Sequence 5 (Adrift)
The Normandy is disabled, but hidden thanks to her stealth system. The problem is that due to the nature of how the stealth system works… they have two hours to repair the engines before they cook alive from the heat buildup in the ship’s internal heat sinks.
The Normandy’s sensors show that Sovereign and the mercenary ship went to the third planet of the system: Virmire. Tali leads the repair effort as Shepard’s squad butt heads over their mistakes on Therum. Kaidan in particular is beating himself up. The cracks in his crew are starting to widen and Shepard doesn’t know if they can be sealed.
Shepard finds respite in Liara, who is eager to talk after learning Shepard was exposed to a Prothean beacon. They meld minds in an attempt to make sense of Shepard’s vision, but they still aren’t able to understand the information. Liara wonders if that’s why Saren wanted her and the beacon she found on Therum: is he having the same problem?
The Normandy is forced to vent its heat early due to damage sustained, alerting their presence to everyone. Luckily, Tali completes the repairs and the Normandy flees with Geth ships on her tail.
Sequence 6 (Virmire)
They need to stop Saren from using the beacon, so a decision is made on the fly: hot drop down in two teams. Ashley volunteers to lead a diversionary squad with Wrex, Garrus, and some of the crew while Shepard, Liara, Tali, and Kaidan infiltrate the facility in order to find the beacon and destroy it.
Ashley’s team draws Saren’s forces away as Shepard’s team searches for the undamaged beacon. When they find it, Shepard has the same vision as before, but now with complete clarity: it shows thousands of ships like Sovereign wiping out the PROTHEANS. Something in this undamaged beacon is allowing Shepard to make sense of what’s in his head: a psychic Rosetta stone (or a cipher for the fans out there). As the vision ends, Shepard tells the squad its revelation: Sovereign isn’t Saren’s ship… it’s a Reaper.
And just then, a horrific machine voice replies: “You are not Saren.” It’s Sovereign, who talks to them via the comm. system. Shepard learns about the Reapers, that they destroy all organic life every few millennia, and how they destroyed the Protheans. Shepard realizes the team is too late: Saren has learned everything he needed from the beacon just before they arrived. At the end of it, we realize Sovereign’s whole conversation was stalling for time: the facility’s reactor is now set to blow.
Virmire is a trap.
Shepard, Kaidan, Liara, and Tali get to the reactor, but Ashley’s team is being wiped out. Shepard, refusing to lose any more soldiers, goes after her only to discover the reactor is about to be overrun with more of Saren’s forces.
Shepard has to make a choice: Ashley’s team or Kaidan’s?
Shepard goes for Kaidan’s team at the reactor. Once there, however, they are ambushed by SAREN. Shepard holds off Saren while ordering his crew to evacuate. Tali, however, hides away as she still tries to shut off the meltdown.
As they fight, Saren tries to convince Shepard to join the Reapers and persuade them organics are worth keeping as slaves. Saren’s trying to save as many lives as possible… something Shepard understands. They both have a fear of loss, but Saren has taken it to an extreme.
It’s then that Ashley falls in battle. Garrus is wounded and saved by Wrex, who hauls him back to safety. Satisfied the meltdown cannot be stopped, Saren evacuates the base. Shepard and Tali flee to the Normandy, which just in time to avoid the explosion.
As the Normandy flies off, the visions in Shepard’s head become clear: The Protheans discovered the Citadel and mass effect relays… but one day the Reapers used them to enter the galaxy and destroy civilization. Shepard orders the Normandy to set course for the Citadel: they have to warn everyone.
The Normandy returns to the Citadel, but the Council is furious at Shepard for letting Saren set off a nuclear explosion and escape. They refuse to believe Shepard’s claims and will assign another agent to hunt Saren. Shepard is stripped of his SPECTRE status and the Normandy is grounded. In the council’s eyes, Shepard is proof humanity is not ready to join the galactic community.
Sequence 7 (The Conduit)
Again, Shepard is alone in the dark. That is, until Liara visits.
They discuss the annihilation of the Protheans, which Shepard can see more and more clearly with each passing moment. The information flooding Shepard’s mind is nearly overwhelming. Liara conducts a meld to calm Shepard’s mind… and together they discover the location of the conduit in the visions: the planet ILOS.
They can’t go to the Citadel Council, so Shepard assembles Anderson and the crew to propose a plan: they steal the Normandy and go to Ilos themselves. For reasons ranging from revenge to duty, the crew comes to a unanimous agreement for the first time: to commit treason.
