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Veteran Member - Level 14
has been counting down the days, and we've finally reached that inevitable
moment: the Reapers are on the horizon, and will invade the planet Earth this
March. Mass Effect 3 will be upon us, and all of the galaxy's Shepards - both
male and female- will begin their journey to conclude the current gen's most
definitive RPG franchise. This blog series will pay tribute to the franchise as
we brace ourselves for the upcoming finale by chronicling my own journey and
experiences with the Mass Effect series. We'll continue this series with a look
at five of the toughest choices that I've had to make as a Renegade, all of
which I don't regret in the slightest. Paragons are welcome to sound in! DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE REVIEW, SPOILERS
MAY BE PRESENT.
1) Sparing The
happened when I was searching for Matriarch Benezia on Noveria. My squad found
her secret base of operations, known as Peak 15, and discovered a peculiar
alien organism we'd never seen before. As the plot unfolded however, we
discovered they were Rachni, a race of aliens somehow resurrected from
extinction after being annihilated by the Krogan eons ago. We later discovered
the source: a Rachni Queen being held prisoner by Matriarch Benezia, whom we
dealt with promptly. The Rachni Queen, however, presented a far more
we destroy the latest Rachni queen and damn their race to extinction again, or
would we spare her in the hope that she would honor her promise not to repeat
their mistakes? The Renegade choice seemed efficient, but it was far from that
in retrospect; I would have the burden of genocide on my hands, as well as a
valuable ally... if she kept her word. Keeping
her alive didn't guarantee that she'd honor her promise, but killing her would
never present such an opportunity. I then decided to act, not out of fear, but
out of good faith, and released her. After all, true Renegades were morally
neutral; I'd leave the debates over good and evil to the pretentious Council.
a leader, you learn one thing before anything else: there's always going to be
a moment when you lose. Sure, those sappy movies they advertise on the extranet
with story-book endings are inspirational, if not entertaining, but they're
also wrong. We lost the first battle at Shanxi, lost our colony on Eden Prime
to Saren and his Geth, and certainly didn't fare as well as I'd hoped on
Virmire. There will be unexpected complications that arise on occasion, and we
should always prepare ourselves for them as best we can.
Nobody wants to choose who lives and who dies, but
they always want to decide who wins and who loses. I find that hypocritical
behavior; those who are truly committed to being leaders must always expect the
possibility that the worst could happen, and devote themselves to being
responsible enough to make that choice. Still, I was caught off-guard when the weight of my choice hit me. Kaidan
was more than a subordinate; he was a friend who'd guided me along the right
path as a Spectre, always there to check me in my reckless behavior. I could be
cold and calculating and say that we needed him to guard the nuke, and that
sacrificing him was the logical, most efficient choice in a cool and detached
manner, but I'd be a fool that disrespected his legacy. No one, especially him,
was supposed to die in that mission,
and much of the problems surrounding it were clearly the fault of the Council. Nonetheless
I was burdened with that choice, and instinctively, I chose.
I don't know why I saved Ashley instead; we never got along in my first playthrough after all, and I never took her with me on missions. I almost regretted not choosing her, but slowly came to accept my choice for what it was; there
was no right or wrong answer, and neither was clean-cut, unless we treated soldiers
like they were simply credits being gambled away in a game of Quasar. Kaidan, quite simply, had also made his choice, and the least I could do, was respect it. In the end, his loss was a lesson I'd never forget.
3) Saving The
remember this pivotal moment clearly. So lucid, in fact, that it's practically
an image burned into my consciousness in the same way the knowledge of the
Protheans was passed to me through the Beacon. The atmosphere surrounding the
Citadel swarmed with Geth drop-ships that transported waves of synthetic
enemies into the besieged Presidium, and I, along with my trusted pals Wrex and
Garrus, fought them relentlessly. Then, the fateful call came: the Destiny
Ascension was knee-deep in trouble and at risk of failing, along with the
Council. The current waves of fighters weren't doing so well against Sovereign
either, and as usual, I was faced with a choice: would I sacrifice a portion of
the fleet to assist the Destiny Ascension, or would I focus on Sovereign
instead, the more immediate threat?
first, it would seem easy for a Renegade like me to throw away the Council - in
another playthrough I did - and simply write them off as a necessary sacrifice.
Yet, I couldn't ignore the consequences of it: risking galactic instability
between the Council races, especially the Turians we'd faced in the First
Contact War. Humans were already mistrusted for our rapid ascent; if we were
truly to rise and become a dominant force, I decided that the Alliance would prove
itself on its own terms, rather than underhanded tactics. There was the
dilemma posed by the Reapers, renowned for annihilating all civilizations in the galaxy for
Alliance would not be able to handle them on their own, regardless of our
political and military power, and I believed our survival overruled any
ulterior motives. Thus a negotiation, however temporary, would be necessary, and I was far from afraid of building bridges. Of course however, other Renegades wouldn't accept this measure, and call it "idealism"; I call it pragmatic
analysis. After all, solving problems are what Renegades are truly concerned
with, not creating them at our own possible expense.
