An Alliance Shuttlecraft

"Shuttle one-two-niner this is Arcturus flight control: state your business and intentions." The com sparked to life breaking in on the report Abigail Shepard was trying to read.

She snapped her head up and craned it forward to look into the cock pit. The Alliance pilot moved to touch the central panel opening up the return link, "Alliance Command, this is shuttle one-two-niner, we have crew and supplies for the SSV Normandy."

"Uh roger that flight, stand by to transmit codes for boarding."

"Transmitting codes now flight."

And that is the end of that, if the codes for some reason didn't work they'd be blown out of the sky, if they did they would be allowed to continue on their merry way.

The young potential first officer on the Normandy hoped for the latter, for obvious reasons. Though it might be fun to get shot at, see what if the Alliance Pilot is worth what the Alliance is paying him.

But there was no explosions, no squeal of a target lock, no frantic jabbing at controls and turns that could cause the inertia dampeners to strain to their breaching point. Instead the purly gates opened and the shuttle began to smoothly slide into position.

"You might want to come up here Commander." The pilot offered.

She did so stooping her head below the low hanging entry portal and stepping between the two seats that made up the main console of the cockpit.

Peering out the window as the pilot made a low pass along the wing was her new ship, her heart caught in her throat and her mind whirled, the lighting of the interior docking back twinkled off the black and white hull, it looked drab and dull, but somehow magnificent and deadly all at the same time. The engine pylons and wings swooping forward and jutting out.

But yet no matter what, this ship was now a part of her. For so long she had crawled through dust and dirt, and now she had some place to call home.

"It's small." But the admonishment sounded hollow even to her, coming off as though she were complaining for complaining sake, and I probably am.

"Yeah, but she has a lot of bite." The pilot said lovingly, "or, at least so they say."

"I am sure they do Lieutenant, and thanks for the look," She patted him on the back and moved for the passenger compartment.

"Shuttle this is Normandy, you are cleared for airlock 2 on the underside of the hull."

"Roger that Normandy, we read you five by five." The copilot said into her com link.

Abigail settled into her seat and made sure she was secure, the transition could always get a little bumpy. The shuttle shuttered around her as the engines were cut allowing Normandy to 'grab' it and pull it into its tether. She gave it a five count before unfastening herself from her wall mounted jump seat, along with the five other crew members almost simultaneously, and getting up to stretch, rolling her hands above her head dramatically and extending up onto her tip toes.

The procession waited for her to finish so she obliged them, heading for the door, and it parted at her approach. She hesitated as the pressure equalized but finally it did and the inner door also opened up on the Normandy cargo compartment.

Abigail led the procession of the latest complement of marines and technicians down the ramp towards the heart of the Normandy's landing operations. The door closed behind her and she could feel a slight sharp jolt in her feet as the shuttle powered up behind her.

"Lieutenant Commander Shepard permission to come aboard."

"Uh, granted." A young man wearing the uniform of the Alliance Marines waited for her and nodded his head sharply

The commander came up short and arched a red eyebrow, "Problem Private?"

"Uh no ma'am, the navigator is having a problem with the navigation computer and the Galaxy Map interface, we are busy making final preparations and he did not feel the need to come greet you himself."

Abigail smirked wryly, "that is quite alright private, and the ship comes first." The Private's stress dissolved almost instantly. "Because the Captain is due here within the hour."

"Yes ma'am." He stiffened back into attention.

She chuckled, "at ease Private you're doing fine."

"Yes ma'am." He replied bleakly.

Abigail started walking for the elevator at the far end of the hold, the other five members of her shuttle party filling in and going to their standard embarkation. She turned around in the lift looking at the bustle of a ship preparing for launch before the door closed on her, and the floor lurched beneath her.

The elevator opened on the next floor a few seconds later, Abigail walked out of it and turned left, peering around curiously. She saw a man working on a sparking console over to the left and a pathway leading to the Captain's quarters on the farthest left.

She approached the man jogging up to him gingerly.

"Uh, hello." She cleared her throat after a second.

The man turned to her and winced, "uh hello?"

"Commander Shepard," She introduced herself smiling.

"Oh yes ma'am, Lieutenant Alenko ma'am, Kaidan Alenko." He replied saluting. "You must be our first officer?"

"Relax, it's fine, though yes I am the Normandy's new XO." Abigail explained.

"Very well." He said rubbing his forehead.

She hesitated for a second arching up onto the balls of her feet, wanting to continue the conversation. "Is everything alright Lieutenant?"

"No- I mean yes ma'am," He assured.

She arched an eyebrow, "if you say so."

"I do, and I really need to get back to work ma'am, this console will not fix itself."

She nodded, "carry on."

She rounded back around the corner heading for the CIC and the bridge wing of the Normandy. Up the stairs and exiting out the port side access to the CIC, taking in the banks of computers and stations, the crew still milling about, and the dark interior like the rest of the ship. Lighting seemed to be at a premium throughout the vessel, and Alliance ships in general, still, she felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and familiarity. This is home she thought. Despite her vocal criticisms of the ship and her size she knew it was an advanced concept that would inform human military progress for generations.

Finally show the Council just what the human race is made of

With the thought formed she nodded and made her way into the room brushing by a suddenly rushing noncom, who apologetically smiled continuing her duties. Shepard scanned the room and finally found the person she wanted to see, leaning over by the side where the Galaxy Map and the rest of the central table sort of 'merged' with each other. He was looking at a status report or something, and she waited a second after stepping behind him.

