Inside the Briefing Room, Jane and Miranda were currently interrogating the unknown individual they found in Horizon. After letting her get dressed, the Commander escorted the woman to the Briefing Room and went straight to the point. Asking who she was and how she ended up in Horizon, etc.
After a lengthy explanation from the woman, Lia-nara Chaise, Jane returned the favor and answered whatever questions the woman asked. In the end, Lia-nara came to the conclusion that she was not on her Galaxy anymore.
"Okay. So you live in a Galaxy far, far away. One that is currently in the middle of a war that has been going on for three years now."
"And you say you're a... What was it called again?"
"Right. And the Jedi are an order of peacekeepers who also happens to be generals of the Republic's Clone Army which is fighting the opposition. The Confederacy of Independent Systems."
"Then during one of your missions, you found an unknown device that somehow transported you to Horizon because your partner pressed something he shouldn't have."
Jane gave the woman in front of her an unamused look before turning her head to face Miranda who was looking down at her datapad before looking back up at Jane and shrugged.
"You're the one who wanted to take her to the ship." The Operative said "She's your problem."
"Well I didn't expect her to be crazy." The redhead argued.
"It was your call."
"Excuse me." The woman across from them spoke up with her hand raised to get their attention "If you're looking for proof, I can show you."
Jane raised a skeptical brow and crossed her arms.
"I'd like to see you tr- "
The redhead cut herself off as she spotted something from the corner of her eye and saw the cylinder slowly floating towards the woman. Without thinking, Jane moved to grab it but the weapon suddenly shot towards the woman's open palm. Lia-nara gave the redhead a lopsided smirk before clipping the cylinder to her utility belt. The Jedi placed leaned back on her chair before crossing her legs.
"Proof enough for you, Commander?"
Jane was silent as she wordlessly stared at the Jedi. Miranda's curiosity of how the woman would prove her claims morphed into alarm. The Operative barely caught the woman's right hand moving ever so slightly when Lia-nara told them that she can provide proof. She didn't even notice the cylinder unclipped itself from her belt.
"That wasn't Biotics." Jane spoke up as she looked at Lia-nara "If it was, we would have noticed it. That was the Force you mentioned, wasn't it?"
The redhead sighed as she stood up and started pacing back and forth.
"And you said you were part of an order as well as a Republic. By all rights, this is a First Contact scenario between out Galaxies."
"Now wait just a minute, Commande- "
"It is First Contact, Miranda." Jane cut her XO off "And you know it. Jesus Christ. I am way beyond my depth here."
She muttered the last part to herself and ran a hand through her hair before looking back at the Jedi.
"You said you found a machine in your Galaxy and that your friend pressed something on the machine and caused it to activate. That's what brought you here but when we found you, we didn't find any machine or your partner for that matter. It's safe to say that you have no idea how to get back, correct?"
"Unfortunately." Lia-nara sighed with a nod "My chances of finding a way back are rather slim."
"How about I make you a deal?"
Miranda gave the Commander an incredulous look and moved to intervene but a glare from the redhead stopped her in her tracks. Jane turned away from Miranda and looked back at the Jedi.
"You help me fight the Collectors and I'll help you find a way back to your Galaxy."
"Collectors?" Lia-nara raised a delicate brow "You never mentioned anything about Collectors. Who or what are they and why should I help you fight them when I still have to fight a war in my own Galaxy?"
"The Collectors are a secretive bunch. They aren't seen much outside the Omega 4 Relay and when they are, it was usually to trade in tech for live beings. Two years ago, the bastards destroyed my ship and my crew barely got out alive. I lost good people to the Collectors."
Jane's fist clenched and a Lia-nara noticed the scars on her face give out a faint glow before the redhead calmed herself and the glow dissipated.
"Now they reared their ugly heads back and started abducting humans from a number of colonies. They're taking them somewhere and doing God knows what to them. We tried to get the Council to help but the morons dismissed it. Said I wouldn't be so adamant in stopping the Collectors if it was another species' colony."
"But you would've done the same regardless of species, wouldn't you?" Lia-nara asked. Trying to gauge what kind of woman Commander Jane Novak-Shepard is.
"I would have. Doesn't matter what species you are. I'll help anyway I can. Even if I don't particularly like the guy, I'll keep things civil. But if they cross me, heads will pop. I ain't some Sally Buttercup. I'm Alliance N7 and Council Spectre. I didn't get to where I am by being a little bitch."
