we didn't have the strength to follow through with it, the Admiral's would lose the publics respect and faith," Beir explains. "But if they never knew, then it'll just have been speculation between the Admiral's that didn't lead to anything."

"Which is why it was highly classified."

I startle at the new voice joining our conversation and Beir swears softly to himself. It's Admiral Gerrel, and I don't need him to take off his mask to prove how angry he must look. Beir cringes under his father's gaze.

"Go to your quarters," the Admiral commands. His son obeys, but I'll leave it for another time to whine about how much nicer Beir's living arrangements are compared to those of us who's fathers aren't captain of the ship. Either way, I know they'll be consequences for him.

Admiral Gerrel stares at me. I know there's more going on here than just his emails. Gerrel never approved of me, at least not in recent years. My family has, for a long time, been in high standing with Gerrel and previous Admiral's of the Heavy Fleet. But we're still just soldiers. When Beir and I were younger, they didn't care we were friends.

But recently it's become pretty obvious Gerrel and Admiral Rael'Zorah intended for their children to marry, and as much as I don't particularly approve, it would be politically very strong, if it did happen. The only problem is, Beir turns it down at every opportunity he gets. From what I've gathered, Rael'Zorah's daughter is too consumed with learning about the geth with her father, and Rael stopped caring about the arrangement once he realised his daughter wasn't taking to it, either.

Admiral Gerrel is less forgiving of his son, and believes that if not Rael's daughter, then he can find another female for Beir, no matter how hard he resists his father. And I'm just the thorn in Gerrel's side, making people gossip.

"Stay away from my son," the Admiral warns.

If I wasn't male, perhaps it wouldn't matter so much.