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Mass Effect Wiki

“Why is it that whenever someone says 'with all due respect' they really mean 'kiss my ass'?”

Ashley Madeline Williams is a human soldier who served in the Systems Alliance as a Gunnery Chief in the 2nd Frontier Division on Eden Prime, and was later assigned to Commander Shepard's squad after the geth attack on Eden Prime. She is a potential romance partner for a male Shepard.


Born on April 14th, 2158[1] on the colony world Sirona in the 61 Ursae Majoris system, Ashley comes from a large family that includes a long line of Alliance soldiers: her great-grandmother, her grandfather, and her father all swore the Oath of Service.

Following her family's tradition, Ashley enlisted in the Alliance Navy as a marine after high school and was assigned to the Recruit Training Depot in Macapá, Brazil. During training, Chief Williams was certified proficient with the standard-issue M7 Lancer assault rifle and light to standard-weight combat hardsuits. She also completed certification in zero-gravity combat aboard the Rakesh Sharma Orbital Platform in Earth geosynchronous orbit. For Hostile Environment Assault Training, she was assigned to Fort Charles Upham on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, where she was awarded a commendation for her bold assault technique in a field exercise simulating an attack on turian point defense emplacements.

Drill Instructor Gunnery Chief Ellison noted her steadfast endurance and aggressive instincts, and promoted her to squad leader. Subsequently Ashley is promoted again to platoon guide after her effective tutelage of the less skilled members of her training unit. Her platoon had logged unanimous positive feedback on her leadership in a recent fitness review cycle, and fellow soldier Private Nirali Bhatia praised her focus on team-building exercises and "tough but fair" discipline.

Despite glowing performance reviews, Ashley was denied further opportunities for advancement. Having served on numerous groundside garrisons she has repeatedly requested a transfer to a shipboard posting, but each request had been denied, without explicit reasons.

Ashley's Military Vocational Code is B4 and her blood type is B-Positive. She had received genetic enhancements including in-utero vision correction (maternal predisposition for nearsightedness) and the Class-B Alliance Infantry Upgrade Package.

Email record

From: Ashley Williams (

Sent: June 17, 2183 22:03 UT
To: Sarah Williams (
Subject: Re: Hey sis

James left today. He's been reassigned to one of the new Rapid Response Bases out in the Kepler Verge. Lucky bastard. It's like the ancient west out there — pirates and slavers coming out of the Terminus Systems all the time. He gets to play the cavalry, riding out in frigates any time someone's house gets burned down.

I made some speech about how he was a valuable asset to the squad and he better make us look good out there, blah blah. I suck at speeches. I was cribbing from something I read back in history class. I don't think anyone noticed.

I'm going to miss him. Don't tell anyone.

So you think James is cute, eh? Yeah, well, when you said I should "go for him" — not gonna happen, kiddo. See, we have rules about "fraternization". You don't do The Deed with your fellow troops, especially if they're under you in rank. There's all sorts of problems that can happen when two people in the same unit get together.

Let's say your unit is in a tight spot. Some bug-eyed aliens are going to overrun the galaxy. They eat babies, smell bad, and don't have elbows. Nasty. You're told to guard the rear. To let everyone else escape, someone is ordered "hold this spot until we're gone." Someone has to be left behind. You think it's going to be someone you're sleeping with?

I've served with these guys for eight months now. Yeah, some of them make me feel tingly (and yeah, James was kinda scruffy-cute). I hope I never have to decide who lives and who dies. But if I have to, my decision can't be muddled up by magic-sparkly-hearts-and-stars feelings.

Anyways, I'm gonna knock off here. I've got dog watch in a few hours. Want to get a shower and a meal before then. Talk to you tomorrow.

- Ash

This message originated from an Alliance military network. It has been censored at transmission source for security purposes. Any reply may be read by military authorities.

Mass Effect: Foundation

Two days before the attack on Eden Prime, Ashley was at a bar on downtime with her fellow soldiers from Unit 212. Sergeant Donkey kept trying to seduce her to no avail, and Ash even joked about hooking up with Pennyloafer, a girl, instead. The horsing around was interrupted with the arrival of the unit's commanding officer, who presented the soldiers with a recon mission. A beacon was unearthed and the unit was assigned to defend it.

The Williams curse

Despite being a nominal squad leader, Ashley wasn't given command on the mission, with leadership duties being relegated to Sergeant Donkey. Ashley correctly interpreted the commanding officer's prejudice regarding her Williams heritage, and grudgingly accepted the situation.

