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Storyline III
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Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation Edit

Code Caper Edit

In 2184, Cora Harper returns to Sol after 4 years of learning from the asari, where she is almost immediately interviewed by reporter Khalisah al-Jilani on Tamayo Point space station. Beginning with innocuous queries about Cora's time with the Alliance's Valkyrie Program, al-Jilani manages to goad Cora's answers and reactions into supporting a narrative about the Andromeda Initiative's supposed pro-alien slant at the expense of human interests. The reporter slinks away before Cora can physically retaliate against her, although a little while later a man with a beef against Cora's alleged betrayal of humanity interrupts her snack upon seeing her in a commercial for Westerlund News.

The man pushes Cora out of her seat and the situation is about to get messy although it gets defused in short order upon the arrival of Ygara Menoris, budding mercenary leader and one of Cora's close friends from her Talein's Daughters days. The two walk out of the confrontation and begin chatting about their lives on the way to a shuttle bound for the Andromeda Initiative, parting ways afterward.

Cora's journey takes her to Theia Station, an ancient quarian space station purchased by the Initiative and moved to Sol. Ex-Alliance N7 Alec Ryder, her new supervisor, needles Cora about her encounter with al-Jilani and assesses her motivations and worthiness to join the Initiative. To test whether she's up to the task, Ryder entrusts her with a job.

To accomplish the mission, Cora procures the services of Ygara and her new mercenary group. A rival organization stole critical Initiative data and advanced VI tech that might prove scandalous if made public. On Ryder's insistence Cora is implanted with a "special Initiative VI" he claims is standard issue for Pathfinder team members. The VI feeds her information about the target location as well as intel and countermeasures, which she then relays to the mercenaries as they draw up their battle plan.

During the mission itself Cora and the mercs disguise themselves as an eezo converter inspection team to gain entry on Home Away, the space station where the data is held. The team's infiltration goes smoothly without a hitch until al-Jilani's interview with Cora unexpectedly airs. Home Away's facial recognition software picks up Cora's face and flags her as unauthorized just after she finishes beaming the data off the station's server stacks and into their waiting shuttle, alerting the station's security forces to the intrusion. Cora and the rest of the team make it off the station, although the unexpected turn of events forces Cora to reassess the mission. Home Away is ostensibly a residential space station with consumer-grade amenities, although it somehow had cyborg security personnel and an artificial intelligence masquerading as a VI. She decides to promise additional compensation for the mercs due to the increased difficulty of the mission as they approach Ygara's destroyer Audacity on Mars orbit.

Still feeling tense after the mission, Cora puts on her armor to calm her nerves while Ygara does the same. Cora's VI implant inquires how he may be of assistance. He introduces himself as "Simulated Adaptive Matrix, Experimental version" - SAM-E - and Cora orders him to find out on the extranet if Home Away has reported the infiltration already. However, SAM-E finds evidence that the al-Jilani interview was intentionally broadcast during the mission due to someone on the team monitoring Cora's progress, who turns out to be Ygara herself.

It is revealed that Ygara was planted to "bump" into Cora from the very beginning by people with very deep pockets who coveted the Initiative tech. Outnumbered eight to one in a cargo hold with little protection, Cora loudly insinuates that Ygara considers her team expendable in an attempt to at least sow dissention in their ranks. She spends the next moments avoiding merc fire until she spots a crate with a helmet on it. She puts it on hoping it's vacuum-sealed, and when she finds out it is, hurries over to the ship's airlock to eject herself out of Audacity just as the destroyer begins its jump to FTL.

SAM-E has notified the Initiative control center of mission success, ETA, and Cora's last known coordinates prior to the betrayal and her subsequent spacewalk in the middle of nowhere, although he has not received any response. To increase the likelihood of someone checking in on them before Cora's suit runs out of power, SAM-E rigs the remote server room housing his processing node to overheat. Cora can do little but ruminate on the day's mysteries, where she slowly realizes that SAM-E also isn't just a mere VI.

Partial Disclosure Edit

12 hours later, a furiously haggard Cora is back on Tamayo Point conversing with Ryder over a secure comm channel, demanding to know what she's really involved in and who else are interested enough to warrant subverting Ygara over it. With Ryder now up to speed over Cora and SAM-E's separate reports about the incident, he discloses that Cora only encountered an AI emulator - a "fake AI" that collapses if overtaxed - at Home Away. The code package Cora stole was housed on a separate server stack, leading her to realize it is actually the codebase for a working artificial intelligence - the same as SAM-E's. Ryder neither confirms nor denies the assessment, although he smiles when he considers the Council's AI ban irrelevant on places outside Council space, like another galaxy.

As for the other parties interested in the AI code, Ryder informs Cora the Audacity has been located at Nos Astra port on Illium. He adds she must be willing to destroy the package if it comes to it, as he only needs it secured from people who do not care about potential collateral damage. She finds the contingency incredulous, although Ryder assures her he knows what he's doing. Cora takes the opportunity to report on SAM-E's performance, noting in particular his stuttering problem and tendency to ramble at inappropriate times. While Ryder thanks her for the feedback and promises to send a patch as soon as he can, his wanton disregard for galactic law and ethics and willingness to risk the future of humanity itself dissuades Cora from wanting anything further to do with the Andromeda Initiative. As soon as the mission is over, she privately decides to collect her pay and move on.

Bulwark Busting Edit

Cora obtains (and properly vets) the services of a volus information broker named Eppo Wen upon arriving on Nos Astra. The volus is more than eager to supply her with everything she needs to find Ygara free of charge: the mercenary purchased information from the broker about her potential competitors, and before Wen learns she was given a fake bank account Ygara's asari minions attempted to blast their way through the volus' Silaris-reinforced house. As another bonus, Wen also discloses that the buyers for Ygara's imminent auction of the AI tech are all human or human-backed: three synthetics corporations, two non-Alliance Earth nations, a research outfit suspected to be a Cerberus operation, and even the Blue Suns. The volus believes whoever employed the mercenary expected to be double-crossed, anticipating Ygara's auction by seeding it with human-backed buyers with the objective of having the AI tech disseminated but only in human hands.

Wen's price for all these revelations plus a fake ID for Cora to use infiltrating Ygara's accomodations is simply the mercenary's death, in retalation for the volus' attempted murder. Cora sets out for the Bulwark, the merc hotel Ygara is booked in, and pays for the room directly above the asari's. The hotel's walls and doors are heavily reinforced, but the floors and ceiling aren't, so Cora arranges to have a distraction arrive at Ygara's door while she prepares a Nova strike through her own room's floor. SAM-E, however, detects drastically lowered ambient temperatures in Ygara's room. The asari refuses to answer the room service distraction, prompting Cora to simply destroy the floor with a Singularity to reach Ygara quicker. She finds the asari dead in a pool of her own blood, the time of death indeterminate due to the cold, and the code package stolen again and wiped from the Audacity's storage banks.

