[D&D] Mass Effect: Chapter 12 – Zero Persuasion

It’s been 4 weeks since our last Mass Effect session. I didn’t even realize that until our GM commented on that.

Despite the long pause I think it was the best for us because I, at least, came back re-energized and excited to get back into the campaign.

The only bummer was that Lylid and Linu’s players had to stop playing with us due to real life commitments. Besides losing cool people to play with this also altered our party dynamics and we won’t know the full effects of that until a few sessions down the line.

With any luck though they may be able to play with us again soon.

Alright. Now let me put my usual disclaimer here and let’s get on with the show.

Disclaimer: English is not my native language. Although I can write and read it without issues, hearing and speaking is a different matter. Iā€™d say I am at best 90% skilled at those. Also I have a terrible memory.

What this means is that there may be mistakes here. In case my group corrects anything I will make a note about it here later and in the next post.

The Session

At the end of last session our intrepid heroes (?) ended up in the Vallhallan Threshold after barely escaping from a Hades Initiative Station and a Reaper pursuer. Since they didn’t have any business there anymore they decided to start to head back to HQ.

Sidona decided then to look through the documents we stole from the Hades Initiative. She was looking for the bounty that the Warden had mentioned, which she found pretty quickly.

The datapad was still on the page with the bounty. There wasn’t much though, just an ID number, used for open bounties on the Black Network, it said it was for turian biotic implants within a certain date range and a reward of 25 million credits upon delivery.

Just as Sidona was reading through it, her eyes started to feel heavy, a sensation of sleepiness taking over her body. The only thing she managed to do was to shove the datapad on her pocket before falling sleep right there and knocking a bunch of stuff over.

Chanka Vox and Kronk who were nearby saw Sidona fainting then went on to check on her. Since she wasn’t waking up, they decided to put Sidona on a table and administered some medi-gel.

Kronk did the best he could to diagnose Sidona by using his VI and extracting some blood. But lacking proper equipment all he could find out was that she wasn’t dying. As for her blood, it had normal levels of red cells but an abnormal high number of white cells for a Turian.

Eventually Sidona regained consciousness then explained that what happened was most likely a side effect of her biotic implant. She did use her biotic powers a lot during the last mission after all, with no chance to rest. And rest is exactly what she decided to do for the rest of the trip back to the base.

Oh, while all this was going on Lorik went there to check on his cousin but since there wasn’t much he could do, besides being worried he didn’t participate much on this.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. When they got back to HQ though, Lt. Ramirez welcomed then back with a report on the status of the Plankton. The ship had been fully repaired, a brig and a chemical lab were installed and Tiberus had even signed up an order for the GARDIAN prototype to be installed in the ship!

The Plankton! Now with more features! Well, this still the old image since I don’t have one for the current circumstances

He also recommended for our party to do a medical checkup then to pay a visit to Commander Yulaya as soon possible.

Lt. Ramirez did notice that Labor was missing to which Sidona briefly explained what happened to him. Then we called in Bygone to handle the process of getting Labor’s consciousness back into his original body.

The medical check-up went on without any issues, same for Labor getting back to his old body. Well, sort of. Labor did get some quirks from the experience. For some reason now he really likes the color yellow. He also started to automatically do navigation calculations inside his head every time someone says they need to go somewhere. But since Labor is still getting adjusted to thinking again in small, normal numbers, there is a lot of rounding errors. However these quirks should be temporary. Or so we hope!

With all of that out of the way, the party went back to the Plankton. In there they met Yulaya who was inspecting the ship.

The commander was very surprised that they had returned so fast from their infiltration mission. Lorik tried to subtly explain that infiltration might be too generous of a word for what they did but Yulaya didn’t seem to get the hint. Instead he just congratulated them on a job well done, even said that this would be a new record for infiltration missions in the STG history! Oh, well, he will probably realize what Lorik was trying to say once he read the party’s reports.

