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Compiled from the SpaceBattles forum thread.

Spoiler tags are standard here: Doctor Who after New!Series Three but before Voyage of the Damned, Mass Effect 2 post-game but before the Lair of the Shadow Broker and Arrival DLC expansions.

In a hospital bed on the Citadel, an asari's voice drew the attention of the attending nurse on his rounds. He pulled back the curtain, preparing to call the doctor over, but the sight that greeted him stayed his hand. His fingers, poised over the call button, twitched once in a subconscious rhythm, and he turned and ran for the door.

"Doctor Kelis! Come quick!" he shouted, pulling open the door to the office.

Kelis, a turian in the early elegance of middle age, parted her mandibles in surprise. "Brian, what the hell are you doing, barging in like this?"

"It's the comatose asari, ma'am. She's... you'd better come look!" With this, the nurse dashed away, leaving Kelis to grumble and hurry after him.

"If it's so important to run around leaving cryptic remarks, you should be able to take a couple seconds to actually tell me what's going on," snapped Kelis as she reached the bed and pulled back the curtain. "If you just say 'You'd better come see' and leave, not everyone's going to just drop what they're..."

She trailed off as she tried to process what she was seeing. "Spirits alive..."

The asari was floating a handful of centimeters above the bed, her back arched and limbs flailing about as if in massive pain. Her eyes were open and glowing an eerie blue - not the soft blue of active biotic energy fields, but a stranger, deeper blue.

"Doctor, look at the readings!" Brian pointed to the monitors above the bed. "I've never seen anything like this before!"

If Kelis had been human, she'd have paled. "Unfortunately, Brian," she said, her voice wavering, "I have." She hit the red panic button on the wall, sending a signal to Citadel Security's central computers. The Emergency Quarantine procedures enacted, and soon the medbay was filled with the sounds of doorways sealing shut, ventilation units redirecting to internal scrubbers, and a direct comm connection to C-Sec opening.

"This is Doctor Kelis Socrat in Zakera Ward. We have enacted Protocol Zero. Please advise."

"Acknowledged, Doctor Socrat," came the reply. "Please confirm Protocol Zero."

"Patient 5363 has awakened, showing signs of Syndrome C-Delta-Five. Repeat, Syndrome--"


With the sound of an explosion and the screech of protesting electronics, the connection to C-Sec was terminated.

* * *

Not many things put David Anderson at a loss for words. His initial candidacy for Spectre was grueling, but he soldiered on. Captaining a starship was its own challenge, but he rose to meet it. Representing Earth and all her colonies on the Council was at frustrating at best - ranging on a scale from herding cats to spinning straw into a gold-like substitute - but he did it with considerable aplomb because hey, who else was going to?

The blue box that was currently sitting in his office, however, completely confounded him. Not only that, but it was being swarmed by techs, poking it with their omnitools, and none of them could figure it out, either. Visually, it was made of wood with glass panels in the doorframes, a light on top, and English lettering proclaiming it to belong to a local constabulary. And yet, it continued to block all penetrative scans, alternating between a hole in the world - quite literally, simply not there - and being a 100% opaque black spot on sensors.

What was worse, it was being incomprehensible in the middle of his office, which meant that the onslaught of technicians puttering about and bandying theories amongst themselves were keeping him from getting to the stack of files in his inbox. Not to mention the massive headache it all was giving him.

"Enough!" he roared, standing at his desk and hurling a particularly vicious glare at the crew. "You've taken all the readings you're going to take, now I would be eternally grateful if you all would get the hell out of my office!"

David Anderson, Renowned Intergalactic Diplomat.

As the grumbling techs filed out of his office, he was relieved to see a flash of familiar red hair fighting against the tide. "Shepard. Good to see you."

Shepard grinned that half-grin of hers and saluted. "Councillor. Good to see you haven't changed all that much, sir."

Anderson chuckled. "Beaurocratic nonsense. I told the Council we've already scanned that thing--" he jerked his thumb at the wooden box still sitting in the middle of the floor, frowning slightly as Garrus and a wild-haired man in a pinstriped suit and a dusky tan coat started circling it "--but they had to get their own people in to see it. Is that the guy?"

Shepard grimaced. "It is. David Anderson, meet... Doctor, front and center." She shook her head as the man poked his head out from around the box with a bewildered look on his face. "Doctor, this is David Anderson, Earth's representative to the Council."

The Doctor's eyes lit up, a delighted expression crossing his face. "Councillor, so pleased to meet you. I've heard many things about you."

"Have you now?" Anderson glanced over at Shepard, raising an eyebrow.

