281: Parallel Realities – Chapter SixteenPosted: June 28, 2012
Title: Parallel Realities
Media: Video Game
Topic: Mass Effect
URL: Parallel Realities: Chapter 16
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck
Hello once again, children. Welcome back to Parallel Realities.
Okay. After that break of two fics, we can finally return to Parallel Realities and start looking at this fic’s ME2 arc. As I said, I’ll have to go through the ME2 arc in two goes: so for this, I will look at the first ten chapters of the arc, and then take a short break. After that, we’re going to look at the second batch of ten chapters, and snark at that.
And then, we’re going to take a break from that before going to the ME3 arc. Okay.
For a brief recap of the entire ME1 arc (and trust me, you’ll need it), here we go: John G. Stupard is the last of the articians, a human-like species that suffered the dumbest zombie apocalypse in recent memory at the hands of Cerberus. The parallel galaxy sent Stupard to the ME galaxy, following Cerberus there. However, Stupard then finds out about the Reapers through a ton of convoluted plot contrivances, mostly by way of the Oracle, who is some kind of weird spirit lady who is making Stupard go through things that are not in any way, shape, or form a shameless and incredibly lame excuse to stay close to canon a series of trials that help him unlock his ‘true potential’ while also opening some truly massive plot holes. Along the way, he goes through ME1, falls in love with Tali’Zorah nar Rayya, and gets closer to the games than any AU fic has any right to.
And when we last left Stupard, he had just gotten killed as per the fucking stupid excuse to stick to canon Trial of Metamorphosis. And now that ME2 is here…
Well, let’s get started!
We begin the ME2 arc from Tali’s POV, oddly enough.
Tali’Zorah was preparing for her next mission. She had been tense since she heard where it was going to be. Freedom’s Progress. A Quarian by the name of Veetor sent a message from there saying he was in trouble. It was too vague to really understand what he meant by that. Tali was being sent there with a dozen marines to investigate and rescue him.
Oh, lemme guess, you know all this from that vision Stupard got the night before he died that he told you about, didn’t you?
It has been two years since the day of his death. Now Shepard’s vision was coming true. Now what is in doubt is whether or not she’ll see him there.
If the rest of the vision is coming true, what the fuck is causing you to question that the most important part is going to happen?
Tali reached for the prized possession John entrusted to her. Nemain.
Upon coming back from her Pilgrimage, she was close to losing it because it could be worth a lot to a collector of historical artifacts. Commander Shepard’s sword would have been worth millions. Her father suggested it would be in the best interest of her people to allow the Fleet to sell it, but she refused to part with it. This earned the scorn of several officers who just saw a selfish girl clinging to her toys. Thankfully Shala intervened on her behalf. She understood that Shepard was her life-long friend and since she was refused entry to his funeral ceremony, due to the anti-Quarian C-Sec agents, the very least she deserves was to keep a possession that was given to her by Shepard.
Yeah. That would work, except for the fact that there’s the whole issue where Tali hanging on to that would be seen as selfish and very frivolous by most of the Fleet. Keep in mind, the quarian people rarely ever wear stuff like jewelry since they don’t have the time or the resources for such frivolous pursuits. And Shala’s intervention wouldn’t do that much, especially not against people like Zaal’Koris. Rael would likely think she’s being a silly girl, Han wouldn’t like it all that much, and it could be seen as a sign that Tali’s loyalty to the Fleet isn’t really as strong as it should be.
Either way, the fact that they let her keep Stupard’s light saber wannabe stinks of plot contrivance.
Tali examined the staff end of the sword. She never could figure out how the blade extended from the staff. The blue crystal on the end was jagged but beautiful. The staff itself had several lines of writing that went along its length. It was in the Artician language so it was hopeless to try and decipher it.
Yeah, because it’s not like you can contact the exions and ask them what it means since now they kind of have to answer to you since you’re a knight of their galactic order.
Tali’s omni-tool beeped several times. She activated it and realized it was a message. The sender was shown as unknown. Tali cautiously opened the message.
THE TIME OF AWAKENING HAS ARRIVED, SER TALI’ZORAH.
NOW GIVE ME YOUR SOUL, YOU BRAINLESS WENCH!
We then cut over to Garrus.
A shot was fired killing the last Blue Suns mercenary in an ambush that was planned by Archangel and his vigilante corp. Credits were taken from the bodies. Archangel watched his soldiers destroy the drug shipment. One of his soldiers who wore a black cloak walked up to him. Her eyes glowed orange.
“Ser- Archangel,” she said and corrected herself. “I have received a message over the subspace network.”
“And the message?”
