I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite fanfic on the Citadel.
The Illusive Woman sat back in her seat, hands tented in anticipation. Behind her glowed a star, the young yellow sun of a system she paid a lot of money to keep unidentified and unexplored. It complimented her hair, she felt. It had taken a lot of time and effort to set up a private line of communication with her guest tonight, and she intended to look her best. She was currently seated in a nondescript grey chair wearing a snow blue party dress. The dress was a winner, she felt – classy and simple, yet cut low enough to show off some cleavage. The boy was thirteen years old, after all, and should be susceptible to such things.
A notice went off on her omnitool
, informing her that the call she had been waiting for had arrived. She stood up eagerly to greet the figure that was just starting to load into her holo display. Sure enough, the image of a red haired boy uploaded into the space before her. He was about four feet tall, which made him an amusing sight in the Academy's official instructor's uniform. His face was almost the spitting image of his father's, though he was cute where the Commander had been handsome, and his hair was cut shorter than his father's besides. Though his cheeks still had signs of baby fat on him, his blue eyes looked at the Illusive Woman with clear determination.
She liked him already.
"Instructor Shepard," she started warmly. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you in person -"
The Illusive Woman's speech cut off as the holo display loaded up the second person to step into the sending platform on the other side. The newcomer was a young woman closer to her own age with brighter orange-red hair and a pissed-off demeanour. She stood a little shorter than the Illusive Woman and wore a cadet's combat uniform.
"- although I see that my request to converse with your privately must have been miscommunicated somehow," she finished, her tone turning a bit colder.
"No miscommunication here sister, and thanks for the inconvenience by the way," the cadet snapped back. "Next time, you want to hack the communications rooms so you can get a secure channel into and out of Mahora, remember that minors aren't allowed into the comms area without a supervising adult. I babysit the Teach here too much already."
The Woman's eyebrow started to twitch. "You mean to tell me that the Academy has hired Instructor Shepard to teach courses for them, but he is not permitted to take a holo call on his own?"
The boy spoke up at this point, rubbing a hand behind his head in an apologetic manner. "I'm afraid so. Academy regulations can be surprisingly inflexible on certain matters, unfortunately. Um yes, and I'm pleased to meet you too, Miss."
"What's wrong with you, Teach??" the redhead yelled at him. "Be more assertive, dammit! We're talking to the head of Cerberus
here! You don't need to go around 'Yes, Miss'-ing someone who runs an interstellar terrorist organization!"
The Woman briefly considered arranging a suit accident during the cadet's next space walk class. She cleared her throat. "Instructor Shepard is merely showing a gentleman's good manners. It is good to see such role models in etiquette can be found in the Academy faculty, is it not, Asuna Kagurazaka? I am certain there are students who could benefit from his example."
"Wait, how do you know my name?" Asuna narrowed her eyes at the enigmatic Cerebrus leader. "You look…familiar. Do I know you from –"
"You are mistaken." The Woman cut Asuna off quickly, and returned her attention to the boy before her, who had looked on rather helplessly at the exchange. “Instructor Shepard, I apologize for my poor manners. I understand you wished to speak with me.”
“Yes, yes.” The boy cleared his throat, took a moment to gather his courage, and spoke up. “We discovered the surveillance devices you’ve planted aboard Mahora Station, and intend to stop your spying on innocent students.” Though his manner was polite, his voice was firm.
How very charming!
“My dear Instructor,” sighed the Woman in a motherly tone. “Mahora Academy is currently host to surveillance tech and spyware insertions from Alliance
Intelligence, the Special Tasks Group
, the Intelligence Directorate of the Turian Hierarchy
, several Spectres
, the Shadow Broker
’s network, the Eclipse mercenary company
, and more than a few megacorps, in addition to my own little organization. These devices are employed in espionage operations by the many contacts and agents the above forces have in the Academy, many of whom come from the very same body of ‘innocent’ students you speak of.” She spread her arms wide. “I would need proof that the devices you mention are indeed Cerberus equipment, because I honestly could not be sure myself whether they belong to us or any of the other possible suspects. And even if they were, you can be sure Cerberus’ eyes are not the only ones upon you now.”
