: Greetings. I'm Raela'Shepard nar Normandy and I'm looking for a job...
Shopkeeper : Wait, did you say Shepard? You're the daughter of the Shepard? Hero of the Citadel Shepard?
Raela : Uh... yes, so about that job, I'm really good with machi...
Shopkeeper : Everyone, look, this is Shepard's kid! Shepard's kid is in MY repair shop! Could you record an endorsement for me?
Raela : Thanks for helping me with those C-Sec goons.
Kor Tun : *hissst* It was my pleasure. It pains me *hissst* to see someone getting harassed like that.
Raela : Well, I'd always been told I was going to have to look out for myself. I guess the Citadel's still not that welcoming a place for quarians.
Kor Tun : True *hissst* true. But a long time ago, someone told me *hissst* that I needed to be more considerate *hissst* of others, and I've tried to take it to heart.
Raela : I'm glad to meet someone willing to help out, then.
Kor Tun : But... *hissst* could you do me a favor in return? *hissst* For the longest time, my olfactory filter has smelled like *hissst* refuse...
Raela : Mother... I, uh, I need to you to come down to the C-Sec precinct in Shin Akiba.
Tali : What? Shin Akiba? Didn't I always tell you...
Raela : I know, I know. Look, I'm not really in trouble like last time, it's just there was... some damage done to...
Tali : Damage? Damage?!
Raela : Only a few million people are without power! There was a plot by batarian terrorists, I had to do something.
Tali : Terrorists?!? Hold on, I'm putting your father on the line.
*muffled voices in the background* She gets this from you!
Shepard : Raela...
Tali : Father; batarian terrorists. I just need to you come down to the C-Sec precinct and sign for me.
Shepard : *sighs* That's my girl.
Missing section written by another fan that detailed Raela meeting Kolyat.
: I'm sorry you had trouble getting onto the Presidium. I've been trying for years get to the policies about visitors from certain races changed but I think Councillor Velarn is blocking me out of spite at this point.
Raela : Well, father said I should at least check in with you and send his best wishes. He says you'd probably appreciate seeing someone besides a politician for once.
Anderson : True enough. Well, then, how's your Pilgrimage going so far?
Raela : Well, I've made a little bit of money on endorsements, but there's not really much work to be had here. *her stomach rumbles embarrassingly* Uh, and I guess I'm used to better food.
Anderson : I'll see what we can do about that. There's a state banquet tomorrow; I'd be happy to put you on the guest list. They'd have to find something decent for you to eat.
Raela : Would you? Thank you! Father always said you were too nice.
Anderson : Heh, well, what are you planning next, if you don't mind me asking?
Raela : I'm thinking about seeing if I can get passage out to the Veil to help work on the geth megastructure. That would be exciting, right?
Raela : Are... are, uh, you Legion? I've only seen pictures.
Legion : We are geth. This mobile platform retains the designation Legion for the purposes of interface with organics.
Raela : Then I'm pleased to meet you. My father sends his best wishes.
Legion : This non-material transfer is accepted in the... spirit in which it is intended.
Raela : Uh... okay... so, I was wondering if I could help build the megastructure. I'm on my pilgrimage and...
Legion : Geth are aware of the specifics of quarian pilgrimages. Your offer of assistance is accepted. A differing viewpoint on certain matters of engineering and programming is required.
Raela : Great... uh, consensus, right?
Legion : *tolerantly* Consensus.
Raela : I just wanted to say, the megastructure is just amazing, even if it's not done ye... wait. *she points* Is that a piece of the first Normandy ?
Legion : There was a hole.
: *yelling to be heard* You were right! This is great music! I need to get a copy to bring back with me.
Shirati : I know, doesn't it just speak to the dark side in you?
Raela : Uh, I guess. Yeah, I guess you could say that. Hey, thanks for inviting me! We should find some partners to dance with!
Shirati : Who needs someone else?
Raela : Oh! I, uh... well... I suppose until we see some cute guys...
Shirati : There's never anyone that interesting here. That's why I wanted you to come. Listen, my apartment's not far from here. We could go back there, have a few drinks...
Raela : Uh... Well... I need to catch a shuttle in the morning, so...
Shirati : Don't be like my older sister, all cloistered away from the world. Live a little. Have some danger in your life. You never know when things are going to end...
Shirati : And here we are...
Raela : Well, just one drink, I suppose. You do have something purified, right?
Shirati : Of course, of course. You know, I think it's amazing what you're doing. Wandering the galaxy, alone, fearless... *keys apartment door open*
Raela : I'm just trying to make my parents proud.
Shirati : I'm sure you are, but I hope you've lived for yourself, as well. *beckons inside* Come in, come in.
Raela : Just a moment. *fiddles with omnitool*
*apartment door bangs shut and the seals noisily engage. Enraged screaming and pounding on the door is barely audible from the other side.*
Raela : *to omnitool* Auntie Samara? Hi, it's Raela'Shepard nar Normandy. Yes. Father said you were here on Omega. Well, there's someone I think you need to meet...
Raela : Don't come any closer. I have a shotgun.
Pirate : You don't have to get hurt, little bucket. Not too much, at least. Just put down the gun.
*Raela just raises the gun, taking better aim.*
Pirate : Damnit, the ship's already ours. You haven't got a chance!
*there is a commotion behind the pirates who have cornered the quarian in her small berth. A heavily tattooed woman forces her way to the front, biotic witchlight coursing down her arms.*
Jack : Oh, sh*t.
Raela : Auntie Jack? It's me, Raela'Shepa--
Jack : I know who you are. Shit. Break it up boys, the rest of the ship needs your attention. We've only got a few more minutes before that turian patrol responds.
*pirates grumble, but disperse.*
Raela : You're the Pirate Queen of Terminus? I thought... Father said you'd gone straight.
Jack : Yeah, well, he doesn't need to know the truth now, does he?
Raela : Does he?
Jack : *grimaces angrily* Look, I'm not engaging in slavery or anything, just ransoms, and everybody was given a chance to surrender, right?
Raela : I don't know...
Jack : There's a lot of platinum in the hold, right? How about half of it 'ends up' on the Flotilla?
Raela : Turn the ship loose, too, and we've got a deal.
Jack : *glares*
Raela : *glares back*
Jack : Damnit...
Raela : Grandpa Massani, thanks so much for hiring me for this mission. I won't let you down.
Zaeed : *scowling* Not in front of the men, girl.
Raela : *very contrite* Oh. Sorry.
Zaeed : *embarrassed* Ah, damnit. Just make sure those defense turrets are hacked when we make our move. These slavers think the goddamn things are invincible.
Raela : Guess they're in for a lesson, then, aren't they, Gran... er... Commander Massani.
Zaeed : Bloody right. Get ready.
Raela : You can count on me, Gra-- Commander.
Zaeed : *looks around, sees the rest of the mercenaries aren't paying attention* Aw, hell... grandpa's fine.
Raela : Grandpa!
*the clustered mercenaries part to let her through*
Zaeed : Good... work. You earned *coughs blood* every credit. Rest of the job just went...
Raela : No, no, grandpa! We did it, we got all the slaves out, even the hierarch's son. We'll get you to an evac shuttle!
*the telltales on Zaeed's armor all alarm at once*
Zaeed : Fortunes of war, girl... always figured it... would end like this...
Raela : *crying* Grandpa! No, no, you've... you have to live! Vido's still out there, you have to live!
*one of the mercenaries puts a hand on her shoulder, trying to pull her away. She shrugs him off*
Zaeed : *shakes his head weakly* Just glad... had some... family... here...
Raela: *presses her mask against the holed, bloodstained chest plate of Zaeed's armor* Grandpa...
: Hey. My name's Annika.
*Raela looks around, startled, then notices the asari child*
Raela : Hello. *glances around the spaceport lounge* Are, uh, your parents around?
Annika : *unconcerned* Somewhere. You're lucky.
Raela : What?
Annika : *points at the pict Raela had been looking at* Your parents are different like mine. Not a lot of aliens are lucky like that.
Raela : Wha... Oh, right! What race is your father?
Annika : He's a turian. That's why I'm forthright.
Raela : *laughs a little* Well, I can see that.
Annika : So your dad is a human, huh? Didn't think it worked like that. But I guess that's why you're nice, and not all shy.
Raela : *laughs a little more* I... uh, suppose so. Thanks. I guess I do feel pretty lucky sometimes. *despite the positivity of her words, she sounds a little sad*
Annika : *matter of factly* You should. I have to go now.
Raela : Goodbye, Annika.
Randall : Miss Shepard? A moment of your time, please.
Raela : Look, I'm not signing anything here on Ilium. I might be on my pilgrimage, but I wasn't born yesterday!
Randall : *smiles sharkishly* Of course not, Miss Shepard. My name is Randall Lawson. I represent some... former... associates of your father's.
Raela : *still wary* Yes...?
Randall : I'm sorry to trouble you, but I have to ask you to deliver a message to your father.
Raela : He has an inbox.
Randall : Oh, I think it's important that he hear it through you.
Raela : *folds her arms* Well?
Randall : *still smiling, he half-recites* Commander Shepard, you have a very beautiful daughter. Despite the differences we've had in the past, we are still willing to work with you for the good of humanity. Therefore, we have a proposition you might be interested in...
Raela : And that's all he said, Ensign Taylor. I know it wasn't a real threat, but he was just creepy.
Kenichi : You did the right thing by reporting this, Miss Shepard. This may have happened on Ilium, and we have no jurisdiction there, but as an Alliance citizen, you are entitled to our protection while in Alliance space. I have to ask, though. Is there something about this encounter you're not telling me?
Raela : Uh, no, that was... Wait, so you think there is some sort of danger?
Kenichi : Not exactly, but Alliance security does have a file on this Mr. Lawson, and... Wait. Are you downloading it right now?
Raela : *looks up from her omnitool* Um, no?
Kenichi : *shakes his head* You're lucky your father is who he is. I'd have you in on charges, but he'd probably just get the files from old Hackett or somebody.
Raela : I'm impressed you detected that.
Kenichi : "Set a thief to catch a thief," that's what ka-san always says. And I'm impressed at how much you've traveled in the past few months, Miss Shepard. All the way out to the Veil and back? Heavy risks...
Annika is an original character created by another fan.
: I don't like this. Does the battlemaster know you're on Tuchanka?
Raela : My father doesn't need to know.
Grunt : But...
Raela : *balls her small fist* But nothing.
*Grunt holds up his hands, indicating he's not going to push the issue.*
Wrex : Urdnot Grunt, you should know better than to bring in a quarian slave. And it's even a runt!
Grunt : Clan leader, this is Shepard's daughter.
Wrex : Daughter? It's Shepard and all, but can he even do that? *considers carefully* I thought she'd be bigger.
Raela : I'm standing right here!
*the two krogan glare at her out from under their brow plates, eyes narrowing.*
Raela : I need to know who's picked up the pieces of the Blood Pack...
