Back on the Normandy SR1, a few months after Shepard's mission against Saren began.

The metallic doors in front of her opened, and Tali stepped out of the elevator. She was now in the crew deck of the ship, heading towards Shepard's quarters; she walked past the table of the mess hall. She was nervous about being called to his room; whenever Shepard wanted to talk he had always come to her in Engineering. If he wanted to talk in private, it was likely something serious. Tali couldn't think of anything she may have done wrong, but she was still nervous. She finally reached his door, took a deep breath, and stepped forward; the door opened automatically.

"Hey Shepard, Adams said you wanted to see me?" Tali asked, standing at the door. She was holding her hands together, something she always did when nervous.

"There you are, Tali. Yes, I wanted to talk to you," Shepard responded in a pleasant voice as he stood up from his desk. Tali was instantly relieved to see him in a good mood. "You like shotguns don't you? I ask since I notice you tend to favor them on missions."

Tali found the question somewhat unusual; he called her up to ask that? "Yeah, they work well for me. I usually need to be pretty close to enemies to hack their weapons and sabotage their shields, so shotguns are ideal," Tali responded. "…And, you know, they're a lot of fun to shoot," she added in a cute, playful tone.

"Well, that's why I called you up. Take a look at this shotgun; let me know what you think," Shepard said as he turned around and picked up an unusual looking shotgun from his desk, handing it to Tali.

Tali took it and began to look it over. "Shepard, this looks amazing. Wow, I've never see a mass accelerator like this on a shotgun; or any weapon, for that matter. This thing must be incredibly powerful," she said astonished, continuing to move it around in her hands, eagerly examining it. She then noticed 'HMWSG' inscribed on its side. "I have never heard of this model before."

"That's because it's a prototype line of weapons. They're not in any kind of mass production, and they're available only to Spectres," Shepard responded, with noticeable pride in his voice. "They're absolute cutting edge weapons."

"Keelah, Shepard, I envy you. You're going to do some serious damage with this," Tali said, and then attempted to hand the shotgun back to Shepard. To her surprise, he doesn't accept it; he just gently pushed it back.

"I'm not, but you are. It's yours, Tali," Shepard said, smiling at her.

"What? You're joking… Shepard I can't accept… are you sure you want me to—just how much did this cost?" Tali asked, astonished and somewhat confused by Shepard's sudden and incredible gift.

"I'm serious, Tali. It's yours. Don't worry about how much it cost, you've earned it. You've been an important part of my mission against Saren, and I wanted to show I appreciate all you've done."

"Thank you, Shepard. No one's ever—thank you… It really means a lot to me to hear that." she replied, looking down at her present. She then looked back up at Shepard, right at his eyes. She wanted so much to just throw her arms around him and hug him tightly, she was so close to doing so, but she knew better. Though she had long developed feelings for him, she always kept them buried; but this kind gesture from him made them suddenly resurface.

She knew that being more than just a friend and crewmember to Shepard was just a stupid pipe-dream. She should be grateful that he was even nice to her. Despite how well he had treated her so far, how could he ever see past her mask? If he even wanted a romantic partner, why would he ever choose her? She's the last woman on the entire ship he'd want; she's the only one who's trapped in a suit, the only one who could potentially be hospitalized from a kiss, the only one whose face he can't even look at whenever he wanted.

Tali looked back down, away from Shepard's eyes, and sighed. "Thank you, Shepard. I… I should get back to work, though. But, thanks… again. Thank you…" she said, and turned around, walking out of his quarters. She held his gift closely with both her hands as she walked away.

Shepard noticed that she didn't seem quite as happy as she had been earlier. He didn't know why, but he assumed it wasn't anything serious; maybe she just wasn't accustomed to receiving gifts?


Several hours passed, and it was now dark in the in the crew deck of the ship. Most people were asleep, and the quiet humming of the Normandy was the only noise that could be heard. Tali lay in her sleep pod, staring up at the ceiling of the deck, wide awake. She was deep in thought, and had been for a while now.

Tali's eyes suddenly began to water up, and after the tears built up enough, they began to roll down each side of her face. She was quiet for a while, despite the tears flowing from her eyes, but then her breathing got unsteady and she began weep softly. She couldn't prevent her crying, but she tried to stay as quiet as possible, so as not to be heard by others. Amidst her silent weeping, she whispered a few words to herself: "…I should have hugged him…"