Mordin swore under his breath as Shepard crumpled to the ground. His warning had come too late. The signs of biotic burnout had been there but he had failed to notice it until it was too late.
"Legion, Shepard has collapsed. Must move her into the shuttle," Mordin spoke rapidly into the comm unit.
A loud metallic thunk behind him announced the arrival of the geth from a precipice above them. Legion knelt beside the fallen woman and with an unexpected gentleness he gathered the woman up and carried her back towards the shuttle. Mordin quickened his steps to keep up with the geth, his brain racing through all the possible scenarios.
Legion gently laid the Commander down beside the pilot. The gentle glow of orange from Mordin's omni-tool illuminated the space while he scanned the unconscious woman. Mordin rocked back on his heels as he went over the results he had collected. He rolled Shepard's head away from him allowing him to see the back of her skull. There he visually confirmed what the scan had already told him. He had failed Shepard. If he had taken the time to check her before the fight maybe he could have prevented the implant from shorting out or at the very least warned her about using her powers.
Taking a deep breath, he turned his attention to Legion. The geth had stood silently at his side while he had worked.
"Must contact Normandy. Need an immediate evac."
Mordin turned back to his patients before Legion had even made it into the cockpit. He cursed the fact that no one had seen fit to check that Cerberus had stocked any sort of emergency gear in the shuttle. An oversight he would be personally addressing if they made it back. No, when they made it back.
With nothing more to do but wait for Shepard to awake on her own, he moved over to check the status of the pilot. The scan revealed failing life signs, just as he knew it would. He could do nothing for the poor soul now but stand watch while his life faded away.
The sound of footsteps brought Mordin out of his reverie. The willingness of the geth to work with the crew of the Normandy had been unprecedented but now the humans survival depended on the two of them cooperating.
"Negative. We will attempt to salvage the necessary components from our opponents vehicles. Will Shepard-Commander remain functional?"
"Expect her to survive. No, must survive," Mordin declared hurriedly.
"Acknowledged. We will inform you when we successfully contact the Normandy."
Mordin closed the shuttle door before Legion had completely disappeared into the dusk. The condensation of his breath in the night air signaled another set of problems. Pushing the panel to open the cockpit did nothing, had something shorted out? The emergency release latch was pulled and he pushed the door open. His eyes flitted from console to the floor and back again. A groan escaped him as he surveyed the cockpit while he rubbed his damaged horn in frustration. The metal cover that housed much of the shuttle's electronics was now on the floor while the wires and modules that once ran the shuttle now littered the area.
He stripped off his coat as he returned back to the cargo area. He tucked it carefully around the pilot, perhaps it would help him hold on long enough for a rescue. Moving to Shepard's side he pulled up her arm with the omni-tool and began running diagnostics on her armor. He needed to know how long her suit would be able to maintain her temperature inside the cooling vehicle.
"Please tell me you aren't searching for my secret porn stash." Shepard groggily asked.
"What? NO! Needed to see status of your equipment," Mordin exclaimed.
A weak laugh from her made him realize she had been teasing him. His fingers found where he had stashed the ration bars earlier and he pressed the lot of them into her hands.
"Eat, all of them."
Jane weakly pushed against the floor trying to force her body erect. Before she could quite master that maneuver, Mordin's strong arms were around her and with his help she managed to get into one of the troop seats. The ration bars had fallen from her grasp during her transition to the seat but she never even got the chance to say anything before they were pushed back into her hand. Numbly she looked down at the small pile.
"Mordin, these are all the rations aren't they?"
"Yes. Now eat."
"But I know salarians have to eat frequently as well. You should have some of them."
"No. Biotics require more calories than we currently have. Who is the doctor here?" He asked, one long finger poked in her direction.
Jane ripped open the first one and took a bite. It tasted like old cardboard but it would at least give her body the calories it needed. One of the bottles of water, already opened, was next put in her hands.
She gave Mordin a weak smile, "Thanks. How long was I out?"
"Twenty-five minutes. Legion is attempting to find parts to get the radio working."
"The pilot?" Shepard asked, her voice soft.
"Dieing. Made him as comfortable as I could," Mordin replied sadly.
"How long does he have?"
"Few hours at most," Mordin replied with a sigh.
Jane hesitantly patted at Mordin's shoulder, not really sure if salarians did such things. "It's okay, you did what you could for him."
"My fault Shepard," Mordin declared.
"Bullshit Mordin, don't think you set this trap for us. Remind me to have a 'chat' with Miranda when we get back. I can't believe she would let the shuttle be maintained like this," Jane waved her hand about angrily.
"I failed you, Commander," Mordin replied getting to his feet. He paced about the small space. "Should have checked you before the fight. Would have seen implant was not operating at full capacity. Could have stopped you."
"Whoa, whoa there Mordin," Jane interjected. "We had three trucks coming at us. I wouldn't have done anything differently. We needed to take them out as quickly as possible if there was any hope of saving our pilot. I'm in charge, it's my ass that is responsible for everyone."
Her voice sounded different somehow, fragile and unsure and he began to see that the weight of the galaxy was wearing on her. He stopped mid-stride to glance over where Shepard sat, eyes closed and head resting against the wall of the shuttle. Just as the weight of the genophage had begun to pull him under, the much larger danger of the Reapers was her's to bear.
