Mass Effect: Milieu

The Commander and the Major

"Major, how'd it go in there?" Admiral Anderson's voice punctured his ears. Kaidan shook his head in disbelief. He still couldn't believe the Defense Council was sitting on their hands about the Reapers. He might not fully trust Shepard's connections, but she hadn't been lying about the Reapers. They were real and they were coming. If they didn't believe Shepard at the very least he hoped they believed him.
"I'm not certain. I think it went well, but," movement from the corner of his eye stopped him. He knew that walk, voice and those piercing green eyes. He had only caught a flicker of the green, but there was no mistaking who it was: "Shepard?"
She turned and he was rewarded with a slight widening of those green eyes. "Kaidan?"
"Can you tell us what to expect in there, Major?" Anderson asked drawing his attention back to the Admiral. He hadn't meant to be distracted, but Shepard…here? Was the Defense Council planning on releasing her? Or was the Defense Council finally going to ask her advice, about the Reapers?
"I would say that I softened them up a bit for you, but really I'm not sure."
"Major?" Shepard stepped away from the large marine she had been speaking with. A pang of jealousy flared for a moment as Kaidan noted they had been speaking on friendly terms.
"Yeah, Kaidan's been promoted to Major now." Anderson replied for him.
"Even gave me my own command too." He stated smoothly.

A small twitch at the corner of her mouth had his responding in kind.

"Good, I'm glad. Can't think of anyone more deserving."

His heart leapt at the praise. It shouldn't have. But it did. Shepard.

"Admiral, they're ready for you." A female voice chimed over his shoulder. Anderson nodded toward Kaidan.

"Right, good to see you again, Major. Shepard, Come on." Anderson started away not bothering to glance back. He knew Shepard would follow him. She followed him, hesitating briefly to throw Kaidan a little knowing smile.

Kaidan watched her leave. She looked good; fit, trim and well…beautiful. At the back of his mind he knew it wasn't right. He shouldn't be interested in her still…not after…everything, but he was drawn to her. From the moment he had met her on the original Normandy to this brief interlude, he was compelled to grab her up in his arms and whisper in her ear everything would be alright.

He sighed and visibly shook himself. He couldn't think that way, not anymore…Shepard wasn't the same person she had been then. Now, everything was different. He couldn't ignore the past…not the two years… the two years he had spent thinking she was dead…but in the same breath he couldn't ignore the months on board the SSV Normandy. He had loved her. Plain and simple. Did he love her still? He wasn't certain.

"You know the commander?" A deep voice with lilt of a Spanish accent asked at his shoulder. Kaidan suppressed the urge to let his biotics flare at the question, more from the fact that the man had startled him, than from the actual question. He threw a glance over his shoulder. The guy was built and a good six inches taller than him. But younger, definitely younger with lots of tattoos.

He's the guy Shepard was talking to. Kaidan realized after taking in his appearance. Kaidan didn't think he was Shepard's type. Though he hadn't been certain he was Shepard type.

"I used to." He replied softly. It was the truth. He wasn't sure if he really knew the person who used to wear the rank or not. Hell, he wasn't even sure he could trust himself at this point. He wanted to believe…he really did. But a large part of him still saw her as Cerberus. A terrorist. After all, she had blown up a Mass Relay destroying a colony of three hundred thousand batarians! He sometimes wondered how she had gotten out of that one alive. Anderson or Hackett had pulled some major favors in on that debacle.

"Well, at least you're on friendly terms. Not too many people look very kindly on the commander. Huh, most just call her loco, well, not to her face." Kaidan eyed the man up again. Something in the tone of his voice gave Kaidan pause. Was he defensive about Shepard?

"Don't worry, I'll be sure to call her crazy to her face. " Kaidan replied pivoting to walk around the big man.

"Ha, not too many would have your balls, Major. Tells me you're pretty comfortable around the Commander."

"I knew her, let's just leave it at that, Mr…"

"Vega. Lieutenant James Vega, sir."

Kaidan paused, throwing another look over his shoulder. He had heard that name before…Anderson, he connected. Anderson had talked about recruiting Lieutenant Vega. That was back when Anderson had first asked him back aboard the Normandy. Kaidan had refused. It was after Shepard had been grounded, stripped of rank and the Normandy had started being retrofitted. After he had declined Anderson had asked him to start teaching biotic recruits.

Kaidan nodded. "Nice to meet you, Lieutenant." He continued pass him raising a hand over his shoulder in farewell. He wasn't certain if he liked the guy or not. But Vega seemed to like Shepard. And he could have sworn he picked up a little hero-worship from him. At the moment, Shepard could use all the friends she could get.

"Same to you, Major." Vega stated evenly saluting him.

Even though Kaidan's back was turned, Vega couldn't help but show the man a little respect. He knew the commander. He had spoken about her with a lingering bit of regret in voice and eyes. Shepard didn't talk about personal affairs, but he saw the way she sometimes zoned when looking out the window. It was a look that said she had regrets too. One if he had to surmise was the major.

He didn't even want to guess at their history. But something in the way both had acted. Their body language was sending off signals like mad stupid loco birds. He didn't even think the commander and the major noticed it. But he certainly did. He had come to know Shepard was more than just a name, but a human being. A freakin' hero, but still a human.

He watched the Major walk away. Major Kaidan Alenko. Vega knew his name, knew a little about him. Mostly, it was stuff he had picked up from the vids. Human biotic, served with Shepard on the SSV Normandy that was about it. His files were pretty well classified. Major Alenko walked through a patch of sunlight that was scattered throughout the walkway. The lighting for most of the building came through huge windows that made over half the hallway. One wall was completely glass in this section of the building.

The brightly sunlit hallway darkened as if the sun had hidden behind a cloud. Except, it was already cloudy out today. The weathermen had called for rain that afternoon.

Brow furrowing, Vega turned to look outside. The sky had grown darker with clouds. Big dark gray clouds. At first the thought occurred to him that it was going to raining, but then, red lightening flashed from the bottom of the cloud-bank and a dark red almost black…leg? appeared.

Oh Shit! What the hell is that thing? His mind flashed just before a brilliant red light shot from the thing's glowing red center and straight at the back part of the building in which Shepard and Anderson were having their meeting with the Defense Council.

The light cut through the building like butter. A deep rumbling cascaded across the floor and up Vega's legs, and then the whole world exploded in a blinding white flash.

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