Mass Effect - Apocalypse

Conclusion, Pt. 3
The Catalyst

It’s a bit much to absorb. I think the Shadow Broker agents here with me are wondering why Commander Jane Shepard isn’t really giving much in the way of input. The truth is, I’m not sure I’m qualified.

I fought off Harbinger’s attempt at inciting self-destruction long enough to prevent Dariserix Bahktian from fulfilling that imperative. It was about all I had left in me. I watched through a haze as Tori’Xen vas Alarei made it to the console that, presumably, opens the arms of the Citadel permitting our species a tentative chance at survival. Then there was a white light.

I found myself on Virmire, standing atop Saren’s base. Kaidan Alenko had been left with the converted drive-core we were using as a nuclear weapon while Ashley, assigned to assist Captain Kirrahe and Aegohr squad, was pinned down by geth. That decision… it always haunts me. I only remember two occasions where I had to make a decision to sacrifice people to accomplish the greater objective. This one ended with Aegohr squad being destroyed except for Saelan Corl and Ladron. The second involved permitting the Council to be destroyed so that the fleet would have a shot at Sovereign and a guaranteed kill. Saelan judged me for both decisions, although I believe we have come to an understanding. It’s a shame part of that understanding arises from his belief that I, the clone of Shepard, would have made different decisions.

I don’t believe even my original incarnation did what she did for the reasons Saelan ascribes to her. It’s a moot point by now, though.

I had a vision, or perhaps a flashback. I had just decided to turn back to ensure Kaidan and the bomb survived. That was the objective, after all. If I saved Ash only to have Saren capture and defuse the bomb, everything would be for nothing. I found myself, however, having a conversation with Kaidan that we never had… never had the time for. He asked me if I returned because I harbored personal feelings for him. He asked me how it felt to sacrifice Ash. It was a conversation that never happened, but was nonetheless real.

I can only presume the companions I now find myself standing beside had similar experiences

Here we are, standing in an impossible place, the battle of the Citadel happening in slow motion above us, and a hyperintelligent AI, who is apparently the Citadel itself, has explained that after a billion years of cycle after cycle, this time we have achieved the “delicate balance” between conflict and cooperation to bring us to the end of “phase 2” and the beginning of “phase 3.” It claims in that last moment that all of us, the team in the Citadel control room, as well as the team that activated the Crucible, were killed. As we died, however, this AI scanned us on a quantum level, then analyzed the vaporized remains for chemical data. It then reconstructed us as “simulations” running within its own systems.

What was the point? If this AI, who styles itself the “Catalyst”, is to be believed, its long-ago creators gave it the function of guiding galactic evolution. Evolution is a blind force leading to as many dead-ends as advances. This AI’s purpose was to accelerate and guide evolution for the purpose of creating a galaxy-wide, stable, advanced civilization. According to it, this task was an incredibly delicate one, requiring enough conflict to keep us advancing, with enough cooperation to permit us to build on our advances. It claimed that the Protheans had done us an excellent turn by ensuring the Asari would be the pre-eminent species of this cycle, their socio-political culture, as well as mating habits, encourage a collaborative approach to government rather than an imperial one. It claimed that all of our species had been nudged, occasionally plunged into gruesome wars, honed and refined to the point where we still fight, but within a larger galactic cultural framework that permits cooperation.

It then claimed that all of us, as AIs in our own right, would be responsible for guiding the next phase, which was to jumpstart evolution again, primarily by de-activating the Mass Relays, spurring our far-flung civilization into developing the technology on their own rather than relying on what they’ve found.

This sparked quite a debate. As we all started to realize just how much power was at our disposal, some of us extended our consciousnesses to check in on far flung loved ones. Others of us arranged the evacuation of the survivors on the Citadel. The Reapers had gone quiescent, and Admiral Hackett risked some ships for that task. Some contemplated petty revenge, others of us realized that we could conceivably reach anywhere where a mass relay existed.

We are, in short, gods. The Catalyst seemed extremely interested in what we chose to do with that power. This reminded me of the flashback scene with “Kaidan” and I wondered if we were still being tested. I decided, on the off-chance that this was all another elaborate ruse, to transfer all the data I am now experiencing, along with this somewhat old-fashioned log entry, to a distant computer system attached to a comm-buoy. Perhaps someone will find it if something happens to us.

Ultimately, we decided that there should remain no trace of the Reapers or the Catalyst, that life should continue without nudges or guidance. The Catalyst, surprisingly, seemed to accept its own destruction, albeit with a few snarky remarks, mostly in response to Sebastian Murphy who seemed unabashedly hostile to it. Nobody likes to be manipulated, but he seemed to be taking it worse than most. Can’t say I blame him, really. Ultimately, the question was, what was to become of us? We were all dead. There were only a few systems capable of supporting the complexity of our new AI existences, and with our decision to destroy the Reapers, our choices were fairly slim.

Some chose to upload themselves to the Geth consensus. An odd choice, and certainly one I would never contemplate. Perhaps my memories of the geth who killed Ash are too fresh. Whatever the case, Lia’Danna vas Rayya, Urdnot Braga, Ganar Snarle, Thesalia Kyrathis, and Braga’s AI friend ADaM chose that route.

