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Commander Shepard (Mass Effect 2) (Mandala) (zombie) in N7 gray armor

Staff Commander Mandala Shepard

(Profile #2 - Early Mass Effect 2)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This profile starts right where ended – as Mass Effect begins. It recapitulates the events of Mass Effect, plus the prologues of Mass Effect 2. We strongly recommend reading the first profile first.

Shepard’s abilities, appearance and personality are described as they stand during the Mass Effect 2 prologues.

Ch-ch-changes

This playthrough featured a cosmetic variant thanks to the Gibbed modding tool. Two special character models were built to emphasize the difficulty of the Commander’s return from the dead, and are used in the illustrations.

In the actual game, Shepard’s return is unproblematic. She just wakes up intact, keeps calm and carries on.

Beyond the first Mandala Shepard profile, reading the first David Anderson profile and the Mass Effect setting article will provide additional context.


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Sequencing

The Staff Commander Mandala Shepard profiles are presented as a chronological series, to avoid interminable articles. In order :

  1. Commander ShepardMass Effect.
  2. Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 2 part #1.
  3. Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 2 part #2.
  4. Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 2 part #3.
  5. Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 3 part #1.

  • This profile includes massive S P O I L E R S about the first and second game.
  • This profile features a sample or customized Player Character – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile assumes a specific video game playthrough – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features tabletop RPG mechanics about the video game’s gameplay – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features non-canon hypotheses about in-game events and mechanics – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.

Background

  • Real Name: Staff Commander Mandala Marie-Louise Kanitha Shepard.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Sakun Shepard (father), Jo-Hannah Traoré-Shepard (mother).
  • Group Affiliation: Associated with Cerberus, former member of the Systems Alliance military (currently AWOL), former Special Tactics and Reconnaissance (Spectre) operative.
  • Base Of Operations: Cerberus.
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 115 lbs.
  • Eyes: N.A. Hair: N.A.


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History part 1 – Mass Effect

A general summary of the entire story can be found in our Mass Effect trilogy plot summary article.

The Normandy shakedown cruise was indeed a cover. An invaluable Prothean artefact — a rare remain of the civilisation that ruled the galaxy 50,000 years ago — had been unearthed on the Human colony planet of Eden-Prime . The Systems Alliance and the Council wanted this key find secured ASAP, and dispatched Anderson, Shepard and crew.

The Council operative, Nihlus Kryik, was there both to monitor the operation and to assess Shepard. Unbeknownst to Commander Shepard, the Systems Alliance was having a second go at having a Human join the elite ranks of the Spectres, the Council’s cadre of special agents.

Having a Human become a Spectre held tremendous political importance. Thus, the Alliance had picked Commander Shepard as their very best special operative.

Eden-Prime

The mission went sour before it even began. When the Normandy arrived, the pastoral Eden-Prime was being invaded by the geth, a hostile species of sapient  robots. They operated from a gigantic mothership of an unknown type.

Kryik asked to be dropped planetside immediately to rush to the artefact. Minutes later Captain Anderson had Shepard, Alenko and Jenkins go in.

Things then got worse. Kryik was murdered by fellow Spectre Saren Arterius, who was secretly a traitor and the leader of the geth. Corporal Jenkins was caught in an ambush and killed.

As to Eden-Prime, it was ravaged by the blitz in but hours. The bulk of the Human military presence was overrun. See our Ashley Williams profile for details.

Commander Shepard and Lieutenant Alenko on Eden-Prime

Commander Shepard nevertheless made her way to the artefact, eliminating geth forces in her path. She protected survivors and having local marine Chief Ashley Williams join her team. Furthermore, Shepard, Alenko and Williams disarmed the nuclear charges set by the geth to destroy the capital. They then secured the Prothean artefact.

However, Shepard accidentally made contact with the artefact. It psychically inscribed incomprehensible visions in her mind before burning out.

At this stage the situation was a disaster. Thousands dead, the artefact destroyed, and a Spectre killed in action. This also presumably ended Shepard’s shot at joining the Spectres. The Alliance decided to have the Normandy officers present their testimony directly to the Council.

Since they had no proof about Saren Arterius’ betrayal, salvaging the situation was at best a long shot.

