bulletdiplomacy: PB: Laura Mvula (Default)
Player Information:
Name: DigitalSocrates
Age: 28
Contact: IM [plurk.com profile] DigitalSocrates 
Other Characters Played: Sonja

Character Information:
Name: Commander Paj Shepard
Canon: Mass Effect
Canon Point: While Activating the Catalyst
Age: 32
Reference Links: masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Commander_Shepard

Setting: Mass Effect takes place throughout the entire Milky Way galaxy, divided up into different sectors which are designated by the Citadel Council, a joint governing body composed of representatives of three member species - Asari, Turian, and Solarian.

Numerous minor species exist throughout the galaxy, foremost humans, who drive the main plot of the story, Krogans, tough warrior aliens who were responsible for a recent galaxy-wide war, Quarians, a nomadic race who invented the Geth, and the Geth themselves, a sentient artificial AI collective who serve as an antagonist through much of the series. 

Humanity occupies a controversial place among the Citadel Races. The relatively short period of time they have been on the galactic stage has been plagued by war - first with the Turians, during the First Contact War, and then with the Batarians (a non-citadel species), as territorial conflicts emerged over the Skyllian Verge. The quick expansion of human territory has led to the perception that they are favored by the council by many (particularly the Volus). The fact that the Council refuses to send aid to humanity in defending its colonies in the Skyllian Verge has many humans believing the opposite: that the council refuses to give humanity its due. The organization Cerberus, which serves a major role in the series, is a terrorist organization founded on this belief. 

While some species do have some significant advances over other races (in particularly the Asari, who are all naturally 'biotic', meaning they can manipulate Mass Effect fields with the power of their mind), the technology level across the galaxy is relatively even considering sometimes thousands of years of differences in technological progress. This is because all space-faring civilizations advance quickly with the discovery of the giant Mass Relays (assumed to be constructed by the now-extinct Prothean species) that are scattered throughout the galaxy, and with it, the discovery of Mass Effect Fields. This technology greatly advances technology for each species to a certain point and then plateaus, because of the inability to truly reverse engineer the relays, leading to technological stagnation that allows other sapient species to catch up. Even the Citadel, a giant starport that serves as the center point of Citadel Space, and home of the Citadel Council, is a discovered artifact whose purpose and function are not fully understood. It is maintained by a species of cybernetically-modified aliens called Keepers, which were present during the Citadel's discovery, and self-destruct if tampered with.

Shepard's Story:
Shepard grew up on the human colony Mindoir in the Attica Traverse, and was 16 years old when it was attacked by Batarian slavers. The Citadel has only tenuous control on systems in the Attican Traverse, and no control at all in the Terminus systems. Shepard was one of few survivors and was picked up by a passing Systems Alliance (the government of the Human Empire) patrol. She enlisted a few years later.

Throughout her career in the military, Paj Shepard made a name for herself as ruthlessly efficient, putting the mission objectives first and foremost above other considerations, including the well-being of her fellow soldiers. She is particularly well known for her role in the Systems Alliance raid on the Batarian strongholds on Torfan, a small moon which served as a criminal stronghold in Citadel Space. Under Shepard's command, 3/4ths of her unit was lost in bloody combat, and the enemy was completely eliminated. Shepard's disregard for noncombatant Batarian lives earned her the title 'The Butcher of Torfan.'

Controversy aside, her war record made her standout as a candidate for the first human Spectre - a special agent who works directly for the Citadel Council, superseding the authority of any individual government throughout Citadel Space. Shepard's secret trial run under the supervision of the Turian Spectre Nihlus became a manhunt for the rogue Turian Spectre Saren when Saren murdered Nihlus and had allied with the Geth to steal a Prothean Artifact. Shepard came in contact with the artifact and became the inadvertent recipient of a Prothean message by way of disconnected, confusing visions. With the help of Asari scientist Liara T'Soni, Shepard figured out that the Protheans, and every sapient species that existed before them, going back thousands of years, had been wiped out by a sentient race of machines called Reapers, and that Saren was planning to use a mysterious device called the Conduit to summon them. 