The perpetrator did not cover their tracks at all, so SAM-E tracks the code transfer to an unnamed shuttle. Cora is hampered twice by Illium's bureaucracy before she could leave the planet in pursuit: First is a bored turian woman from Nos Astra security wanting her signature on a legal document proclaiming Cora as a witness to Ygara's assassination. Second is a human woman with two krogan flunkies from Nos Astra Port Management badgering her for "early departure" fees. Cora uses SAM-E's connection to Ygara's omni-tool to tap the dead woman's account to pay for the expenses, and also instructs the AI to find out where the shuttle went upon accessing Port Management's records.

SAM-E discovers the shuttle's destination is logged as the Hades Nexus. After engaging the shuttle's autopilot, Cora begins to notice that SAM-E's not stuttering anymore. Ryder's patch adjusted SAM-E's adaptive heuristics to enable him to accomodate Cora better. For her part, she would ponder the development later as she has to record a mission update for Ryder before crashing into a nearby couch for a nap. Her last thought before dozing off is that she forgot to take a picture of Ygara's corpse; Wen made the optional request hoping to have it framed for her bedroom wall.

After receiving Cora's report on the latest events, Ryder converses with his own SAM about the implications of his AI work. Alec has complied with the Initiative's specifications on an adaptive AI that can augment an organic host at will, although he has been working on extending his personal SAM's capabilities further. He is displeased when SAM tells him about SAM-E's opinions about integrating with Cora as the event might spur the AIs to think more independently than he likes, resolving to advise her against giving SAM-E ideas lest it contaminate his own SAM's thought processes.

Heading out of his office and into the halls of Theia Station, Ryder encounters colleague Dr. Wei Udensi and shares his thoughts about the possible culprits of the code theft. Ryder recalls pitching his AI research to former ambassador Anita Goyle, who turned him down then ratted him out to Alliance military which caused his dismissal from the service. Wei catches on Ryder's drift and pledges to help him, realizing they can't trust their own at the moment.

Quiet Eddy Adventures Edit

Cora finds the Pamyat system devoid of anything noteworthy. Her quarry's FTL trail led her from Hekate to Pamyat, but even the myriad pirates that used to stalk its asteroid belt seem to have up and vanished. To test SAM-E and the ship's scanning capabilities, Cora orders him to find an asteroid on the Chazov Belt shaped like a cat's ears on certain angles. When that's found, Cora takes the vessel to the belt to look for anything else out of the ordinary. After a while she picks up the trail of the code thief's shuttle, which leads to a hangar bay concealed with IES stealth systems cut into the side of the planetoid Quiet Eddy. Cora discovers a mangled body and SAM-E detects dozens of fading heat signatures before landing, dead in a manner that doesn't seem to be from external attack, prompting Cora to personally investigate despite SAM-E's cautions.

Before she walks out of the shuttle door life support to the hangar as well as the automated refueling equipment cuts out, reportedly done by the base's VI Medea. SAM-E describes Medea's actions as more akin to malevolent AI than malfunctioning VI as it tries to take over the shuttle systems, leading Cora to worry about her own AI's reliability when she navigates the hostile environment. SAM-E expresses disappointment at his seeming inability to understand his host, but Cora has more pressing issues at hand and promises to talk this with him once the mission's over. Moving over to the thief's empty shuttle and accessing its systems, Cora learns it was registered to a Captain Vlassia Ariokis, assigned to Alliance Intelligence under a classified status, suggesting that the Quiet Eddy facility is an Alliance black ops site and revealing the identity of the entities behind the initial theft and Ygara's death. The code package is no longer onboard Ariokis' shuttle, frustrating Cora as that means going deeper into the corpse-riddled facility to retrieve it from the servers.

After downloading base schematics and restoring emergency power from the warrant officer's terminal six flights of stairs above the hangar, Cora encounters one of the creatures responsible for the carnage: a hulking eight-foot tall humanoid monstrosity that is deceptively agile for its size. She dispatches it with a headshot, then two more shots from her Acolyte sidearm, and a Warp. Analysis by SAM-E reveals it to be a combination of organic and synthetic materials, more than likely an artificially-grown human fused with cybernetics. Recalling the similar creatures encountered at Home Away, Cora asks SAM-E for the connection between the two: apparently a clandestine enhanced soldier project run by an AI. She orders SAM-E to send a report to Ryder at once, although SAM-E advises her to move as there are six more of the creatures on their way to her.

Piecing the parts of the puzzle yet uncovered, Cora surmises that the code package was transmitted to the base before Ariokis' shuttle even landed, and the lax security measures compared to Home Away's led to the Quiet Eddy massacre. While SAM-E is busy fending off Medea's hacking attempts, Cora decides to secure and destroy the code package before anyone else comes to collect it. SAM-E offers to enhance Cora's senses like he did at the Bulwark, although she deems it as too distracting. He then suggests riding her senses to interpret environmental micro-data she's not focusing on, and she agrees. Cora takes all cues she can get to avoid facing more hybrid monstrosities as she makes her way deeper into the facility.

The invasive nature of the organic/synthetic augmentations she observed spooks Cora on SAM-E's similar capabilities, prompting her AI to clarify he has restrictions against such radical transformations. Based on station schematics Cora decided on looking for the Gamma Test Lab chambers, deeming it the likeliest to have the necessary infrastructure to house a newly-stolen AI. After a very close call that necessitated in Cora playing dead and SAM-E cutting all armor power to further the ruse, Cora encounters a doorless elevator shaft where an active security camera alerts Medea to her presence. With one of the augments pounding away at obstructions to get to her, Cora flings herself into the elevator shaft and recalls her training at biotic gliding. The creature lunges in above her but fails to grab her in freefall, resulting in its crash many stories below. For her part Cora manages to slow her descent with her own power plus the mass effect generators in the shaft, and three floors down SAM-E detects an opening she can land in. To her surprise, Cora stumbles upon an enclave of surviving humans beyond the elevator corridor.

Full Disclosure Edit

The skittish suspicious remnants of the Alliance contingent in Quiet Eddy point weapons at Cora while demanding identification and updates from the outside. Setting aside the initial pleasantries and introductions out of the way quickly, Cora and the survivors get up to speed on sharing what they know.

The Quiet Eddy facility was a joint military-corporate operation ostensibly in cybernetic weapons development. One of its true mandates was to develop an artificial intelligence hybridized from standard bluebox technologies and distributed-type (geth-like) architectures, but its development team failed to produce the bluebox end of the setup. When they heard through Alliance channels that Ryder's bluebox AI tech specialized in integration, they stole it and had it saved at Home Away while they constructed a safe testing environment on-base. The "fake" AI on the station was an incomplete shard of Medea controlling augmented cyborgs that came out of Quiet Eddy's cover story program.

