Across the Universe


We'd been docked on Noveria for about a half hour, and I just couldn't believe how much colder the ship had gotten. I rubbed my arms, glancing over at Joker.

"Uh, Moreau…?" I started. He adjusted his hat and sighed.

"Believe me. The heaters are on."

I sighed, turning on my comm to contact Sabrina. Luckily she wasn't busy. "Hey Sabs, I was wondering if I could leave the ship and check out the shops inside. That okay?"

"Take one of the team with you and a sidearm."

Overprotective Sabrina at her best. I sighed. "Really Sabrina, I don't think I'm much of a target for… anything really."

"You bring someone with you or you stay on the ship," Sabrina told me bluntly. "I'll send a message over so they let you through with your weapons. And are you sure you want to come in here? There aren't a lot of shops."

"I'm going to see if I can pick up a few things so I can use the kitchen in the mess hall."

"Nice. Make something hot."

I looked up in thought, bringing my hand to my chin. Something hot would be nice. And it had been awhile since I'd gotten the opportunity to cook for Sabrina… if I made something I knew she liked, I was sure that she'd be happy. And Noveria had a decent amount of humans (and richer folk), so I was sure that it wouldn't be too difficult to find the ingredients I preferred to use… Heck, maybe I'd even be able to find regular cow meat. It'd probably be expensive but…

"Spryce family chilli?" I suggested. Sabrina let out a whoop of approval.

"Make enough for the crew Keys! I'll pay you back. And I now require you to bring two teammates, to protect the ingredients."

Joker glanced at me. "Looks like Shepard has her priorities straight," he teased.

"Shut up Moreau," I grumbled. He grinned. I stood up and began to head out of the cockpit. "Well I'll see you in a bit then."

"Don't keep me waiting too long. Chilli sounds great."

"Doesn't it?" I responded before I left his presence.

I'd need to get some kind of tomatoes. Preferably fresh, but canned was more likely. Chilli powder, cayenne pepper… dried… I listed all the ingredients in my head. Then, who would be best for me to bring? I couldn't bring Garrus because he was off with Sabrina, and so was Liara… not that I'd even consider asking her to come with.

There was always Tali, or Ashley even! But if I was going to make food for the whole crew, plus two dextro-eaters, I'd need to bring someone stronger, someone like…

"Wrex!" I spotted the Krogan with Kaidan in the mess hall and ran up to them like an eager puppy. "And Kaidan! Can you two come with me to explore the shops here? Sabrina said I need to bring bodyguards."

Kaidan smiled at me awkwardly. "I suppose I could, since Shepard asked… why though?"

"She's afraid I'm going to get myself or the food shot at."

Wrex let out a low chuckle. "Shepard's smart to think that way."

I crossed my arms and gave the krogan a small glare. "And what's that supposed to mean?"

Kaidan coughed awkwardly. "Careful Kim. You've already upset an asari."

"Care to repeat that Lieutenant?" I growled, turning my glare onto him. He smiled and laughed a bit.

"Even if you two aren't blood related, you certainly inherited her glare."

That snapped me out of my minor annoyance and made me pleased. I clapped happily and grinned at him. "You really think so? Man, I'm good," My gaze went back and forth between Wrex and Kaidan. "So… will you two come with me?"

"Shepard's orders," Wrex grunted. "I'll go grab my gun."

Kaidan nodded. "I'll suit up too."

I rolled my eyes at them. Really? It wasn't like we were going to fight with anyone. "Okay, Sabs told me to grab a weapon so I'll head down with you," I stated, the three of us heading to the elevator. Kaidan pressed the button and we began to head down… slowly.

"So tell me, who'd win in a fight between one of you and Shepard?" Wrex questioned us, a glint in his alien eyes. Kaidan was instantly flabbergasted.

"What? Commander Shepard is my superior officer. I can't imagine us ever having to fight."

I let out a snort as Wrex replied. "You can't? That's why Shepard's your superior officer. And that's why Shepard would win."

"What about you, Officer Kogan?" Kaidan asked me, awkwardness practically coming off of him in waves.

I shrugged. "I'd win."

Wrex nodded in agreement. "She's right."

Kaidan stared at us, a bit suspicious. "Why?"

"Shepard would let her," Wrex explained. I pouted, but knew he was right. Combat wise Sabrina had me beat. Then again, if we were racing Makos I would win, and that was really all that mattered. They day Sabrina could beat me in a race was the day I would give up piloting.

As in it would never happen.


The elevator finally stopped and the three of us went to grab our gear. Well, the others went to grab their gear. I picked up a pistol, checked to see if it was in good condition and considered myself set for life. Sabrina was the one that got targeted by assassins, I was just a pilot. The fact that she was making me bring people with me was just an annoyance. A few minutes later Kaidan and Wrex were ready, and we headed out.

