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OK, so it happens. Here you are, on Tuchanka, being all bad ass and having the best possible match of your entire life, rocking it as a Turian Ghost, spamming and shooting all the things with your trustee Harrier…and just generally kicking a lot of butt. When your Dad calls, he needs to do something on the TV. You panic, wondering what to do, you can’t pause the game! So you either keep fighting, or find a quaint corner of the battlefield and hole up for a little while.

If you have any experience with multi-player games then this, (or some variation there of) has probably happened to you. You are playing along, minding your own business, when someone interrupts your playing time with some emergency…and there is no pause button!

Well, I may have just the solution for you!

During E3, I actually watched some of the press coverage for E3, I was able to wath some of the Forza press conference. Aside from the usual demonstration of graphics, tracks, game play features, and the description of the multi-player component came one interesting tid bit of information.

Using the Cloud and their Cloud servers the presenter for Forza claims they can develop and even use their Cloud Based servers to store your online information. Then they use that information to build a profile of you, your driving habits, how fast you go, etc. Then this profile, when you are offline, can race for you and build in-game credits and rewards and race against other people’s avatars and real life drivers.

Now I am not a fan of racing games, or at least haven’t been in a long time, nor am I really a fan of this whole Cloud thing. Not yet, not with what is going on with the NSA and hacking and all sorts of other things.

But I am excited about this. Because it has the potential of solving the defining issue of our times, as far as video gaming is concerned. Because if the gaming industry is so bound and determined to go in more of a multi-player direction, and they seem to be with the advancement of several MMOs coming out for even next generation consoles, then this is the problem. Simply, how do you pause something, and abandon your team mates, when you have an emergency or something very simple like someone wants to check the sports scores…or something.

Well my proposal is similar to the Forza one.

When you hit the pause button on your game, or just leave the match for something a AI takes over your character. Taking your class, your level, your weapons, and your abilities into account. Taking your fighting style and your combat record and accomplishments and fighting for you, till the end of the horde mission or the quest or the dungeon or whenever.

Then I believe you should be able to set your profile in order to have the AI fight in a certain way. Say ‘Conservative’, ‘aggressive’ or ‘balanced’…all depends on how much you trust your AI avatar to get the mission done.

And if you fear Big Brother and Big Brother Corporate invading your privacy with this technology, you should be able to turn it off, and then you can just create your profile based on what weapons and technology and powers you use. Of how this online avatar will fight.

They wouldn’t fight for you when you are off-line, I believe, but you will not really abandon your team, and you will get whatever bonuses you would have gotten had you stayed with the team, or at least whatever the AI can gather. And then you disappear to lala land ready for you whenever you can jump on and play again.

So what do you think? Good idea, bad idea, practical or unpractical? Will people abuse this? If you believe in this then spread it around, or share with me companies who are already doing this so I can give them a proper nod of respect.

One of the reasons why fiction is such a powerful tool for education and learning is that it can draw on real life events and circumstances and apply them to new worlds and times and events. Teaching the lessons of history in the stories of wars against other planets and through the eyes of a boxer winning over a crowd. But the allegory is one of the most risky things to try, ridiculed by authors, because people often confuse the general, with the specific.

For an allegory to be effective I believe it needs to stick to general lessons. Of the moral principles behind the actions and not the specific actions themselves. After all, especially with science fiction or today’s military technology, or in comparing mutants to certain groups, the risk is always that there is some fundamental difference between what you are trying to portray, and the actual event itself.

Spoilers for Star Trek Into Darkness to follow.

In Star Trek Into Darkness Kirk has to go hunt down Khan. He has to do so behind enemy lines, inside Klingon space, an action that will surely cause a war, an action which leads him to fire on the Klingon Home world to try to take out this one man.

Without a trial, without bringing him in first, without going through the proper jurisdiction procedures of what they believed at the time to be an Earth citizen. Without even trying to play nice. So, in essence a targeted assassination… from space.

This brings to mind the current drone programs, and our own battles with jurisprudence and our principles. Whether it is right or wrong for us to be killing Americans without charge. Specific, easy to understand principles. Though all the explosions and death a lesson worthy of any science fiction.

But yet some people chose to compare it to… the Iraq War. Which granted is all apart of our current problems but its the specific event that is triggering the debate, and the larger ‘war on terror’.

But specifically it just does not fit.

Iraq, while powerful militarily, was a small nation with limited resources and was by no means a ‘super power’. They didn’t have the technology, the professionalism, or the soldiers to put up much of a fight against the Federation of Planets… erm I mean Coalition of the Willing.

