Monday, February 6, 2012

ME2 - Reflection

Serious conversations.

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

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

Garrus' unexpected injuries came as a very serious blow, and the hours spent waiting to hear his fate, whether he would live or die, were pure torture.  Jacob finally arrived with the news that Cerberus had done all they could for him.  Thanks to some reconstruction and the introduction of cybernetics, Dr. Chakwas assumed that Garrus would regain full functionality.  Jacob seemed to doubt, however, his ability to be useful in combat.  Well, maybe he did not say as much, but Jacob's voice seemed to at least convey that.  He simply declared my friend a "tough son of a bitch," and let the matter be.  It is just as well.  Garrus was alive.  That was enough.

When Garrus finally emerged from the doctor's tender care, he sported a few more personal scars and his weariness was certainly showing.  Externally though, he was most certainly all in one piece.  Yes, his face was heavily scarred (and "barely holding together as it is" according to him), but his dry sense of humor was certainly intact.  For that, I am most thankful.  Had Garrus' time as Archangel taken that from him, it would indeed have been worrying.  Somethings even Dr. Chakwas could not repair.  Scars, however, are badges of honor.  They show that one has both fought and survived the worst that life can throw at them.  They also, apparently, are otherwise quite ... useful.  "Some women," Garrus so gallantly informed me, "find facial scars attractive."  "Granted," he quickly amended, "most of those women are krogan."  Well I am no krogan, but who am I to argue with their logic?

Jacob, completely forgotten, abruptly left us to finish our reunion, and with him gone our conversation took a much more serious tone.  As we talked, I became a little worried that Jacob resents the camaraderie that Garrus and I share.  He did, after all, make his distrust of the turian quite clear back on Omega.  I really cannot let myself dwell on that too much right now.  There is too much I need to discuss with my old friend, too many things I need to figure out regarding Cerberus, and too many things I need to figure out regarding this whole situation.  Somehow I feel that Garrus is one of the few who can provide some perspective.  His initial concerns about me and my involvement with Cerberus are duly noted.  His harsh reminder of Cerberus' checkered past was also needed.  Considering the fact that I intercepted an ominous message from the Illusive Man, while waiting for news on Garrus, which referred to Garrus' presence on board being "useful for keeping Shepard comfortable" ... well let's just say that my friend's concerns were quite timely as well.  The thing is though, I have burned any bridges that still remained between the Council and me.  There is no one else besides Cerberus who can provide the assistance I need to save humanity.  That, in the end, is what I told Garrus.  We do not have to trust Cerberus, but we also cannot allow personal qualms to interfere with the humanity's future.  Now that I am in command, and now that he is here, we can at least have some control over how this story plays out.  For now, that will have to be enough.

Garrus eventually departed the conference room to familiarize himself with the Normandy 2.0 and its crew. I felt that his time alone was too important to interrupt, and decided that speaking with him again could wait until Garrus had made himself comfortable. After a quick check in with Joker, who was in the middle of an all out war with EDI and her cameras, Dr. Chakwas was next on my "to-visit" list.

Fortified by a bottle of Serrice Ice Brandy from Citadel Station, the doctor and I spent a lazy hour or so discussing past missions and comrades in arms. Alenko, Jenkins, the old Normandy ... it was good to share these tales and memories. We discussed Cerberus' lack of "enthusiasm," the Doctor's time with the Alliance, her heartfelt concerns for Joker ...  and we ended our visit with a toast to Alenko.  A toast to those no longer with us. Afterwards, delightfully buzzed, I helped the doctor to a bunk and let her sleep off the brandy.  As  I walked the Normandy, working off the alcohol's effects, I thought back to something that Chakwas had said during our conversation.  She called me "Shepard, our movable center," and described me as "a place for a person to stop and catch their breath."  This may have been simply the inane ramblings of one who was quite "happily drunk," but it felt good to hear her say it all the same.  A "movable center."  I like that very much indeed.

My following discussion with Garrus was not half so pleasant, but it was one we needed to have.  I was glad to see that Normandy's crew was treating him well, and was only mildly surprised to sense his new found respect for Cerberus and the resources they have provided us with.  Along with his inborn need to exact justice, Garrus is ever the practical one.  It was only a matter of time before he reconciled these two ideals and saw Cerberus as an asset ... a dangerous asset, but an asset nonetheless.  Thankfully there is no danger of him buying into the Illusive Man's propaganda - just the Illusive Man's resources. That was not what I met to discuss with him though.  Back on Omega, Garrus had promised me Archangel's tale.  It was one I wanted to hear, and one I suspected he needed to share.  I felt at the time that it was the key to ridding Garrus of this self loathing that I could tell he was carrying around, and it seems I was not entirely wrong  There is too much of the story to share here, and indeed doing so would serve no purpose.  The jist of the tale though, was that Garrus had become disillusioned by Citadel politicking.  He abandoned Spectre training, assembled a team of skilled specialists to fight criminals who "kicked the helpless", and when his team was killed (due to a betrayal within their ranks) he continued on without them on a one man quest for justice.  Thus "Archangel" was born.

It seems that the one who betrayed him, a turian named Sidonis, is the root of this self-loathing Garrus is carrying around.  Garrus says he used my leadership as inspiration, and he says his team is dead because he could not measure up.  I think, however, that these are simply lies he tells himself.  Garrus never needed me to show him how to be a leader, and he most certainly could have never foreseen the betrayal which lead to his squad's death.  No, the only time I began to see my angry Garrus shine through, was when he spoke of Sidonis.  He does not know where this traitor is located, but he continues to search all the same.  When Garrus finds this Turian, I silently promised myself, I will help him take Sidonis down.  Maybe then my friend will cease carrying around this useless, needless guilt and return to the turian I knew before.

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