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Shiala was a follower of Matriarch Benezia
and when the Matriarch was 'persuaded' to follow rogue Spectre Saren Arterius
, Shiala followed. On the planet of Feros
she was sacrificed to an ancient plant known as the Thorian in order to gain the Cipher for Saren, a means to decode the messages of the ancient Protheans
. Once Saren received the Cipher he abandoned Shiala and left her for the Thorian. When Commander Shepard
first encounters the Thorian, the plant has managed to join with Shiala to make clones of her to fight on its behalf. Once Shepard defeats the Thorian he meets Shiala. She gives Shepard the Cipher and then states that if Shepard would allow it she would like to help the survivors of Zhu's Hope (a damaged settlement on the planet) rebuild. Shepard has the option to allow this (the paragon option) or to kill Shiala for her service to Saren and Benezia (the renegade option).
If Shepard lets Shiala live to aid the colonists he/she can meet her again on Illium
in Mass Effect 2
. Her skin tone is now green due to the exposure to the Thorian and her biotic
abilities have been weakened as well. Through conversation it is revealed that she is there investigating a medical contract that applies to the colonists of Zhu's Hope. If Shepard chooses to help Shiala with this problem Shiala expresses a romantic interest in Shepard, before leaving for Zhu's Hope.