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Miles To Go Before I Sleep

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She sat in the corner shivering, her knees drawn to her chest. Blood streaked down her bare arms and legs. The alarm blared throughout the entire facility making her ears rings. She clapped her hands over her ears and squeezed her eyes shut. Anything to block out the shrill scream of the alarm, the techs that laid on the blood-soaked floor. It’s not her fault. She just wanted the pain to stop.

It’s not her fault.

The sound of the door being kicked open made her jump and her eyes opened only to stare down the barrel of a rifle.

“Jesus, it’s just a child.” A woman’s voice came from the helmet of the person pointing the weapon at her.

Her heart hammered painfully against her sternum and she felt herself going into another panic response. The woman seemed to regain herself and lowered her weapon. Another person in armor stepped up beside the woman, towering over her. Both had N7 emblazoned on their armor in large red letters. The other person kneeled down and pulled his helmet off revealing eyes that reminded her of clovers. She pulled her hands down from her ears, the alarm nothing more than background noise heard through a fog, as she stared at him. The eyes crinkled at the sides as he offered her a smile.

“We’re here to help.” He held his hand out to her.

She couldn’t help it. She slunk back trying to fold herself into a corner when it was virtually impossible. The man frowned, but he didn’t seem displeased with her. The woman pulled off her own helmet, her blue eyes were piercing and calculating, but not unkind either. A scar mottled the skin of her left cheek. She raised her arm to her mouth and spoke into a device.

“Garrus, we found it…it’s hard to explain. Pull all files you can from this facility.” She turned her head away to stare back at the doorway as she spoke.

The man glanced back at her briefly before turning his full attention back to the girl, “Do you know where you are?” He asked softly.

“My room.” Her voice was hoarse and raw as if she didn’t speak often.

He seemed to balk at her answer, but his reaction passed, “What’s your name?”

“Name?”

“What do they call you?” He tried again.

“001.”

He ran his fingers through his hair, “Would you like a name?”

“Do you have a name?”

“My name is Alec Ryder,” he gestured to the woman behind him, “This is Grace Shepard.”

A cacophony of footsteps leading to her room cut him off from saying anything. Grace Shepard was moving to keep them from coming in, keep them from scaring the girl any more than she already was. Alec stood and offered his hand to her one more time. She stared at the outstretched hand with fear, trepidation, and pure want. The techs were never allowed to touch her except to briefly administer vaccinations. So much time she couldn’t count spent in a small metal room, with a small metal bed, that she wanted nothing more than to grasp the warmth radiating from his palm.

“Why don’t you come with us Emma? We won’t let anything happen to you.”

“Emma?” The word popped forth from her mouth and she tasted it on her lips.

“Do you like it?”

She stretched out her arm, reaching for the warmth, “Yes.”

~

Scott watched Emma square up against the bounty hunters. She acted as if she didn’t know him, didn’t remember him at all. Her hair, not as vibrant as when they first met, had to be down to her waist now. Her eyes were cold and calculated. Her mouth had sneered at him when she took off her helmet. He stepped forward determined to help her.

“I would advise against getting too close.” SAM pinged from his omnitool.

“Why are you trying to help her?” Cora demanded from his left, having already declared her want to send Emma to Sloane.

Something he wouldn’t allow even if she didn’t remember him, “She is my friend.” Even though speaking the words didn’t make them true.

“She certainly doesn’t act like.” Cora snarked.

Scott grit his teeth in frustration. Cora never gave up an opportunity to question him or make him seem like an idiot. She had told him she wasn’t bothered about losing the chance to become the next Pathfinder, but her actions did not equal her words.

“Do you mind? I’m kind of in the middle of something here.” A voice broke through keeping him from replying to Cora with something equally snarky.

Emma was looking back over her shoulder, her eyes trained on him. Even the bounty hunters were looking at him, all of them looking varying degree of amused, except for one who had his eyes trained solely on Emma. That one worried Scott.

