Ashley Williams? Derr herr spays raysist.
THERE’S A PRETTY BEEFY CITADEL DLC SPOILER UP IN HURR, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED IT, DON’T READ THIS. IF YOU READ IT AND CRY TO ME ABOUT SPOILING THE STORY AFTER I’VE PUT THIS BOLD SHIT RIGHT IN YOUR STUPID FACE, YOU’RE A CHUFFING IDIOT, AND DESERVE IT.
Ashley? Oh Goddess, not that space racist. Right? Wrong. So wrong. Wronger than telling Jessica Fletcher she doesn’t know what she’s doing when solving a murder… That’s pretty wrong.
Ashley Williams is the closest thing to a real human being in Mass Effect.
“But Nat!” you cry. “I would never be so un-trusting. I would never be so judgemental of others just because they’re different!”
Have you ever judged Ashley because of her trust issues with aliens? Have you ever judged her because she’s flying around space and yet still maintains a spiritual ideal of the universe and life? Have you ever called her a massive bitch because she questions Shepard when no one else does? … Yeah.
When you take into consideration that her contact with aliens has mostly been them shooting at her and her family, you sort of start to understand why she doesn’t trust them.
She’s human, through and through.
The Normandy is the best ship the Alliance has. It is an honour to be part of that crew. An Alliance crew. To a cautious person like Ashley, Shepard just picking up stray aliens without even truly knowing them is a pretty big deal. Angry Turian? It’s cool because he said he hates Saren. Angry Krogan in trouble with C-Sec? Go on then. Mysterious Quarian tech whiz who’s on a pilgrimage based on collecting tech for the betterment of her species? Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be fine, it’s not like we’re flying the best ship ever.
We know that things will be fine. We know that these individuals will be loyal allies in the future. Ashley doesn’t.
Yet, she carries on. She fights alongside these unknowns, and grows to respect them. That is how respect works. You earn it. But even with how much she respects Shepard, she’s still one of the only damn people who will speak up and tell him/her they’re being a gigantic gash-master. If you play the game wanting everyone to kiss your tits because you’re super awesome, then you’d better leave her on Virmire.
She lost her entire unit because of an alien. Saren. His Geth invaded Eden Prime at his command. They slaughtered unarmed civilians who were under her protection. They killed her friends and put them on spikes. We all hear things about military personnel who have toured together. We see it in films, witness it in firsthand accounts. We hear that they are not just a unit, they are a family. When one of them dies, all of them feel it. Ash had to watch her family die, yet had to carry on. What she’d have witnessed would’ve been significantly horrific and mentally scarring, even if she likes to play the tough guy. She doesn’t have time to mourn or heal. In fact, she gets thrown onto a ship, surrounded by aliens, and told she’s a gash if she so much as voices her opinion about anything.
The fact that her trust issues also span to Cerberus proves that she does not just have issues with aliens. If anything, Cerberus should be perfect for Ash. They’re an organisation dedicated to the betterment of mankind. Yet their questionable practices and moral choices are so far off her no-no scale, she actively shuns Shepard for working with them. Shepard, the man/woman to whom she owes her life numerous times over.
A lot of people absolutely hate Ashley based on her interaction with Shepard on Horizon. That was her Commander, her leader. She felt betrayed. Even more so if you romanced her. That is the person she loves and thought she had lost. To her, she’s now lost Shepard in an entirely different way.
How did Cerberus get the saviour of the Citadel to work for them? How could Shepard knowingly work with an enemy?
She wouldn’t see the big picture. She would see the betrayal. To her, there has to be another way. A better way than what Shepard chose. He/She betrayed the Alliance, betrayed the Normandy, and betrayed the crew members who followed. People she’d grown to respect and love.
Moving on to ME3 Cerberus: their foot soldiers are revealed, essentially, to be Husks. As Ashley said, “That could have been you, Shepard.”
THIS IS WHERE THE CITADEL DLC SPOILER IS. ALERT. BING BONG. I’VE GIVEN YOU FAIR WARNING. FUCKING PLAY IT ALREADY.
That is a possibility. Even Shepard will question themselves. Wonder if they’re truly who they think they are. Hell, they’ll even get targeted by a crazy reject clone. Assuming we use the DLC as canon, how many times had Cerberus created life and thrown it away because it just wasn’t the right Shepard? And this Shepard now, how much Cerberus tech are they actually packing? What are the ramifications of this? Are they in complete control of their faculties? Ashley doesn’t know this. Excuse her if she doesn’t bend Shepard over and watch the sun explode in a magnificent cannonade of sheer brilliance from their anus.