“He has awakened.”
A black cloak, and with glowing eyes? Gee, I have no idea what species that person is at all!
But oh well, that’s enough of that, we’ve got more important things to do right now!
“Shepard, wake up!” a voice screeched over the rooms speaker. It was the same one he heard the first time he woke up. Miranda. “I need you to wake up! This facility is under attack!”
Oh, hello plot regurgitation. I missed you so much.
John’s eyes slowly opened. Pain shot through his body. He sat up and felt pain jolt in his rib. Shepard grabbed the area where it stung. Next was his jaw. He rubbed it. Shepard could feel the scars that haven’t healed over. His mouth was very dry. Finally he could see the urgency. There were gunfights happening all around him.
“Your scars haven’t healed yet, Shepard. You need to grab your armor and weapon from the locker next to you.”
Shepard jumped to his feet. And pulled open the locker. Inside was Kestrel armor and a standard pistol. He put the armor on as fast as he could.
So now, he has Kestrel armor despite the fact that you can’t actually wear Kestrel armor in-game until you get the option to customize your armor selections. And that doesn’t come until after this part of the game.
You know, for someone who tries so damn hard to stay close to canon at places like this, he still manages to find ways to violate it.
And actually, here’s another thing that irks me: of all the canon pieces that you had to stick to, you had to stick with Stupard putting his armor on immediately out of the gate, didn’t you? Uh, yeah, the way it works in-game wouldn’t work elsewhere, since Stupard would have no time to strap on the armor in the amount of time required to get out of a facility that is under attack. That’s something that irked me about the game, but I forgive it there since gameplay would’ve worked very differently without the armor. Here, it’s just stupid.
Shepard forgo putting the helmet on.
Sorry, temporal diseases seem to have no effect on me.
The temporal sickness bags are over there for the rest of you.
Despite its HUD system, he still felt it was too restrictive. He needed to show his face when talking to people. Shepard didn’t want to go speak to them using a mouth of a helmet.
Yes, yes, that’s all very nice, I’m sure it’ll make it easier for people to punch you in the face when they realize the astoundingly terrible logic you’ve been using throughout pretty much everything you’ve been through.
He examined the pistol and realized, “You gave me a pistol without a thermal clip.”
“It’s a med bay-” It looked like the woman was viewing the room remotely because she noticed the gas canisters that were on fire. “Shit! Get to some cover!”
Shepard duck down behind the operating table and heard the tanks explode. He looked back and saw the explosion created a large hole in the doors.
“Why the hell you would give me a pistol without a thermal clip?” he demanded while moving towards the hole.
“Security procedure,” she replied quickly.
And again, have some in-canon silliness that needed to change. For those of you who are out of the loop, the firing system in the games underwent a massive overhaul between ME1 and ME2, where suddenly you had to physically reload your guns rather than wait for them to cool down to fire them again. It kind of irked me that Shepard was commenting on thermal clips when we don’t know if he had that kind of exposure to thermal clips in the month between the end of ME1 and when he got himself killed. So again, if this is an AU, why are you sticking so close to canon even here?
“Look, Shepard, I need you to trust me. I need to get you out of here alive. Someone hacked security to try and kill you. Just try and find a thermal clip.”
Luckily there happened to be a thermal clip on the other side of the hole. Shepard picked it up and loaded it into his pistol. ‘Why was I so rude? I don’t really need a pistol to defend myself. Oh, yeah. I’m in a Cerberus base.’
Sorry, any mentions of the ridiculous and completely pointless exercise in how to create a massive plot contrivance Trial of Metamorphosis have started to subconsciously make me want to murder kittens. If you have any ideas on how I can kick that, I’d be more than happy to hear them.
Shepard entered the next room and saw a barricade. Miranda made mention of the barricade. Did she think he was blind?
No, but she might think that you’re addled, confused, and trying to figure shit out there. You know, a standard reaction that you might have when you’ve just woken up from being dead for two years.
She then warned him of the single mech.
Shepard raised his hand and enveloped the mech in dark energy and flung it across the room. He continued up the stairs into a lab. Sparks flew from the door crack.
“Shepard, mechs are closing in on your position! Don’t take any chances. Get to some cover.”
Shepard merely smiled. The door opened revealing a couple of mechs. Three more came from the room on the left. He waited behind cover until they were all grouped together. Shepard vaulted over his cover and biotically charged at the group. They were blown away to pieces.
Shepard moved forward, seeing the battle go on around the station. He entered a room and found himself on an overlook. There was a grenade launcher and a dead body there.
“Here come the mechs!” Miranda notified him. “Use that grenade launcher against them.”
