|One Week Later|
John woke up on their bed and took in one shallow breath of air. He would've taken a larger breath, but their bed was absurdly small.
It was so small in fact, that even the slightest shift would be enough to unintentionally wake your partner up. (Largely in part of the box springs that their bed was made up of.) Had they lay on the bed shoulder to shoulder, John's arm and leg would have hung limply over the edge.
Fortunately enough, they both preferred sleeping on their sides anyways. It was an interesting challenge of trial and error, but Tali hadn't minded sharing at all; in spite of John's polite insisting that he just sleep on the floor.
Seeing as how he hadn't woken Tali up yet just by blinking, he turned his head slowly to face her and listened to her soft snores.
They were therapeutic in an odd way, hearing them. And behind the mauve tint that separated her from the world, was a face John could hardly see. But, if he'd concentrate enough and look past the glass, he could make out the faintest of details.
Her frail and dainty nose is what stood out the most, obviously. Then it was her closed eyes and thin eyebrows... and the faysakt that crossed her forehead. She was pretty damned good looking. A model, by galactic standard. Beautiful, if nothing else. And here he was, spending time with the love of his life on a quarian vessel smack dab in the middle of the flotilla. They always did say the perfect couples always came from long friendships formed through fire, trial, and hardship.
He couldn't exactly find a fault in that.
Back on the old Normandy, they were fighting against Saren and the geth for an entire year. And during that entire year, there wouldn't be a day where they'd see each other and work together with small talk to pass the time (Much like the ones they would have now).
It wasn't anything special at first, since he'd grown to know everyone aboard the ship by a first name basis.
But eventually Tali, to him, began to stand out from the rest.
And it took them until the very end of it all to finally admit what'd been brewing inside their hearts.
It was dramatic, yes, but it was the way it happened. He died. And because of that, he'd left her as a consequence.
John wasn't a man who could say he hadn't had a single regret.
He had plenty of them. One of them was definitely dying. Looking back at it all, John would admit that he should've just stayed out of the damn elevator.
But he couldn't change that. And he was in no position to complain. So he smiled and felt happy with where he was at.
He yawned as quietly as he could and leveled his stare against the ceiling.
This past week on the Neema had been largely uneventful.
A pipe to replace there, a circuit to fix here. Some water to mop up on a deck above or an oil leak to patch up down below.
Any other man of his stature would have been insulted to have their itinerary filled with that many basic housekeeping chores.
But John relished it all.
Because everyday, Tali there was by him to share a joke or two and talk about things whenever he wanted.
And everyday, after morning work was done, they'd join Enyah, Olasie, and Juel for lunch before heading back off to do whatever it was they were busy doing.
And everyday, when their work was done, they'd retire to their room and talk to each other late into the night about frivolous things that would make them smile and laugh.
But tomorrow was the day they leave for Haestrom. After that? He didn't exactly know what was going to happen. Would he come back and live on the Neema? Or would he be on the new Normandy to take the fight against the collectors?
The answer seemed pretty clear to him, but Tali was still on the fence. One of the biggest reasons was because they'd be flying under a Cerberus banner (Which was also a reason for why he didn't want to do it either).
That and she had a responsibility here on the Neema.
And because of that, John hadn't brought it up any more than he needed to. They had a good thing going here, living like this.
No need to ruin it by reminding her of that.
John was so entranced with his thoughts, he hadn't noticed Tali wake up.
"Hey." Tali croaked as she turned to face him.
"Good morning hun." He replied without missing a beat. He brought her in close, both of them still under the covers, and nuzzled. She hummed at his embrace.
"Still getting used to you, John." She said before wrapping an arm over his chest.
"Me too." He cooed.
He would have kissed her cheek, but both their helmets would have gotten in the way.
Tali stretched and yawned before turning on her omni-tool and holding it above them both. "Let's see what we've got lined up for us today."
When she accessed her main screen, she frowned and stifled a yawn. "Why do I have eighteen text messages from Olasie?"
"She okay?" John asked worriedly.
"They're all pictures of... cats." Tali said with a confused mumble. She scrolled across the dozen or so pictures of feline creatures and rolled her eyes.
"Hi, Tali!" Tali read aloud from Olasie's text, "You cannot BELIEVE how adorable these things are! They're soooo cute! And they're from earth! Can you believe there's a whole fanbase dedicated to these little guys? Juel and I watched a bunch of videos of them last night! I just joined! and you should too!"
