#FreedomFalls – September 23, 2015

This logfile is imported from aitelogs2 and may contain errors or wrong timestamps.

Leah is back behind her house. It's located on the outskirts of town with an open sightline on nearly every side. She has a makeshift workout setup under a haphazardly erected canopy to shield her from the sun. She's dressed in a pair of black pants, black boots and a, you guessed it, black tanktop. Her hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail and her hands are wrapped up. She's

stepping around a punching bag that's adorned with numerous rips and tears where it has been split open and resealed time and time again.

Leah stops pummeling the bag and retrieves a towel from the nearby picnic table and begins wiping at her face with it. "What do you want?" she asks. If anyone were around, she'd seem as though she's angry with the towel.

Leah groans as she moves on to toweling off her neck and chest. "Yeah. Act normal while I speak to myself." she says with a roll of her eyes and a shake of her head, "I can't do both at the same time, asshole." She sighs and looks around, purposely scanning her surroundings slowly for the sake of whoever is on the other end, "Nobody is around. Just-... get whatever terror you need to

inflict on me today over with." she says, sounding a bit deflated.

Leah scowls. "Don't you dare use that word. After what you made me do-..." she trails off, knowing better than to test her limits with these people by this point.

Leah drops her towel and brings a hand up to her mouth. She quickly glances around. "Who-... Who are you!?" she asks, "Where are you? I-.... they-... I just want this over with." she spits out frantically, "How can you help me?"

Leah begins to pace back and forth. "What does it matter!?" she says, although she quickly gives in, "They-... I work for a security agency. They made me steal some files from my boss' terminal and-...." she clenches her eyes shut, "...And eliminate one of my own teammates." Her eyes instantly begin to water up once again as she relives the entire experience, "I'd do anything to take

it all back..." she says, barely a whisper.

Leah winces at the mention of a sniper. She had no idea they were keeping her under around-the-clock surveillance. They have someone looking through her eyes, for god's sake, isn't that enough? "Just tell me what to do..." she says, sucking in a deep breath as she regains her composure.

Leah begins to panic slightly as it sounds as though this could take a while. "Time...?" she asks, her voice breaking slightly, "I don't know if I have time. What if they-..." she pauses as she reads her new orders and nods multiple times, "Yes. I know they're back. Yesterday." she says, "Why does that matter?"

Leah scoops her towel back up and tosses it over her shoulder. "Yeah. Our pilot contacted me as soon as they returned. What is this about...?" she asks, "How will this help me?"

Leah shakes her head back and forth erratically. "No, no, no, no, no! You can't leave! You have to help me, please! I can't do anything else for them! I've already done too much...." she trails off as a few tears escape. "Please... Help me..."

Leah paces back and forth before plopping down at the picnic table and resting her head in her hands. "What can I do!? Please just te-..." her words trail off as she receives a message that the communication has ended. "No." she says softly. Her features harden and she slams her fist against the table, "No!"

Leah just remains in place at the table. She blinks hard a couple of times to clear the tears welled up in her eyes. "Why? What am I doing now?" she asks weakly.

Leah pounds her fist against the table again and stands up from her seat. She begins unwrapping her hands as she stomps off towards the canopy to retrieve her jacket. "Since you asked so fucking politely..." she mutters.

Leah slips her jacket on, not particularly comfortable with the idea of heading out without a shower right after her workout. "Immediately." she reminded herself with a roll of her eyes as she began the long walk towards the spaceport.

The spaceport looks fairly calm, no doubt owing to the time of day. A light rainfall has started as Leah made her way through the town.

Leah tugs at the collar of her jacket, pulling it up to better cover herself from the rain. "Guess I didn't need that shower afterall..." she mutters to herself. As she approaches the spaceport, she gives a quick glance around. "Well? I'm here. What now?"

Leah doesn't bother responding verbally. She simply continues on her way into the spaceport and begins the hunt for the storage lockers.

The lockers are quite clearly visible, being in the same room as the reception of the spaceport, close to the entrance. There are many rows of them, as the number would indicate. 556 should not be too hard to find as they are all in order.

