Calibrations: 15 Crazy Things You Didn't Know About Garrus Vakarian

“Can it wait for a bit? I’m in the middle of some calibrations.” We’ve all heard that line before. Continuously harassing Garrus Vakarian on the SSV Normandy never got old. As we played through the Mass Effect trilogy, Garrus quickly saddled up beside us and became our most trusted friend.

He is a remarkable character who follows Commander Shepard through thick and thin across the galaxy, always there to make witty, sarcastic remarks. Even during Shepard’s time working with Cerberus, his loyalty is never doubted. He is arguably the best character throughout the Mass Effect series so far.

He has had quite the ride. His life was never easy, his family pushed him towards a future he did not choose and his mother dealt with major health issues, but Garrus was never one to just sit around and complain. He is a headstrong fighter who chooses to be the change he wants to see in the world. During his work at C-Sec he refused to let petty laws get in his way and instead went after offenders at full force. He is stubborn but efficient and completely capable of getting things done. 

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15 He Never Takes Off His Visor

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Garrus has a pretty strong attachment to his visor. He wears it across the entire trilogy and doesn’t even take it off during romantic cutscenes. It is a customized Kuwashii Visor, which provides better accuracy and increased headshot damage by 10%. Garrus’ visor, however, was customarily created to provide him with with sonar and thermal vision, a biotic field measurer, heart detection monitor, magnification, and a music player. I.e., it’s a sniper’s pride and joy. It also includes the engraved names of his ten former Omega team members along the frame, excluding Sidonis, whose name was burned off after his betrayal.

BioWare Concept Artist Matt Rhodes was given the job of creating ideas and drawings of Garrus’ armour. After pitching a few sketches to the BioWare team, it was quickly decided that a visor would be a good add-on and thus Garrus’ infamous visor was born.

14 He Could Have Been the Next Turian Spectre

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Garrus, like many Turians before him, was required to enter the military at a young age. At 15, he enrolled and started his mandatory military service. Unlike the military elsewhere, it is a central part of Turian society. Their entire culture is based on military hierarchy. It acts as an all-encompassing public works organization and contains the civic police as well as other public factions.

Garrus was among the top cadets in his unit during training and was eventually placed into a special program which selected future Spectre candidates. However, this did not bode well with within the Vakarian household. Garrus' father, Castis, being the C-Sec officer that he was, had a strong dislike for Spectres and their ability to operate above the law. He did not want his son to become one of them and thus had Garrus’ candidacy blocked.

13 He Gave Up A Foreign Scholarship to Look After His Mother

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Garrus is a sensitive soul. He is chivalrous and kind and cares deeply for his mother, always willing to do whatever is best for her. She was a stay-at-home mom who raised him and his sister, Solana, on Palaven while his father worked off-planet at C-Sec on the Citadel.

While Garrus was in the Palaven-equivalent of high school, he earned a summer scholarship to study abroad. However, the day his shuttle was set to leave he discovered that his mother had been injured by a hit-and-run. He immediately went to the hospital to see her and found out that she was not seriously wounded, but he decided to stay and care for her until she was fully recovered, since his father was away. Though his mother was worried that he wouldn't forgive himself for giving up a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to follow his dreams and study abroad, Garrus insisted on staying with her and ensuring that she would recover properly.

12 He is Younger Than Shepard

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BioWare Writer, Patrick Weekes, has stated that he believes Garrus is two to four years younger than Commander Shepard. Why the wide range, you may ask? Well, he of course must acknowledge the two years that Shepard was officially dead. While Shepard’s body was floating around the galaxy, waiting for the start of the Lazarus Project, and not really getting up to much other than slowly decaying, Garrus was still living and thus still aging.

Shepard was born in 2154 CE and the events of Mass Effect 1 take place in 2183 CE. In accordance with this timeline, Shepard would be 29 years old in the first game, making Garrus 25 years old. Turian aging is very similar to human aging, unlike with most other species. In the Mass Effect universe, both typically live until ~140 years old.

11 He Didn’t Like to Play By C-Sec Rules

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Garrus formerly worked for C-Sec. They dealt with law enforcement and was a voluntary police force headed by an Executor, who reported to the Citadel Council. It had several divisions, including: Enforcement, Investigation, Customs, Networking, Patrol, and Special Response. Garrus was part of the Investigation division. Those who were part of this division acted as detectives, gathering evidence and witness statements from crime scenes and bringing perpetrators to justice.

