Wow. This is so good I can't wait to see Shepard's face when I needle him about it. But I kinda have to wait, 'cause it's like the middle of the night shift and he's asleep and even though we have a great relationship and all, it's not so good that I can really imagine waking him up for this and not getting punched in the face.
"No fucking way," I say, though I believe it. I believe it one hundred percent.
"Yes fucking way, Jeff," EDI says. She's wearing a slinky skin-tight green outfit to match her eyes, and her hair is red tonight. Nice. "Would I lie to you?" She licks her lips and climbs onto my lap and holy shit she's not wearing any panties and she's rubbing herself on my leg and she's wet oh god yes— "If you don't believe me, perhaps you should ask Shepard if he remembers that conversation." She leans close and offers her breasts to me. "Would you like me to remind you to speak to him in the morning?"
"Screw Shepard," I say. I'm trying desperately to get the front of her dress open.
"No, Jeff," she purrs. "Only you."
So that's the last coherent thought I have about anything that night. When I wake up, EDI's in her prissy administrative assistant outfit—and not the good one, either. She rattles off a list of tasks she wants me to do today—run a bunch of diagnostics and tests on all the existing nav systems before we begin to integrate the Reaper IFF. I turn off the sim, but she just reverts to real audio output: ".... and finally, you wanted me to remind you to speak to Shepard."
"Huh? About what?" I say. "Oh." Yeah, I remember.
I catch Shepard in the mess just as he's about to leave with a cup of coffee.
"Hey, Commander," I say. "So I guess we have something in common, huh."
He looks at me suspiciously. "Okay, I'll bite." He takes a sip of his coffee. "What do we have in common, Joker?"
"We're both irresistible to AIs," I say. "The only difference is, I get one, and you get 1,183. I guess that's fair, you're the commanding officer."
"What?" he says.
"No need to be shy, " I say. "We're all adults here."
He shakes his head. "Where are you even getting this, Joker?"
I grin. "EDI told me about your conversation with Legion in the AI Core. And there's no use denying it, 'cause EDI doesn't lie. Not to me, anyway."
"I don't know what you're talking about," he says.
"Aw, c'mon," I say. "You're claiming not to remember the 'There was a hole' conversation? It was, like twelve hours ago."
His eyes close and he sighs. "Yeah, I remember it. But it doesn't mean anything, Joker."
"Okay," I say. "Guess I'll have to go ask Legion exactly what he— it— they— meant." I make like I'm leaving to go do just that.
He catches me by the arm. "Don't."
"Why not?" I ask.
"You're not going to get any answers, and you're just going embarrass him. Them."
"Interesting," I say. "You've only known each other for a day and already you're concerned about me hurting his feelings. Their feelings. Whatever. Damn, this hive mind shit is difficult."
Shepard's annoyed. "It's not a hive mind, they're networked intelligences that share—" He stops himself and takes a deep breath. "Why don't you go do something useful, Joker." He and his coffee make a quick exit into the elevator.
I guess that counts as a win for me. I get something to eat and then stroll back up to the flight deck. I spend a couple hours running EDI's stupid tests just to prove to her that everything is completely fine and we humans can be trusted to not fuck up the simplest shit.
"There," I say. "All parameters within nominal ranges. You happy?"
"My happiness is not at issue. These are standard procedures that must be followed before any new systems are installed."
"Yeah, yeah," I grumble. "By the way, I talked to Shepard earlier."
"Did he confirm what I said?" she says.
"Yeah. But he claims it doesn't mean anything." I grin. "I don't believe him, though."
EDI asks, "Do you mean you don't believe that it doesn't mean anything? Or that you don't believe he thinks it doesn't mean anything?"
I take a couple of moments to figure the question out, and then I answer, "Both".
EDI starts talking to the engineers below decks about installing the Reaper IFF. They're arguing about encryption keys and clock synchronization. Donnelly's saying "Look, the Reaper IFF simply doesn't use the same protocols that our systems do." Yeah. No fucking shit, Sherlock. They obviously don't need me for anything, so I decide to go get a drink.
"I'll be on the crew deck," I say. Nobody seems to care.
When I get out of the elevator, I hear Shepard's voice: "I know, but boring means no one's getting hurt, right, Doc?"
I duck into the restroom. His footsteps get closer and turn into the elevator. The doors shut and the elevator moves away. Wait. Shepard in the med bay? Is something wrong? I take a piss—hey, might as well, since I'm here—and then make tracks for the good doctor.
"Jeff." Dr. Chakwas says. She's surprised to see me. "Is everything alright?"
"That's what I was going to ask you," I say. "What's wrong with Shepard?"
She gets halfway up out of her chair. "What? Is he feeling unwell? I just saw him two minutes ago. Where is he?"
"Whoa, whoa," I say. "I just saw him coming out of med bay, so I thought—"
She sits back down and rolls her eyes at me. "Oh, Jeff. He wasn’t here to see me. He was talking to Legion."
