Feminist gaming blog with a heaping dash of science and politics

Mass Effect 3 Blogthru Part 6: In which I get back down to business… hopefully

Last time, which definitely seems like it was way too long ago (i.e. yes I realize it’s been nearly a weeks since my last installment :S, but don’t worry you’re getting a two-fer today), I had just finished up a bunch of errands and was headed back to the Citadel in response to a couple in-game emails I had gotten. Again. I think I’m spending like half my time there nowadays.

*Avert thine eyes, there be SPOILERS here!*

Almost as soon as I land, Garrus flags me down. Turns out that he has a special outing planned for just the two of us. Not in like a romantic way, but in a ‘hey we might all be dead in a short while so lets go piss away the time in as fun a manner as we can dream up’. Of course, Garrus comes up with a pretty awesome way to waste time: we end up on top of the Presidum tower, skeet shooting some bottles and reminissing about all of our awesome adventures. It’s a great scene and really shows the deep friendship and mutual respect between Shepard and Garrus.

Me and Garrus, we're best buds for evah! Or until the galaxy gets destroyed by giant squidbots. Which ever comes first.

After I come back down from the tower, I find Cortez at the refugee’s memorial wall. He is still trying to work through his grief and survivor’s guilt in the midst of a galactic war and loss of life on an astronomical scale. The emotions he goes through are very human and real and I love that my Shepard’s role in his grieving process is to just be there as a friend for him.  I really like how Bioware handled his story, especially in the light of this being Mass Effect’s first prominent male gay character.

Elsewhere I run across Vega playing cards in the refugee camp. He is continuing to not talk to me, and I am beginning to wonder if shutting him down so early on has completely turned him off from even sharing in small talk with me.

Next up I meet with Liara and she tells me a story about her and her mother when she was a child. It’s a nice childhood memory, but it’s so hard to reconcile that image of her mother with the Matriarch Benezia I knew from the first game. Bioware’s does a really nice job of throwing shades of gray onto characters that the galaxy would much rather paint as black and white. Liara, though, isn’t really in the mood for philosophical pondering. She wishes aloud that we could spend more time togther like this, as friends enjoying peaceful times together instead of fighting for galactic survival. I, of course, tell her I want to be more than friends, that I want to spend the rest of my life with her, however long that may be. She happily concurs and, according to the achievement I got, we officialy rekindle our romance.

Such a perfect place to rekindle a romance, all you have to do is overlook the bullet holes and explosion marks, but maybe that's part of what makes it so perfect for this romance.

One of the emails I had received requesting my presence on the Citadel came from the Volus Ambassador. Turns out he had been working as a Cerberus informant and his action helped them infiltrate and assault the Citadel. However, when I show up for our meeting he is nowhere to be seen and as I investigate his disappearance it starts looking like he was fooled into helping them and when he attempted to sever ties with them after the coup, bounty hunters kidnapped him. I rush in and save him before they do any serious harm. But he has the name of a turian colony Cerberus is about to attack and he doesnt want to give it up because if he does Cerberus will know he turned traitor. I eventually convince him to share the vital information with my impecable manners.

While messing around in the Spectre armory, I am rather surprised to see Miranda show up on their holovidcomthingy (if you can’t tell yet, I basically saw that I had emails requesting I go to the Citadel, but I didn’t actually read any of them enough to understand what or who exactly I was going for). Apparently her sister has been kidnapped (again) by her father who is working for the Illusive Man. She needs our help because she’s being hunted by Cerberus assassins. Oh also we get treated to a full on butt shot several times during the conversation. Lovely.

Ok, I get what you're going for with this frame, you want to have Shepard fully in frame AND you want to communicate Miranda's sexiness, but seriously Bioware this is just asinine.

Immediately after my encounter with Miranda, I ran across Jacob in the hospital. I guess he was there getting patched up after our last encounter. I have a quick chat with him, during which he reveals he and his new love, Dr. Brynn Cole, are having a baby soon. After having just spoken with Miranda, the thing that most stood out to me during the conversation was that I never got to see a shot of his butt. Jacob and Miranda were analogous characters in ME2, the main human LI’s for F!Shep and M!Shep respectively. Even back then their sexualization was very unequal with Miranda easily outstripping Jacob in the ‘woo look at mah cleavage’ divison. But he was given at least something of a sexualized treatment seeing as he was supposed to be F!Shep love toy. Now, in ME3 we still get oodles of cleavage framing and butt centered shots of Miranda, but no similar treatment of Jacob. Hmm, I wonder why that could be.

