Across the Universe

A Visit to the Citadel

The heavy beat of footsteps was enough for me to turn around, wondering who was heading to the cockpit. Seeing that it was Sabrina, fully conscious and not looking near-dead was more than enough to make me the happiest girl in space.

At least until Joker opened his mouth.

"Good timing Commander I-"

"We…" I muttered quietly. My comment was once again ignored by the older man who I was sure had to have an ego bigger than a Krogan's ass to consistently act like he was the only one that did anything on the bridge.

"-was just about to bring us into the Citadel. See that taxpayer money at work," Joker told Sabrina, tilting his head in her direction. At the same time, Alenko and Ashley walked in behind Sabrina with awe shining on their faces as they gazed out of the long rectangular windows to check out the Citadel. I had to admit, it was quite a site. Each arm of the station was covered in thousands of lights like an alien-made mini galaxy. For me looking at the Citadel was like looking at a perfect fairy-tale city; a city surrounded by stars and clouds and big ass beautiful ships. I whistled at the Destiny Ascension as it came into view, Ashley placing a hand on my shoulder and pointing at it's gorgeous hull.

"Look at the size of that ship!" Ashley exclaimed.

I turned my head to grin up at her and nodded my agreement. "The Destiny Ascension. It's the flagship of the Citadel fleet. Four times bigger than the biggest human vessel," I remarked. Kaidan nodded along as I gushed over the dreadnought. "It has a crew of nearly ten thousand, built by the Asari…" I sighed dreamily as finished listing the facts.

"I'm guessing you've never seen it before, Williams?" Kaidan asked the female soldier, to which she shook her head.

"Never, well, only on the extranet," the pony-tailed brunette soldier confirmed. On her face was an expression matching my dreamy one as she commented further, "Wow its huge!"

Getting annoyed by our fangirling, Joker spoke up. "Well, size isn't everything," the pilot grumbled, obviously preferring the Normandy.

"Why so touchy, Joker?" Ashley teased.

"I'm just saying you need firepower too," Joker huffed, causing Sabrina to chuckle at his weak counterargument.

"Look at that monster!" I argued loudly. Green eyes glared at me, causing me to glare back. Joker's arguments were invalid as I knew without a doubt that the Destiny Ascension would best the SSV Normandy in everything but speed and maybe maneuverability. Ashley was on my side, joining the argument without hesitation.

"I'd bet its main gun could rip through the barriers on any ship in the Alliance fleet," she exclaimed, to which I nodded, ready to support her as she supported me.

"You're right about that," I told her. "It has just as much firepower as the rest of the Asari fleet combined. That's a lot of firepower."

"Good thing it's on our side, then," Kaidan stated, and I nodded my agreement. Fighting against that thing would be a pain in the ass with a 99% chance of us getting completely and utterly destroyed. Regardless, Joker looked about ready to get into a heated debate with Ashley and I, but one look from Sabrina told the grump to stand down.

"Whatever," Joker scoffed, raising his hands in mock defeat before hunching over his control panel. I really needed to learn how to imitate Sabrina's expressions. If I could shut him up with a single look, I wouldn't need to worry about a thing. Sadly, I had neither rank or size against the pilot. Joker tapped the comm button with a pale finger, ready to contact Citadel Control so we could dock.

"Citadel Control, this is SSV Normandy requesting permission to land," he spoke clearly and calmly, as if completely forgetting about our almost-debate.

A female voice rang over our comm. "Stand by for clearance, Normandy."

Giving the Destiny Ascension one last look, I sighed. "Asari sure do know how to build nice ships," I voiced dreamily, slowly returning my attention to my control panel.

"Clearance granted. You may begin your approach, transferring you to an Alliance operator."

Kaidan looked at me questioningly. "Oh? Not too fond of the Human-made ships then I'm guessing? What about the Normandy?"

"Hey, I love this ship," I snapped, then looked up in thought. "...Probably because Turian's helped make it. And they make nice ships too. Hmm…" Pausing momentarily, I nodded at Kaidan "I will let you know once I've seen a Salarian ship. Until then, I am perfectly fine with Human ships."

"Oh boy," Ashley laughed. "Keep an eye on this one Joker, next thing we know she'll be transferring to a Krogan vessel."

Joker scoffed, rolling his eyes, uncaring. "I'll pay her to do that."

A tense silence followed that, my gut clenching.

Sabrina looked between the two of us, a small frown on her face. I could sense that she wanted to say something, and I inwardly prayed that she would. Tell him to deal with me, ask him to be a bit nicer. I know I'm not the easiest to deal with, but he's fucking impossible help me please. Sadly, just as she opened her mouth a male voice came over the comm, breaking the silence instead. "Normandy this is Alliance tower. Please proceed to dock 422."

