Spoiler Warning S4E18: Assuming Direct Control

By Shamus
on Jan 5, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

180 comments


Link (YouTube)

You know what they say about assuming control. It makes and ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘the writers’. Or something. I actually forget how that one is supposed to go.

Also, Rutskarn has proven his mastery of all stirge-related subject matter. You guys aren’t going to let him out-nerd you like that, are you? NERD?

I can’t help but wonder about that giant sun behind the illusive man. I like to think there’s some site on the galactic web that just has all of these holographic themes you can use for your orbital doom station. Last week he was scheming in front of a waterfall. Before that it was hot air balloons. This week it’s a red sun. Next week it’ll be Elcor Girls of 2185.

And people say he doesn’t like aliens.

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Footnotes:


A Hundred!20202020I bet you won't even read all 180 comments before leaving your own.

From the Archives:

  1. Avilan says:

    …He DOES like aliens. One of his lovers is an asari Matriarch.

  2. Specktre says:

    Actually, they already were shining doubt on the notion that Husks were Geth technology in ME1. ME2 really only confirms it officially. It goes with the whole completely mindless useless slave, courtesy of over-Indoctrination.

    • Ringwraith says:

      The doubt is especially prevalent on a side planet where some excavators dug some Dragon’s Teeth up which had been buried for ages, with no signs of geth activity, past or present, nearby.
      Dragon’s Teeth are just a shortcut method from living/recently not living to husk really.

    • TSED says:

      No touching on the “more-advanced husks use brute force clawing, geth use energy explosions” front? That’s a lore inconsistency if I ever saw one.

      • Blanko2 says:

        the more more advanced husks have a gun on their head, too!

        • Ringwraith says:

          The Husks actually are more advanced on Hardcore/Insanity, as they all have armour bars, which makes them significantly tougher to take down in groups and immune to many crowd-control powers like Pull until you chip the paintwork off.
          Maybe we can assume Hardcore is the ‘canon’ state of the game, as guys running around without basic shields always seemed a little silly, especially considering that it never happened in ME1 unless there was a very valid reason for it not having shields, (Thresher Maws for example).

          • Fnord says:

            Of course, even with armor, Grunt can splat husks with his charge.

            Yes, the “more advanced” husks lacking an energy explosion and falling apart doesn’t really make sense.

  3. RTBones says:

    The stirge, possibly derived from stirga, a vampiric owl-like bird. As originally presented, they were a more bird-like creature.

    They were introduced originally in the first supplement to Dungeons and Dragons (as in, 1974-1976), in the Greyhawk supplement(1975). They were originally described as large, bird-like monsters that had a long proboscis that let it suck blood from living creatures.

    In AD&D, First Edition (1977-1988), the stirge was detailed in the Monster Manual (1977), where it was supposed to be found in dark, tangled forests or in subterranean lairs, where it stealthily waited for warm-blooded creatures.

    Oh yeah, March 1984 (Dragon, #83) the stirge was detailed in “The Ecology of the Stirge.”

    EDIT: It should also be noted, for those 2nd Edition folks, that the “Ecology of the Stirge” was done again in Dragon #239 – which incidentally also introduced the desert stirge and the jungle stirge. It appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Volume II (1989), and reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).

    EDIT II: Oh yeah, and the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh was U1. U2 was Danger at Dunwater, and U3 was The Final Enemy.

    EDIT III: S1 was Tomb of Horrors, S2 was White Plume Mountain, S3 was Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and S4 was the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

    EDIT IV: Gotcha, Ruts! :)

    • Dev Null says:

      incidentally also introduced the desert stirge and the jungle stirge.

      Three Stirges? Nyuk nyuk nyuk…

    • Hitch says:

      The stirge, possibly derived from stirga, a vampiric owl-like bird. As originally presented, they were a more bird-like creature.

      I wonder if a misspelling of that resulted in the Strigid Owls (and the Strigid Screechers and Hunters) of World of Warcraft.

    • Rutskarn says:

      The “intentional factual error” was the edition thing. I actually did, apparently, goof up the letter of Saltmarsh.

      Not sure how I did that, since it’s literally sitting right here on my desk. Then again, I’ve also got Tomb of Horrors, so that’s probably the problem right there.

  4. Swimon says:

    Ok so can anyone explain to me how Harbinger works? He “assumes direct control” which I guess could make the host really intelligent or something since harbinger is this general or since the first game states that all mind control diminishes the intelligence of the subject. But he doesn’t become more intelligent. Instead he gains a lot of armor and the ability shoot biotic glowing balls. Is that the manifestation of his intelligence? He’s the only one smart enough to put on the armor and use his abilities? I guess the first mass effect had the same problem with Saren so I guess it’s already established bullshit. Actually now that I think about. That whole “power-up” or whatever from ME1 took all the power from the shields of a much more impressive warship than the one the collectors are using so shouldn’t the normandy start to shoot at said ship. I mean since the shields are down and all.

    Also less of a complaint and more of a question: is there somewhere where the name Lillith is common? Because except for the lillith of jewish mythology I can’t think of anyone (except some characters on tv who clearly only got the name because of said mythology). I’m asking since ME2 contains quite a few biblical references (Mirandas loyalty quest mentions the prodigal son for example) I’m wondering if it’s a reference to something? I have no idea what that would symbolise though, or is it just a reference for the sake of a reference (I wouldn’t be all that surprised)?

