Shaking off the last tendrils of dreamless rest, Shepard stretched languidly. Running her hands through her hair, she looked at the clock on her desk. Good, enough time for a shower before hitting the deck. That's when she noticed the little vial Mordin had left. Reaching over, she picked it up before tossing it into the nearest trash bin. When he no doubt asked after it, she'd claim innocence.

Rubbing her cheek caused Shepard to pause. There was a slight difference in consistency along her skin. Rubbing harder, she felt the liner from yesterday blur under her touch. Smiling to herself, she made her way to her washroom and more importantly; to the mirror. She didn't hurry and it wasn't because she didn't want to see the culmination of Mordin's work, but quite the opposite. She was a woman who enjoyed the suspense.

When she reached the mirror she saw her reflection and her eyes roamed over the curves and hard edges of her body. It was true she hadn't been born with the most flattering of shapes, and the harsh lifestyle of a Spectre did nothing to help soften her appearance. Despite all this, she was still impressed with what she saw. Intricate lines wove over and around her in complex patterns that only accentuated what she had.

Obviously all of Mordin's 'research' involving vids of women in various states of undress had payed off; he'd clearly learned how to appreciate the nude form. Dimly Shepard wondered after the doctor's sordid past. He had after all, been the equivalent of a secret agent and even managed to land a lady or two for himself back in his hay day. Hell, for an alien he was pretty hot stuff. She'd seen the looks he got in the dark bars while they were on shore leave. In fact, she was pretty sure a krogan had bought him a couple drinks the last time they'd been to the Dark Star.

But enough about Mordin, this was her 'me time'.

Posing in the mirror, she marvelled at the way the colours blended and changed in the light. Small rivers of red blended into fiery oranges which in turn became warm golden yellows. The glittering pigments were like little pieces of light and they made her feel like a queen. The asari had nothing on her.

Laughing, she ran her hands down her arms and watched as the colours pooled and ran around her fingers. It was just then that she noticed what might have been a very small string of algebra curved over her hip. Curiously she turned around and tried to looked at her back.

Things started out fine as graceful lines swept around the nape of her neck and spilled over her shoulder blades like thin tongues of flame. Once they hit her spine though, things started to get weird. A very straightforward arc seemed to slowly merge into a circle. This, attached to another circle, eventually because the nodes in some type of complicated diagram. A few more diagrams later and they became the surprisingly accurate depictions of a couple complex molecules.

Further down, toward the small of her back was where the math started. She didn't recognize some of the symbols, but was impressed that Mordin had started to incorporate familiar human constants like pi and... well, that was about all the ones she had names for. She did however recognize a few as being Latin-based. Probably. Maybe. Who cared.

It seemed like the doctor had made a valiant effort to get back on track before getting distracted and sketching a very small fish. The algebra started again where the fish left off, and became quite quickly the simplified picture of a krogan with its mouth open. A few centimetres away and she found a school of fish this time, trailing toward the inside of her thigh. It looked like they were going to be eaten.

Travelling further down still, Shepard found a flattering if not slightly smudged depiction of Chakwas lovingly rendered over the curve of her ass. Under that was another molecule diagram, some more math - the end of which had spilled over her hip – and then long strands of gibberish that signified Mordin writing in his own alien language. Alternatively, this was just further proof of the natural law stating that legibility decreased exponential the closer you got to a doctorate. The incomprehensible text ran the length of one leg and ended in a neat little arrow drawn along the bottom of her foot. Turning around a few more times and inspecting herself, Shepard for the life of her, couldn't figure out what the arrow was supposed to point to.

It was only once she was back in her room that she noticed where the rest of Mordin's handiwork was hidden. Draped over one side of the bed were her Normandy standard sheets covered in lines and lines of alien script. Skimming over it, Shepard could only make out one cluster of Roman characters; 'Joker'.

The commander was just starting to wonder if she should be at all concerned with this, or the mysterious disappearance of all her pillows when she noticed the writing on her walls. In very neat, precise, perfectly crossed-out English was the following:

Thank you Shepard. Have been inspired. Finally found cure for Vrolik Syndrom.

Underneath that was the addendum:

Disregard that, causes acute blepharospasm. Starting again back at lab. Took annotated pillows. Thank you.

And then, on an adjacent wall because Mordin had apparently been running out room, was a final:

Dismissed Legion while you slept. Wanted "samples." Refused fish and took laundry articles instead.

Fascinating habit but strongly suggest addressing issue.

The End



This site's auto-format has killed more than a few of my stories' html styles, but if you wanted to see them in all their glory, you can check where they've been cross posted on either my personal site, or Archive of our Own; both of which are linked in my profile. PS: The password to anything Mass Effect related on my site is: "Citadel". You can find an author's note for this story on my personal site as well.

Thank you for reading.