Ten years ago, Jacob's father disappeared along with the Hugo Gernsback, the privately-held frigate on which he served as first officer. Last week, the ship's beacon sent out a distress call reporting a crash on the planet Aeia. Jacob would like to investigate.
After the mission on Horizon, Kelly Chambers will inform Shepard that Jacob wants to talk to Shepard. When Talking to Jacob, he informs Shepard that last week his father's ship sent out a distress call, reporting a crash and requesting a rescue. However, the ship went missing ten years ago, so he has his doubts about his father being alive, but he would still like to investigate to get some closure. Someone passed a message about the distress call to Jacob's personal log through Cerberus filters.
You'll be facing a combination of organic and synthetic enemies protected by shields and/or armor. Jacob's Incendiary Ammo can help against armor and organics to a degree, so a second squadmate with anti-shield/synthetic powers is a good bet.
You will be facing large numbers of weaker enemies that attack in waves so powers upgraded to damage or disable multiple enemies (e.g. Pull Field, Area Overload) are especially effective. On higher difficulties Energy Drain is a highly effective power to have in your arsenal for this mission, either as a bonus power for Shepard or by bringing a loyal Tali along in your party (or both). Remember that Energy Drain will damage even armored synthetic opponents but will only refill the shields of the user if used against shielded enemies or unprotected synthetics. Tali is also useful to bring along for her AI Hacking ability which can greatly reduce the difficulty of several engagements.
Heavy weapons that have a large area of effect and the ability to stagger or disable multiple enemies such as the M-622 Avalanche, Arc Projector, or M-100 Grenade Launcher are the most effective options for this mission.
Arrival on Aeia
The shuttle drops Shepard and the squad a little south of the hulk of the MSV Hugo Gernsback. Jacob comments that the ship is mostly intact and that the crew could have survived the impact, but wonders where they are now. When you approach the ship there will be the distress beacon VI on the right of the bridge into the ship, to the left is an officer’s log that will give you some information regarding the crash and what happened before the activation of the beacon. Go in the ship to find a few more logs that reveal a troubling picture of the crew experiencing loss of higher cognitive functions and the officers exploiting that. Inside the ship is also a datapad that has 3000 credits.
Head out of the ship and across from the bridge are some spare parts that can be salvaged. You can recover these either before or after you talk to the beacon. Talking with the beacon will give some interesting information. Apparently, Captain Fairchild was killed in the crash or shortly before it, and Jacob’s father was promoted to Acting Captain. The beacon will also describe how it was set up about a year after the crash but wasn’t activated until a few weeks ago, after a hiatus of almost nine years. The beacon also reports that ingesting the local flora impairs mental functioning.
Move on and eventually you will come across a female survivor babbling about how the leader said someone from the sky would save them. You can earn a few morality points based on your response. While she is talking, you see someone sneaking up you. A Paragon interrupt will allow you to save her life. Use the crates and pipes around for cover and take out the "hunters" that are ambushing you.
- On the higher difficulties this is one of the hardest fights to survive in the entire game especially if you underestimate the danger. You are immediately facing large numbers of hunters all firing at you, plus several more will approach from a distance to replace those you kill.
- Many of the hunters are armed with M-9 Tempest SMGs which they fire with perfect accuracy, resulting in a veritable wall of fire coming at you and your squad that melts your shields with frightening speed.
- To make matters worse, a few of the hunters (usually the ones armed with shotguns) will try to flank you from either side of the long piece of cover you start near. Make sure you watch your flanks, and if you see a hunter sneaking up on either side, disable his shields, knock him down, and dispatch him pronto. Saving Jacob's Pull or having another disabling ability ready is important for this situation.
- Having Energy Drain as a bonus power can pay dividends as it will not only strip enemy defenses but also help keep your shields up against the withering enemy barrage. If Tali is in the squad her Energy Drain (if unlocked and upgraded) can likewise make her surprisingly good at surviving this fight compared to other squadmates.
- Your squadmates unfortunately like to run forward and often get shot down immediately (and repeat this when revived); manually ordering them to hold position behind cover ASAP can help keep them alive.
- Right at the start of the fight you can quickly back up to hide behind the "engine parts" behind you and to the right, which can be a safer place than where you started. You can also send a squadmate to take cover here while you take a forward position if you're more able to handle the incoming fire.
