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Zeppo Effect: Fight for the Lost

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Zeppo Effect". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The Galaxy's Greatest Hero is back from the dead with a small army of the deadliest operatives in the galaxy to take on all comers. They say it's a suicide mission, that it’s certain death. THEY keep forgetting that Shepard has a Zeppo in her corner.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Sci-Fi > Mass Effect Trilogy(Recent Donor)BHRamsayFR1864310,83930385133,45816 Jan 1226 Sep 13No

Dossier: Justicar(1)

AN--Thanks to Reikson and Drakependragon


Jack lay in the darkness of the subdeck smoking.

Technically smoking was prohibited aboard the Normandy, Gabby had gotten a little huffy about it the first time she’d come to the subdeck following the acrid stench from Jack’s smokes but Gabby and Ken were scared of the serial murderess even at the best of times so the only opinions that really mattered were Miranda, Shepard, Tali and Xander.

Shepard placed very few personal restrictions on the lives of her ground team. As long as their actions brought no harm to ship or crew they were free to do as they pleased aboard Normandy.

Miranda had quickly figured out that telling Jack not to do something was the best way of insuring that was exactly what Jack would do.

The feisty Quarian wouldn’t care if Jack ran naked through the ship’s corridors as long as her antics did nothing to harm the little gearhead’s precious engines. There had been a brief incident shortly after Tali’s arrival when Jack’s territorial nature had clashed with Tali’s obsession with repair and maintenance of the ship’s engines. The incident had ended without bloodshed only due to Xander’s quick thinking and even quicker wit.

Xander of course would do what he normally did when he found her lounging in the subdeck semi-clothed and puffing away. Pretend he was ignoring her while sneaking looks at her out of the corner of his eyes.

“Yeah because given the choice between a filthy little prison rat and the Cerberus Cheerleader he’d totally want a tattooed psycho with a violence fetish.”

Jack tried to shut out the voice in her head but it was hard to ignore the shit that come from deep inside. She’d learned that the hard way.

“If he was really into you he’d have made a move by now.” Jack’s inner demons taunted, “he won’t so much as touch you. You're damaged goods … you're garbage. At best, he thinks you're a charity case and at worst he's playing you on until the cheerleader decides to let him shag that genetically perfect ass of hers.”

Jack turned over in the cot pulling herself into a little ball. She told herself she wasn't trying to hide or protect herself and that the gentle gasping sobs were just from the smoke. A cheaper brand by far than the inhalants she had taken from that Dantius bitch’s offices and had been smoking ever since; finishing the last just after Horizon.

Jack was startled to hear footsteps, not Xander or the other engineers. Jack rolled off the cot sliding deeper into the shadows.

It was the farm girl creeping around. Jack watched as she stopped to sniff the air following the smell toward the smoke Jack had left smoldering in the improvised ashtray she used.

Stalking a Slayer through the shadows was a risk never mind confronting one head on and alone but Jack had been paying attention during her training sessions with Shepard. You picked up a lot while letting Shepard toss you around the shuttle bay..

Jack slid through the shadows approaching the Farm Girl. Jack felt Simone tense up as she finally perceived Jack’s presence. Simone spun around reaching for Jack but the biotic was too fast. A flare of biotic power propelled Jack backwards and away from Simone’s reaching grasp. One second Jack was only a step away, a split second later she was all the way across the room, the flare of dark energy fading.

“Teleportation? the dark Slayer whispered.

“Not exactly,” Jack growled, “ I once had a Salarian explain it to me. Something about reduction of drag coefficients and kinetic force. Me, I just think of it as a really cool way to move really fucking fast.when someone isn’t expecting it.”

“That is so cool. Wish I could do that.” Simone whispered.

“What?” Jack snorted “Super strength and super speed not enough for you. You want to be a biotic too?”

“Sounds like it would be cool.”

“Yeah --- sounds like is the right word. T’ill you try to get a job and can’t cause the person won’t hire biotics.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

“Sure it is in Council Space , take a look around Princess, We aint in Council Space; and even if we were you really think some ass is gonna tell you to your face he hates biotics. Getting your ass slapped with a Singularity is not fun.”

