Noveria is the last stop for Shepard. He has got the time and there are plenty of things on the periphery that are still grasping for his attention.
Cerberus, hostages, cults, Geth threats ... there is a list of things that are demanding Shepard's attention.
The last piece of the fracture puzzle that is buzzing in his head will get solved there but now he is no longer ignorant as he was. There is more then just this one mission, he is changing things for others and it's just as important.
First things was first. Get back to the citadel put Shepard's house in order.
Right off the boat was the reporter Shepard's been dogging all game. After Feros and the recent loss on Virmire, Shepard was angry and resolute. She asked her questions, he was cool headed and he was honest. She sounded like Bill O'Riley, raving mad but she asked one question... Shepard replied.
He told the galaxy that Saren was rogue. He told the galaxy a Spectre had gone to the dark side. There is a boogie-man, and Shepard was hunting him down.
Fuck the council's inconvenient issues, one of Shepard's was dead. They were angry - Shepard was angry. The council was not to blame but Saren sure as hell was, and Saren is now the most hunted Turian in the galaxy.
What else could Shepard do before he jumped back on the last puzzle piece...
First Shepard owed Wrex. Wrex had given up a chance for his people to be cured of the genophage. Wrex had made one thing clear to Shepard, his people were important to him.
Wrex had asked for help in reclaiming his family armour. Hitting the Turrian collector was the hardest breach the team had faced. More then once, the team had to pull back and regroup in the fire fight. The Pirate leader and his crew eventually fell and Wrex's family armour was found.
Wrex was happy but it was only a start to the good that would come out of Virmire. Shepard needed to focus on making good in places that he could go. He needed to do this, Ashley's death would not be wasted.
Next, Garrus had made mention of a criminal doctor he had met in the past who had escaped arrest. Hampered by C-Sec, Garrus was told to stand down. Now no longer at the whim of C-Sec Garrus asked Shepard for help.
Shepard and his team needed a win. This Dr Saleon had earned Shepard's attention and he was going to feel the wrath of a Spectre. Dr Saleon used slaves to smuggle organs into the Citadel. The mules for this operation suffered tremendously and Dr Saleon cared little once they burnt out and died. Saleon escaped but Garrus kept tabs on his alias... one was Dr. R Heart
Garrus tracked Saleon down to the Kelper Verge in the Hershel system. Garrus' information proved correct and a Kowloon class modular transport named the MSV Fedele was found in orbit around the planet Clugon. It was owned by a Dr. R Heart - Jack Pot.
Mission: Save those subjects in danger and arrest Dr Saleon.
Breaching into the ship was easy for Shepard and is experienced team. The forges of previous missions and the training from Pinnacle Station made the work quick and easy. Strangely there was nothing but monsters, victims of experiments sent to attack Shepard and the team. They looked like the wasted animated husks of the Thorian... they were wasted poisonous beings...
The breach was dirty and Liara's armour was breached and suffered from the creatures. Garrus did well picking off farther targets as Shepard moved in for the assault. Liara kept the numbers down and thinned out retaliatory strikes from the ... creatures.
The bridge was empty. Only one living thing was found Dr. R. Heart - aka Dr Saleon. Garrus quickly ID'ed Saleon. Now Shepard was faced with an option, kill him, let Garrus kill him or bring Saleon in.
Even with everything that's happened, Shepard knew that falling into the same trap as Saren was wrong. It was to be avoided when possible. Garrus was a friend and Shepard would make sure his friend would not become lost.
Garrus was told to stand down, but Saleon decided to fight back - it went poorly for Saleon. Evidence of his experiments and the number of souls that suffered under his hands was found. Garrus asked why capture, Shepard responded "You can't control the reactions of others, but you can control your own."
After the mission, Garrus expressed the fear that Saren would escape justice and suggested that Shepard end Saren once he had the chance. This would be a key moment for Shepard... but his previous words remained "...you can control your own."
Saren was a special case. Mass Murder on Eden Prime, death of countless other through the experiments on Virmire and Feros - Saren would not get protection. As a Spectre Shepard was given a freedom to act on his own as needed.
The Council ignored Shepard the first time and by the time he met Saren again - Ashley paid for that action.
If Saren if found - Shepard would kill him. Enough was enough.
After the talk, Shepard walked pass the team's lockers.
Ashley's was empty.
Shepard returned to his duties and once more the Alliance called for his help. A former Major named Kyle is running a Biotic commune. Alliance investigators had failed to report in.
Shepard once more took his team down to bring in a dangerous man.
Kyle had left the military after a successful carrier but upon leaving had amassed a following of disgruntled Biotics. He had turned them into a cult following. The Alliance investigation team was killed when they landed... once more the pain and suffering of Biotics had come up.
Kyle's followers were talked down when Shepard arrived at the base. They allowed Shepard to speak with Major Kyle. Kyle was simply drinking his own Kool-aid. He had killed the Alliance investigators. Shepard wanted to avoid bloodshed and convinced Kyle to stand down in order to protect his 'family'. Kyle agreed but only if was given an hour to surrender.
Shepard once more had to trust someone else's reaction. Shepard also knew that if it came to a fight his highly trained team was more then capable to drop this cult. Liara was a powerful Biotic, more then these cultists and Garrus had proven to be deadly outside of the range of Biotic abilities. Kyle's family was light armoured and carried only pistols. This would not be a fight but a slaughter... Shepard had seen enough of those.
Shepard agreed. If he could he would avoid more deaths so he trusted Kyle and gave him the hour. Upon returning to the Normandy, Shepard got a message from Adm. Hackett - Kyle had kept his word. Hackett expected a bloodbath but Shepard was rewarded by trusting.
That's the difference. Shepard trusted in people, he trusted what he learned of them and what he knew of the galaxy. He trusted Saren would never go down quietly. Shepard would just follow what he trusted...
These missions were not big missions in the terms of gameplay but it was a pair of larger role-playing missions in the game. It shaped Shepard's relationship with Garrus and forced Shepard to look at possible outcomes once he got his hands on Saren. It also explored Shepard's willingness to find a better outcome even at the cost of his own character. Shepard proved others wrong and he was willing to suffer for those beliefs.
To Shepard Saren was a burden, a mistake needed to be corrected. His crimes and guilt were set in stone. Saren's reaction could not be controlled but Shepard's actions could be.
I had explored the Citadel and nothing really captured my attention. Playing the game with Virgil's eyes was hazy sometimes. I was playing in a way that made me ignore quite a few of the side quests. This is even more true since the loss of Ashley.
Only a few missions strike my idea as within Shepard's scope of attention.
Cerberus. Adm. Kahoku was missing hunting down the rogue think tank that had killed his men. They were taking advantage of the chaos around Saren. Kahoku was also working alone. Shepard would be inclined to help the Admiral. There was also another lead to Cerberus found on the ExoGeni network, this would also be worth following up.
The Geth were amassing a force in the Armstrong Nebula, shutting them down now that Saren's base was gone could slow down their advance into Citadel space.
The last would be Noveria - the last clue. Shepard is going to drop Saren's support before closing in on him.