I'm amazed TutorVeritatis, Dr. Compass and I were able to finish this fanfic in a matter of five months. And now that we've come to the last chapter, I'm sure it will be worth the buildup. Unfortunately, I am not planning a sequel for it. Oh well.
I do not own Mass Effect. Bioware does.
By the year 2160, the entire galaxy settled down from the crisis. By then, Robin had completed her college degree and had the training she'll need as ambassador. This gave her enough confidence to keep up to date with current events and travel to intervene in any problems that would occur across any colonies if needed. She even stood up to batarian slavers one time when they attempted to set up their own camp in a human colony, a move that baffled such a brutal species.
This also meant for a new Election year. By then, humans that have studied well in politics and were well familiar with current events became candidates for various offices ranging from local, state and then to federal. By now, many of them have affiliated with the three major parties and have equal opportunity to reach out to the American public. Since Toby Dunn can never run for a second term, this meant new presidential candidates.
It was early in the morning on the Citadel Presidium, and Garrus calmly walked into the living room before putting the mug on a coaster and turning on the television. He wasn't nearly as invested as Robin or her friends were, but now he had become increasingly keen on how politics on Earth unfolded, simply due to the amount of power some human politicians could have, and just how the exchange of positions could easily mean the drastic shift in which political flavor and popular opinions would be upheld and who would be ostracized.
For the years that followed the incident with Cerberus, politics were an absolute mess on Earth, with the various nations scrambling to dissolve Cerberus, whole companies being torn down for their affiliation with the now-dubbed terrorist group, and widespread witch-hunts for the Illusive Man's various puppets. Even Brendan and James returned to Earth for an extensive series of missions to prevent the remaining Cerberus cells from sparking a planet-wide civil war to give themselves some breathing room to regroup with. He felt somewhat relieved when the Systems Alliance had finally announced the complete disassembly of the faction within the last year.
For the moment, Garrus watched as Robin saw a vid of Saren and Miranda interviewing one of the new presidential candidates, and this one had progressive views, much to her liking.
"Nice to see Miranda and Saren doing well for themselves," Garrus commented, looking at her screen.
"Yeah," Robin agreed, "they probably have plenty of time on their hands."
As far as Garrus remembered, even after the war ended, Miranda entered a partnership with Saren and they've been teaming up to deal with Spectre assignments since then.
"I'm just glad this is all over for the time being," Garrus said, looking back to the news report of the US election on Earth, "with the mess we ran through, it's nice to slow down a bit, remember what things are like to be slow and quiet."
Robin nodded in agreement. Garrus stood up and opened his omni-tool.
"Anyways, I was looking over some places on Eden Prime, and I found a really nice deal," Garrus offered, "what do you think?"
He showed her a browser page he left open from the night before, depicting a house on a hillside stack of prefabs built into the side of the mountain, with the roads zigzagging up the side. Down below was a valley of green that eventually opened into the heart of the colony below. And to make things better, the house in question was simple and affordable for their budget.
"I must admit," Robin answered, "this looks feasible."
"It has a nice view as well if that's something worth considering," Garrus added, taking a sip from his coffee.
"Then I'll consider it," Robin nodded before she took a sip from her coffee mug.
As the news went to commercials, there was a brief preview where Toby was among a group of convict escapees before inadvertently killing himself in a fit of conflict with his fellow inmates.
"At least we don't have him to worry about anymore," Garrus mused.
Robin nodded while she finished her coffee mug, so she headed over to the kitchen and placed it alongside the dirty mugs on the counter near the kitchen sink. After that, she took a few moments to check on their pet turtle as it swam in its tank in the living room.
"In the meantime," Robin offered, "maybe we can check in on the crew and see how they're doing?"
"The Aran'tar was scheduled to finish with repairs this morning," Garrus mentioned, "I'll check in with the next set of assignments, see what needs to be done if you're looking for some action."
"Maybe some sporting event in Rannoch would be nice?" Robin pondered.
"That can be plausible enough," Garrus nodded.
Garrus got his civies on and waited by the door. He was putting on his shoes when Robin strode into view, having changed into her official uniform which the Council provided her. He quickly checked on the Aran'tar's status via his omni-tool before turning to Robin.
"You ready?" Garrus asked, "because I am."
"As ready as you are," Robin nodded.
The two left their apartment block and quickly caught a taxi not too far away. Riding into the docks, they got out to be greeted by some of the crew mechanics.
"Sir, the various upgrades you ordered to have implemented are fully installed and the ship is ready to leave on your order," the engineer saluted.
"Good. We'll be heading out shortly," Garrus and Robin walked side-by-side as they entered the decontamination chamber.
Once the decontamination process completed, the turian commander and the human ambassador made their way to the bridge, merely to be greeted by Liara and Tali.
"Garrus! Robin! We got word you were coming," Liara greeted.
"You bosh'tets ready to have some fun?" Tali asked enthusiastically, tapping her suited fingers against the galaxy map projector.
"If going on an adventure counts as fun," Robin answered, "then yes."
Garrus smiled as he approached the quarian.
"Sounds like you already had something in mind. Care to share?"
Tali nodded after the Aran'tar gained clearance for takeoff, making its way to an assignment involving solving some issues a bunch of vorcha and elcor living in a colony were trying to deal with.
