Characters: Mass Effect 1 Party Members
This page is for listing the tropes related to party members who first appeared in the original Mass Effect
For the pages listing tropes related to NPCs, Antagonists and Party Members who first appeared in other games in the trilogy, see the Mass Effect Character Index
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Lieutenant/Staff Commander/Major Kaidan Alenko
Mom was right. I should have brought a sweater.
"We finally get out here and the 'final frontier' was already settled. And the residents don't even seem impressed by the view. Or the dangers."
Voiced by: Raphael Sbarge
A human biotic Sentinel Marine in the Systems Alliance military who specializes in technology and biotic support powers. One of two possible romance interests for a female Shepard. Returns as a party member and romance option (for either gender this time) in Mass Effect 3
if he survived the first game.
- Ambiguous Disorder: He's highly introverted, mentions disliking the Wards on the Citadel because of too many lights and too much noise, and has some seriously bizarre and inept responses to dialogue with Shepard, all of which seem to indicate some type of disorder. He lampshades it during a conversation in Mass Effect 3, in which he mentions "some people" finding his behavior annoying.
- Anger Born of Worry: If he's romanced and taken to the final mission of Leviathan, he's not happy about Shepard almost getting him/herself killed.
Kaidan: Never do that again.
- An Ice Person: Uses Cryo Blast, and the only character in 3 who can use it other than Shepard.
- Animal Wrongs Group: One of his strategies for distracting the guards at the Silver Coast Casino is to claim to belong to one of these.
- Armor Is Useless: If Shepard is forced to shoot him, he/she only shoots him once with the Predator, the weakest pistol in the game. Despite wearing heavy armor, having kinetic barriers that have withstood dozens of bullets in cutscenes, a personal ability that makes said kinetic barriers even stronger, and having medigel on hand just in case he gets shot, the bullet goes right through him and he dies a few minutes after.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: During the first act of the third game, he's made a Spectre. He also technically outranks Shepard after getting promoted to Staff Commander in the second game and then Major in the third provided he lives that long.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Kaidan is prone to the occasional non-sequitur and odd, childlike observation.
- Badass: He can snap your neck with his mind or cause a synthetic to explode into a pile of useless scrap.
- Badass Bookworm: He is a skilled technician and field medic, which are his official roles in the Alliance.
- Badass Bi: He became more badass, both in story and gameplay, at the same time his bisexuality was confirmed.
- Handicapped Badass: Downplayed. The severe migraines and painful static shocks he gets because of his implants don't slow him down any.
- Heartbroken Badass: Shepard's death messed him up pretty bad. When the Illusive Man tricked him into thinking his grief was all for nothing, Kaidan was livid.
- Barrier Warrior: Especially in the third game where he has both the Barrier power itself and the redesigned Reave.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Most of his Mass Effect 3 outfits have a helmet for vacuum conditions —- except his From Ashes DLC Palette Swap. The eyepiece apparently overrides it. But of course, he's a biotic.
- Battle Couple: With Shepard in the first and third games if romanced.
- Beautiful Dreamer: Implied if he's romanced in the third game.
Kaidan: You, uh, left without waking me.
Shepard: I didn't have the heart.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Shepard on Horizon in ME2 and Mars in ME3. Shepard's sex and relationship with Kaidan is irrelevant.
- Beware the Nice Ones: For a really easy-going and nice guy, he can break your neck with a single powerful biotic blast, and is adept at making your weapons blow up in your face.
- Biotic Training of Horrors/Training from Hell: In his backstory.
- Bi the Way: He can only be romanced by a female Shepard in the first game, but he can be romanced by a Shepard of either gender in the third.
- Bizarre Baby Boom: Was one of the first human biotics after his mother was caught downwind of a transport crash in Singapore, exposing him to Element-Zero in-utero. He's reasonably confident that his specific case was genuinely accidental, but given the influence that Conatix had after human biotics began emerging and their questionable activities at BAaT, he's highly suspicious about subsequent similar "accidents".
- Bleed 'em and Weep: The defining moment of his backstory was when a turian Drill Sergeant Nasty beat the crap out of him and tried to kill him with a knife for trying to stand up for his girlfriend after the same turian broke her arm, causing Kaidan to lash out and snap his neck. Having never killed someone before, Kaidan was horrified that someone died because he couldn't control himself, even if it was in self-defense. He now keeps a tight lid on his biotics to avoid any repeats of that situation.
- Blessed with Suck: His L2 implants give him more oomph than the average biotic running the stabler and safer L3s, but he has to deal with frequent migraines. And he's one of the luckier ones in terms of side effects. Some of the other party members, such as Wrex and Garrus, argue that the power is worth the side effects.
Wrex: You don't stop using a gun just because the kickback has a little sting.
- Break the Cutie: Kaidan had a very idealistic view of the world in the first game, but he gets a lot darker in the following two.
- Canada, Eh?: For all the Canadian accents on humans (and the occasional alien), Kaidan is the only confirmed example - his parents come from Vancouver (though Kaidan was born in Singapore due to his father's military career). Lampshaded in his Citadel DLC scene.
Shepard: What are we having? Canadian delicacy of some sort?
Kaidan: Uh, sure, exactly. We have beef, bacon, we have beer... the foods of my people.
- Character Development:
- In the first game, he takes a bit of convincing to loosen up and let himself go more often. Come the third, he has to convince you to take a "sanity check" with him on the Citadel.
- He completely writes off Cerberus as a terrorist organization in 2, seeing Shepard working with them as a betrayal. In 3, after the mission with ex-Cerberus scientist Dr. Cole, he asks Shepard if the people in Cerberus were good people and wonders if the Illusive Man was once a good person before he became who he is now.
- Comes Great Responsibility: To an almost excessive degree regarding his biotics.
- Commanding Coolness: He's reached the rank of Staff Commander in 2.
- Consummate Professional: Definitely. In the first game, Shepard has to repeatedly tell Kaidan to disregard their rank and speak freely, after he admits to being a little uneasy with the idea of befriending a superior officer.
- Noticeably, whenever he's speaking to speak to those of a lower or similar rank, such as Ashley and Joker, he's far more casual and informal. Dr. Chakwas also mentions he had an Odd Friendship with Jenkins.
- Covert Pervert: He's surprisingly knowledgeable about extranet fetish sites, approves of EDI's new body once the shock wears off, doesn't think he would survive an encounter with an Ardat-Yakshi, is noted to be working very hard not to stare at Diana Allers, and implies that he was checking out Jacob during the mission on Gellix.
- Crocodile Tears: Shows an unexpected talent for this if he helps infiltrate the casino in Citadel.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not as obvious as the others tend to be, but he has his moments.
(after Shepard is asked for a favor in a dangerous situation) That's very comforting. Certain death for some, fine for us.
- Defensive "What?": When he has his most notable Covert Pervert moment.
- First Guy Wins: If romanced.
- Flawed Prototype: Kaidan's biotic amplifier implants are L2, a model series that was made before humanity really knew what it was doing when it came to biotics. He suffers migraines... and he's one of the lucky L2s. He decides not to get retrofitted with L3s, because the L2s let his powers spike higher, the surgery that would be required has a high risk of complications, and he has a pretty deep distrust of any Conatix offshoots.
- Forgot About His Powers: In the second and third games in order to make sure his story arc matches Ashley's.
- Freudian Excuse: Defied. His backstory seems like the perfect set-up for someone to have a grudge against turians, if not aliens in general, and Shepard can even suggest this at one point. Kaidan pointedly refuses to use his past like that.
- Gay Option: In the third game.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: He implies in Citadel that he prefers playing good cop.
- Handgun: One of his weapon types in the third game, along with assault rifles. In the first game, he was just slightly less terrible with handguns as he was with every other gun due to small bonuses on his passive class skill.
- Incompletely Trained: Intentionally so and the reason he's a Sentinel instead of an Adept. He got BAaT shut down before they could finish training any of the students and had enough residual trauma to turn down the Alliance's offer to finish his training in BAaT's place. He chose to train as a technician and medic instead.
- Informed Deformity: According to Thane, he has scarring that clearly identifies him as a biotic, but even with all the times Kaidan has had his clothes off, those scars are never seen.
- I Regret Nothing: His last words if he dies on Virmire.
- It Has Been an Honor: His goodbye if Shepard chooses to save Ashley instead of him on Virmire.
- Jack of All Stats: In Mass Effect 3. Decent weapon damage, high biotic and tech power (and the only character aside from Shepard who can use both), extremely tough, and an unparalleled ability to contribute to the expanded power combo system.
- Stone Wall: When he's fighting organic enemies, the combination of Barrier and Reave can make him harder to kill than James, even with the health disadvantage.
- Kaleidoscope Eyes: Normally brown, but in ME3 they turn blue when he uses his bioticsnote .
- Killed Off for Real: Depending on your choices on Virmire... and midway through the third game.
- The Lancer: A dual role in the first and third games:
- Shares the role with Ashley in the first game until one of them is killed off.
- Back in the part in 3, sharing with Garrus, though one or both of them may be dead at this point.
- Lethal Chef: Implied to be this in the Citadel DLC. He offers to cook something, and Shepard worries that s/he survived Sovereign, the Collector Base, plus everything else during the course of the series, and can't believe that the one thing that will really off him/her is Kaidan's cooking. Later, Shepard can point out that the meal was actually pretty good, or that s/he was teasing Kaidan about how sensitive he is. Shepard is much nicer if s/he is in a relationship with Kaidan.
- Locked Out of the Loop: One of the main reasons why the reunion on Horizon goes so badly. Shepard seems to be the only one to think it might be a good idea for him to know what the hell is going on. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late since all that left him with were the reports Cerberus itself was leaking to keep Shepard away from his/her old contacts. In the third game, rectifying this is an essential part of getting back on his good side. The player also has the option of continuing to leave him out of the loop, which potentially ends in his death because he can't be convinced that it's Not What It Looks Like.
- The Lost Lenore: Potentially. As Kaidan or Ashley will be the Sacrificial Lion for the first game, they can also be considered this if a romance was pursued and they died.
- Magic Knight: Grew into one by the third game.
- Magikarp Power: He starts weak, but with high levels, no other party member even comes close to competing with him for sheer variety of ways he can screw with the enemy.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The Feminine guy to FemShep's masculine girl. Particularly prominent if Shepard is a renegade, but still present if she's a paragon. Kaidan also has this dynamic with Ashley.
- Master of None: In the first gamenote , though not nearly to the degree he's typically made out to be. Even though he does become more versatile as time goes on and his array of support powers grows, he can never match any of his teammates in terms of combat power. Averted in Mass Effect 3 where his versatility is one of his biggest strengths as well as gaining an assault rifle as a weapon and Barrier, the biotic equivalent of Tech Armor.
- The Medic: Kaidan is the only squadmate in the first game to get the Medicine talent, which decreases the recharge time on the First Aid talent.
- Military Brat: Not as prominent as with Ash, but it is still part of his background and influenced his decision to enlist. He likely wouldn't be a biotic otherwise.
Kaidan: I think it's commendable to follow in a parent's footsteps.
- Mind over Matter: One of the oldest human biotics. His L2 implant makes him one of the strongest, but at the cost of severe migraines.
- Motor Mouth: When hopped up on coffee.
- Mr. Fanservice: Like default MaleShep, Kaidan's face is based on a model. Combine that with Raphael Sbarge's voice...
- Fan Disservice: In Mass Effect 3 you get to see plenty of shirtless Kaidan—while he's lying in a hospital bed, with his face beaten in and bruised. Sure, he gets better in subsequent trips to the Citadel hospital, but...
- Female Gaze/Eating the Eye Candy: A romanced Shepard takes a good, long look at his rear as they return to the Normandy in 3. This took no time at all to go memetic. A random female NPC◊ can also be seen checking him out in the intro.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: With Ashley after Virmire. One of them will always die so it's impossible to finish the game with both of them.
- Nice Guy: One of the outright nicest characters in the series. It in no way impedes his ability to kill someone with his brain.
- Noodle Incident: He mentions in the third game's Citadel DLC that he once had a run-in with the vorcha mafia at a casino. His only elaboration is that it involved five thousand credits and a bottle of whiskey. He also has over a dozen special commendations from before he even met Shepard that are never elaborated on.
- Officer and a Gentleman: He's polite, open-minded, and keeps strict control over himself and his biotic abilities. And he can kick your ass.
- Old Soldier: Even though he is thirty-six, at most, by the end of the series, everything he's gone through by that point has made him feel like one of these, especially compared to his students.
- Optional Party Member: After nearly being killed on Mars, he's absent until Udina's attempted coup, wherein he can actually be killed or, barring that, have his request to return to the Normandy refused, making him a War Asset instead of a squadmate.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: By the third game, he's actually been promoted over Shepard, but he still takes Shepard's orders because... well.
- Gameplay wise, he suffers from this in the first game. With proper skill point allocation, he can single-handedly render any enemy that's not a thresher maw or the final boss's first form completely helpless, but that's often overlooked in favor of the more exotic and flashy abilities other squad members can use.
- With all the biotics that join the squad in ME2, it's easy to forget that Kaidan is one of the strongest known human biotics, only behind Jack, biotic!Shepard, and possibly Gillian Grayson.
- Perma Stubble: In 3.
- Platonic Life Partners: If not romanced with Shepard. Shepard even calls Kaidan a brother to him/her.
- Properly Paranoid: About Cerberus's attempts to manipulate Shepard.
- Real Men Wear Pink: At the beginning of the second game he comes to Shepard's aid wearing the pink and white Phoenix armor (though he's wearing a black one when you meet him later on Horizon).
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Ashley's red.
- Refuge in Audacity: Second only to Javik if he helps infiltrate the casino in Citadel. He outright threatens a guard when pretending to mistake him for someone who owes him money, loudly claims that he represents the Varren Anti-Cruelty Association and is very unhappy about what he's seeing, and convinces a guard that he's going to cry.
- Relationship Upgrade: Shepards of either gender can start a new romance with him in 3.
- Relationship Values: Possesses this in 3 with Shepard and it culminates in a Mexican Standoff at the Citadel. A high value will make him side with you, a lower value requires a reputation check, or he'll refuse to budge and either you or a party member will kill him.
- The Red Mage: Kaidan uses both biotic and tech powers.
- Semper Fi: A special operative, like all biotics, but still a Marine.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to MaleShep's manly man. Particularly prominent if Shepard is a renegade, but still present if Shepard is a paragon. Unlike most examples, they totally avoid the "Manly Man = Seme, Sensitive Guy = Uke" implications if they are paired up. Kaidan also plays the sensitive guy to Garrus or Wrex's manly man if he is placed in the squad with them.
- Shock and Awe: He has Overload.
- Space Marine: Again, if you're a soldier in the Alliance military, you're a Marine.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With female Shepard in the second game if romanced in the first. With male Shepard in the third game unless a specific ending is chosen.
- Survivors Guilt: If Ashley dies, though he handles it better than she does in the opposite situation.
- Took a Level in Badass: In ME3. Lampshaded in Citadel.
Kaidan: I may be L2, but I've worked very hard, and now I can reave!
[everyone else stares at him]
Jacob: Really? That's... no.
Liara: That's a bit strange.
- Tranquil Fury: The mess with Vyrnus left this as Kaidan's default state when he gets angry, but a particularly extreme case occurs after the mission on Horizon in 3, where the Illusive Man and Henry Lawson were turning people into husks to try and control them, Kaidan's seething hatred of the Illusive Man manifests itself in him very calmly wanting to rip the man in half.
Kaidan: After what I saw down there, I have never been more filled with rage.
- Transhuman: By nature of being a biotic human. Particularly notable for being one of the very first.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: If Kaidan was not romanced in the first game, there will be considerable UST in the third. This applies equally to both male and female Shepards.
- We Used to Be Friends: Basically has this with Shepard in 2, carrying over into 3.
You know the Commander? Kaidan: I used to
- What the Hell, Hero?
- You Shall Not Pass:
- In the first game, at the same time as Ashley's. It's up to you whether he survives over her.
- In the third game, this happens again, when he, as a Spectre, stands between you and Councilor Udina. If you haven't done enough socializing with him beforehand, what Ashley did to Wrex, you do to him.
Gunnery Chief/Operations Chief/Lieutenant Commander Ashley Williams
Voiced by: Kimberly Brooks
A human Systems Alliance Marine who specializes in weapons skills and heavy armor. One of two possible romance options for a male Shepard. Returns as a party member and romance option in Mass Effect 3
if she survived the first game.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: If you're male and turn down the chance of romancing her, Ashley will mention finding her own entertainment in her bunk.
- Action Girl: Of all of the characters in Mass Effect 1, only Wrex can match her for sheer toughness, and no one is as adept with weapons as her. This continues in Mass Effect 3, where her skills are mostly focused on dealing damage (as opposed to James, the other soldier character, whose skills are more focused on survivability).
- Affectionate Nickname: "Skipper", towards Shepard. Skipper is a nickname that U.S. Navy crew members commonly use for the commanding officer of the ship.
- All of the Other Reindeer: In the military, due to being the granddaughter of the only general to ever surrender to aliens, even though he surrendered to spare his men and civilians. For this, he was considered a General Failure and promptly Kicked Upstairs.
- She reached the rank of Gunnery Chief before we meet her, which is higher than her father ever got, although she says that she had "crap assignments" until that point. After the first game, she essentially "breaks the Williams Curse", either by posthumously receiving medals from the turians or salarians for her actions on Virmire, or by finally getting some good assignments and climbing up past the glass ceiling her family stigma imposed thanks to serving with distinction under Shepard.
- Almighty Janitor: In the first game, Ashley is a lowly non-commissioned officer due to her family being politically blackballed. This is all in-spite of her exemplary test scores. Come ME2 and ME3, her work with Shepard is enough for her to finally achieve the ranks she deserves.
- Ambiguously Brown: Confirmed by the developers to be mostly Hispanic.
- Anti-Hero: A Knight in Sour Armor or a Pragmatic Hero.
- Armor Is Useless: If Shepard is forced to shoot her, he/she only shoots her once with the Predator, the weakest pistol in the game. Despite wearing heavy armor, having kinetic barriers that have withstood dozens of bullets in cutscenes, and having medigel on hand just in case she gets shot, the bullet goes right through her and she dies a few minutes later.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: She's made the second human Spectre in Mass Effect 3.
- The Atoner: A lot of her actions are fueled by her desire to restore her family's good name.
- Badass: She's not someone you screw with.
- Badass Family: The Williams family is ridiculously badass. Her grandfather, while being most remembered for surrendering to the turians at Shanxi was nonetheless a General. Ashley also mentions that between her sisters, they are trained in hand-to-hand combat, swordplay and marksmanship. Ashley mentions that she once took a leave of absence to deal with her sister's overly horny boyfriend, who tried to push his luck. In the end, she actually didn't do anything, since when the boyfriend tried to hit her sister, her sibling put him into the hospital in a matter of seconds.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Most of her Mass Effect 3 outfits have a helmet for vacuum conditions -— except her From Ashes version. The eyepiece apparently overrides it.
- Battle Couple: With Shepard in the first and third game if romanced.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With male Shepard in the second and third games, if romanced in the first.
- Big Sister Instinct: Part of her backstory involves her taking a leave of absence from the Alliance to help her little sister deal with an overly clingy boyfriend.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Her skills center around dealing out as much weapon damage as possible. She's also very enthusiastic, inside battle and out.
- Brutal Honesty: One consistent trait about Ashley is that she never bites her tongue when voicing her opinion.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: Hits hard and hits first. Also likes poetry, talks to her sisters back home, and develops a soft spot for Tali.
- Character Development:
- She gradually grows more comfortable about working with aliens over time.
- In the third game, after Victus's son Tarquin sacrifices himself to prevent the bomb on Tuchanka from detonating, she will tell Tali that she is able to accept others dying in her place because she would make the same sacrifice for them, in contrast to her earlier Survivor Guilt after she is saved at the cost of Kaidan's life on Virmire.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: A mild case; she feels threatened by Liara's relationship with Shepard in the first game; even Liara lampshades this. In the third game, however, if he cheated on her with Tali in the second game, she takes it in stride if Shepard chooses to stay with Tali.
