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Noveria: Peak 15

Last edited on March 31, 2014
by Cattlesquat

Contact has been lost with Peak 15, the remote facility where Matriarch Benezia went.


Acquisition

This mission is acquired as part of the Noveria: Geth Interest mission. The mission title is changed upon reaching the Peak 15 Research Facility.

Preparation

The foes you will be facing include the usual range of geth and krogan as well as several biotic enemies and a biotic boss. But most notably you will also be facing a new organic enemy that does not use shields and whose toxic spittle bypasses your own shields. This means that many tech abilities will be of limited use, and you may therefore wish to emphasize biotic and combat ability when choosing your squad. Physics-based abilities such as Lift, Throw, and Singularity are highly effective against all of these enemy types. The most effective abilities on the tech side are Damping which will temporarily prevent the asari from loosing their abilities and Neural Shock which will drop any organic enemy instantly to the ground without the chance to shoot or activate an ability.

Consider replacing that shield modulator in your armor with something that provides protection against Toxic Damage, and if you can trade your armor for one with higher basic damage and/or biotic protection even if it has a smaller shield, that will be good for this section. Wearers of Light Armor will be particularly hard-hit by attacks that bypass shields, and may want to supplement with a damage protection mod.

Weapon-wise you can choose between swapping out Anti Personnel/Shredder rounds for Anti Armor/Tungsten rounds in between battles, or go with a mix that works evenly against all foe types. Hammerhead or Sledgehammer rounds can help keep enemies calm while you're dealing with them, for example. But if you were hypothetically only allowed to bring one type of rounds to Peak 15, it should probably be Shredder VII.

Walkthrough

Peak 15 Garage

Before you enter the garage you will want to save your game as there are very few Auto-Save points here. As you enter the garage, the cold hazard will disappear when you enter the first room. When you move through the large door into the next room, get in cover quickly because you will come under fire. The large room beyond holds a Geth Juggernaut, a Geth Destroyer, a Geth Shock Trooper, and a very annoying Geth Repair Drone. There are also three krogan, two on the floor in the back, the other on the catwalk above and to the left. Take out the repair drone as soon as possible because it will repair the geth you are trying to destroy. The geth will come straight after you, so you will naturally end up concentrating on them first assuming you stay in cover near the entrance. When it makes sense, move forward and take the krogan down; just watch out for their dangerous charges when you approach their position.

The second the last enemy falls, the station’s VI Mira comes over the intercom telling you of the amount of damage that the facility has sustained, in case that wasn't apparent. Before leaving the garage you'll find two crates on the catwalks and ramps leading onwards. When you enter the security tunnels your squadmates will comment about the turrets facing the wrong way. There is a security office near the elevator so enter it first for two more crates, then take the elevator up.

Noveria-Peak 15-Mass hall
Peak 15 Mess Hall
Once you reach the top save your game and move on to the door. Inside is the cafeteria for the facility and it has some non-edible guests: geth. There are some Geth Troopers, and a Geth Shock Trooper. There is little cover near your starting location, so move into the room if necessary while using abilities to keep the geth from concentrating too much fire on your squad while you take them out. Once they all fall, your squadmates will comment about the damage and turning off the heat to kill anything that was released. Tip: Now would be the time to equip your toxic damage protection and anti-organic ammo.

When you get close to the stairs there will be a cutscene introducing a new enemy; a very large organic one at that too. Once you have control again, move away from the stairs because some explosive Rachni Workers will come charging down them. Take down the enemies because if they get near you, they explode and poison you at the same time. Once the small rachni are dealt with, send your squadmates up first to have the two larger Rachni Soldiers focus on them; keep on the move to avoid their acid spittle which bypasses your shields. If you have biotic skills then use them because these large rachni are extremely vulnerable to physics-based attacks. A third Rachni Soldier will burst from a grate in the chamber at the top of the stairs when you approach.

