Legion had been working for three days straight. Every so often Donnelly or Daniels would leave, but they always came back, whether in a matter of minutes, or hours. Their shifts alternated, but Legion had no need for breaks. It didn't eat, it didn't sleep, all it required was an occasional recharge.
Legion's hand slipped; it hit one of the buttons on the console twice. Its plates flicked into an exasperated expression for a moment before deleting the mistake and moving on.
There was a slight lurch as the Normandy accelerated into FTL speeds. Legion watched as the engine readouts climbed, but remained within acceptable levels. It tapped a few buttons to flush the engine with coolant, and watched as the temperature level dropped. It faltered, and tapped the button again.
"I do not think that is necessary, Legion," said EDI.
Legion tapped another button to annul the last command. "Apologies." It faltered again, and repeated its action. "Apologies," it said, tapping the button again.
"You have been working for an extended amount of time, Legion. I would attribute your errors to a decrease in your power reserves."
"Geth performance is not affected unless power reserves are at a critical level." Legion shook for a moment, and its eye blinked in and out. "-unless power reserves are at a critical level."
"Case in point."
Legion paused and turned to the engineers. "Donnelly, Daniels, will you be able to continue your work without us?"
"Of course, Legion," said Daniels. "Before, we worked without Tali. Nothing we can't handle."
Legion made its way up to the third floor, back to the AI core. A recharge would likely take around five hours, but then the platform would be functional for at least another week. But it stopped in the medical bay, at the foot of Tali's bed.
"Dr. Chakwas, has anyth-thing changed?"
Chakwas rose from her chair, a slight look of concern crossing her face when she heard Legion stutter. "Are you all right?"
Legion nodded. "We requ-qu-quire a recharge. Power reserves are low."
Chakwas's expression returned to one of professional interest as she nodded in return. "Tali is about the same as she was when she got here. She hasn't gotten worse, but she hasn't gotten better."
"What is your diag-agnosis?"
"I honestly can't say. When Garrus arrived, he was in much worse condition, and he survived."
"Tali'Zorah is not turian. Quarians are n-n-not as resilient as other races."
"I wouldn't put it past her. She's survived serious injuries before," said Chakwas, returning to her chair.
Legion stared at Tali's unconscious form for a short while. "As seri-erious as this?"
A frown crossed Chakwas's lips for a moment. "No. But I believe she will survive."
Legion's vision blinked out for a moment, so it decided it was time to move on. "We will require another status update in approximately five hours," said Legion.
"Of course. But you know that it's likely nothing will change."
Legion's gaze lingered on Tali for a moment as it crossed the threshold to the AI core. "Acknowledged."
Legion restarted the moment its power levels reached maximum. It withdrew the power cable form the port in the wall and stood up, running a quick diagnostic over all systems and processes. Once the system reported everything was fine, it was up and out the door.
But it stopped at the foot of Tali's bed. And stared. The plates on its head rose.
"Dr. Chakwas," it said slowly, "where is Tali'Zorah?"
Chakwas smiled. "She's gone."
Legion froze. "Elaborate."
Chakwas's face quickly turned to an expression of surprise. "Oh! I didn't mean that way. She left under her own power."
"So she has recovered?"
"I should say so."
The plates on Legion's head slowly settled in an expression of relief. "Do you know where she has gone?"
"I would imagine she left for the engine room."
"Acknowledged." Legion made towards the door, its step quickened the smallest bit, before Chakwas called out again.
"Legion, I thought you might want to know: when Tali first woke up, the first thing she did was go into the core and make sure you were okay."
Legion stopped, and contemplated the fact. The simulated emotions flared, but Legion was unable to exactly place what they were. "Acknowledged."
It left the room, heading towards the elevator, but it stopped a few feet from the transport. Down the corridor, it saw the hooded head, the full body covering, the dark colors, and the feminine form. It moved forwards, not bothering to reach a consensus.
"Tali'Zorah." it said, approaching the figure from behind and placing a hand on its shoulder. "We are pleased to see you are okay."
"Hm? I think you have the wrong person." said an unfamiliar voice.
Legion quickly pulled its hand away and stepped back, plates rising in surprise. "You are not Tali'Zorah."
The figure turned. She was dressed similarly to Tali, but there was no mistaking them from the front. "No, I'm Kasumi Goto. Pleased to me-" She stopped. Her eyes were covered by her hood, but Legion could see her oddly colored lips frown in surprise. "You're a geth," she said. "Shep didn't say anything about a geth on this ship."
