After the mission on Horizon has been completed the assignment will be added to the Journal. It indicates that there is an important message incoming from Alliance HQ, and directs the player to check Shepard's private terminal. Using the terminal for the first time after the assignment appears will initiate a communication with Admiral Hackett.
On the galaxy map this assignment is titled Rescue Dr. Kenson.
Onboard the Normandy Edit
After accessing your terminal, Shepard will hear the first part of the message, in which Hackett will say that he has a sensitive matter that needs to be discussed privately. Shepard will then tell Kelly that the message will be viewed in the captain's cabin.
Inside the captain’s cabin, Shepard pulls up Admiral Hackett visually using the Model Ships display as a screen. Hackett will first thank the Commander for sparing time to hear him out. Hackett starts by saying that the Alliance has a deep cover operative in batarian space, Dr. Amanda Kenson, who found evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion. Shepard will ask why Hackett contacted the Commander, and Hackett will say that he learned this morning that she had been arrested and was being held on terrorism charges in a batarian prison. He asks Shepard to infiltrate the prison and get her out, as a favor to him. Hackett also asks Shepard to go in alone. You can ask him about the operation and it is advisable that you do so.
- When asking Hackett about the charges, Shepard will ask what she is really doing out there. Hackett says she’s a deep cover operative and that they only talk when they need to. He continues by saying that she was investigating a rumor of a Reaper artifact in the system and that her last report said she found it.
- You can also learn that Kenson is a top scientist and an Alliance agent that was working in batarian space. Hackett says the assignment is deadly and she is one of the few that can handle the job. He says that they go back a long time and he won’t let her rot away in a prison camp.
- You can press Hackett about the Reapers, and the official Alliance position is that they don’t exist. Shepard will say that she must have found some proof they exist. Hackett replies that she and her team found an artifact that is a possible Reaper device, and that it is proof that the Reapers are planning to invade. Hackett will conclude by saying that he’s known her for a long time and if she says she has proof, then she has proof.
- If you ask about why you are going in alone, Shepard will say that the team is strong and they won’t mind helping out. However, Hackett replies that if the batarians see a squad of armed soldiers they will kill Kenson. He says that it’s serious and that Shepard needs discretion, or not at all.
- If asked about the batarian response, which Shepard will say the batarians won’t take kindly to the Alliance breaking into a secret prison. Hackett will counter by saying that it is not an Alliance operation, it is one person going in to rescue a friend because if it was an official mission then they would be upset. As long as Shepard keeps it quiet, then there is nothing to worry about.
Finish and Hackett will say that she is being held underground at a batarian outpost on the planet Aratoht. Hackett tells Shepard he will upload the coordinates immediately. He tells Shepard that once she is secure, confirm her discovery, and that they will debrief them when they return.
Tip: Before going, make sure to modify your armor to have health and shield bonuses. You’ll need them. Also, remember that you will be on your own for the vast majority of this mission, so plan weapons, armor/armor components, and everything else accordingly. You may want to consider retraining your bonus power to a defensive one like Barrier that can restore your shield instantly when it goes down. You will also be facing mostly shielded enemies, so to the extent you have Overload and/or Disruptor Ammo available for Shepard, retrain to put full points into them. Finally there are several rather difficult battles in this section, and all of them are difficult on the point of "lots of small and medium enemies coming at you aggressively", so a crowd control heavy weapon such as the Arc Projector is advisable.
Arrival on Aratoht Edit
When you arrive, the Kodiak will drop you off and then quickly depart. The door is locked, and if you try to open it, the prison’s VI will say that access is denied and to please enter an access code. Fortunately, there is a conveniently placed power coupling next to the door that solves this problem and opens the door. Head down the hallway until you come to an impassible obstacle, a.k.a. a hole in the floor. Activate the bridge control, but that doesn’t work so head down the ramp to your left. At the bottom you will encounter a Batarian War Beast also known as a varren so take it out before it has the chance to kill you. After it is dealt with, Shepard will say that this must be where the batarians send prisoners to die and the Commander need to get Kenson out of here now. Activating the control here activates the bridge, so head back up and across.
Note: The next two sections, Sneaking In, and Guns Blazing, cover the same content to get to Dr. Kenson. Both sections contain similar information, but contain more specific information depending on what you plan to do. The Sneaking In Sections contains instructions that will give you the "Covert Action" Achievement. While the Guns Blazing Section gives instructions if you go in guns blazing and not worrying about the "Covert Action" Achievement.
Sneaking in Edit
Warning: From now till you rescue Kenson, if you engage a batarian, you will lose the Covert Action Achievement if you don't already have it. You can engage the two War Beasts you find, but don't shoot at the batarians. Furthermore, firing a shot (even at a wall), or activating an ability (even an Infiltrator's Tactical Cloak) can preclude you from getting the achievement, if you're too close to a batarian.
As you continue, you will notice more dead varren all over, but keep moving. Head into the side room and up the ramps at the end of the hallway. When you reach the top, there is another power relay, and another War Beast. Take down the War Beast before dealing with the power relay. Cutting the power here will disable some of the security lasers, but not all of them. Shepard will comment about the place being run down, even for a prison, but that’s only a bonus. Head down the hallway to the left, and as you round the corner you will see a door close and Kenson being lead into an interrogation chamber while telling the guards to get their hands off her. Don’t cross the security beams as it will activate the prison’s security systems and you will lose the Covert Action Achievement. Remember also not to fire on any batarians or you will lose the Achievement as well.
Eventually you will reach a dead end, but turn right and shoot the explosive hanging under the pipe. This will cause a small explosion and the venting gas to ignite. Needless to say, don’t run into it. Rather, turn the valve to divert the gas so you can continue. Head through the now open section and you will have two options: heading straight, or heading left (but deal with the War Beast first).
Going straight has a few nice things to pick up, but doing so requires that you activate both gas valves to redirect the flow — you can’t just do one — and while this blocks your access left, you can just redirect it again after you investigate the room. Inside is a personal log (see below), a locker with some credits, and a Heavy Weapon Ammo upgrade. After you've picked these up, head back out, redirect the gas again by turning both valves, and then head up the ramp. As you near the top, you’ll hear someone or something readying weapons.