- Covert Pervert:
- Cool Big Sis: Acts as one to her younger sisters.
- Cultured Warrior: Just because she can drill you between the eyes at four hundred meters doesn't mean she can't like poetry. She even tries to romance Shepard with it.
- Custom Uniform: Her outfit in the third game looks nothing like other Alliance uniforms or armor.
- Date Rape Averted: During one of her backstory conversations, she'll talk about how her Marine father taught all his daughters how to defend themselves. One foolish boy tried to put some unwanted moves on Ashley's younger sister. It didn't end well for him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Despite being dedicated to following protocol, she's definitely isn't shy about sassing Shepard.
- Death Seeker: Has shades of this during the first game. If she survives Virmire, after she says she should have been the one to stay behind, one of Shepard's responses is to lose their temper and accuse her of wanting to martyr herself to restore her family's honor. This seems to snap her out of it.
- Demoted to Extra: During the second game.
- She also is hospitalized early in the third game after being attacked by Eva Coré on Mars, remaining out of action until the Cerberus coup attempt. Many of her fans have bemoaned the fact that Ashley is not given much dialogue on Normandy, but the writers have clarified that she has the same amount of lines as Kaidan; her conversations just mostly take place on the Citadel, while Kaidan's are largely restricted to the Normandy.
- Determinator: Due to her grandfather being the only human to surrender to alien forces, the entire military hates her and assigns her to the lowest and most degrading posts they can. Despite this, she signed up for the Alliance anyway to help redeem her family name.
- Shepard notes in the third game that the very first time they met Ashley, she had just seen her entire platoon wiped out by geth and instead of laying down and giving up, her response was to pick up her gun and kept firing. Shepard implies that if they hadn't shown up, she would have likely continued to do so even if it meant she had to defend the colony by herself.
- Did I Say That Out Loud: Pops up several times if Shepard is in a romance with her.
Ashley: If you expect to get me in a tinfoil mini-skirt and thigh-high boots, I want dinner first... Sir!
- Distaff Counterpart: Given that Ashley has considerable prowess with a sniper rifle and automatic rifle, is frequently cast as a Deadpan Snarker and in the first game was something of a Noble Bigot before Character Development, one could make the very serious argument that she's essentially the human, female equivalent of Garrus Vakarian.
- Drink Order: In the third game, to cope with the impending Reaper attack, James gives her a bottle of alcohol. She drinks the whole bottle.
- Drinking Contest: This is what constitutes a shore-leave date with Ashley, romanced or not, in the Citadel DLC.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Averted. If you romance her, she refuses to say "I love you" until both of you come out of the endgame alive.
- Establishing Character Moment: She's first encountered fleeing from two geth troopers and their drones. She dives to avoid the drones' fire, takes them out with per pistol, then jumps behind cover before readying her rifle in anticipation for the two troopers. After Shepard and Kaidan kill the troopers, she thanks them for saving her life and then blames herself for the loss of the other marines.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Family Honor: The driving force behind her service in the Alliance military.
- Fangirl: Mildly towards Shepard if s/he has the War Hero background.
- Fanservice Pack: In the third game, it seems that her promotion to Spectre status included a boob job.
- Including the lingerie she wears in the romance scene with Shepard. That doesn't look like regulation military issue (although Traynor and Shepard have the exact same set, so...) Might be a perk of being a Spectre, though, they do always get the best gear.
- Fantastic Racism: A surprisingly nuanced version of this. She doesn't trust aliens and has issues with turians in particular because her grandfather was the commander at the garrison at Shanxi, who was also the only human commander to ever surrender to alien forces. As a result, the Williams name is something of a curse, and Ashley suffers for it. Whether this comes across as a sympathetic Freudian Excuse or petty blame-shifting on her part is up to the player.
- The logical (and Real Life) reasoning behind this is that she overcompensates distrust of aliens because as a Williams, she is already under (unfair) scrutiny for being an alien-sympathizer or not pro-human enough. Similar in concept to Armored Closet Gay except a much milder case that the player can help persuade her out of. It's important to note that even if she doesn't trust aliens, she vehemently criticizes the Terra Firma party for its blatant racism.
- She also expresses sympathy for Tali the instant she hears how the Council shafted the quarians after the geth went rogue. Tali is also the only alien whose presence on the ship she doesn't object to. It appears that her beef is mainly with the Council races. Furthermore, if she is romanced in 1 but left for Tali in 3, she takes it fairly well. If Shepard cheats on her with Miranda or Jack on the other hand, she gets pretty mad.
- Her issue with Liara is mostly as a romantic rival and to extent, as Benezia's daughter. She will urge Shepard to speak to her after Benezia's death.
- Given that her grandfather was branded The Quisling by humanity for doing something so heinous as surrendering in order to save civilians, its entirely possible that she simply has trust issues and doesn't trust anyone. Given her reaction to Shepard being involved with Cerberus in the second game and the fact she takes a long time to trust them again in the third, this might be the case. Ashley doesn't hate aliens, she just doesn't trust them to not let her down. This also fits with her being religious. So far, her faith in God is because they are the only person who hasn't let her down.
- This trait seems to be completely gone by 3, replaced with a distrust of Shepard because s/he was working with Cerberus. She also states that she has difficulty in seeing synthetics as truly alive, although this sentiment is largely shared by the rest of the crew except EDI; many of the crew fought against the geth in the first game.
- First Girl Wins: If romanced.
- Friendly Sniper: She can use sniper rifles, though cutscenes always show her wielding assault rifles.
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: While far from naive and even somewhat cynical, she cannot comprehend what Cerberus hoped to accomplish in Sanctuary on Horizon, and considers her inability to do so what makes her human.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Her sisters know fencing and aikido. Ashley knows Marine hand-to-hand and admits that she's "more or less a straight-up puncher".
- Heartbroken Badass: If romanced by Shepard in the first game, it's clear that she took Shepard's death hard. It takes until half-way through the third game until she's ready to believe that Shepard is who they claim they are and trust them again.
- Hero-Worshipper: To Shepard with the War Hero background.
- Hidden Depths: Her views on human/alien interaction actually delve much deeper than simple racism. While she has trust issues, her views fall more along the line of "we shouldn't become too dependent on them."
- She admonishes Shepard for thinking that just because she is capable of shooting someone between the eyes from 400 yards, it doesn't mean she can't like poetry.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Her default armor in the first game is white and pink. Pink.
- Hypocritical Humor: Angrily berates a colonist in ME2 for insulting Shepard only to then proceed to berate Shepard herself, call them a traitor for working with Cerberus and furious that they didn't think to inform her they were still alive.
- Improbable Age: Supplementary material says she's 25 in the first game, which is really pushing the suspension of disbelief if she's a senior NCO.
- In the Back: She'll kill Wrex this way if you take too long to talk him down.
- In the Blood: She's a, what, fifth-generation Marine?
- I Regret Nothing: Her last words if she dies on Virmire.
- It Has Been an Honor: Her goodbye if Shepard chooses to save Kaidan instead of her on Virmire.
- I Uh You Too: She and Shepard do this. They "want each other to be happy".
- Killed Off for Real: Depending on your choices on Virmire. It's also possible to shoot her midway through the third game when Udina turns traitor but it's not too hard to avoid.
- Knight in Sour Armor: She's bitter and distrustful of aliens and the Council, but is dedicated to her job and is willing to lay down her life to do the right thing.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: If Shepard has the War Hero background, she has a little hero worship at the start of the first game.
- The Lancer: A dual role in the first and third games:
- Shares the role with Kaidan in the first game until one of them is killed off.
- Back in the part in 3, sharing with Garrus, though one or both of them may be dead at this point.
- Last Name Basis: Typically referred to as such in the first game, most often "Chief Williams" or "Williams".
- Letting Her Hair Down: As of Mass Effect 3. There's something amusing about James' "she's a fun girl when she actually lets her hair down", given he never met her onscreen before (their first exchange implies they knew each other already, but probably not for long).
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: Coming from a family that has been military for generations, one could argue her attraction to a Male Paragon Shepard is due to Ashley being instinctively drawn towards strong, determined men who are career military. If romanced, in the third game she believes that if her father were still alive, Shepard would be the first boyfriend her father would approve of and the two of them would get on like a house on fire.
- Locked Out of the Loop: One of the main reasons why the reunion on Horizon goes so badly. Shepard seems to be the only one to think it might be a good idea for her to know what the hell is going on. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late since all that left her with were the reports Cerberus itself was leaking to keep Shepard away from his/her old contacts. In the third game, rectifying this is an essential part of getting back on her good side. The player also has the option of continuing to leave her out of the loop, which potentially ends in her death because she can't be convinced that it's Not What It Looks Like.
- The Lost Lenore: Potentially. As Kaidan or Ashley will be the Sacrificial Lion for the first game, they can also be considered this if a romance was pursued and they died.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The masculine girl to Kaidan's feminine boy. Ashley also has shades of this with a paragon MaleShep.
- Military Brat: Ashley is pretty quick to let you know that she's the fourth generation of Williams to be in the military.
- More Dakka: Marksman (buffs accuracy and firing rate) is one of her unique powers in 3. This really comes into play if you give her an already fast-firing weapon like the Revenant or Typhoon.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: With Kaidan after Virmire. One of them will always die, so it's impossible to finish the game with both of them.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Obviously, her views are influenced by her family's Dark and Troubled Past, but she believes that alien races are just as susceptible to Fantastic Racism as humans are, and that humans should be prepared to go it alone. In any event, she still has concrete standards (namely loathing for the direction the more racist Terra Firma party has gone, and an absolute refusal to work with Cerberus due to their terrorist activities). She also works well with all teammates, human and otherwise, in the field.
- Optional Party Member: In the third game, after being severely injured on Mars, she's absent until Udina's attempted coup, wherein she can actually be killed or, barring that, have her request to return to the Normandy refused, making her a War Asset.
- Overranked Soldier: As mentioned previously, Gunnery Sergeant is a somewhat implausible rank for a 25 year old woman to hold especially when she faces the kind of stigma that Ashley holds during a time of relative peace (i.e. before the geth attack on Eden Prime). Somehow, in the space of two and a half years between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 3, she is able to earn a commission and be promoted to Lieutenant Commander, a rank that normally takes many years to earn even for people who began their careers as young Ensigns.
- It's possible that, since her technical scores are exemplary and she kept getting given crap assignments, the brass were trying hard to get her Kicked Upstairs with a post on some backwater planet, where she wouldn't be much of a problem.
- Her promotion in 3 might be because being part of Shepard's crew opened a lot of doors for her, since it appears that the while the Alliance tried to hush up the crew about the Reapers, they only were actively trying to discredit Shepard. It also seems that she was being prepared as a possible successor to Shepard as a Spectre. Or at least, Udina probably wanted a Spectre more amenable to his bidding.
- Overshadowed by Shepard: Much like Garrus, she's an extreme badass and a fine leader and, in the third game, gets inducted as a Spectre. But when Shepard is around, there's no doubt who's the boss, or why. Exemplified if Shepard is the one to kill Udina, at which point s/he immediately takes total charge of the situation.
- She will also admit that she feels this way in regard to the rest of the crew in the first game. She fears she'll be ineffective against the Geth since she can't use Biotics or Tech like the others.
- Pair the Spares: If unromanced, she can hook up with James in Citadel if encouraged.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Replaces her Prim and Proper Bun in Mass Effect 3.
- Pet the Dog: In spite of her views, if you talk to her after the Noveria mission, she'll tell Shepard to go comfort Liara since her mother was killed there after succumbing to indoctrination. She also expresses a hope that having Tali be on their team will improve people's views of quarians during one of the game's many long elevator rides. As well, she takes the Virmire assignment of leading an assault force of salarians without complaint. In fact, the salarians come out of it with nothing but respect for her.
- Pink Means Feminine: Subverted; her armor may be pink, but she's tough and hardly traditionally feminine.
- Prim and Proper Bun: In the first two games, although Ashley herself is hardly prim and proper.
- Properly Paranoid:
- Ashley does not trust the Council because she feels if push comes to shove, they will put the good of their own races ahead of humans. Come the third game, she's proven right.
- She was also correct about Cerberus' efforts to manipulate Shepard.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Subversion. She's an undeniable badass and certainly never seen wearing a dress in the main games, but when Shepard mentions that he can't see her in a dress, she hesitates, saying "Damn... right... you can't!" This implies that she thinks she's supposed to be this way. If you pursue a relationship with her, she's also revealed to be a romantic at heart, while still keeping up appearances of being a hardass.
- Should Shepard cheat on her with Miranda in the second game, she angrily notes that when she goes into battle it's in armor, not swimwear. Which is hypocritically hilarious if you use the alternative outfit for Ashley in combat (which is her skin-tight leather suit).
- Furthermore subverted in the Citadel DLC. If you take Ashley with you on the infiltration mission, she'll wear a dress. And if you don't take her, she'll say that she actually looks good in a dress and wishes she had an opportunity to wear it.
- Real Women Love Jesus: Maybe. It's left deliberately ambiguous what religious denomination she belongs to, save for that it's monotheistic.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Kaidan's blue.
- Redemption Equals Death: Potentially discussed; after learning about her family's backstory, Shepard can express concern that she hopes for an opportunity to fall on her proverbial sword in order to redeem her family name. If she's the one left behind on Virmire, it has this effect. Not to mention news reports from the second game: she's been awarded high honors by the salarian and turian governments for her willingness to give her life protecting aliens.
- Refuge in Audacity: If she's taken to infiltrate the casino in Citadel. Her antics include feigning extreme drunkenness, loudly crying about a breakup, and brazenly hitting on a guard.
- Relationship Upgrade: You can start a new romance with her in the third game regardless of history (the same applies to Liara and Kaidan, though Ashley's romance remains restricted to Male Shepard). "I'm just saying, we've been through a lot. I have to know — are we going somewhere?"
- Relationship Values: Possesses this with Shepard in 3. It culminates in a Mexican Standoff. A high-value Ashley will side with you over Udina, while a lower one requires a reputation check, and if the reputation is too low, she will refuse to move and must be killed.
- Religious Bruiser: "Hey, if they're trying to find God, I'd be happy to speed them on their way."
- Semper Fi: She's in the human military, so natch.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: She got a major visual overhaul between 2 and 3.
- Shoot the Dog: If Shepard is unable to talk Wrex down, she may do this to save him/her.
- And if Shepard is unable to talk her down during the Cerberus attack in the third game, Shepard can do the same to her.
- Her name is a reference to Evil Dead's protagonist. During the Virmire stage, she can also make a comment about her "boomstick."
- She also romances Shepard with by quoting Walt Whitman (a.k.a. Dead Poets Society).
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Invoked in the third game if the romance was continued.
Ashley: Just shut up and kiss me.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: She could use shotguns in the first game, affectionately referring to her shotgun as her "boomstick", but she prefers assault rifles. She loses the ability to use shotguns in the third game.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Takes the more realistic viewpoint to Paragon Shepard's continual Wide-Eyed Idealist nature.
Shepard: That's a pretty pessimistic way of looking at things, Chief.
Ashley: A pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist.
- So Proud of You: Her father salutes her after she becomes a Gunnery Chief, a higher rank than he could ever achieve.
- Sole Survivor: Of her unit on Eden Prime.
- Space Marine: As with all human soldiers in Mass Effect, literally.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With male Shepard in the second game if romanced in the first. Avoided in the third game only if a specific ending is chosen.
- Straw Civilian: Holds this view of non-military folk, particularly politicians. Granted, most of the time she seems to be right. One elevator conversation has her complaining about how people are going about their daily lives despite the threat of the geth and Saren; other party members' responses vary, but Garrus in particular points out that this is the difference between military and civilian worldviews.
Ashley: It’s strange. The geth are attacking, and everyone around here is still worried about ordinary business.
Garrus: You’re military, Chief Williams. They’re civilians. Civilians never believe the enemy is coming until they’re at the gates.
- Survivor Guilt: If she's saved on Virmire, she will express this. In the third game, a conversation between her and Tali showcases her Character Development on this regard, as she tells Tali that she can accept Kaidan's sacrifice because she would have done the same thing in his situation, and says that one day, Tali will have her turn to sacrifice herself.
- Take That: She gives one to those who have a problem with people having religious beliefs.
- Thigh-High Boots: Mentioned as a jest in the first game. In the third game, she gets her own pair.
- Token Religious Teammate: Mainly in the first game. It's not brought up so much in the third. She was going to have a conversation about Shepard's Near Death Experience, but it got cut.
- Took a Level in Badass: At the start of Mass Effect 1, she's a competent but unremarkable marine, and requires aid to survive against a couple geth troopers. In Mass Effect 3, assuming she survives, she's made a Spectre, essentially meaning she's declared humanity's second most competent agent behind Shepard him or herself.
- Unequal Pairing: With Shepard. She also writes an e-mail to her sister warning about the possible implications of this, including possibly having to decide whether your loved one lives or dies. This becomes Harsher in Hindsight after Virmire, when she can potentially be saved because she's romanced, or sacrificed for a romanced Kaidan.
- The Unfair Sex: If romanced previously, male Shepard calls her out on this attitude in 3, noting that if he chose to romance someone else in the second game, it was only because Ashley made her feelings abundantly clear on Horizon that they were over.
- Up Through the Ranks: Assuming she survived the first game, she goes from a gunnery chief (a grade of noncom) to a lieutenant commander.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Averted in that one of the proudest moments of her father's life was when she reached a higher rank than him, so for a while he took to saluting her and calling her "Sir".
- Played straight as she has this attitude to the Alliance, who blacklisted her family ever since Shanxi when her grandfather, General Williams, surrendered in order to save civilian lives. Ashley's struggle to prove herself to the Alliance gets to the point where Shepard berates her in the first game for wanting to jump on grenades, if it'd mean redeeming the Williams name.
- We Used to Be Friends: Basically has this with Shepard in Mass Effect 2, which carries over to Mass Effect 3.
You know the Commander? Ashley: I used to
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- With Due Respect:
- Despite her opinion of this line (note her head quote above), she uses it at least twice. Once in the first game when discussing alien crewmembers, and again in the Extended Cut if she's the injured squadmate during the airlift scene.
- Though her line from above may be an intentional callback on her part to what she said in the first game about what people really mean when they say that. Which makes it a bittersweet funny moment.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Potentially.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: An un-romanced Male Shepard or a Female Shepard can allow this relationship, especially once Shepard finds Ashley suffering from a hangover in Mass Effect 3.
Shepard: You know, is it time to test the fire alarm? I think it is!
Ashley: I'll pay you a million credits not to do that, sir/ma'am.
Shepard: Two million credits, and we have a deal.
Ashley: You're a damn space pirate.
Shepard: I could order Joker to sing to you over the comm.
Ashley: I hate you.
Shepard: "I hate you...?"
Shepard: As you were, Williams!
- Vindicated by History: In-Universe If you choose to let her die in the first game, then by the second game she had become a martyr and face of the human fight on Virmire. She gets memorials in her name and all of her family's shameful past is forgotten and has been redeemed.
- Also happens if she is still alive in the third game where she is promoted to Lieutenant Commander and eventually becomes the second human Spectre. She even lampshades it in the game that the Williams family curse is finally broken.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Comes into play if you romance her, especially if she kills Wrex.
- You Shall Not Pass: At the same time as Kaidan's. It's up to you whether she survives over him.
Garrus "Archangel" Vakarian
Can it wait for a bit? I'm in the middle of some calibrations.
"Fighting a rogue Spectre with countless lives at stake and no regulations to get in the way? I'd say that beats C-Sec."
Voiced by: Brandon Keener
A turian C-Sec officer who joins Shepard's team after becoming dissatisfied with regulations at C-Sec. Specializes in technology and long-range combat. Rejoins Shepard as a squadmate in Mass Effect 2 becoming one of his/her most trusted and loyal comrades,
and unofficially taking the position
of his/her Number Two
. Fan demand made him a love interest for the female Shepard. He returns as a squad member in Mass Effect 3
, provided he survived the second game.
