On The Beach
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, STAR TREK, OR MASS EFFECT. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER IS OWNED BY JOSS WHEDON. STAR TREK WAS CREATED BY GENE RODDENBERRY AND IS OWNED BY PARAMOUNT STUDIOS. MASS EFFECT WAS CREATED BY BIOWARE AND IS OWNED BY ELECTRONIC ARTS.
Onto The Beach
Nihlus Kryik rubbed his head as the Alliance Starfleet officers offered their canidates for the Spectres. The other Spectres who had accompanied him shared with him similar views as to the potential success of this venture as both sides crossed off names of their canidates. The turian stopped rubbing his head and called up the file on the Alliance PADD device.
This was the second try at getting a human into the Spectres. The first ended up being a political nightmare as his own mentor was accused of killing hundreds of civilians in a joint operation. A part of him wanted to believe his mentor's version of events which the council accepted and the Alliance was lying to protect one of their own but another part of him doubted that was the case.
The Council's idea for adding a Starfleet officer had some merit as it would enormous benefits for Citadel space. At this point, Alliance starships had to be invited into the territories which suited a great many turians just fine but Nihlus was among those who wondered how many lives could have been saved if the Alliance could have arrived in time. There were some areas where those restrictions didn't apply of course and the Alliance's cloaking technology meant that the Council had no way of knowing if the Alliance was respecting their borders or not. At the same time, having a Starfleet officer join the Spectres would show to the Alliance that the Citadel Council was willing to trust them more. Perhaps over time, the Alliance would end their solidarity and join the Citadel Council.
“This is ridiculous.” Jondum Bau remarked before he looked at Nihlus. “The council should have taken your recommendation more seriously, Nihlus.”
“You have a recommendation.” David Anderson said looking over at the turian. “Let's hear it.”
Nihlus set the PADD down on the table and slid it over to Anderson who picked it up. The turian Spectre leaned over slightly and set his elbows on the table.
“Commander Rowena Shepard, she comes from a long line of service in Starfleet. Graduated the academy in '76 and has enjoyed a rather meteoric rise ever since. As an ensign on the Yorktown, she risked her life to save a salarian egg clutch on the Relkas colony. She gained even more attention during the Skyllian Blitz when she led the defense of Elysium City saving countless lives from batarian slavers.” Nihlus said. “The batarians who managed to flee Elysium are said to have nightmares about her. There are very few Starfleet officers who are well known across Citadel space. Fewer still that have been mentored by two Asari matriarchs.”
“She received the Riley Finn Medal of Valor for her actions that day.” Admiral Hackett added.
“While having Matriarch Benezia sending her books on asari philosophy and culture as well as their frequent correspondence, I doubt the bartender would have been a good mentor.” Tela Vasir said to Nihlus.
“You do realize she has issues with your people as well as the batarians.” Anderson told Nihlus.
“Yes, the murder of her mother by a member of the crew of the turian patrol ship that found their escape pod.” Tela said stating the fact.
“That was ruled to be a tragic medical mistake.” Nihlus told her.
“Please,” Jondum said. “even a senile blind hanar could have seen it was murder. Your people's medical staffs aren't that incompotent.”
“Plus her remaining family was lost to batarian slavers during the attack on Mindoir.” Tela added. “It's no surprise that she feels as strongly as she does.”
“Regardless, I believe that Commander Shepard is the most qualified officer you have that could become a Spectre.” Nihlus said. “How many women can you think of can toss an enraged krogan off a building with their bare hands?”
“I could find a list.” Ambassador Udina told him.
“Just because she's a Slayer doesn't mean that she's the best option.” Tela said to Nihlus.
“You actually believe that?” Nihlus asked her.
“Anyway, I agree with Nihlus.” Jondum said. “She's a better canidate than anyone we've named.”
“Is this the kind of person we want protecting the galaxy?” Udina asked.
“Nihlus is right.” Anderson replied. “She's the only one who can.”
“I'll make the call.”
The chirping of the bedside console woke her up. She rolled onto her stomach and tapped the control pad. A dark haired man with green eyes appeared on the screen.
“This is Shepard.” She said.