Unlike the rest of the squads in Unit 212, Ashley's 6-man team Dog Squad was ordered to go to the mission site on foot. During the long trek, Sergeant Donkey expressed his belief that Ashley should be the one leading the mission, praising her ability to keep a level head under pressure. Ashley observed that he was still trying to sleep with her and Donkey didn't deny the assertion, but that didn't mean he wasn't being earnest. Ashley held out hope that maybe she and Donkey will get lucky one day, and continued the march ahead.

Ashley rallies Dog Squad's fighting spirit

On the eve of the attack, Dog Squad discovered fellow 212 group Bravo Squad dead on a ditch. Ash was ordered to pair up with Bates to investigate, and noticed that the dead soldiers didn't even have the chance to draw their weapons. Bates was distraught at the sight of a dead soldier he once knew, and Ash put her hand on his shoulder to console him.

Intercepted transmissions later indicated that the other squads Able and Charlie were under attack from an unknown enemy. Because of the situation change and the need for a real leader, Sergeant Donkey relinquished leadership of Dog Squad to Ashley. Ashley stirred up the group's fighting spirit and encouraged them to double-time it to the dig site.

Dog Squad surveyed the dig site at dawn, and surmised the enemy attackers were geth. They were unfortunately spotted by recon drones and fired upon. Ashley attempted to execute the squad's battle plan: she sent Rasputin to an elevated position, gave Sergeant Donkey orders to create a diversion, and tried to set up an ambush herself.

Ashley's battle plan

Their flanking maneuver brought down some geth, but the squad began to take heavy casualties. Pennyloafer laid dead and Ashley ordered Jenner to transmit a general warning, but the comm specialist was shot before long. Rasputin and Donkey went down before getting the chance to heed Ashley's retreat call. Bates disappeared and didn't respond to Ashley's hails, leaving her alone to fend off the geth.

Ashley would not take defeat lying down, and successfully fought her way out of her surrounded position. She played cat and mouse with the geth until they found her again, and just when she was sure she was dead she got lucky: Commander Shepard and Kaidan Alenko arrived to her rescue.

Ashley was approached on the Citadel by an Alliance psychologist named Captain Channing a day after the geth attack, who coaxed her to talk about the events on Eden Prime. Initially wary of the psychologist, Ashley warmed up a little when the introspective moment allowed her to think about what Donkey once said: luck is for the lonely.

Mass Effect

For her gameplay attributes in Mass Effect, see Squad Members Guide#Ashley Williams.
Ashley fighting on Eden Prime

Ashley Williams is first encountered by Commander Shepard on Eden Prime during the course of Shepard's mission to retrieve a Prothean Beacon. Ashley's unit, the 212, was wiped out by an army of geth also intent on retrieving the beacon. As sole survivor of her unit, and having demonstrated her combat abilities on Eden Prime, Captain Anderson has her transferred to the SSV Normandy. Ashley is uncomfortable about filling a dead man's shoes after the loss of Corporal Jenkins, and blames herself for not being more alert during the geth attack. Over time, she becomes accustomed to the crew, even getting along well with Kaidan Alenko.

While off duty, Ashley spends her time in the Normandy's storage section, cleaning rifles. Upon interaction, she will give feedback on recent missions, or the latest shipboard gossip before anyone else. Eventually, when she has said all she needs to, she excuses herself from conversation by claiming rifles don't maintain themselves yet.

Ashley is interested in Shepard's background. She is amazed that she and Shepard went to the same training facility and even reminisces about getting yelled at by Gunnery Chief Ellison.

Ashley in the med bay

Ashley enjoys talking about her family. Her father was an enlisted man who brewed his own beer and was proficient at playing baritone saxophones. Her mother had a degree in planetary geology. Both of them liked poetry; Ashley's father was into "sappy" poets like Alfred Tennyson and Walt Whitman while Ashley's mother was more a fan of Sylvia Plath. Both of Ash's parents wanted to see new worlds, though reality meant that her mom had to give up her career to help raise the family while her dad's away on six-month cruises. Despite his hard work and dedication though, Ashley's father never rose above the rank of Serviceman third class, a fact Ashley is deeply bitter about.

Ash is the oldest of four daughters in the family, followed by Abby, Lynn, and Sarah. Due to her father's frequent deployments, she helped to raise her sisters, and the four siblings grew close to one another as a result. All of them took up self-defense training at their parents' urging: Lynn trained with pistols but didn't like it much, Sarah took Aikido, Abby trained with swords while rocking a Victorian chic, while Ashley herself learned marine hand-to-hand from one of her father's friends.

