"May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
If the floor of the female clan's temple hadn't been made with stones, it would have been covered with human footsteps. Shepard kept pacing in a circle waiting for the old krogan.
The clan admitted Butterfly was there. But they didn't let her see the girl. The clan said she was in the middle of her pilgrimage. No one should disturb her.
Outside, the sun was rising. The Commander looked out to see her boyfriend and her adopted son. They weren't allowed in the temple because they were male, and had to wait in the convoy.
Damn, why is the old hag so slow? Shepard mentally cursed. She had waited for hours but the great mother still hadn't show up. The servant said her mistress was sleeping, but the Commander didn't believe her.
At last, she ran out of patience.
The servant left her alone and the hallway was deserted. Shepard took a chance to sneak into the inner chamber. Although the temple was bigger than she thought, she found her way with the bug she planted in Butterfly's Omni-tool.
Not a long time after that, the Commander found Urz. The varren wouldn't bark but he let out a mewl as she came towards him.
"Hush, boy." She ordered as she checked on him. Urz was excited to see her. He was left to guard the door.
Someone had left him a bowl of food and placed it in front of a massive stone door. Only way to open it was using physical force.
Shepard carefully opened it as quiet as possible. It wasn't easy, though. The stone door weighed a ton.
Shepard sneaked into the room. Inside the stone hall was dim and quiet. The only source of light was a large light blue crystal on the far side of the room; her daughter was sitting near it. Well, she couldn't see the face since the girl's rear was to the door, but that couldn't be anyone but Butterfly.
As she walked towards the girl, she didn't notice the cracked stone floor and strange smoke that flowed from underneath.
However, she paused halfway. Would Butterfly be angry if she knew Shepard followed her? Should she wait until the girl was ready to talk?
After spending five minutes debating with herself, Shepard finally decided to talk to her. She walked to Butterfly who was sitting on her calves, facing the crystal. Her hand almost touched that small shoulder.
Jumping, she turned around but found no one. She swore she could hear her heart beat. How could Butterfly stay in this room for hours?
Shepard turned around again. But she suddenly found herself looking at the endless stars. Beneath her feet was nothing but freezing space. She was... She was floating in space. Faraway, there was a light blue icy planet.
Impossible, this can't be real. She yelled but the voice faded away to nothingness. Her lungs were extremely hot as she inhaled the toxic gas.
Dead, no! She unconsciously held her belly. I don't want to lose my baby. Not again.
But it was impossible. The fire inside burned every fiber of her being. She couldn't resist when something was pulled out from her.
Something bright and blue hovered over her before splitting up to three glowing orbs. Their colors were blue, red, and grey.
Unconsciously, she reached for the grey one, but it shattered and faded away. Suddenly, the red one exploded. The shockwave almost knocked Shepard down if not for the blue one that shielded her.
Still, the light from the explosion was too much for her eyes. Shepard had to close her eyes until the light disappeared.
"Get up, Human."
She opened her eyes to see a group of female krogans. The only one who didn't look aggressive was Bakara.
"You violated the temple's rules, Shepard," Her krogan friend sighed.
But the Commander didn't care. "Where's my girl?"
"With her father," Bakara handed her a wet handkerchief. She gladly rubbed it on her face to get rid of any grime. "To be honest Shepard. If you weren't our friend, this would have ended ugly."
"I just wanted to see my daughter," Shepard retorted. "But tell me, what the hell happened to me? I... I think I saw things. It probably was a dream or..."
"A vision." The servants stepped aside, opened way for the great mother. "What you saw is a vision."
"Beneath the prophecy hall is a gas pit. It opens your mind up to allow visions. But you never had practice, so you couldn't make much sense of it."
"Gas? Is it a hallucinogen gas? How could you let Butterfly...? Bakara, of all people, I can't believe you caged her in a dangerous gas pit." Shepard didn't believe in a spiritual world.
The old krogan just sighed. "Now I know why your brood does not want to speak with you."
"It isn't easy to believe my daughter is able to travel through dimensions. How could I know she just wasn't seeing things?"
"Really, human?" Annoyed, the great mother shook her head. "You are her mother, and you never noticed anything different? I am sure you know she is special. You just do not want to see it."
Still, Shepard couldn't accept it. "It's impossible. Please, I don't want to talk about this nonsense anymore. I just want to see my daughter. She needs to go to a hospital."
Everyone, even Bakara stiffened.
"Butterfly isn't insane, Commander. You are the one who is blinded by your bias." Her friend was disappointed.
Shepard was angry, but she wasn't sure who she was angry with. "Please, I hope you don't expect me to believe in... This is nonsense. It can't be real."
"If you told humans two hundred years ago that you could lift a ton of stone with your mind, would they believe you? Just because you don't believe it doesn't mean it isn't real," Bakara retorted.
She had a point. Shepard began to hesitate.
"You don't have to believe me or Butterfly. Don't you human have a saying don't jump to conclusions? Just hear her out before making up your mind."
"I..." Looking at Bakara, the Commander felt guilty. This krogan made a better mother than her. "I'll try. But it will be a long time until she opens up to me again. To be honest, I lost her twice. I'll be damned if I lose her again."