The Citadel

Ambassador Udina (the Human liaison with the Council) and Captain Anderson did their best to scare up any lead about Saren’s treason. Now on the Citadel mega-space-station housing the Council, Commander Shepard investigated these leads.

Shepard discovered that Fist, a Human night club owner reputed to work for Saren Arterius’ shadow network, was gunning for a Quarian traveller. She and her marines got to the young woman in time. As it turned out the Quarian had proof that Arterius was a traitor.

Zombie Commander Shepard aims a grenade launcher

The Humans presented their proof, and the Council revoked Arterius’ Spectre status. Udina, Anderson and Shepard seized the occasion. They offered to have Shepard become a Spectre and go after Arterius immediately, to prevent further planetary massacres by the geth.

The Council hesitantly took the deal. But to Shepard’s dismay that involved sidelining her superior Captain David Anderson, to give her command of the Normandy.

During her adventures on the Citadel, Commander Shepard met and recruited three exceptional persons. This resulted in the rare sight of three aliens joining the crew of a Systems Alliance ship. These were :

  • Detective Garrus Vakarian. Vakarian had been fruitlessly investigating Saren Arterius for a while and left the force in frustration so he could get him. Before being a cop, Garrus had served as an elite special operations sniper and engineer with the Turian military.
  • Urdnot Wrex, a Krogan mercenary who had been hired to take Fist out. The dreaded Wrex was a highly experienced combat juggernaut. He also was one of the rare Krogan biotic combat masters.
  • Shepard’s last gem was the Quarian traveller, Tali’Zorah nar Rayya. Tali was both a competent young adventurer and a technology genius with impressive talent for naval engineering and special warfare systems.

Doctor T’soni, I presume ?

Tali’s proof established a link between Saren and respected Asari Matriarch Benezia. Having but a handful of clues at this point, Commander Shepard decided to locate Benezia’s daughter, xenoarchaelogist Dr. Liara T’soni.

Saren’s plan seemed to involve Prothean artefacts like the one on Eden-Prime. Since T’soni was a Prothean archaeology expert Shepard hoped she might also shed some light on that.

Liara talking in her office

Dr. Liara T’soni

T’soni was on a solo dig on the planet Therum. But as Shepard came in she found T’soni under siege by an unit sent by Saren. The traitor also wanted access to her expertise. Shepard’s impromptu combat rescue op narrowly succeeded, and they got Dr. T’soni off-world.

Liara had no idea about Saren’s plan and had not seen her mother in years. She thus had very little information to offer. But she and Shepard formed a rapport that gradually became a romance. Shepard had T’soni stay on the Normandy for her safety – and to have a top shelf Protheans expert on hand.

As it turned out, Dr. T’soni was also a powerful biotic. So powerful that she could credibly take part in the Normandy high intensity specops missions.

Noveria ; Feros

Working at an hectic pace, Commander Shepard learned of a sighting of Liara’s mother on the corporate world Noveria. Tracking her down in horrific circumstances, Shepard discovered that Benezia had been brainwashed by some sort of energy existing on Saren Arterius’ ship. With her immense willpower, Benezia managed to break the conditioning and die a free Asari.

The Commander then responded to a geth invasion of the small Human colony on Feros, saving the survivors. She discovered that the planet hosted a colossal plant-like organism with unique memories of the Protheans. Alas, she was forced to terminate this creature due to the depredations of Saren’s forces.

Zombie Commander Shepard looks sceptical

Due to her previous contact with the Prothean artefact, Shepard could absorb part of the plant-being’s memories. While these were humanly incomprehensible, Liara had the knowledge and psychic abilities to “read” those and continue piecing together Saren’s plan.

All the while, Shepard and her Normandy crew took Systems Alliance and Council assignments whenever there was a lull in the hunt for Saren. It was politically crucial to demonstrate the skill and public service spirit of the first Human Spectre.

Virmire

Council spies of the STG (Special Tasks Group) eventually located Saren on the planet Virmire. They requested massive reinforcements, but their message was garbled. Thus, the the Normandy was the only ship that showed up to investigate.

