Jane was shocked by the changes to the Normandy, it was clear it had been in the middle of being converted to follow Alliance regs by all the hanging wires and random parts laying around. She was happy to find EDI was still there, the AI was too good an asset and friend to lose to prejudice, and she helped keep Joker on board as well. Jane knew he felt responsible for Johnny’s death but getting the Commander off Earth had helped redeem the pilot.
Jane was also ecstatic to learn that Johnny already told Traynor to set her and Garrus up in the same room they were married in. It would be a nice change from the Main Battery that Garrus decided to turn into their office. Finally, they would get some peace and quiet, without worrying that someone would come barging in.
And while the levo food was immensely better what Jane had been eating on Palaven and Manae, Jane still found herself craving dextro food. As far as she knew it wasn’t addictive but when she forced herself to not snag a bite of Garrus’ food her head would be in the toilet the next day. At least on the ship, it was easier to hide from Garrus, although EDI had taken notice. Jane had decided to forgo the anti-spyware now that the AI was on their side for sure but now she was reconsidering the decision.
While rinsing out her mouth EDI’s voice came over the speaker. “Mrs. Vakarian, do you need medical assistance?”
“Just Jane, Edi. Mrs. makes me sound old. Thanks for asking but I’m fine, just ate something bad.” She tried to keep her voice light, hoping to brush off the question.
“Alright Jane. Though I must warn you, out of the all the crew, 94% had the same items of food you had, but none of them have shown sign of sickness.”
“Weak stomach?” Jane suggested meekly, “I’m fine, I should find some work.”
“Actually Jane, I was wondering if you could help me with a project?”
Since getting on the Normandy Garrus was busy managing emergency relief for Palaven Refugees, and Jane was scrambling to find something even somewhat useful. A job for an AI would be interesting.
Leaving bathroom, she asked, “Sure, what have you got in mind?”
Johnny had told Jane about the droid hiding on Mars, but it was something very different seeing what was left of it. Part of her knew it would be human looking, but really? The body proportion on this droid was beyond ridiculous. Why did everyone except Jack have bigger boobs than Jane?
Running some scans with her omni tool, Jane bit her lip before asking, “Are you sure about this EDI? You weren’t exactly designed for it…”
“I have run many of the most likely models of the transfer, and there is a 99.7% it would work.” EDI had shown Jane some of her findings if anything it looked like the circuitry in the droid was eventually mean to be used by EDI.
“I suppose, but the majority of your systems will have to remain in the ship. You are much more complex than the original program here.” Looking over to the orb, “Plus we don’t exactly have the redundant systems to replace you.”
“Of course, I would not leave the Normandy Jane.” EDI stated matter of factly.
Jane shrugged, and left her tool up, “Alright, let's begin.”
At first there not much happening, a flutter of light from EDI’s servers and a couple of clicks from the servos in the droid. “EDI how’s it going?”
And a sense of dread filled Jane as she was meet with silence. Like any good programming practices, they agreed EDI would give verbal cues when certain points in the download were met. Jane jumped back as the Droid sat up suddenly, scanning the dark room.
“Oh crap…” Jane muttered. Still, EDI wasn’t saying anything, but she must have been busy dealing with the now active droid. In general, the movements were jerky, and a force field sparked to life between Jane and the danger. Already Jane was pulling up different sabotage programs to try to distract the droid and give EDI a chance to take it out from the inside.
Even with all of the distractions, the damn droid was determined to get to the field and push through it, shrugging off the electric power ripping through. But not toward Jane or the exit, instead it was heading toward EDI’s servers. And Jane couldn’t do anything but watch as it sunk its fingers into the server racks, directing the energy from the shield that was overloading itself into EDI.
“EDI, can you hear me? You need to drop the force field!” Jane cried, trying to get one of her hacks to work. A sharp hot scent filled her nose, as the electronics started to burn, and watched as that server caught flame. Jane dropped to the floor and covered her mouth as the room filled with fire suppressant.
