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Take the Initiative

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After telling them everything I could remember about what happens in ME3, with vague generalized answers as to the outcomes- well. Scott explained where I was and what was going on, with the initiative and everything- but in really general terms as he stared at the ceiling with a blank look on his face.

And now…

Cora is silently brooding. Pacing on the other side of the med-bay.

Scott just looks kind of dazed and freaked out.

Lexi's expression is crumpled and her hand is over her eyes. I think she's crying.

"You don't seem as shaken as I would be in your position," Scott says, eyes a little vacant and wet.

"I'm somewhere safe now. I don't know how I got here or why…but I'm not where the Reapers are." I shrug. "I didn't have any family and none of my friends…well, I've never really gotten all that close to anyone." Not true, but simpler. "I'm gonna live, I hope. And that's…something. I mean, I still wish they could've come with me, however I got here."

That's not a lie at all. I really do wish they could all be here. Garrus, Tali and Wrex. Liara, Grunt and Kasumi. Samara, Vega and…Thane. He was always my favorite, my romance. God, he's dead, isn't he? Either killed by Kai Leng or Kepral's.

There are tears running over my face and I didn't even realize they were there until now.

All of your crew can die in ME2 if you play it wrong. Half of the people I love from this universe could have died long before their time- against the Reapers or just because their Shepard did things wrong.

It's six hundred years past the Reaper invasion. They could've been destroyed, synthesis could've been achieved or Shepard could've been dumb enough to try and take control of them. Any which way you slice it, they're all long dead. Reapers or no Reapers.

And now I know they were real. I mean, I dunno if I'm just from a dimension where we're gods who create realities or if we're more like seers who can imagine ourselves somewhere else we've never been…or what. But it's definitely real.

Scott and Lexi and Cora…Liam and Peebee and the others from before…they're all real.

"Breathe, just breathe." Lexi's hand is on my shoulder.

I take a deep, gasping breath when I realize I haven't been. "Oh, god!"

"It's okay." Cora is there, suddenly. Grasping my shoulders as Lexi moves away. "You were right, it's just like you said- you're safe. They might be gone, but somehow…you aren't. It's gonna be okay."

I drop my head and grip her wrists, probably a little too tightly, but she doesn't let go or say anything about it. 'They were real and now they're dead. I loved them all and they're just…gone. And I wasn't there for it.'

Oh, god…wait.

I lift my head and blink.

"What, what is it?" Cora is peering at me with something akin to worry.

I blink some tears out of my eyes as I release my death-grip on her wrists. "I just remembered…one of the people I knew was a really young Krogan. There are probably Krogan out there in the Milky Way Galaxy that still remember the Reaper War…they're not all already dead. Asari, too."

Cora drops her hands from my shoulders and seems to be considering that, a slightly less melancholic look on her face than before.

"That's right," Lexi breaks in to say. "That's absolutely right." Her smile is small and weak and doesn't reach her eyes.

"Well." Scott chews his bottom lip. "I guess we're gonna have to find you someplace to stay."

"Where is there to stay?" I ask, wondering how many planets he's stabilized.

"There's basically just…the Nexus. The outpost on Eos is to capacity now." He sighs and shakes his head. "We're heading to a new planet right now, so we can't take you anywhere until we get everything done there anyway."

Lexi is sitting at her desk now, looking somber. "You should have her introduced to the crew. Someone else can help her get acclimated while you're on Havarl. We're only a half hour out, after all."

Scott groans, "right. I'm taking Jaal and Peebee down with me…Liam would probably be good for the…acclimating, thing." He says, unsurely. "You met him already, remember?"

I nod slowly and get off the cot as he gestures for me to follow him out of the med bay. Cora is following behind me and I feel oddly boxed in.

"I'll stay with her too, Scott." She says.

I glance over my shoulder at her. Her eyes aren't on me.

"Alright. Since that's settled…Liam!" Scott stops in the Research room and calls across to Liam who's doing something with a datapad thing. "You mind taking…oh, I forgot to ask for your name."

I blink at him for a moment. "Uh…Myra Harkness." The last name is stolen from Doctor Who, but come on! If I'm in a universe where no one can fact-check me and I'm starting over, I'm giving myself a better name.

"You mind taking Myra around and showing her the ship while we're on Havarl?" Scott asks Liam as the ex-cop walks over to us.

Liam smiles, bright and sunny, "I don't mind at all. Why don't I show you where we eat, first?"

My stomach grumbles. "Oh, shit. I'm hungry."

Liam and Scott laugh, but Cora is silent behind me.

"Yeah, we'll take care of that first, then you can meet the rest of the crew." Liam turns and gestures off toward the Crew Quarters.

Like I'm gonna say no? This is the Tempest! I'm gonna eat, then get a tour. I know this can't be a dream, it's too real…but if it were…I wouldn't ever want to wake up.