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There are bugs on my face.

I don't feel them ... but I can see them. One perches over my eye for what seems like an interminable amount of time.

As bad as that is, it distracts me from the fact that those ... things, the Collectors (and those were just supposed to be scary stories!) are carrying off my friends. I've already seen them take Jana. I want to cry ... but I can't do that, either.

All I want to do is close my eyes and pretend this isn't happening, but I can't even do that.

It's quiet, and I don't know how much time is passing. And then ... gunshots. I can hear a sniper rifle, the rattarattaratta of an assault rifle, the sharp crack of a pistol.

Then I'm sure my mind has broken, because who comes around the corner? Commander Shepard. Everyone knows who she is. Or was. I'd heard she died.

It's funny what your mind remembers, because I remember my father going on about how she destroyed the Citadel, and my mother telling him that Shepard was a hero, and she certainly didn't see him out there with a gun fighting off the geth. I remember seeing Shepard in interviews, looking stern and intimidating, with shining red hair and a reserved demeanor.

But here she is, and she's brought a turian and ... a krogan with her, and they are blasting these assholes like it's nobody's business. I want to cheer. Inside I'm cheering. If anyone can fix this, it's her.

They finally move out of my limited line of sight in pursuit of the monsters, and all I can do is listen. I think it's going well for Shepard. I hear "scoped and dropped!", "I am KROGAN!", and the fwoomp of biotics. I start to worry when I hear Shepard yell, "what the hell is that thing?", but then the defense turrets start up and then the bugs are finally getting off my face and then I hear the roar of a ship and the next thing I know I pitch forward and nearly bash my face on a railing.

I'm free.

My hands are shaking. I'm not really breathing; "gasping" would be a better word for it. I turn and collapse against the railing and wonder if anyone else survived.