Tali shook her head and brought the schedule up to look over. "Well. That's Olasie. She's kinda of a ditz sometimes for cute things."
Shepard chuckled. "I can imagine. What's the time?" He asked.
"Time for us to get some coffee." She said as he pat his chest softly before trying to get off the bed.
"Hold on a sec." He grumbled with a tight smile, "I need a little dose of Tali right now."
He grabbed for her arm and forced her to straddle him. She giggled and kissed their visors together.
"I love you, John. A lot."
"Love you too, hun." John said as he pat her back, "Wouldn't mind kissing you right now."
She traced a finger over his helmet and stared him straight in the eye.
"Take off your helmet real quick." Tali whispered.
Against his better judgement, he didn't argue and took off the helmet.
He felt the cool rush of air on his face and watched Tali do the same with her visor.
Seeing her naked face would never get old.
"I love you." She said again.
Hearing her naked voice never got old either.
Their lips met softly and she kissed him with as much passion as she could fit inside of a second.
John gazed into her soft set of eyes and grinned. "I love you too."
And before he knew it, she dawned the visor again while he re-clamped the seals on his helmet.
She finally got up off him and stepped up to her desk to retrieve her boots. "We've got quite the day ahead of us."
"Yeah?" John said, sitting up himself before putting his feet on the floor to get his own shoes, "What's special about today?"
"You'll see." She answered before latching the finally lock on her boot, "Now hurry up."
"I'll see?" He asked with a puzzled look, "What does that mean?"
"It means: You'll see." She winked.
"Uh huh." He pulled the curtain aside and they step outside.
They seemed to be right on time because Enyah was stepping down her spiral staircase.
"Hey." Enyah greeted groggily.
"Hi Enhyah." Tali said with a smile, "Sleep well?"
"Yes ma'am." Enyah said as she stretched and yawned.
"Want to walk with us?" Tali invited with a wave.
"Yes ma'am." She repeated.
"It's the big day." Tali reminded her.
Enyah perked up. "Already?"
John gave them both a wary glance to see if he could get a hint as to what they were discussing. "What are you guys talking about?"
"You'll see." Tali insisted, "We just need to meet up with Juel."
"Does he have everything ready?" Enyah said by cupping her voice emulator to distress John even more.
"Yes." Tali whispered back teasingly.
"What about Olasie? Is she ready?"
John crossed his arms. "What is this."
"Stop fussing, John. You'll find out." Tali assured him, "You'll see in a few minutes."
They carried on in silence and crossed a few hallways to a sealed off room. When the three stopped by the door, John's first impression was that they were just screwing around with him.
But Juel and Olasie opened the door.
"He here?" Juel intoned quietly.
Tali pointed with her head to John standing behind her.
"Good. Come on in."
Tali, Enyah, and John enter the room.
"What..." John took a look at the table and the single tablet sitting upon it, "...is going on?"
"John." Tali turned around to face him, "You're being accepted as a crew member of the Neema."
John blinked in surprise.
Well. He certainly hadn't expected that to happen.
"Really? I've only been here a week though."
"True." Juel said, "But considering that you're the reason the entire galaxy is standing, we'll take that as your pilgrimage gift. It'll look good on the paperwork."
"That, and my dad pushed for you to get you initiated." Tali admitted, "So, yeah."
Olasie laughed while Enyah shrugged.
"So… that means my name is, what, John'Shepard vas Neema nar Normandy?" (John would have said Demeter, but the Normandy had a much more special place in his heart)
"Actually, yeah. That's exactly what it is." Tali said. She handed him the tablet to sign himself into the roster.
When John finished signing his name in, he put the tablet back down and stood triumphantly. "That's it? No ceremony? No giant meeting with the captain?"
"Nope. I asked the captain to keep it informal. Because I know you'd prefer it that way." Tali said with a smile.
"Congratulations, Shepard." Juel motioned with a nod. Tali, Enyah, and Olasie all smile in unison. "You're a fellow crewmate."
"Nothing else? No hazing or some group prank to push on me?"
"Nothing else." Tali said with a bright and bashful smile, "We get on with our day."
"God, you made it out to be like you were doing something crazy." John said as he crossed his arms, "All that hype..."
"I know." Tali put a hand on his shoulder, "We knew it'd give you anxiety."
He scoffed and shook his head before smiling under his set of blushing cheeks. "Of course you knew."
