[D&D] Mass Effect: Chapter 21 – Renegade Options

This post is horribly, HORRIBLY, late. I procrastinated too long to write it because 1) I hate my voice and on this session I talked a lot. 2) … I forgot what reason number 2 was but I am pretty sure it was a good excuse.

Anyway, last session, our characters went through a bit of a dungeon crawl through a geth/batarian pirate base. Despite all the danger they managed to achieve their goal: retrieve the prothean artifact and even got an unexpected prisoner for interrogation!

Of course, not everything went perfectly because… well, like in real life not everything in game will go perfectly, no matter how much you plan. There were certain events whose repercussions were still unknown to us. On this session we’ll start to see some of that plus a few other things.

The Session

After a brief discussion on what to do first, we agreed on interrogating our newest prisoner of war, Rashad. Having learned our lesson with our previous encounter with Zissou, the first thing Sidona did was examine Rashad for one those implants that allowed him to teleport away.

With the help of Kronk, the device was removed and disabled. It went as graceful as one can expect from a krogan helping with surgery but at least it was disabled!

That was the good news. The bad news is that Rashad started convulsing, pretty badly once the device was removed. They were able to stabilize him again but that was still not the end of their problems.

The indoctrination corruption was spreading at an alarming rate, going up his neck. Thinking on her feet, Sidona tried to recall some research about treating it.

Before continuing, here is a side note: there was a lot of back and forth about this, with both Kronk and Sid suggesting some ideas on how to explain it and I am not entirely sure I got all of it right. So the following is my interpretation. If it is incorrect then my GM will tell me and I will make sure to put the correction in the next post.

Anyway, Sidona remembered a research done by the Resistance where they found a certain combination of drugs that could halt the indoctrination process. However it only worked on patients that were on early stages of it, required them to be taken away from the source of it and it still took years to fully stop.

In a case like Rashad, where the indoctrination was a in pretty advanced stage, we didn’t know how well it would work. Still Sidona decided to give it a try and lucky for us it worked! Well, at least it looked like it stopped the spreading of it at that point. We were not entirely sure if it actually halted it permanently.

Sidona then called in Lorik, explained the situation then they proceeded to the interrogation. They started by waking up Rashad who understandably enough was very confused about his new environment.

Lorik quickly explained what happened while at the same time being very evasive about who the party worked for. Worse than that Lorik lied about having a cure to the Reaper’s indoctrination that they would be happy to apply to Rashad… if the pirate answered their questions.

Rashad didn’t seem to totally believe it but he also knew that death was just around the corner so he decided to cooperate anyway. This is what they found out from the interrogation:

  • The pirates found out the transport ship through an insider. Rashad didn’t know the name of the man or anything else, all he remembered is that he was a pilot and a drell. His best guess is that the drell just took the money and died somewhere a long time ago.
  • The prothean artifact was a big surprise for all of them. However once they found what it did they saw an opportunity to change their fortunes forever.
  • What they quickly found out is that the artifact was some kind of prothean super-computer. You gave it a problem and it would give you a solution after some time.
  • The only problem is that the artifact worked by relaying experiences to other organics which was obviously not the best way to interact with when you just wanted to get a problem solved. So they had the idea of contacting the heretic geth to try to build a more modern UI for it.
  • They were able to approach the heretic geth by pretending to serve the Reapers. With the knowledge they had gained from the artifact that was easy to do by just showing their mastery over Reaper technology.
  • At first the heretic geth didn’t have any formal leadership but soon enough they presented AZP as their representative.
  • Initially AZP didn’t look any different from the other geth until he started to talk. That is how Rashad realized that AZP exhibited signs of individuality. However Rashad didn’t know how he was able to achieve it.
  • Their alliance was to develop a more conventional interface to access the information in the prothean beacon that anyone could use, including synthetics. It would be a VI that would talk to them. They were about 99% done with it when our party crashed into their base and attacked them.
  • In the mean time they used the knowledge gained from the artifact to do all sorts of experiments, including building their own mass relay and the dismantling of “dead” reapers. This led to most of them becoming indoctrinated.
  • Rashad quickly realized the indoctrination and tried to stay as far away from the research as possible. Even then he still couldn’t avoid it completely. As for those that were too far gone they just spaced them out or contained them in an abandoned part of their base.
  • The items they obtained from those experiments were sold to whoever was willing to pay their price. Their usual clients were the Hades Initiative, Alpha Protocol and the Shadow Broker.
  • Their ultimate goal was to use the knowledge they obtained to find a place in the galaxy that didn’t have any active mass relays or Reapers on it. They would then activate that relay, travel there and remotely turn off the one they used to travel there.
  • Sidona asked why they couldn’t just blow up the relay they used to travel there but Rashad kept arguing that could leave a trail for the Reapers to follow.
  • Sidona then argued that if they left an offline relay behind they could just as well turn it on again and find out where it led. To which Rashad argued that it wasn’t that easy to turn them on again. They still argued for a bit but Sidona decided to leave it at that as the discussion wasn’t going anywhere.
  • As for the heretic geths, they wished to use the artifact to strip Ilos of every prothean technology there and then create some kind of Super Weapon for the Reapers. He didn’t know the details of it though.
  • Rashad was pretty shocked about AZP’s betrayal even though he was planning to betray the heretic geth eventually.
  • Those teleporter devices in their arms were pretty much miniaturized versions of Mass Relays. They got the knowledge to build it from the prothean artifact.
  • By building them they figured out that the mass relays were made by the Reapers. They also discovered that everything the Reapers build has parts of them into it thus the pirates had to scavenge some dead Reapers to build those mini-relays. That was mostly of the cause for his crew’s indoctrination.
  • As for the human husk, Rashad admitted he used to be part of his crew. Things weren’t like 10 years ago and Rashad didn’t have use for slaves anymore. Besides if someone wanted to join his crew he wasn’t going to be picky about it. But if anybody became a problem they would “off-board” them like anybody else.
  • The pit in their base full of husks was their “no-man land”. At first they thought they could save their husk colleagues so they put them in there. But once their numbers became too dangerous to handle they just started to shoot them off into space instead.

By the end of the interrogation, Novis had one last question for our prisoner. She noticed that the corruption hadn’t spread yet to Rashad’s head, arms or legs and Novis wanted to know how he was able to do that.

Rashad explained they figured out a way to slow down the process. They had devices throughout their base that helped to slow down the spread of the corruption.

In her frustration, Novis accidentaly mentioned the Resistance. Lorik then glared at her for blowing their cover.

Since the party aren’t completely terrible people (most of the time), Lorik promised to drop-off Rashad in some place of his choice, to live the rest of his life in peace. Rashad thought for a bit then decided on a planet in the Rosetta Nebula.

Lorik then admitted that they didn’t really have a cure. They did apply some medicine that stopped the corruption temporarily but they didn’t know for how long. Obviously Rashad was pretty mad at that. Sidona then wisely decided to sedate the pirate.

Hello, it is I, your old friend the Galaxy Map. I am here to break this absurdly long wall of text again. Been a while, hasn’t it? How have you been?

With all that over, Novis requested to speak with Sidona in private. Basically, Novis wanted to keep Rashad as a prisoner. Her reasoning was that he was going to turn into a husk anyway and then they could keep getting blood samples from him. This way Novis not only could keep studying the Reaper nanites but also have a steady source for Sidona’s fatigue medicine.

Sidona refused to go with it since then she would have to explain everything about her fatigue problems to the rest of the party, something she wasn’t willing to do. Not to mention that keeping someone a prisoner and watching them becoming a husk for experimentation sounds completely unethical but I guess that wasn’t something that crossed their minds at that time.

Novis still tried to argue, saying that he was going to die anyway, that he was a bad guy, a pirate, that they could sedate him then keep in a modified morgue without anybody noticing, etc. But nothing convinced Sidona. She argued that the rest of the crew would notice if we didn’t drop off Rashad somewhere.

However, Sidona tried to compromise by proposing to get some samples from Rashad. Then when the opportunity appeared she would try to capture a live husk and explain that they intended to study it.

While all of this was going on, Labor was busy in his quarters doing a different kind of work.

Bygone was there too, reporting on what he saw in the heretic geth network. Basically what Bygone found out is that they have been upgrading themselves over the years, with what he assumes was Reaper’s technology.

