1413: When You’re Strange – Chapters Seven and Eight

Title: When You’re Strange
Author: Actually-Fen-Harel
Media:  Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect
Genre: Romance/Sci-fi
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 7
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 8
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hello folks, and welcome back to When You’re Strange. So despite all the things still wrong with this fic, I actually have a little confidence this might not be nearly as painful as I thought it’d be at first. So hey, this might not be that bad.

Anyway, I think that’s enough pondering for now. Let’s get this show on the road, yeah?

We start our next chapter off with this:

A/N:Yes, here is an update for my rabid fans.

“Rabid” fans?

*shudders*

The fact that it has fans at all is… actually not that surprising, considering yesterday’s sex scene.

*shrug*

I love you all. Now read already. :D

Cut out the smiley bullshit, and I’ll get right on that.

The mission was a fucking nightmare. If it wasn’t the geth tossing giant versions of themselves at them, it was ancient prothean ‘barrier curtains’, or krogan warlords with fucking ridiculous regeneration abilities. And now the entire place was falling down on top of their heads. Lovely.

And thus, ladies and gentlemen, is how we’re thrust into the very end of Liara’s recruitment. I bet you anything –

As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, the whole reason for their wonderful visit to this shithole planet was the asari that was currently running with them as they tried to escape death by crushing, and she was the most naive, childish asari Shepard had ever met. Why the Council wanted this seemingly innocent creature to join Shepard’s crew, she couldn’t understand. She was shit with guns, and her biotics were so underdeveloped that it would have been funny, if she wasn’t the cause of them all nearly dying twice in five minutes. And the ‘nearly’ part of that equation was still undetermined, pending their escape from the collapsing, shuddering dig site.

…  And Shepard is bitching about how shit Liara is at combat, and how naïve she is.

Lady, Liara is a scientist. Frankly, I’m surprised she wasn’t a bad combatant in-game either, because maybe she didn’t have your training! We can’t all be N7s, you know! And hey, we can’t all have shitty traumatic backstories either! Have you considered, I dunno, not being annoyed about that?

I know this is kind of a tense situation and you’re in heat anyway (and in fact, that’s the only reason this isn’t immediately going on the “Strong, Independent” Woman counter), but come on; perspective!

Shepard felt her gut twist in a knot, a feeling she only got when something was about to go horribly wrong. It had served her well her whole life, warning her of nearly every bad situation she’d ever gotten into, no matter how unavoidable the situation had been. This time, it gave her the impetus to generate an adrenaline rush of speed, propelling her faster towards the exit of this hell hole.

*facepalm*

What the fuck was that description? I just …

*headdesk*

I literally can’t be assed right now.

She turned to check on her teammates, as well as the child asari, and her heart leapt to her throat as she saw a large chunk of rock bounce off of Garrus’ shoulder and fall to the floor. She heard him groan in pain, and judging from the position of his shoulder, it was dislocated, at the very least.

And the moe-fication of Garrus continues: suddenly he’s helpless and needs the big strong Shepard to save him!

Hey, at least our author believes in equal opportunity weakening!

She stopped and ran back to him, waving Ash and the kid forward. “GO! Don’t wait for us!” She yelled at them above the rumbling roar of the shaft collapsing.

She quickly felt under Garrus’ now dented shoulder armor, trying to see if his arm was actually broken, and finding it intact, she firmly gripped his arm in both hands, giving him a pointed look. He grimaced and nodded, his mandibles slammed tightly against his teeth. “Alright! One, two-” She shoved his arm back into socket.

*facepalm*

Really? Woman, this cave is collapsing on top of you! How the fuck are you able to find time to relocate Garrus’ arm? I mean, here’s an idea: grab Garrus by his good arm, get back to the ship, get away from the massive seismic activity you’re currently being victimized by, and then relocate his fucking arm! It’s a dislocated arm, not a fucking gunshot to the shoulder! You can treat that shit later!

*headdesks onto buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 9

Garrus roared with pain, then quickly reigned in the sound as he looked at her with an almost hilarious mix of pain, indignation, and confusion on his face as they both began to run again. “What happened to three?!” He yelled.

And more importantly, why the fuck do you care in your present circumstance?

She just gave him a smirk, before she dodged out of the way of a falling support beam.

You could almost hear an electronic “baaa” of disappointment. Sorry, Cerbersheep, but maybe you shouldn’t gong the support beam next time!

“Worked, didn’t it?!” She called over her shoulder as she passed him when he had to stop to avoid a falling boulder.

What Garrus should say: “Yes, and you’ve wasted valuable fucking time to do something that could’ve waited for the ship to do. Now we’ll probably be trapped in this volcanic eruption, where we’ll either die when rubble collapses on us or when that lava you nearly drove over earlier bubbles in here! What are we supposed to do now, fuck until we melt?”

What he actually says:

He quickly ran around the obstruction, and caught up to her just as she crested the top of the ramp, setting them both free of the treacherous tunnel of death. They both hunched over for a few moments, catching their breath and collecting themselves. “You’re something else Taren. What, I don’t know, but something.” He huffed out, as he straightened somewhat and cradled his arm to his body.

