Monday, July 23, 2012

ME2 - Zaeed

Vengeance and anger.

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

Meriel's Personal Log, Entry Fifteen
Location: Zorya

This may come as a shock, but I am not infallible.  More specifically, my trust in others can be misplaced.  Zorya is proof of that.  Garrus has been increasingly uncomfortable with Zaeed over these past weeks, but I thought that my favorite turian was simply being petty.  That an emotion he is not above, no matter how much he may believe other wise.  Just goes to show that I should pay his instincts more heed.  You know … when I’m not already doing so 23/7. 

Oh, Zaeed Massani. ... Where do I begin?  To be fair, he has never come across as one hundred percent stable. That is not necessarily a bad thing though, or at least I fervently hope it isn’t.  Lately it seems like mental "togetherness" has not exactly been the Normandy 2.0’s modus operandi. Taking this into consideration, I have chosen in the past to focus on Zaeed’s impressive skill with a gun and the fact that he is incredibly driven.  Some might even say he is too driven ... or maybe driven isn’t the correct word.  “Obsessed” may be more accurate.  The mementos he chooses to haul from place to place, a blood pack helmet being amongst them, are proof enough of that.  Since his addition to the crew, I have trusted in Zaeed's status as a well known, well paid mercenary.  With no permanent ties elsewhere and only a lone job left unfinished (which the Illusive Man promised help with), I made the assumption that his hefty check from Cerberus would be enough to tie this man to our crew.  In this I have not been proven wrong.  Despite my distinct displeasure with him given events on Zorya, Zaeed has pledged to see his mission with Cerberus through.  No, issues arose because I ignored the major elephant in the room - his history with the Blue Suns.  He was not simply a member of the Blue Suns, Zaeed was one of its founders before he completely fell out with his partner.  Most people would have seen this as a potential problem, but I of all people can understand wanting to put a criminal past behind you ... not wanting it to define everything that you are.  Since coming on board the man's overall silence about his past, combined with his lack of comment on the Suns during the Archangel mission, caused me to assume that he too had moved on.  Zorya quickly proved that to be one dangerous, erroneous assumption.

For the record, I do want to be fair here.  If someone I had known twenty years ago had ordered my own people to hold me down on the ground while he shot my face off ... well, I too would hold more than a little resentment.  In that area alone to I empathize with Zaeed.  Twenty years may sound like a long time, but it really isn't when you have to see the result of that person's actions every single day when you look in a mirror.  Twenty years, however, is a long time to let resentment and hatred fester to the point that they obscure all else.  Even after we landed on Zorya, I was a bit vague on what exactly our mission there was.  Zaeed was hardly up front with details, and all I knew was that my help with this mission was part of the Illusive Man's deal to bring Zaeed onto the Normandy.  It did not take long though to realize that it was a vengeance mission with one ultimate goal - kill Vido.  I am honestly quite okay with vengeance missions, and in Zaeed's case I'd say that this one was more than warranted.  What I am not alright with, however, is commencing said mission emotions running high - a red cloud of anger obscuring your vision.  Within minutes of coming face to face with Vido, his former partner, Zaeed lost all sense of reason.  He allowed himself to be goaded into firing wildly from cover.  His bullets hit a pipe full of explosive gas.  Massive pieces of debris rained down upon us, fire consumed the facility, and Vido made good his escape.  Had Zaeed let reason rule, we would have caught Vido, executed him, and continued on our merry way.  Instead I was left with a volatile mercenary in one hand and a volatile manufacturing plant full of trapped workers in the other.  Atleast Garrus was the other crew member accompanying me on this mission.  Anyone else may have seen my own volatile reaction to Zaeed's careless manner as a weakness they could exploit.  Garrus has already seen me at my worst.  Thank God for small mercies.

I doubt that Zaeed will ever forgive me for not catching Vido today.  Yet he cannot blame anyone but himself for losing this opportunity. If he wishes to seek vengeance upon his personal nemesis from now on, it will have to be on his own time. It would have set a very poor precedent for me to continue the quest at hand, when the soldier who initiated said mission was acting like a petulant child.  In the end I ordered my team to evacuate the trapped facility workers.  Vido was last priority.  I have left the apparently innocent to die in the past, but that was generally when their sacrifice was for the greater good or their death would best diffuse a quickly escalating situation.  Torfan is the first example which comes to mind, since the general public seems incapable of letting it go.  I think it is fair to say that Zaeed's quest for vengeance fit neither of these criteria.  Thankfully the facility's collapse waited until its workers were safely retrieved.  Vido and his henchmen did fly away to safety, leaving Zaeed was spitting mad, but at this point I personally could care less.  In the end, we almost all won. The facility's collapse brought me some measure of satisfaction when a beam fell on Zaeed, trapping him. (Less satisfaction would have been derived if Dr. Chakwas were not capable of patching him up.  I'm not completely heartless.)  The Illusive Man was also left satisfied when Zaeed very grudgingly agreed to see his contract on the Normandy through. Win-win.

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