This blog in particular is devoted to one of the most important characters in the series. Ironically, he's not a squadmate but his presence, both as a friend, mentor, and leader, is always felt by player: Anderson. Having the chance to play Mass Effect 3 and see this character one final time in an emotionally gripping resolution - as well as read about his endeavors in-between - gave me a new appreciation for the character writing of Bioware. Spoilers abound, so avoid if you don't want to be spoiled.

So, for the uninitiated, who exactly was Anderson? David Anderson's a well-known Alliance hero who was once a promising a Spectre candidate. Anderson was eventually betrayed by Saren and lost any chance of becoming a Spectre; he later made a name for himself as Captain of the Normandy and even handpicked me, Commander Shepard, as his Executive Officer. I never understood why or what he'd seen in me the day we first prepared to head to Eden Prime, but I went with the motions. Anderson would later serve as a firm supporter of me, the first human Spectre, even when the Council didn't. Anderson was the man I chose to be the first human Councilor once I defeated Saren, and for good reason given the competition. Inherently a man of action rather than bureaucracy, Anderson would abandon that role later on to do whatever he could to fight the Reapers, and when they invaded Earth he became a key force in the resistance. I'd soon watch the Admiral make the ultimate sacrifice in the final events of Mass Effect 3. Why do I admire Anderson so much, apart from a rather impressive military history?



One of the most important traits Anderson had was his immutable sense of honor and relatable personality. I considered Anderson to be one of my moral compasses in that he wasn't self-righteous and overbearing like the typical military archetype. To the contrary, Anderson was a man that exuded a nuanced sense of integrity; whenever I strayed from the right path - my temporary alliance with Cerberus, for instance - he was critical but understanding and never lost faith in me. Anderson's devotion went hand-in-hand with his beliefs; when I was impounded by Udina and the stubborn Council, he risked it all to help me escape from the Citadel and pursue Saren. He even assisted me when the Council continued to deny the existence of the Reapers, and later reinstated me when they finally struck Earth. At times, Anderson felt like an uncle or big brother to me, always there to advise me when no one else would.

Anderson was also dependable; unlike the calculating and exploitative Udina, the politician obsessed with his own personal agendas, Anderson instead was a world-weary man who hid nothing, from the burden his past with Saren cast upon him, his frustrations as a Councilor struggling to overcome the sea of tedium and inaction, and even the toll that the war on Earth always presented. Even in doubt, Anderson rewarded me with his trust and respect, and when Thessia fell, Anderson was the shoulder I could lean on for guidance; his persistence in the fight on Earth was one of the inspirations I relied on while brokering Galactic unity and fighting Cerberus. Most importantly though, I found Anderson to be the epitome of what I strove to be as the legendary Spectre: a man that wasn't sanitized, but well-rounded and an exemplar of humanity's greatest qualities and unshakable resilience. Hackett inevitably became a defeatist as the war raged onward and the Reapers continued to ravage our allies, but Anderson remained convinced, in spite of all the odds stacked against us, that we could defeat the Reapers on our own terms, rather than theirs.



In closing, I remember the push for the Catalyst, and our run-in with TIM once we'd been teleported to the Citadel. The greatest arbiter for Human dominance had become corrupted by the very enemy he sought to control; Anderson, on the other hand, remained convicted and never faltered from his core beliefs, and it was this strength that I found instilled within me when I finally defeated TIM in a tense battle of wits. We'd finally succeeded, and I sat back with the fatally-wounded Anderson as we watched Reapers battle the sword fleet orbiting Earth, occasional beams of lasers violently ripping through frigates as oculi flooded the warzone. Yet our home world, a blue and cloudy sphere that glowed in the sun's light, seemed oddly serene. It was quite the view indeed; a brief moment of peace in the middle of the greatest conflict that humankind and the galaxy would ever know for this cycle, hidden inside of an area of the Citadel that none save the keepers had ever ventured.

Anderson told me he was proud of me shortly before he succumbed to his wounds, and I couldn't help but smile contentedly; nothing I'd accomplished would've ever been possible if he didn't see anything worthwhile in me as a soldier, let alone acted as the guide I so desperately needed. Then, I finally understood. My story could've ended right at that moment and I would've had no complaints, yet I had to continue on, and when the infamous choice came I shot more than a few rounds off and chose to destroy the Reapers in his honor. 

I'm Commander Shepard, and I'm proud to have served with you, Anderson.