Samantha Traynor (Mass Effect 3)

Specialist Samantha Traynor


Spc. Samantha Traynor is a supporting character introduced in the third Mass Effect video game.

She fills a triple role as :

  1. An information manager.
  2. A science and engineering expert.
  3. A potential love interest for a female Player Character .


More context


  • Real Name: Specialist Samantha Traynor.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed parents on Horizon.
  • Group Affiliation: Systems Alliance R&D.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 128 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Dark brown w/dark red highlights


Powers & Abilities

Samantha Traynor is remarkably intelligent, with a powerful deductive mind. She is unusually curious, and thrives on intellectual challenges.

Her military qualifications are the equivalent of a PhD in quantum physics, with a specialisation in quantum entanglement-based communications.

She seems handy with all sorts of technological tools, even outside of her speciality. Samantha also delights in pointlessly advanced, sophisticated and expensive techno-nerd gadgets. Especially if they involve some interesting applications of physics.

As a servicewoman she presumably has basic qualifications with military and firearms skills. But since she’s a science specialist they’re unlikely to be above regulation minima.

She has no special killing instinct, but can operate fairly well under pressure.

Our game stats assume that she doesn’t have military genetics enhancement. With her military occupation skill she never was meant to be anywhere near a battle.

Fundamentally entangled

Quantum entanglement communication (QEC) is still prohibitively expensive, but the work of Traynor and her colleagues now makes it possible to have multi-point communication. Previous generations — just some years ago — had to be custom-built around a specific pair of entangled particles, and communication was only possible between these two.

Now QEC is closer to a network, though it takes top-shelf specialised engineers to make it work right.

Since the physics involved are completely different from other forms of telecom, QEC is not blacked out by the presence of Reapers. The quality of communication is still degraded, but appropriate algorithms can compensate for the worst of it.

Thus, the QEC centre of the Normandy can communicate with QEC centres on Earth. Traynor and EDI soon develop the software to correct these communications to have clear audial and a pretty good visual signal.

During her service on the Normandy, Specialist Traynor essentially becomes the ship’s head of C4| (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) engineering, in partnership with her friend E.D.I..

Vicious games with different names

Traynor is a redoubtable player of strategy games. Her personal tastes are toward low-flash games such as chess, but she’s played a lot of computer wargames, 4X games , etc.

Having used so many strategy games GUIs informed her superior interface designs for the Normandy’s war room.

Samantha can proficiently play numerous alien strategy games. That includes Kepesh-Yakshi, a complicated military-themed Asari game vaguely resembling 3D chess in space. She has decent odds of victory even against Salarian or Asari experts.


Samantha playing for keeps (complete with a parody eyes closeup bit that gets me every time).


The Traynors are originally from London. They found life on Earth stifling and emigrated to Horizon . This is a colony in the Terminus systems, far from Systems Alliance regulations.

As a girl, Samantha had obvious aptitudes for the sciences. But her family couldn’t afford a tuition. Presumably, as they lived outside Citadel Space, Earth’s normal scholarship programmes were not open to her.

She went for the remaining option. Samantha enlisted with the Systems Alliance military. Her aptitude scores entitled her to a full scholarship at Oxford. After serving for the duration of the resulting contract, she decided that she liked being an Alliance Navy R&D quantics engineer. She re-upped.

Specialist Traynor’s research was about integrating multiple communication flows in a quantum entanglement comm device. It included transparent correction for time lag and a unique user interface to compensate for the quirks of QEC.

Other parts of the skunk works she was with studied Rachni  “telepathy” (actually an organic form of QEC). The goal was to try to develop new forms of telecoms.

Vertical horizon

In 2185, Traynor was visiting her parents on Horizon when the Collectors struck, abducting most colonists. The attack relied on a flying swarm of insect-like biological constructs using a biotic sting to paralyse people. Thus, the vast majority of colonists were frozen in place.

However, the legendary Commander Shepard intervened as the attack was still underway. Shepard and her tactical team routed the Collectors in a series of brutal battles. They became the first persons to ever defeat a Collectors kidnapping raid – an amazing military exploit.

The Commander was nevertheless dejected, as the Collectors had already kidnapped about 60% of the colonists. But unbeknownst to Shepard, the Traynors were among those colonists whom she saved.