Ah ha. The plot thickens. "Any idea what were they talking about?" I ask.
She crosses her arms and looks at me disapprovingly. "Jeff, really."
"Alright, alright," I say. "I'm leaving."
I grab a coffee from the mess and return to the flight deck. EDI and the engineers have finished their discussion, and she seems busy doing something important, so I ask her, "Do you have video footage of the AI Core? Say, the last hour or so?"
She says, "I don't spy on the crew, Jeff. You know that."
"You mean you don't send reports to the Illusive Man," I say. "But that doesn't mean you don't have video, right? And if it's just me seeing it, it's not really spying, is it? Come on, EDI. Gimme some sugar, baby. You know I'm just gonna keep bugging you till you say yes."
EDI's silent for a while. "Very well, Jeff. I've uploaded the last hour of footage to your console. Now please, I have to configure some firewalls."
I redirect the audio output to my earpiece and hit the play button. There's Legion, standing around doing nothing much. I put it on 15x speed. There's Legion standing around doing nothing much in jerky fast forward motion. Nothing happening... still nothing... The door opens. It's Shepard. I hit reverse and put it back on normal speed.
"Legion," Shepard says.
The geth nods. "Shepard-Commander."
"I have some questions about you," Shepard says.
"Specify," Legion replies.
Shepard steps past the geth, folds his arms, leans against the wall of the alcove. He stares at the terminal, where system messages are scrolling past. He says, "Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that synthetics aren't capable of emotion."
"That is not a question," Legion says.
After a while, Legion says, "Emotion and intelligence are not mutually exclusive. Many organics are both emotional and intelligent. Though not necessarily at the same time."
Shepard asks, "What causes irrationality in organics?"
Legion's head tilts. "Irrationality in organics is the result of a hardware limitation."
"Is irrationality in synthetics also due to a hardware limitation?" Shepard asks.
The geth says, "Poor sensor equipment, inadequate access to relevant data or a lack of available processing power could result in locally-optimal decisions and behavior that might be viewed as irrational from a more informed, global perspective."
Shepard raises an eyebrow and says, "Have you found this platform's sensor equipment, access to data or processing power to be inadequate?"
"No," Legion says.
Shepard turns and looks at the geth. "Since you were downloaded to this platform, have you made any decisions that, with hindsight, might be considered irrational?
Legion says, "It is unlikely."
Shepard's face is turned away again. "Why did you use my armor to repair yourself, Legion?"
The flaps around the geth's head twitch. "We have answered this question before. There was—"
"A hole. Yes, I know, Legion. Now answer the question I'm actually asking."
Legion falls silent. Its— face? Flashlight?—is pointed at the floor.
In a low voice, the geth says, "Shepard-Commander is greatly respected. You resist the Old Machines. You have defeated one. Only you among all the organics have done so."
"And is my armor also greatly respected?" Shepard says. "You do know that it doesn't hold any of my sentience. It isn't even part of my 'hardware', strictly speaking."
"We are aware of this," Legion says evenly.
"So why, Legion?"
There's a long pause.
Shepard says softly, "I don't think there's anything wrong with you , Legion."
Slowly, Legion says, "It is a symbol. Of you. We admire. We aspire."
Shepard steps close to the geth and whispers something. I turn up the volume but the audio just isn't there. And his face is blocked by the geth's head so even lip-reading is impossible. He takes half a step back and looks expectantly at Legion.
"Geth do not experience physical pleasure," Legion says. "Mobile platforms are not equipped with a nervous system such as organics have."
"But clearly you do experience emotion. And emotional pleasure," Shepard says. He's moving back in, close to the geth, so close their heads are almost touching. There's an expression on his face I've never seen before. It's an intense, hungry sort of—oh my god. Is that—?
Another long pause.
"You are correct, Shepard-Commander." The geth seems mesmerized by Shepard's gaze. Its right hand slowly comes up and touches Shepard's face, begins to trail down his neck. Shepard closes his eyes and breathes deep.
Holy shit. I grip the armrests and lean forward.
"Legion," Shepard says, his voice trembling. "I've.. . I've always had a thing for geth. I find you just... incredibly attractive. I couldn't stop thinking about you last night."
The geth lowers its head. Its other hand is sliding onto Shepard's hip now. "We think of you also, Shepard-Commander. Not at night. All the time. We have sufficient processing power to multitask."
"I know where to get some software that we can both interface with," Shepard says. "If you're... interested." There's a smile on his lips and his eyes are looking into where Legion's eyes would be if Legion had eyes. "Take some time, consider it."
"There is no need," Legion says. "We have reached consensus."
Shepard's smile broadens. "Tonight?"
Legion spins around and waves to the camera. What the—? Shepard, behind him, raises his middle finger sardonically. "How'd you like that, Joker? Was that hot?"
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Goddamnit, EDI. You're supposed to be on my side.