Once they are all down, head down the corridor. In the first room, you'll find a codex entry and a storage locker. Further down the hall you'll find a room with a medkit, but be careful as you exit because another large Rachni will emerge suddenly. Kill it then head into the next elevator.

Repair Peak 15

Noveria Mira Headshot
Mira, Peak 15's VI
You emerge nearby the VI core of the station. As the door opens, another mob of Rachni Workers will approach from the other end of the room--take them out before they have a chance to detonate themselves all over you. Once they are down, once one of your squadmates will comment that nearby is what appears to be a backup power system for the station’s VI. Activate it then move to the far end of the room. Take the elevator down to repair the VI. You have two options, use 100 Omni-gel or repair it manually by solving a Tower of Hanoi puzzle. See below for the solution.

The VI can be manually reinitialized with the following key sequence:

  • Xbox 360: X Y, X B, Y B, X Y, B X, B Y, X Y, X B, Y B, Y X, B X, Y B, X Y, X B, Y B
  • PC: Column 1 -> 2, 1 -> 3, 2 -> 3, 1 -> 2, 3 -> 1, 3 -> 2, 1 -> 2, 1 -> 3, 2 -> 3, 2 -> 1, 3 -> 1, 2 -> 3, 1 -> 2, 1 -> 3, 2 -> 3
  • PS3: square triangle, square circle, triangle circle, square triangle, circle square, circle triangle, square triangle, square circle, triangle circle, triangle square, circle square, triangle circle, square triangle, square circle, triangle circle
Noveria-Mira core activation mini-game
Shepard acquires a pathological aversion to Towers of Hanoi here
If you try to reactivate the core manually, there are a few rules about the puzzle.
  • Only a single box may be transferred to any stack, regardless of whether or not they are adjacent.
  • Only the topmost box will be "picked up" when one presses the corresponding face button. It will be 'placed' in the same order when another face button is pressed. This means that if the top-most box is selected, it will drop into the top most area of any stack it is dropped in. The same applies to the other boxes as well.
  • A box may not be transferred to a space where there will be a blue box in any slot above it.
  • After transferring a box to another stack, it may be transferred back as many times as required.
  • Only one box may be "picked up" at a time.

Once the core is repaired, Shepard is raised back up and the VI comes online. She will ask for your credentials and you can respond any way you wish, as either way you get Secure Access. You can ask some questions, but other questions she won’t answer because apparently Privileged Access is only available to Binary Helix executives. Eventually she will tell you that the there are two things needed to get the station operation again.

  • Reconnecting the landlines on the roof to restore Mira's full functionality
  • Getting the reactor core back online by fixing the helium-3 fuel lines

Pick whichever task you'll perform first, and head to the appropriate elevator. The landlines are in the elevator behind Shepard, and the reactor is down and off to the left in the main room.

Reconnecting the Landlines

When you reach the roof, exit the elevator and save your game because you'll soon face an intense fight. When you emerge on the roof itself there are rachni all over the place. About 5 soldiers and 10+ workers; use anything you can to take them out quickly.

Combat Tips:

  • Do not charge out of the hallway. Instead, position your squad and move forward solo slowly. There are some rachni in the forward position so you can try to isolate and take them out.
  • Wide-field biotic abilities can keep the rachni distracted while you hammer at them.
  • Pulling back into the hallway can minimize the number of soldiers who have firing angles on you, allowing you to deal with workers moving forward or hurl grenades out to dispose of them. The rachni will not follow you back into the tunnel, nor do they regenerate their health, so you can also use the automatic door as a kind of blast shield when you need to take refuge and heal.

Once the enemies are down reconnect the landlines and then access the nearby Mira Terminal for an update on the Rift Station and Hot Labs. She can also give you more information on what happened before you arrived. Once you have everything you want, grab the nearby crate and head back down.

Reactivating the Reactor

Head to the elevator leading to the reactor, the one on the left as you approach from the VI core and the landlines. Assuming you already reconnected the landlines, a Rachni Soldier will emerge from a grate on the left hand side. Take it down and move to the elevator.