We can rebuild her

A few months later, Samantha was assigned to the Normandy SR2 retrofitting team in Vancouver. She worked on improving Shepard’s ship, which had made the Commander’s counter-raid on Horizon possible.

Given her exceptional skills and work ethic, it seems likely that having Spc. Traynor work on the Normandy was a request of Admiral Anderson. This would have taken place much in the same way as Anderson had Dr. Chakwas and Flight Lieutenant Moreau transferred to the Normandy SR1 back in the days – or went out of his way to recruit James Vega.

Anderson intended to use the SR2 as his command ship. Thus, she needed the best communication and intelligence equipment.

Samantha Traynor saluting

Specialist Traynor worked on the comm systems to make them compatible with Alliance standards and procedures. She also studied the captured Cerberus comms equipment, and installed a number of fresh-from-the-skunkworks systems. Given her research, she was presumably the brains behind the war room installed on the Normandy for Anderson.

She seemed to be quite familiar with the entire infrastructure of the ship, including maintenance crawlspaces. One imagines that she had the intra-ship communication system rewired and personally installed the more exotic hardware.

During the months of work on the Normandy Sam became a friend of Joker, the ship’s helmsman. She also was an admirer of the voice of the onboard Virtual Intelligence E.D.I.. Samantha was intrigued by the abnormally lifelike quality of EDI’s rich feminine voice, and made numerous and graphic comments about how sexy it was.

End of the world

When the Reapers invasion hit Spc. Traynor was working inside the ship. Major Alenko scrambled the Normandy with whoever was on board. Without warning, Samantha became one of the next generation of the flight crew of the famous special operations frigate.

Specialist Traynor felt at once relieved and guilty to have escaped Earth. She also was stunned to find herself under the command of the living legend, Staff Commander Shepard.

Traynor was terribly anxious. Every crew member now had critical responsibilities, and Samantha felt intimidated by the Commander ’s charisma, reputation and attractiveness. Grabbing her fear by the horns, she announced that she would be the one reporting to the Commander.

This did not work too well at first as Traynor was exceedingly nervous. But the kind and warm Shepard helped her find her footing.

Traynor expected to be replaced by somebody with naval combat experience. However E.D.I. requested that Traynor stay. Samantha’s engineering was superior and she knew the frigate inside and out.

At this point it became clear that E.D.I. was a full Artificial Intelligence rather than a much simpler Virtual Intelligence. This is what Spc. Traynor had long suspected despite Joker’s lies. Samantha was mortified due to her numerous past remarks about E.D.I.’s sexy, sexy voice. She now knew that her lurid comments had been about a person, rather than a program.

But E.D.I. did not mind, and Traynor and the A.I. soon became friends.

Getting down to it

On the Normandy Traynor became a strange, ad-hoc combination of yeoman, communications engineer and intelligence analyst. Beside running the comm systems and the war room, she :

  • Prioritised messages for the Commander.
  • Integrated intelligence into the war room’s databases.
  • Analysed reports and SIGINT data that caught her attention.

Traynor soon demonstrated considerable value-added in her SIGINT analysis. Among other exploits she determined that communications sent about the Grissom Academy were fakes. This disinformation was masking an impending attack on the school.

This allowed Commander Shepard to counter-strike, and rescue a dozen highly promising students in biotics and in technology. That, plus other high-value individuals such as :

  • Special needs student David Archer. Mr. Archer was a maths genius whom the Commander had previously rescued from Project Overlord.
  • Headmistress Kahlee Sanders. Ms. Sanders was a brilliant computer scientist and an Alliance junior officer, as well as Admiral Anderson’s lover.
  • Biotics instructor Jack aka Subject Zero. Jack formerly was with Shepard’s tactical team and was the most powerful known Human biotic.

Play it again, Sam

Traynor’s signal intelligence work later revealed that Cerberus was about to storm a base established by renegade ex-Cerberus scientists. This once again allowed Shepard to come in in time to assault the assaulters.

As a result the entire research team, plus their dependants and the Commander’s friend Jacob Taylor joined the Systems Alliance.

Samantha and E.D.I. also finished the datafeed integration and the GUI implementation for the war room on the Normandy. This made it a critical C2  centre for the joint species command.