While chasing Saren, Shepard cultivated a romance both with Kaiden Alenko, whom she saw a fellow victimized soul, and Liara T'soni, who was bam slam bootylicious (the fact that Liara was smart and borderline obsessed with Shepard also helped). Kaiden was unhappy with the state of the relationship and demanded that Shepard choose between him and Liara. Shepard didn't appreciate the ultimatums and decided to stay with Liara. 

Shepard and her team pursued Saren to Ilos, a dead Prothean colony, where they discovered that the Citadel is the key to allowing the Reapers into Citadel Space, serving as a gateway. They use an unknown Mass Relay to travel to the Citadel to find it under seige by Saren's Reaper Warship, Soverign, and a Geth Fleet. Shepard manages to kill Saren and prevent him from summoning the reapers, but then Sovereign connected to the Citadel Council tower to manually open it. Shepard commanded the Systems Alliance forces to ignore the plight of the besieged Citadel Council (trying to escape by ship) in favor of attacking Sovereign.  The council was lost but Sovereign was destroyed.

Shortly after the destruction of Sovereign, a Collector Cruiser ambushed Shepard's ship, the Normandy, and destroyed it. Most of the crew was evacuated safely, but Shepard herself and 20 other crew members were lost in the attack.
Shepard was reincarnated with cloning and synethetic technology by Cerberus (a Human Supremacist organization that Shepard had foiled several plans of in the past). She understood that she was a tool to Cerberus and their goals, and decided to use Cerberus as tool of her own. She was frustrated when Kaiden Alenko assumed the worst of her, as she took it as a personal affront that he didn't trust her judgement. By the time Shepard found Liara again on Illium, she already had a budding relationship with Garrus Vakarian. Liara's new obsession with the Shadow Broker was alien and upsetting to Shepard, which was particularly tragic since Liara's transformation was entirely for Shepard's benefit. It was Liara's efforts that had retrieved Shepard's remains for Cerberus for her restoration. When Liara eventually asked Shepard to help her assault the Shadow Broker, they managed to touch base about their relationship - Shepard told her that she chose Garrus, which was disappointing for Liara, but the mission helped them reconnect and reaffirm their friendship. Liara from that point on became an indispensable friend and counselor to Shepard.

Shepard never for one moment trusted Miranda Lawson (the handler Cerberus assigned to Shepard), but since Miranda was on her crew, Shepard did her best to help her with her sister. This paid dividends once the team had found the new Human Reaper that the Collectors were building, and the Illusive Man commanded Shepard to take it, rather than to destroy it. Shepard refused to bring Reaper technology into their midst, so the Illusive Man ordered Miranda to betray Shepard. Because of the debt she owed to Shepard, and the way Shepard had changed her attitude about the Reapers, Miranda refused. Shepard destroyed the Human Reaper and the Collector Base and escaped with no losses of crew. 

The reapers finally arrived in the galaxy, and the Citadel Species finally began to pool resources into building the Conduit (a weapon the protheans were developing to destroy the reapers, but never managed to complete) - although most were still very stingy with resources as they insisted on trying to defend their space from the Reapers with conventional warfare. Shepard became a diplomat, reaching out to different peoples and places trying to get resources for the war effort. Among a number of objectives, Shepard tried to get the Quarians to lend their fleet to the war effort, but refused without first reclaiming their homeworld from the Geth. Shepard hoped to get the Geth and Quarians to abandon their war and work together, but her gambit failed, and she was forced to choose between Legion and the Geth and Tali and the Quarians. She chose Tali. Legion resisted, and attacked Shepard, so Tali was forced to destroy Legion, and with him the Geth. This is one of the few times Shepard felt regret, as she was sure that if she had done something different, she could have prevented that outcome The genocide of an entire sapient species, as well as the murder of her friend, weighed heavily on her. Most of the crew seemed perfectly content with the destruction of the Geth, which only caused Shepard more frustration. Garrus realized something was wrong, and organized the crew to put a plaque for Legion on the Memorial Wall. Shepard reacted poorly to canonizing the person (and whose people) that they had murdered, and destroyed the wall in frustration. It was later rebuilt, but the incident was a blow to crew morale to see Shepard lose it, and it was keenly on everyone's mind until the end of the Reaper War. 