As it turned out, Saren was operating a huge fortified lab. Within it, an army of cloned Krogan warriors was in the very last stage of its incubation. With no time to summon reinforcements, Shepard and the STG scouting unit launched a near-suicide special ops raid on Saren’s installation. They had to destroy the labs before it was too late.

Ashley Williams in her Phoenix armor on Eden Prime

Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams.

Gunnery Chief Williams, most of the STG men and most Normandy marines died in the raid. Yet, Commander Shepard blew up the lab with an improvised nuclear warhead as Saren failed to stop her.

During the raid, Shepard has a brief conversation with an entity called Sovereign. Shepard realised that the monstrous alien mothership seen on Eden-Prime was not a ship… but a person. It was Sovereign, a Reaper monitoring the galaxy whilst the other Reapers slept deep into intergalactic dark space.

By this point, Saren’s general plan was known. He was after a Prothean artefact called the Conduit, function unknown. The Reapers carried out a mass extinction of sapient beings throughout the Milky Way galaxy every 50,000 years. And Saren urgently needed the Conduit to trigger the next such galactic genocide.

Mutiny !

However, Shepard was again short on actionable proof. Furthermore, the authorities had a hard time believing her tale of cosmic annihilation. The main intelligence was alien visions in the Commander’s mind, and her brief dialogue with Sovereign.

Yet the Commander refused to let go of her Reapers story. She doggedly insisted on a massive Council response. Shepard was thus about to turn from a fantastic political coup for Humanity into an embarrassment. The concerned Ambassador Udina had the Normandy put on lockdown and Shepard put on forced leave. Udina counted on the Council’s conventional forces to deal with the geth army.

Zombie Commander Shepard isn't happy

Howbeit, other parties believed in the Commander’s fantastic allegations – including Captain Anderson. Anderson decided to sacrifice his career to support his former protégée. He came up with a plan to hack the ship’s lockdown, and convinced the bulk of the crew to side with him and Shepard.

Shepard convinced Anderson to go with a less gung-ho plan, and the Captain was successful. With the lockdown briefly lifted, the Normandy shot out into deep space with Commander Shepard and all her core crew and tactical operators aboard.

Ilos

The mutinous Commander has assets that the authorities lacked. Dr. T’soni pieced together enough data to deduce that the Conduit was under the Prothean ruins on Ilos. Furthermore the Normandy was an exceptionally fast ship with unique stealth system. This allowed her to cross hostile space and reach Ilos in time.

Commander Shepard, Wrex and Tali approach a building

Using desperate and frankly unreasonable tactics, Shepard and her operators gave chase. The fought their way to the Conduit in hot pursuit of the rogue Spectre.

During their exploration of the ancient ruins they gained a much better sense of :

  • Whom the Protheans had been.
  • How they became extinct.
  • How the Reapers operated.
  • The nature of the Mass Effect-powered FTL  travel relays.
  • What the Conduit was.

Shepard had been almost completely correct. The geth forces were far more powerful than the Council believed, and Sovereign by himself was worth an entire fleet. Furthermore, Saren had reached the Conduit just before Shepard did, allowing a two-pronged assault on the Citadel itself.

Battle of the Citadel

The Conduit allowed for Saren’s special unit to teleport right in the middle of the Citadel and strike. They did so right as a massive geth fleet led by Sovereign attacked it. Saren took control of hidden systems deep within the Citadel. This allowed Sovereign to dock and start calling in the Reapers to start the galactic culling.

The surprised defenders were torn apart. It looked like the Council — and millions aboard the Citadel — would be killed by the geth.

However, there was a fly in the ointment, a monkey in the wrench, a pain in the arse — Shepard.

In hot pursuit using the Conduit, Shepard caught up with and ravaged Saren’s forces. The powerfully charismatic Commander then convinced Saren to briefly reject Reaper indoctrination. Like Benezia before him, Saren used his fleeting moment of free will to commit suicide and die a free person.

Commander Shepard shambles through the Project Lazarus station

Meanwhile another ally of Shepard — Admiral Hackett, commanding the Systems Alliance’s Fifth Fleet — responded. He had been convinced to stay at full battle readiness in the expectation of a geth attack. The Fifth could thus respond en bloc to the attack against the Citadel.

