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Shepard's Dream Catcher

Chapter Text

A quiet morning didn't last much long when Saren started gearing up for another assignment. He had been stumbling around the house when he saw Amber still in the kitchen.

"Morning, Amber. I've got another mission and I'll be heading out shortly. Would you want to come along?" he offered.

Amber finished sipping her tea before she stood from her seat and disposed of her empty tin can.

"That would be great," Amber nodded, "I'll go get my armor."

Amber stumbled out of the kitchen and made her way to her bedroom, where she pulled her suit of armor out of the closet. Clipping the locking clamps into position, she stepped back out into the living room to join up with Saren and headed out the front door. They sauntered through the Presidium and made their way to the Spectre docks. After making it through the gate, they wandered through the docks until they arrived at Saren's shuttle.

"We'll be heading to a turian colony, dealing with a smuggling ring," Saren informed.

Saren and Amber boarded the shuttle, with the turian Spectre settling into the pilot's seat and Amber sitting in a passenger seat. While he turned on the ignition, she held her helmet close on her lap. The shuttle began hovering out of the Citadel and it made its way towards the Mass Relay, warping into FTL speed.

Time flew by when the shuttle entered turian space. Sharply descending the atmosphere, the ship sharply pulled up to fly parallel to the planet surface until the colony came into view. The mining colony sat along the rocky, mountainous landscape that stretched on for the entire biome the colony was in. After being granted permission to land, they landed on one of the docking platforms at the port. Saren turned off the ignitions before he and Amber stood from their seats. He gathered their weapons while she secured her helmet on her head. The turian Spectre led her outside and they made their way through the docks. With minimal interference with the local authorities, Amber managed to pass as an asari. Once they left the docks, Saren and Amber headed over to a tram station and they double-checked the schedule for departures and arrivals. Once they boarded the next tram, he quietly pulled up his omni-tool with a map of the colony.

"Here's the deal," Saren instructed, "the local authorities have pinpointed the majority of the smugglers' operations through the sewer, but are still having problems finding their nest and flushing them out. We'll be heading in, confirming their presence, then flushing them out. We'll mark the place for the colony administration to clean up later."

"Deal," Amber nodded.

Just as the tram started its departure, Saren double-checked his weapons and handed Amber a pistol.

"Sorry I didn't bring you much else. Besides, given the diverse types of weapons used by smugglers, I thought I'd leave you enough backpack space to figure out what you like," he apologized.

"That's ok," Amber reassured him.

Amber strapped a holster around her waist before she stashed the pistol into the holster.

An hour or so passed before the tram reached its destination. They hastily departed and vanished into the crowds ahead. They started searching for manholes or other means of entry to the sewers as they meandered through the streets. Creeping into a back alley, the two found a manhole just around the corner from an open view of the streets. Lifting up the cover, Saren took point to check if their opening was clear. Confirming that there was no one waiting for them at the bottom, Amber started climbing down the ladder.

Saren continued to take point while Amber covered the rear. Taking cover around a corner before peaking around, he held up a hand to signify to stay back. It was a trio of soldiers on patrol, chattering to themselves under a small lamp. While he listened in on their banter, Saren pulled out his pistol, ready to make a strike.

"Stick to the shadows and follow me," Saren instructed.

They moved out hunched over, only protected by the dimly lit tunnels. Moving close, Saren grabbed one of the covers and dragged him away while Amber gunned the other two down. With their first set of obstacles out of the way, Amber gazed ahead into the tunnel. Before moving on, she stopped by one of the smuggler corpses to pick up a rifle. She did find some ammo in one of the pockets, so she stashed them in her backpack before she and Saren continued forth. Another couple of smugglers came to investigate the noises from earlier before being sharply silenced by both attackers with their guns. The human soldier double-checked their corpses for any useful weapons.

So far, she preferred Saren's pistol, a small, sleek shotgun, and a handful of their grenades. More and more kept arriving, searching for them and slowly leading them to a backdoor into an underground parking garage. With the smugglers still in pursuit, Amber and Saren hid behind some cover and waited for them to appear in their line of sight. Amber was the first to fire as they rounded a corner, gunning down two while Saren eliminated the third and forth. With more smugglers out of the way, Saren and Amber continued forth.

The parking garage had been emptied out and retrofitted with cover and auto turrets for the smugglers' operations. Could they possibly be relocating? Chances were, they knew they had been discovered with someone like Saren in their presence. Still, the turian Spectre was confident he confirmed the local authorities' suspicions. However, the turian Spectre wasn't confident he knew the full extent of Amber's capabilities. After being swarmed by three men who were each twice her size, she wormed her way through their grasps and defeated each one singlehandedly. With three corpses lying underneath her feet, Amber gave him a wink and a thumbs up. He replied with a friendly, yet unsure gesture before continuing.

Leaving the parking garage, Saren and Amber meandered through the corridor in search of the main office. Whoever worked there was in a hurry and made a run for it the moment gunshots rang. There was plenty of loose ends left around, but there was no sign of where they went. Scanning the room, Amber's eyes spotted someone among the crowds outside, shoving their way through the crowds.

"Shepard?" Saren paused.

