Mass Effect - Apocalypse

The Cerberus Coup - Pt. 2
The Citadel

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Reporting Officer: Dariserix Bahktian, Squad Leader, Atropos Cell, Captain of the Twilight

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Sir,

We returned to the Citadel in the company of the Quarian and Geth fleets. While the fleets coordinated with the Citadel Fleet and ultimately departed for Palaven, we docked at the Presidium and, as usual, scattered to our various respective relatives and friends.

I was having dinner and drinks with my sister when explosions, gunfire, and alerts sounded. We rapidly determined that communications were being jammed, wireless networking was down, and emergency channels were rapidly filling. It would appear that a carefully-laid plan of infiltration had come to fruition and the Citadel was under attack from within.

My sister suited up in her C-Sec armor and sidearm. I, unfortunately, found myself without effective combat equipment, but I covered her as we made our way to the local C-sec office. Cerberus was in the process of taking the office, but a well-placed biotic charge and nova cleared most of them, and an unknown sniper covered us, finishing the job. I was able to procure some C-sec equipment. It became clear that Cerberus did not intend to take and hold the entire Citadel, but rather had a very specific objective. We surmised that objective was centered on the Council, and so the two of us left, fighting our way through the embattled streets toward the Citadel Spire.

We eventually made our way to the Presidium near the spire where we witnessed Tori’Xen vas Alarei and his squad making a dramatic crash-entrance in five “borrowed” sky cars into a squad of Cerberus troops. I gather they fought their way from Zakera ward before procuring transport. Lia’Danna vas Rayya made herself apparent. It seems she came to similar conclusions about Cerberus’ goals. As we were gathering, Thesalia Kyrathis made herself apparent, having come from the vicinity of the Asari embassy and reporting Cerberus assaulting embassy personnel. Sebastian Murphy shot his way onto the presidium wearing ill-fitting Batarian pirate armor he found somewhere. He was accompanied by Daphne Asada in pristine N7 armor. Finally, a sky-taxi arrived and a Cerberus trooper emerged. Fortunately he removed his helmet in time to reveal himself as Aleksandr Davidson before we shot him. Aleksandr provided Cerberus communication codes, and arranged for us to finally communicate with Zael’Danna aboard our ship. Zael’Danna relayed the Broker’s instructions that we follow Spectre Kaidan Alenko to the Spire and protect the Council.

As Lia’Danna attempted to seize control of the Spire elevators from Cerberus, the rest of us dug in to repel an assault. While I am used to the tactics of my squad mates, it appears we were not fighting alone. My sister was supporting us, of course, but the mysterious sniper also began picking off Cerberus Phantoms who got too close. Lia’Danna caught a glimpse of him. He’s apparently a Turian she knows. I get the impression Thesalia also knows him. The name Lia’Danna eventually gave was “Kadin” but as any Turian knows, that’s a generic and commonly used pseudonym for any Turian who wishes to remain anonymous.

Thesalia brought a hidden ally of her own. Spectre Miilana Varon appeared and disappeared in the vicinity of the battle aiding us against phantoms and other hidden enemies. Daphne Asada revealed that she was more than just a recruiting poster by blasting apart a sizeable Cerberus squad with an impressive display of biotic power.

Ultimately the elevators arrived and the two-dozen of us piled in. It took Lia’Danna some effort to keep the elevators going, but we eventually made it to the Citadel Council chambers. Cerberus was waiting, of course, but after enduring some turret-fire, we fought our way to the Council.

Councilors Irissa, Quentius, and Donnel Udina were pinned down along side Spectre Alenko by Cerberus in the galleries. Udina was in the midst of haranguing Alenko and his fellow councilors to try to get to a downed skycar, but Alenko deemed it to dangerous to break cover. My tactical assessment agreed with Alenko. The unarmed and unarmored councilors would be cut down if they attempted to make a run for it. As we approached rapidly, however, the situation changed dramatically. Aleksandr reported catching a glimpse of Kasumi Goto, aiming a weapon in the direction of the Council, revealing herself in some sort of obscure warning. This gave us enough time to assess matters as Councilor Udina, noticing us, came to his own conclusions. He stopped trying to get the Council to break cover and instead shot Kaidan Alenko in the head.

Aleksandr took control of the Councilor using his own talents while the rest of us secured the hall from Cerberus control and secured the safety of the Council. Another Spectre, Jondum Bau, revealed himself and aided us. Thesalia managed to keep Spectre Alenko alive long enough for Sebastian to stabilize him.

Spectre Jondum Bau gave us a quick summary of events. Apparently Udina had called a Council meeting. Councilor Esheel unexpectedly did not show up, throwing the coup timeline off a bit. It would seem that Ms. Goto had learned of the coup well enough in advance to warn Spectre Bau, who was somewhat ironically in the process of trying to hunt her down at the time. Bau called a contact in the STG named Ladron who was able to warn Councilor Esheel not to attend that meeting. Bau and Goto then disrupted the attack on the Council chambers, forcing Udina to rely on a backup plan, namely to “flee” in the company of his fellow Councilors to an exposed location where Cerberus could take them down.

In the chaos, Kaidan found the Council, adding another complication to Udina’s plan. We, Bau, and Goto arrived shortly thereafter. As for Councilor Esheel, she fled to the C-Sec Executor’s office in an attempt to warn C-Sec about the impending coup. Dr. Liara T’soni and Shepard had made their way there where, apparently, they came under heavy fire and were ultimately extracted by another one of your covert squads.

