When David woke up, it was quiet. The only sounds came from the console where an old lady was working on, a frown on her face and the low hum of what was probably the engine. It was still noisy to David but it was bearable in comparison to when he was in the machine. The old lady looked up when David shifted and smiled, getting up from her seat and crossing over to him.
“Hello David,” she said. “I’m Dr. Chakwas. How are you feeling?”
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1,” David whispered. His throat hurt, his skin hurts his head hurt and he wanted to cry. “It hurts. Where am I?”
“You’re in the medical bay of the Normandy,” Dr. Chakwas replied gently. “I can give you a shot for the pain. Would you like some water?”
“Yes please.” She smiled at him – she was really pretty despite her age – and with a gentle pat on his shoulder Dr. Chakwas went to get a hypo. He curiously looked down at his arms, noting they were bandaged up and wondered why they were.
“EDI, please let the commander know that David is awake,” she said.
“Of course, Dr. Chakwas,” another voice replied. David looked around, curious as to who spoke before Dr. Chakwas came back with a cup of water and a hypo. Placing the cup and hypo to the side she helped him sit up before picking up the hypo.
“I’m going to give you the shot now,” she said soothingly. David nodded and held out an arm, wincing at the sound of air as he was injected. She placed the hypo down and then handed him the cup. As David began to drink, the pain slowly began to disappear and he smiled at the doctor when he was done with his water. Dr. Chakwas smiled back at him.
“Would you like more?” she asked.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. No thank you,” he replied hoarsely. She nodded and then turned when the doors opened. David blinked, recognizing the man who walked into the room. The man seemed to look him over as he came to stand next to the doctor.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. I know you,” David whispered. The man nodded and gave David a smile.
“Hello David. My name is Shepard,” he replied with a nod and held out his hand. David looked down at the hand before he tentatively reached out to shake it. Shepard’s hand was rough, calluses on his palm and fingers but warm. It was so different from Gavin’s hand – his was soft and cold.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Where are you taking me?” David asked as he let go of the commander’s hand.
“Grissom Academy,” Shepard replied. David tilted his head as he thought about it, listening to the commander as he continued to speak. “We should be there in a week – would have been sooner but I have something to take care of on the way. You’re free to explore the Normandy though you might want to be a little careful around the lower decks.”
“Okay.” David looked around before focusing at the window, seeing people outside. The Cerberus logo caught his eye and he turned back to Shepard, seeing the logo on his shirt as well. “Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. You are with Cerberus?” Shepard frowned at that, his blue eyes darkening and David cringed away.
“No, I’m not with Cerberus,” the commander said. His tone turned dry. “If anything it’s more like I’m… a reluctant ally of Cerberus. I’m expecting them to stab me in the back. Again.” David watched as Shepard took a deep breath and shook his head before giving him an easy grin.
“Well, anyway,” Shepard said, “welcome to the Normandy.”
The people on the Normandy were all very nice, very different from the people at the Atlas Station. He found out who the other voice was, an AI by the name of EDI. David had never met an AI before and EDI was fascinating to him as she calmly welcomed him onto the Normandy. The yeoman Kelly Chambers was the first person to approach David after Dr. Chakwas and Commander Shepard, coming to visit him in the medical bay to talk with him. She told him that she was just making sure that he was doing alright and if David was settling alright.
David thought Kelly was really nice. He liked her.
He liked the room with the asari justicar. It was quiet there save for the low hum of the engines and the justicar herself was quiet, meditating on something. The light she emitted during her meditation was mesmerizing and David could watch it all day if he could. Samara was nice to let him sit in her room, a companionable silence between the two. The drell was also quiet but his room was too noisy. The shadow lady next to Thane wasn’t so quiet but she told David stories – romantic stories, funny stories, adventurous stories.
The salarian talked a lot but he seemed to stay in his lab most of the times. Shepard jokingly warned David to stay out of the lab just in case. David wasn’t sure what the “in case” part was about but judging by the uncomfortable looks from some of the crewmembers David was pretty sure he didn’t want to know. Both the turian and the soldier were stiff around David, looking rather unsure when they were around him while the cold lady just looked sad whenever she looked at him.
David wasn’t sure why but he had the feeling that she was blaming herself for what happened to him.
The lower deck was definitely too noisy and had some scary people there. David decided he wouldn’t be venturing anywhere near there during his stay on the Normandy. The quarian and the engineers were all very nice to him, understanding him when David told them about the noise and the scary people. The krogan was scary in general while the mercenary looked rather annoyed when David poked his head in to take a look at the room. There was also an angry biotic lady down in the hold who looked ready to hit him when David peeked in.