"Actually, nothing at all," admitted the Doctor, not an ounce of shame in his voice at the lie. "Bit of a traveller, me. Passing through. Though it seems that I've come across a bit of excitement, haven't I?" He turned about quickly, taking in the open-air design of the office and its view of the Presidium. "Blimey, what a place. Very Niven in its construction, I should think. Is that an artificial sky?"

For the second time that day, Anderson was speechless. He shot Shepard a helpless look, and despaired when she returned it with a wry shake of her head.

"He's exciteable," Garrus commented, sauntering up. "It's cute, really. Makes you want to get a leash and a rodent ball for him."

"Oi! I'm not three feet away, you lot, I can still hear you!" The Doctor spun around again, the picture of mock affrontedness.

Anderson shook his head. " any case. Shepard, we've managed to disprove any sign of Collector involvement with the way the Doctor and his box have arrived."

"You mean Reaper involvement, sir."

"Not officially, Shepard, you know that."

Shepard pinched the bridge of her nose. "What is it going to take to get the Council to accept the threat? Do I have to hog-tie one of the damned things and drop it in the Turians' home system?"

"Calm down," Anderson pleaded, holding his hands up to forestall her wrath. "You know I'm on your side on this. Don't take my head off just because those three can't get their heads out of their asses long enough to see what's right in front of--"

Anything else he would have said was interrupted by an alert on his computer console. He opened the message, and tried to fight the feeling of ice sliding down his spine.

"What is it?" Shepard asked, all business once more. Her hand, Anderson noted, was firmly on the butt of her pistol, with her finger barely touching the safety catch.

"Trouble in the Med Bay. Something that might be familiar to you. Get down there, now."

Shepard and Garrus took off without another word, and Anderson took a seat at his desk. Sometimes he could feel the years pressing down on him; regardless of the numerous advances in life-extending medical technology, he was simply getting too old for this shit.

"Doctor," he said, not looking up from his console, "as long as you're here, maybe you can explain to me these bioscans we took."

He looked up when he didn't hear a response. The Doctor was nowhere to be seen.

* * *

It wasn't all that difficult to pursue Commander Shepard through the Citadel - there weren't all that many heavily-armed and armored gingers roaming about the station, and really all he had to do was follow the camera flashes. Whoever Shepard was, she was obviously a celebrity, in addition to being some sort of on-call security force for the local government, considering how she flagrantly ignored the Citadel's blue-armored policemen.

The Doctor frowned to himself. He'd have to look into that. In his experience, governments working above the law tended towards the corrupt. Even if this Shepard was inherently a good person - he was definitely getting the heroic vibe off her, brutal and sarcastic she may be - it was a system that almost invariably strayed. Given the mix of shock, worship and fear he was getting from the civilians that had quickly darted out of her way, it probably already had.

He lost track of them upon entering a crowded ward. In his rush to skirt a particularly disgruntled-looking reporter, he ran full-tilt into a pair of heavy-suited individuals with a particularly chelonoid look to them. He spent twenty minutes assuring them that no, he wasn't attacking them, really he wasn't, would he be attacking a pair of - krogan, is it? Good name, really good name for a species - without a weapon of any kind, look, and no, he didn't know anything about petitions to stock the lakes with tropical fish but he'd certainly look into it when he had a moment... By the time he finally got away, the path had closed up, and he started wandering about, trying to figure out where this medbay was.

Silly him, as it turned out. He really should have known better, it would have been a lot simple just to slow down and listen for the screaming.

And away he went again.

* * *

By the time he had caught up with Shepard and Garrus, they were already half-way through burning the lock on the medical wing.

"You know," he said, panting, "I wish just once I'd find a space station that didn't involve a lot of running around from one end to another. I mean really, is it so hard to have a trolley service? Or bikes?"

Shepard looked up from her plasma torch and groaned. "I really should have known you'd follow us. Exactly the kind of day I'm having."

Garrus blinked and parted his mandibles in what had to be a grin of some kind. "What happened to that Cerberus-enhanced hearing, Shepard? I knew he was on our trail from the very beginning."

"...I mean everyone has bikes of some kind..."

"Shut it, Garrus. I was focused on the Reaper infiltration in Zakera Ward at the time, if you remember correctly." She powered down her plasma torch and stood up. "Doctor, as long as you're here, might as well make yourself useful. Can you open this?"

"...even Daleks have wheels, or hoversleds, or whatever - sorry, yes, what?" The Doctor looked up from his external monologue and blinked.

"That thing you used to open the cell door. Can you get us into Medical? There's a Quarantine Seal in place, I can't bypass it."

The Doctor reached into his coat, pulled out his sonic screwdriver, and started fiddling with settings. "Quarantine for what, exactly?"

