Tales from the Trenches

By Hamletic Tortoise

 

I appreciate the assist, Garrus

- Wrex

Among the many sins ME3 committed, its inability to show the breadth of the conflict engulfing the galaxy remains one of the biggest ones to me. The constant focus on Shepard and his/her epic journey, so necessary for plot advancement, came at the cost of failing to show the desperate struggle against the overwhelming odds experienced by soldiers everywhere. We are told of the war, but we are rarely able to see it. When this project turned from trying to find new duo challenges to run with emexia into considering a full series, I figured I might try to create some of that scope; the series loosely follows the SP story, and challenges are introduced by small dialogues among crew members of the Normandy (mostly).

Emexia was instrumental in the creation of this series, and I cannot thank her enough; her help in testing the challenges, editing the texts, and sharing feedback was vital; even more importantly, the countless duos we played have provided most of the inspiration, and all of the drive, in creating and completing this series! On top of that, special thanks for collecting the incredible pictures featuring here!

MeroNoir also pitched in, contributing greatly in testing the challenges, and editing the texts. Many thanks for your time and effort in helping making this as good as it could get!

This is my attempt at giving something back, for all the amazing content that Prestacious and the whole community have created and maintained over the years. Your challenges have, without a doubt, been the most fun I have had with this game!

I had a blast coming up with this series; I hope you too will find something to enjoy among these Tales from the Trenches! :)

Challenge Rules

Hardcore difficulty:


- Mission Successful on Gold required
- Armored compartments not permitted
- Missiles only permitted on objective waves. Not on extraction.

 

Insanity difficulty: 

- Mission Successful on Platinum required
- Armored compartments not permitted

Note: 10 Waves survived and 3 killstreaks count as personal gold medals for both players. Additional conditions will be stated in individual challenges.

 
Week 1: Leaving Earth
 

I. While They Reach the Normandy

"Did Anderson make it out of there?"

"Yes, Shepard. Admiral Anderson signals he boarded a shuttle, and is now on the way to a covert base."

"That's a relief. I wasn't sure he'd make it with all the Reaper forces closing in on us."

"Apparently a number of Alliance soldiers held the rearguard with whatever they could find, giving others enough time to evacuate."

"I knew they wouldn't let us down. I just hope some of them made it out of there. We'll need more soldiers like them in the coming war."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Reapers on Vancouver

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, cannot use two types of consumables (missiles, op packs, medigel, tcps) each (can be the same for both players);

  • Insanity: Mission successful, cannot use one type of consumable (missiles, op packs, medigel, tcps) each (cannot be the same);

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Vanilla Human Soldier with Avenger (Lancer for Insanity)

  • Vanilla Human Infiltrator with Mantis (Valiant for Insanity)

II. Recon-naissance

"Are you sure, Liara?"

"Yes, Shepard. The information comes from two separate official sources, and the reports match. I wouldn't have believed it myself otherwise."

"But what were they doing out there in an abandoned Batarian outpost?"

"The official word is reconnaissance, but I believe that is just political dressing. The Irune operative was probably an independent scavenger out for a quick, if dangerous, credit haul. As for the Drell, well... the Hanar claim he was an independent agent, but I have reason to believe he was working under the Compact. There might be some Hanar-Batarian connection we haven't seen yet.",

"In any case, you say we should believe these reports then?"

"The sources are solid. Incredible as it sounds, I think they are real."

"... I will need to inform Hackett of this. The Collectors are back."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Collectors on Ghost Hazard

  • Hardcore: Full extraction, earn 75 assists, 40 headshots, 100 weapon kills;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, earn 75 assists, 40 headshots;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Volus Engineer with Talon

  • Drell Assassin Infiltrator with Raptor (Widow for Insanity)

Please reload

Week 2: The Battle for Palaven
 

I. You won't see our backs until we are dead

"I have a question for you if I may, Primarch Victus, Garrus."

"Go ahead, EDI."

"I have reviewed the Reapers' attack patterns on Menae during the time Shepard was there. I should have done it earlier, but I was... busy at the time."

"Anything interesting, EDI?"

"Nothing useful. However, according to my computations the forces opposing Shepard should have been more substantial. Instead, while the resistance the Commander encountered was stiff, it was relatively light."

"Really? How interesting!"

"Your puzzled reaction is clearly fake, Garrus, and I do see Primarch Victus smiling. Do you happen to know something about it?"

"Well, EDI, it might have something to do with the small groups of specially prepared troops I happened to place at strategic points along our possible routes, perhaps?"

"I suspected as much. I am still confused as to why you never told Shepard about it? Wouldn't it be important information?"

"It might well be, EDI, but not knowing about it will boost Shepard's confidence. That confidence, right now, is the most important thing a soldier needs: the unwavering belief that they can take on any odds, anything the enemy can throw at them. Keeping the Commander in the dark strengthens Shepard's resolve. The Primarch and I are in agreement on this. I ask that you trust us too."