“Commander, I have received new orders from you.” The man replied. “Tomorrow at 1800 hours, you will report to Utopia Planetia to join the crew of the USS Normandy NX-4592. You are assigned the position of first officer. Congratulations.”
The man's image disappears back to the Starfleet delta shield emblem and she sighed. A small figure leapt onto her back and walked over to look at the console.
“Sorry, Midnight.” She said reaching over her back with her right arm to scratch the small and sleek black cat. “It looks like we'll be moving.”
Midnight meowed into her ear before rubbing her head against her own. Shepard picked up the cat with her right hand in order to roll over and place the cat on her sheet covered chest. She scratched the cat behind the left ear.
“I know you liked the space we had here.” She said before rubbing the feline's neck. Her ears picked up the shower being turned on in the background. “I do know you didn't like Mei but I thank you for putting up with her anyway for my sake at least. With her going to the Angrias Array, we were going to end it anyway.”
Midnight purred into the touch before stepping off of her property. That was of course all the human was to her. The feline looked at her and then looked in the direction of the shower as if she was trying to communicate to her. Shepard rubbed the cat's head and slid off the bed leaving the sheet behind.
“You're right, Midnight.” She told the cat with a grin. “I should say good bye properly.”
Midnight stretched out on her bed. It was her bed of course despite the fact her human and her human's current mate slept on it as well.
It was the next day and Shepard was making herself familiar with the ship. It was about the size of an Intrepid-Class ship but it was strangely built with some turian design as the exterior of the ship resembled some of the turian warships she had seen. A big difference though was the graceful curves the ship had.
She was in Main Engineering at the moment looking over at the dual drive cores. The one on the left was the standard warp drive while the one on her right was for the quantum slipstream. It was a standard setup for the last hundred years since quantum slipstream had been perfected.
“It's beautiful, isn't it.” The chief engineer said.
“Yes, it is.” Shepard replied before turning to face him. “Commander Shepard.”
She offered her hand which she took and Shepard noticed his gaze eye her collar. It was obvious to her what he was looking at as on the left side of her collar was the N7 insignia.
“Chief Engineer Lieutenant Commander Gregory Adams.” He said introducing himself. “So, I see not just a Slayer but a bad ass also.”
“You read my file.” She replied ending the handshake though from the tone of her voice it seemed to betray some trust.
“Believe it or not, I haven't.” Adams tried to explain. “I have some magical ability though it leans more towards technomancy. It's easy enough to recognize the 'feel' of a Slayer after you have older sisters who receive the 'question'.”
Feelings that she had thought she had supressed welled up but she tried her best to send them away. Adams seemed to notice that as well.
“There's still one more core that Utopia Planetia wants to put in as they believe it's ready to use though I don't think we need it.” Adams said attempting to change the subject.
“What's that?” She asked.
“A transwarp drive.” Adams replied.
“How did they build a transwarp drive?” Shepard asked.
“It was actually revere engineered from Borg technology.” Adams replied.
“Where the fuck did they get Borg technology?!” She yelled. “I'm sure everyone would have noticed a cube or two flying around.”
“Actually, the technology was found in Voyager's cargo bay almost two centuries ago.” Adams replied. “It took quite a bit to get over the paranoia of it though.”
“I don't see why.” Shepard replied with obvious sarcasm. “Who wouldn't want to work with technology that might suddenly zombify them?”
“Anyway, I heard that the last three chief science officers have had tragic accidents.” Adams told her.
“How bad?” She asked.
“Chute failed during orbital skydiving for one. He actually survived the fall but he landed in shark infested waters.” Adams told her. “Second missed the turn on her Harley and the third got really drunk.”
“How's that an accident?” Shepard asked.
“He woke up in bed with Admiral Hackett's wife.”
Doctor Karin Chakwas closed the tricorder and set it aside as she looked at the Normandy's first officer. The red haired woman sat on the bio-bed waiting for the diagnosis.
“As expected, you're as fit as a fiddle Commander.” She said. “I swear I usually have to put up a fight to get anyone to get a simple physical out of them.”
“I try to make it a point not to fight with my ship's doctor.” Shepard replied. “Besides, we met before.”
