Garrus at first is, in a word, awkward. His arms accidentally trap Shepard’s and he has no idea how long it should last, how hard he should squeeze, any of it. He uses Shep as a guideline, letting them move him until they’re both comfortable.
Mordin’s hugs are brief. They’re quick, but still complete. His arms enfold Shepard, giving them a light squeeze. Cool skin brushing warm, for a breath, before he’s gone, off to a new experiment or subject. These moments could almost be explained away as imagination, if not for the glimmer of fondness in his eyes.
Grunt doesn’t hug. If he needs to show affection, he’ll do it like a true krogan. That is, with enough force to leave bruises but not enough to crack bone. Shepard is no stranger to a punch or a headbutt as a greeting. Grunt’s battlemaster can handle anything he throws at them. And if no one’s around, and Shep does their weird hug thing, he doesn’t mind it so much.
Legion has never given a hug. Who would they have practiced with? When Shepard hugs them, their collective stalls to process it, to reach a consensus on what to do. Data unavailable. One quick download of a few extranet files later, and a steel arm reaches to embrace, and pat Shepard-Commander’s back.
Wrex gives bear hugs. They don’t happen often, but when they do, Shepard is swept up in a one krogan avalanche of an embrace. As rough and strong as the krogan giving them, Shep has to tap out and remind him to let them breathe. Humans don’t have a second set of lungs. Despite this, one doesn’t get caught up in a Wrex hug without feeling strangely safe.
Kaiden’s hugs are warm and brotherly. It isn’t something he had to learn, and he uses his experience. He might not initiate them a lot, but he always accepts them. His skin is tingly from the biotic implants. Sometimes it’s hardly noticeable, sometimes it’s like a static shock. Either way, it’s easily laughed off, and makes his hugs a little more special.
Thane embraces Shepard in the manner he does everything, deliberately. Slowly, careful of potential skin contact, his arms wrap around them. Every moment is being inscribed into his memory, so he tries to make it the best possible. Despite Joker’s snide comments, Thane is actually good at cuddling.
Zaeed’s hugs are rough and brief. Also, usually only initiated after he’s had a drink or three. The only warning is a “goddamn it, c’mere” before Shepard is swung into a one armed, back cracking hug and then quickly pushed away as Zaeed walks off.
@bioware, I need a whole series about Drack raising Kesh so I don’t have to write these stories. (also here on ao3)
Kesh was much smaller than Drack ever imagined. Just a tiny
little creature who fell asleep in his lap as soon as she was dumped in to it.
He was never around to take care of his son, too busy being
a merc and nothing really mattered to him back them but now his bones are only
just held together by metal rods and he’s got no hearts to spare. There’s
nothing good about a Krogan who’s lost that much, there’s no point to him
anymore and he knows it.
Except that the same people were saying the same about Kesh
and while she was struggling to breathe she was still holding on to life to prove
The krogan might seem like they don’t care what people think about them, but they actually care so much that their rites and survival as krogan depend on their relationship with others. When Shepard expresses their surprise that the krogan can bring backup to a test like the Rite of Passage, the shaman is quick to answer: “Not every krogan can be the strongest warrior, but each must inspire his peers to battle at his side. If the ones who know you best can find nothing worthy in you, you should wander the wastes and die alone before you weaken my clan.” Uvenk knew this and chose not to stand with Grunt. If Shepard hadn’t been there to fight with Grunt during his Rite of Passage, Grunt would have been in serious trouble.
That being said, one could argue they only care about what other krogan have to say (and not about what other aliens think), but I think this is a bit more complicated than that. Seems to me like they dislike having outsiders on Tuchanka *because* they fear the outsiders will have too much of an impact or influence on them. Deviating from the norm is a big no no for traditionalist krogan like Uvenk and what we’re witnessing in ME2 is a HUGE change in krogan society. That’s why seeing an alien like Shepard showing up as a well-respected friend of a clan leader is basically Uvenk’s greatest fear.
And really, I find it really interesting that strength for the krogan isn’t necessarily linked to strength in a fight. It can also be about the strong relationships one can have. This is why the relationship between Shepard and Wrex is so great, because Wrex, being quite old and experienced, knows all about the rites and what weakness means for the krogan. He knows outsiders aren’t liked on Tuchanka and that it is in his best interest as clan leader to make other krogan like him and fight for him. It should be his priority, but he still decides to include an outsider in his circle despite the risks of angering Uvenk and other clans at such a critical time. I love that.
Another thing: the shaman is obviously delighted if you headbutt Uvenk. “I like this human, (s)he understands!” he says. This is actually one of those times where doing a Renegade action really isn’t “bad” for a Paragon Shepard. You’re respecting the krogan by doing something that is 100% in line with krogan attitude and spirit, and that makes you well liked by the Shaman (someone whose job is to make sure krogan rites and spirit are respected).