"I... will. Thank you, Garrus, for explaining this to me. I will need to think over it."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Reapers on Condor

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, 5 waves survived, 40 headshots;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, 3 waves survived, 40 headshots;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Turian Soldier with Saber

  • Turian Sentinel with Eagle

II. Batarian Nobility, Didn't Know Such a Thing Existed

"How about this; according to this report, a force of Geth landed near one of our colonies in the Traverse, and just as the colonists were preparing to evacuate, a small group of Batarians just showed up out of nowhere!"

"Oh, the poor souls! Caught between two evils!"

"Quite the contrary, Traynor. Apparently the Batarians fell on the Geth forces, drove them out long enough to finish the evacuation, and even offered medical supplies to the wounded!"

"What? That's... unexpected, Joker. We both come from the colonies, right? When was the last time a sighting of a Batarian ever brought some good?"

"These are strange times, aren't they? And perhaps, amid all the grief the Reapers are causing, some good is being born. Or the Batarians were just blind, and mistook the Geth for the colonists, who knows?"

"Joker, never change! I do wonder what drove the Batarians though..."

"I can't answer that, Traynor. All I know is that witnesses report Batarians answering their thanks with 'It's what we do... now'".

---

Conditions: Combat Geth on Ghost

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, must extract with at least 5 medigel/op packs left each;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, must extract with at least 1 medigel or op pack left each;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Batarian Slasher with Blood Pack Punisher

  • Batarian Sentinel with Kishock

Please reload

Week 3: Grissom Academy
 

I. The unstoppable force

"Hey, Jack."

"This better be important, Joker. I have no time for your fu- for your funny jokes."

"This will brighten your day. EDI here managed to track the location of the facility where Cerberus took the few kids they managed to snatch before Shep... before you stopped them."

"Go ahead and say it: before Shepard showed up to save the whole bunch of us!"

"Yes, that. She relayed the information to Hackett, and he decided that something needed to be done about it. He detailed two of our best N7 operatives to deal with the situation, and you will be very pleased to know that both are former students of the Academy. They are en route as we speak, and they are not happy. At all."

"Ahahaha really? Well yes, that did brighten my day. And say thanks to EDI for me. For ME, you hear me? Don't you dare take this opportunity to put the moves on her!"

 

---

Conditions: Combat Cerberus on Glacier

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, 100 assists, 50 biotic kills, 20 melee kills;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, 100 assists, 50 biotic kills;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • N7 Fury with Tempest

  • N7 Slayer with Phalanx

II. Exchange Program

"You again, Asari. What do you want this time?"

"My name is Liara, as you well know, Javik. I recalled you talking about how the uniformity of your empire was your undoing, and I wanted to share a story with you that might give you more hope for our cycle."

"Hope? All I care for is revenge. But I know you won't leave until you have told me your insipid tale, so let me hear it."

"Well, it seems that the Human Alliance was trying a novel approach to their vanguards, giving them heavy weaponry to increase their attack range. When the Reapers hit Earth, some of the fiercest resistance was offered by such units. A few escaped and made their way to Asari space, where they got assigned to commando units."

"I fail to see the point in your tale so far, Asari."

"Liara. The point is that, as soon as the humans got in touch with our infiltrators, they just stared dumbfoundedly at each others' weapons, then with the biggest grins this side of the galaxy, they exchanged them. See, Javik? They were ready to break tradition and adapt."

"I... see. Perhaps this adaptability will allow you primitives to give the Reapers a bigger challenge than I... than they expected. But will it be enough, I wonder?"

"Well, you would have to ask that to the Collector force that tried to crash their camp. Oh wait, you won't be able to, as none of them survived."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Collectors on Goddess

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, 75 assist, 75 biotic kills;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, 75 assists;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Vanilla Human Vanguard with Disciple

  • Asari Huntress Infiltrator with Crusader

Please reload

Week 4: Sur'Kesh
 

I. Metal Geth Salarian (Snake? Snake!? Snaaaaaaake!)

"Joker? Just heard amusing story. You like amusing stories, right? I thought this might entertain you."

"Suuuuuuure, sure Mordin. I can always do with more Salarian... humour."

"It seems that the jamming signals that Cerberus employed trying to get to the Krogan female on Sur'Kesh had some... unintended consequences. You see, there was a secret facility nearby. Very secret, not even I had known about it. Yes, Dalatrasses are getting better at these games. It seems that they were trying to extract useful information from a number of dormant Geth units, and..."

"Wait wait wait. Are you trying to say that you had Geth on your home planet?"

"Why not? Units dormant, well protected. Potential for useful discoveries great, outweighted risks. Until Cerberus showed up at least. Yes, unexpected variable. Perhaps Dalatrasses not as smart as they thought."

"Mordin?"

"What? Oh yes, my story. You see, the signal jammed the base's security protocols, and the Geth woke up. The base got sealed to contain the situation until reinforcements arrived. Only, it seems that a Spectre was inside the base, spying for the Council. Fascinating political intrigue, worthy of us Salarians, don't you think? Well, this Spectre managed to secure a comm line with the outside, and with the help of a Colonel and some other staff members, he managed to not only survive, but to also... extinguish the outbreak."