Leah starts moving row by row until she's able to find the locker indicated. As she reaches it, she gives a quick glance around to make sure nobody is near her. For all she knows it could be a bomb...

No one appears to be paying any particular attention to Leah.

Leah turns her attention back to the locker once she's satisfied that nobody is too close. "Two-seven-three-one..." she mouths the numers as she puts them into the keypad.

The locker opens, revealing what looks like a haptic interface glove, but with a strange circle in the palm.

Leah scrunches up her nose as she studies the glove without touching it. "O-..." she begins before leaning her head into the locker. "Okay... What do you want me to do with this thing...?" she whispers.

Leah winces upon reading the word 'assassination'. "...What do you want me to do with this?" she whispers as she reaches in and graps the glove.

Leah takes the glove and shuts the locker. "Wait, wait, wait. Cover integrity?" she asks, beginning to get flustered, "What does that mean!? They might know? How!?"

Leah lowers her head and slowly begins to exit the spaceport. "How long are you going to hold me hostage like this?" she whispers, "I want my life back..."

Rewarded with more ways to kill the people I care about...

Vasquez slows, and even comes to a stop as a guilty look crosses her face - Jason's injured, and she's making him run. "Right. Yeah." Her gaze follows a truck as it drives down the street, splashing up water from a puddle. She nods faintly and then looks at him, her hair, in her usual ponytail, already soaked by water, bangs going down her forehead, and her eyes squinting to keep the rain

out of them. "Come with me?"

Jason tosses his hands up. "Uhh... Yeah?" he says, looking pretty frustrated by her behavior. He glances over at his hand as rain pelts it and, for a split second, a frown crosses his face as he realizes he'll never really feel that again. He lowers his arms to his side and looks at the woman with a shake of his head, "Where are we going...?"

Vasquez starts walking again, being sure to keep a pace that Jason won't struggle with. They cross a street and continue north past the research base, getting closer to the old town. "Somewhere else."

Jason nods a bunch of times. "Somewhere else. Of course." he says, followed by a sigh. After a short amount of silence, filled only by the heavy beating of the rain all around them, he glances over at Vasquez, "Will that 'somewhere' have cheeseburgers...?" he asks hopefully.

Vasquez briefly gains a small, sad smile. They are walking past the old town - a mix of typical sleek asari buildings, although small in scale, along with wooden houses that look built from local materials. "No cheeseburgers. Sorry."

Jason scrunches up his nose as his hopes are dashed. "So, what is this about...? Just trying to run off like that?" he asks, continuing on beside her. He gives a quick shake of his head, "I mean-... I know what it's about. But how is running off going to help?"

Vasquez glances to the side of the road as the buildings thin out, not responding right away. On the left side they are eventually replaced by trees. Upon spotting a footpath she veers off from the sidewalk. "Just come... please."

Jason nods and lowers his head to shield his eyes from a bit of the rain as he follows behind her. "...Fine." he sighs. He can't help but feel a slight tinge of panic as she continues to lead him further away from civilization. The idea that she may be preparing to 'finish him off' briefly enters his mind, but he's instantly consumed by guilt and pushes the thought away.

Vasquez continues in silence for a few hundred meters of the footpath, which has turned muddy from the rain. By the time she starts to come to a stop her boots are covered in mud, and her pants stained by it. They've reached the river. It's flowing below, volume and speed increased by the heavy rain. She abruptly sits on the top of the rocky riverbank, pulling her legs close to herself

and wrapping her arms around them. Her eyes close and her face tilts upward, allowing the rain to wash over it and drown everything else out.

Jason remains a good distance behind and places his hands on his hips as he watches her. After giving her a few minutes alone and deciding that she probably isn't going to try and send him down the river, he slowly stomps his way through the mud and climbs beside her, watching the river distantly.

Vasquez continues to just sit and enjoy the rain in silence for a couple of minutes more before lowering her head and then opening her eyes. Upon noticing Jason next to her she speaks while still looking down at the coursing river. "Needed some air..."

