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Tali'Zorah nar Rayya

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Tali'Zorah nar Rayya
Quarian Machinist
“Our Pilgrimage proves we are willing to give of ourselves for the greater good. What does it say about me if I turn my back on this?”

Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is a quarian and a member of Commander Shepard's squad. She is the daughter of Rael'Zorah, a member of the Admiralty Board. Though young, Tali is a mechanical genius.

During the events of the first game, she is on her Pilgrimage, a rite of passage to prove her worth and bring something of value back to her people aboard the Migrant Fleet. Early in the second game, having completed her Pilgrimage, Tali has been entrusted with leading an important research mission for the Admiralty Board.

Tali'Zorah is voiced by Ash Sroka (credited as Liz Sroka in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2).

Mass Effect: Homeworlds

Tali sets off on her Pilgrimage aboard the vessel Honorata, crewed by Keenah'Breizh. She plans to begin her Pilgrimage at Illium, but en route through the Crescent Nebula, the Honorata detects a geth presence on an unidentified ice world. Tali and Keenah land to investigate, and manage to disable a geth unit and successfully extract its memory core, which contains a recording of two individuals discussing an attack on the human colony of Eden Prime and the coming of the Reapers. Fearing that the rest of the galaxy may be in danger, Tali convinces Keenah that they should turn over the recording to the local authorities on Illium. At that moment, the turian mercenary Jacobus and his team, on the planet under Saren Arterius' orders to find Prothean technology, attack them. They flee to the Honorata and set a course for Illium.

Once there, Illium's docking officials, prejudiced against quarians, refuse to allow the Honorata to land for several days. This gives Jacobus enough time to land on Ilium first and plan an ambush. When the Honorata finally lands, Tali and the crew immediately come under fire, and the Honorata's other crew member is killed. Unable to return to their ship, Tali and Keenah stow away on a transport ship bound for the Citadel, where they hope to give the geth recording to the Citadel Council.

The transport's crew discover the stowaways, but the captain decides to turn them over to C-Sec instead of killing them. They try to explain to Chellick that they have important information for the Council, but he ignores them and warns them to leave the station in the next day. After learning from Avina that there is a seven month wait for an audience with the Council, they are spotted by Jacobus, who chases them across the Citadel. Tali is shot in her side during the chase, but Keenah is mortally wounded. Arriving at an incinerator deep inside the Citadel, Keenah can no longer keep up with Tali and dies. Tali leaves her friend and sets up a trap of her own for Jacobus. When the turian enters the incinerator, she seals the doors behind him and activates it, burning him alive.

Arriving at the clinic, Tali is treated by a doctor, to whom she tells the story of her journey and the information she obtained from the geth. A volus mentions that he is an information broker and can contact the Shadow Broker to ensure that Tali's information can reach the right people. He encourages her to trust him and directs to a bar where she can hide out. Tali agrees and asks where to go.

Mass Effect


ME1 Quarian Ally



Tali was born in 2161 aboard the Rayya. Having reached maturity, she departed the Migrant Fleet on her Pilgrimage. On her travels she began hearing reports of geth, who had never ventured beyond the Perseus Veil since driving her people into exile, and became curious. She tracked a patrol of geth to an uncharted planet, waited until one was separated from its unit, then disabled it and removed its memory core. She recovered a file from its audio banks that revealed Saren Arterius was behind the attack on Eden Prime, but possessing the file put her in grave danger. She was pursued by Saren's forces, and escaped to the Citadel.

On her way, Tali was shot and had to go to the Med Clinic for treatment. She told Dr. Chloe Michel she wanted to trade her information to the Shadow Broker in exchange for a hiding place, but was double-crossed by Fist who was working for Saren. She was expecting to meet the Shadow Broker in person but met a "messenger" with a group of assassins. Tali threw a tech proximity mine to defend herself, and was aided by the timely arrival of Commander Shepard's team.

To repay the Commander for saving her life, Tali presented the proof that Ambassador Udina and Captain Anderson needed to get Saren's Spectre status revoked. Tali's data also provided the first mention of the ancient machine race called the Reapers, who hunted the Protheans to extinction, and the mysterious Conduit. Wanting to help fight the geth and prove herself, Tali then joined Shepard's team.


