Sunday, May 22, 2011

ME1 - One's Own Crew, Part 2

A new crew member changes dynamics aboard the Normandy as Meriel checks in with her team.  She  makes an assessment of Liara's character and wonders what on Earth is up with Kaidan.

There are spoilers after the break. Continue reading at your own risk.

Meriel's Journal, Entry Thirteen

Location: The Normandy
Active Companions: None

With our mission to Therum having come to a less then satisfactory conclusion and the addition of Dr. T'soni to our crew I figured that it was time to check back in with everyone.  Before making the rounds I dropped in to see Joker both to thank him for saving our necks, and also to make sure that we were okay after the tension last time we spoke.  Thankfully he seemed to be back to his usual self and wittingly asked when he would receive a gold medal, that he figured I'd recommend him for, after having "pulled my boots out of the fire."  I told him that a medal was probably the last thing he'd want, and after "contemplating" the matter he agreed saying that it might take him off the Normandy .. which is too much ship for your average pilot.  Lucky for me, he is far above average. 

After a little more banter with Joker I headed up a level to see Garrus.  Checking out the Mako like usual, the Turian seemed willing to discuss his departure form C-Sec in further detail.  Last time we spoke I had said I hoped he wouldn't regret leaving that job to sail the skies with me.  It seems like he genuinely does not regret a thing but his father, a former C-Sec agent, seems to have taken Garrus' resignation to heart.  I was surprised to learn that his father had talked him out of joining a pool of Spectre candidates when he was younger, and as a result Garrus' father was not very happy to see his son gallivanting about the galaxy with me.  Hearing about his father's opinion of Spectres was quite an interesting thing because it closely mirrors my opinion of other Spectres as well.  Yes I know it's hypocritical but, when they are not me, I find that Spectre's lack of accountability to a higher power is both unnerving and bordering on dangerous.  Granted that very autonomy is what makes my current job possible, but then again I know what I'm going to do and I trust my judgment.  The same can't necessarily be said for others in the same positions.  Garrus said that (no offense) his father wouldn't like me, which I understand but feel that it is too bad.  Even so, it is gratifying to see that Garrus himself understand that in order to fight Saren, who is unrestricted by policies and procedures, the Council must send someone like me who is in the same position.  It is nice to see that the two of us are still on the same page.

I have mixed feelings about Wrex.  I know I've written about this before, but I think it bears mentioning again.  He seems to have an honor code all his own which I respect.  He is an exceptional soldier and I respect that as well.  It's just that his status as a mercenary means that Wrex's loyalty can be bought (within reason) and it is hard to place too much trust in someone who can turn on you should the money be better elsewhere.  Since he is currently here on his own without monetary enticement I'm a little bit uneasy about the whole situation.  At the same time, there is a gravity about him that is reassuring.  He does not take commitments lightly,  he proved that back at the Citadel, and that really is genuinely encouraging.  My anxiety about his trustworthiness, however, was not exactly bolstered today when I found out that he had at one time worked for Saren.  To the Korgan's credit he had judged the rogue Turian as foul then.  He had felt so uneasy about the situation that he'd left that job without his pay, and in doing so saved his life.  It's nice to see that Wrex is a good judge of character, but considering the fact that Saren is the whole reason that we are transversing the galaxy to begin with ... well let's just say that him not mentioning this sooner is slightly suspicious.  He says that he;d have mentioned it sooner had he thought it was important, but at a time when we are trying to discover anything we possibly can about Saren I don't see how he could think that it was not important.  My gut wants to trust Wrex, but my head says that I need to tread lightly.  In this situation I hope that my gut is right.

The death of her comrades seems to still weigh down Williams, but she was in more of a mindset to talk this time around.  My recent inclusion of Dr. T'soni in the ship's crew seems to bother her and she felt it was necessary to ask just how far we can trust the alien races on board.  I'd had this conversation earlier with Navigator Pressly and had basically told him to buck up and just follow orders.  Williams' question clearly wasn't just one of racism, however, and therefore her situation needed to be addressed a bit differently.  Her family it seems has been in the military for an age, and as a result she's both seen and heard stories about humanity's clashes with alien races.  Combine these apprehensions with that fact that Dr. T'soni 's mother is working with Saren and I can see why she would be concerned.  I promised Williams that I would keep an eye on the good doctor, but that didn't seem like enough for the Gunnary sinceWrex, Garrus, and Tali have general access to the weaponry, engines, and sensors.  Ashley feels that they can't be trusted because the Council and council races will look after themselves before they look after humanity.  In a way I understand what she is thinking, but she doesn't seem to grasp the fact that what Saren is up to jeopardizes all races and not just ours.  Thankfully she graciously accepted my acknowledgement of her concern and did not resent my emphasis on teamwork between everyone on board no matter what their race.  She's a good soldier and I'm glad she's on board.  As long as she can overcome her personal feelings about Wrex, Garrus, Tali, and Dr. T'soni's origins then I do not foresee any problems cropping up on her end.  I'm glad that she at least felt comfortable enough to discuss this with me now instead of letting it grow and fester.  That would have in no way been beneficial to our mission.