"That's the story? Mordin, you need to do some more study on human humour, I think."

"Ah, but I haven't mentioned the best part yet: it seems our Spectre got help from a unique, friendly Geth platform, one that employed optical camouflage."

"Aaaaand ...?"

"Well, that's it. Don't you find it highly amusing? No? Hmmmm, strange, thought I had figured human humour out better. Next time perhaps, next time. Oh, and here's a coincidence: the weapons they secured, their names both had to do with Earth-snakes... what are the chances? ... Why are you laughing now, Joker?"

"Snakes, eh? And tell me, was the Geth wielding a sword?"

"What? No, why?"

"Earth culture reference, Mordin. Too obscure even for you."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Geth on Jade

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, 5 Waves survived, 150 weapon kills;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, 100 weapon kills;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Salarian Engineer with Venom

  • Geth Infiltrator with Viper

II. A Million Ways to Die (and the Bloodpack Knows Them All)

"Any news from Tuchanka, Wrex?"

"Besides learning about a planet-busting bomb hiding there you mean?"

"Ehr..."

"Here's one for you then! Since Shepard managed to secure the Bloodpack's services, that vermin's been trying to get into our Clan's territory. To help, they claim. Ah! As if we needed their help."

"But surely there are things for them to take care of?"

"What's that, Garrus? Are you trying to interfere with Tuchanka business even more?"

"I'm just asking, old friend."

"As a matter of fact, I did put a few on guard in a place away from us, just to shut them up."

"Wrex the diplomat, who would have thought you had that in you."

"Laugh all you want! I certainly did, when the Reapers decided to land a force on those fools' heads. I have to say, they do know a thing or two about killing... now, if only they'd stop living in the past and quit their childish mercenary games..."

---

 

Conditions: Combat Reapers on Giant

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, earn at least one bronze medal for each type of kill (headshots, weapon, grabs, melee, tech, biotic, killstreak) each;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, earn at least four bronze medals for types of kill each;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Krogan Sentinel with Graal Spike Thrower

  • Vorcha Sentinel with Executioner Pistol

Please reload

Week 5: Tuchanka
 

I. A Rite of Passage

"I heard a strange story about the Urdnot clan's Shaman."

"The one that helped Grunt with his rite of passage?"

"The very one. Apparently, he went out to perform some sort of rite, and he stumbled upon a half-dead Cerberus guy."

"That must have been fun... for the Shaman, I mean."

"That's the crazy part! The Cerberus operative claimed to be a defector from the bomb fiasco... and the Shaman appeared inclined to believe him!"

"You would think native life forms wouldn't let the sun addle their brains, right Doc?"

"Well, I certainly wouldn't have been so trusting. Then again, being an 800 pound Krogan with biotic powers could do wonders for one's confidence. Anyway, the Shaman decided to test this guy's resolve: he asked him for the last known location of any Cerberus left-overs, and gave him a simple choice: to go there now together, and fight their way through, or die trying."

"Very direct... or primitive, as our resident Prothean would say. The result?"

"Clan Urdnot won't need a new Shaman, and they gained a new krantt."

"Yeah, right! Until he betrays them."

"Oh Vega, you just had to go and ruin my happy ending, didn't you?"

 

---

Conditions: Combat Cerberus on Giant Hazard

  • Hardcore: Full extraction, 75 assists, headbutt/smash in-between waves;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, 75 assists, headbutt/smash in-between waves;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Krogan Shaman with Graal or Claymore

  • Ex-Cerberus Adept with Hornet (and/or Talon for Insanity)

II. Non-conventional tactics

"Vega, here's something for you; picked it up on the Alliance grapevine. Remember Hackett's brief on how conventional tactics would not help us against the Reapers?"

"'course I remember. Unlike others on this ship, I do read my superiors' directives... most of the time."

"Well, it seems someone took him seriously and came up with an alternative tactic for small-scale engagements. The idea is that Reaper forces expect units equipped with small firearms. What, the insane person behind this thought, if we were to surprise them with units prepared for another type of fight? Hand-to-hand combat for example?"

"That's loco! I have seen what those brutes can do at that range! Ahahahahaa! ...wait, why that smile? You are not saying that..."

"Oh but I am! They had to go and pitch this idea to the Krogans to get someone to listen. They got one of their battlemasters to come over and devise some strategies together with some top N7 operative. And get this: in the middle of all that discussion, a rogue ship full of Geth landed on the planet! It wasn't Reapers, but a perfect chance to test their theories out nonetheless..."

"Well Cortez, how did it go? Don't keep me hanging!"

"Surprisingly well actually. Wonders never cease, it seems."

"Ah, I knew it would work, compadre! What's wrong with swinging fists for a change I say! Now I wish I had been there..."

"As the human, Vega, or as the Krogan?"