Once you reach the main reactor, enter the first room and unless you have top-of-the-line Combat Scanners, your radar will be jammed. Tip: That's a sure sign it's time to re-equip your anti-armor rounds, and other stuff you prefer against geth enemies!

This first room contains a locker, a crate, and a Mira terminal, but when you venture forward from the room you'll find geth in the reactor. Geth Destroyers and Geth Stalkers are in the core and will charge the moment they see you. If you get overwhelmed then head back inside because the doors will not open for the geth--even if they are at the doors--so use the room as a fall back point if necessary.

There are three main ways to approach this room:

  1. "Going Right" lets you get established by fighting a single Geth Destroyer - the Geth Juggernaut is obscured directly over your head, and the Geth Stalkers will appear slowly from the other half of the room. Take out the destroyer and then any stalkers you see before leaving the entry area, because once you do you'll need to do a quick about-face and deal with the Juggernaut on the balcony above you. The advantage of going this way is that two of the Geth Destroyers and many of the stalkers tend to remain over on the other side.
  2. "Going Left" keeps the Geth Juggernaut out of the way for longer, at the cost of exposing you to a higher number of Geth Destroyers and Geth Stalkers at a closer range.
  3. "Running for the Button" works about the way you'd expect it to. The button is located on a central gangway that you can only reach by heading down to the far end from where you enter. Probably best done from the right side - perhaps take out the Geth Destroyer there and then try your luck dodging the rockets. Be aware that repairing the reactor does NOT disable the remaining geth, so you'll still need to arrange for a safe exit.

If your radar is still jammed or you still see an enemy on your map then you have either missed the Geth Stalker or a Geth Juggernaut that are on each side of the the upper level. The upper level is easy to miss. It is on the right if you are facing the elevator and helium-3 fuel lines just before the door. Take the ramp up to take them out. If you have lift and throw you can actually throw it off the platform and into the core. Otherwise just shoot it until it keels over.

When you have cleared the core, if you aren’t on the top level go up there because there is a locker in the upper room and a weapons locker in the same area that the Juggernaut was in. Then head down and to the back of the room to open the H3 fuel lines. Then take the elevator back up to the Mira Core. Take it down. If you talk to Mira before you take the elevator, your journal will update to Noveria: Contamination.

When you re-enter the main room a Rachni Soldier will emerge from a grate to the left and on the far side of the room. Take it down and move on across the room (or to the right to the landlines if you haven't repaired those yet).

Once you've got both the landlines and the reactor repaired, you're ready to head down the tunnel toward the tram. You'll find part of the tunnel ahead blocked and filled with Rachni, so first go into the nearby office and grab the three crates in the room. Access the Mira terminal to figure out how to proceed. You have three options:

  • Repair the plasma vents and watch the bugs burn
  • Have Mira open the door and shoot them
  • Bypass the door and then shoot them

Ironically, the one that gives the most XP is the easiest, for once: repair the vents and watch the bugs burn, if your electronics skill is sufficient. Warning: But as you leave the room make sure to turn around because the grate will pop up and another Rachni Soldier will emerge at point blank range. Take it down then head into the tunnel.

Open the door on the other side and four Rachni Workers will emerge: shoot them before they get too close. Head on into the station and take the tram to get access to Rift Station.

Peak 15 Rift Station

800px-Noveria - Captain Ventralis on alert
Captain Ventralis and his men
When your tram arrives there will be no enemies and only one way to proceed. Head around the corner and up the elevator where you'll run into Captain Ventralis with a couple guards. You can ask him about the situation and what has been happening. When you end the conversation he will give you a pass card to the Hot Labs, an area which is back up the elevator behind you. More rachni will suddenly appear. Take them out with Ventralis' help and then move on into the station. Note: If you use Singularity too early, one or both rachni may float downward into non-accessible areas and vanish. However, Ventralis and his men won't stand down because the rachni have not been killed. Saving and reloading can cause the rachni to burst out of the floor grates again.

