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Characters: Mass Effect 1 Antagonists And Npcs

This page is for listing the tropes related to Antagonists And NPCs who first appeared in the original Mass Effect game.

For the pages listing tropes related to Party Members, NPCs and Antagonists who first appeared in other games in the trilogy, see the Mass Effect Character Index.

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Antagonists

Main Antagonists

    Saren 
Saren Arterius

The primary antagonist of the first game, a former Spectre agent turned rogue, who takes control of an army of geth and sets out to find an artifact known as "the Conduit."

Did we forget to mention that his theme song is also the Game Over music?
  • Arch-Enemy: The most personal adversary to Commander Shepard, by far.
  • Artificial Limbs: Has a mechanical arm donated by the geth, and later gets many Reaper implants.
  • Anti-Magic: He can use the Damping power to prevent his enemies from using biotic and tech powers.
  • Badass: He's a Spectre, it's a job requirement. Not only that, but he's considered the best Spectre. The only reason the Council puts up with his methods is because they always work. He's one of the only characters in the entire series who physically gets the better of Shepard, casually knocking aside Shepard's squadmates on Virmire before neck lifting the commander into the air.
    • He's also the longest serving Spectre, and was the youngest turian to ever become one.
    • He actually manages to break his indoctrination through pure willpower if you convince him that he's being controlled. Benezia is the only other character in the series who managed to break Reaper indoctrination for any length of time, and she's a thousand years older than Saren and wasn't able to summon the willpower to shoot herself.
    • Badass Baritone: Not surprisingly, given who he's voiced by.
  • Battle Aura: As the only turian biotic encountered until the third game, he gets an appropriately awesome charge-up scene whenever he enters into battle.
  • Big Bad: Or not.
  • Boss Remix: A remix of Sovereign's theme.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: By Sovereign. He saw this coming (since he was well aware of the effects of indoctrination), but underestimated the danger.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Glowing blue ones too, and if you look really closely, they resemble the Illusive Man's, which hints that both have been touched by Reapers.
  • Cyborg: Among other things, his left arm's been replaced by the arm of a geth.
  • Dark Messiah: To the geth. .. well, not all of them.
  • Deadpan Snarker: During the Council meeting, he mocks the fact that a dream is their sole evidence against him.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Till the Council manages to get what he's trying to do through their thick skulls.
  • Driven to Suicide: Can be talked into this during his Heel Realization.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-universe. Lair of the Shadow Broker reveals that there's at least one documentary portraying him as a misunderstood hero. Anderson does not take that fact well. The fact that during Kasumi's heist, a statue of Saren is seen as a desirable gift, seems to imply that Saren is the subject of a lot of Misaimed Fandom in-universe. The Death Glare Shepard gives the statue doesn't begin to sum up his/her obvious feelings about this.
  • The Dragon: While he at first appears to be the Big Bad, he's just a puppet to his sentient flagship, Sovereign.
    • The Heavy: That said, Saren tends to steal the limelight.
  • Dying as Yourself: With a Charm/Intimidate, the last lucid independent thought Saren can have is to kill himself to make the indoctrination end.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In Revelation, one of the many people he beat for information was a batarian who was going to beat a prostitute. Saren makes clear that he's disgusted by this, and then goes on to torture the batarian for information. What makes this noteworthy for Saren is that the prostitute is human, a species he openly despises.
  • Evil Counterpart: Can be seen as a version of Shepard who's willing to cross the Moral Event Horizon in order to achieve "greater good." This is especially made clear in the Paragon ending of Mass Effect 2.
  • Evil Hand: The implants that reanimate him at the end of the game were given to him after Virmire; Sovereign became suspicious of him, and wanted to keep a closer eye on his enforcer.
  • Evil Overlooker: Can be seen in the boxart.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Comes with being voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
  • Fallen Hero: Though the prequel novel makes it clear he was always a jerk.
  • Fantastic Racism: While it's mentioned several times in the game, the novel Revelation clearly show his hatred for humanity.
  • Fiction 500: He was a major investor in Binary Helix, which allowed him to fund various research projects, not to mention the veritable army of mercenaries he regularly hires.
  • Final Boss: Of the first game, though Sovereign is directly controlling him at this point.
  • Final Boss Preview: He appears several times before you finally fight him; on Eden Prime, as a hologram on the Citadel, in the battle on Virmire, and on Ilos right before Shepard shows up.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: If you appeal to him using Paragon options.
  • Heroic Willpower: How he manages to overcome Sovereign's indoctrination long enough to kill himself — that is, if Shepard is persuasive enough.
  • Glowing Eyes: Which shut off when he finally dies.
  • Heel Realization: Can be talked into having one of these.
    Saren: Th-thank you, Shepard. (BANG!)
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In the second game. While Saren wasn't really a nice guy to begin with, the Council is quick to demonize him and exaggerate his villainy, in spite of the fact that Sovereign was the one behind it all. Saren is painted as the mastermind and becomes a scapegoat so that the Council can ignore the Reaper threat.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Let's Sovereign implant him with tech.
  • Karmic Transformation: Getting turned into a Husk after dying is awful(ly poetic).
  • Killed Off for Real: No matter what happens, he will die, whether by his own hand or by Shepard.
  • Knight Templar: "Is submission not preferable to extinction?"
  • Last-Second Chance: Shepard can offer him this, and if s/he is persuasive enough Saren will break free just long enough to kill himself.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Seemingly, he helps the Reapers because he thinks they will spare at least some organics if Saren can prove they are helpful. Really, though, it's More Than Mind Control in action.
  • Machine Worship: Saren convinced the geth to obey him by doing this, acting as the "prophet" for the return of the Reapers. Unfortunately for him, it didn't stay an act for long.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: After Sovereign takes control of him, his new husk-like form can spam explosive projectiles.
  • Mind over Matter: The only onscreen named turian biotic of the series until the Omega DLC of the third game.
  • More Than Mind Control: He's been indoctrinated by Sovereign.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Doesn't that name sound familiar?
  • Necessarily Evil: Believes that proving organics to be useful will save them from the Reapers. He's proven horrifically right about that by the sequel.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: He's not just a state-sponsored terrorist with years of experience. He has asari commandos. Krogan mercenaries. An army of geth. And Binary Helix, an interstellar biotech conglomerate that pays for all of it. And don't forget his Creepy Starship.
  • No One Could Survive That: At the end of the game. He doesn't.
  • Not So Different: He's ruthless, racist, sadistic and willing to let hundreds die so long as it serves his ends. At many points, though, Renegade Shepard can note that s/he would do the exact same thing.
    • A Spectre who went rogue and gathered an army of krogan, geth and rachni to fight for them? Sound familiar, Paragon Shepard? For what it's worth, the main difference lies in who they're fighting against.
  • Obviously Evil:
    • An in universe example of the trope since he's a barefaced turian, given that most barefaced turians are considered untrustworthy.
    • In his very first appearance, the cutscene practically draws flashing arrows pointing to the massive number of tubes festooning his back and to the glowing blue lights of cybernetics under his skin.
  • Oh Crap: Has a minor one on Ilos when Joker combat-drops the Mako almost right on top of him.
  • One-Winged Angel: When Sovereign activates his implants and takes over his body.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Saren was one of the best Spectres before he went very, very far off the rails.
  • Post Mortem Comeback: Gets reanimated into a husk by Sovereign. His death triggers a lowering of Sovereign's shields and his balance, allowing the Normandy and the Alliance to take it out.
  • Primal Stance: Normally, Saren's posture is wonderful. However, when he starts to get ticked off...
  • Properly Paranoid: About being controlled by Sovereign.
  • The Quisling: Though how much of this was his own thinking and how much was Sovereign's More Than Mind Control isn't entirely clear.
  • Rabid Cop: Certainly fits the trope during Revelation.
  • Rasputinian Death: He gets shot hundreds of times, falls off his hover board from a very tall height through a glass floor, gets impaled on a large shard of glass, and then is shot two more times in the head by Shepard's squadmates just to make sure he's dead. It doesn't work.
  • Recurring Boss: Twice. If you count his huskified form as a separate boss battle, thrice. The first battle with him is on Virmire. The second battle with him is on the Citadel. If you have enough Charm/Intimidate points, you can convince him to break free of his indoctrination long enough to kill himself, allowing you to skip fighting him on his hoverboard.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He can be persuaded to kill himself so Sovereign can't make him open the Citadel Relay. Subverted since the galaxy still sees him as a monster. Ironically, he was viewed as a legend while he was working for Sovereign.
  • Red Herring: It's implied at the beginning and in the prequel novel that Saren's driving motivation is his hatred towards humanity. This is largely bogus, since it was purely coincidental that his first attack happened to be a human colony, and he's acting equally against all the galactic civilizations.
  • Red Right Hand: The massive number of cybernetics he's visibly crammed with, including a geth arm replacing one of his organic ones, kinda screams evil.
    • Assuming you knew nothing about The Verse before playing the first game: when you watch the scene in which he first appears, you've only seen one other turian up to that point. As you go on and meet other turians, it becomes apparent that Saren looks very abnormal compared to the rest of his race. Here are pictures of Nihlus, Executor Pallin, and Garrus. Have a look and then scroll up and look at the picture of Saren again.
  • Rogue Agent: Used to be the Council's best and most famous Spectre.
  • Sequential Boss: His first, skippable (provided that you can persuade him) form, and his second, husk-like form, where Sovereign is directly controlling him.
  • Shadow Archetype: Of Shepard.
  • Skippable Boss: Sort of. There are two stages to his boss fight, so convincing him to go through redemption by suicide simply skips the first part of the fight and propels you into the second section of the battle.
  • Social Darwinist: He has elements of this.
    Saren: Your species needs to learn its place, Shepard.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: Averted. Every time Saren appears in the earlier parts of the game, it's either in a cutscene where Shepard isn't present, or as a hologram that Shepard is incapable of throttling. When they finally meet face-to-face, it is on. Played straight in the battle on Virmire. The fight will end when he has 1/5 of his health left, even if you hit him with a weapon that should down him in a single hit.
  • Superpower Lottery: When he's finally confronted he has: extremely powerful shields, a high level assault rifle and pistol, the Damping and Sabotage tech powers, the Shield Boost and Carnage combat powers, and the Throw, Barrier, and Warp biotic powers. It's impossible for Shepard or any squadmate, even via New Game+, to have that combination of powers and weapons. He's effectively a combination of all the game's classes; no wonder he was considered the best Spectre.
  • We Can Rule Together: To Shepard, twice.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Wants to usher in the Reaper invasion because he believes that if organics make themselves useful, they will be spared by the Reapers (he's right, but not quite the way he hoped). Though it's impossible to tell how much of that belief was implanted by Sovereign, and his original plans for the ship weren't exactly nice.
  • What Could Have Been: Saren's original costume design had him dressed all in black.
  • Worthy Opponent: Despite his intense dislike of humans, he's very interested in getting Shepard on his side, going out of his way to do so twice in the middle of a battlefield.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: At first. He gets exposed quite early on, though.

    Benezia 
Matriarch Benezia
"Have you ever faced an asari commando unit before? Few humans have."

Voiced by: Marina Sirtis

A powerful asari matriarch who acts as Saren's partner. She is also Liara T'Soni's mother.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Refers to Liara as "Little Wing".
  • And I Must Scream: Indoctrination is already a case of this, but it's even worse for Benezia as she locked part of her mind away and was fully aware of what was happening the entire time.
  • Anti-Villain: She had good intentions, but Sovereign was one step ahead of her.
  • The Baroness: Only while evil.
  • Bi the Way: As an asari, she doesn't particularly care about her partner's gender.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Turns out that she's indoctrinated.
  • Buxom Is Better: According to Aethtya, who practically goes starry-eyed remembering her magnificent rack, producing a Too Much Information response from Liara.
  • Cleavage Window: Liara's other parent Aethyta fully admits having been entranced by that rack, "even before she hit the matriarch stage"...
  • The Dragon: Acts as Saren's right-hand woman.
  • Dying as Yourself: She reverts back to her true self before dying.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Though it's only implied two games after her appearance, in Mass Effect 3, when Liara mentions that when she was a child, her mother loved to dress in yellow.
  • Evil Matriarch: Not by choice.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Prior to speaking to the rachni queen. She's able to completely resist Saren's influence, after taking enough ammunition to stop an entire commando unit, long enough to help Shepard at least somewhat, but eventually succumbs to her injuries from the fight beforehand. She declines medigel if offered, saying she'd just go back to being a slave anyway.
  • Flunky Boss: She's damaged, for some reason, by her summoning more and more geth troopers and asari commandos in an attempt to take out Shepard and his/her squad.
  • Go Into the Light: Cruelly subverted by her dying words.
    No light? They always said there would be a...ah...
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Her final act is to give Shepard the coordinates to the Mu Relay and then request that they kill her so she will no longer be under Sovereign's control.
  • Heroic Willpower: That plus her biotics allow her to seal off her consciousness long enough to have a last talk with Shepard.
  • I Die Free: She specifically refuses medigel after Shepard's party fatally wounds her.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Her facial features are very similar to Marina Sirtis's.
  • Magnetic Hero: As a highly respected Matriarch, she had many followers and admirers. When Benezia decided to join Saren to dissuade him from his cause, she offered her followers the choice whether to come with her or not, since she knew it would be dangerous. Very few said no.
  • Male Gaze: When we first see her on Saren's ship, the first things we see of her are her rear end as she walks towards Saren, and then her chest before the camera pans up. Humorously, she coughs as if to say My Eyes Are Up Here to the player and BioWare.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Being an asari, this is inverted. Benezia is the one who couldn't face the stigma of raising a pureblood daughter, and left Aethyta while she was still pregnant.
  • Mind over Matter: A powerful biotic, even by the standards of a matriarch.
  • Mind Rape: Benezia states that Sovereign's hold on her feels like "his teeth are at my ear — fingers on my spine..."
  • My Beloved Smother: It's implied her relationship with Liara was tense, in part due to Benezia's overprotectiveness. When Shepard first meets Liara, she says that she hasn't talked to her mother in years. They are asari and live for a thousand years, but Liara was barely more than a child at the time.
    Aethyta: I told her, "You're treating her like a baby bird, 'Nezzy, but she's going to raise one hell of a storm with those little wings."
  • Necessarily Evil: She started off helping Saren as a way of trying to dissuade him from his destructive path. Then Saren's Eldritch Abomination friend got involved...
  • One Bad Mother: The Evil Matriarch variant, though not by choice.
  • Religious Bruiser: Revered among the asari for her many writings on the subject of Theology.
    • Revealed in 3 that she was one of the few asari who still actively practice worship to the goddess Athame.
    • More notable since it's also revealed that Athame was actually a Prothean. Liara mentions that Benezia had research notes on the Temple of Athame dating back centuries, implying that she indeed knew the truth, but nonetheless still kept her faith.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Her last act was to temporarily break free of indoctrination to give Shepard the coordinates for the Mu Relay.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Her headgear has this.
  • So Proud of You: Tells Liara this before she succumbs to indoctrination again.
  • Suicide by Cop: Because she knows she can't break Sovereign's Mind Control completely.
  • Tragic Villain: She only joined Saren because she hoped that she could stop his evil from within. Then Sovereign decided to chime in.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Before her death on Noveria, she only appeared in one scene and via a voice recording.
  • Woman in Black: While working for Saren. She favored brighter colors, particularly yellow, before then.

    Secret Character (SPOILERS
Sovereign, a.k.a. Nazara
I am Sovereign! And this station is MINE!
Voiced by: Peter Jessop

The immense vessel belonging to Saren. He speaks in all caps on This Wiki. One of the Reapers, which is controlling Saren and using him to find the Conduit in order to open the way for a massive Reaper invasion of the galaxy.

WARNING: The entire following entry is one massive spoiler. Read at your own risk.