Shepard sighed. ‘Is she honestly talking to him like he’s some recruit?’
*rears back in shock*
Well, that’s odd. Stupard is now referring to himself in the third person, and in his thoughts no less.
Yep, I think the Lazarus Project might have a few kinks they needed to work out.
“Any over helpful hints?” he remarked. “Like it’s best to aim the barrel away from you? Or pulling trigger makes things go boom?”
“I’m just trying to help.”
“No, you’re talking down to me like I just entered boot camp,” he said while firing a grenade at the group of mechs. “I appreciate the thought of trying to help me escape, I do, but I have been a soldier for as long as I remember.” He walked onto the elevator. “I know about taking cover. I know about destroying everything that stands in my way. The help I require is which way to go.”
You know, InHarmsWay, there are multiple ways that you can lampshade some of the silliness involved in ME2’s tutorial. You picked one, and it’s the one that makes Stupard look like a complete dick! Yeah, I know you don’t trust Cerberus, but this lady just resurrected your ungrateful ass! The least you could do is be a little nicer to her, even if she is a little cold at this point in the games. And besides, you just woke up from being dead: your brain might not be all there. Just in case… well, you know where this is going.
Miranda let out a small chuckle. “Very well. I apologize. You are heading the right away. And- Damn it I got mechs closing in on me!” The radio went quiet.
“Sorry, Stupard, I have plot regurgitation to go through! I’m not even going to bother trying to raise the tension to make the readers think that I will be killed off between now and the next time I show up!”
Shepard doubled time it until he discovered a battle underway. A soldier was taking cover, firing at some mechs. Shepard fired a pistol round, destroying the head of one of the mechs. He slid into cover next to the guy.
“Shepard?” he gasped.
Wait, why is Stupard asking himself his own name? Doesn’t that seem kind of weird that he’s asking that to someone else when he’s the person he’s referring to?
“What are you doing here? I thought you were a work in progress.”
“I just woke up,” he replied. “You probably have a better grasp on the situation than I do.”
“Right, sorry about that,” he apologized. “I’m Jacob Taylor.
Oooooh. So it was Jacob that was asking that.
Don’t you guys just love pronoun confusions?
And I’m sure you guys just love plot regurgitation. In fact, I love it so much that I’m gonna do you all the favor of skipping over it.
Okay, so Stupard meets up with Jacob Taylor, the two of them take down some mechs, and Stupard oddly doesn’t take the time to play 20 questions with Jacob. (Which is weird, because Shepard can take that time to ask after his squad in-game. Given how Stupard is, you’d think he’d at least ask after Tali and Garrus, but nope, Stupard’s got bigger things to worry about, apparently.) They take down those mechs, and then they immediately get the comm call from Wilson, another Cerberus guy on the station that the Lazarus Project takes place on. They run on over to Wilson’s location to find him injured, so Stupard uses the medigel on him as he does in the tutorial. They mention stuff about how the hell they’ll get out of the station, as well as a couple of lines about Miranda and her role in everything that’s going on in the station. They decide it’s not worth commenting on, though, and with some very poorly paced action scenes the three of them fight it out to the end of the station. There’s some non-canon dialogue sprinkled in there, but it’s really of no consequence except to work some in-character Cerberus bashing into the story.
And then, of course, they bump into Miranda again on the way out.
“Come on, the shuttle is right through-” The doors opened before him. Miranda stood there with an angry look on her face. “Miranda, I thought you were de-” Bang! Miranda fired a round in his neck.
What the hell is the onomatopoeia there for? I mean… what? Pumpkin? One point twenty one jigawatts?
That’s just… I’m not sure if ‘lazy’ is the right word for it. I don’t think it is since ‘lazy’ isn’t a strong enough word to describe it, but hey, it’s the only one that fits.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jacob demanded.
“My job,” she replied plainly. “Wilson betrayed us all.”
“We should have taken him in for questioning,” Shepard said.
“Too risky. I spent two years on this project, and I wasn’t about to risk it to bring him in.”
I desperately need to come up with some way of indicating when plot regurgitation is going to come up. Seriously, all that is canon dialogue that is regurgitated. And, y’know, it’s pretty bad considering that there’s nothing else in this scene that—
“You further risked it by not,” Shepard pointed out. “Now we have no idea if he was working for someone, if there are more agents, or what his motivations were. By killing him you destroyed all possibilities of finding out!” He crouched down and activated his omni-tool.
“What are you doing?” Miranda asked.
“Since you killed Wilson, I’m downloading his omni-tool files to see if I can find anything. After I get the files, then you can take me to see the Illusive Man.”