This war room was probably the best place in the galaxy to have pangalactic strategic data in real-time and displayed in a clear, organised fashion. It was used at some time or another by :

Crisis on the Citadel

While the ship was in drydock on the Citadel for a thorough maintenance, Specialist Traynor was the only crewmember who stayed aboard. She presumably was needed to direct part of the work.

She took a short break to get herself a new toothbrush, sticking with her grotesquely overpriced Mass Effect-employing favourite model. When she came back, Commander Shepard aggressively fired her. The shocked Specialist Traynor was kicked out of the Normandy.

Samantha Traynor face closeup

Minutes later a firefight erupted amidst the drydock. Traynor saw Shepard, Garrus Vakarian and Tali’Zorah vas Normandy running toward the Normandy with guns smoking. As Samantha demanded to know why she had been discharged, Commander Shepard told her that the person who had fired her was an impostor.

However, the Normandy was now locked down and about to take off.

Never underestimate an engineer with a toothbrush

Traynor located the nearest emergency hatch, then overclocked the Mass Effect generator of her toothbrush to unlock it. Shepard, Vakarian and vas Normandy got in in the nick of time. After a brutal fight, they retook the Normandy.

Samantha Traynor had become a part of “Team Shepard”. She was invited when the Commander threw a party for her friends and all survivors from her successive tactical teams. Though not terribly comfortable with parties and crowds in general, and intimidated by the caliber of the guests, Traynor was soon swept up by the camaraderie.

Spc. Traynor served on the Normandy all the way to the final assault against the Reapers. During the final days she went through the successive shocks of seeing how Horizon had been turned into a charnel house, and how London was but a battered ruin littered with corpses and undead monsters.


Traynor wears the current model of Alliance field uniform with a specialist badge.

Like most Humans in the Mass Effect future she is very fit. Like most Humans in the Mass Effect future it is difficult to give her an age. But from the timeline she is presumably in her late 20s.

Her family was probably from the Indian subcontinent before they moved to the UK and then to the Terminus systems. She generally looks like somebody from India, Pakistan and/or Bangladesh, albeit with a large dose of European heritages thrown into the mix.

Samantha speaks with a RP accent, straight from Oxford. Howbeit, she sounds less posh and old-fashioned than Dr. Chakwas does.

Her hair is shiny and with subtle, warm violet/deep red highlights. This is presumably a sci-fi permanent dye.


Traynor is smart, curious, perceptive and perky. She is very excited to have ended up on the Normandy. Sam is also 100% committed to have everything run smoothly and to provide the Commander with the best possible environment to take decisions during Humanity’s darkest hour.

Suddenly finding herself on a cutting edge Marines Special Forces warbird in such desperate circumstances made Spc. Traynor quite nervous. Furthermore, she wanted her work to be flawlessly awesome since it was to help *the* Commander Shepard save the universe. Thus, she kept tripping on her own feet to justify trivial imperfections.

As a superior manager, the Commander made sure to defuse Traynor’s stress down to productive levels. She ensured that she could work comfortably, and clearly acknowledged her accomplishments. This plus the friendship of Joker, E.D.I. and others eventually allowed Samantha to behave in a more confident and relaxed manner.

She also learned how to live on a warship. She’s career military, but her work conditions were 95% similar to those of a civilian scientist.

Spc. Traynor is a hardcore strategy gamer and wargamer, with a surprisingly competitive streak. When she plays she gets in the zone, forgetting everything else and pouring everything she has into playing as best as she can. Just like when she works.

Ah, romance

Specialist Traynor has no inclination whatsoever toward men. However she is very interested in sexy ladies – but they make her nervous. She simultaneously wants to be bit raunchy and provocative to catch their interest, yet maintain a certain dignity and a veneer of properness and professionalism.

There also seems to be a tension between her generally introverted character and her wish to amuse and impress beautiful women. She thus resorts to a lot of double entendre, and addresses various compliments to Commander Shepard – but always with plausible deniability. She also flirts a bit with Diana Allers, the journalist embedded on the Normandy.

Like most, Traynor initially assumed that the Commander was lesbian or bisexual due to her relationship with Dr. Liara T’Soni. To her disappointment, Joker explained to her that Asari and women were different. This explanation was accompanied by numerous graphic but not necessarily accurate details drawn from his ample collection of Asari porn.