"Something that shouldn't be here," said Garrus, his tone tark and foreboding. He winced a bit at the sound of the sonic screwdriver interacting with the lock.

The door clicked and started to slide back. "Got it!"

Shepard nodded and pulled her sidearm, holding it up in a ready position. "Doctor, stay behind us. Garrus, you see any orange glow--"

"--put it out," finished Garrus, unlimbering a blocky device that he unfolded into a sniper rifle.

The medical wing was dark, lit only by the occasional computer console and flickering overhead. The Doctor's nostrils were filled with the cloying scent of disinfectant, traces of ozone, and the steadily-increasing metallic tang of blood. Not just human blood, either; there were other, new scents that nonetheless carried a similar feel. It was starting to give him a headache, which was a bit unusual--

No. He was wrong, the blood wasn't giving him the headache.

"Commander," he said, furrowing his brow and putting on his spectacles, "it's here. Whatever it is."

Shepard turned and gave him a withering glare, but nodded after a second. "Where?"

"There," he said, pointing to the side office. The door was closed and the room was darkened, but the psychic aura he was picking up was coming from inside.

Shepard skirted the wall, keeping as far out of line of sight from the window as possible. She tapped the door switch, but nothing happened, not even when she prodded at it with an orange holographic device that materialized over her left hand. She motioned for the Doctor to follow.

"No use," said the Doctor after trying his screwdriver. "The code is transitioning into a deadlock pattern, I can't break it."

"Shepard," called Garrus, still covering them from the doorway. "You might want to take a look at this."

Shepard and the Doctor edged out into the middle of the room to see where Garrus was pointing. The light in the side office was now on, and through the window they could see a blue-skinned female figure, floating eerily in midair.

"Blimey," said the Doctor, taking his spectacles off. "That's it. That's where the psychic signal is coming from. That woman."

"That woman" spun gracefully in mid-air, turning to face Shepard. Her eyes snapped open, filled with a bright blue glow. "SHEPARD."

The Doctor blinked at the baritone psychic reverberation in the woman's voice. "Well, there's something you don't see every day."

"Not unless you're me," remarked Shepard, wryly. She turned her attention to the floating woman. "What do you want?"


* * *

Situation: Indoctrinated asari used as Reaper Avatar, slaughtered inhabitants.

Goal: Prevent access to rest of Citadel. Destroy.

Shepard kept a firm hand on her weapon, keeping the pistol firmly in line with the asari's forehead. The glass was, unfortunately, Citadel-manufactured and entirely bulletproof, and if the Doctor couldn't open the door, then they couldn't get in. Of course, that also meant that the Avatar couldn't get out, unless it wanted a face full of Tungsten shavings at mach speeds.

Tactic: When a stalemate occurs, keep it as long as possible to A: squeeze out as much information as possible and B: arrange the situation so that when the stalemate breaks, it is on your side.

"Why here, now?" she asked, narrowing her eyes in what Jacob refers to (behind her back, as if she didn't know he was doing it) as The Shepard Glare. "We already know you're on your way, and we've locked down the Citadel's relays so you can't jump in here."


"Hang on just a tick," interrupted the Doctor. "Can I just say something? You're controlling this woman through a psychic rebound channel, yes? On a quantum thingummer that uses - what'cha call 'em, Shepard? Mass Effect fields? - Mass Effect fields to bounce it through pinhole singularities from an extragalactic location, am I right?"

The Avatar rotated slowly to face the Doctor. "IT IS IMMATERIAL HOW WE ARE CONTACTING YOU. WE ARE THE DOOM THAT BEFALLS--"

"Yes, yes, blood and death and all that. I've heard it before. But you know what's so interesting about that psychic rebound channel? Anyone?"

The Doctor's grin remained on his face, but his eyes hardened into something that made Shepard thankful it wasn't directed at her. She had been wondering over the past hour why she had taken the Doctor at his word, about how he was the most dangerous person she had ever met. Now she was starting to understand.

"I'll tell you," continued the Doctor, his voice suddenly cold and forbidding. "It's because the channel you're using just happens to coincide with my own aura, and I am blocking you out."

The Avatar shrieked in fury and pain, its distorted voice sliding through unsettlingly inhuman pitches. Her limbs thrashed about wildly as the bright blue aura constricted around her, the few remaining light fixtures shattering all around them--

And then silence fell, punctuated only by the muffled thump of a body dropping to the floor behind the door.

Shepard turned her suit's floodlight towards the Doctor. He turned to her and met her eyes, looking for... approval? No, it was clear he wasn't looking for her approval, she could tell that, but the expression on his face was definitely seeking something from her. She nodded to him anyway, hoping that was enough, and rushed forward to catch him as he fell.

"Whoo-ee," he groaned, clutching onto her arms. "I am not doing that again any time soon."

"What the hell did you do, Doc?" Garrus asked, coming forward from the doorway.

"Just what I said. Blocked out the psychic signal. Whoever that thing was controlling, she's free and clear for now." He managed to pull himself back to his feet. "I'll have a whopper of a headache for the next few hours, though, I can tell you."

Shepard holstered her gun and went to the window, shining her floodlight into it. Sure enough, the asari was sprawled on the floor, all visual traces of Reaper control gone. "Commander Shepard to C-Sec," she said, triggering her suit's comm system.

"C-Sec Dispatch, we're here, Commander. What's the situation?"

"Target has been neutralized. We have one survivor. Asari, unconscious and with possible mental trauma." She glanced at the Doctor, who nodded reassuringly. "Recommend monitored quarantine, but she is threat level zero at the moment. Acknowledge."

There was silence at the other end for a moment. "Understood, Shepard. We're sending a team now. C-Sec out."

* * *

"I still don't understand why they're putting so much effort into me," Shepard lamented as they watched C-Sec crews contain the medical ward. "I mean sure, I've killed two, destroyed the husk of another, and thwarted a twisted breeding program..." She trailed off. "Okay, yeah, I get it. But it still seems like overkill."

"No such thing," said the Doctor, leaning heavily against a nearby guardrail. "Especially for invincible legions of apocalyptic doom. You heard what it said, about you being a 'pinnacle of civilization'."

"Right," Shepard said, throwing her hands up in the air. "What the hell is that supposed to even mean?"

"You've got fans," Garrus deadpanned. "Maybe the Reapers will go away if you start signing autographs."

"I don't think it'll be that easy," Shepard replied.

"Oh, I think so. Just get Conrad to send them his life-size Shepard bodypillow."

The three of them took a moment to process the image and collectively shuddered.

"Speaking of never getting to sleep again ever," Shepard said, dryly. "That was some amazing thing you did back there, Doctor. I've never seen anyone beat indoctrination like that before, and you made it look easy. Are you some sort of super biotic?"

"Most likely not," said the Doctor, "because I honestly have no idea what you mean by that. And it was not easy."

Shepard stared. This was the second time he claimed to be ignorant of how the world worked, which was not at all possible. Not for someone who could face down a Reaper and seemingly teleport onto the most heavily defended station in the galaxy.

She thought back to her youth, and the time she had spent with her tutors and studies into Earth's greatest literature. Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remained - however improbable - had to be the truth.

Tactic: Blunt honesty usually surprises people into telling you what you want to know. Often because honesty is such a rare thing in the universe.

"You're obviously not from this area," she said. "And you're not human."

"No, I'm not," replied the Doctor, giving her an appraising look. "Usually people dismiss the readings from their scanners, say they're on the fritz."

Shepard shook her head. "So would we, except things aren't adding up. Like how your... your ship arrived here. Or how you were able to just shut down that Reaper just like that."

Shepard stopped cold when the Doctor stood up and gave her the same chilling look he gave the Avatar. "You misunderstand me, Commander," he said, calmly. "I am quite simply the most powerful psychic I've ever met. My skills are surpassed only by those naturally-born with gobs of talent, which I do not have. I say this without gloating, Commander, it is simply a fact, because I have spent the majority of my life training this ability, and it took me everything I had to block out a signal that was being bounced across an entire galaxy." He turned away and stared out through the viewport at the passing traffic.

"What are you?" Shepard nearly whispered.

"I'm a Time Lord," said the Doctor, not turning around.

"What the hell is a Time Lord?" Garrus asked, snorting derisively.

The Doctor turned back around and gave them a level gaze. "Time Lords are, quite simply, the oldest and most advanced species in my universe. They watched over the whole of Time and Space. They were saviors to some civilizations, conquerers to others. They have been called the sovereigns of the three galaxies, ruling over events with an iron fist. To those who rose up against them, they were the harbingers of destruction and ruin, for everywhere they went, death would follow."

For a moment his expression was almost unreadable, a mixture of equal parts revulsion and deep longing. Then the moment passed, and his resolve settled in once again.

Shepard crossed her arms. "You keep saying 'our universe'. What do you mean by all that?"

"If I'm going to tell you that, Commander," the Doctor said, shaking his head, "we'll need a bit more time. It's a long story. But the short form is, I believe I am here for a reason, and I also believe that reason revolves around you. I'll tell you what you want to know, if you tell me one thing in return."

He met her eyes once more, and Shepard was suddenly hit with a scale of distance beyond that which she had ever comprehended.

"Tell me about these Reapers."
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