It's been a year since the Reaper Wars have ended.
Garrus Vakarian stared outside the windows of the Normandy SR-2, showing the vast expanse of the galaxy. He kept looking at the stars, as if looking for an answer, but he merely sighed in frustration.
The doors of the Battery Room opened, and a male sentinel entered. As soon as the man entered, Garrus stood up straight, smirking so that his mandibles flared a little, and made a mock salute. "Lieutenant Commander Alenko, need me for something?"
Lieutenant Commander Kaidan Alenko smiled as he entered the room, waving Garrus' salute. "It's just Kaidan to you, Garrus." He grinned as he patted the turian on his armored shoulder. "We've fought way too many battles together to get all this formality. Besides, my whole title is a mouthful."
Garrus huffed, his version of a small laugh, as Kaidan leaned over the railing. He leaned beside him… his new commanding officer, as it was now. "Have you spoken with Admiral Hackett? So you're officially the new Commander of the Normandy now?"
"Yes… or at least, I think so." Kaidan said, looking at the Normandy's batteries. "Hackett wasn't so clear on that. They said we had a mission to do first before they could go and confirm me as a Commander." Kaidan's eyes saddened a little, "Though, I don't really want the title."
The turian nodded, "True. Shepard will always be the Commander of the Normandy."
"Everybody says so, too." Kaidan said, "It's been really hard, walking around here without seeing Shepard around." He glanced over to Garrus and patted him on the shoulder, "Especially for you."
It felt like a knife plunged into Garrus' heart, as it always had for a year since Shepard's death. He looked down and whispered, "Yeah… it's been hard."
They were silent for a while before Kaidan spoke, "The crew doesn't want to leave the Normandy. The Council offered to replace some of our people due to fear of trauma, but all of the crew pretty much shouted them down." He chuckled, "I've never seen Tali so angry. I could've sworn her helmet cracked when she shouted she wasn't leaving. "
"She considered Shepard to be her bestfriend, and she believes that her people are doing everything to be able to live on Rannoch again." Garrus straightened, "I'm pretty sure it'll be easy to get back home for Tali. But I guess… she doesn't want to leave the memories behind."
"So do you." Kaidan said, "I've heard from Primarch Victus that you're supposed to get back on Palaven, but you refused."
Garrus shrugged, "Shepard might probably scold me if I told her I didn't want to leave the old girl yet… not while her spirit still lingers."
Kaidan nodded, "Same here…" But the InterCom crackled, "Lieutenant Commander Alenko, you are wanted in the Comm Room. There's a message for you from Admiral Hackett."
There was a strain in Joker's voice as he spoke. The pilot was also grieving as well, since in Shepard's effort to save the galaxy, she had also doomed the Geth and all artificial life to die. Joker's co-pilot… and interestingly, his love, the Normandy's resident Unshackled AI, EDI, was also destroyed. Her mechanical body was preserved in the Normandy's hull, encased in metal and glass. Garrus sometimes visits it, but it was Joker who made sure that the body was there, and was often visiting it, or polishing the glass. Since EDI's termination, Joker had been piloting the Normandy on his own, with Tali helping him. But it still left quite a dent on Joker's psyche. Although he still jokes around with the Normandy's crew, there was a more serious side that emerged since the Reaper Wars.
"On my way, Joker." Kaidan said, and he patted Garrus on the shoulder. "I should… er… I'll be right back."
Garrus chuckled. It seemed like Kaidan was avoiding Shepard's catch phrase. He nodded, "Yeah, I'll be right here."
Kaidan smiled again, and left the Battery Room. Garrus sighed and went back to the terminal, checking to see if there's anything to be calibrated on the Normandy.
Unfortunately, everything was still in top shape. Tali and Joker were doing an excellent job in keeping the Normandy in excellent running condition, even without the help of an AI. He huffed and stood with his hands on his hips, before sighing and opening a program on the terminal again.
After pressing a few buttons, Garrus opened his OmniTool, scanned the terminal, and created a synch on his visor. He activated the program he wanted and leaned forward on his terminal.
Garrus watched as the screen crackled to life, showing the face of Commander Jane Shepard, turning him over. It was the time he was shot in the face by the Blue Suns rocket back in Omega. He pressed a few more buttons, and the screen shifted.
"I just wanted to do something right… just this once… just…"
Shepard was looking at him on the monitor, her eyes full of love and worry, before raising up her hand and touching Garrus' mandible… the one with the scar. He raised his hand and mirrored the action, remembering her soft touch. He remembered there were some calluses on her hand because of their fight, but it was the gentleness that made him close his eyes. He watched the monitor again as the camera showed them touching foreheads, and he saw his hand go to Shepard's shoulder, and then to her cheek. She leaned forward, smiling, her green eyes sparkling in the blue light…
He pressed another button again.
"I don't know what I'd do without you, Garrus."
Shepard was touching his face again, and he remembered that he held her hand. She stood up, clad only in her underwear, her beautiful, muscled form walking away from him. The camera showed their hands linked together, and as she walked, their entwined hands separated... he was letting her go… to her death…
Garrus bent down, his fingers gripping the edge of the terminal, his blue eyes dry but painful. His mandibles flared as he grit his teeth, his breath straining in pain. His strength faltered, and his knees gave away in his agony. His fingers brushed the keypad again as he sat down, keening.
"No matter what happens here… you know that I love you… I always will…"