In the year 2148, explorers on Mars discovered the remains of an ancient spacefaring civilization. In the decades that followed, these mysterious artifacts revealed startling new technologies, enabling travel to the furthest stars. The basis for this incredible technology was a force that controlled the very fabric of space and time.
They called it the greatest discovery in human history.
The civilizations of the galaxy call it... MASS EFFECT.
- 1 Mass Effect: Evolution
- 2 Mass Effect: Revelation
- 3 Mass Effect: Foundation #1
- 4 Mass Effect: Foundation #4
- 5 Mass Effect: Foundation #10
- 6 Mass Effect: Homeworlds #1
- 7 Mass Effect: Foundation #9
- 8 Mass Effect: Homeworlds #2
- 9 Mass Effect: Foundation #2
- 10 Mass Effect: Foundation #3
- 11 Mass Effect
|Spoilers for the Mass Effect series follow.|
Mass Effect: Evolution
After humans took to space using the mass relays, they settled a few colonies, but they never assumed they needed anyone's permission to use the relays. On the colony of Shanxi, humans are paying the cost of their assumptions with a full-scale invasion by the turians. The Alliance military is in full retreat and the turians turn their attention to eliminating all traces of the trespassers. However, they don't realize that not all human soldiers wear uniforms. A trio of human mercenaries, Jack Harper, Ben Hislop, and Eva Coré, are tracking a patrol of seven turians. They then proceed to ambush them. After a few close calls, Ben is found wrestling with a turian. Jack then hits the turian over the head and they take him prisoner. Ben charges at the turian only to be pulled off by Jack telling him to stand down because of the intel he might have and that if he is killed, they will lose it. Ben apologizes for his actions, which had come from seeing his brother and the settlements wiped out. Jack responds by saying that is why he joined the cause and if he just wanted to kill turians then he should join the military.
As they finish speaking, Jack notices an M35 Mako pull up, and notes how they always have perfect timing. One of the soldiers climbs out and asks which one is Jack and that "the man" wants to see him back at headquarters now. The prisoner is told to ride in the back. The captured turian remarks that if humans are resorting to mercenaries, then things really have gone bad. Jack tells him that they are specialists, but that is none of his business. Jack then pulls out a device and asks if it is a communicator. The turian replies that that is none of his business but says they probably can't fathom it anyway. Jack counters by saying that they might surprise him.
Later at General Williams's headquarters, Williams tells Jack that the Alliance is withdrawing to Arcturus Station because no one has the will to fight the turians anymore. Jack counters that his group, and Williams, still have the will to fight and will fight. Williams then says that Jack is the only one who can figure out what the turians are doing. Jack says that they are going into places that were never settled, or have been abandoned for a while. The turians are conducing search patterns, looking for something, but Alliance Command says that there is nothing they have found, but since the turians are still looking, then there must be something. Jack says that they can finish the job in twenty hours, and Eva requests the APC out front.
While riding to the front, Jack and the others interrogate the turian they captured, who reveals his name is Desolas, and says that if he is released he may be merciful if they return him to his people. Jack points out that he knows he is a general, and that the device they took earlier is homing in on his camp, which Desolas counters saying that turians underrated human intelligence. Desolas says that his lieutenant is waiting with superior numbers and tells them to escape while they can. Desolas points out that humans, as the new arrivals, want everything, but lets them in on a secret, that others were in the galaxy first, that humans aren't welcome, and that the turians won't give humanity one kilometer of the planet. Jack says it is time to divide and conquer.
At the turian camp, which is in the shadow of a crashed turian ship, one of the officers tells Lieutenant Abrudas that the researchers have found the relic and moved it into a network of caverns five kilometers west. The Lieutenant is angry, as they could have saved the turians time searching, and reaches for her communicator to contact Desolas, however, he contacts them first. In a static filled transmission Desolas says that he escaped from the humans and tells them to meet him one kilometer east. Abrudas tells them that they have found the cargo, but Desolas tells them that he can't move, so Abrudas takes a squad to rescue the general while the rest move towards the objective.
After a bit of time, Abrudas reaches the objective, and while complaining about the researchers and the time they have wasted, the squad gets ambushed by Jack, his friends, and their APC, much to the surprise of the turians. Inside the APC Desolas tells Jack that it was “a childish ploy”, but Jack comments it was pretty good, “for a human”. Jack and the rest of his people tie up the turians. At the same time Jack and Desolas discuss what happened, and how there has been a lot of force for a simple recovery operation, and that Desolas doesn’t come across as a garden-variety general. Desolas warns Jack to "be careful what you look for human. You may find it."
At the caverns, Jack and the rest ambush the remaining turians, and after threatening them with the capture of their General and their Lieutenant, and the big gun on top of their APC, Desolas tells his men to stand down. He says that their time will come, and until then, "let the human satisfy his curiosity." Apparently, he is curious what Jack will find as well. As Jack and Ben head into the caves, Eva asks what to do if they cause trouble. Jack says to run a few over, but to stay on the radio. As they progress into the caves, Ben says that Eva is worried about them, but Jack says that is more about him. As they continue the discussion, about Ben and Eva, Jack sees something up ahead.
Inside is a large object in the center of the room, with glowing chains extending out from it. Jack points out that it was clearly dragged here, but Ben starts to points out that it would have taken monsters to move it. Before Ben can finish his statement, they get ambushed by creatures wearing robes and Ben gets knocked to the ground. As one of the creatures lifts Ben into the air, Jack opens fire and Ben is thrown to the ground. Ben comments about intel first, but the Jack points out "not this time" and keeps shooting, becoming frustrated as the creatures won't die.
Eventually the creatures fall, but both humans are stunned at the amount of bullets it took to take them down. Jack then moves forward and pulls back one of the hoods, and it shows a turian, who's had parts of his face replaced with cybernetic implants. Jack tries to radio General Williams and Eva, but there is too much interference. Ben starts walking toward the object saying that it might be the cause and that there may be a way to turn it off. Jack tells Ben to wait, but he gets too close and the device sends out an energy bolt that hits Ben. Jack rushes up to save his friend, but it is too late. As Jack also gets hit by the energy from Ben's body, they both fall back to the floor, as a voice calls out. Eva rushes into the room, her clothes ragged and out of breath, and says that the turians came up from behind when they all saw the lights coming from the cave. As Jack asks what happened, a voice says that is what he would like to know. Eva turns around to see a large turian standing over them, with other armed turians in the background, saying that they will come with them, and tells the others to bring Ben's body for dissection. He ends by saying "You've studied us -- now it's our turn to study you."
Jack Harper awakens from a strange dream aboard a turian starship. Jack is startled that he is aboard a turian ship, then he discovers he is restrained. The turians in the room tell him to calm down as the restrains are there for not only his protection, but for theirs as well. Jack then hears Eva and sees her and a turian enter. The turian orders Harper released from his restraints and Eva tells Harper that both of them are prisoners and that he has been in a coma for weeks. Jack asks about Ben, and Eva says that he is dead via electrocution from the device. Eva also says that it nearly killed him as well. Jack then asks where Ben is, but Eva says that Desolas split them up and she has no idea where he is. The turian in the room says that whatever seemed to have happened to Ben has left him unaffected and that Harper is in perfect health as far as they can tell.
Eva then turns on the turian and asks his name. The turian introduces himself as Saren, that Desolas is his brother, and that Jack and Eva have him to thank for not leaving them to die. Eva counters saying that they are being taken to a prison camp on Palaven and they should be thankful. Saren however counters that by saying that Eva is a handful, almost killing three guards while waiting, and that she is mistaken..."about a lot of things". Jack and Eva then see that they are approaching Arcturus Station and Jack asks how long he's been out. Saren informs him that it was long enough because the war is over, and they are being taken home.
Aboard Arcturus Station, General Williams is greeting Desolas, or General Arterius, when he arrives in the hangar bay. Desolas says that he is sorry that he didn't introduce himself properly on Shanxi, but he was fleeing at the time and he assumed that he was busy. Williams reminds him that the Alliance retook the planet then turns his attention to the size of his escort. Desolas reminds him that he doesn’t know everything about the turians and if the Citadel Council hadn't intervened, then they wouldn't find out. Williams says that the cease-fire wasn't his idea and that if Desolas wants to fight it out, he is happy to oblige, and if that isn't the case, then he asks for his people. Desolas mentions that he is amused that Williams would trade so many turians for just two operatives, and mercenaries at that. Eva then comes charging at Desolas, Jack tries to tell her to not do it, but she tackles him to the ground before being pulled off by Saren. Eva yells at Desolas for not helping Ben, but Desolas ignores it and tells Saren to be careful with her because, while humans may bark like varren, they are fragile. Saren mentions that he had to do something because his new bodyguards weren't of much use. Desolas mentions that they have their uses but you have to know how to talk to them. Desolas then turns to one of them and begins speaking in a language that Jack appears to understand. Desolas notices this and turns, inquisitive, but then redirects his attention to General Williams. He reminds Williams that Eva's attack is a violation of the treaty protocol and that he should take the prisoners back until a higher authority can rule on the matter. Williams counters by saying that he's had them long enough and to get off the station.
Later in a medical bay Williams is talking with Jack and mentions that he doesn't know why Desolas suddenly wanted to check over Jack again. Williams also mentions that Jack has the vitals of a first year cadet and that whatever the device did, it seems that it was harmless. Jack counters by saying that Ben wouldn't agree with that statement. Williams apologizes and says that Ben was a good kid, which he continues by saying that he left a lot of good kids down there. He mentions that now the Alliance wants them to play nice with the turians, even though they were on the verge of winning, just to curry favor with "this Citadel bunch". Jack asks if it is more aliens, and Williams continues by saying that money is doing the talking and that it is the way of the future. "Cohabitation with native species to father Mutual interests" is how the Alliance puts it. Williams then mentions that he is resigning but then tells Jack that he shouldn't. Jack says that he can't, not after what he saw, and he mentions that the artifact is connected to those things he saw. Jack then says that he heard Desolas' bodyguards tell him they were called to the device. Williams notes that, since Jack understood what they were saying, maybe he can find out more and gives them leave to take his personal shuttle, if Jack can pry Eva's arms off the fuselage.
In the hanger, Eva asks why the General is giving them his shuttle. Jack says that it is his to give and says that he thought it would cheer Eva up. As the two start climbing the boarding ramp, Eva is mentioning that he hasn't flown something half as nice when Jack collapses on the ramp. Eva rushes to his side and says that she know it was too soon to go anywhere. Jack counters that they, and he, can't wait any longer. He mentions that he has been having visions and headaches since he woke up. Eva asks about what and Jack says it was about darkness, the future, and that it is all tied to that artifact. He mentions that is why he is going, to figure out what is going on. Eva, however, asks where they can go, as they don't know where it was taken. She says that they could have taken to Palaven, but they can't go there now. Jack then counters by telling her that they have to go to Illium.
After several relay jumps, Eva mentions that it doesn’t make sense and she must have been out of her mind to go this close to the Terminus Systems. There haven't been enough humans that have seen Illium to start a band. Jack reminds Eva that she thought he was dying, that he feels much better, and that if Eva wants a shot at Desolas, then this is her chance. Jack says the artifact is on Illium, and that he can't see Desolas going anywhere without it.
Upon landing in Nos Astra, Eva takes in the sights, and based on what she sees, asks how humans will ever catch up. Jack calms her by telling her to not worry about it, and that humans will have it all soon. He reminds Eva about Clarke's Third Law. Advanced technology only looks like magic and if they remember that, then they have nothing to fear. Eva then asks what Jack is afraid of and why are they on Illium, and he replies that he is afraid that some of it may be magic.
Sometime later Jack is speaking to several asari in their native language while Eva looks on. When Jack returns, Eva asks how he can speak to them in the asari language. Jack says that how else was he going to communicate with them, which Eva counters by saying that he should be using a language that he actually knows. Jack is puzzled for a second, and acknowledges Eva by saying that it just came to him, he doesn’t know why, or what to do about this. Jack then points out a car and says they are for public use and that he's been itching to try a foreign model. Eva says that he should do flying this time, to which Jack agrees.
While flying Jack starts looking over the local Extranet for information about the Shanxi relic. Eva asks why they wouldn’t take something like that directly to Palaven to which Jack replies that for the same reasons they kept it aboard a ship for so long. It is unknown technology and he suspects they don't know more about it than they do. Jack goes on to say that they all know it's dangerous and that Eva saw what it did to Ben. Eva then tries to talk to Jack, but he ignores her and keeps searching and says that it may be a weapon, which is why they didn't want it too close to Palaven and were taking it to Shanxi for study. Eva tries to cut in again, but Jack continues by saying maybe that is why they didn't want humans going there. Then he finds the information he was looking for and he asks Eva what she would bet to say that the turians are looking for them.
When they reach their destination, Eva mentions her feelings about the area, in that it is unsafe. Jack says that most of the city is under surveillance, so Desolas probably wanted to keep clear of it. Jack says that was probably so they could grab him, but he bets that he can trap one, and then find out what is going on. However, before Jack can finish his sentence, Saren ambushes them with Desolas' bodyguards. Jack pulls Eva out of the line of fire, then exchanges a bit of fire before taking cover. He is not surprised to see them, and that Desolas said they would show up. Saren mentions that Jack was affected by the Arca Monolith to a greater degree than he let on, and that they have more tests to run.
Saren orders the guards to seize Jack, but he and Eva run through corridors being pursued by one of the guards. They exchange fire with it, while it returns fire by throwing items at them. Eva asks Jack what they are, but as he tries to tell her something, the guard grabs him by the neck. Eva comes around and prepares to bash the butt of her pistol over the guard's head, when Jacks tells her not to. The guard's hood falls revealing Ben, with a few enhancements.
Jack Harper is recalling his first meeting with Ben Hislop. Jack describes Ben as brash, young, enthusiastic, and an expert with munitions. Someone who was perfect for his pro-humanity movement. Ben quickly became Jack's right hand, and was also important to Eva in ways that Jack never asked about. Yet, above all, he remembers the man, not the monster he became.
Back in the present day, Ben still has Harper by the throat and Eva is still pleading with Ben to release him. Her pleas are then repeated by Saren, who has caught up to the group, and even with him being restrained, Jack yells at Eva to run, which she does. Eva manages to jump into a ladder and still tries to get through to Ben by asking if he remembers her. Ben responds in a cryptic language, and Eva draws her gun, promising to Ben that she will blast the people that did this to him. However, before she can finish her sentence, Ben rips the ladder down, bringing Eva with it. After Ben tears through the wreckage, he finds Eva, and in a moment of clarity recognizes her and says her name. Saren, however, intervenes by telling Ben to bring Eva to the transport, "NOW!" The clarity subsides and Ben drags Eva unconscious body to the transport.
Aboard Saren's transport, Jack is once again strapped into an interrogation chair. Jack assumes that he will be studied and if the turians were to let him go, he'll show them what a human is really made of. Desolas counters by saying they know all they need to know about human biology from studying the human corpses on Shanxi, but that's not what they are interested in. Desolas continues by saying that it is Jack himself they are interested in now. Harper then says that if that's true, then he asks them to release Eva. Desolas refuses and explains that they need Eva as a baseline to understand what is different about Jack. Desolas then points at Ben and says he is different, and that Harper was affected by the artifact, like Ben, but Jack is very unlike Ben, so he is curious why. Eva, now awake, tells Desolas that it was because of something he did and that he's the one who turned Ben into a monster. Desolas says that he has done nothing, and then asks Ben to speak for himself, while he still can.
Ben begins to speak and tells Jack that it wasn't the turians, but the artifact that changed him. After he touched it, the turians left him for dead, but when they subsequently attempted to move the artifact, he awoke. Eva asks whether it was a resurrection, and Desolas says that she's not that far off. He says the same thing happened to their researches. They refused to abandon the artifact, and Ben, as he is now one of them, like the others, he now serves him. Desolas then tells Jack and Eva they, along with Ben, are about to be the first humans to set foot on Palaven, the turian homeworld.
Just a few weeks prior to that, the Alliance would have given anything to get agents onto the radiation-scarred world. Nevertheless, the turians managed to survive and thrive on the planet. As the ship lands, and while a general returning from a stalemate wouldn't normally expect a hero's welcome, Desolas knows that during peacetime, image is everything. As he exits the craft, he tells the people of Palaven that he has returned. Desolas is apparently the first general to address the people since the Council brokered the peace agreement, and that is no surprise as no turian wants to admit there is an enemy that cannot be defeated. Desolas then says that he will not admit to that, but assures that the turians who died in the war did not die in vain. He proceeds to present his servants, disguised as Valluvian Priests from turian legend. Desolas goes on to say that for centuries, no turian has been worthy enough to wear the cloak and cowl of the order, and no one has been allowed into Temple Palaven.
As the group walks down the stairs from where their ship landed, he says that the turians present have come back from the field of battle with honor and that their faith and their fighting spirit, has transformed them. On Shanxi, Desolas says that he was chosen by them to help them in their mission, or Holy Quest, to return to Palaven, to reopen the temple, and to share the wisdom of the ages with the turian people. Desolas then says that like his brothers, the "priests", while they lead them to war, now promote peace. He finishes by saying that he will join them in the temple where in the past, they will find a great future for the turian people. While the people cheer, Jack, hidden by the guards, "priests", and Eva, comments about how Desolas knows how to put on a show and how he dresses his mutants for maximum effect. Eva, alongside Jack, says that Desolas is definitely bucking for something, as he didn't parade them in front of the crowd in chains. Jack counters by saying the Council wouldn't approve, and neither would the turian leaders. Jack continues by saying that he wouldn't be surprised if Desolas became a turian leader himself. Finally, Harper concludes by saying that he is a military man that found religion, at the time he finds a device that creates super soldiers, and that it might work, if everyone plays along with the ruse.
Later at the Temple, Saren and Desolas are discussing problems. Desolas is annoyed that Saren has come by and asks what he wants this time. Saren tells him that their "evolved" turian have refused to move the artifact into the temple, even after being ordered in the language that Desolas uses when talking to them. Saren continues by saying that they were willing to wear the cloaks, but they won't go the last kilometer needed. Desolas then says that he explained it to them, and that they have a good home for the artifact. Desolas then turns to one of the "evolved" turians, and tells them that while they don’t like the crowd, it wouldn't be a problem. He then says that the sun is about set, and they will move the artifact after dark, once the colonnade is clear. Saren then turns to Desolas, as the "evolved" turian walks away, and says he doesn’t like it. They don't serve them and they only care about the artifact. Desolas counters by saying that is the reason that he is going through all the trouble he is. He wants them to see him as protector, one who is giving the artifact a place of respect, while he figures out how to make it control them.
Later that evening as the artifact is being moved, Eva and Jack are being escorted behind it. Eva comments about how it's taking forever, just like when the loaded into the ship on Shanxi. Eva then tells Jack that he was lucky he was in a coma at the time. Jack then says that he doesn't mind as he's been waiting for a chance to see Palaven for a while now, and that he's impressed. He also comments that Desolas was impressive as well, considering he was able to clear a whole area, he must have some pull somewhere. Eva counters by saying that he's pulling something and that she doesn’t trust Desolas. She then turns her attention to the artifact and questions if it is even in there. Jack says that it's in there as he can feel it in his mind. Then a voice from behind says the same thing, giving them both a start. Ben is standing behind them and he can tell that Jack is in communication with it as well. Jack asks Ben whether he can tell them more about the artifact, as Ben actually touched the artifact, to which Ben responds by simply saying that it just is. He then continues by saying that it commands them to follow and protect it, and to prepare. Jack says that he hears it as well, but prepare for what. Before Ben can respond, Eva cuts in by telling Ben that he's in there and that if he fights it, they can find a way out, and get him back to normal. Ben admits that there is no more normal anymore, to which Harper agrees. Desolas, who has been listening in on the conversation, orders one of the turians, to bring Harper to him.
Temple Palaven stands a relic to the turians superstitious past when titans strolled across their world, reaching for the stars. The temple was sealed when the turians discovered other species among the stars and how with the true titans on the planet, the "evolved" turians, the Temple will now play host to the Arca Monolith, where it can be revered by its worshipers and other interested parties. While the Monolith is being raised, Jack is standing in the wings with Desolas looking over his shoulder. He starts to talk about Clarke's Third Law, when Desolas quotes it word for word from behind him. He continues by saying that it is just words from an earth scientist who was also a mythmaker, as they all are. Desolas then says that he now has an evolution accelerator. According to Desolas, for too long there has been parity between races on the Citadel. When a new race can enter as equals, he feels it's time to change the equation by bringing myths to life. Harper tells Desolas that he doesn’t know what he's dealing with, but Desolas counters by saying that Jack does and that is why he is here to begin with. Desolas finishes by saying that the temple was once a place where turians talked to their deities, and it soon will be again.
In a backroom lab, Desolas explains the setup to Harper. He has placed the Monolith in a place of honor, the Temple's rotunda. But at the same time, he's incorporated a number of scanning devices in the rotunda of the temple to help them better understand the device. Jack points out a flaw in that it is just a surface scan and ask why they don't bring it into the lab. Desolas answers by saying that he would like to, but the "evolved" turians won't allow invasive procedures and that past attempts to pry the artifact from them have only resulted in more transformations. He continues by saying that the cover is fine for the masses, but it does him little good as the "evolved" turians can tell him nothing about the artifact, but Harper can. He says that he realized on Arcturus Station that the relic has changed Harper, and that he took it to Illium to see if he would follow. Harper seems to have a psychic bond with the device that transcends distance and in what he overheard of his and Eva's conversation, confirms it.
Desolas is curious why Jack came into contact with the device and yet managed to keep his identity and his mind as Desolas needs his turians to do the same. Desolas says that he must speak to it and find out how because while he understands science, you need to answer magic in its own language. Jack points out again that he doesn’t know what he's dealing with and there is more to the Monolith than just an evolutionary jump-start, and that it's dangerous. Desolas is undeterred, however, as that is exactly what he expected from a racial partisan who is standing in his way and that maybe Eva will be more reasonable. Jack says that Eva knows nothing and that she's tough, committed, and won't crack, neither will he. Jack then pleads with Desolas that as a man of science, not magic, because of the lack of results he should end the experiment.
Several days later, a turian guard checks in on Jack in a holding cell, with a view port, and writings all over the wall. He expresses frustration at Desolas to think that he would learn anything new from Harper as all he does is sit on the rocks and stare. He continues by saying the people who built the temple are more lively, despite being dead for centuries now. Harper then puts his hand to his chin, and says “[t]hat’s it”. As he stands up repeating it, Desolas enters with two armed guards and tells him that his scientists told him what Harper wouldn’t. He then orders the guards to escort Harper to the lab so he can share his results.