    Edit: Also I was under the impression that Mordin made that bug with genetics and SCIENCE! and whatnot. I don’t really know why I have that impression and it would open more questions than it answers and if it’s true than it’s still bad storytelling to not state that more clearly.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well,harbingers possession can be explained by the collectors having these latent biotics that he accesses when he assumes control.

      • Swimon says:

        why are they latent though? I mean they’re controlled through BCIs right? So using them should be like moving an arm, Harbinger shouldn’t really be any better at using this than the brain that he controls.

        • Fnord says:

          I assume they’re latent because the ordinary collectors are not very smart. They can only use them instinctively (to allow themselves to fly using those tiny wings, or to generate relatively weak biotic barriers) instead of consciously.

          • Ringwraith says:

            The Collectors are insect-like, so most of them are drones who aren’t really capable of much independent thought, not outside their prescribed orders anyway, and biotics are controlled through willpower and focused thought, so as they are lacking much of it when taken over by being fully capable of making decisions independently outside of any pre-set orders their biotic abilities are better controlled.

            • KnightLight says:

              I thought the “ASSUMING CONTROL” thing was a cybernetic override, like Saren at the end of ME1. Mordin will say some things later that support that.

              • Ringwraith says:

                Yes, but I’m not sure a cybernetic override is solely to blame for their vastly enhanced biotic abilities.

              • Sleeping Dragon says:

                I dare say I wasn’t the only one whose first thought at the “assuming control” scene was “hey, it’s just like with Saren”.

                • TheZoobler says:

                  You know this just recently began to bother me. How is it that Sovereign assuming direct control of Saren == endgame boss, yet Harbinger assuming direct control of any of his lackeys is a minor nuisance?

                  Maybe Harbinger is just some Reaper so utterly incompetent that he got lost when all the others left the galaxy and entered the Outer Dark.

                  They’re machines. He probably speaks like this.

                  “hey guys whered you go? guys??? imma build a slushiee(sp?) terminator and post it on youtube. itll be my next great project after creating the entire Earth in Minecraft entirely out of wool. guys???? k”

            • Blanko2 says:

              hurr hurr how i mine for dead peeples?

  5. 4th Dimension says:

    Actually, why do you think that’s a sun? I for one wouldn’t be putting my space station that close to a star. It might be a star is the view outside is digitaly enhanced, from outside human spectrum or something. To me it more looks like maybe a failed star (a brown dwarf maybe) or a gas giant.

  6. James says:

    Are husks only made from humans and if so why? The reapers only became interested in humans after Sheperd kills one in ME1.

    Also when you go to speak to The Illusive Man does a floor come across after the table moves down?

    • Factoid says:

      I always thought that Saren was basically a husk at the end, so technically I guess there’s been a Turian one as well.

      The real answer is that the developers didn’t have time, money or desire to make more than one type of husk, so they picked human and went with it. The more nerdified answer is that most of the planets you go to are human colonies, so that’s what the Geth turn into husks.

    • Veloxyll says:

      I’d hope so, though if you’re paying attention in that cutscene it looked suspiciously like Shepard was walking on thin air

  7. Tzeneth says:

    According to the books, the reason we see different stars in the background is that the Illusive man is in a facility that moves and he likes to look at various different types of stars in various stages of decay. Although honestly, I only see it as a way at the end to represent whether you went paragon or renegade as the final image of him is seen with a blue or red sun respectively behind him.

    • Factoid says:

      The stars are different? It always looked like the same one to me. And at the end do you ever get a completely blue star? I’ve played the game with 100% paragon path before and it was still a red sun with a bluish outline around it.

      • Nyaz says:

        I think you get a blue star if you pick the paragon option (also the “retard” option) of blowing the station up instead of actually making use of it.

        EDIT: Actually, maybe you don’t? I’ve never picked the paragon option now that I think about it…

        • Josh says:

          No, that’s how it works. Full blue sun for Paragon endgame choice, full red for Renegade.

        • krellen says:

          Blowing up the station is not “retarded”. Using the station is retarded. Reaper technology has proven several times throughout both games to be insidious and corrupting. Everyone that has attempted to discover or control Reaper technology has failed, becoming indoctrinated or worse.

          I honestly can’t understand why anyone would trust the Collector base to be worth saving. There is nothing redeemable about Reaper technology – Reaper technology is explicitly stated to be how they get you.

          • Irridium says:

            Why didn’t they have EDI browse through the stations data files or whatever?

            We know she can get into Collector stuff, she did so with the Collector ship.

          • Shamus says:

            Oh no! This knowledge is too dangerous for us to know!

            The tech they GIVE us is dangerous. And their tech is dangerous if you LIVE in it. Sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t tear apart their DVD players and see how they work.

            If nothing else, study the indoctrination process. How does it work? Can it be blocked?

            But then why bother. Shepard can just stand on top of a building and hose down the reapers with an assault rifle when they show. I imagine that’s what the writers have in mind anyway.

            • Dude says:

              SPOILER!

              I think that’s what the derelict reaper you get the IFF from was about, although TIM never says it outright. Those “scientists” were sent there specifically to study the effects of indoctrination on them. This would be so much more awesome and in keeping with the Cerberus of the first game that I refuse to believe any other fiction. Nuh huh. No way!