- Adorkable: In the first game, if spoken to in the Council chamber, he actually stammers when he says that in all his time in C-Sec, he's never been privileged enough to see or meet the Council. For the second game, it shows more clearly and consistently in his romance with female Shepard. First he agrees to Shepard's offer of casual sex, but each time you talk to him after that, he's increasingly awkward, worrying about all the ways their Interspecies Romance could crash and burn. By the time he shows up in Shepard's quarters, he's babbling from nerves. Finally he confesses it's because he feels like Shepard is the only real friend he's got left, and after all his failures, he wants their relationship to be something that finally goes right.
- Come Mass Effect 3, he's not as nervous around her if she continues to see him, but their first conversation on the Normandy is fraught with awkward uncertainty that he tries to mask with humor. It does appear again on their Citadel date just before the bottle shooting.
- He can be similarly adorkable if he and Tali hook up. But that's only if you don't romance either of them in the last game.
- In Citadel DLC, when he and Shepard are roleplaying a first date (the idea of which screams the trope itself), he eventually is at a loss for words and breaks character. Amusingly, he almost immediately averts this when he drags Shepard to the dance floor, prompting her to be adorkable.
- Alien Blood: In the second game, after Garrus takes a gunship rocket to the face, Shepard finds the poor bastard lying in a pool of what looks like blue paint.
- Always Someone Better: It's heavily implied that Garrus feels somewhat inferior when compared to Shepard. His Shadow Broker dossier even says that Shepard's presence just might be preventing him from realizing his potential.
- Shepard can intentionally miss during a bottle shooting match in the third game. The look on Garrus' face that he's a better shot than Shepard speaks of how much of a win this is for him.
- Amazon Chaser: Part of the reason he goes for female Shepard is the tremendous amount of respect he has for her leadership skills and prowess in battle. See Interplay of Sex and Violence below.
- Anger Born of Worry: Similar to other love interests in the Leviathan DLC for Mass Effect 3. He chastises Female Shepard for almost getting herself killed, and later on he still seems worked up about it.
- Aroused by Their Voice: During the "first date" on the Citadel DLC with a romanced Shepard, Garrus plays up his voice as one of his better qualities. If he isn't around in ME3 and was romanced in ME2, Female Shepard laments not hearing his voice again. Apparently, she really likes it.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: In the third game, he's one of the highest ranking officers in the entire turian military due to his prior experience fighting Reapers. Partly justified as the turian military (and turian society in general) is a self-described meritocracy and they don't have nearly as much problem rapidly promoting people as humans do.
- Babies Ever After: If he's romanced, during the final conversation with him in Mass Effect 3, he brings up the possibility of finding out "what a turian-human baby looks like" after everything's over. Shepard can either agree with him and suggest adoption (Garrus points out that there's going to be a lot of krogan babies once the Reaper war is over) or claim that they'd be terrible parents ("I think two trained killers are enough for one family").
- Badass: Anyone capable of defending himself against three different mercenary groups all at the same time for more than a day is undeniably badass. Basically, in the time between Mass Effect 1 and 2, he became the turian's answer to Frank Castle. He was actually a Spectre candidate.
- Bash Brothers/Battle Couple: As Shepard puts it, "If I'm walking through hell, I want someone I can trust by my side."
- "I hope you're aware that this plan has me walking through hell too."
- "There's no Shepard without Vakarian."
- May also count with Zaeed. Not only do the two have similar histories and identical weapon specialties, but Zaeed greatly respects Garrus' skills. It comes to a head in Citadel DLC when they discuss the apartment's features for possible modifications into a defensive base and then act on it. While they "improve" the apartment by booby trapping it Zaeed remarks that he could have really done with knowing Garrus several years ago for a challenging mission.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Garrus is generally a nice guy, if bitter about C-Sec and his own failings but get him angry and he'll go commando on your ass.
- Beyond the Impossible:
- In 3, Legion remarks that it is physically impossible to improve the accuracy of the Normandy's weapons past .32%. Garrus then calibrates them to be .43% more accurate. Legion is utterly flabbergasted at the impossibility.
How did you accomplish this? Garrus:
It's a little secret we organics like to keep: always hold a little something back for emergencies. Legion:
Does our present circumstances count as an emergency? Garrus:
A geth meddling in our computers, telling me how to do my job? No
, I can't imagine that would qualify.
- Played for laughs in the Citadel DLC. Garrus achieves the "impossible" with a romanced Female Shepard: He teaches her to dance.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Turians are one of only two known species (the other being quarians) that have a dextro-amino acid based biology. As such, they can't consume any food or drink made for levo-amino acid biologies (humans, asari, salarians, krogans, etc.) without, at the least, not getting any nourishment from it; or at the most, having a fatal allergic reaction. If Shepard romances him in the second game, Mordin warns her about the dangers of ingesting.
- Black and White Morality: Garrus prefers to see the world like this. Unlike Samara, he's willing to give mercy a chance if Shepard persuades him to.
Garrus: It's so much easier to see the universe in black and white. Gray? ...I don't know what to do with gray.
- Blood Knight: Almost to krogan levels. Omega in particular brought out this side of him; in his own words, criminals were everywhere and all he had to do was point and shoot. This attitude (and Sidonis) nearly gets him killed.
Garrus: Scratch one!
- Breakout Character: Like Tali, he becomes far more plot relevant and fleshed out in 2, in addition to being a Love Interest. In 3, Garrus, along with Liara, also has the most conversations/interactions with Shepard. Keep in mind, this is done despite the fact that Garrus could actually be dead in the player's import.
- Byronic Hero: In ME2, after he's been put through hell on Omega. Depending on the player's actions, he can fall further into this trope or start to be pulled out of it.
- Casual Kink: Implied in the relationship between him and romanced female Shepard in the Citadel DLC of Mass Effect 3, in which they roleplay a first date and swap some suggestive dialogue before partaking in a Mating Dance.
- Catch Phrase: "Just like old times..." Being one of only two squadmates that have been full-time in all three games, he's prone to saying this. Usually in a casual manner about some danger or other.
- Character Development: Paragon Shepard can help him undergo a surprising amount of this, with Garrus slowly coming to realize that regulations and safety precautions, while sometimes obstructive, are often there for very good reasons. He can even decide, on his own, to re-apply to C-Sec once your mission is complete. Or, if Renegade, you can encourage his Cowboy Cop tendencies and have him decide to reapply for Spectre status. Unfortunately, he seems to backpedal between games if you've encouraged him to work within the system — which makes sense, considering the Council did everything possible to rip apart everything he and Shepard's team accomplished in the first game, denying the Reapers' existence and allowing C-Sec to become corrupt and ruthless in its policing of the Citadel. Of course he'd get pissed off at the system and take things into his own hands.
- Cold Sniper/Friendly Sniper: Ruthless when scopin' and droppin' but very friendly outside of battle.
- Continuity Nod: A minor one, but Garrus says after ending a conversation with him, "I'll be here if you need me" or "Need me for something?" He also says it if you reject him during his sex scene. This is one of his general lines when on a mission from the first game.
- The third game also has multiple references to Garrus and his calibrations.
- Cowboy Cop: Deconstructed in that he has to leave C-Sec in order to indulge his Cowboy Cop urges; just like in real life, actual police forces would not tolerate cowboy cops. Paragon Shepard's influence can inspire him to rejoin C-Sec with a new appreciation for playing by the rules, in addition to reapplying for Spectre candidacy (which happens either route you take). Renegade Shepard's influence, conversely, will encourage his tendencies to the extent that he envies Shepard's lack of problems with red tape. Deconstruction is taken further in Mass Effect 2, where he is now a vigilante bordering on Knight Templar whose actions have resulted in multiple mercenary gangs teaming up to kill him. And even still, he notices that his work still hasn't changed very much at all.
- The Cowl: As Archangel, befitting his role as the Mass Effect universe's very own "Space-Batman". Or "Space-Punisher" if you like.
- Cultural Rebel: Garrus frequently displays this, being relatively lax compared to most turians when it comes to bending the rules and also recognising that following military protocol is not always the best course of action, particularly when it prevents him from helping people. He admits it himself at times that he "doesn't think [he]'d make a very good turian."
- Cultured Badass: In the Citadel DLC, if romanced by a female Shepard, Garrus can dance tango with her.
- Deadpan Snarker: Probably the most sarcastic character next to Joker. This pretty remarkable, considering that other races don't consider turians to have a sense of humor. Appropriately enough, by the third game, they're trading military jokes and even some self-deprecating wisecracks:
Garrus: That's unfortunate. Hospitals aren't very much fun to fight through.
Shepard: Garrus, what is fun to fight through?
Garrus: Gardens, electronic shops. Antique stores, but only if they're classy.
- Death by Irony: The Shadow Broker's dossier on Garrus reveals that he is a fan of dishing out these types of deaths to criminals. This includes shooting a weapon smuggler in the head with one of his own smuggled weapons, and coughing on a quarian virus specialist turned serial killer. He also plans on harvesting organ seller Dr. Saleon's organs, but decides that time is short and plans on shooting him (he will if Shepard chooses not to talk him out of it, and might if Shepard decides to let Saleon live).
- Death Faked for You: After you recruit him on Omega (and kill a metric crapton of mercs to do it), the mercs spread rumors that he died in the battle and Garrus is happy to accept them. They pretty much had to, because the true story of Garrus and Shepard's team completely owning all of them would have destroyed their reputation. It could also be that the mercs are pretty sure he died when he took a gunship blast to the face. Somewhere down the line, however, the truth does come out. The mercs in the Citadel DLC recognize him under that name.
- Determinator: Held out against a band of three mercenary companies single-handedly for over a day.
- The Dreaded: By Omega's criminals while acting as Archangel. Also the CAT6 mercenaries.
CAT6 merc: I think that turian is Archangel! How are we supposed to kill him?!
Garrus: You're not!
- Establishing Character Moment: From the first game, he has two. His first appearance has him arguing with Executor Pallin over the Spectres stealing his investigation out from underneath him, establishing Garrus as a cop who plays by his own rules. His second has him score a perfect headshot on the thug holding Dr. Michel hostage, demonstrating his prowess as a marksman, but also that Garrus can be reckless in his pursuit of justice. Either one of these moments can be Shepard's first encounter with him, depending on how you play out the investigation on Saren.
- The Reveal in the second game that he's actually Archangel, establishes that Garrus has become far more Darker and Edgier. Without the influence of Paragon Shepard, this is likely because no one was around to serve as his Morality Chain.
- And finally, his first appearance in the third game, with him being saluted by a turian general, shows how far he's come since his introduction as a C-Sec officer.
- Even the Human Males Want Him: In Citadel, he can get one of the guards at the casino to flirt with him.
- Everyone Can See It: Kelly and Kasumi comment on how Garrus and female Shepard would make a good couple.
- Fan Nickname: Space Batman, considering his vigilante actions in ME2.
- Foil: To Paragon Shepard, where he essentially takes on the role of the "Batman" to Shepard's "Superman", with his entire character arc throughout all three games probably summed up as 'almost just as awesome as Shepard'.
- In the first game, his hunting of Dr. Heart, forgoing rules and protocol are similar to Shepard gaining Spectre status and given free reign to investigate Saren. How he ends the pursuit, and his subsequent personal philosophy is also affected by Shepard.
- His accomplishments as Archangel in the second game are basically all three of Shepard's possible psychological profiles rolled into one Badass. He holds off an army of enemies single-handedly like the War Hero, he's the only one of his own squad left and is emotionally affected by it like the Sole Survivor, and he is absolutely Frank Castle on criminals, and gains a Name to Run Away From Really Fast like the Ruthless background. His exploits also have him emulating Shepard by gathering a posse of 12 specialists (though technically, Garrus did it first).
- In the third game, despite being The Cassandra to his people after so many years, he now commands the respect of the leaders of his people, with generals saluting him and the Primarch asking for his advice, much like Shepard does with Anderson and Hackett.
- Friends with Benefits:
- His romance with female Shepard starts out this way — Shepard suggests they have casual sex "to blow off steam" and Garrus, after a moment of shock, agrees. As things progress the relationship becomes more emotional, but the dialogue is never quite overtly romantic.
- In Mass Effect 3, they can receive a full Relationship Upgrade if you romanced him in ME2 and don't choose to break up with him.
- In the Citadel DLC he can be way more romantic, going so far as to call Shepard "honey" and "love of my life."
- If neither of them was romanced by Shepard, Tali hooks up with him in ME3 and, when he says that it's nice to have something to come back to, she protests and claims it's only a fling, she's "just using [him] for [his] body." His response is "You're so mean... and I'm okay with that."
- Foreshadowing: In the game, you have Fleet & Flotilla, and in Mass Effect 2, you have a turian and quarian hooking up in a bar. The fact that they have compatible amino acids help.
- From Bad to Worse: In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2, a file on him reveals his mother is dying of a (currently) incurable disease and he and his sister aren't on very good terms. To push the trope further, by the third game, only his father and sister are accounted for; his mother isn't mentioned once.
- Gallows Humor: The exchange about hospitals not being fun to fight through becomes clearly this in 3, when he says, "I thought hospitals were ugly to fight through. This is so much worse."
- Genius Bruiser: He is primarily a master of weapons, but he's also a skilled technician.
- Get a Room!: His reaction to Tali and Shepard flirting while on board a geth dreadnought.
- Can receive one from Zaeed in the Citadel DLC if he's in a relationship with a female Shepard.
- Glass Cannon: Garrus can put out a lot of pain from an extreme distance, but for one of your "combat" characters, he is relatively fragile. This might be at odds with his high combat skills during the Collector Base mission, but his skills as a leader and strategist outweigh his relatively fragility.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Implies in Citadel that he prefers playing bad cop.
- Good Is Not Soft: Basically a darker Paragon Shepard. The extent to which he embodies this throughout the series, however, depends on Shepard's interactions with him.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Gains some shortly into Mass Effect 2 after getting a rocket to the face; on a human face, his would definitely look like evil scars, although he's a good character.
- He apparently got them treated between 2 and 3, though they're still noticeable. Or maybe it was just a year's worth of healing. Dr. Chakwas even theorizes that he actually likes his scars, in regards to him turning down her offer of treating them.
- The Gunslinger: Combination of a Type A and D, being both a crack shot and being able to pull them off quickly as shown in his Establishing Character Moment.
- Gut Feeling: Garrus often trusts these, which lends even more to his Cowboy Cop status.
- Headbutt of Love: Since turian mouths are structured very differently from humans and fluid exchange can lead to anaphylactic shock, this is how he shows affection for female Shepard during their romance scene. If the romance continues to the third game, Shepard and Garrus no longer have reservations with kissing.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners/Platonic Life Partners:
- He Who Fights Monsters: Lets his obsession with revenge get away with him in the second game; you can choose whether to stop him or encourage him.
- Hollywood Kiss: Gives one to Shepard in 3 if they're in a romance during their Citadel outing.
- Honor Before Reason: He often obsesses with seeing villains get their just deserts, regardless of whether pursuing them is the wisest course of action. He wrestles with himself over whether it's because of his pride, or because of his values in justice. If you take him down the Paragon path, he admits it was his pride that wanted him to hunt down Dr. Saleon/"Dr. R. Heart" more than it was to seek justice.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Performs this for many of his targets as Archangel. For ordinary criminals he just executes them via bullet to the head, but for special criminals he uses special means, e.g. damaging a saboteur's environmental suit so that it kills him by suffocation, killing a weapons smuggler with his own smuggled weapons, killing a drug dealer by giving him an overdose of his own drugs, and a quarian viral specialist serial killer with a cough. The only criminal he breaks this pattern for is a slaver, whom he set ablaze, fractured the face with his rifle butt, and shot multiple times in every limb and primary organ. Though if the target was a krogan (and the use of the term "primary organ" suggests that he was), this may have been barely enough.
- Humans Are Ugly: Played straight, subverted, and ultimately averted in his romance with female Shepard (and in that order). He starts off by saying he doesn't have a fetish for humans and has never before considered - let alone participated in - an Interspecies Romance. He's attracted to Shepard because she's the woman he idolizes. However, come Mass Effect 3 and its obvious Garrus' attraction to a romanced female Shepard is increasingly physical (although he never loses any of his spiritual or romantic attraction to her either). Finally done away with once and for all during the Citadel DLC, in which he openly admits to finding female Shepard extremely attractive. Her hair, her Little Black Dress, her body. He loves it all.
- Hurting Hero: In the second game; especially pronounced when pursuing a romance with him. Gets turned Up to Eleven in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, where a dossier on him reveals his mother has turian Alzheimer's, and his sister is on bad terms with him because he can't send any money to help and can't tell her what he's doing. Liara says to female Shepard in a romance with him that she's giving him peace.
- Although its also revealed that he asked Mordin to use his STG clearance to pull some strings so the Salarian Medical Centre had clearance to pursue further research into the disease. He also donated his Cerberus pay and sends Collector samples to fund the project and get his mother onto one of the trials.
- In Mass Effect 3, he gets worse, due to the Reapers' invasion of Palaven. He worries constantly about his dad and sister during the course of the game, even praying for their safety at one point after his father tells him his sister has been injured before the call cuts off. They do make it safely off the planet eventually, but Garrus's ill mother is never mentioned at all.
- If It's Female Shepard, It's Okay: Subversion of the Interspecies Romance kind. Garrus doesn't have a fetish for humans—just female Shepard. In that case, "Yeah... definitely."
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Used in a sidequest and potentially subverted. Though it's less about killing them, more about not being obsessed with killing them to self-destructive levels.
- I Never Knew You Had A Weakness For Men With Scars, Shepard: He's very surprised to hear that female Shepard is interested in him as a romance option. He doesn't mind as long as they can work things out, though.
- Innocent Bigot: In the first game, he'll make some unprovoked and offensive racial comments to Wrex (essentially telling him he's a credit to his species) and Tali (blaming the quarians for unleashing the geth on the galaxy). Gets better in 2, possibly on account of working with Shepard's team and then his own multiracial squad on Omega. By ME3, he's clearly very close friends with both Tali and Wrex, and even apologizes to Tali for that three-year-old comment.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: More than one way to work off stress, I guess.
- His romance with female Shepard revolves around this trope. The above mentioned scene leads directly into the early stages of his romance with her. From there his romance is chock full of gun metaphors (which go somewhere horrible), Relationship Upgrades during gun-shooting contests on the Presidium, and numerous instances of Distracted by the Sexy during the heat of battle in the Citadel DLC. It's also stated that part of what attracts Garrus to Shepard is the respect he has for her unparalleled ass-whooping skills.
- Interspecies Romance: Can end up in one with female Shepard or Tali if both remain unromanced by the end of 3.
- It's All My Fault: In Mass Effect 2, he blames himself for the death of his squad and feels he has to kill the traitor to avenge them. And according to turian culture, it is his fault — if someone is placed into a position they weren't qualified for, the stigma is on the guy who put them there.
- Knight in Sour Armor: In the second game, he's become like this. He's frighteningly devoted to his ideals, but expresses a lot of disappointment about how little he's changed things for most of Omega's residents.
Garrus: Walking around in this place makes me sick. People still dying, the strong still exploiting the weak. Nothing I did here even made a dent in this.
- The Lancer: Promoted to Lancer in ME2. Aside from Miranda and Jacob he is the second to Shepard.
- Also, on the final mission he always does well when assigned to command the backup; both Fire Teams are good assignments, and he's as good as Grunt when it's time to Hold the Line.
- Back in the role again in 3, sharing with Ashley/Kaidan this time.
- Let's Wait a While:
- Lost Forever:
- If you don't recruit him in Mass Effect, not only is he gone for the game if you wait too long, but you can't romance him in Mass Effect 2.
- And if you don't romance him in 2, you can't start a new one in 3.
- Made of Iron: The guy survives being shot by a gunship only a few meters away. And after the battle and a short rest in the sick bay he's able to get up and laugh when Shepard jokes about his new scars.
- Magnetic Hero: As Archangel.
- Mark of Shame: Bears this after Sidonis backstabbed him and, some time later, gets hit with a gunship barrage. It applies to both his armor and face.
- Mating Dance: He has one with a romanced Femshep in Citadel. Things start off as an Adorkable tango. Then it gets good enough to draw attention from everyone on the dance floor. Then, well...
Shepard: I see you've been putting that reach and flexibility to good use.
Garrus: You know it. And it gets even better when you try it in bed.
