Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About Deviant Member DionneJinnFemale/Finland Group :icongarrusvakarian-fc: GarrusVakarian-FC
All the love for Garrus <3
Recent Activity
Deviant for 2 Years
Needs Premium Membership
Statistics 166 Deviations 1,858 Comments 11,284 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Random Favourites

Activity


Chapter 58 – Troublemaker



When he was approaching the counter he heard a distantly familiar voice speaking angrily.

“You’re really holding out on me?” the voice said. “I’m a man on the edge! I've got nothing to lose!”

“Uh-huh,” the asari bartender said.

When Garrus got closer, he remembered where he had heard the voice before: it belonged to a man who had followed Shepard around Citadel two years before, trying to get her to make him a Spectre. Garrus had forgotten his name.

“I’ll do anything to get the job done!” the man boasted. “I’ll go all the way without a second thought!”

“Uh-huh,” the bartender said again, apparently not taking the human very seriously.

“You want to see how far I’ll go?” the human—suddenly Garrus got his name: Conrad Verner—said. “I learned how to shove a gun in people’s face from commander Shepard.”

“I doubt that, Verner,” Garrus growled from behind the human. The man turned around and Garrus got a shock seeing him wearing a N7 armour. He was convinced the human had not earned the high rank Shepard held.

“Hey, if you know this idiot, can you rein him in before I slap his ass with a singularity?” the asari bartender asked from Garrus.

“Hang on,” the human stammered, looking hard at Garrus. “You’re the turian who used to hang around with Shepard. We met on the Citadel? I wanted to become a Spectre? And then she shoved a gun in my face! She showed me what it meant to be truly extreme. I learned that lesson well. Why don’t you sit back and watch how it’s done? I’ve got some asses to kick.”

“Doesn't sound like Shepard I know,” Garrus pointed out. “What? Are you trying to be like her?”

“What?” the human asked angrily. “Are you crazy? I'm nothing like her! I'm not a Spectre working for the Council! I'm on my own, backed only by my wits and my nerves! No rules, no laws, just whatever it takes to get the job done!”

To Garrus that sounded uncomfortably like what he had been doing after Shepard died.

“How did you get that armour?” Garrus said, knowing it had needed some hard work on Shepard's part to earn the right to wear N7 armour.

“Oh, they make some pretty convincing replicas these days, if you're willing to pay,” Verner replied. “Getting the whole getup was pretty expensive, but my wife was really supportive. She even paid for my shuttle fare off-world!”

Garrus noticed how the asari bartender face-palmed and tried to hold back a laugh. He couldn't help thinking that this human man was easily led, and rather foolish.

“Do you have any actual combat training?” Garrus asked.

“I'm saving the galaxy, turian!” the human announced and Garrus had to resist the temptation to face-palm himself. “I don't have time for training! Don't you get it? Shepard was a big jerk, but she saved the galaxy and showed other races that humans mattered... and then she died! The galaxy needed someone like her. I had to do something.”

“Firstly, Shepard is alive,” Garrus growled, growing tired of the pompous human. “Secondly, you're an idiot. Thirdly, what the hell you think you're doing, running around the galaxy like a loose cannon?”

“Hey, don't say it like that!” the human protested—Garrus believed he had only heard his last statement. “I talk to people, you know? Ask them if they have big problems that only I can solve. You'd be surprised how many people are just waiting for someone to talk to them! Sometimes I poke through crates, too. You know, for extra credits.”

“Any decent security system will detect that you aren't in the human military, much less part of Shepard's squad,” Garrus pointed out, wondering at the back of his mind if or if not he should tell Shepard about the annoying impostor.

“I just say that I'm deep-cover, and don't appear on systems,” Verner replied shrugging. “I'm doing the best I can, okay?”

“Why were you trying to get the deed to this place?” Garrus asked.

“This place is actually a front of a red sand dealer,” the human said. “I need to take it over to crack the ring!”

“What?” snapped the bartender, who had been listening on the conversation silently. “Who the hell told you that?”

“The owner of that weapons store near the carport!” Verner said indignantly. “She's an undercover cop! She told me about it when I introduced myself.”

That was all that Garrus needed to know—the human had been led, badly. He had done enough undercover work during his days in C-Sec to know that anyone doing it would have never revealed their cover to a total stranger, whoever he might claim to be. But before he had time to say anything the bartender jumped in again.

“Listen, crap-for-brains: first, we don't sell red sand. Second, red sand is legal on Illium! You just need a license!”

“I'll talk to this undercover cop and figure out what's going on,” Garrus promised, curious to see, what really was going on.

“Thank you,” the bartender smiled. “If I kill annoying customers, it usually causes property damage. That comes out of my pay.”

“Just let me know if you need any help,” the eager human said.

“I can handle it,” Garrus assured him, wondering if he actually should call Shepard for instructions, but decided against it. She had enough on her plate already.

Garrus found the merchant at her kiosk, where Verner had told him she would be.

“Can I help you with something?”the asari asked.

“I talked to an old friend, Conrad Verner,” Garrus said—he felt as if he had moved several years back in time and was again conducting investigations for C-Sec. “You told him that the Eternity lounge was selling red sand.”

