Even though I bought my Mass Effect 3 Collectors edition before finishing Mass Effect 1 or 2, I still was driven to finish the game and to have a singular Shepard experience the whole thing start to finish.
Here is my story, and everyone, meet Alex Shepard. Spoilers ahoy.
Alex Shepard started off as a Light Armour Sniper – an Infiltrator. I thought she looked a bit awkward because of her jutting cheekbone… or at least in this screenshot. Alex was a kind of no bullshit-get over yourself person, but there were times she left herself a bit of a soft side.
I feel Alex developed a friendship with Garrus since she had always had him by her side in battle – two snipers side by side.
Oh yeah – Alex was also very terrible at driving.
Kaidan approached her about his feelings for her, maybe he was jealous of the friendship Alex and Garrus had, but Alex brushed him off, stating she couldn’t reciprocate his feelings. Possibly because it felt as if he was hoping that if he pined long enough, Alex would see and fall for him too. Ashley slowly saw reason and got over her xenophobia.
On Virmire, Wrex saw her side of the story and survived. Kaidan, unfortunately, didn’t.
Alex romanced Liara, tickled pink by Liara’s naivety. Her girlishness, her tentativeness. It was new, and there was a beautiful, unhurt, unscarred Asari willing to trust Alex and give her her all.
Liara giggles when Alex taunts her for another round.
They rush back to the Citadel to confront Saren, Garrus and Liara in tow. Alex took them because Liara wanted to learn more on the Protheans, and she trusted her. Garrus, she knew, wanted revenge on Saren and after all the sorties they had together, after everything they did to help each other, trusted each other too.
After the events that caused the Normandy to explode, and Alex was announced MIA, Cerberus gathered their funds and rebuilt her. She acknowledged that, and felt she had a debt to pay as well as a means to an end – to the Galaxy’s threat of the Collectors.
Her first stop – Omega.
Alex had a strange feeling with this “Archangel”. She picked up the Mercenary Zaeed and took him with her to see to this Archangel, knowing that perhaps with Zaeed’s past with the Blue Suns, he would have some input in this mission. He did, knew the leader of the Blue Suns personally, which surprised her.
They, along with Jacob Taylor, made their way into Archangel’s hideout here, here amongst unknown faces, there unmasked stood a Turian who stood with her in the fire – Garrus. The first real friendly face since rising from the dead. If it wasn’t for protocol and being under fire, Alex would have straight hugged him.
To rise from the dead, when you you had accepted that you were going to die after saving Joker. To suddenly awaken and realise that what you thought was a terrorist cell resurrected you and were willing to give you something that the Alliance would not give – support and belief for the upcoming Reaper/Collector attack. Joker was there, and Chakwas was in the medbay, but only Garrus had stood by her when Virmire was exploding, he watched her back more times than she could count, and she gave him closure on Saren and Dr. Saleon.
Then, to see him struck by a rocket to the face, and collapsing, bleeding. No, she would not lose someone that she… loved? Perhaps.
He recovered, retaining the injuries sustained from a rocket to the face. A cocky smile, and a tentative flirt. They went after the Salarian Scientist, confirming for Alex that Garrus really would follow her anywhere.
And she had him in her sights.
He smirked when he saw her in that uncomfortable party dress Kasumi got for her. She punched his arm before the sortie, feeling a slight connection there, before departing. She would need to talk to him later.
Alex still was a no bullshit, get your act together commander, but after forming these friendships with all these people, she felt herself soften, military hardness waning.
She forged all these friendships with the people she managed to recruit, fire forged friends and when thrown into the fire of the Collector base, they did not disappoint.
They all survived the destruction of the Collector Base, they all lived to tell the tale. A moments respite from what lay ahead.
Commander Alex Shepard, reinstated after serving with Cerberus. Where she saved the galaxy from the Collectors when the Alliance did nothing to help.
Going to Mars, meeting Liara who went with her, I knew, because Liara was thinking she could get back with Shep again (I never did the Shadow Broker DLC), while all the time Alex was wondering where Garrus was. Eventually he joined back up and Alex immediately went into the Battery to talk to him, to welcome him back.
I just know that when Alex did this, Liara turned around and followed her but stopping short of entering the Main Battery. So she overheard Garrus’ and Alex’s conversation. (TALENTS OF THE SHADOW BROKER EVERYONE). Alex then went to talk to Liara next, and she brings up Shepards’ past relationship with Garrus.
Alex, her heart guilty at seducing naive Liara apologised, saying to her that “Us”, herself and Liara, couldn’t work out. She gets a look of disappointment in her face, her eyes shifting aside to hide the hurt in them. Liara breathes in and changes the subject too abruptly.
As Alex left the room, the door hisses shut behind her, Liara lets out the hurt and tears, crying at her console. Alex stands at the door, hearing Liara crying, and guilty she walks back to her cabin and can’t bring herself to bring Liara with her on her sorties anymore because Garrus is always by her side.
After a while, Alex goes into the one of the observation decks and sees that Garrus and Liara are sitting there talking. Maybe perhaps Garrus knew something was up between Alex and Liara that he felt that he had to talk to her, to clear the air. Or perhaps it was Liara who initiated it. Either way, after Alex saw that, after she saw that Liara harboured no ill will towards her, Alex started to actively talking to Liara again, even to the point of helping her find out who her biological father is.
The whole war, Mordin and Thane’s deaths, Legion’s sacrifice, the whole invasion outcome, the whole survival was on Alex Shepard’s shoulders. I could feel the entire weight of the galaxy on her shoulders and she was on the verge of breaking down. I couldn’t imagine how much pressure Alex had. She snapped at Joker, who was trying to cheer her up after Thessia, and couldn’t bring herself to tell Garrus, her boyfriend, that she had a bad dream.
They had a last moment together on Earth before the final sortie. He tells her, “Forgive the insubordination, but your boyfriend has an order for you…come back alive. It’d be an awfully empty galaxy without you….”, a tender kiss and shortly after they’re besieged on all sides by 4 brutes fighting for their lives.
Alex, Garrus, and James all make a mad dash to the Citadel beam, when the reaper beam explodes in front of Shepard. She didn’t even look behind her to see if Garrus was alright, if he was still even alive. The only thing in her mind was that she had to make it to the Citadel Beam, on the mission. She just wanted the whole thing over so that she could retire on that tropical beach with the Turian of her life, she wanted her happy ending and rest. Too much had been lost, too many sacrifices had been made.
Finally getting rid of the Illusive Man and sitting down with Anderson finally hit it home. Him saying that if felt like ages since he just sat down made Alex Shepard realise the same for her. Stumbling on top of the Citadel, urging on on the brink of collapse, she stared at her three options, alone. Her friends, her lover were not there to hold her up. It was all up to her, and she knew that if she somehow survived this, there was no way that anyone in the Galaxy would leave her alone after everything that’s happened. She wouldn’t get her quiet tropical beach.
There was no way that she would allow herself to be a controller of the Reapers. If she chose to destroy synthetic life, after all she’s done to help Joker and EDI, Joker wouldn’t forgive her, moreso Alex herself. The only way to get her quiet ending where she could sit down, was a synthesis of organic and synthetic life.
She was so tired.
Her boots and legs, honed from years of combat, felt heavy.
She could hardly breathe.
And the last thing she thought, before jumping was, “I’m sorry, Garrus.”