We all extracted the Council to Huerta Memorial Hospital which had been fortified by C-Sec. The Citadel Fleet, having been alerted, was dropping troops to repel Cerberus, who were in full retreat. We will remain in the vicinity of Huerta Memorial in the company of Dr. T’Soni and your other covert squad for now.

Dariserix

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The Cerberus Coup - Part 1
Lachesis Cell - The Citadel

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Origin ID: Saelan Corl

Recipient: Feron, Alingon

  • Arrived in Widow Nebula with cargo of ex-Cerberus scientists and families. Shared indoctrination prophylactic implant plans with Dr. Gavin Archer
  • Received encrypted missive via comm-network, sent some hours before, from Ladron, old friend in STG. Alerted me to potential trouble, claimed Councilor Esheel potentially endangered. Given secure channel for reply.
  • Arrived in vicinity of Citadel. Fleet surrounding Citadel impressive, including unusual number of Hanar vessels, but also significant military forces from other species. All seemed peaceful.
  • Approached Citadel, sought contact with Ladron, discovered Citadel currently under attack by Cerberus:
    • Cerberus had infiltrated and taken communications centers
    • Cerberus had infiltrated and taken Citadel traffic control
    • Cerberus had activated large-scale signal jamming
    • Cerberus could not possibly hold the Citadel for long before some stray signal reached the fleet and reinforcements arrived. Therefore, must be large-scale precision strike for particular purpose.
  • Ladron informed me that Councilor Esheel was at C-Sec Executor’s office, that Ladron intended to assist.
  • We informed the fleet of the attack, left the fleet to respond, left the Orpheus in a shuttle, told the scientist-cargo nothing.
  • Hacked access doors into Presidium interior. Came at C-Sec motor-pool landing pads hot.
  • Fought our way through assault squads accompanying engineers. Took hits from snipers. Ultimately prevailed.
  • Doors held by small squad of C-sec led by Commander Armando-Owen Bailey and his second in command, Captain Darvin Maddox.
  • Recognized Maddox as Cerberus infiltrator who had blacklisted me from Citadel some years ago. He recognized me as well, and immediately turned on Commander Bailey, nearly executing him.
  • Bailey preserved by timely intercession of Operative Aldous Tyd but took serious head-wound. Maddox perforated by Operatives Fortuna Corinthus and Urdnot Braga
  • Kept Maddox alive as prisoner, aided Bailey in opening doors to C-Sec headquarters.
  • Accompanied Bailey into C-Sec HQ. Signs of heavy fighting and corpses littered the halls.
  • Fought through an entrenched emplacement. Experienced the engineering efficiency of Cerberus turrets.
  • Arrived in commissary / cafeteria under Executor’s office. Saw squad of Cerberus attacking Councilor Esheel along with two guardians: Dr. Liara T’soni and Commander Shepard.
  • Before we could effectively rally assistance, a cloaked Cerberus assassin revealed himself and put a sword through Dr. T’soni. Shepard tried to assist but was gunned down.
  • We took out the squad. Operatives Corinthus and Prasi Ptychokota executed the assassin.
  • We attended to Dr. T’soni and Shepard. I expended the last of my medi-gel reserves keeping Shepard alive. Councilor Esheel was unharmed.
  • The Executor was dead. Ladron was also dead. She did the STG proud. Some symmetry: Salarian STG operative died defending a human Executor while a human Spectre nearly died defending a Salarian councilor.
  • Councilor Esheel warned that this attack was a coup attempt by the human Councilor Donnel Udina
  • Bailey secured C-Sec HQ. Shuttles arrived to transport the wounded to Huerta Memorial Hospital.
  • Considered hunting down Udina and other Councilors, discovered that Spectre Kaidan Alenko and another squad of Shadow Broker operatives were on that mission.
  • Our own squad sufficiently wounded. Opted to look after them, and guard Councilor Esheel, Dr. T’soni, and Shepard.
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Rannoch Freed

Shadow broker
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Reporting Officer: Dariserix Bahktian, Squad Leader, Atropos Cell, Captain of the Twilight

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Sir,

I am contacting you to report the successful conclusion of our given mission. We have managed to secure both the quarian and the geth fleets in the war against the Reapers.

Since my last report: We held an ad hoc summit aboard the Twilight. Present for the quarians was Admiral Tali’Zorah vas Normandy, Admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbey, and Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema. Present for the geth was a specialized mobile platform unit that, when asked for identification, adopted the name “Rael.” Operative Thesalia Kyrathis facilitated the meeting.

Operative Kyrathis negotiated a fragile peace between both parties, getting from the quarians a recognition that the old way of war was no longer going to be possible against an upgraded geth civilization, and getting from the geth a recognition that their freedom would not be possible without the gift of upgrades provided by two quarians, and the recognition that only the quarian fleet can effectively destroy the Reaper on Rannoch and free the remainder of them.

Once this understanding was reached, Admiral Han’Garrel came into his element. He spoke tactics with the geth as well as our own tactical specialists. It became apparent that while the geth dreadnought could conceivably be of use against the Reaper, the risk of the Reaper finding a way to retake control was too high. The dreadnought would be kept in reserve to support the Migrant Fleet at extreme need. The burden of defeating the Reaper would fall upon them, and upon us.

The geth did provide complete schematics of the facility hiding the Reaper. It was apparently a large structure dedicated to the relay and broadcast of the complex Reaper control code. Although it was quite adequately defended from space assault via weapons, as well as the geth’s planetary jamming field, no consideration was given to defense against a ground assault. The geth who originally built it must have assumed the anti-ship defenses would prevent ground forces from landing.

