They all wore the Cerberus uniform - Shepard did not. It was not the proper act of a commander to cut himself off from his subordinates but many only followed him because of the Illusive Man - they followed Shepard but they had yet to trust him.
Shepard finally entered his quarters - they rested along the spine of the ship directly above the CIC (Combat Information Center) where Shepard commanded the ship. They had a picture of Liara. He missed her but she was on Illium and he had a job. Once more his duty took him farther away from her.
He settled at the desk and went over the dossiers for the specialist team he'd need. The Illusive Man had gathered quite of bit of intel and had picked a good range of people that would flesh out Shepard's new assault team.
Archangel - A small unit tactical expert. Identity unknown - but his skill as a sniper and Omni-Tool with master level. A mercenary commander of great skill who has racked up a reputation for hunting down criminals. He would be an excellent tactical asset base purely on reputation. He was now at the top of the list. If he hunted criminals or was an alien, Cerberus would not be holding his strings and Shepard could have a possible ally
The Convict - A biotic powerhouse who was currently imprisoned. Named only Jack - she is considered to be the most powerful human biotic ever encountered and has a history of violence. Shepard didn't trust her but she wouldn't be loyal to the Illusive Man and trust could be earned.
The Warlord - A Krogen strategic genius with some experience with Collector technology. Another non-human making it hard for Cerberus to have sway but it had been a while since Shepard worked with the Krogen. He had killed many of them when he hunted Saren. He also destroyed the only cure for their race on Virmire.
The Veteran - A combat expert with a history of success. Cerberus had paid him a massive wage to work for Shepard. That meant that he was worth it and he followed money not Cerberus.
|Kasumi Goto - Master Theif|
So Shepard ordered Joker to plot a course to the Citadel. Miranda and Jacob joined him as he left the Normandy. Moments after getting off the ship - one of the advert signs sparked up with a womans face. Goto. She had hacked the local advertising network and was using it to talk with Shepard from a safe distance. He was working with Cerberus, she was wary - Shepard knew she was the very person he needed to watch his back.
She needed help - a Black Market dealer was nearby and he had something she wanted. The Grey Box - the living memories of her former partner. Her partner had died on a job and this target had it. Shepard had just searched the crash site of the SSV Normandy SR-1, he was able to empathise and agreed to help Goto. Shepard ordered Miranda back to the Normandy and with Jacob and Kasumi in tow he entered the Citadel.
First off, Shepard was dead. After talking with the head of C-Sec Shepard was allowed to head up the Presidium and visit an old friend - Councilor Anderson and his aid Udina. Shepard had to explain what happened first. Cerberus was a albatros and working with them even temporarily would continue to raise suspicions in former friends. Anderson was easy to convince, Shepard loathed Cerberus and showed his reluctance to work with the organization.
The other three council members were harder to convince. They agreed that as long as Shepard was working with Cerberus he had to keep his activities in Citadel space under the rader. He was also allowed to continue to work in the Terminus sector with his Spectre status. Yet they ignored the warning of the Reapers and the possible connection. The boogieman was back in the box, Shepard had done that. All the evidence and remains of the battle two years ago had faded and been forgotten.
Shepard was frustrated but he understood the position of the council. He had to carry this burden, this stigma as long as he could - in order to stop this latest threat and save the human colonies in the Terminus sector.
As he left, Anderson would not tell him what Commander Allenko was doing - not while Shepard worked with Cerberus but that he was doing well and working hard. Shepard left the Citadel knowing that his second in command had grown and moved on. First stop - helping Kasumi.
She had a plan. The target arms dealer was having a party. Shepard undercover and wearing some better clothes would move around the party while Kasumi cloaked would shadow him and direct him in shutting down the various security systems.
