Alicia and EDI took seats across from each other in the crew mess. They had a chess board set up between them in the quiet between shift changes. Alicia set up the pieces while EDI sat with her hands folded in her lap.
"Shepard, I have come up with a few more questions for you?"
A small smile graced Alicia's lips. It had been a year since the end of the Reaper War. Here she was, finally back on her own ship. With her own ship. She made her first move--queen's pawn two spaces--and passed it.
"What does touch feel like?"
The pair carried on with their moves seamlessly. The conversation was like a blanket overtop. Alicia's lips formed a thin line.
"Shouldn't you be able to look it up on the Extranet?"
"Virtually no writers exposit about how it feels with untouchable beings in mind. The ones who do are, to put it lightly, conspiracy theorists. Or pornographers. Neither has much basis in fact."
Alicia chuckled as she moved her rook accordingly. "Alright. Touch for most organics is essential for mental health. Certain touches release certain neurotransmitters, but it's difficult to explain to someone without the sense."
"Like describing color to a person without sight."
"Precisely. Check." Alicia smirked.
EDI moved her king to a less dangerous location.
"The best I can think to describe it is warmth, but you don't feel that either."
"Another question, then. How are things going with Thane and Garrus?" Her posture relaxed by degrees.
Alicia considered her move for a moment. "I almost expected you to keep asking about organic life."
"Perhaps I have acquired the same spontaneity which characterizes organic life."
"Nobody tell Joker." She laughed. "To answer your question, they're doing fine. Garrus is taking care of our three children we've adopted. Thane is working at C-Sec, if you can believe it."
"Check. I would be inclined to believe that."
Her brow furrowed minutely. "How are things with you and Joker, by the way?"
"We are currently discussing the possibility of marriage, though it would be a tough journey to set out upon. A.I.s are still not categorized as people, so any move of marriage to Jeff would not be permissable in any court of law." EDI paused to capture a pawn. "I think he knows this, yet he still wants to entertainthe possibility."
Alicia smiled briefly. "It's probably more symbolic than anything else."
"That would align with logic. I think Jeff would be sentimental in that way."
"Besides, it would be a great excuse to get everyone together again." Alicia stood to grab a quick snack.
"I don't believe organics require an occasion to get their...family together."
Alicia ate a spoonful of yogurt and sat back down again. "Why call our group family?"
"Your blood relation with Zaeed Massani notwithstanding, your squadmates grew emotionally close to one another and to you. The group functions much as a large and extended family would. I do not think that can be said for all crews in the Alliance and other militaries. Your ship is truly unique." EDI seemed amused by this.
Alicia thought about the concept. She'd never considered her whole crew in that way. The game carried on without words for a few minutes.
"Do you think you'll retire with your husbands and children soon?" EDI folded her hands in her lap once again.
"Perhaps. It will be nice to enjoy the galaxy for once. Relax and wait for the next catastrophic event to come around." Alicia leaned her chin on her palm.
"You believe that another threat in your lifetime is inevitable?"
She couldn't meet EDI's eyes. "With my luck, it's almost a guarantee."
There was a silence in which no moves were made. Just the hum of the engines all around. Alicia finished her yogurt. It didn't taste like the advertised strawberries. There was something melancholic to it. EDI gently brought her hand to Alicia's shoulder. "While it is statistically probable, you shouldn't expect the worst."
Alicia sighed to herself. "I'm an admiral. It's my job. Checkmate."
EDI analyzed the board and found that she had been bested. "This has been a refreshing game, Shepard." She put the pieces away meticulously.
Alicia began her walk towards the elevator. "So it has been for me as well. We'll have to do this again sometime."