Darg : Sorry about the *grunts as a bullet hits his now-impressive hump* noise. *an explosion nearby showers dirt everywhere* And the mess.
Raela : I'm getting used to it. *ducks as a spray of suppressive fire hammers her hiding place*
Darg : So whatever you want must be pretty important to chase me down out here.
Raela : Well, you weren't on Tuchanka. Father said you weren't going to leave the clan.
Darg : Eh? Oh, I didn't. I just kind of got involved in the mercenary business to keep my kids out of trouble.
Raela : What?
Darg : Yeah, with all the shooting, the boys barely have time to cause problems.
Raela : Uh, okay.
*another krogan lumbers into cover*
Natorth : Battlemaster, we're running out of vorcha up at the front! Eclipse is pushing us hard; I don't know if the line is going to hold!
Darg : So? Get up there and push back! I need a badass, not some... *glances at Raela* uh, salarian... who... um... is really old and feeble!
Natorth : RAAAARRRRG! *charges forward under heavy fire*
Darg : *grumbling* Twenty damn years and he still feels like he's got something to prove...
Raela : Anyway, I know you mercenaries keep in touch. I'm trying to find Vido Santiago...
: Councillor Velarn.
Velarn : Miss Shepard nar Normandy.
Velarn : You're becoming quite the fixture at these state banquets. I don't suppose Councillor Anderson will make the effort to attend tonight?
Raela : I don't suppose there's been any progress on the applications to establish embassies by the geth and quarians?
Velarn : I'd prefer not to discuss Council matters in a social setting like this.
Raela : I see.
Velarn : How are you enjoying this stay on the Citadel? I haven't noticed any reports of mass power outages.
Raela : Then my efforts must have left the Citadel safer the last time I was here.
Velarn : *raises hands in preparation* Ah yes, "your efforts," a childis--
Raela : Don't. Even .
Velarn : Ah... Ahem.
Randall : Miss Shepard, what a pleasant surprise to see you here.
Raela : It's something of a surprise to see you here as well. A man with a file like yours wouldn't seem likely to be on the guest list.
Randall : *laughs smoothly* You can't believe everything you read. My invitation was much the same as yours, I'm sure. Friends in high places.
Raela : Well...
Randall : And I must say that you look stunning. The pattern on your suit is perfect for the evening here on the Presidium.
Raela : Uh, thank you. *preens awkwardly, then catches herself* But flattery isn't going to get you anywhere.
Randall : Oh, I'm not going anywhere, I think. You on the other hand, seem to be bound for Bekenstein.
Raela : You're well-informed.
Randall : *smiling sharkishly again* And smart, too. I'm guessing your father doesn't have you running his errands for him, so you must not have delivered my message at all. I'd even go so far as to suspect you're trying to accomplish things yourself.
Raela : Suspect whatever you want, Mr. Lawson.
Randall : I'm not concerned. In fact, I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.
: Vido. Turn around slowly.
Vido : *looks over his shoulder, then back out the picture window at the sparkling skyline* Huh. Thought the exterminator was supposed to be by last week to clear out the vermin.
Raela : Not very smart, buying Donovan Hock's old estate. Someone already knew how to get in.
Vido : *shrugs* It was cheap, comparatively. If you know how to get in, feel free to head back out. My men will be here soon enough.
Raela : I know what you did, and I'm not leaving without the information I need. Where is the body?
Vido : *turns around in surprise, then scowls* Get bent, little girl.
*Raela's leveled pistol whines eagerly as the capacitors spool up. Vido's eyes narrow. He starts to reach for a discrete set of controls near the window.*
Vido : *clutching his injured shoulder and slumping against the window* Shit! Ahhhh, you shot me, you little rat!
Raela : Only once so far.
Vido : Alright, alright. All the data is in my files, there. *he indicates a secured console* You're dead, you little freak. The batarians are going to tear you up.
*Raela passes her omnitool over the console, ripping its contents. Her gun remains trained on Vido*
Vido : That's right, by the time they're done with you, you're not going to be worth much more than 20 credits on the open market.
Raela : *hand trembling as her finger curls around the trigger* My grandpa had something he wanted delivered.
Vido : What? *cringing* NO!
Garrus : I don't think your father would approve of this, Raela.
Raela : Uncle Garrus?!
*Vido seizes the distraction to yank a concealed pistol from inside his expensive coat.*
Garrus : *pops spent sink from his rifle* And they usually do something stupid like that and give you an excuse to avoid cold-blooded murder. I think we need to have a little talk, sprout.
Raela : *sobs, clutching Garrus*
Garrus : *hugs her awkwardly* There, there... uh... it's okay... Better put a stopper in it, you need to remember to stay hydrated...
Raela : *chokes out a small laugh* I'm so glad you were there. I just don't know... what... I would've...
Garrus : It's okay. Neither do I. The point is, you didn't do it, and I think we can leave the lesson at that.
Raela : *sniffles, then lets Garrus go* You're the best uncle ever.
Garrus : Oh, I don't know about that, sprout. The best looking one, probably.
Raela : *gives a more genuine laugh* ...But how did you...?
Garrus : I like to keep tabs on certain mercenaries. You know, see what the scum is up to. I've got some time on my hands now that I don't need to keep the Normandy's guns in calibration.
Raela : You're not going to tell father, are you?
Garrus : The Commander? Oh, no. He doesn't usually kill the messenger, but there's a first time for everything. You're going to have to tell him the whole thing yourself, kid.
Raela : *brightly* Great! It'll be old news by the time my pilgrimage is over!
Kenichi : *pokes head through the door* I'm sorry for the delay, Miss Shepard, we'll have you on your way shortly.
Raela : *irritated* It's about time. I've been waiting in this cell almost two hours.
Kenichi : It's hardly a cell, ma'am. You might have heard there's a security situation; a fellow by the name of Vido Santiago was found dead in his home and there's some concern that his murderer might try to escape offworld.
Raela : Aren't quarians supposed to be thieves, not murderers?
Kenichi : *looked pained* Ma'am, that's not the issue at all. Spaceport security did want to ask you a few questions, but I don't think that will be necessary. Uh, look, how about I buy you lunch and get you on the next shuttle?
Kenichi : Or maybe I could just take my foot out of my mouth and shut the hell up.
Raela : *suppressing a giggle* Lead the way, Ensign Taylor. So, I assume it's some sort of coincidence that you happened to be on Bekenstein?
Kenichi : Ah, well, Alliance Security tells me where to go and I follow orders. Here's the gate. Looks like you've got plenty of time before the shuttle arrives, Miss Shepard.
Raela : Ensign, I guess you've already done me a big favor. Just call me Raela. I don't know anyone else here; could you wait with me?
*Kenichi shrugs, then sits and fishes around in his pockets, pulling out a brightly-colored package.*
Raela : What's that?
Kenichi : It's a kind of candy. When I did a rotation on Earth I picked up the taste.
Raela : Could I try it?
Kenichi : Uh, aren't you... isn't...?
Raela : *teasing* It's just sugar, and the package is sterile, right? *holds out a hand*
*Kenichi turns over the package sheepishly*
Raela : *suddenly self-conscious.* Er... *turns away to open a feeding port. Pours the contents of the package into the purifier with a dab of food paste to move it along. The sweet flavor of the candy spreads across her tongue with a curiously fizzy sensation that seems to be getting stronger...*
Kenichi : I should warn you, don't use the whole package at once, it's sort of carbonated...
Raela : Glargleabarglabble! *cough cough snort cough*
: Look, I... I'm starting to think this wasn't such a good idea.
Conrad : No, you can count on me. I once helped your dad take down an entire ring of arms-dealing asari terrorists in a sting operation in Ilium. Maybe a drug dealer, too, I'm still kinda confused on that part. I might be a little older now, but that just means I've got more experience under my belt. *uncomfortably adjusts his replica N7 armor. It seems rather tight.*
Raela : But... vessel supposedly full of batarian pirates... now derelict... I thought you said you had combat training.
Conrad : I've got something even better, Raela. I've got heart. You can't get that in boot camp! I'm a man on the edge!
Raela : Then... maybe you can, uh, keep the shuttle secure while I board the ship. You know, watch my back. It's your ship, after all.
Conrad : No way, Raela. I know your dad, and he'd want me to make sure you were safe. Just thinking about the look on his face if I had to tell him you were hurt... Well, I just don't want to see it. You need me!
Raela : *under her breath* What I needed was a ship, you bosh'tet...
Conrad : Oh, you don't need to give me a pet name, we can keep this professional. Though I do like the sound of that. *fumbles with the shuttle controls* Okay, we're docked with the ship.
*airlock opens. The interior of the pirate vessel is dark and silent. The faint reek of decay wafts into the cramped civilian shuttle.*
Conrad : Uh, the ship looks a lot more... derelict than it did on the sensors. What did you say you needed from this thing?
Raela : *crossly, covering the corridor with her shotgun* I didn't say. *worried* Did you hear something?
Conrad : I don't think so...
Husk : Uurrrrrgghh... Raaaaarrgg...
Conrad : AAAAAAAAH!!! SHOOT IT, SHOOT IT!
Raela : You didn't bring a gun?!?
Raela : ...And that's all I was able to get from the ship's data core, ma'am. I just need a lead on who might have the... cargo.
*the asari has her hands clasped behind her. She releases them, and then slowly clenches them into fists before turning to face her customer.*
Liara : *coldly* I see. I have to ask, who recommended my services to you?
Raela : Oh, well, everyone on Ilium says you're the person to go to for information. They all say you're better than the Shadow Broker ever was. Whoever that was.
Liara : *seems somehow disappointed* Really, that's... no one else?
Raela : *uncertainly* Uh, I can pay, of course. I've got--
Liara : *recovering, smiles again, still coldly* Oh, I'm sure we can work something out. Now, if you could upload these codes you found to my console.
Raela : *taps at omnitool* Here you go. I hope you can make something of it. I think this might be pretty important. Like... really bad-important.
Liara : Hmmm... What exactly is this cargo?
Raela : I, uh, can't really say... exactly... It's a cargo container, non-standard, about two meters by one meter by one meter. Has its own power supply.
Liara : *fixes Raela with a chilly gaze* Evasion. Did your parents teach you that?
Liara : The man you're looking for is Balak. He heads a batarian terrorist organization. I'll upload the necessary information to your omnitool.
Raela : Wow, that fast? Okay, can we talk about the price first, I don't want to seem suspicious but this is Ilium af--
Liara : Gratis. Consider it a... debt repaid.
Raela : Thank you, ma'am... Uh, if you don't mind me asking, is this because... um, did you know my father? I'm finding out he met a lot of people back before the Reaper War.
Liara : *turns back to her wall-screen* No. No, I didn't know him at all.
: So when we do get up there, don’t mouth off or sh*t. I’ve got a good deal going here on Omega.
Raela : I’ll be respectful, I promise. Thanks for getting me a meeting with Aria. I need her to help smuggle me into batarian space.