While the Klingon Empire is the Military super power in the Star Trek universe. They have the technology, they have the ships, they have the manpower, and they are an empire, so they are anything but small. It implies just the opposite. They have been on the Galactic Stage for centuries.

While Humanity at this point is relative new comers. Not military strong in the least. The comparison does not hold up to scrutiny.

So this is my advice, when writing, when making an allegory, you can use a specific event for inspiration. But in the long run use general cases and principles to set things up.

In the Doctor Who episode A Good Man Goes to War the Doctor posits that good men don’t need rules, and that it was not the time for the people around him to find out why he had so many. So, why do good people don’t need rules? And why do bad people need them? And does that mean one has to be perfect?

Because, we can argue on what it means to be a good man or a bad man, but the only thing that really matters is the best man. Do the best of us need rules? Do the best men and perfect men need rules? Well I contend no, but can any one of us call ourselves the best and the perfect?

People ask why we need the rule of law, we need a Government…granted a very small and toothless Government but a Government none the same… why we need the bible or the Qur’an or the principles of Buddha, Tao, and Confucius.

Well, the answer, because men need rules. Even if it’s a personal code of ethics, something we can identify with and make our own. No matter what it is, if it does not involve the intentional and deliberate killing of human life.

Even if those rules don’t mean anything and are just for teaching discipline and respect. Even if they are just silly rules for when people are young and to get through the early part of their life so they can again learn the valuable lessons of life. This is what rules is about.

For, as the writers of the Federalist papers pointed out, if men were angels we would not need Government.

But yet the Government needs rules to, because they are made up of just as corruptible men as any other organization and even as the individuals of which make them up.

I also think why early man, in one way or another, needed their early religions like Judaism and Hinduism to help get them through. Their laws may seem draconian to a twenty-first century mind, but a lot of them were about teaching discipline to people who desperately needed it. While giving them enough of the good stuff to move them forward.

Whether it is the individual or groups of men gathering for common cause, we need rules. We need to respect our rules, even if they are the wrong rules then the best thing to do is to change them or find a new code, not break them entirely.

Spoilers for the Name of the Doctor

“The Soufle isn’t the Soufle the Soufle is the recipe.” Clara Oswin Oswald.

“I said he was me, I never said he was The Doctor. My name my real name, that is not the point, the name I chose is The Doctor. The name you choose is it’s like, like a promise you make. He’s the one who broke the promise.” The Doctor.

The Name of the Doctor aired just a few weeks ago. The episode was packed, chalked full of revelations, world shattering events, great characters, and the culmination of a series running arc while at the same time setting up the events for the fiftieth anniversary special this November. Steven Moffat pulled off a masterpiece of writing, it was a cool celebration of fifty years of Doctor Who with its own cool twists and turns.

But more importantly it was a testament to who the Doctor is as a person. The episode didn’t end up being so much about the name of the Doctor, but the Identity of the Doctor. And in so doing provides an example for all of us to follow in our interactions with people.

In short the episode comes down to the quote by Clara Oswin Oswald, the Soufle is not the Soufle, the Soufle is a recipe. Any individual is not the individual but a smattering of physical and mental traits ‘a recipe’. Characteristics that define us, and often do not look anything like they do when they put into a complete package. It is hard to see bone and sinew below the skin, it is hard to see intelligence and brains, especially if someone is shy about it.

This episode proved and showed a lot about the Doctor and Clara’s respective characters. They both shared they are willing to care, and sacrifice themselves, for the individual.

One of the most powerful scenes in the episode, aside from the River Kiss and the big reveal at the end, was when Clara was figuring it out, who she was to the Doctor and his life. But also what it would mean for her, that she would have to sacrifice herself to save his life.

Now here the universe was falling apart because of the Great Intelligence’s manipulations, because he was rewriting the Doctor’s timeline. The Doctor was falling apart and dying on the floor in tremendous pain over and over and over again. Thus every good deed, every world he saved, all of that was coming to an end, and the universe was ending as a result. And yet he did not care about any of this, only caring about the life of one woman. Pleading with her not to sacrifice herself. Pleading with her to live and continue on, to not kill herself for his behalf again. All he could see was the individual, the woman, in front of him.

And then after she had accomplished her task, after the Doctor was alive and well, he was going to throw himself into the time stream. An action which would likely kill him and force his time stream to collapse on itself. Probably causing the very actions that she had just prevented.

