DISCLAIMER: Bioware owns the concept of Mass Effect and all of its characters. This fanfic is for entertainment and no profit what-so-ever.
AUTHORS NOTES: My Shepard is Vanguard-Spacer-War Hero concept. Rocketchick, Lady Winter and I have similar ideas and we chatted about them, we are not nicking each otherís ideas but rather stumbling along the same plot bunnies in our stories only realized in a different ways.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Two Minutes is Eternity
By Elizabeth Carter


Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams had made a third and final check on the firearms aboard the Macho. It was in part of her duty to insure onboard surplus ordinance were upgraded with the newest mods and fully armed with the most lethal armaments against a particular enemy. In this case teflon cartridges to hit the Geth hard. She was just about to disembark the vehicle when she heard the very distant voice of their leader.

"Liara, Love….we don't have a lot of time between now and planet-fall…..I needed to tell you." The intrepid hero never sounded so unsure in her life. "I…I thought facing a geth colossus was tough…" she swallowed hard. "Okay…um,…right…I…"

"Samantha what is it you are trying to tell me." Liara's calm voice seemed to sooth the nervous Commander.

The Chief doubted the Spectre's shattered nerves had very little to do with the impossible twenty meter drop, facing Saren or reaching the conduit.

"When we were last on the citadel I made a trip to see the Consort. I had already had booked an appointment long before we met Lover, and…and…and it wasn't physical...er…not this time…um….yeah ah….anyway. I had to ask her advice. How…how…err...to ask what was appropriate. She told me and I …um…."

Ashley remained hidden in the mako's shadows. She didn't want to break the moment for Shepard. She believed she knew what it was that her commander was about to do and why she was blustering all of her words in one breathe. Why all of a sudden this one asari scientist could flummox, terrify and bewilder their indomitable leader.

'You go girl' Ashley silently whispered. 'Just get it out before Joker interrupts will ya?'

"Um ,…yes… right….I….asked her and she told me what was appropriate for a one who follows the Goddess Athame and…and the asari way…I wanted it to be right, to be perfect and I'm making a right mess of it, Li. I'm sorry I can't be more eloquent, more dignified. You deserve so much more than my bumbling."

'Hell she if doesn't sound like LT when he spoke to the Skipper in the Upper Wards." Ashley snickered silently.

From the shadows of the Mako's interior she saw the Spectre get down on one knee. Silently Shepard reached to a pocket on her utility belt, withdrew a deep azure pouch and held it before her, "Liara T'soni daughter of Matriarch Benezia T'soni. The tidewaters of Siari washed over us as we loved, as we joined spirit, mind and body. I tell you now---my life I have pledged to the service of the military. I am a Spectre and my life is not my own and I can not give this to you. What I can give is my love, my heart, my soul and I will do so gladly until the ending of my days. Liara, will you honor me with your acceptance of my vow, my oath I swear to you before the Goddess Athame? I give you all that is in my power to give. Will you accept me as your mate?

Samantha Shepard withdrew from the pouch an amulet suspended by braided chains of fine gold. The amulet itself was beautifully and delicately crafted. In a bed of tiny sapphires the holy gems of Athame lay the Prothean trinket give to Shepard by the consort.

Liara could not find her voice to speak; she stared at the promise amulet, a mark of Union from the ancient days of the asari. So rarely given now it seemed only the matriarchs knew of exchanging of the honoured the gift. But here was Samantha Shepard--human, Spectre—honoured war hero offering her such a gift. By offering the medallion her lover wanted a Union; she wanted a commitment beyond a Joining…a marriage.

"Oh Samantha…can you even doubt I would not say yes? By the goddess yes. Yes!



"You said…yes?

"Phft for the love of God she said yes!" Ashley blurted out before she could stop herself. She clapped her hands over her mouth, and winced. "Oh shit."

Both Liara and Shepard looked to the shadowed threshold of the mako. "Chief, what the hell are you doing in there?" Shepard was firm but not cross.

Chagrined the chief stepped out into the light of the bay. "Sorry Skipper, but when I heard your voices I…stayed inside. I kinda got the feeling this was one of those times you needed to be by yourselves. I didn't mean to eavesdrop or spy. I didn't want to interrupt the moment, it seemed way too imported. Um Skipper she said yes by the way."

Shepard looked to Liara amazed, then in one moved swept the asari off her feet and planted a heavy kiss that stole the woman's breath away. Even when Shepard let go, Liara wavered in a daze. Shepard smiled proudly. "She said yes!" The Spectre shouted picking Ashley up and twirled her around in a circle before she dropped the gobsmacked gunnery chief back to mesh floor of the deck.

Liara snickered at her lover's jubilation.

"I think you should put that on her Skipper." Ashley chided pointed to the amulet still feeling a little dizzy by the extraordinary reaction of the Spectre.

"Right..! Oh yeah…right!" Her touch was less impetuous and more reverent than other women might have thought given the levels of Shepard's excited mindset.

"So Ash…" The Spectre didn't look away form Liara blue eyes. "Next question. Will you stand with me, I am not completely sure of asari wedding traditions but best woman / maid of honour sounds right to me." Shepard smiled when she looked to the woman she trusted second only to her lover. "So what about it? You want the job?"

"Hell yeah, Skipper."

"I could think of no one finer to witness our Union, Chief Williams." Liara said tenderly.

"Two minutes to plant fall." Joker's voice over the intercom broke the elation of the moment.

Ilos…embracing eternity would have to wait.

The End

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