Citadel: I Remember Me
Thanks to Reikson for helping make this wonderful
Xander knocked gently on Shepard's office door. He barely heard her soft whisper, "Enter."
She sat in the room's only comfortable chair; looking out the window at the cold black of space just beyond the re-enforced plasti-steel.
"We passed a comm buoy when we transited through that last system." Xander reported, "Lieutenant Girard sent an update on that girl Talitha. She seems to be doing okay ... Keeps asking if her angel will come again?"
"Eight years old Xander," Shepard's whisper was harsh, "she was eight when they took her, enslaved her , turned her into ... I hate them, I hate every damn one of them. "
She looked into Xander's eyes now. "I have no idea how Aaron Bowman and your friend Buffy can be so forgiving. How do you just ...let that much rage and hate go?"
Xander looked lost for a while. Shepard stared at him as his face took on an expression of world-weary sadness that she had never seen on him before. Finally, he said, "Remember Edolus? You asked me, after the fact, how it was that I didn't wet myself?"
Shepard nodded, "Not that I'm complaining about it but, an uncharted world, dead marines killed by a Thresher Maw? If anyone would have reason to freak out it would be you? And don't give me that guff about needing to look good for Williams' benefit."
Xander sat the small desk. "The truth is - I learned a long time ago that you have to control your emotions, especially the fears or they control you. If I lose it while we're on a mission. If I give in to what scares me or pisses me off, you or whoever else is depending on me, might get killed. My point is part of me is scared by Thresher Maws, by the weird creatures we run into out here, by Liara's ... occasionally piss poor aim during fire fights, but that part lives in service of the part of me that needs to get things done."
"Every time I see a batarian," Shepard snarled, "I remember Mindoir. I remember the people I lost on Torfan. Guys I served with, guys I respected. Guys who might still be alive right now if we wasted less time trying to show the galaxy including those four-eyed bastards how noble and self-sacrificing we can be."
"You hate Batarians, you really, REALLY hate them. I get that, I really do," Xander responded, "but It's like you said to Girard, hating the batarians doesn't help Talitha, listening to her, talking her out of hurting herself or someone else ... that's how you saved her life on that docking bay."
She looked up at him, her eyes not quite betraying her emotions. "Thanks, Harris. What's our status?"
"We just entered Argos Rho, there's a supply depot but it's not on any of the official maps and its not transmitting its IFF, in fact the thing seems to be dead in space ... and it isn't answering hails."
"Standard protocols state I'm obligated to investigate and render assistance if necessary."
"Aren't we the least bit curious how an ancient - and supposedly extinct alien species - managed to wind up being shipped to the ass-end of space so they could completely devastate two listening posts and the marines guarding them?"
"Oh, we're very curious, Harris. We're very, very curious," Shepard replied.
"Well if there is one thing we are doing out here; it's satisfying our curiosity." Xander drawled. He turned to leave when her next words stopped him cold.
"Incidentally, Fredricks was using his extranet access to post pictures of your girlfriend ...Buffy?"
Xander turned back slowly, "Buffy isn't my Girlfriend, she's my sister-in-law."
"Not anymore, now I'm a widower. Dawn passed on ...a long time ago,"
"Was she a UDB as well?"
Xander was confused, "UDB?"
Shepard sighed, "Biotic ... undocumented, you know, like her sister."
"Oh that" Xander groaned.
"Oh that he says," Shepard sneered, "Xander I know the Alliance hasn't always handled biotics well, hell it shocks me Kaiden isn't more angry about what happened - but undocumenteds are dangerous to themselves and other people."
Xander smiled, "Trust me Buffy can take care of herself. I pity the poor fool who goes to Terra Nova looking to make trouble by trying to drag Buffy away some some kind of brain-camp - she is very , very experienced at dealing with troublemakers."
Shepard looked at Xander, "Assuming she really is the Angel of Elysium I believe you."
Xander stopped smiling, a chill running down his spine at her words.
"You heard us talking about that?" Xander replied, a thousand fear-filled scenarios ran though his mind about where this conversation could lead.
"Fredricks was posting to a conspiracy site one of their topics of interest is the identity of the person or persons unknown who saved Elysium during The Blitz. Jenkins used to talk about it all the time remember?"
Xander did indeed recall the rookie gunnery chief whose death on Eden Prime had shocked and saddened the Normandy's crew.
Crossing his arms, Xander kept his tone calm and flat, "Hypothetically... if Buffy was this Angel... and that is not an admission by the way, But if she were, she'd be responsible for saving hundreds of lives. She's probably living a quiet life away from prying eyes. The last thing she'd want is to end up being poked and prodded like some lab rat; especially when all she did, was what any sane person would do in that kind of situation. Do the best you can to help everyone who might be in danger."
"I guess I can respect that," Shepard mused aloud.
"Did Fredricks post those pictures?" Xander asked.
Shepard snickered, "Of course not ... Have you never heard the tale? No one has ever seen the Angel. No one remembers the face, all photographs seem to have vanished and any new ones do as well. It's like the extranet just swallows any and all tangible references to the Angel of Elysium whole ...it part of the mystery. Now c'mon, let's go see what Cerberus was up to out here."