Just as she reached it, it slid open with a hiss, revealing Johnny flanked by soldiers with more fire extinguishers. He only stared down at her, eyebrow crooked like hers did. Coughing Jane pointed in warning behind her.
Turning he frowned at the fog, and called, “EDI talk to me.”
As the light of the AI Core server came back up, Jane flipped over and pulled her feet under her to be prepared. She focused on the droids glowing visor as the slow click of heels came toward them out of the fog. Johnny made an effort to put himself between Jane and the enemy.
Before Jane could explain, EDI’s voice came from the body, “Is there a particular topic you wish to discuss, Shepard?”
Johnny straightened and threw Jane a curious glance, looking back to the AI he asked, “EDI?”
EDI was using her new eyes to inspect the new body, before nodding, “Yes.”
“You’re in Dr. Eva’s new body.” He stated, not sounding like he believed it.
Even Jane had been worried, she pulled up her omni tool to continue the readings from earlier.
EDI crossed her arms, Jane wasn’t sure if she realized how defensive the gesture could be taken, “Not all of me, but I have control of it. It was not a seamless transition.”
“Transition,” Johnny almost sounded accusing, “You blacked out on us for awhile there.”
EDI nodded, giving him the same explanation she had given Jane, “Correct. When we brought this unit on board, I began background process to search for its information on the Prothean device.”
Jane stepped in, worried Johnny wouldn’t understand the tech babble and try to shoot EDI. Her scans had shown she did indeed have control, “EDI found a backup power source for the unit Johnny, she could restore its power and gain access to the controls.”
EDI nodded to Jane, seeming to understand the cue to use more simple explanations, “During this process it… struggled. Thus, the fire.”
Johnny sighed, looking between the two women, “Well at least Jane was here, but you should have warned the rest of us.”
“The amount of resistance was unexpected, and once the struggle began bringing the crew up to speed would have been counterproductive. All attempts to help would have been limited by reaction time. Jane was able to help slow it down before it could do a real damage to my main Core server.”
Jane nodded to the AI, she was young and didn’t know how to make a proper thank you so Jane left it alone knowing what she had meant. They answered the rest of the questions about how this system worked for EDI, again keeping it in layman terms for everyone, expect the engineering chief who was truly interested.
Johnny relaxed a little more, “Are you planning to take that body somewhere?”
EDI gestured to her ship self, “Normandy’s weapons are not suited to every combat situation. This platform could provide limited fire ground support.”
“You mean you could come with us?”
“Correct.” EDI confirmed, “This body could accompany you to areas the Normandy cannot reach.”
Jane watched as the tactician's gears started to spin away, “Johnny, she is also a person, as much of the crew as the rest of us. Even she needs a little shore leave.”
EDI tilted her head at Jane, “I understand Normandy’s organic compliment would benefit from it, but I fail to see how…”
Cutting the AI off with a swipe of her hand, Jane stopped the question, “Everyone on the crew gets the same rights EDI, even for the synthetics.”
Johnny nodded, “She is right EDI. But first, I need you to guarantee this mech doesn’t have any more surprises in it.” He made to turn away, “Run whatever tests you can, then we can talk about using it off the ship.”
“One moment.” EDI stopped him. “I am running trials… Complete, I can send you a full report if you wish? However, my first step should be restoring the functionality to the Normandy to reassure the crew all it normal.”
“Just…” Johnny started, sounding unsure again, “don’t be surprised if the crew is a little wary of your new body. It was shooting at them a little while ago…”
“Excellent point.” EDI agreed. “I will take it to the bridge. Joker will also want to see it.” And she turned on her new heels without waiting for a dismissal.
Johnny exchanged wide-eyed looks with Jane, and he muttered, “On that, we can agree.”
Jane sniggered, “We have got to see this.”
They missed the lift going up, so by the time they got up to the CIC the siblings were met with confused looks from the rest of the CIC, but they waved them off. Inside the cockpit they found a gaping pilot, staring at the almost stoic AI sitting in the sit next to him.