In the main room you'll find several people you can talk to: Alestia Iallis, Petozi, and Dr. Palon. Petozi, the elcor has a limited list of items for sale, though more usefully you can unload anything that's clogging your inventory. On the right a door leads to the guard quarters - head inside and crack the two weapons lockers there.

There are three other doors, all on the left from where you entered. The first leads to the scientists quarters, the second leads down the med lab, the third leads to a sealed off section of the base. Be warned that hacking the door here will turn all the guards against you. That's one of the paths forward - in order to progress the story you eventually need to get into the secure lab - but you'll probably want to investigate your options as there are several paths to accomplish this and some involve less fighting than others.

For a more subtle approach to obtaining access, head down the center door to see Dr. Zev Cohen in the med lab. He will inform you that Ventralis has sealed off a lab where they were researching a bio-weapon; however, Ventralis mistakenly believes that it is still viable. Cohen assures Shepard that it is neutralized because of a brief exposure period, and he needs the cure they were researching to heal the other members of his team. Note: The Mira terminal in this room can completely heal you and your squad, if you're stuck with a long-running toxic ailment from the rachni.

So go back and see Ventralis and after some persuasion he will give you access to the lab; head toward the scientists quarters to get access to it. When you exit on the lower level you see Han Olar: you can talk to the volus to get information about the rachni and what happened at the station. Once you have all the information you want, before heading into the lab decrypt the locker and if necessary access the Medical Station. Then talk to the guard and head inside the lab.

At the other end of the room is what you need to make the cure. Before you make the cure however head into the second door on the right and grab the med kit, the third room has a storage locker, and there is a crate next to the table. Access the research notes to figure out how to make the cure and then use the next station to make the cure. For that just push Change Vial button each time the progress bar reaches proper concentration (is between two sliders). Once you make the cure however, you'll find you have some company.

Alestia enters with a mix of Geth Troopers, Geth Shock Troopers, and Asari Commandos that varies based on difficulty level. Talk to her but there is no way out of this without fighting. So when the conversation ends use whatever cover you have to take out your attackers. It is a cramped space and offers little cover. If you have Lift or Singularity then use them to offset the cramped quarters; likewise Alestia and the Commando are both quite vulnerable to Neural Shock. Focus on Alestia first, because she is the greatest threat. Once she is down focus on the Commando if present, then the geth.

Having disposed of Alestia, head back out of the lab and Han Olar will tell you that they came from the maintenance areas. With that information you can head back up the elevator to speak to Dr. Cohen and get his pass. When you talk to Cohen you can also weasel some medi-gel out of him. If you want to, talk to Ventralis again to tell him about Alestia. Before leaving visit Petozi for any last trading because it will be your last chance.

Note: One option at this point is to go to the Hot Labs immediately after making the cure and before confronting Benezia, but this will result in a tougher battle where Ventralis and more of the guards concentrate in a single room when you return. One strange additional footnote if you go that path: the guard that Alestia killed will register as one of the hostiles you will have to fight; shooting him will ironically revive him only for you to have to kill him again. Recommended, however, is to confront Benezia before going to the Hot Labs.

Reaching Benezia

To reach Benezia, two main routes are available, depending on your preferences and proclivities:

  1. Quietly Through Maintenance: Head back down past the volus and into the maintenance area, which looks like a cave. You will enter unopposed and without being detected, and will not provoke fights with guards. On the way there is a single Rachni Soldier, so kill it and enter the back door. When you walk through there is a crate on the catwalks and then when you reach a door on the right, bypass it because there is an upgrade kit in the next room. Don’t bypass the door beyond unless you want to turn all the guards hostile, though since they can’t reach you right now you can always choose to get the small amount of exp associated with hacking it. Once you are done head back to the door and save your game before entering.
  2. Fight Your Way In: This route provides extra fighting, though not particularly difficult, and accompanying extra experience. Begin by hacking the door to the "Restricted Area" -- it's near the med bay, and has two Assault Drones guarding it. The Drones will attack immediately - gun them down. Then, before entering the door, you have the option of returning to the room you just left and fighting the guards there. Also optionally, you can head all the way back to Ventralis and dispose of him and his two henchmen. Then enter the door you hacked and fight your way through another series of guards, to reach the entrance to Benezia's room. Open all the crates you can find before entering her room; you can even head out this end of the maintenance corridor to kill the lone Rachni Soldier.