  • Abusive Precursors: Holds the page quote.
  • Badass Boast: Pretty much his entire speech on Virmire. When combined with his very, very deep mechanical voice, it can give most people the shivers.
    Sovereign: You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.
    • I am the vanguard of your destruction
  • Bad Boss: He pretty much says flat-out that he doesn't give a crap about the geth, and actually seems a bit insulted that they revere him as a god. That, and Reaper indoctrination.
  • Big Bad: In the first game, he's the true force behind Saren. However, he, like all other Reapers, is The Dragon to The Catalyst.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: He outright tells Shepard that the Reapers' motivations are incomprehensible to organics.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Sovereign is red, Harbinger is yellow. When Sovereign assumes control of Saren, the possessed body is red.
  • Cool Starship: He is the starship.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Effectively sets up the power level of the Reapers. Remember, this is one ship of tens of thousands.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Sovereign is smart enough to actually give a villainous monologue without giving away any details that would really let Shepard know how to stop it. It also turns out that the moment it realized that Shepard was inside Saren's base, it turned around and headed back to kill Shepard immediately, instead of leaving it to the mooks.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Bonus points for being a squid-shaped starship.
  • Evil Gloating: Practically every single line he has.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Up to Eleven. He has an extremely bass voice.
  • Fighting a Shadow: When he possesses Saren. It's the only time you'll fight him in the game.
    • Subverted, as Saren's death while controlled by Sovereign gives him enough feedback that he apparently suffers something akin to a computer crash, completely losing his ability to fight back against the fleet. He doesn't last too long after that.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Makes some pretty badass boasts.
    "Your words are as empty as your future. I am the vanguard of your destruction."
    • Not without reason. See Nigh-Invulnerability below.
    • Given an amusing Ironic Echo in the Leviathan DLC for the third game, where Shepard repeats this comment to a piece of wreckage salvaged from Sovereign, kept within a forcefield in Dr Bryson's lab.
    Shepard: Sovereign, the "vanguard of our destruction". How's that working out for you, big guy?
  • Jerkass: Is much more condescending than Harbinger and the unnamed Destroyer Reaper on Rannoch. While those two display that — through their own Blue and Orange Morality — they view the Reapers' actions as beneficial to organics, Sovereign's dialogue makes him sound almost spiteful to the point where he seems to have a dislike for organics. He and Saren are pretty much a match made in hell.
  • The Juggernaut: He tanks fire from two entire fleets without a scratch. Keep in mind, at least a couple of those ships were dreadnoughts, whose main gun pack several times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. In fact, Sovereign was so untouchable that for the most of the battle he doesn't even bother firing back, he simply plows straight through several ships.
  • Karmic Death: Killed by humans in the process of trying to activate the Reapers' relay.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The entire series takes a dramatic turn for the darker once Shepard meets him on Virmire.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Personally forces a deceased Saren to fight Shepard through a painful Karmic Transformation. Comes back to bite him in the ass once Saren loses.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In naval terms. Sovereign is immense and powerful, but shockingly maneuverable and fast. At one point Joker reports that Sovereign pulls a turn that "would shear any of our ships in half."
  • The Man Behind the Man: The true force behind Saren.
  • Meaningful Name: Both of his names are meaningful; "Sovereign" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and "Nazara" is an early Greek translation of Nazareth.
  • Mind Control: Called "Indoctrination" in the game. All Reapers can do it — even when they're dead.
  • Mind Rape: Indoctrination is also this. It's permanent and is about the most horrible fate a person can suffer.
  • The Mothership: This is what everyone on Eden Prime calls Sovereign, for lack of a better word. Referred to in the Codex as "Saren's flagship" before its true nature is revealed.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Comes with being a Reaper. He is destroyed but it takes the combined efforts of two entire fleets to finally bring him down—and after his shields dropped after Shepard killed his vessel, Reaper Saren.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: As a Reaper, he seeks the annihilation of all advanced organic life.
  • One-Man Army: Takes on the entire Alliance fleet at the same time and still destroys a massive amount of them while doing extensive damage to the Citadel that still isn't cleared up entirely in 2.
  • Ramming Always Works: Sovereign takes down a few large ships simply by plowing through them - and only because it was on a bee line to the Citadel and didn't notice nor care of what was in its way.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Shepard's entire conversation with Sovereign consists of Shepard asking what the Reapers could possibly hope to achieve and Sovereign responding with a barrage of "We-are-far-superior-your-death-is-inevitable"-style taunting.
  • Sapient Ship: Par for the course when it comes to the Reapers.
  • Screw You, Elves!: All Sovereign ever does is boast about the Reapers' superiority, but what happens to him? He gets blown up. Though he does bring almost two entire fleets down with him. Without even trying.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: When responding to Shepard's Badass Boast:
    Confidence born of ignorance. The cycle cannot be broken.
    • He does it twice.
    Shepard: You're not even alive, not really. You're a machine. And machines can be broken.
    Sovereign: Your words are as empty as your future. I am the vanguard of your destruction. This exchange is over.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He was the first, and last, Reaper to underestimate Commander Shepard.
  • The Unfought: Sort of. Shepard could never hope to beat Sovereign in a straight-up fight, what with him being a giant freaking starship. You do fight him through an indoctrinated/Villain-Overridden Saren, however.
  • Time Abyss: Possibly tens of millions of years old.
  • Vicious Cycle: Unique in that he and his kind are deliberately perpetuating it. Over and over again. For millions of years.
  • Villainous Breakdown: His tone of voice when taking control of Saren's corpse suggests that he's more than a little pissed.
  • Villains Never Lie: Ultimately averted. Pretty much everything he tells you about the Reapers and their purpose is proven wrong in the third game. While it isn't clear if he was intentionally lying or had been fed false information; some of what he tells you is flat-out absurd, like the Reapers having no creator and no beginning. Then again, he was simply trying to faze Shepard and convince him/her of the futility of going against them.
  • Voice of the Legion: The scary part is that he's not the only one...
  • We Are Legion: Concerning the Reapers. And he's absolutely right, in more than one way.
  • Walking Spoiler: Simply realizing that he's a character is a spoiler in and of itself, as that's not revealed until Virmire (more than halfway through the game, at minimum).
  • Wave Motion Gun: Several of them, one on each tentacle, and each one capable of mowing down entire space fleets.

Secondary Antagonists

    The Thorian 
The Thorian
You are within and before the Thorian. It demands that you be in awe!
"Invaders. Your every step is a transgression. A thousand feelers appraise you as meat, good only to dig or decompose."

A sentient alien plant that lives underground on the planet Feros. It is capable of controlling other sentient beings with the spores it produces by using behavioral conditioning to reshape their minds through crippling pain. Malicious and seeing all other life, sentient or otherwise, only in terms of potential thralls, it makes a deal with Saren that goes way far south.
  • Arc Villain: For Feros.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Shooting its tendrils is a good way to damage it.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: It can't conceive of any other form of sentient life as anything but a threat or potential thrall.
  • Eldritch Abomination: See Distaff Counterpart below.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Let's face it, it's pretty much an organic Reaper. Impossibly old? Check. Can control sentient beings? Check. Leader of them committing suicide in order to die as himself? Check. Bizzare alien morality? Check. Cthulu-esque? Check. The main difference is that the Reapers care nothing for anything else beyond needing them for resources, while the Thorian seems to have a god complex.
    • It's also a little gentler than the Reapers. It takes care of its thralls like a craftsman does their tools, and despite causing debilitating agony at even thoughts of resistance, when it's not using them it lets them perform a 'pantomime' of normal life. The zombielike Thorian Creepers are things it creates, it doesn't make them out of people as far as we know.
      • It also seems to be a botanical, terrestrial version of the Leviathans. It even looks down on the other races in the same way.
  • Hive Mind: Shiala reveals in 3 that, while the Thorian is truly dead, its spores have given Zhu's Hope a weak hive mind connection amongst the colonists, allowing them to put up a fight against the Reapers.
  • The Hypnotoad/Puppeteer Parasite: A bizarre combination of the two. It uses biological agents to control its slaves, but it doesn't personally invade them to do so.
  • Last of His Kind: A few characters regret having to kill it.
  • Mind Control: Via extended Mind Rape.
  • People Puppets: Courtesy of its Mind Control powers.
  • Single Specimen Species: As far as anyone knows, there is only one thorian in existence.
  • Stationary Boss: One that doesn't directly attack you, either. It leaves that job to the Creepers and asari clones.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Somewhat similar to its Noveria Arc Villain counterpart, the Rachni Queen. It flips back and forth between this and regular speech.
    • The strangeness is in part because it never speaks, even indirectly; it can only condition its thralls to speak on its behalf. Naturally, the Rachni Queen also communicates this way.
  • Time Abyss: It's been alive for at least 100,000 years. Long enough to witness more than one Reaper invasion, as the villains know.

    Shiala 
Shiala

"We are all connected. Every living being united in a single glorious existence."

Voiced by: Gwendoline Yeo

An asari who followed Matriarch Benezia when she allied herself with Saren. She was later sacrificed to the Thorian in exchange for its knowledge of the Conduit and was ultimately freed by Commander Shepard. Due to the unique mind meld she experienced as the Thorian's thrall, she is the only known person to have completely recovered from the effects of Reaper indoctrination.
  • The Atoner: If you spare her life, she becomes the protector of Zhu's Hope, saying they suffered for her misdeeds and she needs to make amends.
  • Cloning Blues: The Thorian used her to continuously produce asari clones to fight Shepard when s/he killed it on Feros.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Her exposure to the Thorian caused her to suffer from biotic instability. However, she and the other colonists of Zhu's Hope become a weak Hive Mind, and she can ignore Reaper indoctrination.
  • Face Death with Dignity/Heel Face Door Slam: If you decide to be a bastard and kill her after hearing her story, and after she gave you vital information, she is remarkably understanding and calmly kneels down for you to shoot her in the head.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The first asari to legitimately fit the title at that. She is blue when you first meet her on Feros, but she turns green by the time you see her again on Illium in the second game. She says it's a side effect of the Thorian's spores.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: If you choose to kill her on Feros, Shepard will discuss this before putting a bullet in her head.
  • Heel-Face Turn: She understandably became disillusioned with Saren after he fed her to the Thorian. The experience also had the benefit of helping her to break free of Sovereign's Mind Control.
  • Hero of Another Story: Given what she's up to off-screen after being freed from the Thorian's thrall, one gets the feeling that they could have made a fantastic Mass Effect side-game just out of her adventures.
  • Hive Mind: She and the rest of the Zhu's Hope colonists have developed this by the third game due to lingering Thorian spores, allowing them to much better defend the colony from the Reapers. She also mentions that she believes she still has some degree of indoctrination, but the hive mind effect keeps it at bay.
  • Mind over Matter: A biotic, like all asari.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: For some reason, her powers go on the fritz if she survives being ingested by the Thorian; when you encounter her two years later her skin is green instead of blue, and her biotic powers are weak and erratic when she can use them at all.

    Ethan Jeong 
Ethan Jeong
"I like people. I just like them better when they're helping ExoGeni's profits."

Voiced by: Rick Zieff

The last remaining ExoGeni Corporation representative left alive on Feros. Held up with fellow survivors on the Sky Way, he knows much more about the sinister goings-on at ExoGeni than he's willing to reveal.
  • Boom, Headshot: How he's killed if Shepard doesn't manage to persuade or threaten him to stand down.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: An ExoGeni corporation representative on Feros, he really doesn't care about ethics or morals so much as he does boosting ExoGeni's profits. He knew about the Zhu's Hope colonists being infected by the Thorian and was one of the ones who allowed it to go on in order to study the Thorian's effects on its victims. He's then willing to kill the remaining colony survivors for knowing too much.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: It's obvious right away that he's a bastard who knows more than he's letting on, so it should come as a surprise to no one when he plans on following ExoGeni's plans to purge the colony.
  • Expy: He shares a lot of characteristics with Carter Burke.
  • Jerkass: He's a dick from the word go.
  • Karma Houdini: If Shepard's able to get him to stand down, he suffers no negative repercussions for his actions. Even worse in a Paragon route where Shepard is able to convince him of the profitability of leaving the Zhu's Hope colony alive and functional.
  • Lack of Empathy: Really doesn't care at all about using colonists that trust his company as test subjects, the people who've died due to the geth invasion, or purging the colony at his boss's behest.
  • No Social Skills: Shepard can call him out on this. Jeong replies that he likes people, he just likes them more when they're helping ExoGeni's profits.
  • Smug Snake: He's a slimy company stooge with zero planning capabilities, combat prowess or charisma.
  • Too Dumb to Live: If Shepard doesn't talk him down, Jeong will try to kill the Commander. Not only is there not even a proper fight, but Jeong won't even get a shot offer before being headshotted. His mooks immediately stand down.
  • You Know Too Much: When communications come back online, ExoGeni orders Zhu's Hope colony purged, both because they fear the Thorian and to prevent their dirty secrets from coming out. Jeong's willing to oblige their request.

    Rana 
Rana Thanoptis
"I didn't have the option of negotiating! This position is a little more...permanent than I'd expected."

Voiced by: Belinda Cornish

An asari neurospecialist working for Saren.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: If you spared her, the third game reveals that Rana was indoctrinated the entire time.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the third game, she takes out a few high-ranking asari officials before killing herself during her subsequent incarceration.
  • Evil Genius: To Saren. She was hired by him to study the effects of Reaper indoctrination. This resulted in her own indoctrination.
    • Also, if she's spared in the first game, she shows up in Mass Effect 2 working with Okeer in a Blue Suns camp on Korlus.
  • Genre Savvy: If she's still alive in the second game, once Shepard finishes speaking with her, she admits she's going to run for the hills, since the last time she met Shepard, she barely managed to outrun a nuke.
  • Killed Off for Real: No matter what happens, she will die. The difference is when.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Studies neuroscience.
  • Punch Clock Villain: In the first game, all she's doing is helping the krogan with what they view as a cure for the genophage. Ironically, if you kill her then, she won't live to cause more problems in 2 (making an army for Okeer) or 3 (see above).
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Belinda Cornish, her voice actress, is the wife of Mark Meer, the voice actor of Male Shepard.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She evolves into this for the second game, genuinely believing that she's aiding the krogan by assisting with Okeer's research, even though she admits that his methods are, well, extreme.

    Droyas 
Doctor Droyas

"This is the glorious salvation of my species!"

A krogan researcher in charge of supervising the breeding grounds at Saren's base on Virmire. It's unclear whether he was indoctrinated or whether Saren had promised him a cure for the genophage if he helped out.
  • Evil Genius: What little we see of him suggests he is this to Saren.
  • Flunky Boss: Has an asari assistant to back him up.
  • Mad Scientist: A krogan mad scientist.
  • Minor Major Character: He's killed as quickly as he's introduced, but he was obviously one of Saren's chief researchers. Players can easily kill him without even hearing him speak!
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Appears to be doing some pretty depraved experiments under Saren.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Comes with being a krogan.
  • This Cannot Be!: "Where are the guards? Where's Saren?"
  • Villainous Breakdown: The second Shepard shows up, he begins ranting about how Saren will save the krogan. Whether he's insane, indoctrinated, or being manipulated isn't clear.

    Fist 
Fist

"Shepard? I heard you were dead! I had a party and everything!"

"Voiced by: John Wright

A small-time crime boss who owns Chora's Den. Formerly an agent for the Shadow Broker, but betrays his boss to work for Saren. Shepard confronts him while looking for evidence to prove Saren's guilt, and has the choice to kill or spare him. If he's spared, Fist shows up in the second game where he shows how far he's gone down.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Says he threw a party when he heard Shepard had been killed, but his mood is soured considerably when Shepard shows up in Afterlife.
  • Arc Villain: For the Citadel arc before Shepard's Spectre induction.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Averted, since he has to rely on turrets to protect him, and he goes down fairly quickly.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: While it's clear that he's only small time compared to Saren, he fails to live up to his reputation as a ruthless crime lord, meaning he likely fabricated much of his personality in order to scare people.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: If you spare him and choose the Renegade response while talking to him in the second game, Shepard says something to this effect, to which Fist replies that the least Shepard can do is remember the guy who's life s/he ruined.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Hangs around in Afterlife desperately trying to get two asari to talk to him.
  • Dirty Coward: The moment he doesn't have anyone between him and the person threatening him, he crumbles.
  • The Don: Runs an organized crime ring on the citadel. He's not as impressive as he'd like to think.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: No one ever mentions his real name.
  • Flunky Boss: He's guarded by two turrets on both sides of him. The boss fight can be ended by taking them out.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has some pretty noticeable scars running around his mouth.
  • Jerkass: Even when he's not doing anything illegal, he's an asshole.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Choosing to kill him after he's surrendered. If Wrex is already with Shepard, this is inevitable.
  • Storming the Castle: What Shepard and company do to reach him in Chora's Den.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even if you let him live, he still hates Shepard for ending his criminal career.

    Ventralis 
Captain Ventralis

"My men know the rule. Two legs good, four legs bad."

Voiced by: Chris Edgerly

Security chief for the Peak 15 research facility on Noveria. Shepard runs into him while looking for Benezia. It later turns out that he's working for Benezia and that he's under orders to kill Shepard.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Sounds legitimately upset that Benezia ordered him to kill Shepard given the chance.
  • Bald of Evil: Bald and working for Benezia.
  • Flunky Boss: Fights alongside his subordinates.
  • Genre Savvy: States that "Labs like this exist to do stupid crap that gets people killed".
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: His opinion on the rachni experiments.
  • Optional Boss: You can bypass him and his guards entirely, though it also requires a fight.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Though more brutal than most, as he has the civilian staff killed if Shepard goes into the hot labs before confronting Benezia.
  • Shout-Out: His above line comes from Animal Farm.

    Alestia 
Alestia Iallis

Voiced by: Shanelle Workman

A member of the science team at the Peak 15 research facility on Noveria. At first appearing to be just a scientist, she later turns out to be an asari commando under orders from Benezia to eliminate Shepard.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Though she wasn't exactly friendly before turning out to be a commando.
  • Blatant Lies: When asked if she knows about Benezia, her facade starts to break as she tries to quickly come up with an answer.
  • Famous Last Words: Her above quote.
  • Fantastic Racism: After Shepard upsets her meditation.
    Shepard: Did I interrupt something?
    Alestia: I was meditating. I suppose to a species as brash as yours, it would appear to be inattention.
  • Flunky Boss: She brings some geth and another commando with her when she ambushes Shepard.
  • Insufferable Genius: The façade she puts up while pretending to be a scientist.
  • Jerkass: Not even remotely pleasant even before revealing that she's evil.
  • Mugging the Monster: When she confronts Shepard, she brags about how she's got Shepard and company by themselves, moments before getting killed herself.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: More like obfuscating ignorance, but she does hint at this when confronting Shepard.
    Shepard: I thought you were a scientist.
    Alestia: You saw what you expected, nothing more.
  • Optional Boss: As with Ventralis, but it's one or the other if you want to complete the mission. Finding the cure and fighting Alestia is the easier path, as taking on Ventralis leads to a protracted gunfight whereas with Alestia it's only herself and a few lackeys. Of course, it's up to you whether the trade-off of EXP is worth it.
  • Smug Snake: She's certain that just because she has Shepard cornered in a small lab s/he'll be easy pickings. It doesn't end well for her.
  • Techno Babble
    Shepard: What do you do here?
    Alestia: (quickly) Molecular genetics. I specialize in biotic-enhanced allele-specific hybridization.
    Shepard: Yeah, that's a bit technical for me.
    Alestia: (slowly) I am very good at tracking inherited variations in genetic sequences. I am sure you would find it quite dull.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When confronting Shepard.

    Balak 
Ka'hairal Balak
Who's the real terrorist here?note 
"Those charges are still on a timer. Better hurry if you want to save your friends."

