Sunday, December 18, 2011

ME1 - A War Begun

Meriel arrives on the Citadel as Sovereign tries to take control.  

There are spoilers after the break.  Continue reading at your own risk.

Meriel's Journal, Entry Thirty-Four

Location: The Citadel
Active Companions: Garrus/Williams

Blasting through the Conduit, my team quite literally hit the ground running upon our arrival at the Citadel.  Even in passing, it was impossible to miss the devastation that Saran and his geth had already wrought in such a short amount of time. So much for the Council's assurances that they were fully prepared for anything that came their way. It is beneath me to say "I told you so," but I could not help but think it as Garrus, Williams and I fought off the husks (former Citadel residents no doubt) who stood between us and the before us elevator.  I really hate those things - the husks that is. A quick chat with Avina, the citadel's AI, assured my team that Saran is indeed here on the Citadel (not that we needed much more proof of that). More importantly, however, Avina tells us that the Council has been successfully evacuated. I'm glad that they are at least safe for the moment. I don't so much care about the individuals on the Council, they are power hungry and their apathy is one of the reasons we are in this mess at the moment. Their absence, however, means that I can concentrate on removing Saran without also worrying about Citadel Space's ruling body.

Well, the elevator to Citadel Tower did not work. Someone (Saran?) locked the elevator during my team's descent, and we had to exit via the maintenance shaft.  That, perhaps, was not the safest of exits, but we  left safety behind a long time ago.  Not only did we have to pray that we did not slip our footing and vault in the abyss of space, but Saran's geth had permeated even this part of the Citadel. Even a few Krogans, from Virmire's breeding grounds no doubt, were in the mix.  I have been a bit blasé about the geth lately, but they really did put up quite a front here. Thankfully my team was able to force their drop ship to retreat, but the sheer numbers we faced down were rather worrying.  Even if we manage to removed Sovereign and Saran, the amount of cleanup necessary to remove all of the infiltrating geth will be quite time consuming.  They simply just keep coming in greater and greater numbers.  We the petty resistance we used to face are not a thing of the past. In addition to Virmirian Korgans of the Warlord and Battlemaster variety, and multiple geth Destroyers and Juggernauts, those bastards also came armed with turrets we had to eliminate.  Saran knows that h is doing. Every minute we have to spend wrestling with his minions is one more minute he and Sovereign have to end us all.  We have to continue onward. 

Meriel's Journal, Entry Thirty-Five

Location: The Citadel
Active Companions: Garrus/Williams

We finally made it through and into the Citadel Tower proper. Measly geth resistance, compared to what we had just survived, faced us as we proceeded to the Council's Chambers.  I had hoped to take Saran, who was busy transferring information to Sovereign, by surprise.  No luck.  We clearly made it to him soon than he had hoped, but our arrival was not entirely unexpected. I must admit though, that the following events took me greatly by surprise.  Remember the "conversation" the two of us had on Virmire? Our great pre-battle fight began a great deal like that.  The catch? There ended up being no actual battle. Let me explain. We began with taunts. He mentioned I was slower in arriving than he had hoped (i.e. I am a poor soldier) and I shot back that killing geth was slow work (i.e. his support was now greatly diminished thanks to me). We then proceeded to threats.  He told me that all was lost, outfight was futile, and any minute now Sovereign would be opening the citadel's relay to let all the Reapers in. I told him that he had better get out of my way.  He hinted at "upgrades" he'd received from the Reapers, and I said it did not matter because he was still a dead Turian walking. This went on for sometime, but then it took an unexpected turn.  Back on Virmire I had not tried to talk Saran out of supporting Sovereign. Alenko's pending, inevitable death had left me raw and I am ashamed to say that anger ruled the day.  I do not like being place in a corner like that.  This time, however, I tried to talk Saran down.  As always I am driven to complete that job at hand no matter what the costs, but "no matter what the costs" does not equate senseless deaths. It is true that Citadel Space's fate rested in my hands, but more immediately, Garrus and Williams were the ones who must help deal with fallout if this encounter went South fast. It is beneath me to engage in pleading or senseless arguments, but if talking Saran down could prevent another member of my team from dying ... well it was worth a try.  After all, Matriarch Benezia had managed to break the Reaper's hold temporarily, why not Saran? The surprise, is that it actually worked.  The even greater surprise, is that I pitied him for it.  As he tried to fight  Sovereign's  hold, the ex-Spectre's eyes grew haunted with visions of Citadel Space's demise. Sovereign's implants,  Sovereign's  indoctrination, it all took its toll on the Turian as he fought to break free.  Then, in a brief moment of clarity, he realized that it was too late for him.  He would never break free himself, but he could at least prevent  the Reapers from manipulating him further. In that brief moment of lucidity, Saran Arterius turned his pistol on himself and ended it all. As my team watched the former Spectre crash through the glass floor to a level below my resolve grew. We had to end this fight here and now.  No one deserves to die like that. Even Garrus must have agreed, because he did not call me out on my broken promise.  I had promised Garrus the right to the final kill.  

