It is well past time some things were straightened out.
There are spoilers after the break. Continue reading at your own risk.
Meriel's Journal, Entry Eighteen
Location: The Normandy - Captain's Office
Active Companions: None
If I weren't typing this entry right now, I'd be sitting here with my head in my hands. This is going to sound more than a little over dramatic, but sometimes it's hard being me. Okay, well maybe that's not quite correct. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that sometimes it is confusing being me. Remember how I have been trying to figure out what on Earth has been bothering Alenko? Well I finally have an answer - he has been harboring romantic feelings for me. I wish I was joking. I mean I think that the situation is sorted now since it has been made it clear, under no uncertain terms, that I am in no way romantically interested in him. The thing is, I do not see how this situation arose in the first place. Privately harboring feelings for me? Sure. I get that. My professional image, after all, has been tailored to make myself appealing in an "I'll take you out" sort of way. You know, if that is your sort of thing. Even so, Alenko should have just left it at that though - private. He is well aware that there are Alliance protocols in place which discourage, and even forbid, fraternization between the ranks. Romantic entanglements with team members outside of the Alliance Navy would be tricky enough for me since I would risk upsetting crew dynamics. Add an entire ship staffed by the Navy into the mix, and I would risk losing everyone's confidence and/or respect should I violate something so basic as this Alliance regulation. Maybe he thought that he could be the exception or maybe he thought that our extraordinary "quest" led to a breakdown in some of the rules. Maybe he thought that my status as Paragon meant that I was not bound to Navy regulations like I once was. Who knows. While it is true that I have taken quite a few liberties as of late when it came to dealing with diplomatic situations, and I'd be lying if I said that my status as Paragon has not been convenient, that doesn't mean that everything can simply be thrown at the window at will - especially when I have to fight every day for the respect of the Normandy's crew.
Proper protocol aside, however, it is what Alenko said that was most confusing. First, he started using my name instead of my rank. In theory, I'm comfortable with that as long as it only happens in private. Considering the job that my team has been given, we must work very closely together and it is understandable that the lines drawn around formality will become blurred. Since the majority of my team already uses "Shepard" instead of my rank, due to their non-Navy status, I would be genuinely surprised if that mannerism did not rub off on Alenko and Williams. No, his informality was not confusing, but Alenko's insistence that I have been sending him "signals" sure was. He did not give specific examples of what exactly these "signals" were, but I was led to believe that he read a great deal into almost every communication we have had to date. Even the fact that I chose to "spend [my] off-duty time with [him]" (i.e. getting to know him like I do the rest of my crew) seems to have held romantic connotations. In all seriousness, I wonder if Dr. Chakwas has underestimated the amount of damage that Alenko's bionic implant has inflicted upon his neural system. There can be no other explanation. I have been very careful to refrain from emotional entanglements of any kind aboard ship. Propriety aside, who has time to engage in the dance of courtship when Saren and his minions continually loom just over the horizon?
After our discussion this afternoon, I hope to God that the matter with Alenko is finished. He has been told that he is out of line, and that nothing can get in the way of the goal at hand. Personally, I'm ready to move on from all this unwanted emotional namby-pamby. If the team was not so vital the our mission's success, I'd honestly prefer to drop them all off at the Citadel and just go after Saren myself. Well alright, I'd probably take Garrus and Williams with me, but you know very well what I mean. No matter how you look at it, it sure would be simpler.