Sunday, January 1, 2012

ME2 - Collected

The missing colonists.

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

Meriel's Personal Log, Entry Two
Location: Freedom's Progress

I did not even have my feet firmly on the ground before the Illusive Man started sending me off on missions.  He wanted me to visit a recently disappeared human colony in search of any evidence indicating where the colonists might have disappeared to. I do not like him calling the shots, but until I really know how the cards lay, what choice do I really have?  At least he placed Miranda and Jacob under my command.  Maybe he knew I would not accept being placed under theirs and thinks that this will gain my trust.  Maybe he genuinely thinks I am vital to the survival of humanity, and as such must call the shots.  Maybe he seeks to lure me into complacency by providing me with the illusion of power and control, while he and his mercenaries attempt to pull my strings.  Only time will tell.  For now, however, Miranda and Jacob at least verbally acknowledge my leadership.  I get the impression that Jacob genuinely sees me as his superior in the field, but even a blind man could see that Miranda has every intention of manipulating the situation to suit her personal ends.  any acknowledgement of my command is clearly in voice only.  Yet, if she thinks that her efforts to control from behind the scenes will be successful, at least in the immediate sense, then she has another think coming.  I may currently feel off my game, but that does does not mean that I will allow her to walk all over me.

Freedom's Progress, the recently emptied colony we investigated, was unsurprisingly barren of human life upon our arrival.  It was, however, inhabited by a number of hostile mechs who were more than happy to put an end to us.  Between the three of us though, we made quick work of them.  After our encounters with similarly hostile mechs on the Lazarus Project Facility, these were not too much of a surprise.  What can I say?  It is a bit like fighting the geth all over again, in the sense that sentient technology leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Whether the mechs are truly sentient, or whether they were directed to attack us though, is still a matter up for discussion. But, while the mechs were expected, a field team of Quarians certainly were not.  More specifically, I was shocked to so unexpectedly come face-to-environment helmet with Tali.  Far from the courageous, but timid, pre-adult who joined my team a couple of years ago; Tali was now an incredibly self-possessed adult who led a commando team of her own.  Naturally, she was astonished to see me alive, but her acceptance of my post-death status proved truly heart-warming. When my team ultimately left the colony for Cerberus' Facility, upon completing our mission, I did ask Tali to come back with us.  It would have been nice to have someone I trusted among my ranks.  She politely declined because her responsibilities currently lie elsewhere.  I hated to see her go yet again, but I understood.  Our paths may cross again one day, but in the meantime, seeing her helped me reconnect a bit more with who I am, and no longer do I feel so completely isolated from who I used to be.

Tali's commandos and my squad were not exactly at cross purposes on Freedom's Progress (hers was looking for in individual who was currently on his pilgrimage), but the majority of her team did not trust me or my mission there.  This led to unnecessary conflict, in which her men defied direct orders to work with my men.  Unfortunately this resulted in the wounding or demise of some commandos, but at least Tali (whose support never wavered) was safe.  Interestingly enough, the Quarian she had come to find, Veetor, ended up being the key to information I needed for the Illusive Man.  When we found him locked away, the poor male derangedly rambled on and on about monsters and swarms taking everyone.  It was not until he uploaded surveillance of the colonists' disappearance that we understood the things he said.  Miranda recognized Collectors - a malevolent alien race from beyond the Omega 4 mass relay that, according to Veetor, have been freezing humans, rounding them up, and taking them away to God knows where.  None of this is good.

Miranda wanted to take the traumatized Quarian back to Cerberus for questioning, but Tali pled with me to let him return with her.  I, of course, conceded to Tali's wishes.  Not only do I shudder to think of the methods Cerberus would have used to extract information from Veetor, his mind after all was very far gone; but what good would come from further tormenting the male when everything we needed was on his omni-tool?  The Illusive Man, Miranda, and Jacob can simply live with the information therein contained.  I just reconnected with on of the few positive elements of my past - Tali. Even if she mistrusted my Cerberus-paid companions, Tali still has her trademark faith in both me and my integrity.  Not even the Illusive Man can buy that kind of love and loyalty, and under no circumstances will I jeopardize that connection for the whim of an extremist organization I do not trust myself.

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