But maybe the angry biotic lady wasn’t so scary. David noticed the way Shepard would look at the biotic lady whenever she came up to get food. The commander’s eyes would soften as he talked with her, nodding with a faint smile on his face when she gave him an expletive-laced answer. Shepard liked the biotic lady and David thinks she liked the commander too – he noticed how her hand would twitch in an aborted move to reach for Shepard’s hand whenever he turned to leave. When the commander wasn’t looking David saw the eyes on the biotic soften as she watched him from where she sat.
He told Shepard that the biotic lady liked him one night when he came by to see David and the commander gave a sheepish grin.
“I hope so,” Shepard said, rubbing the back of his neck. “I really like her too.”
About midway through the week Shepard went on his mission. The commander took with him the soldier and the drell, and David watched as the three made their way to the elevator before wandering off to the justicar’s room. She gave no indication when the doors opened but David had a feeling that she knew that he was there. He took a seat on the couch next to her, curling his feet under him and for some time, stared outside of the window in silence.
“Pardon me, Samara,” EDI interrupted the silence, her blue hologram popping up and startling David. “David, Dr. Chakwas would like to see you.”
“Okay,” David whispered, casting a look over at the justicar as he got up from his seat. She merely gave a slight nod and he nodded back before leaving the room. Dr. Chakwas looked over as David entered the medical bay and, with a smile, she got up from her seat.
“Hello, David,” she greeted warmly. “How are you doing?”
”Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. I’m doing fine, Dr. Chakwas,” David replied. He was honestly feeling better on the Normandy, no longer feeling too much pain from his skin and throat. The quarian and the engineers would come up from the lower deck sometimes with some mathematical problems for him and thank him when David solved some difficult equation for them. He liked it when they gave him math problems to solve.
“That’s good.” Dr. Chakwas gestured for him to take a seat on one of the beds and he did so, watching as she unwrapped the bandages on his arm, checking the healing wounds.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Is Commander Shepard going to save someone else?” David asked curiously.
“Probably,” Dr. Chakwas replied. “He has a bit of a hero-complex if there are innocent people around.” She gave a soft laugh at that and David smiled back at her before he looked down at his arm. The first time Dr. Chakwas had changed bandages David had been stunned by the sight. He remembered when Gavin plugged him into the machine, how the machine screamed into his mind and deafened his senses. He remembered the tubes stuffed down his throat to help him breath, the thing that kept his eyes opened no matter what, how cold the machine and the room was.
But the plugs in his arms? Those were new to David as he didn’t remember them being put in. In fact he didn’t even remember how Shepard managed to get him onto the Normandy after he broke the machine. He did remember the blanket wrapped around him, the sound of a woman’s worried voice and Shepard’s strong arms as the commander carried him out of the machine.
His memories were interrupted when Dr. Chakwas gave David a pat on his arm and he blinked as he realized that the bandages on both his arms had been changed. David gave her a shy smile as she told him to get something to eat before he slid off of the bed and wandered off to the mess. The quarian and the angry biotic lady were there, the latter already eating while the former sat across from her. He picked up a tray of food from Gardner and edged towards Tali’Zorah as he gave the biotic a wary look. The angry biotic lady smirked at him as David took a seat next to the quarian and began to nibble on his food.
“How are you doing, David?” the quarian asked.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. I’m doing well so far, Tali’Zorah,” David replied. “Square root of 912.04 is 30.2. Everything looks good David, just remember to keep your bandages dry. Now go and get something to eat, you’re still way too skinny.” The quarian let out a soft laugh while the angry biotic lady just snorted in response and David took a bite of his food.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Is Commander Shepard saving people?” he asked curiously. He caught a faint smile from the biotic before her expression changed to an annoyed scowl. Tali’Zorah shook her head in response then stopped and gave a shrug.
“I suppose in a way he is,” she replied slowly. “I mean, taking out a Blue Suns group means less enemies hurting innocent people, right?”
“Yeah, one less person trying to put a fucking bullet in my brain,” Jack added. The quarian shook her head at that as the angry biotic lady gave her a “what?” look.
“He should be back soon though,” Tali’Zorah continued. “These sort of missions have always been short. Well, usually.”
“Those virus-infected ‘bots were fucking loads of fun,” Jack said. David frowned at that, wondering if she meant him when Shepard and his team strode onto deck. David watched from his seat as the commander walked into the medical bay, his armor still smoldering from the mission and favoring his right shoulder. Through the window David watched as Dr. Chakwas got up from her seat, her lips thinning at the sight of him. She said something, the soldier next to Shepard replying and the commander just gave a shrug, wincing as the motion jarred his shoulder.