As they are walking, Desolas explains that while they can’t find the mechanism that binds the “priests” to the Monolith, they know enough to say they are bound to it. He remarks that the bond is strong, transcendental, and because of it, the “priests” will do anything and everything to protect it; and if he brings others to it, they will do anything and everything for him. Jack then cuts in, telling Desolas there is something that he needs to know. Jack has just figured out the truth about the Monolith himself. However, Desolas dismisses it by saying that the time for the truth is in the past, and tells Jack to behold the future. He tells Jack to imagine a legion of perfect turians. They are physically perfect, never need to rest, and they will never yield. He finishes by saying that the time for equality among races is now in the past and that destiny is at hand. And it begins tonight ...
On Palaven, turians are lined up outside Temple Palaven holding torches, waiting to enter. Meanwhile, Jack Harper pleads with Saren to listen to him. Harper says that Desolas doesn’t know what he has, but he does. He tells Saren not to let the other turians into the temple, but Saren remarks that Jack has seen what Desolas wanted him to see and says to put him with the other one, rather than back into the observation room. As Jack is led out, he tries one last time to convince Saren to not go through with what Desolas has planned, but Saren refuses to listen. Saren just stares as Jack is being led away; for him, being the brother of a famous general may be the path to career success, but he has never followed in the footsteps of others. Saren earned his coveted spot on Desolas’ staff by himself. His colleagues continually stated that there wasn’t a situation that he’s encountered that he couldn’t handle. Little did Saren realize that he would find one, working for his brother.
In the room with the Monolith, which has the “priests” and several turians unconscious on the ground, Lagrion, a young turian tells his mother that he doesn’t like the “priests” and they just don’t look right, to which his mother replies by telling him to stay strong and reminds him that if he goes through with it, then no more turians will die in war. She continues by saying that Desolas promised something, but before she can finish, the “priests” drag Lagrion off, throwing him into the Monolith. The mother first asks what they are doing, then after her son hits it, she asks to see him, before she notices something about the “priests” and, after lifting one of their hoods, she discovers Desolas’ secret. She then ends up being thrown into the Monolith herself while Saren shields his eyes from the blast of light.
In another part of the Temple, Saren runs into Desolas who tells him he is just in time to help him inspect the troops. Saren, however, says that it is premature and the “meta-turians” are simple-minded and don’t obey orders. Saren tells Desolas that he thought that Desolas said that Jack was the key to controlling them. Desolas maintains that Harper had said nothing for days and that when he finally spoke up, he said nonsense. Desolas continues by saying that he is done with his games and that his scientists did find something, a behavioral link between the Monolith and the “meta-turians”. He tells Saren that they aren’t simple-minded, but rather single-minded driving to protect the Monolith, but also to create more of their own kind. They allowed Desolas to bring the Monolith to Palaven, and he returned the favor by giving them a source of new recruits. Desolas comments that he will carry the Monolith into battle as his personal talisman. With their numbers and their berserker drive to protect it, he will topple every challenger, starting with the civilian rulers on Palaven, and then continuing into the galaxy, one by one. Desolas concludes by saying that many insect species have warriors and drones, but now they will have both.
Saren tells Desolas that he is worried about where his “bugs” have been burrowing and that he came to tell him something. Saren says that some have been rooting around in the lower levels of the temple clearing the rubble from the collapsed levels. Desolas just responds with a “[s]o?” He tries to calm Saren by reminding him that the “meta-turians” worship the Monolith and just want to improve its resting place. He says that if Saren wants to chase a mirage, he is free to do so as Desolas has more important issues to attend. Unsatisfied with his brother's input, Saren says “right”, then turns and walks out.
In one of the lower levels, two guards are leading Jack to a cell, who is still pleading with them to take him back to Desolas before it is too late. The guards, however, say that Desolas has had enough of him, and so have they. Just then Eva drops from the top of the cell, connecting with both feet on the head of one of the turians. She then knocks the gun out of the hand of the other, and then knocks him out, while Jack lands a punch on the first one, knocking him out. As they grab the guard’s guns, Eva tells Jack that it was nice of him to show up as she’s been waiting to do that for days. She then asks where Ben is and Jack says that he doubts he is in the room with the Monolith, but he did see some “priests” down the hall.
As they make their way down the hall, the two come up on the “priests” excavating some rubble. Eva says that there are no real turians holding their leashes, and asks why they would be working unsupervised. A voice behind them says that is a good question. Saren is standing there pointing his gun at both of them, and asks a question of his own, before taking them out for a walk. Jack tells Saren that Desolas wouldn’t listen to him and that Saren has been played. Desolas wanted to bring the Monolith to Palaven; that is, to this temple specifically. Jack says that he read it all from the writings everywhere in the temple. In response, Saren comments that no one has been able to read them, and that nobody knows why their ancestors even built the place. Jack, however, insists that he can read them, and understand the “meta-turians”. He says that he knows what really happened here, and so do they.
As they finish their discussion, the rubble was cleared, and inside is another Monolith. Saren is taken aback by the discovery. Jack then proceeds to tell the story. Ancient turians discovered the second Monolith ages ago and like now, it created super-strong turians and their “Valluvian Priests” of legend. However, they weren’t holy, so they built the temple to protect the rest of the species and after Desolas’ researchers found the smaller, second Monolith and they were transformed, they sensed that this one was already here. Jack continues by saying that they will soon be transforming the turian race at double the rate they are now. Desolas is taking it slow to prevent public backlash, but soon there will be too many “priests” to care. He will then move the Monolith to city squares around the planet and then forcibly transform the entire turian race.
Saren cuts Jack off before he can finish and tells him to shut up and let him think. He asks why would anyone do something like this, and what is the point of advancing a species by sacrificing intelligence. Jack says that he doesn’t know, but then Ben shows up and says that he thinks the Monolith wants it that way. The Monolith knows about humanity now, because of him. And now that they have found a second one, it wants them to act. Jack comforts Ben by saying that it isn’t his fault, and it is the fault of whoever created the devices. Jack says he hasn’t worked out the angle, the why. Eva, however, turns to Saren and tells him that he better do something fast, otherwise they will have a planet of drooling behemoths, and it won’t stop there.
Saren tells Eva “enough” and to stop nattering. He says that he is an Arterius, but he is also sworn to defend his people. Saren then grabs his communicator and contacts Palaven Command, telling them he is declaring an unsecured bioweapon emergency.
Meanwhile in the upstairs part of the temple, Desolas is inspecting his troops, and notices they have gotten agitated. He asks a guard what is going on, and the guard says that he doesn’t know; they were placid, then they suddenly broke ranks. Desolas says that the way they are walking leads outside, and tells them they don’t have any purpose there. As he tries to order them back into their ranks, one of them knocks Desolas down, just then Saren walks in with some armed troops and tells no one to move. Desolas still gets tossed around some more and that does it for Saren and he orders the troops to open fire and not to let anyone get outside. Meanwhile, Jack is leading Ben and Eva out. Since Eva is carrying Ben, Jack has both guns, and is firing as fast as he can and asks them to help as Saren needs all the help he can get. Then he notices that they are leaving and Eva says that this is their fight not theirs. Jack rushes over to help, but can’t help but notice that Ben is just dead weight.
Eva says the Monolith wants to get him to join the others, but she keeps telling him to fight back. She continues by saying there is hope if they can get him to a human hospital, then they might be able to help him. Jack says that he doesn’t think that Ben can be helped. Not anymore. He explains that he has thought more about why someone would do this, but Eva cuts him off telling Jack to not think for once, and feel. She isn’t giving up and if they get him away from the “meta-turians”, then it might make a difference. But Jack says that there is no place far enough away, and that he could feel them from Arcturus Station. Eva remarks that there is one thing they haven’t tried yet. Before Jack can ask what that is, she grabs one of Jack’s guns, points it at the Monolith, and shoots.
Ben quickly tells her not to, but before Eva hears him, she pulls the trigger, and he lunges at her, despite Jack telling him not to, and knocks Eva into a wall, leaving a lot of blood around her head. Ben falls to the ground asking what he just did, and Desolas enters telling him exactly what he was supposed to, protect the Monolith, and that he may be the only person here who does what he is told. Desolas then turns to Saren, who also enters the room, and shows his amazement toward this technology. Eva’s shots didn’t even scratch the Monolith and it probably would have taken an orbital bombardment to do that. Saren tells Desolas that they have to get out of there as the temple isn’t secure and that he’s called outside help. Before he can finish, Desolas tells him that it’s nonsense as they are pacifying the “meta-turians” and tells Saren to recall the outside forces. He continues by saying that he can still be successful; he just needs to adjust the experiment.
Jack, who is now behind Desolas, tells him that it won’t, and won’t ever work. Ben is in a corner, cradling Eva’s unconscious body, saying that he can’t fight it. Desolas pulls a gun on Jack, reminding him that he has had enough of him and that he should have done what he is about to a long time ago. Ben then says it is inevitable, and charges at Desolas, knocking him into the Monolith along with himself. Saren rushes up to save his brother (and have an indirect contact with the monolith as Jack done for Ben on Shanxi).
Sometime later, Jack picks up Eva and tells her that he is sorry. The Monolith, despite everything it gave him, made him inadvertently lose sight of what really matters. Shortly thereafter, Eva regains consciousness and asks if it’s Ben, but Jack says that it’s him. Eva tells Jack to leave her, as she is done at this point, and go back for Ben. Jack tells Eva that Ben saved them all as he did what the Monolith wanted, give it another victim, and insure that Desolas won’t be making any more victims. He says that the Monolith wasn’t an evolutionary device, but rather a de-evolutionary device, a booby trap. Its creators planted the device to tell them when it detected an advanced species, and transform its members into those "things" so they could be controlled. As Jack walks out, he notices Saren waking up and tells him to warn his people and that he can’t be around to watch the result as he would like to, but he has to take care of his own.
Later, as Desolas is back on his feet, Saren tries to communicate with him. Desolas asks where he is, and he says right behind him, although it is merely a communications device. He tells Desolas that he is calling from a safe distance and that he is sorry that he can’t be there, but Desolas will understand in a minute. Desolas says that he doesn’t understand much of anything as he feels his mind going. Saren tells him that this is how it works. Saren says that he doesn’t know why he wasn’t affected, but guesses it had something to do with indirect contact. Saren continues that no matter the reason, he had to act while Desolas was still inside with the “meta-turians” and the Monoliths to protect the turian people, as he would have wanted. Confused, Desolas asks Saren what he is talking about. Saren answers by saying again that he is sorry but he has a duty to Palaven, like him, but some secrets were meant to stay buried, until the turians were ready to understand them. Saren tells Desolas that he will mourn him, and avenge him. Just then the temple explodes in a fireball with crowds of cheering turians in the foreground.
At Arcturus Station, a speaker is saying that it is with a heavy heart that he reports the deaths of Ben Hislop and Eva Coré. The speaker continues by saying they have given their lives defending humanity to the last minute and they not only helped discover, but confirm what the speaker believe, that there is something out there to protect humanity from. Meanwhile, another person is sitting in a chair making a recording. He says that Desolas was right, that the stars were warm and welcoming, full of places to explore, knowledge, and riches to be had. However, humans won’t always be welcome, and those that evolved before them won’t always be willing to share what they know. That is just the way of things in the universe. Jack notes that a dark time is coming, and humanity will be tested and while they may not know who is doing the testing or why, but they must meet the challenge as humanity has done every single time in the past. Humanity must succeed because doing anything else would be inhuman. Jack says that he will watch the dark places, and bring them into the light. Jack says there is no magic, only technology and tools they can and must master. Not just to survive, but to better humanity. They can and will take their rightful place in the stars. This is his manifesto, and he hopes that you will join his cause. Jack ends the recording and takes his place as the Illusive Man, the leader of Cerberus.