She’s a soldier. A grunt. She’s also intelligent, spiritual, and extremely likable if you put in the work to regain the trust you basically pissed on for two games.
I sort of wanted to avoid the religion debate but here goes, as a final plop of words.
She isn’t a god botherer. Far from it. She believes in a higher power, sure. That doesn’t make her a lunatic zealot trying to shove her bible in your face every chance she gets. Think about the universe, why we’re here, how small we are.. It’s baffling. It’s only natural for some to believe that someone/thing created all of this. She sees such beauty, even amidst the fighting. She believes that her fallen comrades are somewhere better, that they’re at peace. Considering she doesn’t throw bible verses at you the entire trilogy, I’d say she really doesn’t deserve the religious label she’s been given in the ME community. She draws strength from words. If she’s a lesser person because of that, then so am I. I gain something from every book I read, no matter what it is.
Especially “Everyone Poops”…
In conclusion, Ashley really is just an average person. If aliens landed, would you be there to welcome them without question? Or would you be suspicious of them until you learned who they were? She represents real life in a fantasy setting. Considering that we as a species still fight amongst ourselves because of race and religion, if any of us manage to be a third of the person that Williams is, we can be proud.
End of emotional rampage regarding fictional character.
So I guess I’m in the minority here, but I actually like both Ashley and Kaidan. Every time I play VirmireI have to sit there for 30 minutes and just stare at the screen.
Ashley and Kaidan have some of the best character development and it makes them both feel more real more real. They both have their faults but that makes them interesting. If it wasn’t for MShep and Kaidan being soul mates (I have a huge head canon about this) I think they would have been cute together….
But I digress. Personally I think they are both strong characters that support their friends in different ways, but equally great ways. Ashley and Kaidan should both at least be respected in my opinion…
You don’t say
but what about kaidan and ashley after the apollos lunch date? even before okay
ashley fussing over kaidan, tucking in his shirt and trying to pat down his hair, and ‘oh maybe you should have shaved’ and ‘wow that is some strong cologne LT you’ll knock out a turian with that’ and then she would nudge him towards the table, hold back her excitement when kaidan reaches over to hold shepard’s hand, before ambushing him in the observation deck later with ‘IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME’ and all kaidan can do is look really abashed because he’s still not really used to ashley’s enthusiasm but he still appreciates it
and kaidan would totally frown over ashleys outfit choice because ‘it’s not like you have to change yourself for shepard’ but ‘you always wear that top find something else’ and he would escort her to apollo’s, gripping her gloved hand because ashley is nervous as fuck despite her constant chattering to fill the air, and he’d do the typical big brother thing like ‘don’t be nervous this is SHEPARD’ and ‘take point, chief, that’s an order’ and she would find him afterwards and nudge his shoulder with a goofy smile as well as a bagged steak sandwich, still fresh from the grill
and because shepard is happy for the first time in ages, they can’t be annoyed at their antics. so they let it slide. for now.
thinking of how kaidan and ashley would react to the others tryst with shepard during ilos
i mean i could see ashley sneaking out of shepards cabin, tidying up her bun as she turns a corner and bumping into kaidan, that split second of fuckfuckshit i am SO screwed, before kaidan quirks a brow with a ‘i’m assuming you passed your physical, chief?’ and ashley would choke before ‘with flying colours, LT’ and there would be chuckling as they head up to the rest of the crew
meanwhile ashley would send heaps of messages to kaidans omnitool during the whole thing, all like ‘go for the kill LT’ and ‘LT take one for the team, be a man damn it’ and eventually shepard would reply with ‘stop it chief’ and ‘thanks for encouraging him btw’ and ashley would grab kaidan in the stairwell afterwards all ‘so how was it tell me everything’ and kaidan would do his little shark grin before ‘i took one for the team’ and there would also be chuckling and probably a nudge in the ribs
meanwhile shepard would think that their best friends are a pair of idiots because it’s true
so ”i’ve just been sitting here thinking”… (no that’s not true, i’ve been thinking about this in bed since i woke up at 6+am and idk why?? maybe i had a dream and i can’t remember it now but i wanna write this down before it slips from memory)
copious amounts of Team Milky Way ot3 feels ahead. i’m sorry. i’m so sorry
Kaidan’s with Ashley…
Garrus: Shepard. Hell of a day. Udina loses his mind, the Citadel almost falls… and now Kaidan’s with Ashley. I hope they’re both in a better place than this.
