Oh god. Big, biiiiiiiiiig chapter. So, this is a big one. Contained herein is the bit that follows on from chapter 4 with Sam meeting Shepard, and then we move onto the bulk of the chapter, which is the first bit of Feros. Chapter 6 might be a bit of time off, as I'm now going to go back and improve previous chapters, as I'm well aware that there are problems with them.

Also, I'd like to thank everyone who's reviewed, followed, favourited or even just read this story. I wouldn't have even had the will to do this to the level of quality it's at (no promises about that, mind) and for that I am enormously grateful.

Now, without further ado, the disclaimer: All Mass Effect related content in the following text is the property of Bioware. I own Sam. I think.


I make my way back through the maze, passing on my way a few remaining drones that Ashley has presumably deactivated. I have to fight off the urge to kick one as I step over it. The lights have come on too, which is nice.

I leave my equipment on the table by the door, and make my way back out into Engineering, where I run into Tali.

"Hey, Tali!" She turns towards me, and although I can't see underneath the mask, I'm certain that there's a small smirk on her face as she does so.

"Hello Sam…so tell me, how was the training exercise?"

Slightly surprised by the response, I begin to answer "It went great, I think. I'm just going to see Shepard now." Wait. Why does she seem amused? What could possibly be amusing her in this situation…the drones?

She seems to be waiting for me, and while I'm reluctant to give her the satisfaction of asking, I do so anyway "You're behind the drones, aren't you?"

She laughs quietly, "Yes that was me. I must say, it was amusing to set up the shielded ones. Did you enjoy that?" I just look at her in response, resisting the urge to growl in irritation. That was most definitely not funny! She giggles for a second, and then grows more serious "Well, good luck with the Commander. I hope she decides you're OK for the ground team."

I smile in response "Thanks, Tali." Before I head off, though… "Oh, and the drones might need a bit of work if you want them functional again" I say with a grin.

She snorts and walks off, leaving me to head up to the Crew Deck. After the excruciating elevator trip, I walk out onto the deck and find Shepard sitting in one of the chairs surrounding the table of the crew deck. She looks very neutral, which concerns me as it leaves me wondering how I should feel about my performance. In front of her on the table is one of those weird holo-computer things. She must have been watching security footage of the room.

As I approach the table she looks up and motions for me to take a seat. I sit across from her and fixes me with an almost curious gaze, which she keeps up until I begin to grow uncomfortable and shift in my seat. At this, she breaks the stare and picks up the holo-computer, which I was not aware could be done, and flips it around so that we're both able to see the screen. I notice at this point that the Crew Deck seems curiously devoid of, well, crew. Even Kaidan isn't at his usual post, which does lead me to wonder exactly what it is Shepard has to say.

"Well, Sam, while that certainly wasn't an exemplary performance-not that I was expecting one" Ouch "it was certainly impressive for a civilian that's been trained for a week." Plus, y'know, it's my first experience of this level of technology. Oh wait, you don't know that bit. "Regardless, I do have some questions before a final decision is made." Oh wonderful, she hasn't decided yet. Wonder what she wants to ask me about?

Shepard reaches out to the interface of the holo-computer and presses a button on the screen. So it's not unlike an omni-tool interface. Actually, thinking of omni-tools, I wonder when I'll be able to use one?

Up on the screen is what I suspected-security footage from the room in Engineering where the trial is. The cameras must have been well hidden-I didn't see a thing. Of course, that may have been a problem on my end. The current view is of me at the equipment table right at the start. Shepard presses a button on the screen and the footage skips forward to the point where Ashley decided to scare the hell out of me.

Shepard turns from the screen as the scene plays out, with a quizzical look on her face "So why did this affect you so much? Loud noises are pretty common after all."

I shrug "I wasn't expecting it, I suppose. Plus, I didn't really know what to expect from the situation…and, well…" I feel heat spreading to my cheeks as I hesitate to say my final reason.

She raises her eyebrows "Yes, Sam? Something else?"

"I…well, I'm…not the biggest fan of the dark…" my voice trails off into a mutter by the end of this sentence, my cheeks feeling heat in a way I'm not exactly used too.

Shepard seems surprised, but instead of pressing the matter she simply says "Don't worry, Sam, that shouldn't be a problem" and moves on. From what I can recall, she might even be right.

The video moves forward towards my first drone encounter. It's very odd watching myself get shot, even if it doesn't actually hit me. Here, Shepard turns to me and frowns "So I take it you couldn't hear the drone then?"

The drones make noise? "I wasn't aware that there was a noise to be heard."

Shepard sighs and presses the forward button again. When we reach the part where I'm ambushed-for want of a better way of putting it-she reiterates what she said previously about the drones making a noise. Again, I reply that I hadn't heard a thing. Actually, it is slightly worrying that I couldn't hear anything, I've always thought my hearing to be rather good.

Shepard, to my relief, does seem to perk up once we get to my little battle with Ashley and her drones. "You did well here, skirting around the outsides, it's important to know when a head on assault is going to get you stunned-or killed." Well, thanks Shepard. That's just delightful. "I do have one more thing I'd like to mention, before a conclusion is drawn."

She shuts down the video, returning the screen to its default orange glow, before turning to look at me, face set and utterly neutral. Oh this should be fun…

"The grenade." This is said flat, neutral. A moral question. Delightful. "Why did you decide to use it? How did you know it wouldn't harm Ashley?"

Hmph. Good question…

After a few moments thought, I lean forward in my chair and clasp my hands together. "At the start of the exercise," I begin slowly "I was given an objective: find Ashley. I eventually did this and Ashley promptly started shooting at me. At this point, the objective parameters changed: I was either to survive or to find a way to defeat Ashley." Shepard is quiet as I speak.

"I assumed that provision would have been made for me to meet either of these end points. As such, when I found the grenade I came to the conclusion that the grenade would be adequate for me to complete the mission but inadequate to seriously harm Ashley. While I accept that this will, in most circumstances, not be the case, I believe that, at the time, I acted correctly. Is there any more to say?"

Shepard sighs "Well, in this case no. But, I would ask you to consider the consequences-or potential consequences-of your actions. Things aren't going to get set up for you in the field."

Shepard looks down at the table, her forehead creasing as she frowns and falls silent for a few moments. I don't interrupt, waiting for her to speak, and presumably lay judgment upon me. Eventually she looks back up, still frowning, and speaks "Ok, Sam. You're on the team. For the moment, anyway. I'll evaluate you while we're on Feros and then…we'll go from there." What? Really? Well, that's…excellent. And unexpected.

"I just want to say a couple of things first, however." Oh Hell. "While your combat skills will definitely serve, there's still a lot of work to be done, and to that end I'm going to ask that you continue training with Ashley until she feels that you're fully capable" That was to be expected, I suppose "And you're going to have to work on your attentiveness in a combat situation. Geth are almost as quiet as those drones…maybe even quieter."

Yeah, I think I'll follow up on that one, thanks, Shepard. I might like the Geth, but not when they're doing their best to see me dead.

"Understood?"

"Perfectly, Commander."

She nods "Very well then, armour will be made available to you in one of the lockers in Engineering, and…" she trails off, before asking "Do you have an omni-tool?"

I shake my head, realising that I don't actually know if I'm supposed to or not-I'm not sure how widespread they were in Mass Effect 1. Probably the latter, as Shepard doesn't seem overly surprised "Well, there isn't a lot we can do about that at the moment, but we should be able to requisition another one in a fairly reasonable amount of time. It shouldn't prove to be much of a disadvantage."

After a few more moments thought, she sighs and stands. "Well, Sam, welcome to the crew. Report to the airlock tomorrow morning for the Feros mission. You might want to get up a little earlier to familiarise yourself with your weapons and armour. Until then though, you're dismissed."

I stand and attempt a salute, which earns me nothing more than a slightly pitying look, and with that I'm dismissed for the day.

I might as well go and see the other squadmates-they should probably know beforehand that I'll be coming along tomorrow. Kaidan's not on the Crew Deck, so I head back through to the elevator down to Engineering, trying to hide the excitement coursing through my body at the conversation I just had-it might only be temporary, we'll see, but for the moment I am a member of the crew of the Normandy!

I exit the elevator, feeling bubbly, and see Garrus doing his calibrations over by the Mako. I haven't talked to him much since arriving on the Normandy, it seems now would be an excellent opportunity to remedy that.

This goal in mind, I walk up to the busy Turian "Hey, Detective"

He lets out a small, but not very aggressive sounding growl at this-just the effect I wanted, wonderful. He stops his work and turns to face me. "You know you aren't supposed to call me that, Sam. I take it you just spoke with Shepard?" I nod "Well then, how did it go?"

I smile "I'm on the team-for now. Shepard will evaluate my performance on Feros tomorrow. Just thought I'd make it known." Garrus nods, and then clears his throat. Oh hell, what's he figured out?

"Listen, Sam…it may not be my business to inquire about your personal life" Um, what? "But I don't think that's going to be an issue-you see, I decided to run some background checks on you." Ah. I was slightly concerned someone would end up doing that. "Now, you see, I found a problem when I tried to do this." Yeah, that's to be expected. Garrus is also sounding more and more like Archangel with every word he says.

"You see, Sam, it is exceptionally difficult to run a background check…on someone with no discernable background to check. Anywhere in the Galaxy. Now, I found this to be curious indeed, and decided that it should be brought to your attention. Anything to say?"

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Granted, I hadn't quite expected it to be this early, Garrus must be suspicious indeed. Uh…what can I say in response to this? "Well, y'know, I, uh…keep a low profile. And, uh, it isn't like I've ever done anything to receive a background anyway, have I?" I stutter out weakly, smiling feebly. Yeah, acting like that'll sure convince him that nothing is wrong, right?