Mass Effect: Revelation
Shanxi and Sidon
The story opens in 2157 with Admiral Jon Grissom, who is on his way to Arcturus aboard the SSV New Delhi to congratulate the graduates of the Alliance's N7 elite training program. Nine years ago, in 2148, scientists discovered a cache of alien technology buried on Mars. These aliens were known as the Protheans, who disappeared for unknown reasons 50,000 years ago. In 2149, an exploration team near the edge of the solar system discovered that Charon, Pluto's moon, was actually a mass relay, a dormant piece of ancient Prothean technology covered by sheets of ice. The Charon Relay granted instant travel across thousands of light-years to another mass relay in a different area of the galaxy. Jon Grissom led a team of brave men and women through the mass relay and became a hero of the Systems Alliance, a global coalition formed after the discovery of the Prothean cache on Mars.
Grissom meets with David Edward Anderson, a promising young graduate of the N7 program, and reports that an unknown alien force has attacked an Alliance post at Shanxi. This begins the conflict later called the First Contact War between the Turian Hierarchy and the Alliance. Several battles ensued until the Citadel Council, a multi-species government devoted to preserving galactic peace and stability, intervened and stopped the conflict. Eight years later, humanity was recognized by the Council and granted an embassy.
In 2165, then-Lieutenant Anderson answers an S.O.S. while patrolling the Skyllian Verge, an isolated region on the farthest fringes of Alliance space; the S.O.S. originating from a science facility on Sidon. Inside the facility, Anderson and his crew discover an elevator leading to an area underneath the main facility. They are attacked by several mercenaries and discover the dead bodies of the scientists who were stationed there. The evidence suggests they may have been betrayed by one of their own. One remaining mercenary manages to set off a bomb that destroys the entire lower level. Anderson and his crew barely escape with their lives.
On the colony of Elysium, a scientist named Kahlee Sanders, recently stationed at Sidon, has gone AWOL with several classified files, intending on reporting her superiors for conducting illegal research. Hearing about the attack while at a bar, she leaves to figure out her next move and is attacked outside by a mercenary posing as an Alliance MP. Kahlee fights him off and, realising her escape from Sidon has put her in danger, runs to find help.
Elsewhere, on Camala, a rich batarian named Edan Had'dah meets with the Blue Suns, an infamous mercenary group in the Skyllian Verge. He hired them to attack the human research facility on Sidon. Once he learns of Sanders' leaving, he fears the information she had would point to his involvement and sends the mercs to deal with the loose end. He receives news of their failure and hires the krogan bounty hunter Skarr to assassinate her.
Anderson arrives at the Citadel, to meet with Ambassador Anita Goyle, the Alliance representative on the Citadel. Ambassador Goyle informs Anderson that the Sidon facility was researching AI. This is illegal under the Citadel Conventions after an incident 300 years ago, when the quarians created an artificial race—the geth—that eventually turned on them. She sends Anderson to locate Kahlee Sanders, who may know who was behind the attack and the whereabouts of Dr. Shu Qian, the brilliant scientist in charge of the Sidon facility.
Meanwhile, the turian Spectre Saren Arterius has tracked an illegal weapons exchange to a warehouse on Juxhi. As a Spectre, Saren is above the law and, unfortunately, bears a grudge towards humanity after losing his brother in the First Contact War. After wiping out most of both parties, Saren interrogates a survivor, and learns that the weapons were meant for the Blue Suns, who were planning a major operation, but pulled out at the last minute to avoid Spectre attention. Saren's interest is piqued. After hunting a Blue Sun mercenary named Groto Ib-ba, Saren learns about Skarr and his new target.
Tracking Kahlee to Elysium, Anderson is reunited with Jon Grissom, now retired, who turns out to be Kahlee's father. He tells him that he sent her away from Elysium to safety. Anderson leaves but a few days later, Skarr shows up and attacks Grissom and Kahlee, who were in fact hiding in Grissom's house. Anderson returns and fights Skarr—in the middle of the battle Saren appears and drives Skarr off. However, the krogan manages to escape. Saren questions Kahlee about Sidon. She lies and says they were researching human biotics, knowing that if she revealed the truth about the research being done on Sidon, Saren would alert the Council and the Alliance would be in trouble.
Rescue on Camala
After Saren leaves, Kahlee tells Anderson that all the equipment for the project was supplied by Dah'tan Manufacturing on Camala. They plan to sneak off Elysium and go to the Dah'tan facility. Meanwhile, Skarr returns to Edan who sends him and the Blue Sun mercenaries to destroy the Dah'tan facility and erase any information connecting him to the Sidon facility. Skarr destroys the facility, but Had'dah's contact, Jella, survives long enough for Saren to get Had'dah's name from her. Meanwhile, news of the AI research at the Sidon facility has reached the Council. When they rebuke Ambassador Goyle, she gets angry, pointing out the prominent role humans have in the galactic arena after such a short time, and negotiates a deal to get the Alliance off lightly with trade sanctions.
Finally able to trust him, Kahlee makes a confession to Anderson. She knows who the traitor was at Sidon—Dr. Qian himself. Anderson is skeptical, but Kahlee explains Dr. Qian was studying something new, an alien artifact that might even pre-date the Protheans. After he started studying it in earnest, Dr. Qian's interest turned into a dangerous obsession. She thinks Dr. Qian is working with Had'dah. Ambassador Goyle tells this to the Council as a show of good faith, and they decide to send Saren after Had'dah—Goyle asks for Anderson to be involved, as a possible Spectre candidate. Meanwhile, Kahlee is to be smuggled off Camala by Alliance marines. But Saren, knowing Had'dah is hunting Kahlee, sees this as a perfect opportunity to lure out the batarian, and leaks word to Had'dah's contacts. Skarr and the Blue Suns ambush the marines, destroy the SSV Iwo Jima, and capture Kahlee to help Dr. Qian's research.
Anderson is furious at Saren, but he needs the Spectre's help to rescue Kahlee, who has been taken to an element zero refinery. Unknown to Anderson, Saren is now more interested in obtaining Dr. Qian's research for himself than saving Kahlee. Saren reluctantly agrees to give Anderson some time to find Kahlee before they blow the building. Anderson sneaks in and kills Skarr, rescuing Kahlee just as Saren destroys the refinery and kills Dr. Qian and Had'dah, stealing Dr. Qian's files.
Returning to the Citadel, Anderson discovers Saren gave a damning report on his conduct during the mission. True or not, it means the Citadel Council is not willing to induct a human Spectre just yet. Without evidence, the Council is not prepared to go chasing after Dr. Qian's 'artifact' either. Despite the attraction between them, Anderson and Kahlee have to part ways. Anderson has his military career to follow, while Kahlee has been promoted and reassigned to a new classified posting.
Meanwhile, Saren has been studying the research he stole, and is fascinated by the description of Sovereign, an enormous starship of devastating power. He believes his whole life, even his career as a Spectre, has just been a prelude to this discovery. Saren plans to use the data to find this warship, and use it to exact his revenge upon humanity.
Mass Effect: Foundation #1
In 2161 CE, deep within an asteroid-mining facility orbiting the gas giant Themis that supplies the majority of materials for the as yet incomplete Arcturus Station, a young boy working in the mines carrying rocks is accosted by the foreman for allowing rocks to fall out of his sack. Before the foreman can backhand the boy, a mysterious woman appears and stops him, then asks if he is indeed the foreman. Angered, the foreman attempts to punch the woman, who nimbly dodges the blow, pulls him to the ground, and strikes his throat with her arm. As the foreman struggles to breathe, the woman pulls a chip from his pocket and demands that he tell her the location of another man. The foreman remains unresponsive, wheezing heavily. The woman puts her boot to his shattered windpipe and kills him, then tells the boy to follow her if he wants to be free.
As they depart the mine, the boy is initially apprehensive, fearing that he will be recognized by the guards not permitted to leave. The woman tells him to keep following her and act as if he is supposed to be with her; together they nonchalantly pass the guards without incident. In the facility's residential section, the woman tells the boy to pretend to be hurt and cry, ignoring the boy's questions about who she is and who she is looking for in the facility. She changes her appearance by discarding her jacket and tying up her hair, then carries the boy inside a clinic, calling for help for her "son". A doctor takes the boy away for diagnostic tests while the woman slips into a staff room. Throwing on a doctor's coat and glasses, she searches a computer terminal for information about the man's whereabouts.
Leaving the clinic with a small box, the woman asks an injured miner to point out the living quarters for a man named Roth. At the door of Roth's residence, she gets around a guard by posing as a clinic doctor there to deliver Roth's medications. Inside, she sheds her disguise, pulls a knife, and quietly approaches a man, presumably Roth, talking over a headset about selling the mine's workers to the turians after Arcturus Station is completed.
She presses the knife to Roth's throat and he ends the call, asking what she wants. The woman orders him to sit at his desk and make "an extremely generous donation" to a banker named Barla Von. Roth smirks, saying he should have guessed the Shadow Broker was responsible. Surprised, the woman exclaims she never mentioned her employer; Roth tells her she didn't have to mention him, but he appreciates the information she inadvertently gave him.
Without warning, he shoves his chair back, knocking the woman into the window behind them. Drawing a bladed claw-like hand weapon, the man reveals he was only acting as a decoy for the real Roth, and asks the woman if she thought the Shadow Broker was the only one with agents like herself. The woman calls Roth a fool and says that he needs to be put in his place, once she takes care of his decoy. They fight, with the woman initially gaining the upper-hand by slashing the man in the back and disarming him. The man pulls out a gun and manages to shoot the woman in the torso as she dives behind a couch.
Slowly, the man approaches the woman, asking the woman why the Shadow Broker is so desperate to kill Roth even though Roth has done nothing to provoke the Broker's ire. The woman counters that Roth is funding a pro-human terrorist organization: Cerberus. When the man disputes calling Cerberus a terrorist group, the woman tells him to try explaining that to the families of the turians who died on a freighter that Cerberus recently blew up. The man claims that the turians on that ship were slavers, and it isn't terrorism to protect humanity from such people. Deriding the woman's affiliation with the Shadow Broker, he declares that at least Cerberus stands for something. As he prepares to finish off the woman, the man is distracted by a cry for "mommy" made by the boy she had left at the clinic. She throws her knife into the man's chest, sending him reeling, then shoves it deeper and removes it.
As the man lies bleeding profusely on the floor, the woman demands to know where Roth has gone before she kills him. The man refuses, believing she wouldn't kill him in front of her "son". She explains that the boy isn't her son and asks again for Roth's location. The boy interrupts her, telling her that she can't kill the man, but she replies that sometimes the kindest thing that one can do is end it. She then stabs the man again. He relents and reveals Roth has left the facility and returned to Earth. The boy asks the woman if they can finally leave. She savagely kicks the man in the head, killing him, then says they can go.
As they depart Roth's quarters, the woman knocks out the guard and takes his hat and armor to conceal her wound. They make their way to an administrator working at an information desk. The woman takes on the guise of a security officer, explaining to the administrator that she is investigating a break-in and murder at the Roth residence and needs to know where Roth has gone. The administrator brings up the information on his computer and answers that Roth had left the day before, but did not specify any destination. The woman and boy leave, ignoring the administrator's offer to call the facility's main office and inquire further.
Arriving at a ship, the woman opens its boarding ramp with a key card, triggering the response "Access granted. Welcome back, Miss Brooks". The boy asks the woman if that is her name, but she shrugs off the question. When the boy says that he's coming with the woman, she firmly tells him no, that she will not be responsible for him. The boy pleads with her, insisting has no family or future at the mining facility and only wants a ride to somewhere else. The woman explains that she works alone because people can't be trusted; if she took the boy with her and he was captured, his captors would inevitably find a way to make him betray her. The woman gives the boy the hat she took earlier and notes that he was clever enough to track her and sneak into Roth's quarters, so she knows he can manage to find a way off the asteroid on his own. Turning away, she wishes him luck.
