Across the Universe

Challenges

After my little adventure, Sabrina ordered me to back to the ship because she wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on me. Though, she did allow me to tag along with them to the Human Embassy. Having me there with them actually helped a bit, since I was able to vouch for Tali when she requested to come with us. Sadly, that still wasn’t enough to get Sabrina to take me with her and Tali to see the Council.

“You’re going back to the ship,” she told me, turning to look at the turian. “Garrus, can you go with her and make sure that no one else tries to kill her?”

“In my defense, they were after Tali. Not me,” I argued, cutting the turian off.

Sabrina glared at me. “You’re going back, and that’s an order Flight Officer,” the Commander stated. I crossed my arms. She crossed her arms. We glared at each other for a good minute before I gave up.

Throwing my hands in the air, I turned away. “Fine, fine. I’ll go back to the ship with my new babysitter. But hey, I’m pretty sure that we don’t have that much dextro-friendly food onboard so do I have your permission to get that organized with Garrus? We don’t want our new companions to starve.”

Sabrina pursed her lips. “Fine. The two of you can get a lasting supply. But then right after that, you go to the ship. Tali, Wrex, let’s go.”

Garrus and I watched the three of them leave the embassy. Once the doors closed behind them, I looked up at my new alien companion. “Hi, I’m Kim,” I introduced myself.

He nodded. “Garrus Vakarian,” he responded, sounding very serious. “I know a food supplier in C-sec for Turian ships. We can go see him.” I nodded, and followed the Turian out. Then I scurried back in, picked up my snack bag that was sitting by the door and had to jog to catch up to Garrus. He towered over me at 6’2”, a whole foot taller! So when I did catch up I had to keep my pace quick to keep up with him. He glanced down at me, seemingly noticing our differing height, and slowed down. “Shepard mentioned that you have a tendency to wander off if left alone.”

“What?! Out of all the things she could have told you about me, she told you that. Wow, thanks Sabrina,” I grumbled. A low chuckle erupted from Garrus. It sounded kind of like a rumble, with a bit of a cat purr sound from his throat. Man, aliens were cool. “Let’s get something straight here. I don’t wander. I have an excellent sense of direction. And if Sabrina tells you that she can drive a mako, don’t believe her.”

“Noted,” Garrus nodded.

“Oh, and if she starts dancing prepare to run away,” I stated. “Hmph. I don’t wander,” I growled to myself. The turian beside me chuckled, amused by how irritated I was. The two of us didn’t attempt to strike up another conversation after that one died, and I stuck close by (mostly to prove that I didn’t wander) as he spoke to a supplier. Not long after that, I led Garrus to the Normandy.

“Nice ship,” Garrus approved.

I beamed at him. “It’s pretty great,” I replied. “Can I ask where you’ll be staying?”

“I’ll probably head down to the storage deck. There’s probably less crew there,” Garrus’s mandibles fluttered a bit. “And I can check out the mako. See how much damage Shepard’s done to it, if she’s as bad a driver as you say.”

I snickered. “Well, she hasn’t gotten to it yet. Maybe you can reinforce it somehow,” I joked. The two of us entered the decontamination chamber.

Garrus looked up thoughtfully. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Just know that whatever you do, it won’t be enough,” I sighed dramatically.

Decontamination complete.

The two of us entered the ship and I pointed Garrus in the direction of the stairs that led to the lift. I liked to think that we’d ended on friendly terms even though we hadn’t spoken that much. All the aliens on the ship were really going to liven the place up! And I just couldn’t wait for Tali to come back with Shepard. She was most likely going to be my alien BFF.

And my girl crush.

When I entered the cockpit I inwardly cackled by the fact that Joker hadn’t noticed me. For a moment, I contemplated snatching his hat… But he’d probably reprimand me if I did that, so instead I poked his shoulder. He jumped slightly, then turned his head to shoot me an annoyed look.

“Hi,” I greeted with a grin. I held up the bag of snacks I’d gotten so he could see. “I brought snacks.”

His annoyance seemed to melt away, and a small smile appeared on his face as he turned his seat towards me. “Thanks.”

I smirked devilishly. “I also thought up a challenge for you.”

Joker gazed at me skeptically. “Should I be worried CP?”

“Maybe,” I beamed, pulling out a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from the bag. “Remember those old Harry Potter movies? And the jelly beans with the gross flavors?”

“You have got to be kidding me,” Joker took the package from me to read the back of the box, looking just a little bit amused. “Wow, this is really disgusting CP. Earwax? Dirt? Vomit? Why’d you even get these?”

