It's always fun seeing how stories do the 'Shepard's back from the dead and meeting old friends' routine, and this might be one of the best. Gin just wandering up to Gryph and Derek at B6's bowling alley and joining their game got me giggling instantly.
Having Amanda and Rina show up again was nice. I see Amanda's been doing the occasional bit of work to keep the diplomatic stuff from driving her batty.
I wasn't that surprised to see Collectors behind the EAs troubles. It was already clear that this is starting out as the UF version of ME2, although I suspect it will go in some rather unique directions rather quickly. Having Kaidens great-granddaughter appear cracked me up, as it's really the sort of scenario that can only happen in a handful of settings.
And then Harbinger showed up, or whoever you've got pulling the Collectors strings here... and then we saw that Gin has much the same response to him as I do. "Oh I'm sorry, were you talking?" remains one of my favorite Mass Effect moments. The Collecter ship launching, and that launch actually being a threat to Shepards team, pleased me far more then I would have expected. I think it might have been the simple fact that most sci-fi seems to have a ship launch be entirely harmless that averting that was a welcome sight.
>While you were getting your Return paperwork done, I had to go rob my own -grave- to get this one."
Well, that's a mental image it took a while to work my mind around.
The briefing scene was another ME2 moment converted over to UF I quite liked. I think a part of me prefers this one, but that's probably my admitted TIM-dislike at work there.
And then we had Liara giving Indy's lecture. This was just plain awesome. Not the information broker that can be kind of unnerving, but the confident, accomplished young (relatively speaking) woman. The past hundred and a bit years have been pretty good to her. The reunion was quite nice, and Shepard-Liara is perhaps my favorite pairing, even over the Wallace Line Crossing, so that definitely worked for me.
I think Arna's worldview might be getting challenged a bit. Makes me wonder what the EA has been telling its people about places like New Avalon.
Overall, a good start, and I'm looking forward to part 2.
Matrix Dragon, J. Random Nutter