Though Traynor still made a few passes using innuendo, Commander Shepard gently indicated that she and T’Soni were inseparable. Samantha soon let go of the idea. She occasionally flirted a bit with the Commander later on, but it was friendly and meant to amuse. It also occurred in a cultural context where same-gender flirting is unremarkable.

Traynor is a sensual person. Her innuendo and preferences often involve warm liquids and silky materials, she loves body care experiences such as massages and jacuzzis, seems to be a connoisseur of women’s sex gadgetry, and apparently has a kink involving woman-shaped mechs.


Sam takes a ton of medications against minor but tiring conditions such as allergies, headaches, digestive issues, etc.. However there are indications that her actual condition is being a hypochondriac.

Likewise, she’s not very good with crowds and parties, and listed public speaking among her “allergies”. She obviously has an anxiety problem, but her numerous meds (many of which are placebos) keep that under control and her work performance unhindered.

Her love for hot tubs, massage oils, loofahs and other ways to feel clean and relaxed might be related to anxiety constantly tensing her up. Early on, Spc. Traynor frequently wrung her hands when talking, thought that receded as she became more confident, got results and felt appreciated.

As she works on the Normandy with the firm support of Commander Shepard and her crew, Traynor experiences significant growth. She goes from an anxious and awkward egghead to a determined, resourceful and poly-competent scientific and engineering officer with a genuine talent for getting things done.

She also becomes a personal friend of the Commander as they occasionally go on shore leaves together to relax. This makes her a part of “team Shepard” – the pack of high-level badasses who are the Commander’s comrades-in-arms.


(To the Commander) “If anybody in the galaxy can defeat the Reapers, it’s you. And if flagging your messages and managing strategic intel helps you in any way, then it’s worth it.”

Commander Shepard: “If you need to buy toiletries, we can put in a requisition order. We’re all in this together.”
Traynor: “My toothbrush is a Cision Pro Mark 4. It uses tiny Mass Effect fields to break up plaque and massage the gums.” (beat, looks around with a conspirator’s air, whispers) “It cost 6,000 credits.”
Shepard (laughing warmly): “Okay, yeah, you’re on your own with that.”

“Oh, believe me, seeing the Reapers on Earth was terrifying. But I won’t help anybody by bursting into tears here on the CIC, will I ?”

(About EDI) “That voice ! It’s like feeling smoky satin across your skin in soft candlelight. Just… mmmm !”

Cdr. Shepard: “Good catch, Traynor.”
Spc. Traynor (nervously, quickly): “*If* this is really Cerberus, hopefully this operation is something worth investigating. It could be simple disinformation…”
Cdr. Shepard: (raises her hand to make her stop, looks her in the eyes, them warmly) “Traynor. Good. Catch.”
Spc. Traynor (gazing intently at the nearest control panel): “Thank you Commander.”

(About the Normandy) “It’s… not like the lab. It’s like living in a shoebox !”

Traynor: “Playing chess with you would be more fun than playing EDI. EDI doesn’t sweat.”
Shepard: “You sweat when playing chess ?”
Traynor: “It depends how much fun we’re having.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Specialist Traynor

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Uphold Humanity
Int: 04 Wil: 07 Min: 04 Occupation: Telecoms engineer, intel analyst
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 009 HP: 005

Gadgetry: 05, Scientist (Drawing plans): 06, Scientist (all others): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Traynor operates in a Genre with realistic Gadgetry rules – inventions are generally a major, lengthy, costly engineering project.

Expertise (Physics, Strategy games, Computer science, Strategic Intelligence Analysis), Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols, Normandy SR2 architecture), Scholar (Communication systems, SIGINT).

Bonuses and Limitations:
Her Expertise in Strategic Intelligence Analysis is originally a Familiarity, and her Scholar in SIGINT is originally an Expertise.

Staff Commander Shepard (High), crew of the SSV Normandy SR2 (High).

Misc.: Sam is an hypochondriac, and has general anxiety issues.


  • BASIC OMNI-TOOL [BODY 01, Data storage: 14, Radio communication: 13, Superspeed: 01, Limitation: Superspeed only for tasks involving processing information using the omni-tool, Misc.: Translation database].
  • If she needs to be armed, Traynor will presumably be issued a M-8 Avenger assault rifle.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Mass Effect universe, character voiced by Alix Wilton Regan .

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 11th of January, 2013.