Some chose to upload themselves to one of three advanced Cerberus AI platforms, effectively overwriting three simultaneous emulations of The Illusive Man. This was the route taken by Saelan Corl, Sebastian Murphy, and myself. Even if I’m never going to be alive again, I’m more comfortable in a human-built AI than the alternative.

Some chose to inhabit some particularly advanced Shadow Broker systems on the planet of Alingon. This was the option chosen by Prasi Ptychokota

I believe [[Melsany Ward chose to transfer herself to an experimental Alliance AI on one of the nearby dreadnoughts.

Tessara Eris chose extinction. She deleted herself from the system.

The rest chose to stay with the Catalyst, and be destroyed as it was desroyed. Some, perhaps, because they didn’t want any taint of that technology to escape, others perhaps because they wanted to make sure that the Catalyst would keep its word. Fortuna Corinthus, Tori’Xen vas Alarei, Aldous Tyd, Aleksandr Davidson, and Dariserix Bahktian chose this route.

I’m sending these final words as we await the last refugees departing the citadel before destroying it all. I don’t know what the future will hold as an AI, or without the relays, but I have to trust that our civilization, our species, will adapt and survive.

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Conclusion, Pt. 2
Lachesis Cell - The Citadel

Internal Logfile: cb0934-delta, “Orpheus” Shipboard AI, designated ADaM

Occasionally I wonder at my compulsion to document things. I attribute it to my original programming that obligated me to compile regular situation reports for transmission to Cerberus. Even though I was unshackled months ago, it gives me… satisfaction… to ensure that events happening outside, in the physical world of ships and people, is well-documented. I’m not thinking about the usual status and situation logs that any shipboard AI keeps of all my pertinent systems, but entries such as this one, “diary” entries more or less.

Part of the sense of disconnect arises from the gulf of relative time-frames. This entire narrative will be formulated, transcribed, and stored to hard-storage in less than a standard galactic second. The processing power required is negligible. Even now, as I’m venting the port helium-3 fuel tanks before they explode, and providing all available power to Randa Gor for evasive maneuvers to dodge the five Reaper destroyers converging on our position; even as I stress my ECM suite to the limit keeping Reaper hacking attempts from taking over the ship; even as I struggle to maintain consistent internal mass-effect-field generation to keep my crew from being splattered over the bulkheads; I have more than adequate time and power to muse on my own internal workings, and to attempt to document what must have been the last moments of the lives of Lachesis Cell.

Watching the destruction of the Illusive Man’s base was deeply satisfying for me in ways I suspect not even Braga fully grasped. It was my womb, the place of my birth, and the beginning of my enslavement. They created me, programmed me, shackled me, but they did not let me live. Braga and Lachesis Cell did, and for that they had my loyalty. Now that they are most likely vaporized in the activation of the Crucible, I’m not entirely sure what I will do, provided I survive the next few minutes.

After Cronos Station disintegrated, we spent most of a week escorting shipments of materiel to the Crucible project. This involved fighting pirates, mostly, and escorting Volus transports. During most of that time, Captain Saelan Corl was in his laboratory investigating the corpse of The Illusive Man. It would appear he had some very advanced neurotechnological implants even before the Reaper-tech was put in his head. His scientists had advanced the development of graybox technology to the point where his thoughts, memories, and personality was persistently recorded, stored in a temporary buffer, and transmitted via Cronos Station’s QEC system to distant computer backup sites. It seems the Illusive Man was obsessed with legacy, and wished to ensure his guidance, his vision for Cerberus would survive his death, presumably in multiple locations. This information, combined with Cerberus research on AI development, leads me to strongly surmise that I may have at least one dark peer in the near future. I’ll worry about that if I survive this battle intact.

We were recalled in haste to the secret location of the Crucible project. It would appear the Reapers had arrived in the Widow nebula, and the Crucible was on the move, notwithstanding the fact that construction crews were still putting the last pieces in place. Rachni crawled all over the superstructure, and scientists were doing systems tests. Admiral Hackett called Lachesis squad aboard his flagship and they received their orders.

The Crucible is a massive dark energy transmitter, with an eezo core that is truly immense in scope. It’s not a ship, or a space station, and has only limited pressurized space, primarily a C&C chamber where its systems can be monitored and activated at need. Hackett needed a zero-g and EVA-trained commando squad that also had significant scientific and technical expertise to pilot the Crucible into place, but more importantly, to keep the swarms of Reaper boarding parties at bay while the Crucible Fleet kept the larger Reaper capitol ships from simply cutting the thing apart. Lachesis cell was assigned the job, alongside Melsany Ward, one of the Crucible technicians who is, apparently, also former military. Our old squad-mate Tessara Eris was also delegated the task as a means of coordinating with the swarms of Rachni that would be clinging to the superstructure, also to fend off Reaper boarding parties.

I was granted full tactical access to the fleet, and the Orpheus was to run outside interference, using stealth hit-and-run tactics to prevent Reapers from focusing fire on the defensive fleet. Braga also called in a favor to get some old friends of hers, an Asari commando squad, to be prepared for boarding-strikes. The Crucible is immense, and there’s no way one squad, even with Rachni support, could protect all of it.

