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The Green Wave

Chapter Text

If I told you this was only gonna hurt
If I warned you that the fire's gonna burn
Would you walk in? Would you let me do it first?
Do it all in the name of love
Would you let me lead you even when you're blind?
In the darkness, in the middle of the night
In the silence, when there's no one by your side
Would you call in the name of love?

In the Name of Love by Martin Gerrix and Bebe Rexha

*****

Brant answered his call.
"Hello, Vakarian."
"Councilor Lyric," Garrus requested, barely able to choke out the words.
"Of course."
Garrus waited.
"Hello, Garrus.  I see you've gotten my message."
"What the hell is this?" he snarled.
"Well, I asked you for the consult.  I'm guessing you read the whole thing.  What do you think it is?" she replied calmly.  Garrus huffed and put his hand over his face as he sat down on his bed, the omnitool next to him.  His face felt hot, but he didn't know why.  Fury?  Grief?  Shame?  There was a long pause as he tried to compose himself enough to think of the right questions to ask, the right thing to say.
"...where did this come from?" he finally whispered among several deep breaths.
"As I mentioned, it's a separate division of the Cynosure research team.  Initially they were attempting to learn more about the Catalyst.  They can find it, but not access it, as if it is dormant or broken somehow...  They did, however, find a log of some kind.  It's exact nature is unknown, but they have some guesses."  Her tone was casual, as if they were discussing the weather.


"A... log?" he repeated.
"Mm, more like a feed.  It's continuous and ongoing.  There's a lot more than what I sent you, but I thought perhaps those portions would be most relevant to you," she explained.
"You mean because they sound like Shepard exists and lives," he said flatly.
"Is that your conclusion, based on that collection?  Does it sound familiar?" Lyric asked, her tone suddenly sounding urgent.
"No... and yes..." he mumbled.
"Can you elaborate?"  Garrus sighed and began pacing around the room.
"It doesn't exactly... sound like her.  It sounds like a VI.  But I understand what it's saying.  I recognize the moments it's talking about.  It's the times I thought Shepard was with me...  My dreams, when I discovered the anti-syns, even fighting her in Spectre Status."
"Do you feel like she's with you right now?" Lyric asked.
"...I was dreaming about her," Garrus realized after a pause.
"I know."
"You know?!" he said incredulously.  He remembered Vega getting those readings when he had dreamt before, and wondered if the Councilor was doing the same.  Before he could speak again, Councilor Lyric continued.


"Garrus, there's a lot more to the feed than just those excerpts.  A lot more that will help you understand what led me to share them with you now, at this specific time.  I'm happy to tell you all about it, but there's a warning I will give: it might cause you to hope again."  Lyric paused, and Garrus was silent, frozen, barely able to breathe.
"If that's a risk you're willing to take, and a price you're willing to pay, I recommend you have a conversation with the team, in person.  If not, you're free to walk away from this and I won't bother you again... unless something truly definitive happens."
Garrus's mind was reeling and he felt somehow ill-equipped to make this decision for himself.  What had Shepard said in his dream?  Did he trust Councilor Lyric's assessment?  Who was this special team?  What if it wasn't actually Shepard?  What if they found her, but he could never hold her again?  What if it was an incomplete version of her like her clone had been?
Was it possible he'd now have something he could do for Shepard, and would he?
That thought stopped all others because he knew the answer immediately, instinctively, naturally, even though it scared him.
"Of course I'll go," he breathed.
"I'm sorry to take you away from your family so soon," Lyric replied, but she sounded like she was grinning.
"Shepard is just as much my family," Garrus grumbled, feeling heavier than he did a moment ago.
"Would you like me to arrange transportation for you?" she offered.
"That's fine with me.  I trust you and your discretion."
"Of course.  You'll receive an itinerary shortly.  I'll be there at the station when you arrive."


