Mass Effect 1: It Begins

Chapter 3: Searching For The Doctor

AN: Chapter 3 Searching For The Doctor is up. As usual I don't own Mass Effect or any of the characters they all belong to Bioware. Enjoy.

Screaming could be heard all around, the fields alight with angry licking flames as he ran through them. His legs burned as he ran but he couldn't stop and the smoke hung thick in the air making it hard to breath. Gunfire could be heard in the distance and explosions rocked the main body of the colony like fireworks. Tears would have been falling down the teenagers face if not from the intense heat, his head filled with images of those he knew lying dead in pools of their own blood. He stumbled on a rock jutting out from the earth and fell forward into the earth with a crash, mustering his strength he picked himself back up to continue on. Not pausing for breath he continued on up the hill to try and escape the madness from below. When he reached the top he stopped next to the line of aged trees and leaned against one for support as he struggled to get his breath back. Then he made the mistake of turning around, the peaceful image of the valley from this morning looked nothing like what lay before him now, a hellish imitation mutated and twisted. The fields were burning fully now and the orchards that were once filled with ripe fruits now lay a graveyard of trees. The stream that ran through the valley was tainted with ash, blood and what looked like a body was being carried down stream. If it wasn't for all the chaos you wouldn't realise the colony was inhabited, the rubble it was becoming would seem to of be devoid of life for years, not minutes. The teenager standing on top of the hill was rooted to the spot as he watched the image before him. The screams rising in volume as they reached his ears to an almost unbearable volume, before the sight was ripped away in a rush of fire.

Shepard woke with a start, sweat making his clothing stick to his body and the sheets were sprayed haphazardly on the bed. He sat up bringing a hand to his head as he came out of the dream and sighed. He shook his head to try and dislodge the images that began playing through his again and he grimaced. He pushed the images down into the recess of his mind, determined not to think about it and glanced at the digital clock on the bedside table next to him which read 2:58am Galactic Standard Time. He usually had that dream every couple of weeks or so and past experience had taught him that it was pointless trying to get any more sleep. Shepard shoved the mess of sheets off him and stood, moving over to the shower he began stripping off his nightwear which consisted of a t-shirt and shorts. He turned the shower on and activated his Omni-tool as he waited for the temperature to settle. Shepard flicked through a couple of displays till he reached his music and selecting one of his favourites to play on the speakers, dismissed his Omni-tool and stepped into the shower. The piano began to play softly as the song began and the lyrics coming in shortly after, the music building upon itself to reach a great finish. It was a song of one his favourite artists, a Japanese singer from the 21st century. He liked to just forget about himself for a few minutes and just listen to the sounds of music.

After he finished in the shower and had gotten dressed in a comfortable pair of sweats and a nicer t-shirt he looked to sorting out his quarters before sitting at the desk. He had plenty of time to kill before he had to go on duty, they were on course for the Artemis Tau Cluster and then Shepard would need to help locate the Prothean ruins where Liara T'Soni was located. If it went well they might be welcoming a new crew member aboard, to the displeasure of some people. He got some surprised looks when he walked on board with a Quarian, Krogan and a Turian in toe and had announced that they were joining them. Shepard had hoped he'd made it perfectly clear that they were to be treated civilly at least or they'd be repercussions, without actually having to say the words and beat it into anyone's skulls. Though he would want to watch if anyone actually tried to be anything but with Wrex, or Garrus for that matter, it was mostly for Tali's s sake considering how nervous she seemed. After getting the additions on board Tali had settled down in the engine room giving a surprised gasp at the drive core when she saw it and marvelling how it was so different from the migrant fleet. Wrex had taken to leaning next to a pile of crates in the cargo bay and glaring at people that walked too close, though Shepard had feeling it was more for just the fun of scaring people. Garrus had decided to work on the Mako and make sure it was up for the job, not realising what he'd let himself in for with Shepard's terrible driving record.

Continuing on the topic of Garrus he wondered what constituted a good looking Turian, because if he was one he'd definitely find him attractive. Shepard snorted at his own thoughts, hell he found him attractive anyway and had long ago accepting that he had a thing for Turians. He though that Garrus looked very striking in his armour and he probably had lots of admirers. Shepard hadn't any experience with a Turian, he was terrible at flirting with other Humans and he couldn't imagine it would go any better with a Turian. Shepard imagined that he would probably end up with a concussion first if he tried to flirt with a male Turian, or worse. It was after an utterly embarrassing night with a girl on one of his first shore leaves that he'd finally figured he couldn't deny that he liked other guys more. Though other than a couple of one night stands when Shepard had way too much to drink, he'd not really had any relationships with guys either. Being in the Alliance didn't leave much free time for that and Shepard figured he just didn't have it in him. He sighed thinking of the time that he had to kill before the day shift started and he could get ready. Looking over to his bed he might as well be comfortable even if he couldn't sleep. Relaxing on the bed he reached for the nearby datapad and started reading an old favourite of his, preferring to lose himself in the fantasy of the text than think about his recent dream.

