Hey there! Welcome to my newest story. I haven't written any ME fanfictions yet, so this is my first one. It is Shakarian, so it's a GarrusxFemshep fanfiction. Sorry if that doesn't float ur boat, if not, why on earth did you click on this story you silly goose? It's AU, but for those of you who don't know, that stands for alternate universe, please don't let that put you off, give it a go first, I like the idea (but then again I am a little biased). So, this is based before the first contact war, so before the reapers and before the law about slavery in the citadel is passed. Dont worry, all will make sense in the end :) This story is founded on the idea that the humans lost the first contact war, and are being rounded up by the turians as slaves. Yes a little far-fetched, but judge after you've read the story.
Garrus was furious. His mandibles flickered impatiently as he strode towards the meeting chamber. "What a time to hold a meeting," he complained silently. Both Palaven's moons shone serenely on the sleeping planet. He understood the urgency behind the late night meeting. They finally had her cornered. Two whole years after the first contact war ended and they had finally pinpointed the location of Commander Shepard and her ship, the Normandy. It both fascinated, and worried him, that one female human, managed to defeat nearly every recon team the military sent to apprehend her.
After humans were defeated in the First Contact War, the turian military claimed the race's survivors as slaves. Those captured were branded and used to do menial tasks throughout Palaven. Occasionally though, the Turian military would be informed of rogue groups of humans, trying to stay off the radar. These groups would be dealt with quickly and quietly by small task forces, one of these task forces lead by Garrus.
Normally, a rogue group of humans wouldn't qualify for a meeting of this size, but this was no ordinary rogue group. This ship, and its leader, were a definite exception. The Normandy was led by one of the most wanted war criminals from the First Contact War. Commander Shepard had been a formidable enemy when the Turians attacked. Reports said she was responsible for at least five thousand Turian deaths, some say single handedly. The Turian government would do just about anything to get their hands on her.
The Turian military had received an anonymous tip-off that Shepard would be in the Omega cluster at 0700 hours, three days from now. As a result, his leaders had called An emergency mission for anybody who knows anything to finally capture The Normandy. While Garrus was not a highly ranked officer, he was far from an average soldier. The only reason he had been summoned to the meeting was because he was the only turian who had ever fought Commander Shepard in close combat and survived. He was also the only son of General Vakarian, and it was expected he would follow in his father's footsteps.
The meeting room doors glowed soft silver in the moonlight. The doors swished softly as he stepped in, nodding to the guards as he went. The dark, circular room gave off an ominous feeling, and Garrus drew in his mandibles tensely. Everyone else was already seated. The turian generals sat at a crescent shaped table that surrounded their newest Primarch. Officers of less importance sat at long tables facing them. His father made no move to show he acknowledged his son's entrance to the room, but this was a normal occurrence. The Moonlight flowed through the large window behind the council in a solid bar, making them give off a ghostly white glow. Garrus took his seat in the centre of the table, just as the new primarch began to speak.
"Now Captain Vakarian is present," he began, voice tinged with annoyance, "we may begin. As many of you are aware, we've received an anonymous tip as to the location of Jane Shepard's next port", He paused as an exited murmur ran through the Officers. But their excited anticipation only irritated Garrus further. Memories of grenades and submachine-gun fire, flame red hair and fierce green eyes played themselves across his pupils. If they went out with only this menial bit of information, they would all die. The Primarch spoke up again, "We need to send out a team to deal with this situation once and for all. The only reason we have failed so far is because they had the home-field advantage."
Garrus gripped the table in front of him tightly, his claws dug into the wooden surface. "They knew nothing" he thought scathingly. He'd lost twenty men on his first mission as captain against this woman, without taking her out, and she'd left him with the parting present of a missile to his face. "I might not like the human, but they have no idea how dangerous she really is." A good Turian would sit there, emotions firmly in check, and warn them of the dangers of underestimating Shepard. Garrus was not a good Turian.