Yulaya had some bad news however. Due to some circumstances, both Linus and Lilyd had to be reassigned to other jobs. Also Gunner, our artillery crew member, had requested a leave of absence due to the death of family members. His family lived in a colony that had just been attacked by Reapers, hence his request.

Because of this our crew was grounded until further notice or an emergency happened.

In good news, a cousin of him, a civilian merchant, wanted to help the Resistance by donating some items to us. Yulaya gave us the address then told us we could go pick the items any time we wanted.

He also announced that Tiberus was going to be court-martialed for his actions during the mining colony mission. But what took everybody by surprise is that Yulaya volunteered to be Tiberus’ defense attorney!

The commander didn’t explain his reasons at the time, only said that he would be unavailable during the next couple days as he needed the time to study the case and prepare a defense.

Lastly, we had one week of leave, which our characters probably needed after last mission.

Yulaya then went back to his office while everybody else went to take care of some business of their own.

When the party got back together they decided to look at the intel they got from the Hades Initiative.

The first thing they found out was that the identity of the Warden of the Hades Initiative’s station, was Daniel Harper, estranged older brother to Jack Harper, a.ka. the Illusive Man.

According to those documents, the Illusive Man disappeared and not too long after that Daniel Harper showed up and joined the Hades Initiative. At this point we didn’t have enough information to say what happened there but it was obvious from the documents that the Warden had a lot of power and connections.

Next we tried to find the identity of the Cabal, the leaders of the Hades Initiative. But again, we couldn’t find any document that gave us any good information.

The Cabal is certainly out there, somewhere in the galaxy… Also take a drink!

At this point Sidona told the party that Tiberus contacted her and asked us to convince Yulaya to step down as the defense attorney.

According to Tiberus it would be in his favor if Yulaya defended him but he was afraid his past mistakes could have adverse repercussions to us if our names were associated with him.

If we still needed any convincing then all we had to do was to look into something called Project Bravado.

We discussed what to do about this then decided to honor Tiberus request as well as find more about this Project Bravado.

Kronk was the first one to try, with his access level. The result he got was that Project Bravado was off-limits to anyone who wasn’t a Specter or Council member. Kronk also noticed it was marked as an intelligence brief for Specters.

That means it was time for some good ol’ hacking! Sort of. Labor noticed that among the Hades Initiative intel there was what looked like to be the credentials of Specters considered KIA. The contents were cryptographed but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t manage.

Our hope was that due to the bureaucracy and incompetence those credentials were never revoked. So we gave it a try and it worked! Well, Labor did hide his tracks behind a bunch of VPNs too, just to be on the safe side.

Project Bravado was a report on the mining colony mission. According to the report 80% to 90% population was lost. Since I was too busy typing the notes I am not sure if those numbers meant people killed and the rest are missing or those are the ones missing and the rest are dead.

Anyway, they report also mentioned strong links to the Reapers, which we pretty much knew about already.

One thing we didn’t know until now was they found an audio message from Alpha Protocol. It basically said “Gorger, we found another colony to raid. This one should be an easy picking, we might not even have to nuke it first. Apparently they are fabricating explosives over there.”

Gorger was the name of the dwarf Krogan that we fought when getting back from the mining colony.

This message was sent before we got there. But guess who found it? If you guessed Tiberus then give yourself a pat on the back because you are right.

Labor decided to check on Tiberus’ file too while he had this kind of access level. The first stop was Tiberus’ service history. There were a lot of disciplinary history there that were put under wraps, usually by the Turian councilor. They were put under Specter’s confidential information which made it easy for Tiberus to avoid a lot of disciplinary actions.

Sidona then asked for Labor to check what kind of biotic implant Tiberus had. Turns out it was the same model as Sidona’s and they were also made roughly around the same period of time.

Then she asked to check Tiberus’ medical history. When Labor and Lorik inquired why Sidona wanted all that information, she responded that she wanted to know if Tiberus’ implant met the requirements for the bounty on Turian’s biotic implants. She also wanted to know if he suffered from any side effects from using biotics.

