Here’s the very first Commander Shepard I ever played (10 YEARS AGO, OMG), named Cora Shepard. Colonist/sole survivor background, paragon through and through, saved the Citadel Council, saved the rachni queen, pretty much saved everybody everywhere, kept everyone alive during the suicide mission, romanced Kaidan Alenko and stayed faithful to him even though he broke her heart in ME2. XD
OMG OMG OMG!!! MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA COMES OUT IN 4 DAYS GUYS, EEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! Expect a ton of ME fan art, lololol
♗: One falling asleep with their head in the other's lap.
Thank you so much for this! I love filling prompts and this one was no exception. Also, it’s the longest one I’ve written yet, so I hope you like it!
This takes place during The Cost of Salvation, when Reyes practically lives on the Tempest for two weeks to take care of Sara.
Reyes helped Sara down onto the couch, his hands firm but gentle as he guided her into a careful seated position. He didn’t jostle her, and took extra care to be sure that the tender sutures on the back of her head didn’t bump against the back of the sofa.
Normally, Sara would complain about his fussing over her, but she was exhausted. She’d insisted on doing as many laps around the Tempest as she could without his help. That turned out to be about two and a half, after which he helped her walk back to her room, his arm firm and steady under hers.
Once he was sure she was settled he moved about room. She watched him in tired silence as he grabbed a pillow from her bed and a blanket. Wordlessly, he tilted her head forward, and tucked the pillow behind it.
She sighed at the relief of not having to hold her own head up. The pillow was propped perfectly so that she could see the screen without having to move. Then he draped the blanket over her.
“Reyes,” she said.
He looked at her, worry creasing the corners of his golden eyes. “Do you want popcorn?” He asked. But he didn’t wait for her response. “Of course you do. I do,” he said with a smile. “I’ll get some water too.”
She knew he thought she was crazy for demanding they watch a vid, but she was so sick of laying down all the time that even sitting on the sofa seemed exciting.
“Reyes,” she said again, louder this time.
He stopped tucking the blanket in around her and looked at her. “Do you want anything else?”
She shook her head, and hissed as her sutures scraped against the fabric of the pillow.
“Princesa,” he murmured. “Por favor, deja de hacerte daño,” he said, his hands on either side of her face, keeping her still.
She puckered her lips, silently asking for a kiss. He obliged, and though she was damaged goods at the moment, she was frustrated at how chaste his lips were against hers. When he broke the kiss she smiled at him. “That’s all I wanted.”
He grinned, and then left the room to get their drinks and popcorn. While he was gone she managed to cue up the vid, with SAM’s help, and had just settled back into her pillow when Reyes returned. The aroma of the popcorn almost made her forget how broken she was. It almost felt like a normal night in with her boyfriend, not that they’d ever had that before. Apparently one of them needed to be practically bedridden for them to get a little rest and relaxation.
He frowned when he saw the vid cued up on the screen. “I would have done that,” he said as he dimmed the lights and then sat beside her.
“SAM helped,” she said, leaving out the effort it had taken to get her pillow back to just the right spot after she’d leaned too far forward.
He set the popcorn on her lap, and sat with their sides flush together. She relished the closeness of him, thankful for his literal support as she leaned against him slightly. But, she also just enjoyed the closeness they shared these last few days, even if she’d been a grump a lot of the time.
Reyes started the movie, which Sara chose at random from Liam’s pirated collection. It was some turian film about the rachni wars that proved to be much funnier than it intended to be. Apparently they couldn’t get any krogan to agree to be in the film, so an all turian cast were in terrible costumes, saying horribly stereotypical krogan things.
“Ha! They’re dead!” One turian-turned-krogan cried as it punched what was supposed to be a rachni queen in the face.
Sara laughed, but was surprised when Reyes didn’t. She looked over to see his face illuminated in orange and yellow light as ships exploded on the screen. He was asleep, his head lolled back against the couch, mouth slightly open.
Gingerly, Sara dropped the empty popcorn bowl onto the floor beside her feet.
“Reyes,” she murmured.
He grunted, but didn’t wake.
She was so tired, and so weak from her whole ordeal that she wasn’t sure she could move him. But she was sure that he couldn’t sleep like that or he’d have a stiff neck and a headache the next day.
“Reyes,” she tried again.
“Hm?” He moaned, his head tilting toward her slightly.
She patted her lap. “Come here,” she said. “Lay down.”
He was asleep enough that he forgot she was injured, otherwise she was sure he would never have scooted down to lay his head in her lap. But she was happy he did. He sighed as he wiggled into a more comfortable position, lying on his back, legs up on the arm of the couch, and his head resting in her blanketed lap.
She considered his face for a moment. Even in the shadowy room she could see the circles under his eyes, the evidence of just how little sleep he’d had since she was hurt. He’d been with her this whole time, barely sleeping, barely eating if Scott was to be believed. She sighed and ran her fingers through his hair.
A quiet, contented moan rumbled in his throat, and the tension at the corners of his eyes eased away. So she continued her ministrations, a steady soothing rhythm against his scalp as she tried not to laugh too hard at the remaining terrible scenes in the movie.
Though, judging from the peaceful little snores in the back of his throat, Reyes would sleep right through just about anything at that moment. And Sara was glad. There was no where else she wanted him to be.
“Hmm?” Kaidan glanced up to see a very large, very intense-looking krogan nearly staring a hole through him. “Umm… I joined right around the time that Shepard did. Why?”
Grunt… grunted. He crossed his arms over his chest and didn’t bother answering the human’s question. “So you helped her kill that turian?”
“Saren?” Kaidan set his beer aside to give the krogan his full attention. “Yeah, I was right there by her side.”