- Heavy weapons can be absolutely worth using in this fight to help kill or disable a few of the attacking horde and give you some room to breathe. The best weapon for this is generally the M-622 Avalanche; the Arc Projector can work but has a brief charge-up period before each shot that can make you a sitting duck against the sheer volume of fire coming at you. The Avalanche has the added advantage of knocking enemies out of the fight without killing them, meaning that additional enemies will not spawn to replace them.
- Be careful about the female survivor; regardless of whether you saved her, her body will be behind you at the start of this fight and getting stuck on it while you're taking fire can be a very unexpected (and frustrating) way to die.
There are salvageable parts worth 1,500 credits on the left near where the hunters appeared. Move along and after a little while you will come across a stripped mech, Jacob will say that the hunters must be putting on a lot of pressure. Up the road, so to speak, is a settlement.
Upon arriving you encounter some of the members of the encampment and after they get a good look at Jacob, they are terrified. You can comment on that and then Jacob offers up some explanation on why the men and women are separated. Move around the camp and examine the food stores, to your immediate right. Jacob will say they are completely spoiled and that the women must have been eating the native plant life. Medi-gel is to the left of the food, grab it.
Warning: Be alert and ready to take cover as you explore the seemingly peaceful camp, because as you move further back some LOKI Mechs will emerge suddenly saying that the leader demands obedience and to relinquish all weapons. Take out the LOKI Mechs and continue exploring. In the center of the camp on a crate is a datapad, and to the right of the camp is some spare parts, get both and bank 2,100 and 1,500 credits, respectively.
The ship's doctor stands nearby. From a datapad she gives you, you learn the following:
- The crew were split into officers and crew, and the officers hoarded all the food, forcing the survivors to eat the local toxic food.
- Five officers survived the crash, but all were then killed within a week of each other once the beacon was complete.
- Within a year all the male crew-members were either dead or exiled.
- All the women were assigned to officers like property.
Bypass the nearby disabled mech's safeties to blow up a barricade and progress. Once you hack the mech, get back because it will explode.
Get to Ronald Taylor
Move over to the dead bodies and one of the squad members will observe that the older corpses appear to be posed, as in a warning, and the rest just lay where they fell. Then Ronald Taylor comes over a PA system, saying that his crew mutinied and that he only just now got free. Jacob refuses to believe anything his father is saying. Ronald also mentions that his security system has gone haywire and they will attack anything. Now you have to fight groups of LOKI Mechs on the way to wherever Ronald is hiding.
Move up to the crates and get into cover, as there will be some mechs at the top of the hill. Once the initial mechs are down you can move your squadmates into cover at the center of the clearing using rocks to the right and the crates around the transmitter thing as cover - try to deal with this batch quickly before more mechs from the right side get into range. Find cover for Shepard anywhere you can and still get a clear shot. Take out all the mechs and then move your squadmates up because there will be more mechs coming from the crates at the back and from the right, which is the path forward.
Combat Notes: Throughout the next section, as you advance through multiple waves of LOKI mechs, two main strategies suggest themselves. The first and safest is to take out all the mechs in each group before advancing and triggering the next group. The second is to hack one or more of the mechs and advance, using them as your vanguard against the next wave. This second tactic is riskier as you need to maintain a hacked mech at all times to keep drawing enemy fire; if you are relying on a squadmate to maintain the hacking and they go down for any reason you could find yourself in trouble in a hurry. On higher difficulties LOKI mechs deal a huge amount of damage so despite their slow speed you shouldn't take them lightly.
Once you take down the mechs from the forward crates move your squadmates to positions that give them a clear shot at the advancing enemies. About 10 LOKI Mechs will be coming from that direction, so make sure that all the effort that went into maintaining them all these years goes to waste. Once all the LOKI Mechs are down explore near where the large crates are for some spare parts worth 1,500 credits and a heavy pistol upgrade.
Move along and up the path. When you have sight of another encampment, squeeze all three members of your squad behind some crates, as there is no other cover nearby. Ronald will come over the PA saying that he took years to train his guards and they will defend him until they die. Jacob will respond with some choice words. Once you take out some additional attacking mechs, move up to the canopy where you will find three items: Medi-gel, some spare parts worth 1,500 credits, and some power cells; you can save the Medi-gel and power cells as a refill for the final battle or grab them immediately. Then save your game before moving on.
