My most mmm…memorable men in gaming – Part 2 – The Alenko Effect
Mmm…Kaidan…Lieutenant Alenko… I think that’s all I need to say. No?! Oh, OK.
Kaidan is the picture of professionalism. He is an Alliance soldier through and through and his loyalty paints him as a respectable, ‘nice guy’. By blaming himself for the Beacon incident and that sweet little twitch of a smile when I told him he wasn’t to blame for any of it, made me like him from the beginning. He’s sweet and shy and caring and all the things expected from a ‘nice guy’. He owns up to his mistakes and is willing to accept the blame…he’s also a manly soldier…and built!
I love that I’m his Commanding Officer and that my flirting makes him squirm…his professionalism being ever present. One of my favorite moments of the first game is on the Citadel where that professional facade slips a little and he inadvertently admits he’s attracted to me…*sigh*. But I must remember that we are soldiers…on duty. Yes. No sappy love story here. *Yeah, right…*
As we talk he learns to trust me, he opens up and I get to learn why Kaidan is the way he is. He tells me of his experiences at BAaT and getting his heart broken… To me it seems that this made him box his emotions away for fear of getting hurt again. He didn’t like his reactions and has since kept his emotions in check. This maturity of dealing with his issues and display of inner strength is kinda hot…and I just want to break down all of those barriers he’s built up.
Through the first game his defenses stay remarkably intact, even with all my flirting he remains stoic in his professionalism. It takes a dramatic turn of events for him to even start to wonder what could be made of our attraction…and we have the famous ‘almost kiss’…*Damn Joker curses inserted here*.
By the time of the endgame when he comes to my cabin, I think it’s all good…but he’s still hesitant! He dances around the atmosphere between us, rambling on about fraternizing and I’m screaming at him “shut up and kiss me goddammit!”. Thankfully, that’s an option in the dialogue (I know, it’s like Bioware read my mind!). And still he talks… really?! Really?! Of course he does! That’s Kaidan, always analyzing the event not acting on it. But after I grab him and kiss him, he doesn’t seem to want to talk so much…his barriers are down and all doubts he had about fraternizing with his CO seem to wash away…finally!
Although the big L word is never mentioned in game, I know that I fell in love. I also know that it’s a relationship building between two career soldiers and the chances of it seeing a happy ending are minimal…but I’m allowed to hope…this is my journey with Kaidan and I want to enjoy it for as long as possible.
Then Mass Effect 2…Kaidan’s face as I order him to evacuate the ship because he won’t leave me…breaking my heart…
I wake up on a Cerberus station in the middle of a heavy attack, they tell me I’ve been ‘dead’ for two years…and the only thing going through my head is “oh my god, where’s Kaidan?! No! Kaidan’s gonna think I’m really dead! Where’s Kaidan??!”. So, you can only imagine my feelings when I hear that he won’t be joining my crew…no Kaidan… Not. Cool.
It very nearly destroyed my enjoyment of the game. I’d grown used to having him at my back through everything, and now…just his picture…
Horizon. That one word probably sends unhappy feels to most fan-girls and guys out there. Horizon… that encounter… I am so happy when he walks round the corner – alive and not taken by collectors – and he hugs me! A lovely, unrushed, ‘I am so glad to see you’ hug. *sigh, my world is good*
But then the smile gets slapped off my face. He’s pissed at me…well of course he’s pissed! That’s what is heartbreakingly awesome about this scene. His reaction is…real. I mean, I cant expect to rock up after being dead for two years and say “hey, lover! I’m back! Now, where were we?!” and get forgiven at the drop of an N7 helmet! Not only am I back from the dead but I’m with Cerberus – the enemy. And as Kaidan is an Alliance boy, he’s never going to join me…*sob*. He is true to his beliefs; he won’t throw everything away to join me…even if he does love me…did love me. I’m not going to lie, when he says “woman I loved…” it hurt… Loved, past tense, oh.
Now, right about here, I switched the game off and cried a little… OK, maybe a lot, I was heartbroken! The next day, I switched it back on and continued (Mass Effect is awesome remember?!) and I receive an email from Kaidan! *palpitations* I don’t read it on the bridge, I go up to my cabin (yeah, what? I read my private messages in private OK !). It’s sweet, explanatory, apologetic…it’s Kaidan on paper. “It took me a long time to get over my guilt for surviving”…oh…“that night meant everything to me”…me too *through teary eyes*, “when things settle down a little…maybe…I don’t know. Just take care.” A glimmer of hope…and…I cling to that…it brightens my outlook. He still cares! *running round like an idiot*. But that’s it, no more Kaidan. Of course I stay faithful to my man, he may have dumped me and broke my heart but I forgive him for not forgiving me, for being angry and walking away from me.