“Oh, you're Conrad's friend,” the asari smiled. “Yes, that place is really dangerous. I should know. I'm an undercover cop. Did you get me the deed to the bar? I need the deed to, uh, stop the red sand dealers.”

“I and Verner softened up the bar owner,” Garrus improvised. “But you need to go in and finish them off.”

“Really?” the asari seemed surprised, but Garrus didn't think he had revealed his game. “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely,” Garrus grinned. “You just need to close the deal. Go in, be tough, and let them know you've got support. They'll hand the deed right over.”

“Well... great,” the asari said, still surprised but happy. “Here, I'll set you up for a discount. Thanks for the help.”

Laughing silently Garrus watched the merchant hurry off and turned on his radio.

“Liara?” he called. “A fake undercover cop is trying to shake down the owner of Eternity lounge. Can you send some real law enforcement there to handle it?”

“Owner of Eternity lounge?” Liara said. “I'll see to it. Thanks for letting me know.”

Garrus walked casually back into the lounge, curious to see how things would evolve.

“Damn it!” the voice of the asari trader shouted over the normal din in the bar when Garrus stepped in. “This is just a misunderstanding!”

“Tell it to the judge,” a more dignified asari voice replied coldly. “The surveillance vids caught your extortion attempt from four different angles.”

“I was misled!” the merchant argued. “I was told that you had agreed to sell!”

“Take her away,” an asari officer ordered her troops and the whole group walked out. Passing Garrus, the arrested weapons merchant gave him a hate-filled look but Garrus just grinned and shrugged his shoulders.

“What happened?” Conrad Verner wanted to know, approaching Garrus. “The undercover cop from the weapons kiosk just got arrested!”

“She wasn't a cop,” Garrus replied bluntly. “She was using you to try to take over this bar.”

“What?” the human stared amazed. “No! But she said... But she was pretty! She wanted to get coffee! I screwed this up, didn't I? I screw everything up. Damn it! I'm so stupid! Who was I to think I could do what Shepard does?”

“I've been where you are,” Garrus assured the man. “And believe me when I say that you didn't screw it up as badly as I did. Just cut out the N7 act. I don't think Shepard would appreciate it.”

“Then what should I do?” Verner asked desperately.

“Go home,” Garrus said. “Shepard is back and can take care of things.”

“Oh,” Verner said, disheartened. “Okay. If you think that's what Shepard would want. Thanks.”

The defeated human wandered off and Garrus turned to asari bartender.

“Thanks for taking care of that crazy guy,” the bartender said. “Saves me having to beat him to death with his own spine. That makes the other customers nervous. Anyway, this is Eternity, and I'm Aethyta, asari matriarch and bartender. Get you anything?”

“Give me a drink,” Garrus said, leaning to the bar. “So, you're an asari matriarch? I thought matriarchs served as honoured advisers.”

“Right,” the bartender replied a bit sharply. “Which I do here at this bar. I know, not what you'd expect. But nobody on Thessia wanted to listen to my wise counsel, so here I am. Dad was a krogan who fought in the Rachni Wars. My mother fought in the Krogan Rebellions. I've pretty much seen it all.”

“If your mother fought in the Rebellions and your father was a krogan, didn't that cause tension?” Garrus asked, curious.

“They didn't meet until a few hundred years after your kind put the boot in with the damn genophage,” asari shrugged. “As far as either one knew, they were both just warriors. Dad boasted, Mom stayed quiet. Mom was a matriarch herself, and Dad was near-on a thousand, when the truth came out.”

“What happened when he found out?” Garrus asked.

“I was about a hundred, shaking my ass in some sleazy bar,” the asari explained. “They got me on the link, told me that they were going to have it out, and made me promise to love whichever one survived. Turned out to be damn easy, since neither one did. Family, huh? What a kick in the quad.”

“What's it like, living for nearly a thousand years?” Garrus felt he was getting drunk and slowed down on his drink.

“Violent,” the bartender sighed. “Wars break out, colonies get destroyed. Sometimes you hear good news, like that colony on Feros surviving. That's the exception, though. You find peace in whatever arms will hold you. Turian, elcor, hanar... Even had a pureblood daughter. I was the father. Didn't work out. Then one day you wake up, your figure's gotten matriarchal, and everyone else is too young to remember how the quarians looked inside those suits.”

“Why is a matriarch in a bar serving drinks?”

“It's better than what most other matriarchs are doing,” the asari complained. “Look at that screw-up with Saren and his geth a few years back. Their ships were hanging bare-assed in space when Saren started shooting. If not for humans, we would've bought it right there. And I warned them! Told people on Thessia what was coming, and they didn't want to hear it.”

“What didn't they want to hear?” Garrus asked, throwing back another drink.

“That art and philosophy and political prowee wasn't going to cut it,” the bartender said bitterly. “We can't go a single asari lifetime without some big war breaking out. When I started talking about making new mass relays ourselves, they laughed the blue off my ass. So now I serve drinks. Another one?”

“No, thanks,” Garrus said, handing over some credits. “Got to go.”

Slowly he staggered back to the Normandy.
Mass Effect fanfiction: Lonely Heart - Chapter 58
Chapter 58 of my Mass Effect fanfic. I took some artistic freedom in the way I had Garrus handle this idiot. This is one "mission" where I actually do not like the paragon option (lying to Verner that the "cop" was a terrorist, it is so not like my Shep and even less like Garrus to say that...) And for the record: Conrad Verner is an idiot!