Voiced by: Fred Tatasciore

A radical Batarian terrorist that serves as the main antagonist of the Bring Down the Sky DLC. He seeks to reignite the war between the Alliance and the Batarians by crashing an asteroid into an Alliance colony.
  • Arc Villain: Of Bring Down the Sky.
  • Arch-Enemy: Balak especially despises a Shepard with a War Hero or Ruthless background.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: A high ranking member of the batarian military. Even on his own, he's a tough foe.
  • Eviler than Thou: He's extreme even by batarian standards, as his lieutenant can attest to.
  • Enemy Mine: If he survived Bring Down the Sky, he can return in Mass Effect 3 and even be convinced to have his fleet join Shepard's war effort.
  • Fantastic Racism: Holy shit, is he ever. His fellow batarians aren't as bad as this guy.
  • Flunky Boss: Fights with drones and other members of his slaving band.
  • Karma Houdini: In the Paragon ending. You get a chance to rectify this in the third game, although you if you do so, you won't get the Batarian Fleet War Asset.
    • It gets worse with him as a War Asset. The batarian fleet is a fairly strong resource, but it sucks knowing that access to it requires working with this asshole.
    Officer Noles: Do you want me to arrest him?
    Shepard: I want you to put a bullet in his head... but we're all making some sacrifices today.
  • La Résistance: Convinced that he is but the first of a wave of batarian terrorists who will initiate a campaign of terror across human space.
  • Never My Fault: Applies this to his species as a whole with his "What the Hell, Hero?" speech about how the Hegemony falling is Shepard's fault in 3.
  • No One Could Survive That: If you leave him to bleed out in the first game, he turns out to have survived and escaped in the third game.
  • Not So Different: If you sacrifice the hostages, he will claim this.
  • Revenge Before Reason: How some of his men views his methods.
    • In 3, he murders a whole bunch of Alliance personnel in order to help his people... which is a pretty stupid move in and of itself. He could have tapped communications without sabotaging Alliance resources, but he targeted humans out of spite. "How can I help my people survive the Reaper onslaught? I know! I should kill other people who are fighting the Reapers!"
  • Sadistic Choice: Forces Shepard to choose between stopping him or saving the hostages.
    • And again in 3, choosing between avenging all the people he's killed, or enlisting him and the remnants of the Batarian Fleet to fight the Reapers.
  • Shadow Archetype: He's similar to Saren in many respects. State-sponsored terrorists with a grudge against humans and impressive resources. They differ largely in that Saren cares far more about the Reapers to concern himself with anything else, whereas Balak is so prejudiced against humans that he almost makes Saren look pleasant.
  • Unexpected Successor: When the Reapers tear through the batarian military, he's left as the highest-ranking officer in the entire Hegemony.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He tries to paint himself as this, but it's averted in that nothing he says justifies what he attempts to do. He even tries to accuse Shepard of being responsible for Kate Bowman's death when Balak was the one who set the bomb and triggers it if Shepard refuses to let him escape.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He tries this if Shepard refuses to let him go. He tells Shepard that s/he is to blame for the deaths of Kate and her team after Balak blows the charges. At his accusation that "Who's the real terrorist here?" Shepard can retort that "You are. But you're dead."
    • He also tries to blame Shepard for the destruction of the entire Hegemony by the Reapers, though his logic is squiffy. The short version is that, by stopping Balak from bombing Terra Nova, the Hegemony "had" to start doing more research on the Leviathan of Dis, an ancient derelict starship the batarians spirited away from a crash site on the planet Jartar, in order to get an edge over the Alliance. The Leviathan was a Reaper. Hilarity Ensues; much of the Hegemony's government and military command is indoctrinated, and when the Reapers arrive the Hegemony gets stomped into the mud. And its all Shepard's fault! Shepard can only get him to stand down peacefully by saying whatever happened, they're all in this together now.
  • Who Needs Enemies?: In 3, you can convince him to throw what's left of the batarian military into the fight against the Reapers. But he's not doing it to help you... he's doing it because this is the only way he can think of to save his species from being assimilated.
  • You Are in Command Now: If he lives, he reveals in Mass Effect 3 that he's the highest ranked officer left in the remnants of the batarian military.

    Charn 
Charn
"This was supposed to be a simple slave run."

Voiced by: Jason Singer

Balak's main lieutenant in Bring Down the Sky.
  • The Dragon: To Balak.
    • Dragon Their Feet: He can be convinced to leave the asteroid with a high enough Charm or Intimidate level.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's fine with taking slaves, but dropping an asteroid on a populated planet is too much for him.
  • Oh Crap: If Shepard decides to kill him, rather than negotiate his cooperation for a free escape.
    Charn: I signed on to make a little profit. Just a quick slave-grab, nothing more.
    (Renegade) Shepard: Good enough for me.
    Charn: ...Dammit.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He sees no practical benefit to Balak's plan.
  • Punch Clock Villain: He signed up with Balak strictly to make some money, and bails the second Balak's other agendas interfere with that.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He had negative opinions on the mission since Balak joined up, and with enough Charm or Intimidate points, can be convinced to leave.

    "Lord" Darius 
"Lord" Darius

"You think you can take me down? I've killed worse than you!"

Voiced by: Townsend Coleman

A warlord supplied by the Alliance to clear out the Skyllian Verge of the batarians. After doing so, however, his extortion of Element Zero led them to abandon him. If Shepard is mostly Renegade aligned, Admiral Hackett sends her/him to negotiate with Darius, but it soon becomes clear that it's a set-up.
  • Arc Villain: For his quest.
  • Bald of Evil: Bald and a ruthless pirate.
  • Batman Gambit: Hackett fully expects Shepard to kill Darius, and Shepard realizes that it's a set-up before the mission even begins. This proves true when Darius makes outrageous demands, though you can still negotiate the treaty with him.
  • Beard of Evil: Bearded and a ruthless pirate.
  • Call Back: Shepard's line, "I kill worse than you on the way to real problems" is referenced in the second game when talking to Bailey during Thane's loyalty mission, where he mentions that Mouse is selling a VI of Shepard that says "I delete data like you on the way to real errors." Garrus (or Tali) jokingly comments on how extreme Shepard is.
  • Flunky Boss: Has 8 mercenaries protecting him.
  • It's All About Me: Only cares what the Alliance can give him.
  • Large Ham: Chews the scenery when ranting about his relationship with the Alliance.
  • No Indoor Voice: Near constantly shouting.
  • Not So Different: Half quotes this when he claims that he was given supplies by the Alliance to counterattack the batarians.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: If playing as a female, then Darius is insulted when Shepard shows up, saying that he expected the Alliance to take the negotiation seriously, before asking if Shepard will use her "assets" to extract concessions.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: He'll make a comment based on whatever background you have. For example, have the Ruthless background and he'll say "Your only mark of distinction is that you stupidly got your own soldiers killed on Torfan."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Shepard gives one to him.
    Darius: Actually, given my rank, I'd prefer that you call me Lord Darius. Or, how about "Your Lordship" if my name is too difficult for you?
    Shepard: Is that a bad joke? I've killed worse than you on my way to real problems!
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In spades. He's a petty pirate, and yet he demands people refer to him as "lord".
  • Smug Snake: He clearly thinks he's a major threat to Shepard and the Alliance. He doesn't last long.
  • Villainous Breakdown: If Shepard refuses to negotiate.
    Darius: The Alliance will learn to respect me when I send them your bloody corpse!

     Dr. Saleon 

Garrus's "That One Case": a corrupt salarian geneticist who used people as living organ banks. He fled the Citadel on a ship carrying hostages, and C-Sec countermanded Garrus's order to Shoot the Dog. You can find and confront Saleon, now going by "Doctor Heart", in Garrus's first-game "loyalty mission".

  • Back-Alley Doctor: His main targets were the poor, who he'd offer a percentage of his profit - if the organs grew properly. If not, he just left them in there.
  • Bad Boss: His victims included his own employees.
  • Body Horror: His stock in trade; his most recent victims look more like Thorian Creepers than anything.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He has the dubious honour of being the weakest enemy in the game. Talk Garrus out of executing him and he pulls a gun anyway, only to die in one hit.
  • Mad Doctor: Or just hugely unethical and self-serving.
  • Playing with Syringes

    Cerberus 
Cerberus
"Strength for Cerberus is strength for every human. Cerberus is humanity."
The Illusive Man

A pro-human former Alliance black ops group with the aim of advancing humanity's role in the galactic community. Due to disagreements with Alliance command, they eventually went rogue and became an N.G.O. Superpower in their own right. They appear in a Sidequest Sidestory in the first game, where they are experimenting on rachni and Thorian Creepers, aiming to create super soldiers; they're also believed to have a hand in the traumatic first encounter between humanity and Thresher Maws on Akuze, and they kill an Alliance admiral who was asking too many questions. They return in the second game, where they bring back Shepard after his death with the Lazarus Project, in order to stop the Reaper threat. There, they serve as Shepard's main financial backer, rebuilding the Normandy, giving Shepard's team custom weapons, providing intelligence, and paying Shepard after each mission. In the third game, they turn on Shepard and effectively declare war on the galaxy in their attempt to control the Reapers using ancient technology found on Mars.
  • Arc Villain: In the first game, Cerberus was encountered in a handful of the assignments, but had no impact on the main plot. In 3, they and the Reapers comprise the game's Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Ascended Extra/Chekhov's Army: Became far more important starting with the second game.
  • Badass Army: Aside from the two basic types of troops (Assault Troopers and Nemeses), Cerberus soldiers in the third game are all badass. For example, Centurions are Power Armor-wearing cyborgs with rocket boots and electrified batons that wield Mattock rifles and are highly skilled in infantry tactics (and will resort to Grenade Spam if that doesn't work). A single Cerberus cruiser is also viewed as a significant threat to a small Alliance battle group, and superior to the ''Normandy'' itself. Cerberus's military manages to consistently outwit and overpower the most badass organizations in the galaxy including the salarian STG, the turian Blackwatch special forces, and the Citadel Defense Force. Campbell even comments that, with Cerberus's technology, the salarians may as well have been throwing rocks. Shepard and his squadmates are the only ones who manage to have any success against them until the end.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: They are revealed to be indoctrinated, as of the third game.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the third game's Omega DLC, Aria's botched attempt to retake Omega was basically this, in favor of Cerberus. Not only did Cerberus have more advanced warships, consisting of cruisers and fighters enhanced with Reaper tech, but they also had the significant defenses of Omega on their side, while Aria's fleet didn't have any dreadnoughts that would let them outrange the cannons on Omega. Her fleet was quickly cut to shreds, despite outnumbering Cerberus, and the ground forces that did manage to land were hunted down and butchered by Cerberus's professional soldiers. The only thing that prevented the operation from being a complete failure was Shepard, Aria, and Nyreen personally fighting their way through the station and inciting a rebellion after disabling Cerberus's automated crowd control defenses, resulting in the entire population rising up and overwhelming the Cerberus forces on Omega.
  • Defector from Decadence: In the third game, there are several former Cerberus characters that have since abandoned the cause, including large elements of Project Phoenix, who are playable in Multiplayer.
  • The Dreaded: They are heavily feared across the Terminus Systems, and for good reason. The quarians are also not very fond of them, the reasons behind which form the plot of Ascension.
  • Elite Mooks: According to Cambell, Cerberus troops in general are this compared to Alliance marines and other common soldiers. For the most part this holds true in gameplay as well, even for basic grunts. Compared to the basic merc troopers from Mass Effect 2, as well as the Alliance and Hegemony troops you fight in the Arrival DLC, the basic Cerberus grunt, the Assault Trooper, has slightly more health, melee attacks, stronger weapons, more mobility thanks to their rocket boots, can roll to dodge powers, can see through smoke, and can throw far stronger grenades with better accuracy. However, Shepard and his squad get even more badass in this game, and their selection of weapons gets even stronger, so it balances out.
  • Enemy Mine: With Shepard and his/her Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits in Mass Effect 2, particularly with the idea of employing alien operatives.
  • Eternal Recurrence: An element of the Cycle of Reaping is that some clandestine splinter factions often gets the notion that the Reapers can be harnessed and dominated, and said splinter faction ends up as indoctrinated pawns of the Reapers instead. Cerberus becomes this element for this cycle.
  • Evil Knockoff:
    • Phantoms are nearly identical to a class of Alliance N7 operatives known as Slayers in terms of skills. The main difference is that Phantoms are also biotics, so they have biotic barriers instead of shields, the ability to protect a spherical barrier around them, and Phase Disruptor instead of Electric Slash. Also, they can quickly fire their Phase Disruptor in bursts of three shots at a time, while the version available to players can only fire once at a time before needing to recharge. Their version also doesn't drain their barrier power.
    • Inverted with Dragoons: they're a Cerberus original, but numerous soldiers of this class defected to the Alliance side. Like Phantoms, the Alliance and Cerberus versions of these classes are different. The Cerberus version is more defense oriented, with the the Smash and Fortification powers, the latter resulting in them taking reduced damage and being resistant to staggers, while the Alliance version is more offense oriented, not having Fortification, but possessing Lash and either Singularity or Charge on top of Smash, being more of a Glass Cannon as a result.
  • Faceless Goons: In the third game. There is a reason for this though; to hide the their new husk-like appearance.
  • Fantastic Racism: Somewhat of a given considering their motives. Certain characters like Jacob and Miranda are at least willing to cooperate with aliens while others like Kai Leng (at least in the books) and Maya Brooks play this pretty straight.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In the second game, bringing Shepard back exactly as he/she was before, leading to their Faustian Rebellion.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Cerberus science projects almost always tend to backfire horribly, resulting in massive casualties and Shepard needing to clean up the results. This is lampshaded in the Citadel DLC. During the party, Joker, EDI, Miranda and Jacob are talking together and Joker jokes about Cerberus' projects constantly going wrong. Let's list them all, shall we?
    • Experimenting on rachni: showed progress and promise, goes wrong and they start killing their guys.
    • Creating thorian "husks": showed progress and promise, goes wrong and they start killing their guys.
    • Project Overlord, an experiment to control geth: showed progress and promise, goes wrong and they start killing their guys.
    • Resurrecting Shepard: showed progress and promise, s/he drops them and starts killing their guys. Also just to note, the project had a traitor, who also started killing their guys, with only Jacob and Miranda surviving.
    • Enhanced Defense Intelligence: showed progress and promise, joins Shepard and starts killing their guys.
    • Dr. Eva: showed progress and promise, gets her body stolen by EDI from above and she starts killing their guys in person.
    • The creation of Subject Zero: showed progress and promise, things went wrong and Jack started killing their guys.
    • The Collector base (or remains): showed progress and promise, got them indoctrinated, leading to the path of their destruction.
    • Two of their best operatives, Jacob and Miranda: known for getting results, leave and start killing their guys.
    • The Phoenix group from the multiplayer: showed progress and promise, they left and started killing their guys.
    • Henry Lawson's project in Sanctuary: where the experimental husks made from unfortunate refugees went crazy and out of control when Reapers got near and, alongside the attacking Reapers... started killing their guys.
    • The results of the previous project: which were supposed to be used to control Reapers, got installed into the Illusive Man but essentially made him into Saren 2.0 in more ways than one... or five. Pretty much an extra final nail in Cerberus's coffin.
    Wrex: Another failed experiment... Well, it's good to know they're at least reliably stupid.
    • The fandom has created the "Cerberus Taco Cart Theorem" which states that if Cerberus built a taco cart it would go rogue, take over their base, and start killing their guys.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Lampshaded by Joker in the Citadel DLC, that in the old days, Cerberus were hilariously incompetent, referring back to several encountered projects that failed because the subjects "got loose and started killing all their guys". When Miranda attempts to use the Lazarus Project as an example of Cerberus' successes for managing to resurrect Shepard;
    Shepard: And after taking down the Collectors, I cut ties with Cerberus, got loose... and started killing all their guys!
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In Mass Effect 3.
  • Kick the Dog: They do this. A lot. Best exemplified on Thessia in the third game.
  • Knight Templar: Their aim is to protect humanity. Just looking at the other entries gives you an insight to their methods.
  • Mooks: In both the first game and the third game. In the first game, Cerberus Commandos were the most basic mooks; in the third, it's the Assault Troopers.
    • Cold Sniper: Cerberus Snipers in the first game and the Nemesis snipers in the third.
    • Elite Mooks: Centurions in the third game.
    • Gas Mask Mooks: All of them in the third game, really.
    • Kung-Fu Proof Mook: Dragoons from the Retaliation DLC of the third game are immune to Pull, Throw, Stasis, and other biotic powers that rely on throwing around enemies at all times due to having an armor bar instead of a health bar. This is not true of any other Cerberus foot soldier.
      • Also, Phantoms, like Dragoons, are one of the small list of humanoid enemies immune to over-cover grabs. They can also project a spherical biotic barrier that both reduces damage from your weapons and completely cancels out damage from your powers.
    • Mecha-Mooks: Due to manpower shortages, they make extensive use of the Rampart Mechs on Omega for keeping the population in line.
    • Mook Medic/The Turret Master: Cerberus Engineers can deploy extremely irritating turrets and keep both them and Atlases repaired. With the Sabotage skill, you can temporarily stop Atlases from attacking and even make turrets attack their engineers.
    • Replacement Mooks: Indirectly become this to the Reapers, in a way. Their leader is indoctrinated, and does a lot of what the Reapers want unwillingly, even if the factions still do fight each other directly numerous times.
    • Shield-Bearing Mook: Guardians.
    • Slave Mooks: Most of their soldiers in the third game are refugees who have been indoctrinated and jammed full of cybernetics. Background conversations suggest that many still join Cerberus willingly, though without knowing what they actually do to their troops.
    • Superpowered Mooks: Research Technicians in the first game and Phantoms and Dragoons in the third.
  • Mad Scientist: They have a habit of hiring them.
  • Meaningful Name: In Greek mythology, Cerberus is the three headed dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld, specifically keeping those who crossed the river Styx from escaping. The ferryman who carries people across the river Styx is named Charon. The man who would later be known as the Illusive Man wrote an anonymous manifesto where he claimed that an alien attempt at human genocide was inevitable and thus humanity needed an army, a "Cerberus" to guard against invasion from the Charon relay.
  • Mini-Mecha: Their Atlas Mechs.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: Cerberus has people everywhere, is extremely powerful, and damn hard to track down.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: In the first game, they were relatively tame, just running a few outposts and research facilities on isolated planets. Later in the series, their power is massively increased. However, in 2, they still had limits; constructing the Normandy, a single frigate (albeit a very high tech one twice the size of a normal frigate) was supposed to have consumed a significant fraction of their budget. In the third game, it gets insane. They possess, among other things, super advanced fleets of cruisers and fighters that can challenge the Alliance in straight up combat, a battleship (in a universe where an entire race having one battleship denotes them as a great power), enough funds to fund the building of their own weapons, vehicles, and armor, dozens of facilities spread out across the galaxy, and hundreds of thousands of super soldiers (plus the APCs and shuttles to carry them and the high tech weapons and armor to equip them), including enough soldiers to attack the Citadel, basically the capital of the galaxy, flat-out occupy several colonies with millions of people like Eden Prime and Benning, and completely take Omega, casually sweeping aside the other four or so NGO Superpowers there. Even with the financial backing they receive from major corporations, their power is ridiculous for a simple human terrorist group.
    • It's revealed in the third game that "NGO" may be stretching it; via a Xanatos Gambit on part of the Illusive Man and Petrovsky, Cerberus has become the government of Omega, and has been free to use all of its resources for their goals, including its ship facilities and massive supply of eezo. This explains their seemingly improbable wealth. Further, their troops aren't hired, but indoctrinated, unwilling slaves — possibly supplied from Sanctuary by Henry Lawson.
  • No OSHA Compliance: A lot of the reasons why so many Cerberus experiments go horribly wrong is that they play a lot more fast and loose with safety regulations, being extremists and existing outside the law and all.
    • Engineer Adams mentions that it took months to bring the second Normandy up to Alliance spec, as for all the technical achievements present in its design, Cerberus liked to cut corners everywhere.
  • Playing with Syringes: Most of their experiments tend to be nothing short of inhumane as well as being highly impractical. However, according to the Illusive Man himself, most of them tend to be "rogue cells", though it could easily be interpreted as him claiming Plausible Deniability to look good in front of Shepard. Unfortunately, they also have a shockingly low success rate, as detailed above.
    • He's telling the truth at least once, though: it's implied that the Pragia facility that tortured Jack really was a rogue cell, since you listen to audio recordings that prove that the staff members were hiding their actions from the Illusive Man, and feared what he would do to them if he found out. Of course, as Jack points out, the staff members didn't say what they were hiding from the Illusive Man, so even their original parameters could have been some form of playing with syringes, especially since many of the audio files on that mission talk about their continued lack of results...
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Though calling them "well-intentioned" may be stretching it.
  • Whip It Good: Dragoons from the third game use a powerful biotic variant.

