by guest contributor Kateri, originally posted at her blog, Falling Awkwardly.
Commander A. Shepard
Contains spoilers for Mass Effect 1.
Scene: The cargo bay of the SS Normandy.
Oh, hey. You new around here?
Yeah, I signed on at Noveria.
How you settling in? The Normandy’s quite something, isn’t she?
She sure is… can’t help wondering a bit about the Commander, though.
And what’s THAT supposed to mean?
No, no! I didn’t mean it like that! Shepard’s a freaking legend, nobody doubts her ability to lead, or her capabilities! I mean, people were whispering about her even before Akuze – with her family’s military history, command is in the blood, right? I’d follow her anywhere. It’s just… sometimes she can be a little… intense?
If you mean crazy, say so.
Not crazy! Her tactical decisions are sound, she looks after her crew, does things by the book, and certainly gets results, it’s just… Don’t get me wrong, I’ve served under tough commanders before. I don’t have a problem with her demanding respect, she deserves it, and she gets it.
But she just threatened to push me out of an airlock!
What did you do?
Come on. She must’ve had a reason.
I didn’t do anything! All I said was, “It’s an honour, ma’am. After what you did, anyone on Noveria would be proud to serve with Angelina Shepa–
Hahahaha, no wonder she flipped out on you! You don’t EVER say that to her.
The A word.
Her first name? Ange–
Don’t say it! She might hear! Look, there’s a reason everyone calls her Shepard. I’ll bet she makes her goddamn grandmother call her Shepard. Anyway, she has a point – does she look like an Angelina to you? They shoulda covered that in your first briefing.
Oh. So, is that the only thing I should remember? I’ve heard a few other things about her, like… did she really make Dr T’soni cry?
Oh yeah! That was great! What was it she said… “I am NOT James T Kirk, I do NOT want to meld minds or show you this thing huuu-maans call ‘love’, now get your little spandexed ass back to the med bay before I show you the BAD attachments on my Omnitool!” I laughed like a drain, and she gave me such a deathstare I went and hid in the engine room for the rest of the day! But mostly she’s very reasonable. Oh, but never volunteer to go on a mission in the MAKO with her.
Have you ever been on one of those anti-grav gyroscopic rides they have on Anderion?
But with more lava pits and Thresher Maws. And I wouldn’t say it’s bad driving, exactly, since I’m pretty sure she was doing it on purpose.
I only went on one trip. We were only supposed to be going a couple of kms, just over the plain to the downed satellite and back. At one point, I remember Ash Williams screaming “With respect, Ma’am, if I’m gonna die, I want it to be in battle, not sprayed against the inside of a truck while you execute a flying 3-point turn into a rockface at mach speed!” Each time we went over another cliff, Wrex and Shepard would whoop like schoolchildren. And each time we landed, the Quarian would yell that back on her flotilla, she’d incur serious criminal charges for mistreating valuable technology in such a way. Dr T’soni just huddled in her seat with her eyes pressed shut, reciting some sort of Asari litany against fear. I ended up crushed under the Krogan when we rolled over again, and his harness gave way. Then Lt. Alenko threw up, and things really got nasty.
Hey, about Lt. Alenko, is it true what I heard about him and Shepard?
That she single-handedly fireman’s-lifted him off the battlefield when he got knocked out at Virmire? Yes! That was awesome, he must be double her weight!
No, I mean that they’re… you know.
Don’t believe everything you hear. I know there were rumours after Virmire, but I talked to a guy who was there, and he said no way in hell did she throw Williams under the shuttle to save him. There was no favouritism involved, it was the only tactical choice. I wouldn’t believe otherwise anyway – she and Ash were tight. No way would Shepard have let her die unless she had to. After Akuze, they say Shepard’s been near-obsessive about preserving her team. What happened on Virmire really got to her, and it can’t have been made easier by people questioning her motives out of some idea they have that she was banging Alenko. If that were the case, top brass’d have her head. But it’s NOT the case, so keep your mouth shut.
Jeez, sorry, OK. I get it. She’s professionalism incarnate, and there’s nothing between her and Alenko.
Oh, she’s banging him all right. Don’t think she’s serious about him, though. He was drunk in the mess room one night, moaning to Garrus that she only liked him ’cause he reminded her of her ex. Something about making him wear an orange jacket, and asking if she could call him Garth, I think. Kinky. What I mean is, she doesn’t let anything like that affect her decisions.
Just between us? I think the one she really likes is Joker. They hang around the cockpit snarking about the rest of the crew till late in the night. Once I was passing by, and I heard him say “It’d never work out, Shep. I’m just not romanceable.” Then they heard me coming and shut up quick.
Joker? But he’s… they could never…
What, you think he’s a human write-off, just ’cause he’s disabled? Screw you, man! He’s a great guy, much more her type. And if you really think there’s only one way to have sex, then you clearly have no imagination whatsoever. For a start, have you SEEN the way he controls that ship? Guy’s got the touch.
And I’ll bet Shepard’s not short of interesting ideas in that department, she always was, heh… innovative.
What’s that noise? You don’t have an Omnitool, so who– She’s… behind me, isn’t she? RUN!!!
This is a series of posts seeking to highlight the various Commanders Shepard of the Mass Effect universe, and make sure people don’t forget that not everyone plays a default white male option that looks like every other space marine out there. Inspiration from Arie Salih.