Jack : You’re about as weird as your dad. Anyway, watch out for her, she’s trouble.
Raela : Don’t worry, I’ve got a backup plan.
Aria : *scowling* Well, if it isn’t my favorite pirate.
Jack : Pirate queen to you, bitch!
Raela : *maskpalm* Uh, Auntie…
Aria : There’s only one queen on Omega. Me. And you’re forgetting my only rule: do. not. f—“
Jack : *interrupts* Hey, there’s young ears present!
Raela : *cough cough* I'm okay... I can... I'll be fine...
Batarian : Don't make me laugh, I used to live on Omega and I know a sick quarian when I see one.
Raela : I... I've got a shotgun...
Batarian : And you can't even point it straight. I'm trying to help.
Raela : Stay *cough cough* away!
Batarian : You don't have a slave code on you, you're collapsed in an alley, and I doubt you put a hole in your own suit with a gun, so I bet the authorities are after you.
Raela : *cough cough groan* No...
Batarian : Here, just let me... *adjusts omnitool, then replaces a cartridge on Raela's suit* The puncture's sterilized, and I loaded some more medi-gel to your reserve.
Raela : *weakly* Thank...
Batarian : Whatever. I survived the Omega plague years back. Just trying to pay it forward.
Balak : *laughs unpleasantly* Hard a hard time getting here, didn't you? Probably low on sinks, too.
Raela : *levels shotgun* Still enough to make you turn over the cargo.
Balak : And why would I do that?
*several more batarians, these in security uniforms, storm into the room*
Balak : See, this is bigger than me, and it's certainly bigger than some little quarian trying to steal something for her ship or whatever. With what's in that box, we're going to bring down the humans and make the Council pay for letting them take what was rightfully ours.
Raela : The galaxy doesn't need another war!
Balak : *voice takes on a strange, haunted tone* But it does need a master. You can't even imagine what we're going to do. When our scientists are done, our fleets will darken the skies over every planet...
Raela : My father should've never let you go.
Balak : Your father...? Wait, you're the kid he and that quarian bitch adopted? Oh, this is rich. *sneering* Feel free to try to fix his mistake. No hostages this time. Just you.
*the batarian nearest to Raela drops, shot through the skull. The other guards swing their guns up at the rafters where the shot originated. More gunfire rattles as Raela throws herself backward to avoid being hit.*
Raela : I was starting to wonder where you were.
Kolyat : The darkest corner with the best view, as I promised. We should depart with all speed.
Balak : *spits blood* Arrrrrgghh... You... little.
Raela : You could have given me what I wanted.
Balak : *moans in pain* Just shoot... me...
Raela : You deserve to suffer.
Kolyat : Raela...
Raela : I know.
: I'm sorry about the bumpy ride, the handling is awkward after that near miss we took leaving the atmosphere.
Kolyat : I was unaware that you could pilot a shuttle.
Raela : Please Kolyat, I'm a quarian. I could fly by instrumentation before I left the bubble. Anyway, this is just a cheap batarian knock-off of the Kodiak.
Kolyat : Of course. I suppose you had not yet learned the first time I met you.
Raela : The first...? I thought we met when I got my first real suit?
Kolyat : I linger near the door, uncertain of my welcome. You father, in a soft-suit, helps you assemble a puzzle in your bubble. Outside, Tali explains, "It's Shepard's day in the bubble." Then: "Raela, come see cousin Kolyat." Her voice, so proud to show you off. You look up, eyes bright, but the puzzle proves more interesting. "Father, he was green," you say as if it was the best joke you'd ever heard. Jealousy sours my heart. *he blinks, emerging from the solipsism.*
Raela : *hesitantly* I'm... sorry.
Kolyat : *smiles gently* No. I don't begrudge you your parents. I've learned I carry mine *taps his head* wherever life takes me.
Dr. Solus : Went all the way into batarian space for this? Very dangerous.
Raela : I didn't really have much of choice.
Dr. Solus : Hmmm... coffin-like appearance. Somewhat disconcerting.
Raela : I think that's actually what it is.
Dr. Solus : Internal power supply. Advanced life support module. Esoteric functions.
Raela : That's why I brought it to you when I saw you were giving a seminar here on the Citadel. I could figure out it was working, but what the controls meant were a mystery to me.
Dr. Solus : Several technology bases represented. Primary composition: Alliance, circa 2185, with more recent overlay. Have bad feeling about this.
Raela : I know, it gave me the creeps the entire trip here. It just sat in the back of the shuttle... looming, I guess.
Dr. Solus : *scanning with omnitool* Wish uncle could see this. Would have been intrigued. Was very model of a scientist salarian.
Raela : Er... I was too young to really remember much about him, though mother tells me he used to sing me lullabies. He didn't need sleep and she and father did.
Dr. Solus : No, not for sentimental reasons. Wished he could provide consultation. Knew more about Reaper technology than I.
Raela : *stares at the
sarcophagus again* What?
: Thank you for contacting me, Miss Shepard. *impressed* You work very quickly.
Raela : It wasn't easy.
Randall : As your parents could tell you, nothing worth doing ever is. Like parents, like daughter, it seems.
Raela : Thank you, Randall. Er... may I...?
Randall : *smiles* If I can call you Raela, certainly.
Raela : Oh... of course! Good, this is difficult... Randall, the container... sarcophagus, half it's systems are overlaid with Reaper-like technology. And it's spreading.
Randall : *brow furrows* I see.
Raela : The body or whatever is in there is growing or interfacing with the container somehow. I think it needs to be destroyed.
Randall : Raela, I'm glad you came to me with this. We need to act quickly.
Raela : I'm so happy you agree! Don't worry, I've already contacted C-Sec and the Alliance. They'll have teams at Dr. Solus' lab soon.
Randall : Dr. Solus...? Oh, the clinic on the upper wards. I'll meet you there.
Raela : Oh... the clinic...
*smoke pours out of clinic behind C-Sec cordon. Sporadic gunfire sounds inside.*
Randall : Raela, wait, it's too dangerous!
Raela : Dr. Solus might still be inside!
Dr. Solus : Am not. Just received call that there were intruders in lab.
Ashley : All of you step back! This is a joint C-Sec/Alliance operation. You need to leave the concourse immediately.
Raela : Master Sargeant Williams?
Ashley : Master Gunnery... *pauses warily* Who are you?
Raela : Raela'Shepard nar Normandy. You served with my father.
Ashley : *scowling* Yeah... yeah I did. I guess you're mixed up in this somehow, right?
Raela : *evasively* I need more medical supplies.
*Dr. Solus and Randall nod in confirmation.*
Ashley : Huh. *clearly hesitant* How is... are your... parents?
Raela : Both mother and father are well. Um... father talks about you sometimes. I think he has Councillor Anderson fill him in on how you are doing.
Ashley : So is... are they here?
Raela : Oh, no. I'm on my pilgrimage.
Ashley : *almost to herself* Never thought he'd go through with sending you on that pilgrimage thing.
Raela : He had some reservations, but mother brought him around.
Ashley : *bitterly* " And that has made all the difference. "
Kenichi : I've got the data you wanted, but you need to keep this quiet.
Raela : Of course, Kenichi. I just need to know what happened at the clinic.
Kenichi : I'm serious about this; my butt would be in a sling for sure if this got out. The news nets aren't being informed there were husks in the clinic.
Raela : *scanning report* It must have been the sarcophagus indoctrinating the night staff. But so fast...?
Kenichi : The what? Doing what to who?
Raela : The sarcophagus isn't listed as being impounded? Oh, no...
Kenichi : I take it this isn't good.
Raela : That thing is what I called you all in for! Wait, are these scans of the husks accurate?
Kenichi : There were duplicates run by both C-Sec and the Alliance.
Raela : These are over 22 years old! The husks I encountered on the batarian ship hadn't been converted more than a week before I found them!
Kenichi : Someone brought in husks?
Raela : So these husks were from the Cerberus husk project?
Miranda : I can see I need to contact your father about the stories he's been telling. But yes. There were some units that were kept in storage.
Raela : Units? You've got to be kidding me!
Miranda : I'm not going to bother with the "good of humanity" speech here, because I don't think you really care.
Raela : Mistakes were made, I know--
Miranda : Very charitable of you.
Raela : --but now I need answers. Do you know who could have gotten to these vaults?
Miranda : *stands and looks out her office window, cocking her hip* Raela, I'll level with you. There will always be mistakes. My son may be one of them.
Raela : Your son? But...!
Miranda : I've never had time for a real partner. Starting a family like my father did seemed natural.
Raela : Ms. Lawson, your definition of the word natural... You know what? Nevermind.
Miranda : The last I heard, he was heading up his own cell now. Cerberus agents came by asking questions. They weren't telling me anything, of course, but it sounded like he's dropped out of contact with Cerberus Command. He's just as smart as me, so I imagine he could have access to anything he wanted.
Missing section written by another fan that detailed Raela meeting Carter.
Raela : *dashes through warehouse door, sealing it behind her and jamming it with her omnitool* Whew, that should hold them for...
Customer : Huh? Oh, finally ! I was supposed to come down here for a refund on this omni-gel converter. Look, I even found the same model. *holds up a box.* If you'll just let me sign for it...
Raela : Uh, well, I...
Customer : I have to tell you, I'd given up all hope of ever getting my refund, let alone a replacement but then I got a call the other day.
Raela : You see... I'm...
Customer : *triumphantly* Ha! Even after all these years, the customer is always right! If I hadn't gotten what I wanted this time, well, I don't know what I would have--
*several Cerberus agents burst into the warehouse, guns blazing. Raela dives behind a crate*
Raela : *fires blindly from cover* Get down, sir!
*Customer stands there dumbfounded, bullets ripping through the air all around him. A stray bullet plucks the replacement converter from his cradling hands, shattering it into a million non-refundable fragments.*
Customer : Wha... what...? My... my converter. *slowly building rage* I WANT MY REFUND! *seizes a pistol from his waistband.* Oh, you'll all pay! You'll all pay! Laughed at me for years, did you? I came prepared this time! RAAAAAAAH!!!
*the fusillade of return fire downs two of the agents.*
Cerberus Agent : Fall back, the target has reinforcements!
Carter is an original character created by another fan.
: We’re almost there. When we get to the dock, just board the shuttle with fist logo.
Raela : Are you sure you’re just a social worker?
Helena : My dear, almost half of what I do on Omega is sheltering runaway slaves. Social work here sometimes seems more about fugitives than about poverty.
Raela : I thought I’d be a little safer here, but Cerberus found me so easily…
Helena : They move freely out here, where they’re just another mercenary group with corporate backing.
Raela : Still, I’m impressed you could arrange interstellar transport so quickly.
Helena : Well, I wasn’t always the person I am today. My… previous career left me with some contacts I could use.
Raela : And thank you for sending those messages.
Helena : Of course. This is the place. Remember… *she holds up a closed hand*
Raela : I won’t forget. Or how you helped me.
