I gotta hand it to Bioware’s advertising department or whoever got it into their head to use Twitter’s hashtag to create a War of the Worlds-esque scenario… but only this was on a much large scale. There was more interactivity, more user created content. It was an alternate reality game where Twitter’s hashtag #SolComms was used to monitor the incoming reaper attack on Earth – something that was the main portion of the oncoming Mass Effect 3 (ongoing/continuing) Storyline.
I had been browsing facebook in between submitting things for hopeful employment when I saw something that caught my eye – that an Emily Wong had set up @AllianceNewsNet as a way to report on invading activity in conjunction with the hashtag #SolComms. Intrigued, I had a looksee and set up Tweetdeck to show all #SolComms in one column.
What happened was something I don’t think I will ever forget.
It was just late morning, in the Northern Melbourne Suburbs when I heard the incoming drone. There was not much else to do at the time, I looked out the window but saw nothing. Someone messaged me about following a social news report by this Emily Wong on the Sol Comms, and so I did.
What I saw, I didn’t think it was real. People were talking about these invading ships, destroying things all over the world. I mean, I heard of this War of the Worlds thing done hundreds of years ago, so I was thinking, maybe this is something like that. That some people just started up some elaborate hoax.
Then pictures started showing up.
I kept on reading these accounts, these people talking about these “husks” that came out, and slowly people started tentatively calling these invaders “Reapers”. I heard of them before. There was a news report back then about Commander Shepard saying that these things were real – that these Reapers would come and I guess, harvest all organics.
The Citadel PR of course tried to brush these reports aside – but this is a hero we’re talking about. Why would they try to lie about these things? Either way, the talk of Reapers back then was hushed up and I guess, people kind of forgot about it. Till now.
I was starting to get scared – I mean, if thousands of people were all reporting on this, it couldn’t all be some joke, right? Then I heard the drone again – and shortly after a distant explosion, like a muffled thud. I was too scared to look outside my window until it was too late.
I should have paid attention to outside, I shouldn’t have had my headsets on. They were too close, what could I have done? I was just some girl without any biotics, no armaments, I wasn’t even going to get my Omnitool till next Tuesday – I was helpless.
I rushed outside and there were people standing wide eyed at these invaders, no matter that they were wreaking havoc where they stood, and from my front door, you could already see smoke and explosions from the Melbourne CBD. I heard gunfire a while away, shouts and screams mixed in as well. Obviously public transport was out of the question… it was all really blurry how I got to the old Plenty Valley train station, but I got there. There were a couple others already holed up in there, and I checked the Sol Comm feed again.
One J.Britton had been organising the Melbourne Evacuation, and was apparently in command of the SSV Valentine and the SSV Say My Name – ships that were helping on the evacuation of Melbourne and the surrounding areas. Apparently the evac centre was in Federation Square, right across from old Flinders Street Station. But then what Emily Wong reported next chilled me – that the “Reapers” were targetting areas where people gather – and there was a saying that was still so prevalent in Melbourne: “Lets meet under the clocks.” which meant the clocks of Flinders Street Station.
The following is the exchange I managed to save between myself and the head of the Melbourne Evac:
I thought all hope was lost, I didn’t even know what to do. The Reaper ship was lumbering its way across the valley, and I don’t know what made me do it, but seeing Melbourne in flames and smoke and ash… I guess I just had to run away from it.
The airspace above Melbourne was all cluttered with debris and Reaper ships, shooting down any shuttles that tried to get through. I heard rumours that ships attempting to leave should fly south through Antarctica, where the Reaper defenses were weakest.
I don’t know.
We managed to agree to all head north, and managed to get word out to any other survivors to head to Kinglake to try and recoup and regroup. I kept on sending the signal out to stay out of the Melbourne CBD, it was the least I could do, I couldn’t fight or anything… I could at least help others.
I had been trying to organise more people to try and go north. And there were maybe 5 other people that I managed to get in touch with. My boyfriend? I tried ringing him when I left the house – he had already left but he was on the other side of the city. It would have taken him an hour at least to get to me on vehicle… I didn’t even know if he was armed.
As of writing, I still have not heard word from him, if he managed to get to an evac vehicle or not. I can only hope that I find him again.
The Commander of the SSV Say My Name had managed to message those in Melbourne once more, and I managed to reply enthusiastically –
“J Britton @brjck
#solcomms SSV Say My Name is coming back in to Earth, regrouped with 7 dreadknoughts and an Asari Destroyer. Hang in there”
Then I realised… my mistake.
The Reapers – they had been monitoring communications. They could monitor mine.
The Reaper Armada @TheReaperLegion
INTERRUPT: Signal Trace Initiated. Tracking North Kinglake coordinates.
I just lead everyone like the proverbial sheep to their slaughter. I don’t know if they could see it on my face. I don’t know if anyone noticed. I don’t know if anyone cared to notice me.
I could finally see the shuttle, the two Krogan that joined with us earlier launched a couple flares into the air. The Salarian who turned out to be a doctor (why are all Salarians doctors?), but even he had some bad wounds. I prayed to whatever it was out there that the shuttle would land safely. The two accompanying gunships managed to fend off any clusters of husks or zombies that approached us, and the shuttle landed. A bunch of soldiers ran out and gave us cover fire from small batches of those things.
My whole body was aching when I managed to finally collapse and rest inside the shuttle. I can still see the the carnage in my head of the city and towns beneath us as we flew back to the mother Evac.
Simon managed to message me, saying that he was also on the SSV Say My Name, but I still haven’t seen him.
At least there was some good news:
Update: J. Brittons had managed to message me and link me to his own view of the events that had transpired. Crisis in Australia and the Reaper Invasion
Update: A Piers B. had shared his own account of the Reaper Invasion: #solcomms