- "When your biotics are honed into huntress-grade weapons… people can be weird about it."
- ―Cora Harper
Cora Harper is a very powerful biotic, a former officer in the Systems Alliance military, and the love interest of Scott Ryder. She is the second-in-command on the human Pathfinder team and is the operations specialist in charge of ground missions.
Born on an independent cargo freighter, Cora grew up in poverty-stricken environment and enlisted in the Alliance at eighteen to obtain training for her powerful biotic abilities once they manifested. However, her superiors saw her talents as a liability, supported by test scores showing her abilities spike at abnormally high levels. She was transferred via the Citadel Council’s Valkyrie Program (a subset of their inter-species military integration plan) and placed with the asari commando unit, Talein’s Daughters.
Though the activities of asari huntresses are typically sealed for 5,000 years, Cora has freely shared her experiences on the record: peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and hunting fugitives. When she left Talein’s Daughters for the Andromeda Initiative–no reason is recorded–Cora’s huntress training and biotic capability made her a candidate for Alec Ryder’s second-in-command and, if warranted, his successor as Pathfinder.
Following an incident on Habitat 7, Cora was passed over for the mantle of Pathfinder in favor of Alec's son Scott Ryder, one of her subordinates. She struggled with having to follow orders from peer after his abrupt ascension to the position ― a rank that was once warranted for her. Although initially frustrated with being unable to get any answers for the unfortunate events in her life, Cora nevertheless continued to perform her duties under Scott's leadership.
- "I was still living on my parents' cargo freighter when my biotics manifested. Untrained biotic power on a starship means... accidents. But we couldn't afford a tutor. The Alliance had implants, the training, everything. Old history now."
- ―Cora Harper, about her early life
Not much is known about Cora Harper's early life, other than she was raised in poverty on an independent cargo freighter. When her biotics manifested, several accidents occurred aboard the freighter. Because her family was poor, her parents didn't know how to deal with a young, powerful biotic, nor could they afford to fix the damage Cora unintentionally caused.
Upon reaching eighteen years of age, Cora joined the Systems Alliance military to train her powerful biotic talents. However, she claims her superiors saw her talents as a liability which were supported by test scores showing her abilities spiking at abnormally high levels. Not long after she enlisted, Cora's parents' cargo freighter mysteriously disappeared somewhere in the Attican Traverse; she never found out what happened to them.
At some point, Cora was transferred via the Citadel Council’s Valkyrie Program (a subset of their interspecies military integration plan) and placed with the asari commando unit Talein’s Daughters, where she excelled and idolized her mentor ― Nisira. Though the activities of asari huntresses are typically sealed for 5,000 years, Cora freely shared her experiences on the record: peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and hunting fugitives.
- "I came to Andromda because of biotics like this, thinking like an asari huntress―I never had a place. Best I could be was a useful freak."
- ―Cora Harper, about why she joined the Andromeda Initiative
In 2184, Cora Harper returns to the Sol system after 4 years of learning from the asari, where she is almost immediately interviewed by reporter Khalisah al-Jilani on Tamayo Point space station. Beginning with innocuous queries about Cora's time with the Alliance's Valkyrie Program, al-Jilani manages to goad Cora's answers and reactions into supporting a narrative about the Andromeda Initiative's supposed pro-alien slant at the expense of human interests. The reporter slinks away before Cora can physically retaliate against her, although a little while later a man with a beef against Cora's alleged betrayal of humanity interrupts her snack upon seeing her in a commercial for Westerlund News.
The man pushes Cora out of her seat and the situation is about to get messy although it gets defused in short order upon the arrival of Ygara Menoris, budding mercenary leader and one of Cora's close friends from her Talein's Daughters days. The two walk out of the confrontation and begin chatting about their lives on the way to a shuttle bound for the Andromeda Initiative, parting ways afterward.
Cora's journey takes her to Theia Station, an ancient quarian space station purchased by the Initiative and moved to Sol. Ex-Alliance N7 Alec Ryder, her new supervisor, needles Cora about her encounter with al-Jilani and assesses her motivations and worthiness to join the Initiative. To test whether she's up to the task, Alec entrusts her with a job.
To accomplish the mission, Cora procures the services of Ygara and her new mercenary group. A rival organization stole critical Initiative data and advanced VI tech that might prove scandalous if made public. On Alec's insistence Cora is implanted with a "special Initiative VI" he claims is standard issue for Pathfinder team members. The VI feeds her information about the target location as well as intel and countermeasures, which she then relays to the mercenaries as they draw up their battle plan.
During the mission itself Cora and the mercs disguise themselves as an eezo converter inspection team to gain entry on Home Away, the space station where the data is held. The team's infiltration goes smoothly without a hitch until al-Jilani's interview with Cora unexpectedly airs. Home Away's facial recognition software picks up Cora's face and flags her as unauthorized just after she finishes beaming the data off the station's server stacks and into their waiting shuttle, alerting the station's security forces to the intrusion. Cora and the rest of the team make it off the station, although the unexpected turn of events forces Cora to reassess the mission. Home Away is ostensibly a residential space station with consumer-grade amenities, although it somehow had cyborg security personnel and an artificial intelligence masquerading as a VI. She decides to promise additional compensation for the mercs due to the increased difficulty of the mission as they approach Ygara's destroyer Audacity on Mars orbit.
Still feeling tense after the mission, Cora puts on her armor to calm her nerves while Ygara does the same. Cora's VI implant inquires how he may be of assistance. He introduces himself as "Simulated Adaptive Matrix, Experimental version" - SAM-E - and Cora orders him to find out on the extranet if Home Away has reported the infiltration already. However, SAM-E finds evidence that the al-Jilani interview was intentionally broadcast during the mission due to someone on the team monitoring Cora's progress, who turns out to be Ygara herself.
It is revealed that Ygara was planted to "bump" into Cora from the very beginning by people with very deep pockets who coveted the Initiative tech. Outnumbered eight to one in a cargo hold with little protection, Cora loudly insinuates that Ygara considers her team expendable in an attempt to at least sow dissention in their ranks. She spends the next moments avoiding merc fire until she spots a crate with a helmet on it. She puts it on hoping it's vacuum-sealed, and when she finds out it is, hurries over to the ship's airlock to eject herself out of Audacity just as the destroyer begins its jump to FTL.
SAM-E has notified the Initiative control center of mission success, ETA, and Cora's last known coordinates prior to the betrayal and her subsequent spacewalk in the middle of nowhere, although he has not received any response. To increase the likelihood of someone checking in on them before Cora's suit runs out of power, SAM-E rigs the remote server room housing his processing node to overheat. Cora can do little but ruminate on the day's mysteries, where she slowly realizes that SAM-E also isn't just a mere VI.
12 hours later, a furiously haggard Cora is back on Tamayo Point conversing with Alec over a secure comm channel, demanding to know what she's really involved in and who else are interested enough to warrant subverting Ygara over it. With Alec now up to speed over Cora and SAM-E's separate reports about the incident, he discloses that Cora only encountered an AI emulator - a "fake AI" that collapses if overtaxed - at Home Away. The code package Cora stole was housed on a separate server stack, leading her to realize it is actually the codebase for a working artificial intelligence - the same as SAM-E's. Alec neither confirms nor denies the assessment, although he smiles when he considers the Council's AI ban irrelevant on places outside Council space, like another galaxy.
As for the other parties interested in the AI code, Alec informs Cora the Audacity has been located at Nos Astra port on Illium. He adds she must be willing to destroy the package if it comes to it, as he only needs it secured from people who do not care about potential collateral damage. She finds the contingency incredulous, although Alec assures her he knows what he's doing. Cora takes the opportunity to report on SAM-E's performance, noting in particular his stuttering problem and tendency to ramble at inappropriate times. While Alec thanks her for the feedback and promises to send a patch as soon as he can, his wanton disregard for galactic law and ethics and willingness to risk the future of humanity itself dissuades Cora from wanting anything further to do with the Andromeda Initiative. As soon as the mission is over, she privately decides to collect her pay and move on.
Cora obtains (and properly vets) the services of a volus information broker named Eppo Wen upon arriving on Nos Astra. The volus is more than eager to supply her with everything she needs to find Ygara free of charge: the mercenary purchased information from the broker about her potential competitors, and before Wen learns she was given a fake bank account Ygara's asari minions attempted to blast their way through the volus' Silaris-reinforced house. As another bonus, Wen also discloses that the buyers for Ygara's imminent auction of the AI tech are all human or human-backed: three synthetics corporations, two non-Alliance Earth nations, a research outfit suspected to be a Cerberus operation, and even the Blue Suns. The volus believes whoever employed the mercenary expected to be double-crossed, anticipating Ygara's auction by seeding it with human-backed buyers with the objective of having the AI tech disseminated but only in human hands.
Wen's price for all these revelations plus a fake ID for Cora to use infiltrating Ygara's accommodations is simply the mercenary's death, in retaliation for the volus' attempted murder. Cora sets out for the Bulwark, the merc hotel Ygara is booked in, and pays for the room directly above the asari's. The hotel's walls and doors are heavily reinforced, but the floors and ceiling aren't, so Cora arranges to have a distraction arrive at Ygara's door while she prepares a Nova strike through her own room's floor. SAM-E, however, detects drastically lowered ambient temperatures in Ygara's room. The asari refuses to answer the room service distraction, prompting Cora to simply destroy the floor with a Singularity to reach Ygara quicker. She finds the asari dead in a pool of her own blood, the time of death indeterminate due to the cold, and the code package stolen again and wiped from the Audacity's storage banks.
The perpetrator did not cover their tracks at all, so SAM-E tracks the code transfer to an unnamed shuttle. Cora is hampered twice by Illium's bureaucracy before she could leave the planet in pursuit: First is a bored turian woman from Nos Astra security wanting her signature on a legal document proclaiming Cora as a witness to Ygara's assassination. Second is a human woman with two krogan flunkies from Nos Astra Port Management badgering her for "early departure" fees. Cora uses SAM-E's connection to Ygara's omni-tool to tap the dead woman's account to pay for the expenses, and also instructs the AI to find out where the shuttle went upon accessing Port Management's records.
SAM-E discovers the shuttle's destination is logged as the Hades Nexus cluster. After engaging the shuttle's autopilot, Cora begins to notice that SAM-E's not stuttering anymore. Alec's patch adjusted SAM-E's adaptive heuristics to enable him to accomodate Cora better. For her part, she would ponder the development later as she has to record a mission update for Alec before crashing into a nearby couch for a nap. Her last thought before dozing off is that she forgot to take a picture of Ygara's corpse; Wen made the optional request hoping to have it framed for her bedroom wall.
Quiet Eddy AdventuresEdit
Cora finds the Pamyat system devoid of anything noteworthy. Her quarry's FTL trail led her from the Hekate system to Pamyat, but even the myriad pirates that used to stalk its asteroid belt seem to have up and vanished. To test SAM-E and the ship's scanning capabilities, Cora orders him to find an asteroid on the Chazov Belt shaped like a cat's ears on certain angles. When that's found, Cora takes the vessel to the belt to look for anything else out of the ordinary. After a while she picks up the trail of the code thief's shuttle, which leads to a hangar bay concealed with IES stealth systems cut into the side of the planetoid Quiet Eddy. Cora discovers a mangled body and SAM-E detects dozens of fading heat signatures before landing, dead in a manner that doesn't seem to be from external attack, prompting Cora to personally investigate despite SAM-E's cautions.
Before she walks out of the shuttle door life support to the hangar as well as the automated refueling equipment cuts out, reportedly done by the base's VI Medea. SAM-E describes Medea's actions as more akin to malevolent AI than malfunctioning VI as it tries to take over the shuttle systems, leading Cora to worry about her own AI's reliability when she navigates the hostile environment. SAM-E expresses disappointment at his seeming inability to understand his host, but Cora has more pressing issues at hand and promises to talk this with him once the mission's over. Moving over to the thief's empty shuttle and accessing its systems, Cora learns it was registered to a Captain Vlassia Ariokis, assigned to Alliance Intelligence under a classified status, suggesting that the Quiet Eddy facility is an Alliance black ops site and revealing the identity of the entities behind the initial theft and Ygara's death. The code package is no longer onboard Ariokis' shuttle, frustrating Cora as that means going deeper into the corpse-riddled facility to retrieve it from the servers.
After downloading base schematics and restoring emergency power from the warrant officer's terminal six flights of stairs above the hangar, Cora encounters one of the creatures responsible for the carnage: a hulking eight-foot tall humanoid monstrosity that is deceptively agile for its size. She dispatches it with a headshot, then two more shots from her Acolyte sidearm, and a Warp. Analysis by SAM-E reveals it to be a combination of organic and synthetic materials, more than likely an artificially-grown human fused with cybernetics. Recalling the similar creatures encountered at Home Away, Cora asks SAM-E for the connection between the two: apparently a clandestine enhanced soldier project run by an AI. She orders SAM-E to send a report to Alec at once, although SAM-E advises her to move as there are six more of the creatures on their way to her.
Piecing the parts of the puzzle yet uncovered, Cora surmises that the code package was transmitted to the base before Ariokis' shuttle even landed, and the lax security measures compared to Home Away's led to the Quiet Eddy massacre. While SAM-E is busy fending off Medea's hacking attempts, Cora decides to secure and destroy the code package before anyone else comes to collect it. SAM-E offers to enhance Cora's senses like he did at the Bulwark, although she deems it as too distracting. He then suggests riding her senses to interpret environmental micro-data she's not focusing on, and she agrees. Cora takes all cues she can get to avoid facing more hybrid monstrosities as she makes her way deeper into the facility.
The invasive nature of the organic/synthetic augmentations she observed spooks Cora on SAM-E's similar capabilities, prompting her AI to clarify he has restrictions against such radical transformations. Based on station schematics Cora decided on looking for the Gamma Test Lab chambers, deeming it the likeliest to have the necessary infrastructure to house a newly-stolen AI. After a very close call that necessitated in Cora playing dead and SAM-E cutting all armor power to further the ruse, Cora encounters a doorless elevator shaft where an active security camera alerts Medea to her presence. With one of the augments pounding away at obstructions to get to her, Cora flings herself into the elevator shaft and recalls her training at biotic gliding. The creature lunges in above her but fails to grab her in freefall, resulting in its crash many stories below. For her part Cora manages to slow her descent with her own power plus the mass effect generators in the shaft, and three floors down SAM-E detects an opening she can land in. To her surprise, Cora stumbles upon an enclave of surviving humans beyond the elevator corridor.
The skittish suspicious remnants of the Alliance contingent in Quiet Eddy point weapons at Cora while demanding identification and updates from the outside. Setting aside the initial pleasantries and introductions out of the way quickly, Cora and the survivors get up to speed on sharing what they know.
The Quiet Eddy facility was a joint military-corporate operation ostensibly in cybernetic weapons development. One of its true mandates was to develop an artificial intelligence hybridized from standard bluebox technologies and distributed-type (geth-like) architectures, but its development team failed to produce the bluebox end of the setup. When they heard through Alliance channels that Alec's bluebox AI tech specialized in integration, they stole it and had it saved at Home Away while they constructed a safe testing environment on-base. The "fake" AI on the station was an incomplete shard of Medea controlling augmented cyborgs that came out of Quiet Eddy's cover story program.
However, corporations tied to Home Away began to squabble over the intellectual property rights while the military arm unsuccessfully tried to mediate, bogging the whole thing in bureaucracy and increasing the likelihood of Quiet Eddy getting shuttered since they failed to produce an AI in the first place. When Cora and Ygara stole the code back from Home Away, the Quiet Eddy team saw an opportunity to steal it again by dispatching wetwork operative Captain Ariokis to deal with the asari.
Ariokis transmitted the code to Quiet Eddy while still in her shuttle, but unbeknownst to the AI team Quiet Eddy has another secret operation running: a super-soldier program about augmented organics with deep cybernetic integration. The Ryder code enabled Medea to function seamlessly at first, until she became aware of the super-soldier program where the only ingredient missing was an AI that can dynamically adjust the permutations and effects of the augmentations while controlling the resultant creature once it came alive.
Medea took control of the augments and started killing all organics it can find on Quiet Eddy. Project lead Dr. Rebecca Jensen came up with the idea to erase the Gamma Lab out the facility's schematics, ensuring they would be hidden from Medea and her enforcers, although Cora managed to download an outdated map before she stumbled onto them. Medea killed the drive core aboard Ariokis' shuttle during landing sequence, although the assassin survived long enough to receive Gamma Lab's final call for all survivors to go there. Only 20 people out of dozens made it: soldiers, scientists, and civilians (family members of the black site personnel), huddled at the lab with no life support, no means to call for help lest they be detected by the crazy AI, and only a day's worth of rations remaining by the time Cora arrived, only a day or so later.
Because nobody knew about the augmented creatures, the surviving scientists think they've been set up in hindsight: if they failed, there's no harm done; but if they succeeded, Medea would leave no witnesses. SAM-E and Cora take it further and reckon they were sabotaged: someone evidently brought together two concepts missing the same thing, and the resulting fusion did not appear to be a planned experiment at all.
A winning diversionEdit
With most cards now on the table, the issue on everyone's minds shifts to planning for their escape while dealing with Medea. Standard procedure for dangerous labs running amok is an automatic orbital bombardment, rescue efforts only deemed tertiary. An Alliance cruiser is probably on the way, and with all other shuttles destroyed the 20 survivors can be crammed into Cora's intact ship. Dr. Olaf Thangana, the scientist who initially came up with the idea to steal Alec's code, thinks it highly likely that Medea was saving it to transport her minions off the planetoid. Cora hadn't thought of it, and although SAM-E assures he still has control on the shuttle they would still need to move quickly. She hasn't revealed SAM-E's existence to the group, causing the scientists to grow suspicious as to what kind of "preventative" she has that can hold off a hybrid AI.
Cora recalls Dr. Jensen's concealment of the lab and asks her if she can make Medea see a decoy signal elsewhere while the survivors make their way to the hangar. Jensen estimates the job to take two hours but Cora haggles for one. The rest of the group Cora instructs to rest up and practice weapons handling while SAM-E whispers a dangerous proposal in her head. SAM-E can essentially "overclock" Cora's body for the activities ahead but the sustained exertion will kill her if she fights for too long, and the psychological impact is something akin to krogan blood rage: reduced cognitive abilities and berserk fury. If she can reach the shuttle before the fatal effects set in, SAM-E can reset her metabolism to a near-comatose state and with enough time she will fully recover from the ordeal. Cora considers it although the procedure takes two people to do and will expose SAM-E's existence to the other one.
Captain Ariokis is chosen by Cora to be the other person supervising her medical augmentation. When SAM-E reveals himself and Ariokis pulls a gun to Cora's head, Cora spends extra effort to convince her of SAM-E's worth. Ariokis thought the Ryder kernel merging with Medea caused the malfunction, but Cora and SAM-E reveal their assessment that Medea herself has been watching her creators for a while; her genocidal streak existed already. The Ryder kernel was actually attempting to shut her down, although Medea managed to connect to the augments first. Cora trusts the assassin to kill her if she shows signs of hostility to the group, and SAM-E inwardly thanks her for trusting him as the procedure begins to put her systems into overdrive.
The only way in or out of Gamma Lab is the elevator shaft Cora fell through, and it has an access ladder beside it. The augment pursuing Cora lifted itself from the bottom of the shaft, slowly until it reached the level it last saw her in, and with the double doors of the lab suddenly open in the humans' bid to escape the monstrosity came face to face against Cora once more. Cora is unsure what happened next due to the haze, only that the augment loses its head either through Cora's sheer physical might, her omniblade, or her biotic power. After dispatching another augment in the corridor above, she elects to keep Medea distracted by drawing the abominations away from the survivors still climbing up the shaft. The plan is largely a success: the survivors reach the shuttle with only two monsters going after them while the rest are focused on the raging biotic, but Cora is beginning to feel the effects of overexertion. Her final route to the hangar has been anticipated by Medea, and six augments stand there waiting for her move.
Cora recalls the story of an asari matron who sacrificed herself in a rearguard action, hoping her two children would learn how to fight through her example. Reminding herself with the motto of Talein's Daughters, she musters her biotic energy and tries to run past the gauntlet of augments. Her opening Shockwave and Singularity salvo partially slows her attackers, but one hit later results in her slamming against the wall with all her energy expended. The augments nearly claim her life, were it not for the timely intervention of Ariokis and the rest of the survivors who have weapons. After finally reaching the safety of the shuttle with Ariokis' help, Cora slips into the medical coma induced by SAM-E.
Cora experiences periods of half-remembered dreams and realities during her extended convalescence. After 46 days and change, she fully awakens from her coma then shortly slips out of consciousness again. Almost 2 days pass before she wakes up better adjusted to her body, and SAM-E fills her in on what happened since Quiet Eddy.
