22 Sep 2014

Mass Effect Journal - 08

Noveria

Landing on Noveria
Geth, Cerberus, and emergencies are all done.

The crew of the Normandy must move on their last clue. Everything else has led to dead ends. Cerberus and the Geth have been stopped and they bore little intelligence to use.

Only Noveria has any clues left to search through to answer that burning question - where is Ilos?

Noveria is a corporate owned planet outside of Citadel space. As such they do not need to heed Citadel laws. Being a Spectre has some advantages but it's not the skeleton key that could be the most helpful in this situation.

So Shepard arrives and is greeted with armed hostility. Noveria is a private place and there are those who wish it to stay that way. Shepard is anathema; unclean and unwanted. Yet Shepard has seen the results of those who simply take what they need. He relents even against Garrus' advise. Shepard still needs to trust - these security guards don't know better and he has enough blood on his hands thanks to his hunt for Saren.

Saren is out there...

It was Liara after everything that confronts Shepard. Her mother is on the planet and Liara questions Shepard's trust in her. The reply was simple and quick. She may not be human, or military but she is one of them. Liara has walked through hell with Shepard and he trusts her to work with him to save everyone from Saren. The two of them have grown the most since the start of this mission to stop Saren. Both were naive to the darker parts of the world - both have learned better.

Noveria is different than any other place Shepard and crew have seen. It's clean and almost sterile. It's guarded and no one wants you there. Only the rude guards say anything to you and everyone else wants something from you. This is the best dressed hive of scum and villainy in the 'verse.

First off - Shepard and crew are unable to travel out of port on the planet without the Director's approval. So Shepard goes off and tried to talk to him. Instead Anoleis is much more rude than his guards. Worst off to Shepard - he doesn't care. After all the loss and suffering, Anoleis and the rest of the corporate trash that runs this place simply don't care. This means two things: 1, Shepard will no longer care about stepping on toes. Diplomacy is used for those who care. These people don't. 2, Anyone who sticks out as a good person will get what they need much more quicker.

Also Shepard has been made aware of a connection between Saren and Binary Helix - a major corporate player which Saren controls a majority in. When given the opportunity to sabotage to company Shepard took it as another way to slow down Saren's plans.

Rachni by Bioware
After shutting down Anoleis and his on the take security force Shepard finally got clearance to move out to Peak 15 where Matriarch Benezia is currently working. Shepard's assault team kept cutting through the various obstacles place in front of them without loosing pace. Liara supported Shepard with close range pistol fire or with a few well placed Biotic abilities to control any enemy advance. Garus held the flank, keeping opponents from getting around Shepard with his assault rifle and switching it up to snipping out of reach dangers on the fly.

The team was perfect. All that experience, all that training. Nothing could stop them not even creatures that should have been wiped out - creatures that almost took over the galaxy. The Rachni.

They tried kill everyone, even the Council could not stop them. It was the Krogen, Wrex's people that faced and beat the Rachni. Removing them from existence... it was that war almost 2000 thousand years ago that gave the Krogen the idea to take over in their own rebellion. Those wars led to the genophage... so much was lost.

Binary Helix was bringing them back. Saren was trying to bring back the Rachni - the Geth and the Krogen were not enough he wanted more on his side.

Shepard and his team started to get to work after finishing off the Rachni at Peak 15. The team establish landline communications, turned the power back on, rebooted the VI, and got the tram from Peak 15 to the Rift Station up and running. Once everything was up and running - off to Rift Station, get Benezia and clean up this mess.

Once they arrived at the research station the assault team was met by the security team holding off Rachni assaults. The defenses were led by Capt Ventralis, who had established a kill zone at the entrance to the research station habitat wing where the Rift station science team were holding up.

He briefed Shepard on Benezia being in the Hot labs, after Shepard explained that his team was the one that turned Peak 15 back online. He gave Shepard access to the Hot labs before Shepard moved into the habitat area and found that many of the staff were sick and a cure was needed.