Ronald Taylor’s Headquarters
The large wall ahead in this next area will provide some initial protection. In this compound you must contend with the trained human guards Ronald Taylor mentioned earlier, as well as some final LOKI mechs. You will also have to contend with a YMIR Mech. The YMIR will move around and flank you if you stay behind the wall, so fall back out of the area if you need to, as it will not move beyond the compound. Use this to your advantage by leaving your squadmates in cover well back behind the entrance to the compound and draw the YMIR out by killing 1-2 of the weaker enemies. Again, the YMIR will not chase you past the wall where the Medi-gel was located. Simply hide behind the wall where you first entered the area with the medpack and power cells and take the YMIR out at your leisure. Once the YMIR is down the fight should be fairly straightforward. Move back into the clearing if you need to and move your squadmates into cover where they can assist you in taking out the remaining human guards. Be careful about using fragile crates for cover as they will not hold for long under fire. Once all the enemies are down, move around the clearing to get some element zero and a datapad for 2,400 credits. Once you are ready open the last door and head up to where Ronald Taylor is playing king of the castle.
Ronald’s mood when you arrive is overjoyed. He doesn’t seem to recognize Jacob and apparently thinks that you are there to rescue him from his “insane” crew. However, Shepard just walks past Ronald and looks out over the sea. Jacob questions his father and eventually you can reintroduce them. Ronald immediately retracts some of his lies saying that he wasn’t ready for the burden of command and how it changed him. Then he tries to convince you that he did what was best. Jacob says that something went wrong and that he has been living in a childhood fantasy for ten years. Ronald cannot determine where it went wrong but he knows something did. Jacob then comments that the food could have only lasted for so long, to which Ronald replies that eating for one can really stretch a food supply. Shepard can then decide Ronald's fate: take him to be arrested by Alliance officials, abandon him to be attacked at the hands of the survivors, or have Jacob leave him a half-charged pistol so that he can commit suicide.
Note: Choosing to maroon Ronald Taylor results in a brief exchange involving Shepard's other squadmate who will respond coldly to Taylor's protests at being left behind.
After you make your choice, you return to the Normandy.
After a brief exchange with Joker, Shepard enters the comm room where Jacob is in the middle of accusing the Illusive Man of anonymously passing the distress signal to him, but the Illusive Man denies it. If Shepard cynically speculates that the Cerberus chief was likely responsible given how he usually operates, the Illusive Man rebukes the Commander for ignorant presumption, declaring, "My people are valuable to me."
Jacob then demands to know who forwarded the information on the Gernsback to him; on cue, Miranda joins the call, revealing she sent it to fulfill an "old promise". The Illusive Man pointedly informs Miranda that they will discuss proper security protocols together at a later time, then curtly dismisses Jacob and Shepard before disconnecting. Shepard asks Jacob why Miranda helped him, and Jacob replies that Miranda keeps her promises but he can’t remember which one she was referring to; apparently, Miranda has a long but selective memory. Jacob thanks the Commander for their assistance and the two get back to the business of saving the galaxy. Morality points can be earned throughout these conversations.
The Alliance comes soon after the Normandy leaves to rescue the survivors. One of them sends a thank you message (titled "Thank you") to Shepard:
Survivors from Aeia are being treated by Alliance personnel with additional Cerberus support. Pleased to see Taylor unharmed psychologically by experience.
Jacob Taylor has dealt with his father and is now focused solely on the mission.
- Experience reward: 750 (937)
- Credits: 30,000
- Cerberus Funding: 15,000
- Credits Found: 15,000
- Element Zero: 500
- Powers Unlocked:
- Jacob: Barrier
- This mission poses a bit of a continuity error. Thermal clips, as explained by the Codex, were developed following the events of the first Mass Effect which took place two years before Mass Effect 2; however Jacob's father and the survivors can be seen using thermal clips despite having been stranded ten years prior to Mass Effect 2, long before this technology was in existence.
- The Codex entry for 2175 Aeia, implied to have been written before the events of this mission take place, mistakenly states that Ronald Taylor was the Captain of the Gernsback and not the second-in-command. It's possible the developers originally intended Taylor to be the Captain, but later changed this so that his being unprepared for the stress of command could be given as a partial explanation for his failings in judgment.
- This is the only optional mission in Mass Effect 2 that features a briefing with the Illusive Man. All other cutscenes or dialogue involving him are tied to required missions of critical plot significance.
- If this mission is done after the suicide mission and if Miranda has died, she will still appear in the conversation with the Illusive Man after Jacob's mission.