All characters belong to BioWare.

First chapter: Mass Effect fanfiction: Lonely Heart - Chapter 1
Next chapter: WIP
Cover art: Lonely Heart cover
Full cover: Lonely Heart full cover
Loading...

Chapter 57 – Protheans



The next few days they kept jumping from one system to another, mostly doing some mysterious ‘Cerberus business’, but the normal status quo was returned on the ship, when Miranda stayed on board, fulfilling her duties as the executive officer while Shepard was away.

Garrus stayed on board as well, improving the calibrations of the cannons. Every evening Shepard visited him to see how much progress he had made, but it appeared that their little, private heart-to-heart conversations had come to an end. The few words they exchanged were strictly to business and Shepard never stayed long.

During their conversation the previous evening, Garrus had told Shepard he expected to have the cannon ready to use during the next day. He had left the last set of diagnostics running, when he headed for lunch.

“Make way!” a shout came from the direction of the lift and Garrus turned to look, recognising Zaeed’s voice. “Move!”

What he saw almost made Garrus’ heart stop: Zaeed was hurrying toward the med-bay with Grunt in tow. The huge krogan was carrying Shepard, who was clearly unconscious and appeared very small compared to the bulky alien. Before Garrus became able to uproot himself from the floor, they had disappeared into Chakwas’ domain, but both the mercenary and the krogan soon appeared back out.

“What happened?” he asked, hurrying to the pair along with the present crew.

“Hell if I know,” Zaeed growled. “We came across this weird artefact. Prothean by the looks of it. The boss told us not to touch it, or her, for a while.”

“Shepard touched it?” one of the crew asked. “A Prothean artefact?”

“Yeah,” the mercenary nodded. “She went rigid for a while, then collapsed. We couldn't wake her up so Grunt took her and I wrapped the damned thing into a blanket, so I wouldn't have to touch it, and we got the hell out of there.”

Garrus had seen Shepard interact with Prothean beacons and other artefacts when they had been after Saren, so he believed he knew what had happened. The item had flooded Shepard’s mind with visions of Protheans, Reapers and the destruction civilized races had faced 50 000 years ago. It would have been enough to make anyone collapse.

“Why would Shepard search Prothean artefacts?” mess sergeant asked. “Does she think they help us against the Collectors? The Protheans became Collectors, so I guess that makes sense...”

“We were not searching for no artefacts,” Zaeed denied. “We went down there to bust a science station taken over by the Blue Suns. Bloody Vido had his nose print on it. We didn't even know it was a Prothean ruin they were researching.”

“We should head for Illium,” Garrus said suddenly, turning toward Miranda’s office. “Shepard needs to see Liara.”

The people in the mess hall fell silent, staring after him, but Garrus ignored them. He had seen her do it many times enough, the strange joining of minds with Liara, and he was convinced that when she woke up, that would be what she needed.

“What do you need, officer Vakarian?” Shepard’s XO asked, when he stepped in.

“You should order Joker to set the course for Illium,” Garrus replied. “Commander Shepard...”

“Are you trying to give me orders, officer Vakarian?” Miranda’s voice was freezing cold.

“No, ma’am,” he said and his confidence crumbled a little. “It’s just... Commander Shepard experienced a vision like the ones she got from Prothean beacons before. She needs to see Liara T’Soni.”

“And how would you know what she needs?” there was even more threat in Miranda’s voice than before. “As far as I know, you weren't down planet side with the commander, nor you are a doctor. Keep to the calibrations and other things you understand.”

“But...” Garrus resisted, almost claiming that Shepard was one of the things he understood. “She turned to Liara before, I believe she wants to do so now.”

“You believe,” Miranda said sweetly—which was more threatening than the coldness had been. “Well, we do not act on beliefs here. When, and if, commander Shepard gives us the order to head for Illium we will do so. Before that, I’m in charge. And you’re dismissed.”

Feeling utterly humiliated Garrus headed back to main battery to see if the diagnostics on his calibrations were ready.

Several hours later—when he had double and triple checked his work and it all checked out perfectly—Garrus could hear a change in the engine hum, which told him they were no longer on orbit. He hesitated for a second, but then his curiosity won.

“EDI,” he called. “Where are we headed?”

“To Illium, sir,” the AI replied.

Garrus had expected that answer, but he didn't feel as triumphant as he thought he would. He had told Miranda that Shepard would want to go to Illium, but the Cerberus woman had not listened to him. He had expected he would want to go and tell her ‘I told you so’, but with all the mistakes he had done recently he didn't think he had any right to do so.

“Garrus, do you have a minute?” Shepard suddenly asked, stepping into the main battery.

“Sure,” he replied. “You okay?”

“I’m fine,” Shepard assured him, but he wasn't entirely convinced. “Nothing I haven’t been through before. But let’s not talk about me. How’re you doing?”

“I’m good, Shepard,” Garrus grinned. “And I still think I owe you an apology for not getting the weapons ready to go before going after the Collector vessel.”