Garrus…well, he doesn't actually raise an eyebrow, but it sure looks like he would be if he had eyebrows to raise. "Sam, I couldn't find a birth certificate of any kind. Or any reference to you anywhere. No school records, hospital records, travel, accommodation, nothing! You can't pretend that that's just because you've kept a low profile your whole life."

No, I can't, but I can brush you off "Yeah, well, sometimes things go missing, right?"

Garrus looks…less than pleased with my response, but then again I'm not best pleased with my response, so it's not like he's going to be happy. "Right. Well, then, I suppose that that's taken care of. I look forward to fighting alongside you." With that, to my relief, the conversation is over. Garrus turns back to his blessed calibrations and I quickly move over to Ashley's worktable by the room where I did the basic training.

"Hey, Chief. How're you holding up?" I call out as I get closer, trying to hide the strain in my voice as I speak. That conversation with Garrus probably wouldn't take too long to reach Shepard's ears if she enquired, and I won't be able to brush off Shepard as quickly or as simply as I did Garrus. Or, indeed, brush her off at all.

Ashley turns to face me, seeming slightly confused at the question. Her face soon lights up in realisation, and she laughs. "Oh, the grenade! Oh, I'm fine. I've had much, much worse, and that grenade was never meant to do any serious damage. So how did the meeting with Shepard go?"

I smile, although not quite as widely as I did while speaking with Garrus. "It went well, I think. I'm on the team for Feros tomorrow, and Shepard will be keeping an eye on me there. So, we'll see, I guess."

Ashley nods, and smiles slightly "Good. I was hoping that the Commander would agree with my assessment. It'll be interesting to see how you manage in a real combat situation." She smiles a little wider, nods, and turns away, making it perfectly clear that the conversation is over. Ok then, that didn't take very long. Probably preferable, considering how the conversation with Garrus went.

I stroll down to where Wrex stands. He acknowledges me with a very slight nod as I approach "Something you want, kid?" Oh look, I'm still 'kid' here. Not exactly surprising, but still not the way I prefer to be referred to.

"Nothing really, Wrex, just making it known that I'll be coming along to Feros tomorrow." I say, curious as to what the Krogan will think of this. He hasn't displayed any actual hostility towards me, but he hasn't exactly been friendly as such. But then again, when is Wrex ever truly friendly in ME1?

To my surprise, Wrex lets out a quiet, low chuckle at this. "So, the writer is going to be a soldier. Hmph! We'll see how you do then, won't we?" Well that was…short.

"Yeah, well, I guess we will. See you around, Wrex."

"Kid." I sigh.

I walk through the door down to the Drive Core, and find Tali standing at her usual position in Engineering. She notices me as I walk over and greets me. "Hello Sam. How did it go? What did the Commander decide?"

"It went well, all things considered. Shepard says that I'm on the team for Feros tomorrow, where Shepard will be seeing how I do herself. Seems like things are going well." I respond, smiling a bit more genuinely then I did for Ashley and Wrex. Surely Garrus won't draw any negative conclusions from his discoveries, will he?

Tali seems pleased by my answer "That's good to hear. I was slightly worried that the Commander would decide against you, considering how dangerous the mission is. But I'm pleased that she decided otherwise." Yes, you are pleased, and I'm fairly certain that it isn't just from me being partially accepted. Shepard must have given her the Geth data.

Might as well try and find out. "Thanks, Tali, I'm glad to hear it. Oh, and by the way, I've been meaning to ask…how did the Geth base go?" I swear that Tali's eyes glow a little brighter when I ask this. She sure sounds excited.

"Well, it was fairly normal dealing with the Geth, but after the base was cleared, we found a Geth computer terminal in a back room. Once we hacked into it, we found some important Geth data, I won't go into detail, but it could prove very useful for the Migrant Fleet. Shepard decided to give me a copy, which means I now have something useful enough to be considered a worthy Pilgrimage gift." She replies, her voice becoming steadily more excited as she tells the story. I don't believe that I've discussed Pilgrimages with Tali, but I won't bring it up if she doesn't.

"That's good. I'm glad that you'll have something to take back to your people, Tali." I respond, smiling in what I hope is a warm manner. It is good that Shepard helped Tali like that, always good to have more assurance of Shepard's Paragon-ism.

"Thank you, Sam. I'm glad to have you on the team. I need to get back to work, though, so…" Ah, yes, of course.

"Oh, sorry. I'll let you get on with it. I'll see you tomorrow then, I guess." With a smile and a nod, I turn away and head back out of the Drive Core room towards the elevator. Garrus glances at me as I enter the elevator, but he quickly turns away again. Hmm, he is certainly suspicious of me. I can't really blame him, I mean I would certainly be suspicious of me if I were in Garrus's shoes. Or whatever it is Turians wear.

Exiting the elevator, I realise that not only have I barely spoken to Kaidan, but I've barely even seen him since the first day on the Normandy. After a quick check to confirm he isn't in the position he's in throughout the first game, I guess that he must be in the new extension to the Crew Deck, although if he's been spending time there it does make it odd that I haven't seen him around.

I decide to head down to see if he's there, but just before I reach it the door opens to reveal Kaidan. Well, isn't that convenient. "Hey, Kaidan."

He looks at me, persistently unsmiling. Must be the migraines. "Hello, Sam. Something you need?" His tone seems…odd. Not hostile, or suspicious, but not friendly or open either. I keep this to myself, of course.

I shrug "Not a lot, really, just wanted to say that I'm going to be on the ground team tomorrow. Thought that the crew should know."

Kaidan nods "Thanks." He hesitates for a moment, and then speaks cautiously "Listen, Sam, I was just talking with Garrus…" Well that was bloody quick. It is unfortunate that the most suspicious person on the Normandy should voice his concerns to probably one of the most intelligent on the Normandy. I should probably stop him before he begins to think about it too much.

I hold up a hand to stop him, and speak firmly "I'll tell you the same thing that I told Garrus: there's nothing unusual about records going missing, especially when there isn't much to record. Ok?" Kaidan stares at me for a few moments, and then nods "Excellent. I'll see you tomorrow then, Kaidan." And with that, I turn tail and leave perhaps too quickly. That may only have served to increase his suspicions instead of assuaging them.

Ah, well. We'll see what happens. It does concern me that both Garrus and Kaidan are aware of something being up with my story, the two people who I just know will end up trusting me the least, but at this stage that can hardly be helped.

I decide, at this stage, to turn in early. I don't have any formal duties on the Normandy that need to be upheld, I'd rather avoid setting foot around Garrus or Kaidan for the rest of the day. Plus, I'm going to need to be at my best for the experiences of tomorrow. This in mind, I make my way back to my cabin.
_

I rise oddly, uncharacteristically early the next day. I don't even bother to eat anything, my stomach is far too unstable to even attempt that. Instead, I bypass the Crew Deck and head straight down to Engineering. Might as well follow Shepard's advice about familiarising myself with the weapons and armour.

Nobody's around on the Engineering deck, apart from the normal Alliance personnel. My locker is the last one occupied by anything, in the same place as the other squadmates, next to Ashley's workbench.

There doesn't appear to be any real form of security on the container, the contents must be protected simply by faith in human decency. Hmm. I can't say that I overly agree with that, but I won't worry about that at the moment. I open the locker door and take out the contents, spreading them out on the floor in front of me.

Weapons are familiar-nothing that I haven't been taught to use, which is a relief. Assault rifle and pistol. Should be able to use them, they seem to be the same make that I've been using in training, hell, they might even be the same guns themselves.

The armour, too, is familiar to me, even though it technically shouldn't be. Grey, solid and hefty. Standard stuff, if a bit dull. Should probably rectify that problem after the mission today, if possible. If I'm still alive, I try not to think.

I sigh to myself as I begin to put on the armour, reflecting on the foolishness of my situation. Who the hell am I to be in this situation? A physics student from the year 2013 in what was probably an alternate universe, pretending to be capable of influencing such large scale galactic events, when I've only got a weeks' worth of training with weapons I only remember as being graphics on a screen. I've had some delusions in my brief life, but this seems laughable even for me…

This isn't the time to have such doubts. I can doubt myself afterwards, and if there isn't anything left to doubt then, well, I can tick that one off of the metaphorical list.

I finish putting on the armour, and while it is heavy and putting a reasonable weight on my shoulders it isn't nearly as bad as I know it would have been a week ago. I pick up the assault rifle, sling it over my right shoulder into the fairly standard position it gets placed in with this armour, and 'holster' the pistol on my left hip. Well. Guess I'm ready, not a lot of point in hanging around. I'm probably really, really early, but I'm more than prepared to wait for this.

Feeling sick with the nerves, I head back up to the CIC, but just as I'm about to turn into the airlock I realise that I haven't actually spoken with Joker while I've been on the Normandy. Now, that's just an unacceptable state of affairs, that is. Best rectify it immediately.

Stepping into the cockpit, I walk up to Joker, not really sure how to introduce myself, but fortunately he takes care of that for me as I step up to his shoulder. Cerberus definitely got the swivel chair thing right with the SR2. "Hey, it's you! Sam, was it? Haven't seen much of you around here."

I shrug "Yeah, well, I've been busy." Which is a truth, for once, which is nice.

Joker nods, and I realise that perhaps my efforts have been slightly insignificant in comparison to his-flying this ship must be one hell of an effort, especially considering the other chairs in the cockpit are just as empty as they seemed to be throughout the game. "Well, I can definitely understand that. Is there something I can do for you, or…?" He trails off, uncertain of why I'm here.

"Well, I like to get to know the crew. Seems like I'm with you for the duration, so I might as well know who's on the ship with me." I reply honestly, even though I know exactly what he's going to say in response to this.