Head into the next room — don’t worry no enemies… yet — and up the ramps. As you get closer, you will hear two Prison Guards talking about something. One of them says that someone wanted to crash an asteroid into a Mass Relay. The other says that it doesn't matter as they stopped them. Head through the door. Doesn't that rainy, fresh air feel good?
Keep in cover. To your left are the two guards, talking about how interrogating a human is a waste of time and that it would be easier just to kill her. The two guards have their backs to you, so don’t fire at them. Make your way around to the small passageway behind the truck, and disable the security beams in the gap leading to the platform above. Once the beams are down, climb onto the truck, then onto the platform, and make your way into the structure. Inside you will find a locker with some credits, but don’t open the door at the bottom of the stairs. Stay on the second floor and head to your right. When you reach a T-Junction, make a left to pick up some iridium. Don’t open the door in that structure either, as it will attract the guards attention. Once you have the iridium, go back the way you came and head down the other path, and move down and then back up the stairs. There is a credit drop that you'll have to miss because you can’t get to it without firing on the guards or attracting their attention.
Inside the next structure you will hear a guard talking about how relays can’t be destroyed. Another guard will say that humans will do anything to them, and the first replies that they need to make an example of this one (Kenson). Keep to the walls for cover, and on the backside of one of the walls, an open door, but do not go into the room because if you set a foot over the threshold, then you will attract the attention of the guards. Head carefully down the catwalk and into the hangar.
When you enter the hangar, there’s an announcement that a shuttle is incoming and to clear the hangar. The people in the shuttle can’t see you, but don’t cross in front of the large windows as you will attract the attention of the guards in the previous room. Head through the door on the left and into a storage bay. Inside you will hear a guard talking about how he heard there was an artifact in the asteroid belt and asks another guard if he thinks the humans found it. The other guard replies that if they did, then they probably swarmed in and planted flags all around it.
Inside the next room, activate the crane controls to clear your path, but don't go down yet. Move over to the crane controls and activate the center button and then the left one to bring the crane over a crate. Activate the right switch to lower the crane. Reactivate the right switch again to lift up the container. Head down to where the container was and you'll get some iridium and the Medi-Gel Capacity upgrade hidden behind the container. Now activate the vehicle lift to continue. Raise the lift when you get to the bottom as underneath it there will be a med-kit, and a PDA worth some credits. Head to the door. Inside is another locker with some credits, a security log, and another power relay. Remember not to cross the beams. Cut the power, listen to the log, and grab the credits before moving on.
In the next area there is an open door to the left with two guards inside the room. As long as you don’t open the other door in the hallway or fire at them, you will successfully get past them with no trouble. Once you are past them, head down the hallway and into the interrogation room to rescue Dr. Amanda Kenson.
Guns Blazing Edit
As you continue, you will see dead varren all over, but keep pressing on, into the side room and up the ramps. When you reach the top, there is another power relay, and another War Beast. Take the latter down before dealing with the former. Cutting the power here will disable some of the security lasers, but not all of them. Shepard will comment about the place being run down, even for a prison, but that’s only a bonus. Head down the hallway to your left, and as you round the corner you will see a door close and Kenson being lead into an interrogation chamber, while telling the guards to get their hand off her. It is also in your best interest to be stealthy as you will encounter less varren and unaware guards.
So don’t cross the beams and head down the hallway opposite of them. Eventually you will reach a dead end, but turn right and shoot the thing hanging under the pipe. This will cause a small explosion, and gas to ignite. Needless to say don’t run into it, but rather turn the valve to divert the gas so you can continue. Head through the now open section and you will have two options, heading straight, and heading left, just deal with the War Beast before you make your decision.
Don’t go left first however as going straight has a few things that are hard to pass up. Doing this requires that you activate both gas valves to redirect the flow, you can’t just do one, and while this blocks your access left, you can just redirect it again after you investigate the room. Inside is a personal log (see below), a locker with some credits, and a Heavy Weapon Ammo upgrade. Head back out, redirect the gas again, by turning both valves, and head up the ramp. As you near the top, you’ll hear someone or something reading weapons.
Head into the next room, don’t worry no enemies, yet, and up the ramps. As you get closer, you will hear two Prison Guards talking about something. One of them says that someone wanted to crash an asteroid into a Mass Relay, however the other says that it doesn’t matter as they stopped them. Head through the door and doesn’t that rainy, fresh air feel good.
Keep in cover and to your left are the two guards, still talking and apparently interrogating a human is a waste of time and that it’s just easier to kill her. You can either shoot them, or just bypass them, however it is better to just deal with them now. Taking them out isn’t a hard fight as they are unaware of you, allowing for a few key first shots. They either have light shields and health, or just the latter depending on difficulty level. When they are down, remember those security beams you saw on the way down the stairs, there is a power relay that will disable them nearby, just remember that crossing them leads to problems. Don’t forget to loot the area as you will find two different credit drops, one in one of the buildings in a locker, the other just past the guards inside a junk pile. Check the other building as well for some iridium. When you are done, move on by heading to the back of the area, dropping down and heading up the steps into the next building.
Inside you will hear two more guards talking about how relays can’t be destroyed, the other saying that they humans will do anything to them, and the first then saying they need to make an example of this one, Kenson. Well we can’t let that happen so more around, keeping to the walls for cover, and on the back side of one of the walls, an open door. Take cover and then proceed to take out the two guards inside. There is however a third that you can’t see on the left, so keep an eye on him and take him down as well when you get the chance. You can also swing around the door, as the guards have their backs to you and take out the third guard, then deal with the other two. Either way take them down, listen to the personal log, grab the credits, and keep moving.
When you enter the hangar, there’s a shuttle incoming and the announcement asks that the hangar be cleared. Don’t worry they can’t see you, so head through the door on your left. Inside the next room, activate the crane controls to clear your path but don't go down yet. Activate the left switch to move the crane to the left. Then activate the right switch to lower the crane. Reactivate the right switch again to lift up the container. Then, head down to where the container was and you'll get an item and the Medi-Gel Capacity upgrade hidden behind the other container. Now activate the vehicle lift to continue. When you reach the bottom, raise the lift and under it you will find a med-kit and a PDA worth some credits. When you have them, head to the door and inside is another locker with credits, a security log, and finally another power relay. Remember to not cross the beams, so cut the power, listen to the log, and grab the credits before moving on.
