It's late evening December 8. The door to Renala's office stands open, but it would be physically impossible for her to be back at this time unless she was already on her way. The video feeds on the nine screens on the left wall show the hallways, rec room, gym, hangar and lobby. The two tall screens on the opposite wall are locked down except for a warning about a critical-level security alert that cannot be viewed without authenticating
#RedrockAgency – December 18, 2018
Uvena is inside the office, providing an immediate answer to the question why. There is a bucket in front of the desk with a cloth hanging over the edge, and the asari is trying to find a space in drawers and boxes for all the clutter so that she can begin cleaning. She's wearing simple blue pants and a big light-gray turtle-neck sweater.
Jason is on his way to the armory, coming from the gym after going for a run. He's in his usual workout attire: black jogging pants, running shoes, and a plain white t-shirt. It's not until he spots the door to Renala's office wide open that his priorities change, prompting him to step over towards the door and peer inside. Spotting Uvena causes him to draw in a breath and give a roll of his eyes. "Shit, Uvena. Just about gave me
a heart attack. Thought we had a break-in or something." he says. Not the craziest of thoughts considering the way Momma Vasquez managed to slip through their security. "The hell are you doing in Renala's office?"
Uvena stops in her tracks upon hearing his approach, raising an eyebrow at his reaction. "Didn't you notice the bucket?" she asks with a chuckle as she picks up a small circuit board and delicately placing into an almost bursting drawer. "She told me she's coming home, so I figured I'd surprise her by cleaning her office. She never finds time to do it herself." The door to the server room is still locked, even
Jason cocks an eyebrow as he scans about, noting the cleaning supplies. "....Oh." he says as it becomes obvious. "That's-... uhh.... thoughtful? Ya know you could've just told Jasper to do it." The patented 'Jason Method' for cleaning. "He loves cleaning shit. Just-... loves cleaning shit. He's just a cleaning mach-..." he trails off as movement catches his eye from beyond the open hangar door. Jason peers down the hall,
catching sight of Jasper sweeping a mop back-and-forth unenthusiastically. Jason looks to Uvena, then back to Jasper, gesturing towards the latter with a nod. "See! Look at the madman go. Can't get enough of it."
Uvena steps around the desk and peers out into the hallway, looking at him go. She looks skeptical as she steps back inside. "I don't think Renala has given him access," she says before looking back at Jason. "And before you ask why I do, believe me, I have asked her many times myself." She sighs and adds, "I never get a good answer... or a consistent one."
Jason blinks, giving a few small nods as he listens. "Fair enough." he says. "I guess." Why Renala would give access to her office to the person whose car she stole is anyone's guess. But hey. Renala makes poor decisions. That much has been established. His gaze turns towards the screen displaying the security alert, causing him to give a raise of his brow. "What's that about?" he asks, giving a nod towards the screen in question
Uvena follows his gaze to the screen. "That was glaring at me when I got here," she says. "It doesn't say what it's about." She starts walking back into the room and around the desk. "All we can do is hope it can wait for another few days."
Jason studies the screen, brow furrowed as he gives a few nods. "Ya don't say..." he mutters distantly as he approaches the screens and brings his hands to his hips. Glancing about, he looks around the edges of the screen for any sort of manual control.
None of the screens in this room appear to have any controls on them, and their wires don't go far before disappearing into the walls.
Jason frowns when he comes up empty handed. "Well, shit-..." he continues to mumble. "Fergus." he says, giving a glance upwards instinctively as he does, "Any reason for me to be worried about this big ass warning for a 'critical-level security alert'?" he asks, gaze fized to the area where the wall meets the ceiling because-... because it's just as good as anywhere else!
Uvena checks two other drawers while waiting for Fergus' response. She finds some remaining space in the bottom one on her desk, maybe enough for the terminal if she arranges the existing clutter right. She can already imagine Renala's complaints about not being able to find anything, but that's her fault for not organizing her things.
Fergus ' voice sounds over the speakers in Renala's office: "I am afraid I am not qualified to answer that, milord. Lady T'Iavay is the only one that may access that system. According to my data it is an experimental warning system that is still being tested."