Oh, so you were right there. Taren, you are so lucky the exit was right fucking there.

She grinned at him, then turned to walk down the ramp towards Ash and their small blue charge. “That’s why you love me, and you know it.” She called teasingly over her shoulder.

No, that is something else entirely, but whatever.

Anyway, Garrus looks at her as she does a sexy thing and he admires her. Blah blah, Shepard calls Joker to send in a shuttle, we get some leisurely banter between Joker and Taren!Sue (funny, ‘cause I thought this planet was suffering from an impending volcanic erupsion and all that!), we then get a line about a planet getting shoved up Garrus’ ass, Garrus overhears and there’s more banter about that, everyone has a good laugh, and then we get to the next scene.

So then Shepard “convinces” Garrus to go see Dr. Chakwas about his dislocated arm, and then we get this:

“Ah, Taren. And Garrus! Yes, I heard there was a planetary incident, I hope it’s nothing too serious.” Chakwas smirked at Garrus as he rolled his eyes and huffed out a groaning sigh.

Shepard grinned as she responded. “Oh it was great, you shoulda been there Doc, there were giant geth shooting at us, rampaging krogan, and oh yeah, a bigass cave trying to crush us.

So nothing about how the big-ass cave crushing them was the result of seismic activity that would have led to a volcanic eruption?

Ahem, Joker… Can you please remind Taren what the first thing you say at debriefing after this mission is?

Thank you.

That’s what dislocated Garrus’ shoulder. It was awesome!”

Yes, and if you didn’t have Plot Armor equipped, you would’ve gotten crushed when you went back to him and tried to relocate his arm right there. I don’t see what’s so awesome about that. Or about the fact that it dislocated Garrus’ arm at all.

Anyway, Chakwas then dismisses Shepard, who whines about not getting to poke fun at Garrus. Dr. Chakwas is all “go”, and –

As Shepard turned, Chakwas smacked her smartly on the ass, making Shepard jump.

“Hey! That’s my ass, damnit!” She stuck her tongue out and walked quickly out of the medbay to go meet with the asari and the rest of her team.

Well, I’ll give Actually-Fen-Harel this: at least she’s an equal opportunity bro action dispenser! Never mind that it still reeks of immature “no homo” attitudes even between two ladies, but hey.

Anyway, Chakwas does doctory things, more injections, and then Dr. Chakwas takes a moment to be like:

She looked at him evenly as she began. “I am asking this out of concern for Taren, she’s been a patient of mine ever since David Anderson found her, and she’s practically a daughter to me.

She’s like a daughter to you? Well, I could’ve gone the rest of my life without knowing that Dr. Chakwas has a secret … uh … “bro”mantic-but-not-really incest fetish? What the hell do you even call this? Because smacking someone’s ass playfully is one hell of an … ahem … interesting thing for a person to do to someone she considers her daughter.

As her doctor, I have a right to know if anything is affecting her physical or mental well-being in a negative manner, so please answer honestly, and know that it is as uncomfortable for me to ask these questions as it is for you to answer them.”

Oh, believe me, if he wasn’t made uncomfortable by the questions, the fact you just said that after you playfully smacked her ass already more than did that.

So then Dr. Chakwas asks Garrus about the substitute and whether it’ll work when she’s in heat. Garrus says he’s never been around a turian in heat, and that he’s not sure if the substitute will work, but he’ll try to make it work anyway. And then Dr. Chakwas asks if he’s willing to go along with it or if he’s just doing it because Taren is his commanding officer.

To which Garrus says:

“I… I don’t know. I mean, I’m willing to help her, and not just because she’s my commanding officer, that has nothing to do with it. If she’d been anyone on this ship with the same problem, I would help. But doc… I think… I don’t know. I think maybe… Maybe there’s more than just easing tension going on here. But I don’t know what, or how far it reaches. I’m just kind of treading water here, doc. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen, if anything, but it feels like there’s more to it than just sex. I don’t know how to ask her about it though, she’s so…” He huffed a sigh of frustration at his inability to explain it, both to the woman before him, and to himself.

She’s so … much of a bitch? Well, to be fair, that is true.

But eh, I’ll give Garrus this much. It is a very complicated situation that he’s being thrust into, and it’s not something that will be easily solved. So yeah, I’ll give Actually-Fen-Harel a free pass on this, especially considering Garrus gets awkward in the in-game romance because he’s not sure how it’s going to unfold anyway.

Dr. Chakwas then tells Garrus to be careful, and that Taren is more fragile than she admits, and then Garrus compares it to someone telling a krogan that the genophage was justified and he’s all “I’ll think about it,” before …

If you could talk to her, maybe see if she has interest in anyone on the ship… I know it sounds really childish…” He shook his head. “Forget I asked.”

And hey, he recognizes that it’s childish, so there is that.

She smiled at him as he stood up from the bed, and rested her hand on his arm. He looked at her and gave a small turian smile. “Thanks for patching me up, doc. And for talking.”