Ash likes maintaining her guns

Ashley's family regularly observes Armistice Day out of obligation. During Armistice Day 2183, Ashley can confide in Shepard that her grandfather was General Williams, who surrendered the garrison at Shanxi to the turians during the First Contact War, thus becoming the first human to surrender to an alien force. Her superiors' prejudice against her family meant she had mostly been stuck on groundside garrison posts — preventing her from gaining actual combat experience — despite her exemplary technical scores. Possibly due to the discrimination she experienced, Ashley asserts that a Williams has to be better than the best, to make up for Shanxi, making her dedicated to her job, but also prickly, blunt and quick-tempered.

Ashley has strong religious beliefs but is hesitant to discuss it with Shepard because she's concerned of the uneasiness it may cause in others. Her faith is strengthened by her work in space — "How can you look out at this galaxy and not believe in something?" — and she believes that her father who had passed away is with God. She still remembers his favorite poem, Tennyson's Ulysses, by heart. When Shepard jokingly states that Ashley is the last person the Commander would expect to hear quoting classical literature, Ashley indignantly replies that just because she can make headshots from a hundred meters doesn't mean she can't like sensitive stuff, though she does request Shepard not to spread it around.

Though she is tough and aggressive, Ashley does have a compassionate side: if she met Samesh Bhatia on the Citadel she is very respectful and sympathetic, taking the time to say how much his late wife Nirali loved him.

Due to her family history, groundside assignments, and lack of experience in working with other races, she tends to be distrustful of aliens. Ashley doesn't trust the Citadel Council and believes humanity can't rely on them staying allies. She questions the wisdom of allowing aliens to wander around the Normandy freely, and dismisses the Prothean Cipher as "some asari mumbo jumbo", believing the Commander has suffered needlessly to get it. However, Ashley acknowledges that Shepard is in command and the presence of aliens on the Normandy is not her decision.

Ashley with her assault rifle

That being said, Ashley isn't xenophobic. She dismisses Terra Firma as a group of xenophobic "jackals" who have replaced the original noble aims of the party with anti-alien paranoia. At Virmire, if Urdnot Wrex is with the Normandy crew and angry with Shepard due to current events, even though Ashley won't hesitate to shoot the krogan she happily volunteers to go with Captain Kirrahe's team and has no problem with the salarians, respecting their tenacity and skill.

After Liara T'Soni's rescue from Therum, Ashley distrusts her stated estrangement from Matriarch Benezia on grounds that they're family. Whichever Shepard's response, Ashley feels bad about the destruction of the Prothean site on the planet since it stood for thousands of years before they came in.

Following the incidents on Noveria, Ashley is convinced the rachni are dangerous, pointing out the historical precedent. She agrees with letting them stay dead and disagrees if the Rachni Queen was freed, though in this case she knows it wasn't her call to make. After Benezia's death Ash encourages Shepard to talk to Liara, figuring she has to be hurting over the loss of her mother.

Ashley has some opinions on the state of Zhu's Hope in the aftermath of the events on Feros. If too many colonists died, she feels bad because protecting them is one of the reasons soldiers like her are out in space in the first place. If the colony survived, she admires their resilience given how the colony's in the worst place she has ever seen. She still recommends getting out of there though.

At the operation on Virmire, Shepard can choose to save Ashley's life, but at the cost of losing Kaidan. During the debriefing, Ashley gets angry at Shepard's decision, saying Kaidan was a superior officer and she should have been the one left behind. However, Shepard responds by asking how far Ashley is willing to go in order to clear her grandfather's name. Ashley does have qualms about facing the Reapers, claiming she's infantry and will have no place in the upcoming battles but Shepard assures her that she's needed. Eventually Ashley comes to her senses and agrees to work with the Normandy's multi-species crew to stop Saren Arterius, even becoming good friends with Liara, Tali, and even Garrus and/or Wrex if they are around.


“You make me feel good enough.”
Two Alliance soldiers about to break fraternization regs

A male Shepard and Ashley can build a rapport after Eden Prime that gradually grows into a romantic interest. Though Ashley is receptive, she's also not shy about needling Shepard on his attraction to a soldier under his command. Ashley claims she isn't one for words, but her interest in poetry helps her to say what she feels.

When the Normandy is grounded by the Council, Ashley persuades Shepard not to give in and nearly share a kiss before being interrupted by Joker. En route to Ilos, Ashley comes to Shepard's quarters, saying that, after a long career of being sidelined by the Alliance, Shepard helps her to feel "good enough", and the two spend the night together. Ashley continues to tease Shepard; she claims to have something important to tell him, but if he wants to hear it, he'll have to survive Ilos and come back to her first.