“And as I've told you before: don’t blame yourself,” Shepard said, taking her usual place on Garrus’ footlocker. “Even I thought we had more time. If someone should be blamed for what happened, that’s me. I kept taking you in shore party when you had work to do here.”

“I wanted to come,” Garrus assured her, sitting next to her. “And now that the cannon is ready I can follow you again, if you still want me.”

“Wouldn't have it any other way,” Shepard smiled. “One other thing. I heard there was some kind of an encounter between you and Miranda while I was in the med-bay.”

“It wasn't a big deal,” Garrus said. “I told executive officer Lawson I believed you wanted to meet with Liara after the Prothean vision. You always did before. I suggested that we should set course for Illium. She took offence and told me to focus on things I understood.”

“I see,” Shepard smiled. “But in this case I think you were talking about something you understood. Better than she does, anyway. She wasn't there...”

“Those visions were something none of us could really share with you, but Liara,” Garrus said. “But I saw they were always rough on you.”

“So much death,” Shepard whispered. “But what we know now is even worse...”

“You mean what the Reapers did to them, turning them into Collectors,” Garrus said and Shepard nodded. “I think I would rather see everyone annihilated than share into their fate.”

“Worse than death,” Shepard admitted. “And I've already died once.”

“Have you told Liara about what we found out on the vessel?” Garrus asked.

“No,” Shepard shook her head. “It’s not something I want to put into mail. What it would sound like? ‘Hi, hope you’re doing good, oh, by the way, the Protheans are actually Collectors’. No, that is something I got to tell her face to face, with some solid data to back it up.”

“You think she’s going to take it hard?”

“I bet,” Shepard said grimly. “She’s been studying them and their lost cultures for most of her life. To find out that they were not destroyed but deformed into something else... They were her heroes. It’s like telling to a child that Santa Claus doesn't exist.”

“A what?” Garrus was confused.

“Sorry, just a bit of human mythology,” Shepard shook her head and stood up. “Never mind that. Look, I got to finish my round before we get to Illium. You coming with me and Tali to see Liara? Or are you still doing calibrations?”

“No, they’re ready,” Garrus assured her. “Do we have something else to do on Illium, or are we just visiting Liara?”

“Not that I know,” Shepard shook her head. “A welcomed change, I might say.”

Couple of hours later the Normandy landed on Illium and Garrus met Shepard and Tali at the airlock.

“Say hi to Liara for me,” Joker shouted after them when they exited.

They met Liara in her office, and again she was in the thick of her own problems.

“I need to get this data,” she insisted. “It is the only way to identify the Observer.”

“I have a perfect solution for you,” Shepard smiled, changing her radio settings. “Kasumi? You ready for another data-collecting round?”

Soon the human girl had been sent to collect the information Liara wanted. Only then the asari woman was relaxed enough to listen what they had come to say.

“You actually sure about this?” she whispered in awe. “The Protheans. They still exist.”

“According to EDI and Mordin Solus the change has been so huge that Collectors can’t be thought as Protheans,” Shepard said. “But genetically, yes. Their genetic structure is something that has only been seen in Protheans and now in Collectors.”

“This is...” Liara stared at them. “I don’t know what to say, Shepard. All my life... My studies... I never had a clue.”

“They’re very good at hiding their tracks,” Garrus said. “You can just imagine how amazed we were when EDI dropped that info on us.”

"There's also..." Shepard hesitated. "My newest vision. In Prothean ruins. If you want..."

"I don't know if I want to," Liara sighed. "But I guess I need to. If you're willing to share."

"Go ahead, Liara," Shepard nodded.

"Close your eyes," Liara said, as so many times before and her eyes turned black. "Embrace the eternity."

After few moments both women returned to normal. Garrus was still rather unnerved by the whole thing, but it didn't seem to shake either of them as much as it did before.

"I am surprised," Liara sighed as she sat back down behind her desk. "After everything, you still have the Cipher. And that vision..."

Suddenly there was a knock on the door and Kasumi stepped in.

She handed a data pad to Shepard and nothing more was said about Protheans or Collectors.

“Hang on,” Shepard said after reading the data. “All your suspects were male, but according to this the Observer is female. Who gave you that list?”

“My assistant, Nyxeris,” Liara said, and Garrus noticed a flash of anger in her eyes. “Nyxeris.”

At that moment Shepard’s comm signalled.

“Shepard,” she replied. “Okay. Stay there. We’re on our way.”

“What is it?” Garrus asked.

“Miranda has a situation and needs help,” Shepard replied. “Sorry, Liara, but we have to go. If you still need our help...”

“I know where to find you,” the asari assured them. “It was good to see you, Tali, Garrus.”

“It was good to see you too, Liara,” Tali replied, hugging the asari. “I wish you could come with us.”

“I wish I could,” Liara replied. “But I’ve got work to do. And a lot to think about.”

The whole group left Liara’s office when Liara’s assistant, Nyxeris, went in.

“You girls head back to the ship,” Shepard instructed Tali and Kasumi. “Garrus and I will handle this.”

The two young women turned and Shepard led Garrus briskly to a bar called Eternity, where Miranda was waiting with Jacob.

“Our business doesn't concern him,” Miranda complained, nodding at Garrus. “This is personal and I don’t want him involved.”

