Note: So, it's "revised edition" without thousands previous mistakes. Alright, billions mistakes. Everlasting gratitude to skywalker05 and virusq for their help:)
But I'm still writing Author's Notes by myself, so here can be mistakes:)
When all your days begin with the same thing, you can call it stability. Or annoyance, if this thing is Kelly Chambers.
"Good morning, Commander!"
Kelly positively radiated joy and enthusiasm. She's a morning person, and it's one of the many reasons why I don't like her. Her "notification of new messages" function just doesn't recoup her accommodation costs. And Miranda can tell me about my mail just as well; I know she's lurking around anyway.
I nodded and went to my terminal. Must not forget to feed my fish...
"You received a new message at your private terminal!"
Gosh, the girl knows just when she has to say that. If she weren't part of the crew Cerberus imposed on me, she would be so fired. I mean, what kind of psychologist are you, if you can't figured out that you're talking to a night owl? I can let people who do important jobs (and do them damn good) be a bit familiar and willful, but this girl is just so useless. Ah, morning just isn't complete without some complaining to myself. Who else would listen to me?
So, who wants to write to me saying "You're not dead?!" today? Oh, that salarian is excited about Thane's coolness. Of course, I'd tell him that he can be your muse now, but I'm pretty sure, he's not interested in boys.
"And, Commander, Miranda wants to speak with you."
"Thank you", I said with a pleasant smile. Useless or not, girl's goin' to follow me to hell, so I might as well be nice to her. Some hypocrite I am, but hey, I can't genially love everyone. And others need to be inspired too, if I want to survive this mission. Which I do.
On my way to Miranda's quarters, I managed to dodge Gardner with his offers of new asari cannibal soup. By the way, fish, yeah.
Why the hell do I have to go to Miranda when she wants to talk with me? Can't she raise her precious genetically perfect ass from her chair and visit her commanding officer? Damn Cerberus. Well, Miranda actually rose up and even took a few steps in my direction. I'm honored.
"Shepard," she said with her usual intonation, that of a spoiled queen who found out that someone didn't indulge her whims. "About the information that you got from the Eclipse mercs... "
"No", I interrupted her and folded my arms. I play nice with people while they know their place; that's how it works. And Miranda always forgets that my grade in bitching is higher than hers. "I won't send it to the Illusive Man. And we will not discuss this again. Anything else? Something meaningful?"
She looked at me as if she wanted to nip off my nose, but restrained herself and said with venom in her voice, "Yes, I suppose you will consider this meaningful. Your pilot received a lawsuit from the Citadel's dispatcher. For moral damage."
Well, I suppose not for physical damage. This is Joker we're talking about; give him a random clerk with a standard bunch of complexes and you'll have a desperate maniac after one conversation. I activated my earpiece.
"Joker, what did you do to this poor civilian?"
"Why, good morning to you too, Commander! I'm fine, thanks for asking, and how are you? "
"Skip this part. So? "
"I didn't do anything to him. This lazy jerk said that I had to leave with my baby 'cause this big shot needed the parking place. I just explained to him that he made a big mistake and that you're the biggest shot in the galaxy. "
He had a point. I'm not going to let someone to shoo my Normandy off while I'm on a mission. It's good that I have a pilot who can be relied on to keep off zombies and dispatchers.
"You needed to tell me. I'm a Spectre and I can humiliate people legally."
"Kinda... didn't want to bother you with this nonsense." he said after a pause with less arrogance in his voice than usual.
Joker's a real pro in keeping his problems to himself. I said "Okay" and switched off the comm. Miranda was eyeing me with disappointment. She doesn't like Joker, and I wouldn't be surprised if this dispatcher was inspired by her.
"Contact Dr. Liara T'Soni. Give her this idiot's name and ask her to find interesting information about him. And by interesting I mean blackmail."
"That's all?" Her tone said "You'll just let your pet flyboy get away with this?" Oh, about the pets - must not forget about the fish.
"Yes. That's all." I gave her my best "I'm Chief Witch here" look. "I'll let you know when I have another orders for you." I turned and walked away, and, I believe, a man with no biotic shields in my place would have had two smoldering holes in his back. Good thing my biotics are stronger than hers.
My earpiece received an incoming call and I activated it.
"Commander, Grunt headbutted the glass in the cargo hold. The glass didn't survive, of course."
I sighed heavily. Wrex, my sane friend, how much I miss you.