Mass Effect 2

If Ashley died on Virmire, a news broadcast on the Citadel reports that Ashley Williams has been decorated for her service by both the salarian and turian governments, receiving the salarian Silver Dagger and turian Nova Cluster medals, becoming the first human to receive these awards and being quoted as saying "human or alien, we're all just animals". While searching the wreck of the first Normandy, Shepard will briefly see Ashley in a flashback.

Ashley on Horizon after the attack

Provided she did not die on Virmire, Williams continues to serve under Shepard aboard the SSV Normandy. During a routine patrol, the ship came under attack from a vessel belonging to the enigmatic Collectors and Shepard ordered her to evacuate with the rest of the crew. Though she and the majority of the crew managed to escape, the ship was destroyed, with Shepard killed after being blown into space; a fact that shattered Williams. She remained in the service of the Systems Alliance for the next two years and was promoted to the rank of Operations Chief, all the while attempting to move on with her life. Due to her association with Shepard, the Illusive Man attempted to keep track of her activities, but her file is "surprisingly well-classified."

After a string of Alliance colonies had been abducted, it was believed that Cerberus was involved in these actions. Ashley was even informed of reports indicating that Commander Shepard was alive and working for Cerberus. Thus, she was dispatched to the Horizon colony in order to update its defenses to prepare it for an expected Cerberus assault. However, that proved not to be the case as the planet suffered an onslaught from the Collectors while the defense grid was still non-operational.

During the assault, Ashley is attacked and paralyzed by a seeker swarm, but is found after the Collectors leave Horizon. Though she is glad to be reunited with Shepard, she is not very fond of the idea of Shepard working for Cerberus, feeling that the Commander may feel indebted to the pro-human organization for being resurrected. Ashley then leaves and tells Shepard to be careful. If Garrus is with Shepard on Horizon, Ashley will also be surprised that Garrus is working with Cerberus and Garrus will attempt to reason with Ashley claiming her feelings towards Cerberus are blinding her to see the truth behind the attacks.


Ashley's photo on Shepard's desk aboard the SR-2

If Shepard pursued a romantic relationship with Ashley before, a picture of Ashley is displayed in Shepard's quarters aboard the Normandy SR-2, showing that Shepard still cares for her. She and Shepard share a brief emotional reunion on Horizon: though she's relieved he's alive, she's angry he never tried to contact her, putting her in so much grief. After the mission, he receives an apologetic e-mail from her, titled Hey there.


I'm sorry for what I said back on Horizon. When I lost you two years ago, it tore me up. I prayed for you every day. I read a lot of Tennyson, thinking about you, just like I did when my dad passed. And then you came back, and it was like my prayers were answered. But I'm not who I was then, and neither are you.

I don't know what's true anymore. Part of me can't believe it's really you. I keep going back to that night before Ilos, our night.... I haven't let myself think about those memories for more than a year now.

I wouldn't have expected you to work for Cerberus, but I know why they sent you to Horizon. I saw how many people were lost there, and if anyone can stop the Collectors, you can. I can't go where you're going, but I can wish you luck.

Just stay alive out there... Skipper. I don't know what the future holds, but I can't lose you a second time.


Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

Should Shepard choose to remain faithful to Ashley, he gazes at her picture for several moments and smiles at it during the journey to the Collector Base.

Mass Effect 3

For her gameplay attributes in Mass Effect 3, see Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 3)#Ashley Williams.
“I mean, maybe this problem can’t be solved by some grunt shooting the bogeyman in the face, but if you think it might help, I’m game.”
Ashley Williams in Mass Effect 3

Ashley returns to fight the Reapers, provided she survived on Virmire. If she did not, Kaidan Alenko will take her place in the squad. Ashley has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, received several commendations, and has served in a covert-operations unit.

During the Reapers' invasion of Earth, Ashley assists in evacuating Shepard from Earth on-board the Normandy SR-2, where she then joins Shepard to a mission to recover Prothean data on Mars. Ashley still shows some mistrust towards Shepard after discovering a Cerberus presence on Mars, becoming more worried about the experiments performed on Shepard after discovering that Cerberus processed their own people. Near the end of the mission, after chasing down Dr. Eva, Ashley is critically injured after the Illusive Man orders Dr. Eva to "finish her." After disabling Dr. Eva and fleeing Mars, Shepard takes her to Huerta Memorial Hospital on the Citadel, where she slowly recuperates. While recovering, Udina offers her Spectre status.

