The tank cartwheeled down a slope that was only a few degrees short of being a vertical wall, bounced several times its own height, and finally, in a manner that seemed to defy physics, came to a stop standing safely upright on its six wheels, scratched but intact.
As Kaidan rolled down a window and introduced a planet previously untouched by human hands to what had some hours before been his lunch, Shepard softly stroked the Mako's dashboard.
"God," he said, in the voice of a man about to burst into joyful tears, "I love this car so fucking much."
Shepard stood on the gas and headed for the next peak. "Call it!" he shouted as the Mako accelerated up the sheer cliffside.
"Three," Wrex rumbled.
"Four," Shepard countered. He twisted the wheel hard and activated the thrusters, and the Mako was aloft, spinning slowly through the air. Frowning in concentration, Shepard pulsed the thrusters to maximize air time, and the tank spun once, twice, thrice - and landed midway through the fourth rotation, facing back the way it came.
"Draw," Wrex declared.
"I hate you both," Ashley groaned from the gunner's seat.
The only answer she got was laughter.
Shepard ramped the Mako off a cliff at full speed, 35 meters above ground.
By the time the Colossus noticed, he had overridden the mass effect generator and the tank shook as the walker crumpled underneath its weight.
The generator re-activated before they could hit the ground, and Shepard slammed the thrusters, practically bouncing off the wreck, already far away by the time it exploded.
Once they were standing still again, he let go of the wheel. "And you people think I can't drive."
Tali whimpered. Garrus threw up in the back seat.
He couldn't ask for a better reaction.
Alchera was cold, even through his insulated armour. The wreckage of the Normandy lay scattered, blackened and twisted by the blast that destroyed the vessel, and almost everyone on board.
It was not his first trip here, but he had found something then that he needed to address.
Tears burning his eyes, Shepard opened the bottle of whisky he had brought and emptied it on the frozen ground by the Mako's final resting place, not for the crew that had served with him, but for the tank that had saved his life more times than any of his squad mates.