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“Adrenaline's better than oxygen any day.”

Lieutenant James Vega is a human Systems Alliance Marine and a member of Commander Shepard's squad in 2186. While Vega is an experienced soldier, he is unfamiliar with the seedy underbelly and political workings of the galaxy.

Mass Effect: Homeworlds[]

James Vega, drug mule

James Vega joins the Systems Alliance Marines at Camp Pendleton in 2176 following the encouragement of his uncle, Emilio Vega. Upon returning home, his father Joshua Sanders sends him to pick up a package in San Diego. After obtaining the package from a shady dealer, the police move in and pursue James across the city. James escapes by slipping into a restaurant and blending in with the staff.

After bringing the package of drugs to his father, James' dreams of a military career are almost dashed when Josh threatens to tell the military what he did that night so that James would be forced to stay with him and serve as his errand boy. Later, Emilio finds James on the beach outside his home and reveals that he knew what happened, and that Josh won't dare talk to the military because he would implicate himself in the drug deal. Emilio tells James that only he can choose how to live his life. James goes on to be accepted by the Alliance and becomes a Marine.

Mass Effect: Paragon Lost[]

Main article: Mass Effect: Paragon Lost
Proud of the Normandy

Early in his career, Vega was stationed on the remote colony of Fehl Prime with Delta Squad, an Alliance special forces unit. When the Collectors attack, determined to capture the population, Vega and his squad were tasked with protecting the civilians.[1] The events on Fehl Prime mark a turning point for Vega regarding his confidence as a leader.

Sometime after the destruction of the SSV Normandy in 2183, Vega's unit is deployed to Fehl Prime to stop an invasion by Blood Pack mercenaries. Being the lieutenant, he acts as the second-in-command of Delta Squad and is dead serious about being a good marine. A badge depicting the remembrance of the SSV Normandy is pinned to his uniform as he holds Commander Shepard as his role model. Even when other members of his squad make fun of his worship of Shepard, Vega is not embarrassed and earnestly explains to them about the importance of following a great example.

During the mission briefing aboard the Kodiak drop shuttle, Vega talks about how the fate of the squad and the people they have sworn to protect depend on a handful of choices they make, and they can only hope in the end that they have made the right ones. He is not at all worried by the lack of information from Alliance Command regarding the mission and encourages others to be cool and be ready for anything. When the CO, Captain Toni finally delivers the mission brief about the Blood Pack laying siege to the colony, Vega assures Nicky who hesitates at having to fight "walking tanks", that krogan can be easily killed once one aims for the head.

The shuttles are shot down while making a strafing run on the Blood Pack positions and Vega's shuttle makes a crash landing. Though wounded and jarred by the crash, he quickly makes an assessment of the situation like a veteran. He walks over to Toni who has suffered a leg dislocation and despite Toni's orders to evacuate the area and leave him behind, Vega sets his CO's leg on the spot, not leaving anyone behind. He then carries Toni on his shoulders to the retreat position, on the way, a missile strike by the Blood Pack throws them all to the ground. In the haze of battle, Vega looks at Toni's unconscious figure and sets his jaw straight, determined, assuming command of the situation.

He immediately gives the order to ceasefire on the Blood Pack positions, asserting that the squad needs to save the thermal clips for when they count. He then tells Nicky to use Milque's power cell to reinforce his barriers and when Milque protests, Vega retorts that he doesn't need shields as he has a large rock to hide behind and orders him to take up a good vantage point for sniping. Vega then asks for Nicky's tactical combat drone to assist him. When Essex annoyingly asks what Vega is going to do himself, Vega calmly announces his plan to challenge the Blood Pack leader to a duel, which will enable Essex and Kamille to flank the enemy. Vega then asserts the importance of making the plan work as otherwise they all die.

The blood Pack leader

Vega then goads Archuk to fight him one on one by exposing himself and rushing from cover to cover towards the krogan, dubbing his own movements as a "dance". Archuk then commences heavy fire at Vega's position and Vega has to perform several evasive maneuvers to stay out of the line of fire. Due to his superior agility, Vega is able to close in on Archuk while firing at him at the same time, eventually hitting his shotgun and disarming him. Meanwhile, Essex and Kamille flank the enemy and cut through their ranks effortlessly while Milque snipes off target after target. Archuk finally gets a hit on Vega's weapon and Vega hits the dirt, but immediately reaches for his sidearm, but Archuk gets to him first. Archuk is about to kill Vega when he receives a shock attack from Nicky's combat drone and is distracted. Vega quickly fires at Archuk with his sidearm to full effect as the krogan's barriers are depleted and the subsequent shots penetrate his armor. However, owing to his regeneration capabilities, Archuk shrugs off Vega's fire and charges into him, throwing Vega into the cliff face and grievously wounding him. Vega's resolve never wanes and he tries to fire his sidearm into his opponent's armor at close range, only to realize that the gun has overheated. Archuk is about to kill him yet again when Milque kills him with a shot to the head. Despite his injuries, Vega gets to his feet and guns down Brood as he is about to kill Essex. Essex, enraged at Brood, is about to kill him when Vega stops him, saying that they are not murderers and the krogan is now a POW.

Vega is then thanked and congratulated by everyone for his heroism and tactical feats. Vega humbly maintains that it was a group effort and all of Delta Squad deserve commendations. Later, during the mission debriefing, Admirals Anderson and Hackett commend him for his actions and give the squad new orders to act as security detail for the colony. Vega is indignant at having to perform guard duty, being a special forces unit, but his objections are overruled by Hackett who stresses the importance of guarding a valuable asset. The Admiral, seeing Vega's efforts to follow in Shepard's footsteps, cautions him to be careful of what he wishes for, since Shepard's journeys are littered with excessive death and destruction.

