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#RedrockAgency – September 28, 2015
Vasquez turns to look at Jason as the skycar starts to touch down on the parking lot. After a moment she frowns, turning back to the door and opening it. "You obviously don't think I'm suitable to lead the team in the field."
Jason sighs and looks towards her with an apologetic shake of his head. "That's not what I'm saying, Linda. I don't think I've ever met someone more capable and suited to lead." he says, giving a short chuckle, "I just-... A lot has happened, right?" He pauses to pay the driver and climb out of the skycar, "I just want you to be careful and take the time you need to recover from all
Vasquez gets out of the car, letting out a quiet "Right..." to his question, and then stops only a couple of steps from the car as her gaze focuses on the new building. Her left hand goes to her waist as she studies it in silence, her right hand shielding her face from the glare of the setting sun.
Jason takes a position beside Vasquez and looks over the building for a few moments in silence. Eventually he reaches over and places a hand on her shoulder. "If you want to just jump back into things, then I'm not gonna try and stop you. You know I'm always going to stand behind whatever decision you make. Just... think about it, alright?"
Vasquez lowers her arm and rather than responding to his words she gives a faint nod before heading for the door, at a pace Jason can keep up with without issue. "The base looks good... how much work is left?"
Jason follows behind, his hand lowering to his side. "Mostly just electrical and the defense system." he says before sighing loudly, "And the VI, I guess... Renala will handle that crap. It's still mostly unfurnished, too. Other than that, we're pretty much good to go."
Vasquez walks up to the door, searching for a moment before opening a panel and grabbing the manual handle, pulling the door half open - the door mechanism causes the other half to open in unison. As she's opening the door she speaks with a grunt, the sluggish door causing a bit of resistance before opening fully. "Our finances are fucked... you know that, right?"
Jason gives a slight shrug, still following behind her. "We're.... okay. For now at least." he sighs, "I took out a loan and sold off a few things we didn't need. Our second shuttle. The APC. I didn't have a whole lot of options..." he lets out a deep breath, "We definitely need to keep the credits flowing, but we have a little breathing room at least."
Vasquez walks through the door, looking over the reception with an appraising expression. "The new medical bills don't exactly help... not that I don't appreciate the rescue." She sighs, running a hand along the counter as she studies it. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I shouldn't be back in the field. Not yet anyway. But I'm sure as hell ready to get the Agency back on track... I want to
fix the damage I did when I was-..." She trails off as she's about to move on from the reception, just staring at the floor of the corridor.
Jason comes up behind her and presses a hand against the small of her back, hoping to keep her moving rather than moping. "That wasn't you." he reminds her, "You need to stop dwelling on it as if you had any choice, Linda. Besides... In the end, we got exactly what we wanted. The artifact is in the hands of the Alliance."
Vasquez nods a few times. "Yeah..." She mutters "At the cost of a colony..." before starting to walk down the hallway. "But Redrock we can fix. I'll get to work on looking for ways to bring in some credits and pay off that debt as soon as this place is up and running."
Jason lowers his head. Been doing his best to put that colony out of his mind. "The team did what they could to try and rescue as many of the colonists as they could. It-... It didn't work out." he mutters as he follows behind.
Vasquez stops. She hadn't expected Jason to latch on to that comment. Her mood darkens quickly as she looks down the corridor to the hangar, finding herself unable to hold back from sharing more of her thoughts on it. "There were a lot of people in that town. Families, probably.. a lot of monsters now. Probably still there. Just waiting for some clueless ship to stumble upon them."
Jason nods slowly. "But we-..." he trails off and remains quiet for a few moments, desperately wanting to justify their actions. Find something good to come from it. "Putting that tech into Alliance hands will help them to figure out what it is. It-... It's a good thing that we got it off of that planet... I wish none of it happened, but we've seen how those things work, Linda."
he lowers his head and chews on the inside of his cheek for a moment, "With or without our intervention, it was only a matter of time before it got out..." He sighs, not exactly believing his own words despite wanting to.
Vasquez turns back to face Jason rather suddenly, her face full of frustration. "Bullshit. It spread because of us. Because of me. I brought us there to retrieve that thing for Cerberus. Because I was too weak to resist their fucking PROGRAMMING!" She grasps at her neural implant, almost looking like she's going to tear it out for a moment, but then slams her fist against the wall
instead. Her gaze has fallen down, her expression an intense mix of anger and guilt, and she's shaking faintly as she struggles to regain her calm.