'A good woman. If a bit vulgar but then again I'm used to vulgarity after spending three years commanding the 82nd with Kale.' Lia-nara thought to herself before looking back at the Commander who continued speaking.
"Here's the deal. You help me deal with these Collector asshats and in return, I'll help you find a way back to your Galaxy though it might take some time."
"Well... considering I don't have a lot of options and I don't speak nor understand the language of some of this Galaxy's species other than yours as well as having no knowledge as to where I am or where I can go, I believe the only chance I have at finding a way back is accepting your proposition."
Lia-nara uncrossed her legs and stood up to face the Commander.
"Besides. From what you said, these Collectors are a dangerous lot and the abducted colonists are being put through something horrible I imagine. I'm not one to stand aside and leave them to suffer when I can do something about it. You have a deal, Commander."
The Jedi held out her hand and Jane grasped it before the two firmly shook hands with the redhead smiling.
"Welcome to the Normandy."
After they left the Briefing Room, Lia-nara asked where her blaster was and Jane told her it was at the armory with Jacob. They made their way to the armory while the Commander told her about the Normandy and it's Decks.
The Normandy SR-2 is classified as a Heavy Stealth Frigate. According to the Commander, her old ship, the Normandy SR-1, was a slightly smaller version of the SR-2 and was classified as a Deep Scout Frigate. The SR-2 was at least 200m in length. A bit larger and housed more crew than the Republic Frigate which was a retrofitted Consular-class Cruiser.
The ship's armaments include two Javelin Disruptor Torpedo Launchers and a Thanix Cannon while it's defenses boast a Kinetic Barrier which was a equivalent to a ship's shields and GARDIAN Point Defense Lasers.
The two of then were currently on Deck 2 or the Command Deck. It's comprised of the Combat Information Center or the CIC, the bridge, Research and Tech Labs, Armory and Briefing/Communications Room.
Here she was given a good look at the Galaxy Map and sure enough, Lia-nara had no idea where she was. None of the star systems looked remotely familiar. Too bad.
Deck 1 was the Captain's Cabin. The top most deck and where Jane resides while she's taking a break from her duties as Commander.
Deck 3 was the Crew Deck. It includes the XO's Office, Crew Quarters, Bathrooms, Life Support Control Room, Med Bay, Main Battery Room, Starboard and Port Observations Rooms and the AI Core Room.
Deck 4, Engineering, houses the ship's Drive Core, Main Engineering, the Port and Starboard Cargo Areas.
And lastly was Deck 5. The Hangar. It simply housed the ship's shuttle and tank.
The two finally reached the Armory where Jacob Taylor was still examining Lia-nara's blaster. The Armory Chief noticed their presence and placed the weapon on the table before greeting Jane.
"At ease, Jacob." The redhead dismissed with a casual wave of her hand before motioning her head at th Jedi "I'd like to properly introduce you to the newest member of our crew, General Lia-nara Chaise."
"Hello there." The Jedi greeted with
As soon as hearing the word 'General', Jacob, out of habit, straightened into attention and schooled his features.
Lia-nara chuckled as she was reminded of the Shinies. The majority of the Clones in the 82nd had become comfortable around her and Kale that they didn't need to stand in attention every time they passed by. All they had to do was greet them with a nod with a 'General' or 'Boss'. She can't say the same for the Shinies though. It'd take them a while to get used to and once they do, that's when they earn their colors or camo in the 82nd's case.
"At ease, Mr. Taylor. General I may be but we're not in the GAR so there's no need to be so stiff and formal."
"Sorry, ma'am." Jacob relaxed a little "Force of habit."
Lia-nara took the blaster from the table and moved to holster it but stopped. Smirking, she took a page from Kale's book and decided to show off a little. Her smirk turned into a frown before shaking her head. The mercenary really was a bad influence on her. The Jedi then began spinning the blaster in her hand with practiced ease.
Jane crossed her arms and watched with amusement as the Jedi spun the weapon in her hand. Switching from forward to backwards spin then throwing it in the air before catching it and spun it horizontally. Lia-nara gave one last spin before holstering the weapon. Not as flashy as Kale who did it faster with practiced ease and two blasters.
