by Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers
“Normandy, this is Captain McIlvanney, Earth Alliance. Do you read?” A crackle into
the stillness of the jungle.
“Normandy. Anyone there?” This time someone can hear it, coming from over a
ridge. A flare lights red against the blue sky.
“Captain McIlvanney, this is Joker, pilot of the Normandy. We read you.” Exhausted
from the effort of cutting through the jungle, hoping for rescue, filled with sorrow and
loss. He’s never felt the ache in his body so keenly as now.
“We found Shepard. She’s alive.”
* * *
In waking there was pain. One hand clutches something- sheets, her mind said.
You’re on sheets, not on rubble. The other flexes out and then gently, reflexively,
grasps something familiar. Three fingers, larger than her own, and intertwining with
them felt so natural, almost instinctive.
“Where?” She tries to say, but it comes out as a slur, more like ‘wurr.’
“That’s my girl. Eloquent as always.” Garrus’ voice is so familiar to her, slowing down
her racing heart. It’s the first thing she hears, until she notices the gentle beeping
disturbing a hush that is otherwise sterile.
He sounds pleased to see her, but more than that, relieved. As her eyes slowly
focus, she can see concern written into his mandibles and into his eyes; Turian facial
expressions can be difficult to read at the best of times, but it’s a face she’s gotten to
know intimately, and she knows the little microgestures that always tell so much
more than he’s willing to say out loud.
She tries to smile at Garrus, to let him know that everything is okay even though it’s
clear everything isn’t. It didn’t seem possible for a body to be in so much pain, and
she’s so tired of pain, and still not sure what happened. The Reapers, the Catalyst…
It’s all a dim blur. Smiling hurts worst of all, causing her to wince and take her free
hand up, touching a mass of bandages and scars.
“More than you,” she finally manages to choke out. This time when Garrus smiles,
it’s real, and his grasp on her hand tightens for a moment, a single pulse of
There are questions though, and she’s never been good at simply lying back and
recovering. “How long?” It’s getting easier to talk now, though her mouth is dry,
worse than every wine-induced hangover she’s ever had.
As if he knows (and maybe he does,) Garrus releases her hand to give her a cup,
helps her raise it to her lips and take first one slow sip, and then another. “Months. It
took us a while to get here. You caused your usual chaos on the galaxy.” Months?
She’s been asleep that long? Her body feels older, but that could just be the injuries.
“Can finally show you home. Didn’t mean it to be like this though.” Earth was a
mess- Shepard knew this, but at that moment, it felt like maybe there was some
hope for the future yet. ◒
Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh with an MSc in Creative Writing. She now lives in California, dreaming of becoming a cyborg. She can be found on Twitter @KestrelUnicorn.