This logfile is imported from aitelogs2 and may contain errors or wrong timestamps.
#RedrockAgency – September 27, 2018
Evening on the 5th of December. Light winds send the falling snowflakes outside whirling. Vasquez has been working all day, just as the day before. There's much to organize if Redrock are to improve their preparedness, and the recent rescue op has been a major hit to their finances. New contracts need to be secured, and soon. Add in the trouble with Ehanis and trying to prepare for the upcoming days away from work and it's been a busy
couple of days for Vasquez. She's currently in her office, tired eyes staring at the screen of her terminal as she tries to summon up the presence of mind to type up a message for a potential employer.
Jason, having just finished watching the Asajura highlights upstairs, has returned to his office to do some late night work. And by work that of course means browse the extranet aimlessly and probably click a bunch of ads that Renala will be unhappy about when she returns from her vacation. Home made rum and coke, leftover takeout, and an extranet vid titled "TWENTY CRAZIEST WILDLIFE ATTACKS CAUGHT ON VID!" This is the future of his
evening. He's in his usual attire: Boots, black pants, long-sleeved white t-shirt. The door to his office is closed, but unlocked.
Ilyna has kept to herself for most of today, only taking a few breaks to watch some vids with Li. Yesterday's conversation has been at the forefront of her mind all day, though given her overall state lately, her being thoughtful and sometimes distant is not out of the ordinary. However, her being this tired might have drawn some attention from Li and Halisi as the upcoming conversation has been keeping her
awake until the early hours of morning. She is set on putting it off another day for a while, but she realizes that tomorrow will be just as bad, if not worse, and she cannot attend to her responsibilities in this state. She also has no idea when the upcoming briefing is, and there she's likely to be put on the spot in front of everyone. So, she leaves her office with a curt 'I'll be right back' if Li is
there. She doesn't give herself enough time to have second thoughts before opening the door to Jason's office. She doesn't say anything, but the seriousness in her expression as she stands in the doorway may be enough.
Jason glances up from his terminal as his office door slides open, a look of disgust on his face as he tears his attention away from an Alliance soldier attempting to fight off a four-legged beast that he's never heard of. "The fuck is a 'mee-an-doodle'?!" he asks in confusion, attempting (And most likely failing) to properly pronounce the name they spoke in his vid moments ago. The look on Ilyna's face, however, is enough to
cause the question to fall to the wayside. Brow furrowed, he shifts in his seat, scooting a bit closer to his desk. "...Everything alright?" he asks. He, too, has had their previous conversation weighing on him. One of the multitide of things keeping him up at night.
Ilyna gives a slight shake of her head, but she doesn't elaborate. Why goes without saying. She takes a single step into his office. "Let's... talk to her now," she says, barely loud enough for him to hear her. She takes a deep breath in an effort to calm herself. She makes no sign of noticing the vid or his question about it.
Jason doesn't need any explanation as to what she's referring to. His gaze briefly moves back to the vid playing on his screen and he's quick to pause it, causing the low audio to cut out. "You sure you're ready to do this?" he asks as his gaze returns to Ilyna. While he wasn't exactly expecting this so soon, the prospect of having this loom over him for the next few days isn't something he's been looking forward to. He's got
enough hanging over him right now, so if she wants to take the band-aid approach- rip it off in one fell swoop- he's certainly not going to object.
Ilyna takes another step into the room. Jason's implicit offer of a way out is tempting as she's on the verge of trembling, but she doesn't consider it long before letting out a sigh. "I barely slept last night," she says. "It has to be now." She casts a glance behind her. "I don't know when the briefing is, but she needs to know before then."
Jason's gaze drops slightly and a few nods accompany. "...Yeah." he agrees softly. He looks over his unfinished meal sitting in an open styrofoam container on his desk and begins to close it. "I know this isn't-..." he begins, but trails off as the words fail him. Once his meal has been secured, he glances back up to Ilyna. "You're doing the right thing." he says simply, silently hoping he's right. Knowledge of Ilyna's condition
has never made him think any different of her. It couldn't. After everything they've been through together- everything they've endured- it just didn't factor in no matter how dangerous it might be. She is who she is. One of the most important people to ever step into his life. One of the rocks he so often leans on for support. Part of the foundation that Redrock survives on. And, above else, one of the best friends he
could ask for. Despite all of this, his stomach felt twisted in knots at the idea of revealing her condition to Vasquez. 'Understanding' wouldn't exactly be at the top of the list of words Jason would use to describe her.
