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ME: All the Things That I've Done Ch.41

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Mass Effect: All the Things That I’ve Done
Chapter 41 – A Little Help From Friends


Mira had to steady herself as the magnetic field on her boots attached itself to the wrecked coupling of the geth ship. The floating debris and wide holes to open space made her shiver at the memory of her being spaced. She was doing everything she could to keep her breath even and controlled and not panic.

You can do this, Shepard. One foot in front of the other. You won’t float away this time. Mira silently berated herself.

The crackle of the comm in her ear broke her attention from the open space as a warm raspy voice filled her ear. Kaidan spoke to her on a private channel.

“I’m right here, Mir. Just think of the goal and you will make it to the hatch.”

“I’m trying but…it’s so…big out here.”

“Hey, I will be there when you get the hatch opened. You aren’t going anywhere and neither am I.” Kaidan soothed Mira, hearing the faint edge of panic in her voice. “Now, get moving, soldier!”

Mira laughed. “Yes, sir!”

Flexing her fingers and breathing in measured breaths, Mira started the slow walk in zero-g. It was disorienting to walk along the tube as she navigated on the still intact decking. Through one rotation and a gap in the wall, the large expanse of Rannoch could be viewed. Mira had to pause and look out at the dusky red-purple and blue planet. It was beautiful, even amongst the spears of weapon fire from the quarian ships against the geth. She mentioned this to Tali and continued on to her goal at the end of the coupling tube and toward safety.

Once she reached the hatch, Mira brought out her omnitool and proceeded to hack through the door’s lock. Only until she got inside the docking hatch, did Mira give a visible shuddering breath as safe walls surrounded her again. Tali guided her to a control panel in order to open the non-damaged port hatch for Kaidan and her to enter. When Mira climbed over the wreckage and up a ladder, she noticed the panel and stepped up to it, keying in the sequence that Tali relayed. The protesting sound of metal groaned open and let Mira’s squad in. After they were in, Mira closed the door and searched through the geth panel for a map of the ship.

“Let me do this, Shepard. I can get the information we need a lot faster.” Tali squeezed Mira out of the way and immediately went to work. “It will take a few moments to crack the security.” She told Mira distractedly.

Mira walked over to the other end of the raised platform and released the seals on her helmet. Though the air was thin, Mira needed to breathe something other than the oxygen in a helmet for a bit. Also, admitting to herself, she needed open air as the helmet was starting to get claustrophobic. Kaidan joined her, cracking his own seals and slipping his helmet off, looking toward Mira in concern.

“I’m fine.” She gave him a small shaky smile.

“Positive?” Kaidan asked concern tinged in his face.

“Yeah, just need to know that I am on solid ground again and won’t be floating away into the stars.”

He gave Mira a little nod. “So, what do you think we are expecting?”

“Geth, geth, and more geth. So, geth what?” Mira joked.

Kaidan rolled his eyes but laughed anyway. “Even more geth. You have been hanging around Joker too long.”

“Maybe.” Mira cocked a grin at Kaidan.

“Shepard, we are in.” Tali announced from the panel.

With a nod, Mira and Kaidan replaced their helmets and took out their pistols, following their quarian friend into the geth dreadnought.

-== || N7 || ==-

Geth, Kaidan cursed under his breath as another stealthy geth nearly got into their defenses in the long collider chamber of the main gun battery. They had to move quickly before the battery fired up again. Tali, Mira, and he sprinted down the catwalk to the exit, ducking through the hatch just as the warming whine powered up. Not ten seconds after Kaidan slammed back against the battery room’s wall, the static buildup vibrated through his nodes as a particle beam shot through the battery.

Kaidan rolled his eyes up and thanked whatever higher being there was for their incredible luck so far. Looking over to Mira, he saw her grinning. Shaking his head, knowing on some level, the mad dash actually got her blood worked up, Kaidan returned the grin.  “Whose brilliant idea was it to go climbing through the barrel of a big gun?”

“Don’t look at me!” Tali said, an audible grin was heard through her speaker port.

“What? It was the only way to our destination.” Mira shrugged.

“Did I mention it was a BIG gun?” Kaidan teased.