Confronting Benezia

Noveria - Benezia and the Rachni Queen
Have you faced an Asari Commando unit before? Few humans have...
Inside is Matriarch Benezia on an upper platform. You can talk to her and get a few questions answered. If you have Liara in your party, there are some words exchanged between mother and daughter. Once you are done Benezia will place the whole squad in Stasis while her two Commandos move into position. When you regain control you'll find yourself in the middle of what's arguably the most difficult battle in the game.

Combat Tips:

  1. When you regain control, optionally use a disabling attack such as Throw or Neural Shock on the Commando right in front of you, but otherwise immediately run to the right and manually order your squad to that corner as well which has some good cover that you can use; it also puts you out of Benezia's line of fire, and as long as you remain at the back of the room you can avoid getting zapped by her. Giving your squad a manual order can be the only way to get them to disengage from the commandos in time to get out of Benezia's line of fire and thus avoid being taken down.
  2. Against Commandos you'll want to use as many disabling abilities as you can: Lift, Throw, Singularity, and Neural Shock. Damping can also prevent them from using their fearsome biotics, and Stasis can keep one out of the fray for a bit while you concentrate on another. Keep them off their feet and you can stay alive.
  3. When you defeat the first wave Benezia will again freeze the squad while geth move in along with another two Commandos. Take out the enemies but keep your squadmates at the platform because that is where they are safe. You may have to venture over to the other side to eliminate the last geth, but be careful when doing so because at least on high levels there will be a Geth Sniper which can one-shot you. Once the final geth falls Benezia will again freeze the squad, but her power is weakening.
  4. The third wave is all geth - on Insanity it's eight Geth Snipers in two groups of four. If you move quickly you can often catch a group of four all in the same Singularity, Lift, etc. Use cover, powers, and gunfire to eliminate them.
  5. Once they are all down you will begin another conversation with Benezia. She will start out defiant but her attitude changes quickly. Benezia says that the real threat is Sovereign and that Saren is just a tool. Ask questions and Benezia says that Saren sent her here to recover the location of the Mu Relay from the Rachni Queen. You can ask more questions however eventually the indoctrination overpowers Benezia and she and three final Commandos attack.
  6. Immediately hit Benezia with Lift or Neural Shock - otherwise you'll get a faceful of biotics and gunfire. If you happen to have two biotics in your party and can instantly hit her with Lift and Throw in rapid sequence, you may even be able to throw her off the platform for an insta-kill. Otherwise hit her with everything you've got and, above all, don't let her stand up. Hammerhead or Sledgehammer rounds in especially a shotgun can be particularly effective at keeping her off balance. Then you'll have the three Commandos to finish off, but you'll have done that before. Alternatively you can run like heck from Benezia and try to get some of the Commandos down first, but be aware that Benezia will start following you around, so it can turn into quite a chaotic chase through the corridor. It can work, but if you're ready to hit Benezia hard and fast the instant she finishes her speech, you have better odds.
  7. The final group of commandos start in corners and tend to stay there to fire weapons or biotics. Lift or Throw can knock them off the platform for a quick kill.

When the last enemy falls, a final dying conversation with Benezia occurs. There is additional dialogue if Liara is in the squad.