              • Veloxyll says:

                If you get Indoctrinated, you score 20% higher on Cerberus entry tests!

                I can almost believe that was actually the case though. TIM did send us straight into the Collector trap (or. Will have.) And Cerberus did get people attacked by a Thresher Maw to see what happens (hint: they get melted by acid). Whether anyone learned anything beyond “Cerberus are Jerks” is hard to say though. And if that was the case, TIM could’ve maybe mentioned about that when trying to convince Shepard not to make with the ‘spolsions on the Collector base.

            • Veloxyll says:

              What if it works by luring you into their ships then slowly chipping away at your sanity?

              Here be Spoils:-

              The dead Reaper that shows up later in the game still manages to indoctrinate the Cerberus personnel when they try to study it (and once again fail to show Cerberus being competent ever). It’d be reasonable to assume that there’s some sort of indoctrinator on board the Collector base too, which will inevitably mind control any Cerberus mooks who get sent along to it.
              If the game wasn’t firmly on Rails it might work, but given Cerberus’s track record of gross incompetence, I think it’s safer for everyone to blow up the base rather than let Harbinger mind control a team of Cerberus scientists and have them keep pick up where the Collectors left off.

              • Aldowyn says:

                I actually really like the derelict reaper quest – “Even dead gods can dream”

                Plus, Legion

              • Blanko2 says:

                dont you know how space works? you cant be sensible!
                you have to always try and colonize planets with absurdly hostile lifeforms or work in places with bad lighting that have a tendency to summon hellspawn!

                • Veloxyll says:

                  There’s other types of places in space?

                  (in their defence, the Council has forbidden the exploration of new mass relays, so there haven’t been new colonial worlds opened up for a VERY long time)

                • Blanko2 says:

                  its not a point of there being other types of places, thats just how you DO things.
                  like when you create robots you always have to leave a failsafe so they can rebel against you, always enter derelict spaceships when you dont know what happened to the crew, always go into the dark spooky cave when you know there is a monster around. thats all just common sense!

            • Josh says:

              I would argue that at this point you don’t have much of a choice but to seek out all possible ways to gain an advantage over the Reapers. Of course it’s risky but it may just hold the key to finding a way to kill the Reapers that doesn’t require a massive fleet of warships to take on each one individually – and I’d say that’s worth any risk.

              Besides, Mass Effect 1 makes it pretty clear that the existence of the Citadel and the Mass Relays is to control the development of each new generation of species that finds them. The Reapers are prepared to deal with armies equipped with technology based on what they seeded the galaxy with. Getting technology that the Reapers don’t want you to have should be your number one priorty.

              Keep in mind the only reason Sovereign didn’t win utterly was because the Protheans managed to replicate the Mass Relay technology and build their own, a possiblity the Reapers weren’t prepared for.

            • Aldowyn says:

              “If nothing else, study the indoctrination process. How does it work? Can it be blocked?

              I can’t tell if you mean that, Shamus, but I really hope you don’t, because it’s been repeatedly shown that that is a REALLY stupid idea, on Virmire and on the derelict Reaper.

              • Shamus says:

                You mean when they “studied” it by throwing people into a reaper until it killed them? Yeah. That’s not science, that’s Cerberus.

                You and some friends want to swim in a pool, but you’re worried it might be too cold.

                Normal person: Put in a toe, then a foot, then your legs. Stop if you get too cold.

                Cerberus: Tie up one of your friends and throw them in. Judge water temp by how loud they scream before they drown.

                You want to know how it works? It’s obviously safe for a few hours. Rotate small teams of people in. Rotate them back out. Observe them. Interview them. Put them in different types of shielding and see if it protects from from the Reaper mojo waves. When people start to get a little off, keep them and see how / if they recover. As Josh said above, the Galaxy is riding on this. Or so the writers keep telling us.

                Just because Cerberus is stupid doesn’t mean I’m obligated to be so.

                There’s two points here:

                1) The totally absurd assumption that we can only give the base to Cerberus, based on a bunch of ham-fisted contrivances that forces everyone in the galaxy to be idiots in order to prevent you from doing something reasonable. But if we accept this premise then…

                2) Cerberus takes control of the base. If they’re idiots then they get turned into husks. I don’t really see the conversion of Cerberus mooks into husks as a bad thing. It’s not even a very big change. Just paint them blue and double their intelligence. Boom. Husks.

                If everyone in the Galaxy is too dumb to figure out this simple process of testing and observation, then the reapers are right and we don’t deserve to live.

                • X2-Eliah says:

                  So who else gets the base?

                  1) Cerberus gets the coordinates of the station before anyone else. They’ll get to it first, and anyone else will come and be “There’s nothing here. What the hell, this is no time for jokes!”

                  On that note..
                  2) Nobody else will even come for the base. Citadel’s Council? “Terminus systems are not our zone, deal with it”. Udina/Anderson? “Sorry, Shepard, my hands are tied. Deal with it.” Turians? They don’t trust people enough. Quarians? Way too many political contest problems – their first reaction to geth on a tiny ship is to blow it out of space asap, the idea of a Reaper-made base would just seem either ridiculous or ‘KILL IT WITH NUCLEAR FIRE’. Salarians? I don’t think Mordin has enough of a pull left to get them moving – but I’ll admit that these guys might be likely.. Asari? Hah.. if ME2 is any indication, why should a bunch of space strippers with a penchant for shady business care about anything that doesn’t threaten their operations directly.. (and yes, the way ME2 portrayed the Asari was – less than optimal).