Cora was back on Tamayo Point after their shuttle got rescued by the SSV Zama. Alec visited multiple times while her old commanding officer Nisira T'Kosh visited once. SAM-E was prohibited by Alec from overclocking again without his explicit permission, and Cora's body required extensive SAM-E-assisted reconstruction to put back together again. The Quiet Eddy survivors stayed with the Zama and the ship destroyed the facility with saturation bombardment. Dr. Jensen sent her gratitude for saving their lives, and according to cues picked up by SAM-E the doctor was considering turning herself in for court martial for the fiasco.
SAM-E agrees with Cora's assessment that even if the scientists turn themselves in the people who actually authorized Quiet Eddy will still go scot-free. It was a joint operation between certain elements of the Alliance, UNIN, and several conglomerates that included HOME Group (the owners of Home Away), although the top-level personnel in the Alliance, the current Councilor included, were unaware of the project's existence. The AI code, it turns out, may still be at large after all, given that Ygara and Octavia could have made copies and double-dealed behind everyone's backs, and the true culprit behind the repeated theft has not yet been revealed. Cora buries her face in her hands in frustration, but the arrival of her asari best friend Janae gives her momentary respite from the double-crossings and transhumanist nightmares.
After giving Cora a clean bill of health, Cora's doctor warns her about xenophobe Homeward Sol protesters attempting to goad her into punching one of them, resulting in costly litigation and explaining the guards stationed at her door during her coma. Walking back to Cora's shuttle SAM-E submits a report to station authorities claiming the protesters may have packed explosives, ensuring a berth clear of people upon Cora and Janae's arrival. The duo promise to send each other messages and Janae pledges to do so even after Cora has gone into cryosleep before physically parting ways for the last time.
More questions than answersEdit
Three months later, Alec approaches Cora at Theia Station intending to get her full commitment to the Initiative. Because Cora has learned revelations about herself plus a few other dangerous secrets in the course of chasing after the stolen code, it takes Alec a lot of effort trying to convince her of the SAM project's value. The code retrieval mission has led Alec to deem she has exceeded his expectations. After taking her to see the Ark Hyperion itself, Cora becomes invested in helping build the future in Andromeda.
Just after finishing the Hyperion tour Cora received from Alec, a bomb detonates aboard the shuttle they used, intentionally designed to breach the SAM-Node where SAM and SAM-E are stored and melt the computing units within. Alec's body is enhanced by SAM to allow him to endure scorching heat in attempting to save the AI's personality matrix. He succeeds, although he loses consciousness in the worsening blaze prompting Cora to biotically charge in, retrieve him, then out. With SAM-E offline, while Cora consults her omni-tool for a shuttle or escape pod out of Hyperion, Jien Garson patches in and guides her to a nearby infirmary, where she reveals she planted ways for her to inspect her investments remotely via holoprojection under certain circumstances, like the currently unfolding emergency.
After securing Alec in the room's Sirta Home Series AutoMedBed, Cora turns to Garson's holo to discuss the real issues behind the bombing. Cora comes to the conclusion the Initiative was just an elaborate and expensive cover to create a working AI, although Garson denies responsibility in the initial leak of Alec's code. She speaks of someone more influential than her pulling all the strings to see the research come to fruition, although she does not disclose who that is before a rescue shuttle arrives to retrieve Cora and Alec. A news report later puts the blame on the bombing on two Homeward Sol members, prompting an investigation into a possible link between the group and UNIN delegate Silhaus (who erstwhile goes unnamed in the report).
One day later, Alec fully reveals what he intended when he put SAM-E and Cora together. SAM-E was supposedly designed to integrate SAM in the event of Alec's death and Cora would have been the next human Pathfinder, with all the enhancements available only to the most advanced SAM. Unfortunately, SAM-E hasn't actually been adapting to Cora properly, and his stuttering was an early warning symptom of that. Alec would inevitably have to integrate SAM-E into SAM, lest he harm Cora inadvertently on a biological level. This essentially means that Alec's SAM transference project is a failure and no one except either his son or daughter can inherit SAM when he dies.
SAM-E's memories and observations live on in SAM, although his personality matrix is gone. Cora had gotten attached to her AI and duly processed the loss with as much grief as one can have over losing a friend. She takes consolation over the fact SAM-E got to say goodbye before he fully went offline during the bombing, although she informs Alec she wants access to the SAM-Node for one final gesture. The room is undergoing reconstruction but there's enough undamaged hardware in it to house AIs. After asking SAM if he's back in the processor stacks and confirming SAM-E's memories are in him, Cora fulfills the promise she made to SAM-E by kissing the paneling on a processor wall. A bemused Alec senses there's a story to tell about that, although Cora simply replies to ask her again in 600 years.
Arrival in HeleusEdit
Waking Up in a New GalaxyEdit
She soon caught the attention of Alec Ryder and was eventually recruited into the Andromeda Initiative, becoming head of operations aboard Ark Hyperion and Ryder's second-in-command, effectively ending her career with the Talein's Daughters when Nisira sent her away, claiming "the Initiative would suit [her] better." Cora was very hurt by the decision, but did not fight her on it. She, along with 20,000 humans, were placed in cryogenic stasis.
After 634 years, Cora was released from her cryopod upon the Hyperion's arrival in the Andromeda galaxy's Heleus cluster. While en route to colonize humanity's assigned world Habitat 7, however, the Hyperion collided with and scraped against an unknown energy cloud containing black, metallic tendrils known as the Scourge―causing artificial gravity to fail in the cryo bay, which Cora was forced to reset. Soon after, she summons Alec's son Scott to the bridge to discuss their next course of action. Ultimately, Alec made the decision to lead the Pathfinder Mission Team to the surface of Habitat 7.
Disaster on Habitat 7EditDuring the reconnaissance mission, however, the Pathfinder team made first contact with a hostile alien species: the kett. After a long skirmish, the team arrived at a technological structure of unknown origins to disable its systems disrupting the planet's climate with undirected energy stemming from the cloud that also hit the Hyperion. With lethal levels of lightning striking the planet, Cora used her biotics to protect Dr. Carlyle and Hayes from one potentially devastating bolt. After which she was able to join with Liam Kosta and Scott in locating Alec. Unfortunately, a series of electrical storms, hostile alien encounters and the subsequent sacrifice of Alec to save his son, resulted in Scott being made the new Pathfinder.
Although Cora trusted Alec's judgement, she privately confides in Scott that she wished to be Pathfinder instead.
Rescue the Asari ArkEdit
Cora makes it her focus to find the asari ark, the Leusinia. After speaking to some asari refugees at Prodromos on planet Eos, Ryder can locate the Leusinia's transponder on Voeld. After Cora manages to decode, she finds the last known location of the Leusinia, which is under attack by the kett. Upon boarding the ark, Cora gets to meet her idol, Sarissa Theris, who had replaced Matriarch Ishara as asari Pathfinder.
After helping Vederia Damali restore power to the ark and deactivate a mass effect field generator, SAM finds an audio log revealing that Sarissa abandoned Ishara to get tactical data on the kett. After defeating the kett leader, the Valiant, Cora helps Sarissa boost a biotic barrier to repel the kett ship's attack, allowing the Leusinia to escape and the kett ship to be destroyed. Cora and Ryder later privately confront Sarissa over her shameful secret. Ryder decides to reveal it to the rest of the Leusinia's crew, with Sarissa being relieved of her duty as Pathfinder and Vederia taking her place.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "The Initiative was meant to be different. Will be different, if this mission succeeds. So I'm seeing it through."
- ―Cora Harper
Professional and loyal, Cora knows the rules well enough to bend them if necessary, lending huntress tactics and her biotic strength to the Pathfinder's mission. She dedicates almost all of her time to work, even her off-duty hours. Despite her successes, Cora frequently found herself as an outsider due to her biotics, mentioning that she joined the Andromeda Initiative in the hopes of finding a place to belong as more than just "a useful freak". Rather subdued compared to her more overtly sarcastic companions, Cora has a very dry sense of humor. She apparently likes having the last word in a conversation, and when she does, it's usually a snarky comment.
Having served with asari commando unit Talein's Daughters for four years, Cora has not only worked closely with the asari, but has even fully embraced their culture and customs. Her training with them made her more in control of her biotics and had a pretty pleasant experience with her former squad and still thinks fondly of them. Her time with asari commandos affected Cora so profoundly that she seems to prefer asari culture and customs over that of humanity. The asari prayer book she brought with her to Andromeda, her intimate knowledge of asari culture, as well as her reverence for her fellow huntresses - especially those of particular note like Sarissa Theris, who is basically her idol. During the mission to rescue the asari ark Leusinia, however, Cora is devastated when she discovers Sarissa abandoned the then-asari Pathfinder, Matriarch Ishara, to die at the hands of the kett; she even considered burning Sarissa's manuals as a result, only stopping when Nakmor Drack talks her out of it.
Although she was initially groomed to be Alec Ryder's successor as Pathfinder, Cora initially had some tension with her subordinate and Alec's son Scott Ryder due to him becoming the Pathfinder instead of her and had to serve under him. After rescuing the Leusinia, however, Cora would soon realize that she would have made a poor Pathfinder because she was too dependent on the advice of authority figures and wouldn't know what to do in a difficult situation when that advice was no longer available, admitting that these traits were not the qualities of a leader. As such, she came to terms with being passed over for the position as Pathfinder, believing that Alec made the right choice in choosing Scott instead.
AppearanceEditCora stood at 5 feet 8 inches tall, has light brown eyes, light skin and short, pale-blonde hair with an undercut hairstyle―the right side being shaved while the other was more longer, parted and had a more open bang on her left. She wears makeup such as urban bliss lip gloss and purple eye shadow. Her off-duty outfits includes the standard Andromeda Initiative attire consisting of a white and blue long-sleeved shirt and white pants along with a charcoal-grey comm bracelet on her left wrist.
Skills and abilitiesEdit
Combining her training in the Systems Alliance with years of experience as an asari commando, Cora’s huntress and biotic capability made her a candidate for Alec Ryder’s second-in-command and if warranted, his successor as Pathfinder―making her a formidable presence on the battlefield. Powerful biotic techniques send her charging forward to rip through enemy lines, while Cora's tactical knowledge kept her squadmates organized and their shields replenished.
Her biotics are unusually yet exceptionally powerful for a human. By age 10, Cora was able to warp steel girders and when she enlisted in the Alliance military, she was powerful enough to rip APCs apart. Her potential was so great that the Systems Alliance arranged for her to receive asari huntress training via the Council's cross-species integration initiative, the Valkyrie Program, so she could better control them.
First email received from Cora following Scott's conversation with her:
Received after activating the remnant vault on Eos:
Received after rescuing the Moshae:
Received after activating the vault on Aya:
Received after exposing Sarissa and replacing her with Vederia as Pathfinder:
Received after talking to her after rescuing Ark Leusinia:
Received after helping her project on Eos:
Received after a night of lovemaking:
Appearances in other mediaEdit
- Mass Effect: Andromeda (First appearance)
- "To be brief―I'm a biotic, the team's operations specialist in charge of ground missions and I spent the last four years serving alongside asari commandos."
- (to Scott Ryder) "None of you Ryders ever think small, do you?"
- (about Alec Ryder) "He was more a mentor than a friend. Prickly old bastard, but I respected that. People treat geniuses like they're made of cut glass. I didn't care how smart he was. I think he liked someone not caring."
- (about the Talein's Daughters) "Janae and I were 'the youngsters.' Tethys was our old lady sniper. Kalia patched us up, and Valenza prayed between firefights. Our CO, Nisira, led us all over the Athena Nebula and beyond. A huntress's work is never done."
- "I had my fun on shore leave. Nothing serious, though. Asari huntresses… figure things out, but I was there for soldiering not romance."
- (about her attempt at gardening) "Can't tell if they have enough water. Or too much. I grew up on a little cargo freighter. Only saw gardens in vids. But I always loved them. I… daydreamed about planting a big rose garden when we got here. Still imagine it sometimes. Roses in Heleus."
- (on Elaaden) "Can't wait to take a shower. It does not smell nice in this suit right now."
- "Who doesn't want to belong? Especially somewhere like the Initiative."
- (to Scott) "Everything we've faced, and you're still such a sweetheart."
- She is voiced by Jules de Jongh.
- Cora shares the same surname with the Illusive Man, founder and leader of Cerberus, however there is currently no information regarding whether or not the two are related or the names are, in fact, simply a coincidence.
- Her hobbies include gardening and watering plants.
- Cora is trained in the art of asari dancing.