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MEA Journal - Ryder Family Secrets
Your father locked portions of SAM's memory array, and SAM is unable to recall certain information. You must explore in order to find the numerous memory triggers scattered throughout the world.

Acquisition Edit

Prerequisite: A Better Beginning

This mission is acquired automatically upon completing the objective "Speak With SAM on the Hyperion" during the mission to rehabilitate Eos.

Walkthrough Edit

During the conversation, SAM tells you about you symbiotic relationship, and that SAM can enhance your abilities and performance. However, SAM is unable to tell you what Alec Ryder's plan was, because he put a block on SAM's memory array. The hidden memories might be unlocked the more you explore. SAM suggests Ryder's room on the Hyperion is a place to start searching.

Find a way to remove SAM's memory blocks Edit

Memory trigger
In Ryder's room on the Hyperion there is there is a memory trigger. Interacting with the trigger starts a conversation with SAM. SAM explains that it is an eidetic trigger related to Alec and the portions of SAM's memory that he locked. SAM is programmed to unlock blocked memories as you find more memory triggers. The first memory has now been unlocked, and can be accessed in SAM Node.

Two new objectives are unlocked.

Optional: Visit your sibling in Hyperion's cryo bay Edit

After completing the mission A Better Beginning, you'll unlock a new optional objective to visit your sibling in the Cryo Bay. Though still in a coma, SAM tells you that your mental processes are functioning normally, and SAM can use your implants to establish a communication link.

Ryder can then have a brief, unconventional conversation with their twin. The sibling will ask you about your dad and new home. You can be honest with them about the dire situation, in which case, the shock will cause them to slip back into a coma. Alternatively, you can lie to the sibling to make their rest more peaceful, but you will have to deal with the consequences when they wake up and discover the truth for themselves.

Search for memory triggers that will unlock SAM's array Edit

This objective will remain active as long as there are triggers available.

There are 16 memory triggers hidden all throughout the Heleus Cluster. Some can only be triggered by progression, others are found in specific locations at any time. Memory triggers are marked MEA Tracked Objective Map Icon on the map.

Finding a memory trigger will bring SAM closer to unlocking memory arrays. When Ryder has discovered enough memory triggers to unlock a new memory, SAM will inform you. Ryder can experience that memory by returning to the SAM Node and asking SAM to play it. There is a mission objective to remind you of the unlocked memory.

There are in total six memories to be unlocked. Each memory requires three triggers to unlock, apart from the first memory (which is unlocked after discovering a single trigger).

The table below summarizes each trigger's location and method of acquisition.

Location Detailed Location Details
Hyperion Habitation Deck Located in Alec Ryder's former quarters after speaking with SAM during A Better Beginning.
Elaaden Languish Located northwest of the New Tuchanka on top of a cliff.
Elaaden Languish Located west of New Tuchanka is inside a cave.
Elaaden Gehenna Valley Located southwest of New Tuchanka next to two trees.
Eos Site 1: Promise On the edge of a cliff to the southwest of Site 1: Promise overlooking Site 1.
Eos The Sheartop On a cliff northeast of the Forward Station in The Sheartop.
Eos Prodromos In Prodromos, beside August Bradley.
Havarl Turian Camp Located to the southwest of the Turian Camp.
Havarl Mithrava At the top of Mithrava during A Dying Planet.
Havarl Buried Cave In the area with the third, underground monolith during A Dying Planet.
Kadara Ditaeon Just south of the Ditaeon outpost MEA Outpost Map Icon.
Kadara Sulfur Springs On a cliff east from the Western MonolithMEA Monolith Map Icon. Directly south of the Ditaeon outpost MEA Outpost Map Icon.
Kadara Kurinth's Valley Next to an acid pool in Kurinth's Valley region.
Voeld - On a cliff southwest of Hjara Station.
Voeld - On a cliff northwest of the Taerve Uni outpost MEA Outpost Map Icon.
Voeld - West of Techiix. On a rocky outcrop near a kett camp.

