What makes a character awesome? It’s such a hyperbolic yet interesting question, and the response varies depending on the person. And yet, as we explore the large worlds of our favorite role-playing games, it’s hard not to notice the characters we become attached to the most as the adventure unfolds. Usually, they’re the ones that offer something unique to your party. In some cases it could be awkward interactions or unique perspectives. In others, it could be powerful abilities and battle skills. Regardless of our personal reasons, we become invested in these accomplices and discover that when its time select party members, our most awesome characters get pushed to the front of the line.

Mordin Solus, the Salarian scientist introduced in Mass Effect 2, is an awesome ME character because he epitomizes the coolest nerd in the ME universe: a mysterious, strong-willed, and scarred little scientist who delivers dialogue in quick, direct doses. With his character, BioWare takes the well-known science-fiction trope — the idea of a science officer in this case — and transforms it into an affable, fast-talking, tortured soul that believes in consequentialism. As strange as that combination may seem, Mordin is awesome and his prowess as a geneticist makes him an essential member of Shepard’s team.

But rather than keep to himself during his research on the Normandy, Mordin accepts many invitations for dialogue, often applying his unique brand of advice and unintentional humor to many situations, (even relationships). Mordin’s also involved in one of the notable quests in ME2′s story, a side-chapter that revisits the Salarian’s involvement in the recalibration of a bio-engineered weapon the genophage.

Operating a small clinic within the bowels of the planet Omega, Mordin is trying to cure a deadly plague when you first encounter him. You learn that after being pressured by a local gang called the Blue Suns for protection money, he stunned and killed some of their members, then visibly displayed the bodies as a warning to others. These actions make it easy to see early on that Mordin is more than a just an average physician, but you later learn the boundaries of his strong ethical code — one where, within logical reason, the end result justifies the means.

No quest lines show this Machiavellian principle and its effects clearer than Old Blood, a loyalty mission that revisits the Mordin’s involvement in the modification of the genophage. While the delicate operation to recalibrate the Turian biological weapon tested the boundaries of his intelligence, Mordin clearly enjoyed his time as a scientist working on the project and reminiscences to Shepard that those were the best years of his life. But Mordin underestimated the modified genophage, and the grim events that followed appear to have opened his eyes to the effects his work has on the universe. This shocking revelation changed him, but he clearly understands his place in the matter, saying at one point that although he wishes it wouldn’t have happened, it had to be him. To Mordin, others researchers would have gotten it wrong and accidentally eradicated the Krogans entirely, rather than just limit their numbers.

Mordin is Mass Effect 2′s most awesome character and one whose sheer genius and past contribute significantly to the ME’s universe. He may be too direct at times, but his lack of a filter leads to some of the most interesting dialogue exchanges in the game, and those reasons alone make a great reason to keep him in your party. I guess anyone can boast about their favorite character in ME, but in Mordin’s case, the evidence above clearly makes him my ME wingman.