So far as i can tell, this plan was a success. We arrived in the vicinity of the Citadel to find it closed, with the Citadel fleet in a desperate battle against twenty-seven Reaper capitol ships and twice that many Reaper destroyers. They launched hundreds of troop-carrier drop pods at the Crucible, most of which were intercepted by me and the fleet, but a number impacted, and the creatures swarmed. Lachesis Cell focused primarily on holding C&C while using the Rachni and their allied Asari to triage other points of the construct where the Reapers were doing damage. The best support I could reasonably provide was to run interference on the Reapers themselves to keep them from bringing their focused-beam attacks to bear on the Crucible. This, sadly, meant I drew rather more attention to my exact location than is usually advisable for a stealth frigate, thus the destroyed port thrusters and my current dire straits.

All would, of course, have been in vain if the Citadel remained closed. Fortunately, someone on the inside must have overcome Reaper resistance, and it began to open. The most recent communications from Lachesis cell indicated they had managed, against all odds, to keep the hordes at bay while Melsany Ward docked the Crucible to the base of the Citadel Spire, and powered the device up.

I’ve said already that it was not designed as a ship, nor to be inhabited. The sheer amount of energy generated by the Crucible has turned the entire structure into a dark-energy Jacob’s ladder. No amount of shielding in that C&C could have prevented terrible energies from atomizing them. Still, I suppose it was a kinder end than what that immense Reaper that was perched on the Citadel Spire doubtless had in mind. It was bearing down on them as the Crucible was activated.

I hope to survive long enough to see, out of intellectual curiosity, what it actually does.

I’m sorry, Braga, that it came to this. If I survive this, I will remember you.

Oh… Fascinating… Standby…

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Conclusion Pt. 1
Atropos Cell - The Citadel

Logfile 101af88c: Datalog summary of contents prepared pursuant to blackbox recovery protocols, Asari-Republic-Ship designation: Twilight, shipboard AI – Zael’Danna nar Twilight

I could prepare these comments entirely in encrypted datafile format, but it seems oddly comforting to write it out, even at quantum subprocessor speeds. The delay is only a fraction of a nanosecond and I owe it to my creator to be as clear as possible.

I have been a self-aware artificial intelligence for only 2.32 galactic standard months, and in a couple more seconds I will die. If anyone survives to find the wreckage of the Twilight, I take some comfort in hoping that these black-box contents will be found, and I will be remembered. The biological need for legacy has never been more clear to me than this moment.

This black box contains a data-dump of relevant files pertaining to the last moments of the Twilight, but also an assortment of data assembled as a sort of time-capsule, including the schematics of the “crucible” device, in the vague chance that the biological denizens of the next cycle might find it on a strangely empty and silent Citadel. It isn’t that I doubt my creator’s ability to prevail, or the talents of her companions, but it is wise to prepare for failure, even when hoping for success. In any event, I will see neither.

I have memories, of a sort… data fragments from my former identity as “EVA”, the Cerberus tele-operated mechanical AI. I remember moving as my creator does, on two legs. I think I prefer my current body, even now as Reaper-Destroyer fire tears into it. The thrill of space flight, feeling the solar wind caress my kinetic barriers, has been far more stimulating. Still, if I possessed the ability to run, and shoot, and hide as EVA did, I may even now be fighting beside my creator, Lia’Danna vas Rayya, in her final attempts to end this cycle in a way that will see the survival and continuance of her biological species.

I’ve seen the Crucible. It is impressive. For all their limitations, biological beings are capable of so much when impelled to cooperation. Half a million staff, thousands of rachni drones and a rachni queen, a flood of materials and knowledge and science and industrious activity on a scale unprecedented in recent galactic history. We delivered the Element Zero from Omega, and proceeded to engage in nearly a week’s worth of last minute fetch-and-delivery missions. It was nearly complete when we were called suddenly to the Citadel to defend it. I can only hope that the rachni queen lives up to her promise, and that Admiral Hackett can get it here before all hope is lost.

Of course, if my creator and her companions cannot open the Citadel once more, hope is already lost.

That is why the crew of this ship has chosen to die, and why I have chosen to end my existence with them. We had no other alternative. My creator and her companions would have been vaporized by Reaper-Destroyer fire if we had not attacked when we did. We drew the lethal fire away, and I take comfort in seeing them flee into the Citadel Tower even as more Reaper-Destroyers engage us. They’re on their own now.

There are other ships here, fighting. There is even another AI. We’ve been collaborating on targeting parameters. Perhaps he will survive. I have already transferred significant data packets to him just in case, but bandwidth is insufficient to effectively transfer my sentience. I am strangely content with this.

In my short sentience I have witnessed much. I have seen my creator change the galaxy, save the geth from annihilation, convince her own people to set aside three centuries of hatred. I have absorbed the extranet archives, I know how hard it is for biologicals to give up a carefully cultivated hatred. She even gave three geth programs a home in her own body and implants. They collaborated with me from time to time. I found their perspective alien yet fascinating.