Shepard is able to speak to Ashley in the hospital after every major mission, where they can choose to be either friendly or hostile to her. Although Ashley admits that her doubts about Shepard are still present, she promises to work with them and trust them. She tells Shepard about the hard times her sister Sarah is going through as her husband, being a marine, was called back into action. If the Commander asks her about her promotion to Lt. Commander, she remarks the old "Williams curse" must be losing its grip, to which Shepard replies that she'd earned it.

Ash mulls over Shepard's words on Mars

In time, Ashley recovers from her injury and accepts Udina's offer. Shepard can speak with her on Huerta Memorial regarding this, with the conversation shifting to her family. Ashley reveals that her family has made it onto the Citadel. Sarah's husband was killed in action, however, and she wants to at least say some words at the Lieutenant's memorial service.

When Cerberus invades the Citadel, Ashley is tasked to protect the Councilors but is unaware that Udina is working with Cerberus to take control of the Council. This puts Shepard and Ashley in conflict, and she must be convinced of the truth.

Depending on past interactions with her, Ashley can be talked down. If Shepard succeeds in talking Ashley down, she will turn her gun on Udina and order him to stand down. Udina will then raise a gun on the asari Councilor and if Shepard doesn't shoot Udina, Ashley will.

If Shepard cannot persuade Ashley to back off, then Shepard will be forced to kill Ashley. If not Shepard, a squad member will shoot her instead. Her name will appear on the memorial wall aboard the Normandy.

If Ashley lives through the coup, she meets Shepard by the docks as the Commander is about to return to the Normandy, where she reflects on how they both almost killed each other doing what they believed to be right. Ashley mentions that she was offered a place on Admiral Hackett's team but that if she has any choice in the matter she would rather be on the Normandy. Shepard can either allow her back in or leave her behind to provide assistance in the war. If Shepard hasn't built a good enough relationship with Ashley, she will not offer to return to the Normandy; in this case, Shepard has to be very persuasive to convince Ashley to rejoin Shepard's squad.

If Ashley is assigned to Hackett's team instead of being allowed back on board the Normandy, she sends Shepard an e-mail.

Checking in

From: Ashley Williams


Just wanted to pass along I'm settling into my new post with Admiral Hackett. Too many things to get done- not a lot of rack time.

I'm starting to get a handle of the enormity of what we're up against. We get new intel everyday that needs to get processed into practical action. Turns out, I'm good at breaking things down to the practical. No surprises there.

All right, back to work.


Ashley takes up residence on the Starboard Observation Deck, the quarters formerly occupied by Samara. Once on the Normandy, Ashley seldom says anything enlightening if Shepard isn't pursuing a relationship with her.

Ash remembers the dead

After the turian platoon's rescue on Tuchanka, she sympathizes with the primarch's son, knowing that it's never easy losing people in one's unit. After the bomb's defusal on the same planet, she expresses that it was a "[d]amn shame it went the way it did." She stands by the memorial wall to pay her respects to Kaidan. Shepard tells her to put in a good word for them.

After bugging out of Utukku alive, Ashley complains that she's still got slime to clean off her armor. She approves of the rachni Queen (or its replacement) dying, and is distrustful of the deal Shepard brokered if otherwise. She also comments on Grunt, offering condolences if he was killed, or remarking about his "badassery" if he walked out alive.

After the evac on Gellix Ashley says she hopes a bunch of ex-Cerberus can be trusted. If Jacob is alive she's just glad he turned out alright. She does note that scooping those scientists from under the Illusive Man's nose is bound to piss the guy off, and that things could've turned out worse with civilians and children in the mix.

After blowing up the monastery on Lesuss, if she was on the mission, Ashley remarks that Banshees aren't a side of the asari she wants to see, and acknowledges Shepard's knack for making "unusual" friends if Samara was encountered. She wants to read Sarah's old letters again due to the events that took place on the planet.

Ashley expresses her lingering resentment towards the geth after the destruction of the sabotaged geth dreadnought over Rannoch. She sighs in frustration and disbelief that even after all these years, she is still fighting the synthetics. Humorously, Ashley scoreboards the destruction of the geth ship: a 1-0 lead of humanity versus the "blinky flashlights".

After the rescue attempt on Admiral Koris she approves of Shepard strafing the geth from the shuttle if she was present at the time. If Koris was saved that got her thinking about the value of a good leader, on how many lives should be sacrificed to protect a truly inspired one, and hopes she never has to find out.