He slipped into the seat next to her. Mimicking her earlier gesture of compassion to him, he reached out and gently patted her leg. "Not alone Shepard. Crew, believe you and follow you. Together we will stop them."
The last mouthful of the bar was shoved in her mouth before her hand dropped down to cover his.
"Thanks Mordin. I appreciate that."
She chewed the last bite slowly and carefully swallowed it down. But it eased the pounding in her head only a little. She bit back a groan when her head rolled back against the hull of the ship. She shifted trying to find a more comfortable position when deliciously warm and gentle fingers massaged her temples easing some of the tension from her body. It was all she could do not to make a bigger fool of herself by moaning and pressing against those heavenly fingers.
"Need to relax. No pain medication available, tightening muscles only makes more pain."
"Don't mind me, I'll just turn into a puddle over here. Bad guys show up and it's your fault that I can't fight back."
His gentle laugh warmed the silence of the ship. If she scooted just a little bit closer to him, surely it was only to make it easier for him to maintain the connection between his hands and her skull. Mordin cocked his head at her in confusion when a soft laugh escaped her.
"No, just thinking that as shitty as the situation is now it could have been worse."
"Laughter seems an unusual response to that."
"I was thinking that rather than having a doctor and a geth with me. I could have been trapped here with Miranda and Jack."
Jane opened her eyes at his snort to find Mordin's face crinkling in amusement.
"That would uh, be problematic."
"Having those two in the same star system is problematic, same ship, that's just suicide."
"Excellent choices for a suicide mission then!"
Jane laughed and then groaned at the pain it caused. "Ugh, don't make me laugh Mordin."
"Sorry Shepard. Will try to keep levity to a bare minimum."
Jane just smiled as his fingers never stopped the gentle caress of her temples and when he began to hum, it shouldn't have surprised her that sleep claimed her. Mordin took that opportunity to closely study her while she rested. The horrible scarring she had when they had first met had faded and in sleep she looked much younger than should have been possible for such an accomplished soldier. Another reminder that she would hopefully have many years before her while he, at most, would only have a few. It was to late to ponder what might have been.
He slowed and eventually pulled his fingers away from her. He waited a moment and when she failed to awaken he slipped from his seat. A quick check of the pilot revealed the man still lived, thankfully still unconscious. Unable to do but the most rudimentary things for his patients irked him to no end. He had worked before with limited supplies but this time he had none. Tracking the length of Legion's absence only irritated him more, he couldn't even pace for fear of disturbing those he was supposed to be caring for. Nothing more for him to do but wait.
He eased back into the seat next to Shepard hoping to pass the time more quickly by sleeping. Shepard stirred slightly and he held his breath waiting to see if she would wake. His hands moved of their own accord preparing to ease her passage back into sleep when instead her head found a place to rest on his shoulder. Her warm breath tickled the side of his neck but oddly, it wasn't unpleasant. Leaning his head against hers, he found that her hair made a rather soft and pleasing pillow for him. His last thought before he fell asleep was trying to place what the pleasant scent of her hair was.
Thirty minutes later, Mordin's eyes opened when his omni-tool vibrated an incoming message. The emergency lights barely illuminated the inside of the shuttle but he could see enough that Jane was still asleep and that the pilot still breathed. He didn't want to disturb either of them but the transmission could be good news from Legion.
"Legion, ETA on arrival of rescue?" Mordin blurted out as quietly as he could.
"No data available. These vehicles were insufficient for our needs. We are currently en route to their ship. Will appropriate it for our use. We will update further."
Shepard leaned off his shoulder to murmur into his omni-tool, "Legion, don't take any chances. Come and get us if it looks to be too many guarding it. Understood?"
"Acknowledged Shepard-Commander. We were unaware you were mobile."
"She isn't, but I am. I will provide backup if needed," Mordin interrupted.
Mordin shut off the call and found Shepard narrowing her eyes at him.
"No arguments. One small nap will not restore you to full capability. How are you feeling though?"
"Better but if he needs our help, I need to go."
"Shepard, unacceptable to expose you to another gun fight," Mordin stated, his hand shaking at her in his agitation.
It might have been funny if he wasn't so serious.
"Mordin," Shepard started to say.
"Doctor, my job to preserve lives. Brain damage possible consequence if you use your biotics before your implant has been replaced, that is an unacceptable risk."
"Crap that bad?"
"Yes, scan showed it was damaged and not working properly. Cerberus design so unsure of exact parameters but with others I have worked with catastrophic failure has resulted in brain damage and even death."
"Alright then, I promise my biotics are the absolute last resort. That do?"
"Acceptable. Shepard, Legion is a highly capable synthetic, infiltrated the inactive reaper solo, a few mercs should hardly be a problem."
"Yeah but it's hard waiting. I had you figured for being twitchy without any experiments to do."
"Keep self busy by going over all possible results of the tests currently running back on the Normandy. Can share if you would like?"
Jane gave a soft laugh, "I think it would take you longer to explain everything to me, but thanks for the offer. I, uh, hope I didn't break some salarian protocol when I fell asleep on your shoulder."
"Yes, wanted to discuss that with you. Totally inappropriate, part of sacred mating ritual. You will have to dance naked around the shuttle three times in order to appease our gods."
Jane chuckled, "Now I know you're having me on. But that was a good one Mordin."
"Payback Shepard, payback," Mordin replied laughing.