"Again? I need to kick some asses in that shop on the Citadel. They said this glass would withstand a direct hit by a missile."
"He's a perfect krogan, you know. A missile is no match for him."
I smirked and shook my head. "Alright, thanks. "
Zaeed straightened up and pretended that he wasn't staring at the security monitor when I entered the right cargo hold.
"Zaeed, I need your help."
"What, did you come for another lesson?" He will never admit, but I know he just loves to tell me his stories. I always feel uncomfortable when older people are bragging about things that I wouldn't even note in my reports.
"Nope, but I know a person who desperately needs your lessons. And you know, mostly lessons about self-control."
"What?" he asked, eyeing me suspiciously with his healthy eye.
"Grunt smashed the glass again. That's the 5th bulletproof glass this week. He needs a distraction. "
"You gone insane or something?"
"Come on, Zaeed." I said with my special Charming Smile. "Who else would be able to say that he was a mentor to a perfect super-soldier krogan? Just tell him a few stories, you know, you're a pro at that."
"Well... " he muttered with some doubt, but also with hidden approval, and glanced at his table "But if he... "
"He won't break your beloved assault rifle," I said firmly. "If you don't crack jokes about his tank mother, I'm sure, you two will get along just fine."
"It's gonna cost you a lot."
"Send a check to the Illusive Man."
Gabby Daniels stood near elevator and looked nervous.
"Commander!" she greeted, in a whisper. What now, are she and Ken playing spies?
"Something wrong, Daniels?"
"Yes, there is actually a problem with some systems. Nothing really dangerous, but it must been checked as soon as possible. But... " She paused and then almost hissed, "It's near this woman."
Oh, Jack, of course. The crew never come down here in the beast's lair. And if I ask Jack to go somewhere else, her paranoia will tell her that Cerberus is going to corrupt all the information in her datapad, damage her guns, and put bugs in her bed.
"Well, can it wait half an hour? I'll take Jack with me in the shore party and you can fix your systems while we're on the planet."
Gabby beamed at me.
"Great, Commander! You just saved our lives from a terrible biotic-borne death. "
I smirked. "That's my job."
I walked out of the elevator and pretended that the things I was reading in my datapad could change the galaxy. Then there's no way some nosey yeoman's going to interrupt me. I simply can't use the Galaxy Map when she's looking over my shoulder.
"No messages for you, Commander, and..."
"Thanks," I said and shot past Chambers into the bridge. It seems she bought my "all busy" shit and stayed silent. This time.
During my approach Joker closed a few screens suspiciously fast and glanced at me."Mirrors in the cockpit that's my thirtieth request."
"Set a course for Canalus," I said, sitting down in the co pilot's chair "And pretend that we're discussing important things."
"Have Chambers on your tail, huh?"
I just smirked in response. There was silence for a few minutes while he was setting the course and I was watching his fingers flying over the orange keyboards. Joker can type freakin' fast. I wonder, does he play the piano? He would be really good...
"Uh, Commander?" Oh my, hello again, Less Arrogant Voice! So odd to hear you for a second time in one day. I shifted my gaze to Joker's face. He looked uncomfortable. "About this dispatcher... "
"Forget about that. The problem will be solved in a day or two."
"I'm sure you'll have many other chances to be badass and cool. How about leave this chance to me?"
Why every tough and deadly member of my crew thinks that throwing his personal problems at me is just fine, and the one person who doesn't want me to do something for him is my crippled pilot? It's some kind of paradox.
"I have no doubt that you can offend a judge's dignity just as well as a clerk's," I said, trying not to smile. "But that chance isn't for me; it's for Liara. Remember, I told you she's a tough and self sufficient information broker now? She would be happy to prove it to me. "
"So she finally followed your example, Commander?" Joker grinned and the defensiveness vanished from his voice. "You must be so proud of her."
"Yeah, when I came to her office the first time, she threatened some guy with promises to tear him apart with her mind. I thought "That's my girl!" and almost shed a tear."
"I hope she doesn't remember stupid, two year old jokes, yeah?" I chuckled, and he said after small pause "Hey, Commander... Um, thanks, I suppose?"
"No problem. You're welcome."
"But you have to do something about Grunt. I wasn't happy about a crazy krogan in my engineering deck from the very beginning, and I swear, if he breaks something, I'll get him airlocked." So he decided he had been nice for too long. Arrogant Sarcastic Voice, welcome back!