The boy draws a gun and shoots her in the back, mortally wounding her. He places the hat back on her head and reveals that he is a girl, not a boy. The girl explains that she already knew that people could not be trusted, but she had hoped she could trust the woman; now she knows better. The girl boards the ship and leaves the woman behind to die.
Years later, the girl has grown up. Calling herself "Rasa", she gains a meeting with the Illusive Man. He asks her why she chose to join Cerberus. She answers that a man she once knew said that Cerberus stood for something, and that she wants to stand for something too.
Mass Effect: Foundation #4
A young cadet by the name of Kaidan Alenko monologues about the Mars ruins and the Charon Relay discoveries, thinking that despite all the outward knowledge made available to humanity people still have much to discover about themselves. The year is 2168, and Kaidan is a student at Jump Zero undergoing the Biotic Acclimation and Temperance Training program.
One day, one of his friends passes along a message that their peer Shelby has rigged up a transmitter for sending messages back to their families on Earth. BAaT students aren't allowed outside contact - regardless, Kaidan brings along his close friend Rahna with him to Shelby's place for the clandestine activity.
The next day Kaidan and Rahna are on meal break lining up for drinks and discussing what happened the previous night. Their instructor Commander Vyrnnus appears at the mess hall and orders the cadets to proceed to the training room ASAP. Unwilling to cross a teacher with a brutal reputation, the students scramble to obey. In the training room the kids find a pile of building material and Shelby tied to a post, eliciting looks of horror from some of them.
Vyrnnus proceeds to berate the students for treating their education as a joke and points to Shelby as an example. The turian asks around if anyone knows what the cadet is up to, and when no one stepped forward he unties Shelby to join his peers and begins explaining the purpose of the blocks. The students are to biotically assemble the blocks under pain of starting over if mistakes are made.
The exercise goes on for several hours and students start dropping out of exhaustion. Rahna begins to falter, but Kaidan manages to save her piece from falling. Vyrnnus notices the gesture and begins to taunt Rahna with a glass of water, floating it within her reach. Rahna falls for the bait and the turian biotically breaks her arm, sending Kaidan into a biotic rage that knocks the Commander backwards.
Vyrnnus gets back up and lunges at Kaidan in the opening moments of their biotic duel. Later, the turian draws his knife and slices Kaidan on his right side. In retaliation, Kaidan lets another powerful biotic blast loose and jumpkicks the Commander in the face while he's down, ending the fight. The rest of the students look on in horror at the turn of events, and when Kaidan tries to approach Rahna she rejects him, utterly terrified.
During his departure from BAaT Kaidan pleads with his guards in vain for a minute to say goodbye to Rahna, though when she shows up, the guards allow him his moment. The minute quickly passes with Kaidan and Rahna's relationship nowhere near repaired, so when the guards press Kaidan his temper gets the better of him. Kaidan returns his attention to Rahna, only to find her waving a final goodbye and walking away.
One month after the incident with Vyrnnus, Kaidan is back on Earth where his father points out to him that even right choices have consequences.
Many years later Kai Leng visits Rasa in her quarters, checking in on the agent for missing her usual debrief. Rasa spent all night studying dossiers of Commander Shepard's crew and angrily vents how pointless it is learning about the various issues of the crew, insisting that Cerberus should focus their efforts on learning more about the Commander. Leng dares her to suggest her ideas to the Illusive Man, and departs reminding her not to miss the next debriefing. Glancing at Kaidan's profile, Rasa assures him she won't.
Mass Effect: Foundation #10
Grayboxes were outlawed in 2175 CE due to an incident regarding Keiji Okuda. Cerberus has gotten hold of Kasumi Goto's case file detailing her botched heist on Donovan Hock's estate and the loss of her partner, Keiji. The story begins two days before Keiji's death, shortly after his acquittal from charges of graybox-assisted espionage.
Keiji arrives at his apartment on Illium finding the place festooned in romantic decorations after switching the lights on. Kasumi decloaks in front of him and begins the celebration of his release with a kiss. She feels that it's time for a fresh start as she doesn't like Keiji working for the Alliance, so Keiji opens his omni-tool and shares the data on their next job before letting himself and Kasumi enjoy themselves.
Less than a day later on a ship above a Bekenstein cityscape, the pair are getting ready to drop directly to Hock's property from above. Keiji is beginning to have second thoughts because of the danger in that part of the plan, but Kasumi reassures him. Twice more they taste each other's lips; just before jumping out of the ship and after executing a stylish landing.
Their reconaissance revealed only light security at the entrance, so when the pair discover more guards inside the building Keiji begins to wonder if they were expected. Kasumi activates her cloak and scouts ahead, counting six guards in their path. She distracts the guards by beating them up, deploying Keiji's decoy program to misdirect them further. The two share status reports, but Keiji abruptly screams over the comm, causing Kasumi to panic and seek him out. Keiji is stabbed in the head by Hock himself, forcibly extracting his graybox before leaving him to his fate.
Kasumi's distracted blundering is heard by the guards she misdirected, causing them to pursue her to the third floor. Two of the guards almost catch up to her, only to be walloped with their own batons. Kasumi wastes no time in unlocking the door leading to Keiji, but she finds him nearly dead.
With his dying breath Keiji implores Kasumi to escape and then retrieve the graybox. It contains his memories and his love, but she needs to survive their present predicament if she is to get it back. The grieving Kasumi embraces him one last time, forced to leave Keiji's body behind but promising to find him again.
Mass Effect: Homeworlds #1
Days after the Reaper invasion of Earth in 2186 CE, millions of people are fleeing to the safety of the Citadel. While the Normandy SR-2 is docked there, James Vega seeks out his family. A Citadel official informs him that there is no available information on Emilio Vega or Josh Sanders, James's uncle and father. As James approaches a terminal and is asked for to verify his identity, a flashback takes him back to ten years earlier.
A younger James Vega enlists with the Systems Alliance marines at Camp Pendleton in 2176, shortly after the Skyllian Blitz. His uncle Emilio tells him that it's a good first step and he must walk his own path, but James fears his father Josh will be upset. Upon returning to his father's home in Solana Beach, Josh confronts James about his absence, saying that he had been messaging James all day and needed him to pick up something. When Josh notices Emilio, he becomes enraged, warning Emilio that he was not supposed to come near his son. Emilio tries to calm Josh down, but Josh accuses him of trying to turn James against him like he did with James's mother. Josh slams the door before yelling at James for being ungrateful.
Later, James arrives at a pharmacy in San Diego to pick up Josh's package. When the man behind the counter sees James flash a blue chip, he demands that James leave the store, calling him a junkie. Outside, a dealer approaches him and chides him for going in the store, then asks for the chip in exchange for the package.
As James leaves, the dealer suddenly rushes past him, fleeing police. The dealer escapes on a three-wheeled motorcycle while James is forced to knock out the pursuing officer to get away. James encounters an elderly woman having difficulty entering her apartment building because the door's security system won't accept her identification chip and helps her, then enters the building himself and flees to the building's roof. A police drone spots him and orders him to submit, but James leaps onto it and forces it to crash to the ground. He slips into a nearby restaurant and dons an apron and hat to blend in with the staff.
Finding a comm terminal, James calls first his father, then his uncle for help when his father doesn't answer. At that moment, an officer enters the restaurant with a blurry surveillance photo of James and asks customers if they have seen the man in the photo. The officer turns to James, but does not recognize him.
Hours later, James returns to his father's home and asks Josh about what was inside the package. Josh says that James already knows, then opens it, revealing dozens of small packets of a red powder. As James declares that he's leaving, Josh inhales the powder and tells him that he'll be Josh's errand boy and the military won't accept him once they find out about James's actions that night. Dismayed, James lashes out at his father, but Josh repels him with a biotic punch and threatens to tell Emilio what James did if he ever defies him again.
Emilio finds James sitting on the beach in front of his house. He tells James that he had promised his mother to look out for him before her death, but now James has to choose how to live his life. James thinks it is too late because of what his father said, but Emilio calms him down and points out that Josh would never tell the military that he had contacted a drug dealer and solicited the aid of a minor in purchasing drugs. Josh can't do anything to James unless James lets him. Only James can choose what happens to him now.
Back in the present, James is stirred from his reverie by Liara T'Soni. As they head back to the Normandy to depart the Citadel on a mission with Commander Shepard, Liara assures him that he'll hear something about his family soon and wishes him luck. James thanks her, saying he'll need it.
Mass Effect: Foundation #9
Following her poisoning incident, Rasa spends a few weeks recovering and is cleared for active duty in a couple of days. She spent her recovery trying to find out who poisoned her and shows Thane Krios' dossier to Miranda Lawson when she comes checking. Miranda spares little thought to Rasa's discovery and instead orders her to shift her priorities into assessing Shepard's potential recruits. She hands the bedridden agent a dossier of Mordin Solus for starters, and Rasa sulks at the indifference when she leaves.
Before the major galactic shakeups of 2183, a meeting of high-level salarians discuss the weakening hold of the genophage against the krogan population. Mordin concludes that stronger measures must be taken, and while Councilor Valern inquires about other possible avenues everyone else on the table are unanimous in supporting Mordin's proposal.
It takes less than a week after the meeting for Mordin to research and come up with a modified genophage strain at a secret salarian facility. A month after that, Mordin and a crack team of STG operatives are experiencing a rough shuttle ride over Tuchanka, aiming to test a short-range strain dispersal unit on a remote krogan colony.
The team flies over desolate ruins and gargantuan krogan artforms before picking a landing site. Thrumming noises rock the subterranean ruins they traverse, and they ponder about the source. Soon enough the team spies upon a krogan gathering at the designated device deployment site, led by a female hammering a pedestal and praying for Kalros to give them strength. The operatives mull about deploying the device elsewhere other than the targeted chasm when they are discovered by the krogan and fired upon.
Mordin throws himself and Captain Chaleen out of the line of fire. The captain orders the team back into the shuttle and offers himself up as a diversion, trash-talking and blasting at the krogan while the salarians escape. Mordin devises an alternate plan of setting up explosives in the tunnels as another diversion, and orders the shuttle sent to the chasm after he and his assistant arm the dispersal device.
A krogan wielding an enormous hammer charges at Mordin. The salarian manages to evade the hammer smash, jumps onto the brute's back and stabs him from behind with a flaming omni-blade. His assistant begins to quail at Mordin's deeds, but soon enough he arms the device when the pair reach the chasm. The female krogan from earlier catches up to them, and faces off against Mordin with a hammer.
Mordin justifies his actions with the view of krogan becoming a threat if left unchecked. The female counters with the suffering of countless mothers and their stillborn children. Before reaching any meaningful turn in their exchange, the explosives Mordin ordered detonates over them both.
Mordin survives with massive facial injuries and a missing right cranial horn, rescued by Captain Chaleen. The assistant also survives and limps back with the other two to the shuttle. The krogan female was torn apart from the explosion and impaled at the head. The assistant questions Mordin about his dialogue with the female, and begins to doubt if they're still doing the right thing. Mordin could only remain steadfast in his convictions.
Mass Effect: Homeworlds #2
The year is 2183. An injured Tali'Zorah nar Rayya limps her way into a clinic on the Citadel, calling for help but receiving no assistance in return. She collapses at the hands of a doctor, musing to herself how her Pilgrimage had gone horribly wrong.
