Remembering Another Life
Disclaimer: Don’t own Mass Effect or BtVS. Bioware and Joss respectively.
It had been two weeks since Ilos and neither Commander Elizabeth Shepard nor Gunnery Chief Ashley Faith Williams were getting much sleep. Memories of the long campaign to hunt Saren were present as always but they weren't the cause of the lack of sleep that tormented the two soldiers, the memories having come and gone that night.
What tormented the soldiers was visions of monsters, people, and warfare with a constant barage of emotions and feelings. Anger, joy, pain, comfort, loss, love, but the strongest occured when a woman entered the visions. She was blonde to Ashley but a dark brunette to Shepard, yet for both the woman brought a feeling of overpowering sisterhood. The visions continued until, with a jerk, they woke.
Ashley snapped awake, tears of shock falling from her eyes. Hurriedly punching the release button to her sleep pod the alliance marine flew down the passage, devoid of life this time of night, and took a sharp right to her CO's door. Her CO who looked so much like the woman from her dreams. Before she could reach for the door controls however the door slid open revealing her CO with a shocked face she had a distinct feeling matched her own.
Shepard stared at the same woman she had just been about to go get, after that dream she just had to talk to Ashley. After she saw the emotional torment she'd felt in the dream etched across her subordinate's face Shepard stepped to the side. The welcome she wanted to speak her lips refused to say, instead she said something very different, "Fai-Ash, what's up?" Oh great, now Ash is gonna think she was either indoctrinated or insane, and Shepard wasn't sure she knew which.
"Shit... B?" Ashley asked in a stunned voice sounding familiar despite its strangeness. Her Bostonian voice stirring something very strong deep inside her while it chipped the thin mental barrier between That Dream, and reality till it shattered leaving Shepard with no shelter from the storm that followed as she lunged forward and began sobbing onto the brunette soldier's shoulder.
When the storm cleared it wasn't Elizabeth Shepard that survived. Between That Dream and the thing deep inside her that the Bostonian voice had awoken the woman that had been Elizabeth Shepard was destroyed, leaving a not-so-different Shepard in her wake. Her blazing green eyes seemed to stare straight into Ashley's soul and, having found what she was looking for, she smiled, "It's good to see you sis."
"Good to see you too B," Ashley responded her face grinning like a cat who'd eaten the canary then was rewarded with creme for its hard work.
Buffy Shepard rolled her eyes at the familiar nickname from her past life but said nothing to stop it, "Don't suppose you know why we had that dream that made us remember, do you Faith?"
Faith shrugged, asking her for the why of things only delayed finding the answer most of the time, "Not that much more than you... think it has anything to do with that sister-soul ritual we tried after we finally made up in Cleveland?"
The passage sprung to Buffy's mind at the reminder, a mention of how sister-soul bonds lasted beyond death and the two bound by the ritual would always find each other. "It looks like that's our cause," she answered looking inward trying to sense Elizabeth in her head but couldn't find her and it that probably meant they were
the souls that belonged in the bodies. She relayed this to Faith.
Faith summed up the pair's thoughts rather eloquently, "SHIT!!!"
It should be mentioned that this wasn't due to the destruction of a personality, both former slayers were still pretty similar to the person they'd replaced and it was hard to call it destruction when all that had happened was they remembered their former lives now. The swearing was because this kind of trick had all the hallmarks of a PTB touch, which meant they had a problem.
Buffy sighed as another thought occured to her, "Oh fuck. What about Liara? Eliz-I am in love with her. The next time we meld she's going to know. I can't not meld with her because then she'd still be hurt and get suspicious anyway."
Faith really didn't know how to answer that question, "Next time you two embrace eternity tell her or whatevs before she finds it."
Buffy frowned, her mind still finding problem after problem in their situation, "Even if she doesn't think I'm insane or indoctrinated, I don't know how she'll react to there being a different person where Elizabeth used to be. I mean we're similar enough people but I am not Elizabeth Shepard. Not to mention the crew. What will Wrex, Garrus, Joker, Tali and... everyone else say when they notice, and they will. Elizabeth was graceful and some of her Commanderyness stuck when we merged but I just can't mimic her right. Can you say Ashley is any less different from you? I mean hell, you have a Bostonian's accent and Elizabeth was from Greece!.
Faith admitted Buffy had a point, unless they rapidly discovered an ability to become Elizabeth and Ashley... well they were without their slayer abilities as far as she could tell and surrounded by people who knew the old/new thems very well. "If the team believes... everyone else will fall in line. The crew of this ship love Elizabeth like the minis loved you, the ground team even moreso. If the ground team backs you the crew will too. We go to the ground team one at a time and convince them, starting with Liara. We convince them we are Elizabeth and Ashley, in soul and most of their memory, and that we aren't insane."
Buffy thought about that, Shepard hadn't known much about alien religion but there had to be some kind of reincarnation theory with at least one of them. The asari... kinda did if she remembered right but Shepard didn't know how religious Liara was with the Siari doctrine. Only one way to find out, "Wait here, I'm going to go talk to Liara, she's always up late anyway."