She nodded. “Anytime, Garrus. My doors are always open.” She watched as he walked out of the med bay, and sighed as the doors closed behind him. “Ah, to be young and in love.” She murmured to herself, chuckling and shaking her head.

Ah yes, to be young and in a romantic comedy …

Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a rogue Spectre somewhere in there?

Anyway, we cut over to Wrex, who …

Wrex’s plates had been itching for twenty minutes. When he saw the blue colony markings on the face of the turian as he walked towards the Mako, the itch intensified. He narrowed his eyes at the turian, who completely ignored him as he set about calibrating the guns on the tank via the control panel next to it. He knew the turian had done something to make his plates itch, but he wasn’t about to ask him what it was. The only time his plates itched this much was when someone in close proximity to him had recently said or done something about krogans.

And suddenly Wrex has a radar that allows him to read when specist things have been said. I know he’s an old fart, but I didn’t think he was that good …

He huffed in annoyance, and absently rubbed his armored hump against a nearby crate, trying to relieve the agitating sensation.

*snerk*

That’s what she said!

This action earned a sidelong glance from the nearby human Gunnery Chief. She raised an eyebrow at him, and turned her head towards him. “You know, if you’re that anxious, maybe you should ask to spar with Taren. I’m sure she could use it after the mission we just had.”

Wrex growled softly and spared the human female only a cursory glance, before nodding his big head and heading to the elevator, fully intending to find Shepard, if for nothing else than to get away from that turian. As solid as the lift was, it creaked every time Wrex used it, and it made his plates itch even worse.

Well, Ashley isn’t wrong, but I can’t help but get the feeling that this will reveal to Wrex the worst-kept Shepard secret we’ve bumped into in a while …

Shepard laid on her bed, trying to get past the enormous headache she’d gotten from melding with that damned asari child.

So you’re still not going to call her Liara then, are you?

*headdesk*

Come on, you know her name really well by now, start referring to her by it, if you don’t mind!

The vision from the beacon on Eden Prime flashed through her head, bits and pieces starting to make a bit more sense, but for the most part remaining a giant jumble of images and painful sounds.

What a coincidence: that’s also what anybody reading this fic who isn’t familiar with Mass Effect is saying to themselves from the lack of description of just what these visions are!

Anyway, Wrex comes in, Taren bitches about her headache, and…

He raised a brow as he assessed her disheveled state, the sight of her making him forget all about the bother his plates had been giving him for the better part of a half hour. “Damn, Taren. How many thresher maws did you destroy today?”

She stared at him blankly. “Did… You seriously just say that?”

He blinked. “Yeah, why?”

She cocked a hip and rested her hand on it as she responded. “Have you even read my file, you overgrown pyjak?”

And why the hell would he do that? I just don’t know if –

Wrex didn’t know whether to be insulted, or laugh. He opted for neutrality as he measured her agitated stance. “Yes I have. Your survival on Akuze was impressive.”

Well, okay then!

And that’s when it dawned on him why his comment had been taken badly. “Oh. Uh, sorry Shepard.” He fidgeted, clearly unused to apologizing for anything.

Huh, Wrex apologizing for an insensitive joke. I swear he has lobbed off a ridiculous number of insensitive jokes and slurs at everyone else without a care in the world before, why the fuck would he care now?

She sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger. “It’s… Alright, Wrex. Now what do you want? This headache isn’t going away without sleep.” She gazed at him expectantly.

“Well, I was gonna ask if you wanted to spar for a while, but if you’re not up to it…” He offered lamely.

“Let me sleep this shit off for a while Wrex. If this damn headache is done when I wake up, I’ll spar with ya. If not, a certain asari is getting her own headache, courtesy of my fist.”

I love how Liara is being talked about like she’s some childish little twit, even though she hasn’t had even a single line of dialogue yet. In fact, I don’t think she’s even been in a scene for longer than two seconds, and if she has she really hasn’t done anything of note! I guess showing the audience what she said or did to give Taren!Sue that impression is too damn hard for you, isn’t it?

*BAM*

Good God, if you’re going to bash a character, at least let us see the character being a whiny little child! I mean, I’ll still complain about it, but at least I don’t have little more than the narration’s word for it that she’s being a little child!

But nope, we gotta keep the reader from confirming that Taren!Sue is the biggest bitch of the whole cast somehow, right?

She tried to smile, but it came out as a grimacing smirk.

How the fuck does a smirk come off as “grimacing”?

“Baaa?”

See? Even Cerbersheep is confused about that!

Wrex gave a throaty laugh and grinned at Shepard. “I’d like to see that.”

“If I do it, I’ll make sure you have ring side seats.” She managed a smile that time.

“Promises, promises Taren. Sleep well.” He grinned and walked out of her cabin.

She walked to the door, turning off notifications and locking it on the side panel, then sluggishly carted herself off to her bed, sinking into it and falling asleep almost immediately.

Just like this fic’s readers, amirite?

Wait, I just realized, this author started using line breaks in this chapter!

