Science fiction these days may be focused on either spit-polished spaceships or bombed-out post-apocalyptic wastelands, but fans of Mass Effect know that the spaces in between are the most interesting. Omega Station acts as the heart of criminal activity and black market trade in the franchise’s galaxy, but to the dismay of those who played through Mass Effect 3, the chance to once again walk the alleyways and bowels of the station wasn’t provided. Until now.

Some intrepid fans first found shaky hints that Omega Station would appear as an explorable location at a later date, or had once been planned but subsequently cut. Now even more evidence has been pulled from Mass Effect 3’s on-disc files giving a sense of what missions will bring Shepard back. But when compared to story details that were released prior, it seems the entirety of Shepard’s mission to win favor with Aria may have been revealed already. Potential spoilers for the Omega DLC ahead.

A figure as foreboding and experienced as Aria T’Loak wasn’t likely to hand over her stomping grounds without a fight, so hearing that the Asari crime lord wants Shepard’s help to retake Omega (and is willing to make it worth his while) isn’t exactly a revelation. All things considered, that plot contrivance was easier to predict than anything about the last Leviathan DLC. OXM first caught wind of some telling exchanges between Aria and Shepard aboard the Citadel, thanks to the incredible data-mining efforts of the fans at HoldTheLine. But those are just the tip of the iceberg, since the confirmation of Omega DLC makes past discoveries by the team far more conclusive.

There’s a chance that other details relating to Omega, and Shepard’s alliance with Aria have been altered or scrapped by BioWare, but their presence on the ME3 disc confirms that they were at one time the framework of the overall mission(s). The new plot details that appear to be shipped with Mass Effect 3 – that is, lines of dialogue, on-screen text and a rough plot synopsis – outline a fairly sizable gameplay package. There’s no sign that any of the actual levels or gameplay programming is contained on the disc itself, so the decision to delay the missions until after release will make more sense when the full scope is grasped.

The details that have caught the most attention begin with an email from one ‘Daniel Abrams,’ informing Shepard that he and Aria both managed to escape the Cerberus invasion of Omega, and that the Commander would be wise to speak with her. This sets the stage for Aria to request aid from Shepard in “retaking Omega” after the alliance she shared with the shadowy organization (the subject of a few Mass Effect novels) has been broken. T’Loak is intent of delivering a blow to the Illusive Man, and “If you help, all the resources there, including me, are yours for the war.”

Mass Effect 3 Omega Aria

Obviously, dedicated players will see how the mission outline was planned to take place both before and after the Cerberus Invasion, with Shepard playing a more pivotal role. Here’s how the on-disc outline saw the deal playing out.

Aria greets you and explains her situation. She has an uneasy truce with Cerberus – they’re still going back and forth through the Omega 4 relay to investigate the Collector base from the end of ME2. (If you destroyed it, they’re still trying to salvage the pieces). Cerberus doesn’t bother Omega as long as Omega doesn’t bother Cerberus – and that’s how Aria likes it. Life in Omega continues as always, turning a blind eye to the war. The Afterlife is still a happening place.

But Omega is a good source of eezo (mining) and you need it. Aria balks at providing it since this would break her neutrality and bring Cerberus down on her head. But you convince her to provide eezo by pointing out that Cerberus and the Reapers will inevitably turn against her, so she may as well face them now. She sees the wisdom, but there’s a price. She will ask for a favor in the future.

The campaign of Mass Effect 3 obviously was re-worked to exclude the overall missions, since Aria had a deal in place with Cerberus to begin with. As it turned out, Aria ended up back-stabbed by Cerberus, and seeking refuge on the Citadel. Rather than completing loyalty missions for Aria in exchange for the support of her many gangs and eezo (even though we don’t know what that stuff does exactly), the means for earning Aria’s resources were, at one time, far more demanding.

Take a look at what was originally going to happen, the next time Shepard contacted Aria to see if she had any need of that “favor.” There’s no confirmation that any of this has been carried over, but it would be a downright shame if it wasn’t. Bad news for those averse to killing old friends:

You arrive at Omega as it is under seige. Cerberus is attacking Omega as punishment for siding with Shepard.

The enemy is attempting to destroy Omega’s shields, which will allow asteroids and meteors to smash into the station. You must repel the assault and ensure the shield remain operational.

Aria tells you that Omega is now under a blockade from Cerberus. Since a direct attack didn’t work Cerberus is now trying to starve Omega into submission by blockading supply ships coming in through the regular Omega relay. The level’s appearance will change to reflect this — the Afterlife has gone quiet, the music is off, the flashing lights are gone, maybe a soup kitchen has taken over the dance floor. Aria requests that you steal into the blockade and board the command ship. Take down the blockade so Omega can be resupplied.

Aria thanks you for breaking the blockade. Now is the time to ask for that favor she had mentioned earlier.

There is a lost ship on the other side of the Omega-4 relay that has “pirate booty” that she desires. You must journey to the other side of the Omega-4 relay to an old derelict ship and secure the “pirate loot” there. Bring it back to her and Omega’s eezo processing is at Shepard’s disposal. In the endgame, this will buy you the loyalty of Omega’s criminal fleet.

A notorious Cerberus tactician orchestrating the Omega blockade crashes on a planet after being attacked by Aria’s raiders. Aria wants to grill the tactician and asks you to retrieve her before Cerberus does. Your shuttle down to the planet is rocked by a missile: Cerberus has had time to establish a defensive perimeter. You are forced to make an emergency landing and must fight through patrols, traps and a deadly environment to get to the Cerberus ship. Once there, you are confronted by Zaeed: He’s signed on again with Cerberus as the tactician’s bodyguard, and is determined to fulfill his contract. After a fight you have a chance to either persuade the merc that he’s on the wrong side or finish off Zaeed. Either way, you take the tactician back to Omega.

Once Aria’s loyalty is earned and she is returned to her seat of power, she claims that “Once again, I am Omega.” The attached War Assets summary shows that Aria has more than just soldiers to add to humanity’s fight against the Reapers:

The blueprints for the Prothean device found on Mars call for remarkable quantities of element zero throughout its structure, even in its circuitry. A precious commodity at the best of times, the Alliance and its allies are annexing all sources of eezo the Reapers haven’t cut off. The cache liberated from Omega is a welcome boost to their resources.

These plot points have been pulled from one of HTL‘s posts dating back to August, and have been placed by us in the order we deem most plausible. It’s worth noting that Zaeed’s face-off with Shepard, or the significance of the ‘Cerberus tactician’ is more flexible in the larger mission. The tactician may be the one who possesses the knowledge of the derelict ship in the wastes beyond the Omega-4 Relay, making the mission to capture him and return to Aria the “favor” she’s cashing in.

It’s hard to tell how much of this original outline has been kept, or altered, but it does seem to encapsulate more gameplay than Leviathan’s story-heavy ‘missions.’ If that’s the case, then we’re all for it. Even if it doesn’t introduce new multiplayer enemies.

So what’s your take on the proposed plot of Omega? Do you hope this proves to be accurate, or were you thinking of a different direction for the DLC? A big thanks to HoldTheLine for digging up these details. For those interested in every bit of information pulled from ME3‘s files – or just a chance to see how much cooler some aspects of the series might’ve been – check the site out now.

Mass Effect 3‘s Omega DLC is expected to release this fall for consoles and Origin.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: HoldTheLine (via OXM)