Raela : Hello? Helena sent me. My name is Raela--
Fist : *growling* No names. I only haul runaways because Blake holds the loan on this ship.
Raela : I’m not a runaway.
Fist : Sure, whatever, you’re on your pilgrimage or something, right?
Raela : You know about quarian pilgrimages?
Fist : *grimaces at the touchy subject* More than I ever wanted to. *points* Now get in the cargo compartment.
Raela : You know, I’m good with machines. If I stayed in the passenger compartment I could fix the loading ramp and retune the stabilizer so it’s not always buzzing.
*Fist eyes Raela speculatively.*
Raela : I’m also good with a shotgun.
Fist : *defensively* Girl, messing with a quarian is how I ended up dead broke out here in the ass-end of the galaxy. I’m lucky to be alive for that little mistake. You got nothing to fear from me.
Raela : I didn't think I did anyway.
Aethyta : Okay, wipe down the tables over in the corner. And use disinfectant, there were mercenaries sitting there. After that you can have a break.
Raela : Good, I think the person I’m supposed to be meeting just came in.
Aethyta : Gonna be a shame to lose such good help.
Raela : I’m sorry, and I’m grateful that you let me lay low here, but…
Aethyta : I know, I know, just like your dad, off to save the galaxy or something.
Raela : I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised you knew my father.
Aethyta : Not as well as I wish! The “mystery drink” didn’t work at all. He just stared at me like I’d turned into a batarian. *to herself* Thought he was supposed to have a thing for asari.
Raela : *acutely embarrassed* Er…
Aethyta : *enjoying her reaction* Your mother must’ve had her toes in him already. You should’ve seen him flinch when I mentioned I knew what quarians looked like. Probably ran to the nearest terminal to try to look it up. Bet the extranet entry doesn’t say anything about how they pounce, though.
Raela : Uh, I really…
Aethyta : *laughing* Yeah, get going. I’ll make sure your last paycheck gets uploaded.
: So if you look at the records here, we’ve got all these transfers from Aldrin Labs, Stellar Dynamics, Ariake, you name it, all to Cord-Hislop.
Raela : *not quite following* And…?
Gianna : *pointing* See all these losses in the other column marked as “waste”? Same amounts as the transfers. I saw this kind of thing on Noveria all the time.
Raela : So Cord-Hislop is acting as a Cerberus front here by… *scrolls through the list* procuring everything they’d need to build a… space station.
Gianna : Well, 21 years ago, at least. The maintenance and supply contracts *points to a few line-items* were cancelled in 2186. Hmmm… sloppy cover, there. Maybe they weren’t too worried about being found out at the time?
Raela : What about these entries?
Gianna : Huh? Oh, those are legitimate; the list includes all the transfers to Cord-Hislop in those years.
Raela : But they’re almost exactly the same?
Gianna : *frowns at list* They… you’re right. Let me call up this project… Oh, Alliance military. Nothing but a set of coordinates.
Raela : No, I know where that is: the Alliance built a battle-station there for the Reaper War. The Rodger Young , I think.
Gianna : And Cerberus built something almost identical as a shadow project but dropped it at the same time? That seems too big to just abandon.
Raela : The list isn’t exactly identical. Look at the entries for Binary Helix and Synthetic Insights. They’re there for the Cerberus station, but not the Alliance one.
Shiala : Welcome to Zhu’s Hope, Raela! We’ve already got a room prepared for you, in case you’re tired from the trip.
Raela : I’m fine, I think. I probably need to go over the records, though, before anything else. I’m supposed to be hiding out here, after all.
Shiala : In addition to my duties as executor, I’m also the spaceport administrator. I’ve already listed you as a shipment of medical supplies and envirosuit spares.
Raela : *laughs* That just about covers it, I guess. Are there any messages waiting for me?
Shiala : Better than that. Two of your friends have already arrived. They’re on the next skyscraper over to avoid causing a disturbance. And you can speak to our doctor any time.
Raela : Whew, I’m going to need that room after I’m done with all this. I’d better get started.
Shiala : Uh… actually, I had a question for you.
Raela : Yes?
Shiala : Well, um, your father, did he ever get done with saving the galaxy?
Raela : Uh, I don’t think it’s something you ever really retire from…
Shiala : I was just wondering if he wanted to get together some time and…
Raela : *mix of disbelief and exasperation* My mother probably wouldn’t appreciate that!
Raela : You’re not quite what I expected, Dr. Petrovsky. You don’t look like someone who spends a lot of time in a lab.
Jacob : I fancy myself a gentleman adventurer. There’s much to discover out here in places like Zhu’s Hope. The remnants of these Thorian spores are a fascinating quandary.
Raela : Oh?
Jacob : The Thorian was powerful but utterly amoral. I hope that by fostering full integration with the people of Zhu’s Hope, maybe even it can become a productive member of galactic society. It’s all theory now, of course.
Raela : Amazing! But aren’t you concerned about the dangers?
Jacob : I’ve spent enough time being sheltered by my mother, thank you very much. And I’ve got the best genes money can buy. “Better living through genetics,” you know. That and “strangers give the best advice,” those are my mother’s mottos. Anyway, about the files.
Raela : Of course, did you have time to look them over?
Jacob : It looks like there were two separate projects: one was a xenobiology and xenotechnology reverse-engineering project that really only had the groundwork laid for it before it was canceled. The other was almost entirely Binary Helix-funded and included a lot of, well… advanced surgical and implantation equipment. And, well…
Raela : Go ahead, Dr. Petrovsky. Nothing you can say is going to surprise me at this point, I think.
Jacob : Well… I didn’t want to say anything, but there’s kind of a legend in the medical community: supposedly there was a secret project to bring back the dead. The Lazarus Experiment or some such. Looking at the equipment and expertise in the file here made me think of the rumor.
: I’m glad you’re both here. I’m still waiting on a couple more people, but I’m afraid that the biggest favors I have to ask are of you two. First, do you… uh… speak for the queen or… something?
Rachni : *sings*
Raela : *completely flummoxed* Uh-oh. Didn’t really plan for this…
Legion : Geth will provide accurate translation.
Raela : Thank you, Legion.
Legion : *stuttering buzz*
Rachni : *sings*
Legion : *translating* This rachni is filled with the song of the mother.
Raela : Okay... I think that should work. First, I'm going to need some ships from both geth and the rachni. I can’t promise that all of them or their crews will be coming back, but because someone has their hands on a Reaper artifact, I believe this is a threat to the entire galaxy.
Legion : Geth will accept the assessment of Shepard-Commander’s progeny-analogue, the creator Raela'Shepard, and provide the requested assistance due to the involvement of Old Machine technology.
Rachni : *sings*
Legion : *translating* The mother stands ready to join her song with that of the Shepards once more.
Raela : Thank you both. I wouldn't have asked if I didn't think it was that serious. I'll upload the plans I've got so far. I need to do some more research on the target, but I'll send a message as soon as I know more. Be ready for when I call.
Krogan : *listing* Frictionless barrel threads, sink pre-dissipater socketing, microphasic envelope projector, Mark V synchronized pulsar, and the 2205 Lieberschaft update package, including the latest ammunition carving module.
Raela : *happily* That’s everything. Thank you very much.
Krogan : Please keep in mind that the application of these items as a group is illegal in Council space and will void the warranty on your weapon.
Raela : And that’s why I’m here on Ilium.
Krogan : Just so. On behalf of Mr. Thax, it has been a pleasure to do business with you and he looks forward to having the opportunity to do so again in the future.
Raela : Uh, the pleasure has been all mine… You might get this a lot, but I have to say that you’re the most polite krogan I’ve ever met.
Krogan : *urbanely* Thank you. Anything else would be uncivilized.
Raela : I… see.
Krogan : Additionally, if Commander Shepard kicks in my door someday, it will be good to have something to fall back on besides ridiculous and futile threats.
Missing artwork by another fan depicting Raela atop a crashing aircar.
Patriarch : As you can see, the armor you ordered is all here. Excellent stuff, if I do say so myself. Much better than we had back in the day.
Raela : Good… so I guess meeting with you means Aria is still angry about the whole aircar thing?
Patriarch : Oh, Afterlife needed remodeling. She’ll get over it.
Raela : She doesn’t seem the type, Mr. Patriarch.
Patriarch : She took it out on Garka.
Raela : Ouch. But still…
Patriarch : One thing I’ve learned living as long as I have, is that you can’t dwell on the past, and it took my best krantt to teach me. No matter whether good things or bad things happened, you have to keep looking to the future or those things are all you’ll ever have. If you’re not making plans, then you’re not a threat to anyone.
Raela : I was expecting a different moral to this story.
: Alright, this way, and hurry!
Raela : *darts through cargo door as it closes* I hope you're not going to get into any trouble for this.
Kenichi : *glancing around* No more trouble than I think you will. At least I only have to face my superiors. Ka-san would probably congratulate me.
Raela : My mother might not be amused, but father would probably give me pointers for next time. I never could get the hang of the tactical cloak, though.
Kenichi : That must be nice. Mine was more the sink-or-swim type. Okay, we're through the main spaceport customs here, but security it still going to be pretty tight. This is the busiest port in Earth's northern hemisphere. We still need to get clear of the...
Guard : Hey, you aren't supposed to be back here!
Kenichi : *pulling his identification* Listen, this is Alliance Security business--
*Kenichi and Raela stare, dumbfounded, as the guard falls dead. Cerberus agents start pouring out of the woodwork.*
Cerberus Agent : Drop the weapons and surrender!
Kenichi : I'll hold them off!
Raela : *taking cover* You could be...
Kenichi : You've still got work to do, Raela. Go!
*Raela darts away as more shots ring out.*
*Raela hurries through the crowded spaceport concourse, ignoring the curious or dirty looks she's getting. Spaceport guards rush by, but they're not looking for a quarian yet, apparently.*
Loudspeaker : Raela. *it's Randall Lawson's voice* I know you're there, somewhere. Give up.
*Raela keeps going, weaving around the people who have stopped to listen.*
Loudspeaker : Don't make me do this. Mistakes were made. We don't have to be on opposite sides.
*bolting down a staircase, Raela crouches behind a cleaning cart as two Cerberus agents hurry by.*
Loudspeaker : *outside the concourse, the sound is fainter* Don't fool yourself, Raela, this is for the betterment of the entire galaxy. If you try to stop me, I'll have no choice but to kill you.
*Raela breaks into a run down the service corridor, bursting out into an underground garage.*
Screen : *public address screen flickers on. Randall's face is blurred with static, and his left eye glows with a fitful yellow light.* Raela, please. Help me. There is no alternative. Only destruction. And I will succeed.
*still running, Raela dashes up a ramp onto a busy street, finally losing herself in the teeming crowds of the city.*
Kenichi : I can’t believe you came. After that ambush at the spaceport, you had to think our meetup was compromised.