Soon the call ended and Garrus sat back on his bed, staring at nothing, completely dumbfounded and at a loss for what to think.  Images of Shepard on the edge of death and his dreams of dancing with her fought for prevalence in his mind.  He'd been trying not to let himself daydream that way, but now he was powerless to it.
Something drove him to reach below his bed and pull out the small box kept under there.  Reverently he opened it and studied the items inside.  Among them was a hair brush, strands of hair still tangled in the bristles, and a necklace.  Garrus ran his hands over the fabric that made up the band of the necklace, a durable but sleek ribbon with several shades of blue shimmering along it.  The pendant was an oval shape a few inches tall and a perfect, solid white.
It had belonged to his mother.  He asked to keep it when she passed, and it was one of the few belongings he kept very close.  He'd even had it on Menae when he ran into Shepard after the invasion.  Shortly after they'd cured the genophage, Garrus had gifted it to her.
Other than Castis, Solana, and Shepard, no one else in the galaxy knew that the necklace used to be his mother's.  Reading the comment about the necklace in the file Lyric sent to him had been the moment his bones turned to ice.  Was it possible that he'd get to give it to Shepard again?
His omnitool pinged, likely with an itinerary, but it wasn't quite enough to pull him out of his pondering.
Get ready to roll.
That did it.  Garrus let out an incredulous laugh.  If that was truly someone talking to him, would it say more if he replied?  He wondered why some bits and pieces made it through and why some didn't.
Get ready to roll.
"You're right," he muttered aloud.  "Maybe I'll find the answer if I actually got going."
He didn't hear anything else, but he wore a small, even hopeful, smile as he began gathering and organizing his things for another trip through space.

*****

VIP docking and transportation protocols were quickly becoming one of Garrus's favorite Normandy Elect perks.  He'd had quite a bit of infamy as Reaper Advisor, but was still stuck with military resources.  Between the Primarch and Councilor Lyric, he was traveling like a diplomat, and the simplicity and elegance of the process was like night and day.  He wandered onto the VIP docks, eyes peeled for dock E3, where a private ship titled Spectacle was waiting for him.
Bidding his family farewell went exactly as he expected.  He didn't give them many details, just said that Councilor Lyric needed him to check something out for her and he wasn't expecting combat and left it at that.  Solana pouted briefly, gave him the tightest hug she could, and told him not to let it be another "long year".  His father said the Council was lucky to have him on speed dial and wished him well.
Garrus spotted the right dock and the ship.  It wasn't very big, basically a space taxi that looked a lot more elegant.  He approached but didn't see anyone nearby, and the ship was powered down.


"I'm coming!  I'm sorry, I--"
Garrus turned at the familiar voice just as it cut itself off.  Rushing awkwardly towards the dock was the pilot, none other than Joker.  Garrus grinned and Joker burst out laughing.
"Here I was, prepared to have perfect people skills for some stuffy, stoic turian diplomat," he laughed.
"Hah, well you'd have already failed for being late," Garrus chuckled, grasping Joker's shoulder as he got close.  "Is it just you?"
"Yeah, usually there's at least one other person here to be more professional, but I understand now why the Councilor sent me on my own," the pilot grinned.  "It's good to see you in person again."
"You too," he replied as Joker tapped a code on the door panel.  "Where's EDI?"
"She's off exploring.  Even though she can basically access any information at any time, she seems to really like seeing the sights for herself," Joker explained.  The door slid open and they both stepped inside.  "She's currently visiting the elcor on Dekunna."
"That sounds exotic," Garrus commented.
"Doesn't it?" he snickered.


The Spectacle didn't have a separate area for the pilot.  There was a small lounge area with the control panel in the middle, and a few seating and viewing options around the room.  Garrus dropped his bag on one of the chairs as Joker began booting up the systems.
"There's a little fold out cot in the back corner, and a place to freshen up if you need it," Joker told him, sounding like it was part of his job to say that.
"And leave you without the company?  I don't think so," Garrus replied, wandering over to one of the observation windows.
"Too bad it won't be a very long trip," Joker replied.  "The coordinates aren't too far from the Citadel."
"I figured as much.  Still, it was nice of Councilor Lyric to set this up."
"Yeah.  I like her.  The Council was missing someone who could throw rockin' parties."
"Agreed," Garrus chuckled.
Silence passed between them as the Spectacle began to pull out of the dock and away from the terminals.