“Be that as it may, your ears are the only ones we can speak to now. And we have proof.” The boy’s voice did not waver, nor did he look away. His omnitool flickered as he brought up several data files onto its display. “The devices’ broadcasting was tracked to a confirmed Cerebrus channel. Miss, these bugs were in the private quarters of my students and myself. Some were found in my shower.”
The Illusive Woman gasped and put a hand over her mouth. “Your shower? Most inappropriate! I can only presume this to be the result of overzealous surveillance on the part of my agents, and must apologize. As a show of trust, I shall end the surveillance of your students’ private rooms. And I will personally go through our databases for any inappropriate recordings of you, Instructor, and remove those files so that no one else can ever see them.”
“You had better!” grunted Asuna, who stopped a moment to think. “Wait. What do you mean ‘no one else–’ ”
“Furthermore,” continued the Woman, cutting Asuna off with a bit more haste this time, “I will assist you in safeguarding the privacy of your class, to demonstrate our willingness to cooperate. Should we become aware that another agency is monitoring your students, you can be sure I will inform you immediately.”
Young Negi Shepard was a little taken aback. He obviously wasn’t expecting this. “Ummm…well, thank you very much, Miss. I suppose that is as much as I could ask –” at which point he was interrupted by Asuna yanking him off to the side.
"Instructor, quit listening to this bitch," the cadet muttered into his ear. “She’s got no reason to keep her word to us, and this ‘informing you of the activity of other agencies’ is bull. She wants to tell you about what her competition is doing so that you can interfere with them for her.” She snuck a glare at the Illusive Woman. “Besides, don’t you notice the creepy look she’s been giving you? Total rapeface. You can’t trust anyone who can leer like that.”
“I suppose you are an authority on the right method of leering at people, Asuna Kagurazaka?” the Woman answered sharply. “Perhaps I should observe recordings of your face when you last went to spy on Lieutenant Takamichi in the Academy spa. For reference’s sake.”
Asuna’s face nearly caught flame. As the embarrassed cadet spluttered incoherently, the Woman continued. “Instructor Shepard, I understand your reticence, especially given the difficulties your father had with my predecessor and this organization. I can only ask you to take my offers on good faith, and let my actions show that this faith is warranted. That said,” and here the Woman noticed the look that had come over Shepard’s face at the mention of his father. “I suspect that the issue of the surveillance devices is not the only factor influencing your trust in Cerberus right now.”
The expression on Shepard’s face was not that of a young boy. The Woman had seen similar expressions on the faces of veteran military commanders. “My father fought with Cerberus hard, and often. Terrible experiments and inhumane projects were the hallmark of your organization in his time, and he was right to oppose them. You’ve sent the message that your Cerberus is a different organization than the one run by the Illusive Man
. Maybe so, maybe not. But the Cerberus I’ve heard of would be willing to remove one of its greatest enemies if necessary.” Shepard looked the Woman straight in the eye, his adolescent voice calm. “I know he is still alive. I am only going to ask you once: did Cerberus have anything to do with my father’s disappearance?”
The Woman saw strength in those eyes, and under that strength, pain. She’d read the files on Shepard. Right then she wanted nothing more than to hug the boy.
“Instructor Shepard,” she began, lowering her eyes. “The answer is no. I can assure you that despite our differences, Cerberus would never try to eliminate your father – not after the Battle of the Citadel. Cerberus stands for the advancement and protection of humanity, in a hostile universe, and our species has known no better protector than Nagi Shepard. We would only be hurting ourselves to act against the first Human Spectre. We rue his absence as much as all humans should.”
Shepard’s gaze remained firm. The Woman walked closer to the hologram, and knelt so that Shepard could look down on her for a change. “We know nothing of his current whereabouts, or even if he still lives, but if you are searching for him then Cerberus is your ally. I promise you this: if we find anything, any information at all, that might lead you to your father, it is yours. Cerberus will help you to that end in any way we can. You have my solemn vow.”
There was a moment’s silence, broken a sarcastic cadet. “Heh. For a leader of a terrorist organization, you get pretty sappy at times. That was almost poetic.”