- The McCoy: Garrus is usually the most emotional person on a given team, and when faced with injustice his first instinct is to seek revenge for the harmed party rather than justice. He starts seeing things more logically in the third game after his time attached to the turian command structure, seen in his discussion with Shepard about the 'ruthless calculus' of savings lives on a galactic scale.
- Memetic Badass:
- In-universe is considered one on Omega as "Archangel".
- His skill with calibrations is also considered legendary, to the point where he even manages to beat Legion in improving the Normandy's Thanix cannon, something that Legion — a synthetic, no less — deemed impossible.
: Telemetry indicates that the calibration of Normandy's weapon accuracy could be increased by .32%. Garrus
: You couldn't squeeze .34% out of it? Legion
: Negative. That threshold is impossible. Garrus
: You sure? Take a look now. Legion
: Scanning. Normandy's weapon systems have been improved by .43%
. How did you accomplish this?
- Morality Chain: Paragon Shepard acts as one for Garrus, preventing him from going too far into Knight Templar territory and becoming like the very criminals he so despises. It's heavily implied that Garrus is very aware of this.
- My Greatest Failure: Sidonis. Turian culture places the stigma of a failure not on the individual, but on whoever put that individual in the position they weren't ready to handle. As a result, Garrus feels he is as guilty as Sidonis for the betrayal.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Admits that he's not a very good turian. Specifically, turians are supposed to respect the chain of command, and always do a job to the letter. Garrus has no patience for that; he will chew out a commanding officer if he thinks they're making a mistake, and he will bend or flat out break the law if it's inconvenient to justice.
- Mythology Gag: In ME3, everyone gives Garrus a hard time about his calibrations.
"Tell you what: I'll stop saying 'calibrations' if you could get Liara to stop saying 'by the goddess.'"
- Nice Guy: Garrus is a genuinely friendly guy who just happens to be a bit of a loose cannon at times. Similarly to a Paragon Shepard, he's a clear-cut example of Beware the Nice Ones.
- Noodle Incident: There were rumors during his Archangel days that he killed three men with one bullet. When asked, Garrus insists he can't claim that honestly: the third merc died from a heart attack.
- Number Two: By ME2, he's pretty much Shepard's right-hand man (even if unofficially) and probably the most trusted fellow soldier and combatant. This continues into ME3 if he's still alive.
- Oblivious to Love: It becomes a minor running gag that he's completely unaware that Dr. Michel has a major crush on him.
: She got you turian chocolate? Garrus
: She said she saw it and thought of me... why? Tali
Oh, nothing.../(to a female Shepard romancing him): Watch yourself, Shepard.
- Oh, Crap: Garrus explicitly says this when seeing two heavy mechs being airdropped and when seeing the elevator bomb on Sur'Kesh.
- One-Hit Polykill: When asked if he really killed 3 guys with one shot during his days as Archangel, he denies it. The third guy had a heart attack.
- One-Man Army: Held off three mercenary companies single-handedly as Archangel.
- Applies in gameplay, as well: the official strategy guide's advice for Insanity difficulty starts with, in essence, "Never take Garrus out of your team. Ever."
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Archangel is a nickname Omega's residents gave him for his good deeds.
- Optional Party Member: You can complete the first game without him. You have to pick him up in the second, but the dialogue changes if he wasn't on the team in the first game.
- Overshadowed by Awesome:
- Garrus is basically Paragade Shepard, except he's not the main character.
- Even the Shadow Broker knows this. His file on Garrus notes the turian's excellent leadership skills, with the note that he's unlikely to develop to his full potential if he stays in Shepard's shadow.
- As of Mass Effect 3, he seems to finally come out from Shepard's shadow and into his own. The Turian Hierarchy puts him in charge of a special Reaper task force and during the course of the game, he's seen playing leadership roles to turian soldiers and refugees. Shepard him/herself notes that s/he's seen multiple turian generals saluting him and can ask him about his rank and what he thinks about becoming Primarch someday (Garrus is not crazy about the idea).
- Shepard can intentionally miss while shooting bottles with him on the Citadel, leading to Garrus gloating like a madman that he's a better shot than Shepard and triumphantly declaring;
- Pay Evil unto Evil: If Shepard chooses not to upgrade the geth with Reaper code, leading to their death at the hands of the quarians, Garrus is happy to be rid of them, unlike Tali.
Garrus: The geth spilled a lot of blood. I'm not sad to see them go.
- Pair the Spares: With Tali, assuming neither of them are occupied with Shepard in ME3.
- Plotline Death: Can die on the suicide mission in ME2, at which point he does not appear in ME3.
- Red Baron: "Archangel".
- Relationship Upgrade: Potentially with female Shepard in the second game. In the third game, they either break up or get another relationship upgrade, from Friends with Benefits to a committed monogamous relationship.
- Rescue Romance: An arguable case. He wasn't really rescued during his introduction in the first game; however, his return in the second is indeed a rescue mission, and only starting in this game is he an actual romance option.
- Running Gag: In the later games, he tries to get other squadmates to talk about their past or their race's history during elevator rides. While the new crew members will indulge him on the one elevator ride they have together, every returning crew member wants him to shut up about it, much to his disappointment.
Garrus: You ever miss those talks we had on the elevators?
Garrus: Come on, remember how we'd all ask you about life on the flotilla? It was an opportunity to share.
Tali: This conversation is over.
Garrus: Tell me again about your immune system!
Tali: I have a shotgun.
Garrus: [hesitant] Maybe we'll talk later.
- In the third game, Garrus' love of calibrations is endlessly commented on.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Second only to Joker.
- Scars Are Forever: Even with advanced medical technology, he's still got the scars he received from the gunship when you meet up with him in ME3, six months later. However, an optional conversation with Dr. Chakwas suggests that this is his choice, as she thinks he likes them.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: After he leaves C-Sec, he starts to like taking the law into his own hands.
- Self-Deprecation: Swaps jokes about humans and turians with Joker a few times.
Joker: What's the hard part about treating a turian who took a rocket to the face?
Garrus: Figuring out which side took the rocket.
- Serial-Killer Killer: One way to look at his actions as Archangel. While he was protecting the weak from thugs and drug runners, he also gave free reign to all his worst impulses. His Shadow Broker file notes that he went out of his way to give his targets "poetic" deaths.
- Shock and Awe: He can use Overload in every game.
- Shutting Up Now: In Mass Effect 2, he pokes fun at Tali over the things she revealed in the elevators in the first game, then basically has this response when she threatens him with a shotgun.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: By the "Citadel" DLC for 3, he and Shepard reach this kind of relationship. Zaeed is not impressed. Of course, this happens while Garrus is working with Zaeed to booby trap every square inch of Shepard's apartment.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: He was never officially confirmed to be a squad member in Mass Effect 2. All the promotional shots of him focused on the meeting with him on Omega.
- Socially-Awkward Hero: "Come here often? I imagine anyone who does is probably an alcoholic." - Garrus turning on the charm in the Citadel DLC.
- Space Police: For a while, he was a detective in C-Sec, though he quickly grew tired of it.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Because of his adorkability and gar factors, he commands a relatively sizable shipping following even among straight male fans of the series.
- Token Turian: Even self-deprecatingly refers to himself as such in the third game. It also means that, until Tali joins up, he's the only one eating dextro amino acid-based food.
- Took a Level in Badass: At the start of Mass Effect 1, he was simply a bitter C-Sec cop. After his time on the Normandy, he's taken enough levels that he goes off to Omega to become a borderline One-Man Army, feared by every major criminal group there. Come Mass Effect 3, the Primarch himself is deferring to Garrus for judgement.
- Tragic Bromance: Garrus has the most visible personality shift after Shepard's death (only Liara even comes close). The others return home and try to go on with their lives; Garrus spends two years as a vigilante in the galaxy's number one hellhole, either following Shepard's example if Renegade or ignoring it if Paragon.
- Tritagonist: Garrus is the longest serving squadmate, joining early in each game.
- Tron Lines: The alternate appearance DLC pack for Mass Effect 2 gives him these (as well as fixing the gash in his armor).
- Undying Loyalty: There is no one that Shepard can trust to have his/her back more in a firefight than Garrus. No matter what Shepard does, Garrus will always be willing to follow him/her to hell and back.
- Vigilante Man: As Archangel.
- Violently Protective Boyfriend: Somewhat toward Female Shepard if he's romanced through until Mass Effect 3. In the Citadel DLC he insists on installing extremely overpowered defense mechanisms and essentially redesigning the entire apartment simply because he "needs to know [Fem Shep is] safe."
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Most of Shepard and Garrus's dialogue is one long series of trying to out-snark the other.
- When Shepard intentionally misses during a bottle-shooting contest, Garrus starts to immediately gloat that he's clearly the better marksman. Shepard responds that all that proves is Garrus will be in charge when the bottles decide to take over. Garrus actually says the exact same thing to Shepard if s/he doesn't let him win.
- Also has this relationship with Wrex by Mass Effect 3.
Wrex: I just had to be friends with the one turian in the galaxy who thinks he's funny.
- Warrior Therapist: Pays Shepard back for the first two games by acting as one to him/her in Mass Effect 3 as he sees Shepard slowly crumbling under the pressure.
- We Help the Helpless: How he describes his squad's actions on Omega in Mass Effect 2. To paraphrase: "You saw Omega. It was full of thugs kicking the helpless. I formed my team to kick back."
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He joined C-Sec instead of pursuing membership in the Spectres because of his father.
- It appears they bonded somewhat, as he mentions in the third game that after Shepard got incarcerated, he got so desperate to warn the Turian Hierarchy about the Reapers that he did something he never thought he'd do, which was go to his father for help. Turns out that after Garrus laid all of the facts down in front of him, as a former C-Sec cop, Garrus's father was completely convinced that the Reaper threat was indeed real and promptly went to the Primarch, repeatedly hassling him until he approved Garrus' token task-force meant to deal with the Reaper menace. This likely saved many turian colonies in the long run.
- Given that his father has enough influence to have the Primarch's ear (or whatever auditory organ turians have instead of ears) and that his father was willing to meet Garrus, hear him out, evaluate his claims on their own merits, and go to bat for him despite the estrangement between the two of them, his father would also qualify as a Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Toward the end of "Homeworlds," he, thinking he's not going to make it out, calls his father to apologize, but his father insists that Garrus survive whatever situation he's in and get back to Palaven so they can talk things over.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He gives this reaction if you allow the Council to die at the end of ME1 and he is in your party, although if Liara or Kaidan is also with you he's completely behind the plan.
- On Horizon, he will angrily call out Ashley or Kaidan's claim that Cerberus might be behind the Collector attacks, in contrast to Jacob and Miranda's dismissive reaction to the "typical Alliance attitude."
Garrus: Damn it, Williams/Kaidan, you're so focused on Cerberus you're ignoring the real threat!
- If you fake the genophage cure and kill Wrex to gain salarian support in 3, you have the opportunity to confess what you did to him. He wearily admits that he would have chewed you out for it a few years ago, but with everything going to hell he might have done the same thing himself.
- On the other hand, if Wrex died in the first game and you manage to talk down Mordin, resulting in him surviving, he will be extremely impressed.
Garrus: Remind me never to play you at poker.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Garrus goes through a lot of jobs in the series. He used to be a military recruit before he became a C-Sec officer, then joined the Normandy as a gunnery officer. Then he went back to C-Sec and put his name down to become a Spectre candidate, but instead decided to become a Vigilante Man, before joining the Normandy as a gunnery officer again. Then he became a turian military officer and led a Reaper task force, before finally joining Normandy as a gunnery officer... again.
- Working with the Ex: To a Shepard who romanced him in 2 and broke up with him in 3.
- Worthy Opponent: Sort of. Garrus admits in 3 to a naive crewmember that he does admire the Reapers, in the same way that he admires a virus or a Thresher Maw: they are perfectly adapted for what they do. When the crewmember is horrified Garrus tells him that of course they're awful and he's not going to stop fighting them, but you have to have respect for your enemy and their capabilities.
- What Would Shepard Do?: Shepard would lead a squad of up to twelve members and take out lots of bad guys... just like Garrus does before they meet again in ME2.
- The Woobie: In-universe example. Kelly Chambers says that she just wants to give him a hug and tell him it will be OK.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Paragon Shepard invokes this during the first game when Garrus wants to show no mercy to Saren for being a traitor. Shepard rebukes him, stating that when they confront Saren, they will give him the chance to return to face justice first and only shoot him if they are left with no other choice.
Dr. Liara T'Soni
Dr. Liara T'Soni/The Shadow Broker
Give me ten minutes and I can start a war.
"You were marked by the beacon on Eden Prime — you were touched by working Prothean technology. That is why I find you so fascinating."
An asari scientist
and expert on the Protheans who joins Shepard's team after being attacked by the geth. Also a powerful biotic with powers that can only be matched by an Adept Shepard. Possible romance interest for a Shepard of either gender
. One of only three characters who can join your party in all three games, being permanent in 1
, and available in 2
- Action Girl: Prothean ruins are a popular target for pirates and mercenaries looking for quick cash. If you want to excavate them alone, you've got to know your way around a fight.
- Adorkable: Easily flustered because she's used to spending time alone and not around groups of people. For the most part, this only applies to her in ME1 — see Took a Level in Badass below — though signs of it return in ME3, especially during the From Ashes DLC.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Although she'd rather just be an archaeologist. She occasionally makes references to encounters with pirate gangs and hostile wildlife in unexplored systems. Which is actually shooting closer to the actual archaeologist's life in parts of the world.
Liara: Our travels now are somewhat different from my normal excavations. I would prefer lengthier studies... and fewer explosions.
Wrex: It's good for you. A nice explosion now and then keeps the mind sharp.
Ashley: I think you speak for scientists everywhere, Liara.
- Adrenaline Makeover: Compare Liara when you meet her in Mass Effect to Liara by the end of Lair of the Shadow Broker. Though of course whether the getting the guy/gal part gets played straight/averted/subverted/etc depends largely on the player's own choice.
- Affectionate Nickname:
- Aggressive Submissive: "...how many times have you thrown her on the bed and peeled her out of her uniform?" Liara's father asks this about her and a female Shepard, and Liara tries to not make it sound so dirty.
- Air Vent Escape: How she's reintroduced in 3. While being chased by a pair of Cerberus operatives.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Due to being a "pureblood."
- Anger Born of Worry: If romanced, she shows it, though in a subdued way, when Shepard dives into the ocean in Leviathan, especially after s/he starts coughing uncontrollably and going cold.
Liara: Don't EVER do that again.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: In the third game, Liara seems to be in complete denial when Javik reveals that the asari goddess Athame and her guide Lucen were actually Protheans. When Liara claims that it is impossible, he snarkily comments that it must be an amazing coincidence that the statues and artwork of their myths just happen to look exactly like him.
- Art Evolution: A subtle yet noticeable one. In Mass Effect 1 and 2, she had less striking features, such as lighter lips and eyes, pink around her face, and a rather standard casual uniform. Come Lair of the Shadow Broker, she has darker lips, intense blue eyes, more defined skin features, and wears a kickass yet sexy uniform.
- Aside Glance: Of gratitude when Shepard refuses to give her up to the krogan on Therum.
- Attempted Rape: Twice in Redemption—a batarian and his cronies attempt to proposition/rape Liara. Both times they end up dead.
- Babies Ever After: Alluded to during her romance scene in Lair of the Shadow Broker.
Liara: So, tell me what you want. If this all ends tomorrow, what happens to us?
Shepard: I don't know. Marriage, old age, and a lot of little blue children?
Liara: You just say these things!
- Badass Adorable: In the first game, she's easily flustered and generally socially awkward, especially when dealing with people outside her species. She's also a biotic death machine.
- Badass Bookworm: For a girl who spends all of her time buried in her books, Liara is horribly deadly with her biotic powers. How badass is she, you say? She's the only other character besides Adept Shepard who can use Singularity, and her other biotic powers rival or even surpass Samara's, who is several centuries her senior. She's powerful enough that she can send a powerful biotic Spectre with armed backup running for her life. Then again, her grandfather was a krogan.
- Hell, from her comments about looking after herself when encountering pirates and looters at Prothean dig sites, she seems to be the Space Indiana Jones.
- Battle Aura: Uses her biotic glowing to dissuade some enemies a few times.
- Battle Couple: With Shepard if romanced.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Yet again. Liara's a very demure young asari who is entirely capable of turning an entire horde of geth into tinfoil with her brain. Ask the Shadow Broker how seriously crossing her tends to go. Oh wait, you'd just be asking her.
- Doing a quest for her reveals that one of her assistants is a mole. After informing her of this, the player can go to her office and find out that not only did Liara already kill her assistant, she disposed of her body as well. This is especially hilarious if Shepard calls her to identify the traitor from just outside her office as it can make it appear that she killed and disposed of her assistant in a matter of seconds.
- Exemplified when you reunite with her in the third game. The Cerberus mooks that were chasing her in the air duct get swept up in a singularity and both take a shot in the chest as they flailed about. They fall to the ground, completely vulnerable to Liara. The demure little blue lady exudes cold blood in her facial expression as she casually double-taps the two mooks.
- Liara is capable of telekinetically lifting a Geth Colossus — which is an armored war machine that single-handedly wipes out small armies, one-shots tanks, and is the size of a three-story building.
- Bi the Way: Sort of. Asari are a monogendered species, meaning they are all biologically female (can reproduce). However, they don't have any concept of gender divisions, and therefore can be equally attracted to any gender (or species, for that matter).
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Asari reproduce by "melding", where they join their entire nervous system to their partner's and use the electrical impulses to randomize some of their own DNA for the offspring. Galactic science waffles on the subject, but it often turns out Lamarck Was Right — Aethyta had a krogan father, and notes that she seems to have "a bit of his mouth."
- The asari are the setting's only innate telepaths, and they use it as part of the mating process. It's not only logical that asari daughters take after their parents psychologically, it's almost inevitable given the depth of the melding. That, or it has something to do with the fact that every asari that the players know take after an alien parent was also raised by said parent, making it Nature Versus Nurture.
- Blue Skinned Space Babe
- Break the Cutie: By the time of Mass Effect 2, she's much less innocent and kind as she's had a rough couple of years by then. Cranked Up to Eleven during the Fall of Thessia mission in the third game. She's a complete wreck even during the mission, to say nothing about after.
- Broken Bird: By Mass Effect 2 she has become one.
- Broken Pedestal: Javik is... not remotely what she expected from a Prothean. For a good while she tries to be neutral about it, but in the Ardat-Yakshi monastery she hears him say that the Protheans would never let such monsters walk among them and rather acidly asks "They didn't care for the competition?"
- After the fall of Thessia, she angrily calls out Javik for not even caring, that she's spent her entire life studying his people and feels like it was for nothing. He's a Prothean... he was supposed to have all the answers.
- After that, she grows up a little, no longer feeling betrayed but also discarding the pedestal entirely.
- The Thessia mission is a shock even without Javik. Learning that her government's been breaking its own laws about Prothean technology for centuries rocks her entire worldview.
- Came Back Wrong: One of Liara's fears regarding Shepard, after having handed the Commander's corpse over to Cerberus for the Lazarus Project. However, if she's romanced she says she knew it was really Shepard since the first time she touched him/her again.
- The Cameo: Is the only main party member from all 3 games to make one in Mass Effect Paragon Lost.
- Captain Obvious: During parts of Lair of the Shadow Broker. Frequently lampshaded by Shepard.
- Character Development: In the first game, Liara is a stuttering, bookish, nerdy girl. In the second, she has become a ruthless information trader, but her tough attitude is revealed to be a defense mechanism if you romanced her in the first game. And by the third, she's double-tapping Cerberus mooks without batting an eyelash.
- Character Focus: Becomes more and more prominent over the course of the series to the point where she becomes the Deuteragonist.
- Character Tic: Whenever something fascinates her, she adopts what could best be described as a standing up variation of the Thinker Pose.
- The Chick: Though she doesn't shrink from the fighting, she's (usually) the one who advocates Paragon options, and is generally the "can't we talk this over" squad member.
