|She's determined behind that mask. You can't tell? Neither can I.|
Unlike other characters, Tali plays a profound role in the war for Rannoch, the Quarian homeworld, which Shepard must resolve to have either side join the anti-Reaper forces. Through my lawyerly abilities I managed to save Tali from permanent exile in Mass Effect 2, and her Geth expertise allows to rise quickly to the Admiral-ship, where she plays an essential role.
She's recruited to help Shepard take down a Geth dreadnought broadcasting a Reaper signal to every Geth ship warning of the upcoming battle. Eventually, they land on Rannoch's surface to save a fellow Admiral and disable a Geth base. After single-handedly taking down a Reaper, Shepard now has the option of either stopping the war, or siding with one faction. If a file from Mass Effect 2 is uploaded, it's possible to broker peace and have both sides join the war effort, but unfortunately my playthrough didn't have that.
I felt sympathetic toward the Geth, given their desperation by aligning with the Reapers. They were seen as the enemy across the galaxy but were forced into that position by the Quarians, their creators. Legion, saved inside the Geth dreadnought, dies regardless of what follows, but his sacrifice permits a Reaper code to reach the Geth hive mind, giving them full awareness. As Legion is uploading the data the Admirals quarrel about continuing to fight, and if Shepard doesn't earn enough brownie points in Tali's loyalty mission from Mass Effect 2, the Quarians are annihilated. And that's exactly what happened.
Though, the aftermath almost caused some emotion. Almost. Tali, overwrought by her race's extinction, takes off her mask and throws herself off the cliff. I found it rather poetic and appropriate for BioWare to give her that kind of out: the world she fought so hard to save becomes her resting place. Of all the casualties of former crew members, Tali is the most memorable and heartfelt because you hear the strain in her voice.
Her unfortunate demise is below:
You can also read my account of the controversy surrounding Tali's identity here.
Please check back for more accounts of each character from the Mass Effect universe. Jeff out.
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