Joker gives me an odd look over his shoulder "Funny. The Commander came by earlier saying something similar." Did she now? Well, shit, guess I'm going to have to stop stealing lines almost directly from the games. "Well, I'm going to assume that you definitely have not gone through my service record, so I'll just ask what you want to know and leave it at that."

I smile and try to be realistic "Alright, fair enough. So how'd you end up with the Alliance?" I've actually forgotten this one.

"Look, if you're looking for something inspirational then you're going to come out of this one disappointed. My mother was a civilian contractor and I grew up on Arcturus Station back when the Alliance was building up the fleets. Spend that much time around Alliance ships and there's a fair chance that you're going to find yourself at the Academy. That's it, no great story of the crippled kid overcoming the impossible to fulfil his dreams or anything like that. Sorry if I disappointed you." I frown, he seems to have forgotten that I don't know about Vrolik's Syndrome.

"It's fine, Joker, but something caught my attention there….crippled?"

"Oh, yeah, you don't know. Ok, here it is: I've got Vrolik's Syndrome, Brittle Bone Disease. The bones in my leg are improperly developed and they're basically hollow. Put too much pressure on them and they'll snap, even with the leg braces and crutches. But I'll tell you what I told the Commander: put the Normandy in my hands and I'll make her dance, just don't actually make me dance unless you happen to like the sound of snapping shin bones."

"Uh, I think I'll pass up on that one. Thanks, Joker, but I do have one more thing to ask-how exactly did you get your nickname?" I'm pretty sure that I'm asking this one just to annoy him.

I sure get my wish, he lets out an annoyed sigh before replying "Look, I didn't choose the name, ok? One of my old instructors in flight school used to bug me about never smiling, so she started calling me Joker and the name stuck."

"You never smiled?"

Joker sighs "Look, I worked my ass off in flight school. The world isn't going to hand you a damn thing if you go around grinning like an idiot all the time. By the end of the year, I was the best pilot in the Academy, even better than the instructors and they all knew it. They'd all gotten their asses kicked by the sickly kid with the creaky little legs…I'll give you one guess at who was smiling at graduation." Joker seems to be very satisfied with his tale, understandably, I would be too.

"I thought you said you didn't have a story of the crippled kid overcoming impossible odds?" I remark, seeing as how his story is very close to that.

"It's nothing inspirational, just a life story." Joker falls silent. There are other questions that I could ask, but it seems best not to press Joker at the moment. Plus, I don't know how long I've got left until I'm supposed to be at the airlock.

"Well, Joker, it was good talking with you, but I've got to go."

Joker shrugs and turns back to the console in front of him "All right, see ya." Some things, apparently, don't change when they become real.

I turn away from Joker and head back towards the airlock, which is empty when I open it. Guess I'm still early. I head over to the corner facing the door back into the Normandy and slump down into it, the tiredness of my unusually early awakening catching up to me.

I sit there for some time, I'm not certain how long, reflecting on what was about to happen, what I was about to do. I know that it's one thing to be able to shoot a weapon, but it's quite another thing to pull the trigger knowing that what you're shooting at probably isn't going to get back up again. On this, I'm not certain about my ability to follow through. The notion scares me, what with my life being completely untouched by violence.

I'm snapped out of this chain of thought when the door opens and Shepard walks in, dressed in a similar greyish armour to me. She has a helmet under her arm and a similar weapons complement to me, albeit with the addition of a shotgun. I stand as she enters, and she seems a little surprised to see me. "Sam. I would have thought that you'd arrive a little later."

I shrug "Yeah, well, guess I'm just nervous Commander. First combat mission and all." I smile weakly, which she does not return.

"Nerves are normal, but don't worry. You're part of the team now, and we'll keep an eye on you." Here she does smile, reassuringly, which I appreciate.

"Thanks, Commander, that's good to hear." We stand in silence for a few moments, before I ask "Where are the others?"

"They should be here shortly. Lieutenant Alenko is being given a break for this one, he took a knock back on Solcrum, and so there'll be six of us."

That's a substantial increase on the normal party size. Hopefully Geth numbers won't increase in response, although I somehow doubt that's how it works. Then again, all those tasks that Shepard has to perform on Feros should be a lot easier with six people, if Shepard has become comprehending of delegation, which seems doubtful.

After a short wait, the door opens again to reveal the remaining members of the part for today. The two groups acknowledge each other, Shepard puts on her helmet and asks if we're all ready. When she gets nothing but nods in return, she turns to the airlock proper and presses the button next to it.

"Logged: The Commanding Officer is ashore. XO Pressly has the deck." Intone s the Normandy VI as the really rather large shore party moves down the corridor connecting the Normandy to the dock at Feros.

Stepping out of the corridor, we find ourselves in the presumably ExoGeni constructed cavern that constitutes the dock for the colony. The sheer size of the hangar, as it were, is really quite impressive. Wrex comments "This place has sure seen better days." Well, yeah, but it's still impressive that it was built in the first place.

Turning, I catch sight of a colonist up ahead. I'm pretty sure that this guy dies, doesn't he?... Well, that's a horrible thought, and also brings up the topic of how Shepard will treat the colony. I'm reasonably certain that she'll be prepared to help the colony, but it's important not to make too many assumptions like that. Best be prepared to intervene in some way if it looks like Shepard is going to do something morally questionable.

By now, the others have seen the colonist too, and Shepard makes a hand motion that the others follow by drawing a weapon. I follow suit, drawing my assault rifle but keeping it angled down for the moment.

Our little group approaches the colonist, who doesn't seem overly intimidated by the weaponry, but I suppose that Zhu's Hope has received a bit of a crash course in weapons over the past few weeks. He quickly identifies Shepard as our leader, before saying hurriedly "We saw your ship land. Fai Dan wants to speak to you immediately."

Yeah, that doesn't work on Shepard "Who's Fai Dan?" she asks, not overtly suspicious but still cautious, which is probably a good thing.

The man responds "He's our leader. He needs your help to prepare against the Geth, they're making another push"

I see the Geth before the others do, but then again, power of foreknowledge, right? Seeing one of the flashlight headed AI's raising a rocket launcher of some kind, I quickly cry out "Geth!" Just in time too, as Shepard is able to dive to the ground with the colonist even while the rest of us get rapidly behind cover and get ready for the fight.

There really aren't many Geth, just three, a pair of regular Geth and a shock trooper, and even with their element of surprise there really isn't much reason for them to believe that they can win this one. My sentiments are quickly proven correct as the Geth deployable shield things falter and fade under the hail of fire from our side of the battle.

Soon after, the kinetic barriers of all three Geth are ripped through and the flashlights shine no more. Of course, the AI programs are still alive, somewhere on a Geth database, just waiting to be reuploaded into a platform. Killing the platforms doesn't seem so bad anymore.

My thoughts are distracted by the emergence of another three Geth from a side door around the corner. Dammit! I've come out of cover in the time between finishing off the original trio, and my kinetic barriers take more than a couple of hits before I'm able to get back into cover. Leaning behind the cornerstone of the wall, I find myself breathing heavily and will myself to think of it as just another training exercise.

Someone's drawn a sniper rifle, must be Garrus, and fires a shot that rips right through the shields of a Geth and leaves the unfortunate platform in more than one piece on the floor. I imagine that that would hurt. Wrex runs past me and takes up a rather aggressive position with his shotgun, and seems to be giving even the Geth pause for thought in their assault.

I take this opportunity, and my renewed kinetic barriers, to lean out from behind the rock where I'm sheltered and fire a prolonged burst at the seemingly distracted Geth. Huh, the collective intelligence must be more important than I thought, bringing the Geth numbers down from six to two has really slowed down their thought processing. Oh well, mores the advantage to me.

Another Geth going down, the final one stands, still firing, but ineffectively and inaccurately, and still seemingly unaware of its exposed position. Garrus soon puts that right, separating flashlight from body yet again. I don't know why I've started to think of them as flashlights, but it just seems to fit so perfectly…

Waiting a moment to ensure that there aren't any more Geth coming to get us, we all soon get out of cover and congregate back around the corner where we were conversing with the colonist before being so rudely interrupted. The colonist, to his credit, doesn't seem overly shaken, just grateful. "Thanks so much for that, I'd be dead if not for you."

Shepard responds with all the humble dignity of a Paragon. "Just doing our jobs. Now, how do we find Fai Dan?"

The colonist nods, and indicates for us to follow him. Just before we do so, Shepard speaks to me. "Sam. Good work noticing those Geth." I nod in gratitude, and we move to follow the colonist.

Now, unless my memory is very incorrect, the next area is where we get our first taste of the delightful Geth Stalker. What a magnificently named foe. Sure enough, just before we begin to climb the stairwell to Zhu's Hope, Tali asks "Um…has anyone's combat scanner stopped responding? Mine just stopped working." Oh. Must be part of the Omni-Tool in reality, which is why I don't have access to one. Moments later, the others all respond in the affirmative.

"Must be the Geth. Keep your eyes peeled, everyone." Shepard orders. Yeah, that would probably be a good idea, considering our next enemy. The colonist begins to move quite quickly up the stairwell, which I would regard as a mistake, but to my confusion very little happens as we move upwards towards the centre of the colony. I almost believe that the stalkers aren't even here, but what happens next ends that possibility.

I barely even notice it, really, but halfway up the stairs the colonist ahead of us is absorbed in a glow of green light as one of the Geth stalkers beams emanates from somewhere behind us. The colonist slumps to the ground, caught completely unawares and quite clearly dead. Dammit!

Well, no one ever said the Geth can't carry out an ambush and they're not about to start now. Where were they even hiding? I swear that I looked up at the ceiling a couple of times while we were headed up.