Nothing is a more powerful indication of who the Doctor is as a man, or at least who he tries to be. Someone who never looses sight of the small picture. Of the connection to the individual person. The line he gave from the Christmas Special, a Christmas Carol, “You know that in Nine Hundred Years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important…”

The Doctor at the heart of it all is an individualist. Someone who does not, or tries not to, lose focus on the smallest parts of life, the individual. Never looses his focus. It did not matter, really, if the universe was falling apart, he was going to save one woman. And when things were in the balance, when the lives of hundreds of people were at risk because of death from above, he balanced the scales, taught a greedy Scrooge of a man to love, gave a woman the proper death she deserved, and saved every one else.

Which is why, though, I think he needs Companions because this is a man who often deals with species waging war against one another and universe and world shattering events. This is a man who has wiped out whole races and has had to stand firm in difficult choices. It is hard not to lose perspective. And when he does this is when he is at his worse.

Perhaps this is what happened to John Hurt’s Doctor? Perhaps this truly is a testament to not only what the Doctor’s name is, but more importantly who he is as a person.

And now this news is very old, but since this is not really a current events blog, here we go. I also apologize for not having a lot of fun blogs lately but alas.

This story first came to my attention when two guest hosts were filling in on the Glenn Beck program, (sorry I forgot their names), and well it got me thinking, on perhaps a case study on why I am a Libertarian and why I am in fact a Libertarian.

This representative is in ignorance of this issue. She does not know the difference between a magazine and a clip. Something which she should know given the issues she is being forced to vote on in this day and age.

But yet she is forcing herself on an issue, of which she is ignorant of, by virtue of her position and the fact that Gun Control is a hot button issue.

This is the perfect response for anyone who asks, why are you a libertarian? Why do you distrust the Government so much? Why do you not want a central authority with the ability to give out things like health care and gun control and free abortion stuff.

Because, by and large, politicians are not experts at anything other than being politicians. And even if they were our expertise or knowledge base often extends to a few subjects we are interested in. Yet politicians, these days, are often asked to make decisions that affect each and every aspect of our lives. Everything from house insurance to border security to important and vital foreign policy interests.

I am a Libertarian because, while I have a general trust with people, I do not trust them to make decisions of this importance and which are so broad in nature. And I do not trust them because I do not trust myself.

Because I did not know the difference between a magazine and a clip, I was not sure. And while I do not trust myself with power long before this, it’s still another reason why its a bad idea.

And if I cannot trust myself with power over my life or anyone else’s because I am ignorant of a great many things, then how can I trust the people in charge? Who could be just as stupid on the thing they are being asked to make a decision of.

Even with expert testimony, being rushed in, giving people graphs and information and statistics left and right, yelling and shouting, doing this for millions of issues, really?

We are supposed to make decisions on this?

And then biases come into it, data that supports my position will sound better to me then data that doesn’t. So again, how can we trust politicians to make the right choice in this issue?

So I fall as a Libertarian, legalize almost everything and let the chips fall where they may based on the individual and then let the individuals and the community try to deal with the consequences.

Not mandates from stupid or ignorant people, not one size fits all solutions, just let people try to do their best with their own ignorance and brilliance.

That way all they harm is themselves, or the people around them, but not the three hundred million people around them.

This past week the country, and Major League Baseball in particular, celebrated ‘Jackie Robinson day’. And in the spirit of the occasion I would like to offer up my perspective on just what it means to me to celebrate and enjoy this event. The Majors celebrated it with a huge league wide celebration, all the players across the league wore the number 42, and a new movie starring Harrison Ford just premiered.

While this day is important, and while I acknowledge and even appreciate what Jackie did and his legacy. I sometimes wonder, just what is the point?

While this question may sound flippant it really isn’t because in the modern-day quest of acceptance of many people, many people are turning to their organizations and governments to ‘do the right thing’. To legislate certain activities that some consider to be unkosher, that some others have no problem with. That some are trying to force themselves on certain organization that may not accept all their extra curricular activities. And on, and on, and on, and on it goes.

In other words, we could stand to learn a lot from Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey, and even from the Negro Leagues. How they comported themselves, how they reacted to the world around them, from their failures, and their triumphs.

The principle lesson that should be learned, the first point that needs to be made, is that all of these people, all of the individuals, all of the organizations, were private. Unless there was some Government involved in the process behind the scenes. And in fact in many cases the Government were making laws that helped to prohibit and make it more difficult for the Major Leagues or the Negro Leagues to conduct business.

In the end of the day the story of Jackie Robinson was a series of bold and dramatic choices. Major League teams at the time, for their reasons, did not have colored people playing. The Negro Leagues saw this situation and decided to start their own business to appeal to a customer base hungry for the product they could provide, mainly black Baseball players. And then Branch Ricki, for his own reasons, decided to start a bold experiment and let Jackie Robinson play ball for the then Brooklyn Dodgers.

That was basically it. No one forced anyone to do anything. No one forced Branch Rickey to take on Jackie Robinson. No one forced the Negro Leagues to open their doors and provide a product their owners thought was lacking. No one forced Jackie to play baseball in the Major or Minor Leagues. And no one seemed to force MLB to go along with the scheme in the first place since, while his playing was contentious, he was still allowed to play.

The only force that was applied, it would seem, was from the racist ball players and fans who booed him, tried to bean him, or just prevent him from playing.

But other than that this was a private partnerships engaged by individuals and groups of individuals.

Now on the flip side of the equation the Negro Leagues did allow white baseball players to serve around the same time Jackie Robinson did. (Source) And as that same source points out the Government in the South made it next to impossible for white players to take the same field with black athletes.

The only force in the situation was being applied, by Government, to prevent businesses from practicing.

So what is the lesson here?

That if you do not like what some organization does the best solution might not be to force them to do something against their beliefs, for you could be in the same position when the Government forces you to do something against yours, but maybe to form your own organization. Maybe to start meeting in private home groups of neighborhood and city blocks and go camping and practice good manners and good leadership out in the woods and the trails of the US. Or to form your own religious organization where you can do whatever the heck you want when it comes to joining two people. Or your own Hotel chain where…well I think you get the idea.

And as for those other organizations? Well maybe you can wait them out. Be forceful, be polite, state your opinion, engage on the battlefield of ideas but if they do disagree, then let them.

And if they do disagree instead of thinking they have taken away some fundamental human right go out there and seize it on your own. Go out and love, go out there and associate, go out there and form your own businesses and organizations. They did it, why can’t you?

I am stuck in the position that I often find myself in of having so many blogs and ideas I want to discuss that I am not exactly sure where to begin. But this is something that is the most recent, and maybe the most heart-felt, so maybe I should start here eh?

To a lot of people (statists of varying degrees) it is impossible to separate the idea of morality from ideas on law and Government. The two ideas are indistinguishable from one another, as are culture and society and what a people ‘want’, this is all reflected and even intimately linked with Government. And while I do agree with that to a certain, very small extent compared to a lot of others, I have been forced to wonder how one can promote two, in this case seemingly contradictory ideas, at the same time. After all if something is the right thing to do, the definition of a word, or even the moral ideal then should we not put it into law that things should be this way?

If it works for me why shouldn’t it work for everyone? After all the Government has successfully given me benefits and insurance and has kept a roof over my head or kept my kid from eating dog meat or has helped the sick and the elderly. Without these benefits we would not have a thing.

This is the argument that helps justify the mantra: Bottom line Government does have a role and a large and important role to boot in making sure people are safe and fed and cared for.

Then the counter argument becomes, since society, culture, morality, and law are so closely entwined in this scenario, the argument becomes if you do not support these programs, if you do not think the Government should be enforcing a standard of living in this regard then you must want kids to starve, or are in favor of the things we want the Government to be involved in (Gay Marriage).

Whatever I feel on these issues specifically on a case by case basis it is possible for me to not like something, but not want the Government to touch it. To be moral on our own without having to wait for the Governments permission or sing songy approval.

It is possible for me to be, for argument’s sake, against Gay Marriage but not want the Government to interfere.

The reason? Well as obvious as this is I am not God. Nor am an especially great and upstanding individual. I don’t think this needs to be said one of my forms of entertainment is to blabber on a WordPress blog at obscene hours of the night instead of doing more normal things.

So I am not God, I am not a fantastic person, good maybe, but I am still trying to figure out many of life’s mysteries.

And so is the vast majority of humanity.

And yet we feel comfortable in enforcing our morality on others? Even if it says so in a book we hold dear? We feel the need to go out and be busy bodies and try to enforce our morality on others when we have issues, problems, when we can be corrupt or make bad decisions because of our desires?

No, I generally am very uncomfortable with doing this. And I am also uncomfortable when people do this on my behalf. When politicians start doing things I support and consider a good idea I generally reconsider the idea.

