What would Mass Effect be like if Liara and Shiala were combined, I wonder. Like, now ‘Liala’ would be about 250-300 years old, had an interest in protheans and archeology in her youth, but joined the Commandos instead, to be close to her mother, perhaps, joining her entourage, and Benezia seeing that she’s unhappy and so she persuades her to go after her dream of prothean research. That covers all the bases of how to get Liara to where she is on Therum while still providing similar motivations.
Mostly, I’m thinking about this in how just… unlikely and improbable Liara seems in 1. She’s 106, studying the protheans for fifty years, considered barely more than a child in asari terms, and yet she’s somehow managed to come up with a theory on the protheans’ disappearance that no one else believes. AND SHE’S RIGHT. She’s hit on the reason for the protheans disappearance and the existence of the cycles exactly, and yet no one in the scientific community gives her any credit or accepts that she might be on to something? While her age is an understandable reason for why she isn’t taken very seriously, how is she the first person to come along and piece all of this together? The Citadel races have had like two thousand years to figure this all out, yet it’s only when Liara comes along that anyone actually does? Sure, the pieces had to be found and put together, but I find it credibility straining that she’s the first one to ever do it.
And then there’s the fact that, as is, she stays on the Normandy for plot reasons, not character reasons - she’s an archeologist, not a soldier, and, though she has great biotic potential, how often has she really had to use her biotics in combat? Realistically, she should be sent back to the Citadel to be under C-Sec guard, because she’s a civilian. Combine her with Shiala, give her a history with the commandos, now she explicitly has the skills to expect her to go into a combat situation and survive, and to justify her low levels in ME’s leveling system, she’s gotten rusty from a few decades out of active duty. Her commando history could also replace her youth as reason for not being taken seriously - the old ‘brain versus brawn’ debate, with assumptions that she’s seeing patterns that aren’t there because she’s still thinking like a commando, or even drawing on the fact that she’s Benezia’s daughter, that they disbelieve that she COULD come along and, with only a few decades of experience, come up with an explanation that none of them have (to at least show that the narrative understands that, yeah, actually, her being EXACTLY RIGHT about the protheans and being the first to come up with this idea is a little farfetched).
It would also be a good launchpad for her later characterization - the narrative currently makes her so many things seemingly at the same time, it confuses her character. She’s the shy and book-smart introvert, she’s the prothean expert, she’s the badass information broker, she’s the super-commando able to take down the Shadow Broker… Her development from simple archeologist to the Shadow Broker over the course of three years seems questionable at best from where I sit, because who she is in 1 doesn’t connect well to who she is in 2/LotSB, even with a few handwaves in place.
I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud at the moment. Anyone else have any thoughts on the subject?