"So you're boning the drell, right?"

Shepard nearly spews her drink across the mess hall. Jack's never been tactful, but Shepard's pretty sure she planned this one just to see if she could get Special Grape Electrolyte Mix up the Commander's nose.

Coughing inelegantly, Shepard turns to face the powerful biotic, currently reclining on a table like she'd just asked what their next heading is. She ponders lying, but not for long; Jack can practically smell lies (or at least she likes tell people that) and Shepard's relationship with Thane Krios is such old news that the crew is back to theorizing over the origin of the infamous Scale Itch Incident. Admitting that they're partners can't hurt. She hopes.

"Thane and I are… in a relationship, yes," Shepard replies, tone a little wary.

Jack gives her a look that clearly states her opinion of Shepard's delicate phrasing. "What's it like? Not the sex, the high you get. I've heard it can be a hell of a trip."

There is a vein pulsing on the side of Shepard's temple and she tries to keep herself from twitching in annoyance. She sighs, knocks back the rest of her Electrolyte Mix like it's a shot and decides, for just this once, to play along. After all, there had been a Council debriefing a few days ago and she's still stressed; Jack's brusque mannerisms seem almost soothing at this point.

She grabs a chair close to Jack and sits in it backwards, arms crossed along the chair's back. Shepard does not throw caution to the winds so much as shoot it into a solar storm with a mass effect accelerator: "I'm surprised you're asking. Adventurous girl like you, I'd figure if you were curious you'd just go find yourself a drell."

Jack responds with a decidedly predatory grin. "Is that a challenge?"

The Commander raises her brows as though daring her to try it. "Not unless you're curious about the effect of hull buffer on tattoos."

She stretches out on the table and laughs aloud, the sound reverberating almost cheerily throughout the metallic mess. "Damn, Shepard, I know you're bullshitting me but that's a good one. I do have standards, though," she adds, head snapping to the side so she can look Shepard in the eye, "I've just never found a drell I wanted to fuck. They hardly go offworld for starters, and I can't get over the looks. Creepy fucking eyes, man. I don't see how you can get off to that."

Shepard can't help herself; she actually chuckles. "I like Thane's eyes. They're quite expressive if you know what to look for, and he's handsome in his way. Exotic."

Jack's face wrinkles up into a grimace. "Whatever, Commander. Personally I think you're a freak, just like the rest of us."

She flips onto her stomach as Shepard ponders whether that was an insult or a compliment. "Still haven't answered my question: how's the high, boss lady?"

Shepard shakes her head. "I'm probably the wrong person to ask. With all the Cerberus upgrades"—Jack sneers—"I guess the chemicals don't affect me as much. Ever try LSD?"

The woman on the table nods, letting loose a deep sigh. "Yeah, when there was nothing else around. Started off my hatred for old-school drugs. I never touched it after a really bad trip when I thought—well fuck, I'm not telling you. Sounds like a serious mood-killer, though."

"Not exactly," she continues, one hand propping up her chin, "the effect is mild, like the leading edge of a trip. Little light shows, a bit of disorientation, that kind of thing. There's a bit of synesthesia too, but nothing dramatic."

"Sina-what-now?" Jack prompts, looking suddenly interested.

"Synesthesia. When the wires in your brain cross a little and a sensation triggers a color, or a word has a taste, things like that."

The biotic smirks, laughter bubbling up in her throat. "So what, you're telling me his orgasm tastes purple or something?"

Shepard gives her a toothy grin. "Don't be ridiculous. It's more like clear water, and it sounds like a really intense, pale blue. Almost electric."

Jack's laughing again, curling over her stomach and clutching her sides. "Oh my God, that is the funniest shit I've ever heard! Fornax oughta run a spread on you, Shepard, I'm serious, that is fucking brilliant."

Still laughing, Jack hops off the table and starts towards the elevator, then stops dead in her tracks. From the delighted smile that is slowly expanding across on her face, Shepard knows that one of two people is standing just beyond her field of vision, and she doesn't recall recruiting Santa Claus. Her face is already beet red when Jack barks out a laugh and says, "You're lucky that my favorite color isn't blue," and walks off cackling.

A moment later, Thane Krios himself walks around the metal partition between corridor and mess hall, looking so innocently perplexed that Shepard almost falls out of her chair laughing. Thane rather gamely helps her stand, brow ridge quirked upward slightly. "Interesting conversation, siha?" he asks, and Shepard starts laughing again, sagging helplessly into his arms.

"Nothing special," she manages, still sniggering, "just… just medical matters."