As you proceed down the hall, there is an open door on your left with two guards inside. There is a closed door a little further down, but take advantage of the open one to get a few shots in. They will try to run out the open door, so be ready for that. Inside is another security log, and you have a chance to listen to the interrogation. Kenson says that they are just wasting time and that the Reapers are coming, while the interrogator isn’t convinced and while torturing Kenson won’t change that, it will amuse him. Time to put a stop to this, so head around the corner and put an end to it.
Rescuing Kenson Edit
Once you enter the room, a cutscene will show the interrogator activating the device and start to put some type of device on Kenson’s head. Shepard will then knock the guard out with a punch to the head, and Kenson will ask who Shepard is and what you are doing there. Shepard will say that they are there to get Kenson out. Kenson heard that the Commander was alive and that Hackett must have received her message. You can choose how to respond to that, but Shepard will release the doctor and she will respond to your comment appropriately. Either way, diplomacy is the least you have to worry about. Kenson will then tell you that if you can find a security console, then she can hack it and find an escape route. During the conversation, Shepard hands Kenson an M-4 Shuriken pistol.
As the conversation ends, the alarms go off and a guard will be shown walking down the hallway. Shepard says they will find a console, and Kenson after bringing her boot down on the throat of the batarian interrogator, says she’s ready.
Breaking Out Edit
Kenson is now a squad member, and she has access to the Shuriken for her weapon, and the powers Incinerate and Overload. Note: You will not be able to access the squad menu to inspect or change her powers - she just is what she is.
First take out the guard, grab the credits from the locker in the interrogation room, then head down the stairs and on the landing, you will find a med-kit and some thermal clips, so grab them before moving on. Head down the stairs and through the door. Inside are more guards, so keep to cover, and since you have a squadmate, now make sure to use Kenson to your advantage. When the first group of three is dealt with, move up, but keep to cover as a window will open ahead of you and show two more prison guards and an Elite Prison Guard. The elite is armed the same, but has stronger shields, and has access to Tech Armor, so keep your eye on him and remember to stay in cover. When all the guards are dealt with, head to the console they were guarding and Kenson will begin to override the system.
At this point Kenson will tell you to guard her while she hacks a way out. You will lose her as squadmate at this point, so plan your tactics accordingly. You will get a health bar in the lower right hand corner for her health, so make sure to not let that deplete. Enemies consisting of three prison guards will come from the left. They will charge headlong for Kenson, and while they may shoot at you, they will not stick to cover but just go after the doctor, so kill them quickly to make sure they don’t get to her. Heavy weapons will discourage them from storming past you. Once they are down, Kenson will say that the door needs to be closed, so get to it before another group comes through.
Combat Tips:On higher difficulties, this section can be very challenging for players who are used to fighting from cover. This can be mitigated by taking cover in the hallway closest to the doctor. The enemies should stop charging and take cover behind a nearby table, where they can be safely taken out.
After the first wave is taken out, a second wave will arrive and should take cover behind the table. Killing any of the three enemies will bring a replacement, so the player can whittle their health down to critical levels before attempting to close the door.
The player can then race (Adrenaline Rush helps) toward the door without worry of running into a replacement enemy on the way; alternately an infiltrator with Tactical Cloak can worry less about running into a replacement. Finally Stasis with any class can keep a replacement (or other guard) out of action long enough to get past.
Another viable tactic if you're a good shot is to take cover behind the table yourself. As the second wave starts to arrive, start to eliminate them to get the replacements spaced out from each other. Then you can slowly move forward toward the door. When you get close enough, you can activate your favorite power - Adrenaline Rush, Tactical Cloak, Stasis, or whatever, so that you can safely hit the button. The advantage of this technique is that there won't be a bunch of enemies between you and Kenson when the door goes shut.
It is also possible to destroy the enemies' shields, then use either Pull (If upgraded to Pull Field), Shockwave, or Singularity in order to buy the player some time to run to the door and close it. (Be cautious though, because once the enemies recover, they will continue to attack Kenson.) The player can then run back to the original cover spot, quickly finishing off the original enemies before a new wave can get there. The rest of the enemies can be safely taken out from cover.
If you have the Arc Projector, then there is yet another option. Take out the first wave of 3 enemies (who take cover behind the table), then switch to the Arc Projector, rush to the door and start zapping the incoming wave with it. They run in close proximity so all of them will get hit, and the short stun effect gives you enough time to charge for another shot. Two or three shots should be enough to ensure that all four enemies are taken care of, and you should have ample time to get to the control and close the door.
When the door is finally closed, Kenson will say they are now coming up from the other side, so move it. This group, consisting of an Elite and two ordinary prison guards, will come up via an elevator, but this group will use cover, so that’s a bit of a relief. During the fight, keep an eye out as two more guards will show up. When this group finally falls, Kenson will say that she is taking down their orbital tracking network and say there are more guards coming from the other side up via more elevators, so get back and into cover.
Like the previous group, this group will stick to cover, so use it to your advantage, again though remember you are alone, so shoot as needed. Also like the last group, another will come up after a period of time. This time however it is an Elite and a Guard. During the fight, Kenson will say that there’s an elevator that leads up to the hangar, and she’ll bring it down. However, since there are no enemies on it, don’t worry about it, just deal with the enemies that are in front of you. On the way up there will be a short cutscene where Kenson says that since the hangar doors are hard locked, they will need to get them open. Shepard says they will take care of that.
Be warned that as soon as the cutscene ends, you will engage in a fight, but you have Kenson back as a squadmate, so get into cover and fight your way through the hangar. To survive this fight, keep to cover, and deal with the enemies as they come. There will be three waves of enemies, the first two consisting of just Prison Guards, while the last one will have two Guards and one Elite Guard. Once they are all down, and before shooting the locks on the doors, in the next area, there is a case of iridium and a datapad with a Medi-Gel capacity research project, if you didn't get them earlier. Make sure to grab both before leaving. When you are ready to leave, board the shuttle and enjoy the ending.