Hear them enter, Joker turned and stage whispered, “Hey, Commander! Check out my co-pilot!”
“And you had no idea EDI and Jane were going to install herself in this body?” Johnny asked, sounding skeptical.
Joker looked Jane, “Thank you, and honestly, you don’t believe me?” He turned to look at EDI again, “Okay, let me put it this way: if I knew that EDI was gonna install herself into a sexy robot body, do you honestly think I’d be able to keep quiet about it?”
Raising his hands, to frame her, he sounded almost like an excited kid. “Look at that! I would’ve baked a cake!”
Without turning away from the screen, EDI said in a quiet and unsure voice, “I am right here, Jeff.”
Joker backed down, “Yes you are, EDI. Yes, you are.”
Jane meet glances with Johnny, but suddenly Jane felt like EDI getting this body was only to improve her fighting capability.
Garrus tried to keep calm, he’d just finished reading the notification about EDI’s system malfunctions. He shouldn’t have been surprised that Jane had gotten involved, but sometimes he wished she showed some sense of self-preservation.
Leaving the Main battery Garrus found his mate in the mess enjoying a cup of coffee. Sitting next to her, he flipped a mandible in a small smile, “Heard you had some fun this morning.”
Turning, Jane returned the smile, “I guess so. I’m just relieved it worked out.”
Garrus couldn’t help the worry that found its way into his voice, “Me too.”
But still Jane had heard it and reached up and gently rubbed his mandible to comfort him, “Sorry for the surprise.”
Grabbing her hand, he tried to move on. She was fine so he shouldn’t make a deal out of it. “Feel up to sparring? It’s been awhile since we had a chance.” Since they had moved their task's force operations to Menae, it had been nothing but work and sleep.
Jane nodded and stood, dragging Garrus with, “Sounds good to me.”
They made their way to the cargo bay, it was the only place with enough room. The usual crew was there, Vega, Cortez, and the other techs. There were a few curious glances but no one said anything as they set up the mats and prepared. Vega did turn around to lean on his workbench to watch the fight.
Garrus tried not to stare too much while Jane stretched. If he wasn’t careful he’d just drag her back to their room… Maybe after the fight, he decided.
Like many times before they got into position, taking a moment to decide who each were going to this sparring match. It only took a small smirk from Jane and Garrus surged forward with a few punches to test the water. Prepared, Jane quickly moved out of his range, she swept to the side and used the moment to force behind a kick. And in their own version of a dance the bout continued, though it was tamer than many other times. Neither wanted to risk injuring the other.
However this time, Jane seemed to tire out a little faster and in less time than normal, she had run out of steam. Pulling back a little he cut his assault short and made a fatal error. He’d left a side open and with a liquid-like motion Jane surged forward and got the leverage to flip him to the ground. Before he could recover the small woman was on him and managed to get his arms tied up in a lock behind his back. He gave the tap out signal to show defeat, it was one of the few positions in which his size and Strength wouldn’t help any. With a smile, Jane let him up and straightened her clothing before her shirt rose up high enough to show her colony style tattoo.
Vega gave a high pitched whistle, having watched the match. “Dios Lola didn’t know you could dance like that.”
Jane grabbed water for her and Garrus, and smiled at the human marine, “Well I had a good teacher, but the girls at After Life were better dance instructors than this awkward turian.”
“Wait… you were a stri-” Vega caught himself, and threw Garrus a careful glance and changed his word choice. “An entertainer on Omega?”
Garrus chuckled, he wasn’t upset with Vega. Every soldier no matter the species heard stories of the popular bar. And Jane never once felt ashamed by working there, though Garrus did appreciate that only he got to reap the benefits of most of the talents learned there.
“Well, mostly I worked at the bar.” She motioned to Garrus, “Then this handsome blue eyed customer tricked me into taking up vigilante work.”
Vega gave a chuckle, “Well if you’ve got another in you, I wouldn’t mind a match.”
