I'm not going to say I'm back. But I will say this may be the start of a new series.
Talitha had never known the Shepard family. She had grown up on the other side of the colony and would have been too young to remember even had she met them. But she knew his eyes. They were the same eyes she saw whenever she looked in the mirror. She saw the pain, the hurt, the anger. He hid it well, but she could see it. You can't hide those eyes from someone who knew that pain too.
But Shepard's eyes had something hers didn't. She saw the strength and determination she lacked. She saw the calm focus and cold calculation that she envied. She saw his patience and the carefully controlled anger that let him do the impossible. He was more than just a survivor. He was more than just a victim. He was far more than just an Alliance soldier or a Council Specter. He was someone who thrived in impossible situations. With a goal in hand, no force in the galaxy could stop him. With a friend in need, he would brave any danger to aid them. And when all else failed, he would not.
He was an Avenger. He would seek out those that hurt the helpless and crush them. He would fight and suffer and die to make sure what happened to him would never happen to anyone else. But strong and hard as he was against those who hurt others, his hand was gentle to the innocent, the misguided, the well intentioned. He respected those that tried to help others, those who shared his goal to make the galaxy brighter. He lent a helping hand to those who were hurt, bringing them from the brink and saving them if it were in any way within his power. He saved her, not just because of their common history, not just because they knew each others pain. He saved her because she needed him and he was in the right place at the right time. She knew with certainty that if he had never known Mindoir and happened upon her as he did, he'd have tried to save her just the same. He would always offer his hand in friendship. Always.
Her hands still shook sometimes when she woke up, the therapy couldn't just take away the years of pain. But he showed her that she didn't have to be the victim. She didn't just have to be the survivor.
When he saved her life, he showed her she could thrive too.
Hannah Shepard always worried that her son didn't have many friends. Perhaps it was because they were always moving. They never stayed in one place long enough for him to make friends his age. Instead he would wander the ship, always curious about the engines and shields and weapon systems around him. Usually the engineers would humor him, so long as he stayed out of the way and didn't make a nuisance of himself.
He was so quiet when he was young, wrapped up in those old vids about dashing heroes who always saved the day. He would always cast himself as the hero of the stories they'd make up at bedtime. With a loyal crew of men and women at his side to fight against all the evil in the galaxy.
Finally they were able to stop for about five years on the Babylonian. He had two little friends there he would lead around on little adventures in the training simulator to the amusement of the crew. An older boy named Han, and a younger girl named Candance. He'd never let them feel left out, thinking not just of stuff for him to do in the adventure but for his friends too. Han was always the muscle, charging into the fray to punch his enemies, while mousey Candance shot at the bad guys from a safe distance. And he was thier fearless leader, making daring plans and rescues and never leaving a friend behind.
He was so upset when they had to move away again. He shouted and screamed and begged and pleaded, but there was nothing she could do. Assignments are assignments. His friends took it hard too, wanting him to stay and keep leading them on thier adventures. But her son was always clever for his age. And before they left he led them on a final adventure right to the infamous Omega station to take down the biggest bad guy ever: Lord Doom. They fought hard and worked together, and at the end Lord Doom was defeated and they were heroes. But there was more work to be done to save the galaxy, and so he left his friends behind to defend the station from more evil while he went off alone on a quest to save the rest of the galaxy.
And when it was over, the trio said their tearful goodbyes and went their separate ways.
It wasn't long after when he enlisted in the military, following in her footsteps. She had been so proud of him, even if it hadn't as a surprise at all.
He had always dreamed of being a hero, after all.
Shepard was not to be fucked with.
This was just simple fact. You don't get to be one of the leaders of the Reds by being a pussy. He ran his part of the crew hard and tight, he instilled loyalty through example and by being loyal in turn. To him, that's what being a Red was all about. Loyalty. "You fuck with my people and I'll tear yours apart." And he had the biotics to do it too.
But he kept to his morals, God damn it. He did what the Reds were originally made to do. To defend ourselves and others from the Blues. He fought them tooth and nail not to wipe em out, but to protect the Reds and the people they were supposed to stand for. And God bless him he did his best to keep us from fallin' down the same hole the Blues had.
That was the problem with Shepard. He was an idealist. He hated the idea of the Reds using drugs to try and keep up with the Blues, he could see what the rest of us couldn't until it was too late. We were being played by the pushers, same as the Blues. He refused to have anything to do with it. He fought dirtier, he hit harder, but too many of the others wanted to take the easy way out. He tried to talk them out of it. He didn't beg, he was too damn proud for that, but if they didn't listen he washed his hands of them and never looked back.
It only got worse when he left. He'd talked for years about leaving this shithole city, and now that the Reds were going down a path he couldn't follow, nothing was stopping him. He left, they got worse. He went full military, they wiped out the Blues. He went Specter, they went to the stars too.
Loyalty was always Shepard's best quality. If you were his friend he would fight an army to help you. But if you betrayed him, he showed no hesitation in venting your head and having your corpse shipped back home as a warning.
In hindsight, we should've known not to fuck with Shepard.
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