Raela : You’re injured, here, let me…
Kenichi : *winces* It’s not as bad as it looks. *pulls out a bent piece of metal from his uniform pocket* This stopped the one that should’ve killed me.
Raela : *examining it* This is… it’s a Quarian Ally medal?
Kenichi : Yeah, I stole it from ka-san.
Raela : My father had one just like it.
Kenichi : I know. I'm pretty sure ka-san stole it from him.
Raela : I see. *tucks the medal in one of her suit pouches.* How did you escape?
Kenichi : Unlike you, I’m pretty good with a tactical cloak. Look, we need to keep moving. I’ll try and make sure you can get off-world again when you need to, and you take care of whatever business is so important here on Earth.
: There are an awful lot of… uh, non-humans here.
Finch : *defensively* So?
Raela : So… um, father had said… er… I always thought that on Earth…
Finch : The Reds hit the big time. We’ve got locals in every major city on the planet, Arcturus Station, and most of the colonies. A sister has a startup on Thessia now.
Raela : I was a little worried you wouldn’t take me in, but I guess I was wrong. I thought my only ticket in was going to be father’s name.
Finch : *glowers for a moment.* We’re a victim of his success. After that movie came out, we had recruits coming out our ears. Most them were rich kids looking to slum around and score hallex, but plenty stuck around. Only problem was they all wanted a xeno girlfriend like Shepard, too. *remembers who he’s talking to.* Uh, no disrespect.
Raela : *shrugs* Your doss, talk how you want. I just need a corner to sleep in for a week or two.
Finch : Then we can cope. *laughs* Knuckles, little sister.
*Raela awkwardly bumps fists with Finch.*
*door bangs open, and Raela bursts into the darkened room, shotgun at the ready*
Raela : Hello? Is…? *muttering* Another dead end.
*holographic image fills the otherwise bare room*
TIM : *silhouetted by a seething yellow star with hints of red and blue* Your resourcefulness continues to astonish me. I’ve taken the liberty of silencing the alarms in the rest of the building. You were good, but not quite that good.
Raela : And your elusiveness continues to astonish me. I’d hoped to have a face-to-face discussion with you about whatever Randall has planned.
TIM : Your information is years out of date. *takes a drag on his cigarette* Randall Lawson has stolen from Cerberus, including a great deal of Cerberus itself. The agents he’s turned to his cause are too influential. The Alliance is paralyzed by their infiltration and whatever he’s doing will be over before it can act.
Raela : I don’t understand how he got so powerful. You are Cerberus.
TIM : He’s charismatic, a visionary. *gestures with his cigarette* He’s inspirational in a way his mother never was. I promised a strong humanity, and he promised the galaxy. Cerberus has changed: we had too many idealists like him after the Reaper War. I suppose I have your father’s misguided sense of morality to thank for that.
Raela : *sardonically* I’ll be sure to send him your best wishes.
TIM : We still serve humanity’s best interests, and if we have to protect humanity from itself, *blows smoke* so be it.
Raela : So you’ll help me stop Randall?
TIM : *knocks back the rest of his whiskey* I’m uploading the coordinates for Pandora station to you now.
Raela : *indicating approach vectors on a map of local space* The assault team will emerge from FTL first, followed by the rachni and geth squadrons at intervals of ten minutes. Pandora station lacks the Gungnir cannon that the other Alliance battle stations mounted for the Reaper War, but we’ll still face conventional mass driver batteries and GARDIAN systems.
Legion : Geth and rachni squadrons understand the parameters and objectives of our respective involvements.
Raela : Good. I won’t be able to coordinate after the battle has begun, but both squadrons have significant leeway in how they conduct the battle. The objectives are all that matter.
Legion : Consensus.
Raela : Alright, now for the assault team’s role…
Rachni : *sings*
Legion : *stuttering buzz*
Rachni : *sings*
Legion : *stuttering buzz*
Raela : Hang on a minute. *pausing in delivering her briefing* What’s gotten into you two?
Legion : …No data available.
*Kolyat is seated near the back of the cramped shuttle. Raela approaches.*
Raela : Kolyat, you don’t know how glad I am that you came, you’re the oldest friend I have here.
Kolyat : I couldn’t do otherwise. When I look back, I find nothing but good things in my memories of you.
Raela : *flustered* Er, why, thank you. But you’re risking your life for me all over again, and I don’t take that lightly.
Kolyat : What is left of my life is yours to risk. *sadly* You will make better use of it that I believe I have.
Raela : *rests a hand on his shoulder* No, Kolyat, what you’ve done for me was something you chose to do. You’re the one who’s accomplished all the good in your life.
Kolyat : *finally looks up at her* Thank you, Raela.
Raela : *eager to change the subject* That rifle is beautiful! I didn’t know that’s what I was ordering for you.
Kolyat : *runs his hand over the deployed stock* And thank you for the purchase; I was able to pick it up at Rodam Expeditions on the Citadel. Shepard Tiron said it was the best model they had.
Raela : Shepard…?
Kolyat : I don’t know, either.
Raela : *looks around the cramped shuttle at her tiny assault team* I don’t really know anything about making speeches, or inspiring people, but I want to say something before this all starts.
*everyone looks up from their preparations expectantly.*
Raela : I was thinking about something my father told me. He said the Reapers represented millions of years of the past, but they were still scared of the future, because it was always going to be bigger than them. They thought they had it all, but they forgot what the future can be.
*Raela looks at each member of the assault team in turn.*
Raela : It’s a chance to make the past right.
*Carter nods stoically, his eyes hard as he fingers the emblem of the new Cerberus stitched on his coat.*
Raela : It’s a chance to make something new for yourself.
*Kolyat finally meets her gaze, hands firm on his rifle.*
Raela : It’s… all the promises yet to come.
*Kenichi grins sheepishly, sketching a hasty salute.*
Raela : *jerks her thumb over her shoulder, as if indicating the target* What we face today is the past itself, dredged back up to try to steal that future away once again. And we’re going to bury it, *her small hand slashes angrily through the air* look it right in the eye and tell it the future is ours !
*She pauses, hefting her shotgun*
Raela: I don’t know what the next hour holds, let alone the rest of the future, but I’m not scared. When friends stand and walk forward together, there’s nothing left to fear.
*The aging shuttle lurches from FTL at the edge of the system’s cometary cloud. On the brink of interstellar space
station lurks, half glimpsed in the weak starlight.*
Raela : *piloting the shuttle* Anything on sensors?
Kenichi : Passive is pretty dark. Some power sources, enough to keep the station warm. Active returns… it’s mostly hollow, like it was never finished-- Incoming message from the station.
Randall : *dull yellow gleams in his left eye on the display* Isn’t it beautiful?
Raela : *stalling for time as the shuttle approaches the station* What am I looking at, Randall?
Randall : The future. This station was meant to hold the secrets of the Collectors, to lift humanity up to the pinnacle of the galaxy, and crush the other races under its heel.
Raela : …So it was abandoned when father destroyed the Collector base!
Randall : *nods* Those monsters were never unleashed, and were brought down by your father in the Reaper War. But now something new can come from Pandora , Raela.
Kenichi : *quietly* Passive just went off the scale. Everything’s powering up out there. I’ve got live weapon batteries.
Randall : *continuing* Hope, Raela. That’s all that’s left in the box now. Hope for the galaxy, a new age of peace and order! *his left eye blazes brightly* Civilizations rise, evolve, advance, reach the apex of their glory, and fall. No more. I will impose order on the chaos of evolution, build a civilization eternal, without end!
Raela : Not if I stop you.
Randall : I had hoped you of all people would understand, Raela. Can’t you see that without what I offer your future is as empt-- *he looks off to the side at something*
Kenichi : Geth and rachni squadrons emerging from FTL!
*weapons fire flickers, lashing out from Pandora station*
Raela : *shouting into the passenger compartment* Brace for evasive maneuvers!
*The shuttle lands hard, skidding into the side of the hangar after crashing through the bay door. Scars from GARDIAN fire smoulder on its flanks. Emergency fields seal the breach in the station.*
Raela : *apologetically* Whoops . Is everyone alright?
*A chorus of groans answers her.*
Kenichi : Comms, sensors, all the secondary systems are shot. Drive still works, if it comes to that.
Raela : We're not leaving until we finish what we came for.
*As the shuttle hatch grinds open, the dull rumbling of the battle going on outside the station becomes apparent.*
Carter : Not sure we want to be out there right now, anyway.
*Alarms are already howling their indignation at the intruders.*
Raela : Right, we need to end this before the geth and the rachni are driven off.
*As they dash deeper into the station, the sounds of pursuit echo after them.*
Kolyat : *taking cover and returning fire at Cerberus security forces behind them* This is going to take too long.
Carte r: *snaps a new sink into his rifle* You all go on ahead. I'll hold them here.
Raela : *fires her shotgun down the corridor* That's suicide, Carter, there's too many of them.
*Carter steps from cover, laying down a heavy screen of fire and advancing implacably towards the guards. Raela hesitates for a moment, but then motions the others on. It's too late to argue.*
Carter : *grimly* Not today there isn't.
Rana : *gets out from under desk she was cowering under* Oh, thank the Goddess! For a moment I thought it was Commander Shepard again.
Raela : Well, I…
Rana : Because I swear, every time I get a job that pays well, has reasonable hours, and is intellectually stimulating, in he comes and the whole thing goes up in a nuclear fireball.
Raela : I’m trying to…
Rana : I mean, I was thinking I’d be safe for sure, since this didn’t involve tank-grown krogan. *wistfully, to herself* Though I do miss working on krogan…
Raela : ...
Rana : Now, I don’t know who you are, but you’re interrupting important work here. Get out of my lab, I don’t want security shooting the place up when they catch you.
Raela : *taps N7 armor piece* Raela. Shepard. Nar. Normandy.
Rana : *dejected* Do I get more of a head start this time?
*Doors to control center slam open, locks disengaged by Raela's hacking. The Cerberus staff look up, then reach for weapons.*
Randall : Stop them!
Kenichi : *diving in* Cover!
*Kolyat fires several times, the bullets smashing crewmembers from their chairs. His last shot sparks from Randall's shields as the human takes cover behind the command station.*
Raela : Randall, stop the battle, we can end this peacefully!
*The Cerberus crew opens fire, then are driven back into hiding as Kenichi opens up with his submachinegun. Kolyat gestures, throwing a flanking crewman back against the wall.*
Randall : *calm voice belied by the blazing yellow light of his left eye* End them, and bring me the quarian.
*Emerging from cover heedless of the danger, the Cerberus crew counterattacks. Raela fires from the doorway, knocking another assailant flat. Randall runs to the exit on the other side of the control room, firing back with a pistol as he goes.*
Kenichi : *taking several hits* Argh!
*Kolyat fires, striking Randall in the shoulder and spinning him around. He drops the gun and staggers through the hatch, closing it behind him. The remaining Cerberus crew is quickly defeated.*
Raela : What happened, Kolyat?
Kolyat : *apologetically* Killing is an art, and I am just an understudy.