Shepard was tired of waiting for Garrus to move the relationship along, and her eyes started straying towards her new specialist, Samantha Traynor (again, bam slam bootylicious). Her initial flirtatious maneuvers were cut short when Garrus finally ambushed her with a romantic date of shooting shit with high power rifles, and a pledge of monogamy. Shepard was swept off her feet, and felt guilty for thinking of breaking it off. 

With the Crucible finally constructed, Shepard takes her crew to Thessia, where a Prothean VI explains that the Crucible needs to be connected to the Citadel in order to function - but the Illusive Man betrays the galaxy and informs the Reapers, who steal the Citadel and take it to the center of their occupied space - Earth. The galactic forces converge on Earth, and through a massive multi-objective battle, only Shepard manages to make it to the Citadel, heavily injured and with only a single pistol. She encounters and kills the Illusive Man, then activates the Crucible. The Crucible enables a child-like VI that explains the options that Shepard has - either attempting to Control the Reapers, as the Illusive Man always intended - to Destroy the Reapers, although this would result in the destruction of all sentient AI, including Shepard's crew-mate EDI - or a process called Synthesis, which would break the cycle of death and destruction by merging synthetic and biological life together, although it would cost Shepard her life. 

Alone and with no one to see counsel from, Shepard was distraught. The decision of such a staggering consequence was overwhelming for one person, even her. But she mustered her resolve, and made a decision. She ran forward and threw herself into the Crucible to complete Synthesis. 

Personality: Paj Shepard is a complicated woman, but you can try to distill her down with the phrase "Altruistic but Unforgiving." She is frequently impatient and caustic in conversation, often adding a bit of bitter, sarcastic humor for extra bite. She doesn't like fluff and will be quick to say 'get to the point.' She has little tolerance for bickering or stalling, or people who show a lack of confidence or drive. She values in people the things that she values herself - decisiveness, resolve, pragmatism - but anyone under her command will get an automatic amount of consideration. In casual conversation, she can occasionally be warm and funny depending on the circumstances. 

Shepard grew up on a frontier planet and lost everyone she knew to slavers. Most of her life has been spent in the military, fighting alien incursions and enforcing peace. She has an automatic dislike of people who come from pampered lifestyles, who complain about mundane problems. She did not get along well with Ashley Williams for this reason. She always chafed under the command of the useless Citadel Council, and was perpetually annoyed with Ambassador Udina. 

Shepard believes that life is valuable and worth protecting, to the point of dedicating and even giving her life for that goal - but she is always playing the numbers game. She doesn't take leaps of faith, she never 'hopes for the best.' She hedges her bets and makes the decisions she feels will have the best outcomes. When Ka'hairal Balak raided Asteroid X57 with the intention of hijacking it and crashing it into the  human colony Terra Nova, Shepard decided that letting him escape in exchange for four human hostages was foolish - if by escaping, Balak would find another way to endanger millions of people. She caught and executed Balak, but the four hostages were killed before she could save them. 

Shepard is plagued by guilt, but not regret. Her identity is based firmly in resolve: that what decisions she's made were the best ones to make, given the choices and knowledge at hand. She doesn't waste time re-thinking things. There are always newer, more pressing issues at hand, and getting mired in what-ifs is the fastest way to lose your effectiveness as a leader. But at the same time, she fully embraces the fact that many people lose their lives because of her decisions, and she's internalized that as her being a bad person. A bad person that does good things. The person that you need to make the hard decisions that no one else is capable of, or should make. When Shepard was told that in order to end the reaper threat, she would have to lay down her life, she was partially relieved - that in her final act of valor she could set the mantle down, that hopefully the galaxy wouldn't need her anymore, that it was up to history to judge her actions and she would not be around to defend them.