"Little silly to tell me that before you did that, no? Now you won't be able to pretend it was an accident." I said in my best bitch Commander voice and narrowed my eyes.
"I'm sure you'll be just fine without your pet krogan, who sticks around the cargo hold all the time anyway, but losing the best pilot you have would be critical for your mission." He had such a mischievous look in his green eyes and grinned so wide and smugly, that it was simply impossible to keep a serious face. "Speaking of sticking around, why do you never take him on missions? I'm sure he has to make a minimal required number of killings per day, and you don't let him satisfy his baby krogan needs."
"Huh? Now I'm curious."
I rubbed the bridge of my nose. "Every time when we're hiding behind cover, he's yelling "I! AM! KROGAN!"
"What?" Joker's eyes widened and his grin changed into a "you're kidding me" type.
"I tell ya," I rolled my eyes "He yells it every damn time when he sees an enemy. And it's not something like "I am krogan!" or even "I AM KROGAN!", it's freaking "I! AM! KROGAN!" I bet people think "Hey, it's famous Commander Shepard, who once travelled with a krogan battlemaster! How could she have sunk so low?" And I can't stop giggling by myself, and you know, giggling can't really help when controlling a dark energy."
Joker started laughing in the middle of my tirade and fell into hysterics near the end. Obviously, he has a good imagination.
"Anyway, I solved Grunt's problem. I made Zaeed babysit him."
Joker stopped laughing and made his "oh, that's a good idea" face. "Yeah, an unprincipled and violent merc is exactly the person who can teach a krogan how to act like a good boy. Tomorrow they'll play"boarding military ship". It'll really make Grunt happy and, maybe, someone on the Normandy will even survive."
Speaking about survival, fish needs food.
"It'll distract him from his "I'm krogan" problems. Come on, Grunt is a kid... sort of. And Zaeed desperately needs grandchildren. "
Joker shook his head.
"I think no one can look at things the way you do."
I snickered. "Good way to tell your commanding officer that she's insane."
"Hello, Joker. Um, Commander... "
"Yeah, hi, Kelly," Joker said and pretended that the control panels attracted his full attention.
"What, Ms Chambers?"
"Jacob reported some problems with the last upgrade for the assault rifles."
I sighed heavily, started to move, and probably made a really tired face, because Joker frowned and suddenly said, "Oh, come on, sit down!"
I obeyed, mostly in surprise.
"With all due respect, you're absolutely zero in tech. Send someone who can tell cryo ammo from disruptor ammo."
"I can tell, you know!" But hey, he's got a point. And besides, Miranda just loves reminding everyone that she's a second in command...
"Miss Chambers, please tell Operative Lawson to go to the Armory ." I smiled at her really genially for the first time and she looked slightly surprised.
"Very well, Commander."
Kelly returned a smile and walked away. Joker smirked and turned back to his keyboard.
"Playing matchmaker, Commander?"
I blinked. "Huh, I didn't think about it in that way... But, hey, why not? They could use distraction too."
"Yeah, Jacob certainly needs a distraction. From staring at your... lower-lower back." He said without looking at me and there was something wrong with his voice. Is it?.. Nah, let's call it "irritation".
"That's ridiculous, Joker," I said with a smile.
"So Cerberus implanted eyes in the back of your head?" It wasn't simple irritation, it really sounded like...
"Come on, I can't expect attention when Miranda in her... costume in the same room. Once I had a suit just like Miranda's." I said casually. "But with a bare back."
The typing stopped abruptly.
"And the same heels. And man, it was awful. I bet she has some special gene for the ability to fight in those heels. I don't have it, so I just gave up."
My, look at this wicked smile! It seems you have a really good imagination, m'boy...
"Well, you didn't have all this Cerberus cybernetic stuff at that time. Maybe you should try now."
Time for escape. But I must have a last word, right?
"Speaking about suits," I said, standing up from seat. "I should go and deal with my armor. Dressing in that thing is way more difficult than stripping from it."
"If you ever need help with anything, just ask. We're all here just to make your mission easier."
"I... will remember that." I said and walked to the elevator. You're not going to blush, girl, aren't you? Nah, of course not. And if I'm swaying my hips slightly more than usual, that's because this corridor looks like a catwalk. Totally not because of the gaze of green eyes that followed me.
And I was already in the shuttle, playing "count the rounds" with Jack's tattoo, when I remembered about the fish.