“Fine,” Shepard said and Garrus could hear the annoyance in her voice. “Go to the bar, Garrus. Or head back to the ship.”

“All right, Shepard,” Garrus nodded, turning around.

Chapter 56 – Guilt



Garrus didn't sleep a wink that night.

It was as if there was a fire burning in him. He had once before failed Shepard, when he had left her to die on the original Normandy, and now he almost had allowed the history to repeat itself.

Never again,” he swore, staring at the console and struggling to get the numbers right. “Never, ever again.”

He didn't know how much time passed.

The soft humming of the FTL drives died down around the morning, but Garrus didn't pay any attention to it. He didn't know where they were, he didn't care.

“Garrus?” Shepard’s voice jarred him out from his dark brooding.

“Yeah?” he asked, trying to force his voice sound normal.

“I'm heading out with Jack,” she said casually. “You want to come along?”

“You take someone else this time,” Garrus replied without turning to face his commanding officer—on a turian vessel he knew he would have been severely punished, but he just couldn't look Shepard in the eyes right now. “Take Thane. Or maybe Zaeed.”

“Garrus, what’s wrong with you?” Shepard asked and he could hear confusion in her voice.

“Nothing,” he denied, perhaps a little too quickly. “I just don’t have the time right now. This weapon system needs to be calibrated.”

“Okay,” Shepard said, still sounding confused. “But we will talk when I get back.”

“Sure,” Garrus replied, not really thinking that far ahead.

Focusing on his work Garrus didn't feel tired or hungry, but when the time passed he started to feel cold. Annoyed at his own weakness he turned the temperature regulator of his armour higher and kept on working. His fingers on the control board were getting slower and slower, the numbers on the screen were starting to dance in front of him, but Garrus refused to give up.

If the weapons systems had been ready...” he thought. “If I had done my job, we might have had a fighting chance against that ship. I risked Shepard’s life, everybody’s life, thinking there was no hurry.

The chrono at the bottom of Garrus’ screen indicated he had been up and working for almost forty-eight hours without a break, but Garrus ignored it as he ignored the feeling of tiredness that was slowly taking a hold of him.

When the door to the main battery slid open this time, Garrus had no trouble hearing it. In fact all the sounds had been growing louder and louder in his ears, so much so that the soft humming of engines sounded like a drill that was making holes in his head. But before now he had forced himself to ignore them.

“Garrus,” Shepard’s gentle voice made him freeze. “Do you have a minute?”

“Can it wait for a bit?” Garrus asked in return, again he refused to turn around and face her. “I’m in the middle of some calibrations.”

“Actually, it can’t,” Shepard said, and her voice became stern. “Look at me, Garrus, when I talk to you.”

Garrus turned around, sighing. During the time he had spent with Shepard, she had only rarely had any reason to reprimand him, but he knew there was a punishment following his lapse of duty. He just hoped Shepard would allow him to stay on the Normandy and not sent him away.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, mostly talking to Shepard’s boots.

“Before we left yesterday, I asked EDI to keep an eye on you for me,” Shepard said. “When I got her report, she told me you haven’t eaten or slept since we left Tuchanka. Why?”

“I have been getting the weapons systems ready,” Garrus replied. “Something I should have done before we went after that Collector vessel.”

“The ship was supposed to be abandoned,” Shepard reminded him. “It wasn’t supposed to be a threat. We had no way of knowing that distress signal was only a bait.”

“We should have had,” Garrus replied with a hint of rising anger—anger at himself, at the Illusive Man, Collectors and the whole galaxy in general. “I should have known to ask the right questions about that message. I should have known there was something fishy about it. And I should have gotten everything ready long ago.”

“Garrus,” Shepard said sharply. “Garrus! What happened at the Collector vessel was not your fault, you hear me. Don’t blame yourself.”

“I’m not...”

“Yes, you are,” Shepard replied. “Now you listen to me, Garrus Vakarian, and listen well. You are not responsible for what happened back there, Collectors and the Illusive Man are.”

“But if the weapons…” Garrus tried to argue.

“It wouldn't have made any difference,” Shepard shook her head. “We got ambushed. If we had turned around and tried to fight back, we would have died. But we ran, and got away from there. When we take the fight to Collectors, we’ll be ready.”

“But that’s why...” Garrus started, but Shepard cut him short again.

“What good are the weapons if my gunnery officer kills himself improving them,” Shepard said sharply. “The gun is only as good as the person firing it. You need to rest.”

“I can rest later,” Garrus resisted.

“No,” Shepard said, and there was steel in her eyes. “You rest now. Or I swear I call Chakwas and Mordin here and have them sedate you. Is that understood?”

“But...”

“EDI,” Shepard called with a threatening voice.

“Yes, commander?” the white orb of the AI asked.

“Okay, okay,” Garrus said, raising his hands in defeat. “I’ll sleep.”

“Good,” Shepard nodded. “Besides, the quality of your work is better, when you’re not tired. Working yourself to death might get the weapon done fast, but if you made a mistake, it might blow in our face, when we try to use it. So. Sleep! Now!”

“Yes, I...” Garrus hesitated. “Thanks, Shepard.”

“EDI will guard your sleep,” Shepard grinned. “So don’t try to give her a slip. Sweet dreams.”