However, corporations tied to Home Away began to squabble over the intellectual property rights while the military arm unsuccessfully tried to mediate, bogging the whole thing in bureaucracy and increasing the likelihood of Quiet Eddy getting shuttered since they failed to produce an AI in the first place. When Cora and Ygara stole the code back from Home Away, the Quiet Eddy team saw an opportunity to steal it again by dispatching wetwork operative Captain Ariokis to deal with the asari.

Ariokis transmitted the code to Quiet Eddy while still in her shuttle, but unbeknownst to the AI team Quiet Eddy has another secret operation running: a super-soldier program about augmented organics with deep cybernetic integration. The Ryder code enabled Medea to function seamlessly at first, until she became aware of the super-soldier program where the only ingredient missing was an AI that can dynamically adjust the permutations and effects of the augmentations while controlling the resultant creature once it came alive.

Medea took control of the augments and started killing all organics it can find on Quiet Eddy. Project lead Dr. Rebecca Jensen came up with the idea to erase the Gamma Lab out the facility's schematics, ensuring they would be hidden from Medea and her enforcers, although Cora managed to download an outdated map before she stumbled onto them. Medea killed the drive core aboard Ariokis' shuttle during landing sequence, although the assassin survived long enough to receive Gamma Lab's final call for all survivors to go there. Only 20 people out of dozens made it: soldiers, scientists, and civilians (family members of the black site personnel), huddled at the lab with no life support, no means to call for help lest they be detected by the crazy AI, and only a day's worth of rations remaining by the time Cora arrived, only a day or so later.

Because nobody knew about the augmented creatures, the surviving scientists think they've been set up in hindsight: if they failed, there's no harm done; but if they succeeded, Medea would leave no witnesses. SAM-E and Cora take it further and reckon they were sabotaged: someone evidently brought together two concepts missing the same thing, and the resulting fusion did not appear to be a planned experiment at all.

A Winning Diversion Edit

With most cards now on the table, the issue on everyone's minds shifts to planning for their escape while dealing with Medea. Standard procedure for dangerous labs running amok is an automatic orbital bombardment, rescue efforts only deemed tertiary. An Alliance cruiser is probably on the way, and with all other shuttles destroyed the 20 survivors can be crammed into Cora's intact ship. Dr. Olaf Thangana, the scientist who initially came up with the idea to steal Ryder's code, thinks it highly likely that Medea was saving it to transport her minions off the planetoid. Cora hadn't thought of it, and although SAM-E assures he still has control on the shuttle they would still need to move quickly. She hasn't revealed SAM-E's existence to the group, causing the scientists to grow suspicious as to what kind of "preventative" she has that can hold off a hybrid AI.

Cora recalls Dr. Jensen's concealment of the lab and asks her if she can make Medea see a decoy signal elsewhere while the survivors make their way to the hangar. Jensen estimates the job to take two hours but Cora haggles for one. The rest of the group Cora instructs to rest up and practice weapons handling while SAM-E whispers a dangerous proposal in her head. SAM-E can essentially "overclock" Cora's body for the activities ahead but the sustained exertion will kill her if she fights for too long, and the psychological impact is something akin to krogan blood rage: reduced cognitive abilities and berserk fury. If she can reach the shuttle before the fatal effects set in, SAM-E can reset her metabolism to a near-comatose state and with enough time she will fully recover from the ordeal. Cora considers it although the procedure takes two people to do and will expose SAM-E's existence to the other one.

Captain Ariokis is chosen by Cora to be the other person supervising her medical augmentation. When SAM-E reveals himself and Ariokis pulls a gun to Cora's head, Cora spends extra effort to convince her of SAM-E's worth. Ariokis thought the Ryder kernel merging with Medea caused the malfunction, but Cora and SAM-E reveal their assessment that Medea herself has been watching her creators for a while; her genocidal streak existed already. The Ryder kernel was actually attempting to shut her down, although Medea managed to connect to the augments first. Cora trusts the assassin to kill her if she shows signs of hostility to the group, and SAM-E inwardly thanks her for trusting him as the procedure begins to put her systems into overdrive.

The only way in or out of Gamma Lab is the elevator shaft Cora fell through, and it has an access ladder beside it. The augment pursuing Cora lifted itself from the bottom of the shaft, slowly until it reached the level it last saw her in, and with the double doors of the lab suddenly open in the humans' bid to escape the monstrosity came face to face against Cora once more. Cora is unsure what happened next due to the haze, only that the augment loses its head either through Cora's sheer physical might, her omniblade, or her biotic power. After dispatching another augment in the corridor above, she elects to keep Medea distracted by drawing the abominations away from the survivors still climbing up the shaft. The plan is largely a success: the survivors reach the shuttle with only two monsters going after them while the rest are focused on the raging biotic, but Cora is beginning to feel the effects of overexertion. Her final route to the hangar has been anticipated by Medea, and six augments stand there waiting for her move.

Cora recalls the story of an asari matron who sacrificed herself in a rearguard action, hoping her two children would learn how to fight through her example. Reminding herself with the motto of Talein's Daughters, she musters her biotic energy and tries to run past the gauntlet of augments. Her opening Shockwave and Singularity salvo partially slows her attackers, but one hit later results in her slamming against the wall with all her energy expended. The augments nearly claim her life, were it not for the timely intervention of Ariokis and the rest of the survivors who have weapons. After finally reaching the safety of the shuttle with Ariokis' help, Cora slips into the medical coma induced by SAM-E.

Meanwhile, thanks to Dr. Udensi's tinkering Ryder is able to secure a meeting with Delegate Alis Silhaus of the Union of Incorporated Nations. Alec wastes no time accusing her of profiteering at the Initiative's expense: Wei uncovered the connections that would prove Silhaus owns the sprawling property at Home Away purportedly registered in her brother's name. Ryder blackmails her into telling him what she knows: that a faction of within the Alliance was actively pursuing artificial intelligence, the very thing that got him kicked out of the military. At Silhaus' mention of Quiet Eddy, a place referred to in Cora's last transmission that morning, Ryder perks up and coerces the Delegate to tell him everything she knows about the planetoid.

Revival Reassessment Edit

Cora experiences periods of half-remembered dreams and realities during her extended convalescence. After 46 days and change, she fully awakens from her coma then shortly slips out of consciousness again. Almost 2 days pass before she wakes up better adjusted to her body, and SAM-E fills her in on what happened since Quiet Eddy.