Two years later, Fehl Prime is flourishing and new defense cannons are being installed owing to a spate of colony disappearances in the Terminus Systems. During the two years, he has made friends with the colonists who regard him as a hero, in particular, April and Christine. Vega has developed a brotherly affection for the lively little girl who worships him and romanticizes the marine service. Vega lifts her up on his shoulders and tells her to act as a lookout to which April enthusiastically agrees, with all the innocence and purity of a child. Vega also develops an attraction towards Treeya, an asari anthropologist, who however, is oblivious to his rather transparent attempts at romance. His dismal failures at attempting to talk with her is keenly scrutinized by the squad who never fail to tease him for it.

Vega has a crush on Treeya

Sensing an opportunity to talk with Treeya after meeting her while playing with April one day, he boards the tram with her to the research labs. He however, chickens out, not having the courage to broach the subject and an awkward silence ensues in the tram till the arrival of Messner, a trader, who presents himself as a fan of Vega and gushes over his victory over the Blood Pack. Arriving at the labs, the trio find that it is under lockdown and even Vega's military credentials could not get them in. Treeya sighs exasperatingly and goes back to the tram, annoyed. Her annoyance is compounded when Vega offers to help her with her work and defends the Alliance when she voices her frustration with them. Vega asserts that even though he is a "grunt", he can still try and ease her problems. Toni contacts him during the conversation and tells him about a new mission and asks him to bring Treeya along.

The new mission turns out to be the investigation of a jamming signal on the colony outskirts and Delta Squad heads there in a M35 Mako provided by Messner as the colony's APC is under a system overhaul. Arriving at the target site, Vega orders Essex and Kamille to head south and flank the signal point; Milque to take up a sniping position and cover his and Nicky's direct approach to the artifact; Messner and Treeya to stay back with Milque; Mason to stay aboard the Mako to provide heavy fire support when necessary. Nicky performs scans on the artifact and determines it is alien in origin. Not taking any chances, Vega decides to destroy the artifact and Essex takes it out with a biotic attack, much to Treeya's chagrin. He then tentatively follows as Treeya grumpily heads towards a Prothean ruin to investigate the artifact's remains. Vega listens attentively to Treeya's analysis of the artifact but becomes incredulous when her mentor Liara T'Soni talks about the Reapers and how they were responsible for the Prothean extinction. But the arguments are cut short when a Collector ship shows up and starts abducting the colonists.

Vega meets the Collectors

Vega assumes command yet again as Toni is unavailable. Ordering the squad to lie low, they head back to the colony and encounter the hostile aliens everywhere. Vega decides to use stealth and recon till they find out what's going on and stay below the Collectors' sidelines. Slowly they sneak into the colony without being spotted by blending in with the mined rock on the mining elevator. As Vega helps Treeya step out of the cargo elevator, she clumsily steps on a pebble which makes a loud sound after falling to the ground below. The Collectors arrive immediately and destroys the elevator while Vega and Treeya hide in a crevice along the pipelines. The Collectors leave without finding any disturbances owing to the squad keeping absolutely silent.

The squad then proceeds and suddenly comes upon incapacitated colonists. Vega inspects the colonists and determines that they have been paralyzed. Suddenly a scream rents through the air and Vega rushes on ahead to investigate it, commanding the others to hold their positions. Treeya defies his order and follows him. Vega silently catches her from a hiding place and restrains her from making a sound when she lumbers into view. His protests at Treeya's defiance are cut short by an icy stare from her. Rounding a corner, the duo come upon the paralyzed bodies of Christine and April. Vega is devastated at the discovery but quickly recovers, making an immediate and smart decision to go into hiding when Collector troopers arrive to take away the lifeless forms of Christine and April. When Treeya impulsively starts towards the Collectors, Vega restrains her, stressing discretion and the need to be smart to save their friends.

The squad then assembles at a hiding place to decide the next course of action. Vega dismisses the speculation of the others regarding the Collectors' motives, saying all that matters is stopping them. He orders Nicky to check their inventory for heavy weapons to find something to take down the Collector ship. When Messner comes up with the obvious idea of using the defense cannons for the job, Vega quickly formulates a plan of attack; Mason is tasked to sabotage the fuel depots to draw off the Collectors from the defense cannon; Milque to take up a vantage position to cover the others as they head up the maintenance scaffolds towards the cannons. After Mason sets off charges destroying the depots, Vega's team quickly and stealthily slip into the defense cannons' operational room. Before going in, Vega orders Kamille and Essex to guard the entrance. Nicky begins to charge up the guns while Vega comes up with an idea to track the colonists by syncing with their omni-tools and doing so, finds the colonists herded into two groups, stowed away for transport.

Destruction of the defense cannons

The charging up of the guns takes a painfully long time and Vega grows impatient, becoming edgy about the precariousness of the situation if the Collectors attack them. Treeya advises to fire the gun at half power to minimize collateral damage and Vega agrees. This turns out to be a wrong move as the underpowered shot is deflected off the Collector ship which, now alerted to their plans, destroys the defense cannons. Vega and Treeya barely escape the blast but start falling as the entire gun station is incinerated. Vega holds Treeya in a protective way and shields her from flying debris. With Essex and Kamille's help, Vega lands on a tram, Treeya safe in his arms. He then shouts for everyone to fall back to the underground bunkers and takes Treeya with him, with Essex and Kamille watching their backs. However, Kamille is abducted by the Collectors in the chaos.

