I hear her begging for help in the corner.
Turning, I see her bending down and pleading into a small wheeled camera drone on the floor of the laundry room. I shoot at it and miss. Another slides in from under the barricade I had placed in the doorway from the garage. The two form a semi circle around her left side, more interested in her animation cycles (or her butt, if the second camera’s position meant anything) than scouting the rest of the traps my team laid in the house.
I don’t blame them, she’s fascinating. After she gives her only lines the Rainbow Six: Siege hostage falls into the worried shuffling routine she’ll perform on loop for the next three minutes unless picked up or shot. I didn’t have to tell her to get down, nor will I have to give her orders at any time during the SWAT team’s raid on our fortified McMansion.
A diamond hotspot sitting above her head reads “Defend”. That’s what I call her, since she lacks a personality or any agency. Defend is a object, just not in the way we’re used to objectified women, particularly of the blonde variety. She is an object with fascinating, Alpha-build hair that dances and wiggles along her scalp with the slightest movement. The SWAT team has busted into the McMansion and taken out one of my teammates, giving them the 5-4 advantage. It takes me a second to notice, Defend is just so intriguing in her vacuousness.
Did she live her prior to her capture? Was she with anyone? Does she possess the slightest bit of self-preservation instinct? That last question is answered rather quickly. As the SWAT team’s rapid fire breaks through my barricaded door, a handful of stray bullets zoom past Defend’s steadfast position on the floor. She reacts to around 1/5th of them, flinging herself down and somehow avoiding a bullet wound. She doesn’t change positions, just lowers herself temporarily before resuming her panic dance.
Defend’s audio repeats alongside her frightened hostage shimmies. She wheezes out same sounding fits of heavy breathing and quiet yelps as I fail to pick off a single SWAT member. If she were to be shot, according to the on-stage demo at the Ubisoft press conference earlier this week, she will wail and fall to the ground until a player hovers their hands over her long enough to heal the damage via progress bars. Her commitment to remain in the same place regardless of how many walls crumble around her is admirable in its stupidity.
Should I choose to, I could fling Defend over my shoulder and carry her with me as a human shield. Her reaction to this – again using the Ubisoft press conference as reference – would be the same fish-eyed look of terror stuck on her face as when she’s on the floor. But for this match I choose to leave her where she sits, amazed at the steadiness of her panic despite the clouds of imploding plaster around her.
From the beginning of the match, this terrified little wisp of Alpha-build hair is the trophy for which bullets fly and people die. Well, no. Trophy is too strong a word, a team could technically win a match by just eliminating the other team, as all three of my matches did. So Defend is more of a prop. All we know about her is her appearance, and our interactions with her are limited to passing her around, threatening body harm, and healing any exit wounds of said body harm.
I’m shot in the head in the next moment, the last of my team to go down. The kill cam takes my shooter’s perspective and shows my character’s head snap back before their body crumples to the floor. Defend is also visible in the corner. She didn’t notice my demise, her animation cycle wasn’t in a place to register the death throes. She was too busy groping at the square foot of floor to her right side for the ninth time.