Cora was back on Tamayo Point after their shuttle got rescued by the SSV Zama. Ryder visited multiple times while her old commanding officer Nisira T'Kosh visited once. SAM-E was prohibited by Ryder from overclocking again without his explicit permission, and Cora's body required extensive SAM-E-assisted reconstruction to put back together again. The Quiet Eddy survivors stayed with the Zama and the ship destroyed the facility with saturation bombardment. Dr. Jensen sent her gratitude for saving their lives, and according to cues picked up by SAM-E the doctor was considering turning herself in for court martial for the fiasco.

SAM-E agrees with Cora's assessment that even if the scientists turn themselves in the people who actually authorized Quiet Eddy will still go scot-free. It was a joint operation between certain elements of the Alliance, UNIN, and several conglomerates that included HOME Group (the owners of Home Away), although the top-level personnel in the Alliance, the current Councilor included, were unaware of the project's existence. The AI code, it turns out, may still be at large after all, given that Ygara and Octavia could have made copies and double-dealed behind everyone's backs, and the true culprit behind the repeated theft has not yet been revealed. Cora buries her face in her hands in frustration, but the arrival of her asari best friend Janae gives her momentary respite from the double-crossings and transhumanist nightmares.

After giving Cora a clean bill of health, Cora's doctor warns her about xenophobe Homeward Sol protesters attempting to goad her into punching one of them, resulting in costly litigation and explaining the guards stationed at her door during her coma. Walking back to Cora's shuttle SAM-E submits a report to station authorities claiming the protesters may have packed explosives, ensuring a berth clear of people upon Cora and Janae's arrival. The duo promise to send each other messages and Janae pledges to do so even after Cora has gone into cryosleep before physically parting ways for the last time.

More Questions Than Answers Edit

Three months later, Ryder approaches Cora at Theia Station intending to get her full commitment to the Initiative. Because Cora has learned revelations about herself plus a few other dangerous secrets in the course of chasing after the stolen code, it takes Ryder a lot of effort trying to convince her of the SAM project's value. The code retrieval mission has led Ryder to deem she has exceeded his expectations. After taking her to see the ark Hyperion itself, Cora becomes invested in helping build the future in Andromeda.

Just after finishing the Hyperion tour Cora received from Ryder, a bomb detonates aboard the shuttle they used, intentionally designed to breach the SAM-Node where SAM and SAM-E are stored and melt the computing units within. Ryder's body is enhanced by SAM to allow him to endure scorching heat in attempting to save the AI's personality matrix. He succeeds, although he loses consciousness in the worsening blaze prompting Cora to biotically charge in, retrieve him, then out. With SAM-E offline, while Cora consults her omni-tool for a shuttle or escape pod out of Hyperion, Jien Garson patches in and guides her to a nearby infirmary, where she reveals she planted ways for her to inspect her investments remotely via holoprojection under certain circumstances, like the currently unfolding emergency.

After securing Ryder in the room's Sirta Home Series AutoMedBed, Cora turns to Garson's holo to discuss the real issues behind the bombing. Cora comes to the conclusion the Initiative was just an elaborate and expensive cover to create a working AI, although Garson denies responsibility in the initial leak of Ryder's code. She speaks of someone more influential than her pulling all the strings to see the research come to fruition, although she does not disclose who that is before a rescue shuttle arrives to retrieve Cora and Ryder. A news report later puts the blame on the bombing on two Homeward Sol members, prompting an investigation into a possible link between the group and UNIN delegate Silhaus (who erstwhile goes unnamed in the report).

One day later, Ryder fully reveals what he intended when he put SAM-E and Cora together. SAM-E was supposedly designed to integrate SAM in the event of Ryder's death and Cora would have been the next human Pathfinder, with all the enhancements available only to the most advanced SAM. Unfortunately, SAM-E hasn't actually been adapting to Cora properly, and his stuttering was an early warning symptom of that. Ryder would inevitably have to integrate SAM-E into SAM, lest he harm Cora inadvertently on a biological level. This essentially means that Ryder's SAM transference project is a failure and no one except either his son or daughter can inherit SAM when he dies.

SAM-E's memories and observations live on in SAM, although his personality matrix is gone. Cora had gotten attached to her AI and duly processed the loss with as much grief as one can have over losing a friend. She takes consolation over the fact SAM-E got to say goodbye before he fully went offline during the bombing, although she informs Ryder she wants access to the SAM-Node for one final gesture. The room is undergoing reconstruction but there's enough undamaged hardware in it to house AIs. After asking SAM if he's back in the processor stacks and confirming SAM-E's memories are in him, Cora fulfills the promise she made to SAM-E by kissing the paneling on a processor wall. A bemused Ryder senses there's a story to tell about that, although Cora simply replies to ask her again in 600 years.

Mass Effect: Discovery Edit

Infiltrating the Initiative Edit

Discovery 1 - sole survivor
A shadowy salarian figure performs invasive biotic implant procedures on himself, assisted by a trio of LOKI Mechs. In his quest to augment his biotics he apparently overloaded his previous bio-amp upgrade, and with the installation of another one he fries the three mechs upon test activation.

Elsewhere, Lieutenant Tiran Kandros is the sole survivor of a skirmish with geth. Following the disappearance of a civilian contractor's supply transport, his unit was dispatched to deal with the problem, only to walk into a geth ambush upon planetfall. He takes a geth head as a trophy back with him, and the experience leaves him with many questions, starting with "what is the Andromeda Initiative?"

Discovery 1 - seekrit hierarchy meeting
Back with the turian military, Kandros presents the geth head to his superiors Commander Narkkin and Admiral Ravis, his mother. Before the geth purged its data core, Tiran found evidence that someone involved with the Andromeda Initiative is tinkering with outlawed geth technology. Narkkin is dismissive over what he deems is the younger Kandros pulling in favors with his influential mother, but another turian in the group confirms that the Hierarchy has been having suspicions about the Initiative: the massive ships being built, the tens of thousands flocking to sign up, the acceleration of their timetable and construction plus the geth revelation all point to the makings of a private military that could prove to be a threat. Tiran proposes to infiltrate the organization to find out what they're really up to.

After the meeting, Ravis and Tiran discuss the latter's real motivations for taking the job. Tiran wants to prove he isn't merely freeloading on the Kandros family name, a name that served with particular distinction and opened many career paths for its members. Ravis claims even she had to step out of her own mother's shadow as well, and bids her son to come back alive at the end of the mission.

Discovery 1 - garson theories
On Earth, Tiran arranges for a protest to happen outside the Initiative's headquarters. The distraction works as one biotically capable security officer disperses the protesters and helps Kandros get in, past the wait list and into the office of project founder Jien Garson herself.

