Author's Notes: This is a drafty drabble one shot…thing. I haven't written in forever. I finally cracked and decided to write a short one, the first plot that came to my head. Experimenting with writing style and perspective. I looked at my cat and thought of a quite humorous idea—is it good? No, but it was fun to write. Also I apologize for grammar...I'm just so rusted, I'm caring more that I actually wrote something, ya know?
Setting: Sometime between Mass Effect II and III.
His name was just cat.
It was decided, anonymously, that there were just too many stubborn and willful figures aboard the starship Normandy SR-2 to agree on a proper name for the little feline. Commander Tasha Shepard wanted to name him after some Russian poet she admired. Joker wanted to name him the Illusive Man. Kelly Chambers, Normandy's Yeoman, suggested Puss n' Boots. Jack got wind of this, and suggested Puss 'n Fuck.
After an hour of bitter arguing, Zaeed Massani must have heard the commotion. He walked up loutishly in the 3rd deck, and the veteran offered some very insightful advice.
"It's a cat, right? Just call the ugly thing what it's meant to be called. You're all giving me a damn headache."
And so, his name was Cat.
How the feline got to Omega, the Commander could never figure that part out. During one of her many visits to the precarious space station, she had saw something move under a small, grimy box in one of the dim-lit, polluted alleyways she was in. It scuttled comically, and she stopped walking, dumbly watching it knock into debris, slowly heading her way. Subsequently, it ended up bumping into the boot of Tasha. Kasumi Goto and Samara had been with her at the time, just as confused as their commander.
"I'm not sure if it's just me, but weird things are just attracted to you, Shepard?" Kasumi derisively asked.
It was a good thing that the Justicar removed the box just in time, or Tasha was a second away from shooting it. After a moment of looking blankly down, it took only a second for her to snatch the little animal, coddle it, and wouldn't dare to let it go.
"He reminds me of a cat I used to own when I lived with my family…" Tasha's spoke, her voice hushed within the loud streams of crowds and machines thundering noisily around. She was never the one for words, for sentiment, or talking about her past—Kasumi had noted the weakness, and grinned, half amused. The little fuzzball was tiny, with oversized ears and tail. Through the dirt and slime, one could make out light brown fur, with black stripes. The cat appeared to be a tabby. Its sparkly blue-green eyes looked smartly toward the human who was grasping her; it didn't seem scared in the least.
"Fate, may be the word you are looking for, Ms. Goto," Samara had replied serenely, eyeing the little mammal in her leader's arms.
Omega felt like one of the higher levels of hell, and to find this innocent animal here, by itself—and surprisingly not eaten by any Vorcha baffled her. Was it lost? Had it simply been dumped, forgotten? Human pets were not a rare sighting, but the further you got into Terminus space, the less renounced it became.
Tasha Shepard secretly hoped it did not have anyone to go back too—something was tugging in her, similar to how she felt when she was a naive child. It was a part of her she thought was long dead, but memories continued to trickle inside of her. She envisioned a blurry image of her father, a burly Russian man, holding a box for her, grinning. Inside, was her dearest companion…until she had lost it all a few years later to slavers on Mindoir. They were memories that haunted her—but right now, all she could think have was that one bliss, indistinct scene of her past.
With an attitude as willful as fighting off collectors or Geth, she declared among her crewman that this cat would be staying with them until they found the owner…which was her code for saying indefinitely. She gave no explanation, no answers—just that she would take care of it; it would not become a problem.
Miranda Lawson had argued that it was not a necessary asset. Joker hated cats. He thought they were creepy and secret purpose was to assassinate all living beings—Reapers in disguise. The aliens of the ship were quite stricken with the little animal however, most had never seen one. They watched him mesmerizingly on the countertop, calmly drinking some milk from a small bowl that Mess Sergeant Gardner had just poured. When Grunt heard about Joker's conspiracy theory, the resident Krogan suggested that maybe the cat could be trained to help fight as well—the only one brave enough to laugh about this was Jack.
