#RedrockAgency – August 9, 2019

Ilyna discusses the Ehanis lead with Jason.

Ilyna, Renala and Sioria returns from the Respite via Jasper's shuttle. Renala heads straight to her office, while Sioria is told to prepare her equipment for the trip.

Ilyna steps out of the shuttle, and heads down the hallway immediately. Ilyna does not want to authorize this mission without the blessing of either Jason and Vasquez, especially not in the wake of what happened when they were away.

It's around noon on the 19th of December.

Jason has just finished taking a shower after hitting the gym and is on his way to his office. Dressed in his usual attire of a white, long-sleeved shirt, black military pants and combat boots, he slowly makes his way down the stairs, hair still a bit damp from the shower.

Ilyna stops by Jason's office, and is about to sound the doorbell when she catches sight of him in the corner of her eyes. "Hey, Jason," she says, walking over to meet him. "Do you have a minute to talk? It's about Ehanis." She sounds a bit stressed. Ilyna is wearing her long black puffy winter coat, and simple dark gray pants.

Jason rustles at his hair with a synthetic hand as he takes the last few steps, attempting to pat the dampness away with little success. He's off to a late start today, having slept in a bit since their recent return threw him off his schedule. Okay, he's off to a late start most days and hardly has a schedule, but today he has an excuse! He offers a lopsided smirk as he spots Ilyna, but it falls back as he hears her tone. "Yeah,

of course." he offers as he taps the interface to his door. When it slides open, he gestures for them to go inside with a nod of his head. "I'm gonna assume that this is about the message she sent?" he asks as he enters his office.

Ilyna nods and follows him inside. "T'Iavay found a precise location for where the message was sent," she says. "I want to send someone there. It's a long trip, even by shuttle." She frowns. "I know, it's not worth it to the agency, but... I still want to, Jason." The asari still sounds stressed.

Jason steps over to the small, waist-high shelf beside the door once inside to collect his holstered Phalanx from atop it. After all the effort he went into putting it together, he's damn well gonna use it! He lets out a deep breath, head lowered as he works at the straps of the shoulder holster. "Ilyna..." he says softly. He's come a long way since having the cybernetics installed, but certain things still take some added

concentration and, as such, he falls silent for a moment as he clasps the holster into place. "You know it's not about whether or not it's 'worth it' for Redrock." he continues, returning his gaze to the asari. The holster sits flat against his left side, folded up Phalanx tucked neatly against his ribcage. "She's your sister. I get that. But... Ehanis is grown." he offers with a wince, an apologetic undertone beneath his

words. "It's not like she just-... up and disappeared. She left. And, hell, after what we went through out there? I can't really say I blame her." He tries to force a small, sympathetic smile into place as he reaches out to clasp a hand on the asari's shoulder. "I think she just needs some time." he offers softly. "Hell, I think we could probably all use a little bit of time." he adds with a small, humorless snort that

does little to mask the exhaustion behind it. "Besides, I gave her my word that as long as she kept in touch so we knew she was okay that I would make sure you didn't go running off after her." He gives her a playful little jostle, trying to keep the mood light in the face of her obvious concern, "You gonna make me a liar?"

Ilyna tilts her head as she listens to Jason, not hiding her dissapointment; the jostle does not help her at all. She is quiet for a moment in thought, and appears a little less stressed out. "I... don't think the sporadic communication is enough," she says. "I want someone to talk to her, see how she's really doing when she isn't able to carefully compose a message and pose for a picture." She closes her eyes

for a moment, and shakes her head. "If she was going on a vacation, she would have gone to somewhere warm and relaxing," she says, "but that is not where she is. She's maybe as far north as people can settle, in a place where the snow is around all year."

Jason withdraws his hand and places it on his hip, smile fading as he draws a breath in through his nose. He studies the asari in silence for a few moments. "So you think she's in trouble?" he asks.

Ilyna looks thoughtful. "I... I trust her to slip us a message if that was the case, but... we can't be sure, can we?" she asks. "She must be hiding, but is it from me? From Mian? Or could it be someone else?" Ilyna sighs, looking at Jason with a pleading look on her face. "Please, Jason, I... worry for her. I want to know that she is really fine. It'll just be Felcolus going and a pilot to take her there.

She... also has a personal stake in this, Ehanis spent much time with her, and... she was left in the dark too."