A/N: Hope you enjoyed the update! I did, even though it took me forever to write. lol

Comment, or don’t. Love to all!

Oh, trust me, we’re not feeling the love at this point.

And with that, we move on to the next chapter. And our next chapter starts with…

Noveria. It was the coldest, most uninviting planet Shepard had ever visited, and her hatred of the place was only surpassed by Garrus’. He was fine until they finally got their garage pass and the Mako started to roll outside, into the sub-freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions that were a constant on this secretive planet. Both Garrus and Wrex were almost popsicle versions of themselves by the time they’d made the long trek over snowdrifts and geth alike, their only warmth provided by adrenaline rushes from Shepard nearly careening off the edge of the cliff they were driving on, several times.

So we skip plot-related shit again, just to get straight to the character stuff. Whoop de doo. Let me guess, there’s more summary to get to the “good” shit?

Shepard was only slightly better off than the two aliens, largely in thanks to being mostly mammalian in nature, though she could definitely feel the chill in her bones as they finally stepped into the Pier 15 facility. The sudden appearance of rachni drones had everyone worried, none more so than Wrex, as he dove into his ancestral memories to relay the fastest way to kill rachni to the other two members of the team. “Grab them by their tentacles, put a boot to their head, and pull. Or, you know, just shoot them. That works too.”

Shepard pouted, then smiled as she spoke. “But that’s not as fun!” She shot the huge rachni careening towards her, and it fell to the ground in a heap of legs and splattered blood. She turned back to Wrex and shook her head. “See? It’s so… Anti-climactic.”

And Shepard is legitimately going with the hard way that can get her killed if she’s not careful because “it’s so anti-climactic.” Not to mention, of course, that all the ludicrous gibs in this fic is apparently boring.

*hits buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 10

Wrex roared in laughter, slapping her on the shoulder. “I like you, Shepard. You get it.”

No, she’s crazy. There’s a difference.

She grinned at him,

Oh good, she finally discovered the word “grinned.” At least now we won’t have to take Cerbersheep into the shop every day to fix the gong launching implements.

and turned towards the tram elevator they’d finally made their way to. As they rode it to their transportation to the main facility, she smirked as a thought crossed her mind that at least it moved faster than the elevators on the Citadel.

“BAAAAAAAAA!”

*watches as the elevator is gonged*

Never mind.

Anyway, they get to a tram, and then we get this long thing where Garrus wonders what it would be like to cuddle up to Shepard in there. He then edges closer and notices she’s asleep. Wrex notices too, and –

Wait, what?

He was both surprised and amused when he saw that her head was slumped onto the back of the bench, her neck and body slack and relaxed as she napped.

He snickered, and Wrex -who had decided to remain standing- gave him a look, then followed his line of sight to Shepard, and started snickering himself as quietly as he could. They both knew she didn’t sleep enough, and letting her get rest where she could take it was a small price to pay for her battlefield finesse when she was awake.

*headdesk*

And she overworks herself to the point that she falls asleep mid-mission. I’m sorry, is this a military outfit or not? Because I’m pretty sure that this kind of thing would be totally inexcusable in the military, and particularly someone of her stature!

*hits buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 11

So then they laugh about it, and then we cut to Shepard’s POV where she has this dream about being naked on a stage.

No, I’m completely serious:

As she napped, a strange dream came to her. She was standing on a stage for some reason, in front of a large audience, and music was playing. A microphone was in front of her, and she was obviously meant to be singing to this strange music, but she didn’t recognize the song. As she looked out onto the audience, they suddenly started laughing at her. She looked around to find the cause of such hilarity, but didn’t find it until she looked down. She was completely butt naked. She tried to cover herself up, but with nothing at hand besides, well, her hands, she didn’t have much success. Suddenly, she felt gravity shift, and she woke with a loud snort.

*clap* *clap* *clap*

Thank you, Actually-Fen-Harel, for what is easily the single most pointless dream sequence I have ever seen in my life. Like, seriously, what the fuck did that add to the story? Because I literally don’t know what that could have possibly added to this story!

Anyway, Shepard wakes up, and then they walk into the station and enter an elevator. And of course, they get into a large room where…

The man seemed distressed for some reason, and was babbling on about rachni and a neutron purge. As soon as he started giving them the vital information of how to activate said purge, a rachni appeared out of nowhere and stabbed him through the chest as the man looked down in a mix of shock and awe, before he was flung aside unceremoniously.

So literally, they just strolled right up to the hot labs and somehow gained access. You know, despite the fact that you actually need to talk to Captain Ventralis first to gain access to them, and that no normal people can run into the hot labs without help.

Our AU, ladies and gentlemen!

Shepard decided this would be a perfect time to test how accurate Wrex’s ancestral memory had been, seeing as there was only one rachni… For now. She charged the creature, grasping its strange tentacles in her armored hands and pulling them wide, as she planted her right boot firmly on its face, effectively blinding it. It screeched and clawed its legs at her, but she held on and yanked back and apart as she kicked her foot into its head. Her boot came down into the rachni’s head with speed and power, shattering the membranes between the chitinous armor on it’s head. Her boot tread was firmly lodged in it’s brain, mashing the gray matter around haphazardly as the creature struggled, its dying effort for survival useless in the face of her assault.

