Mass Effect Timeline Issues and Kaidan’s Doubts

The events of Mass Effect 2 rightfully make Kaidan distrust Commander Shepard, particularly in light of their ME1 anti-Cerberus missions. The timeline that BioWare gives us for the entire span of events in Mass Effect 1 through 3, however, squeezes character arcs and the acts that influence them into a too-narrow slot.

They timeline that BioWare gives for events in the Mass Effect games runs from 2183 through 2186. Even assuming that you being in January of the first year and end at the very end of the last that's only four years for the entire series and Commander Shepard spends half of that dead.

Here’s how it runs in my head canon:

Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 11

Two more relatively uneventful weeks passed, filled with work and practice and three performances. On a Thursday evening the band met in the same corridor in which they’d gathered for their first Turian-Human dinner show.

Ambassador Udina strode down the crowded hall toward them, nose first, in one of his innumerable white tunics. He gave the crew a once-over before every performance, though he’d never found reason to complain. His persistence finally paid off.

“Where’s your pin?” Udina snapped at Jenkins.

The corporal paled and fumbled with a flap on his dress blues. “Sorry, sir,” he said. “I just had my uniform cleaned and I hadn’t put it back on, yet.” His shaking hand fished out the little note but it fell from his fingers. Udina made an impatient noise that prompted Anderson to step in to help.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 46

Some Powerful Therapy

Kaidan and I finished eating and he tucked everything away in that clever basket. It had begun to get dark by the time he finished and he came over to sit close, pulling me into him. We watched the sun set over the far hills, the lake turning a dozen unlikely colors, and a sense of unreality washed over me.

In all my life, I’d never known something like this. My defenses had dropped, even with my heart so exposed. It wasn’t that Kaidan would be with me forever, it was that he would never use my emotions against me. I trusted him never to exploit this weakness, something utterly new and wonderful. And so I sat with him, the most content I’d ever been, watching the sun go down on Horizon.

There were some other things soon after that that you don’t need to know about in detail. Suffice it to say that the springy grass under the blanket made for a comfortable surface and that we spent quite some time working off those sandwiches.

Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 10

The men practiced and played, worked their day jobs as usual, and socialized of an evening. Kaidan and Anderson made no headway in figuring out what Udina’s angle might be in arranging these performances. At the Alliance gatherings their energetic numbers had people dancing but turian reactions evolved no farther than polite applause and the occasional, furtive tapping toe.

Dr. Chakwas flitted in and out, now showing up for a drink or brainstorming a set list at a rare lunch, now popping in to practice for an hour, otherwise disappearing for days. It was no wonder so many had shown up to celebrate her birthday. She’d treated soldiers on nearly every ship in the fleet helped members of several species over the previous twenty-odd years.

Many of them kept in touch and the doctor followed on-going cases when they docked on the Citadel. Several high-ranking Turians and Salarians owed her their lives. At least one Asari refused to see any other doctor. That all made for a lot of demands on her time.

Double Monday: The Double, Chapter 45

If Life Were a Picnic

Just as Morinth was leaning in for whatever freaky thing she intended to do to me, the door slid open. Samara didn’t even speak, just hammered her daughter so hard that the backwash of her biotics sent me tumbling off the couch.

The pair seemed evenly matched and only the colors of their catsuits let me tell them apart as they and assorted debris flew about the room. I stayed on the floor, propping my back against the couch but otherwise keeping out the storm of objects and flailing limbs the two Asari created.

The fight raged on for about three weeks and I barely dared to get the occasional lick in when I could. I managed the occasional, biotic cheap shot at Morinth as she flew over my head before bounding back to charge a toaster for use as a projectile but mostly I just tried to keep my head attached to my body by keeping it down.

The two were having the sort of family fight about which I’d heard. It involved a lot of “because I said so” and “you made me like this” and “I brought you into this world and I can take you out” sorts of things. In the end it was Samara who was right: she did take Morinth out.

Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 9

The men met Chakwas at the rear entrance to the hall where the first reception was held. The dim corridor bustled with people of every species, the work that went on behind the scenes that few people even considered. Jenkins kept dodging trays of one thing or another that the serving crew carried past at impressive speed.

“Turians can’t even eat real food,” Pressly observed as a passing tray of some mysterious meat left a lingering, pungent odor. “The cooks have to make two full meals.”

“Half the species in the galaxy have different metabolisms,” Kaidan said, irked a bit by the navigator’s superior attitude. “It’s not like they chose to evolve that way, any more than we did.” Pressly shrugged and they both dropped it.

Kaidan hadn’t thought about how awkward parties would be to throw on the Citadel. You’d have to make sure that the right species got the right food or all of your guests would be off to the infirmary instead of celebrating. As he pondered how much must have gone into pulling off Chakwas’s birthday party Udina strode down the hall, beak of a nose in the air, impatiently maneuvering around various aliens without ever deigning to speak to them.

Mass Effect 3 One-Shot: Confirmation

Huerta Memorial has terribly narrow beds. The hospital also fails to provide the usual gowns to its patients, which was how I’d ended up lying tucked up in one of those beds with a nearly-naked Major Alenko in the first place.

He’d been in the hospital for a while and the now-greening bruises on his face reminded me anew each time I visited how close I’d come to losing him before we could do this again. The weeks he’d lain here, first unconscious and then too badly hurt to touch, we’d talked about what we’d been doing for the past four years without one another.

He’d told me he still loved me, that coming so close to death had proven to him there was no reason to hold back and no time to start over. Then he’d held my hand while I swallowed the relief I’d thought might burst my heart. He knew I was no good with words but his smile, even through the wince it caused, told me he knew what I couldn’t quite bring myself to say.

Tidbit Tuesday: An Awkward Proposition

“Let’s get married, Captain,” Corso said to me, all earnest puppy dog eyes and hopeful expression, down on one knee. “Will you marry me?”

I had a hard time keeping my own eyes from rolling in their sockets. “We’re in the middle of a war, Corso. I’m not really thinking long-term right now.”

“I love you,” he said. “I want you to be my wife, like you would be back home.”

I sighed. His constant idealization of his backwater life sometimes made me want to fly back to Ord Mantell and drop him right back where I found him.