James: Heh. Yeah, well. She’d just lost her dad, and the thing that killed him was inside her own head. I think I sort of get why she did it – let the Leviathan in, that is. Whatever that thing was, it had killed someone she loved. And it was sudden, and she wasn’t able to be there when it happened. She wanted answers – I would have too. I figured, if I could do anything to help her get what she needed, let alone what we needed, then I’d have to do it. So I checked it out.
Steve: Shepard told me he was lucky you made that decision, Mr. Vega. He said if you hadn’t been there, things might have gone very differently.
James: He thanked me for it, yeah. So did Ann. But I dunno, man. I feel like Loco could have handled whatever the Leviathan made Ann do… but who knows? Maybe the monsters on the other end have cards they still haven’t played. Something they can do through their slaves that they didn’t want us to know about then, and still don’t. And if they thought they could take out Loco and EDI without anyone else finding out how… if I hadn’t, I guess, been there keeping Ann still… (frowning, rubbing his forehead)
Steve: (reassuringly) You were, though. That’s what counts.
James: Uh huh. Honestly, I’m more scared of what could have happened to her if I hadn’t been there. Loco must have told you about Garneau, what he was like when we found him. Or – the guy who pretended to be Garneau, I guess, because we actually found the real one later on. It was like he was… hollowed out from inside. There was no light left in his eyes. Nothing human. He was just… empty, and so cold. I can’t even tell you how relieved I am that didn’t happen to Ann.
Steve: (nodding sombrely) I feel you, man. When Shepard came back up from the depths… for a few minutes I thought… He was so lost, it was like his mind hadn’t yet fully returned to his body. It scared the hell out of me.
James: Oh, man, yeah. Must have been tough, seeing him like that. Things were freaky enough already. But your guy’s Commander Badass of the Milky Way, Esteban. The guy’s determined like an asteroid impact. I don’t think there’s anything that could take him down, even if it was just his mind and not his body. Although maybe his implants made it harder for the Leviathan to control him?
Steve: Hmmm… perhaps. I hadn’t thought about that.
James: Ann, though. She’s just… I mean, I wouldn’t call her ordinary but she’s not… she’s not Loco, you know? Not a cyborg supersoldier. She’d already lost her dad… to lose herself to the same thing? The idea gives me nightmares and it’s not even me.
Steve: Have you kept in touch with her?
James: Actually… yeah. She’s went to work under Hackett, on the Crucible. I couldn’t convince her to take a break, not even a short one.
Steve: Do you think she needs one?
James: Well… yeah, I guess so. It’s not like she’s let herself be crushed by grief or anything. She’s too strong a person for that. But everyone should take some time off when they lose someone important. Even if it’s just a little time, and even at time like this.
Steve: You’re worried about her.
James: Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad her talents aren’t going to waste, and our chances are that much better with her helping out. But her dad just died, and now she’s sitting in some cold lab station in deep dark space, working on an ancient alien superweapon with nobody to keep her company but engineers and rachni workers? Hell yeah I’m worried about her.
Steve: Surely it’s not that bad. The Alliance Engineers are a decent bunch. And she’ll be working with the brightest minds and the best equipment anywhere in the galaxy.
James: That’s true. I just hope it’s enough to keep her mind off… everything she’s lost, and everything she still might lose.
Steve: Well, if not, she does have you, James.
James: (small smile) Yeah… she does.