[D&D] Mass Effect: Chapter 5 – The start of paranoia

You know when you see an enemy alone in a game then thinks it will be a straightforward fight, with no fuss or surprises? But when the fight starts it turns out to be way rougher than you expected? That is exactly how the fight we had this session felt for me.

But before we get into all that, one correction from last post: Tiberius killed the second Vorcha with a biotic power, essentially slamming him into the wall. Apparently I forgot to mention that detail because I forgot to write it in my notes, making me think the second Vorcha was killed with the Omni-hammer so I left that part vague.

I am mentioning this because I think it was an interesting detail to characterize Tiberius. I mean, turians have a certain stigma against biotics. Or at least they did pre-invasion.

Also, my usual disclaimer:

English is not my native language. Although I can write and read it without issues, hearing and speaking is a different matter. I’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.

Last session ended just as we were about to get into a fight. After a brief recap from our GM, the first thing we did was roll initiative then proceed to deal with the new threat.

As always with combat I won’t go with a turn by turn recount as it wouldn’t be that interesting to read. So to summarize, some more enemies quickly appeared to help the turian sniper. I didn’t really expect him to be alone but I also didn’t expect as many enemies as we got or for them to be that nasty.

First it was two vorcha. Then a human and another turian. Lastly it was a freaking krogan with a flamethrower!

The vorchas died fast thanks to our combined attacks plus the krogan burning them alive while trying to burn us too.

The human and the second turian took a bit more work to kill but they eventually fell down. The krogan was also not that easy to take down but he eventually fell, thanks also in part from the turian sniper who threw a grenade at him while also trying to take some of our characters down.

Clearly, these guys didn’t care much about each other.

The turian sniper eventually was taken down too. Sidona had pinned him up to ceiling with her biotics and made the floor hard to move in. Realizing he had no way to escape and he would die anyway the sniper decided to commit suicide by activating a grenade on his belt, hoping to take Sidona with him. Fortunately his plan didn’t work out and he died alone.

Speaking of Sidona, she was the MVP of the fight. Not only was Sidona able to finish the sniper off, she healed up Lorik who was knocked out pretty early in the fight and Tiberius too a few turns later. In the case of Tiberius he fell down due to the first grenade attack which not only did damage but also caused a fire on the floor.

Sidona dragged Tiberius out of the fire then applied some medi-gel on him to heal some of his wounds. She didn’t do it completely out of the kindness of her heart though, as soon as Tiberius started to regain consciousness Sidona told him “I want you to remember this moment!”

Not seen here: me cursing my dice rolls

While all this was going on, Labor’s drones were exploring the mining tunnels. They didn’t find any opposition but did trigger some mines on the way. Fortunately the drones didn’t get damaged much.

Once the immediate threat was over the party split up to take care of different tasks. Linus went on to loot the dead enemies, getting some guns and armor.

Kronk was taking a short rest to recover from the battle. Labor went on to fix the elevator.

Sidona, Lorik and Tiberius went straight to the command center. When they reached it they found it to be completely stripped: all the consoles were just metallic shells with some wires left behind, all the monitors were gone, there was absolutely nothing of value left.

Sidona started to feel weak then and had to sit on a chair. Lorik, worried, asked if she was feeling well to which Sidona assured him she was okay, she just needed to rest for a little.

Tiberius on the other hand was visibly upset at the scene, even slamming on the wall and exclaiming “Goddamit! They took everything!”. Lorik then noticed that the stealing had been done very recently and the computer parts might have still been around. That gave Tiberius a bit of hope and he radioed the others asking what they found out.

Lucky for him, they did find out something. While looking for scraps that could be useful later on, Lylid found some boxes with computer parts on it, including some memory devices. From the looks of it they were all parts of the Command Center.

They then started to take the boxes back to the ship. On the way there they found out that while fixing the elevator Labor decided to “overclock” it making the elevator move extremely fast. Granted it cut the time to go from 20 minutes down to 5 minutes but it wasn’t a pleasant experience for all the organic members of the party!

Back inside the safety of the ship, they went down the priority list of their tasks. The first and most important one was to name the varren pup, which received the name “Gary the pupper”. He was also given the status of senior officer with the duty of being adorable.

Next Labor looked through the looted armor looking for some kind of identification that could point to which organization they belonged to. The geth found an insignia that he could not identify but Tiberius immediately snatched it and said “That is interesting. I will report it to my compatriots back at HQ.”

Sidona noticed that Tiberius recognized the insignia but was trying to keep a facade of ignorance. She didn’t say anything at the time though.

Tiberius also forbade Labor to look through the memory devices contents claiming it was classified information and he would check them in his quarters.

Labor tried to argue that he would be better suited for the job but Tiberius remained unconvinced. The turian then ordered the party to blow up the signal jammers and look for any signs of enemy ships while he looked into the memory devices.

Kronk however had some different ideas. He whispered to Sidona for her to distract Tiberius while he snatched one of the memory devices. They both did so successfully and Tiberius went back to his quarters without noticing one of the devices were missing.

Kronk then gave the device for Labor to analyze then asked everybody to meet up at the conference room later.

Labor went immediately to work on it, finding that the contents were cryptographed but nothing that he couldn’t manage to bypass. Even better, that memory device was the one that had the experimental weapon blueprint.