To Miranda's and Joker's disappointment, the young cat seemed to adapt quite well to living aboard the ship. The name Cat stuck, thanks to Zaeed's wisdom. For awhile, it was only allowed in the Commander's quarters. After excessive meowing by the elevator one day, EDI let it go up to the crews quarters—which, ended in what Miranda said afterward, was a disastrous incident. He had stole a piece of meat from her meal, scratched her in a frightened attempt to escape her biotic retaliation, and then hid in Legion's hole, and did not come out until Tasha returned from a mission she was away on. Garrus Vakarian, who had been on the fence concerning the earth animal, finally opted to defend Cat in saying that didn't sound too bad—if anything, it made the Turian's day much more entertaining.
Cat's privileges were promoted afterward. Within the few weeks he had lived there, he was now allowed to explore most of the ship freely. He floated around soundlessly in a way that even Kasumi envied. Tail struck up elegantly, the tip waving, his inquisitive eyes always asserting something with a hint of understanding. He seemed to know more about the crew than anyone else. Cat was a good listener too, as told by Tali'Zorah nar Rayya. He was extremely social for a cat, and everyday seemed to have picked someone to follow happily after to investigate. The air about him was just as proud as the Commander. Joker muttered crossly that he was expecting orders from Cat any day now. EDI assured him that cats could not speak.
With the Commander away on missions, things on the Normandy would get quiet, and was usually the time that Cat got bored with the surroundings and begin to miss his human pet, Tasha; he needed something to do, cat-napping all day wasn't his preferred activity. Stretching, and letting a yawn escape, he jumped off the commander's bed, proceeding up the stairs, gave a momentary yearning for the fish on view, and then walked promptly out of the room and sat by the door.
The artificial intelligence had learned by now what the tabby wanted, and gave no hesitation to assist Cat's needs. The elevator door slid open with a hiss, the cat walked in.
The lights on the side of the wall flashed, indicating what floor they were in, and heading too. When the next light flashed, the cat promptly meowed, his tail swatting the air.
The elevator stopped, the door opened, and the cat preceded out. Coming his way was the red-headed Yeoman, and she grinned excitedly at Cat's entrance.
"Hello there sweetie!" Kelly knelt down and began to rub her hands through the tabby's silk like coat of brown and black fur. "What are we up to, hmm?"
The cat just purred, rubbed passed her feet, and then slipped from her grasp, deciding his next course of action. He realized he had not said hello to Joker in some time, so that was an excellent way to start the day.
Joker seemed to know when the cat was near a hundred feet of him, it had almost become second nature to anticipate it. He'd stiffen up, and sniff around, as if he was expecting another collector ambush.
"Hey, EDI…it's…its here."
"Yes, Jeff, he's right behind you."
Joker spun in his char, immediately forgetting about his duties of piloting the starship. He discovered the cat looking straight into his eyes, sitting by his feet.
"Aaggh!" Joker sputtered. "How does it do that?"
"It's a felis catus, they—"
"I know!" Joker interrupted. He straightened his cap, and began the silent death glare competition.
"So, we meet again."
Cat yawned lazily.
"No, no! You know the rules!" The flight lieutenant barked. "You crossed the line; you can't pass where the airlock is!"
The cat jumped on the seat across from Joker, then proceeded up some of the metal components that jutted up around his seat. Joker stiffened.
"He won't hurt you, Jeff."
"He's looking at me…with that way he looks at me…I know he's possessed by some damn reaper!"
The cat had already placed a paw on Joker's knee, attempting to get on his lap. Joker noticed, somehow managed to slip out of his chair, albeit clumsily, and limp beside EDI's terminal.
"Do you want me to protect you, Jeff?"
"…W-what?" Joker stuttered, his voice becoming defensive. "No! Who do you think I am?"
"I believe this is a situation in human interactions that, if I had proper eyes, I would glare at you deprecatingly and not respond."
Joker bit his lip and rolled his eyes. "Oh hell, very funny. I'll show you who the boss is." He spun his attention back to the cat, who was sitting at his chair, cleaning his paw. Cat looked up, and meowed at him.
"No. Get off my seat, now! If you don't, I'll tell Shepard…and…"
"You must think of a better threat, Jeff." EDI added in.
Joker spun to look at the glowing blue orb. "I got this covered, I can do things by myself, you know."
