This logfile is imported from aitelogs2 and may contain errors or wrong timestamps.
#RedrockAgency – November 11, 2018
The 7th of December is a snowy day. Evening is approaching on the 6th day since the return of the Jack of Diamonds to Aite. Vasquez is sitting at the end of the long table that runs the length of the Redrock briefing room, resting her head in one hand as she reads from a datapad held in her other. In front of her on the table is a laptop and some manner of medication fizzling as it dissolves in a glass of water. She's wearing her gray
Redrock jacket open with a white tanktop underneath and matching pants. The holo-projector at the center of the table is idling, clearly ready to be used. Halisi is sitting one space away from Vasquez - the closest seats on each side intended of Jason and Ilyna. Lucy, Elena and Senya are present at the opposite end of the table, representing the crew of the Jack. Cynthia is hanging back near one of the doors, leaned against it, clearly not
intending to participate so much as listen in. Emma is present despite having had no involvement with the Collector threat, hands folded on the table and back straight as she waits in silence.
Ilyna enters the briefing room, and nods to Vasquez before quietly taking the seat next to Halisi. She has kept to herself for most of the day when not with Li, doing her best to stay out of Vasquez' way due to Jason's advice of giving her space. Ilyna is dressed like usual, a long dark modest dress.
Zaylus kicks the last of the snow from his feets with practiced knocks before pressing purposefully into the building. Lingering flakes start melting at once on his grey armor, itself incomplete due to the accommodations made for the medical sling cradling his left arm. He scans a few of the faces in the briefing room before looking down, choosing a seat somewhere in the middle of long
Zaylus notices the woman studying him after just a moment of getting settled, and returns the look, quizzically at first. Unwilling to break first, he gives a short downward nod of the head.
Jason is seated to Vasquez' right, seat angled slightly to face towards the rest of the table. He's dressed in his usual attire of long sleeved white shirt, black military-style pants and combat boots. A few open boxes of donuts sit around the table. Can't have a meeting without donuts, after all. A small napkin is laid out in front of him with a donut atop it. A cup of coffee sits beside it that, if one were to happen a whiff of,
Jessica being the model employee she is, was here bright and early. She's wearing beige cargo pants and a plain black long sleeved shirt that she has ripped a hole into the wrists of to jam her thumbs through in an attempt at some bargain-bin style. Her white sneakers are propped up on the edge of the table as she waits for the meeting to begin, idly digging at the dirt under her nails with the point of her very-jagged batarian
Mendez was prompt as usual. He brought his own coffee. He's well-equipped for winter. Thick black winter jacket. Snowpants. Snowboots. And a black beanie concealing his mohawk. But soon enough his headgear is swept off his head, revealing a lazy puff of flattened hair down the center of his head and he scrambles to reach for his stolen beanie.
Leah gives a snicker at Mendez' reaction as she swipes his beanie and puts it on before dropping into a seat beside him. It garners the usual reaction from the large man: A grumpy glare. Clunky boots, form-fitting jeans, and a puffy light blue winter jacket is her attire for the evening. Topped off by a donut clenched between her teeth.
Gage isn't the most familiar face to many of the people present. He's a thin man in his early 40s. Dressed in a pair of jeans and an old white shirt sporting an Alliance logo and a cap. His thick grey winter jacket is strewn over the back of a nearby chair, but he seems to have opted to stand for now, hands on the backrest of his seat.
Emma lets out a quiet snort, and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it smirk of amusement tugs at one corner of her mouth before she returns the nod, her gaze wandering in Mendez and Leah's direction as the beanie theft occurs.
Lucy is sitting silent, her face hidden under the brim of her hat, arms resting on the table, crossed, as she waits.
Nathan arrives a little shortly after everyone else, creeping into the meeting room with a slightly apologetic look. He seems to be sporting a new scratch on his chin, a thin and shallow slice that he apparently didn’t have time to cover. He’s dressed in a thick, olive green jacket with the collar pulled up, a white thermal shirt beneath, thick dark blue trousers and heavy boots to trudge through the snow. And,
similarly to a few others present, sports a nice hot cup of coffee in his hand. He goes to take a free seat next to Leah, dropping into it with a small sigh. And, before she has the chance to bring it up, he simply motions to his chin and says, “Cat.”
