This assignment is triggered after reaching level 20 (or level 11 in Mass Effect Legendary Edition with Legendary Mode) when next traveling to another system. Admiral Hackett asks for Shepard's assistance in disabling a VI at an Alliance training ground on Luna, which is no longer responding to shutdown commands. The Local Cluster and Sol system will immediately become accessible.
You will be fighting mostly synthetic drones on this mission, which are largely immune to physics-based biotics. You will want to choose a squad heavy on tech powers such as Sabotage, Overload, and especially AI Hacking; Tali's engineering background makes her an especially strong squadmate here.
Tip: Strategically this is a great mission to do as soon as you get it, as it will unlock Shepard's specialization class.
Legendary Edition: The indoor encounters have been made easier in Legendary Edition, in terms of number and initial placement of enemies.
Travel to Luna (Earth's moon) in the Sol system, Local Cluster. Consult your map to determine your location and route to the facility, and travel there. Be aware that there are two turrets on the rooftop of each of the facility's three bunkers. Although taking them out is NOT necessary to complete the assignment (you can enter the bunkers with the turrets active and they will automatically shut down once you clear out all three bunkers), the additional experience from knocking them out is worthwhile. Attacking from a distance is advisable, as this increases the chances of being able to dodge the rockets. Alternatively, you can circle strafe around each set of turrets while firing at them. Another strategy to defeating the turrets is to take out a set of turrets and then hide behind that bunker while firing at the turrets on another bunker.
Once you have gotten past the turrets, pick a bunker and start clearing them. It doesn't greatly matter what bunker you choose, as the defenses are mostly dependent on the order in which you enter them, not on their geographical location or difficulty level. The only thing that changes is the location of loot: each bunker has a secure crate and a secure storage locker (both requiring average Decryption) in the first room, but their exact positions vary from bunker to bunker. Legendary Edition: The northeast bunker contains a rocket drone and the other two initially do not.
Each time you take out a system of VI Conduits, a new defense mechanism is activated.
- The Advanced Rocket Drones you will encounter in some bunkers—particularly in the final one—can one-shot you easily, so you will need some clever tactics to prevail without dying.
- Manually order your squad to take position in the first chamber - somewhere with at least some view down the hallway but maybe not straight ahead of the doorway. Then go down and shoot and/or hack a drone yourself and hightail it back - some drones will follow to the near the hallway and you and your squad can take them down. When things get too hot, hit the "close" button on the hatch and the drones won't follow. You can revive/heal/recharge your squad before opening the door again.
- If you want to be extra sneaky (at possible cost to your sense of having vanquished the foe in a fair fight) you can run out of the bunker at any time without penalty, and all the still-functioning drones will return to their home positions and you will get a free revival of any downed squad members.
- Tali is particularly useful on this mission for her Hacking ability -- as you enter each bunker you can hack one of the drones, and then stand out of the way while the drones damage each other.
- Always keep a solid object between you and any rocket drones.
- Maximum XP: Cleaning all of the drones out of all three bunkers before shooting any of the VI nodes produces a different fight sequence: in this case all three bunkers will contain mainly Advanced Assault Drones with only the occasional Advanced Rocket Drone. However, when you then go around the now-supposedly-empty bunkers shooting out VI nodes, you will find that the third bunker has been restocked with the more dangerous Rocket Drone mix of enemies. You will thus face four groups of drones this way rather than three, producing more risk but more experience points.
VI Bunker One
When you enter the main room the drones will not attack until they see you. In the original Mass Effect this bunker will contain nine Advanced Assault Drones; in Legendary Edition it will contain five drones (one will be a rocket drone if you picked the northeast bunker), though you may find they storm your positions more aggressively than you were accustomed to in the original trilogy. If you get overwhelmed, which is easy in this mission, and can happen very quickly, backpedal into the entry room; sometimes the drones follow and sometimes they don't -- though in Legendary Edition they almost certainly will. You can also destroy the four Power Junctions in each corner to damage the nearby drones. Once they're all down, move to the back rooms and shoot the VI Conduits in the back rooms. There are four in each room, so make sure to take out all eight in each bunker. Scan a data port in the first room you enter for a Codex entry.
Defense Activated: Toxic gas is released.
- The gas doesn't seem to do anything besides reducing the healing granted from First Aid. The VI Conduits' explosions do inflict minor toxic damage on anything in close proximity, including the drones.
