The original Mass Effect is absolutely full of side quests and side activities for players to participate in, as shown comprehensively in our ME1 Assignments List. One of the more challenging side quests in the game is UNC: Hostile Takeover, which sees Shepard do some dirty work for a woman called Helena Blake.
On this page, we run down the Hostile Takeover quest, including how to start it, where to go to beat it, and what the potential consequences are for the various options you have during and throughout the mission.
If you need more help with Mass Effect’s myriad choice-driven narratives, check out our in-depth Mass Effect trilogy choices & consequences guide, which covers all three games in detail.
How to start the Helena Blake Hostile Takeover mission
C-Sec is investigating a woman named Helena Blake. There’s no hard evidence against her, but if these reports are correct, she’s a powerful criminal element on the Citadel. She was last seen near the Emporium on the Presidium.
You’ll be able to start this quest as soon as Shepard obtains their Spectre status from the Citadel Council, quite early on in the game. From that point on, there’s a few different ways you can obtain the quest:
You can hack a computer in the C-Sec Academy area in the Citadel Wards Access that’s between the Presidium and the Upper Wards. This is a difficult decryption, but doing so will give you a report that points you to Helena Blake. Easier, you can just find Helena Blake yourself – she’s hanging out near the Emporium in the Citadel Presidium’s Financial District – that’s near the Hanar shop and Barla Von’s office. She’ll even call Shepard over as they walk past! Finally, the quest will automatically trigger if you accidentally stumble upon any of the involved criminal bases while exploring uncharted worlds:
Once you speak to Helena Blake, she’ll reveal that she’s part of a criminal organization – but she wants her fellow Crime Bosses killed so she can take over the business. Blake says she wants to lead the illegal empire in a way that’s slightly less evil – though no less illegal.
Shepard has the option of accepting or refusing Blake’s offer. Whatever you choose, you will be given the coordinates to the bases ‘just in case’ you change your mind.
How you answer Blake will net you Paragon or Renegade points, depending on if you agree to help her criminal aspirations or not. Paragon players fear not, though – you can still continue to use the coordinates, as there’s a Paragon path throughout the rest of this mission.
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UNC: Hostile Takeover – breaking the syndicate
If you choose to continue with the quest, you’ll then need to head to two different bases. One is in the Gemini Sigma cluster’s Han system, on the planet Mavigon. The other is in the Hades Gamma cluster’s Dis system, on the planet Klensal.
Both of the bases are packed with mercenaries and soldiers. Expect to face snipers, assault troops, and Krogan that’ll rush you head-on. Many of the enemies can use immunity to temporarily protect themselves, and some of them can also regenerate health even when gravely damaged.
Deciding the fate of Helena Blake
With both of the syndicate bases finished, your next destination is the Fortuna system in the Horse Head Nebula cluster. The planet Amaranthine is your ultimate destination.
On this planet, you’ll be able to pilot the Mako over to Helena Blake’s base. When you arrive, you won’t be attacked on sight – enter the base and Blake will be waiting for you, and will engage you in conversation.
You have three options here:
You can insist on arresting Blake. If you do this, Blake won’t allow herself to be taken alive and will attack. This leads to a combat encounter similar to the previous two syndicate bases, but slightly more difficult. Once the base is cleared, you can loot its contents. You can use a high Charm or Intimidate stat to convince Helena Blake to disband the gang permanently. This will get you Paragon or Renegade points depending on which used, and nobody dies in this scenario. You can also still walk around the base and loot its lockers. Also, if you’re particularly blood and XP hungry, you can then open fire on Blake and her troops after this to fight them for the XP. Finally, you can accept Helena Blake’s reward. If you do this, you’ll be sent back outside with a bunch of credits. The door will lock behind you, so there’s no way back into the base.
Beyond the various rewards, you can also think about how this impacts Mass Effect 2. If she’s alive, Helena Blake can appear in ME2 – though it’s ultimately a minor consequence that doesn’t impact the story in any significant way.
Regardless of what you choose, Blake will be in Omega’s Afterlife club in ME2. She’ll be part of a new criminal organization there, or if you persuaded her to give up a life of crime she’ll have a new, legal life doing good in the world.