Pick Your Path Adventures

Pick Your Path Adventures
Pick Your Path: Mass Effect

Mike Kayatta | 28 Mar 2012 21:00
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Just six weeks later, the business you worked so hard to build is dead. In fact, things are so utterly dismal that even referring to it as a "business" any longer would be an abuse of the word's meaning. You haven't seen a customer so much as peruse your goods in over fifteen days. Everything you've worked for, all of your dreams, all of your sacrifices are now wasted, ruined. But there's no use spending anymore time dwelling on your mistakes; the only thing that matters now is the future, your business's future. You need to get your hands on that recording. It's the only thing that matters now.

You drop your forehead to the edge of the counter, stare at the floor, and think. Unfortunately, Shepard reportedly left the Citadel weeks ago. The only way to get that endorsement now is from one of the other shops, and that's not likely to be an easy task. Up until very recently, you've been their top competitor. Why would they help you now?

It hits you. You really, really, really don't want to do this, but the only person who can help you now is your mother. You've never asked her for anything. She has to help you now that you finally need it.

You lift your head, reconsider just once more, and then dial her office. Her secretary is so surprised to hear from you that she runs a voice authenticator before patching you though. "Hello?" your mother answers. "Is this truly--"

"Yes, mother, it's truly me," you answer.

"Oh," she replies. "I'm sorry if I sound strange, but it's very odd to hear from you during professional hours."

You clench your teeth and do your best to explain the situation. You take frequent pauses as you speak, waiting for even a hint of smug laughter at your plea to use as an excuse to hang up and sort things out alone. Your mother does nothing but listen respectfully, as you knew she would.

Once you finally finish, she responds gently. "I have the utmost respect for you," she says. "And because of that, I am going to speak openly and honestly. I know you well enough to understand that you'd rather fail than accept my direct interference, so instead of attempting to fix this for you, I'll do my best to offer some advice. Achieving my political success wasn't as ... clean as it could have been. It never is for anyone. And from those 800 years of experience, I believe that you have two realistic options for dealing with this.

"Either way, you're going to need to end up with a copy of that recording. Because none of your competitors would ever relinquish it freely, you can either play diplomacy or deviance. The diplomatic route will be difficult; you'll need to offer something worthwhile, perhaps a cut of all future profits."

"Mother!" you interrupt.

"Let me finish," she replies. "Of course, if that doesn't work, you can attempt to steal it. I'm not proud of what I'm about to say, but our species is very, well, desirable to others. Perhaps you could use that to your advantage. Get invited to one of the other merchant's personal quarters, slip him or her some Skald Fish toxin, and procure the file while they're unconscious. Your victim will wake up unharmed the next morning with a headache, a broken heart, and a broken monopoly. It's not the most respectable route, but sometimes that's what it takes to achieve our goals."

Devise a profit-share bargain, and call a meeting with your top competitor, Kelly Copson. She's a bit daft, but has always been willing to bargain.

Procure some Skald Fish toxin, and arrange a date with your top competitor, Kelly Copson. She's always had a crush on you, anyway.

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