My distracted thoughts end when a beam from nowhere smashes straight into my kinetic barriers and something promptly starts making beeping noises. Swinging around to find the source and hopefully not get killed, I spot the perpetrator, clinging to the wall in an unnaturally organic way. Before I can begin firing though, it hops with startling agility out of sight.

The stairwell is soon filled with a cacophony of gunshot as the six of us wildly shoot at anything that moves around on the walls. There's a remarkable speed to the breakdown of order when you don't know where the enemy fire is coming from.

I manage to get another shot off at a Stalker just before it can fire at me, forcing it to hop away and allowing my shields to stop bloody beeping, which is always nice.

A few moments later, an especially loud shotgun blast echoes through the stairwell followed by a shout of triumph from Wrex as he manages to land a direct hit on one of the Geth. Excellent, one down, but there's still another one left in here somewhere.

At least our resistance is somewhat more orderly now that we've managed to take one down, with us actually waiting until the Geth reveals itself before shooting. My kinetic barriers take a couple more glancing blows, nothing too serious, but we soon manage to dispose of the final Geth Stalker.

Almost as soon as the combat is over Ashley turns to Tali and says in a rather demanding tone of voice "Any idea what that was?"

Tali shakes her head, as expected "No, that doesn't look like anything that my people designed. It must be a new Geth design. We knew that the Geth were improving themselves, but we didn't believe that they would go so far as designing entirely new platforms…" She trails off, presumably thinking about the implications of the Geth's development.

Shepard steps in "It doesn't matter now. For now, let's move on to the colony and see what this Fai Dan wants. Keep your weapons handy and your eyes peeled." Good advice, but as far as I remember unnecessary. I don't believe that we encounter any resistance between here and Zhu's Hope, which does raise the question of how the Geth got this side of the colony in the first place. Probably doesn't matter.

As we turn and begin to head back up the stairwell, we encounter the corpse of the colonist. He seems very peaceful, just lying there. Wrex, Ashley and Garrus just step over him and keep going, but Shepard, Tali and I stop and try and figure out what to do with him.

"Shouldn't we try and get him back to the colony?" I ask, reckoning that with such a large group and with the colony so close it would be an acceptable risk. Of course, I was the only one who really knew how close the colony was.

Shepard sure seems doubtful "I don't know…we might need the firepower of whoever has to carry him."

I shrug "So I carry him. I'm the least experienced, so the loss in firepower will be negligible, and the colonists get one of their people back. They deserve that much, at least." I argue.

Shepard thinks it over for a few moments, the others looking at us impatiently "Fine. Pick up the body, Sam. We'll make sure that it gets back to the colony."

I smile, and sling my assault rifle back over my shoulder. Kneeling down, I roll the colonist over so that he's facing upwards and am immediately hit by how glassy his eyes appear, being unblinking and staring eternally into the sky. Before I pick him up I close his eyes. Looks like he's sleeping now. I place my arms underneath the body and slowly haul it up until I'm standing upright.

Wrex seems dissatisfied "Why are we taking the dead one?" Well, no one ever said that Krogan were the most…emotionally tuned of the various alien species.

"The colonists deserve to have their dead back, Wrex." Answers Shepard sternly "And anyway, we're not far from the colony, so we can afford the risk."

Wrex grunts "Not to mention it stops the kid from having to fight" he remarks cynically.

Wow. "Thanks, Wrex, I really appreciate your assessment of my motives." I respond sarcastically. Bastard. Who the hell does he think he is? Well, I imagine he knows exactly who he is, but that's beside the point.

"Can it, you two. Wrex, Sam's motives are genuine, Sam, don't even bother trying to be hostile with Wrex."

"Hah! Good advice, Shepard!" chuckles Wrex.

"Yeah, I'm going to agree with you there, Commander." I respond, in line with my general policy of don't pick fights with Krogan.

"Excellent, are you two done now?" Asks Ashley impatiently from a little further up the passageway where she stands with Garrus. Wrex glares at her, but I just sigh and nod. Who would've thought that retrieving a fallen comrade's corpse would cause so much dissatisfaction with a Krogan? Must be something to do with the whole 'survival of the fittest' thing.

We move on, with me increasingly uncomfortable with the concept of carrying a corpse around, even the short distance to the colony. But, I said I'd do it, so I'll do it.

Just a few minutes later we round another corner only to find it's actually a door way opening out onto the open area of Zhu's Hope. We don't have much time to realise this though, as we are almost immediately accosted by the defenders of the multiple barricades facing the doorway. Guess the colonists lost control of the spaceport at some point.

"Who are you? Are you from the ship, has the Alliance sent help?" They seem reasonably friendly in their tone, they clearly don't want a fight, but the raised guns suggest otherwise.

Shepard raises her hands and tries to defuse the situation somewhat. "Ok, everybody just calm down. Yes, we're from the Alliance and yes we're here to help. My name is Commander Shepard, now everyone let's just lower our weapons and try and resolve this peacefully." You should probably follow her advice, guys.

Fortunately for us all, they give in to reason and one by one, lower their weapons. Shepard motions for the others to do the same, even if most of us do it rather reluctantly. One of the colonists speaks up "Are you all the Alliance sent?" When Shepard confirms this, the colonist seems to deflate "Really? We're going to need a lot more than just you to beat back the Geth. But anyway…we sent someone through to meet you. Where is he?"

Shepard turns and motions for me to step forward. A couple of the colonists gasp when they see the corpse in my arms, but a rather concerning number of them barely react, including the one speaking "Dammit, he died? Well…take him through to Fai Dan. He'll take it from there."

Shepard nods "Where can we find this Fai Dan?"

"Just keep going to the far side of the colony, by the tower. You can't miss it. He'll introduce himself."

Shepard nods, and the colonists let us through. The colony is never shown at full strength in the games, but it sure doesn't look very impressive now. A few futuristic metal buildings, but not a lot else, doesn't strike me very much. What does impress, however, are the crumbling ruins of the Prothean megacity. I comment on this as we move through towards Fai Dan. "Imagine what this place would have looked like back when it was still Prothean."

Ashley gives me a strange look when I say this "You like history?" I nod, not seeing an issue with this, after which she just mutters "Figures." I frown, but don't respond, even though her comment does seem more than a little unnecessary.

After a short, silent apart from my exchange with Ashley, walk, we draw to a halt when we hear a man shout from our right "You there! Are you with the Alliance?"

Turning, we find ourselves facing Fai Dan, which Shepard promptly confirms by asking "I take it you're Fai Dan?"

"Yes, yes, that's me. I take it you're with the Alliance?"

"Yes, my name is Commander Shepard, I'm with the Alliance Navy."

Fai Dan breathes a sigh of relief when Shepard says this "Commander, I'm so glad that you're here. It's good that the Alliance has finally sent someone to help us."

The woman next to him, Arcelia, I think, frowns, and says in a voice that seems oddly defeated "Don't you think you're a little late?" Wow, I feel thanked. Can't really blame her, I guess, what with the Thorian controlling her and all, but it's still annoying to hear someone say it.

Fai Dan sighs and turns to Arcelia "Arcelia, now isn't the time. Let's see how they can help and then pass judgement." Arcelia, while not exactly placated, at the very least shuts up.

Shepard stands awkwardly, and begins to speak just as awkwardly. "Uh, Fai Dan, we were met by one of your people when we arrived at the spaceport…" Fai Dan's eyes seem resigned, he's clearly heard this tone of voice before.

"Yes? Did something happen?" Shepard doesn't say anything, just motions for me to step forward. Fai Dan bows his head when he sees the colonist that I'm carrying.

"Thank you for returning the body to us. We'll see that he's treated properly. Now, though-" As he speaks the sound of gunfire suddenly erupts from the tower doorway just around the corner.

A cry goes up from one of the colonists "We've got Geth in the tower!"

Fai Dan reacts immediately, drawing his pistol and shouting in response "Protect the heart of the colony!" Well, I knew this one was coming. Shepard reacts as well, drawing her assault rifle as the others do the same, before ordering me to leave the corpse here. I'm actually somewhat grateful to be able to set him down, I never realised how heavy a human body could be when it went totally limp.

The corpse set down in a secure position, I draw my assault rifle and re-join the main group. We move towards the entrance of the tower, but we're almost immediately forced to scatter into various bits of cover as a hail of fire from a small group of Geth meets us.

Finding myself next to Tali on the left hand side of the entrance, I take a moment to recover from the action, before stepping in line with Tali, who has drawn her shotgun, and beginning to offer a bit of resistance to the Geth.

In my immediate vision there seem to be three of them, two regular Geth up front and then one of the Geth snipers behind. As I fire I notice that the sniper has begun to glow red. Aren't those sniper beam things really dangerous?

I'm given my answer when, mere moments later, the sniper fires, a beam of red smashing into my kinetic barriers and outright penetrating them, and a few seconds later I feel two objects thud into my armour before dropping to the ground. With the beeping of my disabled kinetic barriers ringing in my ears, I dive back into cover behind Tali. Well, that was highly successful. The Geth fire doesn't appear to have penetrated my armour, which is nice.

Tali subsides in her fire for a moment to look back at me, sounding concerned "Are you alright?" Aw, you do care!

I nod, and reply "I'll be fine, give me a minute. And stay out of the sniper fire!" She nods, and begins returning fire again, while I take a moment to survey the battle.

Shepard and Wrex are on the far side in a similar configuration to Tali and I, Wrex using his shotgun to keep back the Geth that get close, and Shepard using her assault rifle to shoot at targets further back. They seem to be having more success than Tali and I, but then Shepard has the sense to not stand still while the sniper is aiming. Sniper still seems to be functional, as every few moments another burst of red emanates from the doorway and shoots off into the sky.

