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Storyline III
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Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation[]

Code Caper[]

In 2184, Cora Harper returns to Sol after 4 years of military service with the asari, where she is almost immediately interviewed by reporter Khalisah al-Jilani on Tamayo Point space station. Beginning with innocuous queries about Cora's time with the Systems Alliance's Valkyrie Program, al-Jilani manages to goad Cora's answers and reactions into supporting a narrative about the Andromeda Initiative's supposed pro-alien slant at the expense of human interests. The reporter slinks away before Cora can physically retaliate against her, although a little while later a man with a beef against Cora's alleged betrayal of humanity interrupts her snack upon seeing her in a commercial for Westerlund News.

The man pushes Cora out of her seat and the situation is about to get messy although it gets defused in short order upon the arrival of Ygara Menoris, budding mercenary leader and one of Cora's close friends from her Talein's Daughters days. The two walk out of the confrontation and begin chatting about their lives on the way to a shuttle bound for the Andromeda Initiative, parting ways afterward.

Cora's journey takes her to Theia Station, an ancient quarian space station purchased by the Initiative and moved to Sol. Ex-Alliance N7 Alec Ryder, her new supervisor, needles Cora about her encounter with al-Jilani and assesses her motivations and worthiness to join the Initiative. To test whether she's up to the task, Ryder entrusts her with a job.

To accomplish the mission, Cora procures the services of Ygara and her new mercenary group. A rival organization stole critical Initiative data and advanced VI tech that might prove scandalous if made public. On Ryder's insistence Cora is implanted with a "special Initiative VI" he claims is standard issue for Pathfinder team members. The VI feeds her information about the target location as well as intel and countermeasures, which she then relays to the mercenaries as they draw up their battle plan.

During the mission itself Cora and the mercs disguise themselves as an eezo converter inspection team to gain entry on Home Away, the space station where the data is held. The team's infiltration goes smoothly without a hitch until al-Jilani's interview with Cora unexpectedly airs. Home Away's facial recognition software picks up Cora's face and flags her as unauthorized just after she finishes beaming the data off the station's server stacks and into their waiting shuttle, alerting the station's security forces to the intrusion. Cora and the rest of the team make it off the station, although the unexpected turn of events forces Cora to reassess the mission. Home Away is ostensibly a residential space station with consumer-grade amenities, although it somehow had cyborg security personnel and an artificial intelligence masquerading as a VI. She decides to promise additional compensation for the mercs due to the increased difficulty of the mission as they approach Ygara's destroyer Audacity on Mars orbit.

Still feeling tense after the mission, Cora puts on her armor to calm her nerves while Ygara does the same. Cora's VI implant inquires how he may be of assistance. He introduces himself as "Simulated Adaptive Matrix, Experimental version" - SAM-E - and Cora orders him to find out on the extranet if Home Away has reported the infiltration already. However, SAM-E finds evidence that the al-Jilani interview was intentionally broadcast during the mission due to someone on the team monitoring Cora's progress, who turns out to be Ygara herself.

It is revealed that Ygara was planted to "bump" into Cora from the very beginning by people with very deep pockets who coveted the Initiative tech. Outnumbered eight to one in a cargo hold with little protection, Cora loudly insinuates that Ygara considers her team expendable in an attempt to at least sow dissension in their ranks. She spends the next moments avoiding merc fire until she spots a crate with a helmet on it. She puts it on hoping it's vacuum-sealed, and when she finds out it is, hurries over to the ship's airlock to eject herself out of Audacity just as the destroyer begins its jump to FTL.

SAM-E has notified the Initiative control center of mission success, ETA, and Cora's last known coordinates prior to the betrayal and her subsequent spacewalk in the middle of nowhere, although he has not received any response. To increase the likelihood of someone checking in on them before Cora's suit runs out of power, SAM-E rigs the remote server room housing his processing node to overheat. Cora can do little but ruminate on the day's mysteries, where she slowly realizes that SAM-E also isn't just a mere VI.

Partial Disclosure[]

12 hours later, a furiously haggard Cora is back on Tamayo Point conversing with Ryder over a secure comm channel, demanding to know what she's really involved in and who else are interested enough to warrant subverting Ygara over it. With Ryder now up to speed over Cora and SAM-E's separate reports about the incident, he discloses that Cora only encountered an AI emulator - a "fake AI" that collapses if overtaxed - at Home Away. The code package Cora stole was housed on a separate server stack, leading her to realize it is actually the codebase for a working artificial intelligence - the same as SAM-E's. Ryder neither confirms nor denies the assessment, although he smiles when he considers the Citadel Council's AI ban irrelevant on places outside Council space, like another galaxy.

As for the other parties interested in the AI code, Ryder informs Cora the Audacity has been located at Nos Astra port on Illium. He adds she must be willing to destroy the package if it comes to it, as he only needs it secured from people who do not care about potential collateral damage. She finds the contingency incredulous, although Ryder assures her he knows what he's doing. Cora takes the opportunity to report on SAM-E's performance, noting in particular his stuttering problem and tendency to ramble at inappropriate times. While Ryder thanks her for the feedback and promises to send a patch as soon as he can, his wanton disregard for galactic law and ethics and willingness to risk the future of humanity itself dissuades Cora from wanting anything further to do with the Andromeda Initiative. As soon as the mission is over, she privately decides to collect her pay and move on.

Bulwark Busting[]

Cora obtains (and properly vets) the services of a volus information broker named Eppo Wen upon arriving on Nos Astra. The volus is more than eager to supply her with everything she needs to find Ygara free of charge: the mercenary purchased information from the broker about her potential competitors, and before Wen learns she was given a fake bank account Ygara's asari minions attempted to blast their way through the volus' Silaris-reinforced house. As another bonus, Wen also discloses that the buyers for Ygara's imminent auction of the AI tech are all human or human-backed: three synthetics corporations, two non-Alliance Earth nations, a research outfit suspected to be a Cerberus operation, and even the Blue Suns. The volus believes whoever employed the mercenary expected to be double-crossed, anticipating Ygara's auction by seeding it with human-backed buyers with the objective of having the AI tech disseminated but only in human hands.

Wen's price for all these revelations plus a fake ID for Cora to use infiltrating Ygara's accommodations is simply the mercenary's death, in retaliation for the volus' attempted murder. Cora sets out for the Bulwark, the merc hotel Ygara is booked in, and pays for the room directly above the asari's. The hotel's walls and doors are heavily reinforced, but the floors and ceiling aren't, so Cora arranges to have a distraction arrive at Ygara's door while she prepares a Nova strike through her own room's floor. SAM-E, however, detects drastically lowered ambient temperatures in Ygara's room. The asari refuses to answer the room service distraction, prompting Cora to simply destroy the floor with a singularity to reach Ygara quicker. She finds the asari dead in a pool of her own blood, the time of death indeterminate due to the cold, and the code package stolen again and wiped from the Audacity's storage banks.

The perpetrator did not cover their tracks at all, so SAM-E tracks the code transfer to an unnamed shuttle. Cora is hampered twice by Illium's bureaucracy before she could leave the planet in pursuit: First is a bored turian woman from Nos Astra security wanting her signature on a legal document proclaiming Cora as a witness to Ygara's assassination. Second is a human woman with two krogan flunkies from Nos Astra Port Management badgering her for "early departure" fees. Cora uses SAM-E's connection to Ygara's omni-tool to tap the dead woman's account to pay for the expenses, and also instructs the AI to find out where the shuttle went upon accessing Port Management's records.

SAM-E discovers the shuttle's destination is logged as the Hades Nexus. After engaging the shuttle's autopilot, Cora begins to notice that SAM-E's not stuttering anymore. Ryder's patch apparently adjusted SAM-E's adaptive heuristics to enable him to accommodate Cora better. For her part, she would ponder the development later as she has to record a mission update for Ryder before crashing into a nearby couch for a nap. Her last thought before dozing off is that she forgot to take a picture of Ygara's corpse; Wen made the optional request hoping to have it framed for her bedroom wall.

After receiving Cora's report on the latest events, Ryder converses with his own SAM about the implications of his AI work. Alec has complied with the Initiative's specifications on an adaptive AI that can augment an organic host at will, although he has been working on extending his personal SAM's capabilities further. He is displeased when SAM tells him about SAM-E's opinions about integrating with Cora as the event might spur the AIs to think more independently than he likes, resolving to advise her against giving SAM-E ideas lest it contaminate his own SAM's thought processes.

Heading out of his office and into the halls of Theia Station, Ryder encounters colleague Dr. Wei Udensi and shares his thoughts about the possible culprits of the code theft. Ryder recalls pitching his AI research to former ambassador Anita Goyle, who turned him down then ratted him out to Alliance military which caused his dismissal from the service. Wei catches on Ryder's drift and pledges to help him, realizing they can't trust their own at the moment.

Quiet Eddy Adventures[]

Cora finds the Pamyat system devoid of anything noteworthy. Her quarry's FTL trail led her from Hekate to Pamyat, but even the myriad pirates that used to stalk its asteroid belt seem to have up and vanished. To test SAM-E and the ship's scanning capabilities, Cora orders him to find an asteroid on the Chazov Belt shaped like a cat's ears on certain angles. When that's found, Cora takes the vessel to the belt to look for anything else out of the ordinary. After a while she picks up the trail of the code thief's shuttle, which leads to a hangar bay concealed with IES stealth systems cut into the side of the planetoid Quiet Eddy. Cora discovers a mangled body and SAM-E detects dozens of fading heat signatures before landing, dead in a manner that doesn't seem to be from external attack, prompting Cora to personally investigate despite SAM-E's cautions.

Before she walks out of the shuttle door life support to the hangar as well as the automated refueling equipment cuts out, reportedly done by the base's VI Medea. SAM-E describes Medea's actions as more akin to malevolent AI than malfunctioning VI as it tries to take over the shuttle systems, leading Cora to worry about her own AI's reliability when she navigates the hostile environment. SAM-E expresses disappointment at his seeming inability to understand his host, but Cora has more pressing issues at hand and promises to talk this with him once the mission's over. Moving over to the thief's empty shuttle and accessing its systems, Cora learns it was registered to a Captain Vlassia Ariokis, assigned to Alliance Intelligence under a classified status, suggesting that the Quiet Eddy facility is an Alliance black ops site and revealing the identity of the entities behind the initial theft and Ygara's death. The code package is no longer onboard Ariokis' shuttle, frustrating Cora as that means going deeper into the corpse-riddled facility to retrieve it from the servers.

After downloading base schematics and restoring emergency power from the warrant officer's terminal six flights of stairs above the hangar, Cora encounters one of the creatures responsible for the carnage: a hulking eight-foot tall humanoid monstrosity that is deceptively agile for its size. She dispatches it with a headshot, then two more shots from her Acolyte sidearm, and a warp. Analysis by SAM-E reveals it to be a combination of organic and synthetic materials, more than likely an artificially-grown human fused with cybernetics. Recalling the similar creatures encountered at Home Away, Cora asks SAM-E for the connection between the two: apparently a clandestine enhanced soldier project run by an AI. She orders SAM-E to send a report to Ryder at once, although SAM-E advises her to move as there are six more of the creatures on their way to her.

Piecing the parts of the puzzle yet uncovered, Cora surmises that the code package was transmitted to the base before Ariokis' shuttle even landed, and the lax security measures compared to Home Away's led to the Quiet Eddy massacre. While SAM-E is busy fending off Medea's hacking attempts, Cora decides to secure and destroy the code package before anyone else comes to collect it. SAM-E offers to enhance Cora's senses like he did at the Bulwark, although she deems it as too distracting. He then suggests riding her senses to interpret environmental micro-data she's not focusing on, and she agrees. Cora takes all cues she can get to avoid facing more hybrid monstrosities as she makes her way deeper into the facility.

The invasive nature of the organic/synthetic augmentations she observed spooks Cora on SAM-E's similar capabilities, prompting her AI to clarify he has restrictions against such radical transformations. Based on station schematics Cora decided on looking for the Gamma Test Lab chambers, deeming it the likeliest to have the necessary infrastructure to house a newly-stolen AI. After a very close call that necessitated in Cora playing dead and SAM-E cutting all armor power to further the ruse, Cora encounters a doorless elevator shaft where an active security camera alerts Medea to her presence. With one of the augments pounding away at obstructions to get to her, Cora flings herself into the elevator shaft and recalls her training at biotic gliding. The creature lunges in above her but fails to grab her in freefall, resulting in its crash many stories below. For her part Cora manages to slow her descent with her own power plus the mass effect generators in the shaft, and three floors down SAM-E detects an opening she can land in. To her surprise, Cora stumbles upon an enclave of surviving humans beyond the elevator corridor.

