After the Relay jump, we flew to Ilos as carefully as possible. I was almost certain that everyone on the ship was feeling tense, because, well… this was it. Saren wanted the Conduit, and we needed to stop him. This was our chance to stop him and save the galaxy.
I checked out coordinates and turned on my mic. "Ten minutes from Ilos," I called over the comm, keeping my eyes on the scanners. I noticed a few red dots appearing on it, most likely Geth. I flicked off my mic and turned to face Jeff. "Hey Moreau, think this could be Saren?" I asked him, pointing at my screen.
Jeff nodded. "I'd be surprised if it wasn't. Better let Shepard know."
"Already on it," I flicked my mic back on, broadcasting to everyone on the Normandy. "Sabrina, can you come up to the bridge? It's important."
"Smooth move CP, make everyone curious," Jeff chuckled. I stuck my tongue out at him.
"Shut up dumbass," I snapped back with a playful grin. "Maybe I wanted everyone and their mother to hear me."
A smirk appeared on Jeff's lips and I instantly went red, realizing what I'd done wrong.
"Damn it! Everyone, ignore that! I was talking to Joker!" I cried, muting my mic right after that and hiding my face in my hands while Jeff laughed next to me. "I'm such a loser," I mumbled.
"You're fine CP," Jeff chuckled, shaking his head and gliding his fingers across the Normandy's controls. "If anything, you've lightened the mood."
Not too long after that, the aliens, Kaidan, Sabrina, and Navigator Pressly entered the cockpit to see what was going on.
"I heard Kim embarrass herself," Tali teased, standing behind my seat. I looked up and pouted at her.
"You heard nothing Tali," I stated. "I don't even know what you're talking about."
Tali crossed her arms, and I could just feel the amused smile on her face. If Quarians could smile... "I believe you called Joker a dumbass?"
"You heard nothing Tali," I repeated forcefully. The quarian let out a small giggle, stepping back when Sabrina cut in, placing a gentle hand on the younger alien's shoulder.
"Come on Tali, don't tease her right now," my sister smiled down at me softly. That's when my bearded pilot friend decided to interrupt, bringing the rest of us back on topic.
"Ah Commander? We've got company," Jeff informed, pointing the red dots on our scanners out. I snapped my attention back to my console, eyes darting to take in everything.
"Who is it?" Sabrina questioned us, looking between Jeff and I with a straight face.
I turned my head to look up at Sabrina with a serious expression. "Saren, I assume. Geth too. Lots of them," I answered. Sabrina nodded, placing a hand on my chair and looking over my screen. Tali moved back to stand with Garrus, Wrex crossing his arms and leaning by the entrance.
"Have their sensors picked us up yet?" Liara questioned us (mostly to Joker though. Just because I apologized to her and asked her to sing with me during karaoke did not exactly make us friends), and I rolled my eyes at the young asari's stupid question. If they'd picked us up, I highly doubted they'd be moving that slowly.
"No, our stealth systems are engaged," I explained to her, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice. I mostly succeeded. "Unless we get close enough for them to see us they won't have a clue that we're here. Pretty great that this ship can go undetected by Geth, huh Tali? Maybe you could bring along some information of the Normandy's steath systems to your people. You know, to bring along with that Geth data."
Tali perked up at my words. "That's actually not a bad idea…"
"We'll see what we can do," Sabrina told her with a nod. "We probably can't give you too much, but every bit helps right?"
"Commander, we're picking up some strange readings from the planet's surface." Pressly called from the console at the back of the cockpit.
Sabrina nodded at Pressly and then looked at me and Jeff, a hand on her hip. "Take us down you two. Lock in on the coordinates."
Pressly instantly shot that plan down. "Negative on that, Commander. The nearest landing zone's two klicks away," he stated bluntly, shaking his head.
"We'll never make it in time on foot. Get us something closer!" Kaidan ordered the navigator with a scowl.
"There is nowhere closer!" Pressly snapped at the lieutenant with frustration. "I've looked!"
Things were starting to feel just a tad bit more tense than before.
"Drop us in the Mako?" Sabrina suggested awkwardly, causing the navigator to sigh and shake his head.
"You'd need at least a hundred metres of open terrain to pull off a drop like that. The most I can find near Saren is twenty." The older man explained warily, causing Kaidan to get even more frustrated at the situation.
"Twenty meters?! We'll never get in close enough for a drop," Alenko exclaimed.
"We have to try!" Liara argued.
"Find another landing zone!" Kaidan shouted, turning to glare at Pressly, as if his angry stare could somehow make Pressly clear a path for us to use.
"There is no other landing zone!" the navigator repeated.
I turned to glare at Kaidan. He wasn't helping. "Come on Alenko, calm down and stop taking it out on Pressly. Let's all think about this rationally."
The male biotic pursed his lips, but nodded stiffly in agreement.
"The descent angle's too steep," Tali commented, peering at my screen. I began calculating all the possibilities in my head. It wasn't impossible, that was for sure.
And I'd always loved a challenge.
But… Was I really willing to risk Sabrina's life if I wasn't completely sure that we could do it?