Our plan involved taking the Twilight down to Rannoch’s surface in a touch-and-go dropoff of ground forces, assault the facility, deactivate its kinetic barriers, and then utilize a prototype device capable of transmitting targeting parameters through the geth jamming field to the orbiting fleet, which would then bombard the facility, as well as the Reaper. Operative Sebastian Murphy pointed out that if the Twilight stays in low-orbit, beneath the jamming field, it could facilitate communication between the ground team and the fleet, an essential link for timing purposes.

We put this plan into action. Our usual assault force, complemented by Ganar Snarle, did a rapid ground invasion of the facility. It was heavily defended and we nearly lost Tori’Xen, but he managed to stay standing long enough to utilize the targeting laser once Operative Lia’Danna dropped the kinetic barriers and opened the blast shielding. We were forced to flee orbital bombardment, which made short work of the entire facility.

Unfortunately it did not make short work of the Reaper, which emerged and pursued us.

rannoch.png

We worked in tandem to keep Tori’Xen generally upright and able to continue to provide accurate targeting information to the fleet without being vaporized by the Reaper. This involved a lot of remote use of biotic fields, and was a near thing. Fortunately, once Zael’Danna got accurate targeting parameters, he was able to keep the Migrant Fleet firing, and the geth also joined in the bombardment. We escaped on the Twilight while the joint fleets turned the Reaper into molten slag, along with that entire section of Rannoch’s surface.

Once the Reaper was dead, the hard part began. Operative Kyrathis spent a couple of days engaged in constant negotiation between geth and quarian representatives to develop a tentative framework for peaceful co-existence. It continues to be a fragile thing. One of the contingencies of cooperation on Rannoch is that neither party has access to orbital bombardment or other fleet actions. In short, we secured the departure of both fleets from the Tikkun system to aid in the Reaper war. The quarians will be leaving most of their civilians behind on Rannoch with a carefully negotiated military force while both fleets turn their attention to the greater threat.


Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

From: The Shadow Broker

Routing ID: Dariserix Bahktian, Squad Leader, Atropos Cell, Captain of the Twilight

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Operative Bahktian,

Well done. Return to the Citadel for R&R and further orders. I will have fleet command make contact with the geth and quarian fleets.

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Cerberus Defectors
Lachesis Cell - Gellix / Arrae System

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Origin ID: Saelan Corl

Recipient: Feron, Alingon

  • Arrived near Gellix, Arrae system.
  • Damage to ship from fight with Reaper-destroyer on Tuchanka left holes in stealth systems, had to fly carefully to avoid notice by two Cerberus cruisers in orbit.
  • Cerberus engaged in tactical assault on Gellix facility. Had invested sufficient resources to invest a siege and overcome defenses. Cerberus had neutralized facility’s defenses and were engaged in frontal assault on fortified blast doors while shuttles flew patrol above.
  • Assessed situation from stealth. Cerberus jamming facility communication but specialist Ramid Bas was able to extract badly garbled but coherent attempt at communication from a Dr. Brynn Cole calling for aid.
  • Was able to establish tight-beam communication informing Dr. Cole of our arrival. Direct communication not available for purposes of security.
  • Arranged to navigate Orpheus to near-docking position with Cerberus cruiser, purpose being to slip our own Cerberus shuttle out in a manner appearing to be part of ordinary Cerberus flight patterns.
  • Was able to confuse Cerberus IFF systems sufficiently to get shuttle to facility.
  • Penetrated patrol cordon, engaged in touch-and-go squad deployment. Operative Tessara Eris flew shuttle on departure, drawing away Cerberus forces.
  • Engaged in rooftop battle with Cerberus forces. Many wounds. Only casualty pet varren belonging to Operative Prasi Ptychokota.
  • Met with Dr. Cole and Dr. Gavin Archer within facility, analyzed tactical data and local resources to develop plan of escape. Scientists had civilian family members, women, children, more than 70 individuals total. Rapid evacuation by small team not feasible.
  • Scientific assets within facility provided unexpected resources for direct communication with Orpheus, as well as potential for remote piloting of decoy shuttles.
  • Developed plan for mass evacuation in conjunction with scientists:
    • use Orpheus to draw cruisers away from optimal firing position
    • sabotage facility resources to disrupt ground attack
    • deploy shuttles in apparent escape attempt to FTL to draw fire from Cerberus shuttles
    • launch genuine evacuation shuttles along low escape trajectory to stay within weather patterns of planet
    • lose pursuit
    • rendezvous on planet’s surface with Orpheus for collective escape.
  • Learned from Orpheus that Operative Tessara had been shot down, but had commandeered another shuttle and was hiding on planet’s surface
  • Engaged the plan. Worked efficiently.
  • Rendezvoused with Tessera, Orpheus
  • Escaped system to FTL
  • Engaged in dialogue with Dr. Cole and Dr. Archer while remaining civilians kept in quarantine on cargo deck.
  • Intel:
    • Illusive Man engaged in large-scale project, divided among several teams, each kept in ignorance of greater purpose.
    • Upon completion of individual projects, scientists vanished, presumed killed
    • Scientists recognized pattern, orchestrated mass escape along with families
    • Developed hypothesis of greater goal: Develop organic/synthetic interface system capable of permitting individual human/humans to control Reapers
  • Showed two scientists recovered Cerberus research on Reaper-inspired cybernetic implantation systems. Seemed duly ignorant / disturbed
  • Analysis: Not overtly indoctrinated, apparently genuine in desire to defect. Will defer to experts for in-depth evaluation.
  • They desire to be useful in war. Instructions?

