26 Sep 2014

Mass Effect Journal - 09

It's been nine weeks of fighting. Nine weeks of entering into the world of Virgil Shepard.

Nine weeks leading to this -

The end of Mass Effect and the start of the greatest video game role-playing game trilogy of all time.

Ilos has been found. Saren is moving towards his end game. Virgil Shepard is near the end of his quest to stop Saren, the Geth, and Sovereign the Reaper here to kill us all.

As the SSV Normandy SR-1, sped towards Ilos the team had some time to deal with the very possible one way trip.

Shepard decided to share a few moments with his crew, his team, and someone who had become close to him since the start of this adventure.

Liara is special to Shepard.

She has been searching for clues of the past all her life. She turned on her mother to help save the galaxy and in those actions, lost her only family. She like Shepard is alone. Together they have trained and become an effective team. Her biotic abilities are hard to beat and she support Shepard in the fight better than anyone else he's gone into a fight with.

They have shared those feelings with each other and through those shared experiences they have come to appreciate each other and have come to care for each other.

She has changed his world. She has shown Shepard to keep that open mind. She has gone into his mind time after time and seen only the inner most thoughts and feelings that no one else can experience.

Shepard is a guarded man and no one has been able to stand next to him in his self-imposed martyrdom.

Liara has and she's stuck with him.

Flight Lieutenant Jeff 'Joker' Moreau
by Bioware
Once the pause was over it was game time.

Stealth systems engaged the Normandy was able slip through the Geth blockade around Ilos. Yet Saren was too far ahead and there were no suitable landing zones for Shepard's assault team. Suitable is not a term used by the one we call Joker.

Jeff Moreau is the best pilot in the Systems Alliance.

Fact.

End of Statement.

He is one of many of the Normandy's crew who is an expert at what they do. He is one of the many on the Normandy, whose actions decide if Shepard lives or dies.

Joker says he can land Shepard and the assault team on the planet - then ladies and gent's Shepard and the Assault team will be landing on the planet.

It's what he does.

Getting on the planet was easy, catching up to Saren who's lead was getting shorter was the tough part. Saren closed off access to the tunnels running through the ruins via blast doors and left behind plenty of Geth to keep anyone off his back.

Commander Virgil Shepard is not anyone. He has an elite team of experts at his beck and call, and he takes to the field his most trusted allies. Liara someone who has shared all of his pain and joy over the course of the adventure. Garrus companion into hell every time and always loyal.

Shepard's Assault team has taken on the Krogen, the Rachni, even the vaunted Asari Commandos. No one holds the line against Shepard and his team. Not even a horde of Geth. The team ripped through the Geth with tactical efficiency and violent ease. Once the doors were open, the team raced down to the Conduit and were waylaid once more - by a Prothean AI.

The Conduit is a back door into the Citadel. The Citadel is the key to bringing in the Reapers from deep space. Saren is racing to unlock the Citadel for Sovereign - who will then call the rest of the Reapers to cull the galaxy of sentient life.

Shepard got back into the Mako, drove through the defending Geth and landed inside the Citadel. It was then an outside assent up the main spire with the assault team. Fighting through waves of Geth, Husks and Krogan in the vacuum of Space while in the distance Sovereign connects with the Citadel to summon his kind.

During all of this the Council fleet fights the Geth outside of the Citadel. They are outnumbered and Sovereign's presence destroyed many of the fleet's ships before it joined with the Citadel. The Destiny Ascension's was taking heavy fire leading the defense of the Citadel. With the Council aboard the Council Fleet held the line against it's greats threat.

Meanwhile below on the outside of the Spire, Shepard's assault team fought its way against dropships and Geth turret... everything as if Sovereign could sense that Shepard was coming. The team did well and arrived to face Saren for one final time.

Saren was mad - fully indoctrinated. The one time hero of the galaxy, the Turian - former Spectre was there ranting and raving. As Shepard listened behind cover, he reached out... as a Spectre one receives almost unlimited freedom and Saren had been corrupted yet at one time he would have been in the same place.

Saren came back briefly to his senses much like Liara's mother, Benezia - Saren was once more himself. He was himself long enough to pay for all his mistakes as Shepard watched Saren end his own life as a final resistance against the Reaper.

Shepard at once took control of the Citadel, and made contact with the Human Alliance Fifth Fleet as it was arriving to join the fight. The Destiny's Ascension was under heavy fire and was going to be lost.

Humanity wanted to be part of the Council and the galaxy community. They had earned Shepard's place amongst the Spectres but they had yet to earn a place among those who led the Council of Races. Humanity needed to earn that place - they needed to become part of the struggle and as such they needed to participate even at the cost of human lives. As far as Shepard was concerned Cpl Jenkins and CPO Williams were the first installments...

As the commanding officer on site - Shepard made the call.

The Alliance Fifth Fleet under command of Admiral Hackett drove the fleet deep into the Geth offensive breaking up their lines and saving the Council's flagship. The losses were great but the larger picture was whole. Shepard opened the arms of the Citadel and a unite fleet of Human and Council ships laid waste to Sovereign.

On board the Citadel, Shepard ordered the team to confirm Saren's death. Garrus and Liara moved down to Saren's fallen. Garrus drew his pistol and fired a single shot into Saren's head. Liara confirmed... Saren was no more.

As the fleet engaged Sovereign - the Reaper made one final gamble. He took full control of Saren's cybernetic body and warped it into his own image. If it could undo Shepard's control it would win. The creature once called Saren lept from wall to wall - as Shepard and the assault team tried to kill the Reaper.

Garrus overloaded the Reapers weapons, Liara biotically warped Sovereign - allowing Shepard to get the last shot off with his shotgun - leaving only ash. Disrupted from having it's form destroyed Sovereign was week and the unit fleet fired everything that remained. Joker piloting the Normandy took the kill shot and fired the blow that dropped Sovereign.

The war was over.

Afterwards - in the ruins of the Council Chamber Shepard, Anderson and Udina met with the surviving council. Out of thanks they offered a full seat on the council, and Shepard elected Anderson. Not because he was a soldier but because Udina almost took Jenkin's and Ashley Williams sacrifices and threw them away. The man did not understand - Anderson did.

So the council smiled and congratulated each other on a job well done until Shepard broke the revelry - Reapers were still out there in the dark of space. He still had a job to do.

He walked away...

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Mass Effect was done, next up is Mass Effect 2.

Mass Effect is the hardest of the games to play in the trilogy. The gameplay is rough, the details with weapons and equipment are tedious and the layouts for the side missions are repetitive. Quite a few of the environments are a bit bland and sparsely populated. The pace of the plot is sometimes too fast or too slow and some of the character development feels rushed of formulaic.

Yet Mass Effect is the foundation for the rest of the trilogy. The rest of the series is based on the choices Shepard made or failed to make.

Shepard has changed the galaxy. He knows it but he only did it because he was there at the time. He was there and he bore that burden. He lost friends, soldiers - he made choices that cost people their lives but he did it all with a single goal.

To make it better.

Cheers.