In at least a short aside from my Mass Effect stuff, oh and hi btw, but in a short aside I really have to get this off my chest. Kinda commenting on this issue in the time and since once again Gay Marriage is in the news. And in the Political arena, and is something that should be talking about.

But…I hate it. In the past I have talked about my dislike of this issue. Not because I hate gays or Christians but because this issue just should not be. We have bigger fish to fry, other issues that are at stake. And the solution, one way or another, for this problem is patently obvious. And yet people spend most of their time just yelling at each other and not focusing on trying to solve anything.

So as a result I tend to shut down on this issue, sure I have talked about it but I have shut down on this and probably a lot of issues. For one reason or another. But again if I don’t speak out, maybe no one else will. Which could be the whole point of this blog.

So here I was, here I sit, getting angry, getting miserable, wondering what to do. So I went to Facebook and explained my issue: That the solution to this problem is for both sides to shut up, have a reasonable debate, respect each others rights…both of you!

And well I built that Facebook post, and well I did get some support from it.

So I built, and they came.

Here I was thinking that I was virtually alone in this issue when the two sides in this political debate seemed bound and determined to tear each other apart at the seams for not believing what they believed, for either wanting to change the definition of the word marriage, or to take away the ‘rights’ from a group of Americans.

And this has left me with a sense of unerring depression and angst that two groups of people could do this to one another and potentially put the country in greater jeopardy when we have so many other massive issues to worry about then this. We are risking a borderline Civil War in some respects, one group of the country or the other absolutely not agreeing with the other, over a disagreement on definitions and rights. And people wonder why I dislike Government?

But I took a stand, I got tired of it and since the issue is in the national consciousness again I made a ‘mini blog’ on Facebook. Not exactly something I am proud of, Facebook probably is not the best medium to engage in something like this. Not even sure if WordPress is the best place to engage in something like this.

But then something quite remarkable, though not unexpected happened People responded to the post, and they were agreeing with me, that government should get out of marriage and leave it up to the individuals and organizations involved to worry about it.

Jared Tapia and Scott Lehner made a comment in support of this idea.

Austin Petersen made a comment on his own Facebook in support of it which other fellow Libertarian commentators came on in support.

Now knowing Libertarians like I do this should not have come as a surprise. Yet it was heart warming. That here I was making a bold post or what I thought was a bold post and then more and more people came out to support it.

Jared made a bold post, and then people came out to support him.

Austin had people who supported his views.

I built it, and people came. We may surround them after all.

But for all of these people there are still people out there who want Government meddling in marriage. Because, well to paraphrase in a very simplistic manner, that we are too dumb. Or people are too dumb sometimes to know what they are doing, what they are getting into, and have no way of knowing how to get out of it. So we all have to suffer. Not by strengthening the individual, but by forging a stronger Government.

They are entitled to their opinion, and on some level they might be right.

But I built it, I took a stand, and people gathered around me. Letting me know where they stood, either as allies, or as…well enemies might be a strong word…but as opponents to my ideological preferences.

And this ultimately, is good.

Alright, I decided…like I decided months ago…that the second post that I would make to celebrate the one year anniversary of Mass Effect 3 would be another opinion piece about that pesky ending. Getting tired yet?

Now this blog, as my opinion, acknowledges that even though the ending is vastly improved under the Extended Cut, and even though I like it…there is still a lot of problems with it. Now this blog will address the first set of problems, I plan on doing the second part later as more of a general blog. If you the readership remind me of this I shall do it.

So, the ending to Mass Effect 3 is drastically improved, but it still does not feel right, and pails into comparison to another ending…to another Video Game…that was so far in the past to almost be unremembered…namely Mass Effect 2.

Now Mass Effect 2s ending, the Suicide Mission, and the ‘End Run’ towards the end of the game, was near perfection, marred only by what some consider to be a sub standard boss fight. But the rest of it? Was good.

So why is this? And why did the Mass Effect 3 ending fall on its face in comparison?

Well in the main way it had to do with presentation, and how they handled the story.

Mass Effect 2 the entire story was devoted to the gathering of a special team, gathering their loyalty, gaining resources, and solving mysteries all in preparation for one suicidal attack through the Omega 4 Relay.

Throughout it you got to personally know the characters and personally lead gain their loyalty by completing tasks for them. But throughout the end depending on the choices you make, anyone is at risk.

