The Vakarian Chronicles Part 4: Surin Island


(Seven years later)

"Dad! Dad! I got it! I got it!"

Jarred came running towards me from the other side of the beach, with Jane behind him in a dress, trying to hold her hat on her head while the other held a pistol. His mandibles flared in a wide grin, his blue clan markings making his green eyes seem even wider. He was holding a little plastic disc. I bend down to him, and looked over the disc, seeing a neat little hole in the center.

Jane caught up to us then and she smiled, "Stationary pistol practice… but still pretty impressive for a seven year old. At that range, I don't think even I could've hit it if I was at that age."

I looked down at Jarred, who was beaming with pride, and I can't help but smile at him. "That's my boy! You'll be a great sniper someday."

He grins, and then scrambles up to my arms, and I lift him up to my right shoulder as Jane came forward and kissed me on the mandible. "Still working on that car, Garrus?"

"It's a year 2065 Phoenix model muscle skycar, Jane." I said as Jarred looked down at us, "It's one of the coolest cars I've ever ridden in when I was a kid. Of course it needs a little tweaking, but I'll get there."

She scoffs, "Should've known you were the type to look for vintage skycars."

I laugh, and look up just as a shuttle hovered up from above us. It landed a few feet from us, and I could immediately tell that it came from the Normandy.

"Hey, Jarred. Grandpa's here!" I said, and my son wiggled his legs in excitement as I put him down. He took the disc he shot from me and headed up the beach to the shuttle, just as the doors opened to let out my father and Solana.

"Grandpa! Grandpa!" Jarred cried out as he embraced my father's legs, and he chuckled as he bent down to look at what his grandson was holding. "Look! I shot it right in the center!"

My father looked surprised at him, and ruffled the hair at the back of his head, "Impressive! Looks like you got your eyes from your parents!" Solana bent down and kissed Jarred's forehead, before picking him up and walking towards us.

"Hey, bro! That skycar's looking good!" Solana said as she lowered Jarred by our feet and he clung on to Jane's legs. She then bent over a little to kiss Jane on the cheek.

"Yeah, a few more calibrations on it and it'll fly like the time Dad drove a similar model." I said, and looked down at my father as he gazed lovingly at our skycar.

"Those things had the best propulsion systems back in Palaven. You're lucky to find one in good shape on the extranet." Dad said as he shook my hand, and embraced Jane.

"Yeah. We'll take it out for a spin when I'm done with it." I said, and I looked over to the shuttle to see someone get off, limping slightly, wearing a t-shirt and jeans, "Spirits… is that…?"

"Joker!" Jane cried as I took Jarred's hand and she ran, running into the arms of our old SR-2 pilot. He laughed when his former Commander embraced him, but he winced when she tightened her hold on him.

"Careful, Commander! There's still no cure for my condition, you know?!" He said, and she laughed as she let go of him.

"You were the only person who hasn't visited us in years, Joker!" Jane said as she looked at him, "How come you only visited now?"

Joker looked a little embarrassed, "Yeah, well, I was a little busy." He grinned at me when I walked over to them, "Besides, brittle bones, remember? I can't exactly walk around on unsteady, sandy beaches all the time. I might break an ankle."

"And here I was hoping you'll get a little R & R here, Joker." I said, "You getting cooped up in that pilot's chair is messing with your complexion. You're white as a sheet."

Joker laughed, "Yeah. I have a new reason to walk around recently." And he mentioned to the inside of the shuttle.

A lithe, metallic leg stepped out from the shuttle, and I couldn't help but gasp. A silvery, human-like robot came forward to us, and even Jane was shocked, her breath coming out on short pants.

"Hello, Shepard." The robot said, and the facial expressions shifted to that of amusement, "Or rather, Mrs. Vakarian."

"EDI?" Jane said as she went forward and touched the android's face. "You… you're… functional?"

EDI's face smiled a little, the corners of her mouth going up, "I have been non-functional for the last eight years due the Crucible's blast, but yes, I am now… alive again."

"But how?"

"My internal calculations and mechanisms were severely affected by the energy pulse." EDI said in her robotic voice, "Similar to the Geth, when you activated the Crucible. In human terms, I got 'fried'. I was kept in the Normandy's cargo hold for the time being…"

"Yeah, I remember." I said, thinking back on the time Joker polished the glass on her 'coffin' back in the Normandy, when we thought we had lost Jane.

