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.
Rhi and Geltz have an odd relationship, especially to outsiders, because they bonded through hand-to-hand combat — and it’s still stress relief and bonding time for both of them.
Joker gets used to this bizarre method of social interaction,starts to expect it, and then one time he starts translating.
Shepard leaned on the porch rail and gazed off into the wilderness beyond the colony. “So I was thinking…”
Joker joined her. “Should I be worried?”
She ignored that. “About how to get out into those woods. I know you’re not up for a hike —” the uneven ground under the big alien tree-analogues, treacherous with deadfall and undergrowth, was exactly the kind of footing Joker had to avoid — “but I saw a dirt bike in the garage. I could probably borrow that, and get us both… away from the colony for awhile.”
More importantly she could get him away from his dad’s place, where the walls seemed paper thin and you could hear everything rooms away.
Joker took a step back, hands up defensively. “Oh, no you don’t. I am not getting on one those death traps.”
She made a pout-face. “Don’t trust me? I’ve been riding ‘em for years, babe. And you can wear a helmet.”
"My head is not the only thing I’m worried about!”
"Funny." She dropped the fake-pout and winked. "Head is the only thing I’m worried about.”
Joker’s eyes got a little bigger, and he dropped the defensive hands. “…Y’know, I’m suddenly willing to hear more about this plan.”
The marine lieutenant clenched his jaw, gave a barely-appropriate salute, and stalked back to the airlock.
As soon as the lock door closed safely behind him, Joker spun around to face Shepard. “What’s his problem?”
“Oh. Um.” Rhi looked at her feet and played with her knife a little. “Remember that crap about the oath to the batarian? He was the catalyst.”
Joker raised his eyebrows. “Seriously?”
“Hey, to be fair, I didn’t know he was a jerk until after I told him an adrenaline-fueled one-night-stand didn’t mean jack shit and I couldn’t give a flying fuck.”
Joker was clearly holding back laughter. “Well, when you put it like that I can see why a guy might get upset.”
She rolled her eyes. “I didn’t say that! I put it gently. I think. Sort of.” She scowled. “Okay, I don’t exactly remember. I swear it wasn’t that bad. I think.”
Joker nodded in that ‘I’m humoring you’ sort of way.
"Really!" Rhi said. “…the first time, anyway.”
Joker used to play piano. That’s why his fingers move like they do, fluidly over the controls, each hand doing something entirely different. It’s why he can follow the thread of Shepard’s radio in his ear even with someone shouting at him from the CIC, and EDI interjecting with ridiculous facts about ‘flight regulations’ and ‘aerospace traffic laws’ and ‘do you realize how many rules you’ve broken?’, just like it was a complex piece of music where you had to keep track of the parts. It’s why his rhythm is so good… even if his sense of pitch can be a bit erratic.
He quit when he was a teen, ‘cause he needed some way to rebel and most of the standard options weren’t really available to him (harder to stay out late when your mom insists on driving you everywhere; stupider to drink when you’re on medication; unpleasant to party when most of the guys in your class are assholes).
But he kind of regrets it.
No matter where she went, Private Campbell got stuck with the shit jobs. You’d think a war breaking out would get her some action, a chance to show her stuff, maybe advance? No. She went from babysitting a smart-ass cripple who probably could’ve been guarded by her gramma’s pekinese to watching a damn door. An important door? No. A door between two equally restricted areas that already had ample security.
Sometimes she wondered if it could get any worse… and then she heard that familiar limp, and her former prisoner walked in, which he only did to drive her up the wall because she knew he had no reason to be in the war room — and he complimented her on the job she was doing.
And she couldn’t complain, because it was a compliment, right? But when everyone knows your job is standing next to a door, and the guy who was supposedly some kind of terrorist a month ago was telling you how very, very good you were at standing next to a door, really, he’d never seen anyone with as much door-standing dedication, he really appreciated what you brought to the job, and he was technically a superior and you’d run out of creative ways to imagine murdering him —
— well, let’s just say that no matter where she went, no one was as miserable as Private Campbell.
“What’s up?” Rhi asked Hillary.
The kid’d been looking like she was sitting on something for awhile. Hillary was fourteen years old, at the gawky stage, bursting with questions and certain that no one on this tiny colony could possibly understand her. Maybe with her folks out of the room she’d spit out whatever-it-was that was eating at her.
“To get full certified as pilot you have to be okay with zero-G, right?”
“Riiight…” Rhi hadn’t had a lot of recent experience with kids, but she got the feeling this was Going Somewhere, and she really hoped it wasn’t anywhere that would worry Joker’s parents. She was still feeling her way through the whole ‘family’ thing, but ‘protect the teenager from their own ideas’ was in the rules somewhere, she was pretty sure.