Tali spends her time in the Normandy's engine room. Engineer Adams is very impressed by her knowledge, wishing his crew were half as smart as Tali. They often work together to disassemble any abandoned technology, such as old orbital probes that the Normandy's survey missions discover. Shepard can chat to Tali about her fascination with starship technology and the Normandy's unique design, especially the enormous drive core.

Tali talks about life as a quarian nomad, her Pilgrimage and the ramshackle three-hundred-year old vessels in the quarian Migrant Fleet. Her mother died five years ago due to an airborne virus and although Tali is sad about this loss, such deaths are an unfortunate fact of life aboard the Flotilla. She also reveals that her father is the head of the Admiralty Board — the highest authority of the quarian people — meaning everyone has high hopes for Tali's Pilgrimage.

Tali also offers some insight into the geth: why the quarians originally created them, how they rebelled, and how the neural network functions. She explains that her people struck first to try and stop the geth before the war started, but underestimated how far the geth had developed. Shepard can debate this with her, pointing out that the quarians basically attempted genocide against another sentient species.

Tali Normandy engine room 2

At first Tali is very excited about being on board the Alliance's most advanced vessel, but she begins having problems. She can't sleep because she's not used to a ship that runs so quietly (to a quarian, a quiet ship means a dead engine or worse, a malfunctioning air filter). She also says that compared to the crowded conditions of the Migrant Fleet, the Normandy feels disturbingly empty, "it's like half the crew is missing." She manages to adjust over time and becomes much more cheerful. Tali enjoys visiting the crowded, noisy Wards on the Citadel because they feel like home, and she particularly likes the music in Flux, hoping to take a copy back to the Flotilla.

If Shepard treats Tali with respect, she is very grateful, explaining that her people are usually treated like second-class citizens. On Virmire, at the salarian camp, Tali is nervous about the upcoming assault on the base, but promises she will "fight with fire" for Shepard's sake. After the mutiny, when Shepard steals the Normandy and heads to Ilos, Tali enjoys the adventure of it all, but wonders what the Council would do if the Citadel Fleet caught up with them. Shepard is sure Tali's father would pull strings to keep his little girl out of jail, but Tali isn't convinced: stealing ships is a capital offense amongst the quarians, stating that "he'd probably want to execute us himself."

If Tali goes with Shepard to Ilos, she finds the planet eerie and feels as if they are trespassing there. She claims the quarians once tried to find Ilos as a new potential homeworld, but they never expected it to feel so unwelcome. After speaking to Vigil, Tali is saddened by what happened to the Protheans — like her people, the Protheans tried to fight back against the machines, but eventually lost everything.

Personal assignment

When Commander Shepard is completing UNC: Geth Incursions, to clear the geth from the Armstrong Nebula, a cache of data is found in a terminal, detailing the early days of the geth.

Once back aboard the Normandy, Tali asks Shepard to give her a copy of the data. Though it is heavily encrypted and might take years to decipher, it is a perfect gift for her Pilgrimage. Shepard can refuse — this is classified Alliance data, after all — or agree to her request, hoping the Alliance doesn't find out. Obviously, if Tali receives a copy of the data, she will be very happy (it will enable her to return to her people once the mission is over). If Shepard refuses, Tali says she will help stop Saren, but leave the crew afterward — in order to find something of equal value and complete her Pilgrimage on her own.

Note: If the aforementioned mission is completed before Tali tells Shepard about her father and quarian politics, she won't tell Shepard about those things, missing a few secondary Codex entries.

Note: Tali does not automatically ask Shepard to give her a copy of the data, even if brought on the mission in which the data can be retrieved. Shepard must go down to the engine room immediately upon returning with the data to have the option to allow her to make a copy of it. If Shepard reports to Admiral Hackett immediately upon returning from the mission, the data will be sent to the Alliance and Shepard will lose the option to present Tali with a chance to copy it for the Migrant Fleet.

