Starfield UC Vanguard vs Terrormorphs

After finishing up my Crimson Fleet deep cover missions, I thought joining the Starfield UC Vanguard was a perfect transition. Back on the right side of the law, I wanted to earn my United Colonies citizenship. I knew I’d fight alien predators on distant worlds, so the whole setup reminded me a bit of Starship Troopers.

It was a smarter version of that premise. No drop ships delivering me and other grunts as fodder for arachnids aliens. It was more like me and a small team hunting down the origins of the universe’s deadliest predators, the Terrormorphs.

Joining the UC Vanguard

Starfield UC Vanguard museum showing House Va'ruun and the Freestar Collective

As part of the Starfield main missions, I met Captain Tuala at the MAST building. He offered me a chance to join the UC Vanguard, but I was full onto the Constellation questline at that time. After reading about the benefit of starting the initiation mission to access the museum and pilot simulator, I agreed to the evaluation later.

The museum is an essential location for learning more about the Starfield lore. It briefly walks through history of the United Colonies and the various factions. It’s also where I got my first glimpse of the big bad of the UC Vanguard questline, the Terrormorph.

The flight sim portion of my evaluation was also a nice touch to combine lore and a place to improve skills. Piloting skills are almost a requirement to upgrade over the course of the game. Having a place to reliably fulfill the requirements to unlock the new piloting skill levels is a big benefit.

Even for those that have no interest in ever completing the Vanguard questline, it’s still worth completing the first mission. There’s always the option to push off officially joining.

Channeling Aliens

After officially taking my oath, my first mission was not a reminder of Starship Troopers, but rather Aliens. My first encounter with a live Terrormorph was complete with a sonic range tracker that beeped faster the closer the monster was. The option to take the thing straight on was there, but I chose the optional path to turn on all the defensive turrets.

Using those beeps to sneak around to the various switches for the guns was a bit tense, half expecting the thing to jump scare me. It was worth the sneak, since those turrets basically formed kill lanes for me to draw the Terrormorph in. Between those, explosives and my minigun, I took the thing down with ease.

My Cyberneticist background almost demanded I use these automated turrets to my advantage.

Starfield Hadrian Sanon

This first encounter also introduced me to one of the most interesting characters in the whole questline, Hadrian Sanon. She was definitely striking with the red eyes from her time in mines of Cydonia, Mars. She was an integral part of the entire set of missions from that point on. Her past was very interesting, but I won’t spoil it here.

UC Vanguard Researching Terrormorphs

Starfield Dr. Percival in space suit

Killing the Terrormorph set me on a path to discover the origins of the creature and why it was showing up in places it should not. During my trip to Cydonia, Mars to serve that mission, I tracked down a part of Hadrian’s old research team, Dr. Percival. I like how it wasn’t just a simple meet and great.

It forced me to gain trust of UC veterans in their Sixth Circle bar by paying off the good doctor’s debt. By this point in the game, I had plenty of money to just simply pay it off, but I wanted more story. The game indulged with options. I could either sneak in and hack computers to reduce the debt or finish some of the Doctor’s research as a bargaining chip to replace his debt.

I chose the latter, because the research portion interested me, even though my Neon Street Rat background would have likely preferred the hack. My choice led me on a killing spree of Spacers (basically pirates) to clear them out of the research station. With them cleared out, I finished the simple steps to complete the research and traded it to wipe the Doctor’s debt.

I finally met the good Dr. soon after. He worked out of a secret Martian Xenowarefare facility. It was a shell of it’s former self, but that wouldn’t last for long.

With the Doctor’s help analyzing the data from my original Terrormorph encounter, there was enough evidence to ask the United Colonies Council for help. Nothing like earning an audience with the president of the UC after just a few missions in.

Surprise Attack

The biggest problem with our whole research mission of finding the source of Terrormorphs is that the last piece of required data resided in the Armistice Archive. The same archive protected by all 3 major universe faction: the United Colonies, the Freestar Collective and the Va’ruun. I thought I’d use my Manipulation Nuero Mod from my Ryujin quests to convince the council, but a surprise Terrormorph attack did the trick for me.

Nothing like seeing the threat in their own backyard to quickly change their stance on opening up the archives. I also learned that Terrormorphs are able to manipulate weak minded people to attack their allies. There was a whole stretch where I’d use an EM rifle to subdue all the citizens turned by the Terrormorphs.

It was a little trippy when I’d hear the voices when the Terrormorph attempted to manipulate me. Lucky for me, I had enough firepower to easily take down the Terrormorphs before I had to worry about allies turning on me. It was definitely interesting to see the New Atlantis spaceport on lockdown.

Opening up the Armistice Archives

Starfield Va-ruun embassy with Sarah

Once the United Colonies council saw the danger Terrormorphs posed to their own city, they offered their blessing to seek approval from the other Armistice member factions to access the Xenowarefare research to learn more about the Terrormorph origins.

The Freestar Collective representative I found, thanks to her assistant, was plotting against her own government. I used that and my Manipulation skills to convince her to give me the code for her part of the Armistice lock.

For the Va’ruun ambassador, I gained access to the closed down Va’ruun embassy. The ambassador was a a recluse that no one had seen in a while, so I expected to find him dead. The overgrown dangerous plants the Va’ruun coveted, took over the embassy against the backdrop of all the great serpent iconography.

Security came in the form of quite a few black robots to jump scare me and rack up my robot kills for my robotics skill. I was even able to use my Robotics skills to turn some against each other.