 

---

Conditions: Combat Geth on Glacier

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, 100 melee kills, 5 waves survived;

  • Insanity: Mission successful;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • N7 Shadow with Piranha

  • Krogan Vanguard with Graal Spike Thrower or Claymore

Please reload

Week 6: The Citadel Coup
 

I. (The Illusive) Man's Reach Exceeding His Grasp

"EDI, you have a moment?"

"Certainly, Specialist Traynor. What is it?"

"Ahhhh, well... did you read the latest report by Hackett?"

"I try not to unless I am asked to, I think you organics would consider it bad form, possibly calling it 'sticking my nose in someone else's business'. Why? Would you like me to read it?"

"Maybe it's better if I tell you. It seems some Cerberus defectors took their chance during the Citadel coup and made a run for it."

"Another mistake by the Illusive Man?"

"Well, they claim they wouldn't have made it even with Cerberus stretched thin, if not for a... fortuitous attack by Collectors. Well, these are mostly soldiers, but to show their good will, they actually snagged the latest research project from their base, and brought it with them."

"Good for them, and good for us! Do we know what the Illusive Man was 'cooking up' this time?"

"EDI... Ahhhh... it seems he was trying to replicate and improve on doctor Coré's design. Another VI/AI in a human-like body, for infiltration purposes, but with better combat capabilities!"

"Interesting. And what did Hackett think?"

"Well, he mentioned that these are desperate times. They might decide to deploy some units under the aegis of the Alliance!"

"Hmmm, so soon I could have some look-alikes running around? I think the right word for how I feel would be 'flattered'... though if one of those tries to get close to Joker, she better remember my fighting capabilities include twin Thanix cannons."

---

Conditions: Combat Cerberus on Glacier Hazard;

  • Hardcore: full extraction, 75 biotic/tech kills;

  • Insanity: full extraction;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Alliance Infiltrator Unit with Eviscerator (Wraith for Insanity)

  • Ex-Cerberus Vanguard with Falcon (and/or Talon for Insanity)

II. Snap Inspection

"Did you hear the latest from Palaven, Garrus?"

"Is it bad news, Joker? Don't tell me it is bad news."

"Oh, you will like this one, I promise. So, it seems that one of the Krogan Warlords – you know, those hulking, hammer-wielding Krogan maniacs... you know I had to add the 'hammer-wielding' there, right? Anyway, out of the blue, he just dropped on Menae's surface, with the excuse of a snap inspection. Of course, he just wanted to rub in the fact that you Turians needed Krogan support..."

"Will I like where this is going? Because, so far, this seems more like the kind of story Wrex would prefer to hear."

"This is the part you'll like, I promise! He insisted he be allowed to go on a patrol by himself, to 'show you how things are done'... what were the Turians supposed to do, create a diplomatic incident? So they decided to deploy one of their best cover operatives, to watch over the... esteemed guest. And good thing they did, because the fool got caught into the middle of a Reaper airdrop! Of course, neither of the two wanted to aknowledge the other's presence... but the warlord must have been impressed by what he saw, because when he left the planet, he mentioned bringing more Krogans to the fight, since he now considered that at least some Turians were worth fighting with."

"I am still not sure I like the whole story, but I do like its happy ending."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Reapers on Condor

  • Harcore: Mission successful, no bleedouts, missiles only allowed to break a sync kill;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, missiles only allowed to break a sync kill or against targets;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Krogan Warlord with Graal Spike Thrower or Claymore

  • Turian Ghost Infiltrator with Phaeston or Argus

Please reload

Week 7: Dreadnought
 

I. They Won't Know What Hit Them

"Tali? I am happy to report that Primarch Victus has agreed to send some support this way."

"Really?"

"Yes, Armiger Legion, some of the best operatives we have."

"Armiger? Never heard of them."

"They employ different tactics from other Turian units. More operational freedom, less red tape; very unconventional... at least for us."

"I see, Garrus. Do I spy some envy in your eyes?"

"Envy, me? Nooooo. Why would I envy them, when I got the chance to spend years doing things by the book in C-Sec?"

"Well, whoever they send, they better be good at dealing with synthetics."

"Trust me, they'll be... wait a moment, I am receiving something... What?"

"What?"

"Hmmmmm... well, this certainly is unconventional. Wait until I tell you who got attached as 'expert advisor' to this mission!"

 

---

Conditions: Combat Geth on Hydra

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 5 waves survived;

  • Insanity: mission successful;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Turian Saboteur with Saber;

  • Volus Mercenary with Typhoon;

II. The Immovable Object

"... and now the latest news from Earth. Reapers are continuing their campaign of terror, rounding up the population and suppressing military forces. But our soldiers continue to bring the fight to the invaders anywhere they can.

According to our latest reports, Reaper-controlled Collector troops landed in force near one of the remaining N7 strongholds under the cover of bad weather; that's when two operatives decided that enough was enough. Bravely they fought on, holding their ground while the civilians evacuated, precious resources where relocated, and all the personnel had safely dispersed. Then, during a lull in the fight, they mined the facility and retreated, destroying it from a safe distance, eliminating a number of enemy troops at the same time.