The cutscene shows Kenson and Shepard first accessing the shuttle, then Shepard turning around and looking behind them. The scene flashes to three guards waiting to ambush the two. Shepard then nods to Kenson and they quickly board the shuttle, incinerating the guards with its thruster exhaust.
Onboard the Shuttle Edit
Onboard the stolen Kodiak, Kenson will engage the autopilot so they can talk and mentions it will be a while before the batarians get their systems unscrambled. Shepard asks if they will come after her, and Kenson says she’s not taking any chances. Apparently batarians don’t like people who plan to destroy their Mass Relays. Shepard then says that the charges were true, but Kenson says that’s only half the story. She says that she and her people were investigating rumors of Reaper artifacts on the fringes of the system. Shepard says that they must have found something and Kenson says that they found proof that the Reapers will arrive in the system and when they get here, they’ll use the mass relay to travel throughout the galaxy. Her team calls it the Alpha Relay and from there the Reapers can invade anywhere in the galaxy.
Shepard then states that, given the story, she chose to destroy it and Kenson will confirm that. She says that would stop the Reaper’s invasion as it would take months or even years at standard FTL speeds to reach another relay. Kenson continues by describing what she and her team call “the Project”. The Project is a plan to crash a nearby asteroid into the Relay, thereby destroying it before the Reapers arrive. She finishes by saying that the resulting explosion could destroy the system. As the two take a seat, you can get some questions answered.
- When you ask about the logistics of the project, i.e. crashing an asteroid into a Mass Relay, Kenson will say that it isn’t that hard as the parts are already available in Omega’s salvage yards. All it needs is thrust and guidance and if you get the right amount of power, and a decent VI to drive it, then all you really have to do is point and shoot.
- Since Mass Relays are rumored to be indestructible, it is a good topic. Kenson says that she’s also heard that rumor, but she thinks that it’s more likely that no one bothered to find out what would happen if one is destroyed. They also planned to slam a small planet into it at very high speeds and by their calculations, that would be more than enough.
- The Project is still in operation as it was one button press away from launch when the batarians arrested Kenson.
- If Shepard asks how she was arrested, Kenson will say that they have been smuggling starship parts from Omega. Apparently guidance systems, thrusters, and an aftermarket Eezo core are labeled by the batarians as suspicious. Kenson will finish by saying that a few days ago, she took a few of the men on a scouting mission, and the batarians then pounced on them, but they didn’t find the actual base.
- If asked why destroying a Mass Relay would destroy the system, Kenson will say that they are the most powerful mass-effect engines in the galaxy and the energy released from destroying one would probably resemble a supernova. There are three hundred thousand people on the colony in the system, and the resulting explosion would probably kill them all.
After the questions, Shepard will say that they are still curious how Kenson learned about the invasion. She will reply by saying it was from a device called Object Rho, which is a Reaper artifact they discovered among the asteroids around the relay itself. When they get back to Arcturus Station, she will explain everything and give Shepard all the notes they have on the artifact. You can then ask some more questions.
- Shepard can ask why there is a Reaper artifact in an asteroid, and Kenson will say that she doesn’t know. Some things are just too hard or too old to understand. She continues by saying that even a Reaper that has been dead for thousands of years still contains power and artifacts of the Reapers are worth studying, regardless of their purpose.
- When asking about the artifact and how it proves a incoming Reaper invasion, Kenson will say that the artifact gave her visions of the Reaper’s arrival and she compares it to Shepard’s vision from the Prothean Beacons two years ago on Virmire and Eden Prime. She says that she knows the Reapers are coming and that she is certain of it.
- Shepard can then asks how they avoided becoming indoctrinated by the artifact, and Kenson says they’ve been very careful as they know what they are dealing with. Kenson reminds Shepard that they aren’t speaking to a child and continues by saying that she saw what Sovereign did at the Citadel and she knows what is at stake.
Regardless, Shepard says that if she was willing to destroy a whole system over this, then the Commander must see the proof. Kenson says she can’t argue with that and opens communications with the base. The base replies by saying that it is good to hear her voice and asks if she is coming home. She says yes and continues by saying that she has Commander Shepard with her. The base seems shocked by that and Kenson says to tidy up the lab and that Shepard needs to see the proof. The base replies by saying that they will work on it, and signs out. Kenson tells Shepard to relax and they will be there in no time.
Project Base Edit
Arrival at Project Base EditProject Base. Shepard then asks about the clock over the door, and Kenson says that is their countdown to the Arrival. When it reaches zero, the Reapers will arrive. You can ask if that is certain, and Kenson will explain that there have been pulses coming from the artifact since they found it, and that their intervals have been decreasing at a steady rate. The artifact is reacting to the Reapers proximity and when the clock reaches zero in just over 48 hours, the pulses will become constant as the Reapers will have arrived. Finishing the conversation has Shepard saying that they could be at Earth in a little over two days, then there is no time to waste. Kenson then takes the Commander to the proof. She points to the door and says that it exits the hangar and that the artifact is in the central lab area.
Before you leave the hangar however, there is a weapons locker, a terminal for some credits, some refined palladium, and some power cells about, so be sure to use or grab them as appropriate. At this time, just follow Kenson through the complex, and save your game at some point. While walking through the complex, Shepard asks what it will take to get the project back up and running. Kenson says that everything is ready to go and it isn’t a question of “can we” but rather “should we”. Shepard asks if there are any alternatives, and Kenson says that the Reapers will get here regardless, but the relay is their shortcut to the rest of the galaxy. If Shepard wants to slow down the Reapers, then the relay must be destroyed. Be sure to grab the refined palladium along the way as well, it is before the elevator ride and is tucked away next to a staircase.Project Guards come around, weapons drawn, but then Shepard springs up, disarms Kenson by breaking her wrist, and takes cover while Kenson orders the men to take the Commander down while she limps out. Prepare to fight for your life.
Fight for your Life Edit
Note: Surviving the five waves here unlocks the Last Stand Achievement. Yet you don't HAVE to "survive" this battle to continue and succeed in the assignment/game -- so don't rage quit if you see the death screen briefly, you will wake back up!