Jason leans back, propping himself up with his hands and nods. "I get that." He glances over at Vasquez with a sympathetic tilt of his head. "I'm not trying to smother you. I just-... You-...." he forces a smile as his voice breaks, "...I missed you so much."

Vasquez nods faintly, lowering her head to rest it on her knees. "I... I missed you too. I think so... it's... messy. I can't-... it's confused. I can't remember."

Jason leans back a little further so he can look straight up at the sky, enjoying the feeling of the rain on his face. "It's okay, Linda." he says, closing his eyes ot protect them from the rain, "I'm just happy to have you back. Happy to be able to get my life back..."

Vasquez starts to fiddle with her ponytail, pulling the hair tie out. She winces once while struggling with the wet hair, but eventualy it is free. She runs her hand through it. A few centimeters longer than she usually keeps it, her hair goes a good bit past her shoulders. "Thank you. For getting me out. For... tolerating me. I'm trying. I'm-... it's hard. To process. I don't know what's

me. Everything is... jumbled." Her chin is once again on her knees, gaze forward. The mud has started to wash off her boots, draining slowly down the rocks.

Jason gives a low chuckle. "After everything we've been through, it's gonna take a lot more than this to send me on my way." He opens his eyes and smirks at the woman, "We will get through this, Linda. I'm not going anywhere. Whatever it takes, we'll figure it out. You're-..." he shrugs, beginning to feel uncomfortable at the idea of opening up, "...You know. My other half. You mean

everything to me..." He looks away uncomfortably, suddenly becoming very interested in the river.

Vasquez now turns her head to Jason, looking him over. Her left arm slips away from her legs and she reaches for his right hand, placing her own hand over the mechanical appendage, a sorrowful gaze studying the synthetic arm as drops of water run down it. "How do they feel?"

Jason grasps her hand and glances down at it as well. "They-..." he frowns, trying to word it as best as he can without hurting her. Failing to come up with any easy way to explain it, he simply says, "They don't. They have sensors and I get a sort of-... pressure?" He raises his gaze to Vasquez' eyes, "So I can tell when I'm touching things. Grabbing things. Stuff like that. They can

do everything my real hands could do. Better, too." he offers with a nod, as if that may ease her guilt somewhat. "Just-... just no feeling." He glances back down at their hands and smiles, "Sometimes I think I can feel, though. Like right now?" he gives her hand a slight squeeze, "I guess my brain remembers how that should feel and tries to fill in the gaps sometimes..."

Vasquez nods slowly, still studying the arm. She returns the squeeze. She seems to be searching for something to say. Something that isn't just another apology. After nothing comes to her she lets out a mixed sob and chuckle. As her gaze moves up to Jason's face it looks like she might be crying, but the rain makes it hard to tell. "Why didn't you-..." She trails off, her eyes briefly

flickering away before returning to him. "Oh. To get me out..."

Jason lowers his gaze slightly and nods. He quickly scoots closer to the woman and interlocks his synthetic fingers with her fingers. "I don't regret it." he says plainly, "I mean-... I wish I had my arms. But if that's all I had to trade to get you back? To keep you safe?" He smirks and shakes his head, "Bargain."

Vasquez slowly leans until her head is resting on Jason's shoulder, her feet sliding down the rock until her legs are stretched out. "I don't know why I'm surprised... you've always been there for me. I... I did a lot of thinking about that. On the station. That's something I remember." She prods his leg with one of her booted feet. "Again. And again. But I haven't been there for you...

not enough. I've put you through so much bullshit, Jason..."

Jason shrugs slightly as he brings up his other hand to wipe some of the water out of his hair. "I'm not keeping score." he says. If he was entirely honest, it wasn't as if his patience was entirely selfless, either, but that's probably a discussion for another day, "And if you are, then I can assure you that I'm probably gonna cash-in all this good will with you one day." he teases,

nudging her slightly, "When I'm having a mid-life crisis and blow half of our savings on some decked out shuttle, you need to remember this moment."