“We have...” Chakwas said as she tried to recall the encounter. “on the Reliant years ago.”
“Yeah, so I felt you should get any medical examinations you want.” Shepard replied. “Though I'm surprised you don't have your own hospital ship by now.”
The comment made the old doctor laugh. “Please, I find hospital ships too safe.” She said. “Too boring. Ships like the Normandy offer the most thrills.”
“I guess you aren't out for the captain's oath more along the lines of the CMO's oath.” Shepard said with a grin. “To seek out strange new viruses and diseases. To boldly medicate where no doctor has medicated before.”
Chakwas pushed the commander off the bed with a slight shove. “Go on and get out of here already.” She said laughing.
When she stepped onto the bridge, she had expected it to resemble a turian combat information center and she was relieved to see that wasn't the case. It seemed to retain the styles she'd seen in Sovereign-class and Prometheus-class starships. She greeted a Corporal Jenkins before she made her way to the helm and operations console located in front of the main view screen.
“So, taking in the view or just basking in my prescene?” The helmsman asked.
“Wondering what kind of view my ex-girlfriend is seeing at the Angrias Array.” Shepard replied.
“And now I need to go have the doc surgically remove my foot from my mouth.” He said before he held out his hand to her. “Lieutenant Jeff Moreau, though people call me Joker.”
“Commander Shepard and I prefer being called by my last name.” She replied taking his hand and giving it a firm shake.
“For one thing, I am glad that chaos spell was done two hundred years ago.” Joker told her. “Otherwise, that would have hurt.”
A confused look was now on her face and he explained. “When my mom was in her first trimester, I was diagnosed with Vrolik's Syndrome. If it wasn't for that spell, I'd probably be walking around with broken bones all the time complaining about it.”
“Yeah, and the nickname Joker would have been ironic.” Shepard said. “Anything else I should know about on the ship?”
“Other than the fact there's a turian Spectre onboard...” Joker replied noticing the effect the news had on her. “I'm glad that I'm not the only one bothered by that.”
“Having an alien agent whose government has given him almost unlimited authority to do whatever he wants onboard the ship makes me paranoid.” Shepard said.
“Well, you can call me paranoid right along with you.” Joker said. “Since you're a Slayer though, I think you can take him if he tries anything.”
Shepard smirked. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
Nihlus walked down the corridor of the ship. He knew he had to find some way to get Commander Shepard to begin to trust him. That wouldn't be easy considering her past but it was still something he had to find some way to accomplish. He couldn't act as the commander's mentor if she didn't trust him. As he rounded the corner, the turian found the commander dressed in a grey shirt and blue pants. She wore some type of boot of a style he didn't recognize and two swords that again weren't a style he was familiar with. The red-haired human woman was standing by a control panel scrolling through options. He walked up behind her and for some reason, he couldn't remember when she turned around to slam him into the bulkhead with one of the unusual swords at his throat.
“So, you're the turian Spectre we have onboard.” She said to him.
“Yes, and would you mind letting me go?” He asked.
“Sorry.” She replied letting him go free. “Piece of advice, never surprise a Slayer.”
“I'm beginning to see that.” Nihlus said as she stepped away from her. “What were you up to?”
Shepard rolled her eyes at him. “Not that it's any of your business but I was about to do my calisthenics program.”
“I don't see how swords are required for an exercise regimen.” He remarked.
“I don't see how it concerns you, turian, but I doubt you could handle it anyway.” She told him.
“Let me see if I can prove you wrong then.” Nihlus replied.
There was an obvious need for the Spectre to gain the trust of the human and he followed her into the gridded room. Up until now, he hadn't taken the time to use an Alliance holodeck. He was under the impression they were much like the simulators he used while training in the Turian military.
“Computer, load program Shepard One-A and put us in a graveyard.” Shepard said.
Almost instantly, the gridded room vanished and was replaced with a darkened human graveyard. Nihlus bent down and dug his claws into the dirt. He raised his clawed hand up and let the graveyard dirt fall out of it.
“Remarkable.” He said to himself.
“First time in a holodeck, huh?” Shepard asked him.