Outside the bunker's entrance, Vega and Essex hold off hordes of enemies while Nicky hacks through the bunker security. Mason and Milque then arrive in the nick of time and seal off the Collectors' approach by causing a cave-in. Mason is furious at Essex for failing to watch Kamille's back. Vega chastises them for quarreling and shouts at them to fall back. The squad retreats into the bunker with Essex covering them with his biotics. Once inside, Vega formulates a new plan: to escape in the freighter Messner arrived in. However, the plan doesn't last long as the Collector vessel incinerates the ship as if it has heard Vega's plan. Messner then brings up Vega's unintended wrong choice, which causes Mason to vent his fury at him. Vega unflinchingly says that he hasn't given up on anyone yet and stresses the necessity of fighting together and setting aside differences. He and Nicky then proceed to bring Essex's paralyzed form inside the bunker.

Vega orders Nicky to use the Alliance databases to find a possible cure for the paralysis. While searching, Nicky comes up with a startling find: Messner is an undercover Cerberus agent. Vega is furious at this revelation, hitting Messner across the face while explaining to Treeya about Cerberus goals. He relents once Messner asserts Cerberus is looking for a cure to the seeker swarm paralysis too. A new distraction occurs when Brood, who is being kept as a test subject in the labs, struggles to free himself from confinement. Vega quickly goes to meet Brood and despite Brood's promises to help them escape the colony, decides not to trust him.

Later, being by himself while Nicky continues the search for a cure, Vega reflects on his past decisions. Noticing how he is awfully quiet, Treeya comes to console Vega. Vega quietly asks if he made the right decision to fire the defense cannons at half power. Treeya honestly answers that he made what he thought was the best choice. When Vega talks about how Shepard would have made the right choice, Treeya firmly tells him Vega is not Shepard and that he should stop trying to act like him/her. She then bonds briefly with Vega who experiences a moment of peace.

James Vega has to fight the Collectors

Nicky finally finds a cure which however fails to show any immediate effect on Essex. A Praetorian suddenly attacks the lab and tears through it, claiming the life of Mason, who impulsively approaches it on seeing Kamille's twisted form inside the creature's head. Vega and Milque open heavy fire on the Praetorian, but are unable to penetrate the heavy armor. While falling back, Vega decides to take a quick detour and frees Brood after forming an uneasy alliance. Brood leads the way to a hidden shuttle of his and the team board it and tries to get away as fast as it can. The Praetorian follows however and despite the sustained fire from Vega, Milque and Nicky, it manages to stab the latter in the gut when he steps in to take the blow meant for Vega, wounding him mortally. Vega, aghast and furious at the casualty, jumps onto the Praetorian's back which is now held in a stasis by a revived Essex. Vega discharges his gun into the Praetorian's skull at point-blank range and the enemy is defeated at last, falling into the industrial vats. After being hauled back into the ship by Essex, Vega immediately goes to a dying Nicky and tries to apply first-aid but his efforts are in vain as the marine breathes his last after urging Vega to save the colonists.

Hidden for the moment, the squad sets the shuttle down in a safe spot and commences repairs. Vega decides to take the fight to the Collectors by infiltrating their ship. Quietly, he slips the seeker swarm antidote into his flask containing a drink and offers it to everyone, encouraging them to use Brood's idea of punching straight through the Collector weapons port. The plan is then to disable the ship's drive core and save the colonists. The shuttle then goes airborne and punches through the desired spot flawlessly. Vega, Essex and Milque then proceed to defend the shuttle from incoming Collector troopers, using Brood's store of heavy weapons. Even Treeya joins the fight and Vega compliments her, causing her to blush. Messner shows his true colors at this time and shoots Brood in the head as he is about to take out the drive core, causing the shuttle to make a crash landing.

Vega is paralyzed

Vega, Essex and Milque are captured and paralyzed by the Collectors while Treeya is forced away by Messner, who is actually working for the Collectors. The antidote works and Vega is able to break free of the paralysis and take down his Collector guard. Revealing his plan to inject the antidote into the processing plant system, Vega then proceeds to make tiny holes in the colonists' pods, pausing once to look at April in her pod, promising silently to come back for her once Messner has been dealt with. The trio stow away on a Collector platform heading towards the processing area. Vega then orders Milque to pilot an intact cargo freighter to save the colonists while he and Essex go after Messner. Reaching the area where the Collectors are dealing with Messner and Treeya, the duo open fire. Treeya's joy at seeing Vega again is cut short when a Collector fires at her pod and ejects her into vacuum. Vega rushes after her while Essex single-handedly engages the Collectors. Despite Vega's desperate efforts to stop Treeya's pod, it slips out of the ship and starts descending into the planet's atmosphere.

Vega yells in frustration but which is cut short by Messner who shoots him in the side. He then proceeds to stomp on Vega, humiliating him further. Vega plays dead and suddenly stabs the gloating Messner in the gut, turning the tables. He then contacts Treeya on the comm, promising to save her. In a chilling voice, he tells Messner that he is not done with him yet and then goes to back up Essex. The Collector leader proves to be Essex's bane who impales him from behind. In a last herculean effort, Essex releases all of his biotic energy into the leader and coupled with Vega's fire, drags the Collector leader to its death with him. Vega then watches on sorrowfully as Essex falls to a hero's death. Enraged, he goes back to interrogate Messner about his data on the Collectors; Messner begs for his life, but Vega mercilessly snarls that the Cerberus mole made his choice. Treeya tells him she has the info and Vega, not wasting any time, leaves a pleading Messner to die, while fighting hordes of fresh Collector reinforcements. Milque arrives just in time with the freighter and finishes the Collectors.