Jack slipped past Simone to snatch up the smoldering inhalant She didn’t so much as offer Simone a drag but Simone seemed inclined to ignore Jack’s obvious antisocial tendencies.

Jack waved the smoke around as she continued speaking, “Then there the guys who won’t so much as touch you cause you’re a freak. Course I kind of prefer them to the losers who totally get off on the fact you a biotic and that’s all they care about.”

“And yet you make time with Harris who is like the ultimate power groupie. He’s totally into chicks with power. it’s the only way he gets off.”

Jack yawned, “Hey Doffler, you can screw the high school bullshit Sister. It doesn’t take a genius to notice you don’t like him and he aint exactly fond of you.”

“Yeah why would he like me I only called him and Pretty Princess Buffy on all their bullshit. The crap they spew to make us march our asses into danger for them.”

“You know what Simone I know you … Hell I used to BE you. and as for Xander …”

“You aren't buying all his bullshit are you I mean sure he’s kissing your ass today but as soon as Princess Buffy calls, his ass is out the door I mean this is a guy to dumped some chick at the altar with some lame-ass excuse about demons posing as his future self and messing with his head … I mean how lame is that?”

“Hey farm girl,” Jack snarled, “Xander ever beat the shit out of you then rape you in a prison bathroom for an hour? Did he let his friends take turns?”

Simone went silent.

“That’s what I thought Farmer Girl; you’re a fucked up wannabe who’s too powerful and too smart for your own good.” The biotic criminal hissed, “Someone says no-you-can’t and you flip your shit.”

“I never asked to be a Slayer. I got chosen.”

“I got stolen by a bunch of screwed up doctors who turned a scared kid in the all-powerful bitch I am now. You say Harris is bad news -- unless his ass is THAT fucked up then I aint worried about Little Mister Boyscout.”

“Ok fine; don’t say I didn’t warn you. He’s a Watcher that’s what he is. It’s ALL he is They don’t care about anyone or anything except The Slayer and around these parts that means Shepard.”

“I ain’t worried farm girl but pretending I was I look like someone looking for mister fucking right ...please. If Harris really is some fuck ‘em and forget ‘em type trust me that shit is fine with me. Let him run back to Shepard after I’ve had my fun. It’s no secret she’s totally Miss Girls Club so if he’s holding out for her he’s got a long ass wait.”

Jack tossed herself on top of the messy cot, “Well are we finished talking cause I got some stuff I want to do that don't involve you being here buggin me.”

“You gotta be such a bitch?‘

“Yeah I do -- If you gotta problem with that , I can solve it.”

“You really think you can take me?” Simone snorted.

Jack let a feral smirk cut across her face, “The question is Farm-Girl , do you think you can take me?” she hissed.

The two of them stared at each other for a moment Jack saw the fear in Simone’s eyes and more importantly , Simone saw that Jack saw the fear. There would be no fight today.

Simone shuddered, “Fine who needs you ya freak job.”

Jack waited until Simone left before she relaxed. Kid was crazy and angry a bad combo and Jack had enough self-awareness she could point to herself as the perfect example thereof.

Still Simone had a point. Maybe Xander was playing Mister Smooth, that he’d fuck off when he’d had his fun.

Jack closed her eyes, her mind and her hands began to wander as she let herself think about Xander. She wasn't the weak-ass little bitch that had been tortured back in that Cerberus laboratory so long ago. She had power now. She didn’t get used and abused anymore. She did the using and the abusing. Hell, if Simone wasn’t totally full of crap, Harris might like it if she forced him … just took what SHE wanted and then walked.

“Specialist Jack-” EDI the computer interrupted her, “The Commander is going ashore and would like you to join her. Please equip yourself and join the ground team at the docking hatch.”

“Fuck!?!,” Jack cursed, “ just when I was getting started too,”

If Xander didn't make a move soon, she’d force the issue...Scary-Ass Willow or no.

“Then he’ll go away.” the still small voice whispered in the back of her mind , “He’ll go away and leave you to what a Filthy Little Prison Rat deserves ...nothing.”