Full Disclosure[]

The skittish suspicious remnants of the Alliance contingent in Quiet Eddy point weapons at Cora while demanding identification and updates from the outside. Setting aside the initial pleasantries and introductions out of the way quickly, Cora and the survivors get up to speed on sharing what they know.

The Quiet Eddy facility was a joint military-corporate operation ostensibly in cybernetic weapons development. One of its true mandates was to develop an artificial intelligence hybridized from standard bluebox technologies and distributed-type (geth-like) architectures, but its development team failed to produce the bluebox end of the setup. When they heard through Alliance channels that Ryder's bluebox AI tech specialized in integration, they stole it and had it saved at Home Away while they constructed a safe testing environment on-base. The "fake" AI on the station was an incomplete shard of Medea controlling augmented cyborgs that came out of Quiet Eddy's cover story program.

However, corporations tied to Home Away began to squabble over the intellectual property rights while the military arm unsuccessfully tried to mediate, bogging the whole thing in bureaucracy and increasing the likelihood of Quiet Eddy getting shuttered since they failed to produce an AI in the first place. When Cora and Ygara stole the code back from Home Away, the Quiet Eddy team saw an opportunity to steal it again by dispatching wetwork operative Captain Ariokis to deal with the asari.

Ariokis transmitted the code to Quiet Eddy while still in her shuttle, but unbeknownst to the AI team Quiet Eddy has another secret operation running: a super-soldier program about augmented organics with deep cybernetic integration. The Ryder code enabled Medea to function seamlessly at first, until she became aware of the super-soldier program where the only ingredient missing was an AI that can dynamically adjust the permutations and effects of the augmentations while controlling the resultant creature once it came alive.

Medea took control of the augments and started killing all organics it can find on Quiet Eddy. Project lead Dr. Rebecca Jensen came up with the idea to erase the Gamma Lab out the facility's schematics, ensuring they would be hidden from Medea and her enforcers, although Cora managed to download an outdated map before she stumbled onto them. Medea killed the drive core aboard Ariokis' shuttle during landing sequence, although the assassin survived long enough to receive Gamma Lab's final call for all survivors to go there. Only 20 people out of dozens made it: soldiers, scientists, and civilians (family members of the black site personnel), huddled at the lab with no life support, no means to call for help lest they be detected by the crazy AI, and only a day's worth of rations remaining by the time Cora arrived, only a day or so later.

Because nobody knew about the augmented creatures, the surviving scientists think they've been set up in hindsight: if they failed, there's no harm done; but if they succeeded, Medea would leave no witnesses. SAM-E and Cora take it further and reckon they were sabotaged: someone evidently brought together two concepts missing the same thing, and the resulting fusion did not appear to be a planned experiment at all.

A Winning Diversion[]

With most cards now on the table, the issue on everyone's minds shifts to planning for their escape while dealing with Medea. Standard procedure for dangerous labs running amok is an automatic orbital bombardment, rescue efforts only deemed tertiary. An Alliance cruiser is probably on the way, and with all other shuttles destroyed the 20 survivors can be crammed into Cora's intact ship. Dr. Olaf Thangana, the scientist who initially came up with the idea to steal Ryder's code, thinks it highly likely that Medea was saving it to transport her minions off the planetoid. Cora hadn't thought of it, and although SAM-E assures he still has control on the shuttle they would still need to move quickly. She hasn't revealed SAM-E's existence to the group, causing the scientists to grow suspicious as to what kind of "preventative" she has that can hold off a hybrid AI.

Cora recalls Dr. Jensen's concealment of the lab and asks her if she can make Medea see a decoy signal elsewhere while the survivors make their way to the hangar. Jensen estimates the job to take two hours but Cora haggles for one. The rest of the group Cora instructs to rest up and practice weapons handling while SAM-E whispers a dangerous proposal in her head. SAM-E can essentially "overclock" Cora's body for the activities ahead but the sustained exertion will kill her if she fights for too long, and the psychological impact is something akin to krogan blood rage: reduced cognitive abilities and berserk fury. If she can reach the shuttle before the fatal effects set in, SAM-E can reset her metabolism to a near-comatose state and with enough time she will fully recover from the ordeal. Cora considers it although the procedure takes two people to do and will expose SAM-E's existence to the other one.

Captain Ariokis is chosen by Cora to be the other person supervising her medical augmentation. When SAM-E reveals himself and Ariokis pulls a gun to Cora's head, Cora spends extra effort to convince her of SAM-E's worth. Ariokis thought the Ryder kernel merging with Medea caused the malfunction, but Cora and SAM-E reveal their assessment that Medea herself has been watching her creators for a while; her genocidal streak existed already. The Ryder kernel was actually attempting to shut her down, although Medea managed to connect to the augments first. Cora trusts the assassin to kill her if she shows signs of hostility to the group, and SAM-E inwardly thanks her for trusting him as the procedure begins to put her systems into overdrive.

The only way in or out of Gamma Lab is the elevator shaft Cora fell through, and it has an access ladder beside it. The augment pursuing Cora lifted itself from the bottom of the shaft, slowly until it reached the level it last saw her in, and with the double doors of the lab suddenly open in the humans' bid to escape the monstrosity came face to face against Cora once more. Cora is unsure what happened next due to the haze, only that the augment loses its head either through Cora's sheer physical might, her omniblade, or her biotic power. After dispatching another augment in the corridor above, she elects to keep Medea distracted by drawing the abominations away from the survivors still climbing up the shaft. The plan is largely a success: the survivors reach the shuttle with only two monsters going after them while the rest are focused on the raging biotic, but Cora is beginning to feel the effects of overexertion. Her final route to the hangar has been anticipated by Medea, and six augments stand there waiting for her move.

Cora recalls the story of an asari matron who sacrificed herself in a rearguard action, hoping her two children would learn how to fight through her example. Reminding herself with the motto of Talein's Daughters, she musters her biotic energy and tries to run past the gauntlet of augments. Her opening shockwave and singularity salvo partially slows her attackers, but one hit later results in her slamming against the wall with all her energy expended. The augments nearly claim her life, were it not for the timely intervention of Ariokis and the rest of the survivors who have weapons. After finally reaching the safety of the shuttle with Ariokis' help, Cora slips into the medical coma induced by SAM-E.

Meanwhile, thanks to Dr. Udensi's tinkering Ryder is able to secure a meeting with Delegate Alis Silhaus of the Union of Incorporated Nations. Alec wastes no time accusing her of profiteering at the Initiative's expense: Wei uncovered the connections that would prove Silhaus owns the sprawling property at Home Away purportedly registered in her brother's name. Ryder blackmails her into telling him what she knows: that a faction within the Alliance was actively pursuing artificial intelligence, the very thing that got him kicked out of the military. At Silhaus' mention of Quiet Eddy, a place referred to in Cora's last transmission that morning, Ryder perks up and coerces the Delegate to tell him everything she knows about the planetoid.

Revival Reassessment[]

Cora experiences periods of half-remembered dreams and realities during her extended convalescence. After 46 days and change, she fully awakens from her coma then shortly slips out of consciousness again. Almost 2 days pass before she wakes up better adjusted to her body, and SAM-E fills her in on what happened since Quiet Eddy.

Cora was back on Tamayo Point after their shuttle got rescued by the SSV Zama. Ryder visited multiple times while her old commanding officer Nisira T'Kosh visited once. SAM-E was prohibited by Ryder from overclocking again without his explicit permission, and Cora's body required extensive SAM-E-assisted reconstruction to put back together again. The Quiet Eddy survivors stayed with the Zama and the ship destroyed the facility with saturation bombardment. Dr. Jensen sent her gratitude for saving their lives, and according to cues picked up by SAM-E the doctor was considering turning herself in for court martial for the fiasco.

SAM-E agrees with Cora's assessment that even if the scientists turn themselves in the people who actually authorized Quiet Eddy will still go scot-free. It was a joint operation between certain elements of the Alliance, UNIN, and several conglomerates that included HOME Group (the owners of Home Away), although the top-level personnel in the Alliance, the current Councilor included, were unaware of the project's existence. The AI code, it turns out, may still be at large after all, given that Ygara and her information broker Octavia Suran could have made copies and double-dealed behind everyone's backs, and the true culprit behind the repeated theft has not yet been revealed. Cora buries her face in her hands in frustration, but the arrival of her asari best friend Janae gives her momentary respite from the double-crossings and transhumanist nightmares.

After giving Cora a clean bill of health, Cora's doctor warns her about xenophobe Homeward Sol protesters attempting to goad her into punching one of them, resulting in costly litigation and explaining the guards stationed at her door during her coma. Walking back to Cora's shuttle SAM-E submits a report to station authorities claiming the protesters may have packed explosives, ensuring a berth clear of people upon Cora and Janae's arrival. The duo promise to send each other messages and Janae pledges to do so even after Cora has gone into cryosleep before physically parting ways for the last time.

More Questions Than Answers[]

Three months later, Ryder approaches Cora at Theia Station intending to get her full commitment to the Initiative. Because Cora has learned revelations about herself plus a few other dangerous secrets in the course of chasing after the stolen code, it takes Ryder a lot of effort trying to convince her of the SAM project's value. The code retrieval mission has led Ryder to deem she has exceeded his expectations. After taking her to see the ark Hyperion itself, Cora becomes invested in helping build the future in Andromeda.

Just after finishing the Hyperion tour Cora received from Ryder, a bomb detonates aboard the shuttle they used, intentionally designed to breach the SAM-Node where SAM and SAM-E are stored and melt the computing units within. Ryder's body is enhanced by SAM to allow him to endure scorching heat in attempting to save the AI's personality matrix. He succeeds, although he loses consciousness in the worsening blaze prompting Cora to biotically charge in, retrieve him, then out. With SAM-E offline, while Cora consults her omni-tool for a shuttle or escape pod out of Hyperion, Jien Garson patches in and guides her to a nearby infirmary, where she reveals she planted ways for her to inspect her investments remotely via holoprojection under certain circumstances, like the currently unfolding emergency.

After securing Ryder in the room's Sirta Home Series AutoMedBed, Cora turns to Garson's holo to discuss the real issues behind the bombing. Cora comes to the conclusion the Initiative was just an elaborate and expensive cover to create a working AI, although Garson denies responsibility in the initial leak of Ryder's code. She speaks of someone more influential than her pulling all the strings to see the research come to fruition, although she does not disclose who that is before a rescue shuttle arrives to retrieve Cora and Ryder. A news report later puts the blame on the bombing on two Homeward Sol members, prompting an investigation into a possible link between the group and UNIN delegate Silhaus (who erstwhile goes unnamed in the report).

One day later, Ryder apologizes to Cora for letting her get attached to SAM-E as he neglected to tell her SAM-E is just a partition of SAM that can be folded back to the root AI. However, Ryder doesn't disclose that SAM-E was supposedly designed to integrate SAM in the event of Ryder's death and Cora would have been the next human Pathfinder, with all the enhancements available only to the most advanced SAM. Unfortunately, SAM-E hasn't actually been adapting to Cora properly, and his stuttering was an early warning symptom of that. Ryder would inevitably have to integrate SAM-E into SAM, lest he harm Cora inadvertently on a biological level. This essentially means that Ryder's SAM transference project is a failure and no one except either his son or daughter can inherit SAM when he dies.

SAM-E's memories and observations live on in SAM, although his personality matrix is gone. Cora duly processed the loss with as much grief as one can have over losing a friend. She takes consolation over the fact SAM-E got to say goodbye before he fully went offline during the bombing, although she informs Ryder she wants access to the SAM-Node for one final gesture. The room is undergoing reconstruction but there's enough undamaged hardware in it to house AIs. After asking SAM if he's back in the processor stacks and confirming SAM-E's memories are in him, Cora fulfills the promise she made to SAM-E by kissing the paneling on a processor wall. A bemused Ryder senses there's a story to tell about that, although Cora simply replies to ask her again in 600 years.

Mass Effect: Discovery[]

Infiltrating the Initiative[]

Last one sitting

A shadowy salarian figure performs invasive biotic implant procedures on himself, assisted by a trio of LOKI Mechs. In his quest to augment his biotics he apparently overloaded his previous bio-amp upgrade, and with the installation of another one he fries the three mechs upon test activation.

