Title: The Entry
Game: Mass Effect 3
Disclaimer: Owned by Bioware
So, this is an unusual departure for me. I am on my third run of ME3 and I was staring at my FemShep who is romancing Garrus and I finally figured something out about her. I don't know why I figured this out about her but I did at like 9 morning it wasn't intentional but I just looked at her, the way I played the game, and I came up with why she acts this way in my head. I'm not trying to be ground breaking or a revolutionary with this. Hell I'm probably taking a great risk posting this the way it is. And this is why Bioware is so awesome because they gave us something that could inspire this, though the thought on closure is rather uh...yeah. This is my MAIN FemShep and I have 4 more FemSheps and six MSheps. Each one unique and varied but for her I just realized this is why she fights, is a kind soul, and does what she does the way she does it and I just wanted to tell a part of her story because this is an important part of who she is it's not everything about her but it something that I think she just wanted to say.
And yes I know where her name comes from, but I like that person. She even has the purple ponytail
THE ME UNIVERSE IS OWNED BY BIOWARE AND FOR BETTER OR WORSE EA! Save for Mercutio he's something from my brain.
The journal of Lieutenant Commander Leela Shepard.
Born April 11th, 2154 to Rear Admiral Hannah Shepard and Staff Commander Mercutio Shepard (Deceased)
It's a given, every time before a mission I have to sit at my desk. It was like this with Ilos, with the Omega Relay, and now I'm doing it just before a drop onto the Illusive Man's Base.
I can't even finish strapping on my armor. The need to write this is too great and as my father always said, "It's better for it to be heard in your own words than in the words of someone else."
And this is the story of me that has yet to be told, and I figure now is as good a time as any. Why I do this, I don't know but I feel that if you want the truth this story must be told to show that no matter who you are great things can come from anyone with the willpower and strength to achieve their goals.
I'm barely able to hold the pen in my hand it's shaking so much.
I know it's foolish, to be using a pen and paper in this day and age but like Liara said when she showed me her contingency plan all our stories need to be told, even mine.
I know what you're thinking, why I'm writing this, well I guess there's a couple of explanations but all you really need to knowis that ever since I was in the military I've kept this journal. There are volumes kept in a sealed container here in my quarters. I wasn't surprised when I found them at the SR1's crash site. The container is set to withstand temperatures and conditions that a dreadnaught undergoes during travel and combat. It cost a pretty penny, but some things are meant to be saved.
But here it is, possibly my final journal entry.
There are dozens before this, each marked with the date that they were started and sealed. Each told from my perspective. Many have recorded my story, but this is the unfiltered truth. This is from my knowledge and my memory. I'm not going to say the facts are perfect, memory is all about perception and with the way my life has turned out I'm surprised even I can remember as much of this as I can. But I hope that this will help you understand a bit more about me and why I've done the things that I've done and why I've fought for so long.
I guess you can say that for many of us, our reasons are in our beginnings, and these are mine.
I've spent my whole life on ships; my mom and dad being the career soldiers that they were. Mom a commander of great respect and admiration and Dad was like me an N7 graduate and a man who was as feared on the battlefield as he was loved off of it.
That's not to say things were perfect.
Dad was sent on missions constantly and Mom was always in some meeting or dealing with troops, at least that's what I thought when I was younger. Still they tried and they were there for me as often as they could be. Though with as busy as they were I did learn how to take care of myself at a young age. Still they made every moment together with me count, many of those moments involved how we had our meals. It was a strange custom we created. Every time they came back from a mission we'd always have our meals at odd hours. Dinner for breakfast, dessert for lunch, it was a joke for us but it made those moments all the more special.
As a Navy bratt though, I wasn't what many would call a “social butterfly.”
I'd probably lived on ten different ships by the time I was twelve and making friends was tough for me. So when people started to notice how different I was, it made things that much more difficult.
I was a freak by many standards, one of the biggest being a biotic. Even now, as Kaidan told me when I saw him in Huerta, human biotics are still frowned upon and it's hard to make friends when everyone calls you a cheater during a game of kickball even when you didn't use your powers. Which made things even more difficult as it made me a target and fights became common for me.
I remember after I'd gotten into my first fight. I hadn't done anything to deserve it, but some kids started to hassle me and I defended myself like my parents had taught me. Only problem was I got too angry and I lost control and ended up breaking a boys shoulder by pushing him with my biotics. My mother could barely look at me when she got me from the medical wing and said almost nothing until my father got home.
