Race against Time


Quest Type




Previous Mission

Ilos: Find the Conduit

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Race against Time is a Mission in Mass Effect. Race against Time is the overarching Mission of the game and also the last one. Completing Missions in Mass Effect progresses the story forward.


Race against Time Objectives

  1. ???


Race against Time Walkthrough

Race Against Time: Conduit

  • Leave Vigil and head back up. Get back into the Mako and head down the path, which now is clear of forcefields. At the bottom of the path, you will find 3 Geth Rocket Troopers, that dwell near the entrance of the trench run. Take them out and take the left path.
  • Keep moving along the trench until you reach your first turn. More Enemies are ahead. You will find a lot of Geth here. Geth Troopers, Geth Shock Troopers, a Geth Colossus and a Geth Juggernaut. Before taking the turn and exposing yourself to the Geth Colossus, you can engage some of the smaller Geth.
  • After turning the corner, you will see a second group of Geth who can often be lured to the corridor with you. Once they are dealt with, take on the Geth Colossus.
  • Cross the former battlefield, turn left and head down the backstretch. At the next right turn, take it and get ready for another fight. Three Geth Rocket Troopers will be waiting for you, shouldn't pose a threat to you. Take the double turn and keep driving until you come under fire once again. This group is exactly the same as the one you've faced before. When you beat it, save your game.
  • It is advised to repair the Mako now and wait for the shield to be at full strength. If you don't want to wait for the shields you can save your game, and after reloading they will be replenished. As you move forward you will be treated to a cutscene.
  • You will see Sovereign and the Geth starting their attack on the Citadel. A massive volley hits the Citadel Fleet, dealing an enormous amount of damage. The Citadel Forces attempt to counterattack and fail to close the citadel arms. The commander of the Asari dreadnought, Destiny Ascension, orders the evacuation of the Council. Now the scene shifts to the Presidium and you see a Geth throwing the body of an Asari aside. Saren and the Geth are seen entering the elevator to the Citadel Tower.
  • Once you regain control, you have 40 seconds to get to the Conduit and use it. You will find Four Geth Colossi on your way, attempting to stop you. Combat is not an option, go as fast as you can and take the most direct route to the Conduit while avoiding their projectiles.
  • A good plan is to follow the small river, and zigzagging a little to evade as much machine gun fire as possible. When you finally get close enough to the Conduit, it will automatically take the Mako to the Citadel. DON'T try t o enter the Counduit on foot, because it will result in an instant death.
  • Now the Mission is renamed as Race Against Time: Final Battle

The Presidium

  • Once you use the Conduit, you are treated to a scene where you see  Avina is going on about the damage the Citadel is withstanding. The Mako appears at the Presidium crushing down two Geth, and rolls over against a wall. The crew leaves the damaged vehicle and after looking around, you regain control.
  • There is a med kit next to the Mako, grab it. When you walk over to the elevator, three Dragon's Teeth will come down and release their Husks. Keep the effective strategy to not let them get close, and when you are done, talk to Avina.
  • You can learn a few things from the and that VI. She tells you that Saren is approaching the Council Chambers and that C-Sec is currently unable to respond to the threat. The Citadel Council, was already evacuated to the Destiny Ascension, an Asari Dreadnought. However, if you ask about Captain Anderson or Ambassador Udina, Avina says she can't give the locations of specific individuals.
  • Once you are done with the VI, head to the elevator and get ready because you will encounter Saren once at the top. As the elevator is activated, the scene shifts to the Council Chambers. Saren is seen traveling them and blowing away a Keeper. He goes to the Petitioner's Stage, a platform extends and at the end a holographic panel appears.

Citadel Tower Maintenance Shaft

  • Now you see the exterior of the Citadel, where the Citadel's arms begin to close. Executor Pallin orders the remaining ships to not let Sovereign inside. This doesn't play out in Pallin's favor, as the Turian cruisers that open fire on Sovereign, do absolutely nothing to the Reaper, who forces its way in. Sovereign goes straight to the tower and wraps it. The scene returns to the elevator, where Commander Shepard and crew are going up to the tower. After the elevator shudders, Commander Shepard orders the squad to suit up to go outside. 
  • Since the elevator is no longer an option, you must use the exhaust plain of the Citadel Tower, before Saren turns the station over to Sovereign. Move forward and keep at it until you reach a downward ramp. Be careful when walking down, because there will be Geth soon. An elevator comes up and crashes into the stationary zone. 
  • Inside the elevators there are Geth Troopers, Geth Shock Troopers and Geth Rocket Troopers. Use cover and abuse Lift, Singularity or Throw. These Biotics works wonders in the current zero gravity environment. Once defeated, head up the ramp onto the next upper walk area.

