Super Shorts

Little snippets of nitpicking that struck me as funny, but aren't long enough to stand alone. Thanks to the new followers and favoriters. Thanks to Hoplite39 for taking the time to review everything and to hugh305 for confirming that I wasn't hallucinating.

Mass Effect 1

Commander Shepard approached Lieutenant Alenko, who, after all this time, was still working on some machine or the other in the mess.

Kaidan looked up. "Need something, Shepard?"

The commander shrugged. "Just killing time till we dock on the Citadel. Thought I'd tour the ship again. Hey, I've been meaning to ask you. That first day on the Normandy, right before the mission on Eden Prime."

Kaidan rubbed at his forehead with the back of one arm. "Yeah?"

"When I got up to the bridge, you were working there with Joker. But you haven't worked there since then. What's up with that?"

"Oh, that. Well, Captain Anderson just wanted us to look busy while Nihlus was on board. We even had the custodian sitting at an empty terminal."

Shepard chuckled. "What was he doing?"

"He was writing a fan fiction for Vaenia to post on the extranet."

"Ah. So, how did that work out?"

"He said it got a lot of good reviews."

The commander gave an eye roll. "Not the story, the looking busy." Kaidan, god love him, was not capable of intuitive conversational leaps.

"Oh." Kaidan shrugged. "Well, Nihlus died, so it never really came up."

Late in Mass Effect 1

Shepard concluded the sale of all the extra crap they'd picked up lately to the supply officer. The Alliance and the Spectres were a bunch of cheap bastards. Having to buy things himself in order for him and his crew to have anything decent just pissed him off.

Before the commander turned to the elevator, out of the corner of his eye he saw the Turian, Garrus, working on a gun. Deciding to say a quick hello, Shepard strolled over.

Garrus looked up as the commander approached. "Shepard, good to see you."

"What are you up to, Garrus?" Shepard was genuinely curious, seeing as how Vakarian was always working on either his weapons or the Mako when the commander came down to the shuttle bay. The Turian never took a break.

"Oh, just adding a kinetic stabilizer to this new sniper rifle you got me. Thanks for that, by the way. This is a great gun."

"Happy to do it. We're on a tough mission. I've got the best crew and they deserve the best weapons. C-Sec Req said they'd just gotten these a couple of days ago." Shepard didn't share his frustration about the financial end of things with the crew. There was enough to worry about with the whole 'save the galaxy' thing.

Garrus nodded before he spoke. "Friend of mine told me. I know there's not a sniper rifle out there better than the HMWSR X, but..." He stroked the barrel of the rifle with a wistful look in his eye.

"Something wrong, Garrus?"

"Wrong? No, but...," he sighed. "Wouldn't it be great if these things went to XI?"*

(*All you young whippersnappers out there aren't going to get that joke unless you watch "This Is Spinal Tap.")


Shepard left the Captain's cabin in casual dress, hair still damp from a quick shower. Bumping the button for the CIC on the elevator, the commander sighed and stretched out some already sore muscles. After finishing that last mission on Illium, dinner with Liara was going to be welcome. Shepard was really looking forward to catching up on the events of the last two years with the now surprisingly well informed Asari.

For some reason the door to the airlock wouldn't open. Looking up at the bridge gave the commander a shock. Instead of the bright lights of the spaceport at Illium, there was the blue glow of FTL space travel shining in the windows.

"Joker!" Shepard snapped. "Why aren't we docked at Illium? I didn't order you to leave and I'm supposed to be meeting Liara for dinner in twenty minutes!"

The helmsman jolted a bit and looked around, almost as if he'd been in a trance. He seemed a bit surprised to find that they were flying, himself. "Huh. I don't know, you came back and I guess I just took off. Zen flying."

"You never used to do this when we were after Saren. But every time I've gotten on board the SR2, you just take off and we have to dock again immediately half the time. And as I've ordered you to stop doing it before, I'm incredibly annoyed now that you're still doing it!"

Joker looked puzzled. "I... don't know why I keep doing it, Commander. It doesn't make any sense."

"Well, knock it off. And turn us around, I'm starving."

At the Collector base, in ME2

Shepard and the ground team watched, exhausted and relieved, as the human reaper construct fell to the ground. The commander gave instructions on the comm to the ground crew and then to the best helmsman in the galaxy. "Joker-prep the engines. I'm about to overload this place and blow it sky high."

"Roger that, Commander." Shepard got to work but there was only a brief pause before Joker spoke again. "Uh, Commander? I've got an incoming signal from the Illusive Man. EDI's patching it through."

The Illusive Man's image appeared in front of Shepard, looking like the commander could reach out and touch him. "Shepard. You've done the impossible."

Something inside Shepard snapped. "What the hell? My email only goes to the two 'private' terminals I have on the Normandy and if a call comes in, I have to take the world's slowest elevator up to my cabin. Even primitive cell phones back on Earth in the very early 21st century could check email. And now you're telling me that an omni-tool can project a 3-D holographic, real-time video chat to the GALACTIC DAMN CORE but I can't check my email on it?! Freakin' A!"

TIM sighed and rolled his eyes. "Shepard. Focus."