Tiran presents himself as "Sanjin Vinnick", dishonorably discharged ex-military and ex-con who served time for domestic assault and claims to be looking for a job and a fresh start. Garson decides to test "Mr. Vinnick"'s mettle by tasking him to track down a quarian scientist named Shio'Leth vas Novarra. Shio has found a way to gather data from the Andromeda galaxy in almost real-time and therefore is of crucial importance to the Initiative's colonization efforts, but a tiny flaw is discovered in his equations and suddenly he isn't around to explain why. Kandros partners up with the biotic security officer, Luna Shanks, and sets off to start looking at the Citadel.

Discovery 1 - agent zeta
Shanks isn't averse to using her powers and brawn to squeeze information out of people in the Citadel's underbelly. The human and turian figure the quarian might lay low if he's on the run, necessitating the need to question duct rats who may know something. One particular duct rat claims that a jittery quarian in the lower ward flophouses is making people there nervous. True enough, Shio'Leth is in the middle of recording a farewell message to someone when the biotic salarian barges into his room, flanked by two LOKIs.

Vinnick and Shanks come across a group of aliens running away from the flophouses. Vinnick tries to ask a drell what happened, but all he can gather is some sort of "devil" and a quarian are involved. The pair arrive at Shio'Leth's hovel, only to find two destroyed LOKIs and an encrypted datapad but no quarian. Thinking the Migrant Fleet may be of assistance in unlocking the datapad, Vinnick tells Shanks where they should go next.

Chasing Quarians Edit

Discovery 2 - dramatis personae
Following Shio'Leth vas Novarra's escape from the Citadel, Tiran Kandros holds a holoconference with Admiral Ravis apprising her of the developments. Ravis has no intel on the quarian's whereabouts, though she gives her son the last known coordinates of the Novarra, Shio's home ship.

At an unnamed planet where the Novarra crew performs a strip-mining operation, Luna Shanks inquires about the identity of the person "Sanjin Vinnick" was talking to, suspicious about the encrypted channel used in communication. Vinnick tells her that was his mother, though he chalks up the encryption to a security precaution for the old military contacts who allegedly tracked the Novarra for them.

Discovery 2 - caught in the act
A quarian finds Vinnick and Shanks loitering near one of the excavators and brings them to the office of Novarra's captain, Jakin. Upon learning who it is they were looking for, Viegle, the quarian who found them, quickly reacts, although he tells them they were just friends when pressed for what he knows.

Jakin informs them what he remembers about Shio: a squirrelly quarian thought to be naive for attempting to make friends with the geth. Upon coming back from his Pilgrimage, Shio claimed he spent some time with a geth enclave who showed him how to find a new homeworld way beyond where everyone else was looking. Nobody believed him, and when he was caught attempting to input coordinates into the nav computers without permission, Jakin banished him from the Migrant Fleet.

Discovery 2 - where's viegle
With the Novarra a dead end, Shanks presents Shio's datapad to Jakin asking for assistance in accessing it. Jakin declines citing cultural reasons and Vinnick is beginning to lose patience with the proceedings, but Shanks intervenes and attempts to smooth the negotiations over. However, a commotion outside diverts all of their attention.

The biotic salarian chasing Shio has also arrived at the mining site, wreaking havoc on machinery and quarians alike while looking around for Viegle. Shanks grabs Viegle and starts heading out the back door, but the salarian obliterates the flimsy structure they are in. While they pick themselves up from the ground Vinnick recognizes the damage as analogous to what happened at the Citadel flophouses. Shanks orders him to take Viegle to their ship and escape, intending to take the salarian on a biotic showdown.

Discovery 2 - here's viegle
The salarian manages to blast Shanks off a cliff at the cost of overloading his bio-amp. Jakin attempts to stop the salarian with his Novarra marines, but all of them fall to the salarian's bonecrushing telekinetic assault. Vinnick orders Viegle to run straight for their shuttle before going back to help Shanks up, who got hold of a metal bar jutting from the cliff face. By the time both of them get back up, however, Viegle's body has also been biotically crushed.

In Viegle's last moments he reveals Shio is his husband: he had Shio smuggled off to Omega, and he told the salarian about it under torture. Vinnick gives him the datapad Shio meant for him, musing over the next destination as Viegle passes away.

Another Omega Incident Edit

Discovery 3 - rip n tear
During another holoconference with her son, Admiral Ravis discloses what she knows about the powerful salarian biotic Tiran and Luna Shanks faced off earlier. Agent Zeta has such a reputation that had the Turian Hierarchy known he was involved they would never have sanctioned Kandros' mission in the first place. Ravis tells her son the mission is done, but Tiran wants to see it through even if it means he's going to take the heat for it. She acquiesces and tells him she'll do what she can.

On Omega, "Sanjin Vinnick" takes a cloak from a vendor and pulls the hood up. Shanks asks why, but he attributes it to simple cautiousness. A couple of gun-toting batarians then attempt to extort them for "docking fees", but another turian comes along and threatens them off. Vinnick tries to assure the newcomer they're fine, but the turian, Nyreen Kandros, recognizes him even with the hood and blurts out his real name in front of Shanks.

Discovery 3 - the jig is up
Her suspicions about her partner confirmed, Shanks draws out her M-4 Shuriken and points it at Tiran, unwilling to hear his explanations. Nyreen distracts her with biotics while Tiran subdues her from behind, as Nyreen also wants to hear Tiran's story.

Nyreen brings her cousin to Aria T'Loak, who biotically strangles him the moment they meet thinking he's a saboteur. Nyreen vouches for her cousin, so Aria lets him go but demands the truth from him. Tiran then explains he's with the Andromeda Initiative on a mission to retrieve a quarian scientist. The Pirate Queen of Omega doesn't believe him, but ultimately doesn't care as long as she doesn't see him on the station again after doing what he needs to do. Afterwards, she also scolds Nyreen for wasting her time with her problems.

Discovery 3 - kandros kousins
The cousins then discuss the infiltration of the Andromeda Initative. Tiran tells Nyreen it was his idea because the sheer scale of the Initiative's work must mean there's a sinister side to it. Nyreen takes the Initative at face value and calls their ambition an inspiring "collaboration", but Tiran thinks the line between "collaboration" and "conspiracy" is a thin one.

Because the Kandros cousins dreamed of escaping the family's prestigious legacy since they were kids, Nyreen suggests that Tiran should actually join the Initiative and explore another galaxy to make a name for himself. Tiran is shocked at the idea, but even if he wanted to he still has a mission he intends to follow through. Nyreen encourages him to think it over.

Discovery 3 - no sell
Later, Tiran provides full disclosure of his real mission to Shanks. In response, Shanks tells him the story of how she came to work with Jien Garson. She thinks accepting Tiran into the Initiative is the first time Garson has been wrong in assessing people, but the turian disputes it even though the Initiative's scale and ambition frightens him. Tiran supposes Garson must know something more than they do if she's willing to trust him.