They all walk out to the hallway.
"You get my texts, Tali?" Olasie asked.
"Yes." Tali rolled her eyes, "All eighteen of them."
"Tell me they aren't amazing."
"She sent it to me too." Enyah piped up, "I think they look disgusting."
"Disgusting?" Juel pointed straight at her disbelievingly,"Olasie and I watched videos of them all night. Their little meows make my heart melt."
Both Juel and Olasie share a laugh.
"Whatever." Enyah mumbled, "I've got to get to work. See you guys at lunch."
"Same here." Olasie said as she crossed into another hallway, "Bye you guys."
John, Tali, and Juel wave their goodbyes.
"So..." Juel began as he put his hands on his hips, "Ready for tomorrow?"
"Are we ever ready?" Tali retorted as they walk down to do their daily regimen.
"Is that an existential question?"
"Pretty sure it is Juel." John answered sarcastically.
"Wow. I'm suddenly compelled to leave you guys." Juel grumbled as he turned down the next hallway.
"Where's you going?" John asked.
"Nowhere." Tali answered for Juel while laughing, "Bye Juel." She shouted out to him as he disappeared into the crowd.
John put a hand on her shoulder and shook it. This past week had been damn near the best in his life.
The people... the culture...
They had little. But they counted their blessings here and it showed in everyone's character.
And now he was considered crew. An official member of the migrant fleet. It felt like actually belonged now.
"I love this place." He said with a happy sigh.
"And why's that?" She asked as they start walking again.
"Never been somewhere so happy."
Tali thought about what he said for a second and nodded. "I guess you're right... Everyone here is happy. As much as we complain, we don't know any different."
John's smile wanes before giving her a sideways glance. "You sound like you're just realizing that now."
Tali shrugged. "I kind of am. For a long time... all I would think about was you. And I took the people I knew in my life for granted because of it. I was probably a real drag to be around... but all these people stuck with me through it all."
"Because they cared about you." John said, "All of them. Juel, Olasie, and Enyah."
"I know. I should probably wrap them a gift basket or something as a thank you." Tali suggested with a small smile.
"That's really not a half bad idea." John nodded as they both step into an elevator to go down to engineering, "I hear everyone here loves turian chocolate."
"You heard right." Tali remarked pointedly, "That stuff goes by quick... and it isn't cheap. If you buy it... the shipping will always cost more than the chocolate itself."
John frowned. "Wow... and how often did you buy food outside of the fleet?"
Tali tapped her chin to think. "Well. I did it maybe... like, once a week?"
"Well of course you could," John suddenly remembered, "You got paid on the Normandy. And I gave you a huge bundle of cash."
"Yeah," Tali, for some weird reason, suddenly felt ashamed, "you made me a millionaire."
"Tals, I made everyone a millionaire. You act like spending the money I gave you on chocolate was a bad thing or something."
"I should've spent it on better things. I just couldn't help myself I guess."
John shook his head and sighed. "You are just... incredible sometimes Tali. It's a wonder how you eat without giving away your food first."
Tali slapped his shoulder playfully as they entered the engineering bay.
"I know it's not really something you say out loud here, but being selfish sometimes isn't a bad thing."
"I know. You're right." Tali agreed as they step up to their usual spot to work, "You've taught me that. If it makes you feel any better, I'm probably the most damn selfish quarian on the ship... save maybe those two rats, Chilo and Siv."
John ignored the mention of the two little quarian girls, "And why's that?"
"Because. I'm the only one here who would prefer some upscale penthouse suite and not complain about the money I'd be wasting."
"Oh." John crossed his arms with a sly smile, "So you enjoyed the Mara Horizon, huh?"
"Oh yeah. Yes. Definitely." Tali said with a smirk, "...Just you and I. We need to make it a regular thing, John. Just think of all the furniture we could do it on."
"You're getting me all hot and bothered." He rasped.
"That's the point." She ran a hand down the length of his arm, smiling. "But, on a more serious note, being frugal is something I can still do. Doesn't bother me in the slightest, you know? Life like this still makes me happy, either way."
"Agreed." John nodded, "Living like this doesn't bother me at all."
"Then you know what I mean. I just, you know, had a change of heart. And kinda prefer the finer things in life now."
"Nothing's wrong with that, hun." John said with a smile, "We'll put it on our agenda okay? We'll definitely plan another time to visit there."
Tali beamed at him.
A Day Later...