NPCs

Normandy Crew

    Joker 
Flight Lieutenant Jeff "Joker" Moreau
Sometimes I get the urge to turn off the internal compensators and pull a Crazy Ivan, you know?

"I'm not good. I'm not even great. I'm the best damn helmsman in the Alliance fleet."

Voiced by: Seth Green

The pilot of the Normandy. While he is handicapped by Vrolik's Syndrome (brittle bone disease), he's an essential member of the team, serving as Mission Control and all-around piloting badass.
  • Ace Pilot: Claims at least to be the best pilot in the Alliance. His Academy performance bears that out; even the Illusive Man seems to agree.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The only playable character in the series other than Shepard, in the single-player mode.
  • Ascended Extra: Joker goes from being effectively part of the scenery in the first game (never once seen outside of his pilot's chair) to having a much larger role (most notably the one referenced in the spoiler-protected entry just above this one) in the second.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority/Batman Gambit: The tie-in comic Mass Effect: He Who Laughs Best tells the story of how he came to be the pilot of the Normandy. He applied for the position, but one of its turian commanding officers refused due to his illness. Joker then proceeded to steal the frigate from under them, maximizing its mobility to avoid the troops trying to stop him, completing the test course for its shakedown run before returning it and immediately getting arrested. A short while later, before he is about to stand trial before the Alliance, the turian officer insists on making him the Normandy's pilot.
  • Badass Pilot: One of the best pilots in the Alliance.
  • Bring News Back: What Shepard tasks Joker with doing in the Everybody Dies ending of Mass Effect 2. Before dying.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: It is revealed in Mass Effect 3 that he risks breaking his bones even if he just engages in some "light over-the-clothes action." He can be caught asking Mordin how to manage it anyway.
    • However, it's unclear if he can't have sex with anyone, or just EDI, since her robot body is significantly stronger than a human.
  • Character Development: He is noticeably less... jokey in the first game. It's even lampshaded in his backstory that he got the nickname because his flight instructor found him so serious while working hard to become the best pilot in the fleet. In the second game, he's doling out jokes and banter like his namesake. In the third game we discover this is probably due to the fact that he feels guilty that Shepard died saving him in 2, and joking is his way of keeping Shepard's morale up, which he confirms in 3.
  • Characterization Marches On: An unfortunate example: In Mass Effect 1, Joker makes it clear that he earned the right to pilot the Normandy by being "The best damn helmsman in the alliance fleet." His record spoke for him. Years later, Joker's origin story comic reveals he took the Normandy on the joyride, and risked his own career to prove he was the best.
  • Cluster S Bomb: "Shit! Shit! Shitshitshit! What the SHIT?! Shitshitshitshitshitshit!"
  • Covert Pervert: Listens to porn while flying the ship and asks Shepard to take pictures of Miranda and Jack's fight.
    • 'Covert?'
  • Deadpan Snarker: Despite "Joker" originally being ironic, he can lay down snark with the best of them (not surprising, given who voices him).
    "I guess the geth aren't all bad, huh? They're like EDI's ex-con uncle we don't talk about."

    "I'm glad that mess is over for Tali, Commander. Some of those quarians... I guess living aboard a ship can really mess with your priorities? Not that I would know... ah, I just burned myself. Great."

    "Two years and everything hits the crapper. That'll teach you to die on me."
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The guy killed Sovereign.
  • Disabled Snarker: His bone disease makes him extremely cynical.
  • Does Not Like Spam: After Therum, if Shepard denies Joker a medal, Joker retorts that he at least deserves a cake. Hold the coconut, though. He hates that crap.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe. Though Shepard usually just rolls his/her eyes at his jokes, his crack about the asari after the fall of Thessia is one of the few moments where Shepard will tell him to shut up. As in, no dialogue option will have Shepard let Joker off easy for that ill-timed wisecrack.
  • Escalating War: He winds up engaged in one of these with EDI, with him muting her until his thumb breaks, her making his chair spin unexpectedly, him putting grease on her camera lenses which all turns out to be a simple case of Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Joker is literally the only person to survive the events of the second game in the worst ending.
    • Also happens when EDI asks Joker to flush out the ship atmosphere to eject the invading Collectors. "What about the crew?" "They are gone, Jeff. The Collectors took them."
  • Fake Static: When he lets slip about Shepard hanging up on the Council to Liara, he quickly claims they're "going through some dark matter".
  • Famed in Story: Nowhere near the extent as Shepard, but when he and Garrus exchange some good-natured speciesist jokes in ME3, Joker is indirectly the subject of one of Garrus's, who claims he heard it from a private on Palaven (why does the Alliance hire pilots with brittle bone disease? So their marines can beat someone in hand-to-hand drills).
  • Gaussian Girl: Joker cheerfully claims he was trying to invoke this when he smeared EDI's optics with grease.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Brittle boned, but he can fly.
  • Green Eyes: Oh, those pretty, pretty emerald eyes.
  • Gunship Rescue: Uses the Normandy to pull people out of dangerous situations on multiple occasions.
  • Handicapped Badass: Joker has Vrolik's Syndrome, also known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta or brittle bone disease. Basically, he can barely jog, and the slightest injury can break bones. He leads the 5th fleet into battle to save the Citadel especially when if you pick a Paragon option to save the Council, they fly in like Big Damn Heroes. Even more badass is how Joker manages to give the final killing blow on Sovereign in a puny frigate. Notable too is that during said sequence, the normally talkative Joker is completely silent. Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
    • At the end of Mass Effect 2, the Normandy arrives to rescue Shepard and his/her team. The airlock opens to reveal Joker hefting an assault rifle and taking potshots at Collectors. He even takes a couple down. Note that he is doing so on two broken legs and with several broken ribs.
  • Hiding The Handicap: He keeps the fact that he has Vrolik syndrome hidden from most people because he doesn't want anyone to think he's had any special favors to earn his current position.
  • Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: In the Citadel DLC, Joker makes up a story about how he single-handedly wiped out a Cerberus platoon in an Atlas mech in an attempt to get a discount for drinks.
  • Hope Spot: From Mordin.
    Mordin: Working on cure for Joker's Condition. A simple treatment would... No would cause liver failure. Start over.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": An extremely sozzled Dr. Chakwas will inform you that Joker named his "Admiral Winky." That's right, Admiral, meaning Shepard is outranked by Joker's penis.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: "It takes skill to bank a ship in vacuum — don't think it doesn't!"
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Bears more than a passing resemblance to Seth Green. See for yourself.
  • Insufferable Genius: Players fresh to the series might scoff at his early claims in the original Mass Effect that he's the best pilot in the Alliance. However, he demonstrates the validity of his bragging again. And again. And again.
  • Insult Friendly Fire: Inflicts this upon himself after Tali's loyalty mission. Living aboard a ship your whole really screws with your priorities - uh, wait...
    • And again in the Citadel DLC. He, EDI, Miranda, Jacob, and Shepard are talking about how Cerberus used to be Incompetence, Inc.. EDI points out that she is a Cerberus product.
    Joker: Aw, crap.
  • Ironic Nickname: Joker took flight school very seriously, and he was given the nickname by an instructor who constantly needled him for being so grim. After he graduated with flying colors, he let the nickname become a conventional one.
  • It's All My Fault: In the third game, Joker reveals he has been secretly blaming himself for Shepard's death, feeling that because he refused to leave the Normandy, it was his fault that Shepard had to come rescue him, got spaced, then had to be rebuilt by Cerberus.
  • It's Personal: Joker has shades of this against the Collector Ship in the second game. It destroyed the first Normandy and dared to do the same to its successor. When Joker opens fire during the suicide mission with the upgraded cannons, he makes it perfectly clear why no one gets away with laying a finger on his baby.
    Joker How do you like that you sons-of-bitches?! Give them hell, girl!
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Near the end of the first game, the Normandy is trying to land on a planet that contains the Conduit they and Saren have been looking for. While dodging air defenses and desperately looking for a way to get down, Pressley insists they can't drop the Mako because they're too close to the ground to successfully deploy it. Joker fixes his gaze and states "I can do it." No jokes, no bravado. The best pilot in the Alliance has a job to do, and by God he's going to do it.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: After EDI is unshackled and saves the ship from the Collectors, their relationship changes. EDI even stops calling him "Mr. Moreau" and starts referring to him as "Jeff." Kasumi invokes this word-for-word.
  • Moment Killer: Cheerfully so in the first game.
  • Never Bareheaded: He's always wearing a cap. The one exception is during the opening cutscene of the mission to Ilos, which is the only time in the first game where the action is focused on him.
    Joker: You want luck on your side? Never wash your hat. Dad told me that. I think.
  • Non-Action Snarker: Doesn't take direct part in the action, but one of the snarkiest members of the crew.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In ME3, he gets out of his chair and salutes Shepard before the final mission.
  • Overly-Long Gag: In the Citadel DLC during Shepard's party, when Shepard offers to dance with EDI in place of him. Cue 30 uninterrupted seconds of Joker laughing at the idea of Shepard dancing.
  • Perma Stubble: He once joked about Shepard recommending him for a medal after saving him/her from "swimming in molten sulfur," but is convinced he doesn't want one since he'd have to deal with the ceremony for receiving it.
    Joker: Yeah, they'd probably make me shave, too. I just spent the last seven weeks working on this baby. No medal's worth that.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: While other characters also have their funny moments, conversation with Joker are almost entirely optional and serve no other purpose than to be a source of comedy.
    • Though as we find out in 3, his constant joking does have a purpose. Basically, it's to keep Shepard from going completely off the deep end, after all the hell s/he goes through.
  • Porn Stash: According to EDI, he has a few zetta'bytesnote  of the stuff hidden away in the Normandy computers. She flooded Cerberus with it after they tried to shut her down remotely. And no, she wasn't joking about that. At least, not about the size of the porn stash.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Is the first to rejoin Shepard's crew and clearly wants to try to reunite as many of his former comrades from the first Normandy as he can.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: In "Citadel", he tries to convince a bartender to give him free drinks by claiming that he fought off the Cerberus coup with an Atlas mech. During the fake flashback:
    Joker: It's joking time!
  • Robosexual: Will enter into a relationship with EDI in a cybernetic body in Mass Effect 3 if Shepard encourages both of them.
  • Quizzical Tilt: His reaction to EDI's "humans on their knees" comment.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Being one of Shepard's most loyal followers doesn't stop him from snarking to him/her constantly.
  • Scotty Time: Joker apparently deliberately pads his estimates to make himself look good when he pulls off whatever his tasks are in under that. EDI calls him out on this.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: While he never actually says it, his facial expression and worried "Aw, shit!" definitely fit when the Collectors board the Normandy, and Joker finds out he has to run briskly hobble all the way from the cockpit to a maintenance shaft all the way at the opposite end of the deck, then make his way to the AI core from there, all the while trying to not get dragged off or killed.
    • His reaction in the intro of Mass Effect 2, being the first to realise that the Collector Warship has locked weapons because they can see them.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Despite their frequent spats, he and EDI work best when together.
  • Undying Loyalty: He will follow Shepard to hell and back, like so many other characters.
    • So much so that Anderson, worried about Shepard physically and mentally, asked Joker to take care of him/her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gives a quick one to Shepard, blaming him/her for not being on the ship when the Collectors attacked and abducted the crew. He even threatens to leave but given his Undying Loyalty to Shepard, it's just emotions. EDI points that out as well.
    • In the Citadel DLC, he's not happy when he realizes that Shepard used him as live bait to distract the mercenaries while s/he got the drop on them and stole a gun. He lightens up about it however, after Shepard ends up exiting the club by falling through the fish tank.

    Chakwas 
Doctor Karin Chakwas
Or maybe I'm just happily drunk.

"I've lived a full life — no regrets. I'd like to make sure the crew gets the same opportunity."

Voiced by: Carolyn Seymour

The chief medical officer stationed aboard the Normandy. When Joker joined Cerberus, she went with him, ostensibly to keep an eye on his Vrolik's Syndrome, but really to keep an eye on him.
  • Ascended Extra: In the first game, she is there for a bit of exposition early on, and then doesn't have much in the way of new dialog later on. In ME2, she becomes the de facto Team Mom of the crew.
  • Drink Order: She prefers a specialty called Serrice Ice Brandy. You can get a bottle for her in the second game. Which both of you then get completely wasted on. Then has quite a Mood Whiplash as she starts remembering dead crewmembers.
    • Mentioned in 3 that she's not forgotten that Shepard promised that getting hammered on brandy is their new yearly ritual.
  • In Harm's Way: After the destruction of the SSV Normandy, Chakwas was given a post at the Mars Naval Medical Center. A pretty sweet deal actually, but she couldn't stand being in one place for too long:
    Dr. Chakwas: I've spent most of my life on warhsips, never knowing what the next mission might bring. I'm used to the hum of engines, the creaking bulkheads, the subtle vertigo when the momentum dampeners kick in. Life planetside is too static, too boring.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the second game, if Shepard asks her about why she is working for Cerberus;
    Chakwas: I'm not working for Cerberus, Commander... I'm working for you.
  • Just a Machine: Gets into an argument over whether synthetics are "alive" with Adams later in the game, providing another either/or support choice for Shepard. Chakwas takes the stance that they're machines, Adams that "machine" doesn't necessarily mean "inanimate".
  • Lady Drunk: Shows subtle hints of having become this by 2 and 3, due to stress and the death of various friends. This also may be due to getting royally wasted with Shepard, once a year.
  • Last Name Basis: Right up until the third game, where Shepard can call her Karin over another bottle of wine. She feels that using Shepard's first name would be a disservice to what s/he's fighting for. Or it's just her prerogative as a lady.
  • Loophole Abuse: The only member of the Normandy crew in ME3 to avoid having formal charges pressed against them for working with Cerberus, since she had cleared her absence of leave with the Alliance beforehand, and because she did not accept any payment for acting as the ship's doctor, she cannot legally be considered to have been under their employ. Though she does acknowledge that she likely only avoided an accessory charge thanks to Earth being attacked before Shepard could actually be found guilty of anything.
  • Mildly Military: She's quite possibly the least "military" member of the Normandy crew that is part of any species's military. The Codex is 3 reveals that she holds the rank of major.
  • Noble Bigot: Not towards aliens, but 3 shows that she point-blank refuses to accept artificial intelligences as truly alive. Even though Engineer Adams, who is clearly a good friend of hers, and (depending on the player) Shepard him/herself argue against her, she dismisses their arguments and maintains that they are just machines. This does not change the fact that she is, overall, a good person.
  • Not Important to This Episode Camp: There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it explanation of her absence from the Citadel DLC. Traynor mentions an emergency medical consult on the Citadel during the party. "She sent some fancy liquor, though. It was great! Wish you could have had some!"
  • Older than They Look: Granted it's mentioned repeatedly how medical advances have slowed aging in humans, but Dr. Chakwas is probably the most telling example.
  • Parental Substitute: Frequently acts a mother-figure towards Shepard.
    • She also has to remind Joker to look after himself.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Jumps at the chance to come back to the Normandy in both 2 and 3.
  • Significant Anagram: Her name is an anagram of "hacksaw."
  • Sole Survivor: If Shepard delays in saving the crew from the Collectors, Dr. Chakwas will always be the last one alive to call him/her out for not hurrying. If she's sent back without an escort then she'll die for good.
  • So Proud of You: Tells Shepard that she's very proud of him/her before the assault on Earth.
  • Team Mom: Dr. Chakwas is definitely the most nurturing person on either of the Normandys, and often takes it upon herself to look out for the crew.
    • Lampshades this in ME3 when asked about her family.
    "I am the last of a prestigious line of medical professionals. The Alliance is my spouse and you are all my children."
  • To Absent Friends: One of the toasts Chakwas and Shepard can share during the brandy drinking cutscene.
  • Undying Loyalty: Do you even need to ask?

    Pressly 
Navigator/Executive Officer Charles Pressly
"I know we'll all be court-martialed if this doesn't work out, but part of me loves this!"

Voiced by: Dwight Schultz

The navigation officer of the Normandy who is later promoted to XO once Shepard has been given command of the ship by Anderson. He enlisted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, then received his officer's commission after participating in the Skyllian Blitz.
  • Bald of Awesome: Bald and a reliable member of the crew.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: See Plotline Death.
  • Fan Nickname: He's known as "Hugs and Kisses Pressly" on the Mass Effect forums.
  • Fantastic Racism: A little more than Ashley, especially where turians are concerned, but Shepard can help him to see past this point of view, and his datapad found at the Normandy's crash site indicates that he had grown to respect his otherworldly comrades.
  • Foreshadowing: His death is the first hint we get that Anyone Can Die in the sequel, even the crew.
  • Mauve Shirt: He gets a few conversations and some characterization in the first game and he's the first person to die during the Collectors' attack on the Normandy at the beginning of the second game.
  • The Navigator: His role before becoming XO.
  • Number Two: In the first game, Pressly served as the XO of the Normandy, acting as Relief-Captain whenever Shepard was ashore.
  • Plotline Death: He dies in the beginning of Mass Effect 2, knocked out by a support beam during the Collectors' attack.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: He is the first character from the original game to die in the sequel.
  • Undying Loyalty: He's right behind Shepard's decision to steal the Normandy from Udina's grounding.