However, due to C-Secs strict rules, he was often left feeling unfulfilled since many criminals went unpunished. This infuriated him since he knew he could be shutting down supply channels for drug and gun smugglers on his own, and he eventually quit after the Battle of the Citadel.

10 His Father Taught Him Everything He Knows... But They Didn’t Always Get Along

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Castis Vakarian was a C-Sec officer. He personally taught Garrus how to use a gun at a young age, forcing him to use large sniper rifles that were too heavy for young Garrus and insisting that this was how his son would learn the value of effort and persistence. 

Castis was a solid detective, who was fully dedicated to C-Sec and was respected for his uncompromising ethics. Garrus eventually followed in his footsteps and joined C-Sec, but he didn’t fit in to the typical detective profile. Garrus had a strong “get things done, no matter the cost” attitude, while Castis strongly believed in doing things by the book. He trusted C-Sec’s methods and its ability to hold the Citadel together. This caused Garrus to accuse his father of being out of touch with the criminal activity on the Citadel. He was tired of the lack of action by C-Sec and preferred to make his own rules. This put a strain on their relationship and they eventually fell out of touch for a long time.

9 He is a Turian Agent

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Garrus’ class is Turian Agent, a non-playable class available exclusively to Garrus. It is very similar to Infiltrator, which is a tech warrior who focuses on combat and tech talents, specializing in assassination and intrusion. The only differences between Turian Agent and Infiltrator are the focus on assault rifles instead of pistols and several different powers. Turian Agent is viewed as a more fragile version of Infiltrator.

A few fans were initially upset about this. Mass Effect 2 opened up several new powers under the Infiltrator class, including tactical cloak and incinerate. However, under Turian Agent, incinerate was replaced by overload and the tactical cloak was not available. Since Garrus mainly uses assault and sniper rifles, tactical cloak seemed like a no-brainer. One can only imagine how deadly he would have been if he were able to conceal himself during combat.

8 He is an Ace Sniper

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As a Turian Agent, Garrus is an advanced sniper and sharpshooter. One of his first encounters with Commander Shepard is at the Med Clinic on the Citadel. During this scene, a doctor of the clinic is being threatening by a group of thugs. Shepard intrudes and manages to distract these thugs while Garrus, who is lying low nearby unbeknownst to Shepard, takes one of the thugs out with a single, perfect headshot. This scene is what Garrus is all about. He is a cool, calm, and collected man of action, able to swoop in at the perfect moment for the kill, much like an eagle gracefully zooming in on its prey.

He is also highly knowledgable on military vehicles and weapons systems, often “calibrating” them for personal use. It remains a possibility that during his military service, while he was enrolled in the special Spectre candidate program, he received extensive technical training and adept sabotaging skills. His skill set is similar to that of a Special Forces agent and thus it is no surprise that his years of military service played a strong role in shaping his abilities.

7 He Can Kill Ashley

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Though not necessarily part of the main plot, if you have Garrus on your team during your confrontation with Ashley during the Cerberus invasion of the Citadel in Mass Effect 3, he can shoot her for you. You can also try to talk her down, but really, why would you want to? Ashley is the worst. She is possibly the most hated character in the trilogy. She’s not only racist towards all aliens, but still somehow has a deep dislike for Cerberus, who seem like they’d otherwise be her favourite organization. This is taking it for granted that you even picked her to survive Mass Effect (because Carth Onasi is so much better).

Garrus is your homeboy and he knows when a situation is getting sour. He’s got your back and isn’t afraid to take one for the team, especially when that means targeting bigots in spandex. Thank you Garrus.

6 He is Archangel

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Everyone knows that Garrus was Archangel, but what you may not know is that this path was inevitable for Garrus. He didn’t one day decide to put on a vigilante cape and rise to the occasion after a crucial and devastating incident. Archangel was always a part of him. Everything he had done, all of his work at C-Sec, had created Archangel. Since his youth, he had been told to never give up during tough times and to always keep fighting. Archangel was his response to this.

Under the alias of Archangel, Garrus was able to regain complete control over his life. He was no longer scorned for crossing lines by C-Sec higher-ups and his father. He could finally unleash his inner self and lead a group of like-mined individuals. He was the Batman of Omega, targeting the bad and exacting true justice.