After grabbing his much needed coffee Shepard went around the ship making sure there were no problems and making sure everyone had what they needed. Shepard talked to Kaidan about his time in BAaT, though Kaidan was just glad it had been shut down. In his words 'You either came out Superman or a wreck. A lot didn't, some died.' Kaidan had commented that Shepard had been lucky to not of been 'encouraged' to join BAaT when he was younger. He'd seen Nihlus as well who he talked to about what should have been a simple pick up, had turned into a chase across the galaxy. Nihlus had jokingly agreed that Shepard seemed to have the talent of making a simple situation complicated before he went on his way. Dr Chakwas managed to corner him before he could get out of the crew deck, as she wanted to check up on him to make sure that there were no lingering problems from his contact with the beacon. After Shepard escaped he went down to the Cargo bay to see how the new additions had settled in. Wrex commented that Shepard had a nice ship, but otherwise he got the feeling Wrex didn't really feel like talking and Shepard was not going to push a Krogan mercenary. Ashley was disgruntled with all the aliens on board and Shepard convinced her to trust them, that everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves. Though he didn't mention the part where he thought she was being immature over her distrust simply for being a different species. In engineering Tali gushed over the tech that they had, the techno babble going over Shepard's head as he nodded in the right places. She said it was strange sleeping on a ship so quiet, that in the Migrant Fleet it was much noisier and the quiet usually meant something was wrong. She explained about her pilgrimage and how she hoped to bring something of real worth back to the Fleet, considering her family name she didn't want to let her father down. Tali thanked Shepard again before he left engineering for bringing her along and that it was much better than the alternative if he hadn't found her. When Shepard came back through the door into the Cargo bay Garrus had appeared next to the Mako, bent over the console typing away at some code. After Shepard talked with the Alliance Requisitions officer about getting some supplies he made his way over to Garrus.

"Garrus do you have time to talk?"

"Of course Commander. I just wanted to say that I'm glad that you brought me on board." Garrus turned to face Shepard.

"That's good, we're going to need it if Eden Prime was any indication. How have you settled in?"

"Fine Commander, the crew's been polite and I've been making myself busy working on improving the Mako. It's a relief to be away from C-Sec all the rules and regulations just stop you doing the job. Being able to work with you, a Spectre, going off into the galaxy to hunt down Saren without miles of red tape stopping us from even leaving the Citadel is satisfying." Garrus smiled at Shepard.

"You know that the rules are generally there for a reason." Shepard frowned.

"But when they get in the way of helping innocent people, that's when it becomes a problem."

"That I can understand, they don't always help in the end." Shepard sighed. "So is that why you left C-Sec?" He asked.

"By the end it was, when you first start isn't so bad but as you climb the ranks it gets worse."

"It's so much simpler when you're just told where to point and shoot, but then when your in charge its all different."

"Yeah it's a party." Garrus smirked. "So I was just wondering, how did you get to be such a strong biotic? I've seen strong before, but that was impressive back there on the citadel."

"Thanks, no idea really, there isn't a reason for it as far as I know. I could use biotics from a young age, nothing effective but they were there and I just assumed it was normal. When I joined the alliance they were surprised that I didn't actually have an implant, they assumed that I just had an old L1-amp or something." Shepard smiled.

"Well I can see why you're one of the Alliances top biotics, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that." He grinned.

Shepard raised a hand to the back of his head sheepishly. "Well that's refreshing, must Human's assume that I can read their minds."

"Turians aren't much better they're less suppositious and more mental breakdowns."

Shepard rolled his eyes. "For how advanced galactic civilization is it can be backward at times."

"It wouldn't be nearly as fun if we all got along. Too boring." Garrus mock serious in his voice.

"I have the strangest feeling that's not going to happen somehow. We're not going to be retiring anytime soon." Shepard shook his head amused.

"Just give me a couple of hours with my trusty sniper and we can have everyone quaking in their boots." He puffed his chest out.

"I think you've got a tiny bit of a big head there Garrus." Shepard teased.