She had begun her Pilgrimage by taking the quarian ship Honorata to travel to Illium in search of something she could bring back. Keenah'Breizh interrupts her as she listens to a farewell message from her father and informs her that a geth presence has been detected on an unidentified ice planet in the Crescent Nebula. Tali and Keenah land, and Tali disables a geth to extract its memory core.
Upon activating it, she hears a recorded conversation between the Spectre Saren Arterius and Matriarch Benezia about a recent attack on the human colony of Eden Prime and the imminent return of the Reapers. Realizing the importance of this information, she convinces Keenah that they need to give it to authorities on Illium. Meanwhile, Commander Jacobus, a turian mercenary employed by Saren to excavate Prothean artifacts on the ice planet, is alerted of the quarians' intrusion and vows to hunt them down, knowing that if he fails, Saren will kill him and his team.
Tali and Keenah flee Jacobus and return to the Honorata, then travel to Illium. They are denied permission to dock for several days by the port officials, who are wary of allowing quarians to land. This inadvertently gives Jacobus and his men time to land on Illium themselves and prepare an ambush for the Honorata's crew. When the Honorata finally lands, the crew is attacked and killed. Only Tali and Keenah escape. Unable to return to the Honorata, they stow away on a transport ship bound for the Citadel. Upon arrival, the transport's crew discover the stowaways, and the captain decides to turn them over to C-Sec instead of killing them, claiming that as quarians they aren't worth the bullets.
In a detention cell, Tali and Keenah attempt to explain to Chellick that they have important information for the Citadel Council, but he ignores them and warns them to leave the station in the next day before releasing them. The pair query an Avina terminal about meeting with the Council, but are informed that there is a seven month wait for an audience, then told to move on by a C-Sec officer. Suddenly, Jacobus appears and attacks them, chasing them across the Citadel and into a maintenance area.
Tali is badly injured by one of Jacobus' shots, but Keenah is mortally wounded. They reach an incinerator and Tali spies catwalks they can use to get out, but Keenah collapses and dies. When Jacobus catches up to them and enters the incinerator, Tali seals the doors and activates it, destroying Jacobus, Keenah's body, and a computer that Tali had set to play her father's farewell message.
Arriving at the clinic, Tali is treated by the doctor who caught her fall, to whom she tells the story of her journey and the information she obtained from the geth. A volus mentions that he is an information broker and can contact the Shadow Broker to ensure that Tali's information can reach the right people. He encourages her to trust him and directs to a bar where she can hide out. Tali agrees and asks where to go, as her father's message plays over scenes of Jacobus' death, the Battle of the Citadel, the Human-Reaper, and Tali watching the sun from the surface of Rannoch.
Mass Effect: Foundation #2
Rasa is reviewing a dossier on Urdnot Wrex when she gets a call from Kai Leng, who informs her of a complication to her upcoming mission. Her target is being hunted by Wrex, and she assures the assassin she has got it covered.
Rasa infiltrates the Citadel in disguise. She is able to get a head start on Wrex due to the krogan being waylaid by C-Sec, who suspect he's carrying contraband. Leng tells her over the radio that he would've dealt with Wrex instead of delaying him but Rasa smugly reminds him that's why she's on the mission and he's not. As she takes a cab to the 700 Block, Kell Residences, Leng asks what if the krogan arrives before her. Rasa vaguely hints that he won't.
Wrex soon gets into a confrontation with a gang of batarians and turians, who claim to have a bone to pick with him. Wrex then surely and swiftly incapacitates them all. As he walks away, he is approached by a volus who remarks that "the shrines of the Enkindlers" are nice to visit. Wrex identifies his contact through the code phrase uttered, and answers that he would love a tour.
As they walk through a waste disposal area, the volus informs him that someone is determined to not let him reach his target, proof being the C-Sec officers and thugs earlier. The volus then opens up a closet full of weapons, to Wrex's delight.
As Wrex inspects the weapons, the volus then explains that the Shadow Broker is unsure of who this interloper is, so he's not taking any chances. Wrex is then instructed to perform his job away from the Presidium, as it would cause far too much attention should he cause collateral damage. The volus hands the krogan his target's address and warns that should anything go wrong, then their quarry would go into hiding. Wrex remarks that he shouldn't miss.
Meanwhile, Leng is tracking the target, Fist, from afar. He warns Rasa that Fist is on his way home with his bodyguards. Rasa is in the process of infiltrating his residence masquerading as maintenance to steal his files so Cerberus can turn him against the Shadow Broker, but then she spots a giant explosion nearby. Leng guesses that Wrex must be going after more mercenaries she sent after him.
At the sight of the carnage, Wrex is going ballistic when he is suddenly shot in the chest. Getting back up, he sneaks up on an armored human and shoots him in the back. As he holds his captive at gunpoint, the human takes off his helmet and identifies himself as his friend Jasox, who confesses that he was only sent to slow him down.
Wrex expresses hesitancy over what to do with him, and Jasox reminds him of the debt he owes for saving him from a burning ship. As they walk away from the carnage, Wrex reminds Jasox that he was only in that burning ship because Jasox showed up late, forcing him to fight the entire crew by himself. Jasox then tries suggesting they take a drink, but Wrex easily guesses this is another ploy to delay him, so he walks away.
Leng remarks that Rasa's plan to stall Wrex is working. However, Rasa discovers that Fist had defected to Saren Arterius for reasons yet unclear. Leng insists she get out of there, but Rasa intends to stay a while longer. She then calls C-Sec, screaming hysterically that a krogan is threatening her outside her apartment. Fist, however, arrives earlier than expected, though Rasa recovers soon enough and catches the crime lord off guard.
Holding him at gunpoint, she demands to know why he reneged on his deal for asylum with Cerberus in exchange for the Broker's secrets. Fist merely claims that Saren made him a better offer. He then takes note of Wrex approaching the building, initially mistaking the krogan to be Rasa's ally, though Rasa soon informs him what the bounty hunter's purpose is. She offers to protect him in exchange for his information. Caught between waiting for Wrex to get to him or dealing with Cerberus, Fist suggests on a third option.
Wrex arrives at Fist's residence, using a grenade to take out Fist's krogan bodyguards upon reaching the twenty-first floor. He bursts inside the room, only to find that his target had already fled. He informs his contact of Fist's disappearance, but he promises to find him. He shares the elevator ride down with Rasa, unaware of her involvement in the matter. When they arrive at the ground floor, they find a C-Sec squad waiting for him.
Later, back on her ship, Rasa sends Fist's data to the Illusive Man, who is impressed by it but remarks that he would've wanted Fist brought in. The Illusive Man praises her mission performance, though he poses the question of why she let Fist escape. Rasa explains that she wanted to find out more about his connection to Saren, and that she can't do that if he's dead. The Illusive Man asks if she's not worried that Fist would sell Cerberus out, and Rasa answers that Wrex would probably kill him first. The Illusive Man then asks why she helped bail the krogan out past C-Sec, and Rasa confesses that she liked him: according to her, he is straightforward, honest and uncomplicated.
Mass Effect: Foundation #3
At an undisclosed location on Eden Prime a day after Saren Arterius' attack, Kai Leng employs brutal interrogation methods on a captured Alliance soldier for information regarding what happened. The soldier, Bates, recounts that he and his squad were supposed to be on a search-and-rescue mission when they were attacked by as-yet unidentified mechs. Bates ran for his life in the ensuing chaos and knew nothing further on the subject, so Leng decides to kill him and make it look like he died with the rest of his squad.
Leng relays his findings to Rasa, who is currently stationed at the Citadel and spying on the soldier's squad leader, Ashley Williams. Posing as an Alliance psychologist Rasa sets up a meeting with Williams and gets her to talk about the attack from her perspective.
Two days before the attack, Ashley and her fellows from unit 212 were having time off at a bar when they were recalled for a recon mission regarding a recent archaeological dig. 31 soldiers in 4 squads head off to the mission site: 3 squads on transports, while Ashley's 6-man Dog Squad takes the day-long journey on foot. Sergeant Donkey is assigned leader of Dog Squad by their commanding officer, who passes over Ashley due to the stain of her Williams heritage.
On the night of the attack itself, Dog Squad finds all of the 14-man Bravo Squad dead on a ditch, apparently ambushed before they can even draw weapons. Transmissions from the dig site report Able and Charlie squads taking fire from an unknown enemy. Because of the shift in mission parameters and the need for a real leader, Sergeant Donkey cedes leadership of Dog Squad to Ashley, trusting in her ability to keep cool under fire.
Ashley leads the team to the dig site at dawn hoping to reinforce their fellows and catching the enemy offguard, but they're spotted by recon drones and fired upon. Dog Squad tries to execute its battle plan, but is quickly overwhelmed by massive numbers of the enemy, now thought to be geth. One by one the soldiers fall until only Ashley is left, and she keeps on fighting until Commander Shepard's timely rescue.
Back on the Citadel, Ashley concludes her side of the story and Rasa relays her findings to Leng after parting ways with the soldier. Although Captain Anderson has apparently neglected to mention the geth in his report, Rasa is intrigued with the unknowns. She learned that Shepard was somehow affected by the beacon and is interested in finding out more, but Kai Leng discourages her from doing so and commands her to report back to Cerberus ASAP. Rasa remarks that she'll have to meet the Commander another time.
Mass Effect follows Commander Shepard, a human Alliance Naval Officer. Born in 2154, Shepard had a difficult early life, but in having to overcome great challenges in the line of duty, the Commander has since shown exemplary talent and leadership ability. Currently, Shepard is the executive officer (XO) aboard the SSV Normandy.
In the year 2183, a prototype Alliance warship, the SSV Normandy, travels from Earth's orbit to the Mass Relay at Charon. On board Captain Anderson is in discussion with Admiral Hackett and Ambassador Donnel Udina concerning Commander Shepard's worthiness to become the first human Spectre, an elite agent for the Citadel Council. Meanwhile, the ship and crew are heading to Eden Prime in the Utopia system for their shakedown mission.
Shepard heads to the bridge where Joker, the pilot, guides the ship into the Mass Relay. Because of the presence of Nihlus Kryik, a turian Spectre sent by the Council to observe, and the famed Captain Anderson, several members of the crew think their true purpose at Eden Prime is far more important than a simple shakedown run. After making the jump, Captain Anderson asks Shepard to come to the comm room for a briefing.
Nihlus has time to speak to Shepard before Anderson joins them. Together they inform the Commander that a Prothean Beacon has been discovered on Eden Prime. Prothean technology has immense scientific value, but since Eden Prime is close to the Terminus Systems, the beacon is at risk from pirates and mercenary bands. This is the Normandy's true objective: recover the beacon. This mission will also be Nihlus' chance to observe Shepard in action, the first of several they will undertake together to assess Shepard's candidacy for the Spectres.
The briefing is interrupted by a transmission from Eden Prime that Joker patches through. The footage shows Alliance soldiers fighting on the surface, under heavy fire and requesting reinforcements. As Shepard, Anderson and Nihlus watch, they see a huge dreadnought hanging over the surface. Anderson orders Shepard to get ready—this is going to be worse than they thought.
As the Normandy touches down on Eden Prime, Cpl. Richard L. Jenkins, Lt. Kaidan Alenko and Commander Shepard prepare to head down to the planet. Nihlus goes on ahead of the team intending to scout the situation. In the first few minutes on the surface, geth assault drones appear without warning and cut down Jenkins. Shepard and Alenko continue towards the dig site, discovering one of the few surviving marines, Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams, who is being chased by geth troopers. Shepard and Alenko help her fight them off. Williams can't explain why the geth are here, but they've wiped out her whole unit.