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Origin ID: Feron, Alingon

Recipient: Saelan Corl

Captain Saelan:

You are instructed to proceed directly to the Citadel. You have been granted authorization to dock in the Presidium wing. You will be granted an opportunity to speak with Councilor Udina and your defectors will be taken into custody by the Systems Alliance for evaluation and eventual deployment to suitable positions against the Reapers.

Feron

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A Change of Course
Atropos Cell - Rannoch / Migrant Fleet

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Reporting Officer: Dariserix Bahktian, Squad Leader, Atropos Cell, Captain of the Twilight

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Sir,

After departing the geth dreadnought and returning to the Twilight, the ramifications of what they did set in and Lia’Danna and Admiral Tali’Zorah wrestled with the consequences of informing their people that they had essentially ensured that the Quarians would never again be able to defeat the Geth in warfare. While the diplomatic option between the species seemed the only way to eliminate the Reaper on Rannoch and preserve the most military forces in the greater war, the Quarians have dreamed of the homeworld for three hundred years and now they would never see it unless the geth let them. It became rapidly apparent that without Admiral Zaal’Koris vas Qwib Qwib supporting Admiral Tali’Zorah, the sentiment of the Quarian people would rapidly turn against her and our chances of brokering a peace agreement would die.

We determined, then, to find Admiral Zaal’Koris on the surface of Rannoch as quickly as possible. I consulted some of my military contacts, and we designed a tactical assault for a planet crawling with Reaper-upgraded geth. The plan involved taking a stealth shuttle to the vicinity of the wreck of the Qwib Qwib and infiltrating a commando team to disable the defenses on the closest jamming tower. The shuttle could then destroy the tower, and we could then make radio contact with any Quarian survivors and extract them, hopefully before overwhelming geth response.

This plan worked reasonably effectively. We lost one member of the squad, Saal’Raan nar Cyniad, and others were badly wounded including myself, but we got the admiral and the nine survivors of the wreck and subsequent geth assault. Once back aboard the Twilight, we debriefed the Admiral on the situation. He took it rather well, recognizing that the reality had changed, and that the only way forward for the Quarians was to accept that they would never exterminate the geth, and so some sort of accord was their only real option.

I left the Admirals to discuss with Thesalia Kyrathis and Lia’Danna how best to win the Quarians over and I retired to sickbay.

En route to the Migrant Fleet, we encountered a number of Quarian civilian vessels making a break for the mass relay. Admiral Zaal’Koris talked them out of this suicidal run. This seemed pretty indicative of the state of Quarian morale, however, which ironically gave us some hope that the lust for war among the populace had waned to where a diplomatic solution was something we could sell. We docked with the Neema and met with the Admiralty Board, along with a hundred or so civilian dignitaries, Captains, members of the Conclave, etc.

Zaal’Koris, Tali’Zorah, and Lia’Danna set things up fairly well, omitting the details of the geth upgrades until they had built a case for a diplomatic solution. Inevitably the truth came out, of course, but Thesalia’s diplomatic talents came to the forefront and she rather eloquently made a case for unity against the Reaper threat. Ultimately, the Admiralty board admitted that diplomacy was the only viable option. Admiral Tali’Zorah, Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema, and Admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbey have come aboard the Twilight, which will be used as neutral territory for a summit with the geth. Admiral Zaal’Koris and Admiral Daro’Xen will continue to lead the Migrant Fleet.

Admiral Daro’Xen vas Moreh is an insane but apparently brilliant technician who has suddenly bent her attentions to developing a technical edge not only against these new, upgraded geth but also the Reapers. I authorized Lia’Danna to release all data we have on the Reapers. Even a crazy admiral might come up with something useful.

We are now returning to the mass relay to meet with representatives of the upgraded, independent geth. I’ll let you know in my next report how the negotiations turn out.

Dariserix Bahktian

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Curing the Genophage
Lachesis Cell - Tuchanka

Shadow broker
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Origin ID: Saelan Corl

Recipient: Feron, Alingon

  • While ship and crew were on Lesuss mission, aided Dr. Mordin Solus and Dr. Padok Wiks in developing genophage cure. While I’m not a specialist in genetics, my multidisciplinary talents provided not insignificant aid.
  • Received a call while aboard Normandy SR2 from mother, Dalatrass Saelan. Updated me on current status of Salarian politics, informed me of secret Salarian weapon, namely functional stealth systems for three dreadnought-scale ships. Informed me that Salarian Union strategy is currently to secure Krogan aid for galactic fight against Reapers so that we have ground troops to capitalize on opening space combat salvo against Reaper capital ships
  • Informed by mother that only apparently viable method for rapid distribution of genophage cure is the sole-remaining Salarian shroud facility on Tuchanka, and that STG had, centuries ago, introduced subtle sabotage in any distribution system that would render our cure inert. Strongly implied that I should take pains to ensure that my fellow cure researchers don’t discover this sabotage.
  • Opted to reveal these details immediately to my fellow cure researchers.
  • Orpheus returned, squad convened in Normandy’s war room along with Primarch Gaius Corinthus, Clanleader Urdnot Wrex, the female former-Weyrloc Krogan shaman cured by Maelon, Spectre Kaidan Alenko, Commander Shepard, Liara T’soni, and my fellow Salarian scientists. Discovered there’s a Reaper destroyer at shroud facility using it to poison Tuchanka’s atmosphere.
  • Discussed tactical dilemma. Insufficient naval resources to destroy a Reaper, insufficient resources to draw Reaper away from shroud facility.
  • After consultation with mother, revealed existence of Salarian stealth dreadnought (singular), offered it’s use for destroying Reaper.
  • New tactical dilemma. How to destroy Reaper without destroying shroud facility. Discussed possible methods to lure Reaper away from shroud including stirring up local wildlife (site apparently the lair of ancient Thresher Maw, designation: Kalros). Came to conclusion that using local wildlife too unpredictable. Might result in shroud facility destruction. Might not draw Reaper away.
  • Final plan: Offload dignitaries from Normandy, use Normandy and Orpheus in direct strike on Reaper, rely on Normandy Thanix weaponry and our own cannons to threaten Reaper enough to force it to take the battle to a more advantageous position, namely above the atmosphere, destroy Reaper with stealth dreadnought.
  • Plan deemed risky to our stealth frigates, but most reliable method of achieving victory. Strategic presumption: Reaper isn’t aware that we require the shroud facility intact, feels confident in leaving it temporarily.
  • Strategic presumption proved correct. In brief combat Orpheus took significant damage. Only loss of life: ship’s cook Manzow, Electrical Engineer Vralis Sar. Normandy took less damage due to Silaris upgrades.
  • Kalros made a brief appearance and nearly foiled our plan by preventing Reaper from departing planet’s surface.
  • Dreadnought successfully destroyed Reaper with precision surprise fusillade as Reaper carapace opened to fire. Took two shots to do it.
  • Landed dignitaries, scientists, at shroud facility being careful not to antagonize Kalros
  • Short fight with Reaper creatures infesting facility.
  • Synthesized mass cure production / distribution
  • Urdnot Wrex promised Krogan aid for Sur’Kesh in addition to Palaven and Earth.
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Boarding the Geth Dreadnought
Atropos Cell - Tikkun System

