"Two million dead in the first day, another 7 million by the end of the first week, every defense annihilated, all our forces on the run. Regrouping... Somewhere... Reports are coming in from other major cities. It's a well-coordinated attack, and so far it's been damned effective. Don't know what they are, what they want, or where they came from... Only one thing is certain: If Shepard doesn't bring help soon, there won't be an Earth left to save."
—Major Coats aka "Big Ben", Mass Effect 3 announcement trailer
Admiral Anderson: How bad is it?
Admiral Hackett: Bad.
—The opening lines of the game, basically summing up its mood.
In 2157, humanity discovered it was not alone in the Universe.
Thirty years later, they found a peaceful place among dozens of galactic species.
But this idyllic future is overshadowed by a dark past;
Reapers, a sentient race of machines responsible for cleansing the galaxy of all organic life every 50,000 years, are about to return.
The leaders of the Galaxy are paralyzed by indecision, unable to accept the legend of the Reapers as fact.
But one soldier has seen the legend come to life.
And now, the fate of the galaxy depends on him/her.
—Mass Effect 3 Opening Scroll
Khalisah: Ha! You want some? / Not this time, you military thug! (punch)
Khalisah: On second thought, never mind. I don't have any more questions for you.
Shepard: You're angry, I get that. But I came here to get help for Earth, not answer your questions. Stay down.
Twitter: I loved 98% of ME3..but something has to be up w/ ending..too much talent at BW for that business. Keep my saves?
Twitter: Mass Effect 3 was brilliant, the whole series was, but while this probably won't be answered, is that really how Shepard ends?
Bioware: We can't saaaaay!
Twitter: I still want to believe you guys are sneaky trolls and have something going on you don't tell us yet. Can I get a cryptic reply?
Shepard: Why me? Why put me in charge of all this?
Hackett: Shepard, let me tell you something that I've learned the hard way. You can pay a soldier to fire a gun. You can pay him to charge the enemy and take a hill. But you can't pay him to believe.
Shepard: ...I don't follow, sir.
Hackett: When you went up against Sovereign, there was no good reason to believe you'd win. But your crew didn't seem to care — they went along anyway. Your trip through the Omega 4 relay? That was a suicide mission if there ever was one. Yet there your crew was, standing beside you, proud to serve. With all you're facing out there, one thing impresses me most: you inspire confidence. I know everything hasn't gone as well as you'd hoped. Every war has its disagreements, so to speak. But... Your crew has done things no one else would even try — simply because you asked them to. Why? Because they believed in you. Their leader. That's what I need now.
What's the difference between Commander Shepard and a krogan? One is a headbutting juggernaut of mass destruction - the other has four testicles.
Garrus: Alright, my turn. What's the first order an Alliance commander gives at the start of combat?
Joker: Uh... I give up.
Garrus: (chuckles) Correct.
Joker: Ohohoh... alright, big guy. What do you call it when a turian gets killed by a horrible spiky monster?
Garrus: Friendly fire - come on, that one goes back to Shanxi!
Joker: Well, you gotta respect the classics!
Garrus: How many humans does it take to activate a dormant mass relay?
Joker: (exasperated) 602. 600 to vote on it, one to ask the asari for technical help and one to request a seat on the Council afterwards. How do you know when a turian is out of ammo?
Garrus: He switches to the stick up his ass as a backup weapon. Why does the Alliance hire pilots... with brittle bone disease?
Joker: Y... you're shittin' me! The turian military has one about me?
Garrus: Oh, absolutely. I heard it myself from a private back on Palaven.
Joker: Okay, why does the Alliance hire pilots with brittle bone disease?
Garrus: So that their marines can beat someone in hand-to-hand drills.
Joker: ...damn, you need to tell James that one. Hey, what's the hardest part about treating a turian who took a rocket to one side of his face?
Garrus: (deadpan) Figuring out which side took the rocket.
Shepard: How are you even getting drunk?
Tali: Verrrry carefully. Turian brandy, triple-filterrred, and introduced into my suit through an emergency induction port.
Shepard: ...That's a straw, Tali.
Shepard: The answer to that one's at the bottom of that glass.
Tali: I might need some help with the induction straw. Port. You know.
Somewhere, deep in the fabric of reality, our actions are recorded and remembered. Yours will be remembered for eternity.
Sam Hulick's Twitter: Tossing in piano and muted strings for this one particular piece. High potential for tears. #MEDLC
The Reapers have destroyed thousands of civilizations. But they have never destroyed ours. Nor will they.
None have possessed the strength in previous Cycles. Your own species could be destroyed with a single thought. But you are different. I have witnessed your actions in this Cycle: the destruction of Sovereign; the fall of the Collectors. The Reapers perceive you as a threat. And I must understand why?!
Shepard: Okay, everyone say "Normandy"!
Squad Member/Love Interest: We've had a good ride.