Post #9 of the 30-day Mass Effect drabble challenge. Today’s prompt: Ashley, Jack, “on the floor,” courtesy of the Mass Effect Random Prompt Generator.
This story takes place in my alternate universe where the Mass Effect 2 team was on the Normandy in Mass Effect 3.
Scorched and pitted, the Kodiak slammed into the Normandy’s shuttle bay chased by massed Ravager fire. Restraining bolts locked it in. Shepard yelled, “We’re in. Go, Joker!”
“Don’t gotta tell me twice, boss,” Joker said. “They’re scratching my girl’s paint!”
Shepard threw open the shuttle’s hatch. He held on as the frigate flew into high orbit over Tuchanka. He had blood on his face, fragments in his armor, and his left leg felt numb from too much medigel. The exhaust from his rifle’s heat sink blew the sweet stench of hot steel and antifreeze into his face. “Mission accomplished,” he hissed.
Grunt, Liara, Jack and Ashley piled out behind him. Grunt started to make a wisecrack but shut up when he saw Shepard’s face. Liara shuddered and moved away. Jack said nothing. Ashley punched the Kodiak as she stepped out. “What the hell were you thinking, Jack?” she snarled.
Jack spun and pointed at her. “Don’t mess with me, Ashtray. I got the fucking job done.”
“You nearly got me killed.”
“I had to warp that Brute’s ass to save your whiny one. You got too close!”
“ENOUGH!” Shepard roared. “Jack! Ashley! On the floor! Now!”
“Get your popcorn,” Grunt whispered to Liara.
Shepard glowered at him. He turned his rage back to the two rowdiest members of his team. “You’ve been at each other’s throats for a week and I’m sick of it.”
“I don’t answer to you, Boy Scout—”
“Don’t pull that civilian crap with me, Jack. You’re here, you’re on the team, you act like it.” Ashley snorted. Shepard wheeled on her. “And she saved your life. Get the hell over it.”
“I SAID ENOUGH!” Shepard glared from Ashley, to Jack. “Both of you. Fight it out. No biotics, no guns, no other rules.”
“Shepard, they need medical attention—” Liara said.
Shepard shook his head. “A few more punches won’t kill them.”
“Suits me fine,” Ashley said.
“Ashtray, fighting that Brute is gonna feel like a massage after I’m done with you.”
The she-wolves of the Normandy circled each other. Shepard felt the rage like alligator teeth dragged over naked skin. Their breath sounded like slowly drawn knives.
Liara whispered, “Shepard, this is not a good idea!”
Jack and Ashley raised their fists. Grunt gave his trademark chuckle.
Shepard said, “I know.”