                  If I recall right, the cutscene of not-blowing-the-base even shows that Illusive Man’s fleet is moving in.

                  3) Only Cerberus has the Reaper IFF at hand – so others can’t get to the base in a timely fashion.

                  4) It’s established quite clear in the lore that the ‘conversion’ process is not a unique component, it is an ever-present, constant factor of ALL Reaper tech.

                  5) All of Galaxy is stupid, really, not just the Cerberus. Besides, why would you want to save the base when you know that in the next game, it will only amount to a footnote, and an incoming e-mail from the Illusive Man saying that it was really great, but the base blew up during one of the tests. I mean, really – the ME1 -> ME2 decision implementation was very blunt and in-your-face, it showed more than clearly that it doesn’t really matter what you do.

                  Also, Saren. He was not on the Reaper at all times; He was a very (or, fairly) smart individual; he was fully aware of what indoctrination is, and even worked to counter it. Remember how that turned out?

                  Besides, the only thing to gain from observing a Reaper baby-breeding facility is the knowledge that the Reapers are Robotic, alien-form things inside their ship/shells.. So obviously you need to find the biggest shell of them all, land on it, get in, and kill the Reaper-bot that’s inside. Note that the Turians already have the Reaper laser weaponry; shielding to resist the weapon fire also exists (just double the shielding Normandy has when upgraded for good measure, or just measure the damage the reaper laser can do and work on that base). Heck, just browse through Sovereign’s remains on the Citadel! It’s not like there isn’t any knowledge already. And if the Galaxy can not gain knowledge by examining an already destroyed Reaper, right at the hub of their political and scientific elite, by having replicated the Reaper laser weapons.. Then I don’t see how a nursery will help matters in any way.

                  • Shamus says:

                    Yeah, Saren fell for indoctrination, so nobody should ever attempt to understand it in the future. I mean, that’s how science works, right? If one arrogant moron can’t find the answer, then clearly teams of scientists with training and equipment and independent observers have no chance.

                    “Then I don’t see how a nursery will help matters in any way.”

                    1) Proof: The rest of the galaxy refuses to believe the threat EXISTS. Geeze, At least TAKE SOME PICTURES before you nuke it.

                    2) Tech. Okay,Reapers are super-advanced. Even though their mooks are worthless and use the same guns as us. Whatever. Still, the idea that we shouldn’t even scout the place is absurd. If you’re in a tech war and the writers tell you that you’re out-matched (even though they back this up with no proof) then you need to peek at the other guy’s tech. Like Star Wars. What if the rebel Alliance said, “THESE DEATH STAR PLANS ARE TOO DANGEROUS TO STUDY!”. Look for a weak spot and such.

                    3) What was their plan? How many people did they nab?

                    Oh, we’re too busy fighting this tech war against super-robots to waste time on KNOWLEDGE. You never know what you’ll find, and I don’t see any downside to studying the place.

                    THIS BASE IS TOO DANGEROUS TO KNOW ABOUT!!!

                    The more I discuss this, the more I hate the writers. This is a soup of self-justifying contrivances and nonsense.

                • Irridium says:

                  Again, we have EDI. An AI. Who can get into Collector systems. We could also probably get Legion to help process all the data.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  @X2-Eliah

                  You forget the conglomerate of best minds that is right there,docked with the base.Mordin,legion,edi and even miranda,all have extensive knowledge,and posses the equipment needed to examine the base before cerberus even arrives.That would be what Id do.Examine the base as thoroughly as I can,then blow it sky high before cerberus comes to mess it up.

                  Also,how exactly would cerberus arrive if you decide to not go back to them?You have the only working reaper iff,and it does seem like its more than just a software.It will be long before they are able to replicate it from the data edi gave them.

                  As for the dumb council,no matter their (official) stance about the terminus system and the reapers,here is a piece of advanced tech from a race they arent really friendly with.I doubt theyd pass the opportunity to study it.

                • Jan says:

                  Funny that you mention Star Wars. There, a big point of the whole series is that some powers are not to be used (the whole Dark Side thingy), even if your intentions are good.

                  See also Lord of the Rings. The One Ring would just corrupt anyone, and would corrupt all the good things you’d try to do with it. The eldritch abominations were already mentioned, the technology would be beyond our understanding and drive the people working on it mad, or worse, pseudo-Collectors.

                  In-universe there aren’t many of these prejudices, except for AI’s. The fervor with which AI research is persecuted makes totally the same sense as blowing up possible research opportunities into Reaper technology.

                  And of course, there are loads of people today in the real world that believe some technology (be it nuclear power, genetic engineering, stem cell research, I could go on) is evil and should not be used, studied or even understood.

                  Even if you disagree that it’s a good or rational view, you must admit that a lot of people view it this way. That’s why it’s in the game, that’s why loads of people (there are statistics on this, right?) choose it.

                  • Shamus says:

                    It would be an interesting choice to make if the game didn’t ram it down your throat, with EVERYONE, even the pro-Cercerus Miranda, agreeing that this technology they know nothing about is too dangerous to be understood. The game portrays the choice of keeping the tech as unambiguously evil in the eyes of all the Mary Sues and Mary Stus on board.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Star wars also has the grey jedi(the extended universe),which use both the dark and light side powers.As for lodr of the rings,thats magic,and it works on completely different principles.

