5 Dec 2014

Mass Effect 2 Journal - 06

Plot wise, Horizon is the last threshold before Mass Effect 2 is fully open to the player. All of the DLC is now open and all but one companion is available. Halfway through Act 2 (and the game) as it's referenced online, there is a sudden break before leading up to the start of Act 3 followed by the end game. This is where some of the bigger choices will start showing up as well as some of the results of choices made from the last game.

Illium

Illium Nos Astra Skyline
by Bioware
The Gateway between the Asari Republic and the Terminus Systems. Home to all manner of corporate traders, political agents, and travelers pausing between places.

Shepard has heard of Illium, two more dossiers have been dropped off at his desk: an Assassin and a Justicar can be found here. One is a killer - one of the best killers. The Justicar is the stranger dossier. Justicars are some sort of roving ancient agents of law for an old traditional Asari legal system. Shepard is hoping this Justicar, who is also a powerful Biotic, will be able to work with Cerberus or even provide a support when Cerberus turns on Shepard. Shepard is interested in filling the crew with members who will not owe loyalty to Cerberus and be willing to fight back against them once Cerberus is done with Shepard and his team.

He knows they will betray him. Two years ago he witnessed too many of the Cerberus projects that led to too many deaths. After Horizon, Shepard trusts the Illusive Man even less.

Illium also has something else...

Liara.

Right now her picture is on Shepard's desk and she is always in his thoughts. She and Shepard grew up two years ago. Both were sheltered in their respective fields, unaware of the rest of the galaxy. Together they found dark places and saw the dirt that rested outside of view. They shared a bond that grew into something else... Liara was the one who understood Shepard. She stood beside him in fire and fury. She fought her mother beside him - she lost her mother beside him.

Liara was on Illium and Shepard has been gone for two years. For him it was only a blink of time for her it will have been much longer.

So the Normandy landed on Illuim and Shepard with the assault team was greated by an Asari.

Liara has waved the docking fees and rushed access to Illium for Shepard and asked to see Shepard when he was free.


Arriving at Liara's office Shepard was greeted by her aid Nyxeris. Liara was on a comm link threatening someone when he walked in. She was angry and she was showing it. Even worse she looked sad.

Shepard tried to get her to open up but she could only tell him that she missed him. Her work had taken over her life. She was now an information Broker on Illium... she also need Shepard's help but she'd help him first. She knew where the Justicar and the Assassin were located and she asked once Shepard was done if he could help her.

It was never a question - Shepard agreed and followed the leads. The Assassin was about to raid a corporate building under control of a former Asari diplomatic aid that Shepard recognized from his time on the Citadel. The Justicar was already embroiled with the local police in some sort of murder. Shepard decided that the Justicar would be the best place to start and decided to leave the Assassin alone and lay off the trail. He knew where the Assassin was going, if he pushed to fast Shepard was worried that the Assassin would bolt.

Arriving at the scene of the crime, Shepard find the Asari officer in distress over the arrival of Samara the Justicar. Eclipse mercenaries have raided a merchants office for some biotic enhancing drug and it will be some time before the police officer will have the warrant to raid the building - allowing the Eclipse mercs to escape with evidence. The Justicar is on a quest hunting down a serial killer and evidence of the killer's escape from Illium by the merchants who are also smugglers is in the crime scene. It seems the Justicar is involved and must be detained until the case can be solved.

Samara is not allowed to be deterred from her quest as per her oath. Peace officers like the Asari police member is allowed to ask her for respite for a limited time out of respect. After a day, Samara is allowed by her code to kill anyone in her way - including cops who have to imprison her by law.

Shepard comes convinces the Asari police officer to allow him with his Spectre status to investigate and raid the building. If he find enough evidence to close the case, Samar would be allowed to leave without killing her way through the local law enforcement. She agrees grateful to avoid having her people slaughtered by the powerful biotic Justicar who they fear.

The Assault team prepped and gathered clues before entering the building. With a grasp of the situation in the building Shepard and the team breached the building. Once more the team performed well. Eclipse mercs were some of the best mercs out there next to Blue Suns and Blood Pack. They also never stood a chance - the team mowed through the mercs with surprising ease.

