Jona'Hazt stared outside the ship's window at the vastness expanse of space. Everything seemed peaceful yet hell had swept through a decade and a half ago. The flight to the Citadel had little delays. Escaping Rannoch was a necessity now. Anything to clear his thoughts. Its been fifteen years and a war. Now those wounds were fresh as ever.
"Jona be strong for daddy. [explosion] Mommy loves you very much!"[gunshots]
His mother's words echoed over and over in his head. In the depths of his father's belongings he found the old data vid. Hidden away. Maybe to show him one day. Maybe to remind his dad what he was fighting for…what he died for… It was fortunate Jona was alone when he discovered it; no one could see him falling to the floor in tears.
Only a week ago he was considering joining the Migrant fleet marines. Learn to be a tough soldier like the infamous Kal'Reegar. Keep pride to the family name. Its what his parents might have wanted. Now…he didn't know what he wanted. Both his parents died for the fleet…for him. All he had were memories he could barely remember and no one left to call family. Both parents lost to the geth…both his parents to the whim of the Admiralty board. And now old wounds festered to the surface and ripped open like he was seven years old again.
"Why won't mom come home?"
Dorn kneeled to his son.
"She's…she's gone Jona. She…is with our ancestors now."
He couldn't remember how quiet he stayed.
"When will she be back?"
The tight embrace of Dorn told him more than his words. A sinking feeling that something was wrong. The weeps he heard behind his father's helmet.
SHUTTLE IS NOW ARRIVING IN DOCKING BAY 94. THANK YOU. AND HAVE A WONDERFUL TRIP.
The Citadel still had the technological charm about it. It was his first visit ever and was nothing compared to the grim and bleak stories he'd heard of it. Reapers and destruction were vacant from the brightly lit symbol of defiance and power. As he walked past customs, it was his first experience seeing so many other races at once. From Rannoch and the little he remembered living on the Qwib Qwib, seeing other races was rare if not ever seen. Geth were more memorable for reasons both good and bad. To see so many different people was a welcoming reminder that there was more than just Rannoch and the fleet.
He checked the air filters on his helmet. Not because he had to anymore, but because it was an automatic thing he was taught to do. Donning the environmental suit was still common. For some it was a way of life hard to part from. Others it was a symbol of their struggles wandering the stars. To Jona, it was all he ever knew. There was a slight envy to the newborns who would never understand.
At the presidium, the view was indescribable. The water was almost too perfect and clean. The skyway soared above his head. He couldn't believe he was standing in the same place that was the site of terrorists, geth, and reaper attacks. There was small sitting area was quiet and away from the financial market. He stared up at the monuments both new and old. The ones that survived the war still stood even with bits of them blown off. A testament of their resilience. The newest quarian statue struck Jona. Though officially not someone in particular it was modeled after Admiral Tali'Zorah vas Normandy. He gripped the guardrail as his memories flooded again. Alone as she walked into his room.
"Hey little guy."
He could remember getting starry eyed. Seeing the quarian he admired on the vids and stories in class.
She sat next to him on the floor.
"You're the coolest!"
He was sure she blushed. His excitement was short lived when he noticed his dad's best friend with her head in her hands; shaking.
"Umm. Jona. Its about your dad, Dorn."
The sound of her voice. The same as his father when he told him about his mother. So young, but he knew. His head hung low.
"He with the ancestors too…with mom?"
Tali was doing her best. It never got easier for her. Even more so that she was at the same home again. She had told his father about his mother. Now she was telling the son about his father.
"Yes…and he wanted you to know…he made it to Rannoch."
It was all she could think to say. For the child, Dorn making it to Rannoch was not important. Missing his parents was. Though he felt a tear move down his covered face he didn't cry. He wouldn't. She was surprised when he stood up firm and tall.
"Dad told me mom wanted me to be strong. I want to help fight."
Tali heard the crack in his voice. She desperately tried kept her composure at the sight of this child. The strength he tried to show. The innocence lost from years of war. She slowly reached around him in a tight embrace. It sent Jona over the edge. It reminded him of his mother. The tight yet gentleness in her arms…it was the same. The hugs she gave him when she tucked him into bed before leaving for important tasks. The last hug she gave him when she left and never came home. He caved and bawled in Tali's arms as she shed silent tears.
"Is it horrible I would have traded Rannoch to have you guys back?"
He felt the tear stream down his cheek. Once again happy that his visor hid himself. More thankful for the handrail as he kept himself from buckling.
"It's quite a lovely statue isn't it?"
