Musician, writer, artist, gardener, Jane-of-all-trades.
I keep astonishingly busy with a wide variety of things and this blog may seem random in consequence. Expect Mass Effect fanfic (including the ongoing saga of pilot-lovin' Rhi Shepard), thoughts on disability, politics, and a liberal helping of goats. Especially baby goats.
“You’ll want a local,” Chakwas said. “This may hurt.”
Joker shook his head. He actually did want the anesthetic, but he really didn’t want to be sick-listed for the hour or two it would take the stuff to get out of his system. “I can handle whatever you throw at me, doc.”
Chakwas straightened up. She was holding a tool that was way, way, way too sharp to have anything to do with resetting a slightly-displaced bone. It glinted. She ran the pad of her thumb almost along the edge, tracing the curve of the blade. “Was that a challenge, Mr. Moreau?”
Joker scooted backwards on the table so fast he forgot about his not-quite-set arm and only narrowly avoided banging his elbow. “No, ma’am! I am entirely confident of your ability to hurt me, ma’am!”
It was his best impression of baby marines on drill. It wasn’t entirely an act.
“Good.” Chakwas set the thing down with a little smile. “We’ll use the anesthetic, then. Even if you are tough.”
“‘Caution. Contents under pressure. Illegal to use otherwise than intended. Don’t expose to body care products?’ The hell? I wonder what happens. ‘May cause…’” Rhi’s voice trailed off into a barely audible mutter, until she read ‘’Unexpected explosions!?’”
She turned away from the display case, grinning. “This is awesome. I want three.”
Joker just stared at her.
She shrugged. “What can I say? I’m caught by the marketing.”
“That’s not an advertisement, it’s a warning label.” He tipped his head to the side thoughtfully. “Granted, if they wanted to target their marketing to you, that’s the way to do it.”
She stuck her tongue out at him, so he added, “…and possibly make it edible.”
It was the kind of fantasy that should probably have remained a fantasy, Joker knew. It wouldn’t even have been a possibility, not for him, but Shepard’s strength mitigated his own weaknesses in some surprising and interesting ways, so… maybe. Still, it was a fantasy.
Joker always knew he’d have to get all the flight hours he could get to prove himself. The minute he was cleared for solos he started getting them, in any way he could. In the navy he volunteered for extra duty and ‘graciously’ took over for members of the flight crew who wanted a break to nurse their hangovers. On his personal time, he did just about everything else: he’d pick up an odd job moving an old freighter in-system when he had a week of shore leave or run shuttle hops from god-knows-where to the sticks and back again. He volunteered with a Mercy Flights organization, using the ancient donated upper-atmo ships to pluck injured out of remote locations, and with an astro-aeronautics museum, moving their museum-piece birds from the wrecking yards to the restoration hangars.
He has official thanks for some of that work, and a little plaque from the MF people, but he always felt a bit guilty about it. He wasn’t in it to help people, after all; just to fly a few more hours on a few more ships. (Though he did love that museum.)
As a result, Joker had an astonishing number of flight-hours logged before he landed his first coveted First Flight Officer position, two postings before Normandy — and those hours were on an impressive variety of ships: new, old, sleek, cumbersome, FTL enabled and not, whole and sound or coming apart as he landed on a thruster and a prayer. He’d even flown the fighters the Alliance wouldn’t let him touch, albeit only from one berth to another.
After the war, with the combined navies of the Citadel Races in shambles and populations of desperate people fighting to survive in remote wilderness and bombed out cities, those skills became useful again.
The navy’s ships were at a premium, but there were still ships: rusted metal birds in the sad yards where old equipment goes to die; carefully maintained relics in the private hangars of collectors; forgotten models still working tiny airfields in places that seemed a century behind. They were all desperately needed.
And so was Joker.
"God DAMN," Jack said. "Do you two have to be cute all the time? You’re gonna make me sick.”
Jack said ‘cute’ in the same tone of voice others might have used for ‘covered in sewage.’
Joker removed his head from Rhi’s shoulder, but not his arm from around her waist. He had it wrapped underneath her shirt just above the band of her jeans, and it was happy there, damn it.
"We spent an entire galactic war being very definitely un-cute," he said reasonably. "There’s build-up.”
"Definitely," Rhi agreed. She leaned over to brush a kiss on the nape of his neck, then said to Jack, "You should be glad there aren’t… I don’t know. Little floaty hearts and shit."
"With smiley faces," Joker added.
Jack rolled her eyes. “I need like, ten more drinks to deal with you two.”
"You have ice cream?” Joker’s eye’s lit with greed. Frivolities had been rare since the war. “Damn. Why don’t you ever invite me to these little gatherings?”
Khalisah mock-scowled at him. “You’re annoying.”
"I know. It’s one of my best features," Joker said modestly. He opened his mouth to accept the spoonful of deliciousness Rhi’d loaded up for him.
Khalisah turned her mock-glare on Shepard. “And you encourage him!”
Rhi shrugged. “What can I say? I like to foster talent.”
“Best wife-CO,” Joker managed, through a rather-large mouthful of peanut-butter chocolate swirl.
"So…" Joker waggled his eyebrows suggestively and ran his finger around Rhi’s implant, "What about this?"
She twitched her head away. “Told you. It tickles.”
“Not what I meant.”