When she told him he just at me and said, "If it happens again, we'll get you a teacher. Don't worry about it and eat your supper."
Mom tried to argue with him about the possibility of my powers getting out of control. Not out of anger, embarrasment, but out of fear of what might happen to me. I was their kid and Mom had heard about BAat and if anyone found out I'd be sent there which would make things even worse. Lucky for me, after my outburst none of the kids bothered me again. I was left to my own devices and my powers didn't fully manifest til after I was eighteen.
The only downside to this isolation was that I had only my parents and a select number of relatives and family acquaintances to talk to. As I grew older a few kids tried to make friends with me, but when certain subjects came up I was always treated like a freak. I didn't see why. I was healthy, kind, I liked sports, the same movies, the same music, and many other things they were intrigued in but something always drove them away.
It wasn't until I was fifteen that the reason was finally driven home for me; the reason why they always ran. They knew there was something different about me before I did. Being an only child and left alone a lot you end up not developing certain skills until much later than those with a strong social presence. Not to mention that in the 22nd century you'd think someone like me would be greeted with more acceptance, but I guess that's to be expected when raised by optimists.
March twelfth was when it happened, when I was
I left mine and my parents quarters to go to the common room for a snack. It was late at night and only a few people were on guard duty. It was just my luck though that the people who were on duty were friends of my parents. But, I guess it's true what they say how people act dumbest when they think they're safe.
As I reached one of the vending machines a few of the kids who had decided to go for a midnight snack saw me and began harassing me. One of them was the boys whose shoulder I'd broken a few years back; he figured he'd get his chance at revenge that night. He was bigger and at least physically stronger than me, but with all the hand to hand my parents had taught me I was confident that I could hold my own.
I had been wrong in my assumption though.
Sure I was able to get in a few good punches, hell I'd even knocked a few of them to the ground. Still they were five and I was one, and it wasn't a surprise that I had woken up in the infirmary with my head pounding from a concussion and my face swollen and bloody from a busted nose.
Dad was the one who'd waited for me to wake up as Mom was off ship. Though with it being standard procedure to inform both parents of what had happened we expected her back soon enough.
Dad sat with me most of the night. He said nothing about it and made sure my hair was pulled back in a ponytail like his to keep the hair out of my face while we waited for them to release me. To kill time we played cards, and watched some of our favorite old vids from Earth. Dad always got this far away look when he watched these shows.
I had been born on Earth and lived there with my aunt while my parents fought in Shanxi. But my memories of my time there were hazy and I never asked when we would go back. Though I always knew my parents were planning a surprise trip for when I was given my first leave after basic.
Still that night was magical. Dad snuck in food from the commons and the doctors allowed me access to my gaming accounts. Dad even got in on the action until the ship's shrink came in.
The boys I'd fought with were fine. I'd only bloodied their noses and given them black eyes, but that wasn't the problem. Instead, as it always was, the problem was caused by me. The fact that I had even bothered to set foot outside our quarters in the manner I was dressed in was the problem and that if I didn't straighten up, my parent's would be punished again because of me.
When my dad heard this he kicked the shrink so hard that he couldn't walk straight for several days afterwards.
I was left alone after that and on the day I was to be released my dad came in with something I never thought he would and the largest smile on his face.
"You're my kid.” he said, laughing as I fondled what he had in his arms, “And I think it's about time you stopped hiding it."
I could swear I heard one of his ribs crack when I hugged him.
Still I wasn't to leave our quarters for another week, apparently the fight had caused a problem with those in command and we were confined to our quarters until the day my mother came back.
Wehn she arrived, Dad and I remained in the control room. The people on staff there looked uncomfortable at me standing next to my dad. Word had gotten around the ship about my incident and most people remained quiet about it until the bay was pressurized and we headed toward the lift where we were greeted by a small crowd of disgruntled looking crew members.
"Mercutio you have to do something about that freak of yours." asked some upstart little corporal named Tabitha.
Dad crossed his arms and leaned back, his standard cocksure grin on his face. "And why is that? Because your kids couldn't even face mine in a fair fight?"
"That's not the point. Your child is making a mockery of this crew!"
"Really, Tabitha? My kid? Why? Does my kid start the fights? No. My kid is always respectful and courteous and never causes a problem! Your kids are the ones with the problem."
