Yeoman Kelly Chambers tried to mask a yawn as she stepped out of the elevator onto the CIC deck. She was a couple of paces in front of her very smug looking Commander. Kelly turned and said "I've not stayed up that late since my college days"
The Commander just grinned at the redhead in front of her. "We'll have to do it again sometime"
"Now there's an offer..." Kelly raised an eyebrow as she turned to stand at her station.
Shepard shook herself into Commander mode and cleared her throat "So, anything I should know?"
"Gimme chance, I just got here too remember." the young Yeoman stood looking at her console
"Sorry" Shepard's eyes couldn't help following the curves of her secretar... No... Yeoman's body. It had been a most enjoyable evening... She stood behind Kelly, still grinning until the young redhead turned around and caught her Commander staring at her backside.
"Ahem... Commander...?" Kelly smiled and folded her arms.
"Sorry" Shepard blinked and shook her head again. "Sorry... I'm back... Erm, yeah... What's happening?"
"It's ok... Just don't let Tali see you doing that." Kelly whispered
"What? Why?" Shepard looked confused.
"You said she'd mentioned that you'd be the only one she'd join suits with." Kelly explained
"Yeah... So?" Shepard was now even more confused. She was an amazing warrior and incredible leader... but she was occasionally a little bit slow on the uptake.
"That's the most intimate thing two quarians can do... It takes a great deal of trust." Kelly rested a hand on the Commander's shoulder "She has deep feelings for you"
"Oh" Shepard was now bewildered. "Ohhh... Oh...?"
"There we go... and the penny drops." Kelly smiled
"Uh, and don't you mind" Shepard rubbed the back of her neck.
"Why would I mind? Last night was only casual" Kelly smiled "Don't get me wrong, I'd be more than willing to repeat it, but its nothing exclusive... Is it?"
"Uh... well no... I guess not. I'm just not used to that sort of attitude about it, that's all" Shepard raised her eyebrows "It's refreshing... unusual"
Kelly smiled gently and turned back to her station
"Anyway, you have two new messages and apparently Mordin wishes to see you in the Mess" The Yeoman reported
"In the Mess? OK... Uh, Thank you" Shepard turned and headed for the elevator.
"Be careful out there, Shepard" Chambers called after her.
Shepard stood in the elevator. I knew Kelly had a pretty open mind about relationships, but that... well... that was different. She thought. Never known a girl be so... relaxed about things before...
The elevator stopped at the crew deck and she stepped out just as Miranda walked past "Good night last night, eh Shepard?"
"What?" She wasn't sure what Miranda was referring to, but she always seemed to know everything that happened on the ship. She never trusted her. She always seemed to have some sort of opinion of business that wasn't anything to do with her.
"Chambers...?" Miranda prompted "Isn't that against regulations?"
"On an Alliance ship, yes" Shepard said defiantly. "Then it would be fraternisation"
"Well I guess it's a good job this isn't an Alliance ship then" Miranda squared up to Shepard then walked off to her office.
What the hell is that woman's problem. Shepard thought. ...and if she's supposed to be 'perfect' why did they make her with a chin as big as her attitude problem?
She continued to walk around the corner to the Mess until she approached a table where Mordin was sat.
The Salarian immediately stood when he saw her. "Good morning, Commander. Thought we could have breakfast. Need to talk. Have fantastic idea"
"Ok. I am hungry, I guess" Shepard took a seat.
Mordin had already ordered and the Mess Sargent brought their breakfasts over "Ah. Very good. Nutritional value high."
The Mess Sergeant stared at Solus "You're welcome" he walked off shaking his head.
Shepard tucked in and asked between bites "So, what's this idea?"
Mordin put his cutlery down and stood to the side of the Commander. He spread his arms to the side and started singing.
At this, Shepard almost choked on her food. She started coughing and motioning for someone to hit her on the back. A near by soldier obliged. "Thank you, Corporal" she nodded as her airway cleared.
"What the hell are you doing, Mordin?" she asked between coughs.
Mordin stopped singing and looked quite puzzled "Serenading you. Supposed to be romantic. For humans anyway"
Shepard blinked, not knowing quite what to say. Eventually she came up with "What? Why?!"
"Ancestral ritual for declarations. Also common amongst humans. Thought would combine well." Mordin answered matter-of-factly
"Riiiiiight..." Shepard said slowly. "What?" Confusion gripped her features.
"Salarian/human breeding uncommon. Unsure whether even possible. Both good examples of species. Being a Xenobiologist, I'd study the process. Good chance for experimentation. Future generations could benefit" Mordin elaborated in his usual disjointed manner.
"OK. Is this a joke?" she looked around frantically for a glimpse of someone laughing. Nothing. Just a few marines with a look of shock on their faces.
