"Garrus," said EDI, "may I ask you a question?"
Startled, Garrus turned away from the bar and regarded EDI's... platform... who had just come into the lounge and stood by the door. "Sure, EDI. Go ahead." He talked to EDI regularly, but he seemed to be one of the few on the crew who didn't seek out the body to do so. Habit, maybe; he was used to just asking her questions while at his station in the battery, and he'd kept up the habit since rejoining the crew.
"Do you find this body attractive?"
He nearly choked on his drink. "What? Why would you ask me that?"
"I am trying to assess the range of organic reactions to this body. It has been my observation that many of the crew react to this form with verbal expressions of appreciation, or at times non-verbal physical cues such as—"
"I get the picture," said Garrus hastily, not particularly wanting to know which crew members found the mechanical body appealing. "But the rest of the crew is human. Why are you asking me?"
She tilted her head, her expression remaining calmly neutral. "You are also in a relationship with a human female."
Garrus coughed. "Yeah, but, uh... I don't have a human fetish, really, and I'm more of a one-woman turian at this point."
EDI said mildly, "This is not a proposition. I merely wish to hear your evaluation of this body."
"Fine." With a sigh, he gave the body standing in front of him a thorough look-over. A flesh-and-blood woman, it occurred to him, would have blushed or scowled or somehow reacted to his scrutiny. EDI merely stood, hands loose at her sides. "The body feigns breathing," he noted.
"Yes. Part of its infiltration protocols."
"You're not generating as much heat as a human, though." According to his visor, she was right in line with the ambient temperature.
"No. The body is capable of mimicking a human heat signature, but I considered it an inefficient use of energy."
"Makes sense." Garrus knew he was supposed to be evaluating the body's attractiveness, but now that he was looking, he was increasingly intrigued by the technical aspects. "It's a sophisticated piece of design. Very impressive. It can mimic human hair and skin, as well?"
"Yes. The body's outer covering was damaged in the shuttle collision, but I am not making full use of its capabilities. I have no wish to deceive the crew." EDI lifted her chin slightly, a mild reminder of her original request.
"Right, sorry." Garrus refocused his attention. "I'm not entirely sure what to say, EDI. You seem very... proportional. Your, uh... contours..."
"Breasts and hips," she supplied.
"... right... anyway, they're... nicely rounded, I suppose, and right in the proportional range that's generally considered ideal for human women." He paused. "Actually, I think your body might have been modelled on Miranda's."
"That was my conclusion, as well," said EDI, perfectly poised.
Garrus considered bringing up that fact the next time he saw Miranda, and decided he valued his health more. "For me, personally, though, it's not... um... you're not..."
"I am not Shepard."
"No," he agreed, relieved. Shepard was taller; she had broader shoulders and stronger arms, and her waist was a bit thicker, but she had real, solid muscle shifting under her skin; her breasts might be a bit smaller, or at least differently shaped... he still wasn't sure what most humans saw in breasts, but what he liked about hers was mostly how she reacted when he...
EDI said, "Ah."
"What?" Garrus asked, startled out of his reverie.
"You had far more physical reaction in the last half-minute than in the several minutes your attention was focused on this body. I surmise that you were thinking about—"
He interrupted. "Yes, thank you, EDI. I know what I was thinking about."
There was a brief silence. Shepard would have found the whole conversation hilarious. By now he knew almost every twitch of her expressive face, every glare and grin; he could easily imagine how she'd look in response to this whole conversation: one eyebrow up, eyes narrowed, mouth turning up on one side. He smiled back at the image of her in his head.
"The organic experience of attraction is more complicated than I had been led to believe," EDI said. "I shall have to take the emotional dimension into account." She sounded thoughtful, almost meditative.
"Uh... yeah," Garrus said. "I'm probably not the best person to talk to about these things, but... emotions are complicated, and a lot of people don't entirely understand what they're feeling themselves." That had certainly been true of him; he'd fallen for Shepard without even realizing it.
EDI cocked her head. "What first attracted you to Commander Shepard?"
"I... really, EDI?" He rubbed the side of his neck.
"You need not answer, if the question is inappropriate. But you have said that you 'do not have a human fetish.' What was it, then?"
She asked the worst questions, really, but he knew she was simply trying to understand the world and the people around her better. He sighed. "It's... hard to say. She became one of the best friends I had. There aren't a lot of people with her kind of courage and strength." He hesitated, trying to find the words to explain what she meant to him. That kind of thing had never been his strength.
"So it was not about her physical form."
He shook his head. "No. That... came later."
"I see. Thank you, Garrus. This has been a very enlightening conversation." She left without waiting for a response.
Garrus stared after her, bemused, and belatedly finished his drink. He checked the time and sent Shepard a message.
Unfortunately, yes. You would not believe the paperwork.
Need a distraction?
God, yes. Please.
I'll be right up. You know, I just had the strangest conversation with EDI...