Citadel Tower Exhaust Plain

  • When you get around a corner, you will encounter a Krogan Warlord and more Geth. Use Lift on the Krogan as soon as you can, if it is powerful enough it will send him floating away. You will find some Geth Shock Troopers, Geth Troopers and a Geth Destroyer as well.
  • When you move around the corner, there will be more Geth Troopers, this time behind their hexagonal shields Geth tend to deploy. As you move towards the top you will see two Geth Shock Troopers. 
  • When you get to the top, as you might have guessed, you will find more Geth. This time Geth Rocket Troopers or Geth Shock Troopers. There may also be a Geth Sniper for good mix. The Geth Sniper is the greatest threat of being insta-killed, so if present, deal with it immediately.
  • After they are defeated, take a left from the top of the ramp, head to the wall, take another turn left and continue on. You will find some more Geth when you reach the straight path. Get into cover and first deal with the Geth Shock Troopers, but don't leave cover.
  • Geth Destroyers will come from the other side. If you stay at the end of the corridor, 10 Geth Destroyers will eventually spawn, one at a time. If you use Lift at the moment they charge, they will be sent flying over your head and provide full experience.  But if you'd rather not fight them, you can charge forward the end of the corridor. 
  • As you round the corner, a Citadel Defense Turret will be in front of you. Don't worry, it is inactive and won't attack you. When you enter the next area, you see a Geth Dropship flying over and dropping troops. You have two options here: Activate the turrets to take down the Geth Dropship or take down the Geth  Shock Troopers it deploys. This last option yields more experience points.
  • When you are done with the Geth and the Dropship, move up and go to where the dropship was deploying the units and head down that path.

Citadel Tower Exterior: Defense Grid

  • You will find two Krogan around the corner, and the last tube of Geth Destroyers, this time up to six Destroyers will spawn. Lift is the best Biotic to use during this encounter. Once you approach the end of the tube, whether you have dealt with all the Geth Destroyers or not, a Geth Juggernaut will spawn around the corner. Once you are done, get around the corner and head to the next area.
  • Here you have to deal with more Geth and some Geth Turrets. Depending on your difficulty level, the turrets can one-shot you, so use cover wisely and on the move at all times. After the first turret and Geth are down, you can choose to keep fighting them or circumvent them by following the ramp down and to the left. This leads you to a trench filled with Krogan, but you don't have to worry about being killed in one shot. If you lack experience, you can decide to fight both the turrets and then the Krogan.
  • When fighting the turrets put Commander Shepard in one place and the squad in another. The Turrets will target two positions at random so you are not constantly under attack. Overload, Warp, Carnage, Assassination, Overkill and Marksman are useful abilities to take the turrets down. It is important to keep moving around but remember to keep the squad separated to divide fire between Commander Shepard and the rest of the squad.
  • As mentioned before, once the last turret falls, you can optionally decide to head into the trench to fight the small Krogan army. You will find two regular Krogan, one Krogan Battlemaster and two Krogan Warlords. Beware of the Battlemaster, as he can cast Throw to knock you off your feet, so use Damping on him or try to keep him down as much as possible. Lift isn't as useful as it was in previous encounters because there is a ceiling here, so you won't send them into space. 
  • Once you are ready, head down the far ramp and proceed to the southern end of the plain. You will enter the Council Chambers.