"Someone's got fancy moves." Jacob commented.
"Learned it from my partner." Lia-nara answered "He does it whenever he's bored."
"What can you tell me about this partner of yours." Jane asked.
"Kale?" The Jedi chuckled and her lips quirked upwards "The first thing that comes to mind is idiot. Then cocky, vulgar, smug and sarcastic. But he is loyal and easygoing with the 82nd. Friendly at times."
Her smile dropped a bit and Lia-nara looked to the side.
"He is also ruthless. Effectively so. And he is not above getting his hands dirty."
'Or wet with blood.' She thought to herself. He never would have told her but he couldn't hide it from her forever. Not after seeing him brutalize one of the bounty hunters the Separatists hired to get information on the opposing force's general to the point the man was on the brink of death. When he beat the man, he made sure to hit areas with enough power to break bone. In the end, the man had a concussion along with a broken arm, a dislocated shoulder, a busted knee cap and a dislocated jaw.
Before joining the Republic, he had been hired by different corporations to do dirty work and keep said corporations' hands clean. Assassinations, tortures and interrogations, 'clean ups'. He had done them all and he would do so again if the situation calls for it. It was something they had a rather long argument about but had ignored it as time passed. Even when he said he'd do it, whenever an opportunity comes where he could, he never did. At least whenever she's around. She was grateful for that.
"He is skilled with different types of blasters but he favors hand blasters more. Even taught the men new tactics and whatnot. He has formed a brotherhood with the 82nd that rather than call him 'Commander' as is his official rank, they call him 'Boss'. As soldiers who were born and bred for war, they were taught to be respectful and disciplined in front of their superiors. Our men, however, are more at ease and less rigid with us after fighting side-by-side and formed a camaraderie with Kale and I. The same can be said to the other Clones fought with their respective Jedi Generals. Anyway, is there anything else you'd like to ask, Commander?"
"Yeah. What's the deal with that laser sword you're carrying?"
Lia-nara chuckled at the 'laser sword' bit. People unfamiliar with the lightsaber always call it laser sword. She found it amusing. The Jedi unclipped her lightsaber from her belt and held it out on her palm before using the Force to make it float just above her palm and made it slowly spin.
"The lightsaber is a Jedi's weapon. Greatly respected and feared. The blade is made of pure plasma and the hilt provides a field that contains said plasma so it can maintain the shape of the blade. Some can be modified to lengthen or shorten the blade or tune down the intensity so that it can be safelt used for training. The most damage a tuned down lightsaber can do is cause welts, bruises and minor burns."
Lia-nara let the weapon drop to her palm before holding it upright and ignited the lightsaber which let out a hiss as the blade shot out from the hilt.
"The one I have can cut an arm, or any body part, with ease. It would leave a cauterized stump if I were to cut someone's hand off. It can also deflect blaster bolts though only Force-sensitives can do so because of our lightsaber training and using the Force in tandem."
"So you can send back whatever they shot at you? Sounds awesome." Jane said with a smirk.
"Unfortunately, not everything. Let's say if a slugthrower were to be used against me. I won't be able to deflect the slug and all I can do is simply dodge out of the way."
"Think you can help us build one of these things?"
Lia-nara's smile dropped and she shook her head.
"I'm afraid I can't do that. Wielding a lightsaber requires skill achieved only through years of training and the Force. Some may acquire the skills to wield the lightsaber without the Force but to build the weapon itself, one must have the the right materials to and even if they did, it would be missing the most important piece of the lightsaber. A Kyber Crystal. Without it, you only have a hilt with no blade."
"Damn." Jacob huffed and crossed his arms "Then again, not really useful since you can't deflect bullets. But it certainly would be useful in cutting open locked doors."
"Indeed." Lia-nara nodded at the Armory Chief before turning back to the Commander "Anything else?"
"Nothing at the moment. Why don't we find you a place to stay? I'll give you a tour of the ship and you can decide where you wanna stick around."
"Of course, Commander. Lead the way."
The two left the Armory and went on to tour the ship and introduced the Jedi to the crew. Jane nearly smacked the Mercenary Veteran across the Starboard Cargo Area after Zaeed made crude comments about the Jedi's rather slightly larger than normal 'assets'. She would've done the same to Ken after the man failed to realize he wasn't whispering but Gabby beat her to it and promptly smacked him on the back of the head.
