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Shepard's Dream Catcher

Chapter Text

With the human he rescued resting at the Huerta Hospital, Saren figured he might as well report his findings to the Council. Once he made it outside the hospital, he ventured his way through the Presidium. After paying a visit to the Council, he should purchase some levo food, set up the guest bedroom, and get Shepard a change of clothes.

It didn't take much long before he reached the Citadel Tower. He stepped into an elevator and stood still as it rode to the top floor. He made his usual stride up the steps to the top of the Presidium, not minding that he was still under-dressed from his visit to Huerta. He reached the landing before the podiums, where the councilors stared down at him.

"I hope you've each taken the time to read my report?" he started.

"Yes. It is most…troubling…that this new species has now shown itself," Sparatus nodded.

"Still, I'm glad that we still have the time to peacefully integrate with them before anything damaging starts," Tevos commented.

"That'll be a little difficult," Saren rubbed his chin, "as I was only able to find one of her species."

"Her?" Valern paused.

"Yes," Saren answered, "the rest of her team was consumed by a pack of Thresher Maws on one of their colonies."

Saren noticed the councilors were giving him blank stares, so he figured he might as well clear up some points.

"According to her," Saren continued, "her species are called humans."

"Seeing how invested you are in this, I suppose you wouldn't mind heading the effort to reach out to these 'newcomers', would you?" Sparatus asked with his usual dull tone.

After a short moment of silence, Saren slowly nodded.

"I did promise her I would help her reunite with her people," he added.

"Very well. Don't take up more time than you have to. You've already spent too much effort on this case," the turian councilor chastised.

Saren gave the councilors a nod before he turned on his feet and made his way out of the Council Chambers. As much as he wanted to solve the case as soon as possible, he knew he wouldn't get Amber back home in less than a day. Still, she had come with plenty of tech on her. Perhaps there was a network that he could connect with, or coordinates he could follow. Considering her species' current technological progress, it would be a bit of a gamble to hope that anything she carried kept record of what relays she travelled through. Once he made it back to his apartment, he pulled out the two datapads and carefully examined them. He would have to remind himself to inform the hospital to return her possessions to Amber once she finished recovery.

Finishing preparations at home over the course of an hour or so, he quickly left for the nearby supermarket to buy several levo DIY meals, as he was unaware if she could cook and what non-human foods she would eat. It may have taken Saren a little while to find these meals, but once he finished gathering them, he carried them over to the cashier, who began stashing them into a few bags.

"So, are you inviting an asari over to stay soon?" the cashier asked.

Saren shook his head before he made his payment.

"Something else."

He left without another word and stashed the groceries away when he returned. Leaving again, he went shopping for clothes and an omni-tool. Before he left, he did get a list of recommendations for outfits from Amber which would make the shopping easier. When he found a tech shop, he began browsing the shelf filled with omni-tools. While she was a soldier of her species, he figured it would be better to start her off with a civilian-grade device. He made a mental note to inform her she could upgrade once the Citadel established contact with her species. Once he made his pick, he carried the omni-tool over to the counter.

Walking out of the store with the omni-tool in a bag, he continued on to a clothes department further down the shopping strip. He purchased a couple pairs of asari boots and undergarments, a few pairs of salarian shorts, and a few turian shirts. Once he completed his shopping trip, Saren made his way through the Presidium back to his apartment. He had almost reached the entrance when he bumped into someone along the way. Catching one of the falling bags, he looked up to see his brother, Desolas.

"Saren! I do apologize about that. What've you been up to lately?" his brother greeted hastily.

Saren sighed before he opened the door and gestured his older brother to follow him inside.

"Busy as usual," Saren answered, "you still dealing with pirates and slavers?"

"You know how it is," Desolas remarked, "they just don't stop. I know your line of work is usually classified, but what's your latest mission been?"

Saren set down the bags on the dining room table.

"I found one of the colonies that the rumored new species attempted to settle in," Saren told his brother, "except Thresher Maws wiped them out…save for one survivor."

"Wait…a new species?" Desolas cautiously asked.

"Yeah. The females resemble the asari, and the males' anatomy resembles the male batarian," Saren nodded, "however, instead of the cartilage crest of the asari, they have a sea of fiber-thin tendrils, almost like fur on their heads."

Desolas folded his arms and let out an enthusiastic hum as he sat down on the couch.

"I'll be looking forward to this new species of yours, Saren. So who is this lone survivor? What is she like?"

Saren picked up Shepard's datapad before he settled into his lounge chair before he turned it on, carefully examining her profile.

"Let's see…she was adopted relatively early in her life by a Hannah Shepard, to which her adoptive mother raised her closely," Saren mumbled, "she took boot-camp at the age of eighteen and has since showed promising talent, becoming the youngest member of their special forces to date."

Desolas raised a browplate as Saren showed him the profile.

"So, Lieutenant Commander Amber Shepard?" Desolas observed.

Saren nodded quietly.

"Yes. I'll try to let you know about more. Until we properly establish communications with her race, she'll be staying at my place."

Saren took a moment to turn off Shepard's datapad before he placed it on the dresser in the guest bedroom. He stepped back into the living room and sat back down in his lounge chair.