"With all due respect, sir, we're going to need a giant plan to take down The Normandy without casualties". The other officers muttered disapprovingly at his outburst, but he dismissed them. The generals stared at him in silence for a moment or two, before nodding. The general who spoke earlier stood up, "Acknowledged. This is why we've involved you, Vakarian. You're the only trustworthy link we have to Shepard. You two have a history." The constant twittering of the other officers was nearly drove him over the edge. Yet, irritatingly, it was true. He was the only Turian who had faced Shepard, not once but four times, and survived. Luckily, Shepard didn't know who he was.
Code-named Archangel; tall; excellent with a sniper rifle and more than adequate with an assault rifle; Turian; blue and black armor; facial scar. That was all anybody under general rank knew about Archangel, including Shepard.
As far as Shepard is concerned, Archangel and Garrus Vakarian were completely unrelated. Garrus Vakarian, however, was known throughout Palaven. He was a captain who never failed his missions; until it came to Shepard. The public, however, didn't need to know about that little detail.
Close to growling, Garrus stood up, commanding everyone in the room's full attention. "Request to lead the attack, sir", Garrus saluted. This was no certain question, and there was definitely no guaranteed outcome. Some generals would have nothing against him leading the attack, due to his experience with the matter. Others, including his father, would question his abilities, as he'd failed to capture the fugitive up till now. General Vakarian stood up, and Garrus tensed unconsciously.
"Captain Vakarian, I believe that you are the most suited to leading this mission. Due to your previous unsuccessful missions, however, I have no choice but to doubt your compatibility with this assignment".
His father's cold gaze stared out at him as he would to any other soldier. Garrus felt his wounded pride swell in indignation. "I understand your concern, Sir, but I assure you. Commander Shepard won't get away this time". The generals discussed his words, in hushed tones for a few moments before their calculating eyes once again focused on him.
"Captain Vakarian, you will lead this mission. Do not let our trust in you be misplaced."
The Arteria glided like a silver predator through black space towards the Omega cluster. Garrus paced the length of his room. He was commanding a regiment of 20, along with a council Spectre. Effectively, he was being babysat.
Nihlus wasn't too bad himself, if a bit superior. As a spectre, he could afford to be. Garrus was slightly envious about the lack of red tape Nihlus dealt with. Yet the duties of a Spectre were intense, and often difficult, so Garrus endured. He sighed and laid back on his bed. The intercom buzzed and announced they were an half an hour until they hit the system Shepard and the Normandy were meant to be stopping in to refuel. It seemed as if Shepard had killed one too many people, or forgotten to pay her fuel bills, as their 'anonymous' tip off had turned out to be the owner of the fuel deport.
The cost of fuel was going up these days, and a rogue group of humans could only earn so much money. Garrus wouldn't be surprised if she had to make cutbacks, especially since she'd been on the run for two years now. Garrus subconsciously rubbed his scar. His normally rough and abrasive plates were smooth and cracked. A year and a half after the incident, he still got twinges of pain from it every now and then.
Her burning red hair swirled like fire. The fury that graced her face whenever he killed one of her team. Shepard grinned fiercely as she fired a missile at him. The world stilled as it rushed towards him. She was unforgettable. He was certain she hadn't forgotten him either. Archangel was infamous with the humans. He had taken too many lives in the First Contact War to ever be forgiven. In fact, he was pretty confident that if the tables had been turned, and the humans had won the First Contact War, he'd be the one on the run from Commander Shepard.
The intercom buzzed again, notifying the crew they had entered the system. The team would be taking an unmarked shuttle to the fuel depot. They didn't want Shepard turning tail and running at the first sight of a turian symbol. The regiment planned to stay hidden until the ship had docked at the depot. As Shepard went to pay, they would be there waiting, allowing Nihlus to board the Normandy from the Arteria. That was the plan, anyway. Given the short amount of time to plan, it was the best idea the strategists had, despite the loop-holes. Many lives, both human and turian, rested on Garrus' shoulders. The generals were observing the mission remotely through Garrus' visor with bated breaths.
