A/N: This story is based on the Kaidan/Ashley decision. I apologize ahead of time. xD

Mass Effect:

"False Dilemma"

Shepard took point as the elevator doors groaned open. He could only manage a quick glance at the area before stepping out into the open. Now more than ever, every second counted. With the area on the roof emptied, he kicked into steady jog with Garrus and Wrex in tow, weapons at their ready.

Ashley was in trouble. He could still hear deep, exhausted breaths coming in through the comm. She was still alive—for now. The salarians were getting destroyed by the geth onslaught. It was only a matter of time before Ashley would share their fate.

Shepard couldn't let that happen. He wouldn't. If they could just disable the AA tower, it would be enough to give Ashley an exit back to the rendezvous point.

As he approached an adjoining pathway, a massive geth dropship roared overhead, its repulsors shaking the very building Shepard and his companions stood upon. When the craft slowed up, Shepard cursed under his breath, dreading the thought of having a squad of geth soldiers between him and Ashley's safety. But the craft continued moving on—

In the direction of the waterway where Kaidan was still trying to arm the nuke.

"No, no, no!" Shepard shouted. Before he could contact Kaidan to warn him, the sentinel's voice rang through the comm.

"A dropship just landed at the bomb site, Commander. It's bleeding geth all over the place!"

Shepard touched a finger to the receiver in his ear. "Can you hold them off, Alenko?"

"There's too many! I don't think we can hold…" Kaidan's voice faded away into static briefly. "…I'm activating the nuke!"

"What are you doing, Lieutenant?!" Shepard demanded.

When Kaidan responded, his voice was filled with resolve. "Making sure this bomb goes off—no matter what." Shepard opened his mouth to protest, but Kaidan came back with, "It's done, Commander. Go get the Chief and get the hell out of here!"

Suddenly, Ashley cut in. "Belay that!" she said. "We can handle ourselves. Go back and get Alenko!"

"That won't be necessary," Shepard said. "Ashley, I'm sending Garrus and Wrex your way. They'll disable the AA tower and when they do, you make for the rendezvous point as fast as you can." He took a breath. "Kaidan, I'm coming to help you defend the bomb site. Give me some cover when I get out there."

There was only static through the comm. Shepard looked back to make sure Garrus and Wrex had heard their orders, but the two aliens simply stood there, stunned.

"What's going on here?" Shepard asked. "Don't just stand here, go and help Ashley, dammit!"

"Ummm," Kaidan groaned through the receiver. "I don't think…I don't think that's how it's supposed to work, Commander."

"What the hell do you mean, Alenko?"

Ashley chimed in. "He's right, Shepard. You're not allowed to do that. You have to choose one of us."

"Choose…What?!" Shepard was livid. "Stop talking stupid into my ear." He pointed to Garrus and Wrex. "You two, go save Ashley—that's an order!"

The pair shrugged and shook their heads.

"This is the way things have to be," Kaidan offered. "It was kind of obvious, actually. Couldn't you see this coming a mile away?"

"Yeah, Commander," Ashley agreed. "Didn't you find it funny that we decided to split up for the first time in…I don't know…ever!"

"A spotless record for the entire quest, a nuke is brought into play and we split up like Scooby-Doo and the gang. No one else found that odd?"

"I did," Wrex added, raising his hand. When he received a stare from Shepard, he lowered his hand and went back to cradling his shotgun.

Shepard turned his attention back to the comm. "So, what you're saying is that logic is essentially taboo in this situation."

Kaidan moaned. "Weeeeell, I wouldn't put it in such harsh terms. This is all just to prompt a devastating moral decision out of you. To make you feel as though you really do hold two lives in your hands."

"Exactly," Garrus said. "That is, unless, you just so happened not take either of them with you in your party at all during our recent travels…or if you didn't take the time to advance their storylines. In which case…well…emotional attachment would be pretty minimal there." He stroked his chin. "And it would all probably equate to a Jenkins-like loss than anything else, really."

Shepard tuned out the turian. "But I can save both of you right now, Alenko. Seriously, I can think of a thousand ways!"

"Oh, are you one of the writers, Shepard?" Ashley asked, innocently.


"Then it seems your opinion really doesn't matter all that much at the moment. Hell, even I can think of a thousand ways to save myself. For starters, I could've questioned why we had to distract the geth in the first place. I mean, we've already wiped them out from half the galaxy already…and that was just with three party members!"

"Those were awesome times," Kaidan said. "Hundreds of geth dead. At least six thresher maws on top of that. Plus, all those Cerberus facilities we leveled to the ground."

"Remember the zombies, Kaidan?"

"Do I! They were my favorite onslaught-of-enemies that we three-manned to the ground. The way they randomly exploded when we landed the killshots. God, that was fun!"

"And that was just the three of us."

"Just the three of us."

"Yeah," Ashley sighed. "Shame to think that we couldn't take out a handful of geth that the salarians thought they could handle."

"We would have vaporized those geth," Kaidan said.


"We should have thought this through a little better."

"We should have, L.T. We should have. There's always next time."

"No, there won't," Kaidan corrected. "Shepard, choose."

"Yes, choose, Shepard," said Ashley. "Give Bioware the satisfaction of thinking they've effectively stonewalled you into a devastating moral conflict!"

"Let them believe they've played God and masterfully managed to get you emotionally attached to at least one of us!"

"Choose, Shepard!"


"Don't let Bethesda win! Choose!"

While Shepard sweated out the devastating moral conflict he had effectively been stonewalled into, Garrus and Wrex regarded each other.

"Hey," Wrex began. "Remember the KotOR days when stuff like this was entirely optional?"

Garrus nodded solemnly. "I do indeed. Good times. Good times." His brow raised in confusion. "Weird. I was sure that nuke would have gone off by—


Executive Producer

David Chase