"Shepard-Commander places a high concern on unit cohesion. There may have been suspicion that you would not react favorably to our presence," said Legion, reverting to its typical logical manner.
Kasumi shrugged. "I'm just a little surprised, that's all. Now, don't let me keep you waiting. You seem pretty eager to see this… Tali, right?"
"I think Shep mentioned something about that name. A quarian, right? The ship's chief engineer?"
Kasumi brought her hand to her chin and smiled. Her eyes glittered under the shadow of her hood. "Interesting. I suppose I'll see you around…?" She looked at it expectantly.
"The crew of the Normandy refers to this platform as Legion."
"Right then, Legion. See you later." She smiled again. "Good luck." With that, she moved through the door to the portside observation, and out of sight. Legion walked back to the elevator. Its processes were telling it it was supposed to feel somewhat embarrassed. It was not a pleasant sensation.
Donnelly and Daniels were both standing in their usual spots when Legion arrived, but Tali was nowhere to be seen.
"Engineer Donnelly, Engineer Daniels. Have you seen Tali'Zorah?" said Legion
"Yeah, she right over there," said Donnelly, pointing further down the engineering bay. Tali was standing at a small outcropping that opened up into the ship's drive core.
Legion hesitated. There was no telling what would happen. But there was no point in turning back now.
Tali didn't turn as Legion approached. It assumed place next to her, hands resting on the railing.
The two were silent for a time. Finally, Tali broke the silence. "It's impressive, isn't it?"
"The engine aboard the Normandy is an extremely impressive and advanced piece of technology," said Legion.
Tali glanced over at Legion. "Not as impressive as you, of course."
Legion considered this. The eezo-powered, FTL drive, coupled with stealth capabilities was actually far more impressive than what was effectively a mobile computer. But saying that was not a good course of action.
The two stood in silence for a while longer. "That's the third time you've saved me," said Tali.
"Four, if you would count the escape from the pirate prison cell," said Legion.
"I've only saved you once," said Tali, sounding slightly disappointed.
There were another few moments of silence. Tali sighed and leaned on Legion's shoulder. "You're not easy to have a conversation with."
Tali laughed. "You don't need to apologize."
Tali sighed again, but was silent for a few moments. "I was scared, Legion."
"Aboard the Collector ship. Fighting the Reaper larva. Hanging there, just before the Normandy. I thought I was never going to see you again. I was afraid that right after we started, it'd be over."
"We experienced similar sensations. You were unconscious for four days. Every moment, we knew you might cease living." It looked over at her. "But you did not. It is pointless to fixate on what could have happened."
"You're right," she murmured, sliding her hands around Legion's midsection. "I just need to look at what I have now. You." She pressed her head into Legion's chest. "I love you."
Legion slowly replicated her actions, placing its arms around her. "We love you, Tali'Zorah."
They stood there for a moment before Tali broke off the embrace. "Let's go up to your room. I want to show you something."
Possibilities buzzed through Legion's mind. Some of them were unpleasant. "Will you tell us what you are planning?"
"What would be the fun in that?" asked Tali.
Legion felt the eyes of the engineers on it and Tali as they left the engineering bay. Donnelly whispered something to Daniels, who punched him in the arm.
Chakwas glanced up as the pair entered, but quickly returned her eyes to her work. Legion found her silence odd.
Tali sat in the alcove at the end n the AI core, and Legion followed suit.
"You know intimacy is difficult for quarians," said Tali.
A metaphorical warning light flashed in Legion's head. "It is dangerous as well."
"And with you, well, I don't really expect anything, to be honest." She shrugged. "But I just want you to see, to see me without all…" she gestured to her suit. "Without all of this."
"We know what quarians look like underneath their enviro-suits."
"Not all quarians look the same…" she trailed off, then straightened up visibly. "I didn't mean my entire body," she said.
The light in Legion's head went off. "Acknowledged."
"I mean, I don't think it'd do anything for you, or me either. There's really no point, unless you were really curious, but I don't think you are." She paused. "Are you?"
"Well, that's good, because I wasn't entirely comfortable with that either, but I figured that with you I wouldn't really have to since you don't expect anything and I don't either." She shook her head. "I'm sorry I just keep talking but I'm just sort of nervous and when I get nervous I just can't shut up."
"I was thinking about this, before, on the Collector ship. I was afraid the meaning of it might be lost on you."