You will be facing five waves of Project Guards, Project Pyros, Project Engineers, Project Elites, and one YMIR Mech that will come from the door opposite the entrance as well as the opening above that door. The first wave will already be in the room when you gain control of Shepard. Each consecutive wave begins when there are only two or fewer enemies from the previous wave in the room. Each new wave will bring the total in the room to five, so if you leave two from a previous wave barely alive for a short time after the new wave enters, you will only have to face three new enemies. In the lower right hand corner of your screen you will notice a bar displaying Object Rho’s power, which indicates how far you are into the fight. During the battle both Object Rho, which sounds like Harbinger, and Kenson will try to dissuade you from fighting. There are thermal clips around, but no med-kits or power cells, so keep an eye on your medi-gel and your ammo and replenish your ammo when necessary.
One strategy is to keep on the move to avoid being cornered and use powers, weapons, heavy weapons, and just about anything you can to stay alive. Save your heavy weapons for when you are being overwhelmed, although if you're toting the Arc Projector take opportunities to weaken and stun the guards when they are clumped. The guards themselves will try to flank you, get around you, and generally do just about anything to kill you, so make sure they don’t get close. Pop out only as necessary to return fire and stave off enemies. This will cut down on the amount of damage you take and the amount enemies that come into the room. Deal with any ones that aren’t part of the main group first, then focus back on the main group. Conserve your ammo as you may be pinned down for long periods of time. When the YMIR mech appears, there is nowhere it can’t follow you, so try to keep away from it. Take down the other enemies first, then focus on it. A good strategy here is to get something between it and yourself, then move from side to side, as it will adjust to that and give you some free moments to fire on it. This works best in the wings or in the middle. Keep to cover, prioritize targets, and you will make it.
Another safer but lengthy strategy is to turn to your left and find some cover behind the L-shaped couches on the lower level which will protect you against the enemies from the various angles they will come from. If you stay behind the couches, all Project personnel, except for pyros and a couple guards from the first wave, will usually not rush or attempt to flank you, and can be easily picked off one at a time. Make sure to take out pyros quickly as they can knock you out of cover. Aiming for their tanks as you hose them down (or sniping their tanks) will increase the likelihood they will conveniently explode. Resort to your handy Arc Projector whenever too many are getting too close.
Before activating the final wave, duck behind the glass on the upper level that stretches between two pillars right next to the far left wall. Once the YMIR mech approaches your position, move side to side as needed so the mech will follow your movement on the other side of the glass instead of coming around the pillars. When you move behind the glass, which is centered along the wall, enemies usually begin to attempt to flank from either side and will have a direct line of fire if they come around the pillar. So be sure to wear down the fresh guards in the fifth wave before they can get to you is a priority. The final wave (insanity) normally includes three guards, an engineer, and the mech. If an almost dead engineer from a previous wave is carried over into the final wave, a new engineer will not enter with the final wave, making it much easier.
Either way, when you fall, from either dying or from an energy wave from the artifact, Kenson and some personnel will come over to your downed body with glowing eyes. Kenson tells the guards to take you to the med lab and patch you up as they need Shepard alive.
Escape from Med Lab in Progress Edit
When Shepard comes to, it resembles what happened the first time Shepard woke up aboard the Lazarus Research Station. A Scientist is saying that it looked like the Commander was waking up a minute ago, but it might have been a glitch in the system. Apparently they drugged Shepard and the sedatives are no longer working. The Scientist runs out while calling for security. Shepard jumps off the table, and proceeds to knock out the two guards before being trapped by a barrier.
From here there is a research log you can listen to, but the bigger interest is the console. Activate it to take control of one of the deactivated LOKI Mechs and use it for your own purposes. Using the mech, take out the Scientist and the other LOKI Mechs that come to challenge you. Don’t worry about dying here, as you can just activate another mech. When you are clear, head over to the barrier's power source and blow it up.
When it goes up, you lose control of the mech, and regain control of Shepard as alarms activate and apparently now the entire complex knows you are awake. Head out of the med bay, there is a datapad with another research log on the floor, this one covers the moments when Shepard woke up and just before. In the room where the deactivated LOKIs are, there is a third Research log and in the corridor is a Weapons Locker. So grab your stuff, note now much time is left, less than two hours, and get moving.
Warning: At this point, the countdown clock is a very real concern. You have roughly 1 1/2 hours to complete this mission, which should be more than enough time. If you allow the countdown clock to reach zero, however, the Reapers will arrive. A cutscene will be triggered which shows flashes of the Reapers' destruction of the galaxy, followed by the Critical Mission Failure screen.
Get to the Project Control Room Edit
Heading right leads to a room with some element zero and another research log that shows the first effects of indoctrination on the staff. When you are done in there, head back out and bypass the door ahead to continue. Remember you’re on a clock. Two guards, Tomas and Maxwell come to intercept you, but they aren’t much of a challenge, take them out and one of the other guards will come over the radio asking for them. Kenson however will say that you are already past them and for all personnel to get in there now. Well it had to get challenging sometime. Proceed down the hall and Kenson will tell the personnel to secure the project control room and to not let you in there. That’s not very nice, so invite yourself in anyway.
You’ve entered the living quarters of the project, and if Kenson is any indication, then you will have more guards to deal with. Four actually so move into cover and take them down. When they fall, salvage the mech parts, and proceed through the door that they came through. As you proceed down the next hallway, the guards come over the radio saying you are tearing them apart. Kenson’s response, “regroup”. Like that’s going to work.
Into the mess hall and take cover. There will be two guards entering, one regular guard, and a Pyro so focus on the one with the flamethrower first. When they are both down, head up the stairs to the right and again take cover as two more guards will ambush you. When you have finally cleared the mess, there is a wall safe and a research log to pursue with this one detailing odd behavior by Kenson, as if that wasn’t obvious enough already. Head through the doors to the next area.
Upon opening the second door, there is a brief moment where you can take down a guard before he retreats. Otherwise he will join the Engineer in the next room. Keep in the cover by the door, and you should be able to handle this no problem. Don’t move out of cover too fast or go too far however as more enemies, two Guards and an Elite come charging in. Again stick to cover, and you should be just fine for this fight, just watch out for flanking attacks. When they fall proceed into the next room and grab the eezo and listen to another research log, apparently Kenson is really indoctrinated at this point. Head through the door and keep up the pressure.