Jason flinches at her outburst. He puts a hand up. "Linda, stop... I don't know how many times I can repeat this until you're willing to listen to me. It wasn't you! It was them!" He reaches out to place a hand on her arm, lowering his voice to a whisper, "...If anyone is to blame, it's me. For years now, all I've wanted to do is put a period on the end of what went down on the
Evening Star. I want answers. I want an explanation. I want to know why. And all its doing is blinding me from just how many people I've hurt to get those answers... Maybe if I wasn't so fixated, we wouldn't have been such an easy target for Cerberus." He looks her over and shakes his head, "We all have our guilt, Linda. I just want you to know you're not alone in this... We just have
Vasquez closes her eyes, taking a deep breath as she allows her arm to be lowered. She stands for several seconds in silence as the sudden surge of emotion drains just as quick. She seems like has something to say, but instead nods a few times and turns around without meeting Jason's gaze. "Do you have a floorplan?"
Jason gives a nod. "I do but-..." he sighs, unable to just let go of the conversation, "Yeah. Yeah." he says with a shake of his head, "What do you want to see?"
Jason blinks a few times. "It's... All changed. The second floor can finally be utilized. Training room. Rec room. Expanded our living space into a full apartment rather than just a room with a bed." he shrugs, "I want us to do this right. We need to be better. That's how we make sure nothing like this happens again." he says, reaching over to squeeze her hand pointedly, "Not by swimming
in our guilt. By being better than we've been. By being on top of things. Right?" he asks, his question obviously more about her being able to move forward than about the organization itself.
Vasquez flinches slightly as Jason synthetic fingers wrap around her hand, despite doing her best not to show her discomfort. She glances briefly at the hand and then immediately tries to draw his attention away by raising an eyebrow and speaking, her gaze turning back to him: "Sounds good. Did... you do the layout?"
Jason nods a couple times, either not noticing her discomfort, or preferring to merely not mention it. He pulls his hand back. "Yeah." he says before shrugging, "Mostly... Sorta." He gives a glance around, "I... had a little help from the contractors."
Vasquez gives a half-hearted smirk. "Alright... show me the floorplan. Let's see what you came up with... with 'a little help' from the contractors, of course."
Jason gives a lopsided smirk in return and reaches into his pocket to remove his omni-tool. A few pokes later and the layout is being displayed on the holographic interface. He hands the device over. "Nothing too complex. We've got plenty of land if we want to expand down the line. For now, I think it'll do."
Vasquez 's eyes wander across the holographic representation of the base. She stands there for about a minute, studying the various rooms and hallways, as well as the planned defensive systems. "Huh... looks... good. Big step up for sure. And those defenses should deter any more incidents... hopefully we'll be able to get enough jobs to justify a facility like this."
Jason shrugs. "We've got a few on the backburner already. Just a few small jobs, but I couldn't really justify accepting them when you were-......" he shakes his head. "Had more important things to take care of." he says with a small smile.
Vasquez doesn't tear her gaze away from the hologram, still studying it. "Mhm... you'll have to bring me up to speed. I'd like to review the details before we do anything."
Jason gives a few short nods. "Absolutely. Just one thing at a time for now." He steps in closer beside Vasquez to look over the hologram alongside her. "Did I miss anything...?" he asks, "We could probably afford a couple changes if anything is out of place. Just nothing substantial..."
Vasquez continues to look their new home over for a moment longer before turning her gaze to Jason and shaking her head. "No, it-... I think it looks great, actually. This will be a perfect foundation to build on." A hint of a smile tugs at the corner of her mouth as her eyes wander across his face. "Good job."
Jason 's smile grows and he reaches out to take back his omni-tool. "Great..." he says. His smile fades somewhat and he clears his throat. "There's... Uhh... Something else I need to show you while we're here, though..."
Jason sighs and nods his head towards the stairs. "Just... upstairs." he says, taking the lead down the hall. As he reaches the stairs, he grabs the railing and starts ascending them. "Won't take long." he says, sounding quite uncomfortable.
Jason pauses at the top until Vasquez rejoins him, then continues down the hall. He nods at the door on his right. "Rec room." then the door on his left, "Training room. Not fully kitted out yet, but everything is on the way. Our apartment." he continues to list quickly as he passes their apartment door and continues around the corner. "Locker room and shower is right here." he adds
with a tap against the next doorway as they pass it, all things she obviously knows from looking over the layout.