"My head is perfectly proportional to the rest of me thank you very much Shepard." Garrus spoke with a hurt tone. Taloned hand coming up to his head.

"That's not what I meant, it's a human term we use when we're.." Garrus grin grew wider as Shepard spoke. "You know what I meant do you?" He accused.

"Of course, I've been around a lot of Humans working for C-Sec and all. It's amusing to watch." Garrus chuckled.

"I am your Commanding Officer remember Garrus." Though there was no seriousness in his tone as he spoke with a grin on his face.

"It won't happen again sir." Though the voice suggested otherwise.

"I'll let you get back to work Garrus." Shepard spoke before he ended up getting more ridiculous.

"Alright thanks for coming to speak to me Shepard." Garrus nodded grin still in place. Shepard returned the nod before heading to the elevator to go back up to the CIC, they still needed to find the exact planet that the Prothean ruins were on and in turn hopefully the matriarchs daughter.

When Shepard entered the CIC he made his way to the galaxy map to start the search. Shepard started with the Athens system, though the five planets in it yielded no results for the ruins. Shepard went on the comm to Joker to set a course for the Knossos system, Joker replied with an affirmative before heading for the mass relay. The first planet that Shepard scanned showed little of interest, Phaistos was a small desolate world which held little interest other than a scorching heat. Armeni was a world with an unusual thin atmosphere that was the subject of a court battle over crypts left by a long extinct space-faring race. Zakros was a planet with a frigid surface made of water, ice and hydrocarbon slush, that for most parts of its surface was not solid enough to support the full weight of a ship. Not a place that was likely to hold the ruins of an ancient civilization. Archanes was a small hydrogen-helium gas giant that was developed as a small stopover for ships transporting refined materials from Therum, and if Prothean ruins existed on that planet they hadn't been found yet. By the time they got around to Therum Shepard was getting bored of the search, though he didn't let it show on his face. He hoped that they didn't have to go through the entire Artemis Tau cluster to find the planet that the Prothean ruins were located on and so he was relieved when scanning Therum, that the probe returned with a report on the appearance of ruins that appeared to be Prothean in origin. Nihlus who had appeared some time ago in the CIC came to stand behind Shepard after the discovery.

"Have you found something Shepard?" He asked questioningly.

"Yes it seems that Therum seems to be home to the Prothean ruins were looking for." Shepard replied.

"Any geth activity?"

"Scanners are picking up multiple geth ship signals around the site of the ruins. Ground activity is minimal."

"It seems like the geth have been here for awhile."

"Hopefully they haven't found Liara T'Soni yet then." Shepard opened the comm to the cockpit. "Joker how close can you get us to the Prothean ruins?"

"You're going to need the Mako Commander. Closest drop zone is a few miles away." Joker's voice came back over the comm.

"Thanks Joker, be ready." Joker gave an affirmative before the comm shut off again.

"We're going to have to move fast Shepard. I'm going to grab my gear and I'll meet you by the Mako." Nihlus told Shepard before moving off back to his quarters. Shepard brought the comm up again and contacted Tali in engineering.

"Shepard, what can I do for you? She asked.

"We've found the Prothean ruins on Therum and I want you to be apart of the ground team to help deal with the geth, so meet us by the Mako when you're ready Tali." Shepard answered her.

"Of course, I'll be right there Shepard." Tali responded.

"Thanks Tali." Shepard cancelled the transmission and contacted Garrus.

"Commander." Garrus answered.

"Garrus we've found the ruins on Therum and so I want you on the ground team. We're going to be taking the Mako as we can't get close enough for the Normandy to do a drop. Get your gear and meets us by the Mako, Nihlus and Tali will be there shortly." Shepard told him.

"I'm on it Commander." Garrus replied.

"See you shortly." Shepard cut the communications and turned from the galaxy map heading for the elevator back to his quarters to get into his armour. Hopefully they'll be able to reach the Asari in time before the geth get their hands on her.

AN: So I hope that went ok. I know it isn't as long as the last chapter but I couldn't get any more in without either a) waffling or b) writing stuff that has nothing to do with the chapter. I'm glad to be into the plot more and I think Shepard's little dream went well. Also glad to have gotten some Garrus/Shepard banter in, it took me so long to write that bit up as I was completely stumped. If anyone hadn't guessed I was listening to music while I was writing this, like usual, and that bit at the start was done while listening to Utada Hikaru's Sakura Nagashi. So next chapter we finally complete our squad and we get some epic Mako driving from Shepard, that's really going to end well ^^.

Chapter 4: Therum.