In the next room is the Project Control room, so Kenson will send in a lot of guards to stop you. Specifically five Guards, three Engineers, two Pyro, and two Elites. Not all of them will be in the room to begin with, so keep an eye on your ammo, those Pyros, and where everyone is. The Pyros are the most dangerous, so remember your Pyro hunting techniques: shooting their tanks (or hitting them with Incinerate) when their shields are down will make them explode messily. Take them down as you can, stay near the door for great cover, and they can’t flank you there, then move into the room. You may have to move into the room before hand to take out enemies that might linger out of your line of sight, weapon range, or that just stay behind cover. The M-920 Cain will allow you to clear the entire room quickly with a well-placed shot.
Inside there is a medical station and the engine controls, note the time remaining, yes that clock continues. Activate the engines and you will get a warning about the casualties. You are now presented with a choice, either call the Normandy for a pickup, or warn the colonists.
- Calling the Normandy will get a transmission from Joker saying they are getting all kinds of interference before getting cut off by Kenson.
- Contacting the colonists leads to you getting cut off by Kenson just as you start.
Kenson says that you don’t know what you’ve done and that you leave her no choice. If she can’t stop the asteroid, then she’ll destroy it. Shepard asks the Project VI where Kenson can be found, and it replies that she is heading for the Reactor Core Module. Kenson will say that eezo core meltdown will do the trick, and because of Shepard, everyone on the rock will be obliterated. However, her plan will only work if you don’t get to her first.
When the conversation concludes, take cover as two Guards will rush into the room. Taking them down isn’t a problem, and when they are down, head through the door.
Stop Kenson Edit
Deal with the guards, they may try to get out of their little alcove, and then shoot the tank. (The Geth Plasma Shotgun won't damage the tank, so use something else). This will allow you to override the door, despite the fact Kenson says she has you trapped in there. Although her guards can try to keep you there, they will ultimately fail in the end. Before heading through the door, there is a small hallway behind you that holds some eezo. Head through the door, up the elevator, grab the eezo, and take cover as two Guards and an Engineer are next on the list to try and stop you. Keep near the door and use it for cover until you manage to take them out. Don’t take too long however, you still need to stop Kenson. When this group is down, head over to the windows and activate the Cooling Controls.
Shepard will then ask the VI how to stabilize the core, and it will reply that all automatic safety protocols have been overridden and to stabilize the core, you need to insert Cooling Rod A from this station and Cooling Rod B from its control station. That will stabilize the core. Shepard pushes the rod in, and when you regain control, head over to the previously locked door and take cover.
Two Guards will come down the hallway, so stay in cover and take them out. When they fall, head down the hallway, and take the elevator. When you reach the bottom, the door in front of you is locked, so you have to override it in the next room. While you’re there, pick up the medi-gel and credits from the PDA. Head across the room, be quick about it, and when you are clear, take cover as enemies, three Guards and a Pyro, are coming from the left. Take them out, but don’t forget about that room to your left. Inside is some eezo, so if you have to come back, come back, but worry about your health first. After some fall, another Pyro and an Elite enter the hallway from the other end, so make sure to shift your focus as necessary.
Since the door ahead of you is locked, shoot the explosive crate to your right and jump up. Apparently, a guard named Williams thinks he has you trapped in the maintenance area and is requesting backup, show him that you aren’t so trapped. When he is down, override the lockdown and continue on. However, don’t go too far down the hallway as the backup Williams requested comes down in the elevator, a Guard and a Pyro. Take them out as you please, then head up the elevator. If you are low on ammo, there are some thermal clips nearby. When you get to the top, before heading to the other elevator, grab ammo, if you didn't on the floor below, and the eezo on this landing, then take the second elevator.
When you reach the top, before going through the door, grab the PDA for some credits, then open the door. Inside are six Guards, so stay near the door so they can’t flank you. While this also limits your field of fire, it does the same thing for them as well, forcing them to move into your kill zone. Head through the area, but when you reach a small alcove, take cover as there is a final line of defense, one of everything. Taking out the Pyro first here could do a lot of damage to the rest, so focus on that, then switch to the others. The opportunities for flanking are fewer here, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. When they are all down, head down the hallway, bypass the door, and enter the room. Inside, before activating the Cooling Rod, grab the eezo and credits from the wall safe. Press in the Cooling Rod, and the VI will say that a core meltdown has been averted and that the temperature is returning to normal. Kenson however, won’t quit and says she can still override power to the engines, and challenges you to stop her. Well, she did issue you a challenge.
Head down the elevator, through the door, and you are now treated to a cutscene. Shepard runs into the room, gun drawn and points it as Kenson at the main control panel, and tells her to step away from the console. Kenson says that you ruined everything and that she can’t hear the whispers anymore. Shepard tells her to turn around “Now!” Kenson will say that Shepard has taken it away from her and she will never see the Reaper’s Arrival. At this point she holds up a detonator telling Shepard that all the Commander had to do was to stay asleep and none of this had to happen. A Renegade interrupt will cause Shepard to shoot Kenson, but even as she dies, she still manages to press it, causing an explosion. If you don’t take the interrupt, then Shepard will try to convince Kenson that they can still get off the asteroid. Kenson however says they can’t and presses the detonator, dying in the explosion. In either situation, the resulting explosion knocks Shepard out.
Escape With Your Life Edit
Warning: Because Shepard was knocked unconscious by the explosion, the countdown clock has advanced to 30 minutes remaining. If the countdown clock was already under 30 minutes by the time you reached Kenson, then Shepard wakes up instantly and no time is lost. Strangely, even though you have ignited the engines and the asteroid will crash into relay, thereby preventing the Reapers from spreading to the rest of the galaxy, if time runs out before you are past the airlock, the cutscene of the Reapers' destruction of the civilized universe will play, followed by the Critical Mission Failure screen.
Keep moving down the hall, although take a quick pit stop through a door on your left to grab a Heavy Skin Weave research project, some refined palladium, and some credits. Head back out and keep moving. Head down the stairs in the next room, and grab the credits from the datapad that’s there before leaving. In the next hallway, which is actually an airlock, are some power cells, so grab them and save your game before heading out into space.