                  And yes,there are lots of people that would consider it evil,I agree.But shepard is not some protagonist you just take control of for a bit,he is your avatar in the game.When you take someone like duke to mow through aliens,its ok if you arent the macho sexist guy he is,because you are just lending him for a while.So the more freedom the game offers in character creation,the more jarring it becomes when you cant make your avatar behave like you would.

                • Will says:

                  Actually the whole point of the original trilogy is that Luke proves that the Jedi are wrong. In the end it’s love that saves him; the same love which the Jedi claimed lead to the Dark Side.

                  The Jedi and the Sith represent the two emotional extremes; the Jedi attempt to suppress all emotion, while the Sith are ruled by their emotions, Luke proves in the movies (and further in the expanded universe) that the reason the Sith and the Jedi keep failing and never win is because they are both wrong. The correct course is a happy medium.

                • krellen says:

                  Bwahaha, another convert to my theory!

                • Jarenth says:

                  And yet you wonder why people keep calling you a cult leader.

                • krellen says:

                  Actually, of all the inconsistencies between the original trilogy and the prequels, the theme of “Love conquers all” is actually the one strongest consistency. The prequels are about Anakin’s love and how it leads to his fall to the Dark Side and the destruction of the Jedi – but it’s not just the fault of Anakin’s love, but also the fault of the Jedi who reject, rather than embrace or at least accept it. Palpatine prevails because he appeals to Anakin’s love, nurturing the darker aspects of it, to precipitate his fall to the Dark Side. Because the Jedi reject it, love conquers the Jedi.

                  The original trilogy has a similar theme, except this time it is Luke’s love that prevails, rekindling the brighter side of Anakin’s love and making him, ultimately, overcome the Dark Side and turn on the Emperor. The Emperor was so sure that Vader was his puppet, so utterly corrupted and debased beyond redemption, that he forgot the power of the love he twisted. Because the Emperor underestimated it, love conquers the Emperor.

                  The details around these themes are all very poorly constructed, leading to many, many logical inconsistencies and nonsense (midichlorians serving as an excellent example of this), but the core themes are strong and consistent.

                  Now, whether Lucas realises this was the central theme he was using is another matter entirely. He may not have been fully cognisant that this theme was what shaped his stories.

            • Vect says:

              My problem isn’t so much studying the Station itself. It’s the idea of handing it to a group known for having a history of “ME GO TOO FAR! ME AM PLAY GODS!” in their research due to messing around in things with little to no safety protocols. Most Cerberus projects (barring Lazarus, and even that ended with a Shadow Broker agent trying to botch it) seem to end horribly. Notably, Project Overlord, Jack and the Derelict Reaper.

              Maybe if there was an option to somehow rip TIM off.

              TIM: Hey, so about that Station. It could go quite a ways in making sure Pavalen is a smoking ruin-I mean, making sure that Humanity Uber Alles and all that good stuff.

              Shepard: Erm… Sure…

              *Due to fulfilling prior requirements, manages to bluff TIM and send coordinates to Hackett or someone trustworthy*

              I somehow end up imagining this as the ME3 scenario for the Collector Station.

              TIM: “Dammit Shepard! Our research on the Collectors using children and our patented Turian Slushie has somehow bit us in the ass and-ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL”

              Shepard: “Oh Goddamnit.” *Grabs gun*

              • Shamus says:

                This reasoning closes one hole and tears open a larger one.

                Why don’t we give the tech to Cerberus? The galaxy needs it!

                Cerberus is too evil! We don’t know how, but somehow we’ll find SOME OTHER WAY.

                But what about working with Cerberus in the first place?

                Cerberus might be evil, but we can’t possibly afford to look for SOME OTHER WAY!

                So Cerberus is juust evil enough that you can work with them and trusted with Shepard, the Normandy, Billions of Credits, and all the other stuff you give them, but too evil to be trusted with additional technology. To paraphrase a webcomic, “That is a very specific level of evil.”

                • X2-Eliah says:

                  Well, that is entirely the writers’ fault, and I agree with you on that.

                • Jarenth says:

                  Man, I was about to quote that sentence to you and I hadn’t even remembered it was from DM of the Rings.

                  I fail my Nerd Lore check.

                • Vect says:

                  It’s mostly a case of But Thou Must as far as I see it. I mostly just see that the consequence for giving them the Base might just either be an extra mission where you have to take care of the screwup yourself or that they somehow use the tech to their advantage, but at some sorta horrible horrible price.

                  I’m not against the idea of somehow making use of the Base. However due to being But Thou Must’d into giving it to TIM as the primary option and the trope of how Mysterious Alien Technology = Getting Bit In The Ass, I just have a feeling that it’ll all go wrong somehow (though I may be wrong and it’d be like in Dragon Age: Origins where the backstabbing sociopathic upstart Dwarven Prince is the best option for king). Maybe you can Take A Third Option in the third game when the base gets revisited once again.

            • krellen says:

              Reapers have more in common with Lovecraftian eldritch horrors than anything else in literature. Looking at it from that perspective, where we have concrete evidence than you can, in fact, “know too much”, is that really the road to walk down?