5 His Mother is Very Sick

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After the completion of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, it is discovered that The Shadow Broker had acquired several files on Garrus. These files included chat transcripts between him and his sister, Solana, as well as an interesting e-mail. The chat transcripts were about the health of Garrus’ mother, who had Corpalis Syndrome, a rare but severe neurological degenerative disease. Solana remarked that none of the treatments were working and Garrus offered to pay for more treatment, but had just quit his C-Sec job and therefore had limited income.

The e-mail was from a later date, after Garrus had joined up with Commander Shepard. It was from the Helos Medical Institute thanking Garrus for his donation of Collector tissue. It also stated that they were working on new treatment for Corpalis Syndrome and would hopefully be able to soon provide a free trial to his mother.

This has some links to Mass Effect Andromeda. In one memory, Ryder's father, Alec is seen video chatting with Castis Vakarian. It is speculated that Castis and Alec were well acquainted because both of their wives had the same, or a very similar, neurological degenerative disease.

4 His Scars Fade Remarkably Fast

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Garrus acquired a nice set of facial scars during his recruitment mission on Omega by some Blue Suns grunts in Mass Effect 2. Commander Shepard came to his aid, finding him gasping for air in a pile of blue blood and immediately brought him to the Med Bay as he begun to black out. Upon waking up, Garrus remarked that no one had allowed him to see mirror yet and asked Shepard how bad it was. It was pretty bad.

Upon their reunion in Mass Effect 3, it was evident that most of Garrus’ scars had faded and become almost invisible compared to Mass Effect 2Mass Effect 3 began six months after the destruction of the Alpha Relay, at the start of the Reaper invasion. Approximately a year before this, take a few months, Shepard was successful in infiltrating the Collector Base and temporarily eliminating the Reaper threat. This means that it was a year and a half at most since Shepard had seen Garrus. This is impressive considering human facial scars this deep typically take two to three years to fade.

3 He Wants to Change the World

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Garrus is not your run-of-the-mil Turian. He grew up wanting to change things, wanting to make a difference and be something more than a stepping stone within an already built up military hierarchy. He is an idealist and has a set of defined principles he holds above all else. He knows that the galaxy can be a better place and that it is fully capable of changing for the betterment of all man- and alien-kind. There are just some scumbags he has to eliminate first; because underneath the dirt there is something shining, something that Garrus believes is almost within reach.

This is the reason he gravitates so easily to Commander Shepard. Like Garrus, Shepard is on a mission to improve the world and, while everyone else is just standing around, it is evident to Garrus that Shepard is trying to change things and make a real impact.

However, Garrus grows a lot throughout the Mass Effect trilogy. Though he keeps most of his ideals, he becomes more of a realist, shedding his naivety and realizing that things aren't always plainly laid out in black and white. This becomes apparent when he discovers that one of his former allies, Sidonis, has betrayed him.

2 He is Inexperienced When it Comes to Love

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Whether you romanced Garrus or watched as he awkwardly pursued Tali, it’s safe to say that the whole experience is a little more than uncomfortable. With his cumbersome attempts at flirting, it’s hard not to fall in love with, or at least admire, his effort.

During the beginning of a relationship with Commander Shepard, Garrus constantly stumbles over his words and even makes an unintentional innuendo, which he instantly regrets. Not only this, but an inside joke of reach and flexibility emerges, which can probably make even the most levelheaded person cringe. He later manages to get back to his cool, calm, and collected self, but it does take some time.

Meanwhile, if Shepard doesn’t try to pursue our Turian, Garrus will end up getting it on with Tali. Though they both seem to stammer off when you walk in on then, it is obvious that Garrus is the least prepared and far more awkward one. How he managed to get one of his mandibles hooked on her helmet we may never know.

1 You Can Hear His Voice In Other Games

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Garrus is voiced by Actor Brandon Keener. That metallic twang that Garrus is all too famous for is actually Keener’s natural voice. Somehow it manages to match the character of Garrus completely. It’s hard to imagine him sounding different. But Mass Effect is not the only game in which you can hear Keener. He has appeared in various other video games, including Saints Row as Tobias, Tom Clancy’s The Division as ISAC, Fall Out 4 as Sully Mathis, Blue Jay, Gene, and many other characters, as well as in Dishonored 2 as Howler.

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