Before We Begin
Before getting into the level, we have a few notes to make. First, Ashley, Kaidan and Tali all have unique dialogue in this level. You’ll also want to make sure that your squad is capable of Easy Decryption to get all the loot in the level, so Kaidan and/or Tali are good choices.
Second, you can get a slightly alternate version of this Mission if you delay tackling it. If you complete Feros and Noveria before tackling this one, Liara will have greatly alternate dialogue when you meet her. If you save this Mission until after Virmire as well, she’ll also have alternate dialogue back on the Normandy.
Saving this Mission until absolute last is also very handy if you intend to Romance nobody in Mass Effect 1 and choose someone in 2 or 3. This is because Liara is rather eager to start a Romance with Shepard; saving her until last means she simply won’t have enough time to establish a Romance, simplfying things in the next two games.
Finally, there’s curiously no Morality Points awarded during this entire Mission, so feel free to pick whatever options you feel like!
It’s time we find Liara T’Soni. Her location is well-documented both in-game and on your galactic map, but in case you’re a little lost, this is all you have to do. From the Milky Way map, head to Artemis Tau, and then to the system called Knossos, the top-right system.
From there, you’re looking for a planet near the star named Therum; it’s the second planet orbiting the star, North-West from it and just past the inner asteroid belt. Its description says it has Prothean ruins, which is the perfect place to find our scientist!
Journey in the Mako
Your journey (in the Mako) will start off fairly unassuming. If you take a look at our map above, you’ll see that the first fourth of the map or so is simply a drive. There are no items of interest, and no enemies to stand in your way. Enjoy this quiet time, though, because it’s just about the only quiet time you’ll experience on the rest of your journey through Therum.
As you get to the thicker part of the passageway leading back to the northwest, you’ll see and hear a Geth ship fly in over your head. It will deposit some Geth soldiers that you’ll have to deal with. Don’t worry too much about them — stay in the Mako and use your missiles, supplemented with machine gun fire, to eliminate these enemies before they become much of a threat.
If you’re playing the original version of Mass Effect from 2007, you will suffer a -50% XP penalty for any kills made by the Mako (-60% on Hardcore and Insanity difficulties). If you’re brave and skillful enough, you can whittle their health down, then step out and make the kill on foot, giving you much more XP!
If you’re unable to avoid being rocked by enemy projectiles, try to tuck the Mako into a corner against the mountains to eliminate most of the enemy target. And remember, if your Mako is getting destroyed, be sure to use some Omni-Gel to repair it before moving on.
After the initial onslaught of enemies is destroyed, begin driving North-West. It won’t be long before you run into a Refinery overrun by Geth and guarded by three Turrets. Take them out if you really, really want to, but in any case you should look on your map to locate a detour in order to get into the Refinery. It is more cramped here, there’s only one Turret here to worry about.
Flanking them on the detour will allow you to make your life a hell of a lot easier. In the Refinery, you’ll be dealing with a variety of mobile Geth units and gun turrets alike, so it’s smartest to take them all out from afar before heading into the base camp.
Now, there are two buildings that can be breached here, and both of them should be. Each has a lone Geth soldier and a gate switch. Hit both switches, kill both Geth enemies, and collect all of the goods in the area, found in the rooms flanking the two gates. In the East Gate’s rooms are an Upgrade Kit and a Storage Locker with Easy Decryption. Outside the North Gate on the right is a Locked Crate with Easy Decyption, and a Weapon Locker in the North Gate’s Switch room guarded by a Geth. You can also find two Crates behind the South wall.
We actually recommended opening both gates for a simple reason. While only the North Gate needs to be opened, the East Gate is the one with Turrets guarding it. Destroying all of them will net you some more experience (which is always in short supply) before you move forward, and you have better cover from inside the Refinery. After destroying those turrets, you can then drive out of the bNorth Gate where, for a while anyway, things will be quiet.
Your drive will be uneventful for a little bit more, but as the map shows, you’ll end up running into a few pockets of Geth enemies en route to the tunnel on the west side of the map. The enemy encounters before the tunnel will come in three distinct waves, but all are similar and are easy to combat as long as you stay in the Mako.
We mentioned it earlier, but it can’t be mentioned enough. When fighting with the Mako, be sure to use Omni-Gel if it gets badly damaged. If it’s destroyed with you in it, you’ll be out of luck.
When you hit the tunnel, drive on through. It’ll be all quiet in the tunnel, but when you reach the far end of it, you’ll have to deal with even more enemies. Since the tunnel ends on high ground, much higher than the enemies below you, try to kill them from afar. As has always been the case in warfare, even futuristic warfare in a video game, the high ground gives you a distinct (and inherent) advantage.
The rest of the drive to the tunnel at the North-West end of the map is just about the same as the rest of the drive on this lengthy map. You’ll meet more pockets of Geth resistance, the staunchest and most difficult of which will be guarding the far tunnel. There’s a large Geth enemy, the Colossus, that’s especially annoying to combat, but be patient, take cover, and pummel him with gunfire to eliminate him. Thereafter, taking the final tunnel will lead to an all-new part of Therum — the Ruins.