Shut up


Nos Astra’s cityscape was a chaotic blur as the air taxi flew through the afternoon skies. Xander manned the driver’s stick with Shepard riding shotgun while Garrus and Jack bantered in the backseat

“So let me see if I understand this correctly first was the insect queen then came the undead mummy and then the vengeance demon?” Garrus asked,

He’d spent a few quiet moments with Willow who armed him with a sort of Xander highlights reel.

“Well between Ampata the Mummy and Anya the demon was Cordelia … she was human or at least she was when I was dating her. She ended up as a sort of Goddess, so in an extremely technical sense, she was the exception that made the rule.”

“Hey Jack I’ve been wondering what Xander sees in you but judging from his dating history you fit right in.”

“Hey Garrus bite me.”

Shepard grimaced, “Now kids if you don’t stop fighting, Xander’s gonna turn this thing around and I’ll find someone else to shoot up the commercial spaceport with.”

Xander heard her comment and sighed, “So we’re just assuming that things are going to go to hell now?”

“Seems like it would save time if we did.” Garrus chuckled. “Now this dating a Goddess thing how did that work exactly?”

Xander suddenly developed an intense interest in the cars vid com. He switched it on in the middle of a news report. Al-Jilani looking a little haggard, was ranting about shocking revelations from a Council Insider.

“Ashley Williams had this to say when asked point blank about the rumors surrounding her former Commanding Officer,”

“I don’t like her methods. The Illusive Man can’t be trusted; not now and not ever. But I do not, nor will I ever, question her motive. Joan Shepard is many things and she’s definitely the most dangerous woman that I’ve ever met, especially when she’s pissed off. But she’s no traitor.”

Xander Jack and Garrus all went quiet trying hard not to notice Joan’s eyes growing ever more frosty at Al-Jilani’s news report concluded with chest thumping statements from a representative of the Batarian Hegemony scoffing at the idea of Collector attacks. He claimed that the increased presence of The Systems Alliance Navy was a thinly disguised prelude to war which the Hegemony was more than ready for.

When Kalisha asked for any proof of his claims, the blustering diplomat sneered at the idea of even needing proof.

“What other reason,” The batarian snapped, “ could there be for the The Butcher of Torfan herself to be let off her leash to savage the Terminus Systems indiscriminately and as the attack dog of the Human terrorist group Cerberus no less.”

“What reaction might we expect from the Hegemony?”. Al-Jilani prompted. “How far are the Batarians willing to go to meet Commander Shepard’s aggression.”

All four of the Batarian’s eyes stared into the vidcam as if speaking directly to Shepard,

“Just watch us.” he hissed.

Joan’s eyes seethed with cold hate and Xander quickly reached out to snap off the vidcom.

“So how’s Morrie?” He asked casting about for a safe topic.

“She’s fine,” Joan replied, “Chambers has her doing some kind of art therapy.”

“I always wanted to learn to paint.” Garrus sighed, “I mean sure I paint walls with blood when I nail a headshot but I always wanted to try real art.”

“Art Therapy is cool.” Jack grumbled.

The car went silent, “I’m sorry but did The Badass Biotic just admit to doing art therapy?” Xander asked hesitantly.

“Laugh it up Harris, I’ll have you know some of these tats I sport started out as shit I drew that I wanted to remember.”

“I’m finding it really hard to picture Morinth making art.” Garrus replied.

“She is, so I am told, a passable artist;” Joan explained, “though its hard to say how much of that is actually her own talent.”

“What do you mean boss?” Xander asked.

“Don’t you remember; Morinth acquires the skills and knowledge of anyone she’s ever burned.” Joan replied.

“...And Morinth does like artists,” Xander sighed.

“Does that include poets?” Jack asked.

Xander nodded, “She’d love a nice yummy poet,” He assured her, “and the more tortured they are the better she’d like it. She really, really likes artists if you get my drift”

“OK that just creeps me right the hell out.” Jack muttered looking decidedly pale.

“She’s fine now,” Joan assured her nervous crew, “Mordin tested her out and he’s sure she lost the ability to burn people the same time she lost her biotics.”