John was smiling.
It felt good to be in a company of other soldiers again.
They were different in a lot of ways, definitely.
The chain of command and ranking system here could hardly even compare to the Alliance. But there was still familiarity, quarian marines or not.
He strapped himself down next to Tali and gave her a look before seeing Olasie sit down next to him with Juel next to her.
Thinking of something to start a conversation, John turned to Olasie.
"Ever been in geth space before, Olasie?" He asked.
"This'll be my second time. So yes." She replied as she sat down.
"How many of you guys have fought geth?"
"Most of us." Olasie replied with a smile. She handed him a shoulder pauldron from her pack and pointed to the lines she had etched into it. "Our platoon keeps a count of all our kills."
"Eighteen." John counted, "Impressive."
"Yeah..." Olasie said embarrassingly before putting the pauldron back, "Tali's body count is in the hundreds though. I can't imagine what yours is."
Tali nodded. "Yeah... He's killed a lot of geth." Tali said curtly while she skimmed through her omni-tool, "Maybe... what, somewhere around two hundred fifty?"
"Something like that." John replied while smiling at Tali again. Prazza and Kal both passed their row of seats and nodded to the four of them.
"Feel good to be back in your old armor?" Juel asked as he started eating out of a meal tube.
"Yeah. definitely." Shepard looked around and leaned in so he couldn't be heard by any of the other soldiers. "Question. Do security teams clean this ship when we come back? Is it considered unclean?"
"Yup." Juel and Olasie answered at the same time. Tali nodded.
"So, I can take my helmet off for now?"
Juel and Olasie shrugged.
"Yeah, I guess. It shouldn't be a big deal." Juel answered.
"Good." John took off his helmet, set it aside, and closed his eyes before leaning his head back. The cabin quieted down and when John reopened his eyes, he realized half of everyone in the cabin (All from Kal's platoon (Because Prazza team had already seen his face)) was staring at him.
"Damn." One of the marines closest to him said, "They really do look just like us."
Some quarians laugh.
"Bit meatier though if you haven't noticed." Another said.
"…I don't mind that." A female said from somewhere in the seated crowd.
They all laughed and John's cheeks flushed into a heavy shade of red.
The sultry tone that quarian woman used certainly set the stage for feeling humiliated.
Honestly, John didn't think it capable to feel as embarrassed as he did now for actually showing his face.
Even as red as he got, his pride still wouldn't let him put the thing back on.
The ship's PA squawked. "Attention. Attention. We're set for final departure. Get your stuffed stowed and make sure you strap in."
When John looked at Tali with his red cheeks, she pat his shoulder and shrugged. "They're just excited to see a change of pace for once." She reassured, "Don't worry about it."
"Yeah... okay." He cast a long glance at the woman who'd called him out on his 'meatier' build and saw she was still staring at him.
It didn't make him uncomfortable, per se. But the innuendo the woman had made could only bring John to the conclusion that she was either admiring the view or staring out of curiosity.
Probably both, if it were his guess.
"Wish we had the Normandy for this." John decided to say before looking at Tali.
"Certainly would minimize the risks, wouldn't it?" Tali observed with a sigh, "I miss her."
"Think the new one can compare?" Tali asked. In the background, the ship's PA announced the blast doors closing behind them.
"We'll have to ask Garrus."
"It's worth a shot." Tali agreed, "How much he'll be allowed to give us isn't going to leave me with much to imagine."
"Everyone hush up!" Kal announced, standing up from his chair with Prazza.
Everyone, including Tali and John, stared at Kal.
"We're all aware that the -oh so famous- Commander John Shepard of the Normandy will be joining us." Kal began, "And it's my job, and his, to offer a formal introduction to our company!" Kal turned and waved with a hand for John to stand. "Stand up sir, we owe you an ovation!"
John did as he was instructed and stood up so the company could cheer.
"Why the applause, sergeant?"
"You're the biggest enemy the geth's ever had the pleasure of fighting, sir. It's an honor to have you here."
"Well, if that's the case, I'd like to have Tali stand up with me." John turned to Tali and urged her up.
"I don't want to sound so cliché, but the honor's mine. Tali kicked some ass on the Normandy, and I can't help but think with a whole company of like-minded people, we might as well saddle up and go straight to Rannoch."
"It's on our list, Commander." Kal laughed, "So there you have it. John Shepard vas Normandy in the flesh. You can go ahead and take your seats."