Lia-nara, however, simply waved it off. She had heard it all before when she went undercover in one of their missions and chose to ignore such things. Didn't stop Kale from making jokes or anything to get a rise out of her. The first time he did was when he painted a scantily clad version of her on the side of a LAAT during the early days of the war. Oh she had quite a lot to say to him that day. Thankfully, no one in the Order heard of the incident.
After they finished touring the ship, Lia-nara settled for the Starboard Observations Room. The Jedi looked at the large window to see a beautiful view of the stars. It reminded her of whenever she looked at the viewport in the bridge of the Venator-class Star Destroyer and her Command Ship, the Fortitude.
"So I'm gonna leave you to settle here. If you need anything, you can just go to that terminal over there and ask EDI."
"Thank you, Commander."
Jane turned and left the Jedi alone who then sat down on the floor and began meditating though the Commander didn't see it. Jane made her way back to the CIC and read the new dossier Timmy sent her before ordering Joker to set a course for the Citadel. The Commander then entered the elevator and had it go to Deck One. She needed to sleep. In a span of a few hours, she had a shouting match with her old friends and found out that there was another Galaxy out there.
She reached her floor and exited the elevator before entering her Cabin. Jane walked over to the fish tank and tapped the glass before wincing when she saw the lone fish float to the top of the fish tank.
"Note to self: Buy new fish from the Citadel when I get the chance and some fish food too. Also, tell Kelly to feed the fish when I'm not around."
Jane walked over to her desk and pulled out the dog tags from her pocket. She looked down at the tags before placing it on top of the desk. If one were to look at the tags, they would see that the engravings read:
NAME: Shepard, John
RANK: Lieutenant Commander
SERVICE NO. 5923-AC-2826
"You were always trying to be the hero. Then again, if you hadn't acted like a hero when we were stupid teenagers, we never would've met."
The redhead chuckled at the memory. On Earth, there was this little redheaded orphan who couldn't keep her mouth shut had bit off more than she could chew. Surrounded by older teens who tried to basically mug her. She was prepared to take 'em all on when this stupid Spacer kid jumps in and started to talk the idiots down only to get decked right in the face. Because of this, Jane had the opportunity to grab a broken pipe on the ground and started wacking the older teens, scaring them off.
Seeing John holding his bloody nose, Jane decides to bring him to the nearest hospital as thanks. They kept in touch after that, even staying at the Shepard household when she didn't want to go back to the orphanage. When they both reached eighteen, they enlisted to the Alliance. His reasons were simple. He wanted to follow his parents' footsteps. She, on the other hand, wanted to start over after killing her father's assassin. She wanted to get away from the gangs and the life of crime that accompanied it. Jane also didn't want the Shepards getting caught up in her problems after everything they've done for her sorry ass.
They were separated after they finished the academy. She was assigned to a different unit and so was he. They kept in touch of course and made sure to meet up whenever they had the time. Then Akuze happened. She would've been discharged if it hadn't been for Anderson vouching for her that she can recover and was given a leave. While recovering, John and Hannah would visit her and help her. If they hadn't, she might've never returned to the military. She came back to active duty and Alliance Command started to see promise in her after seeing how she handled her missions now. As a reward, they gave her an opportunity to be a N7 Agent.
Two years later, Elysium happened. During an invasion of pirates, slavers and Batarians, John rallied the planet's colonists against the invaders and fought back. When enemy forces broke through the colony's defenses, he single-handedly held them off and sealed the breach. At least that's what the media presented. But that wasn't how it went, at least the latter half.
He did rally the colonists but when the invaders broke through, John didn't single-handedly held the enemy off and sealed the breach. He had a squad with him who perished as they held the invaders back. When the seal was breached, he was the only one left standing. The only one left to receive a Star of Terra and declared a war hero.
He had a hard time after that. Knowing he was praised when the sacrifices of his team were forgotten. Guilt stopped him from being the best he could be and was slowly becoming detrimental to his own safety and mental health. Jane had tried to snap him out of it but it all came down to telling the families of his squad what really happened. A few resented him, mostly because John survived and the rest didn't but the others were at least understanding. After accepting what happened, life returned to normal and they went back to their respective posts.