"No, stop treating me like that! For your information, I had a very traumatic experience with a…"
"And all cats are the same! They clean themselves with their tongues! They get fur everywhere; they don't appreciate anything you do…"
Joker gripped the side of the wall, and peered around from the corner he had stuffed himself in. The cat was walking effortlessly down the hallway, tail perked up like a beacon.
"…about that traumatic experience, Jeff."
"Shut up EDI, just shut up."
The silent, rhythmic noises of the various machines in the science lab streamed around, almost abstractedly—things were flawlessly stilled and calm, but just enough silent background harmony helped you keep track of things. It matched the beat of the engines purr; it was quite a reassuring and aesthetic location aboard the Normandy to work.
Or was that cat purring?
Mordin leisurely looked up over the pile of papers and computer screen, and stared directly into the eyes of Cat. He had somehow managed to slip in undetected on the desk, only a foot away from the salarian scientist.
"Cat," Mordin said. "On datapad that I need. An obstructive location to be observing me," he sniffed. "Distracting."
Cat seemed to have gotten in hint, and jumped off the table with a small plop.
"Don't have need of paperweight now. Fur gets on invaluable items. Cause malfunctions." He picked up the datapad, dusted it off, and proceeded to press some buttons on it to obtain some information he was looking for.
The purring noise from the cat surfaced again, and he walked around the table to find the salarian's short feet, where he began to wrap himself around them, looking quite content.
"Now attempting to trip me," Mordin sighed. "No need to mark territory. Only one cat on board. Ineffective."
Cat looked up at him, meowed, and continued his rubbing, his bushy tail curling around the leg. Mordin decided that Cat would not come to any logical agreement with him, and he preceded the best he could at his workstation, considering the cat's stubbornness to stay glued by his legs.
The door hissed open, but Mordin chose to ignore it, or was too engrossed with his work. After a moment, he spoke up.
"Please, no sneaking in lab…Tali? No, no reason to sneak…someone with cloaking abilities, small feet…Kasumi Goto."
He didn't even look up from his work. Slowly, a small buzz noise was emitted and Kasumi Goto, the Japanese thief, stood in front of his desk.
"Oh, um, hi Proffesor Solus."
"Interrupted again. Must ask EDI to lock door when working on imperative tests."
"Cat. Insists he's deprived of attention." Mordin explained, walking gawkily around his workstation to reveal a furry tomcat attempting to sit on his foot. Cat looked up at Kasumi's hooded face, his triangular ears twitching. Grinning, Kasumi squatted down, inviting the cat for some notice it was seeking.
"You do not like our mascot?" Kasumi asked, and carefully picked up Cat, letting him recline comfortably between her arms. The look of Cat expressed absolute conquest by winning the interest of the human.
"Not mascot. Thought Joker was. Besides point," Mordin inhaled sharply. "Dislike wrong word. Should not sneak up and stare at me with unsettling eyes a foot away. Then I like."
"You know, Cat's eyes are awfully similar to salarians…" Kasumi said, hand slowly going through the cat's black fur. Mordin looked up to the odd statement.
"But, beautiful eyes all the same," Kasumi added in quickly, smiling.
"Appreciate the comment. But stalling. Don't have time to…beat around the bush, as humans say. What can I do for you, Ms. Goto?"
Professor Solus glared at her, his large black eyes almost appearing to read right through her. Kasumi sighed, rocking on her feet. If it was going to be anyone other than Shepard, it might as well be Mordin. She carefully let the cat down, and started fidgeting with her omni-tool, acting as apathetic as possible.
"Oh well, it's um, about Jacob. Jacob Taylor," her usually calm voice was tripping all over the place. "—I just wanted to look at his medical and general files?"
"Ah," Mordin seemed to lose interest in his work, and started to pace. "What about?"
"Concerned over health issues?" Mordin interrupted. "No, no notable health issues. None at all, in fact. Concern not necessary. Holds no possessions worth stealing..." The salarian was rubbing his chin with this gloved three fingers, he looked up after a tedious second. "Fascination with Mr. Taylor?"