The project was called “GARDIAN Missile System”, would be an excellent addition to our ship if we ever get the right resources and it even mentioned a working model. However we didn’t find anything that looked like it in the mines or the buildings we investigated earlier. It would be safe to assume the looters already took it away.

Not seen here: The GARDIAN system installed into our ship

Later when everybody met at the conference room, Sidona immediately told them that Tiberius was hiding what he knew about the patch.

Kronk then asked his VI assistant, GM Mk. IV, to play the video of Tiberius fighting the Vorcha at the mines’ bunker. They saw Tiberius looting their bodies, getting an identical insignia from them and muttering about Alpha Protocol.

Labor searched through the ship’s computers about anything related to Alpha Protocol but it came up empty.

After that Labor showed the blueprints for the weapon project. He mentioned that he copied it to one of his drones then handed the memory device back to Kronk, saying that maybe he could sneak it back in.

With that bit of business taken care of, they each went back to work. Labor tried to boost our scanner system so when the signal jammers were blown up it would be easier to find any enemy ships. For some reason I didn’t write the results but from what I recall he didn’t have much success.

Sidona decided to do an autopsy on the Collector’s corpse with the help of Novus. What they found was disturbing: it had parts that were organic and some parts that were completely synthetic. Worse, it looked like the creature used to be an asari before being transformed into a Collector.

This makes me wonder what kind of abilities these new Collectors have if they are being made from the current species of the galaxy. I guess we’ll eventually find out if we intend to fight the Reapers.

Anyway, back to the story, Labor, with the help of Lylid, tried to hack one last time into the signal jammers. The only thing that they found out is that it could affect the Reapers too but given their technological level they probably could bypass it easily.

As for Kronk and Lorik they both worked on making the bombs to destroy the jammers then proceeded to plant it. Kronk decided that destroying the evidence was the best course of action and put the memory device containing the blueprint together with one of the bombs.

Once the jammers were destroyed Linus tried to scan for enemy ships but didn’t find anything.

Without anything else they could do at the planet they decided to fly back to HQ. During the flight Tiberius requested all the senior officers to meet him at the conference room.

Everybody decided to head there to see what Tiberius had to say. Once they gathered together, the turian proceeded to declare the mission a failure, conjecturing that the enemy probably took it away already and the opposition we met was probably just a second trip to steal anything else that was valuable.

He then asked for a report about the enemy ship scan. We explained we couldn’t find anything which made him visibly upset but he quickly regained his composure.

Lastly Tiberius brought up the image of the Alpha Protocol insignia to the screen, saying that he looked into the files he still had access to from his days as a Specter and proceeded to share all the information he knew about them.

To summarize it, Alpha Protocol are a band of mercenaries run by the Batarians. It was thought they had died during the invasion but apparently they not only survived but joined forces with the Blue Suns and the Blood Pack.

Their only goal is survival, the only ones who they respect are those who are stronger than themselves and they will work for anyone that meets that criteria.

They usually follow the Reapers around, waiting for them to attack a planet. Then once the Reapers leave they go into the planet and scavenge anything valuable that was left behind.

Tiberius didn’t know where they come from though as they tend to move from place to place, to wherever seems to be fortified enough to serve as a temporary base.

The turian also claimed this was all classified information and we should not share it with anyone. However since Alpha Protocol is dangerous it would probably be best if we knew all this.

Labor then asked if it would be possible that there was a mole in the Resistance that could have tipped them about the mining colony. Tiberius replied that was quite likely.

One detail about that is the only people who would know about the mining colony’s existence are Commander level and above. But there is also the possibility that the information was leaked due to the miners contacting their families living in other places. I guess we’ll find out the answer to that mystery eventually.

Before leaving the conference room Tiberius looked at Sidona then said “I would have been honored if you would have been part of my troops before all of this happened.” Sidona just didn’t know how to answer to that though.

When the group was alone, Sidona brought up her findings about the Collector’s autopsy. This led them to discuss what they should do next.

Lorik suggested they should contact Commander Yulaya to report on everything that happened. Linus however felt a bit hesitant, he raised the question that maybe Yulaya was the mole.

There was a brief discussion about that but the group agreed that right now we didn’t have any evidence for that. Still we should be very careful about what we reported to him, just in case.

Since Tiberius said that the mission was a failure, Labor wondered what Kronk did with the memory device. The krogan tried to be evasive about it, saying that he forgot where he left it.

Labor was understandably upset about that answer which led to an argument if Tiberius could have noticed Kronk invisibly sneaking a memory device into his quarters or not.

Eventually we came up with a plan to deal with this problem. Labor would make another copy of the blueprints, split the files up to make it look like they were trying to hide it then put it into some memory devices that he would rough it up a bit to look like it was used. Then we would pretend we found it on the bottom of the crates and only found it now.

We also decided to put a virus to log anyone who tried to access the blueprint files. Then it would send it to a computer that we have access to and trust. But if anyone finds it the virus will look like it is transmitting the info the Geth Network.

Overcomplicated plan? Probably. Will it work? Who knows! We had to stop the session there so there is a lot we’ll have to deal with it as soon as the next one starts.

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