Shepard: So do I.
Garrus: If it had come down to it, could you have pulled the trigger?
Shepard: I don’t see how. We start killing our friends, and war turns to murder.
Garrus: But it doesn’t always give us the easy way out, does it? At least Kaidan didn’t have to join Ash.
Shepard: Let’s hope she’s looking out for us. This was her fight, too.
Garrus: If it had come down to it, could you have pulled the trigger?
Shepard: If they hadn’t backed down… yes. This war is bigger than any one person.
Garrus: I’ll remember that the next time we have an argument. Still, I’m glad Kaidan didn’t have to join Ash. Losing one was enough.
Alright, I’ve been watching the conversation that you can have with Garrus after the Citadel Coup…
And am I the only one being assaulted by some serious FEELS whenever Garrus mentions Kaidan (almost) joining Ash?
I know that, out of everyone that they have lost so far (Jenkins, Pressly, Mordin, Thane, etc.), Ashley (and perhaps Jenkins, though Garrus never got the chance to know him) was probably the one closest to Kaidan…
But still, I find it deeply touching that the first thing that Garrus mentions about Kaidan’s death (if Shepard was the one to pull the trigger) is his belief that Ashley and Kaidan are reunited now; and that the tries to find comfort in the hope that they are together in a better place.
And that, if Kaidan is alive, he will instead express his relief that he didn’t have to join Ashley yet, even adding “losing one was enough” if Shepard admits that he/she would have done whatever was necessary in order to stop Udina.
Garrus could easily have said “we’ve lost enough friends lately”… But no, he instinctively went for “losing one was enough”, specifically referring to Kaidan and Ashley.
It’s as if, after Virmire, Kaidan became forever connected to Ashley, somehow – as if those who knew them both can no longer think of one without thinking about the other.
In a way, it’s like Ashley never entirely left them… Like they feel that, as long as Kaidan is still with them, so is she. And that, while Kaidan now gets to carry on the fight and live for them both, they trust that Ashley is going to keep on watching over them all, too.
No matter what, they are still a team, and it’s still Ashley’s fight. Before they split up on Virmire, Kaidan and Ashley made a promise to see each other again on the other side, after all. ; b And Garrus knows that Ashley would never let anyone from her team down. So when the time comes, now or later, he trusts that she is going to be there…
Note: Of course this also works the other way around, if Kaidan was the one who sacrificed his life on Virmire.
It’s been staring me in the face all along, but I didn’t realise the significance until now. Know the first conversation you have with Kaidan in ME3? If it’s an import without romance, it goes like this:
Anderson: You hadn’t heard?
Shepard: No, I’m a bit out of the loop these days.
Kaidan: Sorry ma’am, didn’t mean to keep you out of the loop.
Note the bolded word. Ma’am. Sir for ManSheps.
So Kaidan just referred to Shepard as a superior officer, after we were just informed by the exchange with Vega that Shepard doesn’t have the rights of the rank, and he did it in front of who-knows how many members of the admiralty’s staff.
Doubts in private? Sure. In public though, that’s taking Shepard’s side.
can we just talk about the citadel dlc and how amazing it was for fleshing out shep’s relationship? especially from the perspective of someone who romanced kaidan.
i mean. shep is usually the one who comes swooping in to save the day - they’ve saved the asses of almost everyone on their squad at least once, and here they are, under siege, no armor and one gun that they grabbed off one of their enemies. yeah, shep is pretty badass, and can handle themselves, but can you just imagine their relief when kaidan’s voice comes in over their comm? i’m here, shepard, you’re not alone. so instead of having to rely on brooks, this unknown, rather incompetent paper-pusher, shep suddenly has the one person they trust more than anyone else, there, telling them it’s under control.
and kaidan knows shep doesn’t need rescuing, at least not in the way most people would, but damn, he has grown so much as a person over the course of the games, and we hardly ever see it until now. and here’s shepard, running from a veritable army of mercs who are trying to kill them, out of breath, almost out of ammo, bursting into the skycar lot to see kaidan ripping through mercs with his biotics.
not his gun. his biotics.
he’s still so controlled, you can see how much he’s holding back in the tension of his body, but he is not afraid of his biotics - or of himself - anymore. and what’s even better is that shepard doesn’t tell him, “i can handle it,” doesn’t tell him to go rally the others, or to evacuate the ship, or to stay in the transport, or to wait here while shepard dives to the bottom of an alien sea in a rusty old mech. shepard accepts his help, is grateful for it, genuinely recognizes how badass he is and essentially admits that it would’ve been harder alone (all without actually coming out and saying it, of course, because that would be too straightforward).
it just seems like such a gorgeous moment of equality and mutual respect and love. and it’s just a bonus that shepard voices what we were all thinking later on - because damn, kaidan, that was… pretty hot.