Shepard had Hackett focus his assault on clearing space around the Asari super-dreadnought Destiny Ascension. Though that cost the Systems Alliance eight cruisers, this difficult call was successful. It put the Council in undeniable debt to the Human military.

Sovereign used immense amounts of energy to remotely reanimate Saren’s corpse and complete the procedure within the Citadel. But Shepard and her tactical team destroyed the corpse in time. The energy expenditure apparently weakened Sovereign’s shields, and Fleet-level naval bombardment finally destroyed the Reaper.


History part 2 – Mass Effect 2 prologues

After the battle of Citadel, most of the Normandy’s crew spent days in Arcturus Station’s military hospitals, among the wounded sailors and marines of the Fifth Fleet. Most Normandy crew had spent weeks at code red readiness, sleeping but four hours a day and taking stims.

Zombie Commander Shepard snaps at Jacob Taylor

Shepard’s tactical unit also suffered from an endless list of wounds of varied severity. Furthermore, they were dosed to the gills with stims, painkillers, go-pills, sleeping aids, tranquilizers, etc.

The Commander emerged from the ordeal with mild PTSD . She also had a physical addiction to one of the painkillers used on the Normandy. Both were fully curable with about two months of routine therapy and detox.

Shepard and the Normandy thus soon returned to STR service. The Systems Alliance discreetly forgot about the whole mutiny thing. The Council sent Commander Shepard to patrol sectors where ship disappearances were reported, to act as a hunter-killer of geth marauders.

Buffalo soldier troddin’ through the land

Doctor T’soni remained with the Normandy, living with Commander Shepard. Much of the crew remained with Shepard, albeit :

  • Garrus Vakarian left to rejoin Citadel Security in its hour of need.
  • Urdnot Wrex returned to Tuchanka to become a political leader.

By this point Shepard was a living legend, an icon. Her exploits, her orders to save the Council from the geth and the deployment of the Fifth Fleet during the battle at the Citadel earned Humanity a full seat on the Council. It was now co-headed by four species.

Sniper over an alien valley

However, her working relationship with the Council still wasn’t the best. They still considered that the whole Reapers thing was nonsense. For them, Sovereign was some sort of experimental geth mega-dreadnought and Saren was just a deluded madman.

A month later, during a search-and-destroy mission against the geth, a mysterious cruiser-sized ship opened fire on the Normandy. It completely ignored her unique stealth system and obliterated the shields in one shot. Within seconds the Normandy was doomed, and Shepard ordered evacuation.

Joker tried to save his beloved ship at all costs. Shepard had to go back for him, shoving him into a lifeboat in the nick of time.

However, the Commander was then caught in a shockwave. She was thrown into space with the life support system of her hardsuit ruptured. Her corpse crashed on a nearby ice planet, Alchera , as did the Normandy.

Sudden death

Shepard’s corpse was recovered and, after a complex struggle, handed over to a terrorist organisation Cerberus. Shepard would only learn of the particulars of this operation years later.

With Shepard out of the picture, the Council and the Alliance finished covering up the information about the Reapers. Their goal was avoid a panic – the standard modus operandi for both organisations.

It was announced that the Sovereign attack had been solely conducted by geth forces. Dr. T’soni’s research into Prothean extinction was apparently besmirched.

The Normandy SR1 model

News of Shepard’s death were half-suppressed. They were not quite kept secret, but not generally mentioned. Various uses of her image, such as millions of Alliance recruitment posters featuring her and the official documentaries about her exploits, were phased out. Presumably, the idea was to limit curiosity about what had occurred during the Saren Plot and the battle at the Citadel.

Many among those who learned of her death — primarily Alliance soldiers — were outraged by this lack of regard toward Commander Shepard’s memory. Many even left the military over this.

Several colonies stubbornly honoured Shepard’s memory. One example was when Elysium unveiled the Mandala Shepard Memorial Plaza in the capital. For some reason it became a famous destination to have a romantic marriage.

From the queen of ice…

Meanwhile, the Human supremacist network Cerberus put its brightest agent, Miranda Lawson, in charge of a new project. Commander Shepard’s corpse was but smashed, frozen, burned meat. But the *brain* was relatively intact. The Illusive Man, Cerberus’ director, thought that she could be resurrected.