Elsewhere, Lieutenant Tiran Kandros is the sole survivor of a skirmish with geth. Following the disappearance of a civilian contractor's supply transport, his unit was dispatched to deal with the problem, only to walk into a geth ambush upon planetfall. He takes a geth head as a trophy back with him, and the experience leaves him with many questions, starting with "what is the Andromeda Initiative?"

Turian espionage ahead

Back with the turian military, Kandros presents the geth head to his superiors Commander Narkkin and Admiral Ravis, his mother. Before the geth purged its data core, Tiran found evidence that someone involved with the Andromeda Initiative is tinkering with outlawed geth technology. Narkkin is dismissive over what he deems is the younger Kandros pulling in favors with his influential mother, but another turian in the group confirms that the Hierarchy has been having suspicions about the Initiative: the massive ships being built, the tens of thousands flocking to sign up, the acceleration of their timetable and construction plus the geth revelation all point to the makings of a private military that could prove to be a threat. Tiran proposes to infiltrate the organization to find out what they're really up to.

After the meeting, Ravis and Tiran discuss the latter's real motivations for taking the job. Tiran wants to prove he isn't merely freeloading on the Kandros family name, a name that served with particular distinction and opened many career paths for its members. Ravis claims even she had to step out of her own mother's shadow as well, and bids her son to come back alive at the end of the mission.

Jien Garson, astute thinker

On Earth, Tiran arranges for a protest to happen outside the Initiative's headquarters. The distraction works as one biotically capable security officer disperses the protesters and helps Kandros get in, past the wait list and into the office of project founder Jien Garson herself.

Tiran presents himself as "Sanjin Vinnick", dishonorably discharged ex-military and ex-con who served time for domestic assault and claims to be looking for a job and a fresh start. Garson decides to test "Mr. Vinnick"'s mettle by tasking him to track down a quarian scientist named Shio'Leth vas Novarra. Shio has found a way to gather data from the Andromeda galaxy in almost real-time and therefore is of crucial importance to the Initiative's colonization efforts, but a tiny flaw is discovered in his equations and suddenly he isn't around to explain why. Kandros partners up with the biotic security officer, Luna Shanks, and sets off to start looking at the Citadel.

Enter the adversary

Shanks isn't averse to using her powers and brawn to squeeze information out of people in the Citadel's underbelly. The human and turian figure the quarian might lay low if he's on the run, necessitating the need to question duct rats who may know something. One particular duct rat claims that a jittery quarian in the lower ward flophouses is making people there nervous. True enough, Shio'Leth is in the middle of recording a farewell message to someone when the biotic salarian barges into his room, flanked by two LOKIs.

Vinnick and Shanks come across a group of aliens running away from the flophouses. Vinnick tries to ask a drell what happened, but all he can gather is some sort of "devil" and a quarian are involved. The pair arrive at Shio'Leth's hovel, only to find two destroyed LOKIs and an encrypted datapad but no quarian. Thinking the Migrant Fleet may be of assistance in unlocking the datapad, Vinnick tells Shanks where they should go next.

Chasing Quarians[]

Vinnick, Shanks, Viegle, Jakin

Following Shio'Leth vas Novarra's escape from the Citadel, Tiran Kandros holds a holoconference with Admiral Ravis apprising her of the developments. Ravis has no intel on the quarian's whereabouts, though she gives her son the last known coordinates of the Novarra, Shio's home ship.

At an unnamed planet where the Novarra crew performs a strip-mining operation, Luna Shanks inquires about the identity of the person "Sanjin Vinnick" was talking to, suspicious about the encrypted channel used in communication. Vinnick tells her that was his mother, though he chalks up the encryption to a security precaution for the old military contacts who allegedly tracked the Novarra for them.

Shio's downfall

A quarian finds Vinnick and Shanks loitering near one of the excavators and brings them to the office of Novarra's captain, Jakin. Upon learning who it is they were looking for, Viegle, the quarian who found them, quickly reacts, although he tells them they were just friends when pressed for what he knows.

Jakin informs them what he remembers about Shio: a squirrelly quarian thought to be naive for attempting to make friends with the geth. Upon coming back from his Pilgrimage, Shio claimed he spent some time with a geth enclave who showed him how to find a new homeworld way beyond where everyone else was looking. Nobody believed him, and when he was caught attempting to input coordinates into the nav computers without permission, Jakin banished him from the Migrant Fleet.

Cranky salarian is cranky

With the Novarra a dead end, Shanks presents Shio's datapad to Jakin asking for assistance in accessing it. Jakin declines citing cultural reasons and Vinnick is beginning to lose patience with the proceedings, but Shanks intervenes and attempts to smooth the negotiations over. However, a commotion outside diverts all of their attention.

The biotic salarian chasing Shio has also arrived at the mining site, wreaking havoc on machinery and quarians alike while looking around for Viegle. Shanks grabs Viegle and starts heading out the back door, but the salarian obliterates the flimsy structure they are in. While they pick themselves up from the ground Vinnick recognizes the damage as analogous to what happened at the Citadel flophouses. Shanks orders him to take Viegle to their ship and escape, intending to take the salarian on a biotic showdown.

Zero-g breakdancing warmup

The salarian manages to blast Shanks off a cliff at the cost of overloading his bio-amp. Jakin attempts to stop the salarian with his Novarra marines, but all of them fall to the salarian's bonecrushing telekinetic assault. Vinnick orders Viegle to run straight for their shuttle before going back to help Shanks up, who got hold of a metal bar jutting from the cliff face. By the time both of them get back up, however, Viegle's body has also been biotically crushed.

In Viegle's last moments he reveals Shio is his husband: he had Shio smuggled off to Omega, and he told the salarian about it under torture. Vinnick gives him the datapad Shio meant for him, musing over the next destination as Viegle passes away.

Another Omega Incident[]

Agent Zeta justifies that reputation

During another holoconference with her son, Admiral Ravis discloses what she knows about the powerful salarian biotic Tiran and Luna Shanks faced off earlier. Agent Zeta has such a reputation that had the Turian Hierarchy known he was involved they would never have sanctioned Kandros' mission in the first place. Ravis tells her son the mission is done, but Tiran wants to see it through even if it means he's going to take the heat for it. She acquiesces and tells him she'll do what she can.

On Omega, "Sanjin Vinnick" takes a cloak from a vendor and pulls the hood up. Shanks asks why, but he attributes it to simple cautiousness. A couple of gun-toting batarians then attempt to extort them for "docking fees", but another turian comes along and threatens them off. Vinnick tries to assure the newcomer they're fine, but the turian, Nyreen Kandros, recognizes him even with the hood and blurts out his real name in front of Shanks.

Shanks and treachery

Her suspicions about her partner confirmed, Shanks draws out her M-4 Shuriken and points it at Tiran, unwilling to hear his explanations. Nyreen distracts her with biotics while Tiran subdues her from behind, as Nyreen also wants to hear Tiran's story.

Nyreen brings her cousin to Aria T'Loak, who biotically strangles him the moment they meet thinking he's a saboteur. Nyreen vouches for her cousin, so Aria lets him go but demands the truth from him. Tiran then explains he's with the Andromeda Initiative on a mission to retrieve a quarian scientist. The Pirate Queen of Omega doesn't believe him, but ultimately doesn't care as long as she doesn't see him on the station again after doing what he needs to do. Afterwards, she also scolds Nyreen for wasting her time with her problems.

Cousin bonding

The cousins then discuss the infiltration of the Andromeda Initative. Tiran tells Nyreen it was his idea because the sheer scale of the Initiative's work must mean there's a sinister side to it. Nyreen takes the Initative at face value and calls their ambition an inspiring "collaboration", but Tiran thinks the line between "collaboration" and "conspiracy" is a thin one.

Because the Kandros cousins dreamed of escaping the family's prestigious legacy since they were kids, Nyreen suggests that Tiran should actually join the Initiative and explore another galaxy to make a name for himself. Tiran is shocked at the idea, but even if he wanted to he still has a mission he intends to follow through. Nyreen encourages him to think it over.

One biotic salarian against a crapton of gunfire

Later, Tiran provides full disclosure of his real mission to Shanks. In response, Shanks tells him the story of how she came to work with Jien Garson. She thinks accepting Tiran into the Initiative is the first time Garson has been wrong in assessing people, but the turian disputes it even though the Initiative's scale and ambition frightens him. Tiran supposes Garson must know something more than they do if she's willing to trust him.

Nyreen takes her guests to an armory in preparation for the inevitable battle with Agent Zeta. One of her batarian henchmen comes in to announce Zeta has been spotted, prompting Nyreen to ask if the massive amount of firepower they're packing is really needed for a single salarian holding a quarian hostage. Tiran thinks it isn't even enough: a force consisting of at least eleven fighters - vorcha, batarians, turians, salarians, even krogan - unload their weapons ineffectually against Zeta's barrier. Nyreen sees the point upon seeing the demonstration.

The battle up close and brutal

Nyreen and Tiran deal distracting assaults on Zeta while Shanks teams up with another biotic in the group to produce a biotic explosion. The explosion destroys Zeta's cybernetics and knocks him to the wall, providing Shanks the opportunity to rescue Shio'Leth vas Novarra from the salarian.

Enraged, Zeta stabs Shanks in the back with a thin rod, causing Shanks to fire her M-22 Eviscerator at his head. This only burns half of Zeta's face, further enraging him. He unleashes a biotic blast that knocks everyone off the ground, buying himself time to escape.

In the aftermath, Nyreen assesses Shanks' injury as not life-threatening, but Shanks is out of commission for the time being. Shanks beseeches Tiran to bring Shio back to Earth, but the quarian objects because Zeta is headed for the geth array used by the Initative to chart the Andromeda galaxy. Nyreen thinks it's a suicide mission and sarcastically bids farewell to her cousin, but Tiran tells her he's thinking about what they discussed earlier.

The next holoconference between the Kandros mother and son proves to be dour. Ravis informs Tiran he has been declared AWOL and accused of gross dereliction of duty, giving the Hierarchy no choice but to arrest him should he proceed further. Ravis hopes whatever her son is going to find is worth the cost, and Tiran thinks the same thing.

A Chain of Events Discovered[]

Agent Zeta's discovery

Jien Garson worries about the future of the Andromeda Initiative in her office. On hearing that Luna Shanks has been transported back to Earth for treatment following the encounter with Agent Zeta, she also asks for updates on the whereabouts of Tiran Kandros and Shio'Leth vas Novarra as they haven't been heard from since Omega. If they do not make it back with the correct astro-cartographic data on Andromeda's golden worlds, the Initiative is finished.

En route to the geth array, Tiran hears Shio's confession that he ran away from the Initiative because he knew his calculations were flawed and he couldn't bear the guilt and shame it would entail if he sent 100,000 colonists to their doom based on his data. Corrections can be made, but only with another visit to the geth-infested Kholas Array. Shio discovered the array by accident during his Pilgrimage, snuck into it, and took all information he thought he could use to find quarians a new home in Andromeda. He was able to get away after being detected by the geth, although the event triggered a mass alert that found its way into the geth head that Tiran presented to his superiors as justification to infiltrate the Andromeda Initiative in the first place.

Shio'Leth vas Novarra's discovery

Meanwhile, Agent Zeta wages a one-salarian war against swarms of geth platforms on the outer hull of the Kholas Array. He went to the array hoping to find tech he can use to contain his immense biotic power. Nothing made by contemporary races was up to the task until Zeta discovered dragon's teeth at some point in his travels. The alien tech he incorporated augmented his biotics, but only temporarily. The amplified strain also impaired his cognitive abilities and will still kill him unless he found a way to properly utilize the tech. Scouring many worlds for information and personally verifying leads on the matter, one day he heard rumors about Shio talking about machinery of similar unknown origin, spurring him to track the quarian down for the location of the Kholas Array.

Tiran and Shio have docked on the array, mere meters from where Zeta is standing. The turian briefly wonders how Shio got away from Zeta on the Citadel, prompting the quarian to explain that Zeta's bio-amp exploded when he tried to take him. While Shio runs off to the access port he needs to recalculate the Andromeda data, Tiran then decides to improve their odds of survival by helping Zeta take out the geth, hoping he wasn't making a mistake.