    Adams 
Lieutenant Gregory Adams
"You've got an eye for talent, Commander."
"If you name a class of Alliance ship, I've probably served on it. Everything from dreadnoughts and carriers right down to frigates like the Normandy."

Voiced by: Roger Jackson

The Chief Engineer aboard the Normandy. He's reassigned to a new post following Shepard's death in the beginning of Mass Effect 2, but he's back under Shepard's command in Mass Effect 3.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Seems to have been one to Tali; she'll note in the second game that she's been having difficulty getting used to his absence.
  • Hyper Awareness: Apparently the only Alliance technician who wasn't fooled for a minute that EDI was "just a VI" program. After she reveals the truth to him, he admits he was genuinely impressed with the way she kept counteracting his attempts to secretly disconnect her.
  • Military Brat: Both of his parents serve on an Alliance agricultural vessel under Admiral Hackett's command.
  • The Engineer: He's incredibly talented at what he does, and in ME3 reveals he was was put in charge of the team tasked with bringing the second Normandy up to Alliance-spec, something that took months to complete. While he is impressed with the second Normandy for having several innovative features and advantages over the original, he berates Cerberus for being lazy and cutting every single corner they could find in its construction.
  • Mr. Exposition: Exists primarily in the first game to explain the Normandy's stealth system and engines.
  • Put on a Bus: Aside from a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo during the intro and a few mentions, he is nowhere to be seen in ME2.
    • The Bus Came Back: He returns in ME3 and is back under Shepard's command once again.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Has no problems with taking Tali under his wing in ME1, despite her being a quarian, and does the same for both Ken and Gabby in ME3, despite their previous service with Cerberus.
    • He also proves to be one of the most open-minded about synthetic life on your entire crew. He takes to EDI and is keen to debate whether she "is" the Normandy or a separate entity, and is quick to assert that any geth just minding its own business has more rights than (the now likely Indoctrinated) Cerberus. All without any cajoling or persuade checks on Shepard's part.
  • Shout-Out: Engineer Adams and the Tantalus Drive Core? What about Dr. Adams and the Tantalus Penal Colony?
  • Undying Loyalty: He's completely unperturbed at Shepard's decision to steal the Normandy from Udina's grounding.
    • Subverted in a conversation Shepard can have with him on the Normandy- he was approached by Chakwas to come back during Mass Effect 2, but didn't trust Shepard due to Cerberus. Shepard can forgive him for it.

Council Space

    The Citadel Council 
The Citadel Council

"Ah yes, "Reapers"...We have dismissed that claim."

Voiced by: Alastair Duncan (Sparatus), Jan Alexandra Smith (Tevos), Armin Shimerman (Valern)

The ruling group of most of the known Milky Way galaxy, consisting of representatives of the three dominant species. They can be left to die in two of the three endings of the first game. If they live, humanity gains their trust. If they die, they are all replaced by successors and remain aloof to humanity.
  • Character Tic: When two Councilors look at one, they're about to reach a consensus. Notably, when Valern and Tevos stared down at Sparatus just before they enlisted Shepard as a Spectre.
    • If they look at one who shakes his head, their subsequent decision will negatively affect Shepard. First was with Sparatus — they denied that Saren was responsible for the attack on Eden Prime. Second was with Valern — they rejected to help Shepard take Earth from the Reapers.
  • Commander Contrarian: No matter what you do, even to the point of completely opposite behaviors, Councilor Sparatus will be a jerkass. Until Mass Effect 3, when he's the first councilor who provides a means to get support.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: In the third game. When Udina aids in the Cerberus coup and Shepard intervenes in his attempts to send the other council members to their deaths, Udina attempts to cover his own ass by declaring Shepard to be the one helping Cerberus. However, the Council quickly remembers that the last time they disbelieved and distrusted Shepard blew up in their faces and quickly side with them over Udina.
  • Divided We Fall: In the second game, Shepard is not particularly happy to learn that during the two years they were dead, the Council preferred to discredit their warnings about the Reapers as the rantings of a delusional madman/woman, rather than face the truth and the multitude of evidence that was staring them smack in the face.
  • Doomed Contrarian: If you allow them to die in the ME1 ending.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sparatus, against humans. Valern shows himself to be quite anti-krogan in 3.
  • The Federation: This is how the council system effectively works.
  • The Ghost: If the Council dies, their replacements are never met...until 3.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Sparatus has some over his left eye, at least in the third game.
  • I Believe That You Believe It: One of the ways they claim the Reapers don't exist; the galaxy only has your word for it.
  • Jerkass: Sparatus takes every opportunity to deride Shepard, no matter how the player acts. The other Councilors are decidedly less judgmental.
    • Also, if the Council die, their replacements are evidently this. The original Council was at least nice enough to hear Shepard out and offer to reinstate him/her. The new Council won't even see him/her, with the exception of Anderson or Udina. And we all know how nice Udina is.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Councilor Sparatus. While he's often an ass about it, Shepard does frequently do erratic things and make decisions of galactic importance without bothering to consult the council first.
    • Also when you consider that turians are taught to value discipline, self-responsibility and their government is based on hierarchical meritocracy, it makes sense why he's irritated by Shepard's maverick attitude and insubordinate nature to authority.
    • Also when he is the only council member who believes that it is plausible that Benezia would order Liara's death: "Or maybe we don't know her - we never expected she could become a traitor." Because of indoctrination, he's dead right - they don't know her, and she does try to kill Liara.
    • Tevos gets a turn in Mass Effect 3 as described under Ungrateful Bastard. While it was a dick thing to say when the threat they've spent so much time denying is staring them in the face, keeping the fleets back while the Reapers focused on a few targets did make it possible to set up their defeat, as opposed to the galaxy's military force being wiped out and guaranteeing the cycle's completion.
  • Memetic Hand Gesture: "Ah, yes, 'Reapers'..." To the "point" where "Sparatus" cannot be "mentioned" without "air quotes." "* air quotes* "
  • No Name Given: Until Mass Effect 3, Sparatus and Valern were known only as the turian and salarian Councilors respectively. Tevos is namechecked in Mass Effect 2, though it's not clear she's the asari councilor until Udina reveals the council's names in 3.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: We rarely get to see the Council being proactive.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: No matter what Shepard brings to their view, they will never believe him/her.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Sparatus loves using this against you. Kill the rachni: "Do you enjoy committing genocide?" Release the queen: "How long before they wipe us out?"
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: If the original Council died in ME1, the replacement Councilors in ME3 have pretty much the same dialogue, with minor modifications highlighting their distrust in Shepard for sacrificing their predecessors. Udina mentions personality differences, but they are mostly an Informed Attribute. It's also still a multi-species Council no matter what, even if Udina decides to appoint an all-human Council at the end of ME1.
  • Team Mom: Tevos spends about half of her time in any conversation trying to calm things down between Sparatus and Shepard or Udina.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sparatus was never exactly nice, but he did start off reasonable and actually made some good points. Then Shepard became a Spectre and all bets were off. He takes another level in the sequel, where he essentially tells Shepard that he thinks s/he's completely insane, easily manipulated, and an idiot.
    • Inverted, surprisingly, in 3; while Valern coldly shoots down any help for Shepard, Sparatus is the first to help out.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Sparatus, who spent the majority of 1 and 2 constantly insulting and belittling you, becomes much more friendly and helpful in 3.
    • This may have something to do with the small fact that both Earth and Palaven are currently undergoing Reaper invasions and in both cases, have parts of the planet where the fires can be seen from orbit.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even if the player saves their lives in from Sovereign, they will still offer no help whatsoever in stopping the Collectors beyond the reinstatement of Shepard's Spectre status. While Tevos seems grateful and Valern seems neutral and they both deny the Reapers' existence, and Sparatus continues to be a complete jerkass to Shepard. The fact you're working for what is essentially a terrorist group may have something to do with it.
    • Still present in the third game. After the Reapers invade, their response to Shepard being proven right is;
    Tevos: The cruel and unfortunate truth is that while the Reapers focus on Earth, we can prepare and regroup.
    • However, they are not necessarily refusing to help Shepard per se, and the turian councilor even gives Shepard a lead on where to go next; they can be persuaded over time to contribute more forces. When speaking to Admiral Hackett afterward, Paragon!Shepard tells him that the Council is simply caught off-guard by both the invasion and the Alliance's mostly theoretical plan for a counterattack (at that point, all Shepard has is plans for a superweapon that might destroy the Reapers, with not much else to back it up). The war room guards, Campbell and Westmoreland, also make a similar point...
      Campbell: I can't believe the Council won't help.
      Westmoreland: Come on, Sarah. If Thessia was lost and Earth hadn't been touched yet, you can be damn sure we'd be guarding our own borders.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the first game, they are certain that they are taking part in a political thriller about a Rogue Agent attempting to take down their government with his loyal army of machines, despite their top agent's repeated protests that this is actually a Cosmic Horror Story with the Reapers as the true threat to all life in the galaxy. It takes until the third game and an galaxy-wide invasion by said race of Eldritch Abominations, before they finally get on the same page.

    Anderson 
Captain (later Admiral) David Edward Anderson
You did good. I'm...proud of you.

"I know Saren. I know his reputation, his politics. He believes humans are a blight on the galaxy. This attack was an act of war."

Voiced by: Keith David, Patrick Seitz (Paragon Lost)

Former commanding officer of the Normandy, now advisor to Shepard from the Citadel. Was once in the running to be the first human Spectre until his efforts were sabotaged by Saren.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: If he becomes the human Councillor.
  • Badass: Was once a candinate for becoming the first human spectre had it not been for Saren.
  • Beehive Barrier: Fortification is one of his powers during the intro to 3 — in his admiral's uniform, to boot.
  • Big Good: While not officially leading the Alliance unless you pick the Paragon end of Mass Effect 1, he's the only authority figure other than Admiral Hackett that Shepard consistently respects. When he's promoted to Admiral by 3, he, Admiral Hackett, and Commander Shepard share this role, with Shepard acting as a military ambassador getting species together, Hackett being the man behind the joint species fleet while Anderson is the leader of the Earth resistance troops.
  • Butt Monkey: He has to take crap from Saren, who ruined his chances to become a Spectre by blaming the destruction of an element zero refinery on him in Revelation; Udina, who belittles Anderson and complains about everything he says in addition to shafting him mid-game, forcing him to step down and hand over the ''Normandy'' to Shepard. When he overrides the lockdown, you can either get him shot by C-Sec or have him punch out Udina (funny how you have to encourage him to do the latter).
  • Cool Old Guy: Granted, he's only 49 by the third game, but he essentially fulfills this role.
  • Continuity Cameo: You get to meet Anderson's old flame, Kahlee Sanders (from Revelation), in a Mass Effect 3 side mission. If you manage to rescue her, Anderson hopes to hook up with her after the war is over. The Citadel DLC also implies that they do meet up occasionally at his Citadel apartment.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The universe just piles on the crap for this guy. He still gets up and does his job though.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The tie-in prequel novel Mass Effect: Revelation, which elaborates on how he used to be in the running for first human Spectre before Saren screwed him over.
  • Demoted to Extra: He only has one scene in the second game.
  • Desk Jockey: What he's demoted to when Shepard is given command of the ship. You can decide whether he stays like this or gets promoted to Councillor at the end of the first game.
    • In Mass Effect 3, he becomes the leader of the remaining human forces on Earth resisting the Reapers.
  • Doomed Hometown: According to the first Mass Effect novel Revelation, Anderson was born and raised in London. Guess where one of the main targets for the Reaper invasion of Earth is?
  • A Father to His Men: Especially when it comes to Shepard.
  • Four-Star Badass: Gets some admirals' stars in Mass Effect 3, and if he was Councilor, he has retired from that post to return to the military. Takes charge of the Resistance on Earth once Reapers start reapin'.
  • The Good Captain: Probably Shepard's most reliable authority figure.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Fights with Shepard directly during the intro level of Mass Effect 3. Breaks the trend set by the first two games, in that he survives this role.
  • Hero of Another Story: Of Revelation and Retribution.
  • I Choose to Stay: Anderson refuses to leave Earth with Shepard in 3, wanting to help with the war effort against the Reapers there.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: In the two years between Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2, apparently. The Shadow Broker's dossier on him shows that he's two steps from becoming a full-blown alcoholic due to all the booze he's had to down to ignore all the stupidity he's been exposed to. His tab at Dionysus Imports: 2 bottles white wine after viewing "Saren: A Hero Betrayed", 1 bottle Gargle Blaster after viewing a documentary on what really happened behind the Citadel attack, 2 bottles Vodka Drunkenski after watching "Path of Lies: A History of the Alliance Military" and a documentary on the airquotes "Reapers" back-to-back. Followed by a call to Kleen Sweep Home Maintenance.
  • Killed Off for Real: On the Citadel in the endgame of 3; either the Illusive Man executes him, or he succumbs to a gunshot wound and dies peacefully.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He knows full well the galaxy is run by idiotic politicians and bureaucrats. He does not like this. He gets up and does his job anyway.
  • The Mentor: To Shepard.
    • Obsolete Mentor: Subverted. Despite being surpassing their Old Master, Shepard still answers to Anderson as their superior and throughout the trilogy, consistently will turn to him for advice on what to do.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Interestingly enough, he actually makes it to the very end of the trilogy before dying.
  • Mildly Military: At least with Shepard by Mass Effect 3 who he jokingly reprimands for referring to him formally.
    Shepard: Good to see you too, sir.
    Anderson: "Sir?" I may have reinstated you, but that doesn't give you permission to get all formal on me.
  • Nice Hat: He's sporting one in Mass Effect 3.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: He really doesn't sound like a Londoner.
  • Opt Out: Whether you choose him to be the Councilor or not, Anderson opts to quit his position in Retribution, leaving Udina as Councilor.
  • Papa Wolf: To humanity and his protege, Shepard, in particular.
    • If he was made Councillor in the second game, one reason you can imagine that he stepped down for was because he couldn't legally defend Shepard's actions in the Arrival as the representative of the human race. However, as a member of the Alliance, once he was promoted to the Admiralty, he could.
  • Parental Substitute: Three guesses for whom.
  • Passing the Torch: Was meant to be the first human Spectre until Saren ruined his candidacy. It's implied that he chose Shepard as his protege, because he saw in them the potential to take up where he left off.
  • Quickly Demoted Leader: Udina forces him to step down as Captain of the Normandy after Shepard becomes a Spectre. Subverted when he becomes an authority figure once more in the other two games, (potentially) becoming a Councillor in 2 and an Admiral in 3.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: According to Revelation, though he doesn't have the accent.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: One of the two human authority figures Shepard can actually count on throughout the entire series, (the other being Admiral Hackett).
    • In the third game, Anderson has apparently having repeatedly gone out on a limb for Shepard during their time in the Alliance brig. Despite Shepard's trial being interrupted by the Reaper invasion without coming to a verdict, Anderson promptly drops the charges and reactivates them back into service, as Earth needs the person most experienced at fighting Reapers in the fight.
  • Rebel Leader: During Mass Effect 3, he decides to stay on Earth and lead La Résistance during the Reaper occupation.
  • Retired Badass: In a manner of speaking. When the truth comes out about Saren, Shepard inquires if he has thought about reapplying to become a Spectre. Anderson admits that he's "too old" to go chasing about the galaxy and he trusts Shepard to pick up where he left off.
  • So Proud of You: If you stop the Illusive Man from killing him, his last words in the entire series are how proud he is of his protege.
    • This is also the name on the soundtrack of the Mood Motif during this scene when he dies.
  • The Men First: Why he stays behind on Earth in 3, because someone has to lead the resistance.
  • The One That Got Away: Seems to feel this way about Kahlee Sanders. The feeling is mutual and it's alluded to multiple times in 3 that both of them wish to renew their relationship once the war is over.
    • Friends with Benefits: Heavily implied in the Citadel DLC. Her overnight bag (containing massage oils) is found in Anderson's apartment on the Citadel and a recording mentions her as being present while Anderson relates some life stories for the biography being written about him.
  • Undying Loyalty: He will always be there to support Shepard. The feeling is mutual with Shepard as well.

    Udina 
Ambassador Donnel Udina

"What? Councilor, do the words "political shitstorm" mean anything to you?"