Following the Cerberus incident, the eventual reveal that Cerberus had not only rigged the election but had also been waging an invisible war against the other sentient species in the Galaxy left a negative taste in the mouths of the public towards speciesist perspectives, rhetoric, and ideals, more so the ideals connected to the given mindset. Even many of the voters who favored the Golf Party regretted electing such a buffoon in the first place. The sentiment eventually helped pave the way for Ahyoka Russell's election in the US that year. There were those that agreed with Cerberus' ideals that clamored for another attempt at uplifting the human race, but never gained any real momentum in the face of the rest of the world's reactions and the rest of the Galactic community was prepared to handle another threat like Cerberus.
By the time January of 2161 arrived, Admiral Hackett and Admiral Anderson invited some guests to attend the inauguration with them. Among these guests included Garrus, Robin, Nihlus, Saren, Miranda, Brendan and the crewmembers of both the Normandy and the Aran'tar. Even Kaidan, Ashley, Kasumi, Jack and Joker were given an invitation to attend. The instant they got the news, they prepared for the trip to Earth and boarded the Normandy and the Aran'tar. Saren wanted to invite his brother to come along, but Desolas politely declined since he had an unrelated assignment from Primarch Victus. It didn't take much else for the Spectre to respect his brother's wishes.
Once both ships left the Citadel and traveled through the Mass Relays to get to the Solar System in Alliance Space, it took a few hours before the Aran'tar and the Normandy arrived on Earth and descended to the planet's surface, arriving at an airfield in Washington DC before everyone disembarked and made their way to a subway station. It didn't take long for Anderson and Hackett to greet them.
"And to think only four years ago, Earth was looking to be in rough shape," Brendan chuckled.
"Yeah, and the trouble I had to get into to keep the situation from getting much worse," Robin remarked.
"It was a short, grueling war. It would've boiled into more if it weren't for your collective actions, Ambassador," Anderson sighed, approaching the Shepard siblings, "it's a pleasure to see you could make it."
Smiling, Robin extended her hand, allowing Anderson to shake it.
"It's a pleasure to still be here, Admiral," Garrus agreed as he approached the trio, "you look like you've seen better days."
"The inner machinations of our collective of governments on Earth are rather headache inducing," Anderson admitted, "once I'm certain we can leave this stage of our existence behind, then I'll consider relaxing."
Anderson, Hackett and their guests waited at the station for the subway to arrive.
"To think it could end as quickly as it did, considering the scale of the conflict…it's all any of us could've hoped for," Hackett said, voice carrying some remaining layer of disbelief.
Once the subway arrived minutes later, everyone boarded the subway and searched for suitable seats with Garrus and Robin sitting next to each other and the same for Saren and Miranda, Brendan and James, Kaidan and Ashley, Kasumi and Tali and then Jack and Wrex to name a few. Minutes later, the subway door closed and began accelerating along the track, making its way through the tunnel.
"Still, Earth has come a long way," Wrex complimented, "chances are, I'd get the boot off planetside the moment anyone lay eyes on me at the spaceport."
The old krogans wore krogan robes, an incredibly rare sight for many to see, given how krogans were more accustomed to wearing their armor around public, much less civies. Jack gave Wrex a pat on the shoulder.
"Not to worry, Wrex," Jack reassured Wrex, "I got your back."
Riding the escalator back out of the station, the group were greeted by the late afternoon US capitol. While many of the older memorials and museums had been left untouched or minimally updated to at least meet construction standards, new buildings began to rise up and crop out the older ones, like untended grass around a white picket fence. They could see crowds upon crowds of guests of various species wandering about in search of their own suitable spot in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol Reflecting Pool.
"I…didn't know there were this many races now on Earth," Garrus muttered with surprise.
Hackett modestly shrugged.
"It's been a gradual process," Hackett replied, "Earth is more of a tourist site for the time being, but there are a few who have decided to make Earth their home."
Hackett and Anderson led their guests through the crowd and a while later, they found a suitable spot near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, where they could get a good view of the Capitol Building. The crowds began to take their seats over the next half hour before the inauguration began. That was when the officials started to emerge from the Capitol Building, including the new President.
As the ceremony began, Garrus took a quick glance around the crowd, noting the minor, though thorough presence of other species in the crowd. After a long pan, he turned his eyes towards Robin.
"You want to go somewhere nice after this?" Garrus asked.
"Maybe we could check out the houses at Eden Prime you showed me?" Robin suggested, "we could even set up a nice bird bath for our yard and maybe a cool pond for our turtle."
"I was thinking about that in the long-run, but in the short-run I was thinking of hitting the bar at least once before we leave planetside. A bit of celebration, right?" Garrus encouraged.
"Let's hope the bar in question has pretzel bites with cheese dip," Robin nodded.
"They'd better. Those are some hard-earned pretzels and cheese. Could you have imagined what fighting Cerberus would've been like had it snowballed into something worse?" Garrus hummed, contemplating the last four years as he stared at the Capitol building.
Not wanting to think up of worst case scenarios, Robin shook her head and she wrapped her arms around Garrus.
"I-It's cold out here," Robin muttered.
"There, there," Garrus cooed, "it's ok."
To be honest, he was shivering himself with the cold weather surrounding them. He'd worn what could be considered turian cold-environment gear for the occasion, but even that wasn't enough to keep out the crisp January air. Garrus returned the embrace and nuzzled his face against Robin's.
"I know there are other things you're good at," Garrus quipped.
"Right," Robin agreed, "because…there's no Shepard without Vakarian."
With that, Garrus and Robin went back to watching the Inauguration progress. A while later, Ahyoka Russell began her speech, swearing her oath of presidency. With many species reflecting on how far they came, they also looked forward to an even more progressive future.