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Infamous

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Samantha exhaled in exasperation when she heard the loud crashing noise accompanied by Shepard yelling “Oh-whoa-whoa-whoooa!”

“You had better be singing ‘What’s new pussycat’, because if you’re not...!” Samantha threatened.
“It wasn’t my fault, it’s that fucking chair!” Shepard argued.

“Yeah, what were they thinking putting chairs around a table in the dining room,” Samantha muttered sarcastically as she dunked her mop into the bucket of water to clean it up. She found herself doing that constantly, the generous amounts of blood, internal organs and bone fragments clinging to the mop making it spread the mess rather than clean it if she didn’t. The fact that Shepard was constantly kicking over the buckets of water or the bins reserved for biohazardous materials and trash didn’t help make this job go over any quicker.

“Fuck this,” Shepard growled, grabbed the chair and carried it outside. Samantha frowned and was about to question it when she heard a noise from the backyard. When she looked outside, she saw Shepard had tossed the chair into a woodchipper, spraying splinters over the fence and into the neighboring yard.

“What the hell are you doing!” Samantha hissed, peeking her head through a window.
“Well, don’t try to tell me this isn’t efficient.”

“Did you ever stop to think that maybe the neighbors won’t appreciate what you’re doing?”
“Not my problem, I’m in charge of the shape of this yard, not theirs,” Shepard shrugged nonchalantly and headed back into the house, climbing upstairs.

Samantha sighed again. It was bad enough that she’d been assigned this unpleasant scene to clean up, it was even worse when she’d been assigned a partner who clearly didn’t care about the consequences of their actions. Not to mention that Shepard was the clumsiest person Samantha had ever met, she was constantly making the mess worse, tracking blood and dirt all over the place.

What the hell was that? Samantha wondered internally at the odd thudding noise she heard.

“Oh, good Lord! Shepard are you seriously throwing the bodies out the window!” she exclaimed.
“Saves me the trouble of hauling them downstairs and dripping blood all over the floor,” Shepard explained.

“Well, yeah, but...”
“Look, we don’t have the time to be respectful toward the dead right now,” Shepard huffed as she shouldered another body and began to push it out the window. It got stuck to the frame.

“Besides... these people... were obviously... fucked up... and probably... deserved to die a horrible, horrible death,” Shepard continued, pausing her words as she repeatedly rammed herself shoulder first into the body, determined to tackle it out the window.

Admittedly, that was something Samantha couldn’t completely disagree with; the notes and diaries they’d discovered scattered around the house had revealed some really strange things about the former occupants. Not to mention the questionable art and other collectibles featuring serial killers and mass murderers -fictional and real.

Samantha had found some of the books at the scene had been about Shepard, and she’d discarded them before Shepard had seen them. She didn’t react well to stumbling upon old articles regarding herself, not that Samantha could blame her for it. Everyone knew who Shepard was, whether she liked it or not, but being reminded of it was something she had control over. Out of sight, out of mind.

Over twenty years ago, Shepard had been a marine, one of the best there’d ever been. The flip side of the coin was that with such skills came responsibilities and missions that were so important they couldn’t be tasked to anyone else. For the longest time, no one had batted an eye. As far as the public was concerned, Shepard was just another marine doing her job, protecting her home. It wasn’t until someone had hacked into classified intel regarding the government’s top-secret missions and made the records public that she’d become infamous.

The Alliance had needed a scapegoat to blame for the deaths of thirteen people. Since whoever had hacked into the files had gone ahead and connected Shepard to the incident, the officer who had sent her on this mission in the first place had decided to name her as the “mentally unstable rogue marine” who was responsible for the massacre.

Unfortunately for Shepard, the things her commanding officer, Saren Arterius, had said in his statement and his testimony were all true. The only lie by omission was Saren leaving out the part of his own involvement -which he was allowed to get away with since he couldn’t be asked to incriminate himself by babbling about classified operations. The fact remained that Shepard had killed thirteen people that day, in cold blood, because that had been her mission; butcher a group of people who didn’t seem significant as far as political influence went, but whose deaths would inevitably result in an all-out war which would provide the Alliance a perfect excuse to swoop in to “preserve the peace” and therefore strengthen their own status as a military force.

So, here Shepard was, branded a mass murderer, serving her time, working in a cleanup detail for a man who’d invested in the private prison for free labor.

The body Shepard had hauled to the window finally nudged free from the frame when Shepard tackled it, but unfortunately, Shepard hadn’t exactly thought this through and ended up following right behind it.

