“Where is he?” she almost screeched at the small crowd blocking the tent flap.
“Liara!” Wrex boomed from inside the tent. The crowd parted to let her in as she ran, close to hysterics, into the thick arms of the krogan. She couldn’t help it. She was exhausted, angry and relieved, then angry all over again. Her feet left the ground and air was squeezed out of her lungs for a few seconds before she was dropped unceremoniously back on her feet. She wasn’t crying, not really. Despite the tears streaming freely on her face, she just continued talking. As if she wasn’t crying.
“I was just over at your camp,” she said. “I didn’t see you, so I didn’t land.” The raspy, cutting edge of her voice was completely lacking the serenity that had been Liara T’soni before the beam. Everything was neatly separated now—before the beam and the tragic after that was still unfolding.
“On my way here as soon as your messenger left,” Wrex replied. His voice was hoarse, too, if that was even possible. His left hand was wrapped in thick bandage. It looked haphazard but clean. She took note that someone in the west camp had at least an operational knowledge of how to bandage a hand with clean cloth.
“I hope I didn’t pull you away from any emergency,” she said. “I didn’t know who else to call, you’re the only one I know who is close enough.”
Wrex stared at her for a split-second, blinked and then erupted with an inappropriate gale of explosive laughter. The sound was so unexpected, nearly everyone who heard it looked up. The air was acrid and the smog made it difficult to see where it was thickest. But the upturned faces peered into the haze with suspicion. When shock was the only thing fueling action, hope could be a dangerous thing and should not be entertained on faith alone, especially when the consequences of disappointment were catastrophic. But the krogan laughed so hard, the force of it cleared the dust and smoke around his face so that they could see the peaks and valleys on his curdled face. The exhausted volunteers couldn’t help but stare.
“Everything is an emergency, Liara, all the worlds are on fire,” Wrex boomed loudly, eyes flashing. “And we are alive to live it!”
“Now,” he said, grabbing the side of his armor and making a dramatic show of straightening it. “What is it you need fixing?”
It was Liara’s turn to laugh. She was too tired, it came out as a chuckling sob. She angled her head towards one of the dig sites.
“Javik needs to be restrained, but the doctors don’t want to tranquilize him,” she said. “I can’t do it by myself.”
Wrex was already striding quickly even though he had no idea where to go. Liara had to grab his thick arm, and pull him to the opposite direction, towards one of the brightly-lit sections of the rubble where her drones were zipping and hovering like botflies (or carrion birds, but she didn’t want that idea to linger too long in her head).
“Wrex,” she called out to him. Her voice was quiet, but he stopped, searching her face. “Wrex,” she called again, trying to anchor herself to his name. To her, it was the only solid thing she had this very moment. “Wrex,” she said for the third time.
“Liara, you’re killing me here.”
“We found her,” she said, trembling. “Javik found her. Shepard is alive.”