Kenichi : *wincing* I'll try to shut down the station's weapons from here. You two keep going.
Raela : No, you'll need help getting back to the shuttle. Kolyat, you stay with him. I'll stop Randall.
Raela : This ends here, Randall. Please... I don't want to kill you...
Randall : No. I’ve come too far... sacrificed too much... This is for the good of the galaxy, and I won’t abandon that ideal.
Raela : I don’t understand. All you’ve got is that sarcophagus, and—
Randall : *the light in his eye pulses malignantly* Then let me show you.
*He keys a command into a console, and the sarcophagus hisses open with a cloud of escaping vapor. Mechanical arms lift the contents clear, establishing interface linkages with Pandora station.*
Raela : …Keelah Christ …
*The body is broken, mutilated and encased in a bizarre framework of Reaper technology, but the battered and scorched N7 breastplate, now an antique, is still recognizable.*
Raela : *horrified* Father?!
: *left eye blazing with golden light* More true than you know: the Lazarus project wasn’t an immediate success. Did you ever wonder why your father doesn’t have the scars you can see in the oldest pictures of him? Did he ever tell you how concerned my mother was about how well he remembered things? Cerberus understood too little about the technology they used, and their first attempt went too far.
*Metallic tendrils reach from the gaping cavity of the corpse’s skull to encircle the sarcophagus interfaces like creeping vines.*
Raela : No… this can’t… You’re… How could you do this?
Randall : Because peace is what he wanted, and now this supposed failure can grant it, forever. I admire your father. The galaxy wasn’t ready for a new order then. It is now.
*Yellow-lit cracks split in the decking as unnatural circuitry analogues swell beneath it.*
Raela : My father wouldn’t want this!
Randall : Really? Think what the Council did to your mother’s people. Think of how they turned a blind eye to genocide, of the banishment from the Citadel, of Ekuna.
Raela : But…
Randall : And they would have happily let humanity languish in thwarted ambition until we were no better than the batarians ourselves.
Raela : No…
* Pandora station’s structure groans as it is twisted far beyond its original design. Dull thuds begin to resound as the remaining ships outside resume their attack.*
Randall : It’s not about humanity or any other race. It’s about proper guidance. That’s why I need you, Raela. I want you to help. We can fulfill the destiny your father made possible, *the light from his eye is an almost physical force* together !
Missing image depicting a dialogue wheel with Renegade, Paragon, and Neutral dialogue options. Missing link to poll which allowed readers to vote on the dialogue choice made by Raela.
Raela : Randall… no. I’m sorry… this is wrong. It’s not my father. My father is the man who raised me, taught me, the man who loved my mother enough to defy the entire galaxy for her. He’s the man my mother risked her life to be with, the one she fell in love with all those years ago. I’m sorry if you can’t understand that.
*She raises her shotgun, taking aim. Randall’s regretful face is transfigured by the blinding yellow light.*
Raela : He’s the man who gave us the future, freely.
* At the last moment, she turns the shotgun and fires at the gruesome contents of the sarcophagus.*
Randall : NO!
*The corpse sags where it is hung, the interface tendrils falling away like charred stems. New alarms sound throughout Pandora station as the intruding Reaper technology begins to tear itself apart. Randall’s left eye flares once, then burns out with a sizzle, leaving a blackened hole. He collapses.*
Raela : Randall!
Randall : I only wanted… peace… for… us…
Raela : *cradling his head* We could have… I wish we could have been friends, Randall. When we met, you gave me a purpose…
Randall : I… You should… go…
Carter : *rifle pointed from where he lays on the ground* You two are lucky I’m out of sinks.
Kolyat : *takes in the piled bodies of the Cerberus guards* I see that. Can you walk?
Carter : *gestures to the bullet-riddled metal of his legs* Afraid not.
Kenichi : You carry him, then, Kolyat. I can manage on my own.
Raela : *her radio transmission is full of static.* Randall… dead… destroy… station… don’t wait…
Kenichi : I’m going back for her.
Kolyat : Don’t be… *looks, but Kenichi has cloaked and left already* foolish…
The referenced poll was open for approximately 20 minutes to allow readers to vote during the session in which these pieces were posted. Different outcomes were prepared for each option taken. The final vote was a very strong majority for the Paragon dialogue option (so-called "Upper Left Blue"). Following the closure of the poll, the selected outcome was posted.
*Raela sprints down the corridor as it shudders and warps. The entire station is coming apart under the guns of the geth and rachni.*
Raela: *panting* Got to find… lifepod…
*Ahead, in a cross-corridor, she spots Kenichi.*
Raela : What are you doing?
Kenichi : *shrugs* Came to find you.
*Both stagger as a new salvo batters the station. They reel back as a new hull breach opens right next to them.*
Raela : Look out! *she shoves Kenichi out of the way as a fireball races down the corridor toward the breach.*
Kenichi : Raela, no!
Raela : *scrunching her face up* Raela’s angry!
*Shepard stands near the airlock, then turns back.*
Shepard : Father’s sorry , but he’s got to go outside for a while. Mother’s going to be in.
Raela : No!
Shepard : I’m sorry, baby girl.
*Raela pouts, but sees the expression of her father’s face.*
Raela : Father, don’t be sad! Don’t be sad!
*Shepard smiles and pats her head. Both anger and contrition are forgotten, though, when Tali emerges from the airlock. Raela rushes for a hug.*
Tali : *laughs* You need to frown less, she looked just like you for a moment!
*After a quick hug, Shepard exits the airlock, looking back for a moment before peeling off his suit.*
*Raela sits at her desk in the nursery. She wipes her eyes and scowls at the new suit hanging by the airlock door. Her suit. In her favorite color.*
Raela : *muttering* I hate it.
*She looks out of the bubble at her parents, father with his head uncovered, and mother in her suit. The intercom is off. That’s one of the first things she learned how to hack when she got her omnitool, though.*
Tali : I was always worried about this.
Shepard : I know. Maybe we’re pushing the suit on her too early.
*Raela absentmindedly scratches at her new interface ports. The implants are healing well, but they still itch. She’d been so proud to get them, finally old enough to go outside without a child’s bubble, that the reality of wearing a suit instead hadn’t dawned on her.*
Tali : It’s difficult no matter the age. I’ll talk to her.
Shepard : If you think it might help, I can wear my suit around outside for a while, for solidarity.
*Raela scowls, but looks at the new suit again. When the airlock opens and her mother enters, she stands, and takes the suit in hand.*
Raela : Mother, can you help me put this on?
Shepard : Now, squeeze the trigger.
*Raela peers down the scope of the M-97, over the swaying savannah grass at the plastic humanoid target pinned against the short, gnarled tree. Her breathing slow, she does as instructed. The weapon going off is almost a surprise.*
Shepard : Winged him! Not bad for a first try. You’ll be ready for your pilgrimage in no time.
*Raela pokes her head up, looking at her father. Behind the mask of his suit, he looks happy. Enjoying the turnabout, she lets the omnipresent Rannoch breezes caress her face. It was going to be worth being sick for a while.*
Raela : Was it like this during the war?
Shepard : The targets shot back, but otherwise, a little. *more serious* Is that question coming from somewhere?
Raela : I was wondering… I was just wondering if I’ll have to fight, too.
Shepard : Hopefully, never. It’s a dangerous galaxy out there, but I like to think it’s better now than it used to be.
Raela : You don’t think there will ever be a big war again? Because…
Shepard : Wars are big to anyone involved. If you’re worried about the danger, we can—
Raela : No, I just wondered if I… if I was ever going to be like… to live up to…
Shepard : *rests a hand on her shoulder* Raela, I’m proud of you no matter what might happen. The only person you have to live up to is yourself. Whatever your future holds, I know you’ll be its match. Now… want to go see if your mother has some lunch laid out?
Raela : No… let’s finish out this sink. Unless you’re in a hurry to get at that nutrient paste.
Shepard : Laugh it up, little girl.
Kenichi : Raela… Raela!
Raela : *slowly coming to* Did anyone get the number of that space station that hit me?
*They are drifting clear of the concluding battle, blown well away from the station. It looks as though casualties among both geth and the rachni have been heavy. Broken ships dot the starscape.*
Kenichi : You took a nasty dent on the side of your helmet in the explosion.
Raela : *pulls her hood back up self-consciously* Is pickup coming?
Kenichi : Wish I knew. My transmitter is out, I had to rig a hardline between our omnitools.
Raela : *takes in the vista, Pandora station disintegrating against the backdrop of the cometary cloud* Then I guess we just watch and wait.
The reader is invited to imagine this being posted, each section approximately 20 minutes apart, in order to build suspense.
*some time later*
Raela : Kenichi, I have to tell you something.
Kenichi : *sardonically* Already? I’m not big on forcing these talks.
Raela : No, it’s serious. I… my rebreather is out. I think it must have broken when my helmet got hit.
Kenichi : Oh, shit. We’ve still got time. They’ll find us.
Raela : The air in here is already getting stale. I just wanted to tell you... you've been the best friend I've met on the pilgrimage...
Kenichi : No, don't talk like that. I’ve got still got air.
Raela : I can’t take yours.
Kenichi : My suit’s the new Alliance standard and I put on the helmet right before the station blew. I’ve got like 10 hours.
Raela : *obviously relieved* Oh. *concerned again* My parents probably aren’t going to be thrilled about this.
Kenichi : It’s better than suffocating, right?
Raela : You’ve never seen mother angry. *pauses, then triggers a full-spectrum antibiotic injection* Okay, but I have to warn you, my suit isn’t too fresh right now.
Kenichi : Raela, I’m no prize either.
Raela : It's okay. Come here.
Kal'Reegar : C'mon you two, we've got you.
Raela : Thank you, Kal. Where... how did you know where to look?
Kal'Reegar : Didn't. Your pet geth called us in. Felt a backup plan was needed, I guess.
Raela : Still, in all that wreckage?
Kal'Reegar : Captain Lemm'Shal is a genius with sensors. And...?
Raela : *embarrassed* Oh. This is Ensign Talyor, with the Alliance. And... we could both use more air.
Kal'Reegar : We can do that, ma'am.
Raela : ACHOO! *sniffles, even more embarrassed* Excuse me. Is... Legion alright? And the rachni?
Kal'Reegar : They took some losses, but the geth managed to upload of lot of theirs. The rachni are regrouping right now.
Raela : And the station?
Kal'Reegar : Space dust, ma'am. I can only hope my kid manages that on his pilgrimage.
Raela : *lays a hand on Randall’s coffin* I hope you find the peace you wanted, Randall. I’ll never forget you.
*Raela nods to the small honor guard of quarian marines, who wheel the coffin to the ejection port.*
Jona : Ma’am, we’ll insure that the body reaches the sun.
Raela : I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but we can’t risk this ever happening again.
Jona : You’re doing the right thing, ma’am.
Raela : Thank you. And thank you for volunteering to help me recover his body.