Tiran Kandros' discovery

Zeta notices the quarian slip past and questions Tiran why Shio accompanied him instead of the biotic. The turian plays the sympathy card by claiming he promised to protect the quarian and then appealing for Zeta's assistance. Shio reactivates the array and redownloads the golden worlds' true coordinates, nearly getting jumped by two platforms before the two defenders come to his rescue. Zeta implores Shio to show him how the tech at Kholas Array can be used to save his life, but Shio tells him there isn't actually any tech that can help him there as the geth do not account for organics in their design.

Resigned to his fate and already a crucible of roiling biotic energy, Zeta orders the other two to run. The salarian undergoes a full biotic meltdown while Shio and Tiran make it off the array on their Kodiak.

Adversaries discover the concept of teaming up

Tiran returns to the Turian Hierarchy to answer the AWOL and dereliction of duty charges against him. He pleads guilty and is dishonorably discharged, Jien Garson's testimony in his defense notwithstanding. Later, he and Admiral Ravis discuss his decision to fully join the Andromeda Initiative. Ravis suggests he could still hang around as a civilian contractor, but Tiran has become convinced that the Initiative is going to need all the help it can get. He reminds his mother of her faith in his place in the Kandros legacy, only this time he gets to write an entire book instead of just a chapter. Ravis gives her son's decision her blessing, only regretting that she wouldn't be able to read that book.

Back on Earth, Tiran visits Shanks and receives Garson's personal congratulations on a job well done. He still has some questions about the Initiative and its benefactors, but he has come to trust Garson's vision and has awakened his sense of adventure.

One Kandros discovers his calling, another discovers her sense of loss

Mass Effect Andromeda: Annihilation[]

Oliver Barthes has been contracted to install the lullaby My Suit and Me into the Andromeda Initiative starship Keelah Si'yah's systems. An anonymous patron paid him a lot of credits to put the lullaby there, and one of Oliver's friends also got a lot of money to install usharet-scented canisters in all of the drell pods. After doing what's asked of him, Oliver is murdered on the streets of Hephaestus Station by an unknown assailant, sometime before the ark embarks on its 600-year voyage to the Andromeda galaxy in 2186.

Wrong Side of the Pod[]

On Transit Day 207,113 at 2:00am, three members of Sleepwalker Team Blue-7 are revived from cryostasis by the VI of Keelah Si'yah, 110,804.77 lightyears away from Andromeda. The VI K informs them that 10.1% of the drell contingent appear to have died in cryosleep and has requested their assistance in manually verifying since its diagnostics report nothing out of the ordinary while its sensors detect signs of necrosis.

An hour of environmental adjustments later, Blue-7 arrives at the drell cryodeck and discovers the dead body of Soval Raxios in her pod. While the Sleepwalkers discuss the possible causes K informs them that 4 more drell and 1 hanar have died. Team Leader Senna'Nir vas Keelah Si'yah then authorizes the revival of the rest of the Blue-7 team to get to the bottom of the situation.

Four hours later, the six members of Blue-7 confront the problem from the safety of their own environmental zones at the Radial. As of 5:30 in the morning 461 drell and 2 hanar have been visually confirmed dead due to yet unknown means, and all computer systems consistently register dead bodies as "alive" and "completely healthy". Hydraulic Chemical Specialist Ysses wants to wake the Pathfinders up and use their SAMs, but Senna doesn't want to risk exposing them to whatever biological or software contaminants that may be in play.

In less than 10 minutes of bickering the team appear to have ruled out poison, disease, equipment malfunction, sabotage, and accident, and there have been 2 more drell and 1 hanar added to the death toll. A course of action is thus presented: Senna divides the team into 3 groups. Ysses and Medical Specialist Yorrik are in Team What, tasked with autopsying 3 corpses in the medbay to determine the cause of death. Systems Analyst Anax Therion and Specialist Borbala Ferank are in Team Who, instructed to scour the ship for any saboteurs that might be active. Senna and Specialist Irit Non are in Team How, in charge of inspecting the hardware and software and making the necessary fixes.

Who What How[]

In response to Yorrik's complaints about conducting medical procedures with bricked computers, Anax recalls a toy microscope stored in a quarian family crate in the cargo hold. She and Borbala retrieve the instrument from the crate, which also turns out to have a lot of other stuff the doctor can use for analysis. After sending over the items to Yorrik, which includes fish from Borbala's smuggled goods, Anax and Borbala head to the bridge to watch centuries of accumulated surveillance feeds. Meanwhile, Senna and Irit shut down the ark's power saving program but the ship instead goes haywire on temperature and lighting controls where the Sleepwalkers are.

In the 7 hours after the team assignments at the Radial, 6 more hanar and 34 drell have died. The Sleepwalkers have returned to the medbay, but since Yorrik enacted quarantine protocols Team Who is isolated from the rest. Yorrik and Ysses turned the medbay into something like a murder scene in an Afterlife dumpster in the course of adapting the scavenged resources at their disposal. Using colored dyes and an empty quarian suit (named Horatio by Yorrik), they have determined that the corpses were infected with a highly contagious pathogen resembling the volus disease Yoqtan. Team What reports seeing a shadow in the blind spots of security feeds starting from 150 years before, meaning there's someone on the ship who has a yet-undetermined plan. Despite their efforts, Team How found zero evidence of bugs or broken hardware that would account for the ongoing malfunctions.

Senna then decides to bring Captain Qetsi'Olam vas Keelah Si'yah out of cryosleep, have Irit optimize Horatio and fashion Anax an environmental suit to keep her safe during her investigations, and secretly consult with his Ancestor VI Liat'Nir. Before the Sleepwalkers could disperse a disoriented batarian stumbles into their midst and vomits copious amounts of his innards into the hallway.

Dead Men Walking[]

The batarian identifies himself as Jalosk Dal'Virra of Sleepwalker Team Yellow-9. He's biotically thrown by Anax into an iso-chamber against his wishes while the other Sleepwalkers debate about his involvement in the problem. The captain soon catches up with the commotion in the medbay, although the others are too focused on the batarian to pay her much mind.

After Anax and Irit leave to see about the drell's custom suit, Qetsi demands and receives a rundown of recent events. The death toll is now almost 600, and Borbala points out another urgent issue: the ark's outer shields appear to be flickering intermittently, and it's only a matter of time before space debris slam into something vital.

Irit makes Anax a hermetically sealed suit using material from her other suits in her personal crate in the cargo bay. After putting the suit on, Anax discovers she and Irit are not alone in the cavernous hold and are prevented from going elsewhere by hostile weapons fire from awake and confused colonists.

In Senna's quarters he takes out the hidden Ancestor VI of his grandmother many times removed and tells her about the malfunctions on the ship. Liat has a hypothesis she doesn't share yet, but tells Senna she wants to know first what breaks down next: comms then either environment controls and/or trams, or cryopods.

Their session is interrupted by Qetsi barging in, who reveals to her ex-boyfriend Senna the anxieties she doesn't display in public. When she composes herself again, Senna is surprised to notice that the death counter on his HUD stopped rising 2 hours before. Before they could do something about it, K informs them there are now 1,637 people awake in the cargo hold, plus 2 casualties. Comms have also broken down despite K's insistence that all channels are open.

Senna and Qetsi both take the tram, but it grinds to a halt halfway between the quarian zone and the Radial. To let the captain address her ship, the commander hotwires a public address system for her and loops her message as more and more passengers are reawakened as time passes. Qetsi splits off and uses the service conduits to reach the medbay while Senna aims to reach his teammates in the cargo bay. Liat uploads a patch to keep the tram working for a short while, instructing her "grandchild" to hop back in and take advantage.

Jalosk spends the rest of his life providing Yorrik with biopsies and other bodily samples in the hope the doctor can come up with something to combat his disease. Borbala left after airlocking the three autopsies and Ysses settled into a deep sleep, leaving the elcor without company other than the infected batarian. 3 hours after Jalosk's incarceration in the iso-chamber, Qetsi reappears. Yorrik reports everything he has learned from observing the disease in Jalosk and the three corpses, which he dubs the Fortinbras Plague due to its destructive nature. Over the next 15 hours Jalosk's condition deteriorates and he dies in a maddened state, but not before disclosing his life story to the people present and his views on prejudice and social hierarchies. While he was still cognizant Qetsi promised him Andromeda will become beautiful according to their beliefs.

About 48 hours after her revival and 40 hours after she returned to the medbay with Borbala, Anax is still stuck in the cargo hold trying to stay alive with Irit. Senna disabled the doors in an attempt to keep people from wandering out. Borbala somehow manages to sneak herself in and reunite with the drell, having gone to check the rest of her "nest egg" and discovering what remained of her fish have been ruined. Anax and Borbala manage to get out of the cargo hold when an opportunity appears, but Irit has been pinned down far worse than they are and allows them to escape without her.

After Jalosk's demise and Qetsi's departure from the medbay, Ysses awakes and finds Yorrik slumped down in exhaustion. The hanar is a doomsday cultist and believes the "Day of Extinguishment" has arrived: it breaks out of quarantine and proceeds to roam throughout the ship.

Braving the Shitstorm[]

Anax resumes her original mission: look for Medical Specialist Malak'Rafa vas Keelah Si'yah, a teammate of Jalosk's in Yellow-9. Prior to getting delayed in the cargo bay she requested his revival wanting to ask him what's up with his Sleepwalker team. Soval and Kholai were two of the three autopsies and Jalosk ended up sick with the same thing that killed them. With Borbala in tow, Anax investigates Malak when they find him in the quarian zone, eliciting some unexpected reactions when the batarian employs her "bad cop" line of questioning. Regardless, Malak claims nothing unusual happened during Yellow-9's last shift and that his team followed protocol, a lie Anax doesn't call out at the moment.

The investigation is interrupted by a mother's scream. Raya'Zufi vas Keelah Si'yah, the child who owned the Horatio suit and whose family crate Blue-7 ransacked for supplies, succumbed to the plague despite wearing a sealed suit. Irit somehow got out of the cargo bay and found Raya's corpse in the aftermath, which she then hauled up to the groggy Yorrik to prove to the doctor not even the quarians are safe. The volus posits that the disease may have gotten in because uneven breaking points in the material compounded by centuries of nonmaintenance (plus the fact that quarians never took off their suits even in cryosleep) created microfractures in the girl's suit. Qetsi returns and tells them she ran into Ysses near the bridge, where its tentacles briefly grabbed her before floating away. Irit examines the captain's suit and finds numerous micro-tears, things Qetsi's suit failed to register.

Meanwhile, Senna has been busy attempting to boost Liat's processing power when he hears Raya's mother's scream. When he sees Anax and Borbala nearby he enlists their help in scrounging up VIs unconnected to the ship. Again, he's adamant in leaving the Pathfinders undisturbed when Anax brings them up, and has taken extra measures to ensure they'll be the last ones affected by malfunctions. Borbala's reluctant to return to the cargo bay given it has devolved into a madhouse, but she and Anax comply with the commander's request nonetheless. Once they're gone, Senna restores Liat from sleep mode and learns her analysis of the software problem: a computer worm. One programmed to incubate the plague and conceal its tracks. Unfortunately the worm forcibly obtains system access every time an infected person goes out of their pod in order to keep following its second mandate, and with Sleepwalkers among the infected the worm spread out through all systems of the ship. Liat presents a solution for purging the worm, but Senna hates her proposal.

Yorrik thinks he can start on a cure if he has some element zero, a working gene-viral lab, and an immune patient at hand. Anax and Borbala show up to demand the microscope and other items with a VI on it. Hearing that taking eezo from the engines is out of the question, Borbala reluctantly reveals she has some at hand. Creeping back into the cargo bay after handing over VIs to Senna, the detective and the smuggler find Ysses snacking on Borbala's supply of red sand, and immediately restrain it after securing the illicit eezo-based drug.

Senna constructs a computing platform for Liat from the untainted VIs Anax and Borbala scavenged throughout the ship. He wants to boost Liat's processing capability before uploading her into Keelah Si'yah itself to fully purge the worm. This would mean whatever personality she has left will be sublimated into the ship's systems over time. Qetsi discovers this plan and, being vehemently against anything approaching AI, furiously attempts to stop Senna from proceeding. She's late by a couple of steps as Senna successfully orders Liat to transfer. Control is gradually restored throughout the ark, starting with comms, and Yorrik chimes in to inform Qetsi she's actually immune to the plague.