I pulled out the second box and shook it. “I just thought it’d be a fun thing for us to do together, you know? One box each, we can guess what flavour we’re going to have and such, and we can quit whenever we want. Each correct flavor guess gives a point, each bean eaten is another point.” I took a step back and leaned against the wall.

“What do I get if I win?” the pilot questioned me, leaning forward with a competitive glint in his eyes.

I shrugged. “Well, you choose. If I win, then…” I looked up thoughtfully for a moment before deciding. “If I win, you’re taking me for dinner next time we’re on the Citadel. Oh, and I get to wear your hat for a whole galactic day.”

“Trying to solicit a date out of me?” Joker teased. “That’s against Alliance regulations.”

“What?! No way Moreau!” I exclaimed, my face reddening drastically, due to both embarrassment and anger.

Joker leaned back. “Sorry CP, you’re not my type,” he chuckled. “But sure. If you win, you can wear my hat for a day and we’ll grab a bite to eat. Just try not to admire me too much.”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t worry, I won’t be,” I grumbled.

“But if I win, then you’re going to have to pay for dinner. And… you have to do whatever I say for a whole day,” Joker decided.

I crossed my arms. “That seems a bit more than me wearing your hat for a day,” I noted.

Joker smirked. “What, you think I’m going to beat you then? Maybe this’ll turn out just like flight school,” he goaded. The two of us eyed each other, feeling a familiar competitive fire. “So, are we going to do this or not?”

“You’re on,” I opened my box of beans. “You’re keeping count, don’t cheat.”

“Never had to before.”

“Ha. Ha,” I moved and sat down in my co-pilot’s seat. We both pulled out our first beans. Mine was yellow with brownish specks, Joker’s was red. We scrutinized them, then looked over the listed flavors. “I think mine’s like, vomit flavoured,” I popped it into my mouth and scrunched up my face. I swallowed with difficulty.

“Vomit?”

“Nope. Banana.”

Joker let out a short laugh. “And that’s your reaction to one of the normal flavours? There’s no way I’m going to lose,” the pilot boasted. “I think this one’ll be cherry.” He guessed, taking a bite then shrugging. “Cinnamon. Guess we’re tied.”

“For now, but soon I’ll win!” I announced. Joker shook his head, adjusting his hat as the two of us continued the game.

Whenever we got gross flavours we tried to one-up each other with our reactions. And honestly… it was fun. A lot of fun. Heck, halfway through my box I’d ALMOST stopped caring about our wager. Almost. Except I really wanted to win.

“If this one isn’t soap I’m going to be surprised,” Joker stated, holding up a white jellybean. I held up my own, it was an off-white.

“Ug. Earwax again,” I groaned.

“You giving up?”

“Never!”

We both ate the beans and gagged. As we did that, Captain Anderson entered the cockpit.

“Oh, hey Captain,” Joker greeted, the two of us instantly straightening up. The captain in turn smiled at us, amusement in his eyes.

“Sir,” I welcomed. The captain shook his head.

“At ease, you two. Do I want to ask what you were doing?” Anderson questioned. I innocently held up my box of every flavor beans. The captain raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment. “Regardless, I just came to let you and the rest of the crew know that Shepard’s going to be the new captain of this vessel, say my goodbyes.”

“Wait, what?!” I blurted. “But, what about you?”

“I’m stepping down,” Anderson explained. “I’ll be remaining on the Citadel while Shepard hunts Saren as the first human Spectre.”

“Wow, okay. My heads exploding,” I voiced, mostly to myself. The Captain, no, ex-Captain, chuckled as I registered what he’d just told me. Shaking off my shock, I stood up from my seat and saluted Anderson. “It was an honor working with you Sir, even if it wasn’t for very long.”

“The feeling’s mutual Officer Kogan. I know the two of you will keep up the good work,” he told us with a glimmer of pride. “Well, I’m off then. Shepard should be back in an hour, and I should be packed up by then.”

Once he’d left, I sighed and returned to my seat. “Did the Council just… demote Captain Anderson?”

“Seems like. Man, that sucks,” Joker took off his hat and ran his hand through his incredibly short hair. “It sucks when it’s our people that gets screwed over by alien politics.”

I silently agreed, closing my box of beans. “You still feeling up to our little contest?”

“Nah,” Joker tossed his hat to me. “Guess you win then.”

“We could just call it a tie,” I suggested. “We both don’t really feel like eating gross jellybeans anymore. Except you’ll only get half a day of me doing whatever you say since I did get more points than you. And we’ll both pay for dinner.”

“Deal.”


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