Huragok, or Engineers, are an awesome alien species with a very unique and relevant backstory to the Halo universe. Why we don't see more of them in the regular games is beyond me, but hopefully this will be corrected in time. A lot of you had been asking about a specific part of the First Strike storyline concerning them. Well, now you got your answers.
I considered the simple fact that Haverson's execution of the Huragok was a clear opportunity for something akin to a paragon interrupt. Haverson, while an ONI loyalist, is clearly a lot smarter and more reasonable than most other agents of his kind. So while he has a duty, he's more receptive to other forms of dealing with a problem. So he lets Shepard try this plan of his out. The Huragok that fixed Chief's armor is safe. This was an obvious no brainer in hindsight and always intended. I wanted Huragok on the Normandy and I wanted them to do some hijinks. I alluded and showed some during this chapter, but mostly you'll be seeing them doing stuff in future installments. Although I can't have them being too much of a nuisance, expect them to be their adorable slimy super awesome fixer-uppers they always are.
Chief had a bit more of his arc in this story becoming more clear. Like in First Strike, he's considering finding his old team. He wants to figure out what happened to his friends, but he knows that what he's asking for is problematic and he can't expect to just get what he wants. He needs to find a legitimate reason to head back to Reach. He's going to get one, but that's still a bit in the future.
I felt it was important to show that Chief has other things on his mind besides constant battle. There's a human being under there and while he doesn't show it, he feels. Luckily he has comrades in arms to talk to, Linda being the oldest friend he currently has on hand. Cortana being one of his newest and most level headed. I know a lot of people are hoping for more Spartan Squad stuff, and you'll get it, don't worry. There's a lot of cool stuff for them to do in the coming chapters, but also expect more downtime scenes like this. It can't be knucklebiting action every day. It helps to show that the Spartans are, again, more than killing machines.
Tali had some issues this chapter too, still trying to figure out how to help Legion. I know things with him haven't been as bad as they used, but it's still there beneath the surface. It's just Tali is trying to keep it there and it's difficult. It might seem like the Engineers are a quick resolution to this problem, but try to remember we're dealing with an AI here. They're tricky, and Tali wants to be sure she won't make the problem worse, not when it's stabilized. She'll address this issue soon enough though, just stay tuned.
A big part of this chapter though was Zek and Retz becoming literal digital pirates as they steal some old vids from our time to watch. I considered this awhile ago, that the Jackals having lost a lot of their culture would be keen on latching onto someone else's to fill the void. That they'd be quick to decide they should try finding a new outlet for entertainment.
Native Americans latched onto Country Music specifically for the songs about loss and independence. The Jackals gravitate to Freedom, chaos and crime in general, specifically Piracy. So of course they love a movie series that supports their lifestyle. Of course they would adore he Goonies for the treasure hunting adventure. And the Gremlins are a lot like themselves, why wouldn't they love that? The idea of them watching these movies, like Muppet Treasure Island felt natural to me. That these are the kind of things the Jackals would enjoy. And they would take something different away as well. For them, Long John Silver losing Jim as a surrogate son is a tragedy because Jim has given up being a pirate, not that he's lost a father figure. The Goonies are heroes because they succeeded in defeating their enemies from destroying the town through the pursuit of profit, namely reacquiring stolen treasure. The Gremlins... well they're just funny monsters who want to have fun and the humans in the film are killjoys, but at least the Gremlins go out fighting.
I knew this would probably cause some tension, as it's another underhanded scheme on Zek's part. I also knew it would be a good chance to showcase Jackal culture and that remind folks that as fun as Zek is he's got a prejudice streak himself. The grunts are slaves or forced to fight, but they aren't exactly happy either, just slightly better off. Zek has some issues he needs to work out. Also, Kasumi is becoming closer to the Pirates, not nearly as critical of their actions as others. Keep an eye on that, Kas has a very important role to play in coming events.
One other thing, subverting that scene from Gremlins 2 was something I really liked. I got to reference a film I love AND make it a bit more foreboding as it reveals that Shepard may have a harder fight to get Zek to side with the UNSC than he thinks. Like I said, conflict is a big deal with this story and part of that relates to ideology. The Jackal Pirates don't adhere to law and order, they prefer chaos, it's what their culture runs on. Kowtowing to the UNSC just after escaping the Covenant isn't in their plans. Convincing them that it's for the greater good is not exactly going to be easy.
Varvok had a brief scene too, showcasing that his hotheaded angry rhetoric at least comes from a place of urgency and devotion to his men. He has his own mission, saving the Batarian people. It's just, he can't do that directly now because he's stuck here. He can't exactly sneak back through the Wormhole, it's not that easy. Plus, he got men looking to him to get them home, just like Shepard does, but their plight is a bit more dire, because Shepard's people aren't traitors like they've become. It's good that Varvok has a friend in Zek and Retz, because he's going to need all the ones he can get right now. That includes Shepard, whether he likes it or not.
Also, expect a brief review from Zek and Retz about their thoughts on Jaws next chapter. You might find them interesting. That's all for notes now, hope you enjoyed the chapter and have a good day.