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

Tali'Zorah nar Rayya (vas Normandy) is a main character in the original Mass Effect video game trilogy. She is a quarian who Shepard originally meets when she is on her Pilgrimage and becomes a member of the Normandy crew. Tali holds the distinction of being one of only two squadmates available in all three games, the other being Garrus Vakarian.

She is voiced by Ash Sroka (credited as Liz Sroka in the first two games).


Tali debuts in Mass Effect where, after a dealing with the Shadow Broker goes wrong, she is recruited by Commander Shepard and joins them to help take down Saren Arterius while attempting to complete her pilgrimage.

In Mass Effect 2, Tali meets Shepard again, but they depart, but soon reunite after Shepard rescues her on Haestrom. In her loyalty mission, she's accused of betraying the Quarian Migrant Fleet. Shepard must clear her name in order to prevent her from being banished from the fleet.

In Mass Effect 3, (if she survived the Suicide Mission) Tali plays a big part in the Geth/Quarian war, and which side Shepard supports in the end will determine if she lives and makes it to the final battle in London.


Shepard, if I don't wear a helmet in my own home, I die! A single kiss could put me in the hospital! Every time you touch a flower with bare fingers, inhale its fragrance without air filters, you're doing something I can't!
~ Tali lamenting over her many limitations as a quarian
Even by quarian standards, Tali is an absolute genius when it comes to mechanics, a trait she has since her introduction. Engineer Greg Adams is extremely impressed by her knowledge, wishing his crew were half as smart as Tali. They often work together to disassemble any abandoned technology, such as old orbital probes that the Normandy's survey missions discover. She displays a bit of an acerbic wit at times; for example, she says 'I missed you too, Garrus' when Garrus comments on how useless her combat drone would be against an enemy dreadnought.

Shepard can chat to Tali about her fascination with starship technology and the Normandy's unique design, especially the enormous drive core. Having lived on the Migrant Fleet for her whole life until her Pilgrimage, Tali initially has trouble adapting to the Normandy. At first, Tali is very excited about being on board the Alliance's most advanced vessel, but she begins having problems. She can't sleep because she's not used to a ship that runs so quietly (to a quarian, a quiet ship means a dead engine or worse, a malfunctioning air filter). She also says that compared to the crowded conditions of the Migrant Fleet, the Normandy feels disturbingly empty, saying "it's like half the crew is missing." Despite this uneasy start, she manages to adjust over time and becomes much more cheerful. Tali enjoys visiting the crowded, noisy Wards on the Citadel because they feel like home, and she particularly likes the music in Flux, hoping to take a copy back to the Flotilla. When she's brought back on board the Normandy in Mass Effect 2, she has no trouble getting used to the quiet again, even admitting that she likes it.

Despite the discrimination she suffers as a quarian, Tali is easily one of (if not the) most kind-hearted members of Shepard's crew, always showing compassion to those who need it. She never hesitates to help out or stand up for one of her kind, which is especially shown when she stands up for a quarian on Pilgrimage on the Citadel when she was falsely accused of stealing. However, she's also deeply insecure, often assuming that she and her race aren't useful. She is also understandably envious of other species, since they can do many things she can't due to her extremely weak immune system. She also grows to resent the Pilgrimage, believing that without it, she never would have known what she was missing. Because of her insecurities, she hides that she loves Shepard for a long time with fear of being rejected, never imagining he would see past her mask. Even after revealing her feelings by accident and Shepard telling her that he feels the same way about her, she still thinks that the two of them can't be together, as she believes he deserves to be happy with someone and doubts she can do that for him. However, when Shepard tells her that he only wants to be with her, she is overjoyed and becomes determined to do whatever it takes to work between them.

Tali seems to suffer from severe arachnophobia; she freaks out whenever she sees spiders and considers the rachni to be the creepiest thing the group have fought, due to the fact that they look like spiders and scuttle towards you, even though, as Garrus points out, she usually likes it when things get close and personal, which is why she carries a shotgun.

Tali is also a very forgiving person, which is especially shown in the third game when she tells Shepard about how a turian clerk and once refused to give her shelter right before she met him/her and that now she's helping him in spite of that. She reasons that the war is too big for old grudges and that she doesn't have time to waste on a turian who made her angry three years ago, as well as the fact that it worked out in the end since she met Shepard as a result.