Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing of the Mass Effect Universe.
Gabby and Ken of the Normandy SR-2 made all of us smile. For some reason I haven't found much of a following for them in the fanfiction world so I decided to write my own.
Normandy SR-2, Engineering Deck, Engine Room
Kenneth Donnelly was a brilliant engineer with an almost-spotless service record, serving on the finest ship in the galaxy. Kenneth was quite sure he was supposed to be living up to all this grandeur in some profound way. He was certainly not supposed to be leaning on a quickly-numbing hand, sighing like a surly teenager. Grateful as he was for Shepard's contribution of the FBA couplings, finding ways to fill all this vacant time was fast becoming a headache. Craning his neck to get a good long look at Jack only allowed so much procrastination (as it yielded limited results and was often deadly) and staring into the Drive Core, hoping to see something unique had become boring by day three. He couldn't fake another piss break either. He turned to Gabby. She'd been deadpanning at that bloody screen for way too long without idle chatter. Or calling him a dick…well, no real difference there.
So it was time to do what he did best when boredom reached such a critical level.
He let his fingers fly on the keyboard.
- Sooooooo… -
Gabby let out an irritated hiss as the message popped up on her screen, disrupting what had been twenty minutes of progress on a system-wide scan. 2185 and the galaxy had yet to be rid of both slow elevators and loading screens.
"Kenneth!" Gabby exclaimed, turning to face the culprit. He had that stupid grin on his face again. "Thanks a lot, now I've got to start over!" She closed the message and tried to restart the scan. Another message; god she was going to kill him one of these days.
- The scan can wait Gabs, I know you're as bored as I am right now. -
"Ken I'm standing right next to you!" she protested. Despite the fact that she was yelling in his ear he was still fixated on his screen, grin exposing his feigned concentration. "Why do you insist on clogging my inbox when we spend all day standing six feet apart?"
She started a third scanning attempt, before adding in an undertone: "could do with a couple more between us. I can smell the haggis and scotch whisky on your breath."
- Hey! I resent that! -
A small smile tugged at her lips. Sending him just one message couldn't hurt, could it?
- Weren't you bitching about Gardener being unable to cook up some of that 'mighty fine arse' just a fortnight ago? -
Thank goodness. Her message had wiped the damn grin off his face. The glib Scotsman was now frowning, though he looked mildly impressed.
- I can survive on other foods, Gab! -
- Really? Wow. The message says no but your pale complexion and flaming hair scream yes. -
Kenneth sniggered, and then applied a look of over-exaggerated shock and distaste.
- More stereotypes? Don't make me toss a caber at you woman! -
Gabby giggled. He could be a real boil on the ass of life sometimes. But a boil that never failed to make her laugh. She let her hands back on the keyboard with the confidence that the momentum had shifted in her favour.
- I'll cut the stereotypes as soon as you give me a good reason over why you feel the need to message me like your life depends on it. -
Gabby swore she could hear him tut at this.
- I don't cut deals with prejudiced people…you American pig. -
They snorted in unison. Resurrecting old Academy nicknames was always good for a cheap laugh. Cerberus may have been more informal but the family atmosphere was just lacking.
- Careful what you type there Ken, some people might take it the wrong way. -
- Seriously Gab, why are you so hung up over email recently? -
- I just think you should be more careful with what goes into the database under your name, Ken. Are we gonna have another incident like the one where Joker tried to download 'Backdoor Azure III?' -
Ken snorted harder than before at this and a look of fond reminiscence glazed over his brown eyes.
- Tell me Gabby, what's the REAL reason you're protecting your inbox like a newborn child? Worried any love notes from that big, blue-armored turian upstairs will get lost in the shuffle? -
Gabby could feel his eyes on her as the blush crept up her cheeks. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of losing it.
- I'm not even dignifying that with an answer -
- AHA, the rumours ARE true! -
- Watch it young man! -
- Sorry mum. -
There he was again with that "mum" business. She didn't appreciate it at the best of times and she really wasn't happy he'd done it in front of Shepard. Men, she thought.
- You NEED to be more conservative with email, Ken. You know that Shepard can read these whenever he wants. Plus…we're an illegal organization, there are others that can access the files. Unfriendly types. -
- Yeah right, like the Shadow Broker's got nothing better to do than go through our email. That's about as likely as him having an hour-long vid of Jacob doing crunches with his shirt off. And don't worry about the Commander. He's too busy balling Chambers to care what we get up to ;-) -
- KENNETH! -
His face lit up with glee at her outrage.
