Last time we got through a pretty big chunk of the main quest line (or at least it felt like I did!). For this session, I didn’t have much time to play so I concentrated only on my next Priority mission.
*Avert thine eyes, there be SPOILERS here*
This meant that once I logged in, I headed straight for Thessia, but before we even we get close, Joker intercepts a message saying that Reapers are launching a full on assault on the Asari planet. Liara does not take well to this news and insists that I bring her with me down on the planet, which, honestly, was going to happen anyways cause she and Tali are my main away team now. Its everything we can do just to get to the temple with dozens of Asari sacrificing their lives to clear the way for us. When we do finally manage to get there we find that the Temple is sealed off with a military grade encryption and Liara makes the curious comment that she doesn’t know why there would be such a high level key to this lock when harldy anyone still practice the Athame way. Athame, by the way, is apparently the goddess this temple is devoted to and according to the artifacts you come across right in the temple enterance, she protected the Asari’s aanscestor when jealous gods attacked while the sky turned gray. Methinks the Reapers have been to Thessia before. But there’s no sign of the scientists we are supposed to be meeting in the temple. As Tali points out that if it had been Rannoch, none of her people would have run. And I gotta say, based on the dedication of the Asari soldiers outside, I think she’s right and something is definitely up. After looking around at more of Athame’s artifacts, specifically the busts and painting depicting Athame and her servants, I’m starting to think that this Asari god were not so much an Asari as Prothean (since they look a lot like Javik here, yes I know about him even though I don’t have his DLC yet, yay for spoilers). And, again as Tali reminds us, the Asari government is hiding something pretty big by keeping this temple off limits, I think early Prothean influence on the Asari culture might count as ‘something pretty big’.
At least it was well hidden. I mean who would seriously think to look for a giant alien machine in the statue of an ancient, nearly forgotten god?
We eventually (yes, eventually, I had to look at every single artifact first cause I’m weird like that) find the scientists dead at the head of the temple, their throats slit by someone yet unknown to us. When I go to examine the large statue of Athame that stands nearby I go all trance like and can feel the presnce of a Prothean beacon nearby. The away team and I connect some of the dots: that the Asari have used the knowledge of this beacon to their advantage to accelerate their advancement and they hadn’t shared it and it was this secret that they have guarded so heavily. Through some weird coincidence the beacon and it’s connections seem to think I’m a Prothean becasuse of the Cipher that got downloaded to my brain a couple years back in Mass Effect 1 so it opens up the becaon for me. A VI of a Prothean pops out and proceeds to do a serious info DL for us. Apparently there is a greater cycle and pattern to the galaxy of both evolution and descrtuction. The Protheans, by the end of their cycle (i.e. just before they were all annihilated or assimilated), figured out that the Reapers weren’t the masters of this pattern, but merely servants to it’s designs. Also the Crucible is not of Prothean design, countless galatic cycles have added to it, but none could finish it in time to use it against the Reapers. Another bit of pretinent info the VI told us about: during the Prothean cycle, their work on the Crucible was sabatoged by a splinter group what wanted to try to dominate the Reapers instead of destroying them, but it eventually turned out that the splinter groupd had just been indoctrinated by the Reapers into doing their bidding. Doesn’t that just sound super famliar? Then moments later, just as the VI is about to integrate with out systems to give us info on the Catalyst, it announces that it has sensed an indoctirnated presence and goes into sleep mode to protect itself.
It was really handy of the Protheans to hide the Encyclopedia Reapertanica on Thessia, but couldn't it have just gotten to the point a little quicker. Ya know, like before we got interrupted by the bad guys?
Lo and behold Leng, the Cerberus assassin who killed the Salarian Councilor back on the Citadel, saunters up and he’s got a message from the Illusive Man on his vidcom. The great Mysterious One tries to convince me to join his side but I tell him he’s obviously been indoctrinated and he says nyahnyah I cant hear you through all the Reaper voices in my head. Well, more or less he says that. Then, like the sore loser that he is, he commands Leng to kill me and take the data for the Catalyst. While Leng doesn’t quite manage to kill me (though he might have thought he did) he does manage to take the data from us. This is inexcusable. The Illusive Man just sowed the winds of betrayl and now he’s going to reap one hell of an angry Shepard whirlwind. Back on the Normandy, as I seethe and beat myself up about everything, Traynor luckily kept a cool head and somehow managed to track Kai Lang’s ship through the mass effect relays and pinpointed where he went. It’s some place called Sanctuary that’s supposed to be a safe space for refugees, but If Cerberus is there then I can’t imagine it’d be anywhere good for desperate people to be flocking to.
Shepard’s more than a little angry at the loss on Thessia (or more truthfully I am and so I’m choosing just about every Renegade option that sounds supery snarky), but she’s committed to taking the fight all the way to her last breath. SHe just kinda hopes that her last breath is after the last of those damn squidbots is dead… OH DAMN Kai Leng just rolled my inbox. I’m going to kill him so dead!
This guy. This guy right here. I am so going to kick his ass on behalf of all the people dying cause we don't have the Crucible finished yet cause he stole the last damn piece.
It’s talk to the crew time. EDI tried to cheer me up with a joke about a penguin and Arizona but I happened to be shouting obscenties about Kai Leng trolling my inbox IRL so I kinda missed most of it. Joker also tried to cheer me up with some gallows humor and when I told him he was making fun of a million freshly dead people he told me that I’m way too stressed out and that the chain of command is worried about my stress levels. Then he managed to blame himself for everything (he seems to be good at that). On the crew deck I encounter Tali and Garrus discussing Liara having a bit of a breakdown about Thessia and I tell them I’ll talk to her. When I do get to Liara she deifnitely is have a bit of a breakdown, but she’s mostly having a pity party thinking she sent the Asari to their deaths and that her mother couldnt trust her enough to tell her about the Prothean beacon. EDI and I tell her she’s wrong that her mother didn’t tell her to protect her and that she spent four years warning the Asari, its not her fault they didn’t listen. With a bit more pep talking I give her the idea to start helping out the Asari refguees with her extnsive Shadow Broker network, she still needs time but is feeling better about everything. After that I find Garrus grappling with a hard decision he had to make with the Primarch to order a full retreat from Palven to save their fleet for the Crucible. He had managed to get his family off world before the retreat, but he knows that with this new order no other familys will get that chance. We both end up confiding in each other that we’re feeling the strain of this war, but we also give words of comfort to each other. He really is such a good friend to Shepard. I think that’s why my favorite characters are Liara, Garrus, and Tali. They all feel like equals to Shepard, even more so as their character arcs progress, and their friendship is a profound one built on the trust and camaraderie that comes from saving the galaxies collective ass multiple times all while being dismissed and label as crazy by the people they’re risking their lives to save.
Yea, the stress of this war is getting to all of us now, but we'll make it through together.
Next time I’ll go finish up the two N7 missions I have and save the Elcor, then it’s time for some revenge on Kai Leng and the Illusive Man.