When they reached the shipping area the Eclipse leader was loading the drug and other smuggled good onto a ship. Shepard and the team had arrived just in time. Even enhanced the Asari merc stood only a for a few moments before Shepard launched at her with his own Biotic powers. He slammed into her knocking her back against the room. Before she hit the ground Shepard was already firing his Geth Plasma Shotgun into her. Her barrier fell but she stood up cursing Shepard.

She never noticed the rest of her team falling one by one. Kasumi was an invisible stalker, a flash of light dealing death while Garrus became his Archangel persona, taking cover and killing from a distance with his sniper rifle. The merc leader screamed at Shepard right before he slammed into her again throwing her corpse across the room.

The team collected the evidence and returned. Samara bonded herself to Shepard impressed with his ability to deal with the criminals putting aside her own quest to battle a greater evil. Returning to the Normandy with Samara both Jacob and Miranda asked to see Shepard. He set up Samara in the observation room opposite of Kasumi giving the Justicar a place of peace and quiet. Before he visited Miranda.

Miranda needed help and she wasn't willing to involve Cerberus. Shepard was shocked, Miranda seemed the most loyal but this was personal. She needed help to find her sister and help her escape from Illium. Miranda's father was hunting Miranda's sister who Miranda escaped with and put into hiding. Shepard agreed that he'd help seeing an opportunity to pull Miranda away from Cerberus and make her loyal to the mission over the Illusive Man. Before Shepard returned to the docks he checked in with Jacob.

Jacob's father was an officer on board a Systems Alliance ship Hugo Gernsback. The ship had been missing for over ten years. Jacob has set up a search protocol in case the remainder of the ship were found. Recently a distress call was picked up and Jacob believes that it's the SSV Hugo Gernsback. He was to check out the site before the System's Alliance picks up the signal and investigates himself. Once more Shepard thinks he can pull Jacob from Cerberus control and agrees once they are done on Illium, they will visit the source of the Signal.

Upon returning to Illium Shepard visited Liara who wondered if he could help her. He agreed without a moments thought. She needed him to hack a series of terminals in order to trace and discover a Shadow Broker agent who could lead Liara to the Shadow Broker.

Shepard was shocked, Liara wasn't working for the Broker she was hunting him. Shepard agreed, putting the Broker out of play could help his efforts. The Shadow Broker got involved too many times when Shepard was hunting down Saren and he wanted to avoid more complications. Shepard was able to quickly work the terminals with Garrus and Kasumi supporting him. Both were technical experts yet the evidence they pulled led to no one.

Shepard reported this to Liara who realised the agent she sought was none other than her assistant Nyxeris. Liara shuts the leak in her operation and by the time Shepard gets back Liara has removed Nyxeris. Liara feels foolish but Shepard reaches out to Liara and finally breaks the shell she surrounded herself in. Liara says she wishes it was different and she misses Shepard. She still loves him but she has a duty to someone - she owes someone and she needs to help that person. Shepard offers to help.

Liara becomes quiet and finally concedes to the help. She agrees to meet Shepard later at her apartment, she'll need time to gather the intel she's collected from Nyxeris.

Shepard resupplies with the local vendors and upgrades the crew supplies before leaving to Liara's apartment.

When he arrives he is greeted by Tela Vasir, Asari Spectre who has locked down Liara's apartment. Liara has gone missing. Shepard immediately demands to be put on the investigation. Vasir decides to let Shepard help due to his past with Liara and they sweep her apartment together. Filled with relics and mementos, including the ruined chest peice of Shepard's old armour. He finds a hidden message that Liara is now close to finding the Shadow Broker and was seeing an informant. Vasir checks the evidence and tells Shepard that Liara was last seen entering a local office building.

Shepard and the Assault team rush over with Vasir only to see the building become wracked with explosions. Someone had bombed the building and Liara was inside.

***

Shepard reconnecting with Liara quickly became the main focus on Illium. He feels drawn to her by their shared experience and connection. She's changed on the outside but within she is still the woman he has feelings for.

Someone had just tried to kill her and Shepard was once more pushed forward. They had come after one his. Not only that they went after the person he feels the closest too in all of the galaxy.

The Shadow Broker had crossed a line - now this was personal.