Jason lets out a frustrated sigh, glancing off to the side as he listens. When Ilyna finishes, he rests his attention back on her. "If she thought she was in danger, why would she run? Hell, she had an entire PMC on her side, Ilyna." He studies her for a moment, quite clearly of the mind that she's overreacting. But, overreacting or not, she's obviously concerned about her sister. He forces that small, sympathetic smile back into

place as he relents with a sigh. "How long of a trip are we talking?" he asks, his tone falling flat as he realizes there's only one way Ilyna's concerns are going to be quelled.

Ilyna tenses up as Jason started talking, preparing her defense. But, then the tone changed, and the tension released almost as quickly. "I wish I understood her, Jason, but I clearly don't," she says, "which is why I also want to do this." She pulls the datapad out of her pocket, which has the picture of the bar and the nav point, and offers it to Jason. "They'll be gone until late tonight... I think. I haven't

asked Sullivan how long he'd need, so it could be much less."

Jason reaches out to accept the datapad. After sliding it open, he begins to inspect it, blue eyes scanning back and forth across the contents of the datapad. Another deep breath slips out and he pokes at the back of his teeth with his tongue for a few moments as he considers it. A low, humorless snicker escapes as he brings his free hand up to run through his still-damp hair. "...Linda is gonna love this." he mutters to himself.

"Alright." he sighs as he looks back to Ilyna, extending the datapad back to her, "I'll put a message out to the others. Let them know the shuttle is gonna be out of action for a day or two." he continues, almost as if running through the list of things he's going to need to handle. "And you said Felcolus has a personal stake in this, right?" he asks, "I'm gonna assume this means that she's aware that this isn't a paid

op...? Just-... checking in on a friend. Right?"

Ilyna places a hand on Jason's shoulder, and for a moment looking it looks like she wants to hug him. There is a small smile on her face. "Thank you, Jason," she says. "I... I really appreciate it." Ilyna looks a bit concerned that Sioria won't be paid for this, but nods. "Yeah, I'm sure she understands that," she says. "I told her to document any expenses, though, but... I can pay that."

Jason gives a few small nods, the lopsided grin making a brief, restrained return. "But it doesn't come without a catch." he warns, his smile slipping away. "If you're gonna do this, we need to agree on a few things."

Ilyna retracts her hand, her smile fading as well as she notices his doing so. Ilyna is ready to accept just about anything to act on this rare opportunity to properly contact her. "Of course," she says. "What's the catch, then?"

Jason gives another couple of nods when Ilyna agrees to hear out his terms. "Felcolus is to stay out of trouble." he says sternly. "So that means that in the off chance that it seems like something is wrong when she gets there? She's to report in and switch her priorities to recon. We'll throw together a team and Jasper can get back here and-..." he pulls in a sharp breath at the prospect that they might find themselves in yet

more shit, "...pick them up ASAP." He falls silent, waiting to make sure she understands before continuing.

Ilyna frowns as she considers that possibility, but it also serve to strengthen her resolve and the necessity of this trip. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that," she says, and nods, "but I understand. The safety of our team comes first, and I'll make sure Felcolus knows that."

Jason gives another nod, waiting a breath before continuing. "Just-... putting it out there as a precaution. I'm sure it won't come to that." he says with a small shake of his head as if to try and help ease her concerns. "Which brings me to my next request." He holds her gaze, but his expression softens. "If Felcolus goes all the way out there and it turns out that it's a simple case of Ehanis needing some space? Needing some

time to-... sort through all of this? I want you to promise me you'll give it to her." He winces slightly, well aware that it's probably not what Ilyna wants to hear. "She's your sister. You love her. You worry about her. You want to be there for her. But you've gotta let her figure out whatever it is she's going through. She knows that you're here. That you've got her back. That she's got people to lean on if she needs

them." He reaches out once more, giving the asari a gentle pat on the shoulder, "But sometimes you just-..." he draws in a sharp breath and reaches up with his free hand to tap at his head a few times, "...need some time to clear this all up. Time to yourself. Away from everything else. From all of the noise." He's certainly been there. "...Alright?"

Ilyna frowns, and looks down with closed eyes. "What if she doesn't want to come back after... she's sorted it out?" she asks. "That her solution to this is to... never talk to us again?" She takes a deep breath, and releases it in a sigh. "I suppose that is what I deserve," she says. "I wasn't there in the most important time of her life: the start of her maiden years. It's what I regret most, because... maybe

I could have steered her on a better path, away from people like Mian." Her frowns deepens as she adds, "or... it's possible that I would have made things worse." Ilyna then nods, without looking up. "I... I will give her the space she needs."