Jona turned to his side to view little asari gazing up at the statue. He wasn't good with Asari ages, but she was a child, couldn't be more than two decades old.
"Yeah. It is."
He did his best to hide any upset in his voice.
"You seem a little young. Where's your mom?"
"She is running the gift shop. I wanted to come down and just stare at the statues. I think they mean something different for everyone. Only this and the Shepard are the only girl statues."
The little girl had a point. Quarians were once despised on the Citadel. Now they are commemorated with a permanent presence. In the corner of his eye he noticed her gaze moved to the krogan statue. It seemed to resonate with her.
"You like the krogan statue? I imagine the statues of krogan on Tuchanka are three times as big."
There was a small silence until the asari replied.
That was a surprise. He wouldn't have thought such a very young asari had been to Tuchanka.
"You've seen pics on the extra-net?"
"Nope. I used to live there."
"Really…you've lived on Tuchanka?"
"My daddy's krogan."
"That must be fun. He toss you on his shoulder and carry you around?"
He heard the few sniffs from the little girl. He knew instantly and felt horrible for it.
"I never knew my dad. Mom told me he left...to keep the bad people away."
Her little head had sagged as she rubbed the tears from her now red eyes. He took a knee to meet her height.
"I'm really really sorry. I…I lost my dad too. And my mom."
It hurt actually saying it for the first time.
"Did...did they try to keep the bad people away?"
So innocent. A world she would never know. He was grateful that it'd be a only footnote in the history books to her.
"Yeah. Yeah. They kept the bad people away."
The waterworks slowed and she wiped away the rest on her sleeve. Faint as it was, he caught a smile.
Jona looked up to see an asari woman running frantically towards them and scooped the little one in her arms.
"Rosa, you can't run off like that. You can't wander away from me. I can't lose you."
"You always get upset when we come here, mom. I didn't want to see you cry again."
The woman smiled, desperately tried to hide her tears now that she knew her daughter was fine. Her daughter was thinking of her, so much of her husband in her.
"Okay. No more crying. Okay?"
The girl nodded her little head and she hugged her tighter. By this time Jona was back on his feet. His hands fumbled a bit; unsure of what to do.
"He lost his mommy and daddy too."
She acknowledge Jona's presence after the overwhelming worry had past and put her daughter down.
"Can he get a hug too?"
The mother looked back at the quarian. He nodded his head slightly to ensure her it was alright.
The little girl walked up to Jona and gave him a very strong hug for a girl her size. Must be the krogan in her. When she was done she walked back to her mom.
"Honey. You can look at the statues for a few more minutes."
The girl's eyes widened with glee as she moved back towards the railing to leave Jona and the mother to themselves.
"I'm sorry if she was disturbing you."
"No. No. Um…your husband sounded like a good man."
"Thank you. I'm sorry for your loss."
"The galaxy is a fertile plane of soil. Some seeds grow immense. Others are swept away and foiled. Sometimes...the plants wither for their seeds at their own expense. Whether its bad weather or encroaching vines, the sun can and will one day shine."
The asari was taken back from the words of the quarian.
"You...you like poetry?"
"A little. It helps dealing with...well everything sometimes."
The mother was hesitant for a moment before she spoke with a sad smile.
"My Charr...he was a great poet. Loved to woo me, as embarrassing as it could be sometimes. He recited them from memory…it actually how he convinced me to be with him."
Her tone lowered the more she thought about him.
"…he recorded his last words…they were a poem before he died."
She wasn't necessarily speaking to Jona. It was a memory that she kept alive. Only a few months she had with him when it should have spanned centuries.
"If its any consolation, I know exactly what that's like."
The asari looked up at the statues.
"Funny. This is where so many battles took place yet we run here to escape the memories of the war."
Even Jona found that amusing as he shared a chuckle with her.
"Maybe its because we won…and we can return here after it was all over. That has to count for something."
The asari turned back to the young quarian.
"My name is Ereba."
"Jona'Hazt nar Qwib Qwib."
His gloved fingers met her delicate blue hand.
"Nice to meet you. You thirsty? I keep dextro lemonade at the gift shop."
When Ereba called Rosa, she grabbed both Ereba's and Jona's hand. The two shared an awkward glance and the trio walked towards the shop; passing a proud krogan with his small son.
"So you were born a ship called Qwib Qwib?" Ereba asked.
Jona laughed for the first time that he could remember.
"Yeah. Funny story about the name."
This story was in my head since I started "Antiquated Love"; had to finish it.