Ashley and Garrus are a little further back, behind one of the colonists own barricades, Garrus providing some sniper fire of our own and Ashley firing in what seems like a rather risky manner for an assault rifle. I mean, surely a weapon with quite a significant spread should not be used from the rear lines?

My kinetic barriers are soon back up, noticeably faster than I remember them doing so in the game, not that I'm complaining or anything. I step back around Tali and begin firing at the nearest Geth, managing to damage it but not render it destroyed before I'm forced to step back by the Sniper charging up or whatever that red glow is.

This repeats for some time. There are definitely more Geth than I remember here, since even though Wrex, Tali and Garrus seem to be doing an excellent job of bringing them down, they never seem to have taken down the last one. That bloody Sniper is still standing, too. Or maybe it's just a different one.

I lean out from behind Tali again and realise the Geth have essentially been annihilated save for the Sniper, who seems to be more than capable of recognising when its situation has become untenable and get back behind its little pillar. It does, however, seem incapable of passing up the opportunity of taking me out, and just leans out a little bit. Enough for me to be able to shoot at it with a reasonable chance of success and more than enough for it to be capable of charging up to kill me.

Just before I get back behind cover though, a rather different beam, this time blue, whistles past my shoulder just missing my head, and smashes into the Geth Sniper, practically destroying the flashlight and causing the Geth to slump to the ground very much non-functional. This, however, does not concern me at the moment, as I immediately turn and identify the culprit. "Garrus!"

The turian seems unapologetic as he leaps over the barricade he's stood behind and approaches me "What? It was a good opportunity!"

Yeah, right. "Just a little close, don't you think?" The turian just looks at me blankly. I think, he's wearing his helmet so it's difficult to tell. I find it difficult to be angry at him though, considering I almost certainly would have done the same in his position. "Y'know…leave it. I would have done the same. Just please try not to hit me if you ever do that again?" Garrus chuckles, and nods. Excellent.

The sound of gunfire is still coming from somewhere inside the tower though, and Shepard motions for us to form up and press forward. I count eight Geth platforms on the ground as we pass. There's another stairwell in here, and from the bottom I can see fire being exchanged at the top. We hurry to the top of the stairs, and as we arrive we find a single colonist facing off against a trio of Geth.

When he sees us, the colonist shouts out "Don't let me die, please, please don't let me die!" This proves his fatal mistake, as he stops firing for long enough to allow a Shock Trooper somewhere to the side to line up a rocket shot. The rocket shreds through the air and lands virtually on top of the colonist. I wince, and turn away cursing as the explosion goes off.

Wrex deals rather effectively with this one, charging forward and unleashing his shotgun. The Geth really don't last very long, and Wrex soon turns back towards us, smiling grimly in his victory. I consider going to check on the colonist, but I can tell from where I'm standing that there really isn't much to go and check up on. Instead, I simply wait for Shepard to press forward.

We do so, and instead of turning towards the tunnels-doubtless we'll all have fun in there later-and instead press forward up another staircase where we find ourselves in a wide, open space. Not this bloody room, I always did hate this one. Fortunately, the Geth in here don't appear to have noticed us yet. We spread out, taking up position behind varying degrees of cover. Shepard then motions to Garrus, who seems to understand.

Garrus draws his sniper rifle and aims for a few moments. I turn to look at the Geth in front of us, still sadly unaware of their inevitable fate, and ready my own weaponry.

Soon after, a blue beam rips into one of the Geth flashlights. Looks like it was a Sniper, excellent choice, Garrus! Of course, the other Geth don't exactly take this lightly, and soon they are converging on our various positions.

The Geth presence in this room is actually fairly light, suspiciously light, with only three Geth emerging to challenge our assault, none of them actually applying enough pressure to be a serious threat. As they fall, however, I hear the sound of metal feet upon the stone floor echoing from nearby. Well, shit.

We soon see the Geth, reinforcements, plentiful in number and utterly relentless. A Sniper takes position on an overhang and is soon annoying the hell out of me and my kinetic barriers. The Geth, too, spread out across the room and soon neither side is capable of moving. We try and move, a combination of Geth fire and that Sniper stops us from doing so. They try and move, we just stop them and they withdraw back behind cover.

I find myself next to Shepard, taking pot shots every few moments as the stalemate drags on. A few minutes in, though, I notice a big block of concrete -at least I assume its concrete- and realise that this perfect piece of cover is completely unoccupied. An idea begins to form in my mind.

I motion to Shepard, who leans in to listen to what I have to say "Commander, I have an idea!" She doesn't say anything, probably for the best "I'm going to run for that block of concrete! When I do, it'll draw their fire, so try and take something down while they're distracted!" Shepard hesitates for a moment, then nods.

I sidle along to the edge of the cover I'm in and then take a deep breath in preparation for what I'm about to do. I then throw myself out from behind cover and make a dash for the concrete block. From behind me I hear an assault rifle suddenly burst into action, and that's followed by the sad little beeping noise and the subsequent clatter of Geth falling to the ground. My kinetic barriers are pretty badly beaten, but at the very least I've been able to allow Shepard to take down some Geth.

I peek back around the concrete block and see that my ploy worked-the Geth numbers have been thinned by at least three platforms. Wonderful. I see Wrex notice this and begin to press up the other side of the room, using his sheer size and aggression to break the Geth line with no fear of being flanked anymore. The Geth have at this point been battered fairly severely, with only the Geth Sniper on the overhang still in a position to do anything.

I grin to myself, and then leap out from around the concrete block, unleashing the power of my assault rifle in the general direction of the Geth Sniper. It doesn't even get an opportunity to fire back once, my, probably just lucky, shots quickly taking down the Geth's shields and then ripping into the platform proper, quickly rendering it deactivated.

Just as the Sniper falls, however, cracks spread across the roof of the room, which promptly split open to reveal three more Geth troopers, which, although not a serious threat, still prove an annoyance with one of them landing behind us. They're quickly dispatched though, allowing us to regroup and reform our kinetic barriers.

As we begin to move towards each other, I hear a loud, booming noise begin to echo through the corridor that the Geth reinforcements are moving from. Oh, bloody hell, it's a Destroyer.

Scattering once again, we find ourselves fighting a rather tough Geth unit, not helped by the fact that it just so happens to choose me to be the brunt of its bloody charge, forcing me to dive out of cover to keep in one piece.

Quickly relocating to another piece of cover, I keep firing in conjunction with the rest of the squad, but whatever shielding the Geth have put on this Destroyer is seriously solid, with even minutes of continuous fire from at least one source is having difficulty breaking.

Soon, though, the shields show the obvious signs of fading. The Destroyer, seemingly sensing the danger it's found itself in, launches one final charge…straight at me. Oh shit. I don't have time to get out of the way, so I just resort to firing desperately at the oncoming destroyer as it approaches, but the armoured plating of the Destroyer seems to be much thicker than on the other Geth, and my fire, while visibly having an effect is simply not doing it quickly enough.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see Wrex charging towards the two of us, before leaping forward and tackling the Destroyer right out from in front of me, landing on the stone floor with a loud clatter. Did Wrex just deliberately save my life?

I recover from the shock of what just happened and quickly run over to the Krogan, who is already clambering to his feet and grinning viciously at what he's just done. Still slightly surprised by his actions, I ask "Wrex! Are you alright?" He doesn't respond, he just grins ever wider, which I wouldn't have believed was possible.

Eventually, he speaks "Never better! That Geth didn't know what hit it. Hah!" Well, he's sure earned the right to sound that triumphant, I'm not convinced that I would have come out of that one fully intact…which is really not a thought I wanted to have.

"Well, Wrex, I guess I owe you my thanks."

"Don't mention it! Wouldn't have wanted you to die so early on anyway!" Wow, not only does combat really cheer Wrex up, but apparently it makes him more flippant too, wonderful.

I don't have any more time to thank him, as at that moment even more of the ceiling comes crumbling down to reveal a Geth dropship, which I really should have remembered as being there, which promptly flies away, acknowledging their defeat, this time.

We watch the ship go. Well, I guess that concludes the tower segment. Now, back to Fai Dan? "Well, that seems to be done with. Should we report to Fai Dan?"

Shepard nods "Let's make it quick. We need to find where the Geth are bunkered." Oh yeah, we're not just here to help the colony. Forgot that bit of information. Well then, off we go.

Mere minutes later, we're back with Fai Dan. He seems grateful enough "The towers secure. All thanks to you, Commander."

Shepard shrugs "I'm just glad that your colony is safe."

Fai Dan smiles "We appreciate your help…and your efforts against the Geth." Aren't they the same thing at this point in time?

Arcelia chooses this moment to pipe up "They may be slowed, but they'll come back. They always come back." Well, they are Geth.

Shepard frowns behind her helmet "Help me find what the Geth are after and you'll all get out of here alive." Implying that they won't if they don't provide help…wow. And I'm pretty sure that that's the Paragon response.

Fai Dan shrugs "We don't know what they're after. They came, they attacked us. That's all we know. Their main base is the ExoGeni Headquarters. A good place to look if you need answers."

I decide to speak now, seeing as there's something here I don't actually know "ExoGeni?"

Arcelia responds this time "They're the company that most of us worked for before the attack. They fund this colony. The Headquarters is directly over the Prothean Skyway, you can't miss it."

"Of course, there's an army of Geth between here and there." Adds Fai Dan.

Shepard doesn't seem bothered by this "I didn't expect that this would be easy."

Fai Dan seems pleased "Well then, maybe I can get this colony operational again." Please, Shepard, please do inquire as to what needs to be done. I would feel horrible knowing that we did all this only for the colony to end up disbanding anyway.

