Dr. Karin Chakwas
For those of you worried by the close adherence to the early stages of the game… well, I do intend to use both Mass Effect 2
and Mass Effect 3
in this saga, meaning I do need to keep the rough strokes of things the same. Even more so because I want to use bits of Project: Firewalker
, Lair of the Shadow Broker
, From Ashes
, and Citadel
. That being said, I'm working with another author at the moment on some events for Vanguard
that will revolve around the thoi'han and/or inusannon.
Faith's head spun as she wandered the corridors of the new Normandy
. Everything Alexis remembered about her ship was back, just bigger and - usually - better than the original Systems Alliance version. 'Usually' because… well, Faith didn't have the slightest bit of military training and even she could spot a handful of fairly major goofs. For instance, what genius had thought up the idea of putting the armory on the second deck near the CIC? In a spot without direct access to the elevator, even? Putting the conference room out in East Buttfuck didn't really make much sense to her either, nor did making accessible solely by tromping through either the research lab or the armory. And the layout of her cabin was… curious… to be polite. Although she did have to wonder what Cerberus has heard and from who if they were giving her a bed big enough to sleep half a dozen…
Oh wait. Alexis Shepard had hardly been a paragon of discretion when it came to her sexual adventures, both before and after being made a Spectre. All Cerberus would have had to do was toss 'Shepard' and 'sex' into this time period's 'extranet' to get plenty of information about why she'd need that big a bed. Now she just needed to figure out what to do with it, since the ship was currently criminal low on blueberries…
Shooting a glance over at the office Miranda had retreated to upon completing their brief tour of the new Normandy
, Faith's eyes widened at the sight of Elsa banging on the sealed doors before summoning an ice construct to force them open so she could enter. Faith shook her head; while Elsa was a relatively down to earth and friendly individual when things weren't going to hell all around her, she was relatively down to earth and friendly… for a queen. After having seen the crew quarters that would be shared by everyone who wasn't her, Miranda, and anyone lucky enough to join them in bed? Faith could guess exactly what had Elsa on the warpath, and didn't blame the blonde one whit. The only real question was whether Miranda would submit to a sharing arrangement or if Elsa would evict her entirely.
Deciding to let them hash things out on their own - at least for now - Faith turned and headed toward the medical lab. After all, she realized, it was probably a good idea to check in with Tali and Veetor. Make sure that he was getting decent care, what with her promising as much and all. The door slid open smoothly as Faith approached and her eyes immediately jumped to where Veetor was sitting on one of the beds with Tali standing beside him. Then she realized there was a third person in the room: a grey-haired woman in a black and white coat. When the chair spun around to face her, Faith's jaw dropped at the sight that greeted her. "Doc?"
"Commander Shepard. I watched the Normandy
crumble with you onboard." Doctor Karin Chakwas looked Faith up and down slowly in a way that only doctors could: assessing, evaluating. "It's good to see you alive."
Faith nodded, closing the distance between them and reaching out to shake the older woman's hand. For some reason, she found it especially interesting that Chakwas of all people wasn't aware of the shenanigans surrounding Alexis-turned-Faith Shepard. If anyone was going to notice, shouldn't it have been the doctor who knew her inside and out from their time together aboard the original Normandy
? "Good to be alive. But I've gotta ask… the hell, Doc? You're the last person I would expect to see on a Cerberus ship…"
After shaking Faith's hand, Chakwas relaxed back into her seat before shrugging. "It's hardly where I thought I'd be these days when last we spoke, and yet here I am. You, on the other hand… the kind of trauma you endured would have changed most people. But not you, I see. Welcome back, Shepard."
Throwing herself down in the chair across from the doctor's, Faith glanced over at the pair of quarians before leaning in and lowering her voice. What she wanted to know was hardly top secret, but that didn't mean Chakwas wanted everyone knowing her personal business. "Haven't you been with the Alliance since… hell, didn't they put you through medical school? Why'd you leave?"
"After the Normandy
was lost, the surviving crew was… reassigned. I was stationed at the Mars Naval Medical Center. A very… respectable… position." Chakwas sighed before shaking her head. "But it wasn't on a starship. And so when a better offer came along, I took it."
For some reason, Faith was pretty damn sure there was more to the story behind the doc's defection than simply being reassigned to a planetside post… a lot more… but if Chakwas wanted to keep it to herself, Faith reasoned, that was her business. So rather than push, she merely leaned back in her seat and shot another look over at Tali and Veetor. "You need anything? For some reason, I doubt Cerberus stocked this place with 'suit rats' in mind…"
Chakwas frowned at that before spinning around to face her console. "Actually, our benefactor seems to have anticipated that recruiting the absolute best for this mission might bring us into contact with some unusual individuals. I found a remarkably large selection of pharmaceuticals meant for quarians in my inventory when I began treating Veetor… along with asari, turian, drell, salarian, and krogan medications. That being said, quarian psychopharmacological treatments were not among the medicines they supplied me with… nor did they see fit to replace my private reserves." She shook her head sadly before looking back over her shoulder at Faith. "I was still waiting for the right occasion to open that bottle of Serrice Ice Brandy you bought me when the Normandy
While Faith hadn't yet finished integrating every last one of Alexis Shepard's memories, she 'remembered' presenting the doctor with that gift… along with how she acquired the brandy in the first place. She smirked, wondering if Neena was still working at Purgatory and if she'd be interested in bartering for another bottle the same way Alexis and the asari had when the Spectre had stopped in for some downtime after Feros. "I'll keep an eye out for a replacement, Doc." Faith waved her hand to silence Chakwas as the older woman opened her mouth to argue. "Seriously, don't worry about it. It would be my pleasure."
"I can only imagine. Very well, if you insist. I don't think I want…" Chakwas trailed off as she looked to her right, and Faith followed her gaze out the window… before bursting into laughter. Miranda was writhing and shouting as she hung upside-down from the hand of some sort of ice golem. It carried her out into the middle of the mess hall before dropping her and then exploding into a cloud of snow that slowly drifted down onto the deck around the disheveled brunette. Before Miranda could climb to her feet, Elsa turned away and stalked back into what had formerly been Miranda's office. "Oh dear."
Faith couldn't manage to stop laughing, eventually settling for nodding in agreement. She continued to fight for composure as Miranda finally rose from the deck, turning to the medical bay windows and shouting for a few seconds as she gestured back at her office before finally settling for crossing her arms over her chest and… if that wasn't pouting, Faith was from the Bronx. Turning back to Chakwas as she allowed herself a few last chuckles, Faith shook her head. "I should go."