They were reunited when she was reassigned as the first Normandy's XO after Anderson handed command of the ship to John. Funny how they still had the tandem they had in the Academy even after all the time they were apart. While they still had a mission to stop Saren and the Reapers, they had a bit of fun along the way though that doesn't mean it didn't have it's downsides as well.
Then came the last time she and John would see each other. The mission on Virmire. During the mission, John stayed behind to arm the bomb after getting his leg blown off by a rocket when his shields were down. He ordered them to continue the mission without him but not before handing Jane his dog tags. She tried to go back for him but he told her it was too late and ordered them to rescue Ashley and Kaidan who were pinned down in the AA Tower. Leaving him alone to be surrounded by Geth while he made sure the bomb goes off was the hardest thing she had ever done.
Command of the Normandy was given ti her soon after and when they defeated Saren and Sovereign, she personally told Hannah how her only son died. The only family the woman had left. She couldn't save him and for that, Jane apologized again and again. She didn't even realize that Hannah had been hugging her the entire time she did nor did she realize that she was the one who cried herself to sleep in the older woman's arms.
Jane loved him. Still do. She loved him so much. Leaving him behind hurt her more than getting shot again and again and the feeling grew worse when she played a recording he had sent to her before the bomb went off. She just realized how much he truly meant to her when he was gone. Hannah knew from the start. She saw it long before Jane herself had. During her leave, she stayed with Hannah on Earth. Helping her in the house. Talking about the good times in the past. Watching age old movies every Friday. Visiting John's grave and many more.
By the time she returned to active duty, Jane Novak was now Jane Novak-Shepard. Legally changed and all that crap. Rather than live in an old apartment, she was living in the Shepard household with the woman that was like a mother to her or at least she thinks is what a mother is like considering there was only her and her dad back then.
It turned out that during the time of her 'death', Hannah had become the Captain of her own starship, the SSV Orizaba. Imagine how she felt when she heard news of Jane's death. Jane had a lot of explaining to do when they meet again and she so wasn't looking forward to that.
The Commander found herself yawning loudly before making her way to the bed. She removed the holster on her thigh, followed by her boots and pants, but took the pistol with her. The redhead plopped down on the bed and placed the Predator pistol underneath her pillow before closing her eyes. Sleeping with a gun close to her kept her alive during the shitshow that was Akuze.
The only reason she didn't kill every single Cerberus personnel in this ship because they were the only ones willing to help her against the Collectors and Reapers. Besides, if anyone should be blamed, it would be The Illusive Man. He's the top dog and she'd be willing to bet that he knew everything that happens in his terrorist organization even if he denies it. He may even be the one who ordered it in the first place.
For now, she'll stay her hand. But when the time comes, she'll find him and put a bullet through his knees. Open him up then ever so slowly, reach into his chest and pull out his fucking heart... OK maybe she'll just put a bullet in his fucking skull.
Jane raised a brow as the woman on the terminal asked her for a password to receive a free gift. Recalling what she read from TIM's message, Jane let her eyes look around for a bit before answering.
"Silence is golden."
The redhead looked over her shoulder to Miranda who was looking at something on her Omni-tool.
"Did I get that right?"
Miranda looked up at Jane and nodded to the redhead. The Cerberus Operative wasn't wearing her usual uniform but wore something casual. A grey crop top tank top underneath a black jacket with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows and a pair of black tights and boots. She had her hair tied up in a messy bun and also wore a pair of fake glasses. Jane had convinced her it wouldn't do good for her to walk around the Citadel wearing an outfit that had a Cerberus logo on it. They are known by the galaxy as terrorists after all even though Miranda denies it. It's why she had anything Cerberus removed from the Normandy's exterior like logos and whatnot.
"Good to finally meet you, Commander. Kasumi Goto. I'm a fan." The woman on the terminal replied.
"What's with the passwords and sneaking around? You in trouble or something? Needs some help?"
"I'm the best thief in the business. Not the most famous. Besides, if everyone knew who I was, I would've been caught and jailed a long time ago."
"Fair point." Jane shrugged before crossing her arms "So? Has Cerberus filled you in on what we're up against?"
"Honestly, I'm surprised they didn't come to see me sooner."
"Well you certainly made yourself hard to find. Speaking of which, what brought you to Cerberus?"