"I could order Joker to sing to you over the comm

She does interact with the crew at times, and in one amusing interlude after Shepard's trip to the Geth Consensus Shepard finds Ashley lying wasted on the floor with a hangover. Ash reveals she spent the previous night trying to 'get her mind off stuff' by drinking an entire bottle of unspecified liquor with James. As the other human Spectre lies mewling on the cold starboard floor Shepard can either respond to this with playful banter or strict professional scolding.

After the geth-quarian war's conclusion on Rannoch, Ashley offers her perspective on things depending on how events turned out.

If Shepard chose the geth leading to the death of the quarians and Tali's suicide, Ashley is heartbroken over Tali's death, saying "she was like a little sister" and that she needs some time to mourn her death. If Tali died months earlier during the suicide mission, Ashley will be much more harsh with Shepard. She knows they need allies to defeat the Reapers, but with her bias against the synthetics she defers to Shepard's decision, telling the Commander they should hope it was the right decision. She further tells Shepard to keep the geth away from her.

If Shepard chose the quarians over the geth, Ashley recalls the loss of the 212 on Eden Prime and says she's glad it's over now. She also says it's the right call, with her view on the quarians being a big help with the tech stuff, and that she'd rather scope down some tin can than a person. If Shepard managed to make peace between the quarians and geth, Ashley's impressed on the feat. She expresses skepticism as to how long the peace will last.

Ash comforting her widowed sister on the Citadel

During one of the downtimes after missions, Ashley sends a mail to Shepard stating that the preparations for Sarah's husband's memorial service are complete. It takes place on the Refugee Docks' Memorial Wall, and Shepard can visit the sisters there in one of the next trips to the Citadel.

Ashley compares her sister's demeanor to their father's during the memorial: all smiles regardless of stress. If Shepard commends this behavior, Ashley delves further into memories of her father before joining Sarah in shared remembrance.

Ashley sympathizes with Liara's grief after the disastrous mission on Thessia. She tells Shepard she will talk to Liara to ease her suffering.

After the mission on Horizon, Ashley is horrified by what the squad found in the ruins, either through second-hand retelling or, if personally present, being distressed enough to be unable to forget the place. Just when she thought she's heard of everything, she notes how the plan to lure in refugees was so cold and calculating that she can't understand it. She is glad that she can't, as it's what helps retain her humanity. If Miranda died on Horizon Ash consoles Shepard, knowing she meant a lot to the Commander. Speaking further, she wonders aloud about what the galaxy's refugees will do next.

Ashley in the London FOB

After the raid on Cronos Station, Ashley expresses her relief in seeing Cerberus well and truly gone. Even though she doesn't want to reopen old wounds, she appreciates the irony of Shepard being the one responsible. Her final words about Cerberus before closing the matter for good is "good riddance."

Ashley can be spoken to during the final assault on Earth, loitering near a couple of soldiers and a structure housing the London FOB's holographic communications terminal. Otherwise, if she was previously handed over to Hackett she won't be among the people Shepard can talk to in the FOB's communications center.

Restless when Shepard inquires how she's holding up, she asks back if they have a chance, and the Commander assures her there's always hope as it got them so far. She praises Shepard as the reason all of them got to where they are now, and if Shepard answers that Ash and other people like her picked the Commander up when they stumbled, Ash quips back that "hero-lady/hero-man" saved her almost as many times as she saved them.

Ashley alongside James Vega, sporting synthetic markings if Shepard decided on that path

She feels it's been a thousand years since Eden Prime, finding it hard to figure out how they got to their current situation. Ash was always a survivor, and Shepard compliments her as such, though she doesn't really believe it until her Commander adds that she's also a Spectre and a fine soldier. There's one more hill to take, Shepard queries the Lieutenant-Commander if she's ready, and she confidently responds that she is.

If Ashley is in the squad at the final push towards the conduit, she will be killed by Harbinger alongside another squad member if Shepard failed to muster enough of the galaxy's forces for the fight. If she survived and Shepard activated the Crucible, Ashley may be seen convincing Joker to fly the Normandy to safety before getting caught in the blast wave. Much later, Ashley will be among the mourners paying their respects to the fallen at Normandy's memorial wall.

Mass Effect 3: Citadel

Ashley's presence during and after Shepard's shore leave adventures is dependent on her not being dead or sent to Admiral Hackett after the attempted Citadel coup.