Shepard promptly does this "What's needed to get this place back on its feet?"

Arcelia laughs bitterly "We need those Geth destroyed."

Fai Dan agrees "Arcelia is right-there are still Geth in the tunnels, but we also have more mundane problems like food, water and power. I'm not entirely sure where we stand on those matters, so if you want to help you should speak to the people overseeing them."

Shepard nods, and turns away from the two. "Well, I guess we should help them out then. Listen, we don't have time to do each task individually, so we need to split up. Garrus, Tali, I need you two to go and inquire about the water supply. Ashley, Wrex you two are to go and deal with this Geth problem in the tunnels. Sam and I will cover the power and the food supply. Understood? Ok then, get going!"

Do I really have to fight an Alpha Varren? That just seems cruel. Then again, Shepard is not currently aware of the problem of the Alpha Varren. The group disperses, Ashley and Wrex heading towards the tunnels to deal with that problem. Hopefully they find the Geth transmitter and have the sense to shut it off. Garrus and Tali head off towards the back of the colony to inquire about the water supply.

I turn to Shepard "Any idea where to begin?" Shepard nods.

"Follow me. I saw someone tinkering with a power generator when we entered the colony. Let's go find them." She sets off, with me following in her wake.

After a brief walk, we find this colonist not far from where Garrus and Tali are asking about the water supply. As we approach she stands "Hey. Nice work with those Geth. I still need some power cells for this generator, though."

Shepard frowns "Could we bring in some power cells from the Normandy? We could certainly spare a few."

The colonist shakes her head "Sorry, but your top-of-the-line ship is simply too advanced for this old generator. The cells won't be compatible with this generator."

Shepard sighs "Well, then, if I find anything while we're looking around I'll send it your way."

"Thank you, Commander, I appreciate it."

Walking away, I say "Well, that seems simple enough." Especially, I don't say, as the power cells are found in the same room as the Alpha Varren that Shepard and I are about to take down.

"Yes, it should be. We still need to find out the problem with the food source, though."

Well, I can arrange for us to find out about that "Why don't we go and ask Fai Dan who's in charge of that?" That should take us right past the guy in charge of that, which is nice.

Shepard nods, and we set off, right through the building like I hoped we would. As we pass the colonist that I know is in charge of the food supply, I hear him say into a communicator of some kind "Yes, I know about the Alpha Varren….isn't there anything you can do? We need that food!"

Apparently Shepard hears this too, as she steps up and asks "Excuse me? Are you in charge of the food supply?"

The colonist seems annoyed by our interruption, until he recognises Shepard "Oh, you're the one that repelled that last wave. They'll be back, but even if they aren't we'll die of hunger soon enough anyway. So yes, I'm the one in charge of our food supplies. Or lack of food supplies." Well, aren't you optimistic.

"What have you done to try to remedy your situation?"

The colonist sighs "I'm trying to boost our rations with Varren meat, but it's just too dangerous. The Alpha Varren-he's huge and he's mad, totally uncontrollable. I can't do anything until he's dead."

Shepard nods "I'll deal with it."

"Thank you, Commander. I appreciate it."

Shepard and I head off. "Well then, it looks like we're headed into the tunnels" I remark.

Shepard nods "Sure looks that way. Come on, it should be a little easier with Ashley and Wrex dealing with the Geth down there" On that, we can agree.

We hurry towards the tunnels, and on the way down we pass the wreckage of a group of Geth. Well, they did try to fight Ashley and Wrex at the same time. This one's their fault.

Entering into the tunnels requires passage through what seems to be some kind of enormous water treatment plant-the utilities 'building'. Seeing it in person only makes it more impressive. There is a noticeable absence of Geth in the area as we proceed through, which is encouraging. Ashley and Wrex must be doing their job well. We pass Tali and Garrus on the way, Tali hard at work with one of the water valves while Garrus keeps an eye out. They both assure us they aren't facing any problems.

The Geth corpses we pass just keep getting bigger and bigger. It's actually very impressive that Ashley and Wrex were able to take all this down on their own after the difficulties we face fighting this kind of Geth as a group.

Y'know, I swear that there was supposed to be a colonist somewhere around here, and I swear that he was supposed to be the one who warns Shepard about the Thorian mind control. To my great annoyance, we come across his corpse as we move towards the Varren room. Well shit, guess we're not finding out about the mind control until the very last minute then.

Keeping my thoughts to myself, Shepard and I turn onto the collapsed highway section where the Varren have set up shop.

I hear the Varren before I see it, a faint growl that rapidly grows closer as I walk through the doorway until it's literally right on top of me, knocking me to the ground and going right for my jugular.

The smell is horrific, like it's going to rip right through my nose, but that's far from my concern as my hands lock around the Varren's neck in an attempt to keep it from ripping my throat open. I hear the sound of a shotgun firing. Shepard must be busy elsewhere, which is why I'm still in this position.

I use what little strength I can muster from this position to try and roll over so that I can reach my pistol. Unfortunately, this action simply rolls me over twice so that I'm still underneath the Varren just in a different position.

However, I do feel a rock nestle under my head as I roll over again, and a desperate idea begins to form in my mind. Taking one hand off the Varren's neck, I reach underneath my head and retrieve the rock, which is of a good weight and nice and rough. With my other hand beginning to buckle under the Varren's sheer weight, I swing my arm in a short, desperate motion in an attempt to bring the rock into contact with the beasts head.

I swing, and the rock ends up right in the Varren's eye. Ouch.

As the rock collides, the beast lets out a howl of pain and some fluid spurts out of the newly created hole in its head. Lovely. I swing again, and this time there is a definite cracking sound and the addition of blood to the already vile concoction of bodily fluids pooling on the floor. Trying not to vomit as blood spurts onto my head, I swing the rock one final time and this time the Varren slumps to the ground next to me, very definitely dead or at least unconscious, judging by the cracking noise that that last swing produced.

Clambering to my feet and dropping the rock, I notice another Varren notice me and turn away from Shepard. I suddenly realise that my assault rifle landed halfway across the room when the other Varren tackled me, leaving with me with just my pistol.

The Varren charges at me, and I quickly draw my pistol and fire several shots at the Varren, which, thanks to the wonderful absence of kinetic barriers, quickly falls, only to be replaced with another Varren which I miss twice, forcing the gun into an overheat mode. As the Varren charges I flip the gun around and grab it by the barrel which nearly turns into a fatal mistake when the heat nearly makes me drop the damn thing.

The Varren leaps into the air and I swing the pistol, sending the Varren crumpling to the floor where it does not move. Looking up, I see Shepard disposing of the last Varren attacking her. She looks at me, and seems relieved that I haven't died horribly. Taking a moment to recover, I realise that none of these Varren are especially large. "Shepard, none of these corpses seem very special. It seems as if the Alpha hasn't attacked us yet."

She nods "Get your assault rifle and then let's search the room, see if it's lying in wait somewhere." I do so and we begin to head up the slope in the room towards the abandoned vehicle. Well, even if the Alpha has vanished, at least we can get the power cells.

As we reach the top of the slope, however, it rapidly becomes apparent that the Alpha has not vanished, it simply hasn't viewed us as a threat and therefore hasn't moved. I can tell because the thing is bloody enormous. At least three times the size of the other Varren and with crimson red fur. At least I think its fur, it might well be blood.

The Alpha, seeing that we've slain its pack, lets out a low, terrifying growl and begins to stomp towards us, steadily building up speed. Shepard forgoes the shotgun in favour of the assault rifle and quickly starts firing at the Varren, an action which I follow. Even the combined fire of two assault rifles barely slows the great beast down, however, and we're both forced to dive to the side as the Alpha charges at us.

Picking myself up from the floor, I keep on firing even as the Alpha turns towards me and makes his intent to murder me perfectly clear by beginning to build up the momentum for a charge again. Come on! Why are they all going for me? Are they all just capable of identifying me as the weakest or something?

Fortunately, Shepard is maintaining fire on the Varren as well and it is visibly flagging as some of the gunfire begins to hit the Varren's legs, which are noticeably about the same size as the other Varren's, which does make me briefly wonder how in the world this Varren can support itself.

I don't really care, however, as the fire slowly but surely slows the Varren down until it's just dragging itself towards me on its front legs. My own fire has had an effect as well-blood has spattered from several wounds on the Varren's forehead, and it's clearly on its last legs.

The Varren's jaw, however, is very much still operational and I back away as the Alpha collapses in front of me. Raising my assault rifle, I fire a burst into its head and put the beast out of its misery.

Well, that was exhausting. Who knew fighting Varren in hand-to-hand would take so much out of me? Shepard walks up to me and asks, in a tone of some minor concern, how I am.

"I'm fine. Just exhausting, is all." Shepard nods.

"Well, we've dealt with the Varren, so the colonists can get food. But there is still the problem of the power cells."

I take a few more deep breaths and then look at the vehicle, which is still wonderfully intact. "Do you reckon there's anything of use in the vehicle?"

Shepard frowns, and turns towards it. She walks up to the front of the vehicle and pulls open a hatch of some kind, before rummaging around inside for a moment. She then pulls out something and holds it up. It looks like a battery of some kind, so I'm guessing we found it. "Got it. Now, let's see how the others are doing." I nod, and we set off to Fai Dan.

Well, when we get back to Fai Dan everyone's still alive, which is nice. Everyone also reports success in their various endeavours, for which Fai Dan is understandably grateful "Thank you, Commander. With those essentials back in place and the Geth cleared out of the tunnels, this colony actually has a chance at survival again. But, we still need the rest of the Geth dispersed."

Shepard nods "And that means we need to get to ExoGeni Headquarters."