- Oh yeah, like you don't know! Redheads Gabby, redheads. We've got that appeal. -
- I agree…I'm standing next to the exception that proves the rule! -
- Don't make me grab my trusty Claymore! -
- Loving the Scottish temper there, hon -
- It's my favourite way of annoying you …or would it not be easier to simply poke you with a stick? -
She grimaced and banged her head against the rail in front of them while he punched the air triumphantly and made the kind of indecipherable noise you associated with an elated football fan.
- Ken for the love of Jesus, we are NOT wasting another day swapping Autoware quotes. -
- Why not? We used to do it all the time. -
- We used to serve in the Alliance. Things change, Kenny. -
He grunted stubbornly as he typed the reply.
- You're just bitter cause I beat you to that Achievement Award! -
Gabby gasped, scandalised. This again?
- We both know you cheated! -
- Did not -
- Did too -
- Did NOT -
- Did TOO -
Ken hesitated. Drake Era: Genesis had been their favourite addictive pastime back in their old Alliance days; plus it was the perfect way to satisfy highly competitive natures without resorting to engineering one-upmanship that pissed off their COs. He wasn't going to tarnish that memory. This dispute was a road well-travelled. Plus no man wanted to face another day trying to kill time while stood next to an angry woman. Even though she was cute when she got like this.
Time to change the subject to something more current, Kennyboy.
Gabriella quelled her annoyance and mounted another gargantuan effort to shift focus back to anything besides Kenneth's mind games. She opened a folder and lazily eyed the FBA schematics for the billionth time. No need to bother with another system scanning attempt, he'd start another inane email exchange just to thwart it. But then a sideways glance to Kenneth revealed a rather sheepish and apologetic-looking man, who met her eyes for the first time since the shift started. Did he really care about hurting her? Maybe it was okay to resume work now.
Initializing System Scan…1%
Then again maybe not. She opened it.
- So, you and Garrus -
"Kenneth!" The red was rising in her cheeks again and all sheepishness was gone from her insufferable colleague. A second triumphant noise filled the engine room, every bit as indecipherable as the last. Honestly. Was it physically possible for a man look any smugger? "What are you implyi-"
He interrupted her with a warning wag of his finger and motioned to the orange glowing terminals. She reluctantly turned back to the screen.
- C'mon Gabby, tell me what's new with you and the big blue member of the crew. Wow, a poet and I don't know it…or maybe I know it but I never show it. -
She buried her face in her hands. This felt more endless than hours of staring at the scan's progress. At least the scan didn't try to rap in text form.
- Poetry huh? Don't quit your day job, Kenneth. Whatever that is. –
- I'm also a musician. Been working on a piece for you to sing to Garrus… -
- This I have to see. Or hear. Or not. –
- Aaaaaarchangel, Archangel, will you be miiiiiiiine? My darling dear, love you all the tiiiiime, I'm just a fool, a fool in love with youuuuu -
They'd have to watch that old vid again soon. Crazy how the story behind the term 'flux capacitor' could get just about everything else about physics wrong.
- Willing to go back two hundred years for the right pop culture reference eh? Impressive. But give it up Ken the rumour isn't true. There's nothing to tell.-
- Oh really? Maybe you're just being more secretive than usual. I bet he's your desktop background! All scarred and sexy in a rough-edged, jagged, alieny kinda way. -
He mockingly leaned over her shoulder and took his first full view of her screen.
Gabby leapt a foot in the air. This word had actually come from Kenneth's mouth.
"Why am I listed as HairyLoudScottishGuyModel101 in your contacts list?"
She grinned ear-to-ear as she typed her response.
- Well…you said you wanted me to be more 'open and honest' when we emailed -
He huffed, red in the face, furious at how far the tables had turned. Any vocal or textual response was interrupted by Shepard on the intercom.
"Guys, could you come up here? Garrus wants to go over some schematics for upgrading the gun." The intercom's buzz died down again.
"Okay woman!" Kenneth hissed menacingly, eyes narrow. "You win this round." They turned and headed for the elevator.
Five minutes later, Gabby came rushing back in. Her lie over leaving an omni-tool down here may have worked just fine on Shepard, but Kenneth had eyed her with suspicion. She crept to his terminal and logged in.
'Daddybags' real original password, Ken.
Her name in the contacts was easy enough to spot: CommonGreaseMonkey.
Hmm...could be much worse I guess.
From her room down below the deck, Jack stared at the young woman and groaned.
"When will those two just fuck each other and get it over with?"
Author's Note: Well, there's the first chapter. Please leave a review and let me know what you think; I can't do this without your feedback