Capt Ventralis by Bioware
Deciding to get to Benezia, Shepard promised to work on a cure before going down to finish the main reason he was here. Hoping access to the quarantine section of the habitat wing to run the vaccine system would be easy once Benezia was under control and this Rachni situation was sorted.

Upon entering the Hot labs, he found a sole scientist who explained before dying that he had the codes to activate the Neutron Purge that would kill all the Rachni in Rift Station. The Assault team cleared the area, started the purge, and had to fight their way through a horde of Rachni to escape before they were caught in the purge.

Shepard realised one thing, the Hot labs were a trap. Returning to the Habitat, the guards had started killed the science staff and Ventralis tried to do the same to Shepard and the team. They were no match as Shepard cleared the habitat of all security personnel managing to only save Dr. Holis - the only staff of the station who was helpful.

Last but not least was Benezia.

She was mad and no matter Liara's plea she decided to send her vaunted Asari Commandos against Shepard's assault team. Shepard and crew fought back and cut through the commandos with precision and speed. Wave after wave of Asari and Geth breached into the lab to protect Benezia and wave after wave fell. Near the end Benezia stopped - clear headed for a moment she went on about being possesed by Sovereign, suffered from the effect of indoctrination. She gave up the intel on Ilos before she fell back into madness.

Liara watched at Shepard killed her mother - as he put down another mad victim of Saren's actions.

When it was all done, the only thing left alive was the Normandy's Assault team and the last of the Rachni - a queen. She was yet another victim of Saren and the Reapers. A mother to a whole race who had just felt Shepard kill all her children - already mad and driven to kill by the experiments done to them.  

There was a choice - let her live and escape or remove the Rachni once again from the galaxy. Finish what the Krogen started. Already a mother had died today, already a race was at the brink and Shepard had taken away their chance. It was not guilt that made Shepard spare the Queen is was hope. Hope that it would finally be different this time, hope that Shepard had done something since arriving on Noveria was not ending in death.

It was quiet returning to the Normandy. The mission debrief was curt and the ship plotted an immediate course for Citadel space.

Yet the welcome was bitter - Shepard was ordered to stand down. Time was now a factor and he was pulled from the game. Saren was moving towards Ilos - outside of Council controlled space with the intent to bring back the Reapers.

It was Anderson that brought Shepard back into the game. Mission: Get control of the Normandy, get off the Citadel, get to Ilos and finish this. Shepard was in charge - he ordered Anderson to take Udina's office and release control back of the Normandy remotely rather than assault C-Sec control.

The plan worked - Anderson would have to face the authorities, by Shepard and the crew were free to pursue Saren.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was hard getting back into the skin and mind of Shepard in this second last Journal entry for Mass Effect. Shepard and I had gone through some changes and had been distant. I went over my previous posts, marveled at how much the style of these had changed and how much work I need to be a better writer.

Shepard was the dirty jobs guy and as the game went on - he became the martyr. It was his burden. He also learned about the parts of the universe that were outside of his military bubble. It was a lot darker and corrupt - priorities were different. He met those in power and those living on the fringe.

He decided would would live and who would die. He had losses of his own, Ash and Jenkins both fell under his command and he would carry those names. They were his burden.

He prepared and learned to think long term. Giving the Shadow Broker data, trying to clean up some of the messes that were affecting his mission and those as a result of Saren's actions. He trained an Assault team in preparation for war. He kept a close council of experts - Tali on Geth and alien technology, Wrex on Krogen and mercenary lifestyles, Kaiden on political and operational needs. He earned their trust and by doing so got better advice and support to his mission.

Liara had grown close through the regular mental joinings and through their learning of the universe outside of their isolated views. Garrus the bitter cop who wanted to be better and do more - was tempered by Shepard and had become his peer and partner. He knew both sides of the justice system and when Shepard was allowed to pick which side to land Garrus' kept Shepard honest.

Shepard was now on the final run of the game... see you on Friday.