The Sexual Perils of Commander Shepard

(Warning: Big ole Mass Effect spoilers, and minor to moderate Mass Effect 2 spoilers)

So when Liara comes to my door at the end of the first game I’m all like “what”, because I certainly hadn’t planned on this. But if you exhaust everyone’s dialogue trees then someone’s gonna make a booty call before the final mission. It could’ve been Kaiden, but I’d accidentally killed him on Virmire when I meant to choose Ashley. I didn’t bother reloading because the choice between “most boring character in the galaxy” and “space racist” isn’t all that exciting. Now, if I had to choose between Wrex or an identical clone of Wrex I might’ve lost some sleep over it. No Kaiden means no hetero-lovin’ for me. I get Liara, the blue alien chick with the bicycle helmet for hair. She wants my body, and I can’t blame her because I look adorable in my regulation N7 navy blue t-shirt. So I say “yeah, okay, whatever” because I got nothin’ better to do and we have our four seconds of sex with the schmaltzy soundtrack and the one second of female butt in the lower left corner of the screen. Let us never mention it again, because we have a galaxy to save.

When I start Mass Effect 2 Liara’s like “I’M NOT LEAVING YOU IN THE EXPLODING SHIP I LOVE YOU” and I’m wishing there’s an option that says “I do it with Asari chicks all the time, so don’t worry about it. Seriously I thought we were gonna die anyway. Remember that one on the Citadel? Well, I didn’t do her sidequest, but I was THINKING about it. And since I was renegade, you KNOW she would’ve been all up in my business.” When I’m resurrected two years later (I got exploded to death) her picture sits on my captain’s desk in my new spaceship and I’m all like “Pshhaw, she wasn’t all that.” And that’s how I feel, too! Isn’t this supposed to be roleplaying? Why can’t I act like she was just another mind-melding blue bitty that I picked up on a random mining planet?

We reunite on Ilium and I’m kind of surprised she’s giving me the cold shoulder. Now innocent little Liara is hangin’ with the big boys. Doesn’t have time for Commander Shepard. Well that’s fine, I didn’t like you anyway! Don’t act like your sex scene was that great! I got better pawing through scrambled cable channels as a teenager. I never really got into your awkward archaeology nerd persona either. Now you think you’re cool because you run a shadow organization and hack data terminals and kill people who’ve betrayed you? I do that stuff before breakfast! Remember who shot a mining laser at a cavern wall to get you out of an ancient civilization’s high tech jail cell? That was ME! Pssh! I was gonna ask you to come along on my suicide mission, but I guess you’re just too busy! Whatever!

Later I’m innocently tooling around on the ship, TOTALLY NOT THINKING ABOUT ALIEN SEX, and Garrus kind of blinded-sides me. I’m basically done with the game and out of nowhere I realize I’m flirting with him. You wanna talk about bicycle helmets for hair? Garrus has the meanest slicked-back pompadour in the known universe and it’s made of out chitin. Who decided this guy would be a romance option?

I always though of Garrus as sort of the “also ran” of the Mass Effect universe. The coolest character that nobody actually used. You can get downright creepy with him when you decide whether to shape him into a by-the-books detective or a uncompromising vigilante. It’s difficult to shout “BUT IS THIS JUSTICE???” when the object of Garrus’s murderous intent is an evil doctor who keeps slaves as organ farms. So, yeah, I might’ve looked the other way when the time came to talk him down from the precipice. My Garrus was uncompromising, but did I detect a bit of mourning for his straight-laced life? Regret. That’s what I like in my six feet tall bird men.

When we accidentally stumble into this affair, with him it’s more like “why the hell not?” where with Liara it was like “yeah, I guess.” And I realize that Garrus is sort of this helpless nerd of a guy who tries his best, but keeps screwing up. And his screw-ups lead to dead people. And he’s got the guilt to back that up. He comes into my quarters the night before his final mission and does his little dance, and when he realizes his seduction routine isn’t “all that” he begs me not to leave him hanging. Almost verbatim he goes, “God dammit, why am I such a screw-up?” And that’s the kind of melodrama I like in my space video games. So what is a girl to do? He tried his best. And when he’s there, doing that song and dance, I kind of get that “two lost, lonely souls amidst the big black galaxy vibe” even if he is a six foot tall exoskeleton-having birdman which, when you think about it, is kind of nasty. But it’s also kind of okay… I don’t know. There wasn’t any naked fem-butt in this game’s sex scene. At least not for me. Turns out I’m cool with that.

Asari can get anyone in the galaxy. Not only are they physically compatible with everyone, but they fit the mold of the “Captain Kirk Alien Conquest” to a tee. And they’re pretty boring in their Mary Sue-level awesomenees. Yeah, I get it, it’s so cool how you all spend a hundred years being strippers and mercenaries before you settle down to spread your teachings across the galaxy and everyone totally respects you as an ancient and wise race. And you’re all perfect in whatever you do. Garrus isn’t perfect, and you can’t help but feel for him. When I beat the game and return to my cabin, the picture of my erstwhile Asari girlfriend is face down on my desk. That feels like roleplaying to me.