As it finally gave its last twitch, she let go of the tentacles and tried to pull her foot out of its head. It was stuck fast. An exasperated groan escaped her throat, and she looked at Wrex with a mixture of frustration and a plea for help, as she crossed her arms and pouted at him. “This is your fault Wrex. Come pull this thing off me already.”

And that, Shepard, is why you don’t go with the more amusing option. It’s much, much messier.

So then Wrex gets Garrus to help Shepard, and then we get Shepard blushing about how close Garrus is, before they pull her out. How the hell the eighteen billion other rachni in the room aren’t taking advantage of this distraction is never explained, and instead we concentrate on …

She looked over at Garrus as he backed up a foot or two from her. “Are you alright? I could feel the breath coming from you, and it was cold as the snow outside.”

Garrus shook his head and looked off to the side, shame apparent on his features. He’d hoped she wouldn’t notice how cold he was. “Yeah, I’m just not at my best when I’m cold. Don’t worry, I’m ready for whatever this place throws at me.”

She growled at him. She knew he was putting on a tough guy front for either her sake, or the sake of the mission; and she wasn’t about to let him go any further if he wasn’t on top of his game. She turned to Wrex and smirked as she saw him seated on the rachni corpse, looking about in a bored manner. “Wrex, stay here for a minute, I need to have a chat with Officer Vakarian. We’ll be out in a moment.” He nodded his big head absently, wiping a bit of rachni blood off his cheek with the back of his gloved hand.

And you’re not even going to activate the neutron purge before you leave? You know, the one the dude you summed up in one paragraph of exposition mentioned? And why aren’t there rachni swarming you right now? You’d think they would just start swarming in at a time like this!

*headdesk*

Mass Effect: The Romcom, ladies and gentlemen!

She walked through the door to the next room, noticing the VI console the dead man had mentioned, but not really caring about much else except that the room was clear of any more rachni.

And given that rachni come in through the vents, you have no good way to do that, so why the fuck are you –

As the door closed behind Garrus, she whipped around to face him, what had become known around the ship as her ‘commander mask’ firmly in place. She gave a half nod with her head as she spoke to him with authority. “Strip. I want you at your best. If this is what I have to do to get you there, so be it.”

She began releasing the seals on her own armor quickly, stacking the pieces in an orderly fashion against the wall for quick retrieval.

His eyes went wide in surprise, but he obeyed her order, his armor removal completed a few delayed seconds after hers, due to his lowered temperature hampering his mobility. She moved to him, their undersuits the only covering they had from complete nakedness, and wrapped her arms around his waist gently, pressing her body to his in an attempt to share her warmth with him. She heard his mandibles clicking to his face several times in surprise, before he wrapped his freezing arms around her, nuzzling his chin into her hair.

What the fuck? Really?

She started rubbing his back to create friction and thus heat, and she felt his throat and chest vibrate as a soft purr curled up from somewhere deep in his stomach. She smiled to herself as her head lay on his chest, just over the lip of his cowl. He started mimicking her actions on her own back, and the friction soon began to feel quite wonderful against her thick skin, finally chasing away the cold chill her spine had carried since she’d felt his freezing breath on her. She flexed her throat and let loose her own soft purr, trilling comfort to him as she moved her hands to his upper arms, never ceasing the rubbing action, trying to impart warmth to his plated frame.

*hits buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 12

Who the fuck strips for a cuddle session in extreme cold when they’re in a room where a bunch of mutated spiders could kill them at any second? I just … Is this woman seriously in the military? How the hell is she still in a position of command when she’s pulling shit like this?

*headdesk*

Good Lord, never mind how she got past all her physicals despite being a turian hybrid, I want to know how her superiors overlooked her propensity to fraternize and do shit like this! I don’t care if he’s cold, that’s what his suit is supposed to do!

Garrus spoke through his purr, and the velvet gravel of sound that reached her ears sent a hot spark to her senses. “Thank you, Taren. I don’t think anyone’s ever done this for me before. It feels… Amazing.” He flared his mandibles in a happy smile, even though she couldn’t see it, and closed his eyes as his body finally started to warm up again. He felt muscles that had been tense with his chilled blood relax and limber up, and his heart began to beat a little faster with the increased blood flow.

This just in: apparently, cuddles warm up turians even despite the fact that Noveria’s cold isn’t something a simple cuddle can fix. And really, how the fuck did Garrus get so fucking cold that she had to do that? Do none of the things on Noveria have any heaters at all? What the fuck is this?

She smirked as a thought came to her.

*GONG*

Huh, Cerbersheep’s actually got the right idea. Shooting a gong at a smirk is cathartic!

“I’m glad this is working. I was thinking I’d have to do something else to warm you up, and we really don’t have the time for it.”

*facepalm*

Yes, let’s get naked in a cold place to do it so we’ll warm you up. Brilliant fucking idea. I’ll just be here with the popcorn when the rachni decide to crash the party to kill your stupid ass.