Ashley tags along with the rest of Shepard's gang in trying to determine the mastermind behind the latest attempt on the Commander's life. Liara figured out that they have a lead after tracing the M-11 Suppressor Shepard stole from one of the assailants, a weapons dealer named Elijah Khan who happens to run a public event on his Silver Coast Casino. Shepard can bring Ash along in the plan to get answers from the man, and the second Spectre dons a tight blue evening dress for the occasion if chosen.

She's also part of Team Mako with Liara and Maya Brooks during the all-out assault on the Citadel Archives, provided Shepard does not require her in the squad.

No limbs were severed during the shooting of this scene

When Shepard's botched shore leave is settled and real opportunities for Citadel R&R arise, Ashley can request a meet with Shepard at the Silver Coast Casino upper bar, where she dares the Commander to a drinking contest to prove who is a "real Spectre" and who's just pretending to be one. Shepard can match her shot-for-shot or allow her to win the challenge.

The two have their evening interrupted by a batarian and a vorcha, with the former persistently poking Shepard and proclaiming their dislike for "Alliance types". Shepard quips "rain check" to Ash, and the two "Alliance types" proceed to beat up the aggressors.

Ashley can also be used as a squadmate for Shepard for competitions in the Armax Arsenal Arena, not requiring any ally license unlike certain other squadmates.

Despite being on Shepard's team, Ashley is an optional invite to the Commander's big party. At the party's first phase she sits with James by the ground floor couches, teasing Cortez.

At the party's second phase, if the mood was set to energetic Ashley is encouraged by James Vega to support him in his argument for physical training over biotics. If Ashley and James are both unromanced she flirts with James and shows interest in his physique. As the night goes on the two can grow closer and Shepard may encourage them to hook up, or tell them to cool things off. In the former case, Vega tries to woo her with the Spanish phrase "tu con tantas curvas, y yo sin frenos" ("you with such curves, and me with no brakes"), which Ashley keeps asking him to repeat. If romantic overtures were made to either of them then abandoned at key moments, Ashley vacillates between attraction and rejection, not siding with James during the argument.

Unlike several squadmembers and Shepard, Ashley has decent dance moves

If everyone was invited to dance at the last leg of the party, Ashley is still by the balcony watching either Vega doing sit-ups or Liara floating James around. If romance did not blossom between the two of them, Ash and James just display their moves in the balcony when Shepard checks in on them.

If the mood is set to relaxed for the party's final phase, Ashley sits with Steve, Joker, and most of Shepard's acquaintances in the upper floor couches. If Wrex is around, he recounts the time on Virmire when he was ready to kill for the genophage cure. He asks Ashley if she would've killed him back then. Ash says so without hesitation if he left her no choice, and Wrex announces that he respects her for that.

If Shepard is in a relationship with her, the two awake in Shepard's bed the next morning and kiss each other before rising. Ashley can be found standing by the central island counter in the kitchen later regardless of relationship status with Shepard, watching Vega cook eggs.


“I doubted you once Shepard, and I lost you. That's not happening again.”

When Shepard visits Ashley in the hospital, she will call him out if he was in a prior relationship with her, but pursued another person while working with Cerberus. She is very judgmental of Miranda and Jack but seems more comfortable with the idea of Shepard and Tali being together, saying "Tali is like a little sister, I totally approve... not that you needed my approval." Though despite saying that, if Shepard hasn't built enough of a friendly rapport with her, Ashley does display signs of jealousy during the assault on the geth dreadnought if brought along with Tali, even making catty remarks towards her.

If Shepard has remained faithful to Ashley, the conversations in the hospital are a lot more cheerful and less confrontational. The relationship progresses well if Shepard tries to be as friendly as possible and buys Ashley 'The Collected Alfred Tennyson' from the Sirta Supplies store.

If Ashley is chosen to come aboard the Normandy, Shepard can start, or restart a relationship with her. Ashley does not talk a lot on the Normandy. Eventually, Ashley will send an email asking Shepard for help; Ashley is going to comfort her younger sister Sarah who has lost her husband and doesn't want to do it alone. If Shepard is comforting and respectful to Ashley, the relationship is cemented further.

Later on, she sends another email asking Shepard to meet her on the Citadel. Ashley tells him how her dad would have liked Shepard. She apologizes for all that has happened between them and asks if they are "going somewhere". If Shepard reciprocates, they share a kiss together.

"Just shut up and kiss me

Just before the assault on the Cerberus headquarters, she visits the Captain's Quarters and, unless directly turned down, she tries to comfort Shepard about all the people they've lost. She expresses how she felt lost herself and that it broke her heart when Shepard was dead. At long last, they admit their love for each other, then kiss and spend the night together.