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Reporting Officer: Dariserix Bahktian, Squad Leader, Atropos Cell, Captain of the Twilight

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Sir,

I send to you this preliminary report before we return to an appointed rendezvous with the Migrant Fleet. It may well be that the Quarians will view our actions in an exceedingly negative light and I wish to ensure that you are informed before circumstances arise that might prevent a report.

We traveled to the Tikkun system with Admiral Tali’Zorah vas Normandy and Admiral Daro’Xen vas Moreh. Our stealth systems allowed us to avoid geth ships at the mass relay, although they had set mines, which we were fortunately able to avoid. We rendezvoused with the Migrant Fleet. It was hiding in the outskirts of the Tikkun system, having been hounded by the suddenly upgraded geth forces.

We docked with the Moreh to meet the full Admiralty Board. Admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbey introduced Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema and Admiral Zaal’Koris vas Qwib Qwib along with the two we had already met. It became apparent that Admiral Garrel is quite hawkish in his desire to see the geth eradicated while Admiral Koris would rather the Fleet’s energies be spent finding a new homeworld than re-fighting ancient wars. We made it clear that our goal was to resolve their problems in the way that preserves the most forces for the war against the Reapers.

The initial plan was discussed again and found to be sound. Atropos Cell, along with Admiral Zorah, would board the geth dreadnought that is relaying the Reaper upgrade code and stop the transmission. Operative Lia’Danna vas Rayya studied the Reaper code and discovered that, while it upgrades each geth program to near-sentience, while retaining their inbuilt networking capability, it also overrides anything resembling volition. In effect, the geth have sold themselves into slavery to defend themselves from the Quarians. Lia’Danna and our ship’s AI speculated about the possibility of integrating aspects of this code into geth to produce a similar result to the Reaper code embedded in our ship’s AI, essentially providing the upgrades but without Reaper control. It remained a speculation at that time.

Admiral Garrel initiated an attack on the geth fleets around Rannoch to provide cover for our operation. We boarded the dreadnought and accessed schematics (see attached file). We opted against heading to the drive core, judging it too well defended, and aimed instead for the communication’s array embedded in the “thorax” of the vessel. We made it some of the way by stealth before the geth became aware of us and started downloading into mobile platforms to engage us in combat.

We engaged in a running battle through the ship. Ultimately Lia’Danna’s hacking expertise coupled with Tori’Xen vas Alarei‘s tactical assessments brought us to the communications array without having to face unreasonable odds. We rapidly engaged three geth prime units in the communications array and removed them so Lia’Danna could work. Her window of opportunity in the system was limited, as geth counter-hacking measures are strong. She was able to shut down the main cannon and set a cascade failure through the array intending to destroy it entirely, which would have the effect of both preventing the ship from broadcasting the Reaper signal, and also preventing the ship from receiving the signal in the first place. My biotics and Tori’Xen’s M920 CAIN ensured the destruction of the communications array.

As we retreated to the hangar bays, intending to take a geth transport away from the ship while it was momentarily confused, our pilot Belina Risari made contact with us. She informed us that the geth fleet was thrown into disarray by the sudden loss of the Reaper signal. She also reported that the Quarians had suffered some losses, including Admiral Zaal’Koris, whose ship was shot down over Rannoch. We arrived in the hangar bay and a transport opened revealing a dozen geth and a geth prime. They holstered their weapons and spoke to us. This is the first time, I believe, that any of us have heard verbal speech from a geth.

The Prime indicated confusion at the presence of Admiral Zorah. It apparently knew of her thanks to a special geth platform that served with Shepard. The opinion of the geth toward Admiral Zorah appeared conflicted. It gave us three minutes to “reach a consensus” and explain our actions before it was forced to assume we were acting for geth eradication. I deferred to Operative Thesalia Kyrathis, as this seemed an apropos situation to put her diplomatic skills to the test. She argued strongly that our only purpose was to fight the Reapers, and that we wished to free the geth from Reaper control. The geth prime expressed impasse, that the Reaper control was the price for survival against the “Creators.” Without the signal, even at that moment, the Creator fleet was pressing the attack. Thesalia got in contact with Admiral Garrel via the Twilight and made a very strong plea to stand down and retreat in the name of saving Quarian lives. The Admiral was clearly loathe to give up the advantage, wanting to press the attack on the momentarily confused geth fleet. Thesalia rightly argued that the control signal from the planet’s surface would soon be changing tactic, and that now was the proper time for a proper withdrawal. He grudgingly agreed and ordered the retreat. This was fortuitous, as the tight-beam signal from the planet’s surface chose that moment to go broad-band, restoring the geth in the vicinity to full functionality.

