AN: I haven't written in years. When I was still in school, I had a fan fiction account, and it's testament how long I've abandoned it that I can't even remember the name under which I wrote. But, life changes and sometimes you find yourself returning to old things. Like the urge to go home when things go bad. This I believe is a part of that.

I have not played Mass Effect 1 but I am researching it like mad (which was how I found fan fiction again). Quite by chance, I found myself in a position to play the second one on PS3 with the dark horse comic attached. What became a chance to pass time became an escape. The storyline and characters are very good.

She screamed as something exploded next to her, throwing her backwards against a metal crate. The noise had deafened her and dust had blown up into her face, blinding her. Gasping for amidst her panicked breathing, she clawed at her face, desperately trying to get the dirt out of her eyes.

Is this hell? Have I lived only to die again?

Another explosion rocked the world close to her forcing her to squint around. Someone was running her way through the dust but she struggled to see more. She tried to get up, wondering if it was a friend or foe but she could not get her legs to work.

Not now, please... Not now.

Another explosion sent the figure tumbling to the earth. The person fell close to her and was still, a large bulky bag dropping in the dirt. It had a first aid sign on it, causing her to blink, then stumbled forward.

Please, be alive. Please…

She struggled to turn the body over, her fingers fumbling to remove the bulky helmet. When she finally managed, she started back – frightened by what she saw. The soldier wasn't human. Not even close. She sat back, oblivious to another explosion that went off not to far from her, staring at the creature. It had a strong mandible, snake like eyes and a reptilian shaped head. It looked… familiar but in that moment of panic she couldn't place it.

Another explosion went off quite close to her, this time bringing home the fact that she really needed to find better cover. She managed to stand up and looked around to see whether she could determine from where the attack was coming from. It was clear that there were two parties fighting each other, but she couldn't decide in which direction she should run. Through the dust, she saw what looked like ruins and decided that it was the best place to be.

Praying that she wouldn't lose her balance, she ran, which was ironic because it was her running which started all her problems.

Dr. Abigail Gable had always enjoyed running. It was one of the things that kept her sane through Veterinary School when she used her morning jog to work through her mental notes, plan her days and push away all her uncertainty that she faced for each day. Now, years later when she had her own practice she still used that time for much the same purpose.

It was a time in which she was uninterrupted and a time which was hers and hers alone. Nothing could break her concentration as she allowed her mind to drift in the rhythm of her jogging beat. It was the time of the day that she looked forward the most…

Till she started stumbling.

She stumbled, but made it to the door and all but fell inside. Abby crawled out of the doorway and pushed her back against the wall, hoping against all hope that she was safe now. She almost laughed when the thought crossed her mind but stifled it quickly. For a moment, all she could hear was her own breathing, that panicked, raw sound that seemed to scratch in the back of her throat. Pushing herself against the wall she closed her eyes and held her breath, using the moment of silence to listen for any sounds of potential attack.

There was… a sigh. A cough.

Abby's eyes flew open as she scanned the interior and for the first time saw that there was another with her in the building. It was another one of the creatures and it too was huddled, no… slumped against the inner wall of the ruins. When their eyes met, it sneered at her.

"Come to finish me off?"

It took her a full minute to realize that it had spoken. And, it sounded male.

"I…" She struggled, swallowing to get her words out. "No. I didn't. I mean. I don't… I am not a part of this. I don't know what's going on."

The creature chuckled, a rasping sound that seemed to bubble from his chest. "Figures," he said. "Your race rarely does."

She stared at him, shaking. "You… You're hurt," she said, her veterinary instincts not blind to the thing's suffering, causing her to inch closer. "Let me…"

His movement was so quick she barely saw it. Abby whimpered and threw herself back against the wall when the creature pointed a gun at her. He fired two shots and she thought that one of them had hit her for sure when there was a dull thud next to her. When she turned to look she saw an armoured soldier lying next to her, his glass helmet shattered from the shots.

He was human.

Maybe she was on the wrong side.

She forced herself to turn away from him and look at the creature. Pushing herself up, she moved towards him, keeping an eye on the pistol he had lowered to his side. His stiff lip twitched when she stopped close to him but he let her touch his armour. He had been shot in the chest by what appeared to be a heavy weapon. She pulled the cracked armour away with effort and tried to peer inside. When she couldn't see anything she stuck her hand into the hole, immediately earning a sharp growl from the reptile. She startled back and pulled her hand out, cutting her palm on the jagged edges of the armour.