My plot point senses are tingling again. Though, I guess it is nice that Wilson is going to be more than just a way to build cheap tension in this fic. Poor Wilson got the shaft in the ME series, and we never found out why he tried to betray Cerberus, so maybe something will come out of it here.
Miranda sighed. “Ah, Jacob. I should have known your conscious would get the better of you.”
“Actually, he figured it out on his own,” Jacob said.
“Your trademarks are all over the station, Cerberus is not known for subtlety” Shepard said while finishing up the download. “Alright, download’s down. Let’s get out of here.”
This was a minor deviation from canon that showed up in the bit where they bumped into Wilson, by the way.
I don’t think that the Cerberus insigna sits on every single thing in the station, but to be perfectly fair, Cerberus uniforms render that point moot since they have Cerberus insigna plastered on them in very noticeable spots. Thus, Stupard could have seen the Cerberus insigna on Jacob, Miranda, and Wilson’s uniforms, and figured it out from there. He probably would’ve noticed that insigna on his uniform, too, if he took a second or two to look at his casual uniform before he tossed his armor on.
So again, we finally have another thing that makes sense when you toss in the fridge logic. That’s… two out of a smorgasbord of nonsensical plot points.
After another <hr> tag, we move on to the next scene.
The shuttle flew away from the Lazarus station and made a jump towards its destination. Shepard stared out of the window of the shuttle.
“Before we meet with the Illusive Man, we need to ask a few questions to evaluate your condition,” Miranda notified Shepard.
“Come on, Miranda,” Jacob pleaded. “More tests? Shepard took down those mechs effortlessly. That has to be good enough.”
“It’s been two years since the attack,” Miranda said. “The Illusive Man needs to know that Shepard’s personality and memories are intact. Ask the questions.”
More plot regurgitation. Of course.
“Commander,” Shepard muttered.
“It’s Commander Shepard. You haven’t used my title once.”
Uh… yeah, Stupard, she’s the one who brought you back to life! She can call you whatever the fuck she wants! Seriously, given your pure paragon tendencies, I’m surprised you’re violently opposed to her trying to make things less formal. Okay, yes, I get that you don’t trust Cerberus at all, but these two people haven’t started twirling their non-existent moustaches yet! Don’t you think it would get you somewhere to be a little less of a dick to them?
Miranda sighed. “The sooner we start the sooner we can get it over with.” She looked to Jacob. “Start with personal history.”
“Okay,” Jacob relented. “Records show you have no known history before you crash landed on Mindoir, other than you were a child soldier. No known parents or friends.
You know, there’s another thing that kind of annoys me. Given that child soldiers are almost completely unheard of in the Mass Effect galaxy, I’m surprised this hasn’t caused more people to raise their eyebrows in suspicion. Child test subjects? Sure. But child soldiers in this canon don’t actually exist. So how the hell has nobody found that suspicious?
Slavers came one day to attack your colony but you took a stand and defended a Quarian shelter which almost cost you your life. You remember that?”
“I made a promise to those people at the shelter I would protect them. I always honor my promises.”
Except for that incident. You know the one.
“Very admirable. Most would have turned tail and run. You later enlisted and got a medal defending Elysium from Batarian slavers. Do you remember that?”
“A lot of lives depended on me holding that position. I did what I had to.”
“However you wanted to put it, it was damn impressive. I had friends who were there.” Jacob pulled up another file on his omni-tool.
You know, I’m starting to snooze out here. Seriously, this prose is going to put me to sleep in another ten minutes.
“About a year later your squad was sent to Akuze to investigate the colony and ended up being ambushed by a nest of Thresher Maws. You managed to get eighty percent of your squad out of there at the expense of sacrificing your seat on the shuttle to the last soldier in your squad. Do you remember that?”
Oh, dear. Cue very pissed-off (albeit in-character) Cerberus bashing in three… two… one…
“Yes, and you know what I also remember?”
“That it turned out to be a Cerberus experiment to study Thresher Maws. An experiment that nearly cost my life. You have any idea how sour Thresher Maw meat is? So I ask you, are you okay with the idea with sending not one but two Alliance squads into a Thresher Maw nest?”
“There are certain actions I have disagreed with…”
“Right, a neutral answer. Carry on with your questions.”
So you know it was a Cerberus experiment, you lost a dear friend and thought that he was dead for years, you nearly lost your own life, and the thing that you comment about most noticeably is the fact that the whole incident forced you to eat thresher maw meat for several days?
Jeez, talk about misplaced priorities.
