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A bug, bugs, and a Betazoid

March 17, 2012

Chris:  Our story picks up right outside of this data core, but I think the thread really starts back at Port Aspen.   I know I keep talking about things in sort of touristy terms but that’s really how I’m internalizing the experience.  I remember the same feeling when I was playing Bioshock for the first time.   All I could think was, wow that is beautiful.   The architecture, the captured era of cinematic bronze and red velvet, the glass bottom boat that gazed out into a living and pumping hybrid of nature and man.     The glass is what really nabs me.  For all you kids out there who take pretty glass for granted in video games, you just don’t understand.

I love the warping, so pretty.

Light and glass are beautiful.

Commander Amanda Shepard:  The constant snapping of pics, studying of windows, and gazing down empty corridors adds on average a two second delay to every meter I move.

Chris:   How would you even measure that?

Commander Amanda Shepard:   I looked at the clock.   First run took us a hour and forty-five mins.   Second run twelve mins.

Chris:  HA!   Well I was pissed by second run.

Commander Amanda Shepard:   It’s pretty lame to get killed by an elevator glitch.

Chris:  So here is the story.  Amanda is taking care (corrects)…Commander Shepard is taking care of business.   I’m all googly eyed tourist, camera and notepad in lap.  Ironically, I can’t use the camera in Steam to automatically capture, so….I am literally using a camera.   It adds to the whole romance I’m trying to engineer here.

Pretty pretty

CAS:   It definitively slows us down.

Chris:  What was I saying?

CAS: (frowns)  The elevator locked up.   We’d twitch and wink and shuffle….

Chris:  You could pan the camera but you couldn’t click.

CAS: From 08:45 till 10:30 you hadn’t saved.

Chris:  I just assumed the game autosaved every time you went up and down those cut scene elevators.    I know every time I tried to save we were either too close to monsters or in an elevator.   That’s probably what killed us.  “This seems like a good place to save.”  Foom!     So that sucked all the romance out of the air.

CAS:  Twelve minutes.

Whoa, Troi you got skinny and really pale.

Chris:  Well I was pissed!   We were pissed, right?

CAS:  Damn right we were pissed, but at least it got me to the target objective.

Chris:   Right, the Matriarch.  I have to tell you, I had no idea Matriarch Benezia was voiced by Marina Sirtis.   That was a fun little dumpling surprise.

this smooth metal railing killed us

Although I’m going to say, getting killed on that railing was cheep.   She used biotics to glitch you into a pipe.  Well two can play it that game, Matriarch.  How would you like it I if just pull the fucking plug on this whole computer!  Try to run your precious scripts without electrons, Bitch!

Pulling the plug is not a joke. It's an option.

CAS: (reaches across, puts her hand on the back of mine)  Easy…there, Bossman.   Easy….easy….breathe…

Chris:  The elevator glitch, I wasn’t happy…

CAS:    The Asari commandos, the geth, even the Matriarch all went down fast enough once we figured to kill her people first and save her for last.

Chris:  Honestly, I would like to have seen a bigger role for the Matriarch  in this story.   I feel like we’re knocking down important players a little too quickly.

CAS:   The feeling is not shared.  The faster this all goes down the better off we all are.   And, just as luck would have it, it seems we’ve stalled completely.

Chris:  Ahhhhgggh.  Matt said Mass Effect wouldn’t be that tough as far as moral choices go.   I’ve let the scene sit on that dialogue choice for four hours now.

CAS:  I can’t believe you want to save the bugs?  Seriously?

Chris: Commander, they are sentient, intelligent, space faring.   What kind of sick moral crime would we be committing  if we killed their last hope for the continued evolution of the species?

CAS:  Uh-hu.  I think I understand now why you need me.    I’m killing the bug, Boss.

Chris:   I don’t think that’s a good idea at all.

CAS:  Boo-hoo, too bad.  The Rachni almost ended the Citadel races.  If it weren’t for the Krogans doing the killing they would have succeeded.  Humanity can’t be weak if its going to survive.

Chris:  Killing is the weak choice.   It’s already imprisoned and trapped within a facility far too cold and distant for the Rachni to navigate across.

CAS:   That is a load of shit.   You don’t know any of that.

Chris:  How about this?   We don’t kill the Rachni Queen.   Instead, we jump back onto the Normandy, race back to the Citadel and let the scientists and bureaucrats build a fence and a farm.   Even in war, you don’t annihilate a civilization.   Any race, species, or culture that can only exist in the vacuum of its narrow meme is not destined to rule the stars but to run them red with blood.

CAS:  No deal.  You said I’m in charge.  I’m in charge.  The bug is done.

Chris:  We don’t need to kill this creature to be successful in our mission.   This final, intelligent, beautiful creature.  Genocide is not your mission objective.   Do you think Saren looks at humans any differently than you look at this Rachni.

CAS:  Fuck you.  The Rachni started that war…

Chris:  But this one  had nothing to do with it.

CAS:  You don’t know that and one turns into many.   Her personality could be part of her genes, just waiting to mature and go planetary predator.  Are you really willing to risk all the life on Noveria, not to mention the planets and systems nearby?

Chris:  We had to take a train ride across frigid rails that took so long it got hyphenated by fade to black.    The Rachni Queen can’t even move in that canned terrarium.   It’s a compromise.   We don’t kill her, we don’t free her.   She stays right here and we tell Joker to put the pedal to the medal.

CAS:  (arms crossed, shakes head).

Chris:  Amanda, you are humanity’s first Spectre.  And like it or not, you are the example, the role model on which our whole species will be judged.    You’re not a soldier, a platoon leader.   You are humanity’s first great hero of the star, or its first great villain.  You want to tell people to fuck off, that’s great, but this is entirely different.    I want us to be better than this.     God, Amanda, lead from strength not weakness.

CAS:  (angry glares)

Chris:  (coughs) Hitler.

We are fighting over you, you dumb, telepathic, spacefaring, peaceful alien intelligence.

CAS:  You’re breaking the deal.    You said I was in charge.

Chris:   You want to be in charge of genocide?

CAS:  I don’t want to be responsible for what happens when all these things break out.

Chris:  Then don’t.   Immediately after we report to the Citadel, we fly back and make sure it hasn’t all gone wrong.   We are not abandoning this situation.  We are taking responsibility.  For Humanity, the Citadel races, for the aliens that were once our mortal enemies.    Everything you said about killing those cops is a lie if you take the easy path now.    Please…just a little more time and little more faith.   We can always bomb the facility from orbit.

CAS:  If you’re wrong and everything goes to shit.

Chris:  Then I lose all moral authority and you can go reaping and sewing as you desire.  You can kill monsters and aliens and humans and robots.   I won’t try to stop you.

CAS:  You can’t stop me now.

Chris:  Yes, I can.  See.   We’re going to let her live.  (makes the choice) That’s not so bad.  Oh mercy…you’re letting her out of the facility?

CAS:  Oh that was a good dialogue choice!   Oh great idea.  Oh that’s genius.   Oh my sweet, fresh hell.   What have you done?

Chris: Ohhhh…fuck…wait.  No see, it’s ok.  We got paragon points for it.   That means the designers think we made the right choice.  Which means they’re going to bias this game toward their morally correct option.

CAS:  Complete and total bullshit.   I quit.

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