These soldiers did their duty, and we honour their courage in the face of overwhelming odds; their determination in the face of peril should remind us of the qualities we will need to face this threat.

This is Diana Allers, from the Battlespace."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Collectors on Dagger Hazard

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, hold the building + the "dark side" (LZ and slope down) during non-objective waves;

  • Insanity: Mission successful;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • N7 Destroyer with PPR

  • N7 Demolisher with Harrier

 

Mine the facility! Bonus Challenge hardcore: Mission successful, hold the round area under the control tower (up to the two pieces of cover) during non-objective waves

Please reload

Week 8: Rannoch
 

I. This planet is ours

"Shepard? Do you have a moment?"

"Of course, Tali. What is it?"

"I just thought you should know. One of the patrols we sent to Rannoch to look for Admiral Koris reported back with some findings you should hear. Xen doesn't want us to share, but... well."

"Go on Tali, what is it?"

"You see, they had just been ambushed by Geth, and they had been hit pretty hard. Only a few survivors, weapons overheating... they sought refuge in a nearby deserted comm structure and... Shepard, they found a nest of Cerberus troops there!"

"Cerberus? What are they doing here?"

"I... I don't know. Perhaps something to do with the project from that Dr. Archer? In any case, us Quarians are not exactly on friendly terms with Cerberus, and well... waiting for reinforcements would have been the wise course of action, but some of ours were not willing to die next to Cerberus troops, should the Geth find them. They grabbed whatever weapons they could find laying around, and showed Cerberus why it is a bad idea to try and conquer our planet with the aid of tech."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Cerberus on Dagger

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 50 assists, 40 headshots

  • Insanity: mission successful, 50 assists, 20 headshots

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Quarian Female Infiltrator with Javelin

  • Quarian Male Engineer with Geth Pulse Rifle

II. Apology Acknowledged

"Remember that bit of fun we had reading about Alliance soldiers shooting friendly Primes?"

"Yeah... I'm just glad it wasn't me."

"Well, the Alliance pilots are all abuzz about it: see, it seems that they figured the only way they'd make people stop laughing would be by trying to find the best way to work with the synthetics."

"Really Cortez? And how's it going?"

"Surprisingly well. The hardest part might have been trying to explain to the Geth why they should repaint. They are still trying to figure out the best operational protocols, but sofar casualties are down, morale is up, and after their last success holding a vital installation, they've even received some requests to join their ranks."

"I get that. Who wouldn't want to stand next to a hulking piece of metal that can regenerate your shields, and won't boast about saving your bacon afterwards?"

 

---

Conditions: Combat Geth on White Hazard

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 150 weapon kills or 100 tech kills or 100 melee kills (comedy option);

  • Insanity: mission successful;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Geth Juggernaut with Spitfire or Geth Plasma Shotgun;

  • BF3 Soldier with Valkyrie;

Please reload

Week 9: Leviathan
 

I. The Lost Are Still Fighting

"We have been scouring the locations indicated by Leviathan for possible survivors, but with little luck, sir."

"There must be someone left!"

"Well, we did find a few, mostly Vorcha. Some of ours speculate that their resilience extends to their nervous systems and makes them hard to attack this way."

"That's an interesting theory, it could explain why we never heard about indoctrinated Vorcha..."

"Whatever the reasons, the ones we found were in bad conditions, surviving by the barest of threads. Some of the stuff they had to use... I didn't think I'd see someone make do with so little."

"They must have been happy to see you."

"Happy? They almost fell on us! We had to sedate them in order to take them away; they were sure they could survive their hardships even longer, and that doing so would give them more prestige in their society!"

 

---

Conditions: Combat Collectors on Ghost

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 40 headshots and 75 tech kills, only one player allowed to use medigel, and they must equip the medigel transmitter; no geth scanner allowed;

  • Insanity: mission successful, bronze weapon kill medals for both, no geth scanner allowed;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Vorcha Hunter with Locust (CSMG for insanity)

  • Vorcha Soldier with Scimitar (and Acolyte for insanity)

II. Snap Inspection, part 2

"Uhm, Garrus, sir?"

"At ease, Specialist Traynor. What is it?"

"Ahm, you see, the thing is we received a message from Urdnot Wrex, and I am supposed to convey it to you, and... well"

"*Sigh*, more barbs about needing Krogan to retake our homeworld?"

"No. Yes. Hmmmm. Okay. Do you remember the Krogan warlord episode? Well, it seems the Turians decided to put up a similar display, and sent one of their, ahem, your elite operative to Tuchanka, to 'inspect the security of vital strongholds' "

"Oh, I think I see where this is going: the Krogan sent one of their best to make sure the weak Turian wouldn't accidentally get killed?"

"Oh no, sir. You see, they... hmmmm... they *snicker* they sent one of their infantry grunts, as if this was a menial task. You have to admit, sir, the Krogan have a pretty good sense of humour sometimes."

"I wouldn't make that closing remark in front of other Turians, Traynor. Well, at least I guess nothing important happened?"