The moments of agonizing indecision come when Vega realizes he can't save both Treeya and the colonists due to a shortage of time. Tormented at the thoughts of having to leave someone behind, Vega rages in his own personal hell as he considered his course of action. At the last moment, Vega decides to sacrifice the colonists and save Treeya and the intel.

During his debriefing on the Citadel, Vega is quiet, burdened with the deaths of the colonists. The Admirals commend him again and promote him for his actions, but he feels he doesn't deserve them. His shoulders are bowed, no thoughts of savoring the victory. He feels hollow and tells Milque and Treeya that he is no hero.

James faces his dark moments

Back on Fehl Prime, Vega finds April's teddy bear in the rubble and overwhelmed by the feelings it invoked, he runs away by himself, hating himself at not being able to save them all. He drowns in his dark moments, reminiscing again and again about those few moments of indecision back on the freighter and seeing visions of April. Treeya arrives to comfort him and asks him why he saved her. Vega answers he made the choice what he thought was right at that time, but now he is not so sure. Vega then reassures Treeya with a half-smile that he is glad she is there with him. Together with Milque, they salute the Memorial Wall.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation[]

James' commendation for attempting to save the Fehl Prime colonists is reported on by Alliance News Network, but the details of what actually happened remain fully classified. He becomes a minor celebrity among gossip rags like Trend Report, where it is reported he has gained the amorous attention of a few asari attachés.

Mass Effect: Conviction[]

James Vega on Omega

Some time after the aftermath on Fehl Prime, Vega takes up residence in Omega playing cards in bars. During a game, a broadcast regarding Commander Shepard's actions during the events of Arrival and the galaxy's reactions airs on a nearby vidscreen. As a reporter relates how batarian officials have called for Shepard's head, Vega calmly tears the screen off the wall, telling the bartender to pay for the damages with his winnings.

The group of batarians he has been playing cards with take umbrage at the act, accusing Vega of being a "Shepard Lover". The Marine proceeds to defend himself against the attacking batarians with the damaged screen and a knife before escaping. Midway through his escape, he encounters Admiral Anderson. The Admiral comments on the difficulty he endured while trying to find Vega, and orders the Lieutenant to clean up and follow him. Anderson tells Vega to "get over" the incident on Fehl, and reveals that he has a job for Vega. Vega promptly refuses, claiming he doesn't wish to do so and defiantly demands why Anderson simply doesn't toss him into the brig and be done with it.

Anderson explains that Vega's job is close, as he has recruited the Marine to guard the brig and its sole prisoner: Commander Shepard.[2]

Mass Effect 3[]

For his gameplay attributes, see Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 3)#James Vega.

James Vega is tasked to escort Shepard to an Alliance defense committee hearing, but the hearing is interrupted when the Reapers attack Earth. Vega and Ashley Williams/Kaidan Alenko (depending on who survived Virmire) retrieve the Normandy SR-2 and pick Shepard up from Earth; Anderson convinces Shepard to leave Earth until Shepard can gather allies from the other races. Vega, however, is displeased with this decision and does not wish to leave Earth; unfortunately for him, Shepard overrules him since with their current resources they cannot realistically drive the Reapers away from the Earth at the time. Vega is still displeased but lets the matter drop in favor of professionalism.

James carrying the charred Cerberus synthetic

During a mission on Mars, after Shepard and Ashley/Kaidan reunite with Liara, Shepard sends Vega outside the Mars facility so that Vega can cut Cerberus off if they succeed in escaping with the Prothean data. This turns out to be a wise move; Dr. Eva Coré, revealed to be a Cerberus mole, does indeed manage to get outside the facility with at least part of the Prothean data, but when she attempts to leave by shuttle, Vega crashes his own shuttle into hers, preventing her escape. Eva, further revealed to be a synthetic in the crash, is disabled by Shepard in time, and the Commander orders the squad to take the machine back with them. Vega complies, slinging the robot over his shoulder and dumping it in the medbay outside the AI Core.

Later on the Citadel, upon noticing how quiet and peaceful the Citadel is, only because the races living here are isolated from the Reaper threat and almost don't believe it's real, Vega finally admits that leaving Earth was the correct decision for Shepard to make. The other races need, in Vega's opinion, a wake-up call, and staying on Earth would not have accomplished such a thing.

Vega normally loiters in the Shuttle Bay by a weapons bench, occasionally bantering with his good friend Steve Cortez over topics of interest. The first time Shepard visits Vega in the Shuttle Bay, James is doing some pull-ups using the overhead bars in his turf. Depending on how far along Shepard is on the track to saving the galaxy, Vega's reactions run the whole gamut.

Immediately after Shepard debriefs the Council about the Crucible, getting the usual noncommittal and unhelpful responses and being informed they have to rescue a turian primarch from Palaven, James reveals he's never been to the turian homeworld. If he was doing pull-ups by the time Garrus is welcomed aboard, he says he'll take Shepard's word about the turian for it as he can't tell turians apart. If EDI's got herself a shiny robot body, Vega asks instead if Shepard was "shitting" him, and his Commander replies "I shit you not." If Shepard is male, James poses the question if he's just there to inform him about EDI. If Shepard delays talking to him for much farther, James wonders instead what the Commander is doing below decks with the "grunts", voicing aloud he was starting to think Shepard doesn't like him. If Shepard really delayed in talking to him, the first thing Vega asks the Commander is if they "took a wrong turn at the elevator", by now firmly thinking Shepard didn't know or cared to know where to find him.