Williams leads them to the dig site but the beacon has been moved to the spaceport. While they examine the nearby camp, the squad run into a group of Husks, human corpses reanimated by the geth, which they manage to kill. Shaken, they continue towards the spaceport where Nihlus agreed to meet with them.
Meanwhile, Nihlus is surprised to see Saren Arterius, a fellow Spectre, at the train platform. Saren tells Nihlus he's got everything under control, but when Nihlus turns his back, Saren kills him and leaves, ordering the geth to destroy the colony with explosives. He approaches the Prothean Beacon, which reacts by lifting him off the ground.
After finding Nihlus' body, Shepard's team continues to the tram area where they defeat the last of the geth and disarm their demolition charges. Shepard sees the beacon and calls the Normandy while Alenko and Williams take a look at it. One of them gets too close and is caught in some sort of field—Shepard intervenes but is caught in the field instead, pulled off the ground as Saren was. The Commander suffers a horrific vision—synthetics waging a terrible war—before the beacon explodes and Shepard is thrown to the ground, unconscious.
Aboard a huge dreadnought, Saren is given a report by an asari matriarch. The news isn't good—Eden Prime has been saved by Captain Anderson's crew, and one of them may have used the beacon. Saren flies into a rage but restrains himself from attacking her, ordering that this human must be eliminated.
Fifteen hours after the Eden Prime attack, Shepard wakes up in the Normandy's medical unit, much to the relief of Alenko and Williams. Doctor Chakwas says the Commander is physically okay, but has increased rapid eye movement and unusual beta waves, indicating psychological trauma. Shepard mentions the vision but can't explain it. Captain Anderson then briefs Shepard about Saren: a powerful and legendary Spectre but also outspoken against humans. If Saren is in charge of the geth, that means he has gone rogue, and they must tell the Council.
Upon arriving at the Citadel, Ambassador Udina tries to convince the Council to remove Saren's rights and privileges as a Spectre, but only succeeds in getting an audience. Shepard, along with Alenko and Williams, continues to the Citadel Tower and meets Garrus Vakarian, a turian C-Sec (Citadel Security) officer investigating the charges against Saren. He hasn't found anything useful: Saren's Spectre status makes him untouchable.
The Council audience doesn't go well. The Alliance has little evidence and Saren—viewing the proceedings from a hologram—openly laughs at Shepard's vision. They need more to go on. Garrus, the C-Sec officer, might be able to help. Udina tells Shepard to find Harkin, a suspended C-sec officer who could help them find Garrus. Anderson also suggests speaking to Barla Von, a financial expert on the Citadel who works for the Shadow Broker.
Whichever avenue of investigation is taken, the Commander gains the assistance of one or both of the following figures: Garrus Vakarian himself, and/or Urdnot Wrex, a krogan bounty hunter Barla Von will refer to.
A quarian has recently arrived on the Citadel, claiming to have evidence of Saren's connection to the geth. However this quarian is being held captive by Fist, a local crime lord who used to work for the Shadow Broker, but who's now betrayed the Broker to work for Saren. Shepard learns after investigating Garrus and/or Wrex that the next destination is Chora's Den, an establishment owned by Fist, and raids it looking for answers.
There, Shepard's group discover that the quarian was supposed to hand the information over to the Shadow Broker, but this meeting is a trap. Saren's men will be the ones waiting. Shepard races to the meeting and manages to save the quarian, Tali'Zorah nar Rayya. They bring Tali back to the Ambassador's offices.
The evidence she found was an audio file she managed to save from a geth memory core, which has clear evidence Saren was behind the attack on Eden Prime. However, the file also hints that Saren is looking for something called the Conduit with the aid of a powerful asari called Matriarch Benezia, to bring about the 'return of the Reapers'. When the evidence is presented to the Council, Saren is stripped of his Spectre status, but they're reluctant to send a fleet after him to apprehend him. No interest is shown in the Reapers.
As people in the Chambers watch in amazement, Commander Shepard becomes the first human Spectre and is tasked with hunting Saren down. Captain Anderson steps down as Commander of the Normandy and hands the ship over to Shepard, along with some useful leads. There have been reports of geth activity on the planets Noveria and Feros. Also, Matriarch Benezia, Saren's ally, has a daughter named Dr. Liara T'Soni, a Prothean expert who may have useful information.
Shepard's alien allies pledge their support for the Commander's cause. Tali joins the crew wanting to help fight the geth and prove herself. If Shepard didn't work with Garrus or Wrex before during the case to expose Saren, one of them will be waiting by the elevator to the Normandy's docking bay requesting to be taken along for the ride for their own reasons, and Shepard may either welcome them to the team or refuse them. After giving the crew a speech aboard the ship, Shepard is now in command of the Normandy.
The Normandy tracks Liara T'Soni to Therum, a mining colony in the Knossos system of the Artemis Tau cluster, but the geth are already on the surface, taking over several refinery facilities and dropping Geth Armatures from overhead.
Shepard leads the squad to a mineshaft and down into a Prothean ruin, where they find Liara trapped behind a Prothean barrier curtain. Freeing her, they discover she is not in league with Saren and has no idea what the Conduit might be. As the squad leaves the ruined tower with Liara, they are confronted by a Krogan Battlemaster who is leading the geth and manage to defeat him as the unstable ruins begin to collapse. They escape just in time.
During the debrief, Liara explains her expertise is on the Prothean extinction. She has a theory they were not the first civilization to mysteriously vanish, and is amazed by Shepard's story of the Reapers. After a brief rest from the stresses of the day, Liara joins Shepard's crew.
Shepard arrives at Noveria and discovers that Matriarch Benezia recently arrived. She and Saren are investors in Binary Helix, which has a lab up on Peak 15. Benezia has gone there on business. However the lab has since issued a Code Omega signal, meaning there are critical problems, and a blizzard has cut off shuttle access. After wrangling with Administrator Anoleis, Shepard manages to get a garage pass and drives up to Peak 15.
The facility is deserted save for geth and bizarre creatures—revealed to be the supposedly extinct rachni—which have escaped from the labs. Shepard reactivates the station's VI, Mira, and goes up to Rift Station looking for Benezia. Rift Station is full of science staff sheltering from the rachni attack; Shepard can help them out but gets attacked by those loyal to Benezia. The squad finds out Binary Helix discovered a rachni egg that turned out to be a queen, and were trying to breed an army from her brood until the rachni turned on them.
Down in the labs through the maintenance area, Shepard finds Benezia with the Rachni Queen. The matriarch attacks the squad, but after a fierce battle Benezia manages to overcome the indoctrination that Saren has used to control her, and tells Shepard the truth. Saren wants the location of the lost Mu Relay, and sent her to retrieve it from the queen's genetic memory.
Benezia doesn't know what else he is planning. She hands the coordinates over to Shepard, but becomes lost to the indoctrination again and the Commander has to kill her. After deciding what to do with the Rachni Queen, Shepard leaves Noveria with Benezia's data and a piece of the puzzle.
Drawn to Feros by rogue geth activity, Shepard and the squad arrive at the Zhu's Hope colony, owned by ExoGeni Corporation. The colony has been suffering repeated geth attacks and the settlers there are acting strangely. Shepard clears the geth for the colonists and takes a Mako along the Prothean Skyway to the main geth base. The squad finds a small group of colonists who have become separated from the others, led by Juliana Baynham and a nervous ExoGeni rep, Ethan Jeong. Despite their situation these survivors seem to be coping better than Zhu's Hope. Before they leave, Juliana asks Shepard to look for her daughter Lizbeth, whom she believes to be still inside ExoGeni Headquarters.
After making their way inside the ExoGeni Headquarters, Shepard's squad finds Lizbeth, scared but alive. From the company VI, Shepard discovers that the corporation has been experimenting with a mind-controlling plant, the Thorian, and that Zhu's Hope is actually a testing ground for ExoGeni to study its abilities. Shepard disables the force fields that the geth have set up by knocking the geth dropship off the headquarters and returns to the Skyway group. Jeong has received word that ExoGeni wants Zhu's Hope destroyed. Shepard deals with Jeong and heads back to Zhu's Hope to find the Thorian.
Controlled by the Thorian, the colonists attack Shepard on sight. Thorian Creepers generated by the plant augment the mind-controlled colonists' forces. Shepard can use special gas grenades that instantly kill the creepers and harmlessly paralyse the colonists, then descends beneath Zhu's Hope to find the Thorian. It is an enormous creature that looks nothing like a plant. It creates an asari clone to speak for it, but only to tell Shepard it's not interested in bargaining with 'meat'. After battling waves of Thorian Creepers and clones, Shepard manages to destroy the Thorian's neural nodes and kill it.
An asari emerges from a Thorian pod, and manages to explain what happened. Shepard learns that Saren sacrificed this asari ally, Shiala, to the Thorian to gain the Cipher. This is the cultural and ancestral experience of the Protheans, which is necessary to understand the vision that the Eden Prime beacon put into Shepard's mind. Freed from the Thorian, Shiala transfers the Cipher to Shepard. With it, once Shepard has had time to adjust, the vision will make more sense and hopefully lead them to the Conduit before Saren.
The Council contacts Shepard with another possible lead when two of the three initial leads are investigated and dealt with. A salarian espionage team on Virmire, investigating reports of Saren's activities, has sent a mission-critical transmission that was almost lost in static. Shepard heads to Virmire and meets the leader of the salarians, Captain Kirrahe. They have found a breeding facility for krogan that Saren is using to create an army.
Kirrahe, realising he's not getting the reinforcements he needs, asks for Shepard's help destroying it and they develop a plan. While the salarians distract Saren's geth, Shepard will take a team around the back and plant a nuclear device that will wipe out the facility. Kirrahe asks Shepard for a squad member to help him coordinate the attack—Shepard can send Ashley or Kaidan to help the salarians.
If Wrex was allowed to join the team, the Commander must also deal with him before proceeding with the greater mission. Wrex is furious that Shepard is willing to destroy a cure for the genophage, a salarian bioweapon which makes krogan breeding next to impossible. Shepard either talks Wrex into staying loyal, guns him down, or allows Ashley to gun him down.
Leading the strike team, Shepard reaches the facility, but discovers its main purpose is not to breed krogan, but to study Sovereign's horrific indoctrination effect. In Saren's private lab, the team finds another Prothean Beacon that gives Shepard another vision, and they are confronted by a hologram of Sovereign itself, which is not a Reaper ship but an actual Reaper. Sovereign reveals that the mass relays and the Citadel were not built by the Protheans, but by the Reapers themselves, allowing organic life to develop along the lines that the machines desire before exterminating them at their apex. It declares Shepard's attempting to stop the Reapers from returning to be futile, before heading towards Shepard's position.
Shepard manages to get the nuke set up across the facility only to get a call that the salarians are being attacked with heavy losses. The commander takes a group to help them but as they leave, the geth start attacking the nuke site and Shepard has to choose: both Kaidan and Ashley are in trouble and there's no time to save both.
Once the choice has been made, Shepard brings reinforcements in, only to be confronted by Saren. He tries to make the commander join his cause but Shepard refuses, fighting Saren off. Saren gets away and the team board the Normandy, escaping Virmire as the nuke destroys the facility, killing either Kaidan or Ashley depending on Shepard's decisions.
Commandeering the Normandy
Thanks to the undamaged beacon on Virmire, Shepard's Prothean vision is now complete. During the debrief, Liara touches Shepard's mind to interpret it fully. The vision was a distress call intended to warn the Protheans about the Reapers. Liara realises that the landmarks in the vision are on Ilos, a planet she has studied as part of her Prothean research. Ilos had been impossible to reach because it was only accessible through the Mu Relay, which is why Saren needed the Relay's location from Noveria. After the debrief, Joker has a message for Shepard from the Council: they're putting together a massive multi-species effort to face Saren.