"Oh, quite the contrary! You see, just as they began the inspection, a Collector vessel came screeching out of the skies... and neither Turian nor Krogan was ready to admit needing help..."

 

---

Conditions: Combat Collectors on Giant

  • Hardcore: mission successful, must split the map in two halves (the separation line cuts the map in half along its length, in between the two "crosses" of cover in the upper open area, and down from there) until 5WS (or extraction);

  • Insanity: mission successful, must split the map in two halves (the separation line cuts the map in half along its length, in between the two "crosses" of cover in the upper open area, and down from there) until the end of wave 3;

    * note: if a player is synced/stomped while still separated, the other player is free to roam the whole map until the end of the wave!

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Turian Cabal with Wraith

  • Krogan Soldier with Striker

Please reload

Week 10: Thessia
 

I. Strange Bedfellows

"I rushed back to Thessia the moment I heard the Reapers were attacking."

"You did? But why did you go Samara? What could you have done?"

"Not much perhaps, but I felt it was my duty to go and help evacuate as many as possible."

"Noble of you."

"Foolish and desperate, more likely. Death could have claimed me. Should have claimed me in fact. I was moving on my own in between outposts when Reaper forces began landing all around me."

"How did you survive?"

"The most amazing thing happened. As I was preparing to make my stand and take as many enemies as possible with me, a figure emerged from the shadows, and without a word readied its weapons and fought with me, until we found a way to escape. A most impressive warrior."

"A commando?"

"A Volus. Amazing, I know."

"But..."

"I don't have answers, Liara, only more questions. All I know is that, as soon as we slipped past the enemy, he began to go his own way, refusing my offer for sanctuary. 'I must continue my journey, I can't rest until Bjorn's power will be mine as well' is all he offered."

"Bjorn? Now, where did I hear that name before?"

 

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Conditions: Combat Reapers on Goddess

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 75 assists; 75 biotic/tech kills combined;

  • Insanity: mission successful, 75 assists;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Asari Justicar with Acolyte

  • Volus Protector with Scorpion

II. Old School, New School

"Liara, again, I am sorry for Thessia."

"Thank you, Joker. What little is left of the Asari Government goes on, and we are evacuating our population centers... trying to buy us some time."

"It must be hard."

"Thankfully some of our most respected Matriarchs survived the attack – not an easy feat, when you consider some of them are now philosophers and politicians, and have forgotten more than we will ever know about war. Not everyone is like my parents, after all."

"I... hadn't thought of that."

"Which reminds me, I need to write a thank you note to the Illuminated Primacy. One of their operatives helped a Matriarch escape one of our outposts, and I believe it was no easy task."

"Oh, Blasto saved the day! I wonder how he got rewarded?"

"Thank the Goddess you are not the one writing that note, Joker."

 

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Conditions: Combat Collectors on White

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 100 assists, 75 biotic kills;

  • Insanity: mission successful, 100 assists;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Asari Adept, must spec out of throw, with Acolyte;

  • Drell Adept with Widow

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Week 11: The Citadel
 

I. In the Pitch Black, They Sound as if They Were One Person

"What's all the excitement?"

"Special event at Armax tonight, you don't know?"

"Should I know?"

"Well, I assumed you would, since Admiral Xen is taking part."

"Admiral Xen? What could possibly..."

"Rumour has it that she was inspecting a power plant somewhere when the Reapers broke through. She got cut off from the main Quarian forces, and everyone feared the worst, until a small group of Asari commandos joined the fight.

One of them managed to slip into the area where Xen was. It's not clear what happened next: all visual feeds got lost, people on the outside could only hear what was going on, and it seems that the voices of Xen and the Asari are remarkably similar, eerily so in fact.

When they emerged, both were claiming to have been the better fighter, both were claiming their weapon was the better one – in fact in all the confusion it's even possible that their weapons got switched around... to cut it short, nobody could refute the other, nobody was willing to back down, insults started flying, and they decided to settle things in the Arena."

"But, Admiral Xen? Who could have that effect on that woman, I wonder?"

"I didn't tell you? That Asari, she's Liara's dad!"

 

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Conditions: Combat Reapers on Reactor

  • Hardcore: Full extraction, 40 headshots;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, 40 headshots;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Quarian Female Engineer with Arc Pistol or Claymore (can't be the same carried by the other character);

  • Asari Valkyrie with Claymore or Arc Pistol (can't be the same carried by the other character)

II. Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

"Shepard here, we are done at the Citadel, and ready to resume our duties."

"And not a moment too soon, Commander. The Reapers are strangling us, and we better precipitate a resolution soon."

"How bad are things, Admiral?"

"Bad. Everyone's supply chains are being systematically targeted and broken."

"Yes, I seem to remember a Fury on the Citadel having problems of the sort."

"I am not surprised to hear that. The situation is worse with our soldiers, but even the best operatives are starting to feel the tightening of the noose. More and more they are forced to repurpose material acquired on the field from the enemy."

"We will do our best, Admiral. We have a lead on Cerberus which we are about to follow. We will not let you down."

"We are all counting on it, Commander. Hackett out!"

