Tidbit Tuesday: Out on Patrol

Because I knew that something was very wrong on the planet of Virmire I was stunned by its beauty. I’d expected a wasteland, blasted and ruined by the evil forces we’d come to destroy. But the Mako rover had landed on a white-sand shelf that was almost a river but still part of the ocean that stretched to the eastern horizon under bruised clouds that dropped lightning in the distance.

We drove down the winding path, intent on our mission. I'd brought Kaidan Alenko and Garrus Vakarian with me, the most powerful fighters in my squad. Geth lurked around every corner and controlled the gatehouses and anti-aircraft turrets that were keeping our comrades in the Normandy from the source of the distress call we'd come to investigate.

We fought our way to the first set of gates and climbed out of the Mako. “Who taught you to drive that thing?” Garrus complained rubbing his head. We'd had a few rough maneuvers as I tried to avoid getting fried by rockets. The rocks and giant crabs made for a bumpy ride if you didn't have time to plan your route. The last skirmish had been particularly nasty and I'd almost overturned us before Garrus had finally managed to mop up the last of the robots.

“If you'd kill them faster I'd have to dodge them less,” I said, smiling. I was accustomed to such grousing after a trip in the unstable vehicle.

Kaidan grinned at our banter. We were both feeling good. It had been all of a few hours since we'd finally given in to the temptation that had tortured us for months and we'd shared enough glances for me to know that it was on his mind as much as it was mine. I shook my head and led them up the stairs to open the gate. Before we headed back down I stood on the walls, looking out over the dazzling vista. Kaidan stood beside me and touched my hand. “It's too bad we're not on shore leave here instead of yet another mission.”

“On the beach?” I whispered. “My, my, lieutenant.” If Garrus hadn't been four feet away the look I got in return would have made me tear off Kaidan's armor right there. “Maybe we can make time to come back here when we've finished off Saren,” I added in a normal voice. “I can't think of a lovelier spot for the crew to enjoy a little R&R.”

We trooped back down the stairs. “If you're such an expert, Garrus, why don't you drive?” I said. “I'll man the guns.”

“No offense, commander, but you couldn't hit an elcor with that cannon much less a tiny geth with a rocket launcher. I'll just wear my helmet,” Garrus replied. Kaidan climbed in to the navigator's seat as always, ready to monitor our shields and repair the damage that would inevitably be inflicted.

We trundled off and cleared more of the path. The second gatehouse contained a little bonus: the controls for the turrets lay inside. It was therefore more heavily guarded. The Mako sustained hit after hit before we got behind cover and we left the smoking thing behind a rock as we made our way to the massive building.

Garrus and I sniped the geth defending the stairs while Kaidan used his biotics to topple those standing on the walls. I loved fighting with the two men, different though they may be. Our skills complimented each other and we worked together flawlessly, backseat driving aside. We opened the gates, disabled the guns, and made our way back to the sorry hulk that was our Mako. While we could have walked the rest of the distance our goal still lay miles to the northeast. I decided that it would take less time to make repairs than to trek the whole way, particularly since there might still be pockets of geth along the way.

We put out the fires and worked to repair the hull and a broken axle. When we'd finished the exterior we considered how to rewire the damaged systems to get the shields and navigation back on line.

“There's only room for one person to get under that console and fix the drive system,” Kaidan said, winking at me behind Garrus's back. I bit my lip to keep from smiling as the Turian turned. I tried to look serious. “Garrus, why don't you crawl in there and Kaidan and I will patrol to make sure no geth sneak up on you while you're upside down.” Kaidan raised an eyebrow at me and I had a coughing fit to cover my laughter, waving away imaginary smoke.

“Sure,” Garrus said slowly. “That makes sense.” He narrowed his eyes at Kaidan and me then climbed into the Mako. I noticed he'd left the door open, though. “Let's move out, Lieutenant,” I said, giving him a smack on the rear.

“You little...” he started. I ran for it, ducking around a huge rock and sprinting for a shingle of inviting sand. I repressed a girlie squeal as he splashed behind me. Running in water was a lot slower than sprinting on a treadmill back on the Normandy. At least Kaidan has heavier armor, I thought, just as the big cheater grabbed me with his biotics and pulled me to him. I felt like a kid with my first crush.

He wrapped his arms around me and gave me a kiss that took my breath away. I broke his hold and splashed him then headed for the higher ground again as he wiped the water from his eyes. We were going to have to do some serious armor maintenance after this was all over.

I stumbled onto the dry sand as Kaidan grabbed me from behind. We tumbled to the ground, playful thoughts left behind as we struggled with the buckles and hooks of each other's gear. I wanted nothing more than to feel his skin under my hands again and we both knew that our time was short.

“We're going to have sand everywhere,” Kaidan managed between kisses.

“I don't care,” I answered, tugging at one of his wet boots.

We were finally, gloriously nude, the sand and sunshine only adding to our joy, when I heard a noise to our right. Our guns were buried under our armor, out of reach. Kaidan leapt to his feet, biotic powers flaring blue along his delectable body, ready to unleash his fury on the geth we had missed, knowing that he could at least buy time for me to get my pistol. He spun to confront what turned out to be a very large and unarmed crab.

I burst out laughing, unable to help myself. “I'm not sure which part of you made him look so surprised, Alenko.”

Kaidan glanced down and gave a rueful grin. “I certainly looked interested in him,” he said, returning to me. “Maybe we'd be better off with a little more cover.” He picked me up and carried me into the water. “Besides, I think we'll need to wash off some of this sand.”

After we got good and dirty and made sure we were cleaned off, we struggled back into our armor. “I wonder if Garrus has finished the Mako yet,” I mused. “I hope not,” Kaidan answered, arching that eyebrow at me once again. “I'm not sure we've finished our patrol.” I started back to the rover with weak knees and a very light heart.

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