Voiced by: Bill Ratner

A human diplomat at the Citadel struggling to give humans a say in intergalactic politics. And a real jerk about it. He has little patience or interest whatsoever in Shepard's endeavors, as all he cares about his forwarding humans.
  • Asshole Victim: He assists the Cerberus coup in 3, and is shot by either Shepard or the Virmire Survivor for his efforts.
  • Ass in Ambassador: In spades. The turians describe him in the second game as "a diplomatic incident waiting to happen."
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Can be given a Council seat at the end of the first game.
    • In Retribution, the novel sequel to Mass Effect 2, Udina is the Councilor regardless of your choice. Anderson opts to quit his job.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: While the Renegade ending leaves no doubt as to the kind of person he is, Udina sometimes seems as tired of politics as everyone else, but he has to deal with it because it's his job. This is most obvious if you talk to him after Feros.
  • Catchphrase: Frequently utters just why "This is an OUTRAGE!".
  • Demoted to Extra: Like Anderson, he only has one scene in the second game.
  • Divided We Fall: When he grounds Shepard as opposed to letting him/her go after the Conduit because he's afraid of losing the Council's favor.
  • Face-Heel Turn: In 3. Not that he wasn't already slipping in that direction to begin with, though.
  • Jerkass: Ambassador Udina seems to enjoy his job a little too much, especially when foiling Shepard.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: If you give him the position on the Council, does he serve as a "true advocate" for humanity? Balls no. He goes right back to being an Obstructive Bureaucrat and may even completely deny the existence of Reapers. Even worse, if he's the human Councilor, Shepard cannot get reinstated as a Spectre.
    • In Mass Effect 3, it is eventually revealed that Udina was outright working with Cerberus to engage in a coup against the Council. Strangely, this is perhaps the most sympathetic he gets; his entire motivation for working with Cerberus was to force the Council to send support for his besieged homeworld. Before that, too, he's unusually dedicated and not as harsh towards Shepard as usual.
  • Kick the Dog: He was responsible for Executor Pallin's death in Inquisition, where he tries to use the fact there could be enemies in the Council to further a pro-human agenda.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Though he's fairly helpful at first. But not for long.
  • Pet the Dog: If you convince the Alliance to return Nirali Bhatia's body to her husband, Samesh, or save Chairman Burns from biotic extremists, Udina is nice enough to supply them with Shepard's e-mail address so that they can properly thank Shepard in Mass Effect 2. Udina will do this even if Shepard recommends Anderson to the Council. This is pretty much the nicest thing he does across the entire series.
  • Slave to PR: More concerned with making sure humanity looks good than anything else.
  • The Mole: He is this in 3. It is unknown how long he was working with Cerberus, but he was the one who helped them get to the Citadel.
  • The Quisling: In Mass Effect 3, he has joined in with Cerberus, and plots to assassinate the other Councillors and stage a coup with their aid. It's left ambiguous whether he was indoctrinated, idiotically ambitious or just plain desperate and scared when he went with this plan.
  • Too Dumb to Live: His collaboration with Cerberus can only be defined as fatally stupid, considering that, as the Human Councilor and thus a high-level official, he would have known very well that Cerberus was directly undermining the Alliance war effort, using Reaper-augmented soldiers, and attacking civilian targets. The leap in logic required to see this Obviously Evil enemy as a source of backing is enormous.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: It's easy to forget, but at the beginning of the first game, while he was not the friendliest guy, he at least would give Shepard the benefit of the doubt. But then he started basing his judgement purely on PR.
    • Took a Level in Kindness: In Mass Effect 3, in a way. He's much less abrasive towards Shepard; it helps that he's visibly beleaguered and worried about the state of Earth in the wake of the Reaper invasion. Though he and Shepard aren't always in agreement, they're on the same side. Or so it would seem; it later turns out he's working for Cerberus.
  • Tragic Villain: He worked with Cerberus in a bid to get support to save Earth.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: If you kill off the Council and put him in charge of the human one, he'll start restricting Spectre positions because he doesn't want anybody to operate outside of his authority. Even though the last person who did so saved the freaking galaxy.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even if you recommend him to be on the Council, don't expect him to give you a warm welcome in the sequel.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Works with Cerberus to engage in a coup against the Council. He did it to get support for Earth.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Has elements of a British and Irish accent; the latter is much more prominent in 3, particularly in the conversation Shepard can have with him in his office after the Council meeting.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pulls this card when siding with the Council against Shepard near the end of the first game.

    Hackett 
Admiral Steven Hackett
"When Earth calls, you be there with your dress blues on, ready to take the hit."

Voiced by: Lance Henriksen, Bruce Carey (Paragon Lost)

Commanding officer of the Alliance Navy's Fifth Fleet. Voice of authority and giver of sidequests. Often heard, but never seen in-game (until Mass Effect 2's Arrival DLC, that is).
  • Ascended Extra: Goes from being just a voice telling you about side-missions, to being arguably Shepard's most frequent and trusted contact in the Reaper War.
  • Badass: Orphaned at 12, showed chops in science and leadership, enlisted, became a frontier explorer, fought with distinction in the First Contact War, climbed from lowly enlisted to the top flag office in the Alliance navy.
  • Big Good: A large number of the side missions in the original Mass Effect come from him.
    • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard reports directly to him and he is, for all intents and purposes, the leader of the entire human race.
    • Mass Effect 3 essentially makes him part of a Big Good Ensemble along with Shepard and Anderson. The humans on Earth look up to Anderson, Shepard looks up to Hackett and the rest of the galaxy looks up to Shepard.
  • The Cavalry: Epically at the climax of the first game.
  • Clint Squint: Seems to be the neutral state of his eyes.
  • Demoted to Extra: Only appears in the second game if you have the Arrival DLC.
  • Father Neptune: Serves as this for the Alliance Navy.
  • Genre Savvy: In The Arrival, knowing exactly how Shepard can inspire loyalty from people, his response to being asked if he finds it strange being on the second Normandy, since it's a Cerberus vessel. (The following line is spoken only if Shepard refuses to hand the Collector technology over to the Illusive Man during the suicide mission.)
    Hackett: I'm not sure it is a Cerberus ship anymore... right?
    • This is also the reason he makes Shepard the spearhead of the entire war effort against the Reapers, because he knows that no matter how bad things get, the rest of the galaxy will rally behind him/her.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Hackett wears the classic mirror universe goatee and mustache combination, but he's definitely a good guy.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a very prominent scar on his right cheek, and his right eye looks like it's taken its fair share of right hooks.
  • Gray and Grey Morality: As an Admiral, Hackett is naturally concerned with maintaining the law; however, following Shepard's promotion to Spectre, he has Shepard perform more "under the table" missions to maintain Alliance confidentiality.
    • Guile Hero/The Chessmaster: Some of his missions (such as sending a Renegade Shepard to possibly assassinate Lord Darius) edges him closer to this territory.
    Shepard: You put Darius in power, but he was getting greedy. You wanted me to kill him.
    Hackett: The Alliance does not condone assassination. We would never give that order. Killing Darius was your decision alone — and because you're a Spectre, we couldn't reprimand you if we wanted to.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Hackett's face has more than a passing resemblance to Lance Henriksen's.
  • Ironic Echo/Meaningful Echo: "You've done a hell of a thing." note 
  • Narrator: He narrates the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue for the high-EMS "Destroy" ending and the low-EMS Bittersweet Ending (with heavy emphasis on the "bitter").
  • Nerves of Steel: Probably the calmest and most unflappable human leader in the series. Even when Reapers tore the Alliance a new one.
    • Pointed out by Jacob in the third game.
    Jacob: They make old guys any tougher than that, I'd like to see it.
  • Old Soldier: He's been with the Alliance for a very long time. He doesn't let it slow him down.
  • Precision F-Strike: In a new cutscene added in the Extended Cut, during the final battle, once Hackett is notified that Shepard has reached the Conduit and boarded the Citadel.
    "Holy shit, s/he did it."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He uses Shepard's loyalty to the Alliance to get him/her to take on some sensitive missions. However, he does at least acknowledge that s/he is doing him a favor and acts appropriately. At the end, he defers to Shepard as the (wo)man in the field, despite his much higher rank.
    Hackett's entire response to a lengthy request email: Request denied.
    • Later in the same DLC, Liara reveals that Hackett was the one who gave her Shepard's dogtags, and confirmed that Shepard was still alive before they actually met, wishing Shepard well.
    • In the Arrival DLC, after Shepard is forced to kill 300,000 batarians, Hackett notes that he will do what he can to protect Shepard and delay any fallout that s/he will have to face as long as possible saying that s/he did what s/he did for the right reasons. He even tells him/her to keep his report because he doesn't need it to know that s/he did the right thing.
  • Rousing Speech: He gives one during the endgame of 3.
    "Never before have so many come together - from all quarters of the galaxy. But never before have we faced an enemy such as this. The Reapers will show us no mercy. We must give them no quarter. They will terrorize our populations. We must stand fast in the face of that terror. They will advance until our last city falls, but we will not fall. We will prevail. Each and every one of us will be defined by our actions in the coming battle. Stand fast. Stand strong. Stand together. Hackett out."
  • Shoot the Dog: A lot of his missions seem to revolve around this trope. After the events of Arrival, Hackett tells Shepard that s/he has to be (metaphorically) sacrificed to the batarians to avoid a war, after s/he kills over 300 000 of them to blow up a mass relay the Reapers were minutes away from using.
  • Supporting Leader: He leads the charge against Sovereign in the final act of the first game.
  • Up Through the Ranks: He spent four years as an enlisted man and volunteered for several high-risk exploration assignments beyond the Charon Relay before receiving a commission as a second lieutenant in 2156.
  • The Voice: Until the second game DLC Arrival.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: In the first and third games.
  • You Are in Command Now: A strange case: He's already the highest ranked flag officer in the Alliance Navy, but with the death of the entirety of Alliance Parliament, and subsequent treason and death of Udina in the third game, Hackett is the de facto leader of what's left of the Systems Alliance.

    Nihlus 
Nihlus Kryik
Not all turians resent humanity. Some of us see the potential of your species.
Voiced by: Alastair Duncan

A turian Spectre trained by Saren, Nihlus was selected to assess whether Shepard was qualified to join the Spectres and mentor him/her if that was the case. During the attack on Eden Prime, he's betrayed and killed by his old mentor.

    Michel 
Dr. Chloe Michel
"I was fired by my previous employer for giving out free medical supplies to clinics like this."

Voiced by: Jan Alexandra Smith

A human doctor who runs a clinic in the Wards. Your interactions with her tend to involve saving her from various gangs of blackmailing lowlifes, and she rewards you with free medigel refills. She can be a crew member in Mass Effect 3.
  • Ascended Extra: Was involved in a minor manner in two quests early in the first game. She was not seen at all in the second. In the third game, she shows up running a hospital on the Citadel where you can bring her on board as the Normandy's medic instead of Dr. Chakwas.
  • Blackmail: In the first game, some thugs threaten to reveal why she was fired from her previous job.
  • Buffy Speak: Refers to Mordin's horns as "pointy-things".
  • Distressed Damsel: A mild case.
    Shepard: Every time I come in here, I see someone threatening you.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: She has a very obvious crush on Garrus. In fact, her email in ME2 which is meant to be thanking Shepard for their help in the first game ends up veering off topic and she starts gushing about Garrus instead.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Her email in ME2 indicates a crush on Garrus. This understandable since he rescued her in ME1. When Tali learns that the doctor sent Garrus dextro-only chocolates "because they reminded her of him", she either warns a Garrus-romancing female Shepard to watch herself or amusedly notes Garrus's obliviousness to Dr. Michel's attraction to him.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: She doesn't actually say anything in French, but she has a heavy French accent, which for some reason becomes heavier in ME3.
  • Just a Machine: She brings this up in an argument with Engineer Adams. Shepard can support her or Adams, who believes the opposite.
  • The Informant: She provides the player with information during several quests. It tends to be information of the sort you wouldn't expect an ordinary clinic doctor to know.
  • Military Brat: Her parents were both Alliance military.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Not to Shepard but to Garrus, given that she'll lose out to female Shepard or Tali.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: In the past, she gave out free medical supplies, which resulted in her firing the aforementioned blackmail.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Dr. Chakwas, if you bring her on board the Normandy. Hell, she even has the same haircut.

    Talitha 
Talitha
"You'll dream of a warm place. And when you wake up, you'll be in it." —Shepard

"It hurts when she... when I remember me. But she wants to remember."

A slave taken by batarians from the same colony from which Colonist Shepard escaped when s/he was sixteen. Shepard is told about how she escaped, but wants to kill herself, and is asked if s/he can help, having been through the raid.

    Ahern 
Admiral Tadius Ahern
Don't just stand there looking pretty, kill something!

Shepard: So you run the station and the training here?
Ahern: Last I checked. It's better than a desk job, and a hell of a lot better than retirement.

Voiced by: Charles Dennis

A Systems Alliance officer who commands Pinnacle Station, and is the central character of the Pinnacle Station DLC. He is a veteran of the First Contact War, and provides most of the commentary during the training missions.
  • Badass Beard: Bearded and still keeps up with the people he's training.
  • Badass Grandpa: Even at his age, he can still hold his own against the people using the Pinnacle Station simulator.
  • Cool Old Guy: As long as you can impress him in the simulations, he'll give you a Big Fancy House on a remote planet with infinite grenades, medi-gel, a big-screen TV and, most importantly, an avenue to purchase the best equipment in the game.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He tends to be very caustic.
  • Fantastic Racism: During the First Contract War he was given a near-suicidal mission against dozens of turian mercenaries. He survived, and to this day carries a grudge.
  • Four-Star Badass: Same as Admiral Hackett, though not with nearly as much political power.
  • Large Ham Announcer: Uses his commentary during Shepard's matches in the simulator as an excuse to chew the scenery.
  • Not Bad: His initial reaction to Shepard beating the current records.
  • Retired Badass: He's not technically retired, but he no longer participates in war-fighting.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: He's not even mentioned in Mass Effect 2, and you can't visit the apartment he gave you on Intai'sei (though you being dead might have something to do with that).
    • The Bus Came Back: Sort of. Pinnacle Station and Intai'sei both show up in 3; the former can be scanned to earn some War Assets (Guard Captain Vidinos' spec ops team), and the latter for a sidequest Plot Coupon.

    Kirrahe 
Captain/Major Kirrahe
In the battle today, we will Hold the Line!
"Always a pleasure to watch you work, Commander."

Voiced by: George Szilagyi

The Captain in charge of the Special Tasks Group on Virmire. Worked with Mordin. Sends a request to the Council for backup upon finding Saren's base but gets garbled into static so only Shepard and the Normandy comes to investigate. Returns in Mass Effect 3, now a major, provided you saved him on Virmire.
  • All There in the Manual: The Shadow Broker's files on Mordin show how he worked with him on the modified genophage mission.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Bring Javik with you on Sur'Kesh assuming Kirrahe is still alive, and you will see what Kirrahe thinks of living Protheans.
    Kirrahe: Amazing what they can do with genetic modification these days.
  • Badass: He's tougher than he looks. He proves it spectacularly if if he is still alive in 3.
  • The Captain: Has the rank and the personality for it.
  • Catchphrase: Mordin reveals that Kirrahe is very fond of "Hold the Line!" in his speeches.
    Mordin: Good captain. Bit of a cloaca. Loved his speeches. "Hold the line!" Personally prefer to get job done and go home.
    • Lampshaded in the third game, when he wistfully repeats it when encountering Shepard again on Sur'Kesh.
  • The Comically Serious: Doubles with Genre Savvy in 3. He does not think the Salarian troops can handle Wrex, he thinks their medbay is not large enough for all the ensuing casualties.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Part of his rousing speech to his troops on Virmire.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He'll end up Taking the Bullet for the salarian Councilor in Mass Effect 3 if Thane is not around to stop Kai Leng.
  • Hold the Line: The basis of his Rousing Speech; without assistance from Shepard, he can die doing so.
  • Killed Off for Real: He will not survive if Shepard doesn't help with the base's defences, or if Shepard diverts attention to his troops.
    • See the Heroic Sacrifice entry above for what happens if you don't get Thane's help in the third game.
  • Large Ham: He doesn't hold back when he gives his speeches.
  • Majorly Awesome: If he lives through Virmire, he gets promoted to this by 3.
  • Meaningful Name: Named after Currahee Mountain, a mountain used during WW2 to train Paratroopers.
  • Rousing Speech: A fan of these. Mordin somewhat exasperated with them, preferred to get the job done instead of wasting time with "chest-pounding."
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: If he survived Virmire, you'll meet him again on Sur'Kesh, where he promises to lend the STG's support to retaking Earth regardless of what deals you have going with the dalatrass. Should you help Mordin or Padok cure the genophage, he makes good on that promise.
  • Sticky Bomb: When you meet him again in the third game he's carrying a Scorpion as his sidearm. The Scorpion is a salarian pistol that launches blue sticky grenades, which he helpfully demonstrates on a couple of Cerberus mooks. Garrus complains about it... But after the mission, you can buy it and ease his (and your) gun desires.
    Garrus: How do I not have one of those?
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Mordin. Referred to as a "bit of a cloacanote " by Mordin in the present, even if Kirrahe is dead. Mordin's Shadow Broker dossier includes an STG report that reveals that on the mission to distribute the modified genophage on Tuchanka, the two of them spent most of the time flinging cloaca-based insults at one another, with Mordin poking fun at Kirrahe's insistence on following the plan to the letter and suggesting that he "has foreign object in cloaca", "suggests foreign obstruction in cloaca is Kirrahe's cranium" and Kirrahe losing temper at constant jibes and Mordin incessantly asking about shifting mission parameters and calling Mordin a "walking cloaca." However, when Mordin was injured in battle and refused to obtain medical attention until his work was finished, Kirrahe admiringly called him "one tough cloaca." Furthermore, cut content from Mass Effect 2 includes an email from Kirrahe (assuming he survived Virmire) in which he admits that he's been exchanging friendly emails with Mordin over special equipment requirements, and remarks that he's "a good agent. Nervy for a tech. Bit of a cloaca, though."

    Conrad 
Conrad Verner
Oh, the Commander and I go way back.

"You showed me what it meant to be truly extreme. I learned that lesson well."