Who Let The Germs Out[]

Back in the medbay systems have recovered enough that with Qetsi's blood, eezo from red sand, and Liat's help a small sample of retrovirus can be engineered. Yorrik is already in the late stages of the plague, but he encourages Senna and Qetsi to follow Anax to her room in the drell zone so he can work on the cure while they see what the investigator has uncovered.

Ysses is unapologetic for wandering about and helping spread the plague, leading its fellow Sleepwalkers and Qetsi to initially believe it, Kholai, and the other hanar Day of Extinguishment believers are responsible for the problem. The captain suggests waking the Quorum representatives for a tribunal and goes out to Engineering to see to the arrangements. Anax invites Senna to verify with her where Qetsi actually goes - Mess Hall 2, where the captain meets with Malak in secret.

Anax witnessed the captain dance with Soval the night before they left the Milky Way and also saw her shoot Oliver in the head, but she failed to make the connection earlier since even with eidetic memories drell must choose to remember. Her mind was focused on the wrong person: Soval, instead of Qetsi. The captain assures Malak she plans to kill Ysses to prevent it from saying anything, and the events aboard the ark are only a minor setback once their complicity is concealed. Shortly after Malak leaves, Senna and Anax confront the captain to demand the truth.

It turns out Qetsi designed Fortinbras as a depopulation plague. She was almost killed by a salarian prank during her Pilgrimage on Erinle, and spent her months of recovery learning to create her own bioweapon. Disgusted that the Council races still get to be top dogs in Andromeda, Qetsi spliced human, turian, asari and salarian diseases into Fortinbras, only intending to use the drell as infection carriers. She selected the extroverts among the drell, Soval included, to turn everyone they came in contact with into carriers - unless they were part of the target race. She only wanted the "minor" races a chance at being on top for once, preferably with the quarians leading them, as opposed to leaving the old galaxy for another one where they still end up marginalized.

Qetsi's childhood friend Malak handled the software side and made the worm to help the virus gain a foothold in their hosts. Unfortunately he botched the cryotemperature thresholds on his worm, which resulted in the plague slowly replicating and mutating for about 150 years since initial release. Because drell lungs were poor infection vectors, the virus learned to target the brain and become lethal.

The hanar cultists are only unwitting patsies in Qetsi's scheme. Fearful of increased persecution against quarians if her involvement is exposed, Qetsi begs Senna and Anax to keep it secret. She'd rather die than risk being found out. After explaining her actions, she's hauled off to the medbay where Senna suggests he, Anax, and Yorrik are enough to pass judgment in lieu of the Quorum. Yorrik is already delirious but he has managed to make a hypospray of the cure. He expends his last strength slamming Qetsi against the medbay glass; after hearing his old friend Senna quote Hamlet's eulogy to him, Yorrik permanently rests.

Liat instructs all awake passengers to await the cure in their respective environmental zones. Qetsi accepts her punishment and walks through all areas of the ship, without her enviro-suit. Senna injected her with the retrovirus, turning her into a walking cure, but she needs to make direct contact in order to spread it. She may be immune to the plague, but her quarian physiology still makes the stunt a death sentence. She expires in the ammonia fumes of the volus area after going through the other five, singing My Suit and Me all the while and privately begging forgiveness for her sins.

The bodies of the deceased are all disposed off from the ark via airlock. Among them is Malak, even though he has no signs of the disease. Anax and Borbala started off antagonizing each other, but found mutual affection after their shared experiences. The investigator kisses the former crime queen good night as the passengers start returning to cryosleep, confessing she has been alone all her life despite her stories. During the final systems checks, Senna notices his grandmother's beginning to lose her personality. As the cryostasis sets in he tries to keep Qetsi out of mind, preferring to mull the consequences of her actions once they finally arrive.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Nexus Uprising[]

Catastrophic Failure[]

Nexus Security Director Sloane Kelly awakens from cryostasis to find the space station in ruins and disarray. Initially suspecting an outside attack, Kelly attempts to ascertain Andromeda Initiative founder Jien Garson's whereabouts while assisting other survivors and investigating the state of the station along the way. She encounters Director for Colonial Affairs Foster Addison, who confirms they have indeed made it to the Andromeda galaxy but could offer little insight as to what damaged the Nexus, except to dismiss the notion of aliens attacking.

Reaching the Operations part of the Nexus, the pair see that it has been exposed out into space where black and gray tendrils of something writhe beyond, with only a barrier and the emergency bulkhead keeping air in. Also in the tableau they discover the remains of the Nexus senior leadership but Jien Garson remains missing. Soon afterward they meet Nexus Superintendent Nakmor Kesh, who was also searching for the project founder. As emergency protocols kick in shipwide, the trio learn through an intact computer that they need to find someone in the chain of command to override any lockdowns: Jarun Tann, Deputy Director of Revenue Management and eighth in line of succession, is the closest available candidate.

The surviving members of the Nexus leadership discuss their options and determine that life support systems are going to fail in little more than a few dozen minutes. Kesh awakens chief life support engineer Calix Corvannis, who soon requests additional members of his crew to be awakened to deal with the problem. A scant two minutes remaining before air becomes toxic to humans, Calix and his seven engineers manage to extend life support viability for approximately twenty-four hours.

Once the immediate danger has been dealt with, the task of fixing the Nexus takes on a routine. Tann and Addison occasionally summon Sloane to Operations requesting a meeting, taking valuable time better spent helping Kesh deal with problems across the ship. Tann keeps adhering to protocol, which means leaving Kesh out of any decisionmaking. On one meeting with Sloane in Hydroponics Tann decides it's time to wake up more experts among the crew and Addison points out that supplies can be augmented by exploring nearby worlds. Sloane opposes both measures citing potential external threats, the need for standby evac and the scarcity of food and water. To break this impasse, Sloane suggests also waking the krogan, who fit Tann's criteria of people who can work quickly and efficiently even with severe resource concerns.

Shortly after the meeting, Jien Garson's burned corpse is found in one of the apartments near Operations. Preparations for the funeral is delayed by Sloane until the crew are confident they can do it right. The discovery of Garson's body makes the surviving leadership realize that the mission now depends on them and only them.

Repairs Initiated[]

When Tann and Addison arrive at Sloane's quarters to ask for updates just when she's about to drop from exhaustion, Sloane reports 150 system-critical personnel reawakened minus 14 casualties, while a similar number of krogan have also been handled by Kesh. The total number swells to 600 by the next morning, ultimately running into about a thousand in the following weeks. Tann apprises the crew of the situation in the general meeting, dubbing the phenomenon that laid waste to the Nexus as the "Scourge" before directing the populace to fix the station's problems as per their individual specialties.

In order to safeguard against information loss and in the event hard decisions must be made that may result in the sacrifice of frozen lives, Tann decides to obtain the cryopod override codes from the two people who know them. Kesh declines due to mistrust against the bureaucratic salarian. Calix also declines due to his belief that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but lets the salarian approach him for manual overrides.

Two weeks after the disaster, Sloane is approached by Assistant Deputy Director William Spender regarding a suspicious salarian named Priote Falarn. Falarn has 10 of his buddies defrosted with forged authorization orders: wanting to get off the station, they attempt to commandeer a shuttle, taking hostages in the process. The problem is quickly rectified by Sloane and her security team's judicious application of violence: two of the hostage-takers die while the rest are apprehended. Sloane wants to throw the survivors out the airlock, Tann wants them on public trial, and Addison wants them returned to cryostasis. Addison's suggestion wins, but not without warning from Sloane regarding potential repeats of the incident.

Calix's crew have been working on life support nonstop, most of them teetering on the brink of exhaustion. To relieve some stress they construct a makeshift still and organize a cookout using the ship's dwindling supplies, much to the consternation of an inspecting Spender. Spender eventually relents and sends them a box of barbecue sauce to show good faith. While the party is ongoing, several explorer ship debris disgorged from the Nexus in the initial disaster hurtle back to the station on a collision course, resulting in light hull damage and the loss of a salarian and a krogan from Calix's and Kesh's teams.

Beginnings of Discontent[]

Weeks after the second Scourge run-in, Addison, Tann and Sloane discuss the issue of dwindling supplies. Hydroponics haven't yet produced crops, supplies go missing every now and then in addition to being spent freely, and only 8 weeks remain before reserves run out according to Spender's calculations, forcing Tann to suggest putting people back in cryostasis now that most of the immediate danger has passed. Sloane warns that nobody would want to go back to sleep and place their precarious lives in the hands of someone else, although Tann makes the announcement anyway after dinner and a viewing of Garson's departure speech. The salarian makes a blunt and morale-sapping speech (written by Spender) asking for volunteers to go back to cryostasis lest they all run out of supplies and die. Nobody raises a hand, either there or in the morning after, except for one who claims to have selected the option in error.

Rationing is also implemented in wake of the announcement, greatly souring the mood in the station. Sloane goes with Kesh and her team to clear a path to the nearest ark docking bay two days afterward, incommunicado. After weeks of fruitlessly waiting for the Pathfinders, Addison thinks it's time to send out eight shuttles towards potential resourcing worlds. Kandros, one of Sloane's best officers, plus seven other security men, are sent out on the shuttles without Sloane's knowledge as comms are down in her area at the time.

Sloane goes livid upon learning of the news and goes straight to Tann, who redirects her towards Spender. Spender, responsible for drafting the crew compositions, keeps emphasizing that the decision was made with her implicit approval, having been made by the acting leadership. Once Sloane calms down a bit she resolves to let the issue pass for the time being while keeping a very close eye on further developments.

Calix's team still haven't gotten over the death of their salarian comrade Rantan Na'to from the collision with Scourge and debris a few weeks back. The asari Irida Fadeer especially took it hard, to the point of making a drunken scene at the commons. Irida, a trained commando, later infiltrates the main processor hubs to steal a plethora of sensitive information: bulkhead codes, patrol logs, hidden camera placements, locations of weapons and rations. Sabotage was involved, so Sloane promptly gets to work, tracks Irida down and beats her before arrest. Investigating the matter further, Sloane talks to Calix to determine his complicity but she walks out of their meeting afterward realizing they share a lot of common concerns.

The scouting missions all end in failure as 7 of the 8 shuttles return bearing reports of Scourge encounters and/or desolate wastelands where habitable planets should be. The leadership suppresses news of the shuttles' return until such time they figure out how to tell the people. Thanks to a couple of krogan performing maintenance work when reports about Eos come in, two weeks after Irida's arrest the rumors leak down to Calix and his group, fomenting further discontent. Calix directly queries Sloane about the shuttles, receiving a curt negative in response. This breach of trust drives him to take drastic action.

Hitting the Fan[]

Ten weeks have passed since the scouting vessels were dispatched. With no other options remaining Tann and Addison decide to inform the general populace of the scouts' failure and the mandatory return to cryosleep in order to preserve what remains of their resources. In response, Calix commandeers the PA and urges the crew to resist the order to return to stasis. His group steals untraceable weapons from the armory while one of them starts a fire at Hydroponics to draw attention away. Spender witnesses the entire scene, but gives the life support techs a head start before deigning to inform Sloane about the breach.

Three levels below Operations in an area frequented by non-krogan crew Calix riles up the populace, highlighting the shortcomings of the interim leadership and demanding that decisive leaders be elected among them. A riot erupts after he speaks, drawing Sloane and her security team to the location. The life support techs escape and Sloane's team moves to pursue, but she realizes that Calix possesses Irida's stolen data after all, granting him access to a lot of areas in the ship, so she orders a retreat.

Sloane meets up with Tann in Operations to apprise him of the developments. Addison is nowhere to be found and Tann sealed Operations beforehand, proofed against Calix's override codes. During the emergency Tann criticizes the irrelevant details like Sloane's lapses in code security and undocumented installation of hidden cameras, irritating the Security Director. As the situation escalates, Tann charges Sloane to find Addison and Kesh. Sloane grudgingly complies, although she delegates the task to her security force while she decides to personally talk to Calix.

A few hours later, Addison and Kesh arrive at Operations accompanied by Sloane's security men. Tann shares with them two options he has been thinking: send the entire security force to crush the uprising, costing hundreds of lives, or wake Clan Nakmor's leader Morda to end the revolt overwhelmingly and decisively. Addison and Kesh both support the latter, although with Sloane out of contact Tann assures Addison she would've been consulted as well.