That’s it. I’m getting an operative on Mahora to put laxatives in her sports drink.
The Illusive Woman did not speak her thoughts of revenge out loud. What she did say, with a frigid glare, was “Despite your standards for eloquent conversation, I do appreciate the compliment.”
“You trying to say something?”
“Ladies, please!” Shepard placed himself in between the two; a redundant gesture, given the medium of communication. His voice and hands were quivering in a comical, panicky manner. “Cadet, you need to control your temper. Miss, I know now that I can expect kinder behavior from you. Thank you for the help you are offering.”
Kagurazaka looked away, grumbling. The Woman merely bowed her head. “I was out of line. I apologize.” Looking up, she continued. “In the future, my secure channels will change. I’m afraid that you must trust me to contact you when the need arises.”
“I understand. Please do not betray that trust, Miss. I would rather have an ally than an enemy.”
“You are wise beyond your years, Instructor. I will do my best to show that your trust in Cerberus, and myself, is well placed.” She gave a curtsy. “Until we speak again.”
Shepard nodded. “Good bye.” He turned and walked away, vanishing from the Woman’s view as he walked off the holopad. The cadet snorted at the Woman as she left. “Keep your paws off the Teach from now on, okay? We don’t need him catching something.”
“I’ll try to keep him safe from our secret brain-eating bioweapons research,” the Woman answered drily, “though it relieves me that you will never be a vector.”
Kagurazaka stiffened and whirled, furious. “Oh, no you fucking didn’t.” In two strides she closed the distance between them and launched a roundhouse kick straight into the Woman’s midsection.
It went right through her, of course, and Kagurazaka stumbled as she met no resistance. The Woman offered an explanation in the form of the helpful comment “We’re speaking to each other’s holograms, idiot.”
!” cried Shepard from out of the Woman’s view.
“Did you hear what the bitch said, Teach?”
“Of course he did, idiot. I don’t think he can’t hear me just because I can’t see him.”
“Stop calling me idiot, bitch!”
“Stop calling me bitch, idiot!”
Light years away, in one of Mahora Academy’s comm rooms, Instructor Negi Shepard sighed and sheepishly reached for the manual disconnect lever.
Age: 12 galactic standard years that's 13 in Earth years
Rank: Junior Instructor (equivalent to Sergeant)
Background: Son of the famous Commander Nagi Shepard, graduate of the Alliance Marines’ N7 program
and the first Human Spectre. Mother and exact location of birth uncertain. Lived in the Snowy Eve colony in the New Wales system until a mysterious attack decimated it when he was three years old, at which point he moved with the other survivors of the attack to the Meridiana colony. Underwent special rehabilitation and education with the Meridiana Institute. An outstanding student, young Negi achieved test scores on university level subjects the envy of students twice his age. He also showed a surprising aptitude for military training and a very early display of biotic potential.
The Meridiana Institute actually came under investigation for the violation of Alliance laws against child soldier use until it was revealed that Negi was undergoing most of his military training independently. As part of an agreement between the Institute and Mahora Academy's Principal Konoe, Shepard was sent to the Academy as part of a pilot program to be supervised by Lieutenant Takamichi. There Shepard was outfitted with an L3 biotic
implant and inducted into an "apprenticeship" program wherein he would serve as an assistant instructor for a civilian stream course for the Academy's students. The implant was installed on a suggestion by Takamichi, who argued that the boy idolized his father enough to risk acquiring an implant via dangerous backstreet procedures if not granted one safely.
Shepard became the assistant instructor for Takamichi's Intergalactic Linguistics course, where in a surprise move the Lieutenant actually turned over most of the classroom duties to him. Despite the unconventional nature of the apprenticeship, Shepard has so far appeared to be an excellent teacher to students around 5 years older than him. While not yet displaying the combat abilities or raw biotic talent his father had shown at his age in the Commander's pre-military career, Negi Shepard remains a valuable asset to the Academy - one that the Alliance and the Citadel
will keep their eyes on as he grows older.
