“Remember that hypothetical situation we said would never happen?”
Mayson glared over to her husband sitting to her right at the bar, a celebration popping off in the background. Her hands cupped her chilled pint glass while she awaited his response to the question she posed, annoyed by their similar assignments, the first in their seven years of marriage.
In all fairness of the matter, they were both to blame. Both lusted after the assignment to the Normandy SR-1, Joker going so far as to actually hijack the ship to prove his flying skills. He lucked out that the Alliance proved lenient after witnessing Joker’s capabilities. And she requested the tour, jealous that her best friend would ride on the best ship in the fleet. Who could deny her, Hero of the Blitz, when she asked for such an assignment, when it provided good representation on the ship?
Of course, the tabloids loved it, nicknaming her and Joker The Alliance Dream Team, their excitement over the shared posting overshadowing the nervousness the two involved actually felt.
Joker chugged his beer, his silence its own answer to her question. She supposed she owed him, having to put up with a lot over the past years since her receival of the Star of Terra. And this was his position first, she couldn’t fault him for stealing the most coveted position of the entire branch of the Alliance Air Forces.
Taking a swig of her beer first, she answered, “I don’t know if I should apologize, and frankly, I don’t want to. Both of us deserve to be on this ship.”
“I agree.” Joker wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. “So where does that leave us? How is this going to work on board?”
She traced the rim of her glass with a light touch from the pad of her finger, observing the raucous crowd of their future shipmates. “Nothing has to change.”
“The Captain asked me if we wanted shared sleeping pods.”
She snorted, pushing away her empty glass and signaling for another. “I hope you told him to shove it. I’m not sharing space with a bed hog like you.”
He flashed her a wide grin. “In so many words. I assured him we wanted to keep things between us with an air of professionalism.”
She rolled her eyes as the bartender pulled down a coaster from its stack and slid her fresh beer over to her. “He’s met you, Joker. I doubt he bought that.”
He shrugged, leaning back into his chair. “Actually, he did. Said he respected the decision.”
“Huh.” She mimicked his movement, elbows holding up the majority of her body weight on the back of the bar stool. “Then maybe that’s our answer. Use it as a blanket excuse if anyone says we’re not ‘coupley’ enough.”
“Us?” Joker scoffed, earning a smile. “But we’reThe Alliance Dream Team.”
She sipped at her beer, trying not to make a face at the name. “It’s hardly original for a couple name. Why not something better sounding, like…Shoker?”
Joker near spat his drink out onto the counter, coughing as he struggled for air. “Shoker?”
“Shepard and Joker. Perfect.”
“Shouldn’t it be both last names? Shoreau?”
It was her turn to choke on her drink. She shoved into his shoulder, careful not to tip him over. “Now you’re just being ridiculous.”
He mimicked her go-to response by rolling his eyes. “Yeah, I’m being ridiculous.”
She stuck her tongue out at him. “Glad you agree.” She raised her glass toward him. “To our dream assignment. May it not end in divorce.”
Joker clinked his glass to hers, a smile on his lips. “Speak for yourself. I’m already filing the paperwork.”
She snapped her fingers. “Damn. I should’ve signed a pre-nup then.”