Chapter 1 The New Recruit
A/N: This story came to me after playing with my "dream team" of asari commandos on Mass Effect's multiplayer one night. It all stemmed from a single scene of seeing one of my beloved commandos become mostly dead. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
"Wave ten successfully completed," a masculine voice announced over the loud speakers of the multiplex. The rubble-strewn battlefield consisted of various buildings and ramps that offered excellent cover for frontal assaults in addition to providing key sniper positions. Various thermo clips stashes were strategically placed throughout the tactical training facility. The detailed structure included ladders to move between building levels, which were useful for quick escapes or unexpected ambushes.
Huddled together by a thermo clip cache that overlooked the holographic Firebase: Giant scenery were three asari commandos, discussing the day's training exercise. Surrounding them were the ruins of Tuchanka, part of their current drilling simulation. The eldest commando placed a hand on the shoulder of the youngest asari in the group. "Good job today."
The younger asari was not as satisfied with her performance as her squad leader. As the senior asari spoke, her dark blue commando uniform with a striking purple underlining highlighted her sublime physique, which spoke louder than her words. The simple two-toned outfit commanded attention, further intimidating the new recruit.
Despite how the newest member felt about her own performance that day, the huntress smiled and spoke with great encouragement in her words. "I mean it. You did very well today, Shayla."
The maiden slowly lowered her green eyes to the crumbling ground below them. "I don't think I did very well. I hardly did anything. You two did all the work. I barely fired a shot." replied the newest recruit.
The sympathetic huntress remembered her first day, with her first squad, some two hundred and seventy years earlier. Shayla's slightly uncomfortable posture gave away her inexperience as the huntress gave her a quick once-over. Gently, she lifted the young asari's chin with a single finger and said, "Don't be silly. You would not be here if you were not worthy of the position." The sadness and doubt in the young huntress's eyes remained. "Besides, that is why we are here; to teach you to become one with us. To think and act as one cohesive unit." The third asari commando, who was only hundred years older than the new recruit, spoke adding her own encouraging words as she patted the youngest squad member on the back. "Don't worry, Shayla. You'll get the hang of it."
A warm smile stretched across the captain's face as she offered, "You did very well today, for a rookie. I was impressed."
Still not wanting to accept her meager performance for more than what it was, the recruit addressed her superior officer. "But Huntress Vanessia, I only hit a few targets. I barely did anything."
Recalling when the battle had become too hot and heavy for only three asari instead of a well-balanced team of four, Vanessia replied, "Well those few targets really helped. This is a tough course as it is, and to be down a commando makes it even harder." She looked to her other squad member for support. "The fact that we made it to wave seven with just the three of us is very impressive indeed."
"Yeah, even harder with one so inexperienced," Senari, the third member of the squad, added.
Huntress Vanessia shot a stunned glare in the direction of her subordinate. Attempting to take the sting out of the thoughtless remark, the huntress caressed Shayla's cheek with the back of her hand in a tender yet encouraging manner. "It's okay. You're one of us now. You are doing fine."
The annoyed gaze was not lost on the other huntress, and she corrected her innocent statement. "I mean, you did really well, for never working with real commandos before." A heavy exhale and slight head shake from the squad leader indicated to the junior commando that was not the right response either. "Shit! I'm not very good at these sorts of things. What I mean to say is... for someone who has never worked with us before, you did real good, kid." The commando looked back to her superior to see if her last statement had sounded any better.
"Okay, Senari, I think you got your point across." Huntress Vanessia provided the youngest asari a reassuring smile. "You should be proud of the job you did today. We actually completed seven waves without help. If it had not been for our krogan friend over there volunteering to help us, I doubt we would have made it any further," the squad's captain said, giving a sideways glance at the krogan that had joined them very late in the seventh round to assist them.
Senari kicked at imaginary dirt below her feet, muttering under her breath. "Even if he was late and didn't arrive until the seventh round..."
Knowing the young commando was also disappointed at their score for the day, her squad leader stated, "Senari, we needed his help, even if he isn't asari."
Three pairs of eyes focused on the krogan, who was standing near an open area by himself doing imaginary head butts. His thick armor was a bright colored blue that pleasantly clashed against his medium auburn skin. The large hump of a head, only accented to the asari commandos how ridiculous the krogan looked practicing his head butting technique. "Uuugh!" echoed off the large walls as the krogan intently practiced.
Laughing, Vanessia said to her youngest commando, "Well, that only proves how good you were, Shayla. Three commandos at any pace would have had a hard time with this map. It was designed for a team of four."
Senari sarcastically announced her verbal displeasure at the non-asari warrior. "I mean, look at him. All he does is head butt. That has to hurt."
"He was very good, Senari. Especially good for a krogan. We might not have finished without him. So, you should you cut him a break."
The asari maiden frowned and fiddled with her precious scorpion side arm. "I guess so, but I still don't know why he does that thing with his head."
The older matron gave a reproachful shake of her head. "Sometimes I wonder if you like anyone who is not an asari."
Frowning, Senari's head shot up with a mild expression of defiance. "Don't bring up those humans again. Goddess!"
"You've met a human before?" Shayla's voice filled with a hint of excitement, and she gazed at Senari with bright eyes.
Senari's expression changed from one of defiance to one of embarrassment.
"I thought you were especially curious of those female humans if I recall," Vanessia teased. When Senari did not reply, she could see that she was razzing her junior a little too much after the long day they had, and dropped the subject. "Okay, okay! I'll leave it alone."
Addressing the incomplete squad, Huntress Vanessia suggested, "We should head over to the landing zone now to catch a ride back to the station."
As the trio started towards the LZ, Vanessia attentively rested her hand on Senari's shoulder, silently asking for forgiveness. When the junior asari cracked a smile, the huntress knew that all was pardoned.
Knowing she could not stay mad at the woman who had been her idol since joining the squad, Senari asked, quickly switching gears, "Where did you find the krogan, anyway?"
The commando slipped back into her authoritative tone of voice, abandoning her previous motherly tone. "He is a pilot instructor. Shayla knows him. I guess they go back a couple of decades. He just happened to have a few days of layover at the station, so I invited him to participate."
"Well, I guess he is pretty good; especially for a krogan," Senari admitted grudgingly. The senior huntress shook her head and placed her hand on the maiden's back that floated tenderly down her spine as the threesome moved across the great plaza. Knowing that krogans were superior fighters much like the asari, the huntress pondered just what defined a great warrior. While the asari infiltrated and used guerilla tactics to achieve their objectives, the krogan were straight up combat fighters. Both were very good at what they did. It was a sight to be seen when the asari and krogan occasionally decided to fight together. If they could only let the past go, the two species fighting side by side would be nearly invincible.