“i know where my loyalties lie. i’m an alliance soldier. it’s in my blood.”
well that stings for a spacer shepard. :(
ashley sounds so much more worried about shepard than kaidan does though. like kaidan is just unleashing his two years of repressed emotion about shepard’s death and all that but ashley’s more…i don’t know like she’s more willing to believe that shepard did actually die and is wary of what cerberus did to make him not dead whereas kaidan is stuck on how shepard could have let him think she was dead.
i think i like ash better on horizon though. kaidan makes up for it with his apology letter, but he’s pretty harsh man.
and meer’s “i’ve had enough of this colony” DX
I always found it kind of strange how Kaidan was harsher than Ashley about it considering how much more dedicated to the military I felt Ashley was given her family background at all.
she does make mention of betraying anderson while kaidan doesn’t.
they each have loyalty to the alliance for different reasons though. ashley grew up with it and probably couldn’t ever imagine herself doing anything else. the alliance probably wasn’t kaidan’s first choice though. with his biotics it ended up being his best option. the alliance values and appreciates his abilities and he managed to do quite well with them which he probably wouldn’t be able to in any other occupation. but i also get the sense he’s not a hundred percent okay with having a job that requires him to take lives on a regular basis.
crap i’m rambling what was my point. i think ashley focuses more on the professional betrayal of shepard choosing to work with extremists instead of the alliance, while kaidan is hung up the thought that shepard might have put him through two years of grief and guilt in addition to the whole betraying the alliance thing. ashley’s not as stuck on that because she focuses on being relieved that shepard is alive. kaidan doesn’t deal with emotions very well lol. it comes across much harsher.
Speaking of emotions though, I also found it odd that he would allow himself to lose his temper given his previous bad experiences with Rana on that.
But considering how Ashley’s relationship with the Alliance was more personal given her family, and Kaidan’s more professional, and yet their behavior on Horizon would make me think it was the opposite if I didn’t know any better. Especially since Kaidan always seemed so mellow and Ashley was the one more quick to get fired up and be mistrustful. I mean she was very wary of the aliens on the Normandy, so it strikes me as odd she wouldn’t react more negatively to Shepard working for Cerberus.
like twistedsinews said ash believes in miracles, kaidan in principles. the principle of the thing is what upsets him most and he’s stubborn so nothing shepard says can derail him. he hates cerberus on principle, whereas ashley just doesn’t trust how extreme they are and they’re not the alliance.
i think ashley’s more willing to focus on beng happy shepard’s not dead, whereas kaidan doesn’t want to trust it fully lest he get burned again. and he really hates cerberus. rustles all his boy scout idealist jimmies.
I don’t see how anyone who romanced Kaidan or Ashley in ME1 could continue that romance in ME3. I mean, they call you a traitor and abandon you, then spend the first half of ME3 doubting and questioning you. That’s how I justify romancing someone else for the last two games when I romance the Virmire survivor in ME1.
Is the mass effect tag full of fucking stupid today or what
weeeell. i always continue their romances for a couple reasons.
1) i actually fucking like them. and i think shepard does too, particularly if they were romanced in ME1
2) on horizon they’re angry for good reason, though they might be lashing out at the wrong person. shepard died and they had to spend two years trying (and failing) to get over that. to see shepard alive again is confusing as shit. they hear rumors and think it can’t be possible, but there’s shepard right in front of them. so then they don’t understand how it took seeing shepard for themselves to confirm what someone sould have already told them. shepard never contacts them, anderson doesn’t tell them anything, hell even liara (and by extension, possibly hackett) knew shepard might not be dead, but none of them tell them shit. so they’re angry. shep explains that they really were dead and couldn’t have contacted them, which has them back off, but then we get to
3) the fact that shepard is working with terrorists. i assume you’ve played ME1 if you say you’ve romanced the VS before, so i know you have to know about akuze and admiral kahoku and toombs and how they turned a whole colony into husks and let rachni loose on a whole supply line and whole bunch of other shady shit. they’re human supremacists. all they do is for the sake of “trying to give humanity an edge.” they’re mad scientists who do weird ass shit just to see what it does and then it frequently gets out of their hands. so why the fuck would shep want to work with them. another thing you gotta remember about the VS is they’re both hella loyal to the alliance. kaidan went through a lot of shit coming to terms with his biotics, but the alliance is a place where he’s valued and not treated like a freak and he can use his abilities to help people and save lives. ashley’s family, going back what four or five generations enlisted in the alliance. she is proud as fuck to carry on the tradition and she’s a damn good soldier.