Garrus knew Shepard well enough to know that she wouldn't hesitate to have the two doctors put him to sleep, if he refused to get some rest on his own. He also knew the damn AI would report his every move to commander, if he tried to disobey her. With that knowledge he realised there was nothing else to be done, but to get out from his armour and crawl into his cot.

Without the heat regulator of his armour, Garrus realised how cold he felt. The temperature on the Normandy was always on the cool side of his liking, but he had gotten used to it and it didn't bother him. But when he crawled under his blanket, he found himself trembling violently from cold.

“EDI,” he muttered. “Can you turn up the heat a little?”

“Of course, officer Vakarian,” the AI replied.

Few minutes later the temperature in the main battery had become more comfortable for Garrus and he fell asleep.

But instead of the ‘sweet dreams’ Shepard had wished for him, Garrus found himself wallowing in nightmares.

He flitted from one restless and disturbing dream into another. At times he was with his father, a small turian boy looking up to him but never feeling himself good enough to please the old man. From there he suddenly moved on the original Normandy during its destruction, but instead of seeing the body of the requisition officer burn, the corpse belonged to Shepard and he was helpless to save her. Suddenly he was on Virmire, when Saren strangled Shepard and he had been forced to look from the side when she struggled.

And through it all he felt himself helpless, insignificant and a failure.

When he woke up, Garrus didn't feel himself as well rested as he knew he should have. But at least he found out that his head was back on straight, and he understood Shepard had been right to warn him not to work when too tired.

I was a fool,” Garrus admitted to himself. “And now I’m hungry.”

He headed into the mess hall, where he happened to meet doctor Chakwas.

“Morning, Garrus,” the doctor greeted him. “I've been meaning to talk to you. We should replace that bandage on your face and see how much recovery you have made.”

“Morning?” Garrus repeated surprised, not even trying to pretend that Chakwas didn't know how Shepard had threatened to have her sedate him. “Exactly how long I have been sleeping, doc?”

“Little over six hours,” the white haired woman smiled. “It’s quarter past one in afternoon, to be honest. But a friend of mine used to say that it is always good time to wish ‘good morning’ to people who have just woken up.”

“Fair enough,” Garrus nodded, helping himself to the food.

“When you've eaten, come see me about that bandage,” Chakwas ordered, heading back to the med-bay.

When he had eaten Garrus obediently went to see the doctor. Though Chakwas gave him a full medical check, the woman was gracious enough not to ask about his antics after the Collector vessel incident. He was also happy to learn that his healing was progressing nicely.

“There is always going to be a scar,” Chakwas said. “But the damage is only cosmetic. When the treatment is over you should be able to use the mandible as before.”

“Thanks, doc,” Garrus said, rubbing the wound carefully. When the doctor had removed the old bandage, it had felt like she was tearing off part of his face.

“Don’t touch it,” the human warned, approaching him with a bottle of antiseptic spray and a fresh bandage.

“Any idea where we are?” Garrus asked to change the topic.

“Not sure,” the woman shook her head. “But the commander is off somewhere with Miranda and, I believe, Mordin.”

“Miranda?” Garrus was surprised. “That’s an odd one.”

“My thoughts exactly,” the doctor confirmed. “Shepard doesn’t usually take her XO in shore party, but I think this was something called ‘Cerberus business’ and Lawson insisted on going.”

“So, who is in charge here?” Garrus frowned.

“Probably Joker,” Chakwas replied. “We don’t have clear standing orders for such a situation. But as long as things run smoothly, we should be fine. There,” she said, having finished with the bandage. “All done.”

“Thanks,” Garrus grinned. “I got to get back to work.”

When he got back to the main battery and started the calibration program again, he discovered no less than three mistakes he had made, while working on it previously. None of them—not even all three put together—would have made the cannon blow up in their face, of course, but every one of them would have made it less effective.

“Time for lights-out,” EDI finally told him. “Commander’s orders.”

“Nag,” Garrus muttered, but couldn't help but smile when he headed to bed.
Mass Effect fanfiction: Lonely Heart - Chapter 56
Chapter 56 of my Mass Effect fanfic. A small part of this was inspired by a conversation in X-wing: Rogue Squadron novel between Wedge and Ackbar...

All characters belong to BioWare.

First chapter: Mass Effect fanfiction: Lonely Heart - Chapter 1
Next chapter: dionnejinn.deviantart.com/art/…
Cover art: Lonely Heart cover
Full cover: Lonely Heart full cover
Loading...

Chapter 55 – The trap



“We need a little help here, EDI…” Shepard said, when their platform finally stopped spinning.

“I’m having trouble maintaining connection,” the AI reported. “There is someone else in the system.”

“Collectors!” Garrus warned, when he saw another platform fly toward them.

“Damn!” Shepard cursed. “Take cover and take them out!”

That was easier said than done. The platform carrying their enemies danced around from left to right and back again before stopping and unloading the remaining two Collectors on the platform Shepard's team was using. After the platforms were connected, it was easier to aim, but the enemies had the same advantage. Finally the Collectors were down and they had a chance to look at the data terminal EDI was trying to access.

“Connection re-established,” the AI reported. “I need to finish the download before I can override any systems.”

“Another platform!” Garrus warned.