Then they looked at the files, only to find there were no issues mentioned anywhere. The only odd thing they noticed were some gaps early on in his medical history. Very suspicious!

Next, Labor checked for files on Alistair Duncan, the man that contacted Tiberus at the end of the mining colony mission. He didn’t find anything concrete though, just some calls linking the mysterious man to Tiberus and the Turian councilor.

Lastly, Labor decided to check on information about Benia. What he found out is that she used to be in a sort of Specter’s “Most Wanted” list.

Also, according to the files, Benia was part of a sort of Asari cabal with three other asari “sisters”. Although they weren’t related by blood they all had a characteristic in common, the four of them had an unusually high genetic inheritance from their non-asari parent.

In the case of Benia, her father was a Hanar from which she got her pink skin. One of the other sister’s had a Krogan parent, another a Drell and I couldn’t catch the last one as I was too focused on writing this down.

The group split off at some point, with Benia then joining the Hades Initiative. We didn’t look into more information about the others.

This is the Resistance HQ. It honestly looks more industrial than I expected!

With all this information collected we started to discuss on how to convince Yulaya to give up as a defense attorney. Labor then proposed to make a copy of the audio file in a way that it looked like the Hades Initiative had intercepted it then we would just have happened to “find” it among their intel and bring it as evidence to the commander. Our hope was that it would be enough to convince him that Tiberus wasn’t worth his time.

We agreed that was perhaps the best plan of action then headed to Yulaya’s office. Despite being busy, the commander received us with the usual professionalism.

Lorik started explaining that they found a file showing it would be a bad idea to keep defending Tiberus. However Yulaya just stopped him, warning that depending on its contents he was legally obliged to present it as evidence during the trial.

They then gave Yulaya the datapad containing the audio file which the commander played then replayed a few times.

Yulaya told the party that this would make his work harder but he was not giving up on defending Tiberus. At this point Lorik asked directly why Yulaya wanted to defend Tiberus since his earlier impression was that they hated each other.

The commander didn’t answer the question, instead he was evasive saying that he had his reasons and that he believed it would be for the benefit of our party.

Labor then decided to point out that Tiberus had many connections and enemies that could affect us. Yulaya’s expression changed at the mention of this for a brief moment, almost like he was trying to hide something.

But upon being pressed on the issue, Yulaya became defensive while still being evasive about his motives. He then decided to ask us to be witnesses for the trial. This request was not as our commmander, but as a friend. Since it didn’t seem like we would get anywhere if we continued with this conversation they decided to just accept it then left.

Without any other pressing matters to attend to, our party decided to go pick the items from Yulaya’s cousins. When they reached the address they found a shop with the following sign “Sleezy’s Guns & Huns that strap to yur buns Empoream + Pawn Shop”.

Labor immediately turned back to return to the ship and asked the others to pick up his items. Since this is already horribly long as it is, I will spare everyone of the details of the encounter and summarize it: Sleazy was his usual…. well, sleazy self, but we got some nice gear from it which we proceeded to split up.

I will just mention one item in particular, an armor mod in the form of a rogue AI. Sleazy couldn’t figure out how it worked and thought it was a VI. But Labor was able to study it and, well, let’s just say this rogue AI has its benefits and some… interesting quirks. Labor also decided to use it on his armor as he is probably the best one among us to handle AIs, rogue or not.

And with that we finished our session. Personally, I am starting to suspect Yulaya. Even if his motives might be good, as he claims, the means might just be wrong. But I guess we won’t find out until next few sessions.

Notable Quotes

Should I insert more things into her?

Chanka Vox

“Our evil plan outline”

Sidona, Out of Character

He said that because he thinks a clown would do a better job, that is all.

Kronk

Does he have to be alive?

Labor

Can we find out his porn history? In case we need to blackmail him later?

Lorik, Out of Character… Kinda
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