Pinnacle Station Command Center
Pinnacle Station Command Center

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Pinnacle Station is located in the Phoenix system of the Argos Rho cluster. You'll find it within the asteroid belt near the planet of Vebinok after you've purchased the "Pinnacle Station" downloadable content.

1 - Arrival

Welcome to Pinnacle Station's command center, Commander Shepard. For making it aboard the asteroid-based facility, you'll automatically unlock the Technology: Pinnacle Station codex entrry.

Proceed to the airlock section to the south, where a turian by the name of Guard Captain Vidinos gruffly tells you to speak to someone named Ahern (at area #2).

2 - Admiral Tadius Ahern

Standing atop the platform overlooking the command center is Admiral Ahern. He runs this state-of-the-art training facility, and will give you a brief overview of the station's purpose.

Essentially, the station houses a combat simulator where Alliance operatives are able train in a safe, realistic, and competitive environment. Their scores from the simulator are tallied, and are then displayed on the facility's monitors in the observation deck as recognition for those operatives who are among the best. When you inquire about doing a little training in the station's combat simulator yourself, he sends you to Tech Officer Ochren in the staging area (area #6).

3 - Sergeant Dahga

Sergeant Dahga is one of the competitors you'll be going up against on the scoreboards. The turian has little to say, though he graciously admits defeat once you have all the top scores.

4 - Scoreboard Consoles

At any time between training missions, you can stop by these scoreboard consoles to check out the top 15 ranks on all twelve possible scenarios. Since there are achievements to be earned by taking first place in any or all of them, here's a quick breakdown of what time or score you have to beat for each:

Time Trial (Warehouse) - 01:24:67
Time Trial (Tropical) - 01:20:94
Time Trial (Volcanic) - 01:54:61
Capture (Volcanic) - 02:00:53
Capture (Tropical) - 01:58:67
Capture (Subterranean) - 01:29:47
Survival (Volcanic) - 01:31:83
Survival (Tropical) - 01:46:43
Survival (Subterranean) - 02:20:57
Hunt (Subterranean) - 35
Hunt (Volcanic) - 43
Hunt (Tropical) - 50

5 - Lieutenant Bryant

One of the finest human Alliance operatives to have spent time in Pinnacle Station's combat simulator. Beating his times and scores on higher difficulties won't be easy.

6 - Khel Burrum

The krogan standing over in this corner has attained some pretty high ranks while "stomping synthetics" in the combat simulator. Something tells me he can't compete with Shepard, though.

7 - Tech Officer Alud Ochren and the Combat Simulator

Alud is the salarian programmer in charge of the combat simulator here on Pinnacle Station. He's easily annoyed by your attempts at conversation (he's a technical genius, after all), but don't let that dissuade you. Quiz him about the simulator to learn that it uses a combination of holographic images and kinetic barriers to convince trainees that everything they're battling is real. This unlocks the Technology: Combat Simulator codex entry.

He'll also tell you about each of the simulator's "modes" and their objectives. Capture Mode requires you and your squad to capture all of the course's control points as quickly as possible, Survival Mode requires you and your squad to fend off waves of enemies as long as possible before being taken down, Time Trial Mode requires you and your squad to defeat all hostiles on the course as quickly as possible, and Hunt Mode requires you and your squad to defeat as many enemies as you can before the countdown reaches zero, with each kill granting you additional time.

When you're ready to try a simulation, simply tell Ochren which combat mode and course you want to try. In the beginning, you're only allowed to choose between the first eight "low-impact" scenarios, with the last four opening up once you've proven your combat prowess. At the start of each mission, you're given three Medi-Gel and two "dummy" grenades, and are then free to choose whichever squad members you'll be bringing into battle. Ahern will be watching you during each simulation, so you can also expect to hear some congratulatory comments or disappointing retorts as you defeat opponents or take on injuries.

After winning your first scenario (and earning the New Sheriff in Town achievement), you'll witness Guard Captain Vidinos accusing a man named Bryant of tampering with the combat simulator. When you interrupt him, he explains that Bryant has beat his record on several scenarios, and that no human should be capable of such a feat. He's getting thrown in the "stockade" as punishment for the rest of the competition.

Should you vouch for Bryant, Vidinos asks you to prove that humans have what it takes by beating one of his records. If you can manage that, Vidinos will concede that humans are a capable race and will release Bryant. Hell, he'll even give you his very own weapon. He's obviously mistaken - go make him eat his words.

To do that, you're going to have to take the top rank in the first eight available scenarios. I'll warn you right now - if you're playing on Insanity, expect some serious difficulty in achieving this. I handled the first seven on Insanity without too many problems, but the Hunt mode on the Volcanic course seems impossible. You have to surpass a score of 43, but the enemies take so long to kill on Insanity that I only managed to score a 32. I finally had to tone down the difficulty just to finish this particular scenario, though something seems peculiar because the others weren't an issue. Hats off to BioWare's QA, I guess.

Once Vidinos accepts defeat, Lieutenant Bryant is released and you're given the choice of his shotgun, assault rifle, pistol, or sniper rifle. I took the assault rifle and received the Breaker X, but I'm sure the reward is entirely level dependent. After this exchange, you're free to choose the last four scenarios in the simulator.

When you've taken the top rank in all twelve scenarios (and therefore earned the Best of the Best achievement), Admiral Ahern approaches you and offers to make you the first person ever to try a new "special" scenario he's cooked up. The scenario is actually a reenactment of a mission he took part in years ago, and now he wants to see how others would fare given the same circumstances. The goal is simple: retrieve a colonist data bank from a group of turian assault troops, and then hold out for five minutes until extraction. What makes it more difficult than usual is the fact that there's very little cover and the turian forces come at you nonstop.

To really give the scenario some punch, Ahern offers to take off the simulator safeties (meaning you can actually die) and set it to the highest level of difficulty. Should you survive, the Admiral offers to give you a little retirement home he has on the planet of Intai'sei. Quite a deal.

The mission itself really isn't all that hard, especially if you activate the two nearby surface-to-air defense turrets for some extra firepower during your five-minute holdout. You can also keep the bulkhead door closed to keep some of the turian mercenaries out of the area. When the countdown finally finishes, the simulator shuts down and you'll find yourself back in Pinnacle Station being congratulated by Ahern. Congratulations on earning the Undisputed achievement and... an apartment?

Why would you want to land the Mako on a remote planet and sit inside some prefabricated retirement, you ask? Head over to our Intai'sei Solarium walkthrough to find out.


Bring Down the Sky


Pinnacle Station