- Child Prodigy: According to her, her intelligence was noticeable even in her youth. In fact, by asari standards she is still very young (human equivalent of around 19, even though her true age is over a hundred) when she meets Shepard.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the second installment, where she's somehow become an information broker despite no prior evidence that she had any skills in the field. (she does mention horizontal skill application, her talents in handling data and information for her archaeological digs, putting together information and clues from various worlds and discoveries, is very similar to what information brokers do but with more recent information with living creatures) If the terminals around the Shadow Broker's ship is any indication, she also doesn't seem to stop some of his business practices.
- Still presented sympathetically given that she had to do this to succeed as an information broker and also only uses the resources of the Shadow Broker to help the war effort.
- Cutscene Incompetence/Cutscene Power to the Max: A really weird hybrid occurs when you first rescue her in Mass Effect 1. You're confronted directly by a Krogan Battlemaster and a small squad of Geth Shock Troopers after exiting the room you found her in via an elevator. In the cutscene right before the fight begins, you see her start glowing with a blue aura and balling her fists, which usually means she's about to unleash a biotic attack. Then the gameplay actually starts and she just cowers on the floor while the battlemaster charges you.
- However, she had been in a stasis field for a while by this point, so it's possible she flared her biotics in an attempt to fight back but the strain of doing so was simply too exhausting. The Codex and 3 mention that biotics require a higher calorie intake to keep their abilities at full strength, whereas Liara can't even remember the last time she ate. It's safe to say she's not at her full strength during that scene.
- A Day in the Limelight: Mass Effect: Redemption and Lair of the Shadow Broker. In the third game, she's also a mandatory squadmate in the missions on Thessia and Eden Prime.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Upon becoming the new Shadow Broker, Liara vows to use her newfound power and influence for the power of good, and to aid Shepard in stopping the Reapers.
- Deuteragonist: Serves as this in the series, playing pivotal roles in all three games and even being the star of a comic that bridges the first two games. she's also the only party member from the first game who's exempt from the Anyone Can Die rule.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: In the first game, Liara's attempts to explain why she's so interested in you in purely scientific means leads to a series of flustered, ever-escalating double entendres.
- Distressed Damsel:
- Double Tap: How she finishes off a pair of Cerberus operatives chasing her during her reintroduction in ME3. After having already trapped them in a singularity and shot them center mass in mid-air.
- Enemy Mine: With Cerberus, to save Shepard's body from the Shadow Broker and the Collectors. The fact that she beats herself up over handing Shepard's corpse to the Illusive Man explains in part her behavior during the second game.
- Failed a Spot Check: Notable if you bring Javik to Thessia.
- Famed in Story: By 3, her research on the Protheans has become the stuff of legend. One datapad found on Mars has a scientist practically squeeing about getting the chance to work with her.
- Fanservice Pack: Apparently she entered her Matron stage when she became an information broker, assuming becoming a matron gives you the same upgrade that becoming a matriarch does.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Taking a cue out from the Protheans in 3 she plants several time capsules across many worlds to warn future species in the event that the Reapers aren't stopped. She even has a section devoted to the heroics of Shepard, and you can tell her how wish it told.
- If you choose the Refusal ending in 3, it turns out that her capsules are successful, and the next cycle defeats the Reapers.
- Gay Option: For female Shepard.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Liara seems to be on the brink of this in the first game if you decide to rescue her after the rest of the main story missions. By the time you get there, she's completely convinced you're a realistic hallucination. So, yes, all that time you spent flying around, she's been locked in stasis.
- Guest Star Party Member: In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC mission in the second game.
- Handgun: One of her weapon types in the third game, along with submachine guns. In the first game, she was just as terrible with handguns as she was with every other gun, though their innate accuracy still made them her go-to weapon.
- Has Two Mommies: And the other mommy is an asari. Which is why she's shunned so much, as asari-asari relationships restrict genetic diversity... and have a higher chance of causing genetic defects like the Ardat-Yakshi.
- As seen in Bi the Way, monogendered asari are "female" in the eyes of every other race, possessing the same sex organs and characteristics as would be expected for mammalian females, though one asari serves as the "father," and upon meeting her, she doesn't know who her mother Matriarch Benezia's partner was.
- Ultimately averted. Her "father" is shown in the third game to be Matriarch Aethyta, the bartender from Illium and then the Presidium, assigned to keep an eye on Liara after Benezia went evil. Even though Liara's father is "female," she is very adamant that she is Liara's father, not her second mother, because she "didn't pop her out". When Shepard mentions that humans would call her Liara's "other mother," Aethyta says "Well I'm not human, am I? Anthropocentric bag of dicks."
- Headbutting Heroes: She doesn't get along very well with Javik after the Fall of Thessia.
- Heroic BSOD: After the Fall of Thessia. Her homeworld is burning, she and Shepard have failed their mission, and Kai Leng casually slapped her aside and took the vital Prothean data. On top of all that, the Illusive Man coldly held his successes over her while all she was able to do in response is threaten him over a hologram.
- Hero-Worshipper: Towards Shepard big time.
- In "Lair of the Shadow Broker", it's shown that her apartment is filled with souvenirs of her travels with Shepard from the first game, Prothean relics, a painting of Ilos, fragments of Shepard's N7 armour and a framed picture of the Normandy on her bedside cabinet. At the end of the mission, she returns Shepard's dog tags to him/her, saying she got it from Admiral Hackett. Why she would bother to retrieve that from him probably says a lot about how highly she regards Shepard.
- In the third game, she programs a series of time-capsules to be sent across the galaxy in case the mission fails, with one whole section of the archive devoted solely to tales of Shepard's exploits. If Shepard encourages her to be the one to decide how they will be remembered, she practically gushes over him/her.
- Hidden Depths: "Lair of the Shadow Broker" features this in abundance.
- Hot-Blooded: Liara definitely comes across as this in the second and third game. Matriarch Aethyta, her father, believes that this is because she's a quarter-krogan. "Well, don't go all blood rage on me."
- Hot Scientist: Just look at her.
- Incompatible Orientation: Can be invoked in the first game by Female Shepard when Liara reveals her feelings to the Commander.
- The Ingenue: Shy, sweet, and easily flustered? Yep.
- In-Universe Catharsis: "Lair of the Shadow Broker" provides closure for Liara's two years of mourning, grief and pain after Shepard's death.
- Irony: She's first encountered trapped in a Prothean force field. One of her main abilities is Stasis.
- I Shall Taunt You: When confronting the Shadow Broker, she brings up his status as the previous Broker's "pet", triggering his Berserk Button. Judging by the files on him, wherein the previous Broker warned him to watch his temper and that losing it costs him his better judgment, he would have been a far more dangerous opponent in the subsequent battle if Liara hadn't pissed him off.
- It Gets Easier: In the first game, she's one of the least experienced squadmates. In the third, she's introduced stoically and efficiently killing Cerberus troops. If she never talks with Aethyta, she and Wrex have this to say in Citadel:
Liara: Killing people gets less troubling after the first few hundred.
Wrex: It does indeed.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
- If you have progressed far enough in the romance with Ashley or Kaidan by the time you get her romance dialogue, she admits she has a huge crush on Shepard but gracefully backs down, saying it is obvious Shepard already has strong feelings for Ashley/Kaidan and that she doesn't want to come between them.
- Also, in the second game, whether Shepard cheated on her or remained faithful to her, she will tell him/her that if s/he wants to move on, she can accept that and be happy for him/her.
- Jerkass Façade: She adopts one in ME2 to allow herself to operate in Illium's underworld. "You're threatening to flay people alive now?"
Liara: [flustered] I had to make them take me seriously. I wasn't going to actually do it.
- Comes back to bite her on the ass when her father mentioned that bluff or no, it made the asari higher-ups nervous enough to consider assassinating her.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Becomes this by 3 after going through a Break the Cutie in between 1 and 2 and getting her In-Universe Catharsis in Lair of the Shadow Broker.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: Her reaction to meeting Javik, a living Prothean, in 3. Lampshaded by everyone, with Shepard joking that they'll hand over questions to Liara because she looks like she's about to explode.
Joker: So has Liara stopped bouncing yet? I'm guessing there may have been some bouncing.
- Knight Templar: During the interim between the first and second game, though Paragon Shepard can pull her back from this.
- Knowledge Broker: Becomes one in the second game to get revenge on the Shadow Broker for his part is stealing Shepard's body and what he did to her friend. Regardless of whether or not Shepard aids her against the Broker, Liara defeats him and inherits his power base, information network, and contacts, turning her into one of the most powerful people in the galaxy.
- Lady of War: Her Lair of the Shadow Broker outfit, which is also her default attire in Mass Effect 3, gives her a graceful aura. Having biotic powers and being a member of the most graceful race in the galaxy give her bonus points too.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Throughout the duration of "Lair of the Shadow Broker", there is frequent humorous banter and interaction between Shepard and Liara.
- The Medic: Her class skill in the first game adds to the amount of HP healed by medigel on top of the first aid ability.
- Mind over Matter: Usually holds the spot of most powerful biotic on your squad.
- Minored in Asskicking: Most people find it more than a little odd that an archaeologist would be so good at combat. Then Liara points out that since they have potential for containing incredible technology, Prothean ruins are popular targets for pirates and mercenary raids. And Liara has worked in Prothean ruins. Alone. For decades. It also helps that she is from a race of natural biotics, and she is the offspring of two powerful matriarchs.
- Ms. Fanservice: Her romance scenes are by far the most revealing out of any character in the game, and she's notably the only character in 3 to get completely naked.
- Never My Fault: Depending on dialogue choices, Liara will criticize Kaidan/Ashley for not trusting Shepard, conveniently omitting her own contribution to that problem.
- Number Two: In Mass Effect 3, she acts as an unofficial XO for the Normandy, with her office in Miranda's old quarters.
- Not So Different: Noticeable in the second game, when Liara at times begins to unconsciously channel her mother.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: See Omnidisciplinary Scientist.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: If Shepard never goes through Lair of the Shadow Broker, then Liara assembles a mercenary army and takes down the Broker herself.
- Older Than They Look: During the first game, she's 106 years old, "barely more than a child." Asari live for about a thousand.
Ashley: Damn, I hope I look that good when I hit your age!
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
- Averted. In Peak 15, she may say the following upon the end of the first engagement against the rachni:
Liara: Xenobiology is not my field. Maybe someone in the labs knows.
- Appears again in the third game, where she explains on Eden Prime the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist upon being asked about fossils, only to realize midway through her explanation that the one who asked was just kidding.
- While she most likely understands written Prothean, she cannot understand the spoken language and relies on Shepard to explain that a VI recording found on Ilos was a distress signal.
- Open Secret: By the third game, everyone and their mum seems to know that she's the new Shadow Broker.
- Out-Gambitted: No matter what Shepard does, she ends up being outsmarted by the Illusive Man. The entirety of the Lair of the Shadow Broker was a gambit by the Illusive Man to get Liara to kill off his biggest rival and gain his assets. She had to sacrifice her base and most of her resources to stop him from obtaining them. He still manages to track her down and dispatches troops to finish her off on Mars. When Shepard finds her, she's the only survivor in a base overrun by Cerberus operatives with no way out.
- Parental Abandonment: She never knew her second parent's identity, only her species (another asari — a major societal no-no, because asari value genetic diversity and also because that's where Ardat-Yakshi come from) and her relationship with her mother was apparently strained. And that was before Benezia joined up with Saren and co. In the third game, Shepard can find out that her father is Matriach Aethyta, and encourage Liara to go talk to her.
- Platonic Life Partners: If not romanced, Liara will have this type of relationship with Shepard by default.
- Poor Communication Kills: Liara apparently didn't think the rest of the old team needed to know about the events of Redemption, so when Cerberus began leaking information to isolate Shepard from his/her old contacts, Ashley/Kaidan didn't have the information they needed to see through it. This likely comes from her desire for vengeance distracting her from anything else, as even when Shepard does come to see her, she is clearly distant and almost completely focused and hunting for the Broker. She remains oblivious even after the Shadow Broker is dealt with.
- Power Perversion Potential: If romanced, Liara is revealed to use biotics during sex.
- Pragmatic Hero: In the second and third game.
- Softens up at least a little in the third game, becoming a Knight in Sour Armor. She has the dubiously legal Shadow Broker resources at her disposal, but uses them to help the war effort, and shows empathy toward all victims of the Reaper invasion.
- Ragnarok-Proofing: Designed her own version of the Prothean Beacon, in case they failed to stop the Reapers. Judging from the Stargazer scene or the Refusal Ending, they performed their task admirably.
- Reality Ensues: What do you think happens when an overconfident archaeologist tries to compete with the most skilled and ruthless criminal empires in the galaxy? Thought so. Although she is very smart and her efforts provide Shepard with some useful information, she simply doesn't have the experience necessary to be the Shadow Broker, and is clearly out of her league trying to compete with the Illusive Man. She never even manages to track down a single Cerberus operation, mostly because they smash much of her network and resources before she can pull everything together after Cerberus helped dispatch the previous Broker.
- Redeeming Replacement: To the Shadow Broker, though she wasn't interested in redeeming his name so much as she thought that the organization was too useful to let go to waste.
- Relationship Upgrade: Liara can be pursued as a romance in 3 even if you previously turned her down in the first game.
- Religious Bruiser: In the first game, at least, it's implied that she is quite religious.
- Required Party Member: During "Lair of the Shadow Broker" in Mass Effect 2 and twice in Mass Effect 3. The first is on Eden Prime in the "From Ashes" DLC, where you need her knowledge of the Protheans. The second is the mission on Thessia, Liara's homeworld. She also takes James's place in your squad once you encounter her on Mars.
- Revenge: Her primary goal, as of Mass Effect 2, is to track down and kill the Shadow Broker for trying to sell Shepard's body to the Collectors. The DLC "Lair of the Shadow Broker" lets you achieve that goal in spectacular roaring rampage style.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Lair of the Shadow Broker is all about Liara rescuing Feron from the Broker after he was captured at the end of Redemption. Liara becoming the Shadow Broker is just an added perk.
- Schrödinger's Gun: Regardless of whether the player downloaded the "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC, Liara is still the Shadow Broker as of the third game. It's just that how she got there is a bit different: If Shepard didn't help Liara take down the Broker, Liara hired dozens of mercenaries — all of them the best of the best — and took on the Broker in a Zerg Rush. Since they're not Shepard, apparently they all died.
- Self-Made Orphan: Potentially, if you make her fight alongside you to take down her mother in the first game. This is actually suggested by a party member, though, since Liara would know more about her mother, who's causing problems for everyone, than anyone else, and you have to fight Liara's mother one way or another. Subverted in the third game when it turns out her "father" is still alive.
- She Who Fights Monsters: Played with. She becomes incredibly ruthless by the second game in her hunt for the Shadow Broker, even if Paragon!Shep is continuously trying to pull her back. Ultimately subverted, since while she does kill and even take the place of the Shadow Broker, she vows to only use the vast power to help Shepard fight the Reapers, which may be why Traynor is the one scoring all the victories against Cerberus; Liara's been focused on the Crucible since before Shepard encountered her on Mars.
- Sixth Ranger: If you wait until after Virmire before going to Therum.
- Shout-Out: An archaeologist called L(i)ara...
- Shrinking Violet: In the first game.
- Shutting Up Now: Does this a few times when speaking to Shepard in the first game while alone with him/her.
- Skilled, but Naïve: At least in the first game. No longer naïve in the second game.
- Slasher Smile: In Shadow Broker, she gets off a nasty one after dressing down the Shadow Broker, pressing all of its Berserk Buttons.
- The Smart Chick: Certainly isn't lacking in the brains department.
- Squishy Wizard: Liara can only wear light armor and has low health. She makes up for it with spectacular biotic capabilities.
- Comes back even more strongly in the third game, where she might be the only biotic on your squad (if Shepard isn't one, Kaidan's dead and you haven't bought Javik). This can turn her low CON scores into a distinct Achilles heel.
- The Stoic: Post time skip and post Break the Cutie in the second and third games she tends to act like this, almost never raising her voice and becoming somewhat The Comically Serious mixed with Broken Bird.
- Not So Stoic: Still has moments of genuine emotion namely when she and Shepard kill the Shadow Broker, when she hooks up with you later in the Shadow Broker DLC, hearing about a colony that nuked itself rather than face the Reaper invasion, when Thessia is attacked by the Reapers, and during certain romantic scenes in the third game.
- Story Branch Favoritism: In addition to ascending to the role of deuteragonist, in addition to being one of the very few love interests you can romance in all three games, in addition to being one of the only characters who can be a squad member in all three games—as if she didn't need enough prominence—she's also the character with the fewest Plotline Death options (specifically, none. The only time she can die is in the "My EMS Is Too Low" race to the beam, which will indiscriminately take everyone on your squad, and occurs during the final 15 minutes of gameplay in the trilogy).
- Survivor Guilt: In addition to the guilt she feels for handing Shepard's body to Cerberus, it's heavily implied (especially in a romance) that she felt great guilt for surviving while Shepard was killed.
- That Came Out Wrong: Her first conversation with Shepard, in which her fascination with his/her exposure to the beacon leads her to referring to him/her as an interesting test subject. See her quote above.
- Took a Level in Badass: She starts out as an awkward and bookish archaeologist. In ME2, she works as a ruthless information broker and is trying to take down the Shadow Broker. When Shepard meets her again, she is threatening to flay someone alive with her mind. She tells Shepard (and in the third game, her father) that she was just bluffing to scare the guy and wouldn't have really done it, but still, quite a change.
- Undying Loyalty: To Shepard, possibly moreso than anyone else in the series. Can also fit with Violently Protective Girlfriend below.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Even if you don't romance her, Liara's friendship with Shepard still has a level of this to it.
- Unwitting Pawn: Mass Effect 3 reveals that she was playing right into the Illusive Man's hands over Lair Of The Shadow Broker, though her last minute screwing over of Cerberus by crashing the Broker's ship into their fleet did upset him a bit.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Following Shepard's temporary demise, she took up a one woman crusade to get his/her body back from the Shadow Broker and the Collectors. As of the end of the second game, she's still working to track the Broker down and make them pay for daring to touch Shepard.
- She doesn't even need to be a girlfriend for this. Even if it's just a friend relationship, she will destroy you if ever try to harm Shepard.
- When you've got a millennium-long lifespan, spending a decade or two hunting down the jerk who messed with your buddy doesn't sound so unreasonable.
- Virginity Makes You Stupid: Though she's depicted as naive, she's not exactly an idiot. Still, she's less streetwise than Tali, who hasn't even spent any time off of a ship, since she spent most of her time alone in Prothean ruins with the only people she ever meets being pirates or looters, who tend to wind up dead.
- Warrior Therapist: Shares this role with Garrus towards Shepard in Mass Effect 3, trying to keep him/her from falling completely into despair.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Yes. She has more than a little friction with her mother, Matriarch Benezia, trying to do something to overcome being the daughter of a highly esteemed individual and a union between asari and she never knew her "father" either. Unless you coax the two into talking in the third game.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Surprisingly absent in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC — even if you've cheated on her with another squad mate, she doesn't get angry about it.
- She does call you out about hooking up with another love interest (or if you have not, believing that you can make two years of grief simply go away) — but then immediately apologizes for her outburst.
- Shepard can give a number to her for her more extreme actions in her quest to get revenge on the Shadow Broker.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: In 3, she realizes that she could live long enough to see the whole invasion through, and admits that while she used to feel sorry for shorter-lived species, she's no longer sure. The Extended Cut's Refusal ending implies that she lives for quite a long time after the Crucible does not fire.
- Woman in White: Her preferred outfit in Mass Effect 2 and 3, reflecting her new Stoic, Lady of War tendencies.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Paragon Shepard's interrupts in Lair of the Shadow Broker reminding her of how she was when they met and urging her to not descend into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory, not even to protect them.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: After she and Shepard kill the Shadow Broker, she takes his place. She's at least the third person to hold the title.
- Youthful Freckles: She is only 108 years old.
Admiral Tali'Zorah nar Rayya/vas Neema/vas Normandy/vas Rannoch
"Our Pilgrimage proves we are willing to give of ourselves for the greater good. What does it say about me if I turn my back on this?"