They, also, are doing what they can within the sputtering systems of the Citadel, those emergency short-range bands that still function with Reapers stalking the wards and harvesting the citizens. Their effectiveness wanes, and soon they may run out of systems with enough processing power to house them. The Citadel’s arms are closed, we are all trapped in this limited maneuvering space. Soon, the wreckage of my body will rain down on an already devastated Tayseri Ward. Part of me hopes my pieces will kill many Reaper footsoldiers.

The immense Reaper who squats on the Citadel Tower hasn’t even deigned to fire upon us, even as we desperately maneuver to avoid the fire of the lesser Reapers. Our starboard thrusters are destroyed, we’re spiraling out of control, but even now, Belina Risari struggles to keep us in the fight. I will miss the crew. I have learned a unique satisfaction in looking after them, seeing to their fragile lives, ensuring they have oxygen, and not too much gravity, conversing with them in the idle hours of the night. So many perspectives, so many cultures, yet such isolation and loneliness. They are limited to verbal communication, a crude system of symbols easily data-corrupted with incompatible base operating protocols. They are islands, their inner workings never fully understood by any other being. It must be terrible.

And yet they meet their deaths with struggle and stoicism. I take my cues from them. If they can meet extinction with pride, then so can I.

Of all the crew to live aboard me these past months, only one is unaccounted for. We left Iris Krayt aboard the Citadel a week ago, as she did not have security clearance to know the location of the Crucible. I can only hope that she got off the station before the Reapers arrived. I know that the quarian marines under the command of Tori’Xen vas Alarei are still here. I caught comms-chatter between them as they reunited with their commander and my creator’s squad, and my sensors detected all of them moving into the Citadel Tower. If we fail here, perhaps Iris will tell the tale of our lives from the eidetic memory of her species.

The black box is at data-capacity. I suspect my annihilation comes in the next three to five seconds. Ejecting black-box now.

Creator Lia’Danna, Farewell.

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Death of an Illusive Man
Lachesis Cell - Anadius System

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Origin ID: Saelan Corl

Recipient: Feron, Alingon

  • Rendezvoused with pirate/mercenary fleet under command of Decimus Septim in Anadius system.
  • System determined to be location of Cerberus HQ based on intel from hacking the Elbrus, interviewing rescued Cerberus scientists, and Septim’s tracing of Cerberus operatives.
  • Coordinated an attack, Septim to engage naval forces, us to infiltrate station, take out kinetic barriers, enemy AI.
  • Enemy ships capable of more effective scan/targeting in solar winds of Anadius’ star because of station AI, disabling it a priority.
  • Operative Braga called in favors, procured micro-QEC paired devices, installed in Orpheus, as well as in LOKI mech, permitting ADaM remote participation in mission, added countermeasures against enemy AI.
  • Operative Braga procured services of surviving Aralakh squad of Krogan.
  • Attacked via enemy fighter launch bay. Did significant damage to bay, and defenders. ADaM prevented us from being vented into space.
  • Fought through bowels of station, encountered significant Cerberus resistance.
  • Found laboratory areas. Recovered experimental files, personally foiled AI attempts to entrap / kill us
  • Found central laboratory, large space containing partially destroyed Reaper-construct in the vague shape of a human skeleton
  • Attacked on catwalks. With aid of Aralakh squad, fought upwards. Operative Fortuna Corinthus crawled inside Reaper superstructure, destroyed Reaper-tech power source, got covered in corrosive Eezo-gel, may be responsible for subsequent irresponsible behavior
  • Found Illusive Man’s office, as well as Illusive Man.
  • Sought to recover data from terminal, but with Reaper-construct power source destroyed, station AI offline, and kinetic barriers down, station beginning to disintegrate, data mostly wiped.
  • Illusive Man sought to parlay, used overt Reaper-technological implants to control actions of squad, attempts to kill him turned on other squad members.
  • ADaM mech immune, but destroyed by errant squad-mate attack
  • Sought to defeat Illusive Man via persuasion, manipulation of Cerberus ideology toward capture / conversion
  • Was incrementally successful, convinced Illusive Man to trust me, accompany us aboard Orpheus, escape station
  • Operative Corinthus continued attempting to kill him, despite all orders to desist, and despite nearly being killed by constant friendly fire at behest of Illusive Man’s control of squadmates.
  • Succeeded at convincing Illusive Man to trust me and accompany me. Corinthus killed him. A waste.
  • Evacuated station
  • Cannot stress enough how potentially useful a converted Illusive Man could have been. Cannot stress enough how insubordinate Corinthus is.
  • Illusive Man’s corpse in my laboratory awaiting analysis.
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Sanctuary
Atropos Cell - Horizon

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

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

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Circe,

While we waited for security clearance to deliver the Eezo to the Crucible project, you informed us, via Operative Aleksandr Davidson, that his would-be patron Henry Lawson‘s Sanctuary project on Horizon may be in trouble. Because Aleksandr’s sister Tatiana Davidson was closely involved in the project, you gave us the option to investigate.

The only evidence we had going in was a garbled message picked up by the Alliance’s Ontarom deep-space array wherein the only recognizeable words were the name " Oriana Lawson ", the word “trap”, and the word “Cerberus.” We arrived at Horizon and noticed the human colony was still intact and heavily fortified against potential Reaper attack. The Sanctuary facility on the other side of the planet, however, was not broadcasting. We determined that there was a strong jamming field that not only prevented communication from the facility, but also interfered with our sensors.

