UNC: Hostage takes place aboard the MSV Ontario in the Farinata system, of the Hades Gamma cluster. It can be gained either via:
- a personal request from Admiral Hackett upon entering the Farinata system for the first time
- a news report in the Citadel elevator
The Biotic Terrorists have an attack which can knock you to the ground for an extended period, leaving you vulnerable to attacks and unable to respond. Neural Shock will drop them safely to the ground, Damping will stop them from using their abilities, and physics-based attacks whether of the biotic or shotgun/ammo variety will keep them distracted. They don't have loads of health or damage protection, so just shooting them early and often will also work out pretty well. It is useful to arm squadmates with upgraded shotguns on this assignment, as the biotics will tend to rush you.
A group of biotic extremists has captured Chairman Burns from the Systems Alliance Parliamentary Subcommittee for Transhuman Studies. They are holding him hostage on board the Ontario, protesting his vote against providing reparations for L2 biotics.
When you enter the freighter, there aren't any enemies in the entry areas, but they are located in the main cargo hold. Before going to the hold however, there is a crate in the first room on the right. It is unlocked, so be sure to grab it now, or on your way back. When you enter the cargo hold, note that until the terrorists spot you, the time limit doesn't start.
Note: It is highly recommended that you save before entering the cargo hold.
When you engage, or the Biotic Terrorists spot you, then the three minute time limit starts. You have to fight through the Terrorists and get to the other side of the hold where they are holding Burns in three minutes. This won't be easy, but fortunately three minutes is a lot longer than it sounds. Even though the Terrorists are only armed with pistols, they will use their biotic powers frequently, knocking both you and your squadmates down. This leaves the Terrorists time to shoot the squad without fear of reprisal.
The Terrorists also like to rush the squad, making the area around the door very tight. Despite the fact there are only six Biotic Terrorists, they are deadly in close quarters, especially when Shepard and the squad are picking themselves up off the floor. If you have any biotics, then use their own weapons against them. Tech talents are also very effective, especially Damping, as that will keep them from using their biotic abilities. There are a few explosive crates in the cargo hold, so use them to knock the Terrorists back, and damage their shields and health.
Since the area around the door can get cluttered, try to either backpedal towards the airlock, or out into the main hold. While the door may confine the Terrorists, there is little cover around to shield you and the squad from the Terrorists. Once all the Terrorists are down, run to the other side of the freighter, towards the cockpit section, and once there, go to the door on the left, as that is where Burns is being held.
Note: You don't actually have to kill all the biotics, if you just run through to the door, you can skip all the fighting and end it in less than 30 seconds.
Once the squad reaches him, that is open the door, you now have to deal with the leader of the extremists who is holding Burns at gunpoint. The biotics are angry at how L2s are suffering and point out that a grand gesture like this is the only thing that works. If Shepard becomes hostile, the extremists will shoot Burns and then attack.
Picking the "Take them down!" option at any time, immediately leads to a firefight. Since you are fighting in close quarters, and because the Biotic Terrorist Leader is armed with a shotgun, dealing with these enemies can be difficult. The best way is to deal with them is to backpedal into the cargo hold and then dealing with them. The Leader is the biggest threat, so focusing on him first is a good idea, then switching to his lackeys.
You can also try to talk them down with Charm (Req. 6) or Intimidate (Req. 5), explaining that the biotics still need Burns' political connections. Using this Charm option can earn eight Paragon points, while using Intimidate can earn a total of nine Renegade points. Either option leads to a peaceful resolution of the situation. Unlike the Biotic Cultists in a similar assignment, the surviving terrorists cannot be targeted and fought after you reason with them.
If Kaidan is in the squad, he says he's an L2 as well and they can trust him - Shepard can make sure Burns follows through.
Before leaving, there is a secure storage locker (average Decryption) and a locked crate (easy Decryption) in the room with Burns and the Terrorists, a malfunctioning object in the other room across from them, and a secure crate (average Decryption) in the cockpit. There is also a crate in the cargo hold off to the left side, when entering from the airlock side of the cargo hold. Also, don't forget the crate in the first room if you didn't get it when you entered.
Mass Effect 2 Consequences
If you reason with the biotic extremists and Chairman Burns survives, you will receive a message from Chairman Burns giving thanks and confirming that you really did change his view on the L2 reparations matter. A Galactic News report will mention that Burns succeeded in getting reparations for biotics suffering from side effects of L2 implants.
- If not all of the biotics were killed and the leader negotiated with, then on reentry to the large room, shouts of "I will kill you!" and similar may be heard and biotics in firing stance can be seen, though they will not attack.