Council Chambers

  • As you enter the Council Chambers, everything is on fire and a lot of alarms if going off. Head up the stairs, don't forget the med kit as you go. As you reach the large courtyard, you can see Saren's last line of defense. There are seven Geth Troopers and two Geth Shock Troopers. Nothing difficult at this time. Take advantage of the rocks all around you for cover.
  • Save your game, this is one of the last times you can make a manual save. It is a good idea to also check your equipment to make sure you have all the right gear.
  • Head to the Master Control Terminal and a short cutscene will show Saren punching a few buttons and then jumping off the platform. After a few seconds, he reappears on his flying platform, throws a grenade at the squad, sending them leaping for cover.
  • Saren was apparently worried that Commander Shepard wouldn't be able to make it in time to see his crowning moment helping Sovereign taking control of the Citadel and bringing back the Reapers. After talking with him, Saren reveals that Sovereign implanted him, and now he is fully committed to the Reapers' cause.
  • If you managed to convince Saren on Virmire, he says that it was because he couldn't stop thinking about what Commander Shepard said. Sovereign sensed Saren's hesitation, so it decided to implant Saren. If you didn't manage to convince him on Virmire, then he just skipst that part and tries to get Commander Shepard to the Reapers' side.
    Saren threatens Commander Shepard telling him the Reapers can't be stopped and they will return eventually. If you have enough Paragon or Renegade points, you can get an interesting reaction out of him. If you conviced him on Virmire about indoctrination, another set of persuasion options will be available and you can convince him to fight his implants, although it leads to Saren stating that it's too late for that.
  • Again, if you managed to persuade him on Virmire, you will have a final set of dialogue options. If you use either, Saren will pull his pistol and shoot himself. If you don't, then you have to fight him. Note that you won't get experience neither by fighting him, nor by him killing himself.

The Fight with Saren

  • If you want to learn more about the fight with Saren, please refer to this page here.
  • After getting enough damage Saren, falls from his platform and crashes through the skylights below.

The Big Decision

  • Warning!!! ThIs is your last chance to make a manual save!
  • Head to the Control Terminal and Commander Shepard will upload the dafa file provided by Vigil, hence, granting control of all the Citadel's systems. 
  • Your teammates will comment on what's the best option, one mentions to open the arms and the other one prefers to get a communication chanel open.
  • As Commander Shepard opens the comm channel, an urgent call from the Destiny Ascension comes through. The Asari Dreadnought's engines are offline and the shields are failing. The Council is on board the Destiny Ascension.
  • Joker cuts in trying to contact Commander Shepard. Respond to his call, and he states that he is sitting in the Andura Sector with the whole Arcturus Fleet. Joker mentions that they can save the Ascension if the Commander opens the Relays to the Citadel.
  • After a short discussion between the squad, there comes the time for the big decision.


Commander Shepard orders the Alliance Fleet to save the Destiny Ascension. This causes the whole fleet, led by the Normandy, to go save the Asari dreadnought in a desperate move. Taking down the Geth ships that were attacking it. Joker reaches via intercom stating that the Council is safe, and when the Citadel's arms open, Admiral Hackett orders the remaining ships to focus their fire on Sovereign.


Admiral Hackett orders all alliance ships to hold back once they pass through the relay. The Destiny Ascension opens a comm channel, but it's ignored by the Alliance fleet, who decide to close it. The Alliance ships pass by as the Geth ships destroy the Asari dreadnought. The Citadel's arms open, Admiral Hackett orders the remaining ships to focus their fire on Sovereign

  • The next scene takes you to the council chambers, where Commander Shepard orders the squad to make sure Saren is dead. They jump down to the corpse and shoot it once again, while stating that he is dead. An explosion sends your squadmates against a wall and Saren's body becomes infused with red lighting bolts. Commander Shepard falls to the field where Saren is, sporting a new and deadlier look, less meat and more metal.

The Final Confrontation

  • This is much more of a Husk version of Saren than anything else. The battlefield has little cover, so maneuverability and being mobile is the name of the game now. 
  • Use the bigger set of rocks to the upper left, if you need to heal and/or recharge.
  • He jumps around frequently so be ready to adapt to his new position often. Powers like Throw or Lift, as most of the time, work wonders.
  • Saren uses various different abilities such as Assassination, Carnage, Damping, Overload and Sabotage
  • Stick to this strategy until he reaches 25% total health.
  • Once you reach that health threshold, a cutscene shows the remaining forces of the Citadel Fleet attacking Sovereign in space. But this time, Sovereign retaliates, easily splitting a cruiser in half. This scares some officers, who start calling for a retreat, but Admiral Hackett is adamant on his order to keep firing the Reaper, as this is their only chance to take it down.
  • Back in the Citadel, Saren regains all his shields thanks to Sovereign. But the fight is just the same, and Saren's health is at its 25%. Just keep moving, using and abusing powers and shooting him until he finally turns to dust and you are treated to the final cutscene.


  • Once Saren's Husk is down, Sovereign's shields drop and it releases its grip from the station. All ships open fire with everything they have in order to take down the Reaper.
  • The Normandy fires one missile that goes straight through Sovereign causing it to explode.
  • The scene shifts to the Council Chambers and a piece of Sovereign is heading for the large windows. Commander Shepard and crew, turn to look at the remains of the fallen Reaper. Commander Shepard orders them to run as the remains come crashing down. The camera shifts to show the aftermath of the attack and the damage the Citadel has suffered. 
  • An Alliance team lead by Captain Anderson is looking for survivors. They find Comander Shepard's squadmates and call for Captain Anderson, who asks for the location of their leader. They turn their heads towards the debris and Captain Anderson looks down.
  • As they being to leave the place, they see a figure running down the steps from the Stage. Commander Shepard climbs on the top of some debris and limps over to the team.
  • Now the scene shifts to one of two locations depending on your Paragon and Renegade scores. If Paragon is higher you will see the Presidium and if Renegade is higher, to a side a chamber. Who is there is also dependent on your actions, if you save the Council, then they will be present; if you let the council die, then Ambassador Udina will greet Commander Shepard and Captain Anderson.

The Council Lives

There is an extended scene where the three Council members thanks Commander Shepard for everything and being to mourn the one who gave their life for the cause. They feel they owe the Commander a great debt that they can't repay. The Asari Councilor says that the Alliance has shown that is has the strength and determination to stand alongside as full member of the Citadel Council.

The Council states that they will need a list of candidates to fill humanity's seat, and point to Commander Shepard for a recommendation. You have two options. Captain Anderson or Ambassador Udina. If you choose Captain Anderson, Ambassador Udina won't be happy about it, and will ask Commander Shepard if he is sure about Captain Anderson. You can reaffirm him, or just change your mind and give the seat to Ambassador Udina. The council will welcome him if you choose Captain Anderson.
If you decide to choose Ambassador Udina, the Council will be hesitant, but giving his political edge, is the obvious choice.
There is a third option, however, in which you state you are not the person qualified to make this choice. Doing so, earns Commander Shepard the approval of both Captain Anderson and Ambassador Udina.

The Council Dies

Ambassador Udina summons both Commander Shepard and Captain Anderson, stating that humanityhas a great opportunity to usurp the Council. You can talk him down or decide to go along with the plan. Depending on wheter your Paragon or Renegade score is higher, Ambassador Udina will either plan to assemble a new entirely human Council (Higher Renegade points), or a new multi-species but human-led Council (Higher Paragon points). You can try to persuade him, to no avail. You are again the decision maker about who should be the new human councilor, between Captain Anderson and Ambassador Udina.
If you pick Captain Anderson, Udina is not enthusiastic about it, but understands since they are going to war.
If you pick Ambassador Udina, Captain Anderson thinks it is the right choice as he is a politician.

  • Either way Commander Shepard gives a speech and then marches off to find a way to prevent the inminent Reaper invasion. Whoever you choose gives a speech, that differs depending on the alignment (Paragon or Renegade) or if the council is present or not, about stopping the Reapers.

How to unlock Race against Time

  • To obtain Race Against Time you need to complete at least two of the three plot Missions on Feros, Noveria or Therum. This is the overarching Mission of the entire game, and will update over the course of it while completing additional worlds.


Race against Time Progression

Race against Time is updated throughout the course of the game, and these changes correspond to specific points in the game. 

  • Race Against Time. This is the original name given to the Mission when first acquired.
  • Race Against Time: Sovereign. The Mission updates its name after meeting Sovereign on Virmire.
  • Race Against Time: Conduit. The Mission updates its name after you speak with Vigil on Ilos.
  • Race Against Time: Final Battle. The Mission updates its name after you have passed through the Conduit and re-enter the Citadel.


Enemies found on Race Against Time

Race against Time Rewards

  • N/A


Race against Time Notes & Tips

  • Notes & tips go here



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