“Well unless Mordin has started making out with Morinth I think we should be careful just incase.” Xander snorted.

Joan looked away and wiped her hand across her mouth in a way Xander remembered all too well.”

“Boss?” Xander asked pleading.

“I’m satisfied that Mordin is taking every precaution with her treatment.” she replied and looked away her face flush with guilt..

“Oh My God,” Xander roared, “You fluked, you totally went and fluked.”

“It was just a kiss.” Joan snapped. her cheeks flushing.

“Eww, now you have Morinth cooties..” Xander shuddered.

“What i’m curious about is how they pulled it off. I mean Morinth kills anyone she joins with.” Garrus mused.

“Morinth can’t join with anyone. All she can do is engage in regular physical relations.”

“She killed me by accident JL, What if she’d done the same to you?” Xander ranted.

“Mordin was ready to … ah... step it were, if events were getting too … if there was a potential for … danger.”

Garrus gaped, “Wait, you mean Mordin was there ...when it happened? Watching?”

“...And by step mean he was going to do what exactly?” Xander asked.

Joan looked as if every word out of her mouth was a special kind of agony “He was going to sedate Morinth if things got too out of hand.”

The silence of the car was so acute a pin could have dropped blocks away and it would have been clearly audible.

Jack finally broke the silence, “Shepard I thought you were Queen of VanillaTown but you are into some kinkyass shit; consider me impressed.” she cackled.

“Look Mordin asked for my help and I gave it . Yes it was dangerous but it was just a kiss and it didn’t mean anything close to what you think it did. It doesn't mean I love Liara any less or Morinth any more. It was just a kiss that’s all. ”

“That makes sense.” Garrus mused.

Jack snorted, “Mister fucking Player over here thinks Shepard makes sense; I’m fucking shocked.”

Garrus appeared truly hurt, “It it my fault the women of The Normandy are a discerning bunch.”

“Discerning bunch my ass,” Jack laughed, “Bunch of horny bitches is more like -- the only one they want to bang more than you or the boyscout up there is the assassin.”

“Thane?” Xander replied, “Seriously?”

“What they didn’t have bad boys back in the twentieth century?” Jack asked.

“Are you kidding me?” Xander snorted, “I think for a decade or two there the only way you could hope to get laid was if you were a reformed bad boy with a tortured backstory.”

Joan smiled at Xander, “Well I for one have come to appreciate having a Boy Scout or two watching my six.”

Xander cocked an eyebrow at her response but decided to let the subject drop. The air taxi landed at the spaceport and the squad disembarked.

“So if I was a deadly Asari super cop; where would I be?” Xander asked.

“Well I'd start with the cop station over there,” Garrus pointed, “if she isn’t there they might know where she is.” he replied.

The squad marched into the station to find the room crowded with various beings. All were shouting to be heard over each other and managing only to create a cacophonous din. In the centre of the chaos was a harried looking Asari whose nametag proclaimed her name as Anaya.

"I demand you release my vessel Detective,"A rotund Volus rasped through its breather, " I'm an honest trader. I've suffered a grievous loss. Surely you wouldn't compound my ill-fortunes by impounding my cargo ship."

"Never mind that,"a human shouted, "What are you people doing about my wife."

Anaya had the look of someone tired of being harassed by pushy claimants especially The Volus and even more familiar looking human.

Shepard marched up to him. “Trevor -- what the hell are you doing here?”

“Shepard?” Phillips Junior gaped at her before he reeled backward, “Stay the hell away from me you psycho!!!”

Trevor spun around, “Officer I demand you arrest this woman. She’s a terrorist ... she shot up that ...that hotel ”

“Which hotel sir?” Anaya asked wearily.

“The one with all the … all the Asari” Trevor fidgeted.

Anaya snorted, “You'll have to narrow that down as this is Ilium. We have a lot of Asari here.”

“He means Azure,” Joan replied helpfully, “You know the resort hotel.” she pronounced the last in a voice dripping with sarcasm.

Anaya gaped at her before bursting into laughter, “You were the ones who shot up the brothel? If I wasn't a duly appointed officer of the law I’d buy you a drink.”