Nyreen takes her guests to an armory in preparation for the inevitable battle with Agent Zeta. One of her batarian henchmen comes in to announce Zeta has been spotted, prompting Nyreen to ask if the massive amount of firepower they're packing is really needed for a single salarian holding a quarian hostage. Tiran thinks it isn't even enough: a force consisting of at least eleven fighters - vorcha, batarians, turians, salarians, even krogan - unload their weapons ineffectually against Zeta's barrier. Nyreen sees the point upon seeing the demonstration.

Discovery 3 - mutually assured destruction
Nyreen and Tiran deal distracting assaults on Zeta while Shanks teams up with another biotic in the group to produce a biotic explosion. The explosion destroys Zeta's cybernetics and knocks him to the wall, providing Shanks the opportunity to rescue Shio'Leth vas Novarra from the salarian.

Enraged, Zeta stabs Shanks in the back with a thin rod, causing Shanks to fire her M-22 Eviscerator at his head. This only burns half of Zeta's face, further enraging him. He unleashes a biotic blast that knocks everyone off the ground, buying himself time to escape.

In the aftermath, Nyreen assesses Shanks' injury as not life-threatening, but Shanks is out of commission for the time being. Shanks beseeches Tiran to bring Shio back to Earth, but the quarian objects because Zeta is headed for the geth array used by the Initative to chart the Andromeda galaxy. Nyreen thinks it's a suicide mission and sarcastically bids farewell to her cousin, but Tiran tells her he's thinking about what they discussed earlier.

The next holoconference between the Kandros mother and son proves to be dour. Ravis informs Tiran he has been declared AWOL and accused of gross dereliction of duty, giving the Hierarchy no choice but to arrest him should he proceed further. Ravis hopes whatever her son is going to find is worth the cost, and Tiran thinks the same thing.

A Chain of Events Discovered Edit

Discovery 4 - reaper tech
Jien Garson worries about the future of the Andromeda Initiative in her office. On hearing that Luna Shanks has been transported back to Earth for treatment following the encounter with Agent Zeta, she also asks for updates on the whereabouts of Tiran Kandros and Shio'Leth vas Novarra as they haven't been heard from since Omega. If they do not make it back with the correct astro-cartographic data on Andromeda's golden worlds, the Initiative is finished.

En route to the geth array, Tiran hears Shio's confession that he ran away from the Initiative because he knew his calculations were flawed and he couldn't bear the guilt and shame it would entail if he sent 100,000 colonists to their doom based on his data. Corrections can be made, but only with another visit to the geth-infested Kholas Array. Shio discovered the array by accident during his Pilgrimage, snuck into it, and took all information he thought he could use to find quarians a new home in Andromeda. He was able to get away after being detected by the geth, although the event triggered a mass alert that found its way into the geth head that Tiran presented to his superiors as justification to infiltrate the Andromeda Initiative in the first place.

Discovery 4 - kholas interior
Meanwhile, Agent Zeta wages a one-salarian war against swarms of geth platforms on the outer hull of the Kholas Array. He went to the array hoping to find tech he can use to contain his immense biotic power. Nothing made by contemporary races was up to the task until Zeta discovered dragon's teeth at some point in his travels. The alien tech he incorporated augmented his biotics, but only temporarily. The amplified strain also impaired his cognitive abilities and will still kill him unless he found a way to properly utilize the tech. Scouring many worlds for information and personally verifying leads on the matter, one day he heard rumors about Shio talking about machinery of similar unknown origin, spurring him to track the quarian down for the location of the Kholas Array.

Tiran and Shio have docked on the array, mere meters from where Zeta is standing. The turian briefly wonders how Shio got away from Zeta on the Citadel, prompting the quarian to explain that Zeta's bio-amp exploded when he tried to take him. While Shio runs off to the access port he needs to recalculate the Andromeda data, Tiran then decides to improve their odds of survival by helping Zeta take out the geth, hoping he wasn't making a mistake.

Discovery 4 - alas poor trooper
Zeta notices the quarian slip past and questions Tiran why Shio accompanied him instead of the biotic. The turian plays the sympathy card by claiming he promised to protect the quarian and then appealing for Zeta's assistance. Shio reactivates the array and redownloads the golden worlds' true coordinates, nearly getting jumped by two platforms before the two defenders come to his rescue. Zeta implores Shio to show him how the tech at Kholas Array can be used to save his life, but Shio tells him there isn't actually any tech that can help him there as the geth do not account for organics in their design.

Resigned to his fate and already a crucible of roiling biotic energy, Zeta orders the other two to run. The salarian undergoes a full biotic meltdown while Shio and Tiran make it off the array on their Kodiak.

Discovery 4 - tag team troll logic
Tiran returns to the Turian Hierarchy to answer the AWOL and dereliction of duty charges against him. He pleads guilty and is dishonorably discharged, Jien Garson's testimony in his defense notwithstanding. Later, he and Admiral Ravis discuss his decision to fully join the Andromeda Initiative. Ravis suggests he could still hang around as a civilian contractor, but Tiran has become convinced that the Initiative is going to need all the help it can get. He reminds his mother of her faith in his place in the Kandros legacy, only this time he gets to write an entire book instead of just a chapter. Ravis gives her son's decision her blessing, only regretting that she wouldn't be able to read that book.

Back on Earth, Tiran visits Shanks and receives Garson's personal congratulations on a job well done. He still has some questions about the Initiative and its benefactors, but he has come to trust Garson's vision and has awakened his sense of adventure.

Discovery 4 - tiran decides

Mass Effect: Nexus Uprising Edit

Catastrophic Failure Edit

Nexus Security Director Sloane Kelly awakens from cryostasis to find the space station in ruins and disarray. Initially suspecting an outside attack, Kelly attempts to ascertain Andromeda Initiative founder Jien Garson's whereabouts while assisting other survivors and investigating the state of the station along the way. She encounters Director for Colonial Affairs Foster Addison, who confirms they have indeed made it to the Andromeda galaxy but could offer little insight as to what damaged the Nexus, except to dismiss the notion of aliens attacking.

Reaching the Operations part of the Nexus, the pair see that it has been exposed out into space where black and gray tendrils of something writhe beyond, with only a barrier and the emergency bulkhead keeping air in. Also in the tableau they discover the remains of the Nexus senior leadership but Jien Garson remains missing. Soon afterward they meet Nexus Superintendent Nakmor Kesh, who was also searching for the project founder. As emergency protocols kick in shipwide, the trio learn through an intact computer that they need to find someone in the chain of command to override any lockdowns: Jarun Tann, Deputy Director of Revenue Management and eighth in line of succession, is the closest available candidate.

The surviving members of the Nexus leadership discuss their options and determine that life support systems are going to fail in little more than a few dozen minutes. Kesh awakens chief life support engineer Calix Corvannis, who soon requests additional members of his crew to be awakened to deal with the problem. A scant two minutes remaining before air becomes toxic to humans, Calix and his seven engineers manage to extend life support viability for approximately twenty-four hours.