“I’m okay!” Shepard called out once being able to breathe after having the wind knocked out of her.
“We should’ve started cleaning from the top, that way it wouldn’t matter if we tracked blood through here,” Samantha said, grabbed the bucket of water and carried it upstairs.

“You could’ve said that earlier!” Shepard humphed as she followed Samantha up -leaving behind a trail of bloody footprints- and dragged the last body from the bathroom, through the hallway and to the window.
“I did, but you were too busy mopping the damn lawn to pay attention!” Samantha snapped and dropped the wet mop to the floor with a resounding smack.

“It was getting dark, I had to do it then or I would’ve missed the spots with blood out there,” Shepard reasoned.

Samantha agreed that it was probably better that way; even when the lighting hadn’t been poor, Shepard had managed to repeatedly slip into various internal organs splattered across the lawn, Samantha dreaded to imagine how much worse it would’ve been if she hadn’t been able to see at all. It had been funny the first few times but got old fast.

“Do you ever wonder if this is all there is to life? Like... what if there’s another version of us somewhere doing something completely different?” Shepard wondered, and Samantha blew out a breath.
“Useless speculation, who cares?” she said.

“I just think it would be fun. Maybe I’m an astronaut. Or a pirate! Ooooh, or a space pirate!”
“And maybe I’m the queen of something, but like I said, who cares, it doesn’t make any difference, the fact still remains I’m here, cleaning up a murder scene with the clumsiest janitorial shitlord I’ve ever met, namely, you,” Samantha grumbled.

“Well, that was hurtful,” Shepard commented, but her voice remained casual and light. Samantha was convinced it was impossible to hurt Shepard’s feelings because Shepard was probably a psychopath who didn’t even have feelings to begin with. That was the only explanation Samantha could think of for how easy-going Shepard was about everything. She didn’t even have to think twice before callously tossing dead people out the window and shoving their bodies into a woodchipper, no one with a normal brain and a sound mind would even consider doing that. Or perhaps Shepard had just seen it all and was no longer fazed by anything.

Shepard had been doing this for half her life, Samantha was the rookie, Shepard was the pro... which was kind of difficult to believe when looking at how poorly Shepard had been performing recently. But, that was probably because she’d been doing this for so long that she didn’t care anymore.

“My point is, it doesn’t matter if there are alternate universes or not, the fact still remains that we’re stuck here.”
“Wow, that’s depressing,” Shepard interjected and sprayed the bloody bathroom down using the shower, the water quickly turning into a pink foam that gathered and stuck to the drain that got clogged with bone fragments shortly.

“So, if you’re quite done dicking around,” Samantha continued, “I would rather focus on getting this place cleaned so we can leave, we should’ve gotten this done by now.”
“I know, and I’m sorry, I didn’t expect there to be so much slipping,” Shepard apologized, and for once, she managed to sound serious and sincere.

“Tell you what, let me make this up to you when we get back. Take a shower with me, using my water rations, I’ll even wash your hair for you,” Shepard then suggested.
“No thank you, with my luck, you’d just
slip again, and I’d have to clean up your skull fragments from the bathroom floor.”

“Your loss,” Shepard said. She knelt by the drain and picked up the fragments of bones piled up there and after carefully considering it for half a second, tossed them into the toilet.

“Do bones float?”
“No.”
“Excellent,” Shepard said and flushed.

Samantha didn’t bother questioning her or scolding her or even rolling her eyes at the weird redhead’s antics. Instead, she focused on getting her part of the job done while Shepard happily sang a poorly paced version of 99 bottles of beer on the wall , clumsily replacing “beer” with “bones” and replacing the beer falling from the wall with numerous synonyms for flushing bone fragments down the toilet.

A couple of hours later, the sun was slowly beginning to rise, and they were finally nearly done with the job. They carried their cleaning supplies out of the house and checked the yard one more time to make sure they hadn’t missed any spots.

“And we... are… finished. Yeah, teamwork!” Shepard said and held her fist up, expecting a bump. Samantha groaned and tiredly bumped her knuckles with Shepard’s.

“Oh, my fucking God! My lawn! What the fucking shit! IT’S EVERYWHERE! WHAT THE SHIT!” an outraged male voice began screaming from behind the fence.

“And that’s our cue,” Shepard said, grabbed Samantha’s wrist and dragged her with her as she made a run for it.

***