Miranda Lawson's first appearance

Miranda Lawson.

Cerberus is a Human conspiracy, a shadow version of the Systems Alliance. It was apparently created by military officers, business tycoons and intelligence officers. Its stated goal is to protect and advance Humanity through any means necessary.

They project the image of being hard persons of action who make the hard choices. By contrast the Alliance is in their opinion timid, Byzantine and lost in procedure.

In reality, a lot of Cerberus activity is base terrorism. The leadership doesn’t care about collateral damage or sacrificing personnel. The grave risks taken regularly result in catastrophic security failures. Cerberus’ hands are bloody indeed, including with the lives of innocent civilians and Systems Alliance soldiers.

… to the hounds of Hell

Shepard and Cerberus had clashed repeatedly back in 2183, during the Saren Plot. The Illusive Man was then running a number of high-risk, high-reward research projects to develop unstoppable troops. These used such material as rachni drones. Or “husks” – undead creatures with some sort of connection with the Reapers.

Shepard wiped out several such projects. What remained didn’t generally pan out as the risks were just too high. Ironically it is likely that part of the husks research is what made it possible to resurrect Shepard.

Albeit they were clearly enemies, the Illusive Man went to immense lengths to resurrect Shepard. He considered that only the Commander had the strength to save the galaxy, and thus Humanity, from the Reapers. Unlike the Council or the Alliance, the Illusive Man understood the true nature of the threat and thus the need for desperate measures and alliances.

The operating theatre used by Project Lazarus to finish rebuilding Shepard

Bioware concept art for the Lazarus Project main surgical theatre.

With a budget of more than four billion credits, a secret space station, her own hand-picked medical research team and access to Cerberus’ peculiar super-troopers research, Miranda opted for a husk-like organic/synthetic fusion to resurrect Shepard.

Complete cloning might result in a different person lacking Shepard’s enigmatic greater-than-life quality. Thus, it had been ruled out. Rebuilding 95% of the body using a husk-like architecture, tissue cultivation/partial cloning, etc. would on the other hand be a return of the original. The Illusive Man was adamant that Shepard make her return with the fewest possible alterations.

This sickness is not unto death

Cerberus is organised along a cell structure, for protection against police, spies and traitors. The one known point that connects the cells is the Illusive Man. Lawson called her cell “Lazarus” – presumably because it was created and hand-picked specifically for this demanding project.

Since Lawson wanted to recruit the best rather than true believers, she chiefly recruited her specialists outside of Cerberus’ ranks. She also kept Lazarus sanitized and apolitical.

Most members of Lazarus were told that Cerberus was mostly benign and there to defend Humans in ways the Alliance can’t. They never suspected that they were part of a terrorist operation.

Zombie Commander Shepard is not happy

Whilst the Lazarus project toiled, Cerberus discovered that thousands of human colonists were being discreetly disappeared. The Alliance and the Council didn’t seem to care since these colonies were outside their borders.

Cell Lazarus’ investigations didn’t produce any result. They just found inexplicably deserted settlements, bereft of clues. Everyone had just vanished.

Shepard’s corpse spent two years on the operating table. It was rebuilt almost cell by cell using an array of experimental technologies and husk parts.

Betrayed !

Even with all the precautions taken by Lawson, a double agent had infiltrated her cell’s senior staff years before. When it became obvious that the Lazarus Project would be successful within the next few days, the traitor received his kill order.

The large contingent of security mechs on the Lazarus station had previously been backdoored. They unexpectedly attacked the personnel. It was a massacre, and the entire project was wrecked in minutes with a near-100% casualty rate.

Jacob salutes near Miranda

Jacob Taylor and Miranda Lawson.

In desperation, Lawson overrode the medical protocols. She activated Shepard days before the reconstruction was finished. The thing that arose from the operating table was barely recognisable as Human. But Miranda guided it over a radio link to find a weapon and head in the direction of her lieutenant, combat expert Jacob Taylor.

Wrecking all security mechs crossing its path, the zombie rallied Taylor. The pair then made their way to the shuttle bay to rendezvous with Lawson — who executed the traitor.