 

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Conditions: Combat Geth on Dagger

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 40 headshots, 150 weapon kills

  • Insanity: mission successful, 40 headshots, 100 weapon kills

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Salarian Infiltrator with Incisor;

  • Quarian Female Infiltrator with Collector Sniper Rifle.

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Week 12: Horizon
 

I. Great Orbs of Fire

"I'm telling you, ever since Legion gave individuality to the Geth, they've been popping up in the weirdest places."

"As if they were hippies on a voyage of self discovery?"

"Very dangerous, very deranged hippies if you ask me. I just heard one showed up on Horizon with a little Volus in tow, claiming they had followed a bunch of Cerberus troops as they were fleeing the facilities and had taken care of them."

"Let me get this straight: a Geth and a Volus, on a revenge trip against Cerberus?"

"Hm-hm."

"That's insane! What the heck's happening out there? I'm telling you, we should find someone else to guard this door, and get back out there sometime!"

 

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Conditions: Combat Cerberus on Reactor

  • Hardcore: full extraction or mission successful plus 3 waves survived, 100 assists and 40 headshots

  • Insanity: mission successful, 75 assists, 20 headshots

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Geth Trooper with Revenant

  • Volus Adept with Suppressor (and CSMG for insanity)

II. Synthetize This!

"So, Tali, how are things between the Quarians and the Geth?"

"Difficult. Of course, given that the end of sentient life as we know it is happening, it is difficult to try and smoothen our relationships out. We might need some ragged edges after all."

"That's what I like to hear! Tell me: how are the Geth as allies?"

"It's... difficult to fight alongside them. There is still much distrust, and most of our soldiers don't want to put their lives in the hands of our former enemies. The few who do, we send on special missions."

"And the Geth? Are they as... squeamish?"

"Not really. They'll go against their former brothers without a second thought. I don't know if I should admire or despise them for it."

 

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Conditions: Combat Geth on Giant Hazard

  • Hardcore: mission successful, 20 headshots, 5 waves survived;

  • Insanity: mission successful;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Quarian Marksman with GSMG (and Arc Pistol for Insanity)

  • Geth Engineer with Adas rifle

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Week 13: Cerberus HQ
 

I. You Sir, You Are a Blight!

"Well done, Shepard! With your decisive actions within the Illusive Man's headquarters, we have effectively ended Cerberus' threat, and are now able to dedicate our full attention to the Reapers!"

"Thank you, Admiral. But I am concerned about possible further action against us from left-over cells; who knows how indoctrinated troops will react to the loss of control from the top."

"We are already working on it, Shepard. While most of our efforts are to be directed at our final push on Earth, even before we started our attack, I dispatched a series of cadres to known Cerberus outposts, hoping to snuff them out in the chaos that were to ensue in the aftermath of our main attack."

"I compliment you on your vision, Sir. I take it the operations were successful?"

"None more than the ones led by Batarian troops that Balak volunteered and handpicked for the job. They were ruthlessly effective... though I cannot in good conscience fully approve of their methods."

 

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Conditions: Combat Cerberus on White

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, no weapon kills medals allowed;

  • Insanity: Mission successful, heavy melee kill at least one dragoon each;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Batarian Soldier with Raider

  • Batarian Brawler with Raider

II. Conrad Verner, Ph.D.

"Hey Vega, you have to hear this one!"

"Another one of your jokes?"

"Better! You remember Conrad Verner, the guy with a serious crush on Shepard?"

"That lunatic? Ah, I wish I could forget him!"

"Well, it seems that he is some kind of expert on dark energy, and well... someone convinced a top brass somewhere that his knowledge could be useful on a practical level and... do you remember hearing about those liberated Collectors?"

"What does that have to.. No! You are not saying that...."

"Am indeed! He got dispatched to 'study one of them and their abilities' or something..."

"Oh, please tell me the collector got really, really mad. Ahah, could you imagine Javik subjected to Verner?"

"Well, luckily for Conrad, a Reaper force turned up before things got out of hand, so the Collector had another target to vent at."

"And Verner?"

"Turns out being under fire is a great motivator for learning how to fight."

"Don't need a fancy diploma to know that."

 

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Conditions: Combat Reapers on Jade

  • Hardcore: Mission successful, 100 assists, 75 biotic/tech kills, shoot Verner between waves

  • Insanity: Mission successful, 100 assists, shoot Verner between waves

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Awakened Collector Adept with CSMG or PPR

  • Human Engineer with Carnifex

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Week 14: Earth
 

I. Big Bang(s)

"This war better end soon. I just heard they had to detail two biotics to take care of some tech problems!"

"What? That doesn't make any sense!"

"I guess it does make sense when there are no better qualified techs in the area, Joker, and the facility is in a war zone."

"Yeah yeah yeah. So did their biotics help in making repairs?"

"I don't know about that. But they sure came in handy when Collectors started pouring through the doors."

"My guess is they'll need a new detail to fix the problems this fight created!"

"Or to scrap the facility down."