              Besides, the Collector base isn’t a DVD player. It’s a metropolis. You can scavenge DVD players from a metropolis, but you can’t really pack it up and take it apart methodically without dwelling in it for a while.

              • Shamus says:

                Well, now you’re arguing that the secrets of the Reaper tech would drive you insane.

                Having gone through the game a couple of times now, the plot has come very close to doing that for me. I don’t know what it really fits for me. I think I’d dig that outlook more if they hadn’t turned Reapers into buffoons in this game.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            You mean like the jump gates that you use constantly?The ones you used to defeat both sovereign and the collectors?Or maybe even eezo,the very foundation of the interstellar empire?Or how about those beam weapons made from the dead sovereign,or the one you get from the collectors(in this episode)?Or the reaper iff without which youd never have defeated the collectors?Yeees,extremely dangerous technology that should never be used.

            Imagine if people said that about radioactive materials.Why would anyone want to use something that can kill you by just being near it?And it killed so many people that were researching it.Thats retarded.Especially when it can be turned into a weapon that can level down cities.But then,we wouldnt have so many advances in medicine,history,astronomy,geology,biology,physics,…..

            Or how about explosives?Their only purpose is destruction,so we should never use them because they can kill,and numerous researches have died studying it.Then we wouldnt be able to mine deep quickly,to make huge dams,canals connecting oceans,heck we wouldnt even have cars and planes which use miniature explosions to power them.

            Technology in itself is never “evil”,its how you use it that can be “evil”.Sure,new tech can kill people,can even lead to catastrophic events.But it can also lead to great prosperity.It should be approached carefully,yes,but it should never be disregarded as “to dangerous to use”.

            • Fnord says:

              In reality, there is no such thing as “evil” technology. In reality, it’s also impossible to go faster than the speed of light.

              Also, are you SURE the baby reaper thing is really dead? You just shot out it’s “eyes”, you didn’t really damage the bulk of it. Are you SURE there are no more of them? Because the radiation pulse, whatever it does to collectors, isn’t go to kill a Reaper. Are you sure that all the collectors in the galaxy were on the station or that one ship?

              That was my reasoning. Not “this technology is too dangerous to give to anyone” but “I want to be sure that any nasty surprises still lurking in the friggin’ gigantic base are destroyed, and I don’t trust a radiation pulse to do that.”

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                “In reality, it’s also impossible to go faster than the speed of light.”

                Tachions.

                But you do present valid points.And if that was shepards reasoning for picking that option,Id have no complaints.If they used some vague lines like “We cant take that chance”,your explanation would stand.But instead,shepard says “they liquefied people.Turned them into something horrible.”

                Personally,I picked that option because I wanted to screw tim over,but still that line made me furious because thats not why I did that.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Possible answer: Did you import your paragon from ME1? Because the default options are all renegade, that might be why.

    • Blanko2 says:

      you read the mass effect books. you neeeeeeerd.
      were they good?

  8. Valthier says:

    I always assumed that “not made from processed colonists” meant they weren’t made with humans from -this- colony since there are no weird techno death spikes like on Eden Prime, but that they’d pulled a Blue Peter and brought some they’d prepared earlier.

    Also, it bothered me a little that Kaiden (*squee*) used his rifle on the swarm. Seeing as how he’s a biotic you’d think his first reaction would be to make a barrier or something.

    • Skan says:

      yes that would make sense but then they would have had to do more work if it was Ashley there, instead of just a palete(sp?) swap

    • halka says:

      I always assumed that “not made from processed colonists” meant they weren’t made with humans

      Soylent solutions. Not made from processed colonists.*

      Anyway, this is the second time you mentioned the ‘stuck on the table/railing/etc.’ bug and a portable blue suns goon as a way of solving it — I don’t get the reference, is it from a webcomic or something?

  9. Factoid says:

    Your party speculates in this mission that the husks aren’t colonists because there were no geth spikey things, so therefore the collectors must have brought them along. No problem there…seems reasonable enough to bring an army of mindless slaves to help you carry a few thousand frozen bodies around.

    My assumption is that the husks are probably not from THIS colony, but were made from bodies of the other colonies already attacked.

  10. Jeremiah says:

    It seemed like finding this video was perfect timing because of some of the recent fanfic jokes. Especially with the title of today’s Spoiler Warning.

    NSFW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&v=eyxLwU_MXtg

  11. X2-Eliah says:

    My theory is that the ‘sun’ the Ilusive man has on his view-screen is a visual representation of the Omni-sphere or whatever they call the Internet in ME2.. And those artificial eyes of his allow to pick out single strands that the oscillating accumulation, and track them at leisure.

    Also, yeah, the star doesn’t really change the colour no matter if you are full Paragon or Renegade.

  12. SpammyV says:

    You know, having a generic insect alien invasion made sense in The Conduit, since The Drudge weren’t an actual alien species, they were just a manufactured army made to invade D.C., wreck things up, then get slaughtered by Trust agents.

  13. Rosseloh says:

    I thought the same as Ruts when I saw “Collector General”. I immediately think “Bureaucrat”, not “Military Genius who can possess his soldiers and become super-bug for the duration”.

    But I think I prefer it that way. It makes it seem like there’s a bunch of paperwork they have to fill out before they can invade a colony.

  14. BeamSplashX says:

    This was one of the funniest episodes of Spoiler Warning I’ve seen in a while!