Tabitha's lip curled but was silenced by another man in the crowd. "Look, it was cute when he was younger but it's a problem now! You need to nip this problem before it gets out of hand. Think of your career and the face you're giving the Alliance."
Dad's arms bulged in anger at this statement.
"The face of the Alliance is supposed to show the strength of humanity. You all are dishonoring the name by acting like weak minded fools. My kid is a biotic which is unusual. But how many other people are out there like my kid who have gone to do great things in the service of humanity? All because my kid doesn't like who she is physically? You think it's right for your kids to beat her up when she heads out in a nightgown to get a snack? Yeah she's different. She knows she is and we're the ones who have to watch her suffer day in and day out because after all our discussions with you, you won't even treat her like a human being."
"YOUR SON IS..."
Dad's voice echoed throughout the hallway the walls ringing and the crowd staggering back at the force of his shout.
I remember how his body heaved with anger as he stared down each and every one of them
"That's right, I said it you ignorant bastads! Hannah and I have done our best with her to keep you all happy, but I'm not stopping it anymore. She's done nothing to deserve this. She's a normal kid who was dealt a bad hand. Her whole life I've watched kids tease her and people scorn her. At home we allow her to be who she is but it kills us to see her be forced to hide it when she has to step out that door. And if you got a problem with it than follow protocol and request our removal from the ship! If you can't manage that then shut up and mind your own god damn business!"
Without another word he took my hand and led me to the lift. He nearly broke the controls when he slammed his fist into it. Though he'd held back there was still a major bend in the structure of the control housing.
"Son of a bitch, can nothing go right this week?"
It was one of the few times in my life I can remember my father crying for something other than joy or happiness. My dad was a large and powerful man. Tall and powerful, but a gentle and kind man with those he loved. It was a painful reminder to me of how difficult I'd made life for them.
And it wasn't the first time something like this had happened.
I'd been acting like this for as long as I could remember. Not to say I fell into stereotypes. I was actually fairly masculine despite my discomfort with what genetics had given me.
I liked the things people said I was supposed to like not because of social convention but because I enjoyed them. I liked girls but I liked boys as well. I liked sports and action figures in many ways I was a boy but I didn't feel like one. And one day when I was nine I saw a couple of documentaries on the extranet and when I approached them on the matter they did the parental thing and sought help and many of them made the suggestion of me being what I wanted at home but in public I had to hide it for my own safety.
But somehow people always found out about me, and it always caused a problem and we'd be reassigned. There were nights I heard them fight about it. Mom crying at me having to live a lie, and Dad always saying that it was for my own good. They were both right and I knew I had to protect them as much as they protected me.
Still that didn't stop incidents like the one near the lift from happening and before the doors opened I helped Dad off of the wall and gave him a hug before we headed out to meet my mother. I remember her walking down the ramp of the shuttle she'd been on. Calm, cool, and collected despite knowing what punishment she and dad would have to face.
Which made it all the more funny when she stopped in shock when she saw me standing there in one of her old dress uniforms. Her eyes scanned me from head to foot taking in the sight of me in one her old dress uniforms. My broken nose was covered with a slightly bloody bandage, my eyes puffy from the bruises and the tears I had just shed with my dad. She said nothing and looked at my father who just shrugged with a smile and tilted his head at me. I was afraid she was going to throw a fit, but instead she quietly stepped forward, took me gently in her arms, and kissed me on the top of the head.
"I'm so proud of you, Leela." was all she said to me and I remember squeezing
After that day, one final move, and several doctor visits later it was decided I would undergo the standard treatments. Those were tough times and though it helped that I was somewhat of a pretty boy, to some people it was painfully obvious about who and what I was. Things were difficult but after the decision had been made I actually opened up and was able to make some friends who didn't care about what I was. They liked me and cared for me because I was their friend. I even started dating boys and girls to no surprise of my parents. They knew about my taste in partners, but that didn't stop them from being incredibly nosy.
Dad even scared off a few people that I'd brought home. I hated him for it in typical teenage fashion and it caused a lot of fights, but we always made up and Mom always laughed at us when we argued.
We even found time to take a long trip to Earth before I went into basic.
The trip was everything Mom and Dad had promised, and looking back on it I'm thankful for that trip.
It was a month long and we spent traveled to my parent's birth places and visited the family they had there and I reconnected with people who would make later years much more bearable. But the thing I am most grateful for was that the time it gave me with my father because despite my being given leave, I rarely saw them. Even after dad retired he stayed with mom on her assignments and the most I ever saw of them was lengthy conversations using comm-buoys.
