A/N: For order and because it's more than one chapter (and may grow). Written because of a rabid plot varren from me_challenge on LiveJournal. Not beta'd. Also, I had to correct the email addresses to compensate for FF dot net's wonky formatting. I took the format of Ashley's pre-ME1 email and ran with it (and scissors).

Summary: Joker and Ashley exchange emails in the year 2185.

Chapter 1

You've Got Mail

Joker rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger, clearing the day's latest stress from his mind, compartmentalizing. He'd deal with it later. Now wasn't the time to think about the—

His omni-tool blipped a familiar tune. E-mail. He debated on just ignoring it, but wondered idly if Dr. Chakwas had gotten his message from earlier. Curiosity got the better of him.

Curiosity killed the cat. His frown deepened as he read:

From: Ashley Williams (ashley. m. williams at arcturus. mil. sa)
Sent: February 19, 2185 19:09 UT
To: Joker (jeff. t. moreau at mc-17. mars. mil. sa)
Subject: Thirty Pieces

Joker, you bastard –

I can't believe you! You don't just quit because something isn't going your way. Shepard never gave up. Neither should you. Sure, you're grounded now, but they'll come around. You're the best damn helmsman in the fleet!

I miss you, too. Don't go getting all big-headed about it. It was just a statement. I haven't seen you since you were laid up in the hospital after the attack. Besides, I miss all the old crew. Shepard, Pressly, Kaidan, Patty, Han. We've lost a lot of people we cared about. I just wish things were different. If Shepard were still alive—I don't know if anything would be different. We were sent to wipe out pockets of geth and ended up getting attacked by—what the hell was it anyway? I know the politicians are covering something up. I know that's why you and Dr. Chakwas were sent to Mars. What the hell did you see up there?

Dr. Chakwas emailed me the other day about that biotic fund. Parliament is still debating the L2 reparations, but she said she wanted to do something to help all the kids that were exposed at Yandoa, Freedom's Progress and Mindoir. Did you hear about that one? One of the supply freighters collided with a shuttle over Mindoir's capital. No survivors on the shuttle. Two were infants. The freighter's captain is in custody. We think he may be in cahoots with Cerberus. My team and I got called in to clean up the mess. It wasn't pretty.

And, no, "cute couple" was called by Adams long before you ever said anything. Alliance SOP: Bridge has the external sensors; Engineering has the survellance cameras, Jackass. You got into the pool after Vakarian. It took forever to convince him that a pool is not the same thing as gambling and therefore allowable under the Regs. Someone needs to take that stick out of his ass.

Tali emails you? I haven't heard from her at all. We weren't exactly BFFs. You and she were the ship junkies. I like speed and aerodynamic styles, but I can barely keep my omni-tool running much less talk about ships and engines and drive cores. Next time you hear from her, tell her I said "Hey," or something.

Neon green? That's nasty.

How's that new therapy going? What did you call it? Bone Weave? You're in my prayers. I hope it works out for you. Your left leg was pretty mangled after the attack.

Don't do anything stupid. The politicians have their heads up their asses, but we did good out there. We're doing good now. I've got to report for duty in a half an hour, so I'm going to knock off here. I think I might be headed back out to the Traverse in a few weeks, but they've been keeping things under wraps. Something big is going down. Pray for me, okay?

-- Ash

--Original Message--

From: Joker (jeff. t. moreau at mc-17. mars. mil. sa)
Sent: February 19, 2185 06:33 UT
To: Ashley Williams (ashley. m. williams at arcturus. mil. sa)
Subject: Biotic Fund

Hey, Doll—

Dr. Chakwas wanted me to make sure you knew about the fund for kids with biotics. She's says she's going to name it after Kaidan. I think Kaidan would go all red in the face like that time you called him out on his crush on Shepard. I still say they were into each other. Regs be damned. They would have been cute. Yeah, you read that right. I, Joker--that creaky-legged freak (but greatest helmsman to have ever limped--currently rolling)--have called "cute couple". If he hadn't died—well, I'd rather not bring up Virmire.

Have you heard from Tali lately? It isn't like her not to keep in touch regularly, and I haven't heard from her in about three weeks.

I saw you on the news the other day. Operations Chief Ashley Williams has a nice ring to it. Congratulations!!1! Shepard, your dad and granddad would be proud of you. Sorry I couldn't make your promotion ceremony, I'm stuck at a desk on Mars.

Can you believe it? I'm groundside. Mars Medical. I check med students in all day and administer drug testing. I don't think I've ever been so bored. Dr. Chakwas says that the position is very respectable. I called bullshit, and she actually agreed. I'm a helmsman, not a pecker checker. Yeah. That's me. Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau, meat grazer of the Academy. Did you know that piss glows neon green if you use Hallex? Some things were not meant to be seen.

I'm giving the Alliance another week to look over my request for reposting. I put in for the SSV Perugia nearly six months ago and still haven't gotten any word back. Not even a "Kiss my ass, Moreau!" from them. If I don't hear back from the Brass, I'm resigning. I've already composed the resignation letter. Don't tell Chakwas. She's been depressed lately. Won't tell me why.

If I resign, I'll take you out for real this time. I hate this long distance crap. I miss you. I don't mean that in a touchy-feely way, so don't be getting any girly ideas on me. I owe you a beer or two for something. I just can't remember what.

I've got to go. Going to get some shuteye before I hit the Officers' Lounge. (It really sucks, but there isn't anything else here.) Stay safe.


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