"Warn me," the creature hissed. "Damn it woman."

Abby swallowed and inched closer again. "I'm sorry," she mumbled. "My patients don't normally…" Talk? "Protest."

"You're… a doctor?" the creature queried. "Do you have medigel?" He grimaced when she stuck her hand in again but said nothing as she probed his chest.

"Medigel?" It sounded familiar, but then in a way – so did this… thing.

The creature exhaled, said something under his breath. "First aid kit," he said. "Medigel. What kind of a doctor are you?"

The terrified kind.

"First aid kit," Abby breathed and pulled away. "I'll get it."

She turned to leave but he grabbed her, pulling her back and off balance.

"There is an asari," he breathed. "Out there. You have to find her. If you are a doctor… find her."

"I…" Abby began. "I… Okay." He let her go, and she ran.

She had gone to the doctor to have a look at her ankles.

"I don't know if it's anything," she admitted as she sat there, feeling embarrassed because she felt as healthy as she ever had. "But, I stumble. A lot. And sometimes, I'm very tired. Not ill, just tired."

"Have you ever broken your ankles?" The doctor asked clinically. "Played a lot of sports in school? Tore your ligaments?"

She shrugged and made a vague motion with her hand. "Track sports," she said. "Long distance. I've been running my whole life; I've never fallen as much as I do now."

He had thought it over a while. "I'll take some X-rays," he said. "Run some tests. Could be a supplement deficiency, but we'll check to make sure. For now, I suggest taking it easy. I'll see what we'll find. I think you're just pushing yourself too hard. You said you recently opened your own practice…"

The bag was where she had last seen it. At first, Abby tried to pick it up, but it was too heavy for her. So, she opened it and dug through its contents. The firing and explosions had died down for now, but the dust was still around her, making her suspect that it had more to do with the environment than the actual fighting. There were bandages in sterile packets and a number of tubes with some strange writing on it. She stared at it for a moment, wondering whether this was the medi-gel the creature spoke of then stuffed it into her lab coat pockets.

And the asari? She wondered, the name itching in her mind. What is…

She stared at the fallen creature which had carried the first aid kit and quite suddenly it hit her.

No, she thought. Never. Surely?

If what she was thinking was true, it was the biggest joke in the universe.

Looking around her, she ran back to the ruins, hoping that the dust hid her from view. The soldier was still lying on the floor, a dark pool of blood spilling from his broken helmet but she ignored it and went back to the creature which had asked her aid.

"You're a turian," she said as she knelt beside him. "What is this?"

The turian coughed, grinning at her in a feral kind of way. "An attack," he said. "Are you going to do something or stare at me?"

She had to force herself to focus and took the medigel from her pockets. She fumbled to open it, her fingers dumb and unwilling to move in her panic. Her hand was still bleeding where she had cut it on his armour and it made holding onto the packet all the worse.

"Squeeze it," the turian mumbled. "Hell, just squeeze it."

She did, and it popped open. Feeling stupid, she quickly put some on her hand and pushed it into his armour, spreading it over the open would that she had felt. She wanted to ask him whether there might still be a bullet in, but then she decided that his destroyed armour looked more as if it had been burned than broken.

Plasma weapons. Of course.

She almost giggled but kept her pose as the turian let out a sigh of relief. She could feel the gel tingling where it had touched her hand and, in a moment's inspiration, dabbed some on her cut as well. The bleeding stopped almost immediately, leaving her to stare at the fantastical creature. His breathing seemed to ease immediately, but his eyes drooped as he struggled to remain conscious. He had a thin membrane, much like a snake, that covered his eye. It was fascinating, but she tore her gaze away and got up so that she could look out at the battlefield.

"We… have to get out of here," she pointed out. "We can't stay here." We? What was she going to do? Carry him?

The turian's eyes opened as he looked at her. "You have to find the asari," he said and weakly picked up one of the medi-gel tubes she didn't break. "Find her."


She asked without thinking, making the turian laugh with bitter mirth.

"Out there," he said. "Somewhere. You're going to need this."

He put the gel in her hands and pushed her towards the door. She didn't move immediately, staring at him as he slumped against the wall and closed his eyes.

"Is this real?" she queried softly, frowning at him. "Is this... Are you really here?"

The turian opened his eyes and frowned at her, clearly showing on his alien face that he thought she had gone mad.

"Of course," he said. "Aren't you?"

Good question.

End of Chapter 1