I have always HC’d Kaidan as being very emotional and feeling things like anger, grief and loss intensely. Not because he’s an angry person, but because he *is* so emotional and he feels things deeply. When he lashed out at Vyrnnus defending Rahna - that was those emotions.
So for me, Kaidan is bitterly emotional after he loses Shepard over Alchera. Angry, despairing, unable at first to move past those horrible feelings. He doesn’t fall into drinking or drug use, but instead loses himselves in despair and functions on autopilot. Kaidan throws himself into his work with a desperate abandon that worries Anderson - it’s clear he doesn’t care if he lives or dies. He accumulates vast sums of credits from danger pay from taking on these missions. He gets new scars, new skills, maybe even a tattoo.
The bleeding wound that is the loss of Shepard never quite heals because what if? What if he’d disobeyed their orders and stayed? What if Joker hadn’t stayed behind? What if Shepard hadn’t gone back for him What if? WHAT IF?
After a time his life becomes more normal and the agony of missing Shepard isn’t quite as keen. So he tries to move on … but he never quite can. There is always a face in the crowd that looks like theirs, or that damned Shepard VI telling him he looks like a varren person, or their face on Memorial posters and Alliance advertising - “Remember Normandy”.
He can’t forget.
He hates it and loves it. The pain becomes something that he clings to desperately, bitterly, ferociously. Because it’s all he has left. The gap Shepard left in his life is one he doesn’t want to fill; he needs to feel something, even if it’s pain.
the virmire survivor goes to alchera after the SR-1 is destroyed. they never tell the alliance. but they sit, quiet, in front of shepard’s helmet, and they think about how easily it could have been them, how many times they’ve escaped death - and their breathing echoes in their ears.
maybe the ghosts of the normandy talk back to them. maybe they don’t.
but shepard finds footprints on alchera, and always wonders whose they were.
So I was thinking about the problems I have with the destruction of the SR1. Things like ‘how did the collectors find the Normandy?’ and 'Why did it take two years for the Alliance to recover the remains of the crewmen killed?’
And then I really thought about it. Musings about radiation and politics under the cut.
I have to laugh. Landing on Alchera, being witness to the destruction of the SR1 in person, and I’m filled exuberance. Not at the sundered ship scattered before me or the broken datapad of the deceased Navigator Pressly. These sights are tragic and yet I am unable to stifle a chuckle at what rests before me.
Here, oddly preserved, sits the M35 Mako. It is not in pieces, it’s not smoking or outwardly damaged. It’s stuck. How many planets did I explore with her? How many Geth and Mercs were crushed under those giant wheels? How many Thresher Maws spit acid at her? Countless, yet here it is wedged face first into a pile of rubble.
Standing here in the snow, alone except for a small transport, I can’t stop laughing at the thought that the only thing to survive the crash is the Mako. My beloved piece of shit.
“It’s hard to see you again Now that you’re back from the dead It’s hard to see you again So bored of being you It’s hard to see you again Now that you’re back from the dead It’s hard to see you again So bored of being…. alive, alive, alive.” [x]
I always chose to interpret the Alchera mission as Shepard getting some closure, coming to terms with what happened. Basically, a Loyalty Mission for yourself, to remember the crew that followed you on a mutinous mission to save the galaxy. I always brought back every dog tag, because they were the ones my Shepard was fighting for. And as long as they can help it, my Shepard never leaves a soldier behind.
That’s actually a very positive way of looking at it. I usually come from the point of view of having a degree of PTSD, but I admit for myself in some cases, facing the events that cause the triggers can bring closure and healing.