Ilyna lingers a bit as if waiting for Jason to lead the way, or at least say something more to delay them. "I hope I am," she says, turns around, and walks out into the hallway. She doesn't cast a glance Jason's way before going down towards the door to Vasquez' office. She knows every second's delay is a chance for her to lose the last semblance of composure she has and walk away. Despite the urgency, she
Jason rises to his feet as Ilyna moves towards the door, lifting his mostly-full drink with him. Drawing in a deep breath, he mutters a silent: "Let's get this over with." to himself before emptying the glass in one gulp. The burn serves as a nice temporary distraction, but the pit in his stomach is back at full strength before he even manages to set the empty glass down. Without any further delay, he follows Ilyna out into the
Vasquez looks up towards the door as the chime interrupts her futile message-composing efforts. Her eyebrows furrow slightly and she opens the door with a quick keypress. She's wearing her favorite tanktop with dark gray jeans, her hair tied back in a ponytail as usual. The blue glow of the screen only serves to make her look all the more tired. "Yes...?" she says as she realizes it's Ilyna
Ilyna does her best to hide her anxiety, but it's clear as day. At least she can hope for Vasquez assuming it's just everything else still on her mind. "Do you have a moment?" she asks as she steps inside and aside to let Jason in. "It's about the mission."
Jason steps into view as Ilyna steps inside. He forces a small smile as he spots Vasquez, but it falls away far too soon to be genuine. "Hey..." he offers as he follows the asari into the office.
Vasquez ' frown is more concern than confusion after Ilyna speaks, and she nods, gesturing for her to come in. When Jason joins them she seems puzzled, perhaps partly by his demeanor. "What's going on?" she asks, gaze moving between them as she rolls her chair back a little, arms resting on the edge of her desk, hands hovering idle above the keyboard.
Ilyna is quiet for a few long seconds as she looks at Vasquez. It is a relief to be committed to it, but alas it's a very brief one, and she averts her eyes as she starts circling the point. "I trust you have read the reports," she says. It's not a question, she would be very surprised if Vasquez hasn't read them at least twice. "And that-" She stops herself and glances at the ceiling. The fact that what's she
has already been saying has been recorded just dawned on her tired, worried mind, and it does nothing to help her anxiety. "Actually, let's... take this in my office," she says. "I do not want it recorded."
Jason takes a position against the wall just beside the door, gaze only lingering on Vasquez for a moment before lowering to the ground as Ilyna begins to speak. He remains as such up until Ilyna's suggestion to move the conversation, causing him to look back towards Vasquez. He gives a small nod to her in hopes that she'll comply without a fuss. As much as he trusts their security system and the fact that whatever is said in this
room will remain in this room, it's about Ilyna being comfortable. "Yeah, that's probably a good idea..." he chips in, his expression probably doing enough to give away to Vasquez that this is going to be one of those conversations. The type that nobody involved wants to have.
Vasquez ' confusion only grows and she makes no attempt to hide it, but she pushes further from her desk, standing up. "O...kay." she says, obviously a little put on edge by their unusual behavior. She's been meaning to have a talk with Ilyna about not unplugging Fergus from her office, but she doesn't bring it up right now since something is clearly going on. Instead she locks her terminal and rounds the table as theories and
worries start to run through her head. Has their system been compromised again? Is there some new emergency?
Ilyna nods, letting out a brief sigh of relief. Vasquez having to know is terrible, but this spreading through the company -- and perhaps out of it -- is much more dangerous. Renala asked few questions when Ilyna talked with her about the surveillance, but she doesn't know if she can trust her to erase it. Ilyna understands Vasquez' confusion, but Ilyna knows no way around it right now. She doesn't say anything
before leaving the office, making her way to her own office, unlocking it and stepping inside. The short cable is still unplugged from before she left her office, and is lying next to the terminal on her desk.
Jason lags behind Ilyna a bit to walk with Vasquez, but otherwise remains silent. That pit in his stomach only grows as his thoughts linger on how she'll react. Whether she'll be upset with him for keeping this from her for so long. He avoids eye contact as he turns back towards the door and starts towards Ilyna's office.
Vasquez enters Ilyna's office, looking between her and Jason once everyone's inside. "So what the hell's going on?" she's quick to ask in an urgent almost-whisper, arms loosely folded across her chest.
Ilyna closes, but she doesn't lock her door. She wants to give Vasquez a chance to walk away if she doesn't like what she hears, even if they risk someone else walking in on them. Ilyna frowns as Vasquez' tone turns urgent, for it feels like her mind is blocking her from getting to the point. "What I was about to say is," she begins, "that I'm sure you noticed that I was among the captured brought aboard the
Jason once more takes a position beside the door, opting to stand rather than sit for this conversation. His focus turns to Vasquez as Ilyna begins to speak but he otherwise remains quiet for now.
Vasquez focuses on Ilyna as she speaks, nodding slightly. "Yes...?" she confirms with a faint nod, eyebrows furrowing as she waits for an explanation. She'd noticed, but with everything else going on that little oddity had hardly been at the front of her mind.
Ilyna sighs, and averts her eyes. She was hoping for a tangent, a distraction, but it's clear that Vasquez is eager to get to the point. "This is where I could tell you 'who am I to know The Collectors' intentions?'" she says. "The myths about them have them requesting the most insignificant of abnormalities, after all." She shakes her head. "But the reason I wanted to take this here is because I think I know,
and... it's not a matter I'd like to have brought up in the briefing, or investigated once someone else recalls what the Collector leader said." Ilyna wants to just blurt it out without the constant meandering, but her anxious mind keeps resisting it. She knows very well it would advantagous to not waste Vasquez' time.
Jason draws in a deep breath as Ilyna begins to slowly shuffle towards the point. Shifting against the wall, he remains beside Vasquez, arms folded across his chest. He glances from one to the other, but his attention comes to a rest on the ground somewhere between the two as he listens. "It's nobody else's business." he chimes in softly to assure Ilyna it won't get out to the others.
Vasquez seems to relax a little when she realises that the desire for privacy was, presumably, based on this being a personal matter, rather than some kind of emergency. She continues to listen closely to Ilyna. "Alright... go on." she says with a soft nod, her head tilting slightly as she studies the asari's expression.
Ilyna looks down, unable to look Vasquez in the eyes. This may be honesty, but what's the worth of that on top of years of lying by omission? "Normally it would be... easier to get to the point," she says. "I've told Jason because it was necessary after he overheard Hunter's blackmail, and Halisi because she wasn't making an informed decision about me." She closes her eyes, not wanting to see Vasquez' reaction,
but she is ready to accept it nonetheless. Her composure breaks, and she's visibly trembling. "When I said-..." She sighs, casting aside the last attempt to delay it. "You know the horrific potential of this curse like nobody else does, not even me," she whispers. "Even if it's been with me for more than two-hundred and fifty years."
Jason finally meets Vasquez' eyes when Ilyna reveals that he has kept her secret since Hunter came into the picture. The guilt is plain as day in his blue eyes, but still he remains silent, attempting to gauge Vasquez' reaction as the final words leave Ilyna's mouth. He tenses up slightly, assuming the asari's words are probably enough for his wife to decipher what she's getting at.
Vasquez seems increasingly confused and concerned as Ilyna continues to stall, and when she does get to the point her confusion only grows - at least at first. "Ilyna, what are you-..." She cuts herself off as realization washes over her face. And with it, utter confusion. Her furrowed eyebrows break into a blank look as she blinks. Once, then twice. "W-... what are you-...are you trying to say-..." An uncomfortable, confused
half-chuckle, half-scoff sounds as she takes a small step back. "Is this-... is this some kind of joke?" she manages as a hint of irritation slips into her dumbstruck expression.
Ilyna doesn't know what to expect, and she tenses up as she awaits it. She would even understand if Vasquez pulls a gun on her head. The confusion, though, that didn't even cross her mind as a potential reaction. Ilyna opens her eyes after hearing her step back, but she doesn't attempt eye contact. The truth is finally out, but the anxiety in her voice and body is far from subsiding. "Yes, I suffer that
condition," she begins, "but it's latent and I intend it to stay that way." She is quick to add, "Do you remember what I said when you doubted my choice to raise Li?"
Jason continues to watch Vasquez. "Linda..." he says softly, pleading for her to remain calm. "...Please..." He allows Ilyna to continue speaking without interruption, but his eyes remain locked on Vasquez. He was there every step of the way during her recovery. While he can't claim to know exactly what she experienced back on Niacal, he never left her side in the months after. All he can do now is hope that the fact that he knows
every bit as much as she does how devastating this 'curse' can be and has still chosen to stand beside Ilyna all this time will temper his wife's reaction somewhat.
Vasquez blinks again. "Con-..." An agitated snort and another step back towards the door. It's doubtful she even heard anything that was said after that. "You're-... you're an-... an Ardat-Yakshi. That's what you're saying." she blurts out, her breathing quickening as she puts a hand between herself and Ilyna, pointing at the asari. "Right? You're one of those-... one of the-... you're like the monster that-..." A hollow chuckle
is followed by a hard swallow as her hand moves to cover her mouth. Fear, panic, confusion and anger all mix in her eyes as her gaze darts between Ilyna and Jason. "Jason, wha-... you-... you knew about this?" she says, voice cracking as her gaze focuses on him for just a moment. Another step back, bootheel bumping against the door.
Ilyna takes a step back, both out of fear and to offer Vasquez more space. Uttering the condition's name makes her grimace, but only briefly. "No, I... I'm not like the monster," she says. "I reject my fate, she chose to turn it into a weapon. I don't want what she had. I want to be a sister, a mother, and... a good friend." Ilyna takes a deep breath. "Do you understand now why I was so hesitant to tell you?"
Jason lets out a deep, troubled sigh as Vasquez begins to ramble. He furrows his brow as she says the name aloud, but he doesn't correct her. Now just isn't the time... Which is a good thing considering 'Aaron-Takeshi' is the new power forward aquired in a controversial trade for the Maestros that all of the sports analysts have been talking about non-stop for the last two days, not an asari genetic abnormality. "Linda..." he
repeats as she addresses him, trying to keep her calm as he steps away from the wall. "I couldn't-..." he stammers, "...It wasn't my secret to tell. So-... So be mad at me if you want. I understand. But-..." he trails off, not wanting to interrupt as Ilyna speaks up once more.
Vasquez ' overwhelmed expression takes on shades of betrayal as Jason responds. She sucks in her lips as she struggles to find words, but Ilyna's voice distracts her, and her attention snaps back to the asari. "Oh-... oh, that makes me feel so much better! It's fine, then! You think I don't know dangerous-... you think I didn't do my fucking research after what happened?!" she says, raising her voice as her emotions start to
boil over. "You think I haven't FELT it?! In my head?!" she says in a loud snarl, taking a step forward and tapping a finger to the implant on the side of her head, staring intensly at Ilyna.
Ilyna stays where she is, motionless at first as Vasquez shouts at her. "It was also because I'm scared of you," she says, though she doesn't raise her voice. "I won't use my curse. I never have. I never will." She pulls at the arm of her dress. "I don't dress like this because I like the color black, it's to be boring and unremarkable, so that I don't need to have this talk." She sighs. "My point is that yes, I
am dangerous," she says, before looking at Vasquez' hand, "but I don't believe for a moment that I'm more so than you two, or anyone on our payroll."
Jason averts his gaze as he sees the betrayal in Vasquez' eyes. But as she begins to get riled up and takes a step forward, he puts himself partially between his wife and Ilyna. "Stop and take a breath." he says, his gaze scanning from Vasquez' left eye to her right. Silently pleading for her to listen while Ilyna says her piece.
Vasquez seems about to interrupt Ilyna, but Jason's words cause her attention to shift. Her scowl remains, however, and her right hand tightens into a fist by her side, but meeting Jason's gaze causes her to waver as she swallows, her hand unclenching as she steps back. "You don't have a problem with this...? Af-... after everything that-..." Something changes in her expression as Ilyna's words register. "Don't you fucking try
that bullshit!" she calls out as her anger returns in full force, putting a hand on Jason's shoulder and trying to shove him aside. "It's not the same and you goddamn know it! None of us are driven to-... how did you even-... are you a fugitive? Is Ilyna even your real name?!"
Ilyna sighs, and takes a careful step forward. She wants to double down on her point about danger, but the second accusation makes her put that away for now. "I'm not hiding," she says, raising her voice in frustration. "My name and face was plastered across the media not too long ago, and I was on the Citadel after that."
Jason is quick to respond to Vasquez' question with a simple, confident: "No, I don't." He opens his mouth to say more, but switches priorities as Vasquez begins to get aggressive. He does his best to hold his ground, remaining a wedge between Vasquez and Ilyna as best as he can. He places one synthetic palm against Vasquez' upper chest in an attempt at keeping her away from Ilyna should she make a more concentrated effort to get
by him. "She is not the enemy, Linda! What happened on Niacal-..." he briefly glances back over his shoulder to Ilyna before gesturing to her with his free hand, "...She's not responsible! Hell, she's one of the few people who helped us stop it! And she's been by our side damn near every step since." he continues, his tone sympathetic- pleading- rather than argumentive despite having raised his voice to be heard over
Vasquez swats Jason's hand away as she steps back again. Her husband's insistant defense of Ilyna seems to catch her off-guard, and she doesn't seem quite sure how to react for a moment, her attention swapping rapidly between the two of them. It's obvious that her mind is running a mile a minute, in five different directions. "Why the hell are you defending her?!" she snaps. "You-... how long have you-... you've known since
Hunter? And you nev-... you trust her over me? That it?" she blurts out rapid-fire before her attention snaps to Ilyna. "What the hell kind of game are you playing?!"
Ilyna lets out a frustrated sigh. "Are you going to forget everything I've done?" she asks. "Nathan's insane plan to cut off the Collector horde wouldn't be possible without my barrier. I was at Jason's side on the mission to rescue you. I risk everything for those I care about, and that also means you." She steps closer to her. "Because I'm not a monster," she says.
Jason furrows his brow, hand now hovering out in front of him, between himself and Vasquez. "I'm defending-..." he begins before being cut off and having to answer a new question. "I've-..." he begins before she answers her own question. The direction she swings into causes his expression to harden. "Wha-... No! It's not about trust, Linda!" he snaps, a small amount of frustration beginning to creep into his own tone. "It wasn't
my place to tell you!" he insists, having to raise his voice even louder to speak over her as she begins to address Ilyna again, his own words most likely just being lost in the exchange. "And look at yourself! Look at how you're acting! This is why she didn't want to tell you! Take. A. Breath." He tries to hold her gaze as Ilyna begins to speak up again and make her case. The asari's words cause his mounting frustration
to slowly shift to sadness. "She is family, Linda." he chimes in, the look on his face almost pained as he stresses his point- hurt that she would consider just turning her back on someone who has done so much for them. "The Evening Star? Niacal? Di Yu?" he begins to list, shaking his head slightly as he lists off but a few of the horrors they've survived together. "...The Barn?" He allows that one to linger for a moment,
once more searching Vasquez' eyes for any sort of reaction. "Hasn't she done more than enough to prove herself?" he ends on, his shoulders going a bit slack as his hovering hand lowers.
Vasquez scowls at Jason. "Stop fucking telling me to breathe!" she snaps, proceeding to... well, definitely not take a breath. As both Ilyna and Jason's words start to pile on it's obvious that she's overwhelmed by all sorts of contradicting emotions. Ilyna stepping closer elicits clear fear though, and she's quick to step back against the door again, reaching for the interface as she interrupts them. "Sh-... shut the FUCK up
and stay away from me!" she says as the door opens, gesturing to both of them with a hand that's been put in front of herself in an almost defensive gesture. "I-... I-I'm going out. I need air." she blurts out, voice cracking again as she brushes the hand across her temple, fingertips lingering on the implant. She's clearly struggling to keep what composure she has left as she turns to storm off towards the exit.
Ilyna stops in her tracks as Vasquez snaps at her, holding her breath without really realizing it at first. It's only when she storms out that Ilyna lets out a sigh, another frustrated one. She stares at the open doorway, but she still does not move, nor does she say anything.