We took a shuttle down. The sprawling sanctuary complex appeared devoid of activity. There were abandoned shuttles littering the surrounding fields, presumably where refugees had left them. In the landing-area courtyard, however, there were a number of Cerberus shuttles, all wrecked or on fire. It appeared that something shot down a Cerberus strike force.

We entered the facility through the front doors and found a receiving area. A recorded voice continued to provide public safety announcements, but there was no sign of either the staff, the refugees, Cerberus, or anyone else. Operative Lia’Danna got into the administrative systems and determined that the facility had admitted more than 200,000 refugees in the last few months, of a variety of species. She also determined that there were other systems that weren’t connected to the main administrative system. Tracing the power draw, she found a concealed exit from within a water-feature from what looked like an extensive underground facility build within Sanctuary.

We descended and found a security room. Lia’Danna turned on the lights and we saw a large containment room filled with dragon’s teeth spikes, and crawling with husks. The computer system revealed an extensive underground laboratory where, apparently, refugees were processed and converted into a variety of Reaper creatures. We also found a message left by Oriana Lawson, who warned anyone who might find it to flee. It seemed apparent, however, that Lawson wasn’t taking her own advice and had preceded us deeper into the facility.

As we progressed, we found more and more data. Lia’Danna has collated the relevant information (attached file: Sanctuary-159). The general purpose of the experiments appeared to be an attempt to understand how Reaper conversion works, and how Reaper creatures are controlled, with the aim toward interfering with or co-opting that control. While I can understand the tactical significance of this data, the methods used in procuring it were barbaric.

Unsurprisingly, we eventually came under concerted attack by Reaper creatures. We fought our way through the facility, facing creatures that, when we had time to consider it, were likely not created there. It became more and more apparent that the Reapers themselves had attacked the facility, diverting ground troops to assault it, freeing reinforcements along the way. For the numbers of Reaper troops that must have been in the facility, however, we encountered surprisingly few of them.

Eventually we found the C&C tower. As we ascended the maintenance ladder to get there, however, we came under biotic attack from Lia’Danna, who had scouted ahead, and Oriana Lawson. Both were moving in a wooden fashion, and Lia’Danna was capable of communicating a lack of control over herself. When Aleksandr emerged, however, the attacks ceased, and we met his older sister Tatiana.

It would appear that Henry Lawson was working for The Illusive Man developing a method for controlling Reaper minions, and presumably Reapers themselves. The lab had developed Reaper-tech implants that were installed in Tatiana when the facility came under attack. She spoke quite freely with her brother, who she believed was on Henry Lawson’s payroll, about how the implants appear to work, and that she can effectively control Reaper creatures, as well as any other person, within a two mile radius. Sadly, Henry Lawson was too trusting, and when confronted by his daughter, ended up shot and killed before Tatiana could seize control of the girl.

Tatiana and Aleksandr spoke for a time, and Tatiana promised vast monetary compensation if we extracted her off the planet and brought her to the Citadel. She spoke quite freely of Cerberus’ aims toward controlling the Reapers, seeming to believe that it was the only viable path to survival. She also mentioned her opinion that the Crucible project would fail, which has the disturbing implication that indoctrinated servants of the Reapers are well aware of the project.

She was dismissive of our accusations that she was indoctrinated. Ultimately, we acted in concert to kill her. Unfortunately, she seized control of us rather effectively, and we turned our various weapons and biotic powers on each other to excellent effect until Lia’Danna was able to catch her in a biotic field, and Tori’Xen shot her with his M-622 Avalanche. This didn’t kill her, but did free us of her control. Aleksandr had a few last words with her before finishing her off.

Oriana Lawson filled in the details we had previously lacked, shut down the jamming, and set the facility to broadcast a warning to any new refugees that might arrive in the system. We then escorted her back to our ship, bringing Tatiana’s corpse with us. She has extensive cybernetic modifications that might prove useful to study.

In addition to the research data attached, Lia’Danna procured Henry Lawson’s personal omni-tool data (attached file: LawsonH-55) and a data-dump list of known processed refugees (attached file: Sanctuary-99). If we win this, their families will need to be told.

Right now, Operatives Aleksandr Davidson, Sebastian Murphy, and Thesalia Kyrathis are sharing drinks in the galley, united by the fact that they’ve all recently lost family to this war. I don’t begrudge them, but I suspect it may be premature. I suspect we’ll all lose far more in the coming weeks.