Vasquez nods as each item is listed off, looking more confused and concerned with each door they pass.
Jason once again turns the corner as they reach the end of the hallway. He nods at the balcony. "Good overlook of the hangar from here. In case we do get any trouble. Also allows the ceiling turret that will be right..." he points towards the hangar ceiling, "...there to cover some of the second floor hall." he says, speaking quickly as if it's not important and he's just speaking
to keep conversation flowing. As he nears the end of the hall, he nods at the ladder. "To the roof." he says with a gesture of his hand, as if to say 'after you'.
Vasquez shoots Jason a puzzled and slightly annoyed look before grabbing a rung and starting to climb the ladder. Once she's up she steps off to let him up and then looks around the roof of the building.
Jason climbs up behind her and glances around. "Roof." he says plainly with a goofy grin on his face. He remains quiet for a short amount of time before realizing how awkward the silence is. "Oh... Umm... We'll have a collapsible anti-aircraft turret right-..." he moves towards the center of the roof, "...about..." he glances to his left, then his right, lining himself up properly,
Vasquez follows some distance after Jason. She looks at the empty spot with a raised eyebrow. "Yeah, that... that should help prevent any future attacks by vengeful salarians..."
Jason nods a bunch of times, "Right!?" he says, much more enthusiastically than intended. He quickly coughs to cover the awkwardness of the situation. "The... The view from up here is... Good? Nice." he walks towards the corner of the building and looks out at the mountains. "C'mere. Look at this."
Vasquez slowly walks after Jason, starting to look a little bit frustrated. "O...kay. I'm starting to feel like you're gonna push me off the roof." Her gaze is more focused on him than the view as she approaches.
Jason chuckles nervously. "No... No. What!?" he says, taking a step back. "Just... look!" He points off towards the mountains in the distance. He takes a step back behind Vasquez and wraps an arm around her waist, pointing over her shoulder. Using her head to frame his view, he awkwardly nudges her to the side slightly. "Nice, right? Perfect even!"
Vasquez blinks, tensing up a bit as she is moved. She looks up at the rising mountains, the light of the sun still lighting up the now-clear sky in pink and orange even though it has disappeared behind them. The ring of the planet rises up from behind the mountains, looking at its most striking as the mass of dust and rocks mix with the sunlight, causing the unusual feature to stand out
against the sky. "I, uh... yeah. It-... it's nice." The view does catch her eye for a moment, her gaze going distant as it travels up the mountain and then onward further up along the ring, but her attention eventually snaps back. "Jason, what's going on?" she asks, still confused, and with just a hint of frustration in her voice.
Jason gives a slight squeeze around her waist and presses his chin against the back of her head. "I just-... ugh..." he stammers a few times, lowering his pointing hand and jamming it into his pocket. He sucks in a deep breath and lets it out through his nose, "You were gone for almost a month." he manages finally, "And-... And I've been in some pretty scary situations in my life.
Downright terrifying. But-..." he winces as he begins to get frustrated with himself for being so bad at this sort of thing, "...but that was the most scared I've ever been. Waking up everyday to your empty side of the bed." He tilts his head to the side, "Well-... well not empty. There were pillows. And a wadded up blanket sometimes. And a few times I fell asleep with a beer in my
ha-..." he shakes his head and swallows hard, "You know what I mean! I missed you. I missed you so bad it hurt. And-... And if it wasn't painfully obvious before that the lives that we lead put us in a position where tomorrow might be the-... last... today we-... Where today might be the last-..." he grunts as his hand fishes around in his pocket. He restarts, clearing the lump from
his throat, "Today might be the last tomorrow we ever have." Nailed it! Just as planned! He reaches over with his left hand that's around her waist and grabs her wrist as his right hand snakes around her other side. He slowly attempts to slide a ring over her finger, having some slight difficulty, but manages it eventually. "So-..." he continues, his voice full-on shaky by this point,
"...I... I just want to make sure... However many toda-... tomorrows we have left... I get to spend them with you.... How 'bout it?"
Vasquez starts to look increasingly bemused as she listens to Jason ramble, remaining awkwardly still and looking ahead at the mountain that casts its shadow on them with furrowed eyebrows. She flexes her hand uncomfortably, looking halfway between a smile and an annoyed grunt. When he starts to put the ring on her finger her gaze snaps down. She seems on the edge of speaking up, even
mouthing a faint "Wha-...". Her face goes blank as she struggles to process what's happening. When Jason asks the question she continues to stare at the ring with wide eyes, and after a couple of second she lets out a quiet: "...oh."
