Please welcome the fabulously awesome Cate Peace here today, who is going to geek out about Mass Effect, which is always welcome around these parts!
Universes. Seems like these days, the universe is always in trouble. Whether it’s the Chitauri and Thanos, Darth Vader and the Empire, or Mass Effect’s Reapers, there’s a new threat every month. Want to save the universe on your own? Follow these twelve easy steps, and you’ll obliterate every galactic threat!
1. Suffer personal betrayal. Yeah, it sucks. But you have to be betrayed by the threat before you acknowledge the threat. Thanks to Loki, Thor’s beloved “brother,” the Chitauri found a way into our world. Anakin Skywalker went to the Dark Side (there were no cookies).
Saren betrayed the entire galaxy when he allied with the geth and introduced Sovereign to the universe. Yes, he was indoctrinated, but still. There has to be a catalyst to get your attention. From the beginning on Eden Prime, when Saren, a well-respected SPECTRE kills Nihilus, another well-respected SPECTRE in cold blood, it begins a wild ride no one ever expected, leading to discovering the Reapers, a race of sentient machines, and their plot to destroy the entire galaxy.
2. Gather ragtag team of ne’er-do-wells. There’s no Avengers without Tony, Bruce, Cap, and Natasha. No Luke without Leia, Han and Chewy. And no universe-saving without the whole gang. You’ll need your own ragtag team of ne’er-do-wells if you’re going to have a chance of avoiding galactic destruction.
Likewise, there’s no Shepard without Vakarian (there are even t-shirts). Or Tali, Wrex, Liara, Miranda, Jack (aka my baby girl), Grunt (also my baby), James, Traynor, Thane, Cortez, and all the rest. Throughout the trilogy, each character supports Shepard in their own way, whether it’s through strong friendships, teamwork, or romantic relationships (Shepard/Vakarian bromance and Shepard/Traynor romance ftw), and though ME3 may not end the way we all want it to, it wouldn’t be so amazing without the cast of characters that make up Team Galaxy.
3. Get an awesome ship. Millenium Falcon? Check. Starship Enterprise? Double check. Serenity? Triple check. Normandy SR-1 & SR-2? Quadruple check.
In the ME world, the Normandy is THE ship to end all ships. It’s a blend of human and turian ingenuity, a work of art in a lot of ways, and a beacon of hope. Originally in use by Earth’s Alliance military, it becomes a place where different species (including those who have a history of war with the species of their new companions) are allowed to gather and save the freaking universe.
4. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. Everybody needs somebody sometimes. Han had Leia. Tony has Pepper. Mal SHOULD have had Inara and Kaylee SHOULD have had Simon but you know, Fox stole that from us. I’m not angry. Nope, not at all.
Shepard gets their choice of a smorgasbord of romantic possibilities. Over 3 games, there’s over a dozen romantic possibilities for both sexes, and they’re all satisfying in their own rights (kudos to Bioware for their excellent writing). Except James. We don’t get to romance James. This hurts me on a deeply personal level that Traynor and Cortez almost make up for. I guess that’s why there’s fanfiction.
5. Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices. Sacrifices always happen in some way. Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker sacrifices himself at the end of Return of the Jedi to help his son defeat Emperor Palpatine. Captain America lands the ship in the middle of the ocean to protect millions of people (thus breaking Peggy Carter’s heart and making all of us REALLY MAD). When it comes to the safety of the universe, there’s no price too high to pay.
Mass Effect embodies this. Whether it’s the sacrifice of a crew member on Virmire, the potential loss of life on ME2’s suicide mission (which can border on catastrophic if you do it wrong), and of course, the much maligned and disputed ending of ME3, Shepard has to make a LOT of hard decisions.
Personally, I wouldn’t wish saving the galaxy on anyone. But I kind of pushed it on Uri and Shadi (and their ragtag group of ne’er-do-wells) in my new book GEMINI, which I can safely say is based on my absolute love for Bioware and the Mass Effect series. If you’re a fan of science fiction, adventure, and romance on the starry seas, this one is for you.
Being one of the Embassy’s glorified treasure-seekers has its perks…
Komandan Uriah Jacobs recovers ancient artifacts in exchange for more than just decent pay; he also receives guaranteed protection from his former owners, the nyx…until an emergency landing on a too-familiar colony brings him face-to-face with his past life and something more—a surprisingly priceless treasure in the form of a human woman.
A slave to the nyx since childhood…
Shadi spends her waking hours in the forge, dreaming of rescuing her brother with the help of a man she once worshipped like a father. A crashed ship on the colony becomes her only hope to escape. But before she can steal the ship, the pilot abducts her. They may be the same species, but will he help her find her Shilah?
Their attraction is undeniable…
Fighting it seems inconsequential as they evade the nyx’s bounty hunter and uncover a conspiracy that shines unwanted light on Shadi’s past and reveals the corruption in Uri’s beloved Embassy, placing their fledgling love in danger.
As the universe systematically falls apart, will Shadi and Uri’s newfound passion be enough to keep them alive?