“Weren’t you the one that told Ashley something about big guns and attitudes?” She winked at Kaidan, which got a free, honest laugh from him. It felt good to laugh again, truly laugh among friends and in a squad. Kaidan never thought slipping back into the old squad camaraderie and banter would come so easy.

“Alright, enough loitering, Major.” Mira straightened and pushed off the wall.

“The central core is not far now.” Tali said.

They walked through the battery room and to a stairwell. Mira led the way down three flights to where a platform was stopped on one of the floors. Their destination was the platform. Kaidan took a quick look over the edge and immediately stepped back. The platform was at its highest destination, right where the stairs leading up started. Everything below was only accessible by the platform. Tali crossed onto the platform, with Kaidan following and Mira shortly after. Once they were all on, the platform moved down into the dim depths of the ship’s core. However, a sudden crunch was heard and a beam fell from above as the dreadnought took a hit close to their location. The beam knocked the platform askew, then it groaned and creaked ominously. Tali called out and jumped across the remaining span to their destination. Kaidan followed and turned around, watching the platform they were on dangerously tilt, making Mira’s footing slip.

“Mira!” Kaidan called out.

She scrabbled, managed somehow to gain a somewhat steady balance, then leapt just as the rest of the platform tumbled down into the dark depths of the ship. Without thinking, Kaidan lunged down, grasping Mira’s arm to keep her from falling down into the depths. His heart beat fast as he looked down into Mira’s face. Pulling back, Kaidan started to pull Mira up with Tali’s help. With the final pull, Kaidan fell back, his arms grabbing around Mira as she fell on him. Their faces were inches apart, his brown eyes staring into the clear blue-grey.

“Watch your step, Shepard.” Kaidan rasped out shakily.

“Nice catch, Alenko.” Her mouth tugged upwards in a smile.

“Well, you know, I’m always around to pull your ass out of danger. What would you do without me?”

“All right you two, enough of the flirting and let’s get moving!” Tali interrupted with playful exasperation.

“Aye, ma’am.” Kaidan smiled crookedly and steadied Mira as they both stood up from the floor.

They didn’t see any active geth when they arrived at the computer core where the Reaper signal was being broadcasted from. Kaidan was acutely aware of the inanimate Primes standing in the docks with no flicker of activity in them. More so, he watched Mira closely. He could tell the space walk shook her but as always, she put on a brave face and marched onward. He had an occasion to talk with Liara, despite his unsettled feelings about the Asari. He asked her pointedly about how she had retrieved Mira’s body. Liara wouldn’t tell him anything other than she hired someone to look into the details of the transaction for her body and that she intercepted it. When he asked about how Cerberus got Mira, Liara shut down on Kaidan, saying if he wanted to know those answers, he best talk to Mira.

“Over here!” Tali called out and rushed to a console overlooking a pylon that was pulsing with electricity upwards through the ship. The central core was released, lowering to within reaching distance. Mira’s eyes opened widely, as did Kaidan, as they saw Legion ensnared in the dreadnaught’s computer core.

-== || N7 || ==-

Mira ducked as a rocket flew towards her only to explode close behind. Once they released Legion, the Primes that were sitting in the docks, activated and marched toward their little group. Kaidan was providing cover fire opposite to her, while Tali worked at sabotaging the geth’s systems. Legion was down below, working at providing an exit in the suddenly active and hostile environment. He told them it was going to take time for the rewritten code to filter to all the geth. The Reaper signal was invasive and at some points, kept eluding Legion’s code. At the moment, the fighting needed to pause in order for the squad to make it back to the Normandy.

“Shepard!” Kaidan called out, his arm pulsing with dark energy as he pushed her away from an incoming rocket.

It was as gently done as possible, given the tense fighting. However, it still made Mira grunt as her body rolled and collided against a wall. Shaking her head, Mira growled, muttering about rocket spewing geth. Her body flared brightly as she gathered dark energy and concentrated on forming a singularity inside the trooper. There was an audible squawk from the geth as the gravitational forces of the mini-black hole crushed it from within. The singularity pulled in the last two fighting geth, making them orbit around the center. Kaidan took advantage of this and released a warp field. The combined biotic forces made the geth explode in pieces. Mira breathed heavily from the exertion, smiling at Kaidan before they dashed off the upper levels of the core and headed after Legion when he opened the door to the flight bay.