"Roger Alliance Tower. Normandy out," Joker voiced, turning our comm off as the Normandy entered the docking bay.

The air felt heavy around me, and I was certain that the others could feel it too. I spotted Ashley giving Kaidan an uneasy look, knowing that maybe she joked about the wrong thing. The three of us didn't really know what to do, but luckily Sabrina did. "Ashley, Kaidan, wait for me outside. I'll be there in a few minutes," she told them in her commander voice. It was the one that left no room for argument, and considering the tense atmosphere that everyone would want to leave, they hurried out as quickly as they could to the decontamination chamber.

Knowing that this could be my chance to leave too, I stood up and faced Sabrina. "So… We're on the Citadel," I voiced softly, not wanting to stay on the ship for much longer.

"Yes, we are," Sabrina confirmed. She crossed her arms, and I knew that she was annoyed. Maybe it was at me, or it was at Joker... or maybe both of us. I gulped.

"Can I go with you into the Citadel?" I asked her.

Sabrina looked away from me uneasily. "You'd need the Captain's permission," the dark skinned commander told me. "I'm not sure if you'd be allowed."

Grinning, I waved her comment off. "Oh, Anderson doesn't need to know…" But of course, the Captain had to hear that.

"I don't need to know what?" Sabrina and I jumped in surprise at the Captain's voice, both of us turning to look at him nervously. We looked like two kids caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar, even though technically neither of us had done anything wrong.

"Nothing, nothing…" I told him. Quickly I gazed up at Sabrina hopefully, as she sighed and turned to face Anderson.

"Is it alright if Flight Officer Kogan accompanies us onto the Citadel, Sir?" Sabrina asked him for me, knowing that she'd be more likely to get the approval.

Sighing dramatically, Anderson responded. "I suppose…"

I beamed, Joker shooting me a glance. "Thank you sir," I told him with a salute as he turned around and headed to the decontamination chamber. The moment the doors closed and he was out of earshot I whooped. "Yes! Haha!"

"Oh you." Sabrina sighed. "Come on, let's go."

Joker now forgotten, I squealed and wrapped my thin arms around Sabrina's torso. "Love you Sabs. This is going to be so. Much. Fun."

"This isn't for fun Kim, this is important," Sabrina chided, patting me lightly on the back before gently pulling away.

"With me around? We'll see. We'll see." I smirked "I'll find all the fun places."

Joker rolled his eyes at me "Bring back some snacks then. Alliance rations kind of get… boring after a while."

At the sound of his voice my mood immediately darkened. "Sure thing," I replied stiffly, following Sabrina out.

Now inside the decontamination chamber, Sabrina awkwardly spoke up. "Is everything going alright between the two of you?" she asked me.

I sighed. "Anderson wants me to get along with him, and I will," I told my dearest friend seriously. "It's just tough right now, I don't know how to act around him... Whenever we're around each other we act more like the kids we were in flight school instead of Alliance pilots," I continued with a tinge of sadness. "It's like... I want to get along with him, but then he makes me so... so... I don't know. Don't worry Sabrina, I can deal with it."

A comforting hand rested on my shoulder, Sabrina flashing me a smile that disappeared just as the Normandy's doors slid open to reveal Kaidan and Ashley. My new female friend smiled at me, Kaidan looking off to the side awkwardly. "OK people, lets head to the Citadel Tower," Sabrina barked in her commander voice. "Kim, feel free to look around... You probably won't be allowed to see the Council with us considering you weren't part of the ground team." I nodded understandingly, although I still felt a pang of disappointment that I wouldn't get to spend extra time with Sabrina.

"Should I meet up with you later then?" I asked. Sabrina gave a nod of her own in response.

"I'll send you an omni-message when we're done. Try to stay in more populated areas, stay out of trouble," the dark skinned commander suggested, "and keep an eye on your credit chit." She was worried about me, Sabrina always worried about me. But I knew where she was coming from... even if the Citadel was like a whole new world, I highly doubted that it was different from the slums back on Earth. I smiled brightly, rubbing the back of my head childishly in a way that always seemed to reassure Sabrina.

"Don't worry Mom, I'll stay out of trouble."

Crossing her arms, Sabrina let out a short laugh. "Watch your mouth, Flight Officer. We'll see you soon."

As soon as we parted ways I couldn't help but grin, checking a map on my omni-tool.

Time to find the fun places.

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