The last mission was a reveal of this entire thing. Your entire efforts, stopping the Collectors, your decisions and efforts on who you made loyal and didn’t make loyal throughout the game. The upgrades you made to your ship. Whatever you did you choices mattered. And yeah, they mattered in the end of Mass Effect 3 with the inclusion of the Extended Cut, but you had a personal stake in the mission. Your choices didn’t affect the entire game, the entire universe, just the mission and the men and women you were fighting with. Which made it purely personal.

Plus the musical score really kicked ass but that is beside the point. 😛

But the events of the story flowed naturally from one to another where it all just sort of fit from one to another. The surprise at the end was logical to what you knew about the threat you were facing. And while you faced a decision, it wasn’t universally shattering. And it was exactly what you set out to do from the start.

And about ME 3? Well Mass Effect 3 had many of these elements, the entire story was devoted to dealing with the Reaper threat in one way shape or form, your actions in the game did affect what you could do in the ending.

But it didn’t have that emotional personal connection. It was not truly representative of spending an entire game where everything you did went into that one final moment. Instead you got an info dump and you had to face one last grand decision that didn’t really effect your team, but faceless millions of beings.

This all has to do with presentation. In the Suicide Mission you felt your efforts pay off, you saw your efforts pay off, your team lived and died on you, the musical score and the action kept it going to where you got the sense that this was the end of the line, everything that you did to this point mattered.

Which as another aside I think is why Mass Effect 2 is such a good game. A lot of the game to that point was pretty plain at times, but to watch your efforts pay off, was just amazing, whereas ME 3 had the opposite effect.

And ME 3 you didn’t see your war assets, you didn’t see your efforts pay off. You never really saw your war assets fighting, never saw any different, never actually saw how your decisions mattered. Just they did in a metaphysical sense in how effective the Crucible was.

So in other words, ME 2 was an emotional build up with a climax for that build up, ME 3 for whatever reason failed to deliver. A noble effort, but it was just not as polished.

Well this past week has been the one year anniversary commemorating the end of the Mass Effect trilogy. It started, basically, with the release of the Reckoning DLC pack, then of the Citadel, and what looks like it could be the last major Multiplayer weekend challenge that they will do, though that remains to be seen.

Hello all, sorry once again for not blogging, and I do feel kind of sorry that this is my first blog back after a while. Nevertheless, I did say to myself and decided months ago that I would do something, blog wise, and many somethings to commemorate the one year anniversary of ME 3. I had no idea though that I would also be commemorating the end of the trilogy. And while I have not had a chance to enjoy and play Citadel yet, and I think I will be reviewing it later, I still think there is some room for proper reflection.

Now there is a lot to be said about ME 3. It affected me personally and Mass Effect as a whole has been one of the most illuminating entertainment experiences of my life. The ending has caused much debate, etc. So I think I will try to do what I can both fun and serious to capture that mood in this and some future blogs. Don’t know how many I will be able to devote to this subject after all blogging does not seem to be as much my thing as it once was.

And it also seems fitting that as I write this I am listening to An End Once and For All. So let us celebrate, the end.

But the end of what?

I don’t know about most people but…to paraphrase the game itself…there would be no Mass Effect without Commander Shepard.

The reason I love the games so much and the is not because of a grandiose plot, at times simplistic bad guys, poor level design occasionally, or buggy mechanics, but it’s because of one woman, or one man.

Commander Abigail…or her brother Cameron…are the first two characters that I have created in any official capacity.

And more to the point this goes for Abigail Shepard, which might explain why I have more of an affinity for her then her bro.

Everything that I had created to this points have been avatars or amalgams or pale imitations of other characters. Childhood games and imitations of other famous characters from various places. Criss crossing and meshing them into a universe all of my own or a plot.

But not Abigail. And while her name is ‘borrowed’ from someone I know and respect, and while she and I have many things in common, she has become a character all of her own.

Through so-called ‘head canon’ through tweaking her image in my head and trying to think of what she would do in a situation. Then sometimes she just does it. Especially when I am writing her for my fan fiction that is devoted to the subject, my fingers spring to life and types out something…and I have no idea where it came from. But it fits her, the actions, and the character so precisely.

So when I think of Mass Effect, I think of Commander Shepard, it is hard to nearly impossible to separate the two. And while I am sure the next Mass Effect game could be as amazing and spectacular, if it does not have that connection to a main character, that connection that helped me realize that characters were so important in any fictional composition, then it will be a pale shadow indeed.

So thank you Commander Shepard. Thanks for nearly two years of memories. Thanks for letting me create you, and give me tons of gudamn great moments. And thanks for providing the occasional moral and philosophical lesson.

You deserve all my praise, and all my gratitude.