Jona : I’m a Migrant Fleet marine, ma’am. It’s what I do.
Raela : Still, the debris field is dangerous even without the possibility of remnants of the Reaper technology. It took a lot of bravery.
Jona : The quarian race, hell, the whole galaxy still needs people strong enough to stand up when they’re needed. I just hope my mother would be proud.
: Miss Shepard? Khalisah bint Sinan Al-Jilani, Westerlund News. Can you spare a moment to say a few words to our viewers?
Raela : *warily* Okay…
Khalisah : *waves camera forward* Raela’Shepard, you’re the adopted daughter of the most famous human in the galaxy, but are of a race still not widely welcomed in galactic society. Do you ever feel as though you’ve received preferential treatment due to his influence?
Raela : It’s a little hard to find people he hasn’t touched in some way. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not so good.
Khalisah : I see. Could you please comment on the incursion into Alliance space by geth and rachni forces, and the destruction of a mothballed Alliance battlestation? Is this sort of diplomatic incident and wanton destruction what quarian pilgrimages are usually about?
Raela : No.
*awkward pause as Khalisah waits for elaboration.*
Khalisah : I… see. Back to the earlier topic, would you attribute the lack of consequences for your actions to your father’s influence?
Raela : *clenches her fist* I’ve had enough of your obnoxious allegations.
Raela : My father always said you were a crude muckraker who desperately needed a fat lip. The reason he never hit you was because he grew up surrounded by casual male-on-female violence. He struggled to be better than that.
Khalisah : *emboldened* So would you comment on Shepard’s troubled, violent, and poverty-stricken upbringing?
Raela : Too bad for you that I’m a girl. *punches Khalisah*
Khalisah : *knocked sprawling* Ugh!
Raela : ...but fortunately, I was able to call on some of the friends I'd made on pilgrimage and we were able to destroy the station and avert whatever this terrorist cell had planned.
Emily : Amazing. You certainly are you father's daughter!
Raela : *touches her mask* My mother's too.
Emily : Of course. Is there anyone you’d care to thank for the help you’ve received on your pilgrimage?
Raela : As I said, too many people helped me to ever mention them all by name. They know who they are, even if they didn’t know who I was at the time. And I’ve like to send a special thank you to everyone who was out there watching, cheering me on. Even if I didn’t know about it at the time, I couldn’t have made it without you. You’re the greatest, and the galaxy owes you all.
Emily : There you have it folks. This has been Emily Wong, interviewing Raela'Shepard nar Normandy on behalf of Citadel News Net. Okay, and... cut. Good job, Raela. You were great there. Have you considered a career on screen?
Raela : *shudders* Truthfully, no.
Emily : *laughs* It’s not for everyone. Say, off the record, do you mind if I ask what you’re bringing back for your pilgrimage gift?
Raela : !!!
Raela : *thinking out loud* Argh... How could I have forgotten? No gift... And the Normandy is going to be here tomorrow!
*Trudges along Citadel ward without really looking where she's going.*
Raela : Mother managed to save the galaxy without forgetting to bring home a gift. I don’t even know what ship I want to join!
*Pauses to look at the shops.*
Raela : Can't just buy something... Spent most of the money on guns and armor anyway... Nobody would be impressed by an omnigel converter... Or a fish...
*Bumps into someone.*
Raela : Oh, sorry. I... *looks at who she bumped into* Uh... Your suit is... on wrong...
Junior : I know . I'm not even quarian. Stupid dad and his stupid pilgrimage idea. Why'd mom ever let him come home...?
Raela : I'm not even going to ask, because I think I know.
Junior : I just wish C-Sec would leave me alone! Is it so hard to see I don't have two toes?
Raela : How about I help you with a gift?
Junior : What?
Raela : *reaches into a suit pouch* Look, it's a Quarian Ally medal. Used to be owned by Commander Shepard.
Junior : *dubiously* Really? It looks like it's been shot.
Raela : That's what it means to be a quarian ally. It takes a lot of work, sacrifices, and danger, and it may seem like it's not worth very much, but it's still something to treasure and someday, it might save your life.
: ...and in the end, I think that the Reaper technology that had subverted the sarcophagus had gotten to him, too.
Miranda : *long pause before speaking* Thank you for coming here to tell me.
Raela : I'm sorry, Ms. Lawson. Whatever else happened, I can't help but feel partially responsible for Randall's death.
Miranda : Don't. The only person responsible for him was me. If only I'd---
Raela : *more heatedly than intended* He was a grown man. He made his own choices, and I made mine. Don't take that away from him.
Miranda : I'd almost forgotten what it was like to be lectured by a Shepard.
Raela : *suitably chastened* I... uh... I'm sorry. *turns to leave, then stops* He didn't die alone.
Raela : Father!
*Raela jumps to meet Shepard’s hug and then squeals as he spins her around.*
Raela : Mother!
*Tali joins in, completing the hug sandwich.*
Tali : We’re so glad you’re safe!
Raela : You didn’t have a thing to worry about.
Shepard : *extremely skeptical look* If we didn’t worry, who would?
Raela : *changing the subject* Oh, father, I found your Quarian Ally medal!
Shepard : Really? I thought Kasumi stole that years ago.
Raela : Er… well… *crestfallen* But, I uh, had to give it away to help someone on their… pilgrimage. I think.
Shepard : *shrugs* I’m sure it was a worthy cause. Besides, I’ve got my quarian allies right here.
Raela : Aunt EDI, I have a problem.
EDI : Before you elaborate, I must inform you that Commander Shepard's standing order that all requests made by you involving "mature" subject matter must be routed to him has never been rescinded.
Raela : Uh, it's not about that.
EDI : Additionally, if this is about the gunship incident, Commander Shepard found out long ago that you blackmailed Joker into teaching you how to hotwire the vehicle.
Raela : I can see I deserve this for not getting straight to the point. I don't have a gift yet, and I don't know what I'm going to do! I need some advice.
EDI : Tell them your gift is you being safe at home, rather than dead in an alleyway, your broken corpse picked over by scavengers, leaving your parents forever wondering what happened to you.
Raela : What.
EDI : That is a joke.
*Family is seated for dinner. Tali and Shepard on one side of the clean room window, Raela on the other.*
Tali : Are you sure you don’t want me to join you on the other side?
Raela : No, let me get settled a little before we both get sick for a week. You’ll get your face-time, I promise, mother.
*The three set about eating. Raela's plate has solid turian food, with a small bowl of #27, prepared with purple food coloring, just how she likes it.*
Raela : The nursery, heck, the Normandy seems a lot smaller than it used to.
Tali : After I came back from my pilgrimage, the whole Flotilla seemed cramped.
*Raela runs a hand over her scalp, suddenly realizing that's what she always saw her father do when he unsuited after being in the clean room.*
Raela : *smiling to herself* Whew, I have to say it’s great to be out of that suit. I don’t know how you managed to survive your pilgrimage with it on the whole time, mother.
Tali : *glances at Shepard* It wasn’t easy.
Raela : *embarrassed* You two! I’m trying to eat over here!
Tali : I'm not sure where your father is, he said he'd be right here.
Raela : You think it's okay?
Tali : In my experience, he's never been more than three minutes late for anything.
Shepard : Sorry, had to take a real-time message.
Raela : Okay... I wanted to talk about the pilgrimage.
*Both Tali and Shepard listen expectantly.*
Raela : *words come out in a rush* I think I need some more time because what with Cerberus and Randall and everything I just didn't find a gift yet. *takes a breath* I'll find something, for sure, that will make you both proud of me! Because... because what I really want is to join the Normandy . I've seen so much of the galaxy, and it's a beautiful, wonderful place, but it's not a peaceful place. Maybe it never will be.
*Shepard starts to say something, but Raela holds up a hand to stop him.*
Raela : *impatient* You can say something comforting in a minute, father. I want to help. There's all this work to be done, and most of it just can't be done by anyone but people who really care about what's happening. People like mother and you, and Uncle Garrus, and Kolyat, and... and Kenichi--
Tali and Shepard : Kenichi?
Raela : Nevermind! The galaxy needs people who care, and I care! Not because I want everyone to do what I want, but because I've seen too much to want innocent people to get hurt. I promise I'll find something worthwhile so I can join the Normandy. I promise!
Tali : Oh, Raela, you don't have to worry about a gift. I think the real point of the pilgrimage, especially now, is to see the rest of the galaxy.
Raela : But--
Shepard : My turn to interrupt. Raela, I just got down from the briefing room. Had a little talk with the Illusive Man. He elaborated somewhat more on your adventures than you did.
Raela : *evasively* I might have left some details out.
Shepard : You've brought more gifts than I really know what to do with. You averted what was probably a threat to the entire galaxy, fostered cooperation between the geth and rachni, and not least of all, came home safe. You're a miracle in and of yourself, a gift your mother and I had been prepared to go without. Even if the only thing you brought back was yourself, I'm still proud of everything you've done, and am proud to have you as a daughter and as part of the crew.
Raela : Oh, father...
Shepard : And the Illusive Man said that a good portion of Cerberus' funding this year was going to resettlement and reacclimation projects on Rannoch. Said something about cleaning house and paying a lot fewer people.
Raela : I wish I could say I had planned that.
Shepard : *smiles* Welcome back, Raela'Shepard vas Normandy.
*A battlefield. Far from the rest of the broken combatants, a twisted hunk of metal hurtles further into deep space.*
Quarian : *recording is staticky* I’m sorry we fought… didn’t mean…
*The wreckage is that of the bow of a quarian rescue ship, though only the most detailed inspection would reveal this.*
Quarian : *static* Still… glad you’re here now… can keep both… safe…
*The fading remnants of emergency power cells provide the barest spark of life to the ship’s computer.*
Quarian : *static* I’ve… thinking about names… her…
*Caught forever in a loop, the fatally damaged computer repeats a message stored on it, never sent.*
Quarian : *static* You remember… friend in the nursery… Ulnay. She came… from her pilgrimage… with a whole ship…
*But nothing lasts forever. Soon even this flicker of power will fade and the fragile mote of data will vanish beyond all hope of recovery.*
Quarian : *static* Lia… a nice sound… maybe it will bring… luck when she’s old enough… her own pilgrimage…
The Entirety of the Tali Thread 4.0
Plot Acceptability Consult:
Assistants to Miss Shepard:
The Voters in This Poll
Anyone Else I Forgot
Mass Effect Setting:
The Adventures of Raela'Shepard nar Normandy on Her Pilgrimage
*The Citadel ward is dark and quiet at this hour. Light and music spills momentarily from the open doors of Dark Star.*
Kolyat : Thank you for treating us, Raela. I have not been out dancing in a long time.
Raela : No problem. Carter's a cheap drunk anyway!
*The group has a laugh at Carter's expense. The android jams his hands in his pockets, shrugging before awkwardly joining in the banter.*
Raela : But really, I'm glad we got a chance to do this. My father didn't have any time to celebrate between defeating the Collectors and the Reaper War.