Garrus snickered. “That’s all T’soni needs, to see you making time with a cop.”

Anaya choked, “Are you kidding me? T’soni as in Doctor Liara T’soni? That would make you Joan Shepard. My older sister served on the Destiny Ascension.”

Joan smiled, “Then your praise would be better directed at Mister Harris and Mister Vakarian here,” she pointed, “They were actually at the controls. All I did was make the call.”

Phillips Junior rolled his eyes, “Great another fan it must be so thrilling to be surrounded by your adoring public.”

Shepard darted her hand out to gently press Phillips Junior’s mouth closed, “Hush , the adults are talking.” She glanced at Xander who took up the conversation track.

“Hi, we’re looking for an Asari Justicar named Samara. We were told you’d be able to help us find her.”

Anaya rolled her eyes, “I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told every one else. The Justicar is in the midst of investigating a local crime. My superiors have asked me to detain her but I'm holding off on that as long as I can.”

“Why, aren’t you both on same side?” Joan asked, “You talk as if you're scared of her.”

“A Justicar represents the height of Asari Law and Governance. The Justicar can act with absolute authority even against me. If I get in her way or try and stop her from what she sees as her duty she’d be obligated to strike me down.”

“Samara would kill a cop for doing her duty?” Xander gaped.

“I’m a cop on Illium. I follow orders and do my job as best I can but working these streets demands a certain ...moral flexibility.”

Joan’s eyes hardened, “Your Bosses don’t want the ultimate symbol of Law and Order pissing all over whatever filthy little backroom side deals they need to maintain to keep a place like Ilium running. How am I doing?” she asked.

Anaya nodded, “They want me to detain her long enough for them to get official permission to kick her off world, I know for a fact her code won’t allow her to submit to my authority for longer than one day after that … “

“After that she kills you and anybody else who gets in her way.” Garrus summarized.

“Well unfortunately Detective I still have to find her.” Joan tapped her omnitool, there was an answering beep from Anaya’s desktop, “Will that satisfy your superiors ”

“Council authority?” The Detective replied, “Well that'll get you past my blockades. I can tell you the Eclipse Sisters won’t give a damn about you being a Spectre.”

“I think we can handle it.” Jack sneered.

“Wasea has a little ritual, she won’t let the new recruits even put on a uniform until they kill someone for her. Every Eclipse you see in there are made girls ”

Joan snorted, “If there’s an Eclipse mercenary on this planet that can take me down, I don’t deserve to call myself a Soldier never mind a Spectre.”

“What an arrogant bitch you are,” Trevor snarled. “I have no idea what Mariana saw in you.”

Xander could tell he was lying. He knew exactly what his wife had seen in Joan and cursed its perceived absence within himself.

“What are you even doing here Trevor,” Joan asked, “It’s the middle of the day and you seem sober Why isn’t Mariana holding your hand?”

“That’s why I’m here; the Eclipse took her. I’m trying to get her back but the detective won’t help me.”

“What do you mean they TOOK her? Why would anyone take Mariana, especially Eclipse Mercenaries?”

Trevor grimaced, “I screwed around and had a fling with a dancer it was nothing serious but she has a sister -- some Eclipse merc named Wasea. She found out I nailed her sister and is all bent out of shape”

Joan looked enraged. her fist shot out and grabbed Trevor hauling him into the air. “ could you even think of cheating on Mariana. She’s the only good thing about you; you pathetic...”

Trevor gasped and wriggled in her grasp. “It was just fooling around. I love Mariana. it’s was just sex with some stripper … it meant nothing.”

“If it meant nothing why the hell would you do it?”

“The way they look at me,” Phillips Junior whined, “I mean … They look at me like I'm the only thing they’ve ever wanted. ...afterward; I know they don’t care about me. I know they never cared, not really … but still you kind of hope--”

“Like you're a drug they’re addicted to,” Joan whispered, “Like they'll die if they don't get another taste and knowing you control if they do.”

