Top Ten Favorite Bioware Characters ➝ #7 Kaidan Alenko
“Sometimes the way a thing goes down does matter. Knowing you acted with integrity - that’s what matters.”
Expanding a bit on that comment I recently made regarding Kaidan potentially suffering from survivor’s guilt and…
Besides the fact that:
a) when they got ambushed by the geth on Eden Prime, Jenkins moved out first, and he survived;
b) on Virmire, Shepard saved him at the cost of Ashley’s life; and
c) he survived the attack of the Normandy SR-1 (in great part because he followed Shepard’s order to get the other surviving crew members to the escape pods, instead of going back for Joker)…
Kaidan really appears to have a knack for being put in situations that could have ended up badly.
The interesting thing is that “survivor’s guilt” can happen even among cancer survivors (for example), or health care professionals that are confronted to the suffering of their patients, and wonder “why am I healthy, when that person is so sick?”
Some believe that it would be partly based on this strange “unconscious thought that luck is part of a zero-sum game. To have good luck is to deprive another of it.”
And Kaidan has always been “lucky”. Actually, he was considered by others as “lucky” before even being born!
If you really stop to think about it, his whole life Kaidan has been exposed to situations where things could have gone horribly wrong for him, and yet he’s always managed to pull through.
Babies that are exposed to element zero in the womb typically develop terminal brain cancer…
Kaidan developed biotic abilities instead.
Many of the kids who underwent training at BAaT ended up snapping, or even dying…
Kaidan survived and, although it took him 5 years to recover from the experience, was able to adapt and remain fully functional. He joined the Alliance, built himself a very successful career, was put in charge of his own special ops biotic company, and became the second human Spectre.
The use of L2 implants ended up causing severe neurological complications such as insanity, mental disability, and crippling pain for many biotics.
Kaidan’s migraines, though painful, are manageable enough to allow him to lead a productive life.
The results of the L2 implants vary greatly, with some of the L2s barely being stronger than the L1s; while others are strong, but too unstable for their abilities to be usable.
Kaidan is among the strongest human biotics. With abilities that are not only stable, but seem to even get stronger over time (based on the comment that he made during his stay at the hospital, and the fact that he was able to evolve new abilities through regular training, something that other biotics appeared to find “a bit strange”).
The Reapers attacked his hometown (Vancouver) while he was there. The Alliance headquarters was hit; many were killed. The city was also destroyed, and the people of Vancouver that didn’t manage to escape were slaughtered.
Kaidan survived the initial Alliance HQ attack, made it to the Normandy in time, and then managed to escape the carnage (leaving HIS FAMILY and loved ones behind).
You talk to him at the hospital, and he says that he’s been “lucky”. You talk to Dr. Chakwas, and she’ll tell you that “Kaidan’s lucky”, because he only gets migraines (note: migraine is actually a very serious neurological disorder that, in some cases, can be life threatening as it increases the risk of experiencing an ischemic stroke).
Kaidan’s been exposed to so many horrible situations, and to so much suffering (his and others) all of his life… And yet, it seems that all that people see when they look at him is the fact that he’s “lucky”, because it could have been so much worse.
Nevermind that he’s had to deal with social discrimination all of his life – that he underwent a violent and abusive training program that was meant to either turn him into a superbiotic, or break him – that he watched some of his friends and classmates snap under the pressure, or even die – that he accidentally killed his instructor in self-defence when he was but a 17 year old boy – that his closest friend, the girl that he may have loved, ended up being scared of him after that accident and cutting all ties with him – that he suffers from painful migraines – that the long-term effects of living with an L2 implants are still yet unknown – that there’s still a risk that extreme physical or psychological stress could still trigger more complications from his implant… Nevermind any of that.
Since he was deemed “luckier than the rest”, Kaidan has lost his right to complain.
And the saddest part of it is that Kaidan really seems to believe that, too.
During the course of the trilogy, Kaidan worries and expresses concerns about others, but he never once complains. He never lets his migraines slow him down. He almost feels ashamed of his need to share what he’s been through with Shepard. He’s afraid that by doing so, he will be perceived as a whiner or a burden to others.
And when he does talk about what he’s been through (after much prodding from Shepard), he’s doing it mostly to prove a point out of a desire to keep Shepard from making mistakes that could end up leaving him/her without support (from the Alliance or the Council), as he doesn’t want Shepard to end up taking the fall for being the one that had to make the tough calls.
Kaidan doesn’t have a single “loyalty mission”. He never asks for anything. His only “loyalty” mission is rebuilding the trust and the relationship (friendship or otherwise) that he shares with Shepard.
Having always been the “lucky one”, Kaidan entirely devotes his own life to serving the needs of others, and doing what he considers to be the right thing, no matter the costs to himself. He doesn’t expect or ask for anything in return.
And yet, Kaidan is the annoying, whiny, needy and unreliable one that people can’t wait to get rid of.
Kaidan is a survivor, in more ways than one. I find it sad how quick people are to forget or completely dismiss that.
It’s been an honor.
Taking a moment to stop and enjoy the view
of the world they just saved:3
“Seems like you’re having a bad day, Shepard.”
Drunk Kaidan is the best Kaidan.
Raphael Sbarge, voice of Kaidan Alenko (Mass Effect series)
Here’s the first pairing in a new concept series I’m doing of the Mass Effect characters in the Dragon Age universe. Had to start with my boys! Kaidan’s look was influenced by Anders and his powers are probably pretty similar. I gave Shepard the blood dragon armor since it seemed most fitting for him as the lead character and is a nod to the fact that the blood dragon armor already serves as a bridge between the two titles.
Next up is Jack and Miranda, Jack is going to be soooo much fun. (She’s going to be a blood mage)
And should these two decide to romance one another then there’s definitely an apostate/rogue templar love story going on.
my deviantart: http://dunechampion.deviantart.com/