They steal the Normandy and head for Ilos, where Saren’s forces have already found the location from the Prothean visions. They storm the Prothean site in their assault vehicle, the Mako, and fight their way inside, but are forced to take a detour to avoid being overwhelmed by Saren’s forces. As Shepard’s team seals the way behind them, they access a Prothean virtual intelligence: VIGIL, who decides to talk to them after its scans reveal they have not been indoctrinated by the Reapers.
From Vigil, Shepard’s crew learns that the Protheans fell into the trap Shepard saw in the visions. The Reapers lay dormant outside the galaxy until a relay is activated on the Citadel then descend like locusts. They also learn that some of the Protheans managed to hide away on Illos and make a mass relay to the Citadel, where they disabled the Reaper’s control of the station.
And that’s when Shepard’s crew figures it out: The conduit is a mass relay back-door into the Citadel.
Vigil opens a path to the conduit with the last of its power. As they move, Shepard tells Joker to warn the about an incoming attack. Using the Mako, Shepard’s squad barrels through Saren’s forces, who attempt to turn off the relay. Just before it shuts off, the Mako JUMPS INTO IT —
— and into the middle of the Citadel… which has become a war zone.
Sequence 8 (Sovereign)
Geth and husks have swarmed the interior of the station and disabled its defenses, which allow Sovereign and the Geth to easily destroy the Citadel’s defense ships.
The Geth are systematically taking out security forces as they advance toward the council chambers. Shepard’s team saves the fleeing council (being escorted by Anderson) as they’re being swarmed with Geth. Anderson gets them on a ship for evacuation.
With an army between them and their objective, Shepard’s crew decide to bypass most of Saren’s forces by space walking on the Citadel’s surface.
In the air, Anderson’s ship is swarmed by Geth fighters. Their engines die and Anderson looks out to see a Geth ship coming in for the kill —
— when the NORMANDY blows it out of the sky. It flies past, followed by a HUMAN FLEET coming to the rescue. They open a hole in the Geth lines and head straight for Sovereign, which has connected to the Citadel via the council chamber.
As the Normandy crew fight their way through the vacuum of space, they finally work as a cohesive team under Shepard’s leadership. They reach the Citadel chambers… and Saren, who is now covered in cybernetic Reaper enhancements. He looks more like a husk from Eden Prime than the Turian from before.
Saren is routing a connection between the Citadel and Sovereign via the council chamber to reverse the Prothean sabotage. The team fights toward Saren through his Geth bodyguards. Shepard and Saren fight, but Saren’s cybernetics are devastating in combat.
Shepard is beaten and the crew is pinned down. Shepard makes one final appeal to Saren, who is one button press away from unleashing the Reapers on the galaxy. Shepard urges him to look at the space battle and really think if THIS is the way to spare lives… and for the first time, we see Saren hesitating. Shepard is getting through to him…
… when his body suddenly CONVULSES. Sovereign has taken direct control of Saren via his cybernetics. Without hesitation, Saren’s puppet body HITS THE BUTTON and Sovereign takes control of the station. The Citadel SHAKES as the space outside IONIZES: The Citadel is secretly a Mass Relay… and it has been activated. The Reapers are coming.
Sovereign tells Shepard all is lost: once the Reapers come through it’s all over. And he’s right. Shepard looks to the team, who give him a knowing look back.
That’s when Shepard tells the Alliance Fleet to destroy the Council Chamber. Shepard’s crew scramble for cover under Liara’s biotic shield as the Alliance ships TEAR THE CHAMBER APART. Saren’s body is destroyed instantly as the room crumbles.
Shepard moves for the team and reaches a hand out to Kaidan, just as the CHAMBER COLLAPSES.
Sovereign’s connection to the Citadel is severed. The mass effect field shuts off seconds before the Reapers come through. The Alliance pummels Sovereign and finally tear the Reaper apart.
Alliance forces later find Shepard’s team underneath the rubble along with Shepard, whom Kaidan saved at the last second with a perfect biotic barrier.
The Citadel has been taken back and reconstruction has begun. The Council has a final meeting where they reinstate Shepard as a SPECTRE. In commemoration of the human fleet coming to their aid, the council ask Anderson to join their ranks to ensure human representation in galactic interests.
We leave Shepard and his crew once again on the Normandy, knowing the Reapers are still coming and determined to stop them. They head out into the unknown ready to face it together.
On the next page, we have the in depth character arcs for the crew and try to answer any burning questions you may have.