Xander could hear a painful memory in her voice. He wondered if it was pain she had been a victim of or pain she’d caused. He laid a comforting hand on Joan’s shoulder, “Boss?”

Joan sighed, “OK, Trevor wait here I’ll get Mariana back.”

“What about the Justicar?”Anaya sputtered.

“My Spectre authority covers my companions.” Joan soothed, “If the Justicar is travelling in my company that would let you off the hook for dealing with her.”

“Are you kidding me?” Anaya snorted, “She isn’t some Mercenary-for-hire, the only way you could get her working for you is if you had some big impossible crusade.”

“You mean the kind with next to zero chance of success.” Xander asked

“...with tonnes of innocents in harm’s way?” Garrus chuckled

Anaya looked back and forth not getting the joke, “Well I have to admit that might get her attention.”

Jack snorted, “Well then you can be damn sure we got that covered.”

“What are you humans talking about?” The cop wondered.

“Have you ever heard of the The Collectors?” Joan began


The squad travelled through the cargo terminus at first they assumed they’d be battling Eclipse Mercs the whole way but quickly discovered that wasn't going to be a problem.

"Well someone had a party." Xander whistled as he took in the courtyard they arrived at.

It was strewn with bodies, Eclipse mercs savaged in ways that varied wildly. The only thing they all had in common was that the perpetrator had committed the act with the exacting patience of a surgeon; a few took the prize for sheer creativity of execution.

Garrus marveled, "Please tell me this was the work of a spirits-be-damned army we can recruit. Please tell me this was not the work of one person. "

"It gets better G'." Xander moaned, "This Justicar might do the same thing to us if she thinks she has to."

"Relax guys, it will be fine. I'm sure once she’s heard what we have to say she'll be completely reasonable." Shepard replied.

Shepard looked up and saw easily the tallest Asari she’d ever seen clad in a red and gold body suit, a crest resting over her brow like a crown matched the ornate gold collar around her throat and served to enhance the regal aura she projected with as much potency as the cold blue fire of the powerful biotic field her body produced.

She walked, or perhaps the better term might be glided gracefully across the floor of an office homing in unerringly on a young looking Asari in Eclipse armor crawling along the floor obviously attempting to evade the oncoming Justicar.

The fear on the young maiden’s face was palpable.

The Justicar reached out a hand and blue fire snatched the young Asari into the air hurling her through the glass to sprawl like a ragdoll on the ground.

The Justicar stepped through the shattered window biotics flaring brightly as she casually defied gravity to swoop to the ground where she landed next to the struggling young merc, pinning her to the ground with a boot to the throat.

"I shall ask you once more, are you the Mercenary Elnora?” The struggling merc gave a choked gasp. “You stand before a member of the Justicar Order are you ready to answer for your crimes?" The Justicar’s smoky voice had a regal quality to match her appearance while her eyes glowed with light that didn’t come from the dark energy field that surrounded her.

"You are accused of participation in illegal arms traffic, illegal goods traffic, illegal shipment of controlled substances and most serious of all you stand accused of the murder of the Volus trader Datni Kur; how do you plead?"

"It wasn't me,” Elnora gasped, “ It was one of the others I ... I only pretended to fire my guns I never actually killed anyone."

"Your plea is noted," The Justicar responded, "Now child; how do you explain this recording."

The Justicar prodded at her omni tool and a voice less fearful but still recognizable as the merc cowering before her played,

“Little Baby Elnora is a full Eclipse Girl , tracked down that stupid Volus and blew the little bastards suit wide open … up close with exploding rounds … I look so hot in my new uniform; Goddess this is even better than the Joining. Anyway Wasea’s sending her newest Eclipse Girl on my first mission. Some human’s been messing with Wasea’s sister so me and some of the girls are gonna go send a message...Sounds like fun.”

There was note of cruelty in the voice as she boasted of her crimes.

“Ohh message left in the data buffer, “ Garrus snickered, “It is so nice with the crooks make it nice and easy for you.”

“Ten credit says it was posted on a her MyFace page.” Xander whispered.

“She seems stupid enough.” Jack snorted.

Joan waved them to silence as the Eclipse mercenary’s trial -- if you could call it that, continued.