Jason draws in a deep breath through his nose, pondering just what in the hell that means. It causes him to give another look around the edge of the screen for some sort of 'off' button but, alas, one has not appeared since the last time he checked. "I'm sure it's fine-..." he begins before glancing back over to Uvena, "It's probably fine, right?"
Uvena shrugs. "There's nothing we can do about it anyway," she says, unplugging the terminal, collapsing it and putting it in the drawer. It won't close, but it's better than nothing. "I was going to find you after I was done here," she says, "do you have a few more minutes?"
Jason stares at the terminal for a moment longer, nodding along to Uvena's words. She's not wrong. He sure as hell can't do anything about it. And, if it was something serious, surely Fergus would've picked up on it. "Yeah, of course." he says, taking a step back from the screens before turning towards Uvena. "What's up?"
Uvena sighs, the earlier relaxed mood giving way to concern and anger. "I spoke with Va'ynna today, she... told me a lot, but what has me most concerned is your interest in Nari Aehan," she says. "I'm here to tell you to drop that. She's a respected member of Armali Intelligence."
Jason furrows his brow, the first name not immediately ringing any bells. But paired with the surname and the mention of Va'ynna, he's able to connect the dots. "Armali." he repeats the familiar name with a few nods, gaze lowering briefly. "That's where Renala's been, right? On Thessia?"
Uvena nods. "It's a big state," she says, "but I could tell you where she lives and you could send Renala there if she hasn't left yet." Uvena averts her gaze as well, and sighs. "I want to smack her into a wall for how she manipulated Va'ynna, but I know that won't help. You know the mercs that hunted me down at the Miner's Respite? Me and her were bondmates for a century, and still she tried to have me
Jason gives a few distant nods to Uvena's initial statement, falling silent as he thinks on it for a moment when that nagging feeling in the back of his mind tells him he's missing something as Uvena continues to speak. Forgetting something. Uvena's words cause him to look back to her. "V's mom sent those mercs after you...?" he asks. But rather than waiting for a response, the other connection comes to him. "Right, right. There
was that young asari we picked up in Aroste..." he says aloud as he works through things. "She was from Armali, too, wasn't she? Marissa...?" he continues, studying Uvena. That was a job she sent them on. One of the most expensive jobs they've ever taken considering Rellis leveled their building and damn near buried them with it. There's a mix of confusion and concentration on his face as he tries to put the pieces
together with little luck. Closing his eyes, he gives a shake of his head. When he opens his eyes, that confusion is replaced by frustration. "I might not be the smartest cookie in the haystack, but I'm smart enough to see that you know more than you're letting on. What in the hell is all of this about, Uvena?"
Uvena shakes her head. "I wish I had all the pieces," she says, still averting her gaze. "She found me when I was vacationing in Armali and she asked for my help, then changed her plans. I didn't accept that. I couldn't stand by when Va'ynna was in danger. So, I knocked her unconscious and stole the datapad she was holding and a as many others as I could fit in my bag." Uvena sighs. "Nari Aehan is a powerful
woman," she says. "That I got away was not me outsmarting her, it was her choice. The other data pads I stole started erasing themselves until I could only see what she must have wanted me to." She looks up at Jason. "I was manipulated just like Va'ynna was." She is quick to add, "Marissa wasn't mentioned anywhere in the document I had about Va'ynna's situation."
Jason merely glares at Uvena as she continues to speak. "And what is Va'ynna's situation?" he asks through clenched teeth. "I mean-... first Rellis takes a shot at her. Then this 'Sala Piros'- who seems to be half-shadow- comes out of the woodwork. Now V tells me her step mother was the one who sent her off to the ass end of the galaxy with monitoring software on her omni-tool and a warning that she's in danger. Her mother who
just so happens to share a last name with the woman V works for." He folds his arms across his chest as he stares Uvena down. "Oh. Right. Who also seems to be living under a fake name and making a habit of getting herself in trouble."
Uvena takes a step back. "You got all I had on that before going to Aroste," she says. "I wouldn't be surprised if she deliberately put Va'ynna and Aylena in their situations; that she knows what Rellis and Sala wants with her." She sighs. "It's terrible, but going after her would be a terrible mistake."