And finally: I think the krogan don’t really differentiate between those who are unable to “inspire greatness” in other krogan and those less fortunate who lost their clans or families and don’t really have a choice in this matter. Those without a clan are basically not going to last long on Tuchanka. They have a target on their back. The loners are also in a difficult situation. I even think that to be a loner is not to be a true krogan for those who live and spend all their time in Tuchanka. After all, they evolve in clans and know they need to find someone to fight with them later during their Rite of Passage. Grunt didn’t know, but he’s an exception. Others are aware, and that must play a part in their interactions with others.
I loved the loyalty missions in ME2. They all felt so personal to each character, not like secondary missions at all. Garrus and Jack wanted revenge, Samara wanted redemption, Thane wanted to stop his son from becoming a monster, Miranda wanted to protect her family, whilst Jacob wanted closure with his. Grunt became a true Krogan, Tali was falsely accused of attempting to destroy the Quarian Fleet and Legion had to decide between genocide or indoctrination of his own species. It was humbling.
Enough! You can stay here and let old wounds fester as krogan have always done... or you can fight the enemy you were born to destroy, and win a new future for our children. I choose to fight. Who will join me?!
And so will I! Now hold your heads high like true krogan! There's a Reaper that needs killing!
Happy things: healthy krogan babies wagging their tiny nubby tails, Ryder letting their pyjak sleep on their bed with them, Sid getting a pet cat (which Vetra ends up loving almost more than Sid does), Tali at home on Ranoch watching the sunset, every other child born after the Reaper War being named for someone from the Normandy crew, tiny flowers and green vines growing on Tuchanka, Thessia healing with the help of millions of biotics, a small garden on Meridian filled with Milky Way plants
rek;ltjlrkejterkl, baby krogan!!!!! my true weakness.
Vetra keeps stopping by to visit Sid but really visit the cat and denies it to everyone. She pays off Kandros with Turian brandy so it’s not on the video cameras either.
somewhere there’s a classroom full of kids named Shepard and they all quote “I should go” when class time is up and everyone regrets those Shep meme vids that went viral in the ME world.
Mordin Solus hates waste. Prefers to save materials, components, tools, information. Too much information lost already, inaccessible. Maelon’s death, waste of a good brain. But: intelligence and knowledge misused. Unethical experiments, involuntary test subjects, dangerous goal. Foolishly motivated by guilt. Poor management of emotions. Should have seen it earlier. Could not be trusted. Likely to begin experiments again, new location, new clan, new victims. Success or failure, both dangerous. Too much risk to leave him alive.
Maelon’s data, however…
Mordin thinks about the saved data. More often now that Collector mission is over. Makes a good break from preparing report on Collectors for STG (need to put the right information in the right ears, spread the word; the dalatrasses will do what they will, but STG should know truth). Data to collate, graphs to create; important to make report in most efficient and persuasive manner.
Valuable, sometimes, to give cognitive processes a break. Think about something else, like Maelon’s data. Maelon intelligent, though misguided. Learned a great deal through reprehensible experimentation. Possible key to curing genophage.
By now, Mordin has had the debate with Shepard multiple times. Krogan suffer under genophage, true; but still, original parameters apply. Unchecked krogan population growth led to aggression, led to Krogan Rebellions. Nearly destroyed galactic order; might have destroyed asari, salarian, even turian populations. Genophage was necessary act of desperation, like uplifting krogan in first place. Salarian mistake then. Genophage not a mistake. Necessary. Easy for humans to criticize.
Yet, true that krogan suffer now. Intention to keep krogan population stable, prevent population growth, since krogan showed either no inclination or no ability to do it themselves. Made them a threat to all. Must not be forgotten.
Still. Decline in krogan society not intended. Ah! Yes. Mistake. Failed to consider impact of forced sterility upon krogan psychology. Lack of ability to give birth and rear young leading to despair, lack of future planning. Especially affecting to female krogan; majority unable to exercise maternal instinct, physical and emotional trauma of multiple stillbirths. Error possibly due to difference in salarian vs. krogan reproduction. Salarians oviparous.
Mordin makes a note. Worth considering in future research. Possibly work out something for publication. He finds that he’s making more notes about the data, almost without thinking about it. How he might continue Maelon’s line of research. If, if necessary and desirable to cure genophage, this is how to do it. Yes.
Science can answer what and how, but not should. Ethics another dimension. Maelon’s data cannot answer that.
Troubled, Mordin puts the data aside and returns to the Collector report.