Monday, June 11, 2012

ME2 - The Recruits

The motley crew.

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

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

Not long after our return from Horizon, I unexpectedly found myself in conversation with Miranda - something I generally try to avoid whenever possible.  She rubs me the wrong way.  While "born" to be genetically superior, a healthy dose of humility on her part would certainly not run amiss.  Well that, and the fact that she is essentially the Illusive Man's eyes and ears.  I find myself less worried about that lately though since I am fairly certain that, sitting in his mysterious high-tech fortress, he does not need anyone's help to stay abreast of either the Normandy or my actions.  Plus, with Ashley's accusation regarding Cerberus circling about in my head day and night; recent events have made me wonder if all that post-revival paranoia I have carried about is even warranted anymore.  Even I cannot ignore the fact that I follow the Illusive Man's direction when he says "go there" or "do that."  He, after all, has both the intelligence and the seemingly limitless resources.  Choosing what I do after receiving his directions merely keeps me from being a flunky.  It seems that for now I truly am far deeper in with Cerberus than I ever wished to acknowledge.  A harrowing thought, but one which causes me to digress.

The conversation with Miranda was unusual since it regarded a sensitive personal matter.  Not only was I made privy to her pre-Cerberus past, but I also discovered that she has a "sister" that the Illusive Man had previously spirited away to Illium - far removed from the manipulations of her father.  I will not go into details, but as our conversation stretched on, it became quite clear that Miranda is very emotionally invested in this sister she has never met.  Not only that, but she has purposefully kept her sibling ignorant of their father, of Cerberus, and even of herself.  There was no other way to ensure the (now) woman's safety.  Now that the hard earned safety has been compromised, Miranda asked me to be there when Cerberus extracted her sister from Illium.  Rather floored by Miranda's trust in me, I managed to mumble out an ascent to her request.  I have show the woman nothing but resentment and cold courtesy since my revival, and yet she asks this of me.  Perhaps I have been hasty in my judgment of her.

With Miranda's quest still weighing on me, I found myself retreating to the bowels of my ship in hopes that I might find some of the quiet solitude that Jack so frequently seeks there.  It was to surprise then to find the wounded woman there.  It was surprising, however, to find her initiating a conversation about her rogue past.  I cannot lie, Jack is pretty amazing.  She scares me some days and worries me on others, but despite my connections with Cerberus I cannot truly see her hurting me as long as I give her the respect she is due.  Yes, she is a powerful biotic, but that is just one facet of a deeper person.  Even I was able to see that when she fought beside Garrus and I on Horizon.  Sometimes I wonder if sheer power, along with her forceful personality are something that Jack plays to so that others will not see her humanity.  There is safety in being seen as a "thing." Our conversation today reinforced that feeling of mine. From religious cults to piracy, one might say this woman has done it all.  She has sought security in so many places only to find herself betrayed by them all. Then, when she acts out in retaliation, nothing is done half way.  As she said, "theft of a military craft, destruction of a space station, and vandalism.  That was a good one."  Jack is prideful and buried under so many layers of bravado that sometimes I wonder who the real "Subject Zero" is.  But, again, as she said, she "learned now to survive and not be a victim."  In the face of everythign she has gone though, who am I to judge?  Above all else, Jack is mind-boggling resilient, and that is something I can  seriously admire.

Since the day seemed to be one of unexpected reveals, I decided that there was no better time to unleash our test tube Krogan and see what he was made of.  Major events, after all, always come in threes.  I'll be damned if fate was going to decide what and when that third thing would be.  Enter Grunt.  Relationships that begin with threats of death and bodily harm have no where to go but up, and Grunt's addition to my crew will hopefully be no different.  What began with demands for my name before he killed me, let to a power struggle.  This makes sense.  Krogans, after all, are a warrior race and one can't expect them to follow commands from inferior beings.  Clearly my rank aboard the Normandy was not enough to demand respect, and (according to him) only a "[proof] of strength" as I "[tried] to destroy him" would demonstrate that my rank meant anything.  As I tried to think beyond the fact that a krogan had me by the neck, one thing became abundantly clear - Grunt wanted to die.  The thing that kept him sane, if you will, while in the tank was Warlord Okeer's instructions.  My crew saw the result of that back on Korlus.  The tank-bred krogan who actually talked with us spoke of hearing a voice, and the wounded mercenary we spoke with accused Okeer of creating "crazy krogans,"  While Grunt was clearly not crazy, Okeer having devoted everything to this "child"; the sudden loss of purposeful guidance from one's only contact (ever) while existing in isolation would certainly leave a hole that needed filling.  I could have told krogan that he owed me, but after working with Wrex two years ago, I felt that would be doing Grunt an injustice.  I could not exactly tell the krogan that he would find his purpose by joining my crew. While this assertion may in the end prove true, it would not solve his identity crisis in the here and now.  In the end, with a gun to his stomach, I enforced the idea that my command was his reason to fight.  Full stop.  That threat both spoke to the base instincts Okeer bred into his child, and temporarily earned me social control over a confused and volatile warrior.  

If nothing else, one thing is for sure.  The Normandy's crew is turning into quite the collection of wounded misfits.  Maybe that was the Illusive Man's point when he directed me to them.  Everyone, at least at this point in time, on this ship needs each other to be whole - even me.  Now that is a humbling thought if I ever heard one.


  1. I don't know if being surgically reconstructed allows you to be whole, Meriel!