On the Raising of Asari Babies
When you have the potential to live a thousand years, you have the tendency to take thing slow - to take days and years to savor, to absorb, to train and to learn.
The world does not move at the same pace though, and so knowledge and art are captured for posterity - etched in stone, keyed into data files, recorded as vids, fused into AI.
But flickering images and the grooves in stone and paper can never replace the timbre of mood, the stretching and bending of skin at the corners of the eyes when laughter or tears inevitably come. And so Liara is determined, driven really, to find all of the individuals she had come to know - to pin them down, if only for a few hours (butterflies caught mid-flight, all dappled and iridescent) - to have them talk, and to let her daughter listen.
For there are stories to be told by these witnesses of monumental events, by these participants in the war and the aftermath. They know firsthand the sorrows and the joys, blood that was shed, often needlessly, and the warmth of hands clasped in camaraderie - trust forged or repaired. And though not every recollection might be suitable for a mind so young, a heart so innocent, she wants her daughter to begin to understand the depth of this existence, the underlying cycle that is built by many - brick by brick, breath by breath.
And each breath is precious, after all, fleeting and brief. She knows all too well how quickly the shadows fall and touch grows cold. Better to try, even if futilely so, to take it all in before it is taken from you.
Do you mean redo the same way, or redo with changes? Like veering in a different direction?
If the former, probably not. Oh, there are points in my childhood that I think would be lovely to experience over again - that unbridled joy of finally knowing how to climb a tree, that triumph of building a box fort, the first pitcher of Kool-Aid for the summer. That sort of thing. But I think those moments carry a special kind of magic, and that magic would be suppressed, or maybe just tinged with a little bit of the bittersweet, if I got to have it again with all that I know today.
If the latter…I’d want to, certainly. There are many things that I have shuttled into a corner called Regret, and now and again, they creep into the middle of the room and make taint everything with bitterness. I think this happens a little more as I age - lamentations of missed or bypassed opportunities and all that. Constant ponderings over the what-ifs (especially the theme of “what if, back then, I had been a little braver, a little more devil-may-care?”).
But if I went back and took a different path in my life, made a different decision, what would be the domino effect? What other events would change on small or very grand levels? What things would I miss out on, what people would I then not intersect with? And while I might remember what was (in the original order of things), it would be empty, and wrapped up in a whole different sort of regret.
So ultimately, I’d probably say no. I wouldn’t do it. Might not be a decision a lot of folks would make, because there are things that could easily be worthy of altering/redoing. And there are things that I would like to feel again. But such things might be ephemeral and fleeting - best savored while they happen. And maybe subconsciously I look at things in my life with a “made my bed” sort of mentality (or I’m trying to, at least).
It’s difficult to shake off regret. It’s difficult to not long for days past. But I suppose I need to look forward - shaped by my past, yes, but trying to make the best out of the future.
This was a far wordier reply than I intended. ^_^
How much courage does it take to move empathy into action, to quell those rapid fears and doubts? Or is it simply a matter of suppressing selfishness for that split second when a decision must be made?
A story scrap that’s been sitting on my desktop. A scene, really, from early in the timeline of ME3. Liberties might have been taken. (As always)Read more
Make me care about the characters, and you’ll make me care about the world, the etchings on the map where they dwell.
Show me their light and their dark, and all the spectrum in between. Let me hear the venom in their voices, and see the laughter in the curve of their lips.
Have them share their stories in fits and starts, the delicate revelations, so I can understand how they became who they are. Let me know the years that came before, both the bitter and the sweet.
Make me bear witness to their flaws and foibles, their redemption and retribution, their gauntlets traversed, their quiet contentment, the furrowed brows and the wrinkles at the edges of their eyes.
Show me the smooth skin and the scars. Let me be part of their journey - to walk beside them, to breathe their sighs, to rejoice in their existence, however brief, however incomplete, but hours that I would never seek to exchange, so grand is their worth.