Zaylus returns the perceived derision with a sharp squint of the eyes, letting his gaze lapse only after hers. Now he's looking at the projector and Vasquez, seemingly waiting to begin.
Jasper was already present in the hangar when he recieved the message about a meeting. So he's still dressed in his greasey old coveralls and beat up cap when he enters the room. He draws in a breath as he looks at all the faces around the room, some familiar and others not so much. "Well, let's get this shindig started." he mutters, his usual smile seeming a little hollow given the subject matter of today's meeting. He grabs a
donut as he nears the table in spite of his cholesteral levels and takes a seat across from Nathan, offering the man a small nod of his head in greeting.
Leah's eyes turn to Nathan as he enters the room. Given the awkward night they recently shared, she tries her best not to add to that awkwardness by avoiding eye contact, but it just results in an even more awkward 'look-away-look-back-look-away-pretend-you're-not-looking' cycle. She sweeps a few loose strands of hair from her face when he takes a seat beside her and pulls her legs up onto her seat to sit cross legged. Might as
well get comfy. She passes a smile his direction and gives a raise of her eyebrows in that 'Oh, I just noticed you're here, heya' sorta way. His comment causes her to furrow her brow and bring a hand to his chin to lift his head slightly and get a better look. "Pixel did that?" she asks as she studies the warwound. With a shrug she decides: "You probably deserved it."
Ilyna returns a brief smile to Halisi. She doesn't pull back the arm as it's briefly touched, but there's no other reaction to it either. She looks at the door, hoping that the last attendees will show soon so that meeting can start. Though, as much as it could push her concerns about Vasquez out of her mind for a while it still worries her. What if they end up no wiser from this meeting with the Alliance? What
Nathan gives a friendly smile to Jasper and a tilt of his head, before eyeing the doughnuts. They were most certainly tempting. So tempting, in fact, that it took him a moment to realise Leah was doing a whole routine to try and act nonchalant about... well, it wasn't hard to figure out. He rolls his eyes in a teasing fashion before he finds his whole head being pushed upwards. Nate huffs at her decision and merely
Steve enters the room just a couple of steps in front of Jattic (Who promptly- and silently- takes a seat beside Jasper). "It's really comin' down out there." he says in a mutter as if an excuse as to why he's one of the last to enter the room. Jattic, however, provides no explanation. There's a bit of snow on the shoulders of his heavy jacket and clung to the bottom of his work boots despite his best efforts to stomp it off
before entry. He passes a nod Vasquez' way as he makes his way over to the opposite end of the table. His left arm is still in its cast. Given the amount of damage he suffered, that shouldn't be surprising.
Elena raises half a hand from the table in greetings to Jattic, a nod accompanying the gesture. She's slid down a bit in her seat, arms stretched out across the table.
Vasquez casts a brief glance towards Ilyna when the asari sits down, saying nothing before returning her attention to the datapad in her hand. Soon enough she puts it down, sipping from the glass as her gaze scans across the room and then turns to her laptop.
Jason gives Ilyna a glance as she takes a seat, hand cradled around his coffee. "Hey." he offers simply, a small glance turning from the asari, to Vasquez, then back to the asari.
Jessica cocks an eyebrow as Nathan joins them at the table. She glares at him and gives a very pointed roll of her eyes before shaking her head to herself and getting back to her ghetto manicure.
Leah not having a foot on the ground to prevent it, begins to slowwwly rotate atop her chair when Nathan kicks it. It causes her to jerk her hand back from his chin and grab onto the table to keep from turning all the way around. "Rude!" she mutters, having reverted to a stage whisper with so many people about. With her other hand she jams another big bite of donut into her mouth. "Mmmthese are reallymmm good." she says.
Jattic returns Elena's greeting with one of his own. Just a small bow of his head as he drops into his seat. "Good evening." he says flatly, not wanting to betray himself and inject any personality into his words.
Nathan breathes a small laugh at Leah before he notices not one, but two glares coming his way. One of them he understands, but the other? It left him feeling a little confused as he gave a perked eyebrow to Zaylus. Eh, must not be a fan of meetings. He simply sips at his coffee once more and quietly says to Leah, "It's rude to talk with your mouth full, y'know." He grins.
Leah cocks an eyebrow as she's called out. Her entirely mature response is to stick out her tongue at Nathan, displaying mostly-chewed donut atop it.