Jason falls silent as Ilyna speaks, merely giving her shoulder a small, comforting squeeze. "I'm not gonna pretend to know Ehanis too well." he admits with a shrug. "But I do know you. You're one of the most dependable, kindest, caring people I've ever met, Ilyna. So if Ehanis' 'solution' is to cut that out of her life, then-..." he gives a shake of his head, "...Well, then she's making a huge mistake." He forces a small,

sympathetic smile. "But you've gotta give her the chance to make that decision for herself, right? Just gotta-... trust that she's gonna make the right choice."

Ilyna looks back up at him after he's done speaking, and gives a few small nodes as she thinks about it. "You're right," she says. "I cannot expect her to trust me to... help her if I don't trust her."

Jason gives a few silent nods, drawing in a deep breath. It's not hard to see how much all of this is bothering Ilyna. He falls quiet for a few moments, unsure of what to say in the face of her concerns. Eventually, after giving Ilyna a few moments to process, he gives her shoulder one final pat before withdrawing his hand. "I do have one last request." he says, giving a short pause for dramatic effect. "You and Li spend

Christmas over here with me and Linda...?" A small smile, tempered by the weight of the conversation slips out. It's obviously more of an offer than anything related to the trip, played up for effect. "It's gonna be Li's first Christmas so I figured-..." he gives a sheepish shrug, "...I don't know. Might be nice. All of us together?" After a moment's consideration he shakes his head, "Unless you guys already have plans, of

course!"

Ilyna raises her brows at the change of topic, but a smile does follow as it's certainly a welcome one. "Va'ynna has told me a few details about this holiday, but I don't think she knew much about it herself," she says. "It sounds like another excuse for Li to get more candy." Her voice is still affected by the weight of the conversation right before it, so she may come across much less light-hearted than

intended. "But, assuming everything goes well with Felcolus' trip, we'll have a lot of time to discuss this tonight over a few glasses of wine tonight," she says, "I'm not going to turn down your invitation, though, that much I can say for sure."

Jason perks up slightly as Ilyna speaks. He nods along, giving a low snicker at the mention of more candy. The mention of the drinks tonight reminds him that he's still got plenty of work to do. "Sounds like a plan." he says softly as he takes a step back. "Well, I should-..." he draws in an exasperated breath as he glances back, gesturing towards his terminal, "...probably get to work. Figure I should give that report another

once-over before I decide whether or not to kick Ten's teeth down his throat." he sighs. Given the flat delivery of the statement, it's probably meant in jest. Probably. Though there's no denying that there's some frustration behind it. But he tries to put that out of his mind for now. "But-... yeah." he nods, propping his smile back up, "We can talk more about it tonight." he agrees, taking another step back towards his

desk. A moment passes before something seems to come to him that causes his smile to grow more sincere. "Hey, maybe you could even invite the doctor to join us for Christmas...?" he dangles, his grin implying there's probably more to the offer than he's letting on. "The looooove doctor?" he teases.

Ilyna frowns as he mentions Nathan, bringing the guilt of involving her own problems in the middle of this to the forefront of her mind. She is about to take her leave when he brings up Halisi, and that does cause a smile to show up. Well, until he sets her cheeks on fire by having making it clear he's noticed that, fighting her instincts to just leave the room. "If only we can tear her away from work long

enough for that," she says before moving swiftly on, "If there was nothing else, I'll make sure Felcolus and Sullivan is briefed and ready to go as soon as possible."

Jason gives a stupid little rotation of his hips as he continues to back up, unwilling to let Ilyna off the hook that easily. "Eh? Eh?" he continues to tease through his lopsided grin over her attempts at mounting an escape. "I'm on to you two! I've got eyes!" he says, using his index and middle finger to gesture at his face. If nothing else, it helps to cement the smile into his features. "Yeah, yeah. Get out of here." he finally

acknowledges her retreat dismissively through his lopsided grin, waving her off with a snap of his wrist as he falls into his seat.

Ilyna can't help but chuckle at Jason's continued teasing, even if it's successful in strenghtening her embarrassment. When she's told to leave, she nods and is out of his office without another word. She manages to regain herself on the way back to meet up with the turian.

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