The Overseer was someone they chose through a consensus to gain individuality. Somehow they gained that ability from Legion. Bygone theorized that they were using it as a way to have an ultimate arbiter when the heretic geth failed to reach a consensus.

That about sums up what he was able to find out. There is still a lot of unknowns about the current status of the heretic geth but I suppose we’ll find out more as the campaign goes on.

After that Labor decided it was a good time to do some diagnostics on Bygone just in case he tripped some unknown firewall in the heretic geth network.

Labor quickly found there was a lot of differences in Bygone’s codebase compared to what he knew. A lot of it was very similar to what happened to Bygone after that time they explored a dead Reaper. It was actually even worse, a corruption of about 40%.

Since Bygone’s last safe backup was at least a a few weeks old, Labor decided to try a different tactic this time. He informed Bygone about the problem then asked him to stay in there for a bit so Labor could try to work around it.

Bygone at first didn’t want to believe anything was wrong with him. But after seeing the evidence he found it extremely disturbing. Labor however thought it was a natural reaction because, as he put it, that is something they tend to think only happens to organics.

In any case, Labor already had an idea on how to solve the problem. He remembered from the well known documentary “Mass Effect 3” there was a part where Cerberus found a way to hijack Reaper’s code for their own uses. Labor then decided to use the dead Specters’ access keys we had to see if there was any reports about that.

As Labor was busy searching the Specter’s database, Ceni, one of his drones, in an unusual act spoke up, saying “we compiled a list of possible codes that could be useful in breaking the Reaper’s code base”. Then they offered it for Labor to test them out.

Labor at least had the common sense of asking if Ceni knew what each Reaper code did. Unfortunately the drone did not have that kind of information.

Seeing no other alternatives, Labor did what any respectable mad scientist engineer would do: he restrained Bygone then started testing each code!

The first code shut down Bygone. Then he decided to turn on Bygone only for the latter to look like some kind of catatonic geth. To be on the safe side Labor decided to take away access privileges to the ship’s network from Bygone, just in case.

The next code pretty much made Bygone go berserk. There was a bit of a scuffle but Labor managed to shut down Bygone again.

Not deterred by that, Labor continued to test the signals. Some of them did nothing on the surface but was trying to send some kind of data out somewhere…

… which happened to be in the medical bay where Rashad started convulsing violently and trying to get out of his restraints. This forced Novis and Sidona to put even more restraints on him.

They also did a checkup to see if Rashad became a full husk but didn’t find any changes, making them confused about what just happened.

Back at Labor’s quarters, the testing of codes continued like nothing happened. The other codes looked to be action commands like attack or go somewhere. Finally there was one that looked like it could make a unit snap out of whatever other code it received and get back control.

Without any more codes to test, Labor decided to physically check Bygone’s chips to see if there was anything wrong with them. He looked at the equivalent to a mother-board for a geth unit, finding that it had some modifications done to it.

They were very subtle changes to the point that only someone familiar with Bygone’s hardware and a keen eye would notice it.

At this point Sidona called to the others to ask if anything weird happened to them because Rashad had just freaked out on his bed. Everybody answered with a negative except for Labor and Bygone.

This worried Sidona who, after a while, asked if anyone has heard from them. Lorik who is pretty much paranoid about everyone nowadays decided to contact Labor directly to see if he was alright. Labor just answered that he was busy which only increased Lorik’s paranoia. But the only thing he did was to message Sidona to tell her what Labor said and to keep an eye on the geth, “just in case”.

After that interruption Labor went back to studying the Reaper codes trying to figure out how to make his own version of them.

In about a couple of hours of studying he was able to make a general guess of about a hundred codes and estimate there were about a thousand more. Unfortunately for Labor his work had to be interrupted for a commander’s meeting to figure out how to deal with General Dawn Hammer. Labor asked for Ceni to keep crunching on the codes while he begrudgingly went to the meeting.

In space nobody can hear you fly! Ok, that is not that witty but I needed something to break the wall of text so here you go!

During the meeting one thing they agreed on early on was that setting up a trap was the best approach since General Dawn Hammer’s ship was way bigger than ours.

