Pre-Body

Edited the story under a revised format.

That Was a Joke: a Mass Effect 2 Interlude

a Short Story Involving Joker Moreau and EDI

Legend: "speech bubbles"

Body

"...That was a joke."

Joker warily eyed the holographic projection on his left. After a rather one-sided staredown between the the ace pilot with brittle bones and the spherical representation of Normandy's recently-turned-all-purpose AI, he willingly surrendered in the form of a small chuckle, shaking his head with eyes closed.

"Okay, okay, I give. Timing was off by about as much as paint takes to dry, but I gotta hand it to you this time; that one-liner was spot-on, EDI."

"I appreciate the compliment, Jeff," the AI replied with a tone that the pilot could almost take as genuine satisfaction, if Normandy's AI could have such a tone of voice. "Despite your decidedly spectacular attempts to dilute it under the guise of active disinterest," she continued, the "emotion" in her voice replaced by her standard conversational tone, "the fact that you have started taking an interest in me as I attempt to study and apply some... 'sense of humor', as your species calls it, relieves me."

"Hey, listen, no problem," Joker started. "Just happy to see that making fun of people's shortcomings is as univers- huh?" He remarked in surprise, repeating the AI's words in his head. "EDI, did you just say I'm starting to have a thing for-"

"-my dedicated study into sentient idiosyncracies, why yes I did, Jeff," interrupted the disembodied voice of the Normandy in an oddly rushed manner, at least for an AI. Joker's eyebrow raised in suspicion, and was about to press further when...

"Hope I'm not interrupting anything."

The sharp-witted pilot rotated his chair around to face the direction of that deep voice he'd recognize no matter how sleepy or drunk he got (not that he'd ever gotten around to reaching either state of health): "Oh, hey, Commander."

"Looks like I stepped in the middle of a little lover's quarrel." The formerly Citadel-sponsored, formerly dead soldier placed his hands together behind his back as he let a smirk on his lips. The horrified look on the pilot's face as he took the bait and started spewing off a thousand and one excuses was priceless.

"Hold the phone now, Commander! You definitely did not step in the middle of a little 'lover's quarrel', and EDI and I definitely were not discussing anything that could even remotely be linked to even the slightest possibility-that-I-might-be-starting-to-have-a-thing-for-a-talking-holographic-ball-that-spontaneously-started-taking-up-psychology-101-and-began-making-jokes-and-and-and..."

"I second Jeff's refutal, Shepard," continued the AI's eerily calm voice in the stead of Joker's accelerating one, who could now be found holding onto the navigation consoles as if his life depended on it, breathing as loudly as a Krogan preparing to invade a tent in their female's camp. "You are quite mistaken in your assumption of the nature of our previous discussion.

"Regardless of our topic, we were without question refraining from any sort of talk related to Jeff's and my collective and significant experiences regarding time spent with each other, whether for the sake of the mission or simply to seek the other's company, including the probable extra-logical and excitingly taboo consequences such an extended exposure of two sentient beings - under constant pressure internally or externally - would result into.

"No, it is definitely out of the question that Jeff and I were talking about our fetishist and possible romantic involvement with each other, Shepard." With their eyes hopelessly transfixed towards the glowing blue holograph representing EDI, both men's jaws dropped in perfect unison. For several long moments, the only movement to be seen in the cockpit was the AI's synthesized "eye" alternating its gaze between Joker and the Commander.

"...That was a joke."

fin