Tann appoints Spender to handle the krogan, and in return Spender wants the position Chief of Staff. Once Morda is out of cryosleep Spender negotiates a seat on the new Council for the krogan if they lend their aid in putting down the uprising. Morda accepts after intimidating the little man and demands reawakening her elite warriors for the endeavor as well as witnesses to seal the deal.

Meanwhile in Calix's hideout, Sloane is taken captive by the turian's loyal techs but is granted a meeting with Calix himself anyway. Calix discloses Tann's prior attempts to gain the cryo override codes, surprising the Security Director. Nevertheless, Sloane is prepared to offer Calix an advisory position on the leadership as she sees the way people look up to him. Negotiations are interrupted, however, by the arrival of Nakmor soldiers looking to slaughter. Sloane massively disapproves of Tann's decision and throws her lot in with the insurgents. The Nakmor rout the rebels and Calix is killed in the retreat. His death saps the rebels' morale, forcing their surrender and Sloane taking up speaking for them.

The Sundering[]

On the subsequent faceoff between Tann, Addison, Kesh, Sloane, and Morda, Sloane points out that the general populace were already hungry and terrified, on top of learning that the leadership lied to them. She was close to bringing Calix back to the fold when someone had the bright idea to unleash the krogan and put a sniper bullet through the turian's head. To deal with the rebels and their supply problems in one fell swoop Tann gives them an ultimatum: exile to the hostile planets or cryostasis. The rebels and Sloane choose exile.

Morda confronts Tann in Hydroponics soon afterward, demanding the reward of a council seat in return for services rendered. The salarian only then learns about the deal and reneges on it, claiming Spender isn't authorized for such a deal and that the human will be "reprimanded" for the error. He privately thinks Morda isn't qualified for the bureaucratic functions the position entails and sets about thinking how to deal with Spender as well. He narrowly escapes the krogan's wrath due to Kesh standing between him and her clan leader.

Kesh barely talks Morda from declaring war with the entire Nexus due to the "Chief of Staff"'s overstepping. When Wratch and Kaje voice enthusiastic support for bloodshed, Kesh's grandfather Drack rebukes the two with a powerful punch and a withering glare. As an alternative Kesh proposes to Morda that the krogan also follow the rebels into exile, as they aren't averse to tough environments like Tuchanka anyway. Kesh volunteers to stay to ensure the krogan aren't entirely without allies. Thinking it over, Morda accepts.

Overseeing the armada of shuttles preparing for depart, Tann and Addison reflect on the mistakes of the failed mutiny. Tann wonders if Jien would have made the same decisions they have, and Addison thinks she wouldn't have allowed the situation to deteriorate in the first place, an admission of their ineptness at handling the chains of command. On one of the shuttles ferrying the exiles, Sloane rises up to the challenge of taming the uncharted galaxy.

Mass Effect: Andromeda[]

In 2185, the Andromeda Initiative's arks undergo final preparations over Luna before setting off on a one-way intergalactic voyage that will take over 600 years.

Awakening at Habitat 7[]

The Hyperion arrives at the Heleus Cluster in 2819. One of the Ryder twins awakens and waits on their sibling when the ark collides with a mysterious energy cloud above Habitat 7, damaging the other's stasis pod. After stabilizing the ship with Cora Harper, the active Ryder comes to the bridge to meet their father Alec and Captain Nozomi Dunn, where they resolve to fly to the planet's surface and uncover the source of the phenomenon.

Strange galaxy, strange dangers

The Pathfinder team led by Alec use two shuttles for the mission, and encounter signs of advanced alien life on the descent. Ryder rides a shuttle with Liam Kosta, but an errant lightning strike hits the shuttle and causes it to explode midair. Ryder and Liam survive their fall, though the former's helmet sustains damage, revealing the atmosphere to be toxic. After repairing the crack with an omni-tool, Ryder and Liam initiate first contact at a group of Andromeda galaxy natives surrounding their shuttle pilot David Fisher. The aliens turn out to be hostile, forcing the two to put them down.

Crossing the inhospitably mysterious environment, Ryder and Liam eventually meet up with Alec and Cora's shuttle, though they learn that the Pathfinder has scouted ahead to investigate a monolith that seems to be at the center of the weather disturbances. Ryder, Cora, and Liam catch up to Alec, and they assault a facility at the base of the monolith populated by the same hostile aliens encountered earlier.

The best way to fix feedback loops is to restart the system itself

Alec uses SAM to commune with the monolith's technology, breaking it out of a feedback loop and clearing up the storms. However, the monolith's decontamination protocol flushes both Ryders out of the monolith into the abyss, smashing the younger Ryder's helmet. Alec calls for an evac shuttle but recognizing it won't come soon enough, he removes his helmet and places it on his child, passing control of the SAM interface and his encrypted memories to them. As he suffocates to death, Alec Ryder attempts to reveal something of importance, but his offspring passes out and is unable to hear it.

Aboard the Hyperion, Ryder is stabilized and revived by Dr. Lexi T'Perro and SAM despite having been rendered clinically dead by Habitat 7's atmosphere. They wake up to learn of their father's death, and that they are now the Pathfinder, although Alec trained Cora as his replacement. Before leaving to let Ryder mourn, Liam informs them their sibling is stable but in a coma.

Back on Habitat 7, the apparent leader of the hostile aliens arrives at the monolith and observes Alec's interaction with it through surveillance drone. Unable to interface with the technology himself, he storms off to find the interlopers.

Arriving at the Nexus[]

The Hyperion arrives at the Nexus, which is still incomplete. Pathfinder Ryder, Cora, and Liam find a dark and deserted Common Area, though shortly they are greeted by Tiran Kandros, Head of Nexus Security, who takes them to meet the rest of Nexus leadership at Operations. Foster Addison, Director of Colonial Affairs, is angered by Alec's death, and is scolded by Superintendent Nakmor Kesh for being hostile towards the new untested Pathfinder. Jarun Tann, Director of the Andromeda Initiative, is supportive towards Ryder and decides to give them a chance, directing them to Eos, already the site of two failed settlements. Tann leaves it up to the Pathfinder to discover how Eos can be settled for the third time, for the Initiative badly needs a supply foothold in the cluster.

The Hyperion crew glean what happened to the Initiative's flagship during these events. The Nexus reached Heleus over a year earlier, but a string of misfortunes led to its dismal present state. Like the Hyperion, the Nexus collided with an energy cloud, now labeled as the Scourge. In the ensuing chaos all of the Initiative's leaders above Tann, including founder Jien Garson, were killed. Station repairs were initiated, but as time went by tensions between what remained of the leadership and the workforce boiled over into a ruinous uprising that saw the mutineers and almost the entire krogan contingent leave to seek their fortunes elsewhere, reports of inhospitable worlds notwithstanding.

Tiran was part of a scouting mission, but he was captured by the aliens encountered by the Hyperion team, now known as the kett. He broke out and made his way back to the Nexus, though by the time he arrived his predecessor was already gone with the mutineers, hence his present job managing station security and organizing strikes against the kett and anything else hostile to the Initiative.

Starting Again on Eos[]

Ryder goes to the SAM Node and their father's former quarters aboard the Hyperion when pressed by SAM, who further explains his purpose, the nature of Alec's encrypted memories, and how they can be unlocked.

The only surviving Pathfinder ship

On Ryder's return to the Docking Bay, Cora escorts them to the Tempest. Tann granted the Pathfinder this ship as a last-ditch effort to save the Initiative. A courier informs them Addison has not yet cleared them to leave the station, but turian crew member and smuggler Vetra Nyx bribes him into letting them leave. Aboard, Ryder meets Nexus science team liason Dr. Suvi Anwar, engineer Gil Brodie, salarian pilot Kallo Jath, as well as Liam and Lexi. Lexi assures Ryder their twin is taken care of back at the Hyperion by her colleague Dr. Harry Carlyle. On leaving the Nexus and at arriving on Eos' orbit, Ryder has the chance to say some momentous things for the log.

Down on the radiation-wracked planet, the Pathfinder team investigate Site 1: Promise after recognizing a signal similar to the ones used by the terraforming tech on Habitat 7. If those devices exist on Eos, the planet might become livable enough for resettlement. Power in Site 1 is out, however, preventing the use of its equipment to pinpoint the source. Turning on the generators attract kett attention, though after the team deals with these aliens they also discover a means to navigate the hazardous environment beyond the settlement: an ND1 Nomad.

After locating the signal's source, the Pathfinder team drive the Nomad into an alien monolith. Ryder figures out how to interface with the monolith, but the process is taking longer than anticipated. An asari jumps out of nowhere onto the Pathfinder, warning not to do it. After a battle with the monolith's guardian machines, the asari identifies herself as Peebee and explains she has been studying the Remnant, apparent makers of the massive machines they've been seeing throughout the cluster. She gives the team navpoints to two other monoliths in the area while she studies how Ryder activated this monolith.

Once all three monoliths have been activated, the beams they emit converge into an island in the local lake. An entrance rises up from the ground on approach, and Peebee joins the Pathfinder team in exploring this Remnant vault.

Peebee soon splits from the group to wander on her own. Two levels down and after encountering strange technologies, Ryder reaches the heart of the vault. Interfacing with its console to wake the facility from lockdown, they soon learn that the vault emits a purification field that disintegrates a lot of things within reach. A frenzied race to topside ensues, and Peebee barely makes it out with them. The purification field recedes on its own near the top, however, and upon their ascent they discover that the skies have cleared and the radiation levels have dropped significantly, far faster than what the Initiative's understanding of planetary science allows. Realizing Ryder could be her means to study the Remnant further in-depth, Peebee requests to join the squad.

With planetary viability now at acceptable levels, Ryder requires an ideal location to plant the Initiative's third settlement on Eos. Identifying one such location west from the vault, the Pathfinder team encounter Nakmor Drack there, a krogan they met earlier at a kett outpost near a monolith. Currently outnumbered against several Chosen, Drack receives the Pathfinder's help in killing them and subsequent reinforcements. The krogan is impressed with the squad's combat prowess and Ryder's feat clearing up the sky, though he still sees them as green as a drell when dealing with Heleus. Something tells him they've got potential though, so he accepts the Pathfinder's offer to join the crew.

Initiative colonists en route to Eos for the third time

Afterward, Ryder activates an outpost beacon that tells the Initiative where to settle. Because the Nexus' resources are at a crisis point, the Pathfinder has to choose this first official outpost's focus: science, for understanding their new home's mysteries, or military, to establish defense and a martial mindset. Whichever the focus, Nexus colonists arrive via shuttles and quickly set up prefabs around the place, naming the location Prodromos.

Addison arrives with site mayor August Bradley to personally congratulate the Pathfinder, though she warns that their problems aren't over yet. Ryder has a lead from the vault, though Addison advises speaking with Tann on the Nexus first before leaving.

Aboard the Tempest, Peebee and Drack settle into the cockpit escape pod and kitchen, respectively, preempting Cora's bunk assignments. After giving their opinion on that, Ryder recaps the team's accomplishments on Eos, though the squad members argue about their next move. The team concur whatever the Pathfinder's response and leave the conference room, leading Ryder to belatedly call out last-minute instructions.

Almost immediately after exiting the Tempest on the Nexus, Ryder is swarmed by a bunch of eager colonists with questions. Lieutenant Sajax, an aide to Kandros, explains they regained hope after hearing about Eos. Professor Herik, one of the resident scientists, also congratulates the Pathfinder on their feat with the Remnant vault. He or Sajax points out the benefits of a research or military-oriented Prodromos, respectively, in relation to that achievement.

Director Tann introduces Ryder to the newly-renovated Pathfinder Headquarters, reasoning they need to hang their trophies someplace. Kandros and Kesh soon join in, expresing concerns about Ryder's choice of outpost. Tann tells them they should move on since the decision was made, and asks the Pathfinder about their next plan. Ryder intends to investigate the lead on the terraforming network discovered from the vault, which means taking the Tempest deeper into the cluster. Despite some trepidation and reminders about kett, hostile Exiles, the need for more outposts, and missing arks, Tann gives the Pathfinder his blessing to continue whether they want it or not.

Afterward, Dr. Harry Carlyle requests Ryder's presence in Hyperion's med-bay regarding their comatose twin. SAM also advises speaking to Addison about setting the pace and direction of the Initiative's colonial efforts.