"That's a bit of a story. Short version, they were looking for me so I trailed them to find out why. Turns out they wanted someone to join you on a very important mission and were offering a serious signing bonus. I had a thing that needed help with so I made them a deal and here we are."
"This deal. Something I should know about?" Jane asked with a raised brow.
"Yeah, I guess it slipped their minds."
Jane looked over her shoulder to Miranda for an explanation.
"The Illusive Man didn't really mention any sort of deal. Just that it took great cost and effort to convince her. I assumed it was about credits."
"Me too. Guess he didn't think it was important enough to tell us." Jane turned back to the terminal "What did you need help with?"
"I'm looking for my old partner's graybox. A man named Donovan Hock took it and I'm planning to get it back."
"Name doesn't really ring a bell. What do you know about him?"
"Mr. Hock is a well respectable businessman. Arms dealer. Murderer. Generally not a great guy. His mansion's famous for being hard to crack but I have a way in and I think you're gonna love it."
Jane smirked "Alright, you got my attention but I doubt Cock- "
"Hock." Miranda corrected without looking up from her Omni-tool.
"That's what I said. I doubt Hock is the kind of guy who takes kindly to people sneaking into his house."
"I always expect trouble. That's why you're here."
"Smart woman." Jane chuckled before asking "So this graybox is some kind of hardware?"
"It's a neural implant. Illegal in most places." Kasumi explained "Stores memories, thoughts, secret codes, illusive information. This one in particular belonged to my partner, Keiji Okuda. We worked together for a long time before Hock... killed him."
"My partner. The best hacker and entry man I've ever known. Unfortunately, he slipped up and made himself infamous."
"He bit off more than he could chew, I take it?"
"Yeah. He stole something he shouldn't. He warned me that it was bad. Something that could spark interstellar war if it got out. That information... got him killed."
"I have to ask, what could he have found that is so important enough to spark a war?"
"He wouldn't say what it was. Just that it was dangerous. He said that if it got out, humanity would be in trouble. He encrypted it. Wrapped it up in his own memories. To decode the information, you have to sift through all the time we spent together. Now all those memories are all I have left of him."
"I'm sorry to hear that." Jane's tone softened "I know what it's like to lose someone close to you. I'll help."
"Thank you, Commander." Jane could see Kasumi let out a small smile "By the way, I took the liberty of getting you some evening wear though. You'd want to look presentable. Trust me, it'll be fun." A mischievous smirk found it's way on the woman's lips "And if we're lucky, you wouldn't even have to draw your gun."
"Oh boo. I was planning on wearing a clown mask, a business suit and just go in gun's blazing." Jane gave the thief a mock pout.
The Commander watched Kasumi's face smirk and disappear from the terminal as it showed it's normal advertisement. Jane turned around to walk away when she heard Kasumi's voice from above her.
"Good plan. A bit old school but this mission needs a bit more finesse. Anyway. We should probably wrap this up."
Jane looked up to see the hooded woman looking down on them with a smirk from the second floor.
"You look pretty silly standing there talking to an advertisement. See you on the ship, Commander."
"Do I still get to wear the clown mask?"
The thief simply gave a two-finger salute before vanishing. Jane hummed in thought as the woman left before turning to Miranda.
"Do you think TIM can get us one of those cloaking thingamajigs?"
"I doubt it. Anyways. We still have to buy everything we need first. Upgrades for the ship and other miscellaneous items you want to buy as well as talk to certain individuals, etc."
Miranda sighed and shook her head. She felt like she just became Jane's secretary. Most of the paperwork goes to her since the Commander was busy mosy of the time. Right now, she had a list of the things they needed to purchase for the Normandy like new defenses. She had another list and it was for things the crew wanted. There was also a list of people she wanted and needed to talk to, etc.
She was built to be perfect human being but instead of using her skills for something useful, she's acting as the dead not dead woman's secretary. How deplorable.
"Let's go buy me some fish and ship models first then we get to buying the Normandy's upgrades and the crew's own wants. Come on, Miranda. We got useless crap to buy."
"Oh joy." The Cerberus Operative droned out before following after the redhead.
"I can't believe you let those stores actually use you for advertisement."
"I was bored. Sue me. Besides, I thought it was funny."
After buying everything they needed and some other stuff, the two were making their way back to the Normandy. Luckily, they didn't run into any trouble which was a relief to the redhead. Jane smirked before putting on the pair of shades she bought from one of the stores and looked at Miranda.