"But the quarian engineers were able to replace my parts, although it took them several years to create them due to its complexity and size. Cerberus also deleted the records of my creation… my blueprints and my programming. It added to the difficulty in restoring me, but the quarians were able to do it." EDI explained, "Tali'Zorah was to thank for that. She had convinced the Admiralty Board of the quarians to re-activate some AI technology, such as myself and the Geth. We have been helping the Geth in their programming and repair of their parts. However, due to the destruction of the Reaper technology and the loss of some of my Cerberus programming, we now have some limitations. For example, I am now 'contained' in this body, and can no longer assist Jeff as resident AI in the Normandy while I am in this mobile platform. The Geth has also received the same limitations. They are confined in their bodies. If they… or I, were to transfer our consciousness, or data to other machines, such as the Normandy, we would require a physical port to connect to our previous AI core."

"It's actually pretty creepy to sit around the AI core now." Joker said, "She has this 'stand'… I guess you could call it, beside the AI Core. Her 'mobile platform' gets propped up there when she gets plugged in… like a frickin' Barbie doll on display."

Jane laughed, but her eyes watered when she embraced EDI. "I'm just so happy you're back, EDI."

The robot smiled and patted my wife's back gently. "There is… one more thing, we would like to discuss with you, Shepard."

She laughed again "Mrs. Vakarian, remember?"

EDI nodded, "Yes. I'm sorry. It is my familiarization protocols. Very well, Mrs. Vakarian. There is one more thing we would like to discuss."

"Sure, EDI."

EDI looked up a little at Jeff, and he shrugs, as he scratches the back of his head. "Jeff and I… are considering having an offspring."

I think I blinked, and so did Jane. A robot? Becoming a mother?

"The System Alliance has no laws or regulations on the marriage between synthetic and organic species." EDI explained, "I had wished to become more… human. With the Reapers gone, I could continue my research on humanity, and what is 'life', as organics see it and experience it."

"She looked up something on the extranet." Jeff said, still scratching his head, "There's a clinic in the Citadel that offers… 'alternative procreation plans'." He had put up his hands and made air-quotes.

Jane's eyebrow rose, "Like… test tube babies?"

Joker laughed, "Yeah, something like that." He shrugged, "They… found an egg cell donator that had similar traits as EDI… smart, gray eyes, straight hair, sweet flexibility…" He blinked, "Okay, that came out wrong. But anyway, they said that they could use that with my… uhm 'cells' and we could have a human child that would 'look' like the two of us."

"So… essentially… you guys are going to get donator, and then get a baby through a test tube?" Jane said, and I had to stifle my laughter.

Joker and EDI looked at each other, and from her expression, I could tell that EDI was smirking. "Cerberus did not create me with the necessary organic functions that would allow me to simulate pregnancy, Mrs. Vakarian."

Jane blinked again, and she started laughing, pretty soon even Joker laughed, and EDI merely smiled at us. "Yeah, I guess not. Go for it, guys."

"You mean it?" Joker said, "I would've thought you'd go all 'unnatural!' on us, considering you were picking on me when I started calling EDI 'her'."

"I was just teasing you, Joker." Jane said, waving her hand, "Besides, if I really thought it was unnatural, I would've ruined your chances years ago."

"Huh. I guess you're right." Joker said, smiling at me and my wife, and he put a hand on EDI's shoulder, "Well, now that it's settled, let's get in the shade, shall we? I know Garrus said that I looked pale, but I don't want to get fried by the sun either."

I laughed and pointed them to the direction of the house, and my family, Joker and EDI headed inside, with Jarred running behind my father. Jane pulled at my hand a little, and I could see her eyes watering, "What's wrong, Jane?"

She shook her head, and the tears started falling down her eyes, but she was smiling. "My dreams… my nightmares involved EDI and Legion choking me to death, you know."

I hold her hands, "Because you thought you killed them when you blew up the Crucible."

She nods, "I'm so happy she's back. The Catalyst was right, people would rebuild them. But… I'm afraid that the synthetics would rebel again."

I smiled, my mandibles flaring, "Maybe. Maybe not. EDI and the Geth won't cause any problems anymore, Jane. You liberated them. And now they'll find out what it's like to live… like we do. As for the synthetics rising again… " I held her tight to me, "That won't happen for years, and I'm sure there will be someone out there who'll take care of that if it happens. A person who would look up the history of the Great Commander Shepard and know what they're supposed to do."

Jane smiled up at me, "And that is?"

"Round up the best miscreants in the galaxy, stuff them into a stealth ship, befriend them, and then kick some ass." I said, and she laughed, "And then, have a relationship with the handsomest one of them… preferably the turian sniper… love them and then retire to somewhere sunny and tropical… and have their child."

She laughs again, throwing her head back, and I nuzzle her neck as she put her arms around me. She sighed, her laughter subsiding, and puts her forehead to mine. She stares at me, her lush green eyes glinting with light, so full of love and happiness. "I love you, Garrus Vakarian."

I trace my finger on her markings… our clan markings. "I love you too, Jane Shepard-Vakarian."

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