Shepard prides herself on being a good judge of character and situations. She decided to let the Rachni Queen her team discovered on Noveria live and escape, because Shepard judged that she was telling the truth. This decision turned out to be the right one, when during the Reaper Invasion, the Rachni lent their strength to the cause. Despite her pragmatism and her generally disagreeable demeanor, Shepard is actually rather optimistic about many things; she believes that the differences between species and cultures and governments can be overcome - that everyone has something to contribute - that peace is achievable - that everyone deserves a chance to set their own fate. 

Shepard is never motivated by personal gain, but she is capable of occasionally cutting lose and enjoying herself from time to time. Her romantic entanglements are one of the few things she 'allows' herself. She would consider herself poly-amorous, although others might just call her philandering. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Regardless of how committed she might be a relationship, she holds a sincere affection for all of her partners, past and present. Shepard is generally tight-lipped about personal things, and her relationships are no exception. Shepard would never kiss and tell. 

Appearance: Shepard combines severe and feminine with fantastic results. She keeps her hair shaven, or at least very short, which helps accentuate her powerful cheekbones. She is a muscular, moderately-tall woman of dark complexion. She has a fondness for limited but eye-catching makeup, especially around the eyes - mascara, eyeliner. She prefers simple, casual and comfortable clothes when out of uniform. 

Abilities: Shepard is a veteran soldier, and highly decorated commander. She is skilled in close quarters combat and with pistols and sniper rifles, and is highly proficient with electronics and security systems.
If she can repair her omni-tool, she'll be able to remotely access and disable enemy electronics, turn invisible for a few seconds at a time, shoot balls of explosive plasma at moderate distances, and create temporary future-tech melee weapons, as well as a number of mundane utility uses, including rendering objects down to omni-gel that can then be used to repair or fabricate objects or bypass locks, and also functioning as a basic computer, including camera and data storage. The multitude of omni-tool uses are detailed on the wiki.
If Shepard can repair her armor, she'll be able to project a Kinetic Barrier which uses Mass Effect fields to deflect high-velocity projectiles, and block most biotics until it is temporarily overloaded. The armor itself contains a highly advanced microframe that can self-seal after taking damage and can also provide targeting data for potential hostiles in a 360 degree radius for a short distance. The details of body armor are detailed on the wiki, although Shepard has no way to replicate the highly advanced, genetically engineered Medi-gel.
Finally, Shepard's body is a mix of synthetic and living tissue, which might affect how easily injured she is and how easy it is to repair the damage. 

Inventory:
broken omni-tool, heavily damaged battle armor

Suitability: Shepard, after the Conduit, is mentally and physically exhausted. Tushanshu will be a kind of heaven for her, where she can relax and only get involved in events at her leisure, rather than out of obligation. Adjusting to civilian life will be a challenge, and she will also bring a unique set of experiences and interactions to Tu Shanshu. 

In-Character Samples:
Third Person (Prose):

"Combine all of organic and synthetic life?" Shepard asked. It had an appeal that trying to destroy or control the reapers didn't. But still... "I don't know..."

"Why not?" the Catalyst asked. Blue light cascaded from the small boy's holographic form. "Synthetics are already apart of organic life. Can you imagine your life without them?"

Shepard contemplated the Catalyst's words. It was hard to separate humanity, or any sapient race really, from its technology. From their computers to their ships to their industry, technology was what separated the Citadel races from the animals. "And there'll be peace?"

"The cycle will end, the reapers will cease their harvest, and the civilizations preserved in their forms will be connected to all of us. Synthesis is the final evolution of all life." The Catalyst paused. "The paths are open, but you have to choose."

