Shepard, Garrus and Tali rode in the elevator up to the Normandy. These elevator rides always took so long in Tali's mind. Though at least she was in it with Shepard. The dashing Commander whom she has a secret crush on. Her daydreams were broken by Garrus.
"You seem to be attracting unwanted attention, Tali," he said matter-of-factly. "Several passerbys were staring at you."
Tali hated Garrus pointing this out.
"Many think less of the Quarians for traveling in the Flotilla and for creating the Geth," she sighed. Tali wished this idiot would shut the hell up. For the first time since she left the Flotilla, she was treated as a person instead of a second-class citizen. Mostly thanks to Shepard.
"The Quarians endangered the entire galaxy when they let the Geth break free," Garrus countered. "I hope your people are properly contrite. Tali."
Was he trying to to cause conflict? "As the Turians are properly contrite for releasing the genophage upon the Krogan?"
"You're assuming that sterlizing them was a mistake."
Tali couldn't think of anything to say to make this idiot see what her people are going through due to their exile. It was just awkward silence until the elevator opened up. Garrus and Tali walked out past Shepard. They were making they way to the Normandy when Shepard called out, "Just a moment."
Garrus and Tali stopped dead in their tracks. They turned around. Shepard had a neutral expression on his face, or what they thought was a neutral expression. Humans can be hard to read sometimes.
"You seem to be a fan of justice Garrus, so I have some questions concerning justice."
"Sure," Garrus replied cheerfully.
"Now say a man murders another man, should he be jailed?"
"Of course, he committed murder and is likely to harm others."
Tali had no idea what Shepard was getting at. What does this have to do with anything?
"Right, right," Shepard said quietly. "Now say the murderer had kids. Should they be jailed?"
"What?" Garrus exclaimed. "No! That's terrible."
"But they're related, shouldn't they share the same punishment?"
"The fact that they're related is irrelevant!"
Tali's eyes widened. She knew exactly what he he was getting at now. He was going to show Garrus exactly what her people are going through with a clever metaphor. This was the first time anyone stood up for her and her people.
"So that's unjust?"
"Of course it's unjust!"
"Now let's say the justice system exiles them. They cannot live near populated centers and cannot hold property. And I'm not just talking about the murderer's kids. Now we're going on their kids. The grandchildren also share the punishment of the murderer. Is it fair?"
"No!" Garrus was getting excited.
Shepard walked up to Garrus. His face was just a foot away from his. "Now tell me. Is it fair that the Quarian people should be punished for what SOME of their ancestors did 300 years ago?"
Garrus was at a loss for words. "I-I... No... I guess not. I'm sorry."
"I'm not the one who you should apologize to," he said in an angry tone.
Garrus looked to Tali who was fidgeting with her fingers. "I'm sorry, Tali. I let my prejudices get in the way of reason. Sorry."
"Apology accepted, Garrus."
Garrus went ahead to the ship. Shepard was close to joing him, but Tali grabbed his arm. Shepard stopped and looked to her. It was hard to tell, but he was sure she was smiling. "Thank you," she said. "I've never had anyone defend me like that."
"Not hard to defend someone like you," he said with a smile. "Your people... You deserve better than this."
Tali blushed at the comment and her heart jumped.
"Come on, Tali. Let's go back to our ship."