When Tali and John sat back down, Olasie nodded to him with a smile.
"Smooth, Shepard." She quipped.
"Thanks." John replied with a smirk, "I try."
Joker hobbled down the hallway, passed a few Cerberus technicians busying themselves over a data pad, and entered docking bay one. With a Styrofoam cup of orange sorbet in hand and a spoon in the other, he went right up to the Normandy, or as close as the fence line would allow, and watched Garrus hang over the Normandy's port-side buffing out the Cerberus Logo on her hull.
"Looks like a vagina." Joker said as a way to greet himself.
Garrus, with a bewildered look on his face, looked back and saw Joker waving to him. Against his better judgement, Garrus decided not to give Joker the satisfaction of giving in to his poor sex joke.
"How's it coming along?"
"Nothing a little time and effort can't fix." Garrus answered quickly with a shrill sigh. He pat the powdered metal fragments that'd been collecting on his gloves before setting himself back to work on removing the logo.
"Awfully nice of Cerberus for letting you do this." Joker remarked. He ate another spoonful of cold sorbet before pointing the spoon at the two wings Garrus had removed from either side of the logo.
"I'm not seeing it." Garrus shrugged indifferently.
"Of course not. Maybe it's cause you're turian." Jeff frowned suddenly, "I don't even want to know what a turian one looks like."
Garrus stopped sanding. "Joker. If you want to be useful, get me some water, rather than spouting about something you'll never get."
Joker, unfazed by the insult, ignored the comeback.
"That Sidoner guy should help you."
"It's Sidonis." Came a bi-toned voice from behind Joker, "And I am."
Joker took a side step to let the turian hoist himself over the fence to Join Garrus.
"Okay, why not everyone from your team? They could be working on the starboard side."
"Do you realize where we are?" Garrus asked while waving the sander around, " Were on a Cerberus station. The less aliens on Cerberus' decks, whose agenda is for promoting the human cause above everyone else, the better."
"Right." Joker nodded and set away eating the rest of his sorbet, "Any news on John and Tali?"
"No." Garrus replied immediately. Sidonis handed him a new scrubbing mat for the sander and started again. "They had a mission to attend to first. It's still up in the air if they're joining."
Joker caught the disappointing lilt in Garrus' voice. But Jeff wasn't worried about it.
"Shepard will come around. Like he always has."
Garrus shrugged. "Maybe."
"What? You think Tali's persuading him not to?"
Garrus was quiet for a lengthy moment. "You could think that."
"We both know Tali. She's not like that." Joker argued, "Cerberus or not, she gets the bigger picture."
"We'll see." Garrus said in an unconvinced tone.
"We'll see? The hell is that supposed to mean? Garrus. We know her."
"She found out." Garrus admitted without ever looking at the human.
Joker's eyes lit up. "Oh... Shit. She knows Liara and you have been keeping John from her."
Garrus didn't say anything.
The human turned around, leaned on the railing, and looked at his sorbet disappointingly. "Holy fuck that's bad."
"She's more pissed at Liara than me." The turian added unwillingly, as if he was shifting the blame on the asari, "But that doesn't exactly excuse myself either."
"Damn straight it doesn't. Sure, you might've been smoothing things along had John not come back... but you should've told her anyways."
"You tell that to Liara." Garrus countered with a growl. He pressed the sander against the Normandy's plating harder than necessary. "Liara wasn't willing to look at alternatives. So I kept my mouth shut because she made me promise."
"Look where that got you." Joker said.
"I didn't have a choice."
"Hell yes you did." Joker turned back around to face Garrus' back, "Whose trust would you rather betray? Liara's? Or Tali's?"
Garrus finally worked out about a tenth of the hexagonal shape that made up the center of the cerberus logo, "Neither, would be my answer."
"Neither?" Joker repeated, "You didn't pick neither."
Garrus raised the plexi face shield from his face and turned off his sander before pointing at the insinuating little shit of a pilot with his stupid cream of ice thing and human lipped frown.
What in spirits did Joker know about the decisions he'd made over the past two years?
One thing Jeff should've known by now was where he set his tolerance at. Talking to Jeff about his allegiance to John and his trustworthiness to Tali and Liara were definitely not one of them. While Garrus did regret the decisions he'd made about keeping the Lazarus Project away from Tali, he understood why they were made.
But it was too late now. And there was absolutely no point in reflecting on it all. This conversation was absolutely aimless.