Garrus walked through his ship, nodding to his crew as he went. He made quite an image with his battle-scarred armour and fierce blue eyes, and crew-members rushed to man their stations as he passed, none wanting his gaze turned on them. His team was ready and waiting by the docking bay when he arrived. Sidonis, his second in command, stood to attention, his toxic green armour shining. Shepard was due to arrive in half an hour, which would give his team had enough time to get into position without arousing suspicions. Oh his way out he nodded to Nihlus - they both knew their jobs - and stepped out The Arteria.
Jane Shepard watched tensely as The Normandy docked at the fuel deport. A foreboding feeling twisted through her. This was one of the last fuel deports that she trusted, but in her last communication with the owner, something had felt off. She was reluctant to leave her ship unprotected. The Normandy had become a haven for civilians and was nowhere near battle prepared. Ashley could handle herself, but without Jacob and Miranda on board, she wasn't sure how well they'd fare against a turian ship. Shepard sighed tiredly and tucked a lock of crimson hair behind her ear. Truth be told, she missed earth. "Hell, everyone missed earth," she thought wryly, "everything's gone to shit since the turians attacked and with Archangel out there hunting us, we're like sitting ducks."
A worry line creased her brow, and she gripped the window ledge tighter. Captain Anderson had stopped returning her messages, and she couldn't help but be worried that Archangel had gotten his group too. She began to walk towards the airlock to go order her fuel when a young boy of about nine ran up to her with a piece of paper clutched in his little hands. Jane grinned happily and knelt down so she was on his level.
"Hey there Picasso, what's your latest masterpiece?" The boy, actually named Leon, grinned up at her.
"I drew you", he giggled and thrust the crayon picture towards her.
Jane took the picture in her hands and pretended to ponder at it for a moment, before grinning down at him. "Your greatest masterpiece yet", she announced.
Shepard smiled as Leon's peals of laughter lit upthe dull grey metal of the hulls. This was the reason she fought. Shepard had faced platoons of Turian warriors, Turian spectres and hopeless situations and came out on top only with the burning need to protect the civilians in the forefront of her mind. Shewould not allow these innocent people to become slaves to those giant bird-bugs.
The Normandy was crowded with them, as many as she could fit on she did, and they had long passed the recommended number of passengers The Normandy could carry. Every available space was used to house civilians. Shepard had even given up her quarters for the many bedrolls needed to accommodate their numbers.
Thanking Leon for his drawing, she made her way onto the fuel deport. Smiling down at her gift, she heard the doors to the pay booth swish open and closed behind her, still looking at the picture. She only realized something was wrong when she heard the sounds of twenty-one weapons clicking almost simultaneously.
A prickle of annoyance at her stupidity ran down her spine. She raised her head slowly, taking in the platoon of Turians with weapons all trained on her. Forest green eyes flickered around the room, taking in their positions, her percentage of success, and if the group was led by Archangel. She couldn't see him anywhere, but she wasn't convinced. She'd fought him enough to know that his sniping skills and instincts were second to none. Nearby, a storage crate had fallen off the pile in the corner, and was just close enough for her to take cover behind if things got messy, as they undoubtedly would. A soldier in poison green armour stepped forward, gun trained on her forehead.
"One move and your pretty brains get blown all over the wall behind you," it growled.
"Definitely not Archangel, that wasn't his style." She though. "Is this measly group meant to take out the great Commander Shepard?" she sneered. "They didn't even think me to be important enough to send Archangel? I feel a little disappointed."
Her hand crept towards her pistol slowly. She'd just grasped the handle when a strong large hand grasped her wrist. She snarled and was about to twist her body when she felt the butt of an assault rifle pressed into her back. She stilled instantly.
A familiar smooth voice sounded from over her shoulder "wouldn't want you to be disappointed, it wouldn't be the same if I wasn't here", he breathed.