Mass Effect 2

“Shepard? Is that… you're alive?”

Weapon proficiencies


ME2 Treason


Main article: Dossier: Tali

After the attack on the SSV Normandy, and having completed her Pilgrimage, Tali joined the crew of the Neema and became a respected figure in the Migrant Fleet, earning the title Tali'Zorah vas Neema. She also gained a new environmental suit, reflecting her status as a mature adult quarian. In 2185, she led a mission to the human colony of Freedom's Progress, searching for a missing quarian named Veetor'Nara who had been helping the colonists as part of his Pilgrimage. Tali and her team arrived to find Freedom's Progress eerily deserted, but with the security mechs activated. Tali guessed Veetor was responsible for turning the mechs on. During the search for Veetor, Tali ran into Commander Shepard — who had arrived to investigate the disappearances with Jacob Taylor and Miranda Lawson, and whom she believed was long-dead during the Normandy's destruction.

Tali was initially thrilled to find Shepard alive, but was surprised and disappointed to see the Commander working with Cerberus, due to the organization's anti-alien reputation, and recent act of sabotage against the Flotilla. Tali convinced herself that Shepard was undercover and, hopefully, working to bring Cerberus down. If Shepard gave Tali the data from the rogue geth two years previously, then Shepard could ask Tali if the geth data helped her complete her pilgrimage; to which Tali said that it did, which convinced her that even though the Commander now works for Cerberus, it's still the same Shepard. After finding Veetor, and evidence that the Collectors were behind the colony's disappearance, Shepard decided whether to let Tali return the traumatized quarian back to the Flotilla or hand him over to Cerberus for further interrogation (Tali's response was determined by this decision). Regardless of Shepard's choice, they parted ways as Tali returned to the Flotilla: she had an important mission in geth-controlled space that she couldn't discuss.

This mission was, in fact, on the planet Haestrom to gather data on the planet's prematurely dying sun. As Haestrom is deep in geth territory, Tali traveled with a contingent of quarian marines, including Kal'Reegar, for protection. Unfortunately, a geth patrol ship sighted the quarians and began dropping troops; the quarian marines were killed and Tali was trapped inside a building with the data she had gathered. Fortunately she was contacted by Shepard, who had come to Haestrom in the hope of recruiting her.

After fighting their way through the geth, meeting Kal'Reegar, and destroying a powerful Geth Colossus, Shepard's team managed to rescue Tali, who agreed to join Shepard's cause. She explained that the data she had gathered on Haestrom's sun proved it was dying too quickly, possibly (as is elaborated later) due to dark energy affecting the mass of the star. Despondent over the deaths of her friends during the mission, Tali angrily hoped that the Admiralty Board would put this information to good use, and make it worth such a terrible cost.

Aboard the Normandy SR-2, Jacob welcomed Tali warmly, but she dismissed him, reiterating her skepticism towards Cerberus' intentions. She made it clear that she was joining the mission for Shepard's sake, not Cerberus'; on an imported file, Tali reminds Shepard that Cerberus thought that enslaving Thorian Creepers and rachni was a good idea. In parting, Tali was even more disturbed to hear that the new Normandy has an AI.


Main article: Tali: Treason

After some time aboard the Normandy, Tali receives a disturbing message from home. She informs Shepard that the Admiralty Board has charged her with treason. Tali asks to be taken to the Flotilla to discover what the charges are, and plead her innocence. During the events of the mission, it is revealed that the admiralty board has decided to change Tali's title to Tali'Zorah vas Normandy. Even after her loyalty mission is completed, she will keep this title, regardless of the outcome of the mission.

After both Tali's and Legion's loyalty missions are completed, a conflict arose between each other when Tali caught Legion scanning her omni tool for information on the Flotilla to be sent back to the geth. Legion maintains that it is merely warning the geth of the threat they face from the quarians' tests and their plans to attack the geth. Unless a Paragon or Renegade choice is used, one of them will lose their loyalty. If the conflict is resolved without Shepard siding with Tali or Legion, Tali thanks Legion for agreeing not to transmit the data back to geth and offers non-classified information on the Flotilla to Legion instead. If Shepard sides with Legion, then the Commander loses Tali's loyalty, but it can be regained in a later conversation.


