The Commanders Shepard
Chapter 1: Prologue – Meet The Disasters
The Shepard Triplets. Born to a career Navy woman and for the most part raised by their father, grandfather, and uncle, these brothers and sister were destined for greatness.
Hannah Shepard was always away on deployments. Because of this, her children came up in a home almost completely devoid of female influence. Such an upbringing has a tendency to make children a little rough around the edges. The Shepard Triplets grew to be somewhat destructive. Though there was never any malicious intent behind their actions, things did tend to get destroyed in their wake. As such, their father John Sr., grandfather, Papa Jess, and Uncle Joe dubbed them The Disasters. Calamity Jane, Catastrophe James, and John the Cataclysm.
Even with Hannah off the space station as often as she was, the family was very tightly knit. The Disasters were nearly inseparable. They did absolutely everything together and hated being apart from one another for too long. Plus, having Papa Jess and Uncle Joe live so close was a huge boon for their feeling of overall togetherness. When Hannah would be home, she integrated quickly into her role as den mother to her troupe of crazies.
"Catastrophe" James and John "the Cataclysm" had identical faces. They were easy to tell apart once they started getting older. John sprouted like a weed and by age 12 was taller than both of his siblings. With his size naturally came strength. John was leaps and bounds stronger than the other two, and by his teens, was taller and stronger than all of his family.
Though James was of average size, he was undoubtedly the smartest of the trio. He was a naturally gifted scholar and showed an affinity for tech at a very early age. Though he was practically of genius level intellect, he was of average height, maxing out at 6 feet, and was kind of scrawny. This never bothered him in the slightest as he knew his strengths were in his mind.
"Calamity" Jane was a mirror image of their mother, fiery red mane and all. She was often the sole female presence amidst a sea of testosterone, having grown up with two brothers, her pro boxer father, football coach grandfather, and personal trainer uncle. She grew to be very tomboyish and found out in their early teen years that she was Biotic, a fact she embraced wholeheartedly. And given that she was always a tiny little thing, taking until her late teens to reach her maximum height of just barely 5 feet, she used her biotic ability to help compensate for the fact that she was so small.
By the time The Disasters stood at the door to adulthood, they formed a nice even height line with Jane in front at 5 feet, James in the middle at 6, and John towering over them at a lofty 7 feet. Incidentally, that was also the order of age, Jane being the eldest, with the others following 30 minutes and an hour later.
With adulthood calling, the time came for them to decide what they were going to do with their lives. Given his immense intelligence, James could have easily landed any academic scholarship to any school for any field. The mountain that was John could just as easily get a full ride on a sports scholarship. Jane was the odd duck. She wasn't anywhere near as smart as James and without using her powers, nowhere near as strong as John. She only how to do two things well; sneak around and break stuff.
The entire family had gotten together to have dinner for two reasons. The Disasters were graduating high school and shortly after, Hannah would have to leave for another deployment. Knowing the topic would come up eventually, Calamity Jane decided to break the ice. "I'm going to be joining the military!" the tiny red one proclaimed proudly at the dinner table.
Hannah, face full of mashed potatoes, nodded in approval. As did Uncle Joe. Papa Jess, who was seated next to Jane, reached over and playfully grabbed her by the head, rustling the crimson mess of string that sat atop it. "Don't they have a height requirement, Calamity?"
The family all chuckled a bit at her expense. She shook off the well-meaning barb and playfully fought back to get out of his grasp. John Sr. was probably the only one in the family that wasn't too thrilled to hear her announcement. He knew she was tough, but couldn't help but be a little protective of his only little girl. In a weary tone, he said, "I don't know, baby… Are you sure about all that?"
Sensing the all too familiar imminent blanket of daddy bear protection about to arrive, Jane broke free from Papa Jess and reached a hand out in front of her toward John Sr. In an instant, her hand and John's whole body glowed blue and with an upward hand gesture, he was lifted out of his seat and hovered about 3 feet off the floor. "Daddy… I told you before, I can take care of myself!" Her gaze shot from her father to mother (with her half stupefied uncle and grandfather looking on) and she continued. "Besides, Mom says the Alliance has top notch equipment and training for biotic officer candidates. And I've been looking into information on the programs myself. I can hack it, Daddy!"
John Sr., whose face remained as calm as a cool breeze the whole time, seemingly denoting he'd been in this situation before, shrugged his shoulders and sighed in defeat. "Seems like you've already made up your mind about it. If you got more than just her face and hair from your mother, I'd imagine there's zero reason for me to attempt to change your mind. Down please."
Jane slowly sat him back into his seat and as soon as he was nestled in it, she pounced him. With a big hug she yelped, "Thanks Daddy!"
Without looking up from her spare ribs, Hannah said aloud, "What about you two? You decided on your paths yet?"
James and John were both lost in thought for a moment. Neither of them had really put much stock in a military career, considering they both had so many options open to them. But right then and there, with Jane expressing her intent, they both put some serious thought into it.
After a moment, John was the first to speak. "Ya know, with all those football, basketball, and MMA scouts beating down my door for the last two years, I always thought I'd end up an athlete. But now, I don't know… Maybe I could give soldiering a try. Lord knows anyone would love to have a big strong ox on their side in a good fight."
Just as he finished, James chimed in. "I've always been interested in the theories behind the Mass Effect. Maybe I could join up as a researcher. Or an engineer. That way, I could put all that brain to good use." He looked around the table and saw smiles from every direction. "Hey! Maybe one day we'll all wind up on the same ship with Mom."
John threw a fist up and called out, "That'd be awesome!" As he did that, Jane glowed blue and floated off the floor, giggling excitedly.
Hannah beamed with pride so strong, it drew a tear to her eye. She was infinitely elated that her brood was willing to follow her out into the expanse of deep space. She decided then and there that if this was truly the path they wanted to follow, she would do everything she could behind the scenes to push them along the way and help out in any way she was able.