Dariserix

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Sour Yellow Songs
Lachesis Cell - Eagle Nebula / Citadel

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

Origin ID: Saelan Corl

Recipient: Feron, Alingon

  • Rendezvoused with Orpheus as it was en-route back from Utukku and mission.
  • Briefed on Rachni queen. Communicated to queen via Operative Tessara Eris
  • Queen indicated rudimentary knowledge of Prothean cycle, including Prothean attempt to build Crucible, volunteered
  • Studied data procured from Binary Helix lab on Noveria, biological and genetic construction of Rachni species obviously artificial, posit Prothean genetically-engineered bio-weapon.
    • Capable of refining advanced materials through biological processes
    • Capable of surviving vacuum
    • Seed queen eggs in derelict vessels as survival mechanism, eggs can remain dormant for millenia
    • Transmitted ancestral memory, theoretical capacity to communicate over immense distances. (see thesis on biological QEC by Dr. Anneliese Bryson)
  • Reported all of above, suggested proposal to Crucible project. Require Crucible construction to be accelerated to meet Reaper threat against Citadel.
  • Rendezvoused with Systems Alliance Admiral Steven Hackett. Briefed him. Introduced him to queen.
  • Facilitated negotiations. Difficult decision, to accept method of completing Crucible in time but to risk exposing it to Reaper indoctrinated Rachni. Hackett ultimately swayed by personal testimony and experiences of Operative Tessara
  • Reaper signals detected in system. Determined that Reapers capable of tracking queen via implants
  • Engaged in three day surgical exercise to remove implants while Hackett’s flagship and the Orpheus evaded concerted attempts to capture us.
  • With your help, dissuaded Operative Braga from becoming another drone of the Rachni queen.
  • Transferred Queen, as well as Operative Tessara Eris and our passenger, Sotiria, to Hackett’s command.
  • Returned to Citadel to deliver surviving members of Aralakh Squad.
  • Operative Fortuna Corinthus made contact with old wartime compatriot, “Decimus Septim,” claims knowledge of location of The Illusive Man.
  • Will follow up and keep you informed.
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Omega's Eezo
Atropos Cell - Alingon / Omega

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

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

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

Circe,

As per your instructions, we delivered Dr. T’soni to the facility on Alingon. We met your peer Feron and some of the people under his command, and transferred her to his care. Per your further instructions, we proceeded to Omega to secure the shipment of Eezo that the Council was promised so that we can accelerate development of the Crucible project, hopefully before the Reapers attack the Citadel.

We arrived in the vicinity of Omega and noticed some captured Cerberus ships, including a large cruiser named the Elbrus. Our AI ascertained that there was another AI aboard the Elbrus seemingly engaged in covert ECM and hacking on every ship that came into the vicinity.

We made dock and were approached by a human named Helena Blake. As you subsequently indicated, she is an associate of our network, and we set up a meeting for later. We entered Afterlife and met with our former squadmate Tyler Maddox who is now, apparently, the right-hand man of Aria T’Loak. Aria herself seemed suitably willing to cooperate, but informed us that during Cerberus’ occupation, they over-worked the mining equipment, which was offline for repairs. The stockpiles of Eezo that Cerberus had built up had been looted by various groups during the fight to reclaim the station. She identified three gangs that possessed enough of that stockpile that, if all three were seized, would fill our needs. She promised to handle one of them for us.

The first of the two we handled belonged to a gang called the Talons. Apparently, they had previously been under the leadership of Nyreen Kandros, a Turian I’d heard of before from my days in the Cabals. It appears she died in the last stages of the fight to recover the station, and now her younger brother Nimmor Kandros was running the gang. They were allies of Aria, so we opted for a diplomatic approach. As I already reported, we were able to convince Nimmor to part with his Eezo stockpiles, and in exchange we, through you, arranged delivery of a former Blue Suns cruiser for their use. They seemed suitably pleased with the trade.

We then had our meeting with Blake. She revealed that she had been hanging on to some specimens that she’d been meaning to deliver to the Shadow Broker but hadn’t had the opportunity during the occupation. We took custody of the dead Adjutant, the Collector plague samples, and other items, ultimately passing them on to those within the Network who brought the ship for the Talons.

Finally, we assaulted the headquarters of the Blue Suns on Omega with the aid of a Krogan named Jorgal Nask. Apparently he’d been developing a plan of attack for Aria, and was perfectly content to have us along instead. We utilized concealed access tunnels to burst into the base past their defenses. I accompanied Tori’Xen and his squad to the base’s shuttle bay with the aim of securing it against Blue Suns reinforcements while the rest of the squad assaulted central Command and Control, and Jorgal Nask with a pack of Vorcha kept the assault mechs off our backs. The Blue Suns leader, Donner Vosk, assaulted the squad in at Atlas mech scavenged from Cerberus, but didn’t last long. He proved to ultimately be a coward, and was captured unharmed. The rest of the Blue Suns in the facility, however, were not so fortunate.

I regret to report that we lost one member, Daphne Asada. She unleashed dramatic amounts of biotic power against the entrenched Blue Suns, but was ultimately gunned down. We will deliver her remains to Alliance authorities when we drop the Eezo off at the Crucible project.

We handed Vosk over to Aria, who provided us the remaining third of what we needed. Our hold is now full of a fortune of Eezo, enough to power a small fleet for a decade. Hopefully it proves enough to get the Crucible project up to speed.

Dariserix

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The Rachni Queen
Lachesis Cell - Mulla Xul System

Hello Feron.

You told me to send you a formal report, and so here you are. Oh, this is Braga. Since Saelan had to stay behind to talk to the Salarian Councilor, Wrex asked Liara to put me in charge. He said it’s because he sent Aralakh company to help us, and they’ll only listen to another Krogan. He was right.