"So... do I get to know what you and her are up to, or is it too classified?" Joker finally asked.  Garrus turned back towards him and rubbed the back of his neck.
"I'm honestly not even sure if I could explain it," he mumbled.
"Something like... Shepard has been talking to you this whole time but you didn't know about all of it and were too dense to trust in the times you did know about it?" Joker asked, glancing over his shoulder at the turian.  Garrus's mouth was hanging open, his eyes narrowed and mandibles twitching.
"Pff, I think that's the most offended expression I've ever seen on a turian," Joker snickered and then laughed, turning back to the controls.
"Did you seriously know about all this?!  And never said anything?" Garrus said incredulously, moving in closer and hovering behind him.
"I've had a lot of suspicions that all suddenly made sense when I saw you standing in front of this ship," Joker said smugly.
"Like what?" Garrus snapped.
"Councilor Lyric has been snooping around for a while.  You remember at her party?  You told me she grilled you for details about Shepard and you," he said.
"I remember..." he muttered.
"She was trying to find buzzwords.  She told me there was some kind of network her research team accessed.  They didn't know what it was, but thought it might have information on Shepard so she asked me a lot of stuff too.  Inside jokes, significant memories, all the inside scoop," he explained with a shrug.
"That was it?  That was all you needed to figure it out?" Garrus asked.


"I mean, I didn't get my hopes way up or anything," he added, then looked at Garrus pointedly.  "But you're also not the only one that's been having dreams."
Garrus's breath caught and he turned, taking a few paces away from Joker with his back to him.  He rubbed the back of his neck again and his shoulders slumped.
"I think being around EDI so much helped me be more open to the idea," Joker said, trying to lessen Garrus's disappointment in himself.  "I mean, she used to be a shackled AI that I was not happy about.  But then we learned to work together, and the unshackling made it really easy for us to become friends.  Now she's got a body that can go anywhere, but also exists inside the Normandy.  I mean, she could probably pop in this ship if she wanted to.  She's everywhere, so it didn't seem like a stretch to think that Shepard might be everywhere too."
"Did EDI ever suspect...?" Garrus asked, curious more than anything.
"Yeah.  She's been monitoring the hacking going on with the Cynosure research team and the attempts to access the Normandy... she thinks the anti-syns are probably involved, but she's been wondering if Shepard is following their lead and trying to get in, too."
"...and nobody told me because you didn't want to send me into a crazy emotional tailspin?" he speculated.
"Pretty much, but I mean, that was kind of inevitable," Joker teased with a snicker.
"What were your dreams with her like?" Garrus asked quietly.
"Fairly cryptic, but also... familiar," he replied.
"I know what you mean."


"The first time was just after the memorial.  I was there on the stage by myself, and then she came and seemed really confused.  I don't remember exactly what I said, but I made some joke and she laughed.  Then she told me she trusted me, and was happy that I recognized her.  She said she wanted me as her pilot, like it had never happened before."  He shrugged again.  "There were a few others, but I don't remember all the details, just how they felt."
"They sent me a whole collection of times she was talking to me, but it was the same.  Whoever this is doesn't know they are Shepard.  What if it isn't her?" Garrus asked.
"I think you'd be a little confused, too, if whatever happened to Shepard happened to you," Joker said casually.
"I don't know how to make sense of any of what happened," he said in exasperation, beginning to pace around.  "I haven't a clue about the facts, much less how to feel about them."
"I never thought I'd see Garrus Vakarian as such a hot mess," Joker laughed, but sounded sympathetic.
"I guess that means anything's possible?" he scoffed.
"Exactly," the pilot replied with a grin.  "We're almost to the relay, which means you're not far from getting to talk to some people a lot less clueless than me, so maybe then you can stop freaking out about it.  I mean, if Shepard does show up at some point, you better be ready for her."
Something almost primal inside of Garrus reacted to that comment, and the last lines of the file from Lyric flashed through his mind.