Jane had an evil look on her face, and Garrus knew why. Shepard already mentioned they would have much of a challenge going toe to toe with his new Alliance group, soon the large human would learn that Jane was a natural at hand to hand combat.
Garrus took up Vega’s post and watched as the humans paired off, he would always enjoy watching his wife use the skills he had taught her. It helped reaffirm that she could take care of herself when he wasn’t there.
Considering his size, Vega was remarkably light on his feet which was good since he seemed to favor the human boxing style. Jane was easily able to keep up the speed of the blocks and landed some solid hits of her own. However, Garrus could tell Jane was getting tired out faster than normal, she must have still been recovering from her chronic illness on Palaven.
Jane must have realized the same thing, and there was no way she was going to allow Vega to win, he was already to smug. When the opening came she slipped closer and knocked him flat on his back with a hard kick to his waist. The marine landed hard and even though winded, he laughed hard at his new position.
Breathing hard Jane joined him before giving him a hand up, “Johnny already told me you wouldn’t have a chance.”
“Taking advantage of me Lola? That’s just cruel.” But by his tone, Vega was only joking.
“Your ego is big enough Vega.” Jane joked back, grabbing the water and towel she announced, “I’m going to hit the showers, today has been long enough.”
Garrus was about to follow, but then remembered the comments about dancing. He gave her a signal to take the elevator and turned back to Vega.
“Vega, what do you know about human dancing?” Garrus had an idea for a while, but he needed the help of someone with more experience.
“A bit. My uncle insisted I learn, a great way to show off to the ladies.” Vega said proudly. While Garrus knew the man had no mate of his own, he did flirt with everyone.
“Do you know tango?”
On Jane’s way to see her mate, the cook stopped her. “Excuse ma’am. We got the dextro supplies you ordered.”
That would help cheer up her turian for sure, “Good, do you mind if I take over the kitchen for a minute?”
“Of course not, but what do you plan on making?”
She smiled, “Just think of it as turian hot chocolate. I’ll show you, and it would be a great help if you could take one to the Primarch. It may put him in a better mood when meeting with Wrex.”
The young cook nodded and watched eagerly. Jane was sure Terra had not meant to teach the human the recipe to share with the Galaxy but if it could help those trying to save it Jane was sure the matron would not have minded. Jane went ahead and made herself cup as well, hopefully, it would calm her stomach.
Entering the battery Jane found Garrus in his usual position, leaned over his terminal shaking his head as the numbers scrolled across the screen. Without making a sound she came up behind him and simply waited.
At one point he must have caught whiff of the drink because he turned quickly looking confused. Seeing the offered mug he took it, “Spirits yes.” Taking a large drink he looked at her softly, “Still can’t believe she taught you how to do this of all things.”
Jane shrugged sipping her own spicy drink. It was still painful to think she was gone, in their short time together the matriarch had become a second mother. “Woman knew her son what can I say.” Her omni tool beeped and Jane laughed reading the thank you from the Primarch. “Well, least I have options if I get tired of you.”
Garrus read the proposal of marriage, extreme for just a drink but it showed how light hearted it made the Primarch. He growled and reached for Jane pulling to his side, rubbing at where her tattoo was. “Over my dead body.” And he nipped at her lips in his own version of a peck.
Jane knew he missed the colony marks on her face, but being on a mostly human vessel it made the others uncomfortable. She thought Traynor’s eyes were going to fall out when she came on board, and Joker made a joke about needing to learn how to put on makeup. So whenever possible Garrus would rub at the corresponding mark on her waist, it was turning into a tick of his. Jane would have to send Jack another thank you, it did wonders for her sex life.
“So, you weren’t joking about Victus and his un-turian like leadership.”
Garrus leaned back against the console. “From the stories I’ve heard, I’m not too surprised. But Victus is right. The Hierarchy still managed to save its fleet but civilians can’t hold the planet, there are more evacuations every day. We need the Krogan horde’s power on the ground.”