Whatever the circumstances of their first meet, they eventually get into a sparring match, where James gives a brief summary of his activities before joining the Normandy. If Shepard really refrained from talking to him James promises to go easy, "just in case."

Big beefy fists do his talking

James narrates that his old CO, Captain Toni, a "hard-assed son of a bitch" but a "good leader" in Vega's words, was killed along with most of Vega's squad while the squad was protecting a civilian colony from a Collector attack. The leadership vacuum caused by Captain Toni falling in battle was filled in by Vega himself, and he had to make a choice between saving the colony or saving the intel the squad had recovered that could be used to destroy the Collectors. Vega chose to save the intel, but found out far too late that his choice was rendered completely unnecessary since Shepard managed to destroy the Collector threat without the intel Vega saved, which meant that Vega allowed the colony to die for nothing.

In the present during the sparring match, Shepard expresses worry that Vega is blaming himself unnecessarily for what happened to the colony, and Shepard believes, based on Vega's reckless stunt with the shuttle back on Mars, that because of his guilt Vega has ceased to care whether he lives or dies. Shepard advises Vega that he needs to get past that incident and stay focused. At the conclusion of the match, Vega thanks Shepard for the pep talk, and one of two scenarios will happen. If Shepard really held off from talking to him, Vega adds "more hitting, less talking" next time. If not, James starts nicknaming the Commander: "Loco" if male and "Lola" if female. Shepard can either allow it or not, and if disallowed, he simply remarks "[y]our ship. Your rules... your loss."

The next conversation after the match yields fairly short bits of what Vega is thinking, again influenced by Shepard's progress in saving the galaxy. He talks about chatting up with Garrus hearing he's good with weapons, comments on how distracted he's going to be if EDI and James are taken to the same mission due to her "super-hot, sexy home" ("even more distracted", he adds if Shepard is female), remarking that krogan males got the pretty gene if Eve is brought aboard, or asks if the krogan and turians are still friends after their recently-cemented alliance.

In any event, Shepard can talk to him after that about his family, his state of mind, his friendship with Cortez, his nicknaming of people, and more details about his previous mission. James is unwilling to divulge more about Fehl Prime at that point, though he does provide some details to all other queries. He reveals he's got an uncle, a few cousins, and a father left on Earth when asked about family, though he's unsure if he counts the latter as "family". When asked about the nicknames, James just says it's his way of remembering people, claiming that some people don't match their given names. If asked about "Loco", James claims he's crazy himself but compared to the shit Shepard's done he looks sane in comparison. If asked about "Lola", James claims to be reminded of his best friend's older sister: "Hot. Tough."

If Shepard speaks to Vega enough, he invites the Commander to go to the Purgatory Bar on the Citadel for drinks. Upon speaking to Vega in Purgatory, Vega reveals that the lower-ranking soldiers he is having drinks with are slightly intimidated by Shepard, and advises that Shepard buy them all a round of drinks to get them relaxed and consider Shepard to be one of them. Shepard can refuse, prompting Vega to ask Shepard to at least buy Vega a drink. Alternatively, Shepard can agree, and during the round of drinks Vega starts up a variation of an old Scottish toast[3]. The Commander can either finish the toast, prompting the soldiers to become friendly with Shepard, or Vega finishes it, apologizing for thinking the Commander "knew that one."

Two brutes and a marauder ain't enough to bring this pendejo down

Vega joins Shepard and Liara in retrieving the turian primarch from Menae, where partway through the mission the Normandy's systems start malfunctioning. The three of them push the development to the back of their minds and proceed with the mission if Garrus Vakarian isn't around, or Liara runs back to check on what's happening to be replaced by the turian, whom James meets and works with for the first time.

After the mission, Vega admires Primarch Victus for having "some real cojones" and says that the war needs more politicians like him - "taking names and kicking ass."

Once the evacuation of Grissom Academy is completed and if Jack was present, Vega speaks appreciatively of her, saying that she is a tough woman, then adds that she is "hot." Vega also comments on the relationship between Anderson and Kahlee Sanders, saying that they make a nice couple. He speaks of his dad having a surname of "Sanders", clarifying that he and Kahlee are not related.

After the krogan female's retrieval from Sur'Kesh, if Wrex was present, Vega admires Wrex for his tough guy attitude and is interested in hearing some of the old krogan's stories. If Mordin was also present, Vega finds his habit of speaking very fast quite funny, saying that "Mordin's mouth moves faster than a frog on a hot rock in the middle of summer." If Padok Wiks is present, Vega says that he finds the salarian to be be very strange, even compared to other salarians.

Upon completing the investigation into rachni on Utukku, James shakes his head in amazement at Shepard's ability to find trouble. If Grunt was present, James quips that he is crazier than Shepard, but Shepard is better looking.

After rescuing a turian platoon from Tuchanka, Vega compares the deserts there with those back on Earth, saying that the lizards and the worms are bigger on Tuchanka. He also remarks that the Primarch's son is in over his head.

Once the Cerberus bomb was defused at the cost of Tarquin Victus' life, Vega sadly states that he would have liked to know Tarquin better.

James having a normal day in the Shuttle Bay

After the mission to cure the genophage, Vega comically asks Shepard if the cure they dispersed could affect them, lest they suddenly start growing scales. He also hopes that they can put aside the diplomacy and go back to fighting the Reapers.

James occasionally chats with Cortez while off duty. At one time, he debates with Cortez on the topic: M35 Mako vs M44 Hammerhead. James asserts that the Mako is vastly superior to the Hammerhead, with its powerful cannon and durable armor triumphing over the Hammerhead's inability to take hits. Cortez disagrees, saying the Hammerhead's mobility and maneuverability more than makes up for its low durability. When James says that the Mako doesn't need mobility owing to the presence of a very powerful cannon, Cortez laughs and sarcastically suggests that the M29 Grizzly is more suitable for James. James immediately says that he loves that tank, leading to a snort from Cortez and a remark that only James would like grizzly bears.

