Ain't that just the way of things

Ryden leaned back in his seat, feet up on the console in his customary “justifiably arrogant pilot” pose. The course for Omega Station was set and he could let the autopilot take over from here.

He gazed out through the cockpit window, and allowed himself a moment to get lost in the vast expanse of space. So many wonders yet to be discovered. So many damsels in distress yet to be saved. So many..

“No doubt you’re feeling quite pleased with yourself right now” said a familiar voice. Ryden spun around to see his father sitting in the co-pilot seat, watching him intently.

“Dad! But…you’re dead!” He said, before realizing that was an utterly stupid observation to make. Of course his father was dead. Ryden must have fallen asleep at the wheel, and was now experiencing yet another one of those dreams with hidden meanings. This was, of course, a risk that came with being the central hero of any story. He bet all the supporting characters on the ship didn’t have annoying dreams like this.

“Yes, and gratefully so. I would hate to be alive to see what’s happened to my legacy. To see you, my last remaining son, gallivanting around space trying to be a hero while your sister burns everything I built to the ground”.

“From what I hear, she’s doing a fine job cleaning up your mess, actually. You always underestimated her.”

“She has her qualities, but she’s soft, sheltered, coddled. She’ll always take the easy road. She won’t have the courage to do what needs to be done!”

“You mean like you had the courage to get in bed with Cerberus? Thanks for that, by the way. If I’d only known my father was a traitor as well as an asshole, it would have made the decision to leave home even easier” Ryden turned away from his father and started fiddling with the console, praying he’d wake up from this nightmare soon.

“It’s more complicated than that, son. You don’t understand what’s at stake.”

“I have a better idea what’s at stake than you ever did, now that I’ve actually been out here and seen what’s going on. You would have had me stay on Earth my whole life”

“No, I always intended for you to leave Earth, but as someone of importance, someone with purpose. Not just another cowboy zipping around on fool’s errands, like your brothers!”

Ryden didn’t respond, just carried on fiddling with imaginary settings. Then his father spoke again, but his voice was softer this time, gentle even. He almost jumped in shock to hear his father speak that way.

“I understand I was hard on you, but it’s only because I could see what you were capable of, if pushed.”

Ryden turned around, somewhat stunned. If he’d had any doubts left that this was a dream, they were now thoroughly quashed.

“There was a brief period of time when I considered making your sister my protege instead, as you had made your lack of interest abundantly clear. But the fact is, Theodore..” He leaned forward. “I didn’t trust her. I didn’t trust anyone, except you”

“…which is why, I’m going to entrust you with a secret; something about our family that only I know. Something I’ve told no one, not Cerberus, not your sister, not even your mother…”

He leaned further forward, as if to whisper something. Ryden found himself leaning forward as well, despite himself.

“Are you listening, Theodore? This is important. You must….”

Suddenly, a hatch in the roof opened up, and his father went flying through it, out into the void of space.

Ryden stared dumbly at the spot where the co-pilot seat had been a moment before. He heard a sharp, gurgling sound behind him, and turned to see Vero, the bionic Volus, standing next to the ejector button.

“What the….you…the fuck are you doing here!?”

“I’m….ccchhhh sorry…” said Vero, his speech interspersed with occasional sucking noises, “…was I…..cccchhh…interrupting something?”

“You just pressed the eject button as my dad was about to tell me something important! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!”

“I…*ccchhh*…no, I’m afraid you….ccchhh..must be thinking of….cccchhh…someone else. I did no such thing”

“You’re seriously gonna deny this? You’re standing right next to the eject button!!!”

“No….cccchhh…you’ve got me all wrong, really. I’m just ccccchh hanging out”

Ryden leaped up, whipped out his blaster, and fired a bolt in Vero’s face. The volus crumpled to the floor, smoke rising up from his helmet. A fish inexplicably fell out from his suit and started flopping around on the floor.

The Krogan appeared beside Ryden, grabbed the fish and ate it. “Hmmm…tasty” he said, licking his lips. “Sorry about your dad, by the way. Seemed like you were about to have an important bonding moment, before he went flying into space”

Ryden stared down sadly at the dead Volus. “Yeah, ain’t that just the way of things”

“Tough times”, Ryden turned to see Billy standing at the entrance to the cockpit, holding a bowl of soup. “But we all gotta struggle on, whatever the galaxy throws at us. Here, maybe some of this tasty soup will make you feel better”.

At that point, Ryden woke up in a cold sweat.

He was sitting in the cockpit , alone. Through the window he could see Omega Station drawing closer. Tianna’s voice came through on the coms, “Looks like we’re approaching our destination, crew. Shore party, get your gear ready. There’s no time to waste.”

Ryden rubbed the back of his neck and slowly forced himself upright, all the while wondering what the fuck he ate last night.

Ain't that just the way of things

Mass Effect Demetrios Darryk