“What could I possibly be suggesting? I mean, a young woman gets rescued by a dashing commander who lets her join his crew and then goes off to save the galaxy? How could she possibly develop any kind of interest in him?”
Tali ME Core
Tali is a potential romance option for a male Shepard. When Tali first joins the crew of the Normandy, Yeoman Kelly Chambers informs Shepard that Tali may wish to be "more than just good friends" and describes the noticeable signals in her body language. Kasumi Goto also notices the signs, telling Shepard that he's "all she talks about" and that he'd better be good to her. After completing her loyalty mission, Tali takes on a small fever and tells Shepard what life inside her suit is like. She says that quarians are in their suits their whole lives and that the most intimate thing that they can do with another quarian is link their suit environments. It can be dangerous and is considered their most sacred form of trust. Tali accidentally lets it slip that she trusts only Shepard that much. She initially acts nervous, stumbling over her words, and can even be accused by Shepard of blushing, though she blames it on her fever. Eventually, she confirms the Yeoman's thoughts, revealing that since the start of their adventures together fighting Saren, she had developed feelings for Shepard. Until this point, however, Tali was afraid to act on her feelings because she doubted that he could see who she truly was under her mask. She is happily surprised when Shepard proves her wrong by telling her how he feels the same way about her. Tali later apologizes for putting him on the spot, saying she was "unprofessional and selfish". She tells Shepard that he "deserves to be happy with someone" and doubts that she can do that for him. But Shepard says that he doesn't want to be with anyone else, he wants to be with Tali, and he'll do everything he can to make it work.

Overjoyed to hear this, Tali tells Shepard that she wants this relationship to be real, that she must "feel [his] skin against [hers]." Unfortunately, quarians' weak immune system and dextro-amino acid chirality makes physical acts of affection dangerous, if not deadly. She thus asks that Shepard give her some time until she can adequately make herself ready. Shepard can also get intimate advice from Mordin Solus, who will suggest Shepard "self-sterilize", citing oral contact as dangerous, and forwards information packets regarding quarian physiology and positions comfortable for both species to Shepard's room.

Tali Romance
Shortly before the Normandy's entry into the Omega 4 Relay, Tali nervously goes to Shepard's room saying that she has taken several antibiotics and "herbal supplements" to bolster her immune system. Speaking nonstop (a "defensive mechanism"), she becomes visibly nervous about removing her bio-suit and having her first intimate experience. Shepard eases her worries and proceeds to remove her mask, viewing her face unobstructed for the first time (but out of view of the camera). Her fears gone, Tali pounces on Shepard and passionately kisses him as the scene fades to black.

Furthermore, if Tali survives the suicide mission, she informs Shepard that although she is "running a fever," has a "nasty cough," and her sinuses "are filled with something [she] can't even describe", "it was totally worth it."

Lair of the Shadow Broker

Should Shepard choose to bring Liara aboard the Normandy to catch up after completing the Lair of the Shadow Broker, she will ask Shepard what he is fighting for and whether it is a chance to give Tali a new homeworld. If Shepard answered yes, he claims it is because Tali is important to him. In reply, Liara reveals that Tali has been awestruck ever since she joined him two years ago, to which Shepard wishes Liara could have mentioned it to him at the time. Liara then reveals that had she told Shepard then, it would have ruined the fun of him finding out on his own. If Shepard had romanced Liara in Mass Effect and later chose to just remain friends, Liara will instead say that though she was naive, she had a vested interest in "not adding any more competition." Before returning to the Shadow Broker's ship, Liara says that she hopes the two of them will find happiness together.

Mass Effect 3

Weapon proficiencies



If she survived the suicide mission, Tali returns to the quarian fleet following Shepard's return to the Alliance. Due to her expertise with the geth, the Admiralty Board requests Tali's assistance in their campaign to retake Rannoch. If Tali was not previously exiled from the fleet, the Admiralty Board appoints her as admiral in place of her father; otherwise, Tali lends her aid in secret.