Approach the Mining Camp
You’ll emerge from the initial map to find yourself in the Therum Ruins. As soon as you reach the end of the tunnel, head on down the incline and do battle with the weak Geth waiting for you there. Then, drive the Mako until you can’t seem to drive it anymore. The rocks are blocking your path, so the Mako is no longer an option, but conveniently, there’s a hole big enough for you and your party to fit through. Head on through the hole to continue.
It’s at this point, when you’re on foot, that things start to get a little bit crazy. You’ll be assaulted by enemy wave after enemy wave as you begin to head along the linear path towards the next section of the ruins. The Geth aren’t necessarily difficult to defeat here, it’s just that there’s a lack of cover, and they have that aforementioned height advantage since they initially control the high ground. But it’s this deadly assault that’s all together dwarfed by what occurs after it’s quelled.
As you reach the northernmost part of the path, a cutscene will take place. You’ll see a bunch of Geth, of varying strengths and styles (including new frog-like Geth), take their positions and assault you all at once. You are most certainly at a disadvantage here, both in terms of numbers and firepower. However, with consistent, smart fighting, defensive maneuvering, and smart use of skills, this is a battle you will survive. Be absolutely sure you aren’t flanked by any enemies (the best way to do this is to simply keep an eye on your radar), and be especially wary of missiles that will eliminate you in one hit. Not having that Mako hurts more than you could possibly imagine.
Explore the Mines
As you can see above, the ruins start getting smaller and smaller, and four maps cover the span of one. We won’t bore you with the mundane details of most of the grindwork getting through these tunnels; for instance, the first tunnel is relatively void of enemies, except for a few Geth you can kill from above (you’ll see what we mean). On the second tunnel (which is accessed from the elevator you’ll find), you’ll meet more enemies, and yet another elevator. For now, it’s all easy, but there’s a Med-Kit around the corner of the first elevator at the bottom if you need it.
Eventually, you’ll reach what seems to be the bottom of this tunnel area. Things are destroyed, and the situation seems dire. Liara, who you’re here to rescue, will appear in a short cutscene. Then, you’ll be left to your own devices. You’ll have to free her, but you’ll no doubt notice that, like on the other floors of the ruins, there’s a blue barrier blocking you from accessing half of the ruins. This is where Liara is being kept, and your job is to get beyond the barrier. Make sure to save your game before proceeding, though. The fighting gets tough ahead.
If you’re playing the original version of Mass Effect from 2007, you can exploit an XP glitch here by saving and reloading. This lets you talk to Liara again and earn the XP a second time. Save and reload again, repeating this trick as many times as you want!
You’ll be ambushed by the Geth on the ground level, and there’s little cover around to use, so being aggressive is your best bet to survive here. When you’ve downed the Geth threat, look for the Storage Locker and Weapon Locker on the two tents on the left, both with Easy Decryption.
What you’ll need to do next is use the Mining Laser Controls to bore a hole in the ground so you can get to Liara. To activate it, you’ll need to enter a four button code, which will different depending on your platform:
- PC: The code is randomly generated.
- Xbox: A, X, B, Y
- PlayStation: X, Square, O, Triangle
Once you’ve done that, the Mining Laser will shoot a hole in the ground below, allowing you to effectively circumvent the blue barrier, and rewarding you with XP and Omni-Gel. Liara can be saved shortly.
Head on down into the hole created by the laser and use the control panel inside the lower room to rise up to her. Turn around and talk to Liara, and you’ll be able to free her from her Prothean confines. But you won’t be able to just leave. Of course you won’t. A boss fight awaits.
A Krogan, accompanied by some of his Geth friends, want to eliminate the party. In fact, while they want Liara alive, preferably, they’re so hell-bent on ending this mission posthaste that even killing her would be acceptable at this point. The Krogan, being by far the most powerful enemy in the entire enemy party, should be concentrated on.
The main thing to remember here, other than the obvious (such as using skills and healing when needed), is to run away and find cover immediately as the battle begins. Since you start the battle in such close proximity to the Krogan and his Geth friends, you’re asking for trouble if you don’t run away and gun from afar. Regardless, when they’re all felled, you’ll soon find yourself back on the Normandy, safe and sound, and with a new character in your party.
Back on the Normandy
You needn’t worry too much about the dialogue you pick, becuase you don’t get Morality Points for any choice you make. The exception is with your mission report to the Council: Disconnecting frequently will frustrate them in later calls.
Now that you have done another Mission World, you’ll have more things to do, including Codex Entries on the Normandy, new discussions with Kaidan, Ashley and Liara herself to learn more about them, and new Side Quests on the Normandy if this was your first Mission World.
While talking with Liara, you should make sure to ask her about herself before using any of the Investigate options; it’ll disappear as an option if you pick something within Investigate.
If this is your first Mission World, this will be your earliest chance to spark a romance with Kaidan or Ashley, depending on Shepard’s gender. When talking with Ashley, avoid picking “You’re out of line!” if your Paragon, as that will scare her straight and end the conversation.