“Then you’d better get it done fast, EDI,” Shepard shouted as they opened fire on the new bunch of enemies.

There were still two opponents left, when Garrus heard something behind him.

“Look out!” he warned, seeing another platform approaching from a different direction. “We've got more company.”

“Forty-one percent complete,” EDI said, but none of them had time to pay attention to the AI, as their enemies took most of their focus.

“Got a platform coming in!” Jacob shouted.

“Come on, EDI,” Shepard muttered, when the platform joined the fray, carrying two scions. “Speed it up.”

“Eighty-four percent,” came as a reply to Shepard's prompting.

“EDI!” Shepard snapped. “Get us out of here!”

“I am simultaneously fighting Collector firewalls in over eight thousand nodes,” the AI said with a hint of indignation in its metallic voice. “I am tasked to capacity.”

They had barely gotten the two scions down, when Garrus saw two more platforms approaching.

“Here they come again!” he warned.

Words 'assuming direct control' suddenly echoed from the walls, having originated from one of the Collectors, who was now shining with yellow and black fire.

“Not that one again,” Shepard sighed to Garrus, when they took cover behind the same console as a burst of odd biotic-like energy flew over their heads.

The odd creature was the last they fought. When it fell the silence in the chamber seemed to grow thicker and thicker.

“Hundred percent,” EDI's voice broke the silence, jarring them out from their private misgivings. “Shepard, you must manually re-establish my link to the command console.”

Garrus, who happened to be closer, got to the controller first and punched the buttons.

“I have regained control of the platform, Shepard,” EDI reported, showing up as the bluish-white orb.

“I knew you wouldn't let us down, EDI,” Shepard replied, though there was a lot of relief in her voice.

“I always work at optimal capacity,” the AI said simply—Garrus had never imagined the robot-brain could be modest.

“Did you get what we needed?” Shepard asked.

“I found data that could help us successfully navigate the Omega 4 relay,” EDI reported, but Garrus was sure he heard a ‘but’ in the information. “I have also found the turian distress call that served as the lure for this trap. The Collectors were the source. It is unusual.”

“Seems logical to me that they would have sent the initial message as bait,” Shepard pointed out.

“No, it is unusual because turian emergency channels have secondary encryption,” the AI explained—Garrus nodded his confirmation, when Shepard glanced at him, and he cursed silently that he hadn't thought to mention it to Shepard earlier. “It is corrupted in the message. It is not possible that the Illusive Man would believe the distress call was genuine.”

“Why are you so sure?” Jacob asked.

“I found the anomaly with Cerberus detection protocols,” EDI replied. “He wrote them.”

“He knew it was a trap?” Joker came on the comm. “Why would he send us into a trap?”

“That son of a bitch sent us right into Collector hands,” Shepard swore, and Garrus knew she was really angry.

“And here I thought I’d had my betrayal and attempted murder for this year,” he said, trying to lighten the dark mood a bit, but not having much success.

“There’s got to be an explanation,” Jacob said almost desperately. “The Illusive Man wouldn't do this. It doesn't make sense.”

Garrus saw Shepard was just opening her mouth to argue, when Joker’s voice drilled into their brains.

“Uh... commander,” the pilot’s voice revealed there was yet more bad news coming. “We've got another problem. The Collector ship is powering up. You need to get out before their weapons come online. I’m not losing another Normandy!”

“I do not have full control of their systems,” EDI warned. “I will do what I can. Sending coordinates for shuttle extraction.”

“Come on,” Shepard commanded and the whole team turned to go back. “Let’s move!”

They hurried through the passages, which were still mostly quiet, but there was a new sense of threat all around them. They didn't see any enemies in the large chamber, but Garrus had the feeling it only meant that they were coordinating themselves and setting up ambushes.

“Around the corner,” EDI came online. “Take the door on your right.”

“Got it,” Shepard confirmed as they found the door.

They found themselves in a room with two levels and Garrus thought he could see two doors at the other end, but the light around there was dim and he wasn't entirely sure.

“I am opening a door on the far side of the room,” EDI reported and one of the doors Garrus had spotted slid open.

But before they had time to take one step toward it, a flying monstrosity came through and the door was slammed shut after it and a horde of Collectors.

“Praetorian!” Garrus warned, recognizing the identical design of the thing they had fought on Horizon. “This is not good.”

“EDI?” Shepard snapped, diving for cover and pulling out the Collector beam gun she had been using effectively before. “We've got a problem here.”

“Apologies, commander,” the AI’s annoyingly serene voice replied. “A temporary setback on Firewall 3217. Rerouting commands through Firewall 7164.”

“Damn!” Shepard swore. “Split up and try to distract it. And stay in cover as much as you can. But don’t let it get too close.”

After giving her orders, Shepard rushed to find another cover and the flying lump drifted after her, frying her new cover with its particle guns. Garrus placed several rounds to the thing, doing some damage, but the thing seemed to ignore him and his attack while it kept following Shepard around. Whenever the monster relented with its guns, Shepard opened up with the one she had appropriated in the colony.

Suddenly the Praetorian dropped to the floor and Garrus could feel the whole room shaking. Shepard’s cover crumbled like a house of cards.

“Shepard! Run!” Garrus shouted, shooting at the huge monster as fast as his rifle allowed him.