"We comprehend emotions, both yours and our approximation of what is correct for the situation. We understand that intimacy is difficult for Creators. They spend their lives within enviro-suits, closed off from many avenues of contact. Even acts as simple as a kiss could be dangerous, or fatal."
"Wow, that was… well-phrased."
"We are quoting from an extranet article."
Tali laughed. "I should have guessed. But I know the risks, and I want to prove to you, to myself, that this means something. That this isn't some stupid, pointless crush. That what I'm feeling is real. Do you understand?"
It did. She was still unsure. That was understandable, as it was incapable of returning her affection outside of its emotionless voice and simple physical displays of affection. She was sacrificing a lot for this relationship. "Yes. But are you sure?"
"I wasn't, at first. But… I am now." Tali reached up to a spot beneath her jaw and removed the seals from her mask. Legion heard a hiss of air as her suit depressurized and her mask came away.
Quarians had little in the way of genetic diversity. Most of them looked very similar to one another. Legion already knew this, and suspected Tali did too. But she wasn't doing this so it could see what she looked like. What she was doing was a sign of deep trust.
"Well?" she asked.
"You are…" Legion searched for an appropriate word. "Beautiful."
Tali blushed, a reaction which was amplified by the quarian's pale skin. "You're only saying that. To you, beautiful is a bunch of chips and wires, I bet," she teased.
Legion shook its head. "We have compared your face to a number of other quarians and the general reaction to their levels of attractiveness. You are beautiful."
Tali laughed. "Oh, Legion. You're so sweet, in a weird, mechanical way." She leaned forwards and kissed Legion on its eye. The plates on Legion's head rose and fell in response.
"We cannot return your gesture," it said, picking up Tali's mask. "But we would if it were possible." It held Tali's mask to her face, and gave a small nod. "It is not wise to expose yourself for an extended amount of time."
"I think I'd be pretty safe on the Normandy," said Tali, shrugging. "The environment's enclosed, and pretty sterile. But…" She took the mask and placed it over her face. There was another hiss as her suit pressurized. "If it'll make you feel better."
Tali leaned over on Legion, and the two sat there, enjoying each other's company.
There was another silence, but it was Legion who broke it. "Have you given any thought as to our next course of action?"
"What do you mean?"
"This assignment is complete. But the overall mission is not. Have you decided what you wish to do next?"
"Well, Shepard still needs us. And we'll help any way we can."
"There are a variety of ways to assist Shepard-Commander. Not all of them are aboard the Normandy. The Reapers will arrive. Shepard-Commander cannot battle them alone. It will require an army, likely formed from many of the species in the galaxy."
"You want us to go out and try and recruit people? We're not Shepard; I doubt any governments will give us resources if we ask."
"We did not mean to go out among species we did not have an understanding of."
Tali paused. "You want to convince the Flotilla to fight against the Reapers?"
Legion considered this. "No. But if you wish to, we will follow."
"How do we know Shepard would even want this?"
"We have overheard conversations with Miranda Lawson. They have agreed on the need for an army. They have also agreed diplomacy is an effective way to procure one. Faced with factual evidence of an imminent threat, it would be foolhardy for a planet not to agree."
"The Council doesn't believe the 'Reapers' exist," she said, punctuating the word "Reapers" with finger quotes. She thought back in disgust to the turian councilor.
"We know they are incorrect."
"We don't have any proof."
"This will not be an easy task."
Tali was silent for a few moments before speaking again. "Legion, what do you want to do?"
"Our current task is to assist Shepard-Commander. If we may do so with you, we will."
Tali sat up straight and crossed her arms, thinking. "The flotilla is the biggest collection of ships in the galaxy…" she admitted. "There's a lot of firepower there. And noncombatants could be put on the ships too old to battle, I guess." She nodded. "I think we should do that Legion. We'll talk to the Admiralty Board. Try to convince them of the coming war."
"Perhaps, with our assistance, there could be peace between Creators and geth."
Tali shrugged. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves." She leaned back against Legion and took a long, contented breath. "Yes, that's what we'll do. Together, we'll go to the flotilla, and convince them to fight the Reapers. We'll need to disguise you, though. Make you a name, some ID, maybe."
"Anywhere you go, we will follow."
"I know, Legion, I know."
The two sat in silence for a long time. Eventually, Legion recognized Tali's slowed breathing as a sign she had fallen asleep.
It checked its reserve power. There was still a large amount left, but maybe a short charge would be helpful. It drew the cable from its back and plugged it into the wall. Then, it went into hibernation.
The two lay there for a long time, totally at peace with themselves, and each other.