Jason bites down, gaze fixed to Uvena as he considers her words and whether or not to believe. It doesn't take long to reach his conclusion. Their relationship may be strained, but Uvena loves Va'ynna. That much is clear. He lets out a breath in frustration, expression softening. "I've got no intention of going after-... Nari? Was it? I don't know shit about her." he says, his tone relenting. His body is still recovering from the
Collector ship and he's already got another name to add to the pile of potential threats. They don't need that list growing any longer. "But if she knows what all of this is about, then we need to talk to her, get to the bottom of whatever the hell all of this is about, and make sure V is safe."
Uvena keeps her guard up for another few moments, but as Jason relents, so does she. "I get that," she says. "I don't think I can help you with that, though. I could give you her home address, but I erased her contact information when we parted ways almost ninety years ago." She looks out into the hallway. "Maybe Renala kept a backup of Va'ynna's when she erased it?"
Jason raises a hand, running it through his hair as he considers their options. "Yeah..." he says, his tone beginning to sound downright worn out. "...Maybe." Talk about getting out of the line of fire one night. Step further into it the next. Back and forth. "I'll shoot a message Renala's way. See if there's anything she can do about it. I mean, if she's some bigshot on Thessia then I'm sure there's gotta be some way to get in
touch with her." He swallows, looking to Uvena with an apologetic tilt of his head. "Look, I-..." he sighs, "...Sorry for getting snippy. Just seems like it's one thing after another. But we'll figure this out. Hopefully it goes without saying, but I'm not gonna let anything happen to V."
Uvena sighs, and nods. "I... understand," she says, offering a weary smile though there is some lingering discomfort. "I didn't have time to attend your debriefing, but it sounds like we have our work cut out for us dealing with that." She averts her eyes and looks out the hallway. "I or Victoria is always with Va'ynna wherever she goes, and we're not letting anything happen to her either." There is no
confidence in her voice, however, for she knows that Sala or Rellis will have the advantage whenever they choose to strike. If they choose to strike.
Jason gives a few shallow nods to her first statement. "We do..." he says simply, deciding against going any further into it. It's all that's been on his mind. Absorbing every waking moment of his thoughts. The last thing he wants to do is have another conversation about the Collectors. Her second statement is met only with silence initially. He, too, isn't foolish enough to believe Va'ynna is untouchable. But pointing it out
won't help anyone. "If anything does happen, you call me, understand? Anytime- day or night- it doesn't matter. I'll be there. You have my word." he says, forcing a small smile into place as he gives Uvena a pat on the shoulder. "Look, I should get going. But, like I said, I'll shoot Renala a message and see what she can do about getting me in touch with Nari, alright? In the meantime? We've got a whole lot of holes to
fill around here. Jessica is injured and, truthfully, doesn't sound like she'll be sticking around much longer anyway. Oxaris is looking like she'll be out of commission for the long haul. Leah mentioned something about a trip she'll be taking with Mendez and Ten soon. Ehanis is-.... Ehanis is off being Ehanis-..." he decides, "And me and Linda will be off to Adrasteia in the next few days." He gives a deep sigh. "So if
you've got free time to donate, check in with Mendez. He manages the security scheduling and I'm guessing he could probably use you."
Uvena gives a sharp nod. "It sounds like you two could use the vacation," she says, giving his shoulder a brief, gentle pat in return. She tries to hide it, but there's a brief look of uncertainty as she feels the cybernetic joint beneath her hand. "I'll report to him as soon as I'm done in here." She nods at the bucket of water that's probably lukewarm by now.
Jason allows his gaze to turn to the bucket, small smile returning. He does a pretty good job of masking the dull throb in his shoulder resulting from the pat, the area around his cybernetics every bit as tender as the rest of his beaten and battered body. "You have no idea..." he snickers, that weariness slipping back into his tone as he backs towards the door. "I just want to put all of this Collector shit out of my mind for a
few days and spend some time with my wife." he adds. But, for a brief moment, the rest fades away with the usage of the word 'wife' and his smile grows a bit more genuine. "Well, you know where to find me if you need me." he says as he takes his leave.