"No joke, Commander. Would be beneficial partnership. Don't you agree?" Mordin now looked a little bewildered by the Commander's lack of enthusiasm.
"I think we need to talk... Somewhere private" Shepard stood and dragged Solus towards the empty med-bay.
The door closed behind them so their conversation couldn't be overheard, but the marines could still see the Commander furiously waving her arms around at the salarian, through the windows
"What the hell? Why would you...? How is that a fantastic idea?!" Shepard paced around.
"Explained reasons already. Confused by anger. Thought Commander would be pleased" Mordin was starting to get a little defensive.
Come on now... Be careful. You don't want to lose his loyalty over something like this! Shepard thought to herself. She perched on one of the gurneys.
"I'm sorry. I'm not angry... Just a little shocked perhaps." The Commander tried to explain as gently as possible. "Its just... Well.. You're not exactly my type."
"You've entertained cross-species relationships before. Read your file. Joined with Asari called T'Soni. Thought this wouldn't be unusual" Mordin sat down on another bed.
"Well it would be unusual for me. Its not that you're a different species..." Shepard rolled her eyes at the fact she was essentially saying Its not you, it's me "Look, maybe I'd be interested in a relationship if you were female...?"
Mordin was totally confused. "Don't follow"
"Oh, jeez... It's 'cause you're a guy..." Shepard tried to spell it out for him.
Mordin just looked at her blankly.
"Ok... I'll give you a list of my latest 'relationships'..." Shepard was trying desperately to explain without hurting his feelings. "Liara T'Soni... Female. My secretar ugh, I mean Yeoman, Kelly... Female. And I just found out that Tali... Again female... Wants to join suits with me - I have no idea what that means but I'm very much interested..."
"Oh. I see. Didn't realise orientation" he paused looking thoughtful. "I have some literature about quarian mating rituals, positions and erogenous zones. I could send it to your quarters if you would like?" Mordin smiled
"O...k...? For someone whose proposal was just immediately shot down, you're taking this awfully well..." Shepard seemed worried.
"Salarians do not live by emotions. Things are dealt with. Then move on. Simpler that way." Mordin slid off the bed to the floor.
"So, we're ok?" Shepard had no idea what was going on, but so far it had gone better than expected.
"Of course. Can't argue with sexuality. No point. Move on" Mordin nodded and headed for the door. "Good luck with Tali. Be careful. Use disinfectant. I have many antibiotics. Send her to me for vaccines."
"Ok... Thanks" the commander just perched there for a few minutes. This has to be the weirdest morning EVER. She thought as she jumped down.
She walked to the elevator. Now was the choice... Engineering, or the loft?
The loft. She needed some time to think! Maybe she'd go see Tali later.
Miranda was in the middle of her daily circuit round the ship. Inspecting, or rather, spying, on everything and everyone, for the Illusive man. There was very little that occurred on the ship without her knowledge. But in order to entertain herself, she decided she would do some stirring as she went.
Within Tali's earshot, Miranda started talking to the engineers about Mordin expressing himself by serenading Shepard in the Mess. "He's got a surprisingly good voice, actually... If a little high! But the most unexpected thing was the fact that through the med-bay window, it actually seemed as though they struck some sort of agreement, because they certainly parted on good terms..."
"Well, I never thought Shepard would go for an alien..." Gabby said. "Besides, i thought she was a... you know..."
"Oh, she is... and she's not bothered about which species..." Kenneth laughed "I heard she was with that asari, Liara T'Soni from the original crew... well, until the Commander died and everything. And have you seen her? I know she's blue and all but... you totally would!"
"Kenneth! You're terrible!" Gabby shook her head at her fellow engineer.
"She does apparently have a weakness for aliens, but the latest definitely seems to be the salarian" Miranda said loudly
Tali's heart was pounding in her chest "Excuse me, I... er... need to..." and with that she left engineering and headed for the elevator.
Miranda smirked. Her work here was done. "Enough gossip – get back to work you two"
"Ma'am" The two engineers both nodded and carried on working.
Tali tapped on the elevator until the doors swished open. She stepped in and punched the CIC deck as her destination. How could she? Mordin? But she knows how I feel. I told her. Didn't I? She thought as the elevator headed upwards
The doors opened to reveal the Galaxy map and Yeoman Chambers stood at her station, but no Shepard. She stepped out of the elevator and headed over to the Yeoman. "Where is Commander Shepard?"
"Hello Tali, nice to see you" Kelly smiled "Sorry, I think she's in her quarters, but I think Mordin just headed up there"
"WHAT?!" Tali gasped. "How could she!?"
"He went up there a while ago. He may have left by now. Why don't you go on up?" Kelly suggested "I know she wanted to see you today"
"What? And catch them... you'd like that wouldn't you?" Tali's mask was now in Kelly's face "Don't think I don't know about you either, Miss Chambers..."
