Disclaimer: I don't own the Mass Effect series or Bioware.
A/N: There's just something cute about Tali/Legion... what?! Don't look at me like that! ;)
Tali'Zorah vas Normandy pivoted around her cover in a smooth motion, lifting up her shotgun to blast a mercenary who had foolishly tried to approach her position, and as he collapsed back with a cry of pain, she swiftly crouched behind her own cover to avoid the biotic warp that would have shattered her remaining shields had she been slower in ducking. Grimly, the quarian ejected the thermal clip in her gun and slid a new one in as she waited for her shields to regenerate back to full strength.
"Tali, fall back. They're attempting to flank you."
Shepard's voice was calm over their channel despite the frantic pacing of the battle and Tali took a few dangerous seconds to admire the strength in her Commander's unflappable calm despite the rockets that were being launched at him every time he popped out of cover to fire off his devastating ammo with inhuman accuracy.
She activated her omni-tool with a quick touch of her other arm and summoned her combat drone, Chikktika vas Paus, out into the field to cover her before she sprinted out from behind her crates to retreat to a farther position. The HUD in her helmet beeped warningly at the rapid decline of her shield's powers, but she trusted Shepard to cover her as well as he could. However, it was just as she was about to throw herself over the crates of her new position when something went wrong. Her only warning was Shepard's yell of warning and a curse before something struck her back and launched her into the ground with a crushing force.
The rest of her shields shattered upon her impact with the ground and she gave a startled gasp of pain as she tumbled on the ground. Her shotgun had been knocked out of her hands and landed a few feet away, but she was hardly aware of that when she was gasping in an attempt to regain the air that had been knocked out of her lungs. The filters of her helmet whirred with each harsh breath she took and, for a second, it was the only sound she could hear before the world snapped back into reality and the sounds of gunfire once again resumed across the field.
"Dammit, Tali, get up!"
Shepard's voice gave her enough strength to stagger to her feet despite the frantic warnings that her HUD was trying to send to her about her lack of shields. Tali limped over to reclaim her shotgun before she lost it in the frenzy of battle and it was her lack of attention that made it so that, when she looked up to ascertain the position of the mercenaries, she froze at the sight of an approaching rocket. Her brain screamed at her to move but for some reason her feet remained frozen to the ground.
The world seemed to slow down as the rocket approached her. Dimly, she thought she could hear Shepard screaming at her to move and get out of the way but she was paralyzed with terror. Was this how her life would end? They hadn't even been able to go back to the flotilla to clear her name of treason.
It was only when she was tackled roughly into cover did the world speed up and the resulting explosion of the rocket impacting the ground made her head ring even in the confines of her helmet. Tali opened her eyes that she hadn't realized she closed and was prepared to thank Shepard for saving her life, once again, only to find herself swallowing back a startled scream at the sight of a geth's flash-light head staring straight at her.
"Is creator Tali'Zorah unharmed?"
She never thought that one day she would relax upon hearing the voice of a geth, but Legion's familiar monotone audio stopped her from ramming her shotgun into its face and pressing the trigger. She didn't trust her voice enough to answer to its inquiry without it cracking and could only nod her head shakily in response.
The moment the geth received confirmation of her well-being, it removed itself from her space and rejoined the battle without delay while she had to take a few minutes to pull herself together from the shock of her near-death experience and being saved by Legion before she could trust herself to shoot with accuracy.
It was only when they returned to the Normandy and Shepard had already taken the elevator up to the CIC centre; before Tali gathered her courage up to tap Legion on the arm before it could move off to wherever it normally hid. She was glad that there was no one in the halls to witness this because she felt nervous enough when he turned around with his flaps flaring out in what she interpreted as a curious or interested expression.
"Does creator Tali'Zorah require something?"
"I just wanted to thank you," she paused awkwardly at his lack of expression before continuing, "for saving my life."
"We did not save your life as there was a 23.512 percent chance of your survival."
She narrowed her eyes, feeling oddly hurt at his brusque response, before she tried to convey her gratitude once more. "But you didn't have to risk yourself like that to push me out of danger. So, thank you."
Legion's eye contracted with a small whirring noise and the flaps on its head folded back down before it spoke, "We were following Shepard-Commander's orders."
Exasperation made her speak without thinking, "Can't you just say "You're welcome", like a normal person would?" It was only after the words were out of her mouthpiece did she raise her hands to cover it in embarrassment and in horror. However, it was too late to retract the words that she had ignorantly spat out.
Legion stared at her in silence as the plates above the geth's head folded inward, as if in confusion, before raising themselves outwardly, only to fall back in. His lack of response and unblinking stare made her blush in mortification and just as she was about to apologize for her thoughtless words and beat a hasty retreat back to the engineering room, the robot responded.
"You... are... welcome."
The words sounded strange coming from an emotionless robot, but for some reason Tali found herself smiling in the privacy of her mask.
"Right. Well," she shuffled around awkwardly, unsure of what more she should say before she decided that it was best just to leave, "I should get going to the engineering room."
Nodding her head at Legion in a farewell, she quickly spun around on her toes and briskly power-walked to the safety of the engineering room, not bothering to wait for any other reply from the geth platform.
As she entered the engineering room she was greeted by Gabby and Ken and questioned about her recent mission with Commander Shepard. And though she answered their questions as best as she could, she remained slightly distracted with her mind still stuck on the conversation she just had with Legion.
Maybe, just maybe, the geth weren't all that bad.