The crew were on Kadara today. Cora and Vetra (Ryder's favorite people here) came with her to complete some pending missions. Sara, by simple habit, asked SAM if anything changed since she had activated two out of three monoliths already, first thing done, upon coming to the Port. "Sulfur Springs are as toxic as before, I still do not advise you to approach the water." Was SAM's habitual answer. "So, no skinny dipping." Sara chuckled. "No dipping at all, Pathfinder." SAM answered and that was it.
A long day spent to run around, drive around in the Nomad, the squad was finally done. Kadara's hot weather was not as lethal as Elaaden, but still made everyone sweat. So, upon reaching the Tempest the girls ran to take a shower. They ended up entering the same stall for time purposes. Sara who loved both crew mates very much laughed the whole time, seeing them naked, fighting for water. SAM commented on their childish behavior, being unable to understand the absence of patience. Cora and Vetra cried out to SAM to leave them alone, as they were naked, only Sara stayed silent, not bothered in the least by AI's words.
“Sorry guys, I’m tired, gonna watch a movie and sleep,” Sara said in a fatigued voice and headed to her room. Everyone seemed to have infinite amount of energy, or simply the ones who did weren't all day on Kadara, killing outlaws. The ship was alive still, the core humming was barely heard due to the crew’s loud conversations. Once Sara settled down on her bed, she sighed, taking off her shirt. Fresh wind ran by her naked skin and left a trace of chills.
“You want to watch a movie together?” She whispered, going under covers.
Sure, Sara, what is it that you desire?
“Maybe a crime movie? So you could guess who’s the murderer?”
Without responding the AI turned on the TV screen and put a detective movie from the Milky Way.
Not even 15 minutes passed, and SAM was already calculating the movie’s plot twists. It was not very difficult, he presumed. Not many movies could win against SAM’s intelligence.
“Seriously, SAM? Don’t you ever watch a movie without calculating or doing research?”
But Sara, you were the one to suggest that.
“I’m joking, idiot,”
SAM hummed and continued looking through every detail, which made Sara’s eyes hurt more. He was focusing all her attention into the screen, making her eyes tear up at one point.
“SAM, could you make it a little less painful?”
Suddenly the screen became blurrier and her eyes closed without her demand.
“What are you doing?”
Making it less painful for you, Ryder.
“And what do you mean by that?”
Ryder’s eyes were now fully closed, the pain dissipated in a single moment and finally her entire body was as light as a feather. She sighed and let it all go. She felt a nonexistent touch on her head, pulling hair behind her ears. It all seemed so genuine she nearly forgot there was no one beside her. Although SAM was an AI she grew closer to him more than anyone before – he was inside her mind at all times, so it was bound to happen. If she couldn’t live with him, she wouldn’t be a good Pathfinder. She should have understood much earlier that she would be a simple person without SAM, now she has become an idol, a sign of hope for the Nexus and the Arks. She felt powerful, even though that power belonged only to SAM.
With these thoughts enveloping her head, she slowly started to fall asleep. But she was shook awake by a strange touch by her shoulders. There was no one – thus it was SAM, who else? A ghost?
“SAM? What do you want?”
“There is Mr.Kosta at your door, he asked to see you.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s late, Pathfinder, but you should speak to him immediately.”
Sara felt a tinge of fear run through her body. What could be so important? Even SAM seemed preoccupied and he never, literally never, showed any sign of negative emotion. Ever.
She put her clothes back on, caressing her eyes to wake up gentler than the AI’s method.
Once she was prepared to see her crew member and friend, she opened the door, which she didn’t remember locking herself…
“Sara! Good to see you, now follow me!” Liam seemed very excited for that time of night. What time was it exactly?
“Liam, what’s going on?”
“Come on!” Liam took her hand and led her to the back of the Tempest.
“Liam, seriously, I don’t like the sound of that,” Sara whispered. “SAM, please tell me what’s going on.”
“I am unable to access Liam’s thoughts, Pathfinder, I’ll try one more time if you’d like,”
“Smart ass,” she laughed desperately trying to understand what was going on, and why was the entire crew standing, ready for ovation, in the garage.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” they shouted in harmony, for the first time since the beginning.
Oh my god, it was her birthday, it's true. She was so absorbed in her work that she completely forgot about it.