Vasquez lets out another sob-chuckle-snort, brushing some hair out of her face behind her ear. She lifts her head, turning to look at Jason and reaching around with her right hand to place it on his cheek and guide him to face her. "It's going to be different. It's going to be better. You deserve better. I'm here for you now... like I always should have been. I promise."

Jason closes his eyes for a moment at her touch and kisses the palm of her hand. "Mmhmm." he nods, "I know you are. But you've gotta stop beating yourself up. You don't give yourself nearly enough credit, Linda. You've done far more for me than you could ever imagine. I just wish you could see that."

Vasquez gently strokes Jason's cheek, looking at him with a mixed expression. She scoffs at his comment, her gaze turning away and her hand dropping. "Yeah, right... I don't help anyone."

Jason rolls his eyes and snorts loudly. "Let's just ignore the fact that I wouldn't even be alive today if it wasn't for you back on that little ship-o-horrors... When we met, I was at my lowest. I didn't think there was any bouncing back." He shrugs and gives her hand another squeeze, "You changed that. You were there for me whether you realized it or not. And I'm crazy about you."

He smirks and gives a slight tilt of his head, "Possibly partially crazy because of you, too." he teases. He nods a couple times as he continues, "I've had a really, really.... reeeally strange life. There's a whole lot about it I'd change if I had the chance, Linda, but you are definitely not one of them."

Vasquez chuckles slightly, and slowly a warm smile spreads across her face. She turns a bit more towards Jason as her right arm grabs a hold of his wet t-shirt, pulling him into a brief kiss. Her head remains close to his afterwards, her forehead pressed against his. "Always know just what to say, don't you? We've both had strange lives... and you're the best part of mine." She runs her

hand up from Jason's chest to his neck, smile still on her face. "We'll get through this. You're right."

Jason closes his eyes as their lips meet. "Mmhmm. Of course we will." he eventually responds as he brings his hand up, tracing his thumb over the scar across her cheek. He lifts his head slightly to kiss the tip of her nose before bringing his lips back to meet hers once more. "Everything will be fine." he says and, for the first time since their return, actually begins to believe it

might be true.

Vasquez laughs quietly, looking genuinely happy she strokes his neck, faces still close. The wind whips the rainfall against them, causing her to blink repeatedly and break away a bit, remaining close, but turning her gaze forward and moving her right hand to the nearest of Jason's legs. "Did I ever tell you why I love the rain?"

Jason gives a slight shake of his head. His eyes slowly move over her face, studying her features. His thumb continues to slowly slide back and forth over her cheek as his fingertips intertwine with loose strands of wet hair.

Vasquez smirks faintly. "It doesn't rain on Mars... I didn't even know that wasn't normal. First time I went off-world, I was so suprised when it started raining..." She can't help but laugh briefly at the memory. "...I loved it. Mars is so dry. Everything outside the biodomes is just... dust. Red dust. Enough to choke you. The rain is... overwhelming. Relaxing. Drowns out everything

else, and washes away the dust."

Jason chuckles along with her, recalling the brief time he spent on Mars as well. He decides against bringing it up, due to the pain that she would be sure to associate with the trip. "Relaxing." he agrees with a nod. "I'm not sure what it was for me. When I was younger, I grew up pretty close to the beach. It was beautiful. Always swamped with people, though. not that that's a bad

thing-..." he corrects, "...but everytime it would rain, I pretty much had it all to myself. Gives you breathing room. The streets clear. Everyone rushes to get inside. Not me, though." he gives a shake of his head, "I wanted to be right in the thick of it." He pauses as he realizes how much of a running theme that's been throughout his life. Running headlong into situations that others

would run from. He runs his fingertips through her hair and glances up at the sky, squinting as he does. "So?" he asks, "How is it working? Washing away any of that dust?"

Vasquez 's gaze wanders briefly back to Jason as she listens to his story. She smiles once more and then looks up alongside him, closing her eyes and just letting the rain wash over her again. "Yeah... I think it is... I... I think it is..."

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