"Do you deny that was your voice?" The Justicar asked.

"I was being watched I had to do it or the others ... they'd have killed me."

"First you claim you knew nothing, Now you say you were coerced." The Justicar seemed almost sad, "Your attempted perjury is noted."

The Justicar raised her foot allowing the young asari to breath. Elnora scrambled away from the Justicar crawling on the ground, her fear obvious to all. The Justicar stalked forward following relentless.

"I will now offer you a one time offer of clemency, your organization provided transport and safe passage to an Ardat-Yakshi. You will tell me where she went."

"She’s gone," Elnora yelled, "left months ago aboard the AML Demeter; she went to Omega."

Xander noticed Elnora was crawling toward a gun laying discarded on the ground. He was about to speak up when Shepard waved him to silence as if to say, lets see what happens.

"Is that all you know?" The Justicar asked. “Complete honesty is your only hope Child." The Justicar spoke with a deadly sincerity in her voice.

"She killed the crew. The ship showed up with all hands lost, Wasea was totally farbot about the whole thing."

"Your co-operation is noted, I find you guilty of the crimes of smuggling, drug trafficking living off the avails of same --- Now as to your more serious crime of murder, the evidence is clear and your perjury and resisting arrest imply a lack of remorse and recognition of your guilt which I find unacceptable. Have you anything to say before i pass judgment."

Elnora made a last desperate grab for the gun, turning she leveled it quickly, "Screw you bitch!!!"

Samara’s eyes glowed with power and suddenly the gun exploded in Elnora’s hand. The Eclipse mercenary screamed in agony as she clutched her burning fist.

“Did she just form a barrier around someone’s hand?” Xander whispered, “Can you even do that?”

“It takes a scary amount of biotic control.” Jack replied.

The Justicar reached out and gestured, biotics grabbed Elnora by the throat pulling her into the air. Her feet dangling as her struggling body hovered off the ground,

"May I assume that ...DISPLAY will stand as your defense for your actions.” Samara whispered.

“The little bastard had it coming,"Elnora gasped, "...he and his partner screwed us over. They stuck us with a load of Mingen X3 - the crap was laced with tainted Red Sand.”

“Your defense along with your attempted violence is noted.”

Was that a note of regret Joan heard in the Asari’s voice did she feel genuinely bad for the girl?

“Judgment is Death.” Samara sighed, “Sentence to be carried out summarily."

“You said if I told you stuff … if I cooperated you’d let me off” Elnora pleaded.

“I said I’d factor your cooperation into my final judgment, I have, judgment is death. However in light of your cooperation I will grant you the quick and merciful death you denied the Volus.”

She pulled Elnora into her grip and Shepard heard the oh so distinctive sound of a neck being broken. "May you find peace and forgiveness in the Goddess' embrace child." Samara whispered.

The Justicar dropped the body to the floor as she turned and took in the squad before stepping toward them.

"I am Samara a servant of the Justicar Code. I ask that you surrender your weapons so that your intention may be made known."

"My intentions are not to surrender my weapons under any circumstances -- especially around any person capable of doing all of this."

Xander winced as Shepard gestured around them all.

"I approached these Eclipse Mercs seeking information and the whereabouts of their sister Elnora, they refused."

"So you killed them all, Is that standard Justicar policy?"

"IF the cause is just -- yes , can you claim to be any different?"

Shepard paused in thought, "No I can't say I am." she finally replied.

“...and I for one am glad of that.” Jack chuckled. Samara noticed Shepard’s pained grimace.

"You are honest that is something we share. You are also willing to take responsbility both for your actions and their effect on those you travel with, that is another thing we share, can I help you?"

"Its what I can do for you Justicar, I am here on matter of some importance. You've heard that human colonies are being attacked with whole populations taken from their homes , I can prove its the work of The Collectors and I intend to stop them by any means necessary."

"Any honorable means." Xander amended quickly.

Shepard waved him off, "I also have a member of my crew she’s been severely injured and needs medical treatment. the thing is she’s an Ardat-Yakshi. "

"One who has been fleeing the Justicars"

"Well yes, how'd you know?"

