Ken and Gabby
After her fruitless attempt at interviewing Garrus Vakarian, Diana returned to the converted cargo hold masquerading as her quarters. I've slept in worse places, she reminded herself as the doors slid shut behind her. And hey, at least this time, nobody's shooting at me! Diana paused to kick off her shoes before falling back to the bed with a sigh. So far, her assignment was going well and, once the crew had a chance to get used to her presence, she was sure they would happily open up on camera. As a rookie journalist, Everyone's got a story was her first lesson. Deciding which ones to pursue, her second.
Feeling around on the mattress beside her, Diana's hand closed around her datapad. Connecting to the ship's wireless network, she checked her email. The first was from her producer, going on at great length about how thrilled and delighted the entire team was about her work so far. She sighed. Even when he was sincere, her producer was something of a tool; when he wasn't, she had to resist her body's powerful urges to strangle him. "Hmmm, maybe that's how Shepard felt, dealing with the politicians."
The next block of messages in her electronic inbox were from her fans. The tone of the messages invariably ranged from Awww, that's sweet to You sick freak! It wasn't just members of her own species expressing an unhealthy desire to see her naked, either – the last came from an elcor. Done with her mail for now, Diana sat upright, pulled on her shoes and straightened her hair. Right. Next stop, engineering.
The engineers were interesting to Diana from a journalistic point of view: Alliance personnel recruited into Cerberus and back in Alliance uniforms at a certain Spectre's behest. Diana lingered in the doorway to the drive core listening to the engineers' banter.
"So Gabby, what do you make of EDI's new body?" Ken asked.
"Oh God," Gabby sighed. "I knew you'd get to that."
"Aren't you even a little curious?" the Scotsman replied.
Gabby gave the man a measured look as though trying to puzzle out the hidden meaning in his words. "About what?" she eventually asked.
"Is it...anatomically correct?" He waved a hand at his own crotch. "You know?"
"That's sick, Kenneth!" Gabby snapped.
Diana pressed her lips into a thin line, fighting an urge to laugh. "I've wondered about that myself," she said. To date she'd only seen EDI's platform clad in a formfitting bodysuit. Definitely not Alliance standard issue; but neither was the body.
Ken and Gabby turned from their consoles. "Ms Allers," Ken's Scottish burr seemed to flow over her. "What can we do for you?"
"Do the two of you have time to record an interview for Battle Space?"
Kenneth grinned. "We'd love to! I was just saying to Gabby how much I love the show!"
Gabby folded her arms across her chest. "Actually, Kenneth was saying how much he loves watching you," she nodded to Diana. "With the sound turned off."
Diana nodded and the two women traded a look – Men! "I get that a lot," she answered before activating her camera and microphone. Holding her right hand out of shot she silently counted down three two one. "It's no secret that many Cerberus personnel once served the Alliance. What made the two of you join Cerberus?"
The Scotsman took the question. "Shepard's great," he began, his accent seemingly becoming more pronounced, "And I won't hear a word said against her. After she died and the original Normandy was lost, a lot of Alliance personnel lost faith in the leadership, not just us."
"That's right," Gabby put in, "It was like the politicians and high command couldn't wait to dismiss all the Commander's warnings about the Reapers." The engineer glanced at Kenneth, "And Kenneth didn't hold back in defending her."
It was not without a certain amount of pride that Kenneth said, "They damn near court martialed me for insubordination."
"I guess that got the Illusive Man's attention." Gabby spoke in a low voice as though the Illusive Man was some blue-eyed bogeyman and speaking of him would summon him from the dimly lit corners of the sub-deck.
"Aye, that it did," Kenneth confirmed. "At the time, we didnae know just how screwed up Cerberus really was or how big a scunner the Illusive Man is. He drinks bourbon, you know?" Diana raised an eyebrow. Gabby shrugged. "American bourbon," Kenneth went on. "Trust me, a man's choice o' liquor says a lot about his character."
"And after Commander Shepard cut ties with Cerberus, what became of the crew?" Diana enquired.
"We got lucky," Gabby replied. "We turned ourselves over to the Alliance and they kept us locked down until they could arrange a trial." She paused. "And then the Reapers showed up."
Kenneth grinned, "Aye. And suddenly, nobody was interested in court martialing a couple o' engineers, not with Reapers on the march."
Gabby took up the story. "Anyway, orders came down from above to re-instate us both and have us assigned to the Normandy. "She added, "Commander Shepard pulled strings with the brass. She saved us."
Kenneth nodded, "And not for the first time, either. Those Collector bastards abducted the whole crew of the Normandy, except for Joker. Shepard came and found us."
"The Commander has this reputation for being a real hard-ass," Gabby said, confirming what the galaxy at large already knew. "But we saw another side to her. She cares about the people under her command. If Operative Lawson had been in charge..."
"Miranda would have left pressed on, regardless of the cost," Kenneth put in. After a moment he added, "That slapper."
"So there's more to Commander Shepard than the reporter-punching maniac most of the public is familiar with?" Diana asked.
Ken and Gabby nodded their assent. "Oh aye," Ken answered.
"Definitely," Gabby added.
The Normandy's chief medical officer was more than happy to confirm the engineers' assertion that the woman oft referred to as the Butcher of Torfan possessed a softer side.
"Shepard is at great pains to conceal that aspect of herself from any potential threats, of course," the doctor explained. Diana had chosen to conduct the interview in surroundings the doctor was most comfortable in – her med bay. Diana herself, like most people she suspected, did not like hospitals. At all. "Don't the smells of antibacterial sprays and rubbing alcohol give you a headache?" the reporter had asked prior to conducting the interview.
"Heavens no," Chakwas answered. "I simply can't imagine life without the heady aroma of antibacterial sprays."
Diana couldn't be sure if the doctor was serious or not. "So you're saying Commander Shepard isn't really a borderline sociopath?"
Chakwas folded her arms and frowned at the reporter. "I would not be so quick to judge Commander Shepard's mental state, Ms Allers."
Diana felt herself squirm under the doctor's school-marmish rebuke. Yeah, we're definitely editing that part out. Chakwas elaborated on her earlier theme. "For those who earn her respect and trust, there is no stronger ally than Shepard. For her enemies however..." Chakwas trailed off, looking thoughtful. "I can't say I agree with everything she has done during her career, far from it, but she always has a reason for doing it. Usually, that reason is clear only to herself, but does that make it any less valid?"
"Food for thought, indeed," Diana replied. She glanced at her datapad. "Doctor, one of our viewers sent in a question for you, if you wouldn't mind?"
"Not at all."
"If the order came to abandon ship and you could take only one item with you to the escape pods, what would it be?"
The doctor's eyes crinkled up in an amused smile. "That would have to be my bottle of Serrice Ice brandy."
Author's Note: Inspiration for this chapter comes in part from an in-game conversation between Ken and Gabby with Ken referring to EDI's 'airbags.' And, according to Ken, the Illusive Man does indeed drink bourbon.