I have served with one of the greatest men in the galaxy.

How do I describe him? He did impossible things: heroically defending Elysium during the Skyllian Blitz, defeating the rogue Saren and the heretical Geth who followed him, surviving suicide missions and even death itself. But under the hero was the man. He had green eyes and red hair, a sloping nose and strong chin. He liked collecting model ships and fish. Occasionally he would drink himself into oblivion and dance like a fool. More than anything, though, he valued his friends. His best friend was the Turian, Garrus Vakarian, also known as “Archangel.” Through thick and thin they stood together right up until the events which transpired on Earth. In the end before the gaping maw of the Reapers’ destruction they became more than friends, they became brothers. Others were friends worthy of mention: Liara T’soni, Tali Zorah vas Normandy, Jeff “Joker” Moreau, EDI, and many more are deserving of praise for their deeds in the galactic war against the Reapers. I would be remiss if I failed to mention Shepard’s relationship with Ashley Williams. He loved her and she loved him, but more than that would not be couth of me to divulge. In addition to this he was dedicated to preserving the lives of innocents in the galaxy. Though his duty was to the Alliance and the Council, his real duty was to the people. He was no saint, but he was far from a devil.

Shepard was one of the rare individuals who actively made history and I bear witness to the fact. I was there when he first received the Prothean warning of the Reapers and witnessed the betrayal of the Specter agent, Saren. I was there when the alliance sacrificed ships to defend the Citadel’s council from the Reaper vanguard known as Sovereign or Nazara. I was there when he died, and when he was brought back, by miracle or by science, it is hard to decipher which. I was there when he destroyed the Collectors. I was there when he assembled the galaxy to shout with one voice that we would not go quietly to our annihilation. In the end, I was the only one there to bear witness to the final choice that changed the galaxy forever. Yes, the commander was a hero, but he had his failings same as any of us. He lost good men and women when he traveled through the Omega-4 Relay. Hundreds of thousands died when Shepard detonated the Alpha Relay. He punched a reporter several times. Though his decisions sometimes had catastrophic consequences, he always had a reason. And again, he was no saint.

Though the commander achieved great things, nigh impossible things, remember: he was a man. He was human like the rest of us. In every person sleeps possibility, the capacity for greatness. Shepard did not strive for fame or power, but he did try to do good and protect those whom he loved and cared for. He succeeded through sheer force of will and by stepping up when no one else would. Let his example lead us and guide us to the best humanity has to offer, of what every one of us can achieve. Let him remind us that we can be better than petty greed and blind selfishness. I will remember him; I hope you all will, too.

I hope that I’ll one day hear another story about “the Shepard.”

Commander, if I don’t see you again, it has been an honor serving with you.

The Quixotic One

[Note: these are just my feelings regarding the end of the Mass Effect trilogy. I'll be writing some more technical evaluations later this week. Feel free to share your thoughts or opinions on the series]