David watched the doctor shake her head as Shepard took a seat on one of the beds before starting a scan on the commander. He looked back at Tali’Zorah and Jack, the former watching the three while the latter nibbled on a roll but her eyes would dart to the medical bay. David looked away from the two and smiled brightly at the commander who raised an eyebrow at him before his attention was pulled back to the doctor, nodding his head as she scolded him.
“What’s so fucking funny?” the angry biotic woman demanded, startling David. He shrank back in his seat while Tali’Zorah placed a hand on his arm.
“Jack!” Tali’Zorah started and the angry biotic woman scowled at her before getting up from her seat and stalking off. The quarian just shook her head before giving David’s arm a gentle pat. “Don’t worry about it, she’s always like that.” David looked back at Tali’Zorah before he nodded and looked back at the medical bay. Shepard had watched Jack leave the deck before he noticed David and gave another shrug.
David decided that math was so much easier than relationships because the angry biotic lady was scared of the commander and that was just strange as the commander was really nice.
Shepard walked out of the medical bay, armor no longer smoldering and instead of heading to the elevator, he walked over to David and Tali’Zorah. David blinked in confusion as the commander pulled something out from one of the pouches on his armor and handed it over to David. It looked like a pair of headphones to David and he took it gingerly.
“Here,” he said with a shrug. “It’s not as good as ear plugs but it should cancel out any loud sounds if you wear it.” David blinked again, this time in surprise as the nice gesture from the commander and smiled in reply.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Thank you, Commander Shepard,” David replied and put on the headphones. The low hum on the deck disappeared and David felt his smile grow bigger at the silence. “Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Can I go down to engineering with you, Tali’Zorah?”
“Of course,” the quarian replied, her voice muffled by the headphones. David looked back at Shepard who gave a grin of his own before giving David’s shoulder a pat and, with a nod, took his leave.
The angry biotic lady was silly for running away from the commander. Shepard was a nice person.
Grissom Academy was big. David looked up at the ceiling and his surroundings as he half-listened to the commander talking to the director of the academy. His headphones were around his neck as the low hum on the space station wasn’t loud enough to offend his ears. The cold lady was by the commander as they made arrangements for David and the quarian was by David’s side, also looking around in wonder.
“I have never been here before,” Tali’Zorah said, “I hope you will like this place.”
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. I hope so too,” David said quietly. He looked down at the floor, feeling his lips turn down. “Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. I will miss the Normandy, Tali’Zorah.” The quarian took one of David’s hands and gave it a gentle pat, and David looked up at her. If she had been human, David thinks she would be giving him a reassuring smile. She let go of his hand and looked away, and David turned as well to see the commander and the cold lady approaching them with the director.
“David, this is William Carlyle,” Shepard introduced. “He’ll be helping you settle in here at the Academy.”
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Hello, William,” David said.
“Hello, David,” William greeted with a smile. “Welcome to Grissom Academy.” David nodded, watching as both the cold lady and the quarian gave a nod to Shepard and left the three alone. He fidgeted for a moment before he looked up at the commander.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Are you going to save more people now?” David asked.
“It’s my job,” Shepard replied with a shrug.
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. May I write to you?” Shepard blinked and a smile appeared on his lips.
“Of course, I’d like to hear how you’re doing,” Shepard answered. “Tali and the engineers would definitely like to know how you’re doing.”
“Okay.” David looked down. He knew his next request wasn’t going to make the commander happy. “Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Do you think you can let my brother know how I’m doing, Commander Shepard?” There was a pause and David peeked up at the commander, noting the faint frown on his face.
“If you’d like,” Shepard said slowly. “I can have Miranda send him an update on you.”
“Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Could I send him a letter?” David asked. Shepard’s frown grew more pronounced and David cringed away before hearing the commander sigh.
“Alright,” Shepard said. “He is still your brother in the end. Send me the letter and I’ll have Miranda get it to him.”
“Thank you,” David whispered. He fidgeted again before he hesitantly held out a hand to the commander. Shepard raised an eyebrow before he gave David a smile, taking his hand and giving it a firm handshake. “Square root of 906.01 is 30.1. Good luck Commander Shepard.”
“Good luck to you too, David,” the commander replied, letting go and, with a nod, left for the Normandy. David watched as the commander joined the cold lady and the quarian, watched as they left for the dock together before he turned to William. William gave David a warm smile, gesturing for him to follow and David nervously followed after the director.
David hoped the Academy would be like the Normandy, filled with good people.