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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for kett and Roekaar background stories in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

Ok, so I got Havarl to 100% viability! It’s home! Once we, you know, kill everything that wants us dead.

Then I scanned a bunch of planets, flirted with PB again (sassy!) and then had to decide to go to Aya (too much awkward Liam), Eos or Voeld. Had more to do on Voeld, so went there. Started an allies quest for some ally I haven’t met yet. Gonna magpie a while.

But the really interesting part of the session was the bit where you have to research big mutant things for your scientists. I thought it was going to be a silly scan/fetch mission, but then it gets cool and you have to search camps and all. Remember this?

You find out the Roekkar are trying to make mutations that can wipe out ecosystems and kill everyone in the Initiative. I decided to destroy it all.

But that’s not what’s interesting. What’s interesting is how it turns “Bad guys” on its head. See, if I said “Ok, who’s the baddie in this game?” You’d immediately think “the Kett and the Archon.” We’ve been all worried about the kett the whole damn game. The Archon is the gravelly voiced boss baddie. They’re the WORST!

Except…they aren’t trying to kill us, really. They want to HELP us in their own perverted way. The Cardinal was all “Dude, you’re gonna LOVE this.” Now, I don’t WANT to be Kett, but their hearts are, in a weird, WEIRD way, in the right place. The Roekkar? They just want to WIPE US OUT with DNA things that will starve us.

That’s just mean.

I’ve also noticed, and I’ve noticed this for a while, that the Roekkar are nastier to fight than the kett. The kett are kinda wimpy. The Roekkar have killed me far more often.

So who are the baddies? The worst of the Kevins? This is the first game in a while where that’s not exactly clear…..

Feminina:

Yay! Home!

I agree, that mutant DNA quest was super interesting. I actually saved the information and took it back to the scientists, because I was all “the love of knowledge is what brought us here! Pure information has no particular alignment!”

So we’ll see whether or not my colonies end up being eaten by mutant plants or something.

That’s an interesting take on the kett. I mean…yeeeeesss…they do mean well, in their way…but talking about Mass Effect: Imperialism, that’s the kett, isn’t it? The ultimate colonizers: YOU WILL BE US. And if their hearts are in the right place, so are the hearts of every imperialist commander out to expand the frontiers of the obviously correct and superior empire. Theirs seems to be a sort of missionary drive, so their empire has religious overtones, but that’s very common in empires.

“Look, we know the RIGHT WAY to live and run societies, and you will agree once we’ve explained things thoroughly enough.”

As for the Roekaar, yeah, they’re flat-out trying to kill us rather than convert us, but their hearts are in the right place in the sense that they’re trying to save their species as best they know how. They (understandably) don’t trust aliens, they don’t want to be colonized, and they’re resisting with whatever means they can find.

I can’t particularly fault that. I mean, I’ll kill them back when they try to kill me, but I can see their point, at least as much as I can see the kett’s point.

Butch:

But was there an outpost for poor Liam? No. Which is why I’m back on Voeld.

Ooo! Something different! We shall see. We NEVER do this!

As for the kett, yeah…Except the only Kett we actually TALKED to really did seem to like it. When, in games, have we come across a “victim” who has been all “Dude, really, this is pretty nice.” Usually, they’re getting ground up like the poor souls in ME2. I’m not saying the Kett are GOOD guys, but they sure seem less bad…or at least less destructive, than the Roekkar.

And the Roekaar, fine, they have a point, yeah, but they’re lumping us in. Why are they trying to save their species like that? What did I do to them? Saved their damn Moshae, that’s what. And their dudes from the kett. I’m not trying to make Angara human, or take their shit. Hell, we even said that we WEREN’T gonna put an outpost on Havarl because it was so special to the Angara. C’mon, dudes, we’re on your side! REALLY on your side! Not in the “We’re going to convert you to Christianity and wipe out your language cuz we’re on your side” way! Lumping us in with real imperialists isn’t nice!

Feminina:

Yeah, but do the people we’ve met who turned into kett actually LIKE it, with thoughtful, conscious intelligence, or are they just brainwashed and can’t imagine anything else?

It’s not as if we sat down for a nice long chat with that guy and he explained all the different things that are great about being kett and tried to convince us rationally to join him. Yes, he said it was great and he was totally into it and wouldn’t want to go back, but under the circumstances he could have been a ranting cult member as easily as an actual, sane being with rational reasons for feeling that way.

Being suspicious by nature, I have to wonder why, if it’s really that awesome, they can only get people to do it by forcing them. Possibly because it apparently involves torture and vivisection, which let’s be honest, is kind of a hard sell even if it is “for your own good.”

As for the Roekaar, yes, they’re misjudging us (probably), but they’ve only known us for about 20 minutes, and they gave the kett the benefit of the doubt and look where that got them.

And by ‘probably,’ I mean, they’re misjudging me, Ryder, because I genuinely don’t mean them harm and want us all to work together in harmony while singing songs of unity, but to what extent do I actually speak for the Initiative itself, with all its flawed and somewhat questionable management and antsy, desperate people, when the going gets tough?