Kenichi : Then we should probably get wild and spill some drinks for him, too!
*There is general agreement, and the four move on to find another venue for their carousing, two hand-in-hand. When they are gone, a shadow slides from one of the walls. Stepping into the light, it is revealed.
Shirati : *smiles, showing all her teeth* So interesting ...
Credits list BSN forum usernames of audience members, commenters, and creators involved during the original posting of this fanfic on the BSN forum. Listed roles are intended to be humorous. It is not intended to be a complete listing, as all audience members are humbly thanked for their time in reading this fanfic.
Missing entry written by another fan.
*door to cargo bay opens, Legion steps through, optics scanning the room.*
Legion : Shepard-Commander.
*the mobile platform had anticipated he would be in proximity to his progeny-analogue, but Shepard is not here.*
Raela : *gurgles*
*Legion approaches the clean room window, briefly regarding the intercom the noise issued from. Raela is in her crib near the glass. Tali, unsuited, sleeps on a cot near the crib.*
Raela : *reaches her hands at the glass*
*Legion's lenses focus, then consider the juvenile creator from another angle. It extends its hands hesitantly toward the window glove-ports.*
Legion : *stuttering buzz*
*the glove ports are positioned so that someone outside the clean room can reach the crib. Legion pushes a hand into the quarian-fit glove.*
Raela : *coos*
*One gloved digit extended, the mobile platform precisely touches the juvenile quarian's chest. Raela regards the finger before seizing it in a tiny fist.*
Joker : Alright, don't touch anything until your dad gets back.
*Raela crowds the cockpit with her bulky bubble, peering at the consoles and out the windows. Joker tries to ignore her.*
Raela : I can sing you a song?
Joker : *not listening* Sure, sure, whatever.
Raela : *stumbling over the words* Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do, I'm half crazy...
Joker : *startled, then to EDI* Don't you know any other songs?
EDI : None with the desired impact.
Missing entry written by another fan detailing Shepard and Tali discussing "the talk."
Hawthorne : *steps out of men's restroom, whistling* Whew, glad that's over.
*muffled crying. Hawthorne curiously walks down corridor to investigate.*
Raela : *crying* Stuck! Stuck!
*confused by her short size and the yeilding material of her bubble, the woman's restroom door has her pinned, opening slightly, then shutting again.*
Hawthorne : Oh! Oh, sh*t!
*he hurriedly frees her. The bubble is soaking wet, as she seems to have turned on the shower, somehow. Raela promptly takes a tumble into the corridor.*
Hawthorne : *awkwardly trying to soothe her through the bubble* It's okay, it's okay, you're okay.
Raela : *still wailing*
Hawthorne : How'd you get stuck in there anyway, you little rug... *sees Shepard turn the corner into the hallway, clearly trying to find Raela* ...rat.
Shepard : Hawthorne.
*Hawthorne sprints for the elevator.*
*Joker relaxes in the cockpit while the ship is docked planetside.*
Newscaster : Authorities have finally located the missing gunship, crashed in a municipal reservoir.
*Joker is only half-listening.*
Newscaster : The gunship was stolen from a police impound lot, and had only recently been confiscated from a criminal cartel by the famous "Hero of the Citadel" Shepard.
Joker : *finally really listening.* Wait, what?
Newscaster : The still-unidentified pilot lead local authorities on an hour-long chase over the farmlands surrounding the spaceport.
Joker : Oh sh*t .
Newscaster : Luckily, there have been no reported injuries. The pilot is still at large.
Joker : Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t. Shepard is going to kill me!
*airlock opens behind Joker. Raela steps into the ship, dripping wet. Joker looks at her, half-relieved, half terrified.*
Raela : I won't tell him you showed me how to do it if you don't tell him it was me.
*Tali examines herself in a full-length mirror, making sure her headscarf is arranged properly.*
Raela : Oh, wow, that suit looks really beat-up.
Tali : It's been through a lot: I wore it on my pilgrimage.
Raela : And it still fits?
Tali : *slightly annoyed* Of course.
Raela : What are you doing in such an old suit? Aren't you and father going out dancing tonight?
Shepard : *comes into the room. He's dressed in an Alliance uniform 20 years out of date.* Are you ready yet?
Tali : ...
Raela : Ugh. Why can't I have normal parents?
Missing entry written by another fan detailing Shepard demonstrating how to shave for Raela.
Missing entry written by another fan detailing the far future.
Samara : Tali'Zorah, Commander Shepard is back on board now, interviewing the refugees we saved. He sent me down to let you know he would be late, but he is unharmed.
Tali : *inside clean room, holding Raela* I wasn't worried. Yet. Thank you, Samara.
Samara : *lingers hesitantly*
Tali : Ah... was there something...?
Samara : *turning to leave* No... no.
Tali : Wait. Would you... like to hold her?
*Samara slowly approaches the clean room window, then fits her hands into the glove-ports. Taking Raela carefully in her arms, she cradles her against the glass. Raela blinks sleepily, gnawing on her fingers.*
Tali : *places a hand up to the window in sympathy* Samara...
*Samara rests her forehead against the window. Her shoulders shake as she starts to cry.*
Missing entry written by another fan detailing Raela eulogizing her father .
Shopkeeper : Ah, you have a very discerning eye! One of the best pieces!
Raela : It's... just a chair.
Shopkeeper : Pfff! Is the Normandy just a ship? Is Shepard just a human?
Raela : Uh, well, funny you should...
Shopkeeper : *not listening* I found it in a back room when I bought all of Morlan's stock. It's a very rare piece. See how the edge of the seat is concave, and the legs are set very wide?
Raela : Yes.
Shopkeeper : It's specifically made for quarians. The Council spared no expense when it welcomed them to the Citadel; had all these chairs specially designed! They were all junked when the embassy was shut down after the geth uprising. This is probably the only one left.
Raela : I'll take it!
Kenichi : You realize this is probably a scam, right?
Raela : *defensively* It's a very comfortable chair.
Shepard : Have you seen Ken?
Tali : He was installing the new filters on the clean room, I think.
Shepard : Yeah, he finished that.
Tali : Probably in engineering with Gabby, then. Why?
*Shepard holds up Raela in her bubble.*
Raela : DADDY BAGS!
Tali : *to intercom* Kenneth, please report to the briefing room. Immediately.
Kenichi : This chair is heavier than it looks. *hesitates at the door* Uh...
Raela : What are you waiting for? Please, come in.
Kenichi : Whew. *drops chair* Sorry, ka-san told me never to come into somebody's room without being invited.
Raela : *skeptical* Really?
Kenichi : Well, at least not when anyone is there to see it. *changes subject* I'm amazed you've got this to yourself.
Raela : The Normandy's crew is pretty small now. Mother and Father usually only pick people up for specific missions these days.
Kenichi : I'd have thought that you'd uh... you know, a clean...
Raela : Clean room? Not for everyday living. I spent almost my first four years in one. I like stretching my legs.
Kenichi : Mmmm-hmmm.
Kenichi : *admiring the room* You've got a lot of stuff.
Raela : Yeah, mother says I'm a terrible quarian sometimes. *laughs* But I'm not big on sharing. Only child, you know.
Kenichi : *points* Who's this?
Raela : *mumbles*
Kenichi : Who?
Raela : Captain Scrubby.
Kenichi : Captain Scrubby?
Raela : He... uh... well, quarian toys have to be pretty rugged to survive all the decontaminations.
*The plastic-skinned stuffed turian's coloration is fading, both his manibles are loose, and one of his beady eyes is cracked.*
Kenichi : It looks like he earned his rank.
Garrus : Hey... uh, glad you could make it. Sorry that I couldn't meet you at... uh... The Normandy 's galley's food is... almost as good. Well, the human food, probably.
Chloe : Think nothing of it. I understand a vigilante's life isn't all about schedules. So please introduce me.
Garrus : Ah, right! This is Raela. Raela, say hello to Dr. Michel.
Raela : Hello, Dr. Michel. You're a doctor who helps people!
Chloe : Aren't you just darling! I helped your maman once.
*Raela, suddenly shy, hugs the doll in her bubble.*
Chloe : I guess you'll be sitting with us tonight, Raela?
Garrus : *looks apologetic.* Yeah, uh, something came up... slavers... Tali needed to be involved.
Chloe : So, Raela, who is your little friend?
Raela : Muhmander Scrubby...
Chloe : *winks at Garrus* He's a very dashing turian.
Garrus : I've been trying to sponsor him for a promotion.
Kenichi : *notices the on-off switch* Does he still work?
Raela : No... one too many baths in disinfectant.
Kenichi : What was he supposed to do?
Raela : *starting to get sick of the embarrassement* He would get a little warm. Father bought him to help me make the transition to the bubble where I wouldn't be held as often.
Kenichi : His arms feel like they're articulated.
Raela : ...
Kenichi : *raises an eyebrow*
Raela : He gave hugs, too.
Kenichi : *trying valiantly not to laugh*
Raela : But it was a turian toy, so he'd say things like "Get ahold of yourself!" and "Never surrender!"
Missing entry written by another fan detailing Raela and Captain Scrubby getting a bath.
Raela: Mother, did you know that… well, you were going to be with father when you first met?
Tali: *musing* Ha, hardly. I almost shot him when he came running into that firefight.
Raela: But soon afterwards?
Tali: You have to remember I was just a couple months into my pilgrimage. I was more homesick than anything.
Tali: No, it wasn’t like… ah! *shakes her head* You didn’t know my fath-- your grandfather. I was very concerned with making him proud, and doing what the Flotilla expected of me.
Tali: You’re worse than your father.
Raela: No, really, I’ll be serious.
Tali: Hmmph. Well, if you must know, it took a while. I was just happy to be part of a crew, even if I knew it wasn’t going to last forever.
Raela: I’m kind of sad I won’t know how that feels, since things are different now.
Tali: You already know how it feels, you’ve grown up with family that loves you all around.
Raela: Now you’re embarrassing me. Back to you and father.
Tali: *shakes her head and sighs* Well, when the Collectors attacked and your father… when we were separated, it was hard for me. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t understand what. *she rubs her wrist absently* When we met again, I guess that’s when I started to wonder.
Tali: Hush, you.
Raela: So it wasn’t love at first sight or anything?
Tali: If that does exist, it didn’t for me. *she laughs and shakes her head* Those feet.
Tali: Oh, you’ve grown up around him and other humans. I still sometimes wonder how he walks without falling over. It certainly explains the dancing. *thoughtfully* But there’s things to like about humans, too.
Tali: Er… well, nevermind. *suspiciously* Wait. Why all the questions about this?
Tali: Out with it.
Raela: Ah, wow! I've, uh, got to go clean up the engine… Can’t be late!
Non-chronological pieces created following the end of the main story.
Hawthorne being troublesome and being in trouble (often mistakenly) was a running joke within the BSN forum community.
Quarian-designed chairs were a running joke within the BSN forum community.