"I'm sorry Tali, I have no idea what you're talking about" Kelly turned around and continued working. She was trying to hide her blush. She didn't want to cause trouble for the Commander; she knew how Tali felt and would never want to hurt the quarian. Wait, catch them? Doing what? she suddenly realised what Tali had said.
Kelly turned and called out as Tali disappeared into the elevator. "Wait... Tali! I think you misunderstood..." The door shut. Oh no... She thought and rubbed the back of her neck nervously.
Shepard was sat at her desk, head in hands. She'd had enough of today and it was not even lunchtime.
Her door chimed. "Enter" she said without raising her head.
Mordin stepped into the room. "Literature as promised. Plus have done some research. Send Tali to my lab for injection. Will give 24 hours immunity boost."
"Oh. Right, yeah. Thanks, Mordin" Shepard lifted her head to smile weakly. She hadn't thought he was serious about the literature, but she was grateful for his assistance in the form of the research.
"Here. Have also brought quarian Massage oils. Enjoy" Mordin turned to leave.
He was halfway through the door when Shepard said "Mordin, wait". She stood and walked over to him. She gave him a hug. "Thanks. I really appreciate how helpful you've been with this. Especially after this morning"
Just as they parted, the elevator opened. Standing inside was Tali. "I didn't think it was possibly true but... I'm... Sorry for intruding, Commander." Her tone was sharp, but full of hurt. She hit the button that would take her back down to engineering.
"What? NO! Wait Tali!" Shepard ran at the elevator and just managed to tumble inside before it closed, leaving Mordin stood, not quite sure what had happened.
"Wait for the next one then" he said as he watched the door close, just missing the Commander's foot.
Inside the elevator, Shepard clambered to her feet and hit the emergency stop button. "Tali? Whats going on?"
"I heard Miranda telling the engineers about Mordin singing to you, and how you seemed to leave on good terms" Tali was trying desperately to fight back the tears.
"That malicious, conniving, stirring, big-chinned, evil Cheerleader!" Shepard started pacing and cracking her knuckles. "Jack's right about her – I should have let her shoot her!"
"So, I went to the CIC looking for you, and Yeoman Chambers told me Mordin had gone up to your quarters" Tali went on.
"Well, yes he did, but he was just bringing me something" Shepard explained. "Look – he propositioned me this morning, but he didn't realise I wasn't interested in guys... and I explained that I was interested in someone else..."
"Yes, I have heard about your relationship Yeoman Chambers" Tali was sounding gradually more and more angry
"No... it's not like that. In fact, just this morning she explained to me that she thought you had feelings for me, and that I should talk to you" Shepard looked at the floor, now feeling a little nervous. Until she had to face the prospect of losing Tali, she hadn't realised how much the quarian meant to her. "After Mordin left, I was going to call you up to my quarters and tell you I have feelings for you too"
"Oh." Tali sniffed "But I just saw you and Mordin... together"
"No, you just saw me giving a friend a hug because he'd brought up some info about quarians." Shepard stepped towards Tali. "And he's done some research about how to temporarily boost your immunity... so we could... you know..."
"Oh..." Tali really was taken aback "I thought you... but... oh..."
"Tali..." Shepard placed her hands on either side of Tali's helmet and planted a big kiss on the centre of her visor. "I want you. Mordin can make it happen. The last question to ask is... Do you still want me after all this?"
"Oh Shepard... Of course I do!" Tali was smiling. Shepard could hear it in her voice. "But can you forgive me for thinking such things?"
"Of course. By the sounds of it, it was quite easy to misconstrue" Shepard gathered the young quarian into a tight embrace. "So, how about you go see Mordin in his lab when he gets down from my quarters, get those boosters, then come up and spend the evening with me?"
"That sounds like a plan, Commander" Tali squeezed Shepard round the waist. She hit the elevator button to continue their journey back down to the CIC.
"In the mean time, I've got some reading to do" Shepard winked as she left the quarian in the lift. Tali waved shyly as the doors shut to take her back to engineering.
"Oh, Commander." Kelly scurried over looking very flustered "Tali seemed really upset. I think she's got the wrong idea about a few things..."
"Its ok... it's all sorted... Everything is fine. Or it will be... later" Shepard appreciated the concern from Kelly.
"Thanks for trying to warn me though. You're a good person, Kelly" She patted the young Yeoman on the shoulder. "So, anything I should know"
"Erm, no new messages, Commander"
"Good, then I'm off duty til tomorrow. I've got some things to do..." Shepard winked "I'll be up in my Quarters – if it's an absolute emergency. Understood?"
"Aye Aye, Commander" Kelly saluted and winked back. "Have a good evening"