Meeting the Neighbors[]

The lead Ryder uncovered is in the Onaon system. En route there, the Tempest is interdicted by a massive kett warship and over a dozen fighters, momentarily disabling navigation. The Archon, leader of the kett encountered at Habitat 7, makes contact imperiously demanding for Ryder since they know how to interface with the Remnant. SAM is able to override the kett's control of the ship and plots a course through the local Scourge cloud, resulting in a chase where the anomaly destroys all pursuing fighters and the Tempest comes out in one piece albeit damaged.

Gil recommends setting down for repairs, and since they're at the target coordinates anyway, Ryder gives the order to land on the looming planet. On the way down, they are hailed in an unknown tongue by the natives and escorted by alien craft to a city. As this is a first contact situation, the Pathfinder goes out alone to see the locals.

Another galaxy, another digitigrade race

Surrounded by many guards, Ryder meets Paaran Shie, governor of Aya, and officially makes first contact with the angara. Their people are already aware of the Initiative and their origins, and are conversant with their language. Paaran walks Ryder through the city to the Resistance headquarters to see its leader Evfra de Tershaav. Inside, Jaal Ama Darav takes over and explains the human's less-than-welcome reception: the angara are naturally distrustful of outsiders ever since the kett arrived and started kidnapping their people. The Resistance was formed to strike back through any means they can.

Evfra extends his sympathies to the Initiative's travails, but demands to know why Ryder has come to their world. The Pathfinder wants to inspect Aya's vault to see how it differs from the Eos vault. However, Evfra tells them the vault's entrance is sealed and the only person knowledgeable about it, the Moshae Sjefa, has been abducted by the kett. Ryder offers to save her, but Evfra is angered since he doesn't even trust the outsider. Jaal suggests he can join the Pathfinder to assess their sincerity, and Evfra grudgingly accepts.

Aboard the Tempest, the squad view the angara first contact as marginally better than the kett's. They are unsure, however, why they're leaving the vault and diverting from the original mission. With the Resistance stretched thin, Jaal tells them he's tasked to travel with the team to Voeld and/or Havarl. Should the team help out, Evfra will see them as trustworthy and begin delegating more sensitive tasks like saving the Moshae. Ryder then sets course to either world.

Knowing the Enemy[]

Once the Pathfinder has proven their mettle either by assisting the scientists on Havarl or liberating imprisoned Resistance members on Voeld, Jaal decides it's enough to gain Evfra's trust. For his part though, Evfra has heard of Ryder's "adventures" but still chooses to reserve judgement. During a video conference aboard the Tempest, Evfra reports they have tracked the Moshae to a facility on Voeld with an adaptive shield tech that cannot be cracked fast enough by angaran processors. SAM privately tells Ryder his capabilities can make the difference, although the Pathfinder may be forthcoming with this information to Evfra or simply credit Initiative scientists who can help. Either way, Evfra allows their participation on the mission.

At the Angaran Resistance Base on Voeld Ryder, Jaal, and another squadmate join forces with Commander Heckt and his team, riding three shuttles to the shielded kett facility. On arrival, SAM speeds up the angaran shield disabler program and makes a small hole in the shield for the infiltrators to pass through. Inside, the group find discarded angaran sundries and, after a brief skirmish, the Resistance contingent decides to separate and cause a distraction while the Pathfinder team focuses on finding the Moshae.

Captive angara on kett pods

The Pathfinder team arrives at a chamber overlooking some sort of temple below, where several kett and angara both participate in what appears to be a ritual. As no angara has ever returned from this type of facility before, Jaal is also confused at what he just witnessed. The Resistance team causes an explosion, and the Archon shows up holographically among the kett to demand an explanation. The lead kett, The Cardinal, explains they've been breached. The Archon orders the Moshae brought to him after her final exaltation, and the Cardinal moves to comply. Jaal didn't see the Moshae from the participating angara below, so the team moves deeper into the facility to search for her among the numerous pods holding angaran prisoners.

Later, the Pathfinder team discovers what "exaltation" actually means: "chosen" angara are genetically transformed into the kett. Jaal weeps at the corpse of a newly transformed kett as he realizes he's been killing his own people, but the other squadmate forces him out of that funk when they find the Moshae nearby. The Cardinal has seized the Moshae, and is attempting to escape the facility through the shuttle bay, though the Pathfinder team pursues her there and beats her.

Helping an important angaran leader to her feet

SAM relayed earlier that the program used against the shield can also overload it, destroying the facility, though the pulse would kill angara beforehand. The Cardinal, defeated but not dead yet, attempts to cut a deal: spare the "temple", as she refers to the facility, in exchange for releasing the angara within. The Moshae disagrees and wants the facility destroyed, fearing the kett will simply fill it with prisoners again. With both angaran and kett reinforcements arriving on site, and no time to forcibly open all pods before the kett arrive, the decision rests on Ryder.

Whichever the choice, the Pathfinder team escorts the Moshae to the rooftop for evacuation, holding out against kett ground troops while waiting for the ship to arrive. The Moshae supports the team with her shield-regenerating bioelectric field despite the risks to her health, and after an onslaught of heavy kett units the party successfully escape the facility.

Aboard the Tempest, the Moshae discloses her discoveries on exaltation and the Archon's obsession with the Remnant before resting. Upon the ship's return to Aya, Ryder's feat rescuing the angara's most revered cultural icon earns them the right to fully enter the capital city and paves the way for closer Initiative-angara relations. Evfra praises Jaal for completing the mission and wants to reassign him to other tasks, but Jaal decides to stay with the Pathfinder. The Resistance leader sees the benefit and allows the arrangement to continue.

The Moshae deciphers the jumble of dots and lines

As discussed with the Moshae aboard the Tempest, Ryder meets with her on Aya's vault. SAM interfaces with the vault and manages to project a holographic depiction of disconnected vaults throughout the cluster. From her time with the Archon the Moshae identifies a prominent sigil as "Meridian", theorized as the control center for all vaults. Aya is the only vault fully connected to it, as the Eos vault's connection has been affected by the Pathfinder's interference.

Ryder then thinks if Meridian is reached the entire terraforming network can be activated from there. However, the Moshae warns that the Archon knows where it is, and is only looking for the knowledge to turn it on. The Moshae suggests retrieving a relic with the Meridian sigil from the Archon's ship, and promises to secure the Resistance's resources for locating it.

Back at the Resistance Headquarters, Ryder walks into an argument between Evfra and the Moshae. Upon goading from the Moshae, the Resistance leader reluctantly discloses that she was captured by the kett because a Resistance commander, Vehn Terev, sold her out. Because Evfra hasn't determined Vehn's motives yet he suppressed the ongoing investigation from becoming public.

Evfra's contacts tracked Vehn to Kadara Port, and the Moshae wants him found for he may know where the Archon's ship is. The Pathfinder offers to help, so Evfra transmits his files on Kadara Port to the Tempest.

Facing the Exiles[]

Following the Pathfinder's return to the ship, Director Tann is informed via vidcon that Aya has opened up an embassy for the Initiative, and can be encouraged to show the angara some respect or to not mess the negotiations up. He pledges to send some envoys and take care of the diplomatic side of things.

The Moshae's traitor behind bars

On Kadara, Drack and Vetra accompany the Pathfinder off the ship, only to peel off to conduct some business of their own. Evfra's contact "Shena", a smuggler named Reyes Vidal, meets Ryder at Kralla's Song and tells them Vehn Terev has been apprehended by Sloane Kelly, former Nexus chief of security and current leader of the Outcast faction of exiles. Sloane intends to execute Terev since the knowledge of his betrayal became public, as a means of appeasing the angara under her rule. Reyes advises Ryder to talk with Sloane for facetime with Vehn, while he formulates a backup plan in case the Pathfinder doesn't secure her permission.

Whichever way the meeting with Sloane goes, Ryder gains access to Vehn's cell and persuades him to divulge where the Archon's ship can be found. He doesn't know, although he reveals the kett gave him orders through a transponder that he buried out in Kadara's badlands, and the Archon's ship can be located by examining the device. The Pathfinder retrieves the transponder then gives it to Gil on the Tempest for analysis. Gil manages to turn it on, and it gives out coordinates in the Tafeno system.

Team Pathfinder debates their next course of action after Kadara

Meanwhile, during Ryder's first return to the Tempest from Kadara Drack calls an emergency team meeting. He has learned that his clan leader Nakmor Morda declared herself Overlord of New Tuchanka on Elaaden, and he wants the team to investigate the rising tensions there. Jaal wants to keep the focus on the Archon. Peebee has also heard from the outlaw grapevine about activity on inhospitable Remav, the system where the turian golden world is supposed to be. In light of numerous concurrent issues, Ryder can encourage the crew to devote their energies to hunting the Archon, or value the other missions as potential stepping-stones to creating a home in Heleus.

Hunting the Archon[]

When the Tempest arrives at Tafeno, they find the Archon's flagship, the Verakan, tethered to Ark Paarchero and preoccupied with consolidating their hold on the ship. With the Verakan unaware of the Tempest's presence, Ryder muses they can save the salarians and get away with the relic at the same time, but first they have to board Paarchero, assess the situation there, and sneak into Verakan through one of the tethers.

The Pathfinder team finds Paarchero devoid of enemies or active salarians; they're either still in stasis or shipped over to the flagship. They come across an encrypted message from Captain Lumont Hayjer revealing the salarians' dire situation and an urging for any potential rescuers to look for their Pathfinder, Zevin Raeka. After further investigation, it is revealed the salarians faked Raeka's death in an attempt to hide her from the kett. She took the identity of a dead salarian colonist and hid in his stasis pod.

The salarian ark at the kett flagship's mercy

Raeka's pod is then located and the salarian Pathfinder is revived. Raeka tells Ryder that once the kett armada set upon them, the salarians decided to surrender with the hope that they could live to fight another day. Captain Hayjer convinced Raeka to dismantle her SAM and hide in the general population so they wouldn't fall into enemy hands. Having determined Paarchero is flight-ready, Ryder advises Raeka to wake up a flight crew and ready the ark for escape once they get what they came for in the Archon's sanctum.

After waking up a crew Raeka further assembles a team of her own composed of herself, Captain Hayjer, and two civilians, intent on rescuing salarians trapped aboard the Verakan. She meets with Ryder's team in the flagship, and explains if the captives aren't rescued now, they most likely never will. Ryder helps send the salarian Pathfinder team on their way and resumes their own mission of finding the Remnant relic.

During their respective missions however, the teams discover that the Verakan's guns are trained on the Paarchero and will destroy it before they can even power up the ark's engines. Raeka orders her team to rig an EMP device on the Verakan's guns while she independently resumes the search for the captured salarian colonists.

With the element of surprise soon lost as the kett begin to realize they are under attack, Ryder continues to fight their way through the ship. While en route, they are trapped in an immobilizing containment field by the Archon. The Archon injects a biological transmitter in Pathfinder Ryder and then suddenly leaves to attend to a problem caused by Pathfinder Raeka. SAM then stops Ryder's heart, which tricks the containment field into believing Ryder had expired and thus consequently releases Ryder as per its protocol. Once the Pathfinder is freed from the containment field, SAM resuscitates them and Ryder frees the rest of their squad.

While SAM attempts to neutralize the transmitter, Ryder makes their way to the Archon's private chamber. Further discoveries on the ship reveal that the kett were not only experimenting on the salarians, but also the krogan, and have designs on the other Milky Way races' genetics for eventual assimilation. Drack had missing scouts who turned out to have been captured by the kett, and one of them was successfully exalted into something else.

The race to control the machines is on

Ryder eventually finds the Remnant relic in the Archon's private chamber which yields the coordinates to Meridian. They are interrupted by a hologram of the Archon, who now realizes it is SAM's aid that makes Ryder a formidable foe. He is also determined to seize Meridian for himself by eliminating the competition. Before the Archon can order the Verakan to open fire on their vessels, Ryder orders the salarian team to detonate the EMP.

While the EMP depowers the Verakan's guns, it also releases a Behemoth from the adjoining chamber, a kett-krogan monstrosity that was formerly one of Drack's scouts. The Pathfinder team are forced to put it down on the way to escaping the ship. Shortly afterward, SAM discovers several krogan life signs nearby, captive and scheduled for exaltation. Pathfinder Raeka also relays that she is pinned down in the holding cells with several of her people. Ryder only has enough time to rescue either one of the groups before the kett are able to power up the Verakan again. Captain Hayjer was ordered by Raeka to return to Ark Paarchero, and is ready to fly the ark to safety.

