Monday, January 16, 2012

ME2 - Rejected

Betray me once, shame on you.  Betray me twice ...

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

Meriel's Personal Log, Entry Five
Location: The Citadel

Of all the places the Illusive Man suggested I look for help, the one place he did not mention was the Citadel.  That, I suppose, is understandable enough since one cannot exactly call Cerberus' modus operandi kosher or even decidedly legal.  A letter from Captain Anderson, however, did make me consider a meeting with the Council.  I am, after all, a Spectre and as such should be able to get assistance from them.  If nothing else, I did save both their hides and that of the Citadel Space.  That has to count for something.

The Citadel has changed greatly in my "absence," for that is what I have come to think of my time in the Lazarus Project as.  Not only have parts of it been completely restructured with new shops and personalized advertisements, but my legend (such that it is) appears to have grown out of control as well.  I saw souvenir shops with model ships of the Normandy SR1 and the Destiny Ascension for sale, newscasts mentioned that a scholarship fund for city youth had been set up in my name, and the Destiny Ascension has just finished making a two year victory lap of Citadel Space.  The glorification of the Sovereign conflict, and those who emerged from it, makes me want to vomit.  I can genuinely say that the Alliance scholarship in my name is completely unexpected but appreciated.  The Alliance, despite my rocky relationship with it, was good to me in the sense that it removed me from a life that no one should have to live.  If this scholarship can help more people like me, then I appreciate that.  Selling souvenirs of the Normandy, however, especially since I died during its demise, comes across as quite crass.  The same can be said for the  Destiny Ascension's twenty-colony victory cruise.  Acknowledging the sacrifices of Alliance soldiers lost is one thing.  Going on a celebratory parade, however, implies that the danger is past.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  I made that quite clear to the Council before I died.  I fear that those words fell on deaf ears.

Upon my return to the Citadel, the most disconcerting moment of all was perhaps the scan I underwent at C-Sec Customs. The machine registered me as dead.  It is one thing to accept the Lazarus Project.  I, after all, see Miranda and Cerberus operatives every day now. I have lovely red scarring on my face. I am missing two years of memories.  All of that reminds me every single day that I have essentially been raised from the dead.  That is an awkward state of being at best, and a horrifying one at worst.  Yet, my personal feelings about said "revival" are just that - feelings.  I can quash them, at least temporarily, when I wish, and need not examine them too closely if I choose not to.  It is a completely different matter though, to have an electronic scanner declare you dead.  Emotionally it does me not favors, but I am at least pragmatic enough to realize that  practically,my status as "deceased" could be incredibly beneficial.  When a chance did arise to discuss the matter with Captain Bailey, he agreed to leave my "deceased" status in C-Sec's computers.  Being of a questionable vitality might ease the way for me now that I am an extension of Cerberus ... whether I like it or not.

Speaking of the Destiny Ascension, let me take a moment to discuss my current relationship with the Council.  That is, after all, why Captain Anderson (or I suppose Councilman Anderson) asked me to meet him here.  Despite our differences in the past, I had genuinely hoped that the Council would be made to see reason, that they would offer some aid.  I was, after all, a Spectre.  Imagine my outrage when I found out that Spectrehood was no longer mine. Yes, the freedom that came with being a Spectre once proved both liberating and useful.  I will not and cannot deny that, but that alone was not the root of my anger. I arrived at the Citadel to find that those ... those ... those aliens have been exploiting my image, my sacrifice, and the sacrifices of my former team.  We shed copious amounts of our own blood, sweat, and tears fighting Saran and Sovereign.  We lost Alenko in that battle, and now the Council are going on victory cruises.  The Alliance is using me as a recruitment tool, the Council is allowing sale of war paraphernalia, everyone is trivializing the absolute horror my crew endured ... and the one compensation I had, the one thing that made all this paraphernalia, all this ...circus ... possible has been taken from me.  They did not even see fit to let me keep that one honor in death. Not only that, but then the Council still has the guts to accuse me of imagining Sovereign, the Reapers ... everything.  They have been telling Citadel Space about my victory over Saran's geth, and outright ignored the Reapers that were behind it all.  

I should have left the Council to die. I should have let the Destiny Ascension go down, and rid the world of this willful ignorance and foolishness.  

Betrayal does not even begin to describe what I am feeling now.  

I came here to seek help, foolishly hoping that the conflict two years ago, that Saran's "inexplicable" behavior, would have driven some sense into this lot.  In return, all I receive are snide comments about my "fragile mental state," questions regarding my allegiance, and empty offers to be reinstated as a Spectre if I do not kick up too much of a fuss.  Oh, but that is not even the worst of it.  The final blow to the stomach is that the reinstatement of Spectrehood would essentially be in name only, and only if I keep a low profile.  Only if I stay in the Terminus Systems will the offer be valid.  They will provide no verbal backing because they can't be seen as supporting Cerberus, and they will provide no actual assistance in saving humanity because they "cannot get involved."  They can only, the Council says, be seen to back me personally.  Back my legend, they mean.  

You know what?  No thank you.  I pointedly looked each Council member in the eyes and told them exactly where they could shove their offer.  I deserve better than this.  If it weren't for me, they and all of Citadel Space would either be dead or well on their way to extinction right now.  I may hate Cerberus and what they stand for, but at least with them I have a good idea of who is standing behind the curtain.  Cerberus at least lets me do things my way, as long as the final goal is achieved.  The Council?  They have already placed me under house arrest once, stripped me of Spectrehood once, questioned my allegiance multiple times, declared me delusional multiple times, exploited my image and memory without shame, and yet they still expect me to be honored by their offer.  Absolutely not.  Cerberus may be my enemy, but they are also an enemy of the Council.  In this, at least, the enemy of my enemy is my (kind of) friend.

While I do not regret my loss of self control with the Council, at least for myself.  I do, however, fear for the fallout that Anderson will inevitably deal with in its wake.  His job is hard enough with Udina dogging his every step, and this is probably the last thing he needs. That said, it is good to see my old friend again.  Within this sea of  emptiness I have been drowning lately, Anderson is a solitary island where I can rest for a moment.  I can not linger on its shores for long, but when I depart  I am a little bit less tired.  When I depart, I am drowning just a little bit less. 

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