The squad ran and tried to keep their footing as the ship rocked harder by hits from the quarian fleet. “Tali! Tell the admirals to cease firing! We are still on this ship!” Mira yelled.

“I’m trying but they won’t listen to me!”

Legion jumped into a geth fighter, followed by Tali and then Kaidan. Just when she was about jump in, the hull erupted, knocking Mira off the ramp and into the weightlessness of space. Swallowing, Mira tried to keep the panic at bay as she floated away from her squad. Legion swung the fighter over to her while Kaidan stood up and reached out. Clasping his arm, Mira held on tightly as she was pulled into the shelter of the open fighter. She settled before Kaidan behind Legion, feeling his arms tighten protectively around her armored body. The fierce firefight going on around them took their breath away, while they zipped in and out of stray shots and toward the Normandy. Mira broadcasted her ID to the ship so they were not mistakenly shot at. Legion maneuvered the geth fighter into the open shuttle bay and powered down. The geth and quarian climbed out but Mira remained for a moment, trying hard to steady herself. Kaidan remained, letting go long enough to take off his and Mira’s helmet.

“Commander?” Cortez approached them but Kaidan waved him away.

“Give us a moment, Lieutenant.”

Mira tried to get up, feeling like she could stand and walk out of the shuttle bay, however, Kaidan kept her pinned in the tight confines of the fighter. She turned her head to look at him with a question, in which he returned with a serious and concerned look. “What is it, Major?” she asked.

“Stop with the Major shit, Mir.” Kaidan said in a low tense voice. “How are you doing? Really?”

Mira opened her mouth to say she was fine but knew that Kaidan wouldn’t accept that answer, not from her. He knew better and would be persistent, and stubborn enough, to keep her in the fighter until she truly talked to him. How was she doing? She was scared. Even though being protected by sealed armor, the vast openness of space shook her. Zero G training never bothered her, and Mira used to love the feeling of free weightlessness. Ever since the first Normandy blew up around her, pushing her out into space, that changed. When she was blown off the ramp on the geth ship and out into that open space, Mira panicked. Unlike last time, her suit held its integrity, and there were others close by to bring her back. Still, the feeling of being spaced remained with her.

She sighed heavily and slumped back against Kaidan. “I’m barely holding it together, truth be told. I can’t sleep, I live on coffee, and I’m frightened to death of that vast black emptiness out there.” Mira waved generally to the space outside the Normandy.

“Why can’t you sleep?”

“I keep having these dreams. That little boy…” Her throat choked on the vivid memory of the little boy she had watched continuously play on the little lawn while she was incarcerated. “Did you know I used to watch him play at his mock fighter battles? He had a model of an Alliance fighter in which he pretended that he was running patrols. But…that image is fading, replaced by the Reaper beam cutting his shuttle into two when we escaped Earth.”

“Go on.” Kaidan encouraged Mira, wrapping his arms across her chest in comfort.

“When I was spaced…my suit lost integrity…all I could see was the Normandy burning and stars. After the fires went out, there was nothing but stars and blackness. Oh, god, Kaidan,” Mira trembled as she relived her death. “all I could think of was you, how I never got to say ‘Thank you’, how I wished I never sent you off to the escape pods. I had thought I was prepared for death and accepted it, being the soldier I am. However, there was too much to live for.” Her voice quieted to a whisper. “Then I remember vaguely, waking up one time at Lazarus station…so much pain…I screamed because of the pain.”

“You know, I think on some subconscious level, I woke up one night, thinking I had heard your scream, you crying out my name.” Kaidan admitted, not having told anyone of that old nightmare around the anniversary of Mira’s death.

Tears leaked out of Mira’s eyes as she started remembering those fuzzy recollections of being sedated in the medigel tank at Lazarus station. The one thought that kept her will going was of Kaidan, how sorry she was that she wasn’t there for him. All that time Mira was with Cerberus she was angry, simmering in that anger because she felt trapped in working with the enemy. In the end, she got her way and escaped, but the anger remained, and so did the new fears. The one person she wanted to talk to, who could silently offer her support with no judgment was not within reach. “If I sleep, I have those dreams. Then I think about all that has been lost…it’s frightening and overwhelming, Kaidan. I don’t know…I don’t know if I have the strength to see this through.”