This was the closest she had ever been to him, and she itched to turn and see what he looked like. Jane plastered a confident smirk on her face and steadied her voice, "I'm sure we could've managed without you".
Shepard was tired of talking. Contorting her body in a way no Turian ever could, she twisted herself so that Archangel was in front of her with her pistol pressed to his temple. She was so close that she could smell the musky leather of his plates, and a spicy-sweet smell she couldn't place. Still exposed, she pushed Archangel away from her body and dove behind the storage crate just as shots began to ring out. Shots ricocheted off the crate to hit the wall behind her. She heard Archangel barking out orders not to waste heat sinks. "I might not like the man," she thought," but he can sure command his troops." She heard the tell-tale pad of boots on metal, and rolled out from cover to meet her assailant.
It wasn't Archangel. A single shot to the temple and the soldier collapsed. His body hadn't even hit the floor before Shepard was attacking the next one. Jane fell into the familiar routine of dodging shots, and downing Turians before the fuel depot's speakers crackled to life. The screen on the far side of the room flickered to life as a security camera blinked on and focused on the woman.
"Commander Shepard, stand down. We have captured The Normandy. All the passengers are our hostages. If you don't stand down, we will kill everyone on board."
Shepard froze as a distinctly Turian voice crackled out over the speakers. Garrus recognized it as Nihlus. The screen switched to show a small boy kneeling on the ground of The Normandy, a shotgun held to his head. Both Garrus and Shepard hissed in shock and worry. Garrus' head was reeling; this wasn't part of the plan. All Nihlus had been told to do was capture the Normandy, no hostages involved. Garrus despised cowards who used hostages as a tool, let alone when he hadn't been informed of the plans. "Nihlus, what in the spirits do you think you're doing?" he spat through his radio. He didn't care that Shepard could hear him. He was utterly furious. "The General's didn't send him to babysit," he thought bitterly, "They sent him to take control of the mission." Nihlus didn't answer but the boy on screen opened his mouth to speak.
"Jane? Shepard? Um, I don't know if you can hear me, but the Turians have the ship. I can't find mummy, and I'm really scared", water began running from the boys eyes, and Garrus wondered what was wrong with him. Out of the corner of his eye, Garrus could see Shepard shaking with what he guessed to be fury; her usually confident smirk twisted into a pained snarl.
"How dare they". Shepard was beyond furious, she was livid. Leon was forced to his knees with a gun pressed to his temple. "Didn't they have any sort of moral? Leon is an innocent. A child!" Shepard felt helpless, and she hated it. A small, childish part of herself felt slightly disappointed at Archangel, but a larger, battle-weary part quickly doused it. It was strategy it's finest, taking her strengths and turning them to weaknesses. Taking her need to protect the civilians and instead of giving her determination, forced her to drop her guns. Already resigned to her fate, Jane was determined to do everything in her power to save them.
The boy rubbed his face with his arm for a moment, before smiling fiercely at the camera. Despite the water running in rivets down his face, he grinned a grin so Shepard that Garrus felt as if he'd been punched. "Don't do it Miss. I'll protect them. Don't surrender for us. We need you to kick Turian ass!"
Garrus heard a Turian on the other end swear, and saw the camera swivel to face Nihlus. "Shepard, if you don't surrender, we'll kill every human on your ship. If you do, we'll let them live. Your choice."
Garrus felt like hitting something. Sidonis stood up from behind the pile of crates he'd been hiding behind and walked confidently towards Shepard. Before Garrus could shout a warning, Sidonis was kneeling on the floor with Shepard's pistol trained on his skull. She reached inside his helmet and snapped off his radio before bringing it up to her face.
"Turian, I have a better option. How about you release my fucking ship before I kill every one of you, and I'll come quietly. Other option is I kill every single one if you and chuck your hides out the airlock. Your choice", she snarled.