Personality: Negi is described by most of his acquaintances and students as "polite to a fault", almost disturbingly so. He is very mature for his age and shows above-average levels of organization and self-motivation. The Academy's Professor Shiizuna is of the opinion that Shepard actually displays more aptitude for class preparation than Lieutenant Takamichi. Psych profiles indicate levels of empathy that would actually hinder him in a military profession, but otherwise suggest a stable and well-adjusted young man.
The key worry most therapists' reports note is Shepard's desire to live up to his father's reputation - a high order for the son of the Spectre who saved thousands of lives at the Battle of the Citadel. Young Shepard's drive to become a man comparable to his father is not something he shows often, but the doctors who have known him well enough describe his fixation as "bordering on the psychotic" (see attached files for medical reports). Negi also has stated his disagreement with the Commander's official status as dead, KIA. He believes his father to be alive, and points to his survival during the attack on Snowy Eve as proof. Negi credits his father's intervention in the attack against (as of yet) unidentified forces with saving the lives of the few escapees. Negi's account is the only recorded witnessing of Nagi Shepard since he disappeared thirteen years ago, though given Negi's age at the time, it was dismissed as evidence. (Note: Snowy Eve was completely decimated in the tragedy, and what security recordings were salvaged from the colony have been so far insufficient to confirm or disprove Negi's account.)
Age: Estimated at 16 galactic standard years that's 18 in Earth years
Background: Kagurazaka was an orphan rescued by Commander Shepard and his crew during the period leading up to his involvement in the Battle of the Citadel. She was taken aboard the Ala Rubra, and kept aboard for her own safety. Given the difficulties in finding an adoptive family for her while an investigation into her origins was ongoing, she remained on Shepard’s ship for an extended period, effectively becoming the crew’s daughter. Lieutenant Takamichi took official custody of Kagurazaka after leaving Shepard’s squad in the wake of the Battle of the Citadel. When the Lieutenant accepted his position at the Academy for Interstellar Relations as an instructor and researcher, Kagurazaka accompanied him, eventually to become an Academy student herself.
Kagurazaka’s exact origins are still a matter of ongoing investigation by Alliance Intelligence given the circumstances of her rescue. Shepard and his squad discovered Kagurazaka, then barely a toddler, in a laboratory operated by an unidentified agency. The researchers had no knowledge of their employer. All that was determined was that Kagurazaka, along with other children who did not survive, were the subject of experiments for developing and manipulating biotic abilities, including certain counter-biotic technologies. As of yet Kagurazaka has not displayed any biotic potential, nor shown signs of developmental problems stemming from her experimentation, so we conclude that she can be considered a perfectly normal human being.
Personality: Kagurazaka has few memories of her time aboard the Ala Rubra (understandably, given that she left the ship at the age of four). Despite that, those who have known her that long describe her as heavily influenced by the personality of Commander Shepard. She is short-tempered, direct, and not very patient. She also shares Shepard’s distaste of cerebral activities (a trait his own son does not exhibit). Kagurazaka shows a distinct preference for physical education over her other courses, and fares poorly in the tactics and strategy elements of her military program despite fairly good scores on combat examinations overall. Her fondness for Lieutenant Takamichi has grown a little bit beyond the familiar in the last five or so years. No emotional troubles related to her period in experimentation have surfaced, and her psych profiles indicate a fairly high level of confidence and self-esteem.
The Illusive Woman
Age: Unknown that's...well, unknown
Rank: Civilian (leader of Cerberus, wanted for criminal activities)
Background: Confidential. The Illusive Woman is the successor to the Illusive Man, who ran Cerebrus before losing control of the organization following Commander Shepard’s attempts to destroy it. It is known that she was a student of the Illusive Man, who approved of her as his heir despite differences in their methods. Though she has evident connections to the wealthiest human families, no solid evidence as to her identity has been found.
Personality: The Illusive Woman can seem very maternal for someone on the top of the Alliance’s wanted terrorists list. She manages to combine iron-handed control over Cerberus’ operations with evident consideration and attention for her followers’ needs. Though she would be the last one to describe Cerberus as a family, her management style does tend towards maintaining that sort of relationship with her subordinates. She also exhibits an affection for younger males that can only be described as pedo-REDACTED
Who added this libel? Some
one just volunteered for feces analysis duty on Xenobiology Lab 25.