"Ahem," She finally said.

"Yes, yes, what is it?" The balding man replied turning to look at her cross eyed.

"Commander Shepard reporting for duty." She reported stiffening into attention, but did not salute.

The man intently, and rather comically, refocused, his body stiffened, his eyes cleared and focused sharply on the woman in front of him, and just a second later he fired off a salute at her. "Sorry ma'am, I wasn't aware you had come aboard…it's been a mess trying to calibrate all these newfangled systems and make sure the technology woks the way it's supposed to."

She chuckled and waved him off, "it's quite alright, I am not much of a stickler for 'ceremony' either, getting the ship together is our first priority, let the Captain have all the pomp and circumstance."

The man's muscles relaxed just a bit and he took on a posture slightly between 'at ease' and 'attention', "yes ma'am, I'm Navigator Pressly by the way, second officer."

"Abigail Shepard," she replied informally.

He turned back to his work and she joined him leaning her hands along the side of the table and turning to peer at him. "What is the ship's status?"

"We've basically had to rebuild everything from scratch, the initial trial runs on this ship have already been, but now they were doing stress tests and testing everything. So we got stuck with the aftermath, the ship will run to specifications but it's a long haul to get everything back the way it's supposed to in that framework…also…"

"Yes," Abby queried her red eyebrow.

Pressly leaned back and sighed, "And there is something else, today with the latest mission brief the Alliance sent word that a VIP will be sent over along with Captain Anderson…a Turian Spectre kind of VIP."

Abby whistled but crinkled her brow, "That is pretty…wow…but I thought the Turian observation of this ship was over and it was our show to run from here on out?"

"Exactly," Presley agreed, "Something is up, though if I were a betting man I would say he isn't here to observe the ship."

"Hmm," Shepard mused, "well be that as it may for another time…what still needs to be done?"

Pressly sighed again, "weapons need to be loaded, targeting scanners need alignment, the medbay needs stocking, our pilot needs somewhere to go before he drives us crazy with his boredom, and we need the Captain who will be arriving in an hour, and to rewire several electrical components."

Abby nodded, "I'll help with tactical and electrical, I take it you'll be fine up here?"

"Yes ma'am, navigation and Adams is setting up the core and making sure environmental is operating at full efficacy."

"Environmental is down?" Abigail asked.

"No, just we get the occasional…extreme shift in temperature."

"Oh boy," Abigail muttered taking in the sweet spot in the center of Presley's officer tunic.

The hour passed quickly as Abby got to work on the control circuits and wiring a panel behind the Normandy's bulkhead on deck three, stripping down to a tank top and a pair of regulation shorts to try and beat the heat. She and Kaidan fiddled with the console, her not really being an engineer, letting him take the lead and fiddling with the spanner and Omni-tools.

They repeated this process slowly working down to medical, then the cargo hold, and finally engineering. She worked closely with the crew as they went, getting advice, and paying careful attention, she did not want to complicate the situation or blow something up.

Finally with about ten minutes to spare, they were done. She freshened up quickly and joined the crew in the airlock in the Bridge waiting for Anderson's shuttle to dock in the cradle. She wiggled into the spot beside Pressly with Joker and Kaidan on the other side of his shoulder, she was the closest to the airlock.

The collar suddenly thunked and hissed, Shepard waited for a second as the air lock door went from the red locked to the green open.

"Attention on deck!" She shouted coming to attention, snapping her arms at her sides and waiting for Anderson to appear.

The Captain of the Normandy did mere seconds after her orders. His hands behind his back, his head bowed ever so slightly, craning around the corner. He looked relaxed, yet formal. Her hands snapped into a salute before him as he came to the line, he smiled, and returned the salute with a flourish.

"Commander," He greeted with a smile.

"Captain Anderson," She returned the smile and dropped her hand to shake his.

"How fares our ship Commander?" He asked peering around at the CIC.

"At ease," she turned to the crew and fell in line with Anderson, "She is ready to go sir, had to finish putting the final nuts and bolts into place, and get the gum into the system for good luck."

"Gum Commander?" He asked.

"Gum Captain." She repeated snorting.

He shook his head, "Well, so we can take her out?"

"Engineering just reported her good and ready to go." Pressly took that question.

Anderson pondered the options before him for a second, peering around the CIC as if he could see into the universe beyond. Abigail patiently waited for his orders folding her hands behind her back.

Finally she could not hold back any longer, "Your orders sir?"

"Shepard," Anderson said nodding, "Let's see what we can find."

She couldn't help but grin at the prospect, so this is going to be one of those assignments, as she marched off, "helm, set a course for the Charon relay, best speed, engine room bring the reactor online, navigation set a course, and bring us around."

Pressly nodded at her.

"I'll be in my cabin Shepard," Anderson spoke, bowing and nodding off as he made his way for the lower deck.

"Aye aye sir," She said staring off after him, but after a moment she decided she could use a coffee, it would be a few minutes till they hit the relay, and then onto Arcturus.

"Take over Pressly."

"Yes ma'am." The navigator replied as she followed the Captain down the hall.

She looked around the bridge one last time, just to see the Turian Spectre enter the CIC looking around curiously.

AN: One more brief ME one shot. A final hello and goodbye to these characters, well at least for now, who knows what other adventures I might wrangle up. :P But for now, this is it.