Chapter 4: The First Night

Shepard growled, dropping to the ground as yet another object whizzed past her head, smashing into a tree behind her. It was all wrong. Every time she tried to use her biotics, it would just accelerate, turning whatever it touched into a ballistic missile. All of her old physical mnemonics either didn't work, or did something completely different to what it was before. While this was frustrating enough, she was so used to casual use of her power that missteps were frequent, and turned what should have been a simple task into a live fire exercise. The small cave was now covered with odds and ends, cloth hung from jutting rock, and a fork was jutting straight out from the stone wall.

Which may or may not be why the campsite was a mess. Old Gunnery Chief Ellison would have loved this.

Shepard kicked aside the ruined bedroll, a victim of one of her more recent fits, and stepped out of the cave.

She stepped out of the cave, frowning. This was wrong. She had always been in control of her biotics. Ever since that first night, when she accidentally broke her mother's arm Shepard had learned to maintain her control. She'd always been forced to wrestle with her destructive nature. Watching all those years of discipline be undone right between her fingers seemed to devalue those precious years spent honing that control.

Did you ever truly have control? It's always been one obstacle after another. Always something in the way. A dangerous part of her mind whispered.

Before she could retort, footsteps sounded nearby, and Shepard turned toward the noise. It was her savior, the foolish girl with a lion's heart.

"Se wa, U'lle Na?" Said the girl she approached. She wore a simple, brown robe, the same as the borrowed outfit Shepard was wearing now. The girl paused, hesitantly, and knelt, offering up what looked like a rabbit, holding it by its extremely long ears.

Shepard snorted. "You know kid, you'd think after the tenth time i've growled at you to stop groveling, you'd wise up and listen."

The girl looked up at Shepard, but blinked blankly at her words. Honestly, she wasn't sure why she bothered. She couldn't understand a single word of english, or any other dozen of languages Shepard had tried.

In fact, with the chaos from the night before, it had taken half a night for Shepard to realize that the girl couldn't speak any language that she could recognize. While not fluent in all of them, as an N7 operative Shepard was trained to recognize every known language in citadel space, as well as a few from the Terminus systems in case of translation device failure.

The language the girl used wasn't any of them. In fact, the closest sounding language was Raloi! Well, vaguely. If you squinted.

Shepard didn't bother to hide her disdain as the girl continued to kneel. No matter what Shepard did, she wouldn't stop treating her like some sort of idol. It might have been cute, if it didn't remind her so much of Conrad.

"Alright, enough of that. Get up already." Shepard muttered.

The girl smiled nervously, not understanding. After a moment, she gestured toward the fire pit, and after a tired nod from Shepard, cautiously shuffled toward the cave. Shepard pointedly ignored the surprised gasp of the girl finding her mess, and turned on her omni-tool. The orange hologram flickered to life around her hand, heavy static permeating throughout the glowing gauntlet. The heavy storm still hadn't cleared up, grey clouds blocked the sky preventing any scans of constellations. If it would just clear up maybe she could find a familiar star system, maybe determine what system this was. Maybe get a distress call out, If there was anyone left to call. Make sense of everything.

Not that much of anything has made sense lately, Shepard thought.. Joy. The way the girl acted potentially indicated a Non-Alliance colony, which while uncommon, were not unheard of. And there had been a few naturalist colony ships that disappeared a few decades ago. That would explain the primitive tech, and the strange reaction to biotics.

Speaking of the devil, the girl returned a moment later with a broken piece of flint, and Shepard could have sworn she saw an annoyed look flash on her face for a moment before being replaced with embarrassment. She quickly moved to make the fire.

Shepard settled back, leaning against a rock and watched the girl being to meticulously skin the strange looking rabbit with practiced ease. She was obviously used to hunting. Shepard would have offered to help herself, but without knowing anything about the local fauna it seemed unwise to try and skin it. Best let the professionals handle it.

Instead Shepard decided to do something useful with her time. Her omni-tool might have been on the fritz, but the built in translator still seemed to be working. It would never be as good as an official translation effort… but the built in VI could begin building a proper database. It just needed the data.

"So, uh, it's getting kind of awkward just calling you girl Or you. Or hey. Or hey you. Do you have a name?"

The girl glanced up from her grisly work, and Shepard could have sworn she could feel the sarcasm oozing off of her.

Shepard tapped her fist against her chest. "My name is Shepard. Sheeep. Arrrrd." She pointed toward the girl. "What is your name?"

Puzzlement filled the girl's face. Shepard sighed and tried again. A few tries later she seemed to get the message across, as the girl smiled and pointed at Shepard, then herself. "Anno, Shepahd, Sukei. Suuu. Kei."

Shepard smiled brightly. Finally they were getting somewhere! "Nice to meet ya, Suki. Commander Kamilah Shepard, Special Tactics and Reconnaissance at your service." She extended her hand toward Suki. Suki just gave her a flat look, raising her bloody hands into the light.

"Ah, right. Don't worry about it."

Suki rolled her eyes, before seemingly realizing what she was doing and quickly dug back into the rabbit, cheeks flushed.

Shepard laughed, then began moving to clean the camp. "You are not as timid as you are acting Suki! Lighten up."

Suki responded back, her tone light. They might not have been able to understand each other, but it was good to have someone to talk to. It seemed like forever since Shepard last had a chance to just sit and talk to someone. She had almost forgotten how.

Automatically, she reached out to grab a bag with her biotics, only to realize what she was doing too late. The bag shot right past her, sending Suki diving for cover, and landing right into the fire, scattering hot coals along the ground.

Shepard had the decency to blush. "Well. No need to worry about packing up after dinner right?"

Suki glared absolute daggers.