Thrilled the Council are finally taking this seriously, Shepard returns to the Citadel, wanting to personally lead the assault. But once back at the station, Shepard discovers the Council are only putting up a blockade around the Mass Relays to stop Saren reaching the Citadel. Neither they nor Ambassador Udina believe Shepard's story about the Reapers and they refuse to send a fleet to Ilos.
The Mu Relay is in the Terminus Systems and a Citadel fleet there could start a war. Shepard knows the Normandy's stealth systems can get them there discreetly, but the Council are getting tired of Shepard's insistence that the Reapers are the real threat. Udina, wanting to make nice with the Council, locks out the Normandy's systems and grounds the ship.
Frustrated, knowing Saren is close to finding the Conduit and they're losing time, Shepard is grateful when one of the squad offers support, but a real breakthrough comes when Captain Anderson gets in touch, asking Shepard for a discreet meeting at Flux.
Anderson believes the Commander's story and knows the Normandy is the only ship that can get Shepard to Ilos. He is going to unlock the Normandy's systems, allowing Shepard to steal the ship and take her to Ilos. Shepard is concerned that Anderson will be arrested and charged with treason—or worse—but Anderson sees his future as a small price to pay for stopping genocide on a galactic scale. Shepard goes to the Normandy and waits with Joker on the bridge. With Anderson's help the Normandy's systems are unlocked and they escape the Citadel, heading to Ilos.
Shepard has the option of developing a romance with a crew member during the course of chasing after Saren, and the relationship comes to a head right before the trip to Ilos. This crew member visits Shepard in the Captain's Quarters, and they may either spend the night together or keep the focus on the mission.
Later, Joker announces that they're about to pass through the Mu Relay, and they soon arrive at Ilos. Shepard sees that Saren has already arrived with a fleet of geth dropships, though the Normandy's stealth system is keeping them safe for now. Navigator Pressly picks up some readings on the planet confirming Saren's presence. However, they can not find a landing zone. Shepard suggests dropping the Mako but they need about 100m of open terrain for a safe drop and Pressly can only find at most 20m. Joker insists that he can do it. The Mako is successfully dropped outside an ancient bunker, but Saren and his geth have already made it inside, shutting a heavy security door behind them.
Shepard looks for ways to get to the other side of the bunker doors. After fighting through the geth left on guard, Shepard and the squad find a security station and reopen the bunker doors. While in the control room, Shepard discovers an ancient Prothean recording which is heavily damaged. The Cipher allows Shepard to make out some of the words—it's another warning about the Reapers but it's just too broken up. They return to the Mako and enter the bunker.
After driving past cryogenic stasis pods, all apparently shut down, Shepard sees a mysterious energy barrier. As the Mako reaches the barrier, another barrier appears behind them, trapping the squad inside. The only way out is through a door at the side of the wall. After heading down an elevator, Shepard finds an ancient Prothean VI named Vigil, who has information Shepard needs to stop the Reapers.
Vigil unveils a startling revelation. The Citadel is actually a trap; a huge mass relay linking to dark space, outside of the galaxy, where the Reapers are waiting. The keepers are presumed to be one of the earliest races to be indoctrinated by the Reapers, who set them the task of maintaining the Citadel and activating the Citadel Relay when Sovereign signals them. It is also revealed that Sovereign is the vanguard of the Reapers. After every Reaper attack, they leave behind one of their kind to act as a vanguard and to monitor the development of the galaxy's races. Once the galaxy's races are sufficiently advanced, the vanguard will activate the Citadel Relay and usher in the next genocide.
The reason the Reapers harvest the galaxy of all advance organic life approximately every 50,000 years is currently unknown. According to Vigil, not even the Prothean scientists could comprehend why they do it. They may be driven by goals that organics find impossible to understand. Once the galaxy is harvested, the Reapers return to dark space to hibernate and conserve energy. In this state, they are apparently vulnerable, so they always seal the Citadel Relay behind them.
When the Reapers last attacked about 50,000 years ago, their genocide of the Protheans lasted for centuries. Ilos' personnel hid in cryogenic stasis, watched over by Vigil. However, as his energy reserves ran low, he followed a contingency plan by shutting off pods of non-essential personnel to conserve energy, hoping that when the time was right, he could safely open the pods. In the end, Vigil managed to save a dozen scientists. The few remaining Protheans on Ilos traveled to the Citadel through the Conduit—a small prototype mass relay, built by the Protheans, enabling a one-way link from Ilos to the Relay Monument in Citadel Presidium. The survivors altered the signal that the keepers respond to and prevented them from activating the relay to dark space.
Vigil also explains that if Sovereign assaults the Citadel alone, the combined power of the Citadel Fleet would be enough to defeat the single Reaper. However, if Sovereign is able to direct an agent to go through the Conduit as a back door and transfer control of the Citadel back to Sovereign, it will be able to manually activate the Citadel Relay and bring in the rest of the Reapers. Sovereign had possibly planned this for centuries after discovering the Protheans' sabotage plan.
Vigil gives Shepard a data file that will give the Commander temporary control of the Citadel to stop Sovereign. After leaving Vigil, Shepard heads through the archives, down into an old aqueduct guarded by geth, and reaches the Conduit. Saren had already gone through, leaving geth to stay guard.
Meanwhile, Sovereign begins its assault on the Citadel, escorted by a large geth fleet. Matriarch Lidanya, the commander of the Destiny Ascension, attempts to close the Citadel's arms but the station doesn't respond—the operators at Citadel Control are all dead. The Council are forced to evacuate aboard the Ascension. Saren has begun his attack from within.
Back on Ilos, Shepard sees the Conduit is closing fast. Rushing to the Conduit, Shepard evades the geth in the process and drives the Mako through, just before the relay closes.
On the Presidium, now burning and heavily damaged, two geth troopers notice a blue glow around the Relay Monument. When they go to take a look, the Mako suddenly bursts through and crushes them, before rolling over and crashing against a wall. The race to stop Saren is on.
Battle of the Citadel
Shepard and the team manage to get out of the overturned Mako and use the nearby malfunctioning Avina terminal to get a sit rep. Saren is heading toward the Council Chambers and the whole station is infested with geth. The squad tries taking the elevator to the Citadel Tower, but it stops halfway when Saren locks down the station's systems. Shepard tells the team to suit up and blows out the elevator's glass with a shot. They have to walk the rest of the way in zero gravity with their boots magnetized.
Meanwhile up in the Chambers, Saren—angrily shooting keepers as he goes—reaches the central console and uses it to take control of the Citadel. As Sovereign gets closer, crushing the Citadel Fleet ships in its path, Saren closes the Wards, creating an impenetrable shell around the Reaper and the Geth Dropships already inside. Sovereign settles on top of the Citadel Tower, preparing to open the Citadel Relay once Saren transfers full control.
Elsewhere Shepard and the team are fighting for their lives against the geth and Saren's krogan warriors out on the Citadel's exhaust plains, trying to get to the Chambers. A geth dropship appears and starts unleashing shock troopers on them; Shepard can activate the Citadel's defense turrets, and with their cover fire, takes the dropship out, or just wait until the dropship runs out of troops. Further along they run into several powerful geth turrets and have to use cover to get close enough to destroy them, or manage to sneak down a side route where Krogan Battlemasters are waiting. Eventually they reach a maintenance hatch that leads down into the Council Chambers, now burning and full of Saren's geth. The stairways provide some cover as the team fights towards the central console.
At that moment Saren appears and throws a grenade. Shepard's team are blown aside while the Commander takes cover close to Saren. He urges Shepard not to be a fool—everything is lost if Shepard continues resisting Sovereign. Saren boasts that his faith faltered but Sovereign has implanted him, made him partly synthetic, perfect. This is the future of organic life. Shepard can't believe Saren allowed Sovereign to implant him.
Shepard can attack Saren straight away, or try talking him down—the more Shepard talks, the more Saren is convinced, but his Reaper implants cause the turian intense pain when he begins to agree with Shepard. With enough convincing, Saren thanks the Commander for freeing him before shooting himself in the head. Whether Shepard kills Saren or Saren kills himself, he then falls to the bottom of the Chambers, falling through the glass floor and being impaled by a large shard.
Using the central console, Shepard uploads Vigil's program and gains control of the Citadel. With advice from the team, Shepard opens a communication channel and gets Joker... who has the Fifth Fleet just waiting for the Commander's word once the mass relays are unlocked. Shepard has to decide between sending the Fleet to defend the Destiny Ascension and save the Council, letting the Council die, or focusing on Sovereign. Once the orders are given, Joker brings the Fleet through the nearby mass relay as Shepard opens the Citadel's ward arms.
As the Fleet engages the ships outside—geth dropships and Sovereign itself—Shepard tells the squad to check Saren and make sure he's dead. They drop down to the bottom of the Chambers—one coldly shoots Saren in the head, while the other confirms the kill to Shepard. Suddenly Saren's body begins to twitch as his implants fire up, burning his flesh away until he is a cybernetic construct like a Husk, completely possessed by Sovereign. The shockwaves from his transformation cause the platform to collapse and Shepard falls into the bottom of the Chambers. The squad fights back against the creature, but it is fast and deadly.
Outside, the Normandy is leading the attack against Sovereign. The Reaper unleashes a terrible weapon that burns through several Alliance ships, but the Fleet is slowly getting the upper hand. As the squad finally destroy the cybernetic creature and it burns away to ashes, Sovereign begins to weaken under the Alliance attack and releases its grip on the station. A blast from the Normandy is the coup de grace and the Reaper is destroyed.
In the Chambers, Shepard looks up to see a huge piece of debris from the Reaper heading straight for the Tower. The Commander yells for the squad to take cover, just as it hits.
Much later, rescuers enter the Tower looking for survivors. Under a pile of rubble they discover Shepard's team... two of them, badly wounded but alive. Leading the rescuers, Captain Anderson helps them out, assures them that it's all right, and asks where Commander Shepard is. One of the squad looks sadly across the Chambers, where the Reaper debris has crashed into the floor. It would have crushed anyone standing under it. The rescue team helps the squad out of the Chambers, reluctantly believing Shepard died in the crash. Anderson looks back—to see someone moving. Commander Shepard, with an injured arm, manages to climb out from behind the debris, limps toward them, and smiles.
As a result of Shepard's decisions, there are four outcomes to the story:
- The Alliance Fleet saves the Council (Renegade ending): It is also possible to have a Renegade version of this ending. The ending is pretty much the same, but with the main difference being that the Council thanks Shepard within a dark room with background ominous music playing, and dialog being somewhat different. Whereas the Paragon ending has the Council praising Shepard's selflessness and heroism and stating that humanity is ready to join the Council, the Renegade ending has the Council impressed by Shepard's ruthlessness and determination to succeed, at first thinking that such indomitable will made humanity stubborn and even dangerous, but now realising that this is what makes them strong, thus making humanity a powerful ally. Possible by having a Renegade Shepard save the Council.
- The Council is destroyed (Paragon ending): The Alliance forms a new Council, with a human chairman but the other races remaining on the Council. Shepard can nominate either Udina or Anderson to chair the new Council, and they prepare to combat the Reapers with the Alliance Fleet at the forefront. This occurs if Shepard does not save the Council, but is not a Renegade.
In all four endings Shepard leaves the Citadel aboard the Normandy, intending to find a way to stop the Reaper invasion.