"Where are you getting at with this, Joker?"
"Making sure you're still you, Garrus." Joker said with a sigh, "The pole between your ass still seems to be there, and it's only fair I remind you."
Garrus stared with his beady eyes for a long moment before snapping the plexi shield back around his face.
"So what do you think she'll do to you when she gets within arm's length?"
"Nothing but a friendly hug to make up for lost time. Wrap up some turian chocolate to give her if she'll let me. With luck, it'll reconcile my mistake of not telling her John was coming back."
"That's it? That'll make up for it?"
"Hopefully. If anything, spending time with Shepard will have cheered her up."
"Oh, I'm sure John's cheered her "up", if you catch my drift." Joker said with a wide grin, "You did tell me they booked a one night stay on one of Mara Horizon's mansions on Illium, of all places. Shit like that doesn't get any more romantic, Garrus. Everyone in the galaxy knows that place."
"Liara told me that they booked a night there." Garrus hurried to say embarrassingly.
"Whoah, I ain't saying it's creepy to know. GaLACTIC PeOPLE magazine has their front cover showing a picture of the two stepping out of their air car there. Headline news declaring SHEPARD ALIVE? OR HOAX?"
"I'm still not drawing any rash assumptions." Garrus huffed.
"I am. She was probably wined, dined, and fu—"
"Mr. Moreau." Miranda called out with a tablet in her hands.
"Yeah?" Joker turned around and faced the woman who stood at the end of the aerobridge connected to the Normandy's door, "What can I do you for, ma'am?"
"EDI sent me the trial runs for the amplifiers you requested be modded for less lift attenuation. Care to share them with me now?"
"Ah! I would. Glad you came." Joker said smugly before hobbling toward her, "Take care Garrus. You too Sidoner."
"SidoNIS." The other turian corrected with a grumble before the two turians were left to their devices.
"How long until Mr. Vakarian finishes his modification?" Miranda asked as they walked down the aerobridge to the Normandy's antimicrobial suite.
"Two to three hours. He's still has starboard to work on. Why? We in a hurry?"
"Yes." Miranda replied as the anti-septic jets began spraying them down.
"What's going on?"
"We've just been notified Shepard has transited out of the Migrant fleet and is moving toward the Insabar relay."
When the doors opened, Miranda stepped out and realized Joker wasn't following suit. She turned her head slightly to see his deadpanned look.
"You put a tracker on him?" Joker said disbelievingly.
"On his suit. Yes."
Joker walked past her and couldn't stop shaking his head.
"You know, I've been meaning to say this, but I can't say I blame him for ditching you the way he did." He murmured.
"It was necessary." Miranda replied simply.
"Apparently so. He left you guys hanging back on Freedom's progress because he couldn't trust you. So there's that."
Miranda, with her hands clasped neatly behind her back, leveled her cold glare against the lieutenant's.
It was intimidating enough to shut him up for a moment.
"Mr. Moreau. I don't take kindly to your brazen and foul attitude." She informed with a flat monotone, "Do not let it continue."
Joker let out one grizzly sounding laugh.
"What. Gonna replace me? Put me in a cell? Put a bullet in my head?" He shook his head and the brim of his hat severed Miranda's stare before he decided on sitting in his chair.
He didn't give her a chance to reply.
"What do you want to do about Shepard?" Joker asked.
Miranda took one silent breath and answered him. "We need him here. On the Normandy."
"Okay. You said he left the Migrant Fleet. Big deal. How do we know we've even got a window of opportunity to do this? Will he even be willing?"
"We have our window. They're heading for Haestrom. His willingness remains to be seen."
"I don't even know where that is." Joker said before looking up the planet quickly.
Miranda stood quietly next to him and glanced at EDI's avatar.
Joker frowned as he read. "That's their mission isn't it?" The pilot said before turning off his omni-tool, "Their mission's in geth space?"
Joker's face suddenly went blank.
Miranda couldn't have known that just by the tracker alone. She said John left the Migrant fleet just now. And heading toward one relay didn't mean anything.
"...How the hell do you know they're going to Haestrom." He said in a way that didn't sound at all like a question, "The Insabar relay is three jumps out from there?"
"We have a tracker on his suit." Miranda repeated.
Joker could tell she was deflecting.
"Yeah." he said with a hard pressed frown, "But it doesn't offer you his goddamn destination. He's tapped isn't he? You tapped him too."