"Precisely. It isn't far, directly over the Prothean Skyway. Unfortunately, the Geth have armatures on the Skyway, so it could prove difficult to cross."

Shepard shakes her head "Don't worry. We have a way around that." Ah yes, the Mako. Should be interesting.

Fai Dan shrugs "Well then, the elevator to the Skyway is just up the stairwell in the tower, you can't miss it."

Shepard nods in gratitude and we head up to the elevator, which is actually a little crowded with such a large group, before emerging into a large room with a couple of colonists fending off a Geth assault drone, which is quickly disposed of.

There is a Mako at the bottom of a slope which covers half the room, directly across from what appears to be a large garage door. Shepard climbs on top of the Mako and climbs into a hatch in the 'head' of the vehicle, whereas the rest of us head for the back and climb into what is presumably intended as the troop transport section of the vehicle. Well, time to see how bad this thing really is.

I can tell almost as soon as we start moving that it's not going to be pretty, with the whole vehicle starting to totter about as soon as the engine starts. From outside I hear the sound of a door opening and then Shepard's voice crackles into life from somewhere in the vehicle. "Okay, everyone, a Geth ship just dropped a pair of Armatures on the Skyway so I'm going to have to make this one quick. You might want to hold onto something." Garrus just groans and reaches out for one of the handles in the ceiling of the little compartment, which all of us save Wrex do as well.

The Mako begins to move faster and at the same time begins to bounce around much more violently, which does make me wonder who the hell designed the suspension on this thing. I hear a loud boom from somewhere overhead, Shepard must be trying to clear the Skyway of some of the Geth with the main gun, which as I recall was easily the greatest part of the Mako.

I hear the sound of ignition from somewhere within the walls of the Mako, briefly terrifying me before I feel the Mako lift off the ground and remember that the Mako has that bloody propulsion system that never quite seemed to be capable of landing correctly.

Shepard's voice rings out once more "Tali, I'm picking up some radio chatter. Can you pinpoint its location? I'll send it through to your Omni-Tool.

After a few moments of messing around on the Omni-Tool, while I'm feeling ever more ill at the combination of the Mako's driving and the occasional booms of the main gun, which just send the entire vehicle wobbling even more, Tali shakes her head and responds "I can't get anything out of it. It's nearby, but I can't pinpoint it." That'll be the ExoGeni lot then. Hmm, I do wonder if Shepard will be capable of talking down the guy who needs talking down. I was never capable of it, so it would be interesting to see how it plays out if ExoGeni provides support in the future.

After a few more minutes of wild swings, lift offs and one point where I'm pretty sure the Mako went upside down, I hear the sound of a garage door open and close, and then the Mako grinds to a halt.

"Okay everyone, get out, whoevers broadcasting the radio must be close enough to see us, they just mentioned our presence. We need to find these guys."

We all clamber out of the vehicle and I need to stop myself from being ill as a result of all the rapid movement. After a brief moment to recover, which I note is shared by the majority of the squad, we begin searching for the ExoGeni group, and promptly discover the hole where they've been hiding out.

As we step cautiously down the ramp into their hideout, we are quickly spotted by ExoGeni security and a man's voice calls out "Stop there! That's close enough!" Ah, yes, Ethan Jeong. This is the guy who might well die if things aren't done properly. Which would result in ExoGeni pulling out of the colony, which would be bad. So yeah.

The woman next to him-I think it's the mother of the girl we'll find in the ExoGeni headquarters-rolls her eyes and says "Relax, Ethan, they're obviously not Geth." Well, yes, obviously.

Ethan…does not visibly relax very much, instead demanding "Who are you? Why are you here?"

Shepard raises a hand and tries to calm the situation down somewhat "I'm Commander Shepard. We're here to remove your issue with the Geth."

The woman smiles "See, Ethan? You worry too much."

Ethan snorts "And you trust too easily, Juliana." That's the one! Juliana Baynham!

Juliana shrugs "I'm just glad to see a friendly face. I thought we were the only humans left on this planet." Yeah, no.

Shepard promptly dispels that notion "Fai Dan and some members of Zhu's Hope are still alive."

Juliana turns to Ethan and frowns, a note of suspicion entering her voice "I though you said they were all dead."

Ethan is unapologetic "I said they were probably all dead." Understandable that he would want to save his own skin, and so would assume that the other colonists were all dead so that he wouldn't need to send help. Not nice, but understandable.

Tali speaks up "They live, but the Geth have devastated their colony."

Juliana nods "We know what that's like. Those damn synthetics are relentless."

"I'll do what I can to keep the Geth away from you, but I need some information first."

Ethan is immediately even more suspicious then he was before "What kind of information?"

Juliana sighs "Ignore him. The Geth are in the Headquarters, just a little further up the Skyway."

Ethan doesn't seem best pleased at the prospect of us going into the Headquarters, even if it is to clear out the Geth "Those Headquarters are private property, soldier. Remove the Geth and nothing else!" You try my patience, Ethan Jeong…

Shepard seems frustrated at this paranoia as well. If I didn't already know about the Thorian, I'd say that ExoGeni had something to hide. "Don't worry, I'm not interested in your company secrets" Yet, anyway.

Just before we turn to leave, Juliana speaks up. "Commander. Before you go…it's my daughter, Lizbeth, she's been missing, and she was last seen in the Headquarters…"

Ethan interrupts "They shouldn't waste time by poking around. We can do a proper inventory of our casualties after the Geth are gone." Wow, that's cold.

Juliana isn't best pleased either "That's my daughter you're talking about! I know she's alive…I just know it."

Shepard doesn't weigh in "Stay bunkered here until I find out what the Geth are after."

Juliana nods "Of course, Commander. And please remember, if you see my daughter…"

With that, we turn around and head back towards the Mako. What, no Gavin Hossle and the quest for data on the far side of several Krogan warriors? Probably for the best, now that I think about it, but still.

After a brief, bumpy sojourn over the Skyway, Shepard orders us back out of the Mako. Guess we've arrive at the Headquarters.

And the Geth are already upon us. Not much, admittedly, but still. Just a Geth Stalker hopping about, which is quickly dealt with, though doubtless it will have reported our position to the other Geth.

As we advance towards the entrance, however, a pair of Geth Troopers come out from behind the safeguard of the ramp and start shooting at us, although these, too are quickly disposed of under a hail of fire from the party. I must say, having six in the group really does make life a lot easier in combat.

We begin to head for the entrance, but the Geth of course have deployed their energy shield or whatever it is over the doorway. Tali sighs and says "Typical Geth deployment. We'll need another route in."

We double back and head towards the other side of the room, but the door over there is locked. And so, inevitably, we arrive at the hole in the ground. Which really isn't very deep, which is why I'm surprised when Garrus says "Looks like a one way drop, Shepard." It plainly isn't-the hole barely extends above my head.

Despite this warning, Shepard promptly drops into the hole and begins to move along it. We look at each other, and then follow suit. The tunnel is quite odd-seemingly existing for no other purpose than for us to get around the energy field. Works for me.

As we exit the tunnel and find ourselves in a large expanse of a room, I notice a dead Varren over to the right and point this out to Shepard, who moves to examine it. I'm pretty sure this is where we find Juliana's daughter, and sure enough a gunshot soon echoes through the room and the girl emerges from around a pillar.

She seems apologetic enough "I'm so sorry! I thought you were Geth, or some of those Varren."

Shepard steps forwards and smiles, though it's strained and I suspect she's making an effort to be nice here "Its fine. But why were you here in the first place?"

The girl sighs "It's my own fault. I was trapped here when the Geth ship landed. Everyone else was running and I stayed to back up some data, but the Geth ship landed and then the power went out. I tried to escape but the way was blocked."

Shepard nods "We'll get you out as soon as we find out what the Geth are after."

The girl shakes her head "It isn't the Geth, it's the energy field that they put up. They don't want anyone else gaining access to the…" Here she trails off. Oh dear, you appear to have made an error, girl. This must be the Thorian.

Shepard takes a step forward and says in a reassuring but firm voice "I'm here for the Geth. It's very important that I know what they're after, so if you have anything to say it's best if you mention it now."

The girl, I think her name is Lizbeth, nods "Of course. I think…well, they might be here for the Thorian."

Ashley speaks up for the first time in a while "The Thorian? What exactly is that?"

Lizbeth shrugs "It's an indigenous life form…ExoGeni was studying it." Well, that's one way of putting it. Can't blame her for not wanting to mention the human experimentation, though.

"Interesting…what else can you tell me about this Thorian then? Do you know where I can find it?"

Lizbeth hesitates "I…might be able to. But not without the Geth crawling around everywhere. Look, we need to get out of here, past the energy field." Hah! Smart girl, holding back vital information until it's safe. Can't blame her for that, I would do it too.

Shepard sighs "Very well then, do you know how we can shut it down?"

Lizbeth shakes her head "No, not exactly. But I've noticed the Geth laying power cables everywhere, so I think it's linked to the Geth ship. Be careful if you follow the cables, though, there are Geth everywhere."

Shepard nods "Alright then, I'll look into it. Stay put until the field is down."

Lizbeth doesn't have an issue with this "I'm not going to argue. I'll just find a small hole to hide in until the field is down. Here, take my ID. This should help you get past any remaining security. Good luck with the field." And with that, she's gone, back behind the pillars and virtually into the walls. I don't have time to dwell on the rapidity of her disappearance however, as soon I can hear a growl from somewhere nearby.

"Varren." I mutter, and turn to look for the said beast. There are actually quite a few of them, and they swarm our group, one nearly knocking me to the floor again until I smash its skull in with the butt of my assault rifle. With a combination of assault rifle fire, shotgun shells and an odd advantage in numbers, which is very odd for Mass Effect, we soon manage to overcome the small pack.