 

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Conditions: Combat Collectors on Reactor Hazard

  • Hardcore: mission successful; have fun trying to troll your teammate, get a revive medal if possible, cyclonics not allowed;

  • Insanity: mission successful; have fun trying to troll your teammate, get a revive medal if possible;

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Drell Vanguard with Claymore and/or Mattock

  • Asari Vanguard with Lancer

II. This Is It, Isn't It?

"At ease soldiers. I will be brief. I trust you all have become familiar with the details of the operation.

 

Hackett and the fleet have jumped into the system with the Catalyst. Commander Shepard has just landed.

In a few moments, we will launch the final push for the Citadel. We know we can't fail, and yet we also know we will, unless the Reapers are confused about our intentions.

 

That's why I am asking you to be our smokescreen. I am sending you out on a fool's errand, fighting for all you are worth, enough to make the Reapers believe you are our vanguard, that you are leading our main push. 

 

No help will come for you, no backup. I am sending you to your deaths, and I do so with a heavy heart.

 

Make the Reapers fear you, soldiers of the Alliance! You have one chance at this, make it count! All I can promise you is, we won't squander the chance you are giving us!"

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Conditions: Combat Reapers on London

  • Hardcore: mission successful (extraction discouraged), 5 waves survived, no bleedouts, 150 kill medals (has to be type of kills, headshots and grabs do not count);

  • Insanity: mission successful (extraction discouraged), 3 waves survived, no bleedouts, 125 kill medals (has to be type of kills, headshots and grabs do not count);

  • for this challenge, please note if you succeeded it on your first try, as it bears significance for the last set of missions :) you don't need to specify how the first try went, and you can submit faster records; this only matters if you are going for a series completion.

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Human Adept with Hurricane

  • Human Sentinel with Hurricane

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Week 15: Epilogue

I. The Pale Blue Dot

"This is Admiral Hackett on a planet-wide dispatch.

We failed. The catalyst didn't fire and has been destroyed; the Citadel has been moved. Admiral Anderson and Commander Shepard are MIA, and presumed killed or captured.

 

The Reapers have decimated our fleets and thwarted all our efforts. We don't have the necessary strength to mount a second offensive.

Earth is lost. I repeat, Earth is lost.

Stay and fight if you will. To all the others, you can try to board the few ships we still have in orbit; encrypted coordinates for pick-up places will be transmitted at the end of this broadcast.

 

Take what you can, and escape. The order forbidding the opening of mass relays with unkown points of exit has been lifted. Should you take one, you are urged not to linger in its exit system, as the Reapers will most likely be notified of anyone activating mass relays.

 

Do not rely on technology, all our systems are to be considered compromised.

 

Do not attempt to use communication equipment, as it might be used to track you down.

 

Go in hiding and stay hidden. Pray for us all, and don't forget where you came from.

N7 base in Rio, this is a private dispatch for you.

 

Doctor T'Soni will be there shortly to catch a transport out. She is being pursued by heavy, unified Reaper forces.

 

It is imperative Dr T'Soni and the package she is carrying make it off the planet; she might be carrying the only hope for the future.

 

Dispatch your best operatives to ensure she leaves Earth. All other priorities are rescinded. Let the future know it was us humans who gave them their best chance."

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Conditions: Combat Collectors on Rio

  • hardcore: Platinum difficulty. Mission successful and Liara must extract; armoured compartments not allowed, but missiles are allowed on any wave;

  • insanity: mission successful and Liara must extract; armoured compartments not allowed, and missiles allowed only on objective waves and extraction.

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Asari Adept with Paladin (Liara)

  • N7 Paladin with Hurricane

 

Note: the series' ending if you needed more than one try to complete 14.2 :)

II. Coda

"Welcome everyone! Let me reassure you, this banquet is not just a political display, but a show of our willingness to share equally with all of you at all levels. Even as we speak, the Alliance is sharing its resources with everyone without reservations. It was our unified effort that ended the Reapers' threat, and we won't forget that. On the contrary, we want to build on it! We want a future where our diversities will bring us strength, not divide us. And until the Mass Relays are rebuilt, we will continue to look after all your needs to the best of our ability... excuse me a moment. Yes? Hmmmm. It seems I will have to ask you to remain here for the time being. A situation is developing nearby and..."

"Look over there, on that rooftop! Aren't those Cerberus troops?"

"Please everyone, remain calm! I assure you there is no need to worry. Our security has been notified and Alliance forces will be dispatched momentarily. I am sure we will contain... hey, where are you going?"

"Us? We are going to take care of this little problem for you. It's not like we can enjoy your food anyway."

 

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Conditions: Combat Cerberus on Vancouver

  • Hardcore: mission successful; missiles allowed at any time. Speedrun this one

  • Insanity: mission successful; armoured compartments allowed and missiles allowed at any time. Speedrun this one

 

Characters & Weapons:

  • Turian Havoc Soldier with Reegar;

  • Quarian Male Infiltrator with Krysae or Black Widow

 

Note: the series' ending if you managed to complete 14.2 on your first try :)

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