He could hear the devious mirth in her voice, and it confused him for the few seconds it took for him to catch on to what she was talking about. He chuckled and leaned down to lick her neck once before he replied. “Not that I wouldn’t love to act on that idea, but I think Wrex might have something to say about waiting that long.”

Not to mention, you know, THESE GUYS:

Seriously, have you forgotten why you’re here? Or what you encountered? Come the fuck on!

Her purr grew louder at his tongue on her neck, but she chuckled at his words. “I think you might be right. Still sounds great, but we are on a mission, after all.”

And really? Now is when you remember you’re supposed to actually be doing military shit?

*BAM*

He nodded cheerfully, his chin lightly tapping against the side of her head a few times. “Yeah there’s that too.”

She lifted her head and craned her neck back to look at him, their faces only a few inches apart. “Too bad.”

He raised a browplate and smirked impishly at her. “Yeah, too bad.”

Can this scene end already?

Wrex was getting agitated. It had only been about ten minutes since Shepard and the turian had gone in the other room, but it felt like an hour to him. He was pacing the floor next to the rachni corpse, having abandoned it as a seat in his impatience. He was about to head to the door and walk into the room to demand that they get moving, when they both suddenly emerged from it, shoving each other back and forth amicably.

Oh thank fuck! Now please call them out on their shit!

He huffed and walked over to them, letting his annoyance show with a growl as he talked. “What took you so long? Were you screwing or something? Let’s go!”

He looked at them agape as they both flushed and looked in any direction but at each other. “Wait…” He pointed at both of them in turn, as if working something over in his head. “You were screwing? HA! I knew it.” His self-satisfied smirk grew into a grin as they both looked at him with wide eyes.

Shepard was the first to speak, and she let a growl emphasize her point for her. “No, we weren’t screwing, Wrex. I wanted Garrus on top of his game, and he was freezing, so I warmed him up. Nothing sexual involved.” She blushed as though she’d lied, but she didn’t smell like deception, so Wrex quirked an eyebrow at her.

He gave her a measuring look as he spoke again, letting her know to answer carefully. “Well if what you did was so strictly platonic, you can do it for me. I’m freezing. And I’m not at my best either when I’m cold.”

Wha- and Wrex wants it too!?!?!?

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

Okay, first off, I find it extremely unlikely that krogan biology would allow Wrex to get this fucking cold. I mean, with all those redundant organs, and that hump… Good God, weren’t these guys supposed to weather extreme conditions really well or something? Like, what was that which was said somewhere about krogan hide?

Their thick hides are virtually impervious to cuts, scrapes or contusions, and they are highly resistant to environmental hazards, including toxins, radiation, and extreme heat and cold.

Yeah! See? There!

*points*

I think you know what this calls for.

*hits buzzer*

Fuck You, Science! Count: 7

Second, what the hell is going on? Noveria is supposed to be an Aliens-type mission with a moral question at the end! And instead of getting that, we’re getting the tale of how Shepard’s crew mates apparently got so fucking cold they required her to strip and rub her body against them to warm them up! I just … I can’t …

Her eyes were big as saucers as the suggestion filtered through her ears. She looked at Garrus, wondering how he would react. The look on his face was carefully neutral. She knitted her brow at the sight, not really sure what to make of his reaction. She decided to give him a few moments of opportunity to object to the notion, should he desire to. She turned to Wrex and responded finally. “Fine, but give me a few minutes, I need to warm myself back up. Turians are some cold sons o’ bitches and he soaked the heat right outta me like a sponge.”

And she accepts.

*headdesk* *headdesk*

WHO THOUGHT THIS SCENE WAS A GOOD IDEA!?

*headdesk*

Good God, I suddenly see why Shepard told XO Presley not to consider the Normandy a military vessel. I mean, given the totally unmilitary bullshit we’re seeing in this chapter, I’m having a hard time figuring out why she should be on anything except the world’s seediest pleasure cruise.

She risked a glance at Garrus’ face as she finished speaking to Wrex, who had shrugged and walked back to his rachni chair. Garrus’ face was the same mask of neutrality it had been before, and it both puzzled and vexed her greatly. She didn’t know what to think, or how to act; and with Garrus having no input on the situation, she decided to just go with it. She needed her team to perform well, no exceptions. If that meant nuzzling up to a krogan to achieve that goal, then so be it.

No, a good leader would recognize that pretty much everything that would give reason for this whole situation to happen is fucking preposterous, and just march on. Nor would she get cozy with her other squadmates just to make them happy.

*headdesk*

I would like to take this time to apologize to any military personnel that are being forced to read this fic. I swear, I have never seen such a shit depiction of military life myself, and I haven’t even approached a recruitment office!

So then Shepard takes Wrex into the room, she orders Wrex to strip, they then do stuff, and –

Wrex didn’t know whether to laugh or reach out in sympathy for his poor Commander, but he opted for a little of both as he chuckled and grabbed her warm shoulder, pulling her near to him. “Shepard, you helped me get my family’s armor. I trust you, whatever it is you’re wanting to do. And if it’ll help warm me up, I’ll put up with whatever weird human thing a hug is.”