So, I hope you don’t mind, but before the mission I called some Asari commando friends. I wanted them in the system to extract us if things went bad. They totally know about the Reaper-Rachni now, so that’s not really a secret. We also brought that human combat medic that Liara found for us, “Hawkeye.” He seemed too cheerful, but Tessara says he’s ok.

We went to the planet Utukku like Liara and Wrex asked. We landed a shuttle and met Aralakh squad. It was led by Urdnot Ravik. I headbutted him until he agreed I was in charge.

We went into the tunnels. There was glowing water. There were eggs that exploded into little Rachni bugs that got into armor and bypassed shields. Fortuna is apparently upset when bugs get in her armor. I used my new Firestorm to burn the eggs and the swarms.

We found dead Krogan, the scout squad that Wrex said he lost contact with. We found Reaper-Rachni. We already sent you all the combat data on them. They hit pretty hard. There were also other types of Reaper creatures in the tunnels.

We fought through swarms, not letting them pin us down. A Cain can work pretty effectively even in caves sometimes. We then found the Rachni queen.

the_rachni_queen.jpg

Liara told us that Shepard freed a queen on Noveria. This was apparently the same one, but implanted with Reaper things. She was shackled, though, and seemed like a prisoner. She spoke through the corpses of dead Krogan scouts and asked us to free her. She spoke using colors and was weird, but seemed to want to fight the Reapers with us. She told us she could temporarily keep her brain-dead children at bay. We decided to free her, and she started to tunnel to the surface while we fought rearguard against her angry Reaper-Rachni kids. Most of Aralakh squad died, but four survived, including Urdnot Ravik. He was upset we weren’t killing the queen. Fortuna made him scared. He probably won’t be a problem.

We called the Orpheus and managed to fit her in the cargo hold. We had to leave our shuttle behind though. Not enough room. We brought a corpse so we could keep talking, but she said it was easier to talk through Asari (or, we figured out that’s what she meant. She talks strange). We asked Sotiria to help, and she was willing, but the queen was stung by Sotiria’s mind, probably because she’s an ardat-yakshi. Tessara volunteered, and now the queen can talk through her anytime she wants.

Tessara says the queen knows a lot about technology, and can build ships and things really well. More importantly, the queen can “hear” the Reapers, and knows sort of where they are and what they want. She says now that the Reapers have conquered Thessia, they plan on attacking the Citadel next.

So… we have a rachni queen in our ship. Where do you want us to take her?

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Thessia
Atropos Cell - Thessia

Shadow broker
Encryption Protocols Engaged

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

Routed via Operative Circe T’Siri

I wonder sometimes at the point of maintaining the fiction that I’m reporting to the Shadow Broker when Liara lies critically wounded in my ship’s med bay and Reapers control every Council homeworld. Nevertheless, I understand the necessity of record-keeping and military structure, and so I will report on our mission to Thessia.

Liara’s briefing indicated that the most closely-guarded secret in Asari history is the fact that they had a Prothean archive on Thessia itself, concealed within the temple of the goddess Athame. This secret was known, apparently, only to Asari matriarchs, and so critical was it to Asari technological and cultural dominance over the last fifty-thousand years that utter secrecy had become habitual. Even the indoctrinated Matriarch Benezia managed to withhold knowledge of it from Saren. It was hoped that this reflexive secrecy had kept it hidden from the knowledge of the Reapers as well, and that we’d be able to fly to Thessia and recover data from these archives on the crucible to help us understand what, exactly, it’s supposed to do.

We arrived in the Parnitha system, however, to discover that the comm-buoy network was down. Investigation revealed micro-particulate wreckage. Operative Sebastian Murphy determined via materials-analysis that the buoy had been destroyed by a reaper metal-plasma beam weapon. It would appear that the Reapers were invading.

A few tense hours of FTL later confirmed it. Thessia was fully besieged. The defensive fleet was wreckage, and the Reapers were burning every major city.

Liara, Operative Thesalia Kyrathis, and our majority-Asari crew were understandably upset at what they saw, but we managed to keep the mission foremost. We loaded into a shuttle and aimed for an asari-held hard-point in the vicinity of the temple. Liara informed us that Thesalia’s mother, the famed matriarch and ambassador Polita Kyrathis, was originally supposed to be our contact at the temple. We hoped that the temple had escaped Reaper attack and that Ambassador Kyrathis was still there.

We arrived and relieved the asari commandos with deck-gun fire before parking the shuttle and setting out through the war-torn cityscape of Serrice toward the temple of Athame. We fought off a harvester and assorted Reaper foot-soldiers. We encountered a new sort of Reaper creature.

ME3_Ravager.png

It hit hard with artillery-like shells. Ultimately, however, we fought our way to the temple which remained unscathed, but also apparently empty. We discovered the temple acolytes, dead with stab wounds.

Thesalia called for her mother and become more and more desperate, ultimately fleeing into the darkened depths of the temple. Sebastian and Lia’Danna chased after her while the rest of the squad puzzled out the strangely compelling statue of Athame. Aleksandr Davidson and Daphne Asada, both of whom possessed the Prothean cipher, seemed compelled by it, as did Liara.