Feelings of inadequecy are akin to being tripped in the hallway, or pants’d in public - sudden, unexpected, somewhat debilitating… and requiring a pushing oneself back up and dusting oneself off afterwards. A deep breath and you carry on, somewhat wary and taking a moment or two to get back in stride, but eventually your pace becomes steady again.
Maybe because blue babies have been pervasive on ye olde doodle pad, I found myself mulling on Asari motherhood today. Do the Asari celebrate some form of Mother’s Day? (Matriarch’s Day, perhaps?) Do they have showers to welcome the little bundles of indigo joy?
And then I got to wondering what the Normandy crew might bring to Liara’s baby shower. I came up with the following:
- I imagine that Samantha Traynor would bring a gift basket, filled with various paraben-free soaps, powders and detergents. And organic cotton bootie socks.
- Miranda might give a onesie with “Littlest Space Diva” written across the chest.
- Tali would somehow manage to find a mobile of Alliance ships, complete with audio effects of soothing engine noise.
- Garrus’s gift would be the popular children’s toy ‘Baby’s First Calibration Kit.’
- Jack would somehow smuggle a varren puppy into the festivities, and also gift the little blue one with her first soft-soled combat boots.
- EDI might give a teddy bear so huge, that it would barely fit through the door. And also a bib that says “I dig mummies.”
- And Wrex would bring a shiny new shotgun, with a big red bow.
Of course, there would be party games and the like, and while I’m still fond of ‘Pin the Hand on the Azure,’ it just wouldn’t be the same without Shepard there.
This is just my take, but the ME3 ending choice made by any player is not “wrong” - no matter which option is selected.
There is no standard of wrong or bad or incorrect for an individual’s journey with Shepard. Each Shepard is unique to the player. The backdrop may be the same - Commander rank, galaxy map, squadmates and ship - but what a player does with those elements, how he/she handles each mission and conducts each conversation, is where the differences lie.
The investment of hours spent shaping the hero, the scoundrel, the universe’s best hope - that is a personal odyssey, so that how it all winds down and what action is delivered before the epilogue and end credits play out, that is the truth for that singular Shepard.
So whatever color, whatever line was followed, or whatever finger was waggled at the Catalyst, that player’s decision is right for that player, for the interpretation of who his/her Shepard could be.
There is so much to share with this series, so much to discuss and marvel over. We can discuss the moral implications, but to spend our time declaring firm and unyielding positions of right and wrong seems an act of donning blinders, of ignoring the existence of other fields of vision. Why not listen to each Shepard’s tale, why not acknowledge how much beauty and anguish could exist in each journey - from beginning to end to however a person envisions every day after.
There’s a certain responsibility we have toward one another - the responsibility to not jump to conclusions, to not judge on sight, to not take the wrongs of the individual and apply them to the many, to not let fear and anger cloud our perception.
It might seem the most difficult thing to do, fulfilling this responsibility, but how can we demand that this regard and consideration be given to us if we cannot give it to someone else?
I wonder if part of the reason why segments of society have trouble with female heroes is due to an inability to reconcile the vastness of human nature, especially when witnessed within a woman. Because when a woman defies social convention, when she exhibits traits or behavior that seemingly contradict docility or domesticity, it is a puzzlement. When she can be compassionate, but also take up arms and fight fiercely and without hesitation, it conflicts with centuries-old bias.
Far better and easier to have one template, one tiny box to compartmentalize and define all that a woman is. It keeps with the familiar norms. It doesn’t require any adjustment of assumption.
So women remain in this uphill battle of breaking the mold, of stripping away labels and stereotypes and all the restrictions placed upon our potential - restrictions that keep us separate and other.
And thus we keep looking for our own faces and forms in our heroes, because we know the ‘extraordinary’ that exists under the cape or behind the mask or cowl, it just as likely, just as viable, to be found in a woman.
After all, that capacity for greatness is already a part of our reality, even if some people fail to acknowledge it.