Note: Because you are in a vacuum, sound effects are muffled in this area. This can make it easier for enemies to sneak up, and possibly flank you if you are not attentive of where they are. So keep an eye on where enemies are at all times.
Note: There appears to be a bug where after the mission the "muffling" from being outside on the asteroid stays in effect, so background noise on the Normandy and some other things (like mass relays) can't be heard. This appears to be fixed if the game is restarted.
The Alpha Relay provides a nice backdrop to this battle with about eight Project Guards. The mass relay will grow larger across your field of view as the asteroid approaches it. If that wasn't enough of a hint, in the bottom right corner is the Alpha Relay proximity meter, so fight fast and hard. You will have about six and a half minutes, regardless of how much or how little time was left on the Reaper countdown clock, to reach the comm relay. Otherwise, the asteroid, with you on it, will smash into the mass relay, resulting in a Critical Mission Failure. During the fight you will see the last evacuation shuttle take off and the Guard will say that their fellows left them there - at this point the guards stop spawning. Also another YMIR Mech will activate, so deal with the infantry quickly. Keep an eye on that meter and keep moving to destroy the YMIR Mech as quickly as possible. Once the YMIR is down, get over to the Comm Relay as quickly as possible and activate it. The VI will tell you that an external comm line is now open.
Insanity Tip: If the extremely aggressive closing/flanking behavior of these guards is giving you problems, a good thorough hosing down with the Arc Projector will quickly run through the 10-ish guards and leave you with only the YMIR. This level is doable without heavy weapons, but it's a tough fight. The guards have their sneakiness turned up to 11 and will use their flashbangs to knock you out of cover in addition to flanking and charging you.
Note: Attempting to make a dash for the Comm Relay before all the guards are down is dangerous, as they will pursue you aggressively even if you are using Tactical Cloak. However once you're down to the YMIR this tactic is quite viable, although unlike "usual YMIR behavior" it will continue marching toward you with disconcerting accuracy even when you are cloaked, so you will likely need to keep moving from cover to cover.
Note: If you haven't completed the suicide mission yet, then the Collector General will be the hologram. If you have completed the suicide mission, you will talk to Harbinger directly. Either way, you are still talking to Harbinger.
As Shepard tries to contact the Normandy, a hologram appears and Harbinger talks to you. First it says that you have become an annoyance, that you fight against inevitability, and that you are like dust against the cosmic winds. While it may seem like a victory at the cost of a star system, the galaxy’s greatest civilizations are doomed to fall and that their leaders will beg to serve the Reapers. Choose how to respond to that. Harbinger however asks Shepard to think about something while the Commander dies in vain, the galaxy’s civilizations and humanity will fall. It finishes by saying to “Prepare yourselves for the Arrival”.
Then the Normandy comes swinging in and Shepard jumps into the airlock. Joker then pilots a course through the Relay just before the asteroid hits it, completely destroying the relay. So it appears that Kenson was right about one thing, the resulting explosion destroys the system, but the Reapers have been delayed.
Back on the Normandy Edit
In the crew quarters, Shepard sits on a bed in the Med lab while Chakwas talks with Hackett. As Chakwas leaves, and EDI’s hologram disappears, Hackett approaches Shepard. He says that it sounds like Shepard went through hell on the asteroid and asks how the Commander is feeling. Shepard replies that they are fine, no more visions if that is what Hackett was asking. Shepard continues however by saying that they didn’t expect Hackett on the Normandy. Hackett says that since Shepard went out there as a favor to him, he decided to debrief the Commander in person. Of course that was before the Mass Relay exploded and took out an entire batarian system. You can ask if Hackett heard anything, to which he replies that all he knows is that he sent Shepard out on a personal mission, and at the end an entire system is destroyed. He hopes you can fill in the gaps. Your response can affect what Hackett says as he examines the datapad that Shepard hands him.
Note: If Doctor Chakwas is either missing (from the attack on the Normandy) or dead (from the suicide mission) it will instead be Joker talking to Admiral Hackett and leaving the med bay.
- If you pick the paragon option, Shepard explains that they confirmed Kenson's proof that the Reapers were coming and destroying that relay was the only way to stop them. Shepard continues by saying that Kenson sedated them for two days and that they restarted the engines with just over an hour left. If you tried to contact the colony, Shepard says that but time ran out. Even though there were no survivors, Hackett appreciates that Shepard at least tried to do so.
- If you pick the neutral option, Shepard just hands Hackett the datapad saying it's all there. Hackett says he was hoping to hear it from Shepard though.
- If you pick the renegade option, Shepard will tell Hackett of what happened to Kenson in that she said that the Reapers were the galaxy’s salvation. She then proceeded to capture, sedate, and hold the Commander against their will. Shepard says that since Kenson wasn’t willing to stop the invasion, they did what needed to be done. Hackett says that it sounded like Amanda was indoctrinated, and well that “it’s a damn shame”.
He then asks if Shepard truly believed the Reaper invasion was a threat, to which Shepard replies that they are beyond a doubt and that they only had minutes to spare. Hackett says that he is sure all the details are in Shepard’s report.
Hackett continues by saying that the batarians will be out for blood, no doubt about that, and that there is just enough evidence for a witch-hunt. However, they don’t want a war with the batarians with the Reapers at the galaxy’s edge. Shepard asks what Hackett means, and Hackett continues. He says he knows what Shepard did was for the best of reasons, but that doesn’t change the fact that three hundred thousand batarians are dead. You can respond to that any way you wish. If you chose the paragon option, then Shepard will say that their deaths saved the countless billions that would have perished had the Reapers got into the galaxy, and that given the chance, they would have tried to save those colonists. Hackett says that if it were up to him, he’d give the Commander a medal. If you choose the renegade option, Hackett will agree with Shepard's decision. He is sorry that those batarians lost their lives but someone has to make the decisions that get people killed. Regardless of the option chosen, Hackett will remind Shepard that not everyone will see it that way.