“It’s human to have doubts, Mir. I knew that with you suppressing all those negative emotions that it was going to come back and bite you in the ass. It’s time to learn to deal with the consequences, deal with what is happening, here and now. Ever since Garrett,” Kaidan sighed and rested his cheek against hers, “you have walled off that part that needs to grieve. You can only do what is within your abilities. Give it your best but Mira, you can’t save everyone.”

“So, I have to start being human again?” Her lips quirked as she remembered what Kaidan once told her about feeling human again.

Kaidan chuckled in her ear, brushing a light kiss at her temple. “You are a remarkable woman, Mir. Remember, you have me, you have Joker, Liara, Tali, and everyone you have ever worked with, supporting you. You aren’t alone. If you are angry, get angry. If you are scared, get scared; use that to your advantage. We are all in the same boat. Just don’t control your emotions so much that you start to break. The mask needs to come off, Mir.”

Mira turned her body as much as she could to face Kaidan. “Do I really wear it all the time?”

“Yes.” Kaidan answered honestly. “Except at one time, it was removed when…” He swallowed hard and gave her a shaky smile.

“I guess I have some things to learn from you.”

“I think the only other person that has seen you without that damn mask is James.” Kaidan said roughly.

“He was my shadow for six months.”

“I’ll admit I was a little jealous of him.”

“Really?” Mira’s mouth flicked a smile.

“Yeah but I got to talk with him a few times. He’s very loyal to you, Mira, and yes, in a way, loves you. You have that way with people. I guess, well, I have yet to come to terms that others love you and I have to share. I’ll let you in on one of my fears, since we are talking about this.” Kaidan caught her gaze and held it. “I’m not afraid that Cerberus changed you but that I would lose you again, either to another man or to this war.”

Mira blinked at that honest admission by Kaidan. It was a rare thing for Kaidan to be so open, as he was very diplomatic in what he thought someone should or shouldn’t know, even with her. He didn’t want anyone to needlessly worry about him, as he was self-sufficient and had no ghosts of the past to trouble him. As Mira thought on it, Kaidan always faced tragedy and did his time of grieving. Once he was done with it, Kaidan moved on. Mira always pushed forward, never working through the grieving process, or the anger and fear. She was always on the go, off to the next assignment, with little time in between to take a breather. The longest breather she had was her incarceration in Vancouver.

“So, what do I do?” Mira asked.

“WE work together in dealing with these personal issues and regaining your fine control of those nodes.”

Mira laughed then as she noted Kaidan’s half grimace from feeling her leaking dark energy that was barely held in check. “Alright, Major. When do WE start?”

“In an hour, after a shower. You stink, as do I.”

“Yours or mine?” Mira teased.

Kaidan’s mouth twitched up in his crooked grin. “Separately, Commander.”

She nodded, holding Kaidan’s gaze for a moment longer and then moved to get out of the fighter. In many ways, the brief talk made her feel lighter, as if some of the weight she carried had been lifted off her shoulders. Cortez shook his head and grinned as he noticed both commanding officers finally leave the geth fighter. James, stood by at his workbench, giving them a smirk.

“Do you need something to do, Vega?” Mira asked.

“No, ma’am. Just waiting for your weapons, so they can be checked over. Tali and Legion are in briefing with Admiral Rahn, so it will be a few hours until something comes up.”

Mira grinned and unlatched her Paladin, with Kaidan doing the same with his heavy pistol and assault rifle. They walked over to their armor lockers and proceeded to take the armor off. As the pieces came off, Mira wrinkled her nose at the smell. Kaidan grinned at her and made the same look himself as the smell wafted up from him. They walked to the lift and headed to their respective showers.

-== || N7 || ==-

“You’re kidding?” Mira looked at Kaidan in disbelief.

He shook his head, “Nope.”

They stood on a mat in a converted cargo hold to hold a gym. Free weights, presses, and a treadmill arrayed behind them and in the center of it all, was a sparring mat. After their showers, hair still damp and changed into gym clothes, Kaidan and Mira met in the gym. Kaidan had to hide a smirk as he took in Mira’s sculpted body as she sported a sports bra top and short shorts with the N7 branded on them. He chose a tank and long exercise pants for this first session of Mira’s retraining in biotic control. As he wrapped the tape around his hands, his eyes looked up to Mira. Her mouth was open to protest but Kaidan raised an eyebrow and then tossed a roll of tape wrap to her. This time, there wasn’t a punching bag to maul to death, just a friendly sparring match between them. She may have won James over in a match but James didn’t know Mira’s tricks.