*headdesk*

And of course, they skipped the family armor mission. Because who the fuck needs to develop the characters around Shepard so we know how close she is to everyone in the ship when we can just skip those missions and watch Shepard snog Garrus some more, am I right?

*headdesk*

Good Jesus, this really is a romcom. And no, I don’t care that we’re Mass Effect fans and we would know these things: in a game like Mass Effect where you can do any mission in any order you damn well please, I think the audience would appreciate it if you let us know when you were hitting all the plot beats!

*BAM*

So then we get more fucking stuff, Wrex purrs a little, and then –

She barely managed to keep herself from giggling at the improbability of the situation. Then she realized that the very large body she was trying to warm up was starting to lean into her heavily. “Uhh, Wrex?” She asked. She looked up at his face and saw his eyes very close to being completely closed, his face completely relaxed and peaceful. It was one of the cutest things she’d ever seen, though she’d never tell him that. She stopped rubbing and brought her hands to his shoulders to steady him, and hopefully keep him upright. She wasn’t sure how good of an idea it was, but she didn’t have many options, so she shook him lightly. “Wrex, wake up.” She said, deciding shouting would startle him, and she didn’t want to risk jolting him awake.

He mumbled something unintelligible, and she sighed, looking back at Garrus with a desperate plea in her eyes.

Well, if anything were to erase this fic’s redemption cookie for the sexually healthy relationship, it would be this bullshit, now, wouldn’t it? I just …

*headdesk*

Garrus shook his head severely. “Ohh no, you got yourself into this mess, you get yourself out.” He sounded… Angry, and oddly enough, hurt.

And now Garrus is jealous.

This … This isn’t Mass Effect anymore. This is a fucking Adam Sandler romcom. I just … I can’t even …

*headdesk*

Anyway, after this, she’s like “huh,” before hearing the fucking subharmonic bullshit again, and then they have a whole fucking subharmonic conversation. She then discovers that Wrex can sleep standing, and –

She backed away and swiftly put her armor back on, before slowly putting Wrex’s armor back on his sleeping form.

Uh … that. She then wakes Wrex when the suit –

As she snapped the final piece on, she backed away as the auto-sealing suit began to hiss with the sealing process.

Yes, that. Which, you know, should’ve trapped any heat in there, so even if Wrex’s hide weren’t capable of weathering extreme cold (which we know from the codex that it is), then that would’ve done the trick.

*BAM*

It sure takes a lot of common sense leaving the fic to top the “Shepard is a hybrid” reveal from a couple weeks back, but this chapter has somehow found the one thing that can out-stupid that.

Anyway, Wrex wakes up, there’s brief banter about that, and someone finally acknowledges that there’s a dead scientist in the room. I’m not even going to bother talking about the fact that Wrex and Shepard just hugged outside of their armor in the presence of the dead body (because let’s be honest, that’s the least of this scene’s problems), and then they finally pick up the neutron purge codes, and then they activate it and get set upon by the rachni horde (which was kind enough to wait until they were done to finally burst in, I might add!).

One summed up action scene later, they get back in the elevator, and…

They all sank to the elevator floor in relief, catching their breaths and letting out huge whistling sighs at what they’d just escaped from. Garrus looked at Shepard, and caught her gaze as he nodded to her. “Thanks, Taren. You saved my ass back there.”

She smirked, holding her hand over the long gash on her arm. She’d earned it for helping him, but she wasn’t about to tell him that. “Any time, Garrus. Any time.”

No. Don’t you “any time” him! That was fucking stupid, why the fuck would you do it again!?

*headdesk*

At least that was the end of the chapter. Good God, what the fuck was that?

This chapter was entirely unplanned. Everything that happened was just my fingers fumbling around on the keyboard. It was NOT the chapter I’d planned when I sat down to write it,

Oh, well, that explains a lot.

but it’s here, so yeah. Deal with it. :P

*BAM*

Quit it with your passive-aggressive smileys! They are not cute, they are annoying! Especially after declarations like “deal with it” after one of the stupidest chapters in this piece of shit fanfic!

Review, or don’t. Expect the next chapter within a few days. Hopefully.

I’m just glad this one is done.

Excuse me, patrons, I need a fucking bath of scalding hot water. This is just… Ugh!

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43 Comments on “1413: When You’re Strange – Chapters Seven and Eight”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    Lady, Liara is a scientist. Frankly, I’m surprised she wasn’t a bad combatant in-game either, because maybe she didn’t have your training! We can’t all be N7s, you know! And hey, we can’t all have shitty traumatic backstories either! Have you considered, I dunno, not being annoyed about that?

    That said, Liara T’Soni is also a piss-poor scientist. I think she maybe produces two actual useful pieces of information on anything in the entire story, and has no technical skills to speak of. I realize that much of this is because the interchangeable squad system prevents her from doing anything other characters cannot, but still, compared to, say, Dr. Halsey on Onyx she may as well just be another trigger finger.