Tali reunites with Shepard when the Normandy joins the quarians in the war against the geth. She serves as the geth software expert in the team that infiltrates the geth dreadnought, and participates in the mission to deactivate transmission of the Reaper signal controlling the geth.

Following the destruction of the Reaper on Rannoch, the geth are weakened and Admiral Han'Gerrel launches a full strike. Legion attempts to upload the Reaper code to augment all platforms of the geth collective, an act that would restore the geth to full strength, catching the quarian fleet unaware and leading to their destruction. If Shepard allows the geth to be upgraded, Tali watches in horror as she witnesses the entirety of the Migrant Fleet crash and burn up in Rannoch's atmosphere. Filled with despair, she removes her mask, declares "I'm sorry", and commits suicide by throwing herself off a cliff. A Paragon interrupt is placed during the suicide, but it does not affect the outcome.

If Shepard stops Legion from uploading the code, it becomes hostile and Tali is forced to kill it to save Shepard. If Shepard convinces the quarians to halt their attack, peace is achieved between the quarians and the geth, and Tali watches sadly as Legion sacrifices itself to grant autonomy to all geth, but not before confirming that the answer to Legion's question - whether or not the geth have souls - was 'Yes'. In either case, Tali decides to rejoin the Normandy, knowing that she'd be fighting for her homeworld. Before leaving Rannoch, however, she takes off her mask to see the sunset.

Tali later becomes the quarians' ambassador on the Citadel. Shepard finds her conversing with a turian, whom Tali identifies as the one who denied her asylum when she acquired evidence of Saren's treachery. The turian doesn't recognize her and Tali decides not to remind him, realizing that war is no time for petty grudges.

Tali becomes particularly upset after the mission on Horizon. She goes to the Port Observation deck bar, gets drunk on turian brandy, and reflects on her encounters with Miranda. Tali reveals to Shepard that though she disliked Miranda, she also respected her courage to defy her father and not let him control her life. She laments that unlike Miranda, she has tried to live up to her father her whole life. If Tali is Shepard's romance partner, she mentions that her father would have hated Shepard.

If Commander Shepard chooses to activate the Crucible during the battle for Earth, Tali, along with Joker, Cortez, and any surviving squad members can be seen paying their respect to Shepard, placing the Commander's name above Anderson's on the memorial wall aboard the Normandy.

If Tali is in the squad at the final push towards the Conduit, she will be killed by Harbinger if the Effective Military Strength is too low.

If Tali does not survive the events of Mass Effect 2, her role is filled in by Admiral Daro'Xen vas Moreh during the attack on the Geth Dreadnought, and Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay during the final mission on Rannoch.


“And for the record...still totally worth it.”

Provided that Tali survives the suicide mission and was not exiled by her people, she will first meet Shepard in the mission Priority: Perseus Veil and will be one of the Admirals discussing the war. After a brief discussion with the admirals Tali and Shepard will walk into another area of the ship where Shepard can inquire about their relationship. Tali will tell Shepard that she can't discuss it in front of the Admirals and suggest that Shepard invite her to his quarters for a more private conversation. After she has been invited to Shepard's quarters, the player may choose to continue the relationship with her.

After the destruction of the Geth Dreadnought, while on a call with Tali, Javik says that quarians were considered physically attractive even during his cycle, and he suggests to her that he is aware of her relationship with Shepard. She is surprised as she didn't believe anyone would have been aware of the relationship, let alone someone whom she had just met.

Alternatively, while having a conversation with Shepard about the reason he fights being for his friends and crew, Javik says he believes there is another reason: Shepard's relationship with Tali. Javik will ask if Shepard and Tali are "joined." Shepard confirms this, but Javik states that he could already sense it by his pheromones.


Before Shepard faces down the Reaper on Rannoch, Tali will confess her love for the Commander in lieu of Legion or the Geth VI wishing him good luck. On the Normandy, after retaking her homeworld, she will state that "nothing stands between us now" and "whatever the galaxy throws at us, [she] will be at [his] side." Tali also tells the Commander that she has left him something in his room. Next to his bed, Shepard finds a picture of Tali without her mask.