Shepard asks for some advice, and Hackett says that while the evidence against Shepard is shoddy at best, Shepard will eventually have to go to Earth and face the music. Hackett says that he can’t stop it, but he can make them fight for it. Now you can ask Hackett a few questions and the answers will vary based on actions taken and when the game is played.
- If you ask Hackett about why he is aboard a Cerberus vessel, he will say that he doesn’t like Cerberus or the way they do things, but they did bring Shepard back and are actually doing something about the state of the Galaxy. If you destroyed the Collector Base, Hackett questions whether or not it is a Cerberus Vessel anymore. If this assignment is completed before the Suicide Mission or you preserved the Collector Base, Hackett says he can be friendly, for now.
- If you ask about the Alliance’s concerns about war with the batarians, Hackett says they are very concerned as the batarians have been looking for an excuse to go to war ever since humanity showed up in the galaxy. That can’t happen with the Reapers invading the galaxy as they need to work together. If they are at war with the batarians, the other races will be hesitant to give aid to either side.
- If you ask if the Alliance is prepared for a Reaper invasion, Hackett says that he doesn’t know. He continues by saying it took multiple fleets and the Destiny Ascension to bring down Sovereign, who was just one Reaper. If the Reapers come in force, the Alliance just isn’t ready. If you've yet to complete the Suicide Mission this option is replaced with Shepard asking about the Collectors to which he says that the Alliance has stationed fleets around the larger colonies and evacuated several smaller ones and hopes that you and Cerberus have an "ace up your sleeve".
When you are done, you can choose how to respond.
- If you choose to turn yourself in, Hackett will be pleased that working with Cerberus hasn’t stripped away Shepard’s sense of honor.
- If you choose to appreciate the delay, then Hackett just turns to leave.
- If you choose to say that Hackett should be thanking you, Hackett says that it isn't a matter of preference, and Shepard would make a convenient scapegoat to avoid open war.
No matter what option you choose however, Hackett says to Shepard to do whatever they need to out here, but when Earth calls, be there, in full dress blues, ready to take the hit. In the meantime, Hackett says keep the report as he doesn’t need to see it to know what actually happened to know that Shepard did the right thing. Shepard just responds with “Yes sir”. Hackett leaves by saying "you did a hell of a thing Commander".
Note: In some cases the autosave function does not work and will cause you to repeat the final battle and conversation with Hackett. This can also lead to alternate dialogue in Mass Effect 3 which implies you never played Arrival.
Mass Effect 3 ConsequencesEdit
If importing a Mass Effect 2 save in which Arrival was not completed, the Alpha Relay will still be destroyed. However, responsibility will shift from Commander Shepard to the Alliance's 103rd Marine Division. In the process, the 103rd will suffer casualties, lowering their corresponding war asset by 50 points. This will also alter dialogue in several places, such as with Balak during Citadel: Batarian Codes (provided he survived Bring Down the Sky), with Ghorek during Citadel: Wounded Batarian, and with Admiral Anderson in the game's opening cinematic.
“Personal log: I hear humans are scurrying like varren out in the asteroid belt. Is anywhere safe from them? We should arm a mission to flush them all out.”
“Personal log: I’ve worked for forty-seven days straight without time off, and now there’s humans in the prison below. I can’t get a break. There’s three hundred thousand people in this colony. You’d think that someone could cover for me one night.”
“Security log: Our comm buoy intercepts paid off. We picked up a message to the Alliance coming from somewhere in the asteroid belt. We listened to the feed until we discovered an operation run by a human named Kenson -- smuggling engine parts and guidance systems into the system from Omega. We intercepted Kenson’s vessel and took her and her people into custody. Interrogation has produced nothing but frenzied rambling so far.”
“Security Log: The humans still won’t tell us where their base is. No way we’ll find it even if we have to scan every asteroid out there. I wonder if those humans actually found something. No torture is too great if it gets that information out of them.”
“Dr. Kenson: The Project is almost complete. I thought I’d feel a sense of accomplishment but instead… I feel dread. I can’t help but think we are doing something terrible.”
“Research Log: Shepard has been sedated constantly for two days now. We’ve had to increase each dosage. It seemed like Shepard was waking up a moment ago. But that could be a glitch in the system. No glitch. The sedatives aren’t working!”
“Scientist: I woke up this morning in a cold sweat. The nightmare was back, the one with the enormous starship crawling through the Citadel and all my friends turning to dust. Even now I can see it in my mind. Why won’t this stop?”
“Guard: When it’s silent, when there’s no one else around, I can hear it. Whispers in the back of my mind, I can’t tell what they’re saying. I spoke to Doctor Kenson about it and she seemed to understand. What the hell is going on?”
“Guard: Kenson’s acting strange lately. Like she doesn’t care about the Project anymore. And I know I’m not the only one having those dreams. The Reapers are coming she says. But I’m not sure if I’m hearing fear or hope in her voice.”
“Dr. Kenson: The longer we’re here, the more I’m convinced the Project must be stopped. We simply don’t know enough about what the Reapers want. It’s foolish to assume that the Reapers mean doom for the galaxy. Legends say they’ve come through before, and yet life continues doesn’t it?”
- Batarian War Beast
- Elite Prison Guard
- LOKI Mech
- Project Elite
- Project Engineer
- Project Guard
- Project Pyro
- Prison Guard
- YMIR Mech
Mission Summary Edit
Dr. Amanda Kenson was rescued from a batarian prison on the planet Aratoht, and Shepard confirmed her proof of a Reaper invasion. Shepard was captured by Kenson, who had been indoctrinated by a Reaper artifact.
Shepard escaped and activated the Project, destroying the Alpha Relay and ending the Reaper invasion.
Dr. Kenson did not survive.
The Bahak System and all its inhabitants were destroyed.
- Experience: 1000 (1250)
- Credits: 21,050
- Cerberus Funding: 3,500
- Credits Found: 17,550
- Element Zero: 1,500
- Palladium: 1,500
- Iridium: 2,000
- Arrival was originally set in an underwater base built by humans. Shepard was supposed to land on an ocean planet and take a submarine down to the main level. The idea was to give it a feel like the movie The Abyss, with separate containers for each section of the base. The idea was scrapped and the base was moved to an asteroid.
- ↑ The Art of the Mass Effect Universe