“Yes,” He replied. “I had believed them to be much like simulators I used during my military training.”
“A combination of photons, forcefields, and replicated matter.” Shepard explained to him. “It may look real but it can't exist off the holodeck without a holo-emitter nearby for it to use. Also, make sure your safety protocols are online. We lost one of our ships, the Kiev
, because someone didn't check the protocols. It didn't help the ship also had emitters on every deck.”
“So holograms can kill.” He said receiving a nod in reply. “What kind of program could do that much damage?”
“Somebody on the ship was an AvP fan.” Shepard answered. “A late twentieth century science fiction called Aliens versus Predator. Somebody wanted to do a xenomorph hunt and protocols malfunctioned. Granted, I've done similar programs in the past but I always triple check the safety protocols and I program in a few Predators as back-up.”
A confused look was on the turian's face. “Do I even want to know what happened?” He asked.
Shepard walked over to him and slapped his left shoulder. “Probably safer for you if you don't know.”
Nihlus tried to put the subject out of his mind as he surveyed his surroundings. He wasn't sure how a graveyard was suppose to work for calisthenics though. His sense of smell brought an unpleasant odor to mind.
“What is that smell?” He asked.
“I don't know.” She replied. “It's something floral.”
“I assume this program has some purpose.” Nihlus said.
“It's a simulation I created based on the town of Sunnydale before it was destroyed almost two centuries ago.” She explained. “Before it was destroyed, the town was known as La Boca del Inferno or the Mouth of Hell. Sunnydale had been built on top of an active Hellmouth which caused several demons to make it their home.”
“You don't expect me to believe that, do you?” The turian replied.
“It is not for me to convince you. Shut your eyes tight or open your arms wide,” Shepard said. “either way, you'd be a fool. Believe what you will.”
Shepard picked up a pair of stakes that were on top of a tombstone and tossed one to the turian Spectre.
“Remember, aim for the heart.” She told him. “Computer, begin.”
Nihlus jumped from surprise as he felt something grabbed hold of his foot. He blindly kicked at what grabbed him only to see a human male pulling himself out of the ground as if he'd somehow been buried alive. The man's face was deformed. His attention diverted allowed a pair of arms to wrap themselves from behind.
He was barely awake in the Normandy's sickbay as he clutched his head in pain. His gaze fell on Commander Shepard.
“What hit me?” He asked.
“A fifty seven Buick.” She replied. “Or rather, you were slammed into it. I have to say though that omni-blade you had was rather formidible.”
Nihlus was confused. “What's a Buick?”
The turian Spectre watched as Captain Anderson entered and he walked over to him and his first officer. Anderson looked over at Doctor Chakwas.
“How's our turian guest?” He asked.
“Physically, he's fine except for a possible concussion but I think the emotional damage may be more severe.” She replied.
“Good to hear.” Anderson said turning his attention to his first officer. “Shepard, I'd like to speak with you in private.”
Chakwas gestured towards her office and they entered it. The door closed behind them and the captain turned to face his first officer.
“You goaded the man into your calisthenics program which caused you to be in a coma for a month the first time you used it.” Anderson reprimanded her.
“Had to tweak it after that.” Shepard remarked with a hint of sarcasm.
“You just had to let the fact that he was a turian cloud your judgement.” Anderson told her.
“No, I let the fact that he's a sneaky little bastard cloud my judgement.” She replied swiftly. “Him being a turian was a bit of a bonus, sir.”
“Not the most diplomatic attitude to have, commander, when Nihlus will be with us for quite some time.” Anderson said as he saw the younger woman's eyes roll. “I've known you long enough to know what that means.”
“Permission to speak freely.” She requested.
“When has that ever stopped you before?” He asked.
“I don't like the idea of an agent of the Council being given full run of the ship. I don't like the fact that I have no clue what the Normandy's mission is.” She replied.
“Anything else you want to complain about?” He asked her.
“Yeah, I don't like the way he keeps staring at my ass.” Shepard said which surprised him. “If he doesn't stop, I'm liable to try to put him through a bulkhead or report him.”
Anderson's jaw dropped as his first officer left his chief medical officer's office. He wondered if she was serious or not.