Zaylus offers no reason other than a light shake of the head, releasing a long breath and sinking deeper in his chair.
Vasquez glances around the room again as it seems like everyone has arrived that's going to. She checks the time and then looks up towards the corner where the security camera is located, studying it for a moment before speaking up. "Alright everyone!" she calls out loud and clear. "Thank you for coming on short notice. I didn't want this to wait any longer than it had to. I know a lot of you have been waiting a long time for
answers already. Before we start... Ortoratus should be with us from the hospital. Ortoratus, can you hear us?" she asks, speaking a little louder to be sure the recording picks her up.
Jason remains quiet for now, holding Ilyna's gaze for just a moment longer before looking to his wife and taking a small sip of his coffee.
Jessica settles back into her seat with a muttered: "...About time." She rests the large blade in her lap, but keeps her sneakers perched up on the edge of the table.
Leah perks up as Vasquez speaks, attention turning away from Nathan. She's quick to stuff the remainder of her donut into her mouth- just all of it in one last bite- and lick at her fingertips, as if needing to get that out of the way before the meeting begins.
Zaylus rotates the whole chair to look as he sinks a little deeper, resting his short fringe just over the edge of the seat. At this rate he'll be under the table by the end of the meeting.
Vasquez nods as Oxaris' voice comes through, clear enough if rather tinny, through the speaker system mostly used by Fergus under normal circumstances. "Good." she says, her gaze falling on Jessica, or more specifically, Jessica's shoes, just as she's about to continue. She shoots her a scowl, waiting silently.
Ilyna frowns as Jason keeps looking between her and Vasquez, wanting to not draw any attention to this tension. She doesn't say anything, though. She follows Vasquez' gaze up to the security camera at the mention of Oxaris, giving her a nod and a small smile.
Zaylus notices the asari's gaze heading up, and tilts his head up to the indicated security camera. He gives it a wave of his own, but no smile, feeling immediately awkward giving the ceiling a greeting.
Oxaris can't help but return the smile to Ilyna, even if she can't see it. And her smile grows a little at Zaylus' wave too. But, so as not to interrupt Vasquez, she makes no response.
Jessica blinks a couple of times, not exactly getting the reason for Vasquez' scowl at first so she does what comes naturally. She scowls back even harder, eyebrow over her good eye raising.
Jattic draws a deep breath in frustration and reaches out to swipe Jessica's shoes off the table. Probably not the smartest move given the large weapon sitting in her lap, but he doesn't seem too worried. He glares at her and settles back into his seat.
Jessica's deathglare turns to Jattic. She lifts off her chair slightly now that her footrest has been taken from her and shifts into a more comfortable position on her seat, eye locked on Jattic like a heatseeking glare.
Leah gains a big bright smile at the sound of Oxaris. She wasn't in the best of conditions the last time she saw her, so the fact that she's recovered enough to sit in on the meeting- no matter how small of a win it might be- is welcome.
Vasquez lets out a quiet, exasperated sigh letting her gaze wander the gathered group once Jessica's shoes are off the table. "Most of you are here because you participated in the recent mission to rescue Li." A brief glance of uncertain intent goes Ilyna's way before she looks out at the group again. "Some of you knew what you were heading into. Some did not. Redrock will not forget the bravery with which you fought to bring that
girl back to safety." she says, gaze moving up to the camera again and lingering there for a moment. "We will see everyone taken care of. And paid, as soon as we are able." There's a hint of an almost apologetic tone there. This mission wasn't planned. And there was no profit earned. The expenses have proven a major challenge. "Redrock takes care of our own. But that's not what this meeting is about." she continues, gaze
scanning across the crowd again. "This meeting is about the Collectors. The name that we have finally been able to put to the threat that almost everyone here has faced at one point or another. It's about sharing information and answering questions. And planning for the future."
Jason nods along as Vasquez speaks. His gaze comes to rest on Zaylus as their recent conversation comes to mind. "We met with my contact in the Alliance this morning to let them know what we know and hand off whatever intel we had." he says, gaze wandering about the table. "Hopefully they'll be able to put to good use but, unfortunately, she said they don't know much more than we do." The disappointment behind is eyes is pretty
Gage finally speaks up, giving a loud snort. "Yeah well, I'm pretty fluent in Alliance BS. That might as well be 'We are not at liberty to say.' You can bet your ass the Alliance know all about the Collectors." he says. It doesn't even seem to be meant as an insult to the Alliance. Just a matter of fact.