Miranda and Jacob were the only two known survivors from the entire project. They took the confused zombie with them to finish the reconstruction. The procedure was finalised in another Cerberus secret space station.

And I need you to recover

Though she still looked mostly dead, Shepard was almost wholly reconstructed. The rest of the physical repairs could be handled over the next dozen days without further surgery.

Two more operatives came to the base – Dr. Karin Chakwas and Flight Lieutenant “Joker” Moreau. They had agreed to join Cerberus as long as only Shepard gave them orders. Their support and Chakwas’ extensive medical skills proved invaluable to the recovery. Shepard gradually recovered a human appearance and her psychological stability.

Commander Shepard does the zombie shuffle

Once the former Commander was stable, Operative Lawson ran psychological tests. These confirmed that Shepard remembered her life normally and was, as far as could be determined, the same person. However, the massive trauma of dying then coming back unfinished meant that many of the tests couldn’t be used.

As she was still healing, Shepard made a pilgrimage of sorts to the crash site of the Normandy. In a bluesy mood and lost in her memories, she recovered the dog tags of a score of her crew, who had been trapped in the lower decks. She also placed a small monument to the fallen on the crash site – apparently a personal gift from Admiral Hackett.

Shepard had Hackett ship the dog tags to relatives of her former crew, to bring them closure. With her command of the Normandy thus brought to a close, and now medically fit for duty, the former Commander started investigating the mass disappearances.

Shepard has returned. Death wasn’t enough.


Powers and Abilities

Shepard is disoriented, weakened, disfigured and much more aggressive than normal. However, while she’s somewhat shambling and far less focused than she normally is, much of her edge is still present. Her crushing presence intimidated nearly everyone, and she could shoot to pieces a score of security androids with a mere pistol.

Commander-Shepard-Mass-Effect-2-zombie-h5

Shepard also demonstrates hacking and electronic locksmithing skills within minutes of “waking up”. The simplest hypothesis is that she’s always been well-trained to use those but never did since she always had real specialists on hand such as Tali, Garrus or Kaidan.

During this era Shepard sports but light Alliance body armor and a military sidearm. The armour was kept in a medical lab. Presumably it includes specialised medical systems and compounds to facilitate her recovery.

Synthesis

Shepard is now a synthetic/organic fusion, but this is subtle. It seems that most of the skeleton (particularly the spine) was reinforced with metal so softer tissues could be cultivated upon those anchor points.

Several sorts of biodegradable cybernetic “scaffoldings” and reservoirs of energised medi-gel were used as further anchors for vat-grown tissues to rebuild Shepard’s body. Medical imaging suggests that Shepard’s bones are armoured using metallic shells that also interface with her organs, nervous system and circulatory systems to keep her body running.

Technically she’s a cyborg, but not in the typical comic-book sense such as Deathlok. Furthermore, the amount of non-organic scaffolding presumably diminishes over time as her body heals sufficiently to no longer need it and the medi-gel gets absorbed. Dr. Chakwas recommended visualisation exercises to hasten recovery.

The synthetic/organic fusion is almost certainly based on Reapers tech, specifically the circuitry used to animate husks. Shepard’s body thus generates and circulates Dark Energy, and small quantities of Element Zero may be involved. However, during the weeks covered by this writeup, Shepard is unaware of that.

The exact impact on Shepard is never explored. It is barely mentioned outside of a cinematic sequence describing the resurrection process. She could dramatically be described as an undead cyborg, but in practice there seems to be little difference from whom she was ante-mortem.

Our profiles for Mandala Shepard put much more emphasis on her resurrection than Mass Effect 2 actually does. One gets the impression that any intent by the writers to explore Shepard’s condition had to be cut out of the game due to time and resources constraints.


Description

When she is reactivated, Shepard looks corpse-like. Absence of melanin produces a deathly ashen grey skin and blue-ish lips. Her hair was kept shaven to have sensors stick to her scalp.

Her whole body is covered in jagged web-like scars. These openings are still packed with energised medi-gel, making her scars glow a red-orange light from within as the gel slowly expands its charge. This is a disconcerting sight.

Her physique is gaunt, her skin very dry and her soft tissues swollen and somewhat deformed.