Voiced by: Jeff Page

Shepard's biggest fan. Initially appearing on the Citadel in the first game, Conrad wants to be just like Shepard, going so far as to try to ask Shepard is s/he will help him become a Spectre. He may or may not survive the ensuing reality check. Reappears in Mass Effect 2, this time wearing a replica of Shepard's armor and trying to be a hero. He later appears in Mass Effect 3, where his story is fully culminated, and we discover interesting Hidden Depths about our favorite Butt Monkey.
  • Badass Boast: Not that anyone takes him seriously. Or that the one making the boast is much of a badass.
    Conrad: Why don't you sit back and let me show you how it's done? I've got some asses to kick.
  • Badass on Paper: How he looks to Jenna from Chora's Den. Yes, he does try to take a bullet for Shepard, but it's his stupidity and ineptitude that put Shepard in danger in the first place. From Jenna's perspective though, he looked like a Badass Bystander.
  • Bi the Way: Implied. His level of obsession with Shepard, including the Stalker Shrine, is irrespective of Shepard's sex.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: "I should go."
  • Bullying a Dragon: Matriarch Aethyta begs you to get Conrad the hell out of her bar before she hits him with a Matriach-level Singularity.
  • Butt Monkey: He exists for unpleasant but amusing things to happen to.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Several times. Put a gun up to his head to prove he's not ready for what he's proposing and he'll think you were teaching him how to be an extreme badass in the second game. He'll also mention how supportive his wife was and how she even paid for his transportation off world. Cue a facepalm from the asari bartender standing behind him.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: If Shepard tells him to get lost, a news report says he is killed attempting to stop youths from hitching a ride on top of a bus. It goes on to say he fell from the bus, hit several passing cars, and landed in the power turbine of a bio-mass recycling facility. Ouch.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Happens in the first and second games. In the sequel, Shepard can inspire him to do something other than emulating him/her. And in the third, Conrad finally gets to be the badass he always wanted to be — and actually was all along.
  • Dumb Blonde: He's often way too naive for his own good. However...
  • Friend to All Children: If Shepard deals with him in a Paragon fashion in the second game, Conrad goes on to found a charity for children orphaned by the Battle of the Citadel named after Shepard. If asked about this in the third game, he states that he spent everything he had in order to get the kids to safety.
  • Genius Ditz: Conrad actually has a doctorate in xenotechnology and wrote a dissertation on dark energy. He'll actually contribute to the war effort in Mass Effect 3 if you ask him.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: You learn in 3 that he either never had a wife, or she's long gone. The line from 2 about her paying for him to leave seems to support this. His closest current relationship is apparently his Stalker Shrine to Shepard.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Takes a bullet for Shepard. Can be subverted, if Shepard helped Jenna in the first game; she'll sabotage the shooter's pistol before he can fire and save Conrad's life.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Very much so.
  • Hero-Worshipper: So much so that by Mass Effect 3, Conrad is supporting Cerberus because Shepard worked with them in the second game.
  • Hidden Depths: He has a doctorate, and wrote his dissertation on xenotechnology and dark energy integration. That's Doctor Moronic Fanboy to you!
    • Not only this, but he has no money and is a refugee in 3 because he spent everything he owned to get the kids in his orphanage (The Shepards) away from Reaper attack.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Even if Shepard chose the Paragon route in 1 (thereby convincing him to stay with his family), he still shows up as a wannabe mercenary in 2.
  • Ignored Expert: Part of his backstory. Turns out, his ideas on dark energy might just end up helping to save the galaxy.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: He deeply wants to be like Shepard.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: He's taken to dressing like Shepard in the sequel.
  • Loony Fan: Goes from mildly misguided, to trying to emulate Shepard, to having a Stalker Shrine.
  • Lord Error-Prone: In the first game, he convinces himself that he can be the second human Spectre. In the second, he buys a set of fake N7 armor and tries to run around the galaxy right wrongs. In the third he joined Cerberus under the delusion that they're a fine group because Shepard once worked with them and tries to convince others likewise.
  • Miles Gloriosus: In the second game.
  • Morality Pet: Potentially towards a Renegade Shepard.
    Shepard: Conrad may be an idiot, but even he doesn't deserve to be manipulated like that!
  • Never Be a Hero:
    • The point of the second game. Shepard has had intense, high-level specialist military training, and possibly genetic enhancements and pseudo-psychic powers. Conrad has nothing of the sort. Leave the saving of the galaxy to Shepard. Somewhat subverted in the Paragon ending, though, because Conrad finally gets that there's more than just one way to be a hero.
    • In the third game, he finally becomes a hero by Taking the Bullet for Shepard. If he dies, he'll ask if he finally got to help, to which Shepard will reply he did.
  • Orphanage of Love: Can be inspired to set one up in Shepard's name if you deal with him in a Paragon fashion By Mass Effect 3 it's gone thanks to the Reapers, but Conrad saved the kids by spending his last credits getting them out of there.
  • Pet the Dog: In 3 Shepard can ask how he's holding up with the war going on, seems impressed when he admits he spent all his money to get the kids from his charity to safety and when he tries to take the bullet for them, even comforts him that he "did good". It's implied that, for all of his loony antics and how much he exasperates them, Paragon Shepard genuinely might be fond of Conrad.
  • Pretender Diss: Used as one against Shepard's clone.
    Shepard: Are you kidding me? Conrad Verner is better at being me than you are!
  • Sarcasm-Blind: How we learn about his Hidden Depths.
  • Science Hero: Yes, him.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In Mass Effect 2.
  • Squee: This video is how Conrad would've reacted without the import save file bug. Go to about 2:00 to hear him say that meeting Shepard again is the happiest day of his life, fanboy squee in every word. If you take the Charm option in his quest and lie that he helped expose a dirty cop, he'll reply with a tiny, quivering, pathetic "Really?", as if he can't believe he actually helped you out. Aww, Conrad!
  • Stalker Shrine: When asked in 3, Conrad admits to having a shrine dedicated to Shepard. He claims it's in good taste, though."It's just a poster with a few candles. It's very tasteful."
  • Stalker with a Crush: In Mass Effect 3 he may reveal that he's not actually married, in spite of the many earlier references to a wife who is also a fan of Shepard. He also has a shrine set up for Commander Shepard somewhere.
  • Take That Me: A bug in 2 causes him to tell the asari bartender that Shepard waved a gun in his face in 1, even though only Renegade Shepard did that. Paragon Shepard tells him to go home, because there's more than one way to be a hero. In 3, when Shepard meets him again, he apologizes for accusing Shepard of pointing a gun at him.
  • Taking the Bullet: When he identifies his Cerberus contact, the contact tries to shoot Shepard, and Conrad leaps in the way of the bullet. Can be subverted if you helped Jenna from Chora's Den in the first game, as she Sabotages the gun causing it to make a bang, but the bullet doesn't actually fire.
  • This Loser Is You: Almost everything he says and does in 2 is a Take That at the player. Conrad is what would happen if a real person were to emulate an RPG character.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In ME3, he starts off being manipulated by a Cerberus agent and being his normal loony self, but then gives Shepard important information on dark energy from his xenotechnology dissertation, indirectly helps Shepard capture the agent, and, depending on the outcome of a sidequest in the first game, either dies saving Shepard's life by Taking the Bullet or survives his attempted Heroic Sacrifice due to a C-Sec officer causing the gun to misfire. If he survives, he even hooks up with the officer in question.
  • We Need a Distraction: Cerberus takes advantage of his overenthusiasm and hero-worship in Mass Effect 3 to have him distract everyone in the refugee camp while a Cerberus agent poisons the medigel dispensers. Once he's told of the error in his ways, he immediately rats out his Cerberus contact.

    Parasini 
Gianna Parasini

"You have the right to remain silent. I wish to God you'd exercise it!"

Voiced by: Wendy Braun

An oft-undercover internal affairs agent for the consortium on Noveria that Shepard repeatedly encounters through the galaxy, repeatedly enlisting his/her aid in her investigations.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She has quite a tongue when she's not pretending to be a secretary.
  • Drink Order: She cheerfully promises Shepard a beer if s/he helps her arrest Anoleis; she delivers on that promise in the second game, but only as a prelude to asking for help in another investigation.
  • Internal Affairs: Perhaps one of the only good examples in all of fiction; she's the least irritating person who can get you a freakin' garage pass on Noveria.
  • Noble Bigot: Has a racist streak towards asari.
  • Reverse Mole: When you first encounter her, she's posing as Administrator Anoleis's secretary, but quickly reveals herself to be an Internal Affairs agent for some corporate conglomerate.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Her cameo in 2 implied that she was going to have some future role revolving around dark matter. Ironically, she's one of the few minor/supporting characters that doesn't return for the third game.

    Harkin 
Harkin
What'd I ever do to you?

"Secrets are like herpes. If you got 'em, might as well spread 'em around."

Voiced by: Roger Jackson

A disgraced C-Sec officer known for numerous abuses of power and general disorderly conduct. Used as an obnoxious informant in the first game.
  • Arc Villain: For Garrus's loyalty mission.
  • Dirty Cop: Anderson refers to him as an embarrassment kept in office only because he was one of the first humans in C-Sec and they desperately needed bodies in C-Sec to legitimize their presence in the Galactic politics. He was kicked out the second he was no longer needed politically.
  • Dirty Coward: He does his best to put on a tough guy act, but caves the moment he's faced with a real threat.
  • Fallen Hero: Was praised for being one of the first humans in C-Sec, before he became corrupt.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Particularly towards FemShep, whom he acts like a chauvinist prick towards.

    Khalisah bint Sinan al-Jilani 
Khalisah bint Sinan al-Jilani

"Check the vid. We get it? Great, bull-rushed on my own show."

Voiced by: April Banigan

A reporter who tries to get an interview with you in all three games. The first time, she not-so-subtly accuses you of bending over backwards to please the Council and disregarding humanity and the Alliance; in the second, she'll present your decisions from the previous game in the worst possible light no matter what; in the third, she accosts Shepard about leaving Earth during the Reaper invasion, legitimately (and sincerely) looking for answers this time. You have the opportunity to punch her out in every case, and even if you don't take it, the Shadow Broker videos show that plenty of others are less restrained.
  • Badass Bystander: During the Citadel coup, she risks her neck by hiding out near a seized comm tower, trying to get word out via her own broadcast gear to any cut-off C-Sec personnel that they need to retake the comm tower.
  • The Chew Toy: Shepard can punch her in every game. Also, the Shadow broker videos show her getting punched by a krogan and kicked by a volus.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: She makes it to Top 10 scores at Armax Arena combat simulator in the Citadel DLC. Among such badasses as Aria T'Loak, James Vega, Commander Bailey and Shepard him/herself.
  • Evil Counterpart: Compared to the actual Intrepid Reporter, Emily Wong, though "evil" might be a bit of a stretch.
  • Fangirl: Has a pretty obvious crush on Admiral Anderson during her interview in the Citadel DLC.
  • Genre Savvy: Be careful how you handle her in 3. She'll duck the first punch you throw and, if you're not quick on the draw, knock Shepard down flat.
  • Heel-Face Turn: In 3, if Shepard takes the Paragon interrupt, she stops being an intrusive ass and inspires wide charity support for Earth, becoming a valuable war asset. One that doubles in value if you never punched her.
  • Hypocrite: Lair of the Shadow Broker reveals that she's apparently in a relationship with an asari despite her reporting being pretty pro-human/anti-alien. Or maybe "everybody loves the asari!"note . Even xenophobes.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Sees herself as this.
  • Ironic Name: "Khalisah" is Arabic for "sincere."
    • Meaningful Name: When she makes her third appearance, she really is upset about what's happening on Earth and wants to do anything she can to help. Also, bint is an Arabic word meaning woman, but as a loan word in the Queen's English it has a derogatory connotation.
  • Made of Iron: The fact that she managed to survive getting punched into the air by a krogan should make her count as this.
  • Once per Episode: Shepard is presented with the opportunity to physically assault her in all three games, making it (disturbingly) easy to go, as Penny Arcade puts it, "3-for-3" with her.
  • Pet the Dog: In Mass Effect 3, she will once again accost Shepard about leaving Earth, this time legitimately distressed and unhappy. While players have the option to do the usual Renegade interrupt, players who wait will get a Paragon interrupt. Hitting it will have Shepard comforting her, telling her that s/he's doing everything s/he can to stop the Reapers. Shepard even advises her to keep asking the hard questions, and to keep pressing people to aid Earth. This pays off, as her support becomes a legitimate war asset in the form of charity funding, which doubles in value if the player went the entire series without punching her.
  • Running Gag: The opportunity to punch her.
  • Schmuck Bait: If she is punched out at any point in the series, the player loses war assets. Not enough to make any real difference though.
  • Smug Snake: Especially after any physical beatdown you give her.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: By 3, she actually does become an Intrepid Reporter, and if you take the Paragon interrupt with her, she and Shepard finally bury the hatchet.

    Emily Wong 
Emily Wong
"Really? You'd talk to me before anybody else?"
"This is Emily Wong with FCC News."

Voiced By: Anndi McAfee

An actual reporter. You have the option to give her a good scoop on Fist, and later to help her break a story on the working conditions of traffic controllers on the Citadel. The day before Mass Effect 3 was released in North America, she took over BioWare's AllianceNewsNet Twitter account, seen in an easier-to-peruse format here, and chronicled the Reaper attack on Earth.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Her tweets.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Facing certain death, with no weapons and all Alliance cruisers destroyed, she chooses to ram her skyvan into a Reaper rather than wait for it to kill her.
  • Death Equals Redemption: After realizing that her live-tweets led the Reapers directly to the only effective evacuation point in the San Fernando Valley.
  • Defiant to the End:
    "Go on. Make your noise. Try to scare us."
    "You want to see how a human dies? At ramming speed."
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Smashes her skyvan into a Reaper. And then there's the above quote.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dies in the process of making sure evacuees get vital information.
  • Hot Scoop: She's first encountered wearing a revealing nightclub dress.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Live reporting in the middle of the Reaper invasion.
  • Loose Lips:
    "This signal, going out and being rebroadcast everywhere… I think they picked it up. I led them here!"
  • Ramming Always Works: Invoked. This is her logic when she decides to ram her skyvan into a Reaper, but we don't learn whether doing so actually worked... though chances are high that it didn't.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly. Her final line might be a reference to the execution of Fabrizio Quattrocchi, who, just before being shot dead by Iraqi militiamen, shouted: "Now you'll see how an Italian dies!"
    • Her ramming the Reaper may also be a shout out to Call of Cthulhu where Cthulhu was subdued by ramming it with a ship.
    • And of course her piloting a small ship that lacks any means to attack and ramming it into a giant enemy is extremely similar to what happened with the Defiant in Star Trek: First Contact, Worf's final order? "Prepare for Ramming Speed!"
  • Took a Level in Badass: During the Reaper invasion of Earth. It culminates in her ramming a Reaper with a skyvan.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Reapers were using her tweets to find areas where lots of people were gathered.

    Nassana 
Nassana Dantius
We have trust issues in my family.

"Shepard? But... you're dead!"

Voiced by: Grey DeLisle

A shrewd asari politician and businesswoman. In the first game, she was being blackmailed by her Space Pirate sister, and hired Shepard to "take care" of her. Shepard encounters her again in the second game during the search for Thane Krios, and quickly finds out that she's changed... for the worse.
  • Bad Boss: Very bad, especially during Thane's recruitment mission in 2, in which she is horrible to the salarian workers under her.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Lets just say trust issues are the least of their problems.
  • Cain and Abel: Subverted. We learn in ME2 that a third sister wants her dead.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Arguably in the first game, definitely in the sequel.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything/Lampshade Hanging: In the first game, it's possible to complete her sidequest before you ever talk to her. If you do, when you report to her that her pirate sister has been killed, she replies, "Oh! And I was all set to manipulate you into killing her for me!"
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Goes from a pragmatic but ultimately decent businesswoman in the first game to a psychotic, ultra-paranoid nutcase.
  • Kick the Dog: The writers probably realized that her actions in the first game weren't really that bad, so to avoid the audience being unsure whether or not to root for Thane they had her decide to kill her harmless workers for no good reason during Thane's recruitment mission.
    • During Thane's recruitment mission, it's mentioned that Nassana has made a practice of killing those who threaten her reputation, which was probably why Thane was sent to kill her, and is paranoid to the bone. One poor salarian worker you meet tells you about how she's sent mechs and mech-dogs to kill everyone, and about how he's seen workers jumping out the windows to escape the dogs. That and if anyone leaves before their contract is up, it's implied she has them murdered as well. Bad Boss indeed.
  • Manipulative Bastard: She needed her sister out of the way, so she put on a show about being worried about Dalia being held captive so Shepard would kill her.
  • Not So Different: She tries to claim this with Shepard. It falls flat, especially if Shepard's a Paragon.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Someone's killing her guys, so she believes someone wants her dead. She's right about the latter, but it's not related to the former.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Despite Shepard's insistence, she remains utterly convinced that Shepard is the One-Man Army who's slaughtered their way through the building in order to kill her. She isn't entirely wrong—Shepard really was the one killing all her troops. But he wasn't sent to kill her, he's searching for the assassin. Then Thane drops from the ceiling behind her.

    The Consort 
Sha'ira (The Consort)

She should be able to see you in... oh... three or four months.

"Remember my words, Commander Shepard. They will give you strength."

Voiced by: Gwendoline Yeo

A well-known and influential asari, Sha'ira offers a variety of personal services to her numerous clients, ranging from conversation and advice to sex. She is highly respected and wields quite a bit of political power.
  • Ancient Artifact: She'll hand over a Prothean trinket if you resolve Xeltan's sidequest before hers, allowing Shepard to experience a vision on the planet Eletania.
  • Bi the Way: Kind of. She's an asari, after all.
  • Boldly Coming: She will see (or "see") anyone, regardless of species or gender, though there is quite a waiting period. Among her known clients are a volus, a human, a salarian, a turian, and an elcor. In 2, one of the SR-2 crewmembers excitedly says that he's got an appointment with her in a few months, and objects when another crewmember calls her a prostitute. A krogan considers it the height of decadence, likening it to his obsession with eating a fish from the Presidium.
  • Break the Cutie: In 2 and 3, she's gone through a lot. Made clearer in Citadel, where she has a single word of advice for Shepard;
    Sha'ira: Win!
  • Fortune Teller: Regarded by many on the Citadel to be nearly oracular, and she does make predictions for Shepard, both on completion of her quest and in an email. Cut content from Mass Effect 1 has the rumor that she will soon predict the next race to join the Council.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: She and all of her acolytes wear purple dresses. The salarian among them doesn't wear a dress, but he does have the colors.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: She takes full advantage of it.
  • Heroic Seductress: We don't know much about what she does. Only that she helps people, and it sometimes involves sex. Whatever she does, it makes her one of the most powerful women in Citadel Space.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Emphasis on "high class".
  • Intimate Psychotherapy: She gives "advice to some, comfort to others."
  • Male Gaze/Sexy Walk: Her introduction.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sha'ira" comes from an Arabic word meaning "poetess", or "female poet". Her name also resembles the name of the hetaerae Neaira.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: She gets very... snuggly with Shepard when first asking the Commander for a favour, which is strange since when Shepard first enters the room she tells him/her "That's close enough" even when s/he's at quite a distance. Maybe she likes to make sure she sets the boundaries for any sort of encounter with people, or wants a chance to use her (supposedly excellent) character-judging skills before letting them get too close?
  • The Ojou: Most seem to regard Sha'ira with a kind of reverential awe.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: With absolutely zero warning, at that, beyond the fact that that (Renegade) dialogue option on the wheel consists of wanting more than her 'gift of words'. "Uhh, thanks... I guess." Cue player cries of "the Consort raped me!"
  • Punctuation Shaker: An interesting case, considering no other asari so far is shown to have a given name with an apostrophe. It's possible that Sha'ira is not her real name, however.
    • Since asari surnames often do have apostrophes, its entirely possible that Sha'ira could just be her last name.
  • Sex Tourism: People will visit the Citadel just to see Sha'ira or at least her acolytes, though it should be noted that she's not "just" a prostitute, and she will sometimes turn down even very influential clients for her own reasons.

    Toombs 
Toombs
"This man deserves to die, Shepard. For you, for me, for everyone else in the unit."

