Preparation EditNormandy's briefing room, while EDI projects a scan of the Collector Base and comments that the station's weak spot is likely in the main control center in the center of the station. EDI also says that this is the likely location of the Normandy crew and any remaining colonists. There are two ways to get to the center of the station, but a tech specialist must pass through a thermal vent in order to get the two squads through to the next area of the station.
- Ideal: Legion, Tali, or Kasumi
- Non ideal: Anyone else, as well as non-loyal Legion/Tali/Kasumi, as they will be shot attempting to close the doors.
Once the choice is made, Miranda will say that while Shepard will lead one squad, someone else must lead a second squad to serve as a diversion. She volunteers to do so, but you can choose any other squad member.
- Ideal: Garrus, Miranda, or Jacob.
- Non Ideal: Anyone else or non-loyal Garrus/Miranda/Jacob, as that will also cause the specialist to die.
Once that choice is made, you have the opportunity to make a rousing speech to your troops. Select your own squad from the remaining members. You will be facing waves of Collectors with repeated appearances by Harbinger, and you will be under time pressure to advance quickly enough to keep your specialist alive. Surviving the waves and progressing through the mission quickly are more important than actually killing Collectors - keep those in mind when deciding who and what to bring.
If everything is in order, the team then disembarks from the Normandy and enters the station.
After removing the first obstruction, a bar will appear in the lower right of the screen showing how much time the specialist has. If the bar runs out then the mission ends in a critical mission failure as the specialist gets fried. On higher difficulties, it is hard to take the Collectors out fast enough to prevent a heat buildup, so on some occasions you will have to activate the gate controls while under fire. Using a defensive power, like Barrier or Fortification, can be a good asset in this situation.
Tip: If you reach a gate control with plenty of time to spare, and there are enemies about, hold off activating the gate control while you kill more enemies. Since activating the gate control will reset to the full length of the next timer no matter how low you've let the bar drop, you'll be gaining extra time. Note that activating each successive gate also completely replenishes all of your normal weapon ammo, another reason you may sometimes wish to leave gate activation for "the right moment".
Note that it may be worthwhile to leave this valve until you've killed a few more Collectors, since it will save time that you'll sorely need in the next area. Also take special notice of the fact that activating the sixth valve is also the last autosave of this mission segment.
There are three Collectors around the corner; eliminate them quickly while they are clustered, then climb into the final room.
There are two gates, a time limit, and two waves of Collector Drones, Assassins and Harbinger between you and finishing this mission. The two heat exchangers are very near each other: the smart thing to do is to simply get to them as fast as you can, dodging/returning fire only when necessary.
If you insist on taking all enemies out, go right ahead: this isn't an infinite spawn scenario. If you are having problems taking out the Collectors then you can leave your specialist hanging until the last minute – take cover next to the seventh heat exchanger and keep shooting as long as the timer allows.
Once the final gate is open, regardless of any remaining enemies the mission ends.
The diversion team charges into the safe area and attempts to hold their ground while the tech specialist opens the door to let in Shepard's squad. Once Shepard and the squad get in, the specialist attempts to close the door again. If you chose an ideal specialist, the door closes. If not, the specialist manages to close the door but will be shot dead before finishing the task. Also, if you chose a non-ideal second fire team leader, the specialist will still be shot, even if loyal and ideal.
The room you enter holds giant tubes and a disturbing secret.
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