"I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle."
The Operative rolled her eyes but couldn't help the slight quirk in her lips at the Commander's Terminator impression. One thing she learned about Jane was that she liked watching old movies. Very old movies. She asked why and the redhead replied that it was a favorite past time with her dad before he was assassinated and she was sent off to an orphanage. Then the Shepards did the same whenever she was in the house.
The trek back to the ship was silent after that and when they reached the dock, they could see the supplies they bought were being hauled in the Normandy as well as a few other crates. Jacob was there and the Armory Chief was leaning back on a rather large crate with his arms crossed. Like Miranda, he too wasn't wearing his Cerberus uniform but unlike the XO, Jacob wore a simple black t-shirt that hugged his form, showing his impressive muscles, and a pair of his old Systems Alliance BDU pants and boots. When the Armory Chief saw them, he waved them over before getting off the crate.
"What's with the crate?" Jane asked.
"We got a new weapons shipment from the boss. I took a peek at it and I think you'd like what's inside."
"Well what are you waiting for? Open this baby up."
Jacob did so and Jane saw the contents of the crate before reaching inside to pull out a M-5 Phalanx. She had read of it during her time catching up with the current state of the Galaxy and knew the weapon was of Alliance make.
"M-5 Phalanx." The Armory Chief began "Holds six rounds and packs one helluva punch but highly accurate. My buddy in the Alliance set me up with a couple of these before the Illusive Man found out. He wasn't mad and saw how useful these guys are and supplied the Normandy with a lot more arsenal."
"Huh. Cool." Jane muttered absently as she aimed tinkered with the weapon before activating the laser sight.
The Commander then spun the weapon in her hand before placing it back inside the crate and pulled out another weapon. This time, it was a M-96 Mattock.
"Semi-auto. Sixteen rounds. Low heat production and hits like a sniper. More of a DMR than an Assault Rifle really. We also got another variant."
Jacob walked over to a different crate and opened it. He reached inside and pulled out another Mattock before presenting it to the Commander who placed the Mattock in her hand back in the first crate and took the offered weapon. Unlike the first one, this Mattock had a yellow and white finish.
"That is the Cerberus Harrier. Modified to fire full-auto and has four more rounds than the Mattock. Low recoil but at the cost of less firepower."
"Hm. Anything else?" Jane asked as she handed the weapon back to Jacob.
"There should be another shipment coming in later today. Look forward to that."
"Alright." The Commander nodded "Let's pack 'em in, Marine."
The two went on to help get the weapon crates inside while Miranda made her way to her office and change back to her regular attire.
When Jane entered the Starboard Observations Room, she didn't expect to see Lia-nara sitting on the ground, facing the door with her legs crossed and a serene look in her face. What caught her attention, however, was the fact that the lightsaber was floating in front of the Jedi with it's pieces floating in the air as well. The Commander watched as the pieces assembled themselves before looking at Lia-nara.
Jane observed the Jedi's current appearance. Her long, messy, dark hair wasn't tied up in it's usual half up, half down style with the blue tipped ends reaching just below her neck. The white, hooded cowl with a draping neckline she wore was neatly folded on the seat on her right along with her white gauntlets and pauldrons as well as the two white, leather-like waist cape that was usually attached to her utility belt.
This left the Jedi in a tight, dark grey, short-sleeved shirt and a pair of matching colored pants. Her hands were still adorned with a pair of black, fingerless gloves while her knees and shins were protected by a set of worn white greaves along with a pair of equally worn white boots. A blue crystal pendant hung around the Jedi's neck.
"Is there something you need, Commander?"
Jane was snapped from her observations and rubbed the back of her head sheepishly.
"Actually, I came to ask how are you doing?"
"I'm doing fine, all things considered. Though I do worry about Kale." Lia-nara frowned "And I do worry about my men as well. I have been gone for a while and they're probably turning the whole Galaxy upside-down to find us. 'Never leave anyone behind.' That was one of our more public friendly mottos and one of our most important ones."
"What are the others?"
"Well." The Jedi looked up in thought before smiling "There's: 'Grab a blaster and scrap a clanker.' A favorite among the ranks and Shinies."
"Shinies?" Jane raised an eyebrow.