Jason continues to awkwardly hold her wrist as he awaits her response, only releasing his grip when she finally speaks up. The ring itself is nothing too special. Simple with a small stone atop it. "Oh...?" he repeats, "Good 'oh' or-.... or bad 'oh'?" he asks, craning his neck to look over her face, "I'm-.... this is-..." he scrunches up his nose, "I'm asking you to marry me." he
elaborates, fearing she may be confused. He inwardly berates himself for not being more clear with his words.
Vasquez is still staring at the ring, her expression inscrutible. Upon hearing Jason's 'explanation' she looks up at him halfway between annoyed and amused. "I-... Wha-... I know tha-..." She shakes her head and the expression evaporates in a moment as she spins around to face him, grasping the arm that was around her wrist in the process and squeezing it. She studies him with an unamused
frown, and then closes her eyes. "Yes! Yes, of course I want to marry you, you idiot!" she cries out, wrapping both off her arms around him and pulling him into a tight hug, eyes immediately tearing up even as she starts laughing loudly, overcome with pent up anxiety and a sudden burst of joy as she keeps the man as close as she can.
Jason 's shoulder seem to slump as he lets out a deep breath he wasn't aware he was even holding in. He wraps his arms around Vasquez tightly and kisses the top of her head, seeming somewhat exhausted by this point. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this for. And then-... And then you were gone and I-... thought...." he trails off, realizing none of that matters as his eyes
Vasquez keeps the hug, tears rolling down her cheeks by the time her laughter starts to fade. Eventually she manages to respond with "I love you too...". She lifts her head, a wide, happy grin on her tear-stained face, and loosens her embrace, right hand sliding up Jason's neck while the left remains on his lower back, keeping him close as she presses her lips against his, eyes closing.
Jason brings his hands around to Vasquez' sides, resting them on her hips as he returns the kiss, eyes closed as well. The feeling of her hand against the skin of his neck felt like a burden being lifted. Just to feel physical contact from the woman he loves reinvigorates him, causing his smile to return as he pulls away from the kiss, resting his forehead against hers. After a short
pause he tilts his head and presses his lips against hers once more and runs his hand back around to her back.
Vasquez leans into the kiss, turning it more passionate as her right hand slides slowly down his back and them up to the neck again. She eventually breaks away, her grin immediately resurfacing as she meet his gaze, and at least for the moment all her troubled thoughts are gone. She starts to laugh again, a quiet chuckle. She withdraws her right hand, creating a bit more distance between
Jason gives a chuckle, keeping his gaze locked on Vasquez' face. His eyes look over her face as he bites his lower lip. Eventually he nods a couple of times, "I'm so lucky to have you in my life, Linda. You're more than I ever could've hoped for."
Vasquez returns her right hand to Jason, putting it on his shoulder and caressing his neck gently. She continues to look at him in silence for a while before lifting her left hand between them, holding it out and breaking her gaze away to study it. After looking it over for a while she wipes away her tears and renews her smile, looking up at her now-fiancé. "I'm here, Jason. And I won't
Jason closes his eyes, tilting his head slightly at her touch. His hands return to her sides, the fingertips of his right hand gently drawing shapes across her left side. "A long..." he begins, leaning down and pressing a kiss to her forehead, "...and happy..." he continues, sliding his lips down to the tip of her nose, "...life." his lips make their way down to hers and he pulls her
Vasquez eagerly returns the kiss, her left hand seeking him out again, palm pressing against Jason's chest, running up to his shoulder and then down the arm, finally grasping his hand and squeezing it as she ends the kiss, giving him a light peck before pulling away completely. "Damn right." The woman smirks, but then turns her gaze to the sky again. Aside from some residual pink by the
mountains and the still sunlit ring, it is starting to get dark. "How about we get back to the Respite? As lovely as... this barren roof is." Before Jason has a chance to speak she adds, still smirking: "For the record, it was a very nice view."
Jason follows her gaze upwards, nodding slightly. "Yeah..." he says, a large smile still plastered across his face as he nods once more, "Yeah, sounds good. I'll have a skycar pick us up." He returns his gaze to her, his eyes seemingly glued to her at the moment. After staring for a few moments, he seems to realize what he's doing and clears his throat, "Oh, right..." he gives a sheepish
Vasquez snickers, taking a step back to give space for the omni-tool and crossing her arms as she studies him in turn, her head tilted.