Voiced by: Liz Sroka
A quarian machinist who specializes in technology and is traveling on her pilgrimage to find technology or resources valuable to the quarian Migrant Fleet. Joins Shepard's team for protection when she finds information incriminating Saren, and remains both out of gratitude and to help bring down Saren. She is a party member in all three games, as well as a romance option in ME2.
- Action Girl: She doesn't hesitate to get into a scrap.
- Particularly when you romance her.
Shepard: I trust you too, Tali, but you don't have to prove anything to me.
Tali: I know... well, no, not that I know... it's just that... well... it's not normally like this... I mean, wow... when did it get so hot in here?
- If romanced in Mass Effect 2, she becomes more confident in her relationship with Shepard in Mass Effect 3.
- Though this trait comes back in her romance in the Citadel DLC, where she acts like a giddy schoolgirl when recalling her childhood memories of watching "Fleet and Flotilla". She even sings Shepard one of the songs from the musical version. Which just so happens to be the romance theme of the game ("I Was Lost Without You").
- Affectionate Nickname:
- Apologetic Attacker: She really doesn't want to kill Legion, and tells it before it dies that yes, it really does have a soul. She then mourns him later.
- Appropriated Appellation: During her loyalty quest the Admiralty board (specifically Zaal'Koris) has Tali's ship name changed from "vas Neema" to "vas Normandy," in the belief that being associated with a human ship (and having a human captain represent her instead of a quarian) would hurt her chances of avoiding exile. After you earn Tali's loyalty (especially if you proved the admirals wrong and got Tali acquitted without the evidence), she decides to let the name stick.
- Attack Drone: She can deploy two at a time in Mass Effect 3. One guards her personally, while the other floats around the the area, distracting enemies and bombarding them with rockets. While she can't summon more than two at a time, she can almost instantly replace them when they're destroyed. She could only deploy one in Mass Effect 2, which was so much weaker that a better name for it would be "Distraction Drone". At least that one had a name.
- Badass Adorable: She can fight her way through hundreds of geth without breaking a sweat and yet she stammers when you romance her. She also names her combat drones and praises them for doing a good job of killing things.
- The Citadel DLC reveals that several of her lines from her romance arc in 2 were borrowed from Fleet and Flotilla, her favourite film/musical. Given her Shadow Broker dossier mentioned her downloading it (as well as several other books about human interaction), it's implied she used it to give her the confidence to articulate how she felt.
- Badass Bookworm: Being a quarian, she is required to know about advanced subjects like starship engineering. And even among quarians she is considered an expert, even before she finishes her Pilgrimage after the first game.
- Four-Star Badass: If she's exonerated in her trial in Mass Effect 2, the other admirals elect to have her fill her deceased father's vacant position.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Though only technically. She's an Admiral in the third game, but aside from making a few deals on the Citadel and voting against going to war with the geth, she doesn't really do any admiral stuff.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The reason she's promoted to the position of Admiral is because she knows more about kicking geth ass than any other living quarian.
- Ambadassador: Seems to be her de facto position on the Admiralty Board. Having her be an admiral is required to get the peaceful ending to the Rannoch quest line, and on one occasion she is seen negotiating with a turian to arrange the Migrant Fleet's evacuation of turian refugees.
- Battle Couple: With Shepard if romanced.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Part of the reason she has such Undying Loyalty to Shepard. Until she met them, everyone she encountered on her Pilgrimage treated her like a second class citizen, a beggar or thief, simply because she was quarian. Shepard was the first person to treat her like an actual person, offer her a place on their crew and make her feel truly accepted.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Tali is right up there with Kaidan in the sheer niceness department. That doesn't change the fact that she is a monster with a shotgun, can easily lock down most enemies, and can potentially have the strongest shields in your entire party even without upgrades. And when provoked, she can get both vicious and creative.
Tali (after being told by Shepard to not lose sleep over a volus who is racist against quarians): My brain agrees with you. My gut says I should jack his suit's olfactory filters so that everything smells like refuse!
Garrus: Remind me not to get on your bad side.
- In Mass Effect 3, her response to viewing the Illusive Man's plan to emotionally manipulate a vulnerable Shepard (after being resurrected by the Lazarus Project, and being cut off from all his friends and allies) into working with Cerberus shows she can be quite frightening when she is well and truly angry.
- How she shuts up Garrus pestering her about talking about her immune system on the Citadel in 2.
Tali: I have a shotgun.
Garrus: Mmmmmaybe we'll talk later.
- It also bears mentioning that in Mass Effect 1, whenever Shepard has to make a decision that is clearly either Paragon or Renegade (such as whether or not to spare the rachni queen for example), both of Shepard's squadmates offer an opinion. The squadmates tend to lean heavily towards either Paragon or Renegade, but to avoid biasing the player, depending on which squadmates are paired with which they might change their opinions, although Kaidan will always favor the Paragon option, and Wrex will always favor the Renegade option. As for everyone else, the order from most Paragon to most Renegade is as follows: Kaidan, Liara, Tali, Garrus, Ashley, and finally Wrex. This means that Tali is a Paragon during these decisions unless the other squadmate is either Kaidan or Liara; in that case Tali will favor the Renegade option. Beware the nice ones indeed.
- Big Brother Instinct: Seems to invoke this in a Paragon Shepard. If you threaten Tali, Shepard will come after you. Tali's trial in 2 has Shepard actually berate the quarian Admiralty for even daring to accuse her of treason, which results in Shepard becoming so furious that the quarian Admirals meekly decide to drop all charges against her.
- Big Red Button: Though one doesn't really show up, she still points out the inadvisability of pushing them.
- Bi the Way: During the Citadel DLC, if Garrus is romanced by Fem!Shep, depending on how the party goes, she can be found drunk and talking to herself in a pretend conversation with him, in which the possibility of a threesome intrigues her. Played for Laughs, but considering how flustered she got around Fem!Shep in the second game during that suit-linking conversation...
- Boldly Coming: It seems that Tali is a xenophile at heart; she either can romance Male!Shep, shack up with Garrus if neither of them are romanced, is interested in a threesome with Fem!Shep and Romance!Garrus as evidenced above, and states that Fleet and Flotilla, a romance vid about a turian man and quarian woman "jump-started her puberty" after roping a romanced Male!Shepard into watching the vid and singing.
- Her Shadow Broker dossier in 2 lists more than a few purchases of books on human-alien interactions.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Quarians are one of only two species (the other being turians) that have a dextro-amino acid based biology. As such, they can't consume any food or drink made for levo-amino acid physiologies(humans, asari, salarian, krogan, etc.) without, at the least, not getting any nourishment from it; or at the most, having a fatal allergic reaction. Also, the quarian immune system evolved to absorb and form symbiosis with micro-organisms, apparently a result of insect life never evolving on their planet; this makes them extremely vulnerable to infections, especially given they've been forced to live in totally sterile environments for centuries now. Javik even theorizes that this may have had a side effect of making her species more sympathetic to the plights of others.
- Breakout Character: Like Garrus, her plot relevance surged up like crazy from the second game on, even becoming a Love Interest.
- Break the Cutie: She suffers an emotional breakdown while investigating her trial. You can potentially give her comfort by hugging her. Or you can make it worse by handing over the incriminating evidence during her trial. Doing this will turn her father into a monster in the eyes of the quarian people and cost you her loyalty, most likely causing her death.
- Let the geth destroy the quarians in the third game. She commits suicide. Even if the geth and quarians make peace, she mourns everyone who died. Including Legion, to her own astonishment.
- Bubble Girl: Comes from a race of them. Their weak immune systems force them to live in their environmental suits constantly. As a bonus, prepubescent quarians actually do live in bubbles; getting their first suit is considered a rite of passage.
- But I Would Really Enjoy It: Tali is initially reluctant to sleep with Shepard, because their mutually bizarre alien biologies would result in anything from allergic reaction, to drastic illness, to death for her. She assures you that this does not coincide with her desires.
Just so you know, I'm running a fever, I've got a nasty cough, and my sinuses are filled with something I can't even describe. And it was totally worth it
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: She works hard to subvert this. Her Shadow Broker dossier reveals she once had "nerve stimulation" implants, had them removed/turned off/reinstalled, and then finally had it installed and upgraded.
- Assuming you romanced her, this is no longer a problem by the third game. Her body's immune system has adapted enough that she can have sex with Shepard safely.
- Can't Hold Her Liquor: After the Horizon mission in 3, you can find her in the Normandy lounge getting hammered. Then if you go down to the cargo bay to talk to Javik, you walk in on her drunk-dialing him. Happens again in the Citadel DLC — she gets drunk the quickest and is always one of the most hungover. If you opt to start the party lively, she is already slurring her speech, has to go to the bathroom, and has Alcohol Hic issues at the outset. If the party is in one of the third phase quiet paths, she's in the restroom mumbling semi-coherently in a stupor.
- Character Development: Tali is more mature in the later games. The way she advocates geth/quarian peace in the third game speaks volumes when the first encounter she has with an AI in the series (the credit-scamming machine) was to demand Shepard kill it on principle. Also, see Vocal Evolution.
- Character Tic: Tali frequently holds her hands together and bounces on her heels when she's nervous.
- Chekhov's Gun: You know that knife strapped to her boot that we never see her using? It can come up in one very important moment in 3 — stabbing Legion if you pick the quarians over the geth.
- Clingy Costume: Like all quarians.
- The Conscience: Acts as one of the voices of reason on the Normandy... except on the topic of Artificial Intelligence.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Her Combat Drone in the second game is purple, in contrast to the red and blue ones used by enemy engineers and Legion respectively. In the third game, the color of her drone is changed to orange.
- Cooldown Hug: Shepard has the option of giving this to her after she finds her father's dead body.
- Covert Pervert: It's fairly obvious during the second game that Tali has secretly lusted after male Shepard since practically day one. And the second he shows any romantic interest in her, the first thing she makes clear is that she wants him to do the honors, so to speak.
- The Shadow Broker Dossiers further show that, after being authorized for Project Haestrom (shortly before the ME 2's beginning), she installed several apps. These include videos dealing with loss, but eventually lead to apps on human mating rituals, Immuno-Boosters (for professionals) and several Nerve Stims.
- The Citadel DLC shows has horrible Tali is when she's drunk. Depending on your relationships with her and Garrus, she'll be fantasizing about Shepard or Garrus getting hot and heavy with her. If, as Fem!Shep, you romanced Garrus, she'll be dreaming about all three of you together.
- Curtains Match the Window: A rather more literal example than most, both her visor and hood being purple in color.
- Subverted when a picture of her without a suit is shown in the third game. Although her hair could be a deep shade of purple, matching her choice in clothing. It's... kinda hard to tell.
- Nerve Stimulation Implants: It's revealed in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC that she had them, then removed and reinstalled the program multiple times before finally settling on the upgraded version.
- Deadpan Snarker: To wit:
Tali: [to Garrus]
I'm glad the imminent destruction of all organic life has improved your career opportunities. Tali: [to Shepard]
What could I possibly be suggesting? I mean, a young woman gets saved by a dashing commander who lets her join his crew and then goes off to save the galaxy? How could she possibly develop any interest in him? Shepard:
I'm not working for [Cerberus], they're working for me. Tali:
ordered the listening devices and tracking beacons that are all over this ship?
- Death Glare: In her post-recruitment scene in the second game, Tali manages to throw a withering Death Glare at Jacob during her briefing on the Normandy. Through an opaque helmet, which somehow makes it even more menacing.
- Digging Yourself Deeper:
- Gets flustered and does this after accidentally revealing her attraction to Shepard in the second game.
- Alternately, if neither she nor Garrus is romanced by Shepard, this is her reaction when Shepard walks in on her and Garrus together...
- Driven to Suicide: In 3, if you can't get the geth and the quarians to work together, choosing the geth side means she has to watch the entire fleet (and with the Pilgrimage recalled, that includes every quarian that wasn't exiled who could make it) get blown out of the sky. She walks off a cliff to her death.
- Disc One Nuke: In the first game, she was a ridiculously durable death machine with maxed out Electronics and "Quarian Machinist", which raised her shields to very high levels, and in the former's case let her sap the shields off any enemy in one go. It was very easy to max out both those skills very early in the game.
- Drowning My Sorrows: She resorts to this once or twice during the third game. It takes triple-filtered turian brandy introduced through an "emergency induction port".
- Dude Magnet: Almost as much as female Shepard, if you can believe that. She's one of only two remaining squadmates to have a possible love interest other than Shepard (namely, Garrus), and she draws positive attention from Joker, Kenneth, and Kal'Reegar as well, and even Javik in a way.
- The Engineer: In the first game, Chief Engineer Adams is impressed with her skill. In the second, she gets automatically promoted to chief engineer herself as soon as she's recruited.
- In the third game, with the return of Chief Engineer Adams, she unofficially becomes Second Engineer and acts as his Relief. Adams comments that its good to have her back as she clearly knows the new Normandy's engines better than he does. Even Joker says that the Normandy doesn't seem to be running right without her handling the engines.
- Enemy Mine:
- What she sees working with Legion as, until the end of the second game, where she stays in touch with it until the geth are upgraded by the Reapers.
- She also hates Cerberus and makes it clear that she's only there because Shepard is.
Tali: I thought you were undercover, Shepard. Maybe even planning to blow Cerberus up. If that's the case, I'll loan you a grenade. Otherwise, I'm here for you, not for them.
- Establishing Character Moment: When Fist's men start pulling guns during their meeting with her, she hits two of them with a grenade (destroying their shields and knocking them down), rushes to cover, and pulls out her pistol. If you wait a few seconds to intervene after the gameplay starts, she then guns one or two of the assassins down. After Shepard kills the remaining assassins, she thanks Shepard for the help, and tells him/her about how she obtained the data proving Saren is a traitor by disabling and then hacking information from a geth platform to Shepard's shock, as s/he thought such a thing was impossible.
- Everyone Can See It: Her feelings for Male Shep. Kelly, Kasumi, Liara, and Javik can all comment on it. Liara, in Lair of the Shadow Broker, suggests she knew about Tali's feelings as early as the first game. Kaidan and Ashley's complete lack of surprise when they hear Shepard and Tali dropping innuendos at each other during a mission suggest they did too.
- The Exile: In Mass Effect 2, one possible outcome of her loyalty mission is that she can be permanently exiled from the Migrant Fleet. But she still has a home on the Normandy.
- Face Palm: Well, Face Plate Palm. Tali does this a few times.
Tali: (when Shepard asks about "vas Qwib Qwib") Oh, boy. Here we go.
- The Faceless: Justified. Her species has a weak immune system that means she must wear a special suit at all times. In third game, if romanced by a male Shepard, she leaves a picture of her in his cabin.
- Fantastic Racism: Sometimes slips into this, the geth having become a major Berserk Button for the quarians.
- Four-Star Badass: Admiral, to be exact, in Mass Effect 3.
- Gadgeteer Genius: The quarians' hat, but Tali is especially so.
Tali: Please, Shepard, I'm a quarian! Give me a hunk of scrap metal, a circuit board, and some element zero, and I'll have it making precision jumps!
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: You finally get to see Tali sans suit in Mass Effect 3 if you romance her and help the quarians reclaim their homeworld. Although, her skin color isn't definitively green.
- Get a Room!: If previously romanced and then continued in 3, Tali and male Shepard flirt constantly throughout the Geth Dreadnought mission. If brought along as the third squadmate, Garrus ends up snarkily invoking this.
- Good People Have Good Sex: If romanced by Paragon Shepard. It's a wonder half the ship can't hear them.
- Glowing Eyes: Like all quarian they become visible through her faceplate in Mass Effect 2 and 3. Weirdly, not seen in the picture of herself she leaves on Shepard's nightstand in 3.
- Hack Your Enemy: See "Set a Mook to Kill a Mook".
- Handgun: Along with shotguns, her main weapon type in all three games.
- Hartman Hips: The mandatory mentioning of them along with the character is virtually a meme. Joker even snarks about it when James suggests that he get suited like a quarian to help with his disability:
Joker: Have you seen Tali? I don't have the hips to carry a suit like that.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With female Shepard.
- Holding Hands: Part of her romance path with Shepard.
- I Ate WHAT?: In one version of the party in the Citadel DLC, she poisons herself with cheese made for levo-chiral consumers. Though it was really a desperate attempt to Change the Uncomfortable Subject of EDI discussing Traynor's... desires for EDI's voice.
- I Call It "Vera": Chikktika vas Paus, her combat drone. Her drones in the third game no longer have names, unfortunately. However, Chikktika is still mentioned at least once in the Citadel DLC, particularly on calling out Glyph's apparent incompetence at tracking down the clone.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Her reaction if Shepard expresses interest in a romantic relationship. Tali had actually been in love with Shepard since the first game, but assumed that he would never see past her helmet and see her for her.
Tali: I've watched you for so long. And yet I never thought you'd ever see past... [gestures at her helmet] this.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...:
- Ill Girl: Something of a Running Gag concerning her; she finds the perception irksome.
- The Immodest Orgasm:
- I'm Standing Right Here: She finds herself saying this from time to time. Even once to Shepard. Case in point: this conversation if she accompanies Shepard and Mordin on the latter's loyalty mission:
Shepard: [riling up a sick krogan] I said a badass, not a sick scout whining like a quarian with a tummy-ache!
Tali: I'm standing right here!
- Insecure Love Interest: Fits this trope like a glove during her romance. Averted in the third game.
- Insistent Terminology: Falls into this when drunk on turian brandy.
: Turian brandy, triple filtered and introduced into the suit through an emergency induction port. Shepard
: Thats a straw
, Tali. Tali
: Emmeeerrrgency induction port.
- Interspecies Romance: Her favourite movie (or "vid" as its called in-universe) is Fleet and Flotilla, a film about an interspecies romance between a turian and quarian. Dialogue from Citadel implies that Tali is into aliens. Also, she can end up with either Male!Shepard or Garrus depending on whom the player decides Shepard to romance. Both potential men she ends up with can be considered aliens.
- In the Back: She'll be forced to kill Legion this way if you're unable to broker peace between the quarians and geth and choose not to let Legion upload the Reaper code.
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: At first, she has trouble sleeping on the Normandy because the ship is so quiet. She's used to the ships in the Migrant Fleet, which are frequently bought used or are remnants from the geth uprising, and which make a lot of noise. A quiet quarian ship is typically a bad sign.
- Reversed in the second game, where she's used to it and the clamor of the Migrant Fleet is distracting to her.
- And of course there's the Call Back to this in the flirting in the third game.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She initially refuses Shepard's advances because she believes that he'll be hurt by their relationship.
- Just Friends: Retroactively with male!Shep from the first game.
- Latex Space Suit:
Ken: [to Gabby]
Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful bucket.. The whole suit is lovely, quite snug in all the right places... Tali:
You know I can hear you
- Lost Forever: Like Garrus, link up with her in 2 or forever hold your peace.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: Towards Shepard. Upped in the later games. BIG time.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: A literal example, even if she isn't evil at all. Rael's experiments are morally questionable at best, and beyond the Moral Event Horizon to some.
- Mama Bear: Even for a quarian, Tali is very dedicated to protecting the Migrant Fleet.
- Remarked upon in the second game. During her trial, various members of the crew of the Rayya are impressed that, despite being accused of treason and threatened with the possibility of exile, Tali's first thought was to safeguard the Fleet by embarking on a highly dangerous mission to secure the Alarei and eliminate the geth onboard.
- One of the reasons why she's reluctant to act on her feelings for male Shepard is that she's afraid of jeopardizing his mission by risking her health in pursuit of being with him. Shepard can then convince her that she's always been generous to a fault, and that just once, she should pursue her own happiness.
- Matzo Fever: Since quarians are Space Jews. "Tali" is actually a girls' name in Hebrew, according to Behind The Name.
- Mildly Military: She received military training on the Migrant Fleet and participates in military operations for the Admiralty Board in 2, but she's never identified by a rank and doesn't wear a uniform like the other Migrant Fleet Marines. She's also able to leave and join a renegade Spectre on a suicide mission simply by asking. In 3, she actually does get an official military rank as an Admiral, but she says that she doesn't actually do any military commanding. She does, however, serve as an ambassador (to both the geth and the Citadel races) and a front line combatant.
- Military Brat: Due to her father being an Admiral in the quarian Fleet, Tali never saw much of him growing up. At the very least, she got the best military training in the Fleet, which explains her proficiency with a shotgun.
- Military Maverick: Has shades of this as an Admiral herself in the third game.
- Motor Mouth: She admits to this as a defense mechanism when she becomes nervous.
- Must Not Die a Virgin: Seems to be her motivation to "find a way before the last fight". It's no wonder that, if she survives to the third game, she doesn't end it alone.
- Nice Girl: She's very polite, selfless, and forgiving. Shown especially in the third game, where she uses her connections in the Migrant Fleet to get a turian colony evacuated at the insistence of one of its former inhabitants, even though that same guy was a clerk on the Citadel who refused to let her into the Presidium, called her a "suit rat", and didn't even get her a doctor when she had a bullet in her arm. She notes that while she can rub in her current power to him, it wouldn't solve anything and would be immature.
- Noble Bigot: Make no mistake — as selfless and heroic as Tali is, she hates synthetic lifeforms. And she's one of the more open-minded quarians. Of course, this is a Justified Trope given her situation. Her people were driven off their home planet and nearly annihilated by their own created AI race, and the geth later kill her father as well. The fact that the quarians started it aside, Tali has more than a few reasons to be distrustful of if not hostile towards, say, Legion. Later, thanks to Character Development, the aforementioned open-mindedness pays off. The player's choices can make her be more friendly to Legion, sparking a friendly Not So Different situation in the third game to resolve the whole quarian/geth conflict. Doing so factors in to the potential for reconciliation between the geth and quarians.
- Not So Different: From a Spacer Shepard, since both are Military Brats whose parents eventually became an Admiral of their respective fleet. Even more-so when/if she becomes a high-ranked member of the hierarchy whom even higher-ups defer to.
- Odd Friendship: In 3, it seems that she and Legion have been in communication, and it's clear that they develop a strange fondness for one another even after the other admirals lead the quarians back into war with the geth. If Legion "dies" to give the geth true sentience and peace is achieved, Tali mentions that in lamenting all the people she watched die, she's mourning even Legion, "how weird is that?"
- Only Sane Woman: Behind Jacob and Legion, Tali is one of the more sensible crewmembers on the Normandy in Mass Effect 2, though she still has her issues. At least until VideoGame/MassEffect3.
- Optional Party Member: Just like Thane, Samara, Grunt, Zaeed, Kasumi and Legion (i.e. non-DLC, post-Horizon squadmates), you can complete the second game without her. Doing this will come back to haunt you, though...
- Orgasmic Combat: Her french acting.
- Pardon My Klingon: She uses the term "bosh'tet" from time to time. Which is similar to the Hebrew word for "shameful one."
- Pair the Spares: If your Male Shepard does not romance Tali in Mass Effect 3, she will end up with Garrus.
- When you consider that Garrus is essentially a Paragade Shepard, it makes sense that she's attracted to those qualities. Not to mention the convenience of sharing similar body chemistry.
- Plotline Death: Can suffer this in ME2, at which point she does not appear in ME3. Can also suffer this in ME3, depending on your choices during the re-ignited quarian/geth war.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Falls prey to several of these from the human crew, but finally gets to turn the tables in the Citadel DLC, when romanced Shepard fails to get her reference to Fleet and Flotilla, her favourite film/musical. The clip of the vid the player sees reveals she'd been quoting it directly in several of her romance scenes, and Shepard unknowingly did the right responses.
- Precision F-Strike:
- Powered Armour: The quarian suits are a peculiar version of this. In the first game, Tali has ridiculously high shields, while her alternate appearance in 2 comes with a targeting scanner on her mask and in 3, one of her outfits gives her faceplate a blast-shield.
- Rank Up: She is an Admiral in the third game.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Technically becomes this in Mass Effect 3, even if her position as an Admiral is mostly ceremonial. She's still very helpful if you want to broker peace between the quarians and geth.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Some people see her as blue, with Kasumi being the Red Oni. Tali, though she has her moments, is kind, calm, and uses her considerable skills to aid others. Kasumi is upbeat, energetic, and uses her considerable talents for thievery and espionage.
- Reassignment Backfire:
- Refuge in Audacity: Calling an admiral a bosh'tet in the middle of her trial.
- Relationship Upgrade: Potentially with Male Shepard in the second game.
- Rescue Romance:
- Required Party Member: In Mass Effect 3, the first and last missions of the Rannoch arc.
- Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: She can hack synthetic enemies and get them to kill each other. This includes Geth Primes, Geth Armatures, Atlas Mechs, and all types of turrets. Like most powers, it was nerfed heavily in the second game (it was considered overpowered in the first due to almost half of the game's enemies being synthetic), but was buffed again in the third (mainly in extending its functionality to screw up organic enemy weapons and covering both functions under the umbrella name "Sabotage").
- Sins of Our Fathers: Her character quest in ME2 centers around her being held responsible for her father's geth experiments — actually a convenient smokescreen for the admirals to discuss the issue of going to war with the geth.
- Shock and Awe: She could use Overload in the first game. This was replaced by Energy Drain in the second and third games, which is unique to her, except for potentially Shepard. Energy Drain buffs her own shields in addition to draining enemy shieldsnote , but lacks the certain offensive properties that Overload gains in the third game.
- Shoot the Dog: If you can't broker peace between the quarians and the geth, then you must choose one of the two. If you choose the quarians, then Legion will knock Shepard down, strangle him/her, and hold him/her over the edge of a cliff. Tali then stabs it. In Legion's final moments, Tali tells it that she's sorry and that it does have a soul; if it's the Geth VI she tells him that "Legion would have understood" (she is mistaken).
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Well, she thinks so.
- Shrinking Violet: In her romance with Shepard in the second game. She gets more confident and flirtatious in the third.
- She's actually quite snippy. You sass her, she'll gladly return fire. Just ask Wrex.
- Also, keep in mind that she isn't generally shy and is perfectly capable of having a conversation without stuttering or getting nervous. It's just Shepard's advances that make her nervous. And not even because of how forward he is; she's just looking out for his mission and doesn't want to pursue him at the expense of getting sick and not being able to help him.
- Sibling Rivalry: If romanced in the sequels, after previously romancing Ashley in the first, both see the other as a sister. Bringing them both onto the Geth Dreadnought however, shows that they have some friction over their mutual feelings for Shepard (unless you commit to Tali beforehand).
- Skilled, but Naïve: When Shepard first meets her, Tali has survived numerous encounters with geth and Saren's forces, but was easily lured into an ambush set by Fist and the Shadow Broker.
- The Smart Guy: The tech and engineering expert.
- Something Only They Would Say: How she can potentially realize that, yes, that is Shepard standing in front of her in the beginning of the second game. Only s/he would know about how she got the geth data for her Pilgrimage. This depends on whether you did give her the geth data way back in the first game.
- Squishy Technician: Her tech powers can be incredibly useful when trying to mezz enemies, especially when dealing with synthetics, but her physical durability is pretty poor, due in part to the general fragility of her suit and (in ME1 at least) the rarity of her armor upgrades. In Mass Effect 1 this is balanced out by pouring points into her Electronics skill and her "Quarian Machinist" Class skill, which increases her shields to the point where she can survive pretty much the whole game with the same suit she started with; in the later games, she's a bit more durable in general and gets a loyalty power that drains enemies' shields or synthetics' health and replenishes (or even overcharges) her own shields.
- Statuesque Stunner: She is the tallest female squad-mate, only a few centimeters shorter than M!Shep. Especially when you consider the fact that quarians are generally slighter and shorter than humans. To quarians, Tali may be something of a giantess.
- Subordinate Excuse: The second game reveals that she goes with Shepard just as much to be around him as to save the galaxy.
- Talking Lightbulb: What with being a quarian and all.
- Tempting Fate: "Commander Shepard, this is Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib Qwib. Do not ask about the name ." Guess what's one of the dialog options immediately after she says that?
- Terrified of Germs: Given the quarians' weak immune system, this is rather serious concern. She's not as terrified as most of her race though, since she actively attempts to find ways to overcome this handicap in order to be intimate with a Male Shepard.
- She also expresses that she'd be willing to join suits with FemShep, though it appears to be more about trusting her with her life, than actual romantic interest. Probably.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: She wears purple, and her hood emulates the basic shape of feminine long hair (as do all female quarians' hoods).
- To Absent Friends: Regarding Miranda of all people, if the latter doesn't survive Sanctuary in the third game (she has the same scene if Miranda survives, but it doesn't fit the trope).
Tali: Nice job, you genetically perfect Cerberus cheerleader bosh'tet. Keelah se'lai.
- Token Good Teammate: In 2, is among the few party members who is not an Anti-Hero.
- Took a Level in Badass: At the beginning of the first game, (despite being 22), she essentially is a teenager in over her head, on the run from a few thugs. Come the third game — three years, more or less, in-universe — and she is an Admiral of the Fleet.
- Also occurred between the beginning and end of Mass Effect 1. At the start, she was merely able to hold her own against a trio of regular assassins, and required Shepard's help to escape the situation alive. By the end of it she, like every other party member, is an army-crushing terror in gameplay, and in-story (at least according to her final conversation with Garrus in Mass Effect 3), she was able to rack up more kills against heavily armed and advanced geth infantry on Ilos than Garrus Vakarian himself.
- Tranquil Fury: Cerberus tends to be a calming influence on Tali. It makes more sense if you read the tie-in novel Mass Effect: Ascension, which details the events which made the quarians hate Cerberus.
(to Jacob)I don't know who you are, but Cerberus threatened the security of the Migrant Fleet. Don't make nice. [...] I assumed you were undercover, Shepard. Maybe even planning to blow Cerberus up. If that's the case, I'll lend you a grenade.
(After listening to the Illusive Man talking about how to manipulate Shepard into trusting him) He needs to die.
- Underestimating Badassery: The Shadow Broker in 2 has a unique comment for each potential party member about how valuable eliminating them and Shepard would be. But Tali? He's surprised Liara brought her along, what with her botched research mission on Haestrom. Though he could just be trying to press her Berserk Button.
- Undying Loyalty: Best summed up in three simple words:
Tali: Thank you... Captain.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Gets a hint of this in the third game provided Shepard romanced her, especially if she kills Legion. Also, she has four very simple words to say once the files at the Cerberus Base reveal how The Illusive Man manipulated Shepard into seeing Cerberus as sympathetic.
Tali: He needs to die.
- Vocal Evolution: At the very beginning of the first game, Liz Sroka hadn't quite settled the nuances yet; Tali's voice was higher and has less of an accent. Her performance from the second game on is uniform. She also sounds a lot more expressive with her emotions; notably so in her Tear Jerker scenes.
- Was It Really Worth It?: If the quarians reclaim Rannoch violently rather than by making peace with the geth in Mass Effect 3, she wonders if it was really worth exterminating a potential ally and personally killing a friend.
- "Well Done, Daughter" Gal: Tali is sure her father loves her, but regardless is said to be rather distant, and probably has similar expectations for her as much as everyone else. And if you don't hug her during her loyalty mission, she remarks on how her father never used his "sick days" to show her his face... She's also not very happy that his dying message essentially was just giving her orders, remarking that she's not sure whether he didn't care at all, or this is the only way he could show it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She will call Shepard out if he/she betrays her trust.
- She also reacts that way when she finds out Shepard is working for Cerberus, has a functional AI on board, or recruits Legion. She was under the impression that Shepard had been working undercover and was planning to blow them up... she was even going to offer a grenade.
- In the first game Shepard can call her out on her attempts to justify the quarians' attempted genocide of the geth when the geth became sentient (an action that led to the civil war that resulted in the quarians fleeing their homeworld).
- She's furious when Garrus innocently suggests using the standard turian tactic of orbital bombardment to eliminate the geth troops on Rannoch, pointing out that the quarians have waited centuries to return home and he wants to leave bits of it uninhabitable by throwing rocks at it!
- What Would Shepard Do?:
- Not as much as Garrus, but she tries, to the point of trying to emulate Shepard's nice job with the mining laser back on Therum with demolition charges. We'll just assume she forgot about how that kind of blew up in Shepard's face when s/he tried it... but hey, it still got Shepard what s/he wanted.
- Another example: When trying to help a fellow quarian on Illium who sold herself into indentured servitude to pay off stock market debts, Tali will follow Shepard's lead if you try to charm/intimidate a Synthetic Insights rep into buying her contract, offering increased business with the Migrant Fleet if you use Charm, or threatening to park said Migrant Fleet on top of the Synthetic Insights headquarters if you use Intimidate.
- In 3, she'll state flat-out that the only reason she took the Admiral position was because she thought Shepard would do the same thing in her position.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Makes it very clear that she was never close to her father in childhood. Though that is sort of expected if your father is part of the leadership council for your entire race.
Tali: I don't care what he would have wanted, Shepard! I wanted a father who cared about me more than his war effort. I wanted a father who would take the sick-leave time and let me see his face without a helmet in the way. Instead, I got orders. And this. And a panel of admirals who think I'm a traitor. Those were my father's gifts to me.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
- Worst Whatever Ever: How she sums up the Citadel DLC Busman's Holiday. "Worst. Shore leave. Ever."
- Worth It:
- Tali's response when she gets sick after her relationship with Shepard becomes intimate.
- Which gets a Call Back in 3.
- Wrench Wench: Quarians are the whole race of incredibly skilled engineers. And even among the quarians, she is counted one of the best engineers and geth specialists. Note that it's not an Informed Ability. She is as skilled with technology as Legion and Kasumi. In other words, her level of tech-savvy rivals over a thousand linked geth programs and the best human thief in the galaxy.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Believe it or not, Tali could be viewed as having shades of this. She's self-sacrificing, is very nice, is the most moral teammate of a Mass Effect 2 "squad" that mostly contains criminals and killers, the hood on her helmet resembles long hair, and for all her Action Girl tendencies she tends to ultimately defer to Shepard's judgment. And she prioritizes her people above everything else, even her (optional) relationship with Shepard: if you allow the quarians to get wiped out, relationship or not, Tali will commit suicide.
- You Can't Go Home Again: In the second game, Tali can be exiled from the Flotilla for treason. This doesn't stop the Admirals from calling on her during their assault on the geth in 3, but she admits she's their "dirty secret". It also keeps you from making peace between the two sides, as she must be an Admiral for that.
- The Unreveal: Go ahead, romance her in 2. See how sadistic Bioware can be.
- Close-ups do give you some view of her eyes and nose behind the mask. She looks rather human.
- If you romance her in Mass Effect 3 you get a photo of her unmasked◊. She actually looks very close to human, with some dark lines along her neck and three-fingered hands. She even has human-like hair. But also glowing eyes. The dark lines are also not exclusive to the neck, she has some on her forehead too, linking to her eyebrows.
"Anyone who fights us is either stupid or on Saren's payroll. Killing the latter is business. Killing the former is a favor to the universe."
Voiced by: Steven Barr
A krogan battlemaster who combines close-combat skills and enormous physical strength and durability with biotic powers. Joins Shepard's team out of both an interest in fighting a good battle and because the money is nice. He becomes a progressive-minded overlord of the krogan people in Mass Effect 2
if he survived the events of the first game, eventually uniting them under his banner.
- Afraid of Needles: Mordin claims this about Wrex when he's eager to leave his lab and donate tissue samples later. It may or may not be true, but either way it's hilarious. But when he finally gets around to it...
- Affectionate Nickname: Affectionately refers to Mordin as "Pyjak".
- The All Solving Hammer: One of the first things Wrex usually suggests when confronted by a problem is to eat the individual responsible.
- Ironically, a Thresher Maw Hammer is exactly the solution to defeat a Reaper on Tuchanka in 3, by summoning Kalros.
- Ancestral Armor: In the first game, he asks Shepard to retrieve his family's armor from a turian smuggler. In a subversion the constant arms race had rendered it useless, and is only valuable for personal reasons.
Wrex: My ancestors actually wore this piece of junk?
- Asskicking Equals Authority:
- He is a krogan, and thus tends to equate ass-kicking with respect. He may even discuss this with various other crewmembers, by asking them if they could beat Shepard in a fight. Kaidan dismisses the question with how he'd realistically never have to fight his superior officer; Wrex decides that that's why Shepard is his superior officer, and why s/he would win. Tali (or Liara) asks if krogan size up everyone for a fight, to which he replies yes, in a tone of voice which suggests that he's genuinely surprised that the other races don't.
- In Mass Effect 2, assuming he survived the first game, he is in the process of reforming and uniting krogan society through sheer force of personality (and ass kicking, when necessary).
- The "who would win" bit sets up a Brick Joke in "Citadel" - en route to fighting the Clone, Wrex gloats to Ash/Kaidan that they're about to get their answer after all. It's also turned around when Zaeed and Javik ask who'd win: him or Grunt?
- Babies Ever After: In the third game, with Eve, and you can even see the baby in some of the endings! Also to his horror, as his pivotal role in curing the Genophage has made him very desirable as breeding stock to all krogan females. And Eve/Bakara encourages them. His poor quad are litereally sore from overuse.
- Badass: Almost up to memetic levels. The strongest and toughest of your combat oriented party members in game with tons of experience under his belt. Also, one of the few living beings in over a thousand years to kill a Thresher Maw on foot. Wrex himself, implies that the only person he believes could actually beat him in a straight fight is Shepard.
- Badass Baritone: His voice has deepness that is only matched by a few other krogan, the Reapers and the Leviathan.
- Badass Boast: Gives one in the third game. Note that the quote is fully capitalized in the game's subtitles:
Wrex: I AM URDNOT WREX AND THIS IS MY PLANET!!!
- Badass Grandpa: Not overt, but Wrex hints that he was either born during or shortly after the Krogan Rebellions, making him very old, even for a krogan. Especially once you consider that, even though Mass Effect takes place in the future, Wrex would have been born when Earth still had Vikings.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Eve says that Wrex has always been enthusiastic around fertile females. With the genophage cured, the Citadel DLC informs us that as the leader of the most powerful clan and symbol to the galaxy of the awesomeness of their people, they've been lining up around the corner for his seed. And what's funnier, Eve/Bakara encourages it, probably to break Wrex of the habit through forced overindulgence.
- Berserk Button: Any mention of destroying the krogan's chances of curing the genophage will provoke a violent reaction. It can get Wrex killed in the first game unless you can talk him down, and you are forced to kill him in the third game if you sabotage the cure.
- Big Good: Becomes this to the krogan on Tuchanka if he lives past Virmire. "Eve" in the third game privately admits to Shepard that Wrex the greatest thing to happen to Tuchanka in over a thousand years.
- The Big Guy: Type 1 (gruff and withdrawn). Also has shades of Types 3 and 5.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Krogan have secondary everything, from cardiovascular to nervous systems.
- And four testicles, referred to in the fandom and then in the second game as a "quad". Wrex will say that Shepard has a quad. He'll even say this about female Shepard.
- Blood Brother/Blood Sister: He declares Shepard to be his if Shepard saves Eve and cures the genophage. To him, the krogan have no greater friend, no greater hero, than the commander.
- Blood Knight: Though he's downright moderate compared to the rest of his species.
Wrex: They'll sing battle songs about this someday! Reaper blood has finally soaked our soil!
- Bounty Hunter: One of many jobs he's taken over the centuries. He first encounters Saren while on the job, unsettling him to the point of quitting — which ends up saving his life.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: Not so much in the first game, but played straight from the second game onward.
- Cain and Abel: Abel to Wreav's Cain. He's thus not at all sad to see Wreav get killed by Kalros in 3.
- Catch Phrase: He tries out a few during "Citadel". They generally involve calling himself "Uncle Urdnot". Tali tells him to keep trying.
- Captain Obvious: "I raised the hammers; you have to activate both of them. My advice is: avoid the giant laser!"
- The Casanova: According to the krogan females. In the Citadel DLC, if the genophage is cured, he'll complain about how he's been so busy mating that he needs an icepack for his crotch. If Eve/Bakara is still alive, he says that she is encouraging it (probably to try and break him of the behavior through forced overindulgence).
- Cool Old Guy: In the second game, this is given as the reason the krogan are uniting under his leadership.
- Cool Uncle: The Citadel DLC particularly highlights that the rest of the squad have come to see Wrex as this type of figure.
Tali: You're like the crazy, head butting uncle I never had.
- Crazy Awesome: In-Universe, the Urdnot Mechanic acknowledges that Wrex is a "crazy old man", but at the same time, what he's saying makes sense and is actually working. Because of this, in the third game, Eve calls him the first bright light the krogan have had in a millennium.
- His crazy awesomeness has combat applicability as well: in the Citadel DLC, he saves Shepard and a squadmate from a false flag ambush by CAT6 mercs in a C-Sec shuttle by diving out a window and body slamming the cockpit canopy, which causes it to crash. This is a shuttle model which is canonically described to be designed first and foremost for rugged durability and has been stated to be able to withstand 1000 earth atmospheres of pressure. And Wrex, true to his name, wrecks it.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Ashley downs him with one shot from a rifle in ME1 before finishing him off with a few more shots, (Shepard can pistol-whip him and shoot him repeatedly on the ground) and Shepard can kill him with a pistol in ME3. He also mysteriously forgets that he has barriers and biotic powers.
- Dare to Be Badass: To motivate the krogan to fight a common enemy rather than fighting themselves and the rest of the galaxy.
Wrex: Now hold your heads high like true krogan. There's a Reaper that needs killing!
- Deadpan Snarker: Provides half of the snark in the first game.
- Death Glare: Displays a great one in 3 when the salarian dalatrass insults the krogan. The look on his face makes it clear that he wants nothing more than to pull out a shotgun and leave a large hole in the Normandy's bulkhead where she was standing.
- For bonus points, the scene is focused on him, so you get to see just how pissed off Wrex is, taking up the entire screen.
- Despair Event Horizon: Betray him by sabotaging the genophage cure and he'll completely lose it. He'll withdraw krogan support, leave the galaxy to burn, and try to gun you down with a shotgun to boot. As far as he's concerned, if his species is going to go extinct, humanity can join them.
- Implied to have gone through a minor one before you meet him. After his father betrayed him he lost hope of reforming his race into anything resembling a proper civilisation, and began roaming the stars and killing people for credits. If he survives the first game he gets renewed hope and has a more successful job at kicking the krogan together.
- Dirty Old Man: In ME3, according to Eve, he's a bit... enthusiastic about fertile krogan females. By the Citadel DLC, he's over this. Largely because he's been with so many that his genitals physically hurt. Which says something when you're a member of a species of armored reptilian walking tanks with regeneration capabilities, and you're considered one of the most badass specimens of that species.
- Chivalrous Pervert: On the other hand, he respects women a lot more than the average krogan.
- Driven to Suicide: A possibility, if you make a certain series of decisions. In ME3, if you sabotage the genophage cure, Wrex will come after you, conveniently forgetting his biotics and shields... Suicide by Shepard.
- Dynamic Entry: In the Citadel DLC, when Shepard and a crewmate are pinned down by a shuttle full of mercs, Wrex crashes through a window a few stories above and body slams the shuttle.
- Enemy Mine: With the turians in the third game. Despite the fact that neither Wrex nor Primarch Victus are quick to trust the other, Victus is completely in favour of curing the genophage and Wrex makes good on his promise to send krogan troops to aid in the defense of Palaven.
- Victus and Wrex also seem to find common ground opposing the salarian dalatrass. She seems to clearly irritate them both.
- Epic Fail: If you opt to sabotage the genophage cure in 3, he comes after you with a shotgun. In all outcomes, he'll miss Shepard with a shotgun at point-blank range and will be gunned down either by Shepard or C-Sec, despite the former being unarmored and unarmed when Wrex attacks.
- Establishing Character Moment: He is encountered inside the C-Sec offices, where a C-Sec officer is reprimanding him for his attempt to kill Fist. Wrex responds with a series of Badass Boasts, then proudly declares that he's still going to kill Fist to the officer's face before leaving and telling Shepard to mind his own business. If you talk to him immediately after you conclude your business in C-Sec, he asks to go with you to take down Fist and kills Fist after the crime lord tries to surrender. If you don't, and instead wait until after you have dealt with Fist to speak with him, he is impressed by the wreck you made of Chora's Den, and gives you the bounty he was supposed to collect as a show of respect.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Subsequent games make it clear that he's not evil, but in the first he's decidedly darker than other party members. Take him on Virmire when you discover the captured salarians driven to mindlessness by indoctrination, and he's visibly unhappy about it, saying that you don't do that to prisoners — kill them, sure, but not that. That said, he also objects to Paragon Shep releasing them. He's also reluctant if Shepard decides to free the Rachni Queen, though this is justified by backstory reasons.
- He does, however, approve of Renegade Shepard releasing the salarians for the sole purpose of gunning them all down. To him, it's as cut-and-dried a Mercy Kill as he's ever seen. As far as he's concerned, even though they'd all die in the blast anyway, it'd take a cold person to let them live on like that for any longer than necessary.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: See Meaningful Name.
- Expy: He shares many traits with Canderous Ordo, of Knights of the Old Republic fame. Most notably, both are the team Big Guy, come from a culture of Blood Knights, and are disillusioned with their cultures' slowly self-destructive behavior.
- Face-Heel Turn: Seriously considers one during Virmire. If you're unable to talk him out of it, Ashley kills him to protect you.
- If Shepard sabotaged the genophage cure in Mass Effect 3, he will return later on, having found out, and tries to kill Shepard no matter what. He also calls off all his support for the war..
- Family Honor: While he was never on good terms with his father and was eventually forced to kill him in self-defense, Wrex appears to have been close with his grandfather, swearing an oath before he left Tuchanka that he would regain their family's battle-armour, stolen by a turian after the war. He can finally achieve this several hundred years later with help from Shepard.
- Fantastic Racism: Openly admits to be racist against salarians, and his distrust of them causes him to act up and nearly screw up the deal.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: As a guest party member in Citadel, his most common tactic is to charge into the enemy mob and club them with his shotgun. Horrified players will soon realize that Wrex easily has twice as much HP as other party members, and thus can survive running out in the open and being shot at by multiple assailants.
- Friendly Enemy: He mentions having one in an asari named Aleena who is strongly hinted to be a past identity for Aria T'Loak in Mass Effect 2.
- The Gadfly: Especially in the first game's infamous elevator sequences, where he frequently says outrageous things to your squadmembers just to see how they react.
- Genre Savvy:
- Good Is Not Soft: As krogan overlord, he institutes many reforms to save his race from the brink... and if he has to go against tradition or bust heads for it to work, so be it.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: All over his shell. It conveniently helps players distinguish him from other krogan.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Another par for the krogan course. Initially believed Shepard survived being spaced due to having a redundant nervous system.
Shepard: Yeah, humans don't have that.
Wrex: Oh.... It must've been painful then.
- Guest Star Party Member: In the Citadel DLC of 3.
- Handgun: In the first game, he had access to all weapons but could train with assault rifles and shotguns. In Citadel, his weapons are shotgun and heavy pistol.
- Hidden Depths: An exile from a barbaric race. Utterly ruthless. A one man army. The most vicious bounty hunter in the galaxy. Also the only squadmate to be affected by Ashley or Kaidan's death in the first game (other than the one you chose to save at the cost of the other's life, obviously) and quite possibly the most sensitive and caring character towards Shepard other than Liara and Kaidan. And he tried to end his people's infighting, pretty much making him the krogan equivalent of a hippie. Who says bloodthirsty, thousand-year-old reptilian warlords don't have hearts? Two of them, in point of fact.
- Honorary True Companion: To the Normandy crew from the second game onwards.
- I'm Standing Right Here: On Noveria, if Garrus objects to killing the rachni queen.
Garrus: We can't exterminate them. Not without the Council's approval. Genocide is one of the reasons we fought the krogan— ah...
Wrex: You want to learn about genocide, Vakarian? I'll take you to a krogan obstetrician's office.
- I Work Alone: Fortunately, he's a reasonable example of this trope; he prefers to work by himself, but he's perfectly willing to operate with small groups. Shepard also works in small groups, so he's got no problems with that. It's just being part of armies he has issues with.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Just Eat Him: He's fond of using this to end arguments. It's generally effective at making people go away.
- Killed Off for Real: Possible in the first game, which has repercussions throughout the series. Also possible in the third game, if you sabotage the genophage cure: he'll find out and you'll have to blow him away on the Citadel.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: He'll kill the local crime lord Fist after you get Fist at your mercy. Tali and potentially Shepard certainly don't disagree.
- Krogan Scientists Get No Respect: Averted. The Urdnot scientists are actually complaining because Wrex has turned them to agricultural sciences and focused their efforts on increasing crop yield, irrigation and better farming methods. Only on Tuchanka could the scientists be upset that the Warlord doesn't want them to blow things up!
- Knight in Sour Armor: Yes, he does help save the galaxy and eventually becomes chieftain of Clan Urdnot but he's also as cynical as they come.
- Leeroy Jenkins: In Citadel, while most other party member AI have the sense to keep in cover during a firefight, Wrex's primary attack strategy is to charge opponents and melee them. He can survive this and win... unless you're playing on Insanity, in which case he predictably gets quickly gunned down.
- Like an Old Married Couple: His interaction with "Eve" in the third game.
- Magic Knight: In addition to his substantial toughness and general combat skills, he's also a biotic.
- The McCoy: To Dalatrass Linron's The Spock and Primarch Adrien Victus and Paragon Shepard's The Kirk, in 3.
- Meaningful Name: He's called Wrex because he wrecks stuff. Get it? It's funny because it's a pun!
- Also, rex = Latin for king. Fits with him becoming the krogan overlord in the second game.
- According to the devs, they called him Wrex after a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which still comes from "king." This also leads to an amusing Continuity Nod in the second game, where data on Grunt's extranet searches reveal that he went from searching about Wrex to reading about dinosaurs.
- Mighty Glacier: Already one in ME1, but even more so in the Citadel DLC from ME3. The next most bulky squad member, James Vega, tops at a little over 1,200 health and 1,200 shields, before factoring in the damage reduction of his Fortification power. Wrex can have 2800 health and has a skill that charges his shields up to over 5000! For context, on normal difficulty, standard Elite Mooks like Centurions have 700 health and 700 shields, and on Insanity, they have 1,200 health and 1,125 shields. And that's before his biotic Barrier power factors in its percentage damage reduction! He also likes to charge enemies and either blast them with his shotgun or just beat them to death with his fists and elbows. Which isn't hard, because he is about twice as big and bulky as his enemies.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Invoked in 3 if you bring Liara and Garrus along to Sur'kesh, he's deeply happy she's there... oh, and Garrus too.
- MY NAME IS URDNOT WREX, AND THIS IS MY PLANET!!!
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Wrex is somewhere in between playing this straight and averting it. He mostly embraces the overall krogan culture and attitudes, but he's far more willing than most of his race to acknowledge a lot of their actions are idiotically self-destructive (to the point of making some attempt to fix that in the second game).
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: In the Citadel Downloadable Content for 3, the reason he's on the Citadel at all is because, following the dealing with the genophage in Priority: Tuchanka, every single female krogan wants a go with him so that their firstborn can be of his genes. He'd likely have less of a problem if they actually gave him a break.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Wrex in no way comes off as dumb, but he is much more sophisticated than he lets on.
- Also works in a subversion to his Blood Knight tendencies. One of the elevator convos has Garrus eagerly wanting to see how the Normandy handles in a fight, to which Wrexnote retorts about the folly of getting into slugging matches in a ship meant for stealth. The opening of the second game proves that Wrex was entirely correct about that.
- Odd Friendship:
- With Shepard. Dialogue in 3 indicates that he's deeply fond of Liara...and Garrus, in his own way.
Wrex: I have to make friends with the one turian in the galaxy who thinks he's funny.
- Despite Wrex's open dislike of salarians, particularly their doctors, he honestly grows to respect Mordin after he stands his ground against him. As mentioned in the first game, this is Wrex's way of sizing people up.
Wrex: Ha! You've got a quad, doctor! Keep her safe!
- He has a soft spot for Tali too, as shown in The Citadel DLC.
Tali: I can look after myself, you know...
Wrex: I know, but I'm old and I worry.
- Optional Party Member: He doesn't have to be recruited to finish the first game.
- Out of Focus: Of this six original squadmates, Wrex is the only one who never returns to the squad. He still has plot relevancy, but he's relegated to Supporting Leader. Thankfully, he's a Guest Star Party Member in the third game's Citadel DLC.
- Whether relatedly or not, he's also the only one of the first six squadmates who isn't a potential Love Interest.
- The Paragon: For his people, should he survive to the second game. Solidly cements this position should the real cure for the genophage be administered under his reign.
- Parental Substitute: While not overt, it appears that he's taken this role toward Grunt, being enthusiastic about letting him take the Rite of Passage to become a member of Clan Urdnot in 2 as well as placing him in charge of Aralakh Company in 3, in recognition of Grunt's skill. One of his comments in the second game insinuates that he may be grooming Grunt to be his successor as Overlord of the krogan.
- Papa Wolf: Becomes this for his entire species.
- Properly Paranoid: He was hired by Saren once, but eventually decided to leave without waiting for pay since it didn't take him long to get suspicious of the guy. Turns out all the other mercs he was working with were found dead a week later.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Deconstructed; he knows full well that the krogan people are too attached to their short-sighted warrior traditions to save themselves from extinction. In the sequels, he reconstructs the trope by seizing power of Clan Urdnot and working to return the krogan to a proud warrior race instead of a race of thugs for hire.
- Really 700 Years Old: We don't know how old exactly Wrex is, but given that he defeated a Thresher Maw over a thousand years ago and hints that he may have been around during the Krogan Rebellions (which happened in 700 AD)... yeah, Wrex is very old, even for a krogan.
- For those not willing to do the math this would make Wrex nearly 1500 years old at the start of Mass Effect. Even Samara would be half a millennium his junior.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: About as reasonable of an authority figure as you can be for an entire species of Blood Knights.
- While it's unspoken, it's worth noting that Wrex is perfectly content to allow Shepard, an alien, to serve as a member of Grunt's krantt during their Rite of Passage, likely because he knows that they don't actually have a rule that says that the members of your krantt have to be krogan.
- Who is in the prospective krantt says a lot. Depending on who you take with you, it's either just Shepard, who has iron-clad and gold-plated badass credentials in Wrex's eyes, or Shepard and someone that Wrex fought alongside in the last game, who has also proven themselves as a badass.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: And red skin, red armor, and red guns...
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Plays the red to Eve's blue as leaders of the krogan. Also the Blue to Wreav's Red.
- Refuge in Audacity: If he helps infiltrate the casino in Citadel. First he'll claim to be a food inspector (though as pretty much the king of all krogan, he could be one, if only because he can declare himself one), then he'll just start distracting the guards by berating them for doing a bad job at guarding.
- Revenge Before Reason: In ME3, if you betray his friendship and sabotage the genophage cure, he will come after you on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Royal Blood: To a degree; his father was an overlord of the Urdnot clan. If he survived Virmire, Wrex will be the ruler the Urdnot Clan and de facto ruler of of the krogan homeworld Tuchanka in 2 and 3 (as his dealings have positioned Clan Urdnot to be the most powerful clan).
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Wrex used to have a tribe of his own, though he fled Tuchanka after a fight with his father. Later, he will become the ruler of most of the krogan clans.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: His stance when traditional-minded krogan impede his vision. A necessary evil, for the traditional mindset is what led to the decline of the krogan people in the first place.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: In his backstory, he met Saren while working on a job. Something about Saren rubbed him the wrong way, so he left without waiting long enough to be paid. His instincts were right: he was the only merc from that job to survive.
- Self-Made Orphan: In self-defense.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Believe it or not he embodies both sides of this trope. The latter is obvious but he shows a surprisingly caring side of himself after Virmire. He's the only character to talk about Ashley/Kaidan's death other than Joker and the Virmire Survivor, and the only character to comfort Shepard over it, telling you he respects your decision. The relationship between him and Paragon Shepard also fits this trope.
- Slave to PR: He executes a gang leader against your orders because he was hired by the Broker to personally kill him. He even gives you the bounty if you don't bring him along and beat him to the punch — he won't take credit or payment for something he didn't do.
- Sociopathic Hero: Mostly in the first game, less so in the sequels.
- Special Snowflake Syndrome: The Codex notes that krogan biotics are exceptionally rare, even as biotics go. So, naturally, the krogan who joins the adventuring party just happens to be a biotic. This was for lack of anyone else to fill the Vanguard slot in the original team.
- The Stoic: It's a significant moment whenever he really does emote.
- When Wrex joyfully bounds out of his "throne" to greet Shepard with unabashed happiness in 2, it's fairly startling. Especially in contrast to the cold shoulder s/he gets from the Virmire survivor on Horizon.
- He also appears openly enthusiastic about having Grunt join Clan Urdnot, with almost fatherly pride when he completes the rite. Especially if Grunt kills the Thresher Maw, something no one has done since Wrex himself 1000 years prior.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: Dislikes the self-destructive violence of the other krogan and is working to change it.
- Supporting Leader: If he survives to Mass Effect 3, he's this for the krogan, who can provide the second highest amount of War Assets (only behind humanity). This all depends on how you handle curing the genophage, however.
- Even in the mission on Sur'Kesh, he keeps the enemy distracted to make Shepard's mission easier.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Wrex drops a hard one when Allestia Iallis reveals herself to be a sleeper agent for Benezia.
Wrex: We'll see about that, bitch.
- Too Dumb to Live: What he thinks of anyone that goes up against Shepard. Which makes you wonder what that says about him when he does this on Virmire. Played With in that he likely knew he had no chance at actually "winning" but was doing it as a matter of principle or honor rather than tactics. Thankfully, the player has three ways of talking him out of it.
- The same logic also applies to his confrontation with Shepard in 3 if the cure is sabotaged, though there it might have been blind fury rather than any other reason.
- Token Evil Teammate: Subverted. Wrex admits he pretends to be this, simply because it's expected of krogan.
- Try Not to Die: The worst possible "goodbye" before you try and summon Kalros.
Wrex: I know you're doing this for your own reasons, Shepard, but try to make sure you don't get your ass killed. I wouldn't know what to say at your funeral.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Wrex seems to really like the elevators.
- Undying Loyalty: By the second game, even if he can't go with Shepard, it's clear that he has nothing but undying respect for him/her and will help him/her in anyway he can. This can take a few knocks depending on your actions in the third game.
- Use Your Head: In true krogan fashion, he uses this to assert his dominance.
- Unfortunately, he doesn't see it when Shepard has the opportunity to follow his lead, headbutting the same krogan that Wrex did earlier to get him to shut up. The Shaman does see, and finds it hilarious.
- Unwanted Harem: The Citadel DLC reveals there are downsides to being the clan leader who cured the genophage — namely, everyone wants their firstborn to have his genes. There's a line of women outside his dwelling that stretches "as far as you can see", he has to sneak out his own bathroom window to get away, and he still gets jumped leaving Tuchanka.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Garrus.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Where It All Began: If you cure the genophage and Eve is alive, you will meet up with him at the place where his father ambushed and tried to kill him, and he will remark about how the genophage turned the krogan into "animals".
- World's Best Warrior: On Tuchanka, anyway, but he has some impressive feats throughout the rest of the galaxy, too. The only person probably superior to him is Shepard, and his only clear successor is Grunt.
- Worthy Opponent: Considered his Friendly Enemy Aleenanote to be this.
- Wrex views Shepard as one when they first meet, seeing Shepard as a warrior worthy of his respect. He drops hints in the first game that he believes in a fight Shepard could easily take him down, which considering Wrex once single-handedly defeated a Thresher Maw, says a hell of a lot.
- By the end of the second game, you'll probably have done a lot of the same things he did, and without the Made of Iron characteristics that the krogan have going for them. It's no wonder Wrex respects you.
Guest Party Members
Richard L. Jenkins
Corporal Richard L. Jenkins
"We've got a Spectre on board! That's why I'm so wound up - I can't wait for the real mission to start."
Voiced by: Josh Dean
An over-enthusiastic Alliance soldier from Eden Prime, he is assigned as part of your squad when everything goes to hell there. Continuing in the long Bioware tradition of early sacrificial party members, he dies in the opening few minutes.