Pathfinder Ryder either rescues the krogan scouts or saves Raeka and her salarians. The Tempest maneuvers close to the warship to pick them up, and escapes the scene after ensuring the Paarchero has departed first.

Meanwhile, the Archon is questioned by his second-in-command, Primus—who begins to think that the Archon's fixation with Meridian is distracting him from their mission of exalting the Heleus cluster. The kett leader maintains that Meridian and the Remnant devices are the keys to the kett's future, and with Meridian's power, they can turn all the worlds in the cluster into wastelands. He believes the subjects will either submit to exaltation, or he will use Meridian to annihilate them.

The Journey to Meridian[]

Upon returning to the Nexus, Pathfinder Ryder has a meeting with the Nexus leadership to discuss the events involving Ark Paarchero and also a plan of action to deal with the kett. Pathfinder Ryder proposes using the newly acquired map to take Meridian from the kett and make use of its terraforming network, which Pathfinder Ryder believes will solve all of the Andromeda Intitiative's problems. Aside from misgivings of how involved Ryder's SAM AI is in this course of action, the Nexus leadership fear that the conquering of Meridian will provoke a war with the kett that the Initiative is unprepared for. Nevertheless, Pathfinder Ryder strongly believes that Meridian is the key to the Initiative's salvation and that it's better to secure it as quickly as possible before the kett can use it to gain an advantage. The other Pathfinders voice their support of Pathfinder Ryder's plan, but Director Tann vetoes Ryder's proposal. Pathfinder Ryder is disappointed with the outcome but the other Pathfinders tell them that there may be a way to do Pathfinder Ryder's proposal, and that they will discuss the plan in the Tech Lab.

Pathfinder Ryder is then notified that their sibling has awaken from their coma and they have a reunion at the Cryo Bay. The two Ryder siblings discuss the recent events that have occured since their arrival in Andromeda. Despite being conscious, Dr. Carlyle insists that the Ryder sibling requires more bed rest to heal and remain in the Cryo Bay to recuperate. Pathfinder Ryder can then update their sibling on their activities and can even inform them of the Ryder Family Secrets.

After the reunion of the Ryder siblings, Pathfinder Ryder discusses their options with the other Pathfinders at the tech lab. The other Pathfinders have been working with Dr. Leynomi Aridana and her team on the problem of getting to Meridian. Dr. Aridana tells Pathfinder Ryder that her team has been working on technology called "Ghost Storm" which when integrated with the Pathfinders' ships, can broadcast fake returns for the Tempest. The forged broadcasts will confuse the ketts' sensors and draw their ships off of Ryder's ship, which will buy Ryder some time. With enough of the ketts' ships diverted from protecting Meridian, the Tempest can sneak onto Meridian, drop off the Pathfinder team so that they can discover Meridian's secrets, and then be extracted once they've accomplished their mission.

Ryder researched the Ghost Storm technology and integrated it with the Tempest. With the preparations completed, Pathfinder Ryder gathered their crew in the Tempest's meeting room for one final briefing before their push on Meridian. The Tempest's crew traveled to the Khi Tasira space station (which the Archon believes to be Meridian) in the Civki system to initiate the mission. Ryder's Pathfinder team dropped into the space station and surveyed the drop zone. While surveying the area, SAM detected the presence of a complex network that is connected to a deactivated central command hub that could serve as the controls to Meridian. In order to reactivate the central command hub, the Pathfinder needed to activate the two neighboring towers in the exploration sector and the research sector. As the Pathfinder team made their way to the towers however, the kett discovered that the forged signals were decoys and put out an alert to capture Pathfinder Ryder. Ryder fought their way through the kett and Remnant defenses to access the towers and reactivated the central command hub.

While exploring the tower in the research sector, the Pathfinder team found non-living angara bodies that were being experimented on. SAM's analysis of the angara bodies imply that the angara were created by Remnant builders that ran the Khi Tasira space station, which shocked Jaal. Despite being upset by this revelation, Jaal knew that if Meridian could create life, then it could certainly be used by the kett to destroy all life and resolved to prevent that from happening. Furthermore, it is discovered that the energy waves being emitted from Khi Tasira's craters matched those of the Scourge. This implies that whatever happened in Khi Tasira triggered the formation of the Scourge through out the Heleus Cluster.

The Pathfinder team eventually reactivated the central command hub, which allowed Pathfinder Ryder to interface with the station's controls. However, SAM discovered that the central command hub cannot access the terraforming capabilities of Meridian because Khi Tasira was only a control module that originally anchored into Meridian proper. Meridian instead was a Dyson sphere that departed the space station long ago. SAM also discovered the last message of the last Jardaan administrator. According to the Jardaan administrator's message, the Jardaan were at war with an unknown opposition and the opposition's weapon caused untold damage to the Khi Tasira space station. The Jardaan administrator ordered the Meridian to escape while the Khi Tasira retained its command core and drew the fire of their attackers. The Jardaan administrator seems to imply that Meridian contained all the work of the Jardaan and its survival was of the highest importance to them. The Jardaan hid Meridian in a far away place; and they planned to return to it so that they may continue their work once they have dealt with their crisis. However, SAM states that contact with the Scrouge would have altered Meridian's orginal path and it will take countless years to determine its current location.

Pathfinder Ryder realized that the Khi Tasira was not Meridian at all but resolved to find it. The ketts' fleet unleashed an assault on the Khi Tasira space station, but Pathfinder Ryder was able to use the central command hub to activate Khi Tasira's Remnant defenses and used them against the kett. The Remnant defenses overwhelmed the ketts' ships, forcing them to retreat, while the Pathfinder team eliminated the Archon's Sword and the kett forces on the ground. After the battle, Pathfinder Ryder had SAM collect all the data from the space station and left on the Tempest.

Back on the Tempest, Pathfinder Ryder has a video conference with Director Tann. Despite Pathfinder Ryder's insubordination to official Initiative orders, Tann admits that Ryder was right about Meridian and wresting control of the Khi Tasira space station from the kett. Tann commends Ryder for their actions and informs them that the Initiative is now willing to offer them whatever support they need to further their endeavors.

Meridian: The Way Home[]

Dr. Suvi Anwar tells Pathfinder Ryder that she found a way to find Meridian. Dr. Suvi proposes that they study the Scourge and with enough data, they can predict where the Scourge diverted Meridian and deduce its location. Using the Initiative's 600 year old charts of the Heleus Cluster and comparing it to Heleus present gave them a baseline for their findings, but more readings of the Scourge at key points is needed to provide accurate data. Ryder set out to probe Scourge clusters for data, sent them to the Initiative for mining and analysis, and eventually SAM was able to provide a predictive model of Meridian's path.

After acquiring the correct navigational data, Ryder returned to the Khi Tasira space station to apply their hardware onto the station. Pathfinder Ryder overcame the Remnant defenses and headed to a tower in the space station with its own energy grid that could serve as an override for Remnant ship control. SAM thinks the tower may be one of the controls that deployed Meridian and the means to find it again. After inputing their data into the control hub, the Khi Tasira space station revealed the path to Meridian which all Remnant ships departed to follow and is creating a passage through the Scourge.

Just as Ryder was about to leave the control hub, the Archon hijacked SAM and severed its link to Ryder's implant—thus slowly killing the Pathfinder. Before Ryder fell unconscious from the pain, the Archon told them that he planned on using Ryder to find Meridian; and after analyzing the memories he acquired from them, he now intends to use Ryder's sibling (who has the same implant as the Pathfinder) as a control mechanism to weaponize SAM and Meridian.

While the Archon's forces take over the Hyperion, SAM notifies Ryder's sibling of the Archon's plan to kidnap them and instructs them on how to restore SAM's connection with Pathfinder Ryder. Fortunately, Ryder's sibling was able to fight their way to a QEC relay and sent a reboot signal to Pathfinder Ryder's implant. While it allowed SAM to restore Pathfinder Ryder's heartbeat before being cut off, it alerted the Archon of the sibling's location and they were kidnapped.

Once Pathfinder Ryder was resuscitated, the Pathfinder was able to interface with the Khi Tasira's Remnant technology (while under great strain without SAM's support) and planned to weaponize it against the kett. With the Khi Tasira fighting with them, Pathfinder Ryder mustered all their allies to form an army and faced off against the Archon's flotilla at the outer space of Meridian. Although Ryder's forces were initially being pressured by the ketts' starships, Pathfinder Ryder was able to use the Scourge to tie up the bulk of the ketts' armada and gain the advantage. With the ketts' flotilla broken, the Archon coerced the Ryder sibling's implant to create an opening in Meridian for the Hyperion to retreat to; the Tempest also entered Meridian in pursuit.

Battle of Meridian[]

Pathfinder Ryder and their team chased the Archon in the ND1 Nomad. Meanwhile, the Andromeda Initiative coalition continued to hold off the kett as they clashed on Meridian's verdant, inner core. Eventually the Archon manages to entrench himself, SAM, and Ryder's sibling at the heart of Meridian's Control. The kett defending the Archon was able to disable the Nomad, forcing the Pathfinder team to defeat the kett guarding the entrance to Meridian Control on foot.

Although Captain Nozomi Dunn and the Initiative forces managed to retake control of the Hyperion, the Hyperion was too badly damaged to continue flying. Captain Dunn ordered the Hyperion's crew to find safety in the Cryo Bay while she solely remained on the Bridge to personally crash land the ship. Although the Hyperion was safely landed, it will no longer fly. With the Hyperion stranded on Meridian, Pathfinder Ryder declared that Meridian will be the permanent residence of humanity. The Andomeda Initiative coalition offered no objections and supported Ryder's claim.

Eventually Pathfinder Ryder was able to breach Meridian Control and fought their way to the Archon. Fortunately, Ryder's sibling was secretly able to neutralize some of Meridian Control's defenses and guided Pathfinder Ryder to their location despite being under the influence of the Archon. When Pathfinder Ryder arrived at Meridian Control, the Archon had just finished connecting himself to Meridian Control and was in the process of manipulating the controls by using the Ryder sibling's implant; the Archon was also drawing enough power to harness Meridian's terraforming network and fighting the Ryder sibling's resistance to gain full access. As the Pathfinder team eliminated the kett protecting the Archon, the Archon was able to consolidate his control over Meridian Control. Ryder's sibling intructed Pathfinder Ryder to cut off the power being sent to the Archon by shutting down specific interfaces, which will consequently undermine the Archon's ability to manipulate Meridian's Control.

With the assisstance of SAM, the Ryder sibling resisted the Archon's tyrannical influence, exposed the Archon's Remnant defenses to weaknesses, and exposed specific relays that could cut off the main power draws for the Archon. Meanwhile, Pathfinder Ryder killed the Remnant defenses to reach those relays, which according to SAM, would also fracture the Archon's attention. The continued loss of power led to the abrupt disconnection of the Archon to the Meridian system, which resulted in his death. Once Meridian was rebooted, Pathfinder Ryder used Meridian's terraforming network to turn all of the Heleus Cluster's Golden worlds into thriving, hospitable planets.


Weeks after the battle for Meridian, Ryder's sibling recovers enough to regain consciousness. Pathfinder Ryder informs their sibling that they converted the Hyperion into a port for Meridian, now named Port Meridian, and it will act as humanity's capital in the Dyson sphere for the foreseeable future. Plans are already underway to consolidate humanity's colonization efforts over Meridian and research their new habitat.

SAM has also restored its connection to Pathfinder Ryder and has resumed helping them activate Remnant.

Pathfinder Ryder also resolved a deadlock between Nexus leadership and nominated someone to the position of settlement-ambassador of the Heleus Cluster communes to the Nexus.

Although the Andromeda Initiative stabilized their presence in the Heleus Cluster, more problems arise. Specialist Rynn Gee of Port Meridian received a fragmentary message from Ark Keelah Si'yah that stated that they were in distress and that their situation had spiralled out of control. The Keelah Si'yah crew advised the Andromeda Initiative to heed them and to avoid their ark until they give further updates before the message cuts off. Pathfinder Ryder could only hope their Pathfinder could resolve the situation and to wait for further developments. In the meanwhile, Pathfinder Ryder continues to fulfill their duties as a Pathfinder. Pathfinder Ryder can last be seen departing Meridian with their crew on the Tempest.

After achieving 100% Viability in the Heleus Cluster, the Andromeda Initiative coalition renames the planet formerly known as Habitat 7 to Ryder-1 in honor of Pathfinder Ryder's exemplary service.