“Hurry up, soldier. Time’s wasting.” Kaidan told her.

Mira unrolled the wrap and started winding it around her hands. She was curious as to why this first session was going to be a physical sparring match, not anything to do with biotics. Even the first day at the academy, they got to doing little exercises to build up the control of the flow through the nodes in their bodies. “Okay, so how is this going to help regain my control?”

“The first thing we did at Brain Camp was learn to spar. Vyrnnus was a bastard but the Turian made sure we had control of our physical bodies first before we introduced biotics. That is something lacking in the academy’s program. If you can’t control all the little twitches your body makes with its fight or flight response, then how can you control the dark energy?”

“Did you do this with your students?” Mira asked.

Kaidan paused and looked at Mira seriously. “Yes.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” Mira started.

“Hey, it’s okay.” Kaidan soothed. “I know they still live and joined Anderson with the resistance.” He smiled. “I know they will do fine.”

“With you training them, they should.”

“Heh, don’t butter up the teacher, Shepard. Show me your moves.” Kaidan said in response as he settled into a stance and raised his arms up.

They paced around each other slowly, sizing up the other. Kaidan outweighed Mira and had longer reach but with a decorated career Special Forces officer, size doesn’t mean anything. So, Kaidan expected anything and everything from Mira. He kept his eyes open for any telltale leakage of dark energy in her moves. Mira made the first jab toward Kaidan’s ribs, to which he blocked. He kept deflecting her further jabs and attempted blows to his ribs and knees. Martial arts was all about control of body and breath, which was essential with biotics. Mira made another aggressive move toward Kaidan, which he locked her arm and swept her down to the mat. Kaidan held out a hand to Mira to help her up.

“Nice move, Kaidan.” Mira nodded.

“Thanks, now come on, I know you are holding back.”

“Alright.” Mira moved back, bouncing on her feet before settling into her stance.

Kaidan made the first offensive move; Mira dodged the move and caught Kaidan’s sidekick. They danced back and joined for a flurry of strikes, blocks, and attempted sweeps. Kaidan smiled, seeing the old fighting spirit of Mira shine. Then the hairs on the back of his neck began to rise in the middle of another parry and block maneuver. The longer they sparred, the tingling continued and Mira started to shimmer a dark blue. Kaidan stepped in, locked her arms, and used his weight to bring her down to the mat. She grunted as the air was knocked from her briefly. A little flare of anger rose in her outlining her body brightly. Kaidan continued to keep Mira pinned to the mat.

“Calm down, Shepard.” He said evenly.

Mira’s chest heaved quickly as she struggled for control. Gritting her teeth and closing her eyes, Mira attempted to steady her breathing. She cried out in frustration as the control of her nodes came slowly. “Damn these L5s!” She cursed.

When Kaidan judged Mira was calm enough to be let up, he loosed his hold and settled himself with an arm on either side of her. He looked down at her with concern. “I thought Samara’s meditations were helping?”

“They were and then, when I had all this free time on my hands as a guest of the Alliance Navy Hotel, it wasn’t really effective anymore.”

“Okay. Asari use their meditations to calm the inner turmoil and focus their energy. Especially since you say that Samara was an Ardat Yakshi, control of her chaotic nature was necessary. Somehow, while it may have helped you temporarily, something else is making this happen. I remember you used to work hard at forming singularities but back on the ship, it came easily with only a little waver of exhaustion.”

“That is true. It doesn’t take much to form them these days.” Mira looked up past Kaidan to the ceiling.

“When was your last rating test?”

She slid her eyes over to Kaidan’s with a question. “Chakwas does constant checks on the amp and nodes.”

“That’s all fine, it checks to see that nothing is fried or blocked. I’m talking actual dark energy strength test, my dear. I get one every year during my physical’s. Not only is it a way for the Alliance to make sure I’m not going crazy but to keep monitoring the amount of dark energy I am handling before I’m crippled by a migraine. Remember when I told you I rated higher than most L3s?”

