Feminist gaming blog with a heaping dash of science and politics

Mass Effect 3 Blogthru Part 9: In which a decision I didn’t even know I had made comes back to haunt me

Last time in the blogthru we learned a bunch of plot important information but some pretty terrible things happened also. As a result everyone made a bunch of mopey faces. During this session, we’ll hopefully be able to set some of the wrongs to right.

*Avert thine eyes, there be SPOILERS ahead*

I started off the game session by finishing up the two N7 missions I had which were pretty quick in-n-out type deals. Then I went to Dekunna to save some Elcor. I was super excited to get to see their homeworld and watch them fight the Reapers, but sadly it was just a planetary scan mission. So much disappointment! Ah well, guess that just means its time to focus on my next Priority mission.

So I jet over to Horizon, the planet that houses the Cerberus refugree camp known as Sanctuary. When we touchdown outside of Sanctuary it becomes pretty obvious that the site had recently suffered through a heavy battle. We catch sight of some Cerberus personnel trying to escape the compound and the Reaper Harvester that was chasing them down, which doesn’t make too terribly much sense since last I checked the two nefarious organizations were working together. Or as the Prothean VI intimated, Cerberus was the unwitting slave of the Reapers. Perhaps the Reapers feel that Cerberus has outlived there usefulness which would be nice because I could really use one less enemy standing between me and saving the galaxy.

The whole situation leaves me feeling uneasy though and as we enter the compound’s reception area that sense of unease skyrockets through the roof.  The refugees that came here were promised safety from the war for them and their loved ones in the secure compound Sanctuary provided. They just had to give up all contact with the outside world to get in. No communication devices or off-world technology were allowed past the reception area, but the logs I found scattered about the area showed that this was not to keep the war from finding their hiding place so much as it was to keep the dark secrets of Sanctuary from escaping.

Oh and as if chasing down a dangerous assassin in the midst of  an embattled secret compound with who knows what dangers lurking inside wasn’t enough, we received message now from both Miranda and her sister Oriana warning people to stay away from this place and from their father, a very dangerous man in his own right, who is in charge of this little hell hole. As my Shepard exasperatedly says, “Okay, so we’ve got Cerberus, Reapers, and Miranda’s crazy father. Anyone have any ideas how this all fits together?”

We eventually find a back door into the locked facility through the bottom of a pool. Tali points out that a lot of the technology we’re seeing is a blend of human and Reaper tech. Which makes more sense once we get in the facility and find a video showing that Cerberus was turning the refugees into Reaper Husks. Like, seriously, how effed up do you have to be to turn refugees into the mutated slaves of the enemy who is bent on destroying everything in the galaxy.

To quote a different Commander: "It's not just enough to survive. One has to be worthy of survival." This is not the way to show you are worthy of survival Cerberus. (Yes, I've been re-watching BSG lately)

We also discover another video log that shows that Miranda is still here and is unknowingly being tailed by Kai Leng. Then we find recordings of Miranda’s father’s expierment log. Apparently he was trying to determine how the Reaper’s communicate with the husks to use them as their foot soldiers and truthfully that’s a fairly admirable goal. That is until you remember that to do so he’s killing scores of people and turning them into mutated agents of the enemy. Gah! Ethics people! We have them for a reason and war does not negate them! It does seem though that he might have found something out that worried the Reapers which is why they decided to attack the base. After a couple more messages from Miranda and from her father, we discover that only some refugees wre turned to husk, others were indoctrinated and shipped off to the Illusive Man, and any that remained were used in experiments. We also saw that her father had been trying to figure out how reaper indoctrination and husking works and that he did eventually find a way to control Reaper forces within a certain broadcast radius using a special signal. The Illusive Man is still pushing him to figure out if this signal can be used to control the Reapers themselves. One of the last messages from Miranda show’s surveillance footage of a fight between her and Kai Leng. It did not look like the fight ended in Miranda’s favor.

I evnetually get to the top of the broadcast tower in Sanctuary, which is apparenlty where Miranda, Oriana, and Mr. Lawson have been hiding out. Of course when I get there, a not so freindly family showdown is in process with Miranda severely wounded and Oriana being held at gunpoint by her father. He seems like a really nice guy, dontcha think? I threaten him, it’s super effective, and he lets Orianna go. Miranda helpfully throws Mr.Not-So-Awesome out a window with her biotics and then freaking DIES. WHY DID SHE DIE?! WHY THE HELL DID I JUST LOSE ANOTHER FREAKING TEAM MATE?!

At least she died knowing that her father could no longer harm her sister Oriana.

Ahem. Sorry. Her death really upset me, and not because she’s anywhere near one of my favorite characters, but because I seriously have no idea why she died. My husband said that during his playthough everything happened exactly the same, except she didn’t die. A quick mass effect wiki search informs me that at some point I neglected to inform her about Kai Leng when chatting with her on the Citadel and so she didn’t know about him and got jumped by him in Sanctuary and was gravely wounded. She held on just long enough to ensure that her father could never harm Orianna again, but dammit. I am tired of getting my people killed.

Her death,though, finished the mission so now it’s time to talk to the crew which will now probably mean some more mopey faces. Joker got news a while back that Tiptree, the colony where his Dad and sister lived, was attacked by reapers, when I walk up Liara informs him that some refugees from Tiptree had made it to Salarain colonies, but most of the refugees were children. So there is a chance his sister lived, but its likey his dad died. He snarks about how assholey it must sound to hope that only his dad died. Then he discusses his anger at having lost another friend to this war with Miranda’s death. I assure him that even if it was just down to me and him at the end, we’d still take down the Reapers.

Next EDI wishes to pose another moral quandary to me, this time about how humans are acting in the Reaper prison camps. Apparently they are refusing to snitch on their fellow prisoners at the expense of their own lives. I tell EDI that sometimes people don’t always fight with firebombs and guns, especially when they dont hace access to them. She then decides to rewrite her  self-preservation programming so that if the Reapers were to capture the Normandy she’d become non-functional before they could reprogrammer her to be loyal to them. She has determined that sapient life deserves to live freely and that non-functionality would be preferable to a life witout freedom.

I find it...interesting... that Bioware made EDI the Obvious-Sexbot-Male-Gamer-Eye-Candy-Handout the main source of social justice commentary in the game.

As I head down to the crew deck, Specialist Traynor tells me that I need to go have a talk with Tali. When I find her in the ship’s lounge she’s already drunk off her rocker. She is not taking Miranda’s death well at all and is sipping shots of Turian Brandy through what she drunkenly and determinedly calls an emergency induction port, which to non-drunken Quarians is known as a straw. Apparently she saw a lot of herself in Miranda’s struggles to deal with and prevail over her father’s shadow on her life.

Liara, Garrus, and Vega are dealing with Miranda’s death a little more stoically so there wasn’t much talking going on with them (not that there ever is with Vega).

My next Priority mission is an assault on the Illusive Man’s base which we tracked down thanks to Miranda putting a tracking device on Kai Leng. This assault should basically take out Cerberus completely. The mission, though, comes with a little warning that once I start there will be no turning back and no more distractions. Its Cerberus then the Reapers and then the Credits. Folks, we’re finally nearing the end of this game! But that’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

In prepration for the next session, I’ve finished up the last of my go-fetch quests and such. My total military strength stands at 6252, my war readiness is at 65% (I’ve been dabbling in multi-player), which leaves my effective military strength at 4063. We’ll see how well that serves me in the final hours of the game.


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