The thought of the Horde sent a shiver through her, not every Krogan could live up to Grunt or even Wrex. But if they turned out to be worth half as much they would be mighty indeed. All Jane hoped was that Wrex didn’t try to ask Johnny for the impossible like everyone else and would be able to keep his people in check when the smoke cleared.
Looking up Jane caught Garrus looking at the map, moving closer to him she tucked herself into the curve of his arm and stood her to toes to nip at his good mandible. “Don’t worry, I’m sure they are safe. You’re just like your dad and you are damn hard to get rid of.” She knew he was trying not to be selfish in the worry for his remaining family.
He rumbled an appreciative purr and nuzzled her hair.
Jane couldn’t hold back the smile of being back in the field with Johnny. During the Collector mission, they had made a brilliant team. The siblings and Garrus were bloody unstoppable as Zaeed often said. But on this prothean recovery mission they brought along Liara, they needed a prothean expert. Of course, their combat experience was needed because of the Cerberus soldiers were also searching for the artifact.
Once allies now enemies didn’t seem to learn not to mess with Shepard. They brought him back perfect but didn’t bother to listen to a word he said. Jane tried not to think that any of the Cerberus team in her scope or on the end of her omni blade was a friend from Normandy, she’d hoped that none of them had gone back given the husk like features they had been seeing in the field.
Even with the expert, sweet Liara couldn’t make out the static data they had found. Johnny though, with the thorian knowledge of the Protheans he gathered during his adventure chasing Saren could. Jane understood the asari’s annoyance. Being an engineer, Jane didn’t like not knowing how something worked. When Johnny managed to open the life pod when Jane had failed and she felt like kicking her brother in the shins like when they were kids.
Didn’t he remember, he was the one always digging in the dirt, while she took apart their dad’s sky car. Jane was the one good with tech, not her bumbling brother.
On the shuttle she studied the Prothean. At least he did not look as much like a bug as Collectors, though the shape of his head reminded her of so many exploding silhouettes she had seen in her scope. At that moment he brushed her arm and glared as if he heard her thought. Then after a moment his gaze shifted down, looking at her in detail leaning in and taking her scent.
“You are not completely human… How have you managed to mate with other species?”
Jane tried not to look frightened. Smelling Garrus’ scent wasn’t anything new, but very few knew she had been modified by the Collectors. As far as Mordin was concerned she was human, just with a bit of DNA modified by the leftovers of the Prothean cycle. “I’m human, you’re probably just picking up traces of my mate.”
Javik watched her intently and Jane made sure not to fidget. As far as she was concerned she was everyone’s equal, she wouldn’t kowtow to anyone again. Seeming to understand this he gave the barest nod and turned away to get off the shuttle.
Garrus growled to himself as he avoided his old friend. Of course, the old Krogan would ask for the impossible while the gun was being held to their head. And now it was putting his family in danger. Garrus wasn’t sure anymore if the Genophage had been the right thing, but now it needed to be dealt with. The salarians would be unhappy if it did happen, but the krogan would be upset and become more xenophobic than ever if a cure wasn’t found. And right now the Primarch needed the krogan, not the salarians.
During his thoughts Garrus finally found Jane in the mess, picking at her food like usual. Spirits he hoped they’d meet Mordin or Chakwas soon, she really wasn’t well. The turian paused, the prothean was in the mess as well. Seated away from everyone, head tilted watching Jane. His wife had already filled him in on his ability to read others with a touch. And Garrus didn’t like the look in Javik’s eye.
Garrus just grabbed a tea and sat next to the male out of time. “And what do you find so interesting?”
Javik turned his unnerving yellow gaze on Garrus. “I didn’t see the purpose of a mate that you could not procreate with. But now I understand.”
Garrus growled low and dangerously, “Whether or not we have children is our own business. I don’t like it when others make my wife uncomfortable.”
Javik did not lose the snobbish tilt in his voice, “Back down savage. Your mate is not in any danger. I am only curious.” With that, he got up and left. Garrus watched until Javik was gone from the room and only then did he get his food and join Jane.