"One who has been in the monastery would know they could always return there especially if they have medical need, Rogue Ardat-Yakshi on the other hand fear imprisonment and punishment so greatly they often risk harming themselves or those who could offer them valuable support “

“I think the whole seclusion or death choice freaks some people out.” Xander snorted.

Samara remained unperturbed, “The few who have earned their freedom are a testament of the effectiveness of our ways. Few outsiders understand that what we do to the ardat-yakshi is as much for their own good as it is for the good of the Asari as a whole."

Shepard’s eyes narrowed , “Maybe I’m not making myself clear I'm not turning her in. She’s ...unwell; I want to help her. She’s been a valuable part of my mission.”

"I understand, now if you will escort me to your ship I will examine your crewmate. Depending on the severity of her injuries I may insist that she be remanded to a hospital and perhaps to one of our sanctuaries. “

“What will happen to her then?”Garrus asked.

“She will receive the best of care I assure you and if she was willing to contribute to a mission as honorable as yours I suspect she will not have to endure isolation long, perhaps a few decades maybe a century.”

"Oh yeah," Jack snorted, "A century, that will go by like a snap of the fingers."

"Justicar there is something you need to know about my crewmate and its best it comes from me now as opposed to you finding out when you get aboard."

“What is it?"

“My crewmate is known to you or should be ... her name is Morinth.”

Samara froze a look of disbelief washed over her face. “Morinth ...You have Morinth aboard your ship and are protecting her?” Her emotional state was obvious as the blue fire rose up around her. Jack tensed readying herself for battle she saw Garrus and even Xander also tensing up.

Shepard however remained calm; the eye in the storm of potential violence that surrounded her.

Jack waited to follow Shepard’s lead and found herself wishing she could be like that and she hated herself for wanting it

"She's saved my life and the lives of my people numerous times I'm only standing here because I promised her I'd find a way to save her."

"Save her from what exactly?" Samara asked

Shepard raked her fingers through her hair in annoyance, "Well that is a little harder to explain. ... I don't suppose I'll be lucky and and have found the one Justicar in the entire galaxy who knows about magic and believes in its power will I?"

“You humans have a well known writer Arthur C. Clarke- are you familiar with his writings?”

Xander nodded, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The Scooby quoted.

Joan looked at him and he shrugged, “Xander like books --- Xander read good --- book make Xander happy.”

“Look we got the JustiMILF can’t we just get the hell out of here?” Jack grumbled.

Xander gaped, “JustiMILF -- ohh thats good I gotta remember that one.”

“What about that Phillips guys wife?” Garrus reminded Joan who grimaced.

“Right good point,” The Spectre sighed, “Xander, Jack take the JustiMI --- I mean Justicar back to the ship. Garrus you're with me I think we can handle any Eclipse we find.”

Samara quirked an eyebrow, “The two of you against the might of the Eclipse why would you risk such a battle unnecessarily.” she asked .

“Its not unnecessary they're holding a friend of mine hostage.”

“Ex friend ” Jack snorted

“Girlfriend.” Garrus teased

“Ex-Girlfriend ” Xander defended.

Samara looked from one to the other, “a past intimate comes back in your life with a new love and you would still risk yourself on her behalf?”

“Wow that’s a neat trick.” Xander replied obviously impressed.

“I've been a Justicar for four hundred years; observation of clues and making deductions is a necessary part of surviving so long in that capacity. Now then shall we continue. Your ...friend is no doubt in the Eclipse base and I've heard Wasea is not the most tempered of individuals.”

“Yeah we do keep hearing that Wasea has doubled down on the crazy.” Joan snorted.

“I hate the crazy ones," Xander whined, "they're always such a pain in the ass to deal with.”

“If you hate crazy so much why would you --”

“Garrus you're a brother but I swear if you talk about Jack I'll punch you.”

“Actually I was going a whole other way … but it is interesting to note you've reached the knee jerk defense of Jack stage ”

Jack gave Xander an inscrutable look and The Scooby sighed,“Fortune’s fool thy name is Xander.” he whined.
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