Mass Effect: Milieu


Kaidan knew he was dreaming. He knew it, but at the moment the dream was better than the reality.
He stood on the balcony of he's parent's house. The sun was setting with a mixture of reds, oranges, and yellows. The clouds darkened from stormy gray to dark purple with the thickening twilight. It was his favorite time of day. He had spent most of the day indoors, because of rain, but just toward the end of the day the sun had broken out of its confinement behind the clouds and busted forth in a triumphant blaze of glory.
It was a breathtaking finale to the otherwise lazy and lackluster day. The air fragrant with earthy smells of wet soil and heady with blossoming flowers. Roses, his mother's garden was in full bloom and beautiful as usual.
In his hand,s he held a cold bottle of lager. Taking a sip, he scanned the horizon. The setting sun, the dark blue waves crashing against the rocks along the rocky coast shore that bordered his parents' property. This was perfection. The beer, cold and thick, and the scenery, beautiful. Only one thing was missing. He was alone. His parents were absent. The waves echoed around him, but no one spoke or laughed, not even the neighbors.
He knew why, the Reapers. Then why was he here? Had he died? Was this some form of heaven? He knew he was dreaming…the war was still being fought. He knew it, but then why couldn't he wake up?
He watched as the sky grew darker and the wind picked up, rustling his dark hair. The beer in his hand grew warm. Red lightening streaked across the sky. The ground started to shake. He dropped the beer watching as the glass shattered on the flagstone below, leaving a stain of white foam and amber liquid.

Gigantic black clawed metal arms broke through the fiery sunset. Like a hand opening up to scoop up a handful of dirt, the Reaper landed. The balcony shook with the force of the ship's touch to Earth. Kaidan's eyes widened. The Reapers were here! His heart beat frantically in his chest.

His hands gripped the balcony railing as he leaned out and watched more of the huge ships landing. So many, hundreds of them landed up and down the coast. Red flashes of light shot out crashing into buildings, thunder rumbled as buildings collapsed. Concrete and glass shattered. The world tilted. Glancing behind him he saw the Reaper over his left shoulder. Moving up the coast coming closer and closer.

A beam of light shot from it hitting his parents' home, the floor under his feet lurched and fell. He was tossed unceremoniously to the ground. Still he clung to the railing with both his hands. Fear shook his frame and he tried to call on his biotics, but nothing came of it.

Never before had he felt so helpless, so powerless. The balcony groaned and then snapped falling to the garden below.

Kaidan jolted awake. And immediately regretted it. Every bone in his body ached. His head felt as if it were on fire. He raised his hands covering his eyes. He pressed the palms of his hands into his eyes hoping to alleviate some of the pressure building up behind them. Nothing. The pain was intense. He groaned and rocked forward. The sudden movement was protested by his bruised muscles and broken ribs. Monitors beeped around him and he heard the whoosh of a door gliding open.

"Major Alenko!" A spasm rocketed through his body. He collapsed back on to his bed. Pain ricocheting throughout. Everything hurt, breathing was agony and came and short gasps and sputters. He felt like a building had fallen on him.

"Major Alenko," A slightly accented voice said. "Can you hear me?"

Kaidan pressed his hands harder into his eyes. "Kaidan, I need you to put your hands down." A stern female voice commanded. He knew that voice. It had been a while, but Dr. Chakawas? Kaidan complied with her demand, but refused to open his eyes.

"Open your eyes." Same voice demanded.

Peeking out through thin slits, his vision blurry from swelling and pain. "More."

He pushed his eyes open just a bit more, grinding his teeth together to keep from crying out.

"Good, Double the pain medication." A light flashed across his vision. He winced and closed his eyes again.

"Shit." His mind was fuzzy. Or playing tricks on him. Because he could have sworn that was Dr. Chakawas holding the light into his eyes.

"Prep him. He's an L2. With this extensive swelling damage to the implant is highly likely especially with this kind of head trauma. We'll have to stabilize the implant before we can do anything at all."

Warmth flooded his body and suddenly he felt lighter than air. Blackness covered his mind and the world floated away. And again he was standing on his parents' balcony watching the sun set, with a cold beer in his hand.

Kaidan stared out the window of his hospital room. The view was spectacular. Nothing like that of the coast views he had been dreaming of lately, but still pretty amazing. He heard the door open and he turned his head wincing only slightly, to see who had entered. A slip of a woman with a shock of red hair.

"Dr. Michael." He greeted. The woman had been slightly obsessed with him lately. Something to do with his L2 implants.

"Morning, Major, did you sleep well?" She asked checking his vital monitors. She clicked on her omni-tool and started typing in data.

Kaidan would have shrugged, but then shrugging hurt. So he refrained from doing so. "Not bad. Bed's more comfortable than most."

She nodded distractedly. "Good." Kaidan was pretty certain that he could have said, he saw flying monkeys outside his window and she would have still nodded.

"When can I be released?"

"Hmm…oh, Major, that's very tentative on your condition. You still have swelling on your brain, which is causing problems with your implants. Also while your ribs are healing nicely, they won't heal for quite a while, yet." She sighed. "You need to work on relaxing. It will help in the long run with the recovering process."

But he couldn't fully relax, not while the galaxy was being overrun by Reapers. He needed to be out there fighting. It was chafing to be sitting by waiting while his friends and family were fighting and possibly dying. "Ballpark it for me."

"A few weeks, a week if you're lucky."

"A few weeks?" He paused contemplating. He hurt, yes, but his injuries didn't seem that bad. Unless…"I'm on painkillers." He mumbled. Dr. Michael must have heard him because she nodded.

"Some of the strongest we have at the moment. You were waking up screaming and clutching your head the first couple of nights here. Even after we fixed your implants and removed your amplifier." She finished typing and her omni-tool disappeared.

"You have a visitor, by the way." The doctor turned to leave. "He's been patiently waiting for the last thirty minutes, but no one would let him in until a doctor cleared you. Also, the Normandy is in dock…since you wanted to you know when they came into dock next."

"Thanks. So, I'm allowed to have visitors, now?" Kaidan asked cautiously.

Dr. Michael paused at the doorway before opening it. "Yes, you are. Just be certain to not overtax yourself. I'll be back in a bit to check on you." She opened the door and walked out.

Kaidan moved gingerly around on the bed trying to get more comfortable. He opened his omni-tool and typed a quick email and sent it.

A few minutes later, the doors to his room opened again. And his heart leapt, she couldn't have received his email that quickly, but then again…he tried to hide the disappointment at seeing Councilor Udina stroll his hospital room instead of Commander Shepard.

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