Speaking of the good doctor (yes I know she is a scientist), I stopped by the medical clinic to see how she was doing.  Her collapse after the debriefing was rather worrisome, but it seems like she was suffering from exhaustion more than anything.  Only God knows how long she had been trapped,suspended in midair by that Prothean technology.  She was practically frantic by the time we found her.  Dr. Chakwas has given her a clean bill of health, so that is good enough for me.  Here is where I must admit that I'm a bit at loose ends.  Dr. T'soni is well aware of the fact that the Normandy's crew is giving her a wide berth, and she's also aware that I don't fully trust her either. On one hand I'm glad that she can address the matter so frankly and understand the root of everyone's concern.  On the other hand, she seems genuinely distressed by the crew's lack of trust.  Her distress is understandable, but given her blood connection to Matriarch Benezia (who is cruising the galaxy with Saren as we speak) I wonder how she can possibly expect anything else.  I do, however, understand her desire to be judged by her own merits and not the merits of others.  You might say that I ran into a similar issue during my early days in the military given my personal background.  To be honest, it is true that I do not trust the doctor, but trust takes time to earn.  I can't help but have some kind of confidence in her though.  There is something about the way her eyes light up when she discusses her work and research that is incredibly endearing.  It gives her an air of genuineness that I'm not certain someone could manufacture.  That doesn't mean that I think she is incapable of deceit, far from it, but if she is so single mindedly excited by Prothean society it does not seem logical that she would support actions which would enable the Replicators' return.  After all, according to Tali, it is the Replicators' fault that the Protheans no longer exist.  I'll keep my eye on Liara (that what she wishes to be called), but my gut tells me that we do not have much to fear from her.

Remember how I said that I needed to find a way to distance myself from Tali and keep things professional?  Not only have I not found a way to tactfully do that yet, but I'm not certain it will be possible at all.  In the context of her people she is young (maybe late teens by human terms?) and our brief chat today tells me that the newness of here surroundings are wearing off and now she is truly homesick.  I feel that while a professional camaraderie is possible with the rest of my team, what Tali needs right now is a mentor of sorts.  Don't get me wrong, she has already shown that she is very capable both in the field and with technology, but all she wanted to talk about today was the lack of noise aboard the Normandy.  She keeps comparing her new experiences to her flotilla back home and wanted my advice on dealing with the quiet.  She seemed to benefit from our conversation and appreciated hearing my perspective on what the actual goal of her traditional pilgrimage really is (leaving home so she can compare it to other places and understand it's true value).  I had not expected to find myself in a mentor-mentee situation, and considering my reputation I had most certainly not expected anyone to be so honestly vulnerable with me in conversation .  I do not know how to deal with this.

Kaidan Alenko, what am I to do with you?  You alternately refuse to talk with me and then willingly spill your life story.  You acknowledge my leadership but then question me in the field.  You are a walking, talking contradiction.  On one hand, Alenko is extremely astute.  He, like me, senses that something fishy is going on with the Council.  On the other hand he talks to me about it as if there is something I can do to change the situation when he knows the situation as well as I. He is alternately formal and informal.  He is alternately flirtatious and professional.  The man is a merry-go-round of emotions and it's driving me insane ... in a bad way.  I can't deny that heyis good to have in the field.  He has guarded my back more than once now, and I was glad to have him there.  All the same, I find his personality frustrating.  Today when we discussed his childhood training in biotics, he asked if it was something I did with everyone.  I assured him that I did discuss the life stories with everyone in my crew so that I could know them better.  He then perplexingly read this comment as a confession (on my part) of personal, non-professional interest in him.  What?  I don't even know anymore.  Alenko clearly has some issues that he needs to work out on his own.  He's a good soldier, but if he keeps being such a whirlwind of "fun" I'm going to start leaving him on the ship during missions so that his insanity doesn't infect me as well.

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