Our Hero Ladies And Gentlemen Count: 12
Well… that was fast. We’ve barely broken the first chapter of the ME2 arc, and we already have a tick on one of the counters. I know this number on the counter is on the nitpicky side, but still, you can tell a lot about a person by what they fixate on when they talk to someone. And for someone who’s supposed to be a pure paragon, that’s pretty low that eating sour meat for several days was more important to mention than the fact that his squad almost died there. If you’re playing it for rule of funny, that I could see, but you’re clearly not doing that, so you don’t even have that excuse.
Jacob pulled up another file. “A year after that was the Battle of Torfan. You managed to distract the Batarian snipers using advance holograms while your squad flanked them with minimum casualties. After the battle was through, one of your officers was going to execute one of the Batarian prisoners, but you stopped him. Why?”
“Those slavers do deserve what’s coming to them, death. After all the things they have done. But… Killing in cold blood is not the way. Allowing the execution to take place would have forever tainted him, and would allow his hatred, anger and fear to control him for the rest of his life. In short: I stopped him from becoming a monster.”
“I never said anything about stopping him from being an idiot, though. He’s on his own with that.”
Okay. After that bit, we hit more regurgitation from the end of that conversation in the game. Basically, Miranda and Jacob quiz Stupard about Virmire and the human Council about that sort of thing. We—
“Come on, Miranda,” Jacob said. “Enough with the quizzes. The memories are there and I can personally vouch for Shepard’s combat skills personally.”
Oh yeah, and Jacob accidentally brings in the DRD. I wonder what trap I’ve got for them today…
Oh, hey, those big balls I stole from the set of Wipeout seem to be in good working order. Yay!
Anyway, the conversation essentially ends as it does in canon, and then we cut to something else. Namely, we cut to Tali after an <hr> tag.
Tali’s shuttle touched down on Freedom’s Progress. There was no communication with the colony. It was very eerie. She caressed Nemain.
Our narrator, ladies and gentlemen. Using only a few sentences to describe stuff and then jumping to something completely unrelated. Mood whiplash, move over! Your cousin’s in town, and he won’t take no for an answer when he knocks on your door.
“Are you okay, Tali?” Nola asked. She wore a yellow environment suit.
“Yes,” she replied.
“It’s just you seemed a bit off since you heard we were heading here.”
“Well, I’m, uh, expecting to meet someone here. Someone I haven’t seen in a while.”
“Maybe after we find Veetor you can look this person up.”
Who is this Nola character? What? Where?
I’m sorry, fic, you can’t just plop in a new character by name like that. Who is she? What’s her relation to Tali? I know why she’s there, but… could you have dropped her any more out of nowhere?
Wait, don’t answer that question. It’s probably happened to other guys too.
“Zorah,” Prazza screeched. His voice alone set her on edge of her tolerance level.
Like poor Prazza, that quarian from canon who won’t listen to his superior officer. Though, his voice was not screechy in any way at all. Yes, he was something of an idiot who got pretty much all of Tali’s squad killed off in-game, but he’s not that annoying.
Something tells me that there is some subconscious bashing going on over here…
“We just saw Veetor run by. If we run now we can catch him!”
“Then let’s do it.”
Wait, what? If you can see Veetor run by, then how come Tali didn’t see him? Where are you in relation to Tali? What’s going on? Where in Freedom’s Progress are you?
You know what? Let’s just move on.
The squad followed the footprints in the snow to go after Veetor. They watched him run around the corner of a pre-fab unit. Tali’s squad went around and saw a couple dozen LOKI mechs. All of them had their weapons aimed at them. They started firing at them.
“Fall back!” Tali ordered. “We’ll find another way around.”
The squad double backed into an alley way and went into a pre-fab unit. They tried to catch their breath. Luckily none of them got hit by the
“Why was Veetor running away from us?” Prazza asked out loud.
Hit by the…?
What, did a whale come out of nowhere that nearly hit Tali’s squad with its dorsal fin or something?
“Why did he reprogram those mechs to attack? Where are the Human colonists?”
“We’ll have to wait about answering those questions,” Tali said. “We need to come up with a plan to get around these mechs and find Veetor. Zoa, bring me up a layout of this colony.”
It’s not enough that this chapter is just boring as fuck. We already have three new characters that stepped out of the situationally dependent quantum flux such that we have no idea who they are. And you know, it doesn’t help that we don’t know how many people are in this squad, or what their specialties are, or what they do. Yeah, I know they all get killed off in-canon, but c’mon, you’re naming more than just Prazza here! It’s obvious to anyone with two brain cells that these two people are going to survive too, and yet we know nothing about Nola and Zoa. Shit, I don’t even know what gender Zoa is supposed to be!
I