meet cute pt 2
Second installment of my Meet Cute: All Aboard the SR1 in honor of MELE coming out this week.
Up next, Joker.
When Joker catches his first in person view of Shepard, she’s got her sea bag over her shoulder and a long black case in her other hand. Everything about her is crisp and sharp, from her posture to her shiny, shiny boots.
And the Hero of the Blitz is scowling up at his ship.
She isn’t as tall as she looks in the newsreels and recruiting vids, but next to Anderson not many humans are. Freckles, pointy chin. He’s debating if she’d qualify as kind of cute when, as if realizing she’s being watched and no that wasn’t creepy she looks directly at him; a cool, assessing gaze that locks on like a steel beam to the head.
That’s the Shepard from all the vids. Yikes.
She stalks up the gangplank and he manages to drag up a salute. For the captain behind her, is all. Mostly.
“Commander Shepard, this is our pilot, Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau.”
“Call sign Joker?” She somehow manages to look down her nose at him, as if she’s not real impressed. But her eyes never leave his face, like the rest of him doesn’t matter and all right, that’s a little different.
“Yes, ma’am.” He doesn’t bother to explain and she respects it, just a nod.
Adams is behind him and he gets a handshake and a grin. “Lieutenant Adams! Nice to see you again!”
“Commander! Wait until you see her, ma’am! This design is amazing.”
“So say the specs. I’m looking forward to going over with a fine tooth comb.”
“Come on down. I’ll introduce you to the junior league when they get back from shore leave.”
Oh, she’s a tech head. Well. At least she’ll appreciate his baby and her inner beauty.
“We’ve gotta get a maintenance crew out before we sail. Someone left lube on the hull.” She jerked a thumb up at the -mostly- gleaming plating. Damn, she was right. The A was all smudgy. Okay, that explains the scowl, earlier.
“Any one else aboard yet,” she asks Anderson.
“No, the dock crew is just rotating out. Command staff, marines, and crew are supposed to start reporting in an hour. Pressly just notified me he’s...there he is.” Anderson pointed out a tall, stocky figure with a fringe of grey hair just clearing the landing area.
“All right. I’ll stash my gear if someone wants to point me to a locker and then I want the grand tour before we start the meet and greet.”
“Crew deck is down the stairs. Enlisted lockers are in the shuttle bay, yours is up next to the pods.”
“Thanks, Boss.” Hunh, Hero’s not a stickler for regs then, unless...hmm. She and Anderson are supposed to have some history.
“I’m headed that way, Commander. I can get you to the elevator before I head below.
“Thanks, Adams.” She hefts the bag again and they trot up the gangway, as she listens intently to Adams Geeking out over the drive core. Her hand runs up the edge of the Normandy’s hull when she gets to the door and just before she disappears into cooler light of the airlock- Jeff is sure of it- she pats the shielded skin.
After everyone else is settled, he makes his careful way back to his pilot’s chair, settling in with a sigh as it curves around him and he’s back in his comfort zone, the crutches tucked under the dash display.
He’s watching the load out of the shuttle and the tank from the exterior cameras when there’s a sound behind him, the bulkhead door cycling open. Maybe the Nav Officer, Pressly. They’ve worked together before. Jeff isn’t exactly looking forward to it again.
But the pilot seat is his. Exclusively his unless he deigns to share it with the underling they’ve promised him. He notices a twinge in his hand, gripping the edge of the display too tightly, and he drops it.
“Best view in the house, right?”
He manages not to jump. Shepard.
“Will be. Once we’re up.”
She stands next to him, parade rest, eyes locked on the open view of the unshuttered ports. It’s organized chaos, like any dock. Hundreds of Alliance crew scrambling to make this launch perfect.
He doesn’t think she’s seeing the docks. The cool expression is still there, but she’s leaned just a hair forward, up on the balls of her feet. As if she just can’t wait.
They share the space in not entirely uncomfortable silence, until her omni pings.
She scowls down at that, too. Maybe it’s just her default expression.
“Crew’s starting to show. I gotta go press some flesh and smile.”
“Okay, Commander.” He thinks he probably has to say something. “Uh, I’d stand and salute but...uh”
“Nah, not unless the brass is around.” Her fist drops, gently, on the back of the chair as she turns to go.
Just before she steps away into the CIC, she turns back around and slides back into his view. “Did you really steal her, to prove you ought to be the pilot?”
He lifts his chin and looks her dead in the eye. “Uh. Yes. Yes, I did.”
Her grin is crooked and it lights her eyes up when she laughs. Cackles. Jeff finds himself grinning back. “Flight Lieutenant, you and I are gonna have so much fun.”
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