Suvi narrowed her eyes as she studied the rem-tech in front of them from what she considered a prudent distance. "Are you certain about this?" she asked, a bit more hesitantly than she intended. Still, after everything that had happened the past few months, she thought it wasn't an unreasonable question.
It was one thing to lick rocks. It was something else entirely to purposefully turn on ancient technology that more often than not wanted to kill you, especially when the Pathfinder wasn't with you.
"Don't worry," Peebee said, shooting Suvi a quicksilver grin over her shoulder. "I know exactly what I'm doing."
She reached out and touched the inert rem-tech. It lit up like a rainbow, a multitude of bright lights flashing across it.
Suvi took a step forward despite herself. It truly was beautiful. She usually only got to see it from a distance, through the feeds on Ryder's helmet, and they apparently didn't do it any justice.
"See?" Peebee said, turning towards Suvi. There was a smug grin on her face. "I told you it would work."
And that's when the rem-tech exploded.
Two weeks earlier...
"Here are the readings you asked for," Suvi said, absent-mindedly handing a datapad over to Peebee. Her own attention was focused on the 'pad she was reading.
She almost jumped a foot in the air when Peebee suddenly let out a rather high-pitched squeal.
"What?" Suvi asked, her head snapping in Peebee's direction. "What's wrong? Is something wrong?" She paused for just a second. "Or is something right? Was that a good sound?"
Peebee grinned at her and, without warning, leaned forward and pressed a kiss on her forehead. Then, still not answering any of her questions, she turned and started sprinting towards the new escape pod she was calling home.
"Thank you!" Peebee called over her shoulder, not actually glancing back at Suvi as she did so.
Suvi stood there, staring blankly after her. "What just happened?" she asked the world in general.
Judging by the blank stares she was getting from the rest of the crew in the room, they were as confused as her.
Suvi's ears were ringing as she sat up, and she blinked against the floating spots in her vision. Her head was pounding in the aftermath of the explosion.
"What happened?" she asked, coughing into her hand a bit. "I thought you said it would be fine."
There wasn't an answer.
Frowning, Suvi immediately turned her attention towards where she'd last seen Peebee. She wasn't there. Then again, the floor wasn't there either, which probably explained where she'd gone.
"No," Suvi breathed out, and she wasn't entirely certain whether she meant it as a curse or a prayer.
The floor felt unsteady under her feet as she shoved herself up into a standing position, but she felt rather certain it was inner ear damage causing the world to tilt around her and not something that was actually happening. Well, mostly certain. Fairly certain.
Suvi didn't speak too loudly, just in case there were any active remnant around. She hurried over towards the gaping hole in the floor as quickly as she could, though, trying to keep her balance as she did.
"Peebee, can you hear me?"
"Here's a gift."
Suvi blinked in surprise as a mug of what looked and smelled like tea appeared in front of her. "Thank you?" she said, a slight lilt at the end making it come across more like a question than an actual thanks as she looked at the gift giver.
Peebee shuffled uncomfortably.
More than a little curious, Suvi picked up the mug and took a sip. It was definitely tea, although the actual flavor was unfamiliar. Not unpleasant, just different. It was sweetened just the way she liked it, which caught her by surprise.
"Really, thank you," Suvi said, putting a bit more emphasis on making it a statement instead of a question.
If anything, Peebee looked even more uncomfortable.
Suvi took another sip. "Can I do something for you?" she asked, taking a wild guess as to why Peebee might be bribing her with tea.
Peebee's mouth twisted into a bright grin so quickly that it almost startled Suvi. She had to admit, though, it was a very attractive expression.
"Now that you ask, yeah," Peebee said, leaning down and lowering her voice almost conspiratorially. "I need a favor."
Suvi raised her eyebrows.
Peebee was curled up on the ground a good ten feet down, still and unmoving.
Suvi's heart felt as if it was going to pound out of her chest. For the first time, she felt a bit of relief that she'd told Kallo which ruins she and Peebee were heading towards, no matter how frustrated Peebee had seemed at the time. He could at least point Ryder in the right direction if they didn't come back when expected.
But that didn't help either of them just then. They weren't expected back for hours.
"Peebee?" Suvi called out again. She wasn't surprised when, yet again, she didn't get an answer. She wasn't expecting one by this point. If Peebee was conscious, she'd have said something by now.
Suvi pointedly didn't consider any other reasons she might not be replying.
The world was still tilting a bit under her feet, but the worst of it seemed to have passed by now. Hopefully that meant there wasn't anything too wrong with her ear drums. Lexi would throw an absolute fit if there was, especially after that incident with the rock. Well, both of them. And the one with the moss. And—
"Focus," Suvi muttered under her breath. "How do I get down there?"
One week earlier…
"This is all I could find," Suvi said, handing over a 'pad to Peebee.
Peebee all but grabbed it out of her hands, her eyes already moving eagerly across the screen. "This is perfect!" she said, looking up with a giant grin. "It's exactly what I was hoping for. I can definitely narrow down the sites on Eos and figure out the right one with this!"
Suvi shot her a tentative smile. "Oh," she said, a bit surprised by how happy Peebee seemed with what she'd thought was fairly unimportant data. "I'm glad, in that case."
If anything, Peebee's grin grew even bigger. Suvi pointedly ignored the effect it had on any parts of her anatomy.
"Do you want to come?" Peebee asked.
Suvi opened her mouth. Then she closed it. "What?" she asked.
"Do you want to come?" Peebee repeated. "When we land on Eos. Do you want to come see the ruins with me?"
"Oh," Suvi said, not even trying to hide her surprise. "Sure. That sounds fun."
By the time she managed to awkwardly climb down the broken stones and other materials piled alongside the giant hole in the floor, Suvi had a splitting headache and felt somewhat nauseated. She could already hear Lexi's lecture, but for once she didn't really mind. She had other things to focus on just then.
A wave of relief rushed through her when she saw that Peebee was breathing. She was sprawled still on the floor, but she was breathing.
Suvi carefully knelt down beside Peebee, reaching out to brush her hand over her forehand. "Peebee?" she asked, a little quieter than before. "Can you hear me?"
Peebee's eyes shot open. Then she groaned. "Ouch."
Suvi couldn't help it. She laughed.
Peebee shot her a hurt look. "What's so funny?"
"What happened to 'I know exactly what I'm doing?'" Suvi asked teasingly. The worry was flooding out of her system, and she couldn't help but find the humor in the situation.
With an eyeroll, Peebee held out her hand. "Help me up?"
Suvi took her hand and helped pull her into a sitting position. It took her a second or two to notice that Peebee didn't let go of her hand.
Her eyes drifted down to focus on their interlocked fingers.
"I told you," Peebee said lightly, "I knew what I was doing."