That dealt with, we set out for the far side of the room where a door with a green panel indicating it as being unlocked can be seen. "You know, this place turned into a mess really quickly." I comment, looking around at the rubble and the one or two fires which dot the room.

"The Geth are brutally efficient when attacking a place. It's no surprise that they've virtually destroyed this place." Responds Tali. Okay, saying they destroyed it may be a minor exaggeration, but then again she is a Quarian and therefore biased. It could be argued, I suppose, that my knowledge of the future makes me biased, but I'm going to gloss over that as I really don't know how to present a counterargument there. Plus, I'm arguing with myself, which is never a good sign.

As the door opens in front of us to reveal a stairwell, an angry voice emanates from somewhere above us "Stupid machine! Access encrypted files!" Oh yeah, the Krogan commander. First sign of the Krogan fighting with Saren, I believe.

I frown and turn to Wrex "Is that a Krogan?" One has to keep up appearances after all.

Wrex nods grimly "Sounds like it. Might want to be careful."

Shepard nods, and we all ready our weapons before proceeding up the stairs. All the while, the Krogan is shouting at the VI he's attempting to access "No, I do not want to review protocol!"

As we get to the top of the stairs, we see the Krogan with his shotgun already drawn, still shouting at the emotionless VI "I am sorry, but I am unable to comply. Please contact your supervisor."

The Krogan is not pleased at this "Listen here you stupid machine, tell me what I want or I'll blast your virtual ass into actual dust!" Well, that's just rude.

The VI remains unperturbed at the threat to its functionality "Please contact your supervisor for a Level 4 security exemption. Otherwise, I am unable to comply."

The Krogan growls in frustration "Stupid machine!"

Isn't this the bit where the VI gives us away? "If there are no other inquiries, please step aside. There is a crew forming behind you for use of this unit." Dammit! The Krogan Commander looks around and grins.

"Oh good. I really need to kill something." What a wonderful attitude to life. Nonetheless, he does seem more than capable of carrying out his threat, with his shotgun and armour. But using these effectively would probably require basic understanding of tactics, which, being a Krogan who isn't also Urdnot Wrex, this guy does not possess. Instead, he charges at us and promptly gets his kinetic barriers and then his face shredded under a withering hail of fire. It really is quite horrible in reality, but I have not time to dwell on it.

Stepping up to the VI terminal, Shepard brings up the VI, who is not pleased about the gunfire, insofar as a VI can be displeased, anyway. "ExoGeni reminds all staff that dischargment of weaponry is strictly forbidden on company property. Welcome back, Research Assistant Elizabeth Baynham. How may I assist you?"

Shepard, apparently having no issue with being called by a name that isn't hers, responds with "I need answers. What information was the previous user attempting to access?"

The VI is silent for a moment, then responds "The previous user was attempting to access information on Subject Species 37, the Thorian."

"Tell me everything you told the Krogan."

"I was unable to give the previous user any relevant date. Apart from lacking proper access, there has been no new data on Species 37. All sensors show that the monitoring post at Zhu's Hope has been inactive for several cycles." Ah, the plot thickens. Well, it does for the others.

Shepard frowns "What did you say? How is Zhu's Hope relevant?"

The VI responds blankly "Species 37 is located within the substructure of the Zhu's Hope outpost."

"Tell me everything you know about the Thorian." There is now a certain level of urgency present in Shepard's voice.

"Species 37 is a simple plant life form which exhibits a level of sentient behaviour uncommon in other floral species. Through the spreading and eventual inhalation of spores, the Thorian can gain control of other life forms, including humans. The Zhu's Hope control group has yielded interesting results. The last known data indicates that 85% of the colony has been infected." Simple but brutal.

"You mean you knew that your people were getting infected?" Shepard isn't angry. Not yet, anyway.

The VI is plain "It was deemed necessary to assess the true potential of Species 37." Of course it was. Others might disagree.

"Well, that explains why the colonists were acting up. Do you think Joker should be warned?" I say. Probably best to ensure the Normandy is secure.

Shepard nods, and brings a hand up to her ear "Joker. Joker! Dammit, that field is blocking us."

Wrex speaks up "We've got to drop that field and get back the outpost."

Shepard inclines her head "Agreed." She turns back to the VI "VI, what can you tell me about the Geth field?"

The VI responds a few moments later "I have limited data on the Geth. They have effectively blocked all sensors within facility. I have detected unusual power fluctuations, but I am unable to pinpoint the source." Ah yes, we must now deal with that Geth ship.

"Fine then, we need to find that ship. Let's get moving." Shepard sighs. The VI vanishes and we head off, around the corner into another passageway.

Up another stairwell and around another corner, we find two Geth engaged in a very un-Geth like activity: the act of worship. Heretics. The two AI's have prostrated themselves in front of a shrine of four spikes that seem to be almost Reaper tech, but are more likely to be Geth. Either way, it's disappointing to see the Geth like this. Apparently the others agree, as soon the two Geth fall underneath our gunfire.

We begin to move down towards the shrine. As we do so Tali points out the Geth claws in the side of the building "The Geth use these claws to anchor their ships in the side of buildings."

Garrus nods "Interesting docking style, but how are we going to disable the power if it's coming from the ship?"

Tali sighs "It will be difficult. We can check for weaknesses in the other claws, but the Geth are extremely thorough."

Before they head off, I interrupt "Wait, Tali, since when do Geth worship?"

Tali seems just as confused as I'm pretending to be "I'm not sure. It is possible that since the Geth blur the line between organic and synthetic life they would seek understanding from a higher power, but I've never heard of this anywhere else."

I nod, and we move on, down a corridor in search of our quarry. We pass a couple of charred corpses on the way, and I try not to think about how they died. Also try not to think about the possibility the Geth did this to them deliberately.

Luckily, we soon emerge on the far side of the Geth energy field from where we need to be. I guess we're getting close. There's a trio of Geth here. But since they're facing away from us it really doesn't take that long for them to fall to the floor.

We then head down a corridor bathed in eerie red light and turn up another flight of stairs, mercifully devoid of any Geth resistance until we reach the top, where we emerge into a large expanse of a room with a pair of Geth claws breaking through the wall on either side of a rubble barrier with a staircase extending over it. This is the room where we bring down the Geth ship, if I'm not mistaken.

First, though, we need to deal with the Geth, who are many in number and annoyingly aware of our presence. We spread out across our side of the room and begin firing back at the Geth.

After a couple of minutes of back and forth between the two sides, I notice a canister of some description lying conveniently in the centre of our little battlefield. Deciding to take a chance, I turn my fire at it, resulting in a rather titanic blue explosion which engulfs several Geth and has the unfortunate side effect of frying a nearby terminal. I do hope that wasn't important.

Either way, this action has severely weakened the Geth, their numbers now down to a mere two, who don't last long against Wrex's charging. The rest of us don't even need to do anything, he just demolishes them. It's really quite an impressive sight.

I don't actually remember Wrex being this aggressive, but then again none of the squadmates were overly aggressive in the game, but that was probably just the result of AI limitations.

Anyway, moving on, we climb the stairs and see the second claw, which only results in Tali sighing and saying "We don't have the ordnance to blow this claw. Let's keep looking." No, Tali, but if we proceed just a little further into this room we shall have something just as good. Which is why I'm privately pleased when Shepard does just that and proceeds further into the room instead of simply doubling back to look elsewhere.

As we descend the opposite staircase, however, a large group of Geth stop their work on their terminals and come to fight us, as well as a Geth Destroyer lumbering out from around the corner. Wonderful.

Instead of scattering, we for some reason decide to be aggressive with this group of Geth, pressing forward as a unit and quickly dispatching the smaller Geth, before being scattered again by the charge of the Geth Destroyer. Fortunately, this isn't last time, and under the pressure of combined fire from a number of different angles the kinetic barriers of the behemoth tatter and fail. Those things are really tough, and we haven't even encountered a single Juggernaut or Prime yet!

As we begin to look around, Tali says "This is interesting, Shepard. A containment lab of some kind."

Wrex responds "It's no armoury, but if even one of those claws goes down then that ship is history."

Looking at the back of the room, Ashley points out an array of consoles at the back of the room. I think these are that minigame that was designed to close the doors. I'd really rather not muck about with that thing now, but if it's got to be done…

Fortunately, however, Shepard seems to know what needs to be done and after some button pressing, she approaches the main console and presses something on there. That sure seems to have done it!

With a great ripping noise the claw attached to the wall begins to buckle under the pressure of the shuttle bay door as it rips through the claw blocking its way. Suddenly, the claw snaps and the remnant left inside the building falls to the floor with a mighty crash. From far away, the sound of other claws elsewhere collapsing under the strain reaches my ears, and soon the sound of the large Geth ship plummeting to the ground echoes upwards towards us. Excellent.

Before we have time to celebrate though, Shepard's communicator crackles into life, and Jokers ever so slightly panicked voice emerges from it. "I repeat, Normandy to shore party. Are you reading? Anyone there? Normandy to shore party. Come on, Commander, talk to me!"

"Joker?"

"Commander! We're in lockdown over here! Something happened to the colonists, they're banging on the hull, trying to claw into the ship. They're freaking out!"

"Don't panic, they can't do any real damage. Just hold your position until we return."

"Uh…yeah. Okay. Well, we'll just wait right here for you, Commander." The communicator falls silent.

Shepard turns to us "Alright, everyone. This place will be crawling with Geth soon. Keep it together, and we all make it out of here alive, understood?"

We all nod, and prepare to fight our way out of ExoGeni Headquarters.

Well, off to the heart of darkness, I guess.


Thanks for reading! All feedback is welcome!