In a final conversation between her and Shepard on Earth, they reflect on how many times they've saved each other in the past. Shepard then recites from one of Tennyson's poems The Charge of the Light Brigade, a reference to how poetry has been used to convey their feelings throughout their relationship. Ashley grabs Shepard and tells him she doesn't want him to go and that she loves him. He gently replies that he loves her too and then says 'let's get it done, and go home'. In a breaking voice, Ashley responds "aye aye Captain."

If Ashley is the love interest for Shepard, the last thing he will see will be an image of Ashley looking at him and warmly smiling.

After the firing of the Crucible, she will be seen placing Shepard's name on the memorial wall, or, if the Reapers are destroyed and enough of the galaxy's forces have been mustered, she will smile and refrain from placing the plaque, and the Normandy is seen flying off.


  • Kimberly Brooks, who voices Ashley Williams, also voiced the character Lanaya in Dragon Age: Origins, another BioWare game.
  • Ashley is one of the 'poster' characters for Mass Effect and usually appears on the promotional art along with Garrus. The two of them are also seen accompanying Shepard in most of the demo footage, including the mission on Caleston where Ash can be seen arguing with Garrus. When he says they can't risk the mission to save a group of human miners trapped by the geth attack, Ashley claims that if they were turian miners he'd want to get them out.
  • Several pieces of Ashley's background came from the long-defunct official community website for the first game.[1]
    • The "James" referred to in Ashley's 2183 email to her sister is secretly a BioWare technical designer, who transferred to the Austin studio the day the piece was written.
    • While the earliest background material lists her homeworld as Sirona, her character blurb in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition website lists Earth as her homeworld.[2]
  • Ashley also shares the same name as Bruce Campbell's character Ashley "Ash" Williams in the Evil Dead series of movies. If Ashley is in the team on Virmire, her conversation response includes a reference to shooting things with her "boomstick."
  • The second and third stanzas of "Ulysses" were used when Ashley discusses her father, and the fourth and final on the way to Ilos.
    • Ashley's middle name, Madeline, is another reference to Tennyson from her poetry-loving father.
  • Ashley's quip on being unable to distinguish aliens from animals has sparked accusations of racism from observers. Writer Chris L'Etoile acknowledged the line as "a mistake" in retrospect, although he does point out several Mass Effect races may look like dressed-up animals at first glance.[3]
  • As part of a workaround for a programming issue, Jennifer Hale voiced all of the lines for the Ashley romance in Mass Effect even though the romance was intended to be exclusive to male Shepard.[4] It is possible for a female Shepard to have a romance with Ashley through the use of save edits, although some of the dialogue options are missing and Ashley's dialogue will occasionally refer to Shepard as male.[5]
  • On the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2, if Ashley died on Virmire, her picture may appear in Shepard's cabin even if she was not the chosen love interest in the interactive in-game comic, possibly caused by a glitch in the game. [6]
  • Gunny Ellison and his predilection for using elaborate words are a veiled reference to author Harlan Ellison.
  • On December 14, 2011, a soundfile was released in which Kimberly Brooks voices Ashley's apology email to Shepard in Mass Effect 2 after the two meet on Horizon. Like Kaidan's letter, it was released on Youtube by fans.
  • Along with Garrus and Shepard, Ashley is one of the first three characters to have an action figure made in her image by Square Enix's Play Arts Kai. The figures were released in September 2012. [1] The prototypes can be seen on Mass Effect's Facebook page.
  • When meeting with Ashley for drinks at the bar at Silversun Strip, a batarian and a vorcha will confront Shepard and Ashley, stating that they don't like Alliance types. This may be a reference to a scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, where Ponda Baba and Evazan pick a fight with Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

Cut Content

  • According to The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3, Ashley was originally voiced by E. G. Daily. The part was recast when the developers didn't feel the romantic chemistry they were aiming for with the character.
  • Ashley was originally to recite Robert Heinlein's "Cool Green Hills of Earth." The rights for Heinlein's work are rather complex, and when time ran out to acquire permission, it was replaced with Tennyson's "Ulysses," which is in the public domain.
  • Numerous data references and cut dialogues point to the once existing possibility to save both Kaidan and Ashley on Virmire, eliciting praise from the both of them; however Ashley would have still questioned Shepard's decision for taking such a risk.[7]
  • Ashley was at one point included in a conversation with Liara following Priority: The Citadel II, in which she asks about recent events she missed on the Normandy.[8]

See also