The first idea was to try contacting him and offering to sell the artifact. The problem with that plan was that there was no incentive for General Dawn Hammer to come personally pick it up himself. Insisting for him to come would also be very suspicious.

Labor then proposed that we could just wait for General Dawn Hammer to die. His argument was pretty much that Dawn Hammer was a salarian, presumably alive during the Reaper Invasion 10 years ago. That means he would be at least 28 years old about now and Labor never saw a salarian older than 35 years.

The others just shot that idea down pointing out that their superiors were pretty clear that the targets were to be eliminated. Also, while we waited for him to kick the bucket, General Dawn Hammer could still do a lot of damage to the galaxy.

Our next idea was to pretend to be someone else and let General Dawn Hammer “intercept” their communications. We decided to pretend to be an Alpha Protocol crew who stole the artifact, got their ship damaged and were forced to land somewhere.

After a bit more of discussion we decided on Moros, in the Typhoon system. It was completely inhabited, full of mines on the planet and on its orbit! That meant that if we had to make a escape, we could use the mines in the orbit to our advantage. Their ship would probably be too big to get into the mine field without taking damage while ours could probably dodge them while getting away.

A preliminary scan of the planet also showed a lot of abandoned military structures that would be perfect for our trap.

We set on an abandoned bunker to lay our trap, making sure it got some barricades that we could hide behind when they came in and serve as cover for us. Kronk however was going to stay in another building facing the bunker to make sure it was really General Dawn Hammer that came to fight. If he was then we would get Donk to crash on their shuttle to cut off their escape route. If not then we would steal the shuttle, fly to their ship and do what we always do, improvise and hope for the best!

We also decided to take Tiberus with us for this fight because… Apparently he is becoming our unofficial fifth member just by the amount of times we choose him.

Anyway, after all our preparations were done we had to wait about 24 hours before we got a message from Destin that there was a ship coming in. Soon enough a drop ship landed near our location.

Kronk, looking through the scope of his sniper rifle, saw about 30 salarian soldiers coming out of it. They also had what looked to be salarian husks being lead on leash by the soldiers. Lastly to leave the ship, was a larger salarian, in a fine armored military garb. Kronk recognized him as General Dawn Hammer and informed the rest of the party.

The enemy soldiers spread out to cover the perimeter while Dawn Hammer himself led about 6 soldiers and three of the husks to the bunker we were hiding in. We made sure to lock the door, to make our message for “help” more realistic but the soldiers just started to cut it down. Kronk took that time to order the Plankton to drop Donk on their drop ship.

While this was all going on, Kronk heard the explosion of a mine he left on the entrance of the building he was in. He ignored it as it would take some time for any enemy to find him.

Just as the enemies finished breaching in, as they entered the room, Kronk took a shot at General Dawn Hammer but it only hit the shoulder. As the salarian turned to see who shot him, we could feel the ground shake as Donk crashed on their drop ship, completely destroying it.

The rest of the party then just got out of hiding to start the fight.

And this is where our session ended. I will try to write the next post faster. It should help that the next session has combat and I speak a lot less than in this one. (Famous last words) :p

Next time! Kronk decides to clone Tiberus from the bones he found! The party discovers there is more to General Dawn Hammer than they expected! The Gunplankton discovers its war rival in the form of a red Reaper!

One of those might be true!

Notable Quotes

Uh-huh. Our previous security specialist who mysteriously disappeared, planted a bug in our ship and we can’t find anymore?

Labor, Out-of-Character

Oh, come on! You are a big scary pirate! You can handle a few more questions!

Lorik

After you answer that question I need you to answer our 20 questions survey.

Kronk, Out-of-Character

If only we had somebody in the crew who was willing to kill somebody for, I don’t know, the greater good. But everybody here wouldn’t do nothing like that.

Novis

We are geth. I mean, geth don’t have a concept of privacy. We share our deepest, darkest, internal thoughts on the regular. Why would it be any different with the rest of of you organics?

Labor, Out-of-Character

We had some pretty bad plans. I mean that is a low bar to pass.

Sidona, Out-of-Character?

Like, if I made a Yu-Gi-Oh deck, all my trap cards are mutiny.

The GM

Donk Drops, Dubstep ensues

Kronk, Out-of-Character

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: