They find each other in the engine room. The party’s raging above on the crew deck, rescued and rescuers alike drowning months of tension and hours living nightmares in music and alcohol. Shepard refuses to lapse into complacency, but tonight she lets herself savor victory.
Miranda doesn’t talk, simply moves over, inviting Shepard to rest on the railing next to her. She understands. They’re the ones who created the mission blueprint. Assembled the components. Ran the numbers, night after night, in one set of quarters or the other. Miranda kept her focused, kept honest, kept her prepared. This is not a celebration, but the release of a burden.
She hauls Miranda in, gives her a messy press of lips rather than a proper kiss, but Miranda gentles her with soft pets and soon they’re properly entwined. Fingers softly tangle through their hair, ozone and blossoms and spice, soap and gun oil and lime mingling freely as hands trail and teeth nibble. Miranda is soft wherever Shepard presses, all breathy moans and fragile lines, and in this moment, Shepard loves her, loves her as she’s loved her forgotten family, as she’s loved Kaidan Alenko.
But the moment passes, as all the loves of her life have. Miranda pulls away first, eyes not-quite shining, cheeks not-quite flushed, already folding herself back into some arbitrary facsimile of perfection. Before it’s gone forever, Shepard whispers, “Thank you.”
This is so close to my headcanon I gasped :D Perfection.
Two brothers from Chechnya. That was the official word early morning on Friday April 19th, 2013 as to who were behind the Boston marathon bombings. “Chechens.”
So, naturally, who do some brilliant citizens of the United States of America blame? The CZECH REPUBLIC, of course!
Here are those…
My brother: So, we’re all terrorists, have you heard?
Me: What? I thought they were from Chechnya…
Me: NO, tell me they didn’t!
My brother: [shows me the tweets]
My brother: On the bright side, at least some of them noticed we’re not Czechoslovakia anymore.
The Slovaks and Polaks are laughing like mad, of course, enjoying the show and occasionally trolling.
And our muslim ties?
The Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the world. Historically, the Czech people have been characterised as “tolerant and even indifferent towards religion”. According to the 2011 census, 34.2% of the population stated they had no religion, 10.3% was Roman Catholic, 0.8% was Protestant (0.5% Czech Brethren and 0.4% Hussite), and 9.4% followed other forms of religion both denominational or not (of which 863 people answered they are Pagan) 45.2% of the population did not answer the question about religion.
…yeah. Fun times :)
I had an epiphany this morning. I really don’t like Liara T’Soni.
The second part isn’t the actual epiphany itself, because I’ve never really cared for her but I could never figure out why she bother me so much other than she starts off as a bit creepy and desperate. The Mass Effect series is populated by this amazing cast of characters that, for the most part, are all likeable and memorable. While I don’t hate Liara because she’s morally corrupt or anything (like how some people dislike Ashley Williams for being xenophobic, or dislike Javik for being generally racist and kind of a massive jerk), there’s something about her that rubs me the wrong way. When I talk about her, usually one of the first things I do is compare her to another BioWare character: Leliana from the Dragon Age series, with whom I also have this problem of disliking her and not really fully understanding why. Because there’s thousands of people who like her! She has to have some redeeming qualities.
But this morning I think I finally solved the mystery as to why I just can’t get behind the Liara T’Soni Love Train:
She’s not actually a fully-formed character outside of romance.
Liara’s almost kind of got this cult-like adoration in parts of the general Mass Effect fandom that extends all the way up to the actual writers of the series. While there’s never been any official statement saying that Liara should be the player’s canon romance, there’s a lot of really heavy-handed forcing of the idea. Compared to the Virmire survivors in Mass Effect 2, Liara gets a lot of screentime—hell, there’s a whole DLC centred around her when she isn’t a major player in the rest of the game. Several pieces of the deuterocanonical media (Redemption, Paragon Lost, and Homeworlds) have a lot of Liara and not much to do with any other romanceable characters, and in that media, there’s a lot of emphasis on Liara’s borderline obsession with Shepard.
Even in-game, Liara has this kind of creepy fixation on Shepard. In the first game, it goes really quickly from professional curiosity re: Shepard’s exposure to the Prothean beacon to romantic inclination. I mean it’s really fast; in fact, it’s almost kind of instantaneous. It’s so quick that we don’t even really get an idea of Liara’s character outside of this attraction. Like with Leliana, there’s really no way toavoid having this wickedly awkward conversation involving her intentions because you simply look at the girl sideways for half a second and she’s in love.
That’s what bothers me the most: there really isn’t a Liara without Shepard. Everything she does in relation to the series has to do with Shepard in some way. The girl was trapped in a security field for Christ-knows how long before Shepard shows up on Therum, for goodness sake? If Shepard hadn’t shown up, Liara probably would have been either captured by Saren or have starved to death. When Shepard dies, Liara gives up her entire career as an archaeologist—something she studied to become for her entire life—to steal Shepard’s corpse and becomes an information broker. There was that whole thing with Feron, but… that never really went anywhere. When he messaged Shepard in Mass Effect 3, I literally had to look who he was up on the wiki even though I’ve played the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC more than six times.
When Liara becomes the Shadow Broker, one of the first things she says is how much her position as the new Broker can help Shepard. But once Shepard gets arrested and brought back to Earth, she lets her new empire more or less run itself while she obsesses over the Mars Archives… to help Shepard. Everything she does revolves around Shepard, and at some point, you have to admit that it gets a little weird. Every other character in the series can seem to get past Shepard’s death at the beginning of Mass Effect 2 except for Liara. Yes, they mourn, and yes, even the Virmire survivors flip their shit a bit on Horizon, but at least they tried to get over Shepard’s death. Garrus dedicates the rest of his life to trying to spread the justice that Shepard taught him to believe in (albeit he goes about it in kind of a twisted way), Tali returns to her people and is entrusted with projects that are pretty important to the future of the quarian people, Ashley/Kaidan get promoted (and Kaidan outright says that he was trying to “let himself have a life” again), and Wrex returns to Tuchanka to help his people (something he said he would never do). They remember Shepard in their own ways without letting their grief consume them.
Liara stole a corpse. From the Shadow Broker. And sold it to terrorists in exchange for the promise that they could do something about the whole ‘almost dead’ thing.
Liara knew about Cerberus’ anti-alien agenda. She knew about the horrific experiments that Kaidan/Ashley mention on Horizon that Shepard and the Normandy crew discovered over the course of Mass Effect. But in spite of that, she saw that if anyone could resurrect Shepard, it was Cerberus. In her mind, she was so desperate to have even the possibility of that, that she gave Shepard’s corpse to these people. She didn’t even anything that drastic for her own mother, but she was totally willing to risk Cerberus misusing Shepard’s body for completely nefarious purposes on the off-chance that it might have brought Shepard back.
Is that weird to anyone else but me? It’s weird, right? I’m not crazy?
Let’s talk about the whole mother thing for a second, now that I’ve gone and brought it up.
When Liara’s first introduced, the player (at least, I did) got the sense that Beneziah and Liara didn’t get along since Liara says that she hasn’t spoken to her mother in years. When Shepard kills her mother, Liara hardly grieves. She doesn’t yell at Shepard for hey, murdering her family, which kind of implies that the two of them weren’t really all that close. She has an initial reaction that was pretty heartbreaking (if the player chooses to take Liara with Shepard on Norveria), but after that? Not much. She says that she’s choosing to remember her mother as the beautiful, caring individual that she had been before she had met Saren. But not once does she blame Shepard for her mother’s death. In fact, she more or less blames Beneziah.
Look, I don’t care how mentally well-balanced you are. When some member of your family dies, you’re affected by it—whether it be for good or for worse. Liara wasn’t affected in the slightest. Given that, other than the whole thing with Saren and that they didn’t talk in years, Liara literally has nothing bad to say about her mother, I find it really, really, really strange that she doesn’t lash out at Shepard at all. Not even once. The only time she ever really actually yells at Shepard is in Lair of the Shadow Broker, and even then it’s not about her mother. It was, again, about Shepard and Shepard being dead.
The point is this: having a character who is so wrapped up in their significant other that they pretty much have nothing going on in their lives other than their significant other is kind of a bad thing. At the end of the day, if a character can’t stand on their own as a character without their romantic partner, then it’s not exactly good writing. It doesn’t make for a good character. More than anything, the Mass Effect series is a sci-fi series about facing impossible odds and overcoming them with romance as a sub-plot. If you look at the ending (meaning if you back up about 300 metres, tilt your head, squint your eyes, and spin around about sixty billion times before looking at it) it kind of reinforces the point that sometimes people have to make the ultimate sacrifices of life and love in order to save the lives of others. Liara’s obsession kind of flies in the face of that idea, I think. She can’t let the commander go at all. In her obsession, she loses herself and all sense of her as an individual.
Now, if it had been there intention to create this character who was so thoroughly obsessed with Shepard that their obsession takes over their entire life, then that’s fine. That could have actually been a pretty interesting point of development. But… I don’t think that was the intention with Liara’s characterisation. With her, I think it’s more about fantasy fulfilment than anything else. She’s a character who is subservient, a yes-man, wholly attentive to the person she loves, physically attractive, and compliant. She’s all-together too willing to let her own needs fall by the wayside for the sake of Shepard for her attachment to the commander to be healthy, I think.
With the kinds of things that happen to Liara, I think she could have turned out interesting. And there’s a way to write a character who is devoted to his/her partner totally without having that character lose themselves. The problem is that Liara never really had a character without Shepard in the first place. You never get a sense for her personality before she immediately tries to jump on the shag wagon, and following it after, it’s kind of all over the place.
She has her moments. I wanted to enjoy her transformation into the Shadow Broker, because she was going from this sort of weak-willed archaeologist to this supposedly badass information broker with a shadowy empire and puppeteers all the strings from the background, but I couldn’t because she wasn’t doing it for herself. She was doing it for Shepard, even though Shepard was dead.
And that’s pretty sad.
AND I’D NEVER HEARD HOW BITCHY TRAYNOR IS TO KAIDAN AT A QUIET/QUIET/DEAL CARDS PARTY.
HE ASKS WHAT THE DRINK WAS SHE JUST GAVE HIM, AND AT FIRST SHE DOESN’T WANT TO OWN UP TO IT. EDI SORT OF STRONG-ARMS HER INTO IT AND OMFG, TRAYNOR, I WANT TO WRING YOUR FUCKING NECK. SHE ACTUALLY GIVES HIM A DRINK THAT SHE SAYS IS “FOR THE LOUD CUSTOMERS. EVERY FEW HOURS, YOU EMPTY YOUR SPILLPAD INTO A MARTINI GLASS, ADD ICE, AND VOILA.”
OMFG. GET. OUT.
So I wasn’t the only person who didn’t like how Kaidan was treated in the Citadel DLC, figures. I just… I wouldn’t tag it “fuck you Traynor”, but “fuck you Bioware”. Everyone treats him like shit in this DLC, including Shepard in the friendly date.
The Citadel DLC was hilariously funny and I enjoyed it immensely, but do I really have to headcanon even this part? Ugh.
Here is all of Kaidan’s ‘background chatter’ from the party in the Citadel DLC. They’re ordered from sober to drunk. Kaidan’s was fun, almost makes a bit of a story.
Due to popular demand, I will be eventually posting the background chatter for every character. If you’d like to, track ‘#mass effect sound’ That’s the tag I use for any audio files I post from the game.
Next up… Wrex.
Sometimes, when Shepard was feeling a little mischievous, she would approach Kaidan quietly, stealthily enough so that she had a front seat in watching him toil away at his electrical panels. He always seemed to take a quiet satisfaction in his work, and the more sweat he exuded, the more confident he was in his workmanship. Shepard would wait until the last possible moment to break that busy silence, and it always caught him by surprise.
The best part was catching that elusive glint of pleasure in his eyes, the half-second that his face lit up in realization that she was back once again to talk with him… him, over everyone else.
That’s so lovely :)
- No batarian squadmate, or not making Zaeed a batarian.
- Making Javik DLC
- Prioritizing Liara’s romance over other characters’ romances.
- Prioritizing Liara’s romance to the point it actually damaged her as a character. (see this)
- Not making Arrival to the VS what Shadowbroker was to Liara.
- Not giving FShep’s ME2 romances confrontations like MShep’s.
- Making female turians fringeless (nothing against the design it’s just a plothole)
- Not adding female turians until ME3 DLC
- Making it so that FShep has less romance options in ME3 than MShep.
- Making it so that FShep and MShep only have two male romance options in ME3, three between them.
- Not making Kaidan and Ashley bi since ME1
- Ashley’s “more sex appeal” redesign.
- How in ME1 there was this whole “everyone is mixed race” thing going on, which was scrapped in ME2.
- That being said, the gradual whitewashing through the series was really grating.
- Mentioning Aresh in ME3 but not Sidonis.
- Kal’Reegar’s email kill-off.
- Not having Mordin reference Shepard coming on to him in ME3 from ME2 if you didn’t romance anybody else.
- Not having Mordin appear in the Citadel DLC if you convinced him to sabotage the genophage.
- Javik’s “romance” in the citadel dlc existing
- Vega’s “romance” in the citadel dlc being written so creepily.
- Legion suddenly wanting individuality for the geth when he was so clearly put off by the idea in ME2.
- Asari reproduction being pretty much space magic, and then suddenly a plothole when it was revealed protheans are the reason asari have biotics in the first place.
- Pretty much forgetting about Thane in ME3.
- Jacob. Just Jacob.
- So uh, why didn’t we just go through Ilos to get to the Crucible??
- The only animals that exist are varren, thresher maws, and pyjaks apparently
- making vorcha into the token evil/stupid race for cannon fodder reasons
- Prioritizing MShep and excluding FShep out of most advertisements until the last minute. And even then, still leaving her out of most promotions.
- Assuming Shepard is Soldier class in the cutscenes
im pretty sure ill think of some later lol
Mass Effect 3: The Search for Shepard DLC - SPECIAL EXTENDED TRAILER
I took the idea from my original trailer, and heavily expanded on it, making it more Kaidan-packed and lengthening it.
(Yes, there’s a shitload of modded content I had to do to make this trailer work, and no it’s not available for download since it would crash my game half the time when I tried to implement it) D:
"Fight hard, Chief. Die proud."
I just didn’t have the heart to give her hope only to take it away.