Could I really promise them, with the strength of absolute conviction, that if it came down to “we need to settle here or a bunch of us will die,” we would politely refrain if they didn’t approve it? WOULD I even promise that, or is my first duty to the people I came here with? The Roekaar vaguely know me and my squad and some random scientists and exiles from the Nexus mutiny: they don’t know the whole Initiative, and they may be right to mistrust it for all I know (we’ve talked about how we’re not sure what its actual goals were).

Yes, it would be nice of them to give us a chance, but if they choose “we tried that once and we’re not doing it again,” I can’t entirely blame them.

Butch:

Dunno. Hopefully, time will tell if the kett enthusiasm is real. I don’t think I’ve talked to my last Kett.

And, well, granted, we didn’t ask the dudes who were about to be exalted how they felt. And really…we assume they were kidnapped, but we don’t KNOW that. People say “He disappeared.” Not “Big ships came, and we fought, and I saw him dragged off screaming.” I haven’t heard a single Angara that actually SAW anyone being dragged off. For all we know, the people who disappeared just left. Decided to try to get a better life in Kettland. Or at least try.

We’ve talked about whether we trust the motives of the “leaders.” Though, to her credit, when Addison was there all hologram, she seemed cool with cooperating. She wasn’t all “Hmm. Well…ok. But you should’ve shot them all.”

And again with the Roekaar, yes, except they have some data points. They can look, like, right on the other side of the bridge and see us helping dudes. I get the sense the kett didn’t start off being all helpful, did they? That “benefit of the doubt” didn’t last long. I mean, dudes, I FIXED YOUR VAULT and made your planet all nice. Doesn’t that count for anything? ANYTHING?

Feminina:

I definitely look forward to talking with more kett, and to them being more complicated than just “we shall destroy you because we are villains.”

And it’s true, we don’t know that at least some angara didn’t leave willingly. I mean, some of the bodies we’ve found in kett outposts, with their notes on “how much pressure will it take to remove the exoskeleton?” or “how much blood can be drained without killing this?” or whatever, make them seem pretty terrible, and strongly suggest that they’re kidnapping SOMEBODY, plus they did start trying to kill us the moment we met, but it’s still possible they mean well, in some way.

And there is a minor plot point somewhere about how some angara worked with the kett when they first arrived, to their current shame, so there was at least enough of a truce for long enough that this could have happened. Even if it was only a few days, the angara tried being cooperative! Damn it, they’re not falling for alien tricks again!

I mean, yeah, I’m not saying I think the Roekaar are totally right. Ideally, they should be able to draw distinctions, and not assume every alien species is the same. I’m trying to be friendly! I’m HELPING here!

But they’ve been burned pretty badly, and I don’t completely blame them for being really hardcore bitter about it.

Again, not that this will stop me from saying they’re ultimately wrong, or from murdering hundreds of their dudes when they try to murder me, but just as when Jaal was upset about how he’d been killing kett who used to be angara, but Ryder was all “they’re shooting at us now!” we can recognize the complexities of the history involved without deciding not to defend our own lives.

Butch:

True. The kett are testing dudes out, that they are. That’s not nice, true.

And I missed that the angara tried cooperation! Hmm. Ok. Fair enough.

Well, we also have to defend our lives because the quests tell us to.

That really was another good part of that quest. I thought “Cool, I scanned it, quest over…wait, what? More? Hmm.”

Now I kinda WANT to do tasks, cuz this one turned out to be interesting. Though the others probably won’t be.

Feminina:

Yeah, sadly, most of them are not that interesting. But you’re right, it was nice that one of them did turn out to have something more going on.

Also true, we do have to defend ourselves because the quest says so. There are certain options, like just saying “OK, fine, Roekaar, we’ll give up and go away! Surely we can find another star system!” that are not available to us.

Butch:

Once you’re a red dot, the die is cast.

Feminina:

Yeah, there’s no coming back from that. Can we be friends with people after they’ve been kett? After they’ve been Roekaar? Exile? Maybe.

After they’ve been a red dot on the map? Never.

Butch:

I try to keep them blue. I do. But no dice.

Feminina:

In the end, they must make their own decision: stay blue? Or turn red and be horribly murdered? Your call, people. I don’t know why we don’t get more takers on Option A.

Maybe we smell really bad.

Butch:

I try to let them stay blue! It’s such a soothing shade of blue! I want them all to be blue!

For someone who kills countless Kevins a day, I really am a softie.

Feminina:

It’s so true!

We want to love everyone and have them love us and we can all be a soothing shade of blue forever! But alas, dudes will insist on turning red, and then we have no choice–NO CHOICE I say–but to mercilessly slaughter them to the last dude.

I mean, if there were ever an option for dudes actually flinging down their weapons and saying “spare me, I surrender!” I would totally spare them every time. Even though I would be constantly plagued by (probably well-founded) fears that they would come back later and try to kill me again.

But they never do. Kevin is, if nothing else, seriously dedicated to his cause, whatever it may be.

NEVER SURRENDER is Kevin’s motto, and he will die to uphold it. Many times a day.