The Vakarian Chronicles Part 3: Returning

Chapter 2

"All crew members are requested to meet at the Board Room. Once again, all crew members to the Board Room."

Garrus looked up at the InterComm speakers, before straightening up. He had stopped keening hours ago, but he still watched the vids he had of Shepard. It was one of the good things about being a turian… they can't cry like the other species in the universe.

He headed toward the board room, falling a step beside Tali and James, who both nodded at him. James ran ahead of them, and suddenly, Tali caught Garrus' arm.

"Garrus, it hurts for me too." Tali said. She reached down and pried his hands open, the only thing that told her that he was still grieving. "But… please be strong. Shepard would be disappointed in us if we keep staying sad…"

Garrus blinked at her, but he sighed and nodded. "Sorry. I just… miss her everyday."

Tali nodded, and entered the Board Room. Garrus looked up to see the entire crew standing, with Kaidan in front, his arms crossed. A hologram of Earth floated in front of them at the table. Kaidan's eyebrows were furrowed with worry that it made Garrus curious as to what was going on.

As soon as Joker hobbled into the Board Room after setting the Auto-pilot, Kaidan sighed and uncrossed his arms, resting his hands on his hips as he looked sternly at everyone.

"The Council…" He started, before breathing out, "Or rather, Admiral Hackett… has given us a very important mission… one they believe only we can do. We're going back to Earth." A red circle appeared on the hologram. "The Normandy… the Normandy is going to leave behind some of its crew in the Philippines."

Shouts of anger and surprise rippled through the crew, but Kaidan raised a hand to silence them.

"However…" Kaidan continued, "Only the following crew will remain on Earth… Dr. Chakwas, Samantha Traynor, Ensign Copeland and Private Westmoreland and Campbell."

The five people looked at each other and Kaidan continued, "All of you have been designated to the Philippines, for the time being. Cortez will brief you in what you're assigned to do. I have already briefed him, he'll take the shuttle and take you to your designated area. Please pack your belongings."

The five were disappointed, but they left the Board Room all the same, Traynor muttering curses under her breath. As soon as the doors closed however, Kaidan locked it, and looked at the rest of the crew.

"As for the rest of you…" Kaidan said sternly, "Admiral Hackett has given us a different mission, and I am assigning new positions as well. Joker, I want the Stealth Shield for the shuttle activated whenever you can. I do not want anyone finding us. Cortez, you're up for co-pilot duty with Joker, you'll sit with him on the bridge once you've taken the others to the Philippines. Tali, you're on Communications. I want every single exchange of any kind monitored and reported to me. Garrus, you're going to help with Adams on Engineering. Make sure that the stealth shield always holds…"

Tali held up her hand, "Kaidan, what's going on? Why all the secrecy?"

Liara looked down, her hand on her head, "We've been sent on a special mission. We're about to make two important people disappear. One of which is already here."

All of the crew looked around at each other before Tali looked at Kaidan, "Who are you talking about?"

Kaidan nodded towards the turian at the back, "Garrus… I've been ordered by Admiral Hackett to return you to Palaven…"

"You've got to be kidding me!" Garrus exclaimed, "There is no way I am going back there, Kaidan. I told you, I am staying right here…"

"We've got no choice in this, Garrus." Kaidan said, his eyes looking at him sternly, "Primarch Victus wants you back in Palaven, no excuses. If I don't do it, you know we'll be court-martialed by the Council."

Garrus growled, his mandibles flaring. "Damn it…"

Kaidan raised a hand at Garrus, "But we have a plan." He said, looking at Liara, "Please elaborate, Dr. T'Soni."

Liara nodded, "The Council wants you to return to Palaven to become of the Primarch's Generals… I've read the communications from the Council as my role as the Shadow Broker. However, Admiral Hackett stalled their decision… by saying we have another mission."

"One more mission?" James Vega said, "Where?"

Liara pointed at the globe, and the hologram of Earth was replaced with a hologram of the planet, Tuchanka, "We're supposed to be helping Urdnot Wrex with the clearing of this area of Tuchanka, filled to the brim with varren. It would be a dangerous mission." She pointed at Garrus, "Where Garrus will 'die'."

Garrus' eyebrow plates furrowed, "Impossible. I could shoot those things with my eyes closed. Even Shepard…"

He stopped, remembering the time he had a shooting contest with Shepard on top of the Citadel. She had missed the bottle he had thrown and proclaimed that it was windy. It was also the place she declared her love to Garrus. Whether Shepard really missed or not… Garrus never knew. But mentioning her name made his heart ache again.

"No, you don't understand, Garrus." Liara said, "You're not actually going to die. But our plan includes you disappearing from the Council's radar. Wrex approved with our plan, and said he would help."

Garrus crossed his arms, "So I won't become a General for Primarch Victus. But I doubt he would bite. But why should I disappear, and what reason do I have to do it?"

"You won't be going alone in this 'disappearing act', Garrus." Kaidan said, and he suddenly smiled. "And as for what to do once you've disappeared, I imagine you're going to be a husband."

"What?!"

Kaidan's smile widened as he came forward and patted Garrus on his shoulder. "We've found Commander Shepard, Garrus."

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