Luckily Sabrina's Spectre status got us in quickly and easily, and the three of us headed to the shops. I spotted Garrus from a while away, likely waiting on Sabrina to finish something…

"Hey Kim, what kind of ingredients do you need?" Kaidan called from inside the store, and I dashed over to him.

"Oh cool!" I gaped, holding up some packaged meat. "Ground Earth cow meat!" I exclaimed. Kaidan took the package from my hands and looked just as surprised as me. Especially when we looked at the price.

"That's really expensive Officer Kogan…" Kaidan mumbled. I smirked.

"Sabrina said she was paying. How much is the Council paying her again?" I questioned the biotic. Wrex chuckled from behind me. I held up a blue-ish looking protein and scrunched up my face in minor disgust. "Oh, and this looks like… a dextro-amino ground meat. Better not mix these two while I'm cooking…"

"That… would be a bad idea," Kaidan agreed, staying by my side as I gathered both dextro ingredients and levo ingredients. When we were done… well, it wasn't too expensive when I casually mentioned that we were from a Spectre's ship, and having Wrex behind me also helped lower the price.

Now, I wasn't normally a fan of intimidation tactics, but people really shouldn't charge that much for ground beef, even if it was an Earth import.

Exiting the store, I was cheerful to see that Sabrina and Garrus were standing there waiting for us, and a little sour seeing Liara. But Sabrina beamed at me, and looked even happier when she saw Kaidan and Wrex carrying the groceries. And I had to admit, seeing Wrex carry a plastic shopping bag was quite a sight.

"Hey guys!" Sabrina greeted. "We got a pass to get in to the garage. Do you guys want to check out their Makos? I thought Kim'd like to see them."

I clapped enthusiastically. "I'd love to see them Sabs! Thanks!"

So the six of us walked through the cold (because of the people, not the temperature. The building itself was very well heated) building and to the garage, Sabrina using her pass to get us in. I walked in first, excited to see their vehicles—

I dropped like a rock.

Pain blossomed in my right leg, and a second later I felt a similar pain in my left. Then, my legs just felt numb. I looked up, dazed, and saw a laser pointed right at me, coming from…

A Geth.

I drew my pistol, aimed, and fired. The Geth jumped away, and it was then that I noticed how fast my heart was beating. I tried to stand up, but let out a cry and looked down at my legs that were now bleeding. I'd been shot in my right knee, and my left calf.

Well, that was going to make it difficult to walk.

Wrex jumped in front of me to protect me from any other shots. Sabrina was screaming orders at Garrus and Liara.

"Keep her safe! Everyone, circle around Kim so the Geth don't have a clear shot!"

When I was able to look past Wrex, I was able to see… maybe five other geth. Garrus lined up his sniper rifle and blew one's head off. Liara threw another into the air with her biotics. Where was the hopper? I gulped nervously, eyes darting from place to place trying to spot it. I looked up.

It was watching me from the ceiling, with its… eye, thing. Then I noticed a laser coming from its eye, pointing right at Sabrina's head.

"Sabrina look out!" I screamed, lining up my pistol sights at an amazing speed and filling the hopper with bullets.

Once all the Geth were down, Sabrina immediately knelt by my side, eyes filled with worry and guilt.

"Kim? You okay?"

"I think my legs are broken," I replied through gritted teeth.

"The Geth used a smart tactic," Wrex noted. "One shot through the knee to bring her down, another through the other leg to keep her from running. She's lucky it didn't shoot her in the head."

I looked around, ignoring the fact that I couldn't even stand up. "Are the groceries alright?"

Wrex laughed at that while Sabrina face palmed. "Okay, I'm calling Joker to let Chakwas know you need medical attention. I'm one hundred percent sure that you have a concussion. Kaidan, could you get us a stretcher over here?"

"On it Commander," Kaidan responded, exiting the garage to organize it with Noveria's officers. I began humming to myself, Sabrina combing through my hair with her hand.

"So, you glad I convinced you to bring back up?"

"Too bad you didn't convince me to wear armor. Not that there'd be anything that would fit me," I sighed. "Okay Sabs, distract me before the adrenaline wears off or I'm going to be in pain."

"What do you want me to do?" Sabrina asked me. Wrex stood guard nearby, his gun ready in case of danger. Liara stood there awkwardly, not knowing what to do.

"Knock me out," I told her bluntly.

"Not gunna happen Keys."

I groaned. "Okay. I'm just going to lay here and bleed out."

"You're gunna be fine. They only shot you twice," Sabrina laughed. I glared at her. Luckily, that's when Kaidan came in with a stretcher. "Okay, let's get you back to the ship Flight Officer Kogan. Garrus, lets carry her."