so here we have someone they used to care about, i think they both even say they loved shepard, who they’re trying to come to terms with the fact that they’re not dead anymore, but also they’re doing things and working with people they can’t fathom why they could be working with. that’s what’s happening on horizon. if shep asks them to join the SR-2 then, there’s no way they’d say yes, because they can’t trust cerberus, and certainly not at the expense of abandoning the alliance, no matter how much they still care about shepard.
NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT SHEPARD. i never saw horizon as a personal betrayal. the VS has their reasons and if shepard doesn’t understand that, the VS is better off without them.
4) now mars. you have to remember after the VS sends their post-horizon apology letter, shep and the VS don’t talk for six months. the entire time shep is under house arrest, they’re not allowed to see each other. so mars is the first real chance they have to talk. but what have we here, cerebus attacking an alliance base (executing alliance soldiers and unarmed civilians) for intel they shouldn’t even know exists. and shepard, who used to work with them is standing right there. again this is an issue of personal vs professional. i don’t know if the VS really think shep has anything to do with the cerberus raid, but it’s the fucking job to ask anyway. and then they see the reaper-ized cerberus trooper. it is a prime example of why the VS was so adamant that cerberus wasn’t to be trusted. they’re afraid that when cerberus rebuilt shepard, they could have altered them or put a control chip in or indoctrinated them or whatever else cerberus could have thought of. that’s not mistrust of shepard, that’s scared as fuck for shepard. they’re terrified that someone they care about, someone they were in love with could have been so altered. their memory abused in such a way. again, if shepard doesn’t get that, the VS should move on anyway. but shepard does understand. they see that the VS just needs time to be around them again and see that they’re still the same person.
5) then the VS gets injured on mars. i think this is the biggest wake up call to them. the vs and shep need to stop being angry at each other and try to patch things up because they could die at any time in a war like that. so you see them slowly rebuild that trust. they get back to being who they were in ME1. when you get to cronos station, the VS finally gets it and shep sees how manipulated they were by TIM and how the VS was right to not trust them. they have a fantastic relationship arc and i enjoy playing the games that much more for that reason.
6) but most of all, i stick with the VS because again I ACTUALLY FUCKING LIKE THEM. seriously if you romance someone else out of spite at horizon in ME2, that’s kinda shitty i think.
i say it bugs me when people “miss the point” of the vs character arcs and i think this might be why.
you’re creating a character in a universe that doesn’t exist. with politics and history that is completely new. ashley and kaidan are there to help you out in ME1. rather than just playing your shepard as a nice diplomatic hero or total dickbag badass, they give you actual canonical reasons to base your characterization on.
kaidan’s the paragon argument. “aliens are jerks and saints just like the rest of us” “the council’s not bad, just slow to change”
ashley’s clearly more of the renegade argument. “humanity needs to look out for themselves” “when their backs are against the wall, the council will abandon us” (not racism mind you. she never says humanity shouldn’t work with other races simply because ew aliens.)
like right there gives you legitimate characterization for your shepard’s alignment. their conversations explore the in universe intricacies of galactic politics while telling you about the characters themselves. and they’re both right in a sense. they both have—at least in the context of the mass effect universe—completely reasonable perspectives.
idk it just makes me so irrationally upset to see people be dismissive of either of them.
actual issues with how some ME fans word their thoughts
because if you say “I usually kill X on Virmire” you make it a conscious choice rather than an unfortunate one and I feel like you kind of miss the point of Shepard and having a team that you work with and have to nurture and take care of because they are YOUR TEAM and lean on you and count on you to take them through this and oh my god did you even look at Shepard’s body language when they had to choose who to prioritise? Did you listen to their voice when they said goodbye? Like okay not everyone likes the same character types but HOW CAN YOU NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT VIRMIRE WHEN YOU LOOK AT HOW YOUR PROTAGONIST REACTS??