How ridiculous was it? She didn't even know if she would be able to look at Butterfly again without suspecting her state of sanity.
"She is your child. Eventually, she will come around."
Sighing, Shepard said, "I hope so."
When Shepard returned to the convoy, Grunt had gone back with the other convoy they had taken and returned to the Urdnot clan. Kaidan and Butterfly were waiting in the passenger seat. However, the girl was already asleep on her dad's lap. Urz sat near her quietly.
She looked at her boyfriend, questioning him without a word. But the Major shook his head.
Kaidan's Omni-tool beeped. Shepard was sitting on the opposite seat but she sent him a message.
: How is she?
: She said she's tired. Other than that, she looks fine. He replied. : I'll ask Chakwas to examine her when we get back, just to be safe.
There were benefits with having a thoughtful lover. She was so glad she had him. : Bakara said I was out for three hours. Did anything happen in the meantime?
: Besides a hangover crew, you have nothing to worry about. Kaidan gave her a reassuring smile. : Your crew can take care of themselves. No fuss, ma'am.
: Seriously, you guys make me feel old. I guess the nuns that raised me felt the same. Abruptly, she frowned. : Tell me the truth, Kai. Has B ever told you anything about... her special ability?
: Talk to you later, Amala. She just told me something. But I want to prove it before I can say it for sure.
: What happened?
: Can't talk right now. She knew when he was upset.
Kaidan rarely kept anything from her. This must be important. Perhaps she shouldn't press him further.
: Alright, I won't ask. But if there is anything I can help with, just ask, ok?
The Major smiled. No, he wouldn't ask and she knew it. After all, he was too proud to ask. Stubborn man.
She moved to sit down near him. Their fingers intertwined as their thoughts fluttered away too far, faraway.
"Heck, I hate being old!" Ken Alenko grunted as he tried to remove a large pillar. He had been trapped under a ton of debris for days. In times like this, he wished he were a biotic like his son.
Thinking about his boy made him sigh. Two weeks ago, he helped his wife escape town and then returned to help the resistance. The situation was bad, but working with Clint and Anderson again made it more bearable.
And the news they got earlier... God, he couldn't believe he had a grandchild. His Kai had a baby with the Commander Shepard. He knew they had a thing but never thought it had a gone that far.
In normal circumstances, the Alliance would discharge them for fraternizing. But who would discharge the only one who might help them win the war against the killing machines? Besides… he hated to accept it but that girl could be a valuable war asset.
Despite what had happened to Butterfly, he loved the girl already. She gave him hope to survive.
Returning to duty, he and his team got the order to rescue civilians or burn the bodies to prevent the Reapers from turning them to Husks. Mostly, they found them dead, but three days ago they found a group of survivors in a shopping mall. Most of them were only kids, tired and injured but still able to move by themselves.
Clint ordered an emergency evacuation. The last Hammer was going to leave when a hoard of Reaper trolls broke into the mall. To buy them time, Ken and the old Commander stayed behind to cover their rear.
He couldn't remember much after two Ravagers shot at them. Perhaps those stupid creatures destroyed the whole place. The fallen ceiling killed all of the soulless bastards. He was glad he still alive although Clint wasn't with him.
That guy is a tough son of a bitch, he thought. I don't have to worry about him. Just focus on getting my ass out of here.
After a couple of hours stuck in the small place, Ken dumped himself on the floor.
The soldier almost jumped. He was sure he was alone in this small space beneath the large debris. There wasn't room for someone else to hide. Where did that voice come from?
"Come here," that voice called again. And since he didn't have anything to lose, he followed it.
The voice came through the wall. But when he knocked on it, the echo sounded hollow.
Perhaps this is my way out, Ken laughed like crazy. With new vigor, he broke the thin panel with his gun. As soon as the plank gave way, fresh air rushed in.
There was a hole behind the panel. Judging from the air and the light, this was his exit. Carefully, the soldier crawled out.
"Almost there," the childish voice rang again. This time it sounded closer.
The other side of the hole was larger. Ken reached out but someone grabbed his hand and then pulled.
"Alenko, you lucky bastard!" It was Clint.
Behind him was his squad. Two boys from Kaidan's biotic division had just joined the resistance a few days ago but they were very capable. It seemed they were trying to lift debris to find him.
Was there a girl in the area? He didn't see one.
"Hey, are you alright?" The old commander asked. "You look... rather pale. Should I call the medic?"
Ken almost didn't hear the man. He was deep in thought. "Did you see a girl?"
The three men looked at each other. One of the boys offered. "I'll call the doc."
"No, I'm fine. But... How did you find me?"
It was Clint's turn to act nervous. "Someone informed us. He said we would find you here."
Ken's Omni-tool had almost run out of energy. He couldn't contact anyone or even find his coordinates. How could anyone know his location?
He asked his friend. But the man had no idea. So he just asked another question. "Who told you my coordinates?"
"I know it sounds crazy." Clint shook his head. He still couldn't believe it either. "But it was your son."
Thank The Lonely Traveler for beta :D