It tickled. It always tickled.
The rare and often cherished moments of life beyond her enviro-suit never ceased to make her wonder how other species managed their day-to-day lives without constant jitters and giggles. Everything felt so...new and strange. She could neither feel the soft wisp of her breath across her cheeks nor the faint hum of her suit's atmospheric processors. And she could see. Everyone knew that a tactical enviro-helm's view-shielding and HUD provided the absolute best visibility relative to the materials from which it was made. However, the protective plating and constant data streams always left everything looking stunted and slightly warped – just enough to make one second guess if he or she had accurately gauged a distance or truly seen movement nearby. At times it could be frustrating in the extreme, likely far beyond what other species experienced in their daily lives. One never knew when a small miscalculation might result in an immense disaster. However, it was such adversities that had made her people so very observant and, as a result, extremely adaptable. No matter the changes or circumstances, one could always expect a quarian's protean nature to see him or her through just about any situation. Of course, that all hinged on the hope that the quarian's suit didn't suffer a catastrophic breach – especially in a designated Hot Zone...
Like Kyhlus 3, she thought to herself with wry derision.
Miri'Shal vas Sidronna released a frustrated sigh, feeling the unfamiliar sensation of her bed's sheets as they brushed against the contours of her unclad skin. She felt a twinge run up her spine as she slowly rolled onto her back and gently laid a forearm across her eyes – her nerves uncertain of how to register the foreign stimuli. The artificial lights of the Sidronna's medical bay always gave her a headache, especially the ones within the clean rooms; a fact to which she could attest with certainty given the sheer number of times she'd been that particular facility's guest. However, the constant beeps and hisses of the medical equipment to which she was currently connected soothed her and kept her mind at ease. Like most members of her race, Miri feared silence. A healthy ship hummed and pulsed with sound; one with failing life-support systems and spent power cores grew steadily silent. Miri knew quite well what that was like, the permeating silence of a dead ship, and few things terrified her more greatly.
A bad infection was pretty high on that list, however.
Few understood the tremendous fragility of a quarian's immune system, but Miri was quite aware of it now as her body fought in conjunction with over a dozen antibiotics and vitamin drips to throw off the potentially life-threatening effects of a simple respiratory infection. The muscle aches, joint pain and fever were manageable; she'd dealt with them on more than 15 separate occasions. However, the nausea and painful coughing were the true source of her current misery. She absolutely hated vomiting, and the coughing fits that regularly racked her slender form did absolutely nothing to help her –. Miri suddenly sat up bolt-right and clasped her three-fingered hands over her mouth as yet another wave of coughs took hold of her, sending streaks of searing pain racing through her chest and along her arms as the bedside monitors began to beep rapidly in concert with her elevating heart rate. It was dreadful; like slowly suffocating without a single impediment to her breath. She missed the cool, sterile and comforting air circulated through her enviro-suit. Though it cost her the freedom of truly feeling and smelling the world around her, she gladly accepted that loss to maintain her peace of mind. That and living without a suit was...messy.
Breathing heavily as her coughs at last abated, Miri grimaced with slight disgust as she took her hands away form her mouth and beheld the fluid discharge she'd expelled upon her palms. Normally, she'd have thought nothing of coughing while in her enviro-suit; the on-board systems quickly and efficiently managed any and all fluid and condensation her body sporadically produced within seconds. Deprived of her technological raiment, she had to manually manage everything her body threw at her - much to her chagrin. Wrinkling her nose as she gently cleared her throat, Miri reached over to her bedside tray, making certain not to tug too sharply on the IV tubes branching from her arm, and retrieved a pair of napkins. Delighting at the feel of the soft tissue paper between her fingers, she gently wiped her palms and deposited the used napkins in the bio-box built into the side of her bed, taking added comfort in the soft humming that quickly followed as the device rapidly incinerated the contaminated articles. The lights of the Sidronna's clean room might have given her headaches, but Miri never once failed to appreciate just how efficient its systems were at ensuring that foreign microbes never came into contact with the rest of the ship. For that she was thankful. The last thing she wanted was for other members of her crew to suffer due to her missteps.
Wheezing softly as she placed a hand to her chest, feeling the soft gauze of the thin medical wraps encircling her upper torso, Miri stifled a painful giggle as a few strands of her long, cherry-red hair slid over her shoulders and down her back, teasing her skin. Closing her eyes, she focused on her breathing and heartbeat. Though she would have been considered an extremely healthy and athletic 25-year-old woman by quarian standards, Miri knew she had to keep her respiratory and pulmonary systems under control if she wanted to swiftly pull through her infection. Stress could be just as dangerous as the illness. Taking a series of deep, steadying breaths, listening intently to the medical monitors as they registered her slowing heart rate, Miri opened her eyes once more and, casting a somewhat furtive glance around the facility, slowly lowered an agile hand down to the side of her bed to begin reaching between the mattress and frame. She needed to take her mind off of her current situation, and she had just the thing to accomplish that goal: one of the very few treasures she'd actually kept from her pilgrimage roughly six years ago. Sneaking it past quarantine had been a severe pain; getting caught with it a week later had been worse. However, after multiple screenings, five separate decontamination proceedures, and a healthy dose of playful rirdule, she had been allowed to keep it. To this day, it never failed to help ease her mind during times of illness.
This is simply brilliant! it is very well written. can't wait for whatever follows up (if there is)!
Thumbs up and waiting for more to read. My personal top 3 Mass Effect fanfic list:
Mass Effect Reloaded
The Shepard Code
A Handful of Dust
But I also liked Interstitium by AssaultSloth >> fanfiction.net >> Interstitium
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