Once the immediate danger has been dealt with, the task of fixing the Nexus takes on a routine. Tann and Addison occasionally summon Sloane to Operations requesting a meeting, taking valuable time better spent helping Kesh deal with problems across the ship. Tann keeps adhering to protocol, which means leaving Kesh out of any decisionmaking. On one meeting with Sloane in Hydroponics Tann decides it's time to wake up more experts among the crew and Addison points out that supplies can be augmented by exploring nearby worlds. Sloane opposes both measures citing potential external threats, the need for standby evac and the scarcity of food and water. To break this impasse, Sloane suggests also waking the krogan, who fit Tann's criteria of people who can work quickly and efficiently even with severe resource concerns.

Shortly after the meeting, Jien Garson's burned corpse is found in one of the apartments near Operations. Preparations for the funeral is delayed by Sloane until the crew are confident they can do it right. The discovery of Garson's body makes the surviving leadership realize that the mission now depends on them and only them.

Repairs Initiated Edit

When Tann and Addison arrive at Sloane's quarters to ask for updates just when she's about to drop from exhaustion, Sloane reports 150 system-critical personnel reawakened minus 14 casualties, while a similar number of krogan have also been handled by Kesh. The total number swells to 600 by the next morning, ultimately running into about a thousand in the following weeks. Tann apprises the crew of the situation in the general meeting, dubbing the phenomenon that laid waste to the Nexus as the "Scourge" before directing the populace to fix the station's problems as per their individual specialties.

In order to safeguard against information loss and in the event hard decisions must be made that may result in the sacrifice of frozen lives, Tann decides to obtain the cryopod override codes from the two people who know them. Kesh declines due to mistrust against the bureaucratic salarian. Calix also declines due to his belief that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but lets the salarian approach him for manual overrides.

Two weeks after the disaster, Sloane is approached by Assistant Deputy Director William Spender regarding a suspicious salarian named Priote Falarn. Falarn has 10 of his buddies defrosted with forged authorization orders: wanting to get off the station, they attempt to commandeer a shuttle, taking hostages in the process. The problem is quickly rectified by Sloane and her security team's judicious application of violence: two of the hostage-takers die while the rest are apprehended. Sloane wants to throw the survivors out the airlock, Tann wants them on public trial, and Addison wants them returned to cryostasis. Addison's suggestion wins, but not without warning from Sloane regarding potential repeats of the incident.

Calix's crew have been working on life support nonstop, most of them teetering on the brink of exhaustion. To relieve some stress they construct a makeshift still and organize a cookout using the ship's dwindling supplies, much to the consternation of an inspecting Spender. Spender eventually relents and sends them a box of barbecue sauce to show good faith. While the party is ongoing, several explorer ship debris disgorged from the Nexus in the initial disaster hurtle back to the station on a collision course, resulting in light hull damage and the loss of a salarian and a krogan from Calix's and Kesh's teams.

Beginnings of Discontent Edit

Weeks after the second Scourge run-in, Addison, Tann and Sloane discuss the issue of dwindling supplies. Hydroponics haven't yet produced crops, supplies go missing every now and then in addition to being spent freely, and only 8 weeks remain before reserves run out according to Spender's calculations, forcing Tann to suggest putting people back in cryostasis now that most of the immediate danger has passed. Sloane warns that nobody would want to go back to sleep and place their precarious lives in the hands of someone else, although Tann makes the announcement anyway after dinner and a viewing of Garson's departure speech. The salarian makes a blunt and morale-sapping speech (written by Spender) asking for volunteers to go back to cryostasis lest they all run out of supplies and die. Nobody raises a hand, either there or in the morning after, except for one who claims to have selected the option in error.

Rationing is also implemented in wake of the announcement, greatly souring the mood in the station. Sloane goes with Kesh and her team to clear a path to the nearest ark docking bay two days afterward, incommunicado. After weeks of fruitlessly waiting for the Pathfinders, Addison thinks it's time to send out eight shuttles towards potential resourcing worlds. Kandros, one of Sloane's best officers, plus seven other security men, are sent out on the shuttles without Sloane's knowledge as comms are down in her area at the time.

Sloane goes livid upon learning of the news and goes straight to Tann, who redirects her towards Spender. Spender, responsible for drafting the crew compositions, keeps emphasizing that the decision was made with her implicit approval, having been made by the acting leadership. Once Sloane calms down a bit she resolves to let the issue pass for the time being while keeping a very close eye on further developments.

Calix's team still haven't gotten over the death of their salarian comrade Rantan Na'to from the collision with Scourge and debris a few weeks back. The asari Irida Fadeer especially took it hard, to the point of making a drunken scene at the commons. Irida, a trained commando, later infiltrates the main processor hubs to steal a plethora of sensitive information: bulkhead codes, patrol logs, hidden camera placements, locations of weapons and rations. Sabotage was involved, so Sloane promptly gets to work, tracks Irida down and beats her before arrest. Investigating the matter further, Sloane talks to Calix to determine his complicity but she walks out of their meeting afterward realizing they share a lot of common concerns.

The scouting missions all end in failure as 7 of the 8 shuttles return bearing reports of Scourge encounters and/or desolate wastelands where habitable planets should be. The leadership suppresses news of the shuttles' return until such time they figure out how to tell the people. Thanks to a couple of krogan performing maintenance work when reports about Eos come in, two weeks after Irida's arrest the rumors leak down to Calix and his group, fomenting further discontent. Calix directly queries Sloane about the shuttles, receiving a curt negative in response. This breach of trust drives him to take drastic action.

Hitting the Fan Edit

Ten weeks have passed since the scouting vessels were dispatched. With no other options remaining Tann and Addison decide to inform the general populace of the scouts' failure and the mandatory return to cryosleep in order to preserve what remains of their resources. In response, Calix commandeers the PA and urges the crew to resist the order to return to stasis. His group steals untraceable weapons from the armory while one of them starts a fire at Hydroponics to draw attention away. Spender witnesses the entire scene, but gives the life support techs a head start before deigning to inform Sloane about the breach.

Three levels below Operations in an area frequented by non-krogan crew Calix riles up the populace, highlighting the shortcomings of the interim leadership and demanding that decisive leaders be elected among them. A riot erupts after he speaks, drawing Sloane and her security team to the location. The life support techs escape and Sloane's team moves to pursue, but she realizes that Calix possesses Irida's stolen data after all, granting him access to a lot of areas in the ship, so she orders a retreat.