Jason gives a stern nod, pointing Gage's way. "Absolutely. We've gotta assume they're making moves behind the scenes. And, while that might not mean a whole lot for us when our asses are in the fire, all we can do is keep our heads down. Pool together whatever intel we've gathered. And put boots to winged asses if it comes to that." He falls silent, glancing about for any further input.
Steve gives a roll of his eyes, shifting slightly in his seat. He doesn't look at all surprised about the lack of Alliance intervention.
Emma nods in agreement with Gage, looking his way briefly when he speaks before looking back towards Vasquez and Jason at the end of the table.
Cynthia shifts a little by the door, crossing her arms as she listens in silence to the conversation.
Nathan shifts a little in his seat, unsure whether now would be the right time to bring up, again, the possibility of sharing this information with Sandbeck. In his mind, it makes sense. They have the resources, the people, the clout to be able to do something with all this information, even if it's as menial as sending a handful of supplies to potential victims of the Collector kidnappings. But he's also not sure how
well it could be received by others here or if Jason would want it bringing up again. So, for the moment, he remains silent. At least until he can get a read of the room.
Zaylus holds Jason's eyeline as his gaze rests on him, understanding the meaning behind the glance. Still not much of a surprise, he nods slowly while releasing a low sigh. At the lull after Jason's last sentiment, he offers a quick endorsement. "I agree. It's only our boots down here." He mutters, head bent down and eyes fixed on the table as he speaks.
Oxaris finds herself nodding along with Vasquez, even though her movements are invisible to the rest. "I'm willing to try and clarify anything else that people may be wondering. I was... unfortunately the only one to see a larger portion of the ship." Her mind wanders to the young woman who did not survive the encounter, who had held onto Li as Oxaris tried to buy them time.
Vasquez glances briefly to Jason, letting out a quiet sigh and nodding as she looks out across the room again. "Yes. For the time being, we have to be prepared to defend ourselves. To that end, I'd like to elaborate on Redrock's history with the Collectors." she says, inevitable discomfort creeping into her voice. As Oxaris' voice comes through the speakers she nods. "We'll get to that." she says with a gesture of her hand, asking
the turian to wait. "Since it's become clear that there's a very real possibility of further conflict with the Collectors, I believe it's important that everyone here be as informed as possible." she says.
Jessica furrows her brow. "So nobody is going to help us. Mmm. Big surprise." she huffs with a roll of her eyes. Her mention of 'us' most certainly is in regard to Aite rather than Redrock. Not exactly out of the ordinary for Terminus residents to be forgotten by the rest of the galaxy.
Zaylus snorts quietly at Jessica's color commentary, her sentiment reflecting better what he really wanted to say.
Jason's hand remains around his coffee cup, tapping rhythmically against it. His inability to get any answers from Captain Riley feels like a loss, but it's not something worth dwelling on. Jessica's concern isn't exactly unwarrented- or far from his own- but the last thing he wants to do is cause the others to further question the Alliance's commitment to ridding the galaxy of the Collectors. All it would do is cause more panic.
"This is gonna be an open discussion." he adds on to Vasquez' statement, glancing around the table to the others, "So that means any questions? You just go ahead and speak up." He passes a glance from Vasquez to Ilyna before clearing his throat. "So-... Uhhh... I guess the first time we encountered the Collectors was back on the Evening Star..." he begins, gaze resting somewhere between the two as he waits for one of them
Vasquez seems briefly distracted by some unwanted thought after Jessica's words, but after a giving a few more moments for somone to interject, she presses a key on her laptop, and the room dims a little, the projector at the center of the table coming to life. She looks to Jason as he starts, nodding and speaking up. "In 2183, I was working as the security chief of the MSV Evening Star, an ExoGeni survey vessel." A medium-sized
ship with four large engines flickers to life in the projector field. "We were sent to a remote colony world to re-establish contact with the local outpost and recover what we believed to be a Prothean artifact. Jason and Ilyna had been hired on as additional security, along with... a number of others." Her voice quiet a little at the last part, expression shifting inscrutably.
Leah shifts in her seat a bit, one hand coming to rest on the table as she studies the projection in silence. She's heard bits and pieces of the story by this point.