“We are not doing this on my ship.” Scott kept his voice firm, his eyes flitting between Emma and the bounty hunters.

The side of her mouth quirked upwards and her eyes seemed less cold, “I agree.”

“We aren’t leaving without you.” One of them spat at her feet.

She quirked an eyebrow, “You are.” She was matter of fact about it.

Scott felt the change in the gravity, apparently well before the bounty hunters did, and had the good sense to back away from her.

“Uh Ryder?” Liam watched him, feeling the change as well, but not quite sure what is going on.

“She is amassing gravitational force. It seems she does indeed intend to remove them from the ship.” SAM spoke up from the omnitool.

Emma pushed her arms in front of her and with that, the energy she had culminated from the surrounding area. The ship rocked and shuddered as the force knocked four of the five bounty hunters down the exit ramp to the port. The one who had been staring at her intently remained, looking down at his boots in amusement.

“DO NOT WRECK MY SHIP!” Gil shouted from the balcony, one hand gripping the rail to keep his balance, and the other waving a wrench around.

Emma smirked and shrugged before turning her attention back. The hunter looked down at his boots and back up to her.

“Magnets. I learned from last time.”

“Not that well.”

He sneered and pulled back his sleeve, an omni-blade forming from his omnitool. Emma just stood there, waiting for him to move. She had no weapons ready and scavenger armor was nice, but wouldn’t last forever against an omni-blade. Scott would like to think this is why he rationalized surging forward to attempt to jump in between her and the blade. He was doing it because it was the right thing to do, not because he still hoped she was the person he remembered. Of course, he was an idiot and she was faster. His companions shouted his name and she looked towards him, flinging her arm out stop him from getting in the way, taking the omni-blade to her stomach. The very thing that Scott was trying to stop from happening. He flinched at the shock and anger and flashed over her face and almost thanked god when she reached out to punch the bounty hunter in the chest so hard his sternum cracked, and not him.

His crew wasted no time shoving the bounty hunter down the ramp to join the others and Vetra shouted at Kallo to pull up the ramp. Scott attempted to keep Emma from falling, but she was much heavier than he remembered. They both fell backwards and he grunted as she landed on his stomach while clutching her own.

“Lexi!” He shouted when he saw the blood seeping through her fingers.

“Get her to the med bay.” Lexi ordered.

Jaal was next to them in a second, scooping her up despite her protests. He ignored her curses and threats, following Lexi to the med bay with the seething woman in his arms. Scott would have laughed if he wasn’t positive she would kill him in his sleep for it.

“SAM, tell Kallo to get us out Kadara. We can go back to the Nexus for all I care.”

~

Emma was asleep on the bed in med bay, her chest rising and falling gently. SAM had suggested giving her a sedative to calm her so Lexi could scan her and deal with her injury. Scott, and surprisingly Jaal, were still in the med bay watching as Lexi scanned her for a second time, her brow furrowing.

“Fascinating.” She murmured.

“What is it?” Scott almost shot up from his chair.

Lexi looked up at him, “She is healing herself at an exponential rate with the assistance of nanoparticles. I haven’t seen the use of these particles in quite some time. It was my understanding that this research was discontinued once humans encountered the existence of Prothean technology.”

“It was.” Scott spoke softly, “Dad found her in a facility that was supposed to have been shut down, but they continued their research under an anonymous benefactor. He never fully told us what she was, he hid her files, even from her.”

“Why wouldn’t he let her learn about herself?” Jaal piped up, his eyes focused on the small woman on the table.

Scott shrugged, “I think he wanted her to have as normal of a life as possible.”

“Did she?” Jaal looked over at Scott as he spoke.

“I don’t know. She disappeared years before we left to come here. I don’t even know how she is here.”

“Well you can find out when she wakes up, for now you have a crew you have to reassure, and she needs rest.” Lexi barely looked up from her datapad.

Scott sighed, there was no point in arguing with the doctor.