"It's what the Clones call Troopers who were fresh out from basic and hasn't fought in a battle outside of simulations. They call them that because their armors are still in pristine condition. Shiny, if you will. Once they had their first taste of battle and survive, that shine goes away and they can paint the armor with their unit's colors. Though the 82nd paint our armor with camouflage that suits the environment but grey camo is a 'standard' of sorts since we're deployed a lot in urban environments."
"What is the 82nd?"
"The 82nd Delta Corps, as the name implies, is an elite corps of Clone Troopers that fall under the First Sector Army and Third Systems Army of the Grand Army of the Republic. Corps consist of four Legions. Ours consisted of the 6th, 9th, 10th and 13th Legions."
"And you command all of them?"
That was a lot of power to put on someone who was basically a warrior monk with no prior military experience.
"Yes and no. Command of the Corps falls to me and a Marshal Commander but I have other Commanders leading the Legions as well as their Regiments and Battalions. Senior Commanders command the Legions while Regimental Commanders and Majors command the Regiments and Battalions respectively. Though I can still take over command of their units should I choose to but I mostly leave it to them. They were born and bred for their ranks after all. Though sometimes a different Jedi General may be assigned to a Legion or Battalion if available. But not all may be so inclined to do so."
"During the beginning of the war, our Order had suffered heavy losses and some of the Jedi that survived did not want to partake in the war. They say it was not the way or that the Order can't take anymore losses. We still had Younglings and Padawans to teach as well as a Temple to run."
"I can understand that. But wait. So how many Clones are under the 82nd?"
"36,864 Troopers of varying ranks, and specializations in total." Lia-nara answered without so much as batting an eye "A single Legion consist of 9,216 Troopers and commanded by a Senior Clone Commander and a Jedi General if willing and possible."
Jane blinked and shook her head. That many men in a single Corps. She can't imagine how large the Grand Army of the Republic was. If they can find a way to get Lia-nara back to her Galaxy, maybe they could convince the Republic to help them against the Reapers. It's not like they can ignore a race of AI that wants to wipe out all life in the entire Galaxy for some stupid cycle, right?
Acclamator-class Assault Ship 'Valor'
"No, sir. We still hadn't found any sign of them other than that machine. There were scorch marks all over the cave we found it in. We had the machine brought back to the Valor for study. We just hope those researchers get here fast."
CC-4629 or 'Rally' finished as he stood in front of the holotable which had the hologram of the 82nd's Marshal Commander, CC-2868 or 'Will' or 'Scarface' to some Clone Commanders, on it.
"Damnit." Will cursed. His lone eye narrowed before shaking his head "Keep an eye on that machine, Rally. And keep me updated should anything happen."
"Meanwhile, I'll be contacting the Jedi Council from the Fortitude. Grandmaster Yoda must be informed of this."
"Understood, sir." Rally nodded "Good luck."
"You too, brother."
The hologram disappeared and Rally sighed before running a hand through his hair. He knows he ages twice the speed a normal human does but this situation was really gonna make him grow grey hairs soon. And he was only 13! If the hologram had color, he would've noticed that Will already had patches of grey hair on the back of his head. The stress of having the General and Boss was getting to them. They need to find them soon or at least know they were safe. Force knows the boys won't be held back forever. He wouldn't put it past them to conduct an investigation of their own.
"Sir, the Shinies are waiting for you down at the base."
Right. He was supposed to train a new batch of Shinies today. Great. Just absolutely great. Join the Army they said. It'll be fun they said. Clones were made to join the army so he was at least hoping for a bit of fun along like they said. It seems there wasn't any fun if you are an Officer.
"Commander, Bugger just got out of the Med Bay and is trying to start a competition with the Pilots on who can paint a better provocative nose art of Senator Chuchi on their gunship."
'Oh for the love of... '
Rally sighed and shook his head before grabbing his helmet from the holotable and made his way out of the bridge. He'd rather not have angry Pantorans going after their heads. When he gets to the Hangar, there better not be tits on the side of those dropships or somebody's gonna get the hurt real bad.
AN: Huh, I wrote a chapter with no fighting for once. Weird. The backstory doesn't make sense to me as I wrote it but I'm tired and hungry so I just went with this. Not sure where it was going but meh.
Anyways, question. That thing Morrigan wears from Dragon Age: Origins, the dark red thing with a hood, is that called a cowl?