Jason winces at Vasquez' final outburst, causing him to fall silent. Sadness washes over his features. "Linda..." he pleads once more as she starts out the door, but he doesn't give chase. Drawing in a deep breath, his gaze remains fixed on the open doorway. He stays quiet for a few charged moments, mind trying to process everything that just transpired. "Are you alright...?" he finally asks without turning to look Ilyna's way.
Ilyna draws a few trembling breaths as she considers what's to come. She expected this to be difficult, but this far exceeded that. "No," she says, still staring at the doorway. "I'm... I'm sorry I... should have done better."
Vasquez makes for the door, not stopping until she's several steps out into the snowy parking lot. She draws a trembling breath, bringing up both hands and running them down her face as she stares up at the backlit clouds in the night sky, and the snow falling around her. Her attempt to collect her thoughts is met with little success, and she finds herself blinking repeatedly in an attempt to hold back the tears starting to form
in her eyes. After another unsteady breath she looks back towards the glowing windows of the Redrock building as her body starts to catch up to the fact that she walked outside in a tanktop. After a few scattered moments of thought she heads for the car.
Jason shakes his head a number of times. "No-..." he chimes in, "...This wasn't your fault, Ilyna." He finally turns around to face the asari, his somber expression doing just as much to deliver his mood as his tone. "You didn't deserve all of-... that." he admits, "But Linda has-..." he stammers, drawing in a breath as he tries to find the right words. A frustrated sigh escapes him. "Niacal was hard on both of us." he decides
on, though it should be quite obvious that's a massive understatement and the humorless snort that follows confirms that. "Hard on me." he corrects, "...It was hell for her. I try not to bring it up too often, but it took a hell of a lot of work for us to get here. Just to get some semblence of a normal life back." He winces apologetically, suddenly worried that it may come across as defending Vasquez' reaction. "And
thats-... not your problem. I'm just trying to say-..." he sighs, worried gaze turning to the door briefly, "...I know it wasn't the response you were hoping for. But give her a little time. Let her process things a bit. She'll come around."
Ilyna takes a deep breath to regain some composure, and walks over to her desk to find a tissue to wipe under her eyes. "I think I understand her position, but I hope we can at least work together," she says, keeping her voice low due to the open door, "I'll stay out of her way until she's ready to talk with me." She glances at the open door. "Aren't you going to go after her?"
Vasquez gets into the driver's seat of the car. For a moment she just sits with both hands on the wheel, blinking as she watches the snow fall on the windshield, but soon, with a ragged breath, she buckles up and turns the car on. None of all this makes sense to her right now, none of it has sunk in, but she can't go back in there. Not now. She knows that much. She reaches up to wipe at the tears that have escaped with her thumb.
She pulls out onto the street, struggling a little because of the unsteadiness in her hands, but soon she's driving off.
Jason watches Ilyna, sadness clear as day on his face. He gives a few shallow nods to her staying out of Vasquez' way, but guilt slips back into his expression when Ilyna mentions going after her. It's not hard to see that he's wound up pretty tightly and would have sprinted out already had it not been for his need to explain his wife's behavior and make sure that Ilyna was alright. His gaze turns towards the door once more and he
gives a deep sigh before looking back to Ilyna. "I-... I'm sorry, Ilyna." he offers, backing up to the doorway. "I'm gonna make this right. I'll talk to her and-... you're our family, okay?" he reaffirms, his frustration over the situation showing through. "When she works past all of this? She's gonna realize that." he says, his words sincere despite the obvious concern slipping through for his wife and causing him to
speed things up. He draws in one last breath before turning, stepping out into the hall and starting off towards the door.
Ilyna gives a weak nod. "Thank you," she says between shaking breath. "I won't ask for much from her, but... I hope you're right, Jason." She steps out into the hallway after him, but stays by her door as she watches him trying to catch up with her. She'll linger there for half a minute before returning to her office and closing the door behind her.
Jason takes a couple of steps down the hall, passing a glance back to Ilyna before jogging his way to the front door and disappearing through it, also not considering the whole jacket situation. Once outside, he rapidly looks about for any sign of Vasquez.
Jason takes a few steps towards the road and bites down, bringing a synthetic hand up to run through his hair in frustration. Far from the ideal outcome he had hoped for. "Fuck!" he grunts, a bit of that pent up frustration over the past days boiling over. Balling up his fist, he turns back towards the building and nearly swings at the wall but catches himself.