"I could have just told you that…" From under the hood, her pale face had a tint of pink on them. Mordin seemed to have graciously looked over her embarrassment, pushing the discussion.
"Stuttering. Slows conversation too much," the scientist replied. "Reading through his file ineffective. Might gain better knowledge actually talking to him."
"Yeah, but…that's so unprofessional, I mean—this isn't the time; I just wanted to check on something anyway—"
"Mistaken," Mordin corrected. "Quite simple. Walk out of door on left. Go down hall. Mr. Taylor working on weapons. Then talk. Might even offer date…outing." Mordin stopped in his sentence, suddenly thinking thoroughly about the terminology of human words.
Kasumi envied Mordin's straight to the point attitude. She usually was so good at handling things so coolly without even a flinch—why was this so hard? But it had been so long since she had honestly any true interest with anyone, not since Keiji…
"If don't tell, I can."
Kasumi jumped out of her thoughts. She stiffened like Cat would when Jack wanted to shoot the tabby.
"Oh, no thank you Professor Solus!" Kasumi replied. "I'll handle it…thanks for talking."
Almost in a blink, the door hissed, and she had disappeared.
Cat stood there on the cold metal flooring, looking where Kasumi had run off to. He turned to look at Mordin, who still seemed lost in thought.
"Humans," he sniffed. "Perplexing."
Kasumi Goto almost wanted to say yes to the offer. Almost. She wasn't sure what had transpired those few moments. She just froze up and felt blank, and she wasn't even talking to him. She felt ridiculous; the galaxy's paramount thief and she can't even will herself to talk to a guy...
The Japanese woman felt a small presence following her. She turned, noting the cat trotting behind her. His sparkling eyes looked at her. Cat obviously was up to no good.
"What are you thinking, little friend?" She smiled, stopping for a moment and crossed her arms.
The cat just purred, knotting himself around her ankles. Kasumi's shoulder's sagged, looking around the empty hallway vacantly.
"Guess it's best for me to go back and rest…Cat, want to read with me? I found this really nice book—Cat?"
She caught him at the corner of her eye. Spinning around, she saw Cat trotting away toward the door heading toward the armory.
"Cat! Get back here!" Kasumi snapped in a whisper. Cat ignored her. The green light flickered off the door, and it opened with a quick hiss. She leaned in, and saw him…Jacob Taylor…doing push-ups? Her heart jumped to her throat. Her mind worked just as fast as if she was thinking of a way to steal a valuable item for a museum. She made a very rash decision.
Cloaking herself, she rushed down the short hallway and slipped in behind Cat, just as the door closed. She stood there, frozen in place, glaring at the man she admired.
He was indeed doing push-ups…shirtless push-ups. His beautiful dark, chocolate skin was gleaming against the ship's translucent blue lights, the sweat lightly clinging to his extremely muscular body. It was…beautiful.
She finally forced herself to carefully sneak to a better hiding place, in the upper corner of the armory room, eyes still glued intently on her target.
Cat's interest now lay with the man on the ground, and he promptly walked over to Jacob Taylor's face, studied him for a moment, and licked the man's nose.
"Yikes Cat, your nose is like sandpaper," his deep voice and cool conduct was so wonderful, Kasumi was begging inwardly for more.
"Shepard not back from her mission, huh?" the armory chief stopped his workout, and with a deep exhale of air, slowly pushed himself up to full height. "Must be having too much fun with Grunt and Garrus shooting mercs; what you think?"
Cat jumped on the center table like a feather and just continued to gaze at him fixedly. Jacob grab the towel off of it dried his face, his other hand reaching for his water bottle nearby. Kasumi was mesmerized. This was far better than trying to explain to Zaeed that she was just checking for bugs on the security camera's screens, when she needed some 'inspiration' for her written Haikus. He was right there, just a few feet away.
And then, suddenly, she was regretting the entire feat. Cat had been her savior to letting her in, but now, Cat wanted to play by his own terms.
The animal swiftly went to the other side of the table, noticed a small data disc. He went into a crouching position, tale swinging around wildly. With a small shake from his behind, he tackled it.