When Shepard launches the mission against the Cerberus base, Tali will come to his quarters and ask to spend the night with him. If he accepts, they will remove her mask together and passionately kiss. Several hours later, Shepard awakes to find Tali putting the final pieces of her suit back together. After inquiring about her well-being, she reassures him by saying that her system has adapted to physical "contact" with him. She rejoins him in bed and they comfort each other, preparing for the confrontation with the Reapers.

If neither Tali nor Garrus Vakarian is in a relationship with Shepard, the two of them eventually enter into a romantic relationship with each other.

If one of them is in a relationship with Shepard, Tali will still visit Garrus at the main batteries to say her goodbyes as well as make a wager on who can kill the most. Shepard can then thank them both for being there through everything and for believing in the Commander no matter what. Tali will then comment that they will finish it the same way as it started, together.

During the final mission on Earth, Tali and Shepard can say goodbye before the final battle. Tali's enthusiasm for retaking Earth falters briefly as she laments that she "wants more time" to be with Shepard. If she follows Shepard during the final charge to the Conduit, Tali will be critically injured and evacuated on the Normandy. Although she pleads with Shepard not to leave her behind, he asks her to go on living and to build a home on Rannoch to which Tali tearfully replies that she already "has a home" and begs Shepard to come back to her.

After the ending, she will be seen placing Shepard's name on the memorial wall, or, if the Destroy ending was chosen and the player has a sufficiently high EMS score, she will refrain from placing the name and the Normandy is seen flying off.


  • Tali carries a knife strapped to her boot, but is never seen using it until Mass Effect 3. If Shepard chooses to side with the quarians on Rannoch, Tali will use her knife to stab Legion/Geth VI in the back.
  • Tali's combat drone is nicknamed Chiktikka vas Paus, a reference to BioWare's Baldur's Gate II. Chiktikka Fastpaws is the raccoon companion of Baervan Wildwanderer, a deity worshiped by Aerie, one of the party members.
    • When Chiktikka is summoned, Tali will occasionally cry, "Go for the optics, Chiktikka! Go for the optics!", a reference to Baldur's Gate II's Minsc, who shouts, "Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!" to Boo, his miniature giant space hamster.
    • Aerie sometimes reacts to commands by saying, "Faster than Chiktikka Fastpaws!" while Tali may exclaim "Nothing's faster than Chiktikka vas Paus!"
    • Tali and Aerie have some other similarities as well, both being the junior non-human female companion with a soft voice, a possible love interest for the main character, and having a "support" role in combat (focusing on spells or powers over weapon damage).
  • Along with Legion, it appears that Tali was originally available for recruitment at a much earlier point in Mass Effect 2, or that certain missions were intended to be available throughout the game.[1]
  • According to Lukas Kristjanson, Tali was originally named "Talsi Orah, with the intent that Orah would become the familiar one". However, because the name flowed “oddly” and it was “too 'soft'” for where BioWare wanted to take the character, it was changed before the game was released.[2]
  • Tali's face, as can be seen in a photograph during the events of Mass Effect 3, is an edited portrait of the 2005 Miss England Hammasa Kohistani[3][4]
  • As with all squad members, Tali has unique dialogue that can be heard at various locations, during missions or assignments, or if a specific squad member is in the selected team.
  • The Shadow Broker has files on Tali which can be accessed aboard his ship.



SmallMLogo Mass Effect Squad SmallMLogo
Ashley WilliamsGarrus VakarianKaidan Alenko
Liara T'SoniTali'Zorah nar RayyaUrdnot Wrex
ME2-2icon Mass Effect 2 Squad ME2-2icon
Garrus VakarianGruntJackJacob TaylorKasumi GotoLegionMiranda Lawson
Mordin SolusMorinthSamaraTali'Zorah vas NeemaThane KriosZaeed Massani
ME3 Icon Mass Effect 3 Squad ME3 Icon
Ashley WilliamsEDIGarrus VakarianJames Vega
JavikKaidan AlenkoLiara T'SoniTali'Zorah vas Normandy

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