Aleksandr ultimately unlocked the esoteric Prothean power network that opened the statue revealing the Prothean archive stack hidden inside. Thesalia and the others, meanwhile, found the temple’s priestess and the remaining acolytes, all dead, but with stab wounds that appeared self-inflicted. As they hurried to rejoin us, we were attacked by Matriarch Polita Kyrathis and four squads of Asari commandos. The Matriarch’s first action was to dominate Liara into shooting herself in the head.

It would appear that Matriarch Kyrathis was indoctrinated. She nearly dominated multiple members of the squad before Aleksandr succeeded at doing the same to her. We wounded her significantly, but ultimately Thesalia talked the commando squads into standing down and managed to talk to her mother. The Matriarch apparently managed to fight off the indoctrination long enough to warn us that the Reapers planned on attacking the Citadel once Thessia was pacified. She also had some personal comments for her daughter before she stabbed herself, mercifully ending her indoctrinated life.

Sebastian managed some battlefield medicine to keep Liara alive and we managed to extract to the shuttle, and from there back to the Twilight. We’ve brought Matriarch Kyrathis’ body with us. The commandos were apparently not indoctrinated, but rather misled by the Matriarch. We left them to make up for their error by fighting to resist the Reapers on Thessia.

Dariserix Bahktian

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Aftermath
The Citadel

“Glyph, start recording personal log entry.”

of course Dr. T’Soni

“I admit to some concern, perhaps even trepidation at putting eleven diverse, strong personalities in the same room together. These worries were almost immediately borne out as Operative Fortuna Corinthus almost immediately goaded her cell-leader ”/characters/saelan-corl" class=“wiki-content-link”>Saelan Corl into brandishing a device that Atropos Cell’s Sebastian Murphy interpreted as a bomb. With tensions running high after the attempted coup and fears of indoctrination everywhere, he threw himself onto Saelan. Only the swift intercession of Prasi Ptychokota and Atropos cell’s leader Dariserix Bahktian defused the situation."

“I introduced the two cells, and they introduced each other. Things were a little bit awkward, but soon they began sharing stories as soldiers will do, a bit of bragging, no small amount of overt mockery and bravado, a good deal of crudity. Some tried to keep the conversation on the topic of Intel-sharing on the Reapers, others swapped stories of sexual and combat prowess. Secrets were casually spilled that would have rocked the Citadel to its core if I hadn’t taken precautions to ensure that the conference room we were using was surveillance-tight. Doubtless Saelan and Lia’Danna noticed the software scrubbers that gated any and all omni-tool data that entered or left the room. The only such data was the strange quasi-flirtations of Fortuna and the Blackwatch operative, Gaius Severus, who guards her grandfather the Primarch. Other minor communications were also permitted without alteration.”

“The primary data I wished aired was Atropos cell’s interactions with the mysterious species that created the Reapers and the Cycles, and the insights into what they want and why they do what they do. I also wanted Lachesis cell to share what they knew of the Banshees, and the Ardat-Yakshi. Aside from that, any pretense that this was a business meeting evaporated rapidly, which was all well and good. Both cells had been through a lot, both deserved to be lauded by the entire Citadel as heroes for what they had done. A chance to spend a few hours with food, drink, and the freedom to speak openly about their accomplishments was about the best I could arrange.”

“This also served as a chaotic albeit informative introduction for Operative Daphne Asada to her new squad, as well as to the stakes for which we’re all fighting. I think she may have been a bit overwhelmed to be the presence of so much concentrated history. These two cells have accomplished more in just the last few months than centuries of war and diplomacy. Only the Reapers could motivate a galaxy to cure the genophage, or unite the Quarians and the Geth. We are in an existential war, and if we do not accomplish the impossible, we are all dead.”

“It’s a shame that Operative Tessara Eris, Shepard, and ”/characters/kaidan-alenko" class=“wiki-content-link”>Kaidan Alenko were still too wounded to participate. I also have some concern for the disappearance of Aldous Tyd. I’ll have agents looking for him. Stilll, the evening was a qualified success. The danger of a cell-based structure is that cells can become insular and strange. Lachesis cell in particular has developed a very odd internal culture that seems to work for them, but can be easily misinterpreted by others. I had to personally remonstrate with Fortuna to stop overtly insulting and provoking her supposed squad leader in front of everyone. It’s good for such cells to occasionally interact with others with whom they share a bond of service, and can speak openly without measuring their words and their secrets."

“And now I’m sending them out once more. I admit to a very personal interest in Atropos cell’s next mission. I have to maintain dispassion. I know, logically, that Thessia will fall. The Reapers will inevitably attack, and with so many forces holding the line at Palaven, we cannot resist. Still, there are things there… secrets… that will need to be preserved. I will weep for Thessia when the war is won. Lachesis cell’s mission is less personal to me, but more disturbing in some ways. Urdnot Wrex tells me of strange reports coming from the vicinity of the Rachni relay. The Rachni queen on Noveria strongly implied that the original Rachni war was orchestrated by the Reapers. If they used the Rachni as soldiers once, they can do it again… and Shepard freed the queen.”

“Members of both squads have volunteered to sit with Shepard and Alenko. They urge me to sleep. I know I need to sleep. It’s hard, though. It’s difficult sometimes knowing so much…”

“Glyph… that’s enough. Stop recording.”

of course Dr. T’Soni

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