Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ME2 - The Crew

... the rest has been replaced.

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

Meriel's Personal Log, Entry Four
Location: The Normandy 2.0

For every connection to my past that has been returned, there is at least one new factor that has been added. I have Joker, Dr. Chakwas, and the Normandy (in a way) back, but we both know that the Illusive Man would not facilitate all of this without placing his own people on board.  The general crew aside, I am most concerned about four particular individuals - Yeoman Chambers, EDI, Jacob Taylor, and Miranda Lawson.  Yeoman Chambers, or Kelly as she insists I call her, is quite possibly the one of these four that I am least concerned about. I could be dismissing her to my detriment, but Chambers merely comes across as a young lady who is quite possibly a bit overly eager to make herself useful.  Chambers, I mean Kelly, appears to be guileless herself, but I will admit to some surprise on my part regarding her post as my administrative assistant.  Why in Citadel Space would I need one of those?  She is clearly just another attempt to keep tabs on the Illusive Man's "investment", but despite that I honestly cannot begrudge Kelly her position.  After all, the provision of a personal assistant does not necessarily necessitate the actual use of said assistant. Were I still in the Alliance, I would never refer to Kelly by her first name since in would only serve to erode my seniority.  In the Alliance, however, the shadow of my past ever colored personal interactions with fellow soldiers.  Very few would have risked, much less desired, being on a first name basis with The Butcher of Torfan.  I find her insistence on familiarity to be a novelty - one which is a permissible, harmless indulgence.  In fact, since this is no longer the military, I have found some level of personal freedom in mentally associating with most of the Normandy 2.0's crew in similar fashion.  Those on board, as a whole, appear to be far less formal than anything I experienced during my time with the Alliance. After spending time with them I grudgingly must admit to secretly liking the level of familiarity that most of these people seem to share.

Kelly Chambers may not be intrusive, but EDI most certainly is.  Present in all rooms of the ship, even in my cabin, EDI is an artificial intelligence who cannot be put to sleep.  She provides basic feedback on ship functionality, monitors cameras within the Normandy, and maintains a passive aggressive relationship with Joker.  Sentient AI, as I have mentioned before, bothers me greatly.  This should be no surprise given my past conflicts with the geth and the Reaper's ongoing threat to this galaxy.  On the surface she is a helpful interface whose rivalry with Joker is the source of much amusement.  The fact that she cannot be turned off, however, is a matter of some concern.  Without fulling understanding the Illusive Man's intentions for me, while understanding the length of his all encompassing reach, one can only suspect that EDI's ultimate purpose is that of a spying device.

Reading back over what I have written these past entries I know that I come across as paranoid.  The truth of the matter is, that I am.  Being brought back from the dead by an organization responsible for a number of appalling scientific experiments, on alien and human alike, tends to do that.  No, paranoia, such as it is, is well warranted.  My revival by Cerberus, however, is not completely responsible for this state of mind.  One does not feel so vulnerable when they are surrounded by individuals they trust.  As such, I do hope that some of my previous crew might be recoverable, despite the Illusive Man's hints that they have abandoned me or moved on.  Vulnerability is a feeling I have not been faced with in a great while.  While I understand that it can be a helpful emotion in some circumstances, the way in which it presently dominates my thoughts is decidedly unwelcome.  Demonstration of vulnerability on this ship, at this moment, will come across as a sign of weakness.  I absolutely cannot afford to be perceived as weak.

On a less personal note, is Jacob Taylor.  He is a puzzle.  Taylor is aware of Cerberus' renegade status and understands that should our present mission fail, we could all be tried and executed.  Unlike most everyone else I have met from this organization he comes across as honest (enough), and appears to maintain a rather strict moral code with which I can find little fault.  In fact, the image he presents so obviously clashes with what I know of Cerberus, that I cannot help but wonder if there is something else at play here.  By his own admission, he is keeping an eye on me.  I suppose that I cannot begrudge him that as I am doing the same for him and everyone else on this ship.  That is to be expected.  The Illusive Man believes him to be loyal and Miranda seems to trust his skills as a fighter, even if she is seemingly at odds with his sense of moral obligation. Part of me feels that Jacob is needing a commanding officer that he can trust and believe in.  He seems to reconcile his work with Cerberus with the organization's self-styled interest in humanity's survival.  Cerberus' cause is a fickle thing to give one's loyalty to though, as the organization's no-holds barred approach to preserving humanity is often morally questionable at best and completely appalling at worst.  There is some respect that must be given them for their dedication to their mission.  That is a trait I both understand and share, but even I know that there are some lines one should not cross.  Cerberus seems to ignore those lines altogether. If Jacob is genuinely the good-hearted individual he portrays himself as, his dealings with his employer must ever be an internal struggle.  After speaking with him today, I left wondering if he sees me as someone who can potentially fill the role of "trustworthy leader."  It is a matter worth considering.  I may yet have a genuine ally within Cerebus' ranks.  Only time will tell.

Miranda, is a completely different story.  She is a conundrum, and not an easily deciphered one at that.I mentioned in another entry that she sees me as a pawn in whatever game she is playing.  This opinion has not changed since.  Computer logs at the Lazarus Project's facility hinted that she may have wanted to bring me back from the dead with a personality other than what I used to have.  Having come to understand that Lawson was genetically engineered by her father, however, it is difficult to know the light with which I should view this desire of hers. After all, it is clear that her genetic design has granted her certain advantages in the field, and it is possible that she sought to do the same with me.  Without knowing her better it is difficult to tell. The facility's logs also noted though, that the Illusive Man wanted me brought back the same person I had been before falling into their hands.  Thank God for small favors. No matter what her intentions were, I think it is still clear that she feels I am in some way indebted to her.  She gave me new life, and therefore on some level she believes that I have a duty to demonstrate loyalty to her, the Illusive Man, and Cerberus as a whole.  she says that the Illusive Man hand picked her because she is the best.  She says that it is her mission to  make sure I succeed.  That sounds a bit ominous.  I need some time to think on this.  Despite any ulterior motives she may have, there was at least one thing she told me today that I accept without question. Miranda said that Cerberus hopes I can do the impossible by saving humanity.  That's why the brought me back. It is an intimidating thought.  No pressure.

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