"Don't you ever miss other humans? Earth?" Dakota prodded while she helped Jane make dinner.
Jane lifted a cutting board laden with sliced dextro vegetables then shoveled the food into a heated wok, "I grew up on starships kiddo. We were always stopping and the Citadel or one of the dozens of supply depots so I had been exposed to aliens and their cultures since before I could crawl. I can't say that I've gotten much of a chance to miss other humans being around, with the fair number who have settled here since the war ended. Now Earth...The first time I ever laid eyes on the planet was when I went there for basic training. I didn't like it much, with all of the rampant xenophobia and inferiority complexes running amok. I've only been back twice and neither of those visits did a single thing to change my opinion," she snagged the spatula and gave the food a few stirs, "What about you? Finding Rannoch not as interesting as Earth?"
"I was born on Earth and hate to admit even that. My darling mother ran out on my dad when I was two so it was just him and me until I was nine," Dakota took the spatula and took over the stir fry while the other woman started on the amino portion of the meal, "That was when he died. No violence, no lingering illness, or any shit like that. I just got out of bed one morning and found him laying on the living room floor. I called the police, scared shitless because they didn't like coming down to the slums. When they got there-after a few hours-the twats had the balls to ask me if my dad and I had been in an altercation and maybe I accidentally hurt him. I was a kid, but I understood what they were trying to imply. I freaked out and ran. Hid in dumpsters, abandoned houses, anywhere I could squeeze my scrawny self into. A couple of gang bangers tried to make me work for them, but I just ran farther and farther each time. It ended up being good practice for when the damn Reapers came. Makes me sound like a coward, putting it like that but-"
"Sometimes the only thing you can do if you want to survive is run," Jane interrupted, her commander tone at the fringes of her voice, "Trust me, I've spent more time running from shit than the galaxy would ever believe. Of course nowadays I would call what I do more of a drunken hobble than a run, but I think you get what I mean. Running to live and fight another day isn't cowardly, it's using your brain."
"I can't see it. Commander Shepard-you-brought down the nastiest, most powerful baddies in the known universe and you're still here. What in the hell is left to scare you?"
"The monsters that hunt me aren't always the kind you can shoot kid," the commanding tone escaped her tone, leaving her sounding tired and drained, "Now add the chicken to that wok or we'll be eating raw meat and mushy veggies for dinner."