  • I kind of felt the same way with my Shepard. At first I was kicking it to Jacob just because I liked how flirty Shepard got with him but Garrus’ awkward flirty vibe won me over. He’s a good character.

    Still wish female Shepard’s had the option of sleeping with Jack. Her wounded puppy personality won me over early in the game. She was putting up a front and I knew it. It helps that I’m attracted to ticking time bomb crazy women in real life too.

    I’ll feel bad about leaving Garrus if Bioware makes her an option in Mass Effect 3, but I want the option. I want to spend 5 minutes wondering what I’m going to do about that.

  • Feddy

    Did you have reach of flexibility? I also really appreciated that eventually Liara’s picture got the face down treatment, I noticed that the picture ends up face down before any actual alien loving happens.

    The other pretty classic thing about the game is how I lured Yeoman Chambers into dinner at my cabin after which she agreed to feed my fish, and then I let her get sucked down the drain with the rest of the crew anyway.

  • Now who’s gonna feed your fish??

  • thetalkingcoin

    A few of us are still genuinely surprised Garrus wasn’t an option for a male Shepard.

    That moment when you first meet? When Garrus reveals himself to you after two years of trying to become you? You run down that corridor, knowing full well he had you in his sights the whole time, and he acts all coy about shooting you a bit. And the neutral dialogue option is such a physical outburst on Shepard’s part that it’s a good thing his new bosses don’t have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Dude seriously looked like he was going in for a hug and a cry.

    I know, I know. War buddies. Sort of relationship that nobody else is gonna understand. You can make that argument; but the dude was seriously next to me the whole time in ME1. Along with Wrex. My assumption, and I’m pretty sure it is a reasonable one, was that whenever we were all crammed into that wretched buggy, as it went off another impossibly high mountain due to horrible handling, there was a comforting moment where we all held hands. A moment which would never be discussed again. We’d go back to the ship. I’d get down with Ashley. But there was an understanding. An unspoken, kinda fruity, band of men.

    Shepard has so much put on him. Garrus sees that in Shepard, and it’s what he has always wanted. The burgeoning bromance betwixt you, Garrus, and Wrex from the first one has been pushed under the surface for two long years. Two years of Garrus trying to proxy as you. It is back, though. With enough homoerotic subtext to make a Krogan blush.

    Too bad they spent, like, four months of development on Miranda’s butt. That thing is everywhere. Sometimes she’s not in the scene, and yet her posterior has taken up, like, half of my glorious 1920×1080 monitor. It’s like they invented new types of lens filters just to get that thing in the perfect soft light. There’s more shots of dat ass than there are her face. It’s huge, curvaceous, and likely has its own event horizon. I could go on, but really you should just google it.

    P.S. Don’t google it. I don’t want to get you in trouble with your mom.

  • Feddy

    no one needs to feed the dead fish that are now floating upside down in the aquarium. They are still just as brightly colored this way although less active.

  • tzmhero

    Never having been the type to play a female character, as I am male in real life, I find it rather interesting that such a feeling can occur from a game. I know the differences between genders in games is just perspective or however you feel when creating the character, but it can also become a very interesting choice later on.

    I chose to go with Ashley, just because the idea of blue possibly tentacle haired ladies don’t do it for me. Yeah she was the easier of the two to get, but I liked Ashley for some reason…even if she was a racist.

    What gets me is when people go after Miranda…wasn’t she cloned from her dad? Sure, the genes were altered, but that would be one awkward moment when you start thinking about it. When you get to that mindset… they might as well had made Garrus a possible male partner. I felt like there was more chemistry between my male Sheperd and Garrus than any other characters in Mass Effect 1( except Wrex…he had those eyes… ooh! and that scar!…) so it’s kinda natural feeling in ME2.

    Wait, what am I saying? Homosexuality is totally gross. I’m a dude right, dude’s don’t talk about that kind of stuff! *wink*

  • gojeffygo

    ME3 is just going to be every possible race and gender just loving on each other. Then the *spoiler alert* giant terminator space babies are all like “wtf, so not cool every thing in the galaxy, don’t stick/have stuck in every hole, that is super gross.” And everything is all like “don’t you fucking judge our love for each others’ tentacles and ridges we will totally blow you up with our love… and space guns.” And Sheppard will be as space gay as you want.

  • Omiyage!

    Anyone else sorely disappointed that you don’t get to see Tali’s face when you decide to do the horizontal space mambo with her?

  • MC Walker

    Somebody needs to put this song to footage of Jack.