And when my parents came to join me on Earth for my N7 graduation, I was barely able to see him as one evening he went to take a nap before dinner only to have us miss our reservations.
I miss him more than I can say. He never spoke down to me, he always took time to listen to me and stayed by my side until the last possibly second before my FINAL surgery.
Even though he and my mom held my hand as the doctor went through the discussion of the procedure his hand remained steady while mine and my mother's trembled. It was a weird thing to experience seeing as he was the only one who could really understand the pain I would experience, but he stayed strong and lingered a few seconds after the doctor left to tell me that I didn't need the surgery.
Maybe he was right, but I don't regret my decision.
I remember a couple of days after the surgery Dad and were sitting in the apartment they'd borrowed from a friend so I could recover. Mom was out shopping for dinner and dad and I were once again enjoying our usual time together gorging on snacks and Earth vids. My memory of it is a little blurry as I was doped up on pain killers but I do remember something my dad said.
It struck me as odd to hear him say it at that moment, but it shook me from my drug induced haze long enough to ask, "Is this the only time you've been proud of me?"
He simply shook his head and said, "I was proud of you the moment your mother told me she was pregnant."
Mom still misses him. Her ring hasn't left her finger once since they were married and I'm glad she's safe with Admiral Hackett. I talked to her a few nights ago and she cried when she saw the state I was in. When I told her not to worry she just wiped her tears and laughed at me.
"I'm your mother. And because I love you I'll never stop worrying."
I'm not going to say my life has been easy or difficult, everyone has problems. Mine are just a bit different. Military life and N7 training were hell. Some how people always figured out about my past and even instructors tried to force me out. And despite what has been done to me I bear no grudges. Hell with everything I've been through I'm surprised that I've even got the nerve to write this. It seems so stupid to tell you all this now. Like you care that I wasn't born a womann or that I was beaten up and teased as a kid.
Maybe some of you who are reading this have had similar experiences and are connecting with me about it. Maybe some of you are just wishing I'd shut the hell up about it and stop right here, and maybe you're right but I can't shut up about it because there's an old saying I remember hearing somewhere.
And if I'm right that saying went something like, "History is written by the victors,” and for too long have the histories of the dead and the weak been erased.
Maybe that's why I'm writing this, as a gift for you to know that there are those who have been subjugated and oppressed for so long can find the strength to rise to do great things even in the face of overwhelming odds. But even hope cannot win the toughest of battles nor slay the mightiest foe, but it never hurts because it can give you the strength to continue on.
I know Liara has created her black box to hold our story, and the story of this war. That will lead you to victory if we should lose. Listen to her words, you've read of her in the previous tomes and I will say that she is not one to be ignored.
I'm glad she's by my side for this. We may not be together any more but she's a dear friend, and one that can never be replaced. She's one of the few who knew the truth about me outside of my family and physicians until I grew comfortable enough to trust those closest to me with this information and never once have I regretted it.
I may not have had many friends growing up, but now I feel like the luckiest person in the galaxy. I know our victory is a long shot. Hell, none of us may even live. But I'm thankful to go into battle with these people. Thankful that I've come to love them all and look at them as my family and I'm proud to have known each and everyone of them.
If there is one thing I fear though it's that of all the people I may never see again, there's one I wish I could keep safe from all this though I know he'd find his way back to me.
These last few words I write are for you, Garrus. If I should die, I die thankful for you.
You've been a true friend to me. You have stuck by me and you have followed me to hell and back even though there were times I felt sick to my stomach for the things that I have done, but never once did you chastise or patronize me. You understood what I had to do and I'm lucky you were by my side.
If you find these books know that I will always love you. I may not be the best at this, but to me you are everything I could have asked for. You accepted me, even before that first time together. When I told you the truth of my past you just looked at me and did your best to kiss me. My sobs turned to laughter. And afterwards you held me close and thanked the spirits for me. I wish we had more time. I wanted to look into adopting one of those babies with you. Grab Urz from Tuchanka and find a nice patch of land on Palaven or Earth to build a home on.
I wanted you to meet my mother, and by God do I wish you could have met Dad. I wanted to go through the bonding ceremony with you. You've made me complete Garrus and if I don't come back, know that without a doubt, every second I spent with you is a memory I shall treasure forever.
I love you Garrus Vakarian and thank you for loving me.