VI Bunker Two
In the original Mass Effect there will be seven Advanced Assault Drones and two Advanced Rocket Drones in the main room; in Legendary Edition there will be five drones (one will be a rocket drone if this is the northeast bunker). Again, if you get overwhelmed, or start to get overwhelmed, then backpedal into the entry room. As with the first bunker, sometimes they will follow and sometimes not, if you're playing the original trilogy -- in Legendary Edition they'll almost certainly follow you. Once they all fall head to the back rooms for the next eight conduits.
Defense Activated: Kinetic barriers are erected over each doorway and over each of the VI Conduits.
- Typically the kinetic barriers do not survive much damage before dissipating. One or two shotgun blasts will take them out. It is also possible to shoot over or past the kinetic barriers on the VI Conduits to speed up their destruction, though you risk toxic damage if you stand too close. A way around this is to get on an angle that allows you to shoot past the barriers from the other side of the room, opposite and angled from each conduit you are trying to destroy.
VI Bunker Three
When you enter this bunker, you are in for a much harder fight. This is complicated by the fact that sometimes you cannot save once you enter the bunker; it is unknown if this is a bug. It may be due to being in combat even if the enemies are not actively attempting to get to you. If you have the option of saving, it is recommended that you do so, considering the difficulty. If you cannot, exit the building or get away from enemies, save, and then reenter.
Legendary Edition: Due to how aggressive the drones behave in Legendary Edition, they will relentlessly chase Shepard and get stuck on the kinetic barriers. You can shoot the barrel of the drones from a distance to destroy all but the last one with ease. Do not approach the barriers, or the drones will start firing and will destroy the barriers and then you. Sometimes the last drone will not come to the barrier. On higher difficulties, it is advisable to place your squadmates close to the barrier and destroy it, so it targets them first, allowing you to whittle it down from a distance.
When you have saved, open the door to the main room. In the original Mass Effect you will find four Advanced Assault Drones and five Advanced Rocket Drones, and these will be spread out around the main room as usual. In Legendary Edition there will be two Advanced Assault Drones and four Advanced Rocket Drones, and they will all be clustered right at the entrance to the main room where they are vulnerable to an initial burst of tech powers such as Overload, Sabotage, and/or Hacking -- as well as grenades. These drones will frequently follow you into the entry room if you get overwhelmed. If you do, remember that the entry room for each bunker contains Power Junctions, which can explode and damage the drones after enough damage. The main room will contain them as well. If possible, try to engage only a few drones at a time. Once all the drones have fallen, head to the back rooms and take out the final eight VI Conduits.
Alternatively, if you're playing the original version of Mass Effect, you can use Barrier or Immunity on yourself and your squad, make a dash for the back rooms and take out the first four VI Conduits in the room to the left. You will only need to destroy three Advanced Assault Drones in the room to the right with this strategy, before destroying the final four VI Conduits. Once all of the VI Conduits have been destroyed, all remaining drones will be destroyed.
Defense Activated: More combat drones are activated.
- These spawn in the room opposite from the room you are in when you destroy the first VI Conduit. There will usually be one rocket drone and two assault drones. The rocket drones can be dangerous in close quarters and should be handled first. Although these will not usually leave the room, sometimes they will follow you into the main room.
Once the mission is complete, you will be presented with a text dialog depicting the VI's final moments after which you will be rewarded with a specialization class. See below for the translation of the message.
Mass Effect 2 Consequences
- Miranda refers to the VI as the Hannibal system if you respond to EDI's introduction with hostility.
- When discussing AIs with EDI on the Normandy SR-2, it is more or less confirmed that the incident on Luna was in fact the result of an experiment in creating 'controllable' AI. Clearly things did not go as planned.
- In the Legendary Edition version of the game Galactic News mentions a Council investigation into the Rogue VI.
Mass Effect 3 Consequences
- In Priority: Cerberus Headquarters, a Cerberus report reveals that the VI was later modified with tech salvaged from Sovereign. The resulting AI was EDI, who admits to it if asked. If you did this mission, Shepard briefly alludes to bad starts. If not, Shepard claims to have heard about the incident second-hand.
- After the VI is destroyed, the terminals display the following message in binary, repeated over and over:
- Converting the binary to ASCII reveals that the message reads 'HELP'.
- The journal entry, after this assignment, hints that the VI may have been deliberately sabotaged to make it achieve sentience.
- In Mass Effect 2, Miranda Lawson reveals that the VI was named Hannibal. This is likely in reference to the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, who is best known for leading his troops, including elephants, over the Alps during the Second Punic War.