The ambassador did not give me any issue with the Armistice key after helping to clear out his embassy. Meeting and talking to the guy about how all his fellow Va’ruun fled settled space felt like foreshadowing for a future DLC.

Actually using all the faction keys to open the Armistice vault was quite the ceremony. All the knowledge of battle mechs and Xenowarefare stored in one location. All 3 keys opened the vault for me, but only the specific Terrormorph data was available to take. Would be nice if there was an option to steal more and earn a hefty bounty for the transgression.

UC Vanguard Version of the Blacklist

Starfield Vae Victus holding cell

Not long after acquiring the Armistice research, I received orders to speak with an important VIP in the basement of the MAST building. The vault of a holding cell screamed the CIA black site mentality. I guess it was fitting that the the VIP I met with was actually a war criminal everyone believed was dead. He was spared to assist finding other war criminals. The whole setup was very much like something from the Blacklist.

He pointed me in the direction of Kaiser, an old robot that was an essential part of Hadrian’s Xenowarefare unit. His location was Niira a big part of the colony wars lore. It was a huge mech graveyard with the remnants of Xeno weapons picking off scavengers. Bribing a merchant was easy enough to get Kaiser’s location, but naturally he needed parts.

What would a huge salvage yard be without a salvage mission? I did have the option to buy the parts I needed, but I opted to salvage components and craft my own. Once I got Kaiser up and running, he refused to help without first helping to chase his white whale. It was a large Xeno weapon that he was unable to terminate and worst still, mercenaries captured it.

Cleaning Up After the UC Vanguard

Starfield 1-Of-A-Kind Salvage of UC Vanguard quest on Niira with giant mech in a hangar

There were many paths to taking out the Xenoweapon. What I chose though was to sneak in and lock down the mercenaries’ cage so they could not turn the weapon on me. We easily cleared out the mercs with that advantage and I chose the option to spare the beast. Kaiser disabled the Xenowarefare command unit, so I thought it was the humane thing to do to let it go. Hopefully it doesn’t eat anyone important later.

With Kaiser as part of the team, the old Red Devils HQ really took shape. It was a nice touch to see the once rundown facility teaming with activity again. With the team altogether, we were off to Londinion to collect samples to further our research. Problem was that planet was full of Terrormorphs and other predators.

It was a nice Hoth style planet where I’d flex my heavy weapons like my upgraded minigun from way back from the Mantis mission. My heavy weaponry made quick work of the threats I encountered there, but the big draw was finding out where the Terrormorphs really come from.

Starfield Terrormorph origin in abandoned facility

I won’t spoil it, but they are a big part of Starfield lore from the start and it’s funny now to hear about people talking about Terrormorph prevention. One thing I really did not like about Londonion was the mission breaking bug I ran into.

UC Vanguard Almost Mission Breaking Bug

At one point, I was supposed to open a secure door, but the sequence to even get into the room never fired. Kaiser, the murderbot, was in his correct position, but Hadrian never entered the correct room. Lucky for me, people on the internet found a workaround. It saved me from trying a previous save, leaving the planet and other attempts, as those would all fail.

The ultimate solution was to attack UC security on the planet, then lead them to Hadrian. That action would aggro her, then I could lure them all into the room I wanted Hadrian in. Problem is, I only had the choice available to kill the attackers, then pay a bounty later. Some were able to surrender without killing them, but I was not that lucky. At least the workaround did work, so I wasn’t stuck at the tail end of of my Vanguard quest. Ideally, Bethesda will fix that in a future patch

Making the Hard Choices

Starfield Kaiser the robot, Hadrian Sanon and Dr Percival

At the end of my journey, the game presented me with several important choices related to the Terrormorph threat. There was a choice to either support cloning the Aceles species, a natural predator of the Terrormorphs, or support a virus that would kill just the Terrormorphs.

So close to the Covid years, it just seemed a virus was a bad idea, so I chose the Aceles route. Now I’m interested to see how the game ultimately frames that choice, because my companions already gave me their opinions (more negative than expected).

The former war criminal who helped me a long the way, also forced choices on me. He found a way to abuse his limited access and I had to decide how to deal with it. Either I sweep it under the rug or expose him. I did choose to expose him, because who knows what he’d be capable of if his limited access was no longer so limited.

The note he left for me feels like it’s alluding to a subject for a future DLC. The colony war ended, but it could easily comeback. He framed his choices as wanting to save the United Colonies, but hard to swallow when his choices actually hurt many of its citizens. Maybe on an “evil” playthrough, I’ll side with him.

My UC Vanguard Service Rewards

Starfield UC Vanguard reward Penthouse apartment

The UC Vanguard questline surprised me. It was more intelligent than I expected. Sure there was some grunt style killings, but it wasn’t really the Starship Trooper style I thought it would be. I enjoyed the research aspect of the whole Terrormorph phenomenon. With my companions, we built the research team and gathered the research.

After all my work on the project, I like how I’ll hear NPCs mention the mitigation efforts for the whole Terrormorph issues while I’m working on other missions. The impact of my choices are felt going forward. The United Colonies also rewarded my hard work with class 1 citizenship, discounts at UC merchants and a nice Penthouse suite.

My ship is my home, so I don’t foresee decorating that suite, but it’s great to know that’s an option. You truly can make your own home in so many places in the universe, but I have no time for all that right now.

Now that I finished up my UC Vanguard responsibilities, I can finally move onto the Freestar Ranger faction mission (space cowboys). I’ve basically played multiple games within Starfield at this point, so crazy that there’s so much left. Until next time.

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