Instead of running Shepard retreated, keeping her face toward the Praetorian and shooting. Garrus could feel his heart hammering in his chest, when he saw how close the terrible creature had gotten to the commander, who had already reached the end of the room. He didn't know how much juice the beam gun still had, but when the thing was already looming over the commander it suddenly started to disintegrate.

“That was way too close, Shepard,” Garrus said, hurrying to her side. “Especially with something that is targeting you in particular. Because that thing was gunning for you.”

“I noticed,” Shepard admitted. “EDI?”

“I have successfully opened a door on the opposite wall,” the AI replied, and turning to look Garrus could see a door he had not noticed before. “I will keep it open as long as I can.”

They hurried through the door and found themselves in a room with more container pods and analyzing equipment. It seemed almost familiar, but Garrus thought something was off.

“Must be getting close to the end,” Jacob said, looking around.

“Uh, commander?” Joker’s voice came on suddenly. “Hate to rush you, but those weapons are about to come online. Might want to double-time it. You know, so we can leave before they blow the Normandy in half.”

“You heard him,” Shepard said, speeding up her steps in the passage. “Let’s get—aargh!”

Rounding a corner Shepard had rushed right into a group of husks that immediately attacked her. Garrus realized the husks were too close that he could have used the sniper rifle he was holding, but the weapon was sturdy so he smashed in the skull of the closest enemy with its butt. Shepard and Jacob were firing biotic energy all around them and soon they had cleared a path through the group, though half of the husks were actually still alive.

“Stop only if you have to!” Shepard ordered. “We got to get the hell out of here!”

Rounding another corner they saw a ramp leading down to where their shuttle was, but another, larger group of husks had gathered between it and them.

“We’re out of time, commander!” Joker urged them when they struggled to open a path through their enemies. “We have to go!”

“You heard the man,” Shepard commanded when they broke through and Garrus slapped the door control of the shuttle. “Everybody into the shuttle! Move!”

They had barely gotten the door closed, when the shuttle blasted its way out from the Collector vessel and flew as hard as it could toward the Normandy. Their landing into the shuttle bay was not as smooth as usual, because the ship was bouncing around the place.

“Strap in people,” Joker’s voice warned over the intercom when Garrus followed Shepard out from the shuttle. “Gonna make them work for it this time.”

“Weapon systems?” Shepard asked sharply when they entered the lift.

“Not ready,” Garrus confessed, ready to kick himself for not having spend more time working on them. “Sorry, Shepard.”

Garrus jumped out from the lift when it stopped at the Crew deck and hurried toward the Main battery. He didn't even have enough breath to curse himself and his laziness.

“I can’t dodge this guy forever, EDI,” Joker’s voice was still on intercom and could be heard all over the ship. “Get us the hell out of here!”

“Specify a destination, Mr. Moreau,” the AI requested.

“Anywhere that’s not here!” came an angry and frustrated reply.

“Very well,” EDI said. “Engaging mass effect core.”

Garrus noticed a difference in the sounds of the ship and its jerky movements became level. That was enough to tell him they had made it out. Still cursing himself silently, Garrus leaned on the control board of the weapons system.

deviantID

DionneJinn's Profile Picture
DionneJinn
Finland
Interests
1. For each of the first ten people to comment on this journal, I will put their avatar and the three deviations I like most from their gallery on the list! If you would like to suggest your own deviations, feel free to do so.

2. If you answer, you have to do the same in your journal, putting the tagger on the first place. The idea of this is not simply getting a free feature, but spreading art around for everyone!

Tagger: :iconbelanna42: Shepard ID: Valerie by Belanna42 Janeway: Goddess of the Stars by Belanna42 Cody: ST. Patricks Day 2013 by Belanna42

01. :iconsoturoayami: Pretty fire by SoturoAyami D. Strata by SoturoAyami Shaza Tu -hunting garb- by SoturoAyami

02. :iconunacceptablee: Garrus Vakarian - Markers by unacceptablee Christmas!!! by unacceptablee Shaya - Assassin by unacceptablee

03.

04.

05.

06.

07.

08.

09.

10.
  • Mood: Joy
  • Listening to: Hobbit soundtrack
  • Watching: Cold Case
  • Eating: Boiled eggs
  • Drinking: Hot chocolate

AdCast - Ads from the Community

Groups

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:iconjash0162:
Jash0162 Featured By Owner 2 days ago
happy birthday, hope your new year is brought by joy all year long and the bad (whatever it might be) dose not stay for long 
Reply
:icondionnejinn:
DionneJinn Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Thank you.
Reply
:icongarrus368:
garrus368 Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Happy Birthday :)
Reply
:icondionnejinn:
DionneJinn Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Thank you.
Reply
:icontarkarra:
Tarkarra Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Thank you for the fav
Reply
:icondionnejinn:
DionneJinn Featured By Owner 6 days ago
No problem, it was awesome as always.
Reply
:icontarkarra:
Tarkarra Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Thank you for the fav
Reply
:iconelephant883:
Elephant883 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the Booster favorite. I really appreciate it.
Reply
:icondionnejinn:
DionneJinn Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2015
You're welcome. That picture is really awesome.
Reply
:iconelephant883:
Elephant883 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you.
Reply
Add a Comment: