A/N: (If you read this chapter already) I did update this chapter a little but there's no need to re-read, nothing that will effect the next chapter.
Lisa was on Palaven now. Severus had no idea how long it would take to drop the child off on Taetrus. When she first got on the ship Severus was surprised by her bright red locks. The only humans he had seen without armor were the ones on Lisa's ship but none of them had locks of that color. She was also very small and to his surprise, she didn't look afraid to be surrounded by them. Severus walked into the cockpit and spoke to the pilot. "Let's get to the Mactare system as soon as possible, then head to Taetrus, I'd like to get back to Palaven as soon as possible."
The helmsman nodded to Severus and typed some commands into the console and the ship accelerated. He told the general that it would be approximately another day until they reached the planet. Pleased with the time it would take to get there, Severus walked down to the lower level to find the small girl. She must have been hungry after spending the whole day in the confinements of her room. When he walked in, he saw her sitting on the floor staring out the window. The room was not particularly big, it was more like a large storage room than a housing bunk. It was spacious enough for two cots, storage and it came with its own personal bathroom.
He walked over to her and sat down on the bed. "Are you hungry?"
She looked up at him, making eye contact as she spoke. "Yes. Thank you."
"I do have to tell you though; this trip is not very long so we didn't stock much food that you can eat. We have these…ration bars that are safe though." He handed her the bar and felt a pang of guilt. He didn't want her to eat something as meager as that but it was all they had.
"That's okay, thank you." She took the package but didn't open it. Instead, she looked up at Severus. "Can I ask you about where I'm going? I know you couldn't tell the admiral but can you tell me?"
"Of course but I don't know a lot," Severus admitted.
"That's fine, I just want to know where I'm going, do you know that? And who am I going to live with?"
"Yes, that's all I really know. You will be living on a planet named Taetrus, in a colony a few miles from capital city Vallum. You will be living with a turian general named Caius Callrix. We should be there by this time tomorrow." He knew Caius personally from serving with him for a few years during the war. Why the Hierarchy had picked him was beyond Severus' knowledge. As far as he knew Callrix had never done anything to stand out amongst the rest, so why him? "Are you afraid to live with someone you don't know? Somewhere you've never been?"
"No I'm not afraid, I'm excited. I've lived with a lot of people before but I've never lived on a planet before. Only ships and Arcturus, have you ever lived on a planet before?" Her words came fast and without hesitation. She barely took the time to breathe between sentences, her ever present smile never fading.
"Yes I grew up on Palaven, the planet we just came from."
Emily stood up and sat next to Severus on the bed. "What's it like, living on a planet?" she asked as she started to open the ration bar.
"Well, you'll like the wind; the breeze feels good against your face, especially on a hot day. Then there is the rain; it could be warm or cold and it could also bring a storm with it. There are so many more things that you will love about living on a planet."
"Do you know what…taterus is like?" Severus couldn't help but chuckle at her attempt to say the planet's name.
"Taetrus, no I have never been there before. It will be my first time there." She smiled as he spoke. "If you are tired you should get some rest, we will be on the planet by this time tomorrow."
Emily ate some of the ration bar and shook her head. "I'm not tired, I'm bored, is there any way I can sit at the front of the ship?"
Confused he asked. "The front of the ship? Why would you want that?"
"Admiral Lisa let me sit at the front of her ship and it was my first time, it was a lot of fun."
"Hmm, I don't know about that, there is no room up there for you." When Severus told her this her eyebrows scrunched together and her face sagged a bit. He figured what he had said upset her. "But how about I show you around the ship?" The proposition made her smile in return.
This should kill a few hours until she gets tired enough to go to sleep.
Caius only had to wait a few more hours before the ship landed and he had to go and get the human child. If Caius said he was looking forward to the next 10 years he'd be a damned liar. He didn't know what to expect, or what the Hierarchy expected of him, let alone why they chose him to do this.
Wouldn't some female be better at this than me? Wouldn't anyone else?
Caius didn't have any family of his own and he wouldn't consider himself a family man either. He had planned to spend the rest of his life in the military and then retire maybe to the Citadel or to Palaven, and then one day his plans were changed. He never thought he would wind up back on Taetrus.
Caius was on a mission a few months before the Relay 314 incident ended when his omni-tool pinged. The Hierarchy requested that he head to Palaven right away for his newest assignment, there were no other instructions or details. When he got to the planet he was met by a young female assistant with light grey plating. "The Hierarchy is waiting for you General Callrix, if you'll follow me please." He followed the woman through a wide double door. As he walked into the room he noticed it was dark with one large window along the far wall for natural light. There were three turians dressed in dark red civilian clothing with a hood covering their faces, waiting for him. As he cautiously approached them the turian in the middle stepped forward with his shoulders back and his chin up and plainly spoke to him.
"General Callrix, we have a job for you; one that you cannot refuse."
Caius' mandibles clamped tight against his face. "Why can I not refuse it? What is it?"
The same turian in the middle, seemed to be the leader of the three. "It is of the utmost importance and is highly confidential. You have been chosen specifically for this. This is a chance to better the turian people; it is your civil duty to fulfill this plan. General you will be sacrificing the life you have now to fulfill this mission. It will take many years to complete."
Caius had to admit, the way he was talking about this assignment made it sound like something of an opportunity. "Do I get to know what the mission is?"
"Of course, but it will not take effect until the war is over. After you leave here you will continue with your current mission. What we have recruited you for is…delicate now, but everything will be in place by then. You will be raising a human child as a turian."
What? Did I hear them right? Caius Callrix raise a human child…as a turian.
Despite his strict military, turian upbringing, he couldn't help but question their judgment. "What, you can't be serious? Why me?"
The turian to the left of their leader finally spoke up, his sub-harmonics rumbling with irritation. "We are serious general, there are arrangements being made now with the humans. We chose you because of your military background and it's as simple as that. You are dismissed."
Dismayed at his new and upcoming mission, he went on with his life in the war until it ended a few months later. Since then he constantly wondered how long it would be until the day came where he would have to raise a human child, when his life would change for forever. When it finally came, his omni-tool pinged and he knew what it was before he even looked at it. Once he had finally gotten the nerve to read the message it had said:
General Caius Callrix,
The war has ended and now your new mission is underway. It is slow progress but we will send you more information as we get it. So far what we have is this:
Age: 3 (current)
Name: Shepard, Emily
As you can see we don't know much as of yet, but we will keep you updated. Until then you will not be going on any other missions. You will relocate to a small colony on Taetrus, on the outskirts of the capitol city Vallum; we understand this is your home planet. We will continue to send you updates as we get them. There are things that are expected of you, the Alliance is expecting reports on her status once she joins the military, after her basic and any other plans for her career afterwards.
Respectfully, the Hierarchy
Caius didn't know what he was going to do, or how he was going to raise a human child. He didn't even know how long he had until she came. His life was changing and he couldn't do anything about it, he couldn't refuse the Hierarchy; it was his civil duty to the turian people to see this through. He hadn't received another message from them until a few weeks ago.
He had been living alone on Taetrus for the past year and half already. He had eighteen months to mentally prep himself for this and to get his house ready for the human. The Hierarchy had an asari doctor that specialized in humans. By the time he received the message he had accepted what his new life was going to become. The message from the Hierarchy didn't say much, they didn't have any new information on the kid, all it said was that she would be arriving in a few weeks.
Now she was almost here, he had been waiting long enough and he was ready to have someone else to talk to. He had prepared his house for her when he got the last message, she had her own room, and he had gotten asari food for her and had even done some research to learn how to cook levo meals. As the minutes ticked by Caius could feel himself getting anxious, his mandibles clicked to his face every few seconds.
They will be docking at Vallum in only one hour.
After fidgeting with his clothes and restlessly sitting at the kitchen table he had decided that it was time to head into town to be there before the ship arrived.
Severus was pleased that Emily became tired after the tour of the ship; he had managed to show her every part of it before she finally decided to go to sleep.
Hopefully she will sleep until we get to Taetrus.
Severus stalked up to the cockpit to ask his pilot how long it would be until the got to their destination. As he was walking through the bridge his question answered itself he could see the mass relay far off in the distance, "How long until we get to the plant?" Severus asked.
The grey plated turian did not look up as he spoke. "This is our final relay jump, ETA 10 hours, sir."
"Good, let me know when we are in view of the planet."
Severus walked down to his quarters and decided to get some sleep himself. He hadn't realized how tired he was until he had finally taken off his armor and laid on the mattress. He had spent a good half of the day with Emily exploring every part of the ship trying to tire her out but she had proven to be nearly inexhaustible. It had probably been more tiresome for him than it had been for her. He thought back to his conversation with Emily. He had never met a human child before and she wasn't what he had expected. He thought she would be afraid of them and cower in fear but she was the exact opposite. She seemed to be more intrigued with everything she came across, she was curious about everything and her lack of abashment made her ask questions to almost every crew member they had come across. If she were a turian she would not have done anything of that sort, she would have a lot to learn. Severus sighed as he closed his heavy eyes. She seemed like a happy-go-lucky girl; he wondered how much of her youthful enthusiasm and spirit would remain after her military training.
Severus awoke a few hours later, well rested. He opened a communications link to the pilot. "Aulus, how long until we reach Taetrus?"
"We should be in sight of the planet with the next hour, sir."
"The child and I are coming up to the cockpit when we approach the planet. I want her to see her new home from a distance before she sets foot on it."
He decided to get something to eat and to get another ration bar for the kid, in case she was hungry. When he walked into the room she was staying in he couldn't find her; he began to panic, looking throughout the room and even in the personal bathroom that came with it, and thinking of all the places she could've gone. He checked the mess hall, the crew quarters, med bay, cargo hold and engineering room. It was if she had gone up in smoke and they were getting closer to Taetrus, he didn't want her to miss the spectacular view of the colony from space for the first time. Severus felt the need to do everything he could to make her comfortable with the first turians she met. As he was walking back to the mess hall the pilot pinged over the comm. "General, we have visual on the planet. And I heard you were looking for the child? She arrived here a couple of minutes ago. She seems eager to take in the view."
Spirits, finally! Of course she is already in the cockpit, she loves it in there.
Severus ran up to the bridge and saw Emily standing next to the pilot's chair. He overheard her and the helmsman talking.
"But I can't read."
"Then I guess you will have to learn."
"I will," Emily turned facing Severus as he strode up. "Oh General Severus, look you can see Taetrus!" She ran up to him, grabbed his hand and pulled him next to her.
"General we'll be landing in 20 minutes," the helmsmen said to his captain.
"Thank you Aulus, we'll stay right here until we dock."
Caius waited, unsure which dock they would be landing at but he knew there were no other ships coming in that day. As the minutes ticked by he could feel his anxiety grow. He'd been waiting at the docks for half an hour. Finally he saw the ship descend from the sky to a dock about 10 minutes away.
And now I wait.
When he arrived at the docking port, he waited for what felt like another hour, but were only a few minutes. The airlock hissed open revealing General Severus and a small human child.
Caius was a bit surprised at the sight of the young girl. He realized that moment that he had never seen a human child. She looked so small next to General Severus who by typical turian standards, wasn't all that big. He was not expecting him of all people to be bringing her to Taetrus. "General Severus, a pleasure as always. I must confess I am quite surprised to see you on Taetrus."
"General Callrix, it's a pleasure to see you as well," Severus stated. His words were short and calculated, but not disrespectful. "Of course I would be here to oversee this, I have been working on this mission since before the beginning." Severus gently placed his talon on Emily's shoulder, carfully guiding her towards her future foster parent. "Now may I introduce you to Emily?" He stepped back allowing Caius to walk up to her.
Caius' attention was now focused on the small child. He was amazed by the lack of fear in her eyes. She stared straight back at him, her features calm and gentle, her back straightened and her innocent smile unwavering. "Hello Emily, I'm Caius."
"Hello General Caius."
He looked back at Severus and nodded his head. His fellow general handed him a bag. "These are her belongings, she is probably hungry. I hope you understand that you will have to teach her to read, write and speak turian. As well as enrolling her into a school, then the military. In other words, you must treat her as if she were turian, reward her as if she were turian, and if need be punish her as if she were turian. She is your responsibility now, general. Not only is the Hierarchy expecting a lot but the Alliance as well. Now I must return to Palaven and report back." Severus bent down to the young girl and spoke in a soothing voice, "It was good to meet you Emily. May the Spirits watch over you always." Severus stood back up and looked to Caius. "It was good to see you General." He then turned and walked back to his ship leaving the two of them alone.
Caius and Emily started to walk away from the docks towards the sky cars; to Caius' surprise Emily was the first to say something. "Where do we go now?"
"Home." It was all he said and even though Caius couldn't read her facial expression, what she said next revealed her bewilderment.
"Home...what do you mean?"
Has she never had a home?
"Home is where we will be living. It's not too far. You'll like it, you'll see."
Thanks for reading and thanks to The Outlander for beat-ing this story!