A powerful biotic with experience as an Asari Commando, Andromeda’s Cora Harper was second-in-command and in line to become the next human Pathfinder.
When most fans of the Mass Effect franchise think of Asari commandos, they don’t think of humans, but the powerful biotic Cora Harper earned her place among Talein’s Daughter. Her experience in the field made her the perfect candidate to become Alec Ryder‘s second-in-command, and, by all rights, the mantle of Pathfinder should have passed to Cora when Alec died on Habitat 7.
It’s a small wonder she became as disciplined and powerful as she did considering her childhood. Cora and her family were relatively poor, and her parents could not afford to get her the training necessary to hone her skills after her biotics manifested. Growing up on an independent cargo freighter, Cora had no one but her parents to socialize with, and this heavily impacted her social skills as she grew up.
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While trying to understand the strange changes going on in her body as her biotic powers surfaced, Cora would hide away in cargo freighter’s crawlspaces. Unfortunately, she had very little room to grow and experiment, and with no official training, Cora found herself heading into the Systems Alliance at 18 to get the training she needed. While in the Alliance, her powers were unrivaled, and it wasn’t long before her superiors began searching through the Valkyrie Program for an interspecies initiative that could further help her hone her skills.
She was transferred into the Asari commando group known as Talein’s Daughters, where she worked side by side with the galaxy’s most powerful, natural biotics. Despite how powerful she was, she couldn’t completely hold her own against the Asari, but she devoted extra training and study to gain ground and meet her allies head on. Her time among the Asari changed her life, influencing her mindset and philosophy, and she did two tours in Asari space before joining the Andromeda Initiative.
BioWare expanded Cora’s story with a companion novel titled Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation, which released after Andromeda. The novel detailed Cora joining the Initiative and Alec Ryder’s testing her commitment to the project with a special mission to reclaim important software associated with SAM that had been stolen. To give her an edge on her mission, Alec implanted the SAM-E virtual interface into Cora, and as she got to know her VI, Cora and SAM-E developed a close bond.
Unfortunately, Alec had to remove SAM-E from Cora after she completed the mission because there was a strong chance that, given time, the artificial intelligence would have harmed or even killed her despite their bond. Cora was sad to lose SAM-E, as the AI had come to feel like family for her. Having proved her commitment to Alec, however, she became his right hand and second-in-command on their mission to settle in the Heleus Cluster.
She looked up to Alec Ryder and wholeheartedly believed in his vision, and she was devastated when he died. She had already lost her own parents, who mysteriously disappeared while she was in the military, and despite her efforts to find them, she never did. Alec’s death was just another in a long line of lost role models she couldn’t hold onto even if she tried.
Because of her position as his second-in-command, Cora should have become the next human Pathfinder. However, before he died, Alec Ryder transferred that position and command of SAM to his child instead. After saving Pathfinder Ryder’s life, Cora later confessed that she felt better suited to the position because of her experience and her time with Alec, and she was genuinely shocked that he passed it on to them instead. Despite her reservations, she wholly supported the new Pathfinder and became their second instead.
Cora’s affiliation with the Asari led to an Asari-specific loyalty mission that involved locating the Leusinia, a missing Asari ark. Upon finding the ship under attack by the Kett, Ryder, Cora and the squad helped Cora’s Asari hero, the current Asari Pathfinder, Serissa Theris, battle their enemies. During the mission, SAM located an audio file that showed Serissa in an unflattering lightm and Cora had the opportunity to confront her and potentially strip her of her Pathfinder status.
Cora was also a romance option for a male Ryder. If Ryder chose to flirt with her upon first waking on the Hyperion, she shamelessly flirted back, opening up a pathway for a slow and steady romance that showed a whole other side of the biotic bombshell. Cora was unafraid to confront Ryder if he was flirting with the other crew members, and as they continued to grow closer, she confessed a desire to explore together with nothing but the stars as their guide.
As a companion, Cora was at times difficult to communicate with. This was perhaps because of her lack of social interaction as a child and her time trying to prove herself as a powerful biotic among the Asari. In time, however, she revealed herself to be a steadfast ally, dear friend or devoted lover that Ryder was fortunate to have on their side. Still, had Ryder not been up to task, there’s no doubt Cora would have made a more than adequate Pathfinder.
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