Zaylus turns his attention on the projector, talons tapping noiselessly against the cushion of his seat.
Gage remains standing, gripping the backrest of his seat and leaning forward a bit to study the holographic projection.
Lucy lifts her head a little to watch, and listen, in continued silence, her haunted eyes visible from under her hat now.
Ilyna looks at the projection of the ship, and it takes her mind back to her experiences there; fighting among strangers in a time of much uncertainty. "We had no information about why the colony lost contact," she says, "or the nature of the artifact they had uncovered." She wasn't part of the team recovering the artifact, and had a relatively small role in it all, so there's not much she can add to this.
Vasquez nods, sucking in her lips for a moment as she fights her own haunted mind to continue. "Upon arriving on the planet we found the Prothean artifact." She switches the projection to a adaptable-direction screen that shows headcam footage of a sizable object that looks not unlike a dead spider, metal limbs curled inwards towards the center. Even in footage, there's an ominous, eerie look to the thing. "At least... that's what
the expedition lead claimed it was at the time. It was brought aboard the ship. However, we also found... what was left of the original survey team. They'd... gone mad from exposure to the thing. At the time, we didn't know the cause."
Jason gives a couple of nods as the others begin to recount the ordeal on the Evening Star, his own expression growing a bit distant. "We-... uhh-... We didn't know it had anything to do with Collectors back then. Hell, for me it was just an easy security gig to make some quick credits." he snorts as his gaze turns to the table. The idea that such a- at the time- small decision shaped so much of the years that followed it was
troubling. But he swallows that down, propping that armored lopsided smirk as he passes a glance around the table. "Oops." he adds sarcastically. As the projection changes, his brow furrows and he studies it intently. That feeling in the pit of his stomach comes back in force. That heaviness he felt on Di Yu. "Wasn't long before the rest of the ship started turning, too." he adds, whatever he can do to keep his mind off of
Leah bites down as she looks over the artifact. "...Just like the one on Di Yu." she says, glancing amongst the three survivors of the Evening Star for any sort of confirmation.
Vasquez meets Leah's gaze and nods, before switching the footage with a keypress. It now shows humans in ExoGeni crew uniforms with empty faces running and scrambling over each other as they charge towards the camera viewpoint. It becomes rather apparent just who's viewpoint that is as machinegun fire rips into them, shredding the unarmored crewmen into bloody confetti, bits of torn clothing and viscera visible between the
blinding muzzle-flashes that the grainy camera struggles to compensate for. Her gaze falls to the table, taking a strained breath as she grips the edge and deciding to quickly change the recording back to the artifact. "Most of the crew was driven mad by that... thing. Attacking each other. It was a near total loss. We were forced to abandon ship."
Nathan glances around at everyone, brow furrowed deeply. He's only heard bits and pieces of all of this, after all, it still doesn't make complete sense to him. But the footage was... enough to make him almost recoil in disgust. Those crew members weren't even like the husks yet, bar the empty faces. They were still... "Shit..."
Zaylus stares, captured by the footage and the story being told. It's entirely news to him, and he can only take it in and struggle to keep his expression neutral.
Emma furrows her eyebrows as she watches the footage displayed, managing to maintain a mostly neutral, albeit highly attentive, expression.
Gage finds himself glancing away from the footage. It's not the violence or the gore that gets to him. He's seen far too much active combat to be squeamish. He passes a sympathetic glance Jason's way.
Steve sighs as he watches the footage unflinching, head propped up by his hand as his elbow rests against the armrest of his chair. "That's fine and all, but what does any of that mean for the rest of us? Most of us have been 'round one of those things and we ain't chokin' the shit out of each other yet. Gotta be more to it than just sharin' the same air. Hell, back at the Barn I saw Wolfe carry the damn thing right out the front
door and he don't seem quite batshit yet." he says with a nod towards Jason. He gives his boss a brief once over before shrugging and reiterating: "No more than he was before, anyway." with a small smile. "At any rate he ain't stompin' around like a lunatic tryin' to tear the rest of us apart with his bare hands."
Jason gives an empty huff in response to Steve, a failed attempt at a snort. "Yeah, well, don't get too ahead of yourself. There's still a few hours left in the day, Briggs." he offers the man through a hollow smirk.
Leah furrows her brow as she watches the footage, expression mostly unchanging. That switch in her seems to have been flipped from 'Civilian' to 'Soldier' once again.
Vasquez looks to Steve. "Like I said...." she says sharply. "This is a very real threat, and I believe it's important that everyone here be informed about the dangers, and about our history with it. And yes. You're right. Several-... several of us have been in close contact with artifacts like this one. And... I don't have all the answers as to why so many of the Evening Star's crew were so severely affected. Proximity and
duration almost certainly plays a part. Maybe the type of artifact does as well. Maybe... someone with more resources than us has the answers to those questions, but I'm not exactly itching to spend time with one of those things to find out. Are you, Briggs?" she asks, staring him down.
Halisi seems to consider speaking up, but instead just nods in agreement with Vasquez, holding her tongue for now.
Zaylus breaks gaze with the footage finally, glancing at the expressions of everyone around the table. Not finding the one he was searching for, his eyes flick up to the security camera, visibly unnerved.
Oxaris has done a good job of hiding her reactions, merely listening and cataloguing the information. If they were to fight these things again, she needed to know -everything-. She notices Zaylus looking to the camera and she sighs, wishing to give him a reassuring smile.
Ilyna keeps looking at the projection as she listens to Vasquez and Jason, frowning as she looks at the footage. She looks between Jason and Steve. "The cultists on Di Yu may have had years of exposure to it," she says. Her mind then drifts the Li, who may also have had exposure to it, but she choose not to mention that. "There's a lot we don't know about them," she nods in agreement with Vasquez, "but we know
Steve makes a show of considering the question for a moment before giving a small shrug of his soldiers. "Not for what you're payin' me." he says, seeming far more comfortable with all of this 'monster-creating-artifact' business than someone should. As Ilyna chimes in he gives a small nod. "Fair 'nuff."
Jason chimes in to keep things rolling after Ilyna has spoken up. "The bottom line is we don't really know what it is that gets people from point A to-... to that." he says with a nod to where the footage was despite it no longer being displayed. "In some cases it's pretty obvious. Some of the creatures we've come across have some sort of-... of-..." he reaches up, grasping at the air in front of his face and tugging it outward.
"...Probo-... probusc-.... pre-... look, they're fucking face straws, right?" he decides on as the word eludes him, passing a glance around the table to ensure they're all on the same page. "Face-straw-motherfuckers jam that sucker in you? That seems to be it. Lights out. But we didn't have any of those onboard the Evening Star. Didn't see any on the Collector ship. So-..." he trails off, hazarding a glance Halisi's way as
if hoping she may be able to shed some more light on the transformation process. She's the only one out of them with any sort of medical experience, after all.
Leah gives a grim nod around the table. She had some up close and personal experience with the proto-adjutants on Oogofau. Her gaze rests on Nathan. "They're-..." she begins, pausing to give another nod, "...bad news. Seemed to have biotic abilities on top of it."
Nathan looks to her and blinks. "Oh... great." Wow, he sounds so enthused by that. He rubs his brow and looks across the table to owners of Redrock, then to Halisi. He doesn't want to interrupt her as she's likely to give... a somewhat clear description of these things from a medical standpoint. Maybe. Possibly.
Vasquez switches the projection to footage from Ogofau. An infected miner, barely recognizable as human as it shuffles through a halway, body bloated with eezo blisters, and tubes hanging from its dislocated jaw. Its inhuman moaning fills the conference room for a moment before she cuts the sound. "Yes. The individuals encountered on Ogofau and... later on Di Yu, exhibited different capabilities." she says.
Halisi nods in response to Jason and Vasquez, folding her hands as she speaks up. "The creatures we encountered on the Collector vessel, and, from the descriptions that have been shared with me, those the Evening Star encountered, match the descriptions of what the Alliance calls 'husks'. The geth used them as a weapon during the '83 invasion. They... are created when an individual is pierced by a specialized device, I'm... sure some of
you know them as Dragon's Teeth." she says, glancing towards some of the ex-Alliance personnel in the room. "The transformation is caused by nanites that... converted the body's mass into cybernetics." she continues her explanation. "The technology was believed to be geth in origin... until Horizon."
Vasquez switches the projection to footage from the news reports on Horizon. Dead husks being carted off by Alliance soldiers.
Gage gives a small roll of his shoulders, further discomfort setting in at the mention of the Dragon's Teeth. They've all heard the horror stories from the attack on the Citadel.