Speak with SAM in SAM node about an unlocked memory Edit

This objective will be added each time Ryder finds enough memory triggers to unlock a memory. Speaking to SAM completes the objective.

SAM explains that the memories can be experienced as seen by Alec directly through the implant.

On first visit, Memory #1 is played and becomes available to subsequent visits. An additional audio log to this memory is available on the Archive System in Ryder's room on Hyperion, where Encrypted Log #1 now is accessible.

Details on the memories and archive content can be found here.

Speak with Director Tann about the "benefactor" Edit

This objective becomes active after the fourth memory is unlocked and the now accessible files of Encrypted Log #3 in the archive have been read by Ryder - one of them about a mysterious "benefactor".

Jarun Tann doesn't know anything about a benefactor, and dryly concludes that this person either is a phantom, missing or dead.

The conversation then reveals that no proper investigation was conducted on the death of the Initiative's founder Jien Garson. The next objective starts.

Investigate the Nexus records about Jien Garson's death Edit

The terminal for Security Footage on the Nexus has two files regarding Garson.

  • The first is a missing persons report for Garson. She was last seen during the emergency stasis revival that occurred after the Scourge encounter.

Missing persons report (J. Garson)
File #1A98
Andromeda Initiative founder Jien Garson has been reported missing. She was last seen during the emergency stasis revival that occurred after the Scourge encounter. A bulletin has been issued.


  • The second is an update on the previous report and states that the case is closed. Her dead body was found in a Nexus apartment and had severe burn marks. It's unclear how she got there. Activate this file and the next objective is activated. Ryder and SAM conclude something isn't right about this.

Garson investigation [CLOSED]
File #1A98 - Addendum
Update to the missing persons report filed on Jien Garson: maintenance crew found her body in a Nexus apartment. Severe burns were apparent, similar to others we saw who were killed during Scourge disaster. It's unclear how she got there, but confusion and disorientation during the Scourge event are likely. Events align with the timeline.

CAUSE OF DEATH: Casualty of Scourge disaster.
STATUS: Case closed

Investigate the Nexus apartment where Jien Garson was found dead Edit

The apartment is in the docks.

Scan the room for clues Edit

SAM uses the room's environmental data and displays a scene that clearly indicates something definitely was not right: Jien Garson and an unknown person standing above her. However, these apartments were locked at the time, so how did they get in?

Continue scanning the room for more information Edit

There is a hidden door located by scanning the wall.

Investigate the hidden room Edit

One of the datapads holds some disturbing information. Garson had hidden additional information in her VI in the Cultural Center. SAM picks up the code to unlock the information.

Ryder is awarded +530 XP for reading the datapad.

The other datapad is less alarming, but cryptic.

Garson Notes
Entry 1.1 (2819)

In 2179, once mentioned "A storm is coming." Said "evidence was clear." Meaning?

Andromeda--why?

Hyperion, still no contact. Where is Alec? Did they get him, too?

Speak with Garson's VI display in the Nexus Cultural Exchange Edit

Garson had run out of money for the Initiative project when the benefactor stepped in. Something big in the Milky Way spooked them, and they wanted to bring people to Andromeda. She also suspects something isn't right.

SAM suggests that unlocking more of Alec Ryder's memories might spread some light on this. This path of objectives is then put on hold, assuming the main story has not been progressed far enough.

Speak with SAM in SAM Node about an unlocked memory Edit

Early in the mission The Journey to Meridian, the non-Pathfinder sibling will awaken from their coma. Ryder will automatically be taken to the Cryo Bay to see them.

After the two have a short conversation, if all memory triggers have been collected, SAM will indicate the final memory is now available and prompts Ryder to return to SAM Node.

Meet with your brother/sister at your mother's stasis pod in Hyperion cryo bay Edit

After watching the final memory and investigating the accompanying logs, both Ryder twins meet in the Cryo Bay. The Pathfinder reveals Elizabeth Reilly's true identity. SAM explains she cannot be brought out of stasis yet, as there is still no known cure for her disease. The mission is now complete.