"It's our only option." Liara snapped, and I began to shake my head. Why exactly were they bickering about this while Jeff and I were flying? Wasn't there like, a rule about not distracting pilots while they were flying or something? All of their yelling was making it harder for me to think and I needed to think.
Kaidan shook his head, completely against the idea. "It's not an option it's a suicide run, we don't-"
"We can do it." Jeff cut in, confidence practically dripping off of his words.
My eyes widened slightly. Was he insane?
"Joker?" Sabrina's brow crinkled and she glanced at me uncertainly. I gave her a stiff smile.
"If Jeff thinks we can do it…" I drawled, returning my gaze to my screen before Sabrina could spot my doubt.
"We can do it." Jeff repeated, staring at me with determination written all over his face.
With a nod Sabrina turned to face Wrex and Garrus. "Gear up and head down to the Mako," she ordered the two of them before spinning on her heel to grin at Jeff and I, clapping me on the shoulder. "Drop us right on top of that bastard you guys."
"You got it Sabs!" I called after her as she stormed through the CIC.
As soon as everyone was gone I glanced over at Jeff "So I was nice enough not to question you in front of everyone else, but are you insane?"
"Come on CP," he grinned at me, green eyes twinkling brightly. "We're the best damn pilots in the entire fleet. I'm not insane, because I know we can make that drop. We're a team, CP. So don't worry, because I know you can do this."
I stared back at him nervously, the pilot gazing back at me gently.
"Trust me, Kim. We can do this," he assured. "Together."
My eyes widened in surprise for a moment, head tilted slightly to the side in disbelief before I nodded; a soft smile appearing on my lips.
We could do it.
I trusted him.
"Okay, we're going to need to get in as close as possible," I began, bringing things up on my screen. "Considering how much Garrus worked on Sabrina-proofing the Mako, it better survive the drop."
"It will," Jeff stated firmly. "So we have twenty metres right?"
"Twenty meters. If we go too low we're going to crash into the cliffs here," I placed a marker on our map. "And here."
"Too high and Mako gets totalled," the pilot added. I frowned, doing the math in my head.
"I got it!" I announced with a clap. "Sarendipity-doo is going to be here, and this space is our twenty meters," I began drawing it all out with my finger on the screen. "See this area here?" Jeff nodded, intrigued. "If we drop the Mako from about two hundred and sixty meters from the ground, it should shoot them onto the open terrain over here! That'll give them twenty meters to stop once they hit the ground."
Moreau checked my math on his console, giving a nod of approval. "This should work. Good job CP."
"Don't praise me until after Sabs runs Saren over with a Mako," I scolded, a small smile appearing on my lips at the compliment. "Seriously, we haven't done anything yet."
"If the Mako lands on Saren, I'm paying for the drinks when this is over," Jeff decided, turning on his mic. "Hey Shepard, you guys in the Mako?"
"Ready to go when you are!" the commander answered, sounding surprisingly cheery. I activated my mic, needing to confirm my hunch.
"Are they letting you drive…?" I questioned her suspiciously. "Garrus, Wrex, are you letting her drive?!"
"What can I say, it might be the last time this Mako hits the surface," Garrus reasoned sheepishly. I could imagine him shrugging as he said that. "Might as well let Shepard take the wheel."
"She's not that bad of a driver," Wrex added. Jeff and I gave each other a look, and I couldn't even picture the look that Garrus was probably giving the krogan.
"You're kidding, right?" Garrus questioned disbelievingly.
"I hope he's kidding," I coughed. Sabrina huffed over the comm.
"Thank you Wrex! You're the only one that believes in me," the Spectre declared. "Oh and Kimmy, I thought I'd let you know that my room is yours if this fails. We burned the bedsheets."
I looked up, relieved, putting my hands together. "Thank you so much."
Jeff raised an eyebrow. "Why'd she need to do that?"
Sabrina cackled. "Well Joker, you see me and Kai-"
"Sabs!" I yelped. "I don't want to know! I don't want to know!" Childishly, I curled up in my seat, kicking my feet, clenching my eyes shut and covering my ears with my hands.
"She doesn't want to know, "Jeff repeated with a chuckle. "CP, snap out of it. We're almost at the drop zone."
I sat up straight and placed my hands on the aero-gel controls. It was time for me to be serious. "You ready Sabrina?" I inquired, voice calm. I was glad that I was able to at least hide how nervous I was over the comm.
Because honestly? I was worried. Even if my math was good, there were still a hundred things that could go wrong.
"All set over here," Sabrina confirmed.
I glanced over at Joker, who nodded at me. "Opening the cargo bay doors," I announced. "Garrus, Wrex, Sabs, you three better hold on tight," I suggested, hovering my hand over the Mako release button and keeping my eyes on the map.
"Release it in three… two…" Jeff counted down.
"One!" I hit my hand against the button, keeping my eyes glued to the screens, watching the green blip that signified the Mako go diagonally across at a rapid speed. When it hit the surface, and didn't go out, I jumped out of my seat and cheered loudly.
"We did it!" I exclaimed, clapping; Jeff throwing a fist in the air.
"Yes!" the pilot shouted, grinning over at me. I beamed back at him.
We were incredibly proud of ourselves.
We did it.