    And there was much rejoicing.

  15. Nyaz says:

    I still can’t believe BioWare traded the awesome Geth for space-bugs…

  16. Hitch says:

    On the subject of Rutskarn’s impressive stirge knowlegde, somethings been something’s been nagging at the back of my mind for the last couple episodes. Is he wearing gloves, or is that some bizarre coloring error? Either way, it’s distracting. I can’t enjoy Josh’s impressive display of spinning in place because I’m still thinking, “What’s up with Rutskarn’s hands?”

    • MintSkittle says:

      Pretty sure those are gloves. Also, I like that the dotted line person is gone, so it looks like everyone is trying to keep away from Josh. I know it’s been gone for a while now, I just haven’t mentioned it until now.

  17. Christopher M says:

    Assuming direct control of the spacebug fleet, how fast could the war against the Reapers be won?

    Sorry, bad pun.

  18. Aldowyn says:

    Rutskarn, did you call the Geth original? They’re an AI race that rebelled against their creators, that’s (literally) one of the oldest cliches in the book! Sheesh, characters in the sci-fi books of the FIFTIES knew this! (Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics)

    • Ringwraith says:

      Then they twisted it about some, like they tend to do. Just do some digging and you start to uncover stuff.

    • Mumbles says:

      Mad props for mentioning Asimov.

      I would say that rebellious artificial intelligence actually dates back to Frankenstein’s monster. The thing that makes the Geth interesting is the idea of a shared collective. Yes, you could make the case that the Matrix has been there, done that, but there’s a certain amount of equality between Geth.

      • Will says:

        Actually the core of the created beings rebelling against their masters dates back to the oldest creation myths. To use the rather well known Bible myth, God created Man, Man rebelled against God.

        All the western creation myths contain something similar, not sure about eastern creation myths, but i’d expect they do too. Gods create man, man rebels.

        The concept probably comes from the fact that enslaved peasant populations have this annoying habit of rebelling.

        • Mumbles says:

          Yes, very true. In fact there’s evidence of that in Frankenstein, where the monster picks up a copy of Paradise Lost. While he sees the parallels between himself and Adam, he also feels compelled to relate with Satan. Struggling to get a grip on identity, morality and a sometimes unhealthy relationship with the creator is something humans have been dealing with forever. I like to think it’s a bit more romantic than annoyance at rebellious peasants, but that might just be wishful thinking.

          Jeez, I fucking love you guys. Shamus has the best readers on the internet.

      • krellen says:

        The origin of the word “Robot” comes from a play about rebellious artificial life-forms.

      • Blanko2 says:

        in the discussion of a shared collective, i think it predates the matrix quite a bit, even in alpha centauri, the main alien lifeform is a mind worm which, not only gets more powerful and intelligent the more of them there are, but share a psychic bond similar in effect to how the geth communicate with each other.
        not only that but when the humans in alpha start to develop ways of controlling them, there are several references to them rebelling as they grow in numbers. (also they cause nightmares, all that psychic influence stuff)

        and even more pervasive in popular culture, the borg have the same sort of collective intelligence, though they dont grow smarter the more of them there are, collective artificial intelligence is hardly an original thing anyway. combining it with the ability to increase thoughtput with greater numbers is, perhaps, a less common occurrence

      • Aldowyn says:

        *chuckle* I’m a big fan of 50’s sci-fi, but ty anyway Mumbles.

        I’m also liable to bring up Clark’s 3rd law (any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Actually, that was applicable up above somewhere but the quote pyramid ran out of room. Like hitting the clouds in Minecraft. OKAAAY, that was a tangent), some things from Heinlein (especially Starship Troopers. Some really interesting ideas in the book.), and … more Asimov stuff. Foundation is pretty awesome.

    • RejjeN says:

      Unless I missed something I don’t think the Geth actually rebelled, it was the Quarians that struck first as the Geth began to gain intelligence and as Legion says “We fought for continued existence”.

      • Ringwraith says:

        The quarians decided to make the first move as they obviously had heard about how these sorts of things turn out in stories, though it ended up being their downfall.
        Though the AI trapped in the storeroom siphoning off credits in ME1 was clearly not of a nice temperament, though that was probably because of what it faced if discovered due to the anti-AI laws.

        • Jeff says:

          The Geth were loyal, and many still are. They’re the opposite of the “AI rebelling” concept, if anything.

          • Ringwraith says:

            That’s precisely where the quarians went wrong, as they assumed that they wouldn’t be.

            • Aldowyn says:

              … Hmm. I never actually noticed realized before. Fail.

              … So, trope inverted, hmm? The “heretics” are definitely AI gone evil, but it’s not their fault – the normal Geth, as embodied by Legion, would be more than happy to leave peacefully with the organic races – just not under the Quarians, or any other race.

  19. Christopher M says:

    Sudden insight/what.: How come when the Harbinger “assumes direct control,” the assumed gain armor points?

    Your typical collector has shields and health. No armor. The way I interpret it, shields are energy and health is Vitalstatistix (cookie for the reference!), while armor is physical plating that keeps bullets away. So… Harbinger brings metal plates with him when he “Assumes control”? Or is the armor given by the “burned husk exterior” of the thing – in which case, shouldn’t health be halved?