Garrus let out a snorting laugh, but Shepard remained focused on the screen. Nihlus looked as if someone had pissed in his coffee. Garrus had never felt like someone deserved it more. Nihlus spluttered indignantly before having a hurried, hushed, conversation with his team. Garrus felt a strange sense of injustice for Shepard. Hostage taking was no business he had wanted to associate himself with.
"Nihlus, I'll take responsibility for this. It's either get Shepard, or die with nothing. It's an obvious choice". Garrus knew she could hear him but he couldn't spare her a glance. He stared at the screen to waiting to see Nihlus' reaction. All he could hope for was Nihlus being worried enough about the General's response to the mission that he'd want to blame the failure on Garrus.
After a few moments of tense silence, Nihlus reappeared on screen, "Fine. We will release your ship, provided you put down your weapons and give yourself up. No dirty business or you all die."
Shepard snorted, "I don't go back on my word," she stated at the camera, dropping her guns. Sidonis stood up at the loss of a gun to his temple, and Shepard sneered at him in disgust. Foreseeing his subordinate's violent intentions, Garrus intervened.
"Sidonis, take the team and report back to The Arteria. I'll escort Commander Shepard myself". Sidonis opened his mouth to argue, but Garrus cut him off. "Now private!" he snapped. Sidonis saluted and left, the tattered remnants of their team following after.
Shepard glanced at Garrus, her face void of emotion. He had to hand it to her, she sure had guts. It couldn't be easy to appear relaxed, the presence of her enemy, especially without her after their repeated battles could he read the fury in her green eyes and the way her pulsed fluttered like a hummingbird. Blood dripped steadily from where a bullet had grazed her was easy to forget just how physically fragile humans were, especially having faced her in combat. Garrus didn't find himself attracted to many, but at that moment, Shepard fulfilled both Turian and human ideals for beauty. Her strength was awe-inspiring, and her eyes burned furiously. Her hair fell in waves around the soft curves of her face. Swallowing down his confusion, Garrus approached her as if she were an apex-predator like him. His instincts were alert and sharp as he registered her complete stillness.
The tension could be cut with a knife as he crossed the room, not breaking eye contact once. The closer he got, the more apparent the height difference became. She was so tiny, like a china doll. "Are you going to co-operate, or do I have to restrain you," Garrus' sub-vocals would be easily understood by any Turian, the regret was obvious in his voice, yet to a human it would be lost, so Garrus was safe.
He had no reason to be regretful, but for some reason, he wished it could've happened differently. Maybe he was just being sentimental, but every time he envisioned their 'final battle', when one finally triumph over the other, he had always imagined a fair fight between just the two of them. No hostages. No unreasonable feeling that he had betrayed her. No messy emotions. What was wrong with him?
Shepard ignored him, and walked out the door, her pride swirling around her like a cloak. Garrus was unable to do anything but follow in silence. He could tolerate her snarky grins, sarcasm and taunts, but this awful silence made his plates itch. Desperate to diffuse the situation, he tapped at the glowing screen of his Omni-tool and hacked into Nihlus' date banks. He located the only antidote to the situation, information.
They'd reached the doors that separated them from The Arteria, and Garrus cleared his throat awkwardly, before reaching out to softly gasp Shepard's arm. "I, uh, The Normandy's off our scanners, there's no way we could track them now. And-" he faltered a moment, before looking her in the eyes, "and I'm ashamed we used your crew like that to get to you. It wasn't right, wasn't decent, and you didn't deserve it," he finished awkwardly. Immediately regretting his little speech, Garrus withdrew his hand.
"Thank you", she whispered. Garrus' mandibles widened a little in shock. Her green eyes were looking up at him with a human expression he couldn't place. It was the first time they'd ever exchanged words without guns pointing to various parts of the other's body. He felt strangely at ease. Her unspoken forgiveness soothed the burns his regret had left like a cooling balm. Garrus reached around her to key in the code to open the door. A cold fury began to grow at the remembrance of Nihlus' actions. Questions would be answered whether the spectre liked it or not. Garrus would make sure of it.
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