When I see him at the beginning of 3, my heart skips a little…is he back?! Is he still pissed?! Please, BREAK ME OUT OF JAIL AND ELOPE WITH ME! SCREW THE REAPERS! *Ahem*. Alas no, he doesn’t break me out of jail…but he does seem pleased to see me. He has a look that kinda says “I’d like to hug you right now, but Anderson looks serious…so…”, or maybe that’s just me…whatever. So, the Reapers attack, I do some shooting, jump aboard the Normandy and we’re off to mars…with no time to talk to Kaidan. No chance to gauge if he’s angry, happy, single… And it annoys me. But I force myself to remember that Earth is being attacked and the world as we know it is getting shafted… Fine. I get it. Everything else has to wait…
Now for me, the Mars mission is a sandstorm of emotions. It’s evident Kaidan is unconvinced by my reassurances and doesn’t trust that I’m still the woman he knew, which is classic Kaidan. He’s a cautious guy who is wary of trusting at the best of times and my screaming at him through the TV doesn’t help, so I reassure myself that this issue will get its moment of clarity later in the game. But then he’s attacked by some psychotic, synthetic bint and I’m screaming at the TV for a whole new reason *Kaidan! No! Oh, I’m gonna kill you beatch! NO!*
The mantra of ‘he’s not dead…he’s not dead…’ repeats round my head as I pick him up and carry him to safety. I love that this is the second time I’ve carried him out of a battle, I like being his knight in N7 armor It’s like he needs me to protect him…and I want to protect him. I want to kill all the damned Reapers for him, Cerberus too, for making him doubt me. I will take on the biggest enemy the Galaxy has known for him, I need a reason to fight and he’s it.
Seeing him laid out in hospital is just…horrible. It breaks me a little bit. Seeing him all battered and bruised… I’m not a happy bunny till I know he’s awake and OK only then do I feel like I can carry on saving the galaxy, and even then I keep wondering when he’ll re-join the crew. It’s like the main story takes a back seat. All I want in the game is Kaidan back on the Normandy; on my 6 in a fight; in my cabin when a mission is done…
After the rather uncomfortable armed stand off and his return to the Normandy I’m a much happier fan-girl. When he sweetly asks me out to dinner I’m like a Cheshire cat! Our ‘date’ is just…*sigh*… “I love you Shepard, I always have…”…oh…and I’m a little ball of smiles and soppy, emotional, happy feels. You cant wipe the smile of my face, you cant even slap it off my face! *Yes! I have my man back! AND HE LOVES ME!*
The rest of the game is better for having him aboard the Normandy and whenever I’m between missions I go and see him. His little snippets of dialogue could be better and more interactive but I take what I get. One of my favorite lines is a sweet moment in which he implies that we share a cabin…“You, ah, didn’t wake me this morning”, “I didn’t have the heart”, “well, thanks, but next time…wake me”…*sighs* I love it.
He’s finally opened up about his feelings for me and no longer has any inhibitions about our relationship. He’ll publicly acknowledge his emotions and tells me to be careful or “never do that again”, and I smile every time he does. I love that he’s concerned about me, I mean, I’m a kick-ass-sole-survivor-hero-type but I like to be worried about, it makes me feel…human, it makes the relationship more believable. He’s learnt that this is our time, this is us. This could potentially be the end of the world and he’s finally accepted that he wants to be happy and that I make him happy…as happy as he makes me.
And it’s all sweet and peachy…till we get to London. The setting of the most heartrendingly tearful, brutal conversation of the series (so far)…he says goodbye… I have full on tears in my eyes. OK they’re rolling down my cheeks, I’m cracking, I’m all “fuck the Reapers, lets run!” but of course that’s not the game, that’s not our relationship. We’ve known all along that it would most likely end horrifically. And yet I still threw myself into the relationship, because he’s so darn lovable!
I thought that conversation was bad enough, but noooo…the extended-cut dialogue really pushes at my tear ducts. How mean of Bioware to put such a poignant, touching and heartrending moment smack bang in the middle of charging the Reapers! Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that they did as it gives closure and explanations but at the same time I got a little emotional and had to pause the game and console myself before continuing the attack. Seeing Kaidan’s face…his eyes filled with tears…“Don’t leave me behind”, he’s pleading with me to let him fight and die by my side and I’m pushing him away (BTW I’m tearful just writing this), I’m forcing him to live on, I’m making him mourn me again. “No matter what happens…know that I love you . Always”, “I love you too” (OK, I just gotta go…get something out of my eye).
I’ve come to the conclusion that I love Kaidan because he makes me cry. Because he’s real to me and evokes strong emotions. Throughout the series his reactions and responses are believable. He’s a genuinely sweet, loving guy, who has had his issues but has chosen to learn and grow from them, he’s faced them and moved beyond them. He’s a loyal soldier and no matter how much I want him to throw caution to the wind every now and then, I’m glad that he doesn’t, I’m glad that he stays true to himself and his oath as an Alliance soldier.
I like that he has a cute Canadian twang to his accent. I like that he’s good looking. I like that he’s well built… (I’d just like to thank Bioware for the ‘perving at his ass’ snippet after the Cerberus attack on the Citadel, it was appreciated).
To date, I’ve played the trilogy 3 times and I’m currently on my fourth…and I’ve not been able to sacrifice Kaidan yet. I’ve not even been able to play as a guy because I want to romance him all over again. I want him to fall in love with me, be angry at me, defend me, worry about me…believe in me enough to not put that plaque up on the memorial at the end. Because in my head the story doesn’t end like that. It doesn’t end with me dying… Somehow I make it out, somehow I find him and somehow we live happily ever after on a beach drinking cocktails…because I love him too much to let him go…because I’ll love him always.
NEXT TIME – PART 3 – JUST PLAIN HOT…