While the Quarians retreated, the dreadnought remained isolated from the Reaper control signal. The prime-unit reiterated the impasse. We had not resolved the fundamental dilemma of the conflict. That’s when Operative Lia’Danna proposed uploading altered Reaper code, providing the benefits of the upgrade but without the control routines. We negotiated with the geth isolated on the dreadnought, offering them this upgrade in exchange for agreeing to negotiate a truce with the Quarians. The geth hesitantly agreed, and confirmed that the source of the Reaper signal was, in fact, a Reaper destroyer hidden underground in an extensive surface facility on Rannoch. They confirmed that even with these proposed upgrades, the Reaper signal could overwrite them, and that they would need to withdraw outside of the signal range to retain their independence. The geth were also hesitant to allow Lia’Danna access to their fundamental systems necessary to perform the upgrade, understanding the “biological capacity for deceit.”

Lia’Danna introduced the geth to our ship’s AI. They seemed familiar with EDI, and the fact that Zael’Danna was not only unshackled, but mostly built by a Quarian, mollified them. They permitted her to upgrade them. Admiral Tali’Zorah aided her, perhaps recognizing it as the only viable gambit.

Needless to say, the decision to make every geth program on this dreadnought individually sentient, yet still networked, thus increasing their intelligence and power dramatically, was not a move that was popular with everyone. Nevertheless, Lia’Danna succeeded. The geth prime unit we had been speaking with had to distribute many of the 200-plus geth programs contained within him into other units so that he could maintain the necessary processing power to speak to us as an individual. He began referring to himself in the first person singular, which caused a strong reaction among many of the Quarians in the squad.

Nevertheless, the upgraded geth were true to the arrangement. They offered to transport us away from Rannoch to the vicinity of the mass relay, which was now out of range of the Reaper signal. They intended to share the upgrade with geth forces blockading the mass relay, and to hold the relay against Quarian betrayal, but otherwise to take no action until negotiations should begin.

This they did, and we rendezvoused with the Twilight there. We will now consider how best to present these facts to the Admiralty Board, especially since the one Admiral (aside from Tali’Zorah) who might be expected to fully back our actions has been lost on Rannoch.

Dariserix Bahktian

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Sending the Quarians a Message
Atropos Cell - The Citadel / Phoenix Massing Nebula

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Reporting Officer: Dariserix Bahktian, Squad Leader, Atropos Cell, Captain of the Twilight

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Sir,

In the aftermath of the last mission to Benning some shore leave seemed appropriate. The crew spent some time at the Citadel reconnecting with family, friends, and loved ones. We encountered Commander Jane Shepard who took a seat at Apollo’s next to Operative Sebastian Murphy. This would not ordinarily merit comment except that it was the assessment of Operative Murphy as well as Operative Lia’Danna and Operative Thesalia Kyrathis that Shepard could use a field operation. As necessary as she may be to rallying troops and boosting military recruitment, she is chafing at not doing much to directly fight the Reapers. We said as much to Dr. T’soni who agreed, and is taking it under advisement. Meanwhile Shepard has been participating in photo-ops with famous people, interviewing with war reporters, and was apparently looking forward to an opportunity to blow off steam in the Armax Arsenal Arena. We suggested she bring Javik along for maximum PR potential.

Aside from that, the various operatives under my command took care of necessary personal business.

We met with Dr. T’soni aboard the Twilight for our briefing on our next mission. She filled us in on the socio-political backstory on why the Quarians decided to go to war against the Geth at this precise moment in history. We were briefed on the politics that elevated Tali’Zorah vas Normandy from accused traitor to Admiral within a six-month span, as well as the reasons behind the Cerberus blackmail we encountered prior to the Reaper invasion. We were briefed that the Quarian war effort actually went quite well, their anti-Geth weapon being most effective. We were told, however, that a Quarian stealth ship has recently surfaced in the Phoenix Massing nebula broadcasting a plea for military aid, claiming the Geth have blockaded the Tikkun relay. Dr. T’soni gave us our broad objectives, which are to render whatever aid we can to the Quarians and bring them into the allied forces fighting the Reapers as soon as possible.

Dr. T’soni also made it rather clear that you had put together our group composition with an eye toward the possibility of this mission, specifically the fact that our team consists of a number of people with close, personal knowledge of various aspects of Quarian culture and politics. Also, those very members did not leave the Migrant Fleet on good terms. It was very much, as Operative Aleksandr Davidson stated, a giant “middle finger” to the fleet. Your reasons for wishing to send this message to the Quarians may not be entirely clear to me, but they’re clear enough. Quarian cultural orthodoxy has resulted in a suicidal near-extinction situation. It seems to me that you want to send the message that exiling or driving away everyone with unorthodox opinions is not a good policy, and those self-same outcasts are now going to be the instruments of their salvation.