Please don’t forget.  Please be ready at the right time.
I need you, Garrus.
I love you.

He cleared his throat, stifling down the beginnings of a growl.  Joker didn't seem to notice.
"I'm certainly eager just for things to make sense again, even if it's not the news we may have hoped for," he grumbled.
"Yeah... but what if it is?" Joker said, looking back at him with a grin.  Garrus just gave a small laugh and shook his head.
"At least tell her I say hi, and to call me when she feels up to it." Joker said, then turned back to the controls.  "Hitting the relay now."
Soon they were approaching the Citadel's orbit.  Many various stations were scattered throughout the Widow system, most on Citadel Council business with varying degrees of security clearances.  Joker pulled them close to one that was moderately sized and fairly nondescript.  He sent a comm announcing their arrival and they were efficiently allowed through the security clearance and given a docking assignment.  Garrus hefted his bag up onto his shoulder as Joker settled the Spectacle in.
"Don't be a stranger," Joker said, walking towards the door to see Garrus out.
"I won't," he assured him, then took in a deep breath.  "Here's to finding some answers, I guess."
"And Shepard," Joker agreed with a grin.  They gave each other casual salutes, the camaraderie in their eyes wordlessly sharing appreciation for each other.


Garrus turned to disembark and as the door opened, he immediately caught sight of Councilor Lyric at the edge of the dock, and Brant just behind her, of course.  He approached and Lyric greeted him just as warmly as ever, smiling brightly and grasping his hands.
"I'm so glad you're here.  I'm so excited to show you what we've been working on," she said enthusiastically.
"Uh, me too, I think," Garrus said, clearing his throat.
"Let Brant take your bag.  We've got a room set aside for you.  It's not much, but it's private," she told him.  Brant stepped forward and Garrus's mandibles twitched as he hesitated.
"Okay, just be careful, that's... nearly everything I own," he said awkwardly, handing the bag over.
"Of course," Brant assured him.
"Come, come, let's get started with the introductions," Lyric said, gently grasping Garrus's forearm and leading him into the main area.  He let himself get pulled along as she continued, "You'll actually find some familiar faces here, and don't worry about getting to know everybody, but I want you to know the people in charge."
They entered a room with various workstations, computers and large monitors scattered throughout.  A massive, intricate model of both the Citadel and the Crucible were in the middle of the room, and a large display that showed a timeline centered on Shepard's life were the only hints as to what exactly was being studied there.  One of the larger screens in the back looked to be glitching.
He felt several eyes landing on him and finally let his own meet the faces of some of those present.  Many were gathering together and whispering among themselves, looking as enthusiastic as Councilor Lyric was.  A human who previously had his back to him turned around, and Garrus gave a small smile to the first face he recognized.


"Normandy cre-- er, Elect.  Good, good, good, good, it's me again, she'll be so happy," the man said.  Though he looked slightly older now, David Archer still spoke and smiled like a child, and something about it set Garrus at ease.
"I remember you, David," he said in greeting.  "I'm glad you made it through the war."
"Yes, working on the Crucible!  Very exciting.  Almost perfect project," David replied, his deep brown eyes shining brightly.  An asari who had been standing next to him also stepped forward, giving a respectful nod to Garrus.  He could tell right away that she was in the second half of her lifespan.  Her skin tone was a solid ocean blue.
"This is Matriarch Nasavathea Atelis," Councilor Lyric introduced.  "She was also on the Crucible team.  She and David work very well together, so I contracted them both for this project as well."
"Most just call me Nasa," the Matriarch said with a smile.
"David is one of the lead researchers here due to his unique strengths and... history," Lyric said carefully.
"Synthesis is a better way to merge organic and synthetic than what my brother attempted," David mumbled, wringing his hands and looking down at the floor.  Nasa extended a hand to him and he took it, squeezing and stroking it to calm himself.
"I agree," Garrus said earnestly.
"David is very well-suited to studying the synthesis phenomenon and the Cynosure," Nasa said.
"Almost perfect," David began muttering.
"It's been a delight to work with him," she added.