Council of course screwed me over later on, but I didn't regret my choice.
Humans had our stake in Anderson now, I was still a hero, and I had an even
greater vision for our people in the works.
4) Keeping Maelon's
moment happened during a rescue mission on Tuchanka. I was helping Mordin track
down his assistant Maelon when we'd discovered a plot by Clan Weyrloc to
engineer a cure for the genophage and conquer the galaxy. We mowed through
Weyrloc's forces thinking that Maelon had been kidnapped, only to learn that
Maelon had willingly participated in their research for a cure. His reasoning:
guilt over the dubious effects of the Genophage on the Krogan race.
advances he'd gained had come at the expense of countless participants, but the data remained invaluable to us, and helping the Krogan now being led by Urdnot Wrex, a close
friend and ally, was clearly the logical decision here. Destroying
that data, in my opinion, couldn't have been feasible even if I'd killed Wrex;
I'd still have an inordinate number of enemies - possibly also one in Grunt -
that could pose a serious threat to Humanity and the Alliance. Even if I were heartless,
destroying that data would be suicide; we could use it, after all, to devise an
even stronger version of the Genophage and guarantee their demise if the need
called for it. Thus, I kept Maelon's data; I had a hunch it would eventually prove to become an excellent incentive for the Krogan to ally with us, furthering Humanity's role in politics. Skepticism of course remained inside of me, but I refused to let it overwhelm me with doubt.
this event, I seriously doubted the Renegade cause was truly understood; many
of these choices were downright foolish, if not disturbing, and couldn't
possibly represent our ideals, as there were no true benefits - unless we
completely eschewed critical thinking and common sense. At best it was hubris, and a future decision I was
tasked with would confirm my suspicions.
5) Destroying the
was the toughest choice for me to make as a Renegade. We'd used the Omega Relay
to fight the Collectors on their own turf, and had largely succeeded, defeating their
abomination: a Human Reaper they were creating from the genetic material of the
humans they'd captured. The Illusive Man wanted me to preserve the base so that the information inside could be used to fight the
Reapers and continue to further Humanity's dominance. However, I was far from
convinced, and destroyed the Base. Ironically, TIM had the nerve to call me an
Idealist, as though I was acting purely on emotion rather than from a logical
place. Yet, TIM was wrong on several levels.
it was obvious that the possibility of an event happening didn't promise that
it would happen; causality was not the same as potentiality, after all. Yet,
there was strong enough reason to believe, based on the past failures of
Cerberus, and my personal experiences with Saren, that the chances of
indoctrination - especially at the main hub of the Reaper's pawns - were astronomically
high, and that Cerberus wouldn't be able prevent this from happening. This
however, was not the only reason that I decided not to give Cerberus the chance to harness the Base's resources.
had revived me, sure, and thrown billions of credits into it. Yet, as a former
Alliance soldier and as a former Spectre, I had not forgotten what they'd done
before this. I'd personally devoted time to hunting down and dismantling their
bases when I discovered they were cloning Rachni, and I never had a chance to
avenge Kahoku in the manner I'd wished. While I sympathized with some of Cerberus'
goals, TIM was a person impossible for me to trust; he was always ten steps
ahead of me, and never willing to disclose his true motives while manipulating us with his unlimited source of intel. He'd even led us directly into a trap without warning. Thus, I knew that
Humanity's dominance was only one small part of his goals. Any man who put
their own personal interests first could not truly serve our cause, so I had to defy him.
our future as a race in this war against the Reapers isn't certain, but
stopping them at any means necessary also required me to prevent them gaining
any possible advantages, especially through weaknesses I might have
enabled, and that, was what it meant
to be a Renegade. I regret none of it, and as I watched TIM, his face red and inflamed in a scowl, I could imagine Kahoku laughing at them in his grave.
sure you guys might notice a pattern in this entry, and I will be exploring it
again. I may have made the choices that this franchise would consider those of
a Paragon in some cases, but they reflect something far more important; I'm
still a Renegade - this remained the highest alignment - and who I am as a
Commander isn't in any way compromised. Choices can be transformative, and in
some cases, definitive, but we remain people with personalities that express a
far more diverse perspective. I made these choices to liberate myself from the
narrow ideologies the series tends to confine us to, and while they were understandably
tough, they were nonetheless decisions I own without any shame. I am Commander
Shepard, I'm a Renegade, and these are my confessions. What are yours?
EXPERIENCES: WHAT ALIGNMENT DO YOU HAVE? ANY TOUGH CHOICES YOU'VE MADE THAT GO
AGAINST IT? SOUND IN AND SHARE!