“Good,” Grunt replied with a nod. “And you fought Collectors?”
“Well, I wasn’t with Shepard at the time,” Kaidan answered, his hand rubbing the back of his neck idly as he glanced aside. “But yes, I fought them, too. I heard that you have a talent for it as well.”
“You bet your ass I do,” the krogan answered, not even a hint of a smile on his face. “Rachni, too.”
“Yeah, heard that, also. Did Shepard ever tell you about the Rachni queen we found?” Kaidan was probably trying to start a more friendly conversation than the one Grunt seemed to be intent on conducting at the moment.
“You fight thresher maws?”
Kaidan paused and glanced around at the other party goers. No one seemed to notice the odd list of questions that Grunt had for him. “Uh… I have before, yes.”
“No. Definitely not. That’s more Shepard’s style, apparently.”
Shepard sat at her desk, chin in her hand as she went through her emails on her personal terminal in the Loft. There was a soft ding as a new one came in and she opened it up.
Can we talk for a bit? It’s important.
Reaching over, she pressed the button on her personal comm.
“James, I just got your message. I got some time now.” She said.
“On my way.” He said and she got up, turning and leaning against the desk, crossing her arms over her stomach. She heard the elevator open a moment later and the door slid open with a hiss, James’s large frame almost filling the doorway. His eyes moved over as he looked at her in her tank top and BDU pants and a shiver slid down her spine at the naked desire that crossed over his features. James suddenly seemed to remember himself, clearing his throat and looking away from her, his hand coming up to rub at the back of his neck as a blush crept over his skin.
“You wanted to talk?” She asked and he nodded, looking back at her again, the expression from before buried away.
“Yeah, I uh…wanted to tell you before Admiral Hackett did.” James said, “I uh…asked to tell you first.”
I think most of us have complained at least once about the deep flaws in the Mass Effect morality system. Here are my observations from trying to play ME1 as Renegade:
Sometimes the Charm and Intimidate checks are just alternate ways to get exactly the same result.
In Wrex’s case, Charm, Intimidate and getting his armor all lead Shepard to say the same things almost verbatim, and you can get either Paragon or Renegade points depending on what you used. If you found the armor, to get the Renegade points you have to do extra work, which doesn’t really make sense – pick a response that pointlessly angers him, to be redirected to the Charm/Intimidate dialogue options.
On Feros you get a lot of Paragon just by doing the mission properly: 32 for all assignments given by colonists (in terms of roleplaying, it’s wise to eliminate nearby geth unless you want to be flanked by them and surrounded on a narrow skyway with no cover or escape route, and varren/power cells/water valves are on your way and you’d have to ignore them on purpose), and up to 32 for colonists alive by the end (why kill them when you can easily knock them out?).
Similarly, you can get a lot of “free” Paragon by helping Kirrahe.
Sometimes the game pretends that it presents a difficult problem with two valid solutions, but the scene for the Renegade solution is written and staged as outright evil. Out of the choices I’ve played myself, in ME1 it’s killing the Rachni Queen, in ME2 it’s killing the heretics.
Sometimes Paragon is more risky and Renegade is more pragmatic, but everything goes smoothly for Paragon and the dangers that Renegade hoped to avoid don’t happen. If you save Destiny Ascension, Sovereign goes down just as easily. If you let Balak go, he doesn’t attempt another attack on that scale. It’s just unfair.
Renegade and “bottom” responses are written very inconsistently. You can play a character that makes sense by mostly picking Paragon dialogue options, but Renegade didn’t seem to have their own personality – it’s just what is opposite to whatever the top dialogue option says or to what the person in front of you wants to hear. When a squadmate is trying to make a friendly conversation, you’re strict and impersonal. When a superior is giving you orders, you’re overemotional, rude and unprofessional. When you can shoot a criminal, you do because you hate crime. When you can profit from breaking the law, you do because you can get away with it.
tl;dr: It’s hard to play a Renegade because the game is written with Paragons in mind and rigged in their favor.
Literally every alien race either sidelines or sexualizes their female members within the series except the Quarians and the Rachni.
The Turians are literally governmentally led by The Patriarch and you never meet a single female turian. The only one ever mentioned is the one Garrus banged in a funny story.
The Salarians are technically ruled by their female members but it’s as a queen insect style set up where their gender defines their social role and they are very few in number. You do meet one female Salarian as their leader and ambassador.
The Krogan have gender based clans due to the genophage’s effects on reproduction wherein almost all dfab members are infertile and those who aren’t are closely guarded. However the only female Krogan you ever meet is a single fertile one whose role laregly surrounds this though she too, if she doesn’t die (which she does by default) goes on to be a leader (married to the head of the Krogans).
The Asari are a single sex race still called female both because of the social tendency to classify single sex species as female instead of not gendering them and their extremely sexualized appearance. There are many dancers and strippers in Mass Effect and every single one is Asari. Though they are good for having powerful and diverse female characters that they are the only significant non-human female presence in the game and are so heavily sexualized is far from great.
The other races (discluding quarians and rachni) are fewer in members showing in the game but they across the board bring only male members to the table, or having some male characteristics and having masculine pronouns used.
The Quarians are the only humanoid and primary race other than humans presenting no real differences in consideration for gender while the Rachni literally only have one significant character - The Rachni Queen - and are noted exceptions only to be clear that literally every other race brings nothing.
I love Mass Effect but it’s just it’s so exasperating.
EDIT: EDI the artificial intelligence identifies as female, eventually taking on a female (though in-game notably naked/sexually presenting) body, other robotic entities are treated as male but show no signs of caring about gender.