"Come see," David said suddenly, releasing Nasa's hand and reaching for Garrus's.  Once again, Garrus was letting himself be led, this time to the very back of the room in front of the screen that was glitching.
"Come see," David repeated.
"Uh..."  Garrus stared at what appeared to be just sporadic, flashing patterns.  "What am I supposed to be seeing?"
"It's her!" David laughed.  "It's Shepard.  She'll be so happy you're here.  Slow down, please."
Garrus went rigid, his eyes widening in alarm as he looked at the terminal before him and tried to comprehend what David meant.
"This is the stream of consciousness, or just the stream for short," Nasa explained gently.
"Shepard's consciousness...?" he asked breathlessly.
"We think there may be more to it than that," Nasa replied.
"But it is where the excerpts I sent you came from," Lyric pointed out as she joined them.
"Show him, show him," David said, patting Garrus's hand and arm.  Nasa tapped the terminal screen and swiped it over to a very large holographic projector.  Garrus looked and saw a wall of text.  He realized the flashes on the screen were just words moving too fast for his eyes to discern.  David stepped away from him, mumbling to himself and scanning the wall.  Garrus did the same, searching for anything recognizable or meaningful.


Citadel tourism is seeing continuous growth... I don't think I like that... projections are reading high levels of radiation... a great dancer... asari-vorcha offspring have an allergy to... I'm more... RGN-008/657 has seen irregular activity... that's the best shoe I've ever touched... tropical storm on southern hemisphere of Aite will be biggest since 2083... specials at Vaelik Amavala include exquisite dishes for amino and dextro... no way it's authentic... as innocent as a baby...


None of it made sense.  Some of it wasn't even translatable by his omnitool.
"I don't understand," Garrus said quietly, his mandibles twitching.
"Give David a moment," Nasa urged.  A few minutes passed and then David shook his head.
"Another sample," he said, and Nasa swiped another portion onto the larger screen.  Garrus once again found nothing and after several minutes David asked for another.  This time, David smiled right away.
"Here she is, here she is, here she is," he muttered.  He used the interface on the holovid to move the text closer to him and highlighted three sentences.  "Here she is."
Garrus read the text.
I'm weaker, but I understand.  He'll make it easier to stay connected.  I hope you work quickly.
Nasa worked at the terminal to log and timestamp the sentences.
"...I don't get it," Garrus admitted.  "How do you know that text is different than any of the other text?  And just because it's different doesn't mean it's Shepard."
"The stream was discovered a few months after the Cynosure, when we were looking to access the Catalyst," Nasa began.  "We can see that the Catalyst became dormant at the time of the Cynosure.  The Catalyst and stream aren't the same thing, but are connected.  Most of these are observational thoughts, like someone reading a book.  There are some that actually originate from within the stream and began at the same time and seems to have a deeper link to the Catalyst.  David detected it first and can naturally pick it out, almost as if he recognizes it..."