Yet another time, James congratulates Cortez for "loosening up" a little. When Cortez expresses misgivings over drinking mescal late into the night, James says that it gives one heart which is needed to fight the war. Cortez disagrees, saying it would give him heartburn and moans about not finding decent tequila. James suggests Cortez should be responsible for setting up drinks as a procurement specialist and asks him to set the up.

After stopping Udina's coup on the Citadel, James reveals that he knew Udina was a dirty bastard, but never guessed the Councilor was that rotten. After giving his thoughts on Udina to Shepard, he complains about people not seeing that they have to work together if they are going to win the fight against the Reapers, but Shepard tells him that when people are scared they are slow to trust. James agrees but also states he's adopting a 'shoot first, ask questions later' policy when dealing with politicians. Shepard finds that fair enough.

James in a heart to heart moment with Shepard in the Captain's Cabin

Eventually, Vega asks to speak to Shepard privately. After Shepard invites Vega to the Captain's Cabin using the intercom, Vega explains he has been approached with an offer from the Systems Alliance to undergo N7 training. However, Vega is unsure whether or not to accept the offer since N7 training is a lot of work, and Vega humbly wonders why he was even approached, given his past failure, hence the private conversation. He also confesses that during that mission, his team was betrayed by a colonist who was actually a Cerberus spy working with the Collectors. Vega had no choice but to kill the spy and destroy the Collector ship, which left himself, a civilian, and one other squad member as the sole survivors of the mission. Shepard can either encourage Vega to go for it without hesitation or tell him that a decision such like that is one only he can make.

James asks the Commander to refrain from mentioning his current situation to anyone. Shepard accepts, and James thanks them. James announces his intent to go back to the hangar, claiming that things are too soft around Shepard's cabin, though Shepard says the bed is much harder than it looks. If Shepard is female and did not object when he first called her 'Lola', James asks if she's hitting on him, to which Shepard just gives him a look that causes him to back down and depart, but not before thanking her again. Otherwise, James takes Shepard's word for it and thanks them again for the talk.

N7... sure. Or you could get my name done... somewhere special.

Either way, however, eventually Shepard can meet Vega in the refugee camp getting something tattooed on his shirtless back. Upon being queried, Vega explains that he eventually decided to accept N7 training after all, and is getting a tattoo on his back to celebrate the occasion. Shepard can either congratulate him or admonish him not to take N7 training lightly since it involves huge responsibilities.

Shepard asks Vega if he can return to duty given the pain from the tattoo. Vega responds that it's true that he's not looking forward to putting his armor back on after getting a tattoo on his back but the pain will not prevent him from being part of Shepard's squad. If Shepard's female, James hits on her again but gets flustered when she wonders if he's going to make good on all that flirting.

Once the mission to Lesuss is completed, once Cortez expresses his worries for Shepard every time he blows up something, and if Vega was part of the mission, he quips that Cortez should worry about him too.

After the rescue of ex-Cerberus scientists from Gellix, Vega and Garrus are found in the mess, challenging each other to prove their superiority as warriors by relating their previous battles. Vega jokingly retaliates at every one of Garrus's accomplishments, finally saying that he taught a Harvester youngling to let him fly it, at which Garrus dismisses it as a fake and asks if the Alliance actually taught him to make up stuff. James proudly replies that it's a gift.

Despite appearances to the contrary, James does know a thing or two about computers

After the assault on the geth dreadnought, Vega questions Shepard's trust in Legion or the Geth VI. If Legion is the synthetic on board, the Commander can choose either to assure Vega of his trustworthiness or agree with the need to keep an eye on him. Vega agrees that it's not fair to judge an individual by their species; if Tali is present, Vega notes that she worked with a geth despite the history of animosity between their two races. In his opinion, if all the quarians were like her, Shepard wouldn't be stuck refereeing their war with the geth. Vega shakes his head at the quarians' decision to attack the geth in the middle of the Reaper War, saying that the end of life makes everyone a little crazy.

After Shepard's trip to the Geth Consensus, Vega is found in the mess, cooking his abuela's huevos rancheros. Shepard can ask him about his cooking. If Ashley is on the team, Vega asks Shepard to inform her about the food, remarking that she will need some after the previous night's hangover.

After the mission to rescue Admiral Koris, James contacts Joker on the comm suggesting he use a variant of the quarians' medical exoskeletons to improve his mobility. When Joker complains that it feels like wearing heavy armor which messes with his spatial awareness, James retorts that his own spatial awareness is perfect with heavy armor.

...or maybe not.

If Kaidan is on the team, Vega can be found playing poker with him in the Port Observation Deck after the destruction of the Reaper on Rannoch. If Kaidan is not present on the Normandy, Vega reflects on the quarians' history of warfare with the geth, which took them almost 300 years. He hopes it doesn't take that long to retake Earth.

If Shepard sided with the geth over the quarians during their war, James can't believe the geth are fighting on their side and says as much, reminded of the common human idiom "the devil you know." If the geth were destroyed, he expresses gratitude that the machines are no longer a concern. If peace was achieved, he quips Shepard should be decorated for such a feat.

Talking with him further, he reflects on how the geth machines took over the quarians' homeworld and never gave it back, hoping the humans' own fight against the Reapers fares better than that. He muses that they just need to get the asari on board so they can finally focus on the Reapers.