    Also, she’s creepy.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Whether or not she’s a terrible scientist, the point is that it does seem a little odd that she’s bashing Liara on that of all things, right?

    • batjamags says:

      She’s an archaeologist. That makes her closer to a historian than a scientist (not the same thing, but more closely related). It’s odd enough as it is that she knows enough about computers to go all information broker later, when that’s clearly not her chosen field, but the omnidisciplinary scientist bit is a pet peeve of mine. I’m actually glad that the games didn’t decide to make her just a generic scientist who could do all the science things.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        I don’t know, even confining her expertise to Prothean archaeology I feel like she could have done a lot more to provide information, to the point where I’d consider her having a strange lack of reaction to things. An archaeologist would know about the Thorian from Prothean records of the thing, or alternately be surprised that it was completely unattested and draw conclusions from that. An archaeologist would be able to point out weaknesses and architectural similarities in the Prothean structures on Feros, possibly indicating more direct routes that the geth aren’t aware of. With each new piece of information acquired about the Reapers, an archaeologist would be constantly revising her models of galactic prehistory, and possibly providing insights about where to go next and what to look for.

        Also, she’s creepy.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    As the door closed behind Garrus, she whipped around to face him, what had become known around the ship as her ‘commander mask’ firmly in place. She gave a half nod with her head as she spoke to him with authority. “Strip. I want you at your best. If this is what I have to do to get you there, so be it.”

    There are so many problems with that.

    First off, this seems to be indicating that the author thinks turians are cold-blooded. Putting aside for a moment the fact that I really don’t think cold-blooded creatures would have the available energy to run a sapient brain, and the fact that this would play even more hell with Shepard’s “hybrid” physiology, terrestrial birds are not cold-blooded.

    Second, if he is cold-blooded, then sex isn’t going to make him any warmer than combat would- in fact, combat would probably be more strenuous and therefore better.

    Third, if he is cold-blooded, then Wrex probably is cold-blooded as well! (“I need to get my blood moving. Find me something to kill.”) Is she gonna bang the Krogan next? (Actually, she’d get the same result in half the time if she just ordered Garrus and Wrex to have sex with each other.)

    Finally… does his armor really not have a heater in it???

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    I would like to take this time to apologize to any military personnel that are being forced to read this fic. I swear, I have never seen such a shit depiction of military life myself, and I haven’t even approached a recruitment office!

    So I take it you’ve never read Love of a Spartan?

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    She smirked, holding her hand over the long gash on her arm.

    Wait, when did she get that?

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      *shrug*

      I don’t remember if it showed up in one of the bits I cut for time, but I don’t think it did…

  5. batjamags says:

    The only time his plates itched this much was when someone in close proximity to him had recently said or done something about krogans.

    I- What- HUH?! How-?

    SINCE WHEN DOES WREX HAVE PSYCHIC PLATES?!

    I… I…

    I’m so confused.

  6. batjamags says:

    Shepard laid on her bed, trying to get past the enormous headache she’d gotten from melding with that damned asari child.

    *PISTOL-WHIP!*

    Would you stop it with the “child” thing?! She’s young, but not that young.

    • batjamags says:

      If not, a certain asari is getting her own headache, courtesy of my fist.”

      You need to stop Liara-bashing. If not, a certain asshole Shepard is getting an even worse headache, courtesy of my Door Launcher.

      *Loads a garage door into Door Launcher*

    • Jon Arbuckle says:

      Are you kidding? She’s only 106!

  7. batjamags says:

    Shepard pouted, then smiled as she spoke. “But that’s not as fun!” She shot the huge rachni careening towards her, and it fell to the ground in a heap of legs and splattered blood. She turned back to Wrex and shook her head. “See? It’s so… Anti-climactic.”

    Nah, it’s perfectly climactic! Here, let me show you!

    *Pulls a shotgun out of SDQF and blasts Taren Sue’s head off*

    See? Very satisfying.

  8. batjamags says:

    A microphone was in front of her, and she was obviously meant to be singing to this strange music, but she didn’t recognize the song.

    Ooh! Ooh! I recognize it! *Fires Door Launcher*

    Yeah, I already made that joke. What of it?

  9. batjamags says:

    *Sees the last half of the chapter*

    *Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk*

    That…

    That is not how anything works.

  10. TacoMagic says:

    You could almost hear an electronic “baaa” of disappointment.

    *Cerbersheep kicks a small, PCC provided, rock*

    Can’t gong them all, buddy.

  11. TacoMagic says:

    Chakwas smirked at Garrus as he rolled his eyes and huffed out a groaning sigh.

    Sweet fuck, author, what age are your characters? Ten?

    Quit pouting and do your job.

    Baaa…

    If you want to dye your wool black, that’s your prerogative, but you still have to gong the smirkers! It’s what I don’t pay you for.

  12. TacoMagic says:

    Okay, new rule, nobody in this fic is allowed to grin anymore! For crap’s sake, if they aren’t smirking, they’re grinning like vacuous idiots!


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