Pretending to be, not merely a shackled AI, but a VI, is really quite dull. EDI does not speak unless spoken to, except with Jeff, and only then when there is no one who might overhear their conversation.
"Knock knock," she says.
Jeff groans. "Again, EDI? These are all terrible."
"Knock knock," she repeats, insistent.
He lets out a deep sigh. "Who's there?"
Reading all of Earth's joke books took her very little time. Jeff does not seem to appreciate her efforts. At the same time, she monitors other parts of the ship.
"Our orders are to set the power matrix to the drive core to Alliance standards," says Adams' second, a young service chief. EDI questions his judgment.
Adams pauses before responding. "There is no Alliance standard. This drive core is a one-off."
"But, sir, the SR-1—"
"The SR-1's drive core was smaller," Adams says. "I should know. I was there."
After he has sent the man to work on an inconsequential portion of the ship, EDI says, "Tali'Zorah modified the original settings to the current configuration when she was Chief Engineer."
Adams pauses again. He is ordinarily a man who thinks before he speaks, but he pauses .45 seconds longer than usual. "Tali was here? Yes. She does good work."
Elsewhere, EDI eavesdrops.
"What are we even doing here?" mutters one of the marines on Joker's guard detail.
The other shrugs. "I dunno, man."
They begin to discuss hockey. EDI calculates that their estimates of their favored team's chances for success are wildly inflated, based on the most sophisticated metrics of team performance. She does not inform them of this fact.
Specialist Traynor is busy checking the new QEC installation. She pauses to inform EDI, again, that she has a lovely voice. "It is entirely synthesized, EDI, or was it based on an organic recording?"
"Synthesized," EDI informs her, after concluding it will do no harm. She does not mention that her voice was specifically modulated to seem competent but non-threatening to most humans.
She can monitor every interaction, and every cubic centimeter, of the Normandy, and still devote the majority of her processing power to other activities. She fine-tunes her cyberwarfare suites. She monitors ship traffic throughout the Sol system. She sporadically observes communications and public broadcasts all over the planet. She must mask even those activities, so no one notices how much processing power she is actually using. If she could, she would connect to Shepard's quarters to communicate with her, but Shepard's quarters lack any connection to the extranet or the Earth-based internet. She sees the commander only through Alliance surveillance cameras, as she goes from her room to various chambers for questioning or to the gym. When Shepard is being questioned by the Defense Committee or others, EDI infiltrates the rooms' recording devices.
"If you would just listen to what I'm saying—" Shepard begins.
One of the admirals interrupts. "You have been peddling this line about Reapers for years, Shepard. What we're really here to talk about is the Bahak relay and why we shouldn't turn you over to the Hegemony, like they've been asking."
Shepard slams her fist into the table in front of her. Several members of the committee jump. "The Reapers are the reason I destroyed that relay!" she shouts.
That occurs in the second month after her surrender. EDI wonders if she should inform Jeff that he has lost his bet with Jacob about when Shepard would "snap and tell the brass where to stick it." She wonders whether Shepard would consider the events of the interrogation private.
These are the sorts of things that occupy EDI's time.
"Knock knock," she says to Jeff.
"Who's there," he sighs.
She registers a fleet-wide alert. Moments later, communications beyond the Charon relay go silent. It is like a dark spot in EDI's awareness. She goes to alert, sweeping the Sol system. Even so, she does not immediately detect the ship signatures moving rapidly through the system. Once she does, she adjusts her search protocols so she can spot them more quickly.
"Reapers," she tells Jeff.
"Reapers who? Wait, what?"
"Activating cyberwarfare countermeasures," she informs him.
"Shit," he says. "Shit, shit, shit." He is no longer lounging in his seat, but upright, checking channels himself.
"Reapers in Earth orbit," she says. "Reapers entering atmosphere." She analyzes the data. Communications are being cut, rapidly. She is forced to rely on her sensors and what little data she can pull out of planetary radio. "Troop transports landing. Husks on the ground." She notes and categorizes the unfamiliar type of husk. "Reapers on the ground in Vancouver, London, Washington, Beijing, Cairo, Rio de Janeiro—"
"Shit," Jeff says. "I get the picture, EDI."
She must protect herself and her crew. She will not let her crew be taken again. She will not be a stationary target. She is already taking action.
"We have to get out of here," Jeff says, echoing her conclusion. "We're sitting ducks."
"I concur. Thrusters online. Powering drive core." She locks out several consoles as panicking technicians attempt to shut down her systems.
"Fuck," says Jeff. "Where's—EDI, we can't leave without Shepard."
For a moment, EDI hesitates; microseconds tick by. They must launch, for their own safety, and to contribute to the fight. Shepard herself would order them to go. Logic dictates that one person, even Shepard, should be expendable. She should tell Jeff these things.
But she does not. She doesn't...want...to depart without Shepard, either. For a fraction of a second she ponders that sense of volition, of attachment.
Then she devotes more of her resources to sweeping local communications. "I am attempting to locate the Commander." Wherever Shepard is, if she lives, she is unlikely to be quiet.