We rendezvoused with the experimental Quarian stealth ship and were greeted by Admiral Tali’Zorah and a pair of marines. She clearly didn’t recognized Sebastian’s name, or tie him to any particular scandal, although one of her marines seemed to. She met Lia’Danna and also appeared ignorant of the circumstances that drove her from the fleet. She was well aware of the circumstances surrounding Operative Tori’Xen vas Alarei unofficial exile, a reaction that very nearly caused her not to catch Operative Kyrathis’ name. To her credit, she’s a smart girl, and seemed to rapidly get the message you intended to send. She took us to meet the other Admiral she had brought out of the Tikkun system, Admiral Daro’Xen vas Moreh, who reacted… rather strongly to being introduced to us. Despite her immense disdain, she eventually recognized that she and her people really have no choice but to let us help them, and she left us to Tali.

Admiral Tali’Zorah briefed us on the situation. Apparently Admiral Xen’s weapon was quite effective. The Quarians launched a multi-pronged attack in multiple Geth systems, driving them all back to Rannoch. They destroyed the Dyson Sphere that the Geth were building, and the principle reason for timing their war as they did. As they prepared to retake their homeworld, however, a Geth super-dreadnought began broadcasting an extremely complex and powerful signal inserting complex Reaper-code into the processes of every Geth in range. This has upgraded the Geth to incredible levels of communal intelligence and effectiveness at the cost of enslaving them utterly to the Reapers. The Quarian fleet was driven off with heavy losses and is now trapped in the Tikkun system, unable to make the relay. Fortunately for them, the Geth seem to need to stay within a certain proximity to the dreadnought and have not harried the fleet throughout the Tikkun system.

In light of our recent actions against the Black Ark, the obvious course of action presented itself. We should board the dreadnought and shut down the signal, if not destroy the ship. This provoked a good deal of philosophical debate, mostly driven by Lia’Danna, about the value of negotiating with the Geth and bringing their forces to bear against the Reapers as well. Admiral Tali’Zorah, who apparently served alongside a rather unique Geth model, was not intrinsically opposed, but did not want such negotiations to happen at the expense of the lives of her people. Her preference is to destroy the dreadnought so it cannot be used to destroy more Quarian ships.

Whatever the case, we are preparing to hit the Tikkun relay and rendezvous with the other members of the Admiralty board to plan the specifics of our assault. Our QEC will, of course, continue to be an information lifeline, but conventional communication will become impossible. It would appear that the Quarian fleet is woefully ill-informed about recent events in the greater galaxy. Admiral Tali’Zorah, for instance, had not heard that her friend Commander Shepard was back. We thought it appropriate to inform her of the truth, considering her long experience with the Commander. We also informed her of the other survivors of the mission through the Omega-4 relay.

Dariserix Bahktian

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Wail of the Banshee
Lachesis Cell - Lesuss

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Reporting Operative: Prasi Ptychokota

Receiving Agent: Feron, Alingon

This report is sent via normal channels to supplement the verbal report provided to Dr. Liara T’soni of the Normandy. It is a summary only, as a full eidetic recall of events would require too much QEC bandwidth. Feel free to inquire if any details need elaboration.

Squad Leader Saelan Corl was required to aid Dr. Mordin Solus and others in formulation of the final stages of the genophage cure and so I was placed in charge of this quick side-mission to the Asari colony world of Lesuss. We had been asked to look into the disappearance of an Asari commando squad “as a personal favor” by Dr. T’soni.

Our personal information led us to believe that Lesuss was the home of a particular monastery where those afflicted with a rare Asari genetic defect were kept, far from the view of the rest of the galaxy. These “Ardat-Yakshi” are apparently dangerous enough to justify a full commando response when the monastery’s communications failed.

We arrived at Lesuss and saw no significant settlements or structures aside from the monastery.

Lesuss.jpg

While the monastery’s power sources appeared intact, power was cut to the entire facility. The size of the facility suggested a maximum habitable capacity of around ten thousand Asari. Operative Braga found an old Asari contact who provided some blueprints of other Asari structures of similar aesthetic to provide us with at least a loose understanding of how to navigate the complex.

We attempted to hail the facility and got no immediate response. We took a shuttle to the landing pad and noticed the Asari commando shuttle there, cold and silent. The front door to the facility was slightly ajar. Initial investigation revealed a vestibule leading to an elevator, suggesting that this monastery doubles as something like a prison. There was a single dead commando. We ascertained that she had been responsible for locking down the power and the elevator. We entered their shuttle and found communications records revealing that they had arrived with large amounts of explosives and orders to destroy the entire monastery if it could not be secured. Their communications records revealed Reaper troops infesting the facility. They then heard a disconcerting wailing sound and serious combat operations ensued. Communications were shortly thereafter cut.

As we discussed whether or not to investigate further, a weak signal made it out of the monastery to our orbiting ship. ADaM patched it through to us. It was an Asari who called herself Sotiria. She claimed to be a resident of the monastery, and claimed that a friend of hers, Falere, was trying to make her way to the Great Hall to set off the commando bomb, but had not reported back. Sotiria reported that the Reapers had harvested the inhabitants and turned them into monsters, but that only a fraction of the monsters remained at the facility.

Upon hearing the name “Sotiria”, Operative Tessara Eris made her determined way to the disabled elevator and prepared to enter the monastery with or without the rest of us. We decided that finding this bomb and either extracting or detonating it lest the Reaper monsters within make use of it was worth attempting.

We infiltrated the dark facility and almost immediately lost contact with the Orpheus, and therefore with our local guide. My new Varren was quite useful in helping us navigate. We found a number of dead commandos, but encountered no enemies at first. Eventually we arrived in a gallery where there was an ongoing battle. A small squad of Reaper “cannibals” along with a “marauder” had cornered an Asari who was holding them off with biotic barriers. We made short work of the Reaper minions and met Sotiria face to face. She indicated that once we lost contact, she came out of hiding to try to find us. She and Tessara clearly knew each other and seemed glad to see one another, although mission urgency kept reunion sentiment to a minimum. Sotiria offered to lead us to the Great Hall.