Commander Shepard is evacuated from the Project Lazarus station

The worst is probably her eyes. There are large hematoma under her orbits, and her eyes were still being reconstructed. Previously, the eye sockets were kept empty to have a mess of cables access the brain.

There’s now a cybernetic scaffolding inside the sockets. This are visibly artificial eyes based on husk technology. They are set to dissolve as tissues regrow over them. Shepard’s obviously artificial eyes glow a Terminator-like red and are very unsettling. But they do relay high-definition images to her brain.

Via heavy exposure to surgery-grade energised medi-gel — essentially dunking her into the stuff for hours — the bulk of the damage is repaired within days. Mandala :

  • Gradually adopts a skin tone more akin to albinism than to being a corpse.
  • Regrows her eyes over the dissolving artificial structures. But for weeks they’re bloodshot and the scaffolding is still visibly glowing through the irises.
  • Sports scars that remain visible and glowing but keep receding.
  • Has her skin go from bone-dry to oily as she’s slathered with medi-gel.
  • Sees her eyebrows and hair regrow by a few millimetres.
  • Starts recovering her normal weight.
  • Etc..

Shepard’s throat was also damaged. Thus, she spoke with a sinister metallic flange due to artificial scaffolding therein. howbeit, her voice returned to normal over the span of a week. Joker made fun of her for speaking like Garrus.


Personality

Early on, Shepard is barely herself. She’s disoriented, aggressive, impatient and emotionally vulnerable – as well as in constant, severe pain. Even if one could ignore her appearance she exudes barely-restrained menace and experiences something of an attention deficit syndrome.

Mandala mostly recovers her composure over the next two weeks. During this time she is at best cranky and brusque. She spends most of her time semi-conscious in medi-gel tanks, an experience she describes as hours-long jello-wrestling matches against a colicky Krogan on a high-gravity world.

With a little help from my friends

A key factor in her rapid recovery is the support of her friends Dr. Chakwas and Joker. Howbeit, Moreau admitted that he was scared of the undead-looking and semi-unhinged Shepard.

After Shepard bruised two of Dr. Chakwas’s ribs while hugging her as she hallucinated that she was her mother, it was decided that Joker would stop being physically present. He nevertheless kept her company for a few hours each day via video-conferencing, when Shepard was conscious enough.

There was a four-days stretch during which Dr. Chakwas had to move to the Commander’s room to hold Shepard’s hand whenever she slept outside of the medi-gel tank. Shepard was experiencing violent nightmares and refused to be alone for more than a few seconds.

During this span, Shepard routinely hallucinated that Dr. Chakwas was her mother. She made confused and rambling speeches in Khmer apparently addressed to the ghost of Gunnery Chief Williams, the ghost of Corporal Jenkins and her father. She once hysterically attacked Dr. Chakwas while demanding to be reunited with Dr. T’soni.

During the latter incident she had to be biotically restrained by Lieutenant Jacob Taylor then repeatedly zapped unconscious as she wouldn’t stay down. For a day or two, Dr. Chakwas feared suicidal tendencies.

The dead heart

Near the end of her recovery, Shepard behaves almost normally. However she’s visibly tired and badly migrainous, with vicious flares of aggression or depression that she normally brings under control within a few seconds. Inside she feels hollow, horribly lonely, and depressed. She also experiences weird breakdowns and crying fits when she’s alone.

As she recovers a human appearance (albeit a very pale one with obviously artificial eyes), Shepard craves company. She can’t stand to be alone. She makes some particularly awkward passes at Jacob Taylor, and after Cerberus’ Yeoman Kelly Chambers makes a lighthearted flirting pass at her, Shepard hits on her like a large moose driving a giant mining truck.

After several months with an Asari lover Shepard no longer cares much about the gender of her potential suitors, and she is desperate for company.

A partially recovered Commander Shepard on the Normandy

Shepard after 12 days of recovery.

Shepard is almost certain that Chambers is a Cerberus spy assigned to monitoring her as closely as possible. She correctly assumes that they sent a woman following a misinterpretation of her sexual orientation based on her relationship with Dr. T’soni.