“Yes. It was because they set the L2s with a high threshold in order to have a human biotic on par with an asari.”

“And I held myself back for all those years because of what I did at Brain Camp. But since I didn’t limit myself anymore after Eden Prime, my power grew. What I remember from my research into Cerberus’ activities, and on the experimental L5s, the L5s are supposed to be an attempt at a stable version of the L2s. However, initial tests were still showing the same energy spikes that many old L2 implants had. Mira, the power grows in the time you use it. You were at the top of the range when an L3, as I am with the L2. Get up.” Kaidan moved himself, standing up from the mat.

Mira followed him and stood there, waiting. Kaidan searched the hold and spotted his target, a container sitting the corner with two others. Shipping containers had to be durable in order to survive zero g of space if a ship happened to be destroyed. They also could survive planetary reentry. Most biotics could only dent the containers and lift them so much above the ground. He tested his students vigorously with old containers, judging strengths and weaknesses of each. From this test, he would narrow down individual focus to particular areas and pair his students off to work together as a team. Nick was the highest rated L4 in his class and quickly became squadron leader and assistant instructor. Kaidan got a nagging feeling that Mira surpassed all human registered biotics and could crush those shipping containers.

“See those shipping containers?” Kaidan pointed to the corner.

“Yes.”

“Crush them.” He stated simply.

“What?” Mira stared at him as if he had finally gone crazy. “No biotic can crush a titanium container!”

“Humor me, Mira.”

Sighing, Mira turned toward the containers on the other side of the hold, focusing her thoughts on the target and opening her nodes up fully. Her body immediately flared brightly, making Kaidan blink. Reaching out a hand, Mira twisted the hand and closed her fingers into a fist, sending dark energy across the distance into those containers. The energy not only hit them, but made the containers crumple like paper in on itself. Mira’s hands shook from the expended energy but still buzzed with ready energy. Kaidan could feel the frequency of her implant in his teeth. Mira stepped back, shock showing on her face.

“I…that…what the hell?”

“Cerberus underestimated the abilities of an adept that was already highly rated.” Kaidan’s mouth quirked to the side. “You have been going from mission to mission, constantly using your biotics. Nodes learn and adapt, as does the body and mind. With frequency of use, finesse and power is inevitable.” Kaidan told Mira seriously.

“I’ll buy that.” Mira kept looking over at the crumpled container.

“This is what we will work on. One, you need to stop repressing your emotions. That isn’t helping you at all to regain control. I detected an edge of anger when we sparred, hence the flare up.”

“That is going to be hard to do, Kaidan.”

“I know, trust me. It has to be done, however. This war is going to take a lot of you and everyone but as you are spearheading this initiative, none of us can afford having you break down. It’s time to start coping with all that is going on.”

“And two?”

Kaidan smiled softly. “It’s back to school for you. I’m going to be bringing Liara in on this to help you. I rate high and can help get you to focus your energy, but you are even beyond Nick’s abilities and it’s new territory for me.”

“And it’s not for me?” Mira shifted her weight to her right hip.

“I didn’t say it was. It will be a learning experience and a trial in patience.”

“You have the patience of a saint, Kaidan.” Mira smiled.

Kaidan laughed and shook his head. “Even I have my limits.”

© 2012 - 2021 CelticWolfwalker
Comments7
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DelphiRose's avatar
I'm SO glad to see that my Shep isn't the only one who has a new found fear of the vastness of space. I really like how much Kaidan is taking control and helping her. :D
CelticWolfwalker's avatar
Yeah I noticed that not many ppl write about how Shepard would react since being spaced.
DelphiRose's avatar
Exactly, I know she's tough and all, but that'd leave a few second thoughts at least. :D
iremojllah's avatar
This is really coming together nicely Celtic! Keep it up! Love it!
CelticWolfwalker's avatar
Thanks! Yeah, well, I thought an adept would be having a bit of trouble there with upgrades, especially ones that are experimental.
Bunny1972's avatar
Love it! This is my favourite Shenko story!
CelticWolfwalker's avatar
Thank you! I am glad you like it! This chapter took a while to get done but got inspired yesterday to finish it.
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