Jason pokes at the interface for a few moments, occasionally glancing at the woman through the holographic projection. He tries his best to act casual, but it's quite obvious that he's giddy and absolutely beaming with happiness. As the interface dissipates, he raises his eyebrows and stuffs the omni-tool back into his pocket. "Should be here in a few minutes." he announces.
Vasquez nods moving up and wrapping an arm around Jason to turn him around and start heading towards the ladder while still holding onto him, still looking more cheerful than she has in a long, long time. "Alright. We can check out the hangar on the way down."
Jason follows her lead and starts back towards the ladder. "Yeah. Right." he agrees, his mind obviously elsewhere currently, "We-... uhh... I made sure it would be large enough for us to store more as we grow..." he says, glancing back over at Vasquez with a bright, goofy smirk.
Vasquez squeezes him with the arm wrapeed around his waist before letting go and starting to climb down the ladder, heading some way down the hall and then stopping at the intersection to let Jason catch up, smiling as she watches him descend.
Jason pulls the hatch shut as he descends down the ladder, hopping off when near the bottom and giving a glance out over the hangar. He quickly makes his way over to Vasquez' side. "Looking for anything specific in there?" he asks, "Just a lot of empty space right now."
Vasquez looks out over the hangar, having totally not forgotten about the location of the ladder. She puts her hands on the railing as she looks down. "No, just visualizing our shuttle here. It'll be good. This is going to make for a great base."
Jason nods, taking a position beside her. "Mmhmm. Yep. It's great." he agrees, his gaze is still pretty much entirely focused on her, however, like a doofus. "Great base." he repeats.
Vasquez rolls her eyes, grabbing his shirt and pulling him in for a quick kiss before heading down the corridor. "Let's go meet the taxi."
Jason gives a snicker and sets off behind her, dragging a hand along the hallway wall. "They did say it would be a few minutes." he says, trailing behind her, "And, clearly, you can't keep your hands off me, notthatIblameyou. I could make this work." he jokes, rounding the next corner behind her.
Vasquez continues for the stairs, starting to go down them. As she rounds them she looks up at Jason with a smirk. "Uh-huh... let's just get back to the Respite. I don't think the car will be long."
Jason follows Vasquez down the stairs and continues towards the exit. As they pass the reception area, he casts a quick glance into the room. "Think we should get a plant for in here." he says with a nod, seemingly out of the blue.
Vasquez stops briefly, raising an eyebrow. "Uh... yeah. Sure. Inviting first impression and all that." She glances at him and then steps out of the still-open front door, grabbing the handle and waiting for him to exit. "We should really get the power up and running so we can lock the door."
Jason gives a nod as he stops outside. "Yeah, I'll see if Renala can stop out tomorrow and at least get the doors up and running so our stuff is safe to be dropped off here." he agrees.
Vasquez slides the door shut with a groan, and then closes the panel again, starting towards the parking lot, her eyes on the sky, looking for their ride. "We should really get a car..."
Jason heads towards the parking lot beside Vasquez. "Yeah..." he agrees, just as the skycar comes into view in the distance, rapidly approaching, "...We'll put it on the list. I'll have Jasper look into it and see if he can find any on the cheap. Having a skycar imported all the way out here probably won't be cheap. Once we get a few jobs under our belt, though, we'll be fine."
Vasquez nods. "Yeah. It'd be more practical to get around in town." When the taxi touches down she heads for the opening door and hops in, scooting over to let Jason in and telling the driver where to head.
Jason climbs in beside Vasquez and gives a dumb grin to the pilot. "We're getting married." he says. To which the pilot responds flatly, "Congratulations. Where to?" Jason frowns and directs him towards the Respite. The uninterested pilot nods as the doors close and the car begins to ascend. "Didn't know they handled marriages at a bar..." the pilot mutters to himself.
Jason climbs in beside Vasquez and gives a dumb grin to the pilot. "We're getting married." he says. To which the pilot responds flatly, "Congratulations." Jason frowns and sits back in his seat. The uninterested pilot nods as the doors close and the car begins to ascend. "Didn't know they handled marriages at a bar..." the pilot mutters to himself.
Vasquez shakes her head with a smirk, reaching for Jason's hand - the prosthetic doesn't seem to bother her right now.
Jason interlocks his hands with hers as the skycar takes to the-... sky and sets off towards the Respite.