The two of them placed me onto the stretcher, strapping me in before lifting me off the ground and heading back towards the ship. "Sorry for wasting time," I mumbled. Sabrina turned her head to smile at me.

"Not your fault Keys," she told me in a soothing voice. I sighed, closing my eyes. "It's my fault that you're going to be a cripple like Joker," Sabrina joked.

That bomb getting dropped made me feel absolutely terrible. "Not funny Sabrina," I nearly growled. Garrus took one look at my expression and shook his head.

"You're not going to be a cripple," the turian told me.

Yeah, he didn't really get why Sabrina's comment had upset me.

Soon we'd returned to the ship, and I stealthily took a picture of Wrex and Kaidan heading ahead to the kitchen to put the groceries (that were thankfully safe) into the kitchen. Chakwas met up with us in the CIC, where she gave me a disapproving look.

"Both legs, Officer Kogan?"

"Yup," I grinned at her sheepishly. "At least I'm not dead."

"I suppose you've still got a few of your nine lives to spend, just try not to use them all at once," Karen suggested. I laughed and nodded. "I suspect you're not in too much pain?"

"Oh, just wait till the adrenaline wears off," I answered, Garrus and Sabrina carrying me down to the medbay so I could be patched up. "How long do you think I'll be off my feet Doc?"

"That depends on the scans," Karen replied. "Shepard, thank you for bringing her here. Just set her down over there and I'll let you know how she's faring in about an hour."

"No problem. Garrus, can you stay on the ship? Liara, you're still coming with me and… We'll bring Kaiden along too," Sabrina decided as she and her team left, Liara following after my adopted sister like a puppy. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at the Asari, instead keeping my eyes on Karen, who scanned me with her omni-tool.

"You're certainly lucky. The bones should heal nicely within a week… A century ago though, you likely wouldn't ever recover," Chakwas told me seriously. "While we have had many advancements in medicine over the years, please try not to get hurt. Some injuries can't be healed. Death, for example."

I watched Chakwas as she worked, applying medi-gel to my injuries and straightening my legs. I let out a yelp at the sharp pain that movement brought, and Chakwas smiled at me gently.

"They are broken, Kim," Chakwas explained. "And unless I do this, they won't heal properly."

"Am I going to be confined in one space for the week?" I pouted at the doctor, who shook her head and laughed.

"Of course not. But I don't want you standing on those legs!" She announced. "You'll be using a wheelchair. For the next twenty-four hours you're not to leave this level of the ship. Tomorrow, if your legs are healing well, then I will ask the Commander to assign someone to help you get up and down the stairs to the CIC."

I groaned. Life was going to be so boring for this next week.

Chakwas put a brace on my left calf, and used a special brace for my knee. "There. That'll help with the healing process."

"Does Joker use braces like these?" I questioned the doctor. Karen's eyes locked with mine, surprised. "You know, for his vrolik's syndrome."

Karen nodded after a moment. "The ones Joker uses are similar, yes."

"Is anyone working on a cure for Vrolik's Syndrome?" I pressed. "What does he use now to deal with his condition? Is there medication that helps his legs?"

Chakwas smiled at me in a grandmotherly way. "Doctor-Patient confidentiality Officer Kogan. But I can tell you that there is a medication that helps, but doesn't cure. And there are some people working on a cure but not many. Very few people have Vrolik's Syndrome."

"Well that's just stupid!" I blurted. "Who cares if it's a small percent of people? They're still people! Don't they deserve a cure too?" I ranted. "That's like saying that we shouldn't have cured lung disease in smokers because those people choose to smoke."

Chakwas laughed at how passionate I was about it. "You're not wrong, Kim."

"If I was a doctor, I'd cure it," I grumbled. "Then Moreau'd be able to dance."

"I'm sure he would appreciate the thought," Karen soothed me as she grabbed me a wheelchair and helped me into it, scanning me with her omni-tool once more before giving a nod of approval.

"Am I good?" I asked. Chakwas nodded.

"As good as you can be with a busted knee and a broken bone," the doctor began to push me into the mess hall. "I'll send word to Shepard and Joker to let them know what's going on. Will you be fine on your own for a bit?"

"I'm going to see how fast I can roll around," I grinned. Karen rolled her eyes and headed back to her workspace.

"I'll check on you in an hour," she called. I sat in my wheelchair, alone in the mess hall. I wheeled myself over to the kitchen, seeing the canned goods sitting on the counter. I managed to open the fridge to take out the vegetables and meats, but then I realized that I wouldn't be able to grab the cooking utensils in the cupboard.

Unless I stood up. But that would hurt.

Opening my omni-tool, I called Garrus and Ashley.

"Guy's I'm useless, help me cook."

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