The Commander doesn’t care, though. Kelly appears to like her, doesn’t seem to mind Shepard’s appearance, is cute and is sweet to talk to. And that’s all that Shepard needs right now as she heals.

Mandala’s not looking for an actual relationship anyway. Her main non-mission goal is to locate Liara. This is despite alarming information from Cerberus about Dr. T’soni’s activities since Shepard’s death. Though they lived together for but a few weeks, frequent psychic fusion created a deep, intimate bond.

The dead start to walk in their masquerade

As she assumes her new command, Shepard is just going through the motions and playing a character – namely herself before her death. As she keeps doing that her reflexes, values and qualities are reasserting themselves out of habit. What she did by rote yesterday she does with some heart today, and will do with her full strength next week.

Part of her wants to cling to her pain as her situation feels so unnatural. But the Commander’s sense of duty is much stronger and forces her to recover ASAP.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Shepard

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding Good
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 05 Occupation: N.A.
Inf: 07 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 025 HP: 050

Powers:
Kinetic absorption (Structural damage only): 04, Regeneration: 02, Systemic antidote: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Regeneration receives a special +10 Bonus when it comes to recovering from surgical procedures.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing, Dodging): 04, Charisma (Intimidation): 08, Detective (Identification systems): 05, Gadgetry: 02, Martial artist: 04, Medicine (First aid): 02, Military science (Blitz, camouflage, cartography, danger recognition, demolition, field command): 06, Thief (Stealth): 03, Thief (Locks & Safes, Security systems): 05, Vehicles (Land, Water): 06, Weaponry (Firearms): 06, Weaponry (Heavy): 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Gadgetry is limited to maintenance, repair and power user operations.
  • Shepard receives a +2CS penalty to all OV/RVs if she attempts to use Artist (Dancer) Unskilled in campaigns that allow for it.

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Milky Way galaxy), Combat Shield Restoration, Expertise (Military protocols and equipment, Special military operations, Military intelligence operations), Familiarity (Earth history, Galactic history, Wilderness survival, Military history, Zero-G combat, Asari lore and basic knowledge of quarian and krogan society), Iron Nerves, Language (Khmer, Prothean, Council Trade, and some military vocabulary in Brazilian Portuguese, Tagalog, Standard Arabic, Russian and the major asari language), Lightning Reflexes, Schtick (Double-tapping).

Connections:
Councilor David Anderson (High), Cerberus – Cell Lazarus (Low), Illusive Man (Low), Dr. Karin Chakwas (High), Flight Lieutenant Jeff “Joker” Moreau (High), Admiral Hackett of the Fifth Fleet (Low).

Drawbacks:
Strange Appearance (gradually recedes to Creepy), Minor Rage (gradually disappears), MPR (needs near-constant medical monitoring or serious health problems will develop), Serious Psychological Instability (recedes to Minor near the end of this era).

Equipment:

  • M-3 Predator Heavy Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 06, Range: 04, Ammo: 12, R#02, Drawback: Shield and Barrier RV is considered one CS higher against this weapon, Limitation: Projectile weapon has No Range, use the listed Range instead] and four extra clips.
  • ONYX N7 ARMOUR [BODY (Hardened) 10 /BODY/ 04, Cling: 04, Cold immunity: 02, Flame immunity: 03, Lightning immunity: 03, ME2 Defences (Shields): 12, Radio communications (Booster): 02, Regeneration: 04, Sealed systems: 12, Shade: 02, Skin armour: 03, Medicine (First aid): 04, Limitations: Cling only works on metallic surfaces and reduces movement speed to 0 APs, Medicine (First aid) is Self Only, but works automatically, Skin Armour doesn’t work vs. Blunt or Structural damage]. This suit of armour doesn’t have full-powered shields, but it has excellent medical systems and large reservoirs of medi-gels and other drugs and solutions. It was presumably modified body armour intended as a wearable medical monitoring systems.
  • Omni-Tool [BODY 01, Data storage: 12, Radio communication: 13, Superspeed: 01, Limitation: Superspeed only for tasks involving processing information using the omni-tool, Advantage: Translator (10 pts)].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Enhanced textures by Jean-Luc Fortier.

Writeup completed on the 9th of April, 2012.

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