Choose. This was the ultimate test of Shepard's resolve, wasn't it? What she'd always told Garrus - that regulation, democracy, regulation were all obstacles towards accomplishing what needed to be done. There was no Council to moderate her decision. The reaper war would be finished, and it was Shepard, the first human spectre, who would decide exactly how that would occur. And yet now, on the precipice, Shepard was experiencing a crisis of faith. This single decision would change the face of the galaxy, perhaps permanently. And if it was the wrong decision...?

The geth were gone, but to Destroy would be to murder EDI. Maybe Shepard would be willing to do it too, if it was a true solution. One life for a galaxy? She'd already traded an entire people for another. What was one more life on her conscious? Even the life of a friend. But the cycle would continue, in one form or another. The Catalyst and the Reapers had been created once, they would be again. If that happened, maybe another Shepard would arrive to stop them. But that was too many 'ifs,' and too many lives, too many civilizations lost in waiting. Too much reliance on faith.

But to Control the reapers? To what end? To control the path of the galaxy through the force of arms? To halt the cycle with eternal vigilance and martial law? To dedicate eternity to enforcing her will upon multitudes? And perhaps not even herself, but rather what she was at this very moment, bereft of the possibility of growth, as flawed a solution as the Catalyst itself was. Shepard recalled the words Venari Pallin when he asked her if she would be willing to do anything to stop Saren. She had said that she was. Pallin had replied "That's what I was afraid of." Shepard had always talked tough, but at the end of the day she still believed in a higher power, a more benevolent power, that would lead the galaxy and its people. Her actions were always meant as a practical means to that end. An immortal, all-powerful version of herself would be a power that Shepard would have dedicated her life to fighting. 

But Synthesis? An end to the cycle through mutual understanding?

Shepard took a step towards the vertical beam of light. 

The more Shepard thought about it, the more perfect it was. Never again would synthetics and organics war over their nature. No more reaper harvesting, no more criminalization of AI, no repeats of the Geth Genocide. 

Another step. 

Shepard almost laughed. This was the decision that the Citadel Council, or the Systems Alliance, or virtually anyone on her crew, besides perhaps EDI, would be the least likely to support. This was the kind of renegade decision that Council chastised her and all of humanity for making; for making decisions that would have widespread ramifications, and for which the consequences were poorly understood. 

Another step. 

And yet- Shepard was sure this was the right decision. So sure, her earlier doubts were submerged in the renewed power of her resolve. The Council was good for some things, but these kinds of decisions it couldn't make. It was too mediated, too compromising, too cautious. Shepard was glad the Council would be around for the aftermath of this, but she was glad they weren't present now. There was no room on the Catalyst for half-measures. 

Shepard dropped her pistol to the floor and gathered all the strength she could muster, and broke out into a run toward the beam of light. 

This was it. This was her final act. With this, all that she was, all that she had done, it would be set alight and burn throughout the galaxy. Her legacy would be great, or perhaps notorious, but most importantly it would no longer be hers. The End was bright, and blinding, and welcome. Tears welled up in her eyes as the light filled her vision, because of the brightness, of course. It was beautiful. 

With one final step, she leaped into the Conduit. 

Network:
This is Commander Shepard Paj. Maybe you know me, maybe you don't. I'm living on a plot outside the wood sector. Directions below.

[Directions and map listed here]

Anyway, if you have any waste synthetic materials, I'll take them. Plastics, ceramic, lighter metals like titanium or aluminum. I might be willing to pay some Juulan for them if there's enough volume or if they are high enough quality. 

I can also fix some things, but I'm not running a repair shop, so don't just show up with some piece of crap and expect me to hop to it. Send me a message here and I'll tell you if it's worth my time. 

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bulletdiplomacy: PB: Laura Mvula (Default)
Paj Shepard

February 2015

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