May 29, 2020 4:17 PM
Wisterias & Storms in Mass Effect
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She makes a non-committal noise. 

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"I'll be sure to keep my spacesuit on then."

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Romy laughs softly, and falls silent. 

And then, “You didn’t say anything about Zel.”

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"She misses you. Probably trying to rope everyone into her big family dinners every month. Makes them send her pictures of their meals when they all inevitably can't make it. I haven't seen a lot of her, she's been doing outreach for colonists in the Traverse and I've been - well. This."

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“Shame. Thought one of you would get your shit together and propose at some point in two years.”

She would’ve hoped. But Zelda’s never been good at taking what she wants. 

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"With everything that happened... she's been grieving. Plus. Survivors guilt. We're messes, we know it."

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“And the excuse for the previous ten years is..?”

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"We're idiots?"

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“You’re both very lucky you’re pretty.”

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Kaidan blushes and pushes against her a little bit. "Go to sleep."

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She closes her eyes, and her breathing deepens, but whether or not she actually sleeps is up for debate. 

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Kaidan spends his time sitting very still and focussing on his breathing. He doesn't want to move, doesn't want to disturb her, and his headache isn't getting any better.

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Athena spends her time ignoring them both and working on her reports. She has so much to get through, there were dozens of people on that station. So much paperwork to get through.

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Eventually, hours later, the shuttle docks into a new station.

"Commander Shepard. We've arrived." She checks her omnitool. "The Illusive Man is waiting for you in the conference room."

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Now that she's not flooded with adrenaline, she can't ignore how much her body aches, and how she can feel every piece of skin grating over something. 

But hey. She's lived through worse. "Sure. Sounds awesome." She sits up, and replaces her armour, ready to follow Lawson.

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They all exit the shuttle, the station looks sterile - white walls, shining chrome - it also looks abandoned. Athena leads them through corridor after corridor, then finally stops outside a door. A terminal waits for a password to unlock it.

"When you're done, we will be waiting in the next room."

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"I can wait out here?"

Letting her out of his sight - not really something he wants.

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"I'll be fine, K. Go with your boss." 

She looks at Athena, and gestures to the terminal.

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-- that stings. But he nods and steps aside.

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Athena unlocks the door and then walks away. She has work to do.

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Romy heads inside, but turns back just for a moment, to smile weakly at Kaidan. 

Then she's walking inside a...dark room? Dramatic. It's featureless, the walls, the floor- except, there is one thing on the floor. A raised platform, with some kind of orange...field? Or perhaps emergency lighting. There's no one else here, nothing else in the room, except this platform. Glowing. Well. She can take a hint. 

She steps up, and then the field expands upwards, surrounding the whole platform and then- the room is transformed. 

A huge, bright star, glowing blue-orange-red-white, shifting around, in full view from the ceiling to floor windows. In front of it, a hologram set up. Romy can see images of Sovereign, Alliance ships, even what may be her service record, if she squints. In front of that, a man, seated incredibly casually. Smoking. 

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"Commander Shepard," he greets her.

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Well. Lawson said the Illusive Man was in here, so she must assume this is him. 

"Do you prefer Illusive? Or Mr. Man?" 

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"Just 'Illusive Man' will do."

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"Bit of a mouthful."

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