Amber kept her eyes locked onto the potential suspect before she started pursuing him. Rushing out the door, she started barking at people to move aside so she could give chase. Off to a generally good start, her target whipped out a pistol and began firing back at her. Most of the shots missed while only a few grazed her barriers and one grazed her helmet visor. She didn't flinch as she kept charging after her target while Saren followed her. In a burst of adrenaline, she ran forward, tackled the target and knocked him out with a blow to the back of his head. As she kept her target pinned to the ground, Saren managed to catch up with her.

"Well, that was impressive. Are you alright?" he asked her.

Saren slapped some cuffs onto the suspect while he took a look at her helmet. Her headgear had taken all of the blow, but the visor was now heavily damaged, exposing her right eye, nose, and upper right cheek.

"It may have been a bit rough," Amber answered as she stood to her feet, "but I'll be ok. I've had worse."

Before they could converse further, the colony authorities arrived, shuttle stopping just short on the street.

"Thanks for the assistance, Spectre," the first officer said as he stepped forward, "we can take it from here…uh, who's this?"

The turian clearly took notice of Amber, and her non-asari attributes under the visor. Amber froze in her tracks, unable to come up with a word as she fidgeted nervously.

"Right. Excuse me officer, I'm in a bit of a rush right now," Saren interrupted, "I really should be going. The rest is yours, officer."

Saren hastily scooped Amber off her feet and back to the spaceport, averting eye contact. Once they reached the docks, the turian Spectre didn't waste any time as he boarded the shuttle and settled the human into the passenger seat. Worryingly, he tugged off her helmet to see the full damage.

"Bit of a close call," he hummed.

Amber nodded in agreement.

"You could say that," she mused.

Saren sat down in his pilot seat and turned on the ignition, taking control of the steering handles.

"Well," Saren sighed, "hopefully there are no repercussions from this encounter."

Saren maneuvered the shuttle out of the docking bay and it accelerated high into the atmosphere until it reached outer space. Without further delay, they entered the relay back to the Citadel. During the flight, Amber rested in her seat. By the time the shuttle arrived at the Citadel an hour later, it landed at the Spectre docks. Saren turned off the ignition and stood from his seat.

"Come, Shepard," Saren beckoned.

Amber stood to her feet and followed Saren out of the shuttle, crossing the walkway to reach the dock.

"Just out of curiosity," Saren asked, "when did you start training to join your special forces?"

Amber shrugged.

"I started my N7 program when I enlisted in the Alliance," she answered.

"That would've been fifteen or sixteen years of age, right?" Saren paused.

"Eighteen," Amber corrected.

"Right, sorry for the mistake. Forgive me if I had underestimated your capabilities," he added.

"That's all right," Amber smiled as she gave Saren a pat on the shoulder.

"Forgive my intrusiveness," Saren blurted, "I just might have to look into how you N7s train."

Saren and Amber made their way out of the Spectre docks and meandered through the Presidium when the turian Spectre suddenly heard a ping in his omni-tool. He opened his inbox and noticed a message from Sparatus. Already, Saren was alarmed to see the message name.

{Urgent: In regards to your latest assignment.}

He couldn't help but sigh as he opened the message to read it.

{Spectre,

I'm glad to see your report in regard to your success handling the smugglers along the outer colonies. Unfortunately, I'm concerned about the local-reports and individual accounts about our guest. Meet me as soon as you can. I'm not sure we can contain this much longer.

Councilor Sparatus}

Saren's mandibles flicked nervously as he shifted his gaze towards Amber, causing her to pause in her tracks.

"What is it?" Amber paused.

"I think the hole in your visor proved to be a more fatal error than initially anticipated," he explained before leading them back to his hovercar.

Saren and Amber hopped inside, with the turian Spectre sitting in the driver seat and taking control of the steering handles. The skycar lifted into the air and maneuvered through the traffic towards the Citadel Tower. Upon arrival, Saren landed his skycar before he and Amber disembarked the vehicle. After hustling inside, Saren guided her to Sparatus's office, where they shut the door behind them.

"Arterius, I'm glad you could respond so quickly," Sparatus said, "please, take a seat, you two."

Complying as ordered, Saren took a nervous huff.

"Councilor," Saren began, "we did what was necessary to complete the mission and her identity was partially revealed simply due to bad luck. There was no way we would've known that a stray shot would compromise her."

Sparatus nodded at both of them.

"That's understandable," he affirmed, "I also know that to sustain such secrecy without severely violating her ability to move and interact freely would also be impossible. My biggest concern is how the community will regard her until we connect with her species."

Amber couldn't help but cringe.

"You don't think," she blurted, "they'll see me as hostile, do you, sir?"

"Not yet. There could be the possibility that all our worries are for naught, and this all won't matter," he shrugged.

Those words were enough for Amber to relax her shoulders in relief.

"Still, I'd like for you to get back on track with getting her home," Sparatus insisted, "the sooner we do, the sooner people won't be prying at her trying to figure out what she is."

Saren nodded before he turned on his omni-tool and scrolled to the files he stored that involved what clues he salvaged to find human settlements.

"I'll get back on that, sir," Saren nodded.