"Well, I should get going. It's been nice catching up with you, Saren," Desolas rose to his feet and made for the door.

Saren hadn't moved from his seat when the doorbell rang moments later. Well, this was awkward. Who could've had the balls to head over to the apartment shortly after one guest left? Saren shook his head in disbelief at the thought, yet he trudged over to the door and opened it.

"Hey, Saren! I was in the area and I thought I'd pass by and say hello!" the turian at the door was shorter and younger than himself, and had maroon plates with white facial markings.

Saren rolled his eyes and took a step back, allowing the younger turian inside.

"Pleasure to see you again, Nihlus," he drawled.

"So, how's your life been?" Nihlus continued, ignoring Saren's irritation.

Saren led Nihlus into the living room before he sat down in his lounge chair.

"Fine, thanks," Saren grumbled, "I've been busy."

Nihlus flexed his mandibles as he sat down on the couch.

"Say, you've been gone for some time," Nihlus pointed out, "what've you got to share?"

"I was investigating claims about unidentifiable ships. Found out it was a new space-faring species we've yet to make proper contact with. I picked one up after her squad was wiped out by a pack of Thresher Maws. She's currently in Huerta," Saren hastily explained.

Nihlus scratched his mandible as he raised a browplate.

"Oh?" he blurted, "a new species? This is interesting."

Saren nodded before he turned on his omni-tool and showed Nihlus the data he gathered on the new species from Shepard's datapad, giving his protege a moment to read it.

"She was hurt, but alive," Saren reasoned, "she'll make a full recovery."

Once Nihlus finished reading the data, he gave Saren a nod before his mentor shut off his omni-tool.

"Interesting," Nihlus remarked, "when are you heading back out to resume your search?"

"In a short while," Saren answered, "preferably, once she gets released from the hospital."

"Alright. I was wondering if I could partake in your current investigation into these 'humans'," Nihlus continued.

Saren didn't hold back his exasperation.

"Fine," Saren advised, "but this mission is to remain highly confidential, meaning no one hears about it."

Nihlus slowly nodded before he extended his hand, allowing Saren to clasp it with his hand.

Anderson paced around the bridge, with a few soldiers giving him a blank stare. He spent an entire day trying to contact the squad he dispatched but so far, there was no answer. Could there have been some alien base cutting off all contact or maybe some weather storm? He still couldn't bear to just leave the squad behind.

"Send in another squad. Get in and get what's left of them back out," he ordered over the intercom.

Just as Anderson ended the transmission, one Alliance soldier shook his head in disbelief and trudged towards Anderson.

"Sir," he saluted.

"At ease, Alenko. What's the matter?"

"I believe that's the second time we sent a squad to Akuze," Kaidan reminded, "how can you be so sure they won't disappear like the last squad did?"

"We do not abandon our own, Alenko," Anderson snapped, "I wish there was an alternative, but simply put, we do not have enough data to further asses the situation. Right now, all we can hope to do is keep our distance and find out as much as we can from a more cautious stance."

Kaidan sighed as he rolled his eyes.

"At what point will you recognize this is a lost cause?" Kaidan grumbled.

Anderson pressed his palm into his forehead, feeling the sense of irritation fill his mind. He did admit the possibility of Shepard dying in Akuze worried him.

"I know I shouldn't throw more to the fire like this," Anderson sighed, "but we are at the edge of an unexplored galaxy with god-knows-what out there. Eventually, we'll have to shine some light on the subject."

Kaidan lightly nodded before he shifted his gaze towards the hull.

"So what do you suggest, sir?" Kaidan asked.

"For now, just launch a probe at the site, keep your distance."

Anderson sauntered up the bridge and nodded at the pilots. Departing from the naval hub, they made their way to the relay and continued on to Akuze. Once the ship reached its orbit, the pilots activated the scanners. Maintaining relatively low orbit, their ship launched a single probe down the colony for a surface-level inspection. The least they could do was wait for results.

Anderson looked grimly back and forth between the orbital camera feed and the camera feed from the probe. Whatever tore up the colony, it was big, and didn't appear to use any sort of ranged weaponry. The remains of their soldiers were apparent, with small remains, and chunks of armor scattered about, with the vast majority of the platoon situated towards the hills, undoubtedly making a break for the hills. To top it all off, their only escape was left in a heap of charred, slightly dissolved, twisted metal.

"Oh, god," Anderson gasped softly, his grim expression apparent in his eyes.

"There's nothing down there, captain. It's not worth our time," Kaidan reiterated.

Anderson nodded as he placed his hand on Kaidan's shoulder.

"I suppose you're right," Anderson agreed, "start compiling the names of those on that platoon. I may as well get to work writing those condolences."

With no leads to follow, the ship began its departure while Anderson stepped out of the bridge. He knew he would have to inform Hannah Shepard of the incident, even if he wasn't thrilled about the possible reactions that would come. She was a good friend, and the last thing he wanted to see from her was a river of distress. Once he made it into his quarters, he sat at his desk and got to work.

This could be a grim moment for the Alliance.