Fate of a Species

Rachni Queen and Asari Mouthpiece
The Queen Speaks through the asari
When Benezia finally passes, you will enter another conversation with the Rachni Queen through one of the dead commandos. You can ask questions about her history and her plans if Shepard releases her. Now you face the ultimate choice: activate the acid tanks and kill off the rachni once and for all, or allow the Queen to leave and begin anew. Once you make your choice you get a cutscene showing your actions.

Once you are done collect the crate from the top platform; there are also two more crates on the lowest platform on the south side of the lab. Once you have them all leave and head to the Hot Labs, assuming you didn't deal with them already.

Note: If Urdnot Wrex is in your Squad you get a unique dialogue.

The Hot Labs

Head into the left elevator, the other is locked down now, and down into the hot labs. The hot labs only have one occupant: Yaroslev Tartakovsky. Talk with him to figure out what happened in the labs. He will give the complete history of the Rachni Project. He says that the rachni in the labs are beyond saving and you must activate the neutron purge to kill them all. When you are ready talk about the purge and he will go over the arming procedure but before he can finish, he gets a rachni claw through the chest. The Rachni Soldier flings him across the room and now you have to kill it.

800px-Noveria - Hotlabs 01
The wounded Yaroslev Tartakovsky
Retrieve the code from Tartakovsky's corpse and head into the next room. BEFORE you talk to Mira, save your game because you will soon have a lot of rachni between you and the exit once you initiate the purge. Equip everyone with their best anti-rachni gear. Activate the purge by giving Mira the code and now you have 120 seconds i.e. two minutes to get out--and getting out will not be easy. Rachni Soldiers and Workers have filled the main room and they will not let you go easily. Shoot them all for maximum experience (you should have plenty of time even on Insanity difficulty), or you can just run through (you will want to activate the Immunity skill if you have it, and those wearing only Light Armor will likely need to thin the herd a bit first); once you activate the elevator, any knocked-out squadmates will recover. As the elevator rises, you hear a series of blasts.

If you want to race out early, one option is to follow one of the walls closely as the rachni are basically in the middle of the room. You cannot walk directly onto the grates, so you'll need to slip around them, then race for the exit. When you hit the button inside the elevator, your squad revives and rejoins you, as with any other elevator.

Now there is nothing left to do but to head for the tram. Taking the tram at this point will return you directly to the SSV Normandy.

Note: Once you enter the Hot Labs after receiving access, you cannot leave without activating the purge. If you activate the purge before dealing with Matriarch Benezia then go back to the survivors, they will all attack you at the same time under the Matriarch's orders.

Onboard the Normandy

When you board the tram you automatically return to the briefing room of the Normandy. You can earn a few morality points for your conversation options and a few more depending on your conversation with the Council. The Council is frightened if you released the Queen, and admonishes you if you kill her, with the turian member asking you "Do you take pleasure in committing genocide, Shepard?"

Maximum Experience Scenario

There are many ways to solve Peak 15, and the steps can be done in many different orders. However if your goal is to get the maximum amount of experience at Peak 15, follow this order of events:

  • Don’t go to the Hot Labs first
  • Make the cure and give it to Dr. Cohen
  • Get in by hacking the door near the two drones.
  • Before heading through, return to fight Ventralis and his guards.
  • Go through hacked door and fight through the guards.
  • Before entering Benezia's room, walk through and kill the one Rachni in the cave.
  • Fight Benezia
  • Go to the Hot Labs

Going through the above sequence will give every drop of experience you can milk out of Peak 15.

Enemies

Mass Effect 3 Consequences

If you free the Rachni Queen, she will repay you with Rachni Workers as a War Asset (+100) if you still choose to save her in Mass Effect 3. If you kill her in this mission then a new Queen called the Breeder will take its place. If you choose to spare the Breeder, it will initially provide the workers (+100) but will turn traitor later, resulting in the loss of the rachni assets (-100) as well as Alliance Engineers (-100).

Bugs

  • According to Mass Effect's patch notes for version 1.02, the elevator bug that gets players stuck is fixed. There are some reports, however, that the fix doesn't appear to be working on some playthroughs.
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