"So you guys have been digging through the stream and separating the thoughts of this unique signature from the others?  Manually?" Garrus asked, his mind spinning.
"Through melds I've understood David better than he's able to communicate.  I created a program that could also recognize the unique signature, but it's not as accurate as David himself.  Still, it did speed things along much faster than if we'd done it on our own," Nasa told him.
"And the timeline combined with the content is what led you to believe that it could be Shepard?" he asked.  Nasa nodded, and Lyric stepped forward again.
"The dreams you've been having?  David has had them, too," the Councilor told him.  "He shared them with Nasa, who brought them to Hackett since he oversaw the Crucible work, and he brought it to me."
"Shepard asked me for help," David said, turning away from the wall and back towards the others.
"She asked you in a dream?" Garrus asked.
"Yes," he nodded.  "She didn't know what kind of help she needs... but I do."
"And you and Hackett felt it was plausible enough to take action just from a dream?" Garrus inquired, turning to Councilor Lyric.
"We were already devoting resources to studying the Cynosure," she pointed out.  "When the stream was discovered, we simply created a more specialized task force and brought them here.  Higher security clearances, of course, due to the... sensitive nature of the project."
Garrus lowered his gaze and was quiet for a long time, trying to integrate this information into his mind.  The Vakarian C-Sec side of him was putting together all the pieces.  Finally, he looked up again, slowly.


"Can you... talk to it?  Like have an actual conversation?" he asked quietly.
"Difficult," David replied, frowning.  "The stream flows so quickly.  Catching the response at the right time would not be efficient for discussion.  Not sure if she perceives time the same, either.  Even in dreams, she seems... fragmented."
"...I see."  He thought for a long moment again, looking at the screen with the highlighted words supposedly belonging to Shepard.  "...then, if I'm all caught up, and this is where we're at..." he began, gesturing vaguely at the entire lab, "...where do we go from here?  Why bring me in now?"
For a moment Councilor Lyric's smile faltered, and she shifted uncomfortably.  Brant re-entered the room and she gestured towards a smaller conference room.
"Let's go somewhere we can take a seat and get some refreshments, shall we?" she suggested.  "Brant, will you watch the room for me, please?"
Brant nodded and stood outside the door after Lyric, Nasa, David, and Garrus filtered in.  Garrus knew immediately that the room change was deliberate for bigger reasons than convenience, but knew better than to ask about it right then.  Nasa and David began mixing some hot drinks for all of them as Lyric took a seat around a table, pulling the chair out to more easily face everyone.  Garrus settled in a chair against the wall and clasped his hands together, resting his forehead on them as he stared at the floor.
"What exactly is the game plan?" he prompted.
"We need this unique signature, whether it's Shepard or not, out.  It's a vulnerability that leads directly to the Catalyst.  The stream is fairly easily detected and whoever is in there is getting into things it shouldn't, like our dreams and your incident at Spectre Status.  It's created a weakness in the Citadel and Crucible systems that we cannot allow to continue," Lyric explained.
"Which is a more acceptable cover story than 'we wanted to bring Shepard back from the dead, again'," he couldn't help commenting, giving Lyric a pointed look.
"Yes, it is," she replied, matching his gaze.


"How would you begin to get that unique signature out?  And where would it go after?" he asked.
"It's almost like a form of digital surgery," Nasa explained, handing Lyric a drink and taking a seat.  David quietly laughed at the phrase as he gave Garrus his drink and also sat down nearby.
"Essentially, we'll be providing a separate, more secure space for it, like a hosting server, and hoping it goes there.  At the same time, we'll be programming the server to, in a way, organize the code so that we can work with it more directly."
"You'll be so surprised," David giggled into his drink.
"We've already begun this process, but aren't quite ready to invite it in yet," Nasa added.
"It will be easier to convince her if you're here," David said, smiling at Garrus.  "She talks about you a lot.  She loves you."
"He's right," Nasa said gently as Garrus's mandibles twitched uncomfortably.  "Regardless of whether that consciousness is Shepard, a part of her, was created through her, or isn't her at all... it watches you very closely and does seem to love you."
"I... don't know how to feel about someone that isn't Shepard loving me," Garrus admitted.
"That's okay," Lyric assured him.  "We don't know exactly what to expect."
"I'm going to let her choose.  But I don't know what she will choose," David said.
"Choose what?" Garrus asked.
"What form she wants to take," he replied.  When no explanation came, Garrus looked curiously to Nasa, who just shrugged.
A quiet moment passed as they all sipped on their teas and juices.