After the failed mission on Thessia, Vega tries to cheer Shepard up, saying it wasn't their fault that the mission failed. Vega encourages Shepard to cut themselves some slack because they did all they could. Vega also speaks very appreciatively of the asari, saying that Thessia is one of the wonders of the galaxy, filled with beautiful blue women.

Before the final assault on the Citadel beam, Vega can be found a little disquieted at the state of Earth. Shepard assures him everything will be rebuilt and tells him to focus so that he doesn't lose the will to fight. James then salutes the Commander, saying it's been a great honor serving with them. Shepard can choose to shake hands with him and praise him as a good man and a terrific soldier; or the Commander can retort saying that honor won't be worth anything if they lose, to which Vega will agree.

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

If the galaxy's forces aren't enough to hold against the Reapers and James is in the squad at the final push towards the conduit, he will be killed by Harbinger.

Mass Effect 3: From Ashes[]

Hopefully James can get a better bearing on Prothean jokes with the synthesis upgrades

Once Javik has been integrated into the team, Vega reflects on his mental state, saying that it can mess with anybody's mind after being brought forward 50,000 years and being the last of one's kind. Vega hopes that despite all that, Javik will help with the war effort. He also laughs imagining the Illusive Man's reaction at his failure to secure the Prothean.

While cooking huevos rancheros aboard the Normandy in between missions, Vega attempts to make conversation with Javik, trying to get to know him better. However this proves unsuccessful as Javik doesn't approve of gambling or smoking, something which Vega asks him about. Javik then tells him a joke, which Vega doesn't understand but pretends to and laughs anyway. Javik will snidely comment on how Vega easily believed something that was made up.

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan[]

While gathering forces to strike back against the Reapers, Shepard pursues leads across the galaxy in search of a mythical creature called Leviathan, rumored to have the power to destroy Reapers. As part of the Commander's crew, James assists to a certain degree during this period.

After searching one such lead on the asteroid Mahavid, Vega comments on the people trapped by Leviathan on the asteroid, how they must be feeling coming back into the present. He reflects on how he himself must be feeling if he was one of the ones trapped.

James comments on the huge number of harvesters the squad had to encounter while rescuing Ann Bryson, noting that while he doesn't know what the "scientific measurement of a 'shitload' is" the number of Harvesters encountered on the planet sure fit the definition. When Cortez expresses distress at not being able to make a proper landing due to overwhelming opposition from the harvesters, James tells him not to let those "oversized roaches" push him around. When Cortez suggests that the situation on Namakli was as hopeless as sending James to Earth alone armed with brass knuckles. James asks with a straight face "What, you don't think I could do it?"

The darkness cannot be breached

James swings by Dr. Garret Bryson's lab when Shepard is searching for clues to find Leviathan with Ann. James is deeply sympathetic to her loss and asserts he wants to be there for her, despite having not been invited by Shepard. A rather comical scene unfolds as he becomes interested in the husk head on display, which bites him, much to his bewilderment. He asks EDI if husk bites can turn people into more husks, and she simply recommends that he apply medi-gel.

When Shepard uses the Leviathan artifact in the lab to locate Leviathan, James holds Ann in place as Leviathan takes control of her. James is very opposed to the idea of allowing Leviathan to take over Ann and tries to stop the connection when the control starts to hurt her, though Shepard can order him otherwise. If Ann is incapacitated by the ordeal, James takes her to the medbay.

Later on the Normandy, after Shepard persuades the Leviathans to take part in the current war, James muses that it was too bad Ann "never got to see her dad's work pay off", hinting at Ann's darker fate if she was incapacitated earlier. Otherwise, James just comments on Ann's situation in the positive. He further adds that maybe with the Leviathans onboard there's a chance of actually beating the Reapers.

Mass Effect 3: Citadel[]

Turns out Vega can pack a punch as well as Wrex if the krogan isn't around

James Vega talks to Shepard over comms saying he is coming to assist when the Spectre is being pursued by CAT6 mercenaries. If Urdnot Wrex is not alive, James Vega appears instead and fires a Cobra Missile Launcher at the C-Sec shuttle carrying CAT6 troops, then supports Shepard and their ally as they fend off more CAT6 forces.

James sends Shepard an email sometime after the incident requesting face time in the personal apartment. If Shepard invites him over, James initially starts with giving his opinion on the apartment, steering the conversation to romantic relationships and claiming he stopped fraternizing before he joined the military. Vega expresses interest in the Commander's "personal life", particularly with potential shipmate paramours, and adjusts his inquiries as much.

Due to all the flirty banter between a female Shepard and James he says he can't really tell if the Commander is just yanking his chain, and Shepard may reply indicating she's actually interested or confirm she's just keeping him on his toes. If Shepard already has someone else, Vega instead asks if he's getting in the way between Shepard and her current love, and the Commander assures him he's not.

If Shepard is in a relationship with either Garrus or Tali, James voices curiosity on the pairing, asking in particular about differences in "anatomy". Too awkward a topic, he just withdraws the question, claiming he doesn't really want to know. Vega also approves of a Shepard/Steve relationship, saying that although he likes to give Esteban a hard time the shuttle pilot is still a great guy who has been through a lot.

Biotics can't give you the kind of fine instrument, the peak physical form that you see before you.

With Shepard's goading, James finally states his purpose on dropping by: he takes off his shirt to show off his N7 tattoo. Regardless of Shepard's gender or romantic entanglements, James reaffirms his commitment to the mission, and takes his leave claiming Esteban needs his help working on the Normandy's shuttle.