Just before the Great Hall, we entered a large chamber Sotiria called the Promenade. There were large numbers of Reaper minions here, and it was here that we first encountered the results of the Reapers’ work on the local Ardat-Yakshi. I append here a still-image from the one who nearly killed Operative Fortuna Corinthus.

banshee.jpg

We fought off those forces and made our way to the Great Hall. It appeared empty. We saw the bomb at the far end upon a dais surrounded by Asari commando corpses. An Asari that Sotiria recognized as her friend Falere was slumped against the bomb, apparently still alive, but unconscious. I sent my Varren in to investigate while we maintained cautious alertness near the elevator door. The Varren brought Falere to awareness, and she started calling to us to flee. At this point it was clear that, if this was a trap, the enemy was fully aware of our presence. We tactically advanced with Operative Fortuna set up position near the elevator.

I discovered that the bomb’s detonator had not been fully installed, but that Falere held the trigger mechanism. She gladly gave it up while she and Sotiria had a brief reunion. In mid embrace, however, Falere’s eyes went black and she placed her hand around Sotiria’s neck. Operative Tessara and Operative Fortuna needed no further provocation to end Falere’s life. This appeared to shock Sotiria somewhat, but there was no time for discussion. At that point the Great Hall was swarmed with these “banshee” creatures.

I rapidly finished the installation of the detonator and we fought our way to the elevator which Operative Fortuna had restored to operation. Although riding an elevator in a combat situation is not optimal, speed was of the essence. We evacuated the facility and flew the shuttle to a minimum safe distance before destroying the entire building.

We saw to our wounds and returned to the Aralakh system to report to Dr. T’soni. As far as she is concerned, no Ardat-Yakshi survived what happened at the monastery. I see no reason to disagree with her.

Prasi

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Evacuation of Benning
Atropos Cell - Benning

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Reporting Officer: Dariserix Bahktian, Squad Leader, Atropos Cell, Captain of the Twilight

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Sir,

With the help of the Normandy’s AI, EDI, Operative Lia’Danna vas Rayya concluded initial construction of our new shipboard AI and we installed it aboard the Twilight. She has named it Zael’Danna nar Twilight and it seems to be settling in reasonably well. It has disconcerted the new squad of Quarian marines that now serve aboard our vessel under Operative Tori’Xen vas Alarei, and its presence has not been uniformly comfortable even for the non-Quarians, but thus far it seems more of an advantage than a danger.

We turned our attention to Benning, a human colony that Operative Sebastian Murphy had learned was being predated upon by Cerberus in the wake of the Reaper destruction of Arcturus Station. Benning was left unharmed by the Reapers in their initial push for Earth, but in the weeks spent tracking down the Leviathan, rescuing Javik from Eden Prime, and other priorities, it appeared we turned our attention to Benning just as the Reapers were doing the same.

We arrived in-system and noted three Reaper-destroyers playing a game of tactical maneuvering with a small Alliance battle-group consisting of three cruisers and a handful of frigates. The battle-group was led by Captain Ellen Murphy of the SSV John Paul Jones. Since it was Captain Murphy’s superior who had initially alerted Operative Sebastian Murphy to Benning’s troubles, it was not too surprising to see that she had been delegated to lead the evacuation effort.

A tactical analysis indicated that the Reapers had taken up position above Benning’s capitol and industrial centers while Captain Murphy was evacuating colonists by shuttle in the other parts of the planet occluded from direct Reaper fire. It was also clear that she would be unable to break free from planetary orbit without coming under Reaper fire unless some sort of distraction was provided. We contacted Captain Murphy and she indicated two clusters of high-priority human refugees in the capitol of the colony, currently unreachable by her own extraction teams. Our stealth capability allowed for a strike force in that area. In evaluating the refugees, we opted to attempt to rescue a number of Benning’s political leaders and their families from a bunker underneath the main administration building. They included Alan Rieken, Benning’s Alliance Parliamentary representative, and one of the few leaders left to humanity.

We made a touch-and-go drop-off and, with Tori’Xen’s new squad, and Javik, we fought our way through the administration building to the bunker through an assortment of twisted Reaper creatures. We then opted to fight our way to the roof so that the Twilight could do a direct pick-up via the cargo-bay doors. Thanks to the use of biotic barriers by Operative Aleksandr Davidson and Operative Thesalia Kyrathis, as well as the quick rescue work of Operative Lia’Danna, all of the refugees made it safely to the Twilight.

Unfortunately, we lost one of our Quarian marines, Dan’Reegar vas Tonbey. Also, our shuttle pilot Hela Loriss died distracting a Reaper harvester from the evacuation in the shuttle.

As we departed the planet, one of the three Reaper destroyers was descending onto the capitol. We realized this represented Captain Murphy’s fleet’s only viable escape option. The SSV John Paul Jones engaged the other two Reaper destroyers while the remaining Alliance ships with their refugees fled for the mass relay. We departed with them. Although we did not see the destruction of the John Paul Jones, it was clear that Captain Murphy did not expect to survive the engagement, and it is unlikely that she did so. I am attaching the scan data of the engagement receive just prior to FTL.

We will drop the refugees off at the Citadel. Senator Rieken will be of value to the human refugees there, and may provide something of a political counterbalance to Councilor Udina.

Dariserix Bahktian

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