"What is my job here now, then?" Garrus asked suddenly.  "Or am I just the lure for this consciousness?"
"You're mostly the lure," Lyric replied, with a small smirk.
"We'll continue finalizing the program, and you're moral support.  If this consciousness does end up being even part of Shepard, we thought it would be good to have you here," Nasa added.
"And she'll want to see you!" David said with excitement.
"Great," Garrus grumbled, and quickly took three large gulps of his drink.  "I hate waiting around doing nothing."
"Sorry we don't have anything for you to shoot here," Lyric chuckled.  "But it should only be a few days, correct?"
"At most, yes, that is when the program will be ready," Nasa said.  "As far as when the process will begin or how long it will take, that we are unsure of."
"You'll be so surprised," David giggled again.  Once again Garrus looked to Nasa, his expression perplexed.
"It's not uncommon for David to know something we don't," she said with a smile.  "He hides some things from even me, but it's almost always good news.  Think of it like he's preparing a gift for you.  Once he ordered a giant feast for all of the staff; we had no idea it was coming until he had to give the caterer security clearance."
"That was a good day," David said with a contented sigh.


"Well, Garrus, I'm sure you need some time to let this all soak in," Lyric said as she stood.
"That... does sound like a good idea," he admitted with a sigh, also getting to his feet.  "Will you be staying on the station?"
"Brant and I plan to be here unless something else comes up that needs urgent attention," Lyric replied.  She opened the door to the room and Brant turned to greet her.  "Will you send Garrus the floor plan of the station so he knows his way around?" she asked the salarian.
"Of course."
After a few seconds of fiddling with his omnitool, Garrus had a map of the facility.  He assured the others he could find his way around on his own and dismissed himself, feeling a little overwhelmed by all the information and discussion.  Soon he was heading down a hall towards the room highlighted for him.  While focused on his omnitool, he accidentally collided with a researcher coming around a corner.  They dropped their data pad but Garrus caught it as a reflex.
"Sorry, I'm new--"
He froze, hand out offering the data pad, staring into the face of Xanossi.  Her expression was mostly neutral, eyes only slightly narrowed, as she slowly took the data pad with one hand.
"Garrus.  How was your time in Palaven?" she asked casually.
"Uh, it was... great," he stuttered, rubbing the back of his neck as his mandibles fluttered repeatedly.  "When did you get here?"
"Shortly after you left," she said.  "They aired footage of your welcome home during the Cyno-versary.  I requested a transfer, as most of the non-classified research has come to a dead end for now, and I was bored."
"Oh..."


There was a pause, but Xanossi didn't let it draw out for long.
"I need to bring some reports to a colleague," she announced.
"Oh, uh, right, I'll... let you go," Garrus mumbled, stepping out of her way.
"See you around."
Xanossi walked past him and went on her way, and Garrus watched her go.  He knew he probably owed her some kind of apology, but he truly couldn't get his mind to think of one in that moment.  Maybe the next time he saw her, after he'd had some time to process, he would do his best to clear the air with her.
He sighed and continued down the hall, eventually finding his room.  It was indeed small, almost like a personal barracks.  A cot in the corner, a desk, and a shower that was barely bigger than a cryo pod were the only comforts.  He guessed he'd be eating at the cafeteria the researchers were using.  He made a mental note to look for that on the map later.
Garrus sat on the cot, his bag of things next to him.  Just to reassure himself, he opened it up and took a quick glance through it.  A couple weapons, a few casual outfits, his armor as condensed down as possible (he liked to always be prepared), hygiene necessities, the box of Shepard's things, and not much else.  Of course, he did leave a few other things at his father's house, like his formal outfits, but there wasn't much there either.  Garrus liked it that way; or rather, he was used to it being that way.
Feeling unable to devote mental energy to much else, he reclined on the cot (thankfully well stocked with cushions) and closed his eyes, allowing himself a mental break in the form of a quick nap.