As James turns to leave, he discovers the punching bag in the lower bedroom and tells the Commander that they've been holding out on him, proceeding to exercise on the punching bag. Shepard can then interact with the bar between the bedroom and closet, and in doing so, may choose to perform a pull-up. If so, James comments that his record is 182, and challenges the Commander to beat it. If not, James will either ask about a mulligan or else state that he saw Shepard do nothing.

Blame the punching bag for the pull-ups

If Shepard accepts James's challenge, James comments on his CO's performance at certain landmarks, i.e. 10, 20, 50, 91 (half his record), 100 and around 110 (where he states most people would be happy with 100). If the Commander does beat Vega's record, he's so amazed he is at a loss for words and merely asks how Shepard is doing.

If Shepard feels they can do another round, James scoffs and defers to their judgement. If Shepard admits to needing help putting on armor next time, James' reaction has a few variations: he's eager to help on a female Shepard who allowed to call her "Lola", he feels the male Shepard earned the nickname "Loco" for the stunt, and if neither of these James deems the stunt itself loco.

Regardless of the circumstances, Vega tells Shepard that they still got it, and advises not to let anyone tell them otherwise. Should Shepard fail more than twice to do a significant number of pullups, James will instead marvel at having seen something that Shepard isn't good at.

Shepard and Vakarian's dance draws a lot of attention, with James among the crowd for some reason

While on shore leave, James also spends his time plying Silversun Strip's many diversions, like combat-oriented games on Castle Arcade or Armax Arsenal Arena. Shepard may even take him along as a squad member for the latter if the Spectre wishes it. If Shepard is female and in a relationship with Garrus, James turns up in the upper bar of Silver Coast Casino, loitering by the kiosk when two familiar figures start dominating the dance floor. A small crowd gathers watching Shepard and Vakarian do the tango, James among them, and he expresses sly amusement when Shepard swings by in front of him.

Shepard can invite Vega and Cortez for a night of drinks and watching biotiball featuring the Seattle Sorcerers taking on the Usaru Maestros, before or after the party. Cortez sends an e-mail asking for an invitation, if Shepard has helped him reach a sense of closure on his husband's death.

Both Cortez and Vega state their cases for each team to win. Vega backs the Maestros and is teased by Cortez for it, who cites Vega's support of the Maestros is mostly due to their players being beautiful asari, than their actual skill. Vega sheepishly admits he has got the "hots" for the Maestro players. Shepard is asked to back a team. Selecting a particular team will result in the supporter of that team winning the bet (though the Sorcerers always win the game). Vega is disappointed when his team doesn't win and grudgingly admits defeat. When Shepard questions the nature of the bet, the winner reveals that the bet was only on whether the Commander would be correct in their pick, rather than who would actually win. After the game, both of them thank Shepard and leave the apartment.

Vega is a mandatory invite to Shepard's big party. During the party a female Shepard with no prior commitments can support a hook-up between herself and James. If this happens Shepard will wake up the next morning with James; however, he asks Shepard to not mention what happened to anyone else.

In the first stages of the party Vega hangs out with Cortez on the couches in the living room.

If Shepard sets a quiet party, James hangs out with Liara by the bar at the poker den, engaging in a debate over which ship is better: the SSV Normandy or the Normandy SR-2. James favors the latter.

At the conclusion of a quiet party, Vega plays poker with Liara in the den.

If the party is set to energetic, James spends time at the apartment balcony with Liara and some of the other biotics in the party, namely Liara, Jacob, Jack, Miranda, and Kaidan/Ashley, if they're present. Vega claims physical training trumps biotics, much to the incredulity of the others. Liara challenges this claim and both of them exchange friendly barbs, with the others supporting Liara. Vega then proceeds to show off his "fine example of peak physical form". Ashley, if present, shows interest beyond professionalism in Vega, to which he reacts favorably.

If Shepard favors physical training, James shows satisfaction at her choice and then points out that he can roll his tongue as well. Later, Liara tells James she's going to challenge him to a pull-up contest, something which causes James to give pause, unsure if he should accept the challenge. If Shepard favors biotics, Vega reluctantly accepts the decision.

In the next stage of the party, James demonstrates the result of the debate. If Shepard sided with biotics, Liara gives James a demonstration of her powers by biotically lifting him with seemingly no effort. Vega comments on feeling "fuzzy" all over, "among other things." If Shepard chose physical training instead, Vega (plus Jacob and/or Kaidan if they're present) do push-ups. If Kasumi is also around, she sits on top of Vega while cloaked. Vega naturally finds it difficult to keep up with Jacob, much to his consternation. Kasumi finally reveals herself when Vega is tired out and the marine collapses at that instant.

When the party gets wild, Vega flirts heavily with Ashley, if she is present. This flirtation can be encouraged by Shepard or the two can be told to cool off. If encouraged Vega hooks up with Ashley, wooing 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 they didn't hook up, James instead dances with the other balcony guests. He favors a fist-pumping moveset akin to aerobic exercise.

In the morning after the party, he cooks eggs for the guests, encouraging them all to try his eggs.


  • According to BioWare, James Vega is intended to reflect the perspective of a new player coming to the franchise.[4]
  • James Vega was originally known as James Sanders, however the name was changed some time after several gaming press outlets visited BioWare and revealed his original name. Vega himself references this after saving Kahlee Sanders from the attack on Grissom Academy, saying his father's last name was Sanders, but has no relation to Kahlee. [5]
  • Like Garrus Vakarian, James also shares the relationship of mentor and protege to a certain extent, following Shepard's advice regarding his military career decisions.
  • Freddie Prinze, Jr. also voiced Iron Bull in BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition.

See also[]