Meriel's Journal, Entry Thirty-Six

Location: The Citadel
Active Companions: Garrus/Williams

Control of the Council Chamber's controls reclaimed, I installed the software from Vigil just in time to receive a distress message from Joker.  The space end of our battle was not going very smoothly.  The Council's ship Destiny Ascension was in trouble, and he needed to know what to do.  Should he attempt to save the ruling body, or go directly after Sovereign.  I hold little love for the Council.  In fact, I hold no love for the Council.  They are, however, the body of individuals that everyone in Citadel Space looks to for negotiations and rulings regarding interplanetary relations.  As much as I despise them, I realize that willingly allowing them to be killed would serve no purpose.  It would just mean that Citadel Space, which was already in upheaval due to the Reapers, would be spared but leaderless.  Eliminating the Council would potentially cause more problems than keeping the Council safe.  The fact that Joker even made rescuing the Council an option means that he believes the rescue is possible despite the odds.  I told him to run with it.  There has been enough death.  I would never be able to look my team in the eyes again if I knowingly facilitated unnecessary deaths because of my personal biases. 

As I waited to discover the outcome, Garrus and Williams lept below to make sure that Saran was indeed dead.  During the discussion with Joker I had remembered the implants Saran mentioned during our confrontation.  I would not put it past Sovereign to ensure Saran's "survival" through the means of said technology.  It turns out that instincts proved correct and all three of us faced a rather intense battle with a Saran revived - if that is what you want to call the grotesque shell of a Turian we faced.  Our confrontation was fierce, but in a perverse way, it made me happy.   Saran's suicide  earlier had resulted in conflicting emotions.  It had not, however, brought closure.  Facing not-Saran brought both closure and helped keep a promise.  Garrus laid the killing blow, and through it avenged his Turian honor.  

As the Saran shaped husk fell, the Citadel shook.  Debris rained down, support beams collapsed, and Sovereign was destroyed.  Our goal was achieved. Alenko, I wish you could be here to see that your death was not in vain.

Meriel's Journal, Entry Thirty-Seven

Location: The Citadel
Active Companions: None

Dodging falling debris separated me from Williams and Garrus, so I took a moment to examine the area around us to ensure that it was finally cleared of geth. Elation mixed with numbness infused my body as I found the area clear and rushed back to where I knew Williams to be. Sovereign's invasion was stopped for now, but I knew that this would not be the end.  My mind could hardly bare to process the second half of that though though, so instead it replaced it with numbness. The important part was that our immediate treat was eliminated.

As expected, the Council was as appreciative of their rescue.  As thanks, humanity was instituted as a Council race. They expressed appreciation for all who gave their lives to save Citadel Space. The cynic in me wonders how genuine that expression truly is (or if it is genuine, how deep the sentiment goes), but even I was not about to turn down the chance to appoint the human councilman. Ambassador Udina lobbied quite enthusiastically for the place, but he must be daft if he thinks that a little thing like dismissal of warnings (of impending invasion) or the small issue of  "house" arrest will not color my judgement. He cannot hide that gleam in his eye which always shines when the prospect of more power is within his grasp. Another self-serving, power hungry individual is the last thing this Council needs.  No, Captain Anderson, a good man who committed treason to save us all, was the only real option. Nothing Udina or the Council said would convince me otherwise.

This battle is won, but a war has only just begun. The Council, even after all of this, continues to deny the Reaper threat looming over the horizon, but for once I do not care. Anderson has my back. That is enough to give me hope for the future.

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