  20. The Dark One says:

    Shamous. Your Elcor comment reminded me of this fake Elcor romance scene.
    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/secret-romance-mass-effect/63942

  21. Milos says:

    When Rutskarn started his lecture I couldn’t help but think about a certain PA comic:
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/9/9/

  22. Kale says:

    The sequencing of the scene with Mordin and the bug with the interrupted attack on the colony makes me feel like they accidentally put the Mordin scene early rather than after the attack, since we can see plenty of live bug subjects for Mordin, or you I suppose, to do something cool to acquire. Heck, maybe the one Kaiden was holding was supposed to get trapped in his grip when he got paralyzed.

    Maybe I’m just giving them more credit than they earn. After all, I’d assume they would at least get their plot scenes straightened out, especially considering production time, but we have the bug on the ship problem.

    Also, did anyone else get Command and Conquer flashes at the 4 minute mark? It felt like we changed games for a good 13 seconds.

  23. Blanko2 says:

    rutskarn is such a nerd. as opposed to mumbles, who comments on videogames played on the internet. :D

    who is harbinger TALKING to when he assumes control? hes just sort of spouting stuff at the frozen people.

    arc gun is way better than the particle beeeam.

    rutskarn, how have you not made an “he’s on fire! from downtown!” joke throughout all these episodes?

  24. TSED says:

    I loved Stirges in the old goldbox games. Throw your fighter at them, sweep, everything’s dead. They all fly to surround him. Sweep, everything’s dead.

    Mad xps, yo. Mad.

  25. Deadpool says:

    Btw, Shamus, the “I’ll bet you did!” joke? I WAS THINKING THE SAME THING!

    That was pretty awesome…

  26. KremlinLaptop says:

    I just wish one of Kaidan’s pissed off lines was: “I WAS FROZEN TODAY.

  27. Luhrsen says:

    I can’t believe everyone is still saying it’s a sun behind the Illusive Man. Didn’t anyone land on the moon that orbits that planet in ME1? The waves are supposed to be some kind of plankton that are constantly fleeing from the sunlight that kills them.

  28. Corsair says:

    You’re not serious.

  29. Jarenth says:

    Fun fact: In the ‘Superman Returns’ movie-cash-in video game, one of the first levels has you defend Smallville or whatever from hundreds of falling meteors. There’s this whole thing with some meteors being on fire and some being made out of ice and you have laser eyes and ice breath and you probably get the idea already.

    I beat each and every meteor by headbutting it.

  30. JoCommando says:

    Props for the great outro:

    Josh: In the next episode we’ll see the conclusion of this fight, this epic cover-based fight against insectoids… yeah…

    Harbinger: One hundred will replace it.

    Intentional? Dunno. Awesome? You betcha.

  31. Aldowyn says:

    Shamus, I have a question about these massive quote pyramids.

    Why do they have a cap, and is there a way to get rid of it? It’s annoying when I have to either end a conversation or find some other way to reply because “oh look, the reply button isn’t there.”

    • Shamus says:

      The cap is set by me, and is done only so that the formatting of discussions doesn’t get wonky. Eventually we’d have 10 character wide boxes.

      One thing to note is that it still remembers who you “replied” to, even if the indent stops. If I raise the limit, formerly non-indented stuff would become indented.

      Maybe I can look into messing with the formatting a bit. We’ll see.

      • Sekundaari says:

        “it still remembers who you “replied” to, even if the indent stops. If I raise the limit, formerly non-indented stuff would become indented.”

        How does that work? I see no “Reply to this” links on the most-indented comments, and the replies are replies to the “parent” comment instead, so I imagine the formatting on old threads wouldn’t change even if you raised the limit.

        • Shamus says:

          Ah. I keep forgetting it doesn’t have that for you.

          Okay, if I raised the limit, then all of MY replies would do the nesting. Heh.

          Not quite as compelling, I admit.

          • Sekundaari says:

            Interesting. Is there a technical reason for others not having that option? Or is it just all the expected “Why is my reply in the wrong place” -questions?

            • Shamus says:

              I interact with the comments via the moderation queue, which is a totally separate page in the admin section. (I do this because it’s the only way I could follow all the different posts and their conversations. When I want to jump in, I hit “reply”. So everything I post in the comments is a reply.

              • Jarenth says:

                I assume this is also why your comments in a max-stacked pyramid appear directly below the comment you reply to, whereas ours just appear at the end of the stack.

  32. mixmastermind says:

    Dammit game developers, one day you’ll learn that you can’t just make a cigarette clip through a character’s lip.

  33. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Yhea, I know it’s practically more than a year later than the last comment.. But just to say something:

    Mumble, you said you wanted to kill Space Dolphins? Do take up Sword of the Stars..

  34. anaphysik says:

    I’m surprised I didn’t mention this at the time this aired:

    Stirges were actually *the very first* enemies I ever faced in a Dungeons & Dragons game (around 2007). They pored up out of the ground beneath me and another guy while we were digging to investigate something, and I took an attack of opportunity on them. With my *shovel*. Aw yeah!

    (I was a monk, so I really ought to have just punched them, but my first thought was seriously “I hit them with my shovel!!”)

    Anyway, stirges are really cool. My brother picked up a pet one (which was the familiar of some ancient mage before it got frozen in time thanks to a big bada-boom and some quintessence (its master was not so lucky)) in a recent adventure (because his char happened to have donned some magical trinket that used to be owned the stirge’s master :P).

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