Kasumi guessed that Cat did this on purpose; from the force of the jump, it purposely popped out of his clutch, and flew in her direction—landing at her feet.
"Hey now," Jacob started. "you know better than that."
Kasumi was about to jump out of the way—except for one problem. She had literally got herself stuck in a corner with no way out. Her cloaking device was superior, but it wasn't meant for this kind of…covert missions.
She pressed her back against the wall as hard as possible, she stopped breathing. Jacob was walking closer, and closer…
He bent down to pick it up, but his head bumped into something—her chest. Jacob jumped back in shock. Kasumi freaked and swung herself out of the hiding spot, rushing to the door…she had almost made it, except for one problem.
Before she realized what happened, Cat jumped out in front of her, and Kasumi lost her balance trying to swerve from the tabby. With a ferocious bang, she fell face down on the cold floor. The impact was enough to rattle the cloaking device, and it snapped off. The game was up.
For a moment, no one spoke. Jacob stared blankly at Kasumi, as if she was a geth coloured in pink.
"What the hell, Kasumi…?" He jogged over, and carefully helped the thief up. She stumbled to her feet, trying to avoid Jacob's gaze, who's hands were still holding on to her trembling arm.
"Kasumi…? Do you need me to get Chakwas?"
With a deep breath of air, she forced herself to gain control of herself. Carefully prying her arm from the man, she stood straight and looked at his concerned gaze.
"No, no, I'm fine," she replied. "Sorry about that…I um, was practicing."
Jacob raised an eyebrow. "Practicing?"
"Of course," Kasumi tried to reply as casually as possible. She resisted the urge to kick Cat when he came circling her. "It can get cramped on the Normandy; I like to make sure I'm not going rusty on my stealth skills. I do this from time to time, I'm sorry for the scare…" She paused, fixing her hood; "I wasn't spying on you, or stealing anything…you can check my pockets, if you like."
Jacob Taylor looked back at where she was once hiding, and then back at her—it was hard to read his stoic expression.
"Nah, its cool…" he said at last. "I trust you. Just scared the hell out of me."
"I don't do this on a daily basis, you see…the cat really started it, and…well, it was really all an accident, I mean, I wasn't careful enough…"
"Hey, don't worry about it," he lightly patted on her shoulder. "No need to explain. Things on the Normandy can get rather dull—I personally have always wanted to do some pranks on Jack, but I'm not that stupid."
Kasumi was relaxing with every word that he spoke; embarrassing as hell, but, she was able to overlook this when she stared into his chestnut coloured eyes.
"Well, um, I need to go take a shower…" Jacob grinned, placing the small towel around his neck.
"Oh, right," Kasumi sidestepped, allowing Jacob to pass her and head for the door. "See you."
The door in front of him had already slid open, but he paused and swung around.
"Commander told me she was headed to Illium in a few days, and the crew would probably get a few days off. Maybe you can teach me some of those stealth moves? Miranda's is always telling me I'm too loud for my own good during combat."
"We'll see about that one," Kasumi crossed her arms, a smirk etched on her face. "My services usually come with a price."
"Heh," Jacob chuckled. "I'm fine with that."
He waved his hand, and left. Kasumi stood motionless, just glazed at where he left. She only got out of the daydreaming when she heard a meow by her feet.
"So, Cat," Kasumi Goto grinned. "How about some extra milk for you?"
Cat lay slothfully on the Commander's bed up in the Captain's cabin, looking over to the tank filled with fish. He was about to drift off to sleep, when the door hissed open.
He perked up just as he saw the Commander walk in, still wearing her grey armour. She unhooked her visor, and evenly smiled at the cat.
"Hey there, how was your day?"
Cat looked at Tasha Shepard for a long moment, somewhat vacant in appearance. Finally, he yawned, and curled back into a ball.
"That boring, huh?" Tasha walked over and rubbed his head. "I think you could find something more useful to do than sleep, yah know."
If a cat could grin, Tasha swore she saw one slip from his face as he purred contently. Stomach full, a day well spent—things were good for him. Over the sounds of Tasha's humming as she began to get undressed, the ships own musical sounds, and exciting thoughts for tomorrow, Cat slowly fell asleep.