Voiced by: Chris Postle

An ex-Alliance solider, and potential former squadmate of Shepard, if you play the Sole Survivor background. Saw his whole unit wiped out on Akuze by a Thresher Maw.
  • Driven to Suicide: Depending on how you play his mission.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Not like you can blame the guy.
  • Sole Survivor: Is the only surviving member of his unit. If Shepard has the Sole Survivor background, they both react with surprise upon seeing the other alive.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If he survives, he sends Shepard a message tearing him/her apart for working with the people who tortured him. Just be glad you never have to meet him in person.

    Korlack 
Din Korlack
"You humans are new to the Citadel, and yet the Council has granted you great favor."

Voiced by: Lex Lang

The volus ambassador to the Citadel. He takes a dim view of how the other species view his, and feels that their power should be greater than it is.
  • Ass in Ambassador: Is very rude to anyone who's not a volus.
  • Cultural Posturing: A fairly minor case, but will still bend Shepard's ear about how they are vital to the galactic economy while humans are upstart newcomers.
  • Dirty Coward: Knows of a planned attack on a turian colony, but is afraid that revealing this will jeopardize his safety, and will withhold the support of the Volus Bombing Fleet if he's made to reveal the attack unless Zaeed can persuade him.
  • Jerkass: Why he's an Ass in Ambassador.
    • Jerkass Has a Point: While he's a jerk about it, he does have a point that the Volus are treated like Butt Monkeys despite being around far longer than the humans.
  • The Mole: Becomes one for Cerberus, feeling that they are the best chance to beat the Reapers after they helped stop the Collectors. Once he realizes how wrong he is, he cuts all ties with them.
  • Proud Merchant Race: He feels that the volus should have a seat on the Council because they basically run the galaxy's economy.

    Hannah Shepard 
Captain/Rear-Admiral Hannah Shepard
"I have to go. But take care of yourself. You're making us proud."

Voiced by: Jane Singer

If Commander Shepard has the Spacer background, Captain Hannah Shepard is Shepard's mother. She helps Shepard with a side mission involving a PTSD soldier friend of hers.
  • Action Mom: What else would you expect from Spacer Shepard's mother?
  • Catch Phrase: Though you only have two chances to speak with her, she signs off with "I have to go."
  • Four-Star Badass: She's a Captain in the first two games, though it's mentioned in the second that it's only because she keeps refusing to become an Admiral, preferring to continue to serve with her crew instead of behind a desk. By the third game, she's been rapidly promoted to Real-Admiral, in part because of the losses the fleet have suffered, but mostly because she's so badass it's the rank that she honestly should be by this point. She is a Shepard, after all.
  • It Runs in the Family: A decorated Alliance soldier, well respected by her crew, and signs off with "I have to go".
  • The Men First: Gives this reason as why she kept refusing to become an Admiral.
    • Zabaleta recalls that she always stuck up for him when they served together on the Einstein. The only reason he even agrees to go to Veterans Affairs Office to deal with his PTSD is because she told him to.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: She had to experience this between the first and second game. This is part of the reason for her What the Hell, Hero? message below. May have to do so again depending on the ending in the third.
  • So Proud of You: Expressed in the above quote, and through Hackett in 3.
  • The Voice: Presumably because Shepard's mother looks like her child, and the player is the one who chooses what Shepard looks like.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sends Shepard an email in 2 asking why she had to learn her child was still alive third hand through Alliance brass. She relents a little, assuming it's a classified thing, but still wants her kid to call.
    • You can finally call her in the Citadel expansion of 3.

    Blake 
Helena Blake

"Now if you'll excuse me, my men get nervous in the presence of law enforcement agents."

Voiced by: Jane Singer

A member of a criminal syndicate who asks Shepard for help in eliminating two of her associates and allowing her to take over. If she survives, she shows up in the second game, either continuing her ways, or having reformed.
  • Drugs Are Bad: One of her driving motivations in asking for Shepard's help.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Her motivation for killing the other crime bosses are that they condone slavery and selling of red sand, wheras she simply wants to smuggle illegal products.
  • Heel-Face Turn: If you convince her to disband the gang, she shows up on Omega in the second game as a social worker. Shepard is impressed, and is at a loss as to how she could keep up the job on Omega of all places.
  • Karma Houdini: Any outcome that doesn't result in her death, although somewhat lessened if Shepard convinces her to undergo a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Mind over Matter: A biotic.
  • Noble Demon: Similar to Aria in many ways, which would explain why she's an underboss on Omega if she's allowed to continue running the gang.
  • Younger than They Look: She looks like an older woman, but the fact that she's a biotic means she can't be older than 32-33 in the first game.

    Saracino 
Charles Saracino

Garrus: What happened at the mass relay was a misunderstanding. If you saw a child about to touch a gun, wouldn't you stop them?
Saracino: I'd pull them away, yes. I wouldn't shoot them dead.

Voiced by: Gary Anthony Williams

Leader of the pro-human Terra Firma party. Asks for Shepard's endorsement in his political campaign for a spacer seat in the Alliance parliament.
  • Affably Evil: To Shepard, at least. To Shepard's alien team members, he's less than polite, particularly with Liara.
    • Although he's more cordial to Wrex, who actually agrees with his assertion that military power brings prestige. Of course, it may have also been because he's not stupid enough to insult a Krogan battlemaster to his face.
  • Beard of Evil: Bearded, and a high level member of a racist political party.
  • Bigger Stick: Discusses and supports this philosophy, believing that Earth should focus on military spending to both keep up with the rest of the galaxy and levy their military power into political clout, so that their opinion will be taken seriously. After all, it worked for the Turians.
  • Catch Phrase: "Remember Terra Firma on election day, because Terra Firma remembers you!"
  • Corrupt Politician: Sort of.
  • Dummied Out: Cut news reports for ME2 show what results Shepard's actions would have had. Had Shepard endorsed him, then Terra Firma would have gained seats in the recent election. Had Shepard refused, then Saracino would have been charged with tax evasion.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Ashley dislikes the party, in spite of her prejudices that may lead you to think otherwise; every point Saracino brings up, she counters coldly and with brutal accuracy. When he mentions Shanxi — the root of Ashley's suspicion of turians especially — she brusquely says that he wasn't there, thus he should shut the hell up.
  • Fantastic Racism: The entire point of Terra Firma in practice. They do have a semi-reasonable platform (keeping humanity's unique cultural contributions alive in the rush to advance and discover what lies beyond the Solar System), but it attracts a lot of bare-faced xenophobes.
  • Fictional Political Party: Terra Firma is one.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Despite his politics and his party's racist beliefs, the quote he makes above does make sense.
    • His comments about Humanity embracing the Bigger Stick philosophy similarly aren't without precedent, considering their incredible military power was one of the main reasons the Turians gained their seat on the Council.
  • The Starscream: Ascension and the Shadow Broker's files show that he became party chairman when his chief rival, Claude Menneau, was assassinated by Cerberus because Mennau was seen as too moderate.
  • Unwitting Pawn: He's one for Cerberus — the Illusive Man believed he'd be easier to influence than Mennau.

    Fai Dan 
Fai Dan

"I tried to fight it, but it gets in your head. You can't imagine the pain. I was supposed to be their leader. These people trusted me."

Voiced by: Armin Shimerman

Leader of the Zhu's Hope colony on Feros. Secretly, he's under the control of the Thorian like the rest of the colonists.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Though not to the extent of Reaper victims, given that the Thorian's mind control is different from indoctrination.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Not being able to protect the colonists.
  • Driven to Suicide: Kills himself when the Thorian attempts to make him kill Shepard.
  • Everything Fades: One of the few exceptions. While most bodies fade quickly, Fai Dan's body stays. There's also a noticeable pool of blood, one of only two times in the game.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera cuts away just before he shoots himself.
  • Mind Control: As with all of the colonists, he is being used by the Thorian.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: More like, My God, What Did I Let Happen?, but he blames himself for what happened to the colonists, and is likely part of the reason for his suicide.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Part of the Zhu's Hope control group used by ExoGeni to study the Thorian.

    Kahoku 
Rear Admiral Kahoku

Voiced by: Brian George

A Systems Alliance officer and veteran of several battles against the Batarian's, including the Skyllian Blitz. He is encountered by Commander Shepard on the Citadel, where he is trying to find information on a group of his marines that went missing.
  • A Father to His Men: He is highly respected by his soldiers, and in turn he is extremely dedicated to them as well.
  • Character Death: He is captured and executed by Cerberus after uncovering their research facilities on Binthu.
  • Four-Star Badass: Served with distinction during the Skyllian Blitz.
  • Happily Married: It is mentioned that he has a wife and three children.

Non-Council Space

    The Rachni Queen 
The Rachni Queen
What will you sing? Will you release us? Are we to fade away once more?
"We are the mother. We sing for those left behind. The children you thought silenced. We are rachni."

The Rachni Wars ended with the complete and utter annihilation of the rachni, or so the galaxy thought. Thousands of years later, the Binary Helix corporation discovered a cache of rachni eggs in cryogenic suspension. To their pleasant surprise, one of these eggs was a queen and, once hatched, many interested parties sought to use her to breed an army of rachni soldiers. Shepard encounters the Rachni Queen on Noveria and is presented with a choice: To kill her and end the rachni threat once and for all, or release her so that she can follow her dream of rebuilding her race.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: She contains the genetic material of her predecessors, which allows her to lay fertile eggs without mating. In addition, rachni communicate through whalesong-like sounds (which may be partially telepathic, since they can be heard in a near-vacuum) that they refer to as "singing".
    • Their method of communication is stated to be an organic version of quantum entanglement communication in the Leviathan DLC of 3. This is the technology that allows galaxy-wide communication in the series.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Asks Shepard to exterminate the remaining Rachni on Noveria, as they were born without her influence to shape their minds, leaving them completely feral. She admits it's regrettable, but it has to be done.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Mass Effect 1 and 2, it is claimed that the rachni were a peaceful race that were manipulated against their will into war with the rest of the galaxy. In 3, they were still manipulated, but it's indicated that they were pretty hostile anyway and were in fact bred to be vicious and cunning. The queen herself is also presented as being more alien than before, partially achieved by having her speak using numerous krogan dead simultaneously to achieve a choir-like effect rather than the impression of speaking to a single entity.
    • On the other hand, her rather abrasive temperament in the third game might be due to having been restrained, tortured and forced to give birth to children that were then turned into huskified abominations for several months. One can only begin to imagine how utterly pissed off she was by the time Shepard rescues her.
      • Also, if you compare the voice acting with that of her replacement, the Rachni Breeder, you will realize just how much gentler she sounds. Furthermore, if you refuse to help her this time, she won't hold it against you and accept your decision peacefully.
    • Given that the queens possess Genetic Memory, you can understand why their offspring would be naturally be inclined to be hostile; considering the last time the rachni encountered sentient life in the Galaxy, the Protheans tried to turn them into shock-troops and tried to exterminate them when it didn't work!
  • Chekhov's Army: If Shepard spares her life, she will send a messenger in the second game in order to pledge her support against the Reapers when the time comes.
  • Cloning Blues: If you killed the Queen in 1, the one you encounter in 3 is a clone made by the Reapers.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Shepard has the option to do this twice to her, once in the first game and again in the third. If you choose this option in the first, in the second game an asari who's been in contact with them delivers a personal message from the Queen herself thanking you and offering her support against the Reapers, and if you play your cards right she keeps her word and helps you build the Crucible in the third game, leading to an amusing incident mentioned in an email where the rachni's presence freaks out most of the staff as yet another example of this trope.
  • Distressed Damsel: At least, if the term "Damsel" can even apply to a giant insect. Regardless, the Rachni Queen gets captured in both 1 and 3, both times with Shepard being the only one to rescue her if they so choose.
  • Face Death with Dignity: If you decide to kill her in the first game, her asari thrall tries to stop you. If you leave her to die in the third game, she accepts it as a release from the Reapers' torture. Her breeder replacement, by contrast, screams at her children to kill you.
  • Genetic Memory: Appears to be the case, at least between generations of rachni queens.
  • Genocide Dilemma: On one hand, everybody and their grandma tells you about how dangerous the Rachni Wars were. On the other hand, she's done nothing wrong and swears to live in peace. It's up to Shepard to decide how it goes.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Averted in the second game; if you spare her, it seems she's held to her promise not to cause trouble, and pledges to aid you in any way that she can when the Reaper war begins.
    • In Mass Effect 3, she is found strapped to Reaper machinery and forced to give birth to Husk versions of the rachni. However, she still remains defiant and vengeful against the Reapers, and will aid you in the war effort if you chose to save her again. Possibly her genetic memory keeps her free will intact, even though the same doesn't apply to her children.
    • Played straight with her Reaper-created clone, if you killed the original. If you spare her this time around, she and her children will ditch you in revenge, after massacring most of the Alliance engineering corps/
  • Hive Queen: One of the few good examples.
  • Last of Her Kind: She is the only remaining rachni queen, which means the rachni race will die with her if she is killed.
  • People Puppets: Although she can do this, she only does it to communicate with Shepard and even then only because the person she's controlling is already (nearly) dead.
    • Depending on dialogue choices, Shepard can show concern that she is doing this in the second game. However, the one that Shepard's worried about is happy to help the rachni.
      • Ironically, some of the backstory clearly hints that those rachni who fought in the Rachni War were controlled by the Reapers. Sort of a parallel there with the heretic geth. The third game's Leviathan DLC, however, disproves this, and instead theorizes that the Leviathans may have been the ones controlling them.
  • Royal "We": Though as a Hive Queen who uses telepathy to calm and control her offspring, you could consider it a plural "we" as well. Her Reaper-created clone, on the other hand, does not use this, which is an indicator that something is very wrong about her.
  • Shout-Out: Done almost whole-cloth (right down to the Queens killing the daughters that didn't share "harmonious" views) from the bugs in Ender’s Game.
  • Starfish Alien: Doesn't resemble anything remotely human.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shepard, if they decide to let her go on Noveria. Before departing, she pledges to sing to her children of Shepard's mercy and in the second game, sends an envoy offering the rachni's support when it comes time to fight against the Reapers.
  • Voice of the Legion: In 3, she uses about fifteen dead krogan puppets to speak with Shepard's squad.
  • We Are The Trope:
    We are the... mother. We sing for those left behind. The children you thought silenced. We are rachni.

    Vigil 
Vigil
My name is Vigil. You are safe here for the moment, but that will change. Soon, nowhere will be safe.
"You must break a cycle that has continued for millions of years. But to stop it, you must understand, or you will make the same mistakes we did."

Voiced by: David Shaughnessy

A virtual intelligence on Ilos that is the last voice of the Protheans, who remained active just long enough to give Shepard critical information about the Reapers, and how the Protheans made one last ditch effort to warn future species about them.
  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: Understandable, since it's a virtual intelligence.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Vigil has far more nuance and ability to comprehend things than any other VI you meet in the series. It's highlighted since soon after meeting him you get a chance to talk to the Citadel VI, Avina, again, and she is so clearly more limited. Maybe it can be credited to superior programming or personality imprints, and his leitmotif probably helps, but Vigil evokes an emotional response.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Vigil's sole purpose.
    • Foreshadowing: Liara states that Vigil was the inspiration for her own plan in case things go wrong. In the Refusal ending, it works.
  • Leitmotif: Vigil's theme is not only the menu music for the first game, but in Mass Effect 2, it's the music played when you and Kaidan/Ashley meet again on Horizon, when you get a hearty welcome from Wrex, and when you have the "date" with Liara on the Normandy after she assumes the Shadow Broker mantle. In Mass Effect 3, it plays after curing the genophage and/or after ending the geth-quarian war, in The Stinger and is also faintly playing on the menu screen.
    • In the Citadel DLC, "Liara's Theme" is a piano version of this song.
  • Meaningful Name: In the most literal sense, considering its purpose.
  • Mr. Exposition: The rare positive variety.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: In the sequel, apparently once Vigil powered down it could not be reactivated again, making it an even riskier Gambit Roulette by the Protheans. It's possible this was so the Reapers wouldn't be able to retrieve anything from its databanks even after it powered down, but that meant they left the fate of all future civilisations — sentient beings in numbers beyond counting — suspended by a single, slim thread. Even if it was a thread they'd never had before. Justified Trope when you remember that he's been doing this for a very long time... He didn't power down naturally, he ran out of power completely. Mass Effect 3's "From Ashes" DLC subverts this by revealing that the Protheans had several alternate plans, which makes sense considering the remnants of their society had no way of contacting each other and made their own plans. For example, Javik was supposed to lead a million-man army of cryogenically-suspended Protheans in rebuilding the Empire after the Reapers left. Another attempted to covertly uplift the proto-asari as they were deemed the most apt to lead the next cycle of all the "primitives".
  • Omniglot: Learned English merely by studying Shepard's radio chatter. Considering the Protheans were extreme Omniglots themselves who could learn an entire species's history just by touching them, this makes a lot of sense.
    • Also counts as somewhat ironic. An earlier interaction with a damaged VI shows that because of the Cipher, Shepard was implanted with a subconscious understanding of the Prothean language, so learning English to communicate wasn't actually necessary at all.
    • Vigil addresses this. At first, only Shepard understands any of the Prothean communiques. By the time Shepard arrives, Vigil has learned English. And it was necessary in that it would be useful for Shepard's two squadmates, especially if one is Liara, to communicate with it as well.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Somewhat averted. After 50,000 years, just enough to remain functional through the next cycle, Vigil's data is corrupted, and it finally gives out just after speaking to Shepard between the first and second games.

    Han Olar 
Han Olar

"Are you going to give me a 'you know too much' speech?"

Voiced by: Gord Marriott

A volus scientist at the Peak 15 research station on Noveria. Suffers severe survivor's guilt over letting a co-worker be killed by the rachni to save himself. Shepard runs across him while looking for Benezia.
  • Creepy Monotone: He describes the death of his co-worker in gory detail, with no emotion in his voice. Even for a volus, he sounds really cold.
  • Deadpan Snarker: To the asari commando holding him at gunpoint, no less.
  • Only Sane Man: When a couple of fellow scientists tell him if he's going to be crazy, to be the quiet kind.
    Han: Crazy? I'm sane. God, am I sane!
  • Sole Survivor: If you go to the hot labs first, then Han says that he's the only civilian left, Ventralis having killed the rest under Benezia's orders.
  • Survivors Guilt: To such an extreme that in his message to Shepard in the second game, he practically wishes that he had been killed instead of his friend. At the very least, he's not ungrateful to Shepard.


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