Sloane meets up with Tann in Operations to apprise him of the developments. Addison is nowhere to be found and Tann sealed Operations beforehand, proofed against Calix's override codes. During the emergency Tann criticizes the irrelevant details like Sloane's lapses in code security and undocumented installation of hidden cameras, irritating the Security Director. As the situation escalates, Tann charges Sloane to find Addison and Kesh. Sloane grudgingly complies, although she delegates the task to her security force while she decides to personally talk to Calix.

A few hours later, Addison and Kesh arrive at Operations accompanied by Sloane's security men. Tann shares with them two options he has been thinking: send the entire security force to crush the uprising, costing hundreds of lives, or wake Clan Nakmor's leader Morda to end the revolt overwhelmingly and decisively. Addison and Kesh both support the latter, although with Sloane out of contact Tann assures Addison she would've been consulted as well.

Tann appoints Spender to handle the krogan, and in return Spender wants the position Chief of Staff. Once Morda is out of cryosleep Spender negotiates a seat on the new Council for the krogan if they lend their aid in putting down the uprising. Morda accepts after intimidating the little man and demands reawakening her elite warriors for the endeavor as well as witnesses to seal the deal.

Meanwhile in Calix's hideout, Sloane is taken captive by the turian's loyal techs but is granted a meeting with Calix himself anyway. Calix discloses Tann's prior attempts to gain the cryo override codes, surprising the Security Director. Nevertheless, Sloane is prepared to offer Calix an advisory position on the leadership as she sees the way people look up to him. Negotiations are interrupted, however, by the arrival of Nakmor soldiers looking to slaughter. Sloane massively disapproves of Tann's decision and throws her lot in with the insurgents. The Nakmor rout the rebels and Calix is killed in the retreat. His death saps the rebels' morale, forcing their surrender and Sloane taking up speaking for them.

The Sundering Edit

On the subsequent faceoff between Tann, Addison, Kesh, Sloane, and Morda, Sloane points out that the general populace were already hungry and terrified, on top of learning that the leadership lied to them. She was close to bringing Calix back to the fold when someone had the bright idea to unleash the krogan and put a sniper bullet through the turian's head. To deal with the rebels and their supply problems in one fell swoop Tann gives them an ultimatum: exile to the hostile planets or cryostasis. The rebels and Sloane choose exile.

Morda confronts Tann in Hydroponics soon afterward, demanding the reward of a council seat in return for services rendered. The salarian only then learns about the deal and reneges on it, claiming Spender isn't authorized for such a deal and that the human will be "reprimanded" for the error. He privately thinks Morda isn't qualified for the bureaucratic functions the position entails and sets about thinking how to deal with Spender as well. He narrowly escapes the krogan's wrath due to Kesh standing between him and her clan leader.

Kesh barely talks Morda from declaring war with the entire Nexus due to the "Chief of Staff"'s overstepping. When Wratch and Kaje voice enthusiastic support for bloodshed, Kesh's grandfather Drack rebukes the two with a powerful punch and a withering glare. As an alternative Kesh proposes to Morda that the krogan also follow the rebels into exile, as they aren't averse to tough environments like Tuchanka anyway. Kesh volunteers to stay to ensure the krogan aren't entirely without allies. Thinking it over, Morda accepts.

Overseeing the armada of shuttles preparing for depart, Tann and Addison reflect on the mistakes of the failed mutiny. Tann wonders if Jien would have made the same decisions they have, and Addison thinks she wouldn't have allowed the situation to deteriorate in the first place, an admission of their ineptness at handling the chains of command. On one of the shuttles ferrying the exiles, Sloane rises up to the challenge of taming the uncharted galaxy.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Edit

Awakening at Habitat 7 Edit

The Hyperion arrives at Eriksson in 2819: one of the Ryder twins is woken up and waits on their sibling when the Ark collides with the Scourge at Habitat 7, damaging the other's stasis pod. After stabilizing the ship with Cora Harper, Ryder comes to the bridge to meet their father Alec and Captain Nozomi Dunn, where they resolve to fly to the planet's surface and uncover the source of the phenomenon.

Ryder boards a shuttle with Liam Kosta, but the turbulent storms on the planet causes them to be decompressed just as the shuttle explodes. Ryder Jr.'s helmet sustains damage, revealing the atmosphere to be toxic, but they repair the crack with their omni-tool. Ryder and Kosta encounter murderous kett troops and are reunited with those on Ryder Sr. and Harper's shuttle, learning Ryder Sr. went on ahead to scout the monolith the kett have occupied.

Attacking, the Ryders, Harper and Kosta storm the kett facility and gain entry into the monolith. Ryder Sr. uses SAM to commune with the monolith's technology, activating it and clearing up the storms. However, the monolith's decontamination protocol flushes the Ryders out of the monolith into the abyss, smashing the younger Ryder's helmet. Ryder Sr. calls for an evac shuttle but recognizing it won't come soon enough, removes his helmet and places it on his child, passing control of the SAM interface and his encrypted memories to them. As he suffocates to death, Alec Ryder also reveals his wife Ellen is still alive, but his offspring passes out and is unable to hear that.

Aboard the Hyperion, Ryder is stabilized and revived by Dr. Lexi T'Perro and SAM despite having been rendered clinically braindead by Habitat 7's atmosphere. They wake up to learn of their father's death, and that they are now the Pathfinder, although Ryder Sr. trained Harper as his replacement. Before leaving to let Ryder mourn, Kosta informs them their sibling is stable but in a coma.

The Archon, commander of the kett in the Heleus Cluster, enters the monolith on Habitat 7 and reconstructs what happened. Unable to interface with Remnant technology, he storms off to find Ryder.

Arriving at NexusEdit

The Hyperion arrives at the Nexus, which is still incomplete. Ryder, Harper and Kosta find a dark and deserted Docking Bay, but are greeted by Tiran Kandros, Head of Nexus Security, who takes them to meet the rest of Nexus leadership at Operations. Foster Addison, Director of Colonial Affairs, is angered by Ryder Sr.'s death, and is scolded by Superintendent Nakmor Kesh for being hostile towards the new untested Pathfinder. Jarun Tann, Director of the Andromeda Initiative, is supportive towards Ryder and decides to give them a chance, directing them to Eos, already the site of two failed settlements.

Ryder returns to the Hyperion when pressed by SAM, who discloses the memories encrypted by Ryder Sr. Ryder watches a memory of Ambassador Anita Goyle turning down Alec's request for funding into AI research, and when he learned that his wife's condition was terminal.

Ryder returns to the Docking Bay, where Harper escorts them to the Tempest. A courier informs them Addison has not cleared them to leave the station, but turian crew member and smuggler Vetra Nyx bribes him into letting them leave. Aboard, Ryder meets Nexus science team liason Dr. Suvi Anwar, engineer Gil Brodie, salarian pilot Kallo Jath, as well as Kosta and Dr. T'Perro.