After getting into the party Shepard's first task was to scout out the Vault that held the Grey Box. Kasumi expertly laid out a series of objectives that would allow the two of them to bypass the security. They got DNA from Hock's private quarters, sneaking in from the balcony and quickly dispatching the guards outside. When it came to shutting down the security net, Shepard slipped out of the party once again to rush and put down the security team in the control room. Kasumi was able to cut the power to the grid but Shepard had one last thing to do - get Donovan Hock to talk so Kasumi could get a voice print that would let them past the last Vault lock.
Shepard did just that. The bastard ranted and raved about taking advantage of all the death and chaos since the attack on the Citadel. He called for more to join him and celebrate the opportunities provided by the state of unrest in the Galaxy. Shepard smiled - this man was a parasite and he'd make sure once this was done to close this monster down for good.
Once inside the vault - Kasumi and Shepard stole what they needed from the vault from rare materials to rare collector submachine guns. In the end the Grey Box was taken and Hock caught them red handed. It was a trap to get Kasumi there in order to get her codes that could unlock the contents of the Grey Box.
Kasumi and Keiji were more than partners, they cared for each other. Just like Liara and Shepard. Seems like Shepard's desire to end Donovan Hock was suddenly the priority. He sent waves after waves of his mercenaries to hunt down Shepard. Shepard never let them get the chance - as they entered the room he rushed them with his new biotic abilities, colliding into them with explosion of force, bypassing all the obstacles between them. After impact Shepard set to work with his Shotgun, finishing off the guards as they recovered - a flash and Kasumi de-cloaked near the last guard finishing him off with an energy blade. The fight was over, now they had to escape the hard way but going through all of Hock's mercenary guards.
After his speech Shepard wanted to show Hock what it meant to be feared and what real chaos was. Shepard had killed a reaper and fought in plenty of battles. Shepard always won - this arms dealer wanted a war, well that was Shepard's job.
Shepard was also very good at it. With Kasumi guarding his back, inch by inch, room by room; Shepard cleared the base dropping anything that stood in his way. He was getting the kinks out of the new systems and shaking off cobwebs that only two years of death can put on a man.
When they got to Hock he had already boarded a combat Air to Ground fighter. From the sky strafing the landing pad Hock coordinated his troops against Shepard and Kasumi. Shepard made sure he simply witnessed him and Kasumi tearing apart the security Mechs and Mercenaries alike. In the end Kasumi got her revenge - she downed the craft with a combination of inhuman acrobatics and genius technical skill. As she flipped off the fighter as it fell away in flames from the landing pad Shepard knew he had the right person for the job.
After getting back to the Normandy - he visited Kasumi. She was distraught Keiji asked her to destroy the Grey Box. The information on it beside the memories of their time together also included dangerous data that would mark her a target for powerful enemies. She asked Shepard - destroy the data and his memories or keep them and live on the run.
If Shepard had to pick between forgetting Liara - or any of the fallen crew that had served with him to be safe or keeping those memories no matter the danger. It was simple for Shepard and he was honest with Kasumi. She agreed and kept the Grey Box intact. She was loyal now, Shepard had found his first real ally in a den of Cerberus making.
Shepard returned to the CIC and plotted a course to Omega. The Veteran, the Professor and Archangel were there and Shepard still had a job to do. He looked over the dossiers once more and decided that Archangel would be next - he was hunter of those people who took advantage of the chaos. In another world Archangel could have been with Shepard and Kasumi helping them put down Hock.
Archangel was next
Getting back into Mass Effect 2 was a dream. The new biotic abilities were fantastic. The Biotic Charge ability - only available to the Vanguards allowed Shepard to quickly assault a foe with shock and awe. Getting stuck in before letting his shotguns finish off survivors.
Picking Kasumi was an easy choice. Shepard needed an ally and everyone else was gone. Liara, Wrex, Garrus, Tali, Kaiden were gone. He needed someone who was not on Cerberus payroll and Kasumi was the perfect choice. She was like him independent using the resources to accomplish their larger goals.
He had also fought to hard to earn his Spectre status and regaining that was a key factor to how Shepard would act. He was still on the side of good but he was now in a cover situation. In the lions den - acting like one of them long enough to get the job done.