Rewards Edit

Memories Edit

Memory 1

The first memory unlocked is of Alec Ryder back on the Citadel as the human military attaché to the council, making the case for a Human-AI link project to help the human race catch up to the technology of the other space-faring races. Also included in the memory is Alec's notification by his wife, Ellen, that she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Playing this memory will unlock the first encrypted audio log in the archives located in the Pathfinder's personal quarters aboard the Hyperion.

Encrypted Log #1 is accessible:

  • The file "Ellen's disease" shows him being shocked by the state of her disease, but at the end he mentions cryptically that SAM might be more than he ever imagined.
  • The file "General logs" contains three files: The first are his thoughts on how he has been as family father (recorded when Hyperion was about to leave the Milky Way), the second is about the asari archaeologist Liara T'Soni and a message from her (data pads regarding her research can be found in the room).
  • The final file is Alec's last words before going to the fatal expedition on Habitat 7, and that if something happens to him he hopes his children will understand the things they are going to find out (probably a hint to SAM's blocked memory array).
Memory 2

The second memory is from after the Ryder's returned to Earth from the Citadel. Alec introduces SAM to Ellen, suggesting that they implement SAM into Ellen's biotic implants. Alec is convinced Ellen can be saved, while Ellen tries to prepare him for the inevitability of her death. Playing this memory will unlock the second encrypted audio log.

Encrypted log #2:

  • The first file is about Ellen's research, where she says that her disease was caused by her research on biotic implants and Element Zero, and that the right type of implant joined with the right type of AI could bolster human physiology and help counteracting her disease and prolong her life.
  • The second file is about the geth mistake, and the player can hear Alec interviewing a quarian historian about what made the geth revolt against their creators - the quarians.
  • The third file is about Alec's deal with the Shadow Broker to buy code for an artificial intelligence for a high price.
Memory 3

The third memory is from a reunion of all four members of the Ryder family. (It appears this was not long before the departure of the Andromeda Initiative, as both twins are already full-grown.) The family discusses the military careers of both Ryder children and Alec. No files in the archives are unlocked.

Memory 4

The fourth memory is from Alec Ryder's first contact with the Initiative and the mysterious benefactor. The third encrypted log is unlocked.

Encrypted log #3:

  • The first file is Alec's comment of his first conversation with the benefactor, who puts a lot of resources and money into this project. Ryder thinks it might be worth talking with Director Tann about this, but he denies any knowledge of the benefactor.
  • In the second files Alec says he accepted the Initiative's offer. Without their support SAM will never get finished. "Ellen's getting worse. I can't fail her."
Memory 5

The fifth memory is of Ellen Ryder on her deathbed. All four Ryder's spend a few moments together before the twins leave to give their parents time alone. Ellen asks Alec to say goodbye, but he refuses. She tells him to "be strong," to which he responds, "Never as strong as you." No files in the archives are unlocked.

Memory 6

In the sixth and final memory, Alec is shown speaking to Castis Vakarian about Shepard's theory on the Reapers. They theorize that should the Reapers purge the Milky Way of advanced life, the Andromeda Initiative may be the only way for their species to survive. Alec then contacts the Benefactor; the two agree the true reason for the Initiative must remain a secret. Next, Alec speaks with SAM, who confirms Ellen Ryder is safe in stasis and her disease has not progressed. The final part of the memory is Alec's death on Habitat 7, where he is shown giving his helmet to his child and saying, "There's still hope for your mother." The fourth and final encrypted log is unlocked.

Encrypted log #4:

  • The file "Milky Way Emergency" contains files with disturbing messages from the Milky Way (including a final goodbye from Liara) from the time when the early events in Mass Effect 3 took place. The Reapers have attacked, and the people of the Andromeda Initiative might be the only survivors of the advanced Milky Way civilizations.
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