With all the pressing meeting met on the Citadel, I grab the new thermal pipe Engineer Adams requested to fix the safety issue down in the engine room and heck back to the Normandy. When I go down there to present him with the item, he volunteers Engineer Donnley to crawl around through the ship’s innards to install it. I then get treated to an awesome joke about how since techinically EDI’s body is the whole ship then Donnely’s like crawling through her nether regions and we shouldn’t tell Joker cause he might get jealous. HAHA! Its funny cause Donnely’s all up in her vagina and does EDI even know? HAHA! Did she even say it was ok? HAHA! Oh and dont tell the guy who has laid claim to her that some other dude’s all up in his business of the lady he owns! HAHAHAHahahaha… Seriously Bioware. That was a shit joke. Welcome to the rape culture of 2186, the human race has obviously progressed super far.

I shake off that horrific snippet of convo and get going on the Asari distress call mission. Turns out its coming from an Ardat-Yakshi monastary. For thos who don’t recall Ardat-Yakshi are Asari that, though a genetic mutation, kill anyone they mate with. Some of them try to control it (or only have latent Ardat-Yakshi genes), others get addicted to the rush that the matings and killings have. The one’s that can (or are willing to) manage the condition are kept in monastaries for a majority of their life and those that refuse to accept being cloistered away from the rest of galactic society are hunted down and killed. The whole ordeal is a great source of shame for the Asari race and so knowledge of the condition is kept as secret as possible. There’s quite a lot of feminist analysis that could go into the Asari race as a whole and the Ardat-Yakshi in particular and how they relate to our ideas about female sexual power, but I think that’s best saved for another post and another day.

Hey, look who I ran into, everyone's favorite 1000 year old sexy cop in spandex and heels, Samara!

So, as for the mission: the Asari high command sent in a squad of commandos to make sure the monastery was safe after receiving reports of Reaper activity in the area. Note: that does not mean to make sure the Ardat-Yakshi in residence at the monastery were ok, but to make sure there was no chance of them escaping. When I land, we have to work our way down a disabled elevator shaft in the dark and I hear high pitched banshee type wailing/screaming. Did they really turn the Ardat-Yakshi into monsters? When I find reaper husk corpses laying about it would seem that, yes, that might be the case and also explains what caused the distress call and the commandos to go silent. What do Reapers want with the Ardat-Yakshi? Oh, hey, there’s Samara, everyones favorite sexed up Asari Justicar. Apparently she’s here trying to protect her daughters, who are Ardat-Yakshis. A crotch shot or two later, and she’s run off toward the sound of screaming and we have to find a way to get to her. As we make out way outside we find out that the Reapers have indeed been turning these Asari Ardat-Yakshis into mutated husks forced to do their bidding. Funnily enough these Reaper mobs are actually called Banshees. There is a whole motherlode of gender baggage to decipher in that, and that’s on top of the already present weirdness surrounding the Asari and Ardat-Yakshi.

Yep, no gender issues to see here. Move along folks, just ignore the pretty nipple lights.

We finally meet back up with Samara and one of her daughters in the monastary’s Great Hall where the Asari commandos have left a bomb as a measure to ensure that if the monastary could not be saved then no Ardat-Yakshi could escape either. It turns out we were too late to save Samara’s second daughter who is in the process of being turned into a Banshee, but she fights it just long enough to tell us to escape and to set the bomb off after our departure. We all make it out safe as the monastary is destroyed around us, but that leaves Samara in a quandary. Her remaining daughter is an Ardat-Yakshi and they are not allowed to live outside the monastary and as a Justicar it is her duty to kill any who stray out of its bounds. But she, understandably, does not wish to kill her last remaining daughter, so she attempts to kill herself. I quickly step in (yay paragon interrupt) and with the help fo her daught convince her to not kill herself. With her daughter’s promise to stay on the monstary’s world, she agrees to lend her strength to my cause and take out the Reapers.

Now, it’s back to the Citadel again. Yes, the old saying once bitten twice shy is very apt here. I dont want to miss anything again. I speak with Samara and Miranda again and end up helping a C-Sec officer track down some Batarian codes that were used to sabatoage various parts of the Citadel. Turns out the highest remaining ranking officer of the Batarian Hegemony (they were hit first by the Reapers and were socially outcast from the rest of the galaxy) was trying to lure me out so he could kill me. I manage to convince him with my winning manners that he’s better off joining me. After some more P’s and Q’s he relents and adds his forces to mine. Rest assured, no actual manners were harmed in the making of this alliance.

So with all that done, I’ll be heading off to the Far Rim to meet with the Quarians during our next session.


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