Jason settles back into his seat. He passes a small glance Halisi's way as the Ogofau footage begins to play. Those were her people, after all. "That adds up." he says. "I-... uhh-... I lost control of my cybernetics. Leah too." he says, giving a small nod Leah's way. His grip around his coffee cup tightens as he recalls the experience of losing control of his own limbs and damn near turning his gun on a friend. The latter thought
causes him to pass an almost apologetic look Nathan's way, but he doesn't linger on it. "Halisi found some-..." he shakes his head a few times, glancing back to Halisi in confusion. It's all just nerd shit to him. "Code...?" he offers, unsure if it's the right term, "...When she ran diagnostics on our cybernetics after the fact. So they seem to have some way of controlling cybernetics. Once Renala gets back from her
vacation I plan on passing the data Halisi found on to her. See if she can come up with some way to make sure they can't take control of our cybernetics the next time we encounter them."
Jessica who has, until this point, remained uncharacteristically quiet finally speaks up, the talk of cybernetics seeming to pull her interest. "Give me a copy of the data." she says, passing an uncomfortable glance about the table before resting it on Jason. "Yan Sun is-... she knows these things." she says with a small nod. "She will maybe be able to help."
Jason studies Jessica for a moment. He's seen Yan Sun and is well aware of the extensive cybernetics she possesses. Despite not being entirely convinced that Jessica's motivations are entirely selfless, he gives a small nod. "We'll take whatever help we can get. I'll get that to you before you leave."
Oxaris hums as she listens. She tunes in. "If they have a way of controlling cybernetics, is it possible that, by extension, they could control other tech too? Such as our suits or omni-tools?"
Ilyna glances up at the security camera as Oxaris asks her question. "And biotic amplifiers and implants," she says. "We can't rule that out, but if they were able to, then I'm sure they would have done that during our battle with them."
Vasquez glances up at the ceiling as Oxaris' voice comes through. "We've seen no indication of that, thankfully, but our experience with this... hijacking is... limited. We've only encountered a single individual that demonstrated that ability. It's uncertain how widespread it is." she explains, looking around for any more interjections before continuing. "Several of you were present either on Ogofau or Di Yu. As has been
mentioned, the husks encountered there were... different. They were deadlier, possessing biotic abilities, and they were able to infect others through direct injection instead of relying on a stationary mechanism."
Halisi nods. "Some of you saw what happened to Ogofau." she says, her voice a little quieter than before. There's a hint of a shake there. "It spread like wildfire throughout the mine. I... I had the chance to study samples of the infected. It's my belief that it's a different strain of nanites. Something... more advanced. Far more virulent. There's a genetic component to it that-... I don't what is. It's like nothing I've ever seen."
Her has been focused mostly on the table as she speaks, but she looks out across the group. "It... is my hope that this particular strain was wiped out with the machine cult on Di Yu. There seemed to be... a connection there. To those... old ruins. I'm not sure why, but it's my belief that the Collectors at large don't possess the ability to make more of those things, or we would surely have encountered them on their vessel.
If... you'll allow the conjecture." she says with a slightly apologetic tone, glancing towards Jason and Vasquez.
Ilyna looks at Halisi as she speaks, resisting the instinct to take her hand as she notices the shake in her voice. She knows very well how much these memories haunt her, but she feels limited given the scrutiny she's under, but also she doesn't know if Halisi would like that right now.
Jason listens as Halisi speaks, his eyes mostly glazing over through the technical talk, but he does his best to pay attention. The clear discomfort causes him to briefly avert his gaze to the table. They've all suffered losses at the hands of the Collectors. But few have lost as much as Halisi. That entire station was a graveyard when the Collectors were done with it. "Uhh-... Yeah. Sure. Conjecture away..." he says, falling
silent as if waiting for her to follow that up. It takes a moment before he realizes she has already finished and he just doesn't know what the word 'conjecture' means and he clears his throat awkwardly. "So-... uhh-... yeah. Basically: Stay the fuck away from them. A scratch probably won't kill you, but do your best not to chance it. And if they can't make more of those freaks? Even better. One less thing to keep me up at
Steve shifts slightly at the mention of them potentially controlling biotic implants, but doesn't voice his concern.
Leah bites her lower lip as she listens, waiting for a lull in the conversation before voicing her own concerns. "I'm more worried about the creatures we encountered onboard the ship." she says, passing a few glances around the table to those who were present for Li's rescue. "All it took was one bite from those bugs and we were out of the fight. Fire seemed to work well enough but-... just one slips through and that's the end
Nathan grimaces as he remembers being completely immobilised... twice. Once back on that sand-ball, then on the ship. It's... not a pleasant experience to go through.
Vasquez looks over briefly to Halisi, eyebrows furrowing slightly. She doesn't say anything to the doctor, instead turning her attention to the rest of the group. She seems about to continue when Leah speaks up. "Yes." she says with a nod, switching the image to one of Nathan's helmet-cam after being paralyzed aboard the Good Things Come, seeker swarm buzzing around him. "It's... concerning how effective the paralyzing swarm was
even on armored individuals. Judging by the reports there's no doubt that this is how the Collectors have been abducting colonists so easily. We... have no effective countermeasure at this time." she says, glancing over to Halisi.
Halisi nods softly. "I was lucky I managed to avoid the things and free the others." she says quietly, as unpleasant memories play through her head. "Their efficency at disabling our team was... shocking."
Nathan blinks. Oh, wait, that might be a good idea to share that. "Uh, so... those creatures. They're... kinda everywhere, I think. When we were stranded on that dust-ball, I got... stung by one of them. Paralysed me for a long time and Jason had to drag me everywhere."
Jason draws in a deep breath, nodding to himself as his focus turns to those moments locked in place as the Collectors loaded them like cargo. Nathan's revelation causes him to furrow his brow, attention snapping to him. "Fuck... I didn't even-..." he trails off with a sigh, his gaze turning to Halisi. "He's right. He got bit by something on Rakhana that put him down for the count. Was just like back on the Good Things Come." His
attention returns to Nathan and he adds in a mutter: "Guess we know what got that backstabbing jellyfish..."
Vasquez raises an eyebrow, her attention turning to Nathan, obviously surprised by this information. "What? You're sure?" she asks, running through her mind what this means. The Collectors were there? What did they want? How narrowly did the Siren's Call miss them? That thought sends a shiver down her spine.
Nathan nods as he sits up, taking hand away from his cup to wave idly at himself. “Yeah. It flew right out of the sand and jammed its stinger into me. I was paralysed pretty much instantly, same as aboard the ship. It’s... not a sensation you quickly forget.” He grimaces again, rubbing his neck. “What makes me nervous is the fact that, while we were there, I’m pretty sure none of us saw that Goliath of
a ship that fly. So either they were there long before us or they have an alternative means of transportation.”
Vasquez frowns, studying Nathan. "That's... concerning." she says, looking to Jason, and seeking his gaze. Wondering what his input is.
Leah furrows her brows as she listens to Nathan, gaze fixed squarely on him. As he talks, she reaches under the table to give his hand a squeeze but instantly thinks better of it and retracts her hand. Nevermind the looks she might get from the others should they catch sight, after their awkward night of misfortunes it might just cause lightning to strike the building.
Jason backs up Nathan's words with a nod of his own and meets Vasquez' gaze. "I had to drag this heavy bastard halfway across a desert. Didn't think much of it at the time but-..." he winces, biting down briefly, "...Shit. I don't know how I didn't connect the two after the Collector ship. I mean-... after the hanar turned on us, we found its truck a little ways out. Was pretty much just a stain in the sand. And then the bug-..."
Vasquez brings a hand up to her mouth, rubbing it back and forth as she looks down in thought. "Shit..." she mutters, shaking her head slightly. "I don't-... I don't know." Her gaze moves briefly to Nathan, and then back to Jason before nodding. "We'll have to look into this more. I don't like the idea that we were that close to running into those things without even knowing it."
Ilyna looks at Jason. "You didn't find the artifact in the truck," she says. "Maybe it's why they were there?" Ilyna wasn't there, but she did read the reports very carefully wherever Ehanis was involved.
Jason just seems to grow more confused and gives a slight shake of his head. "I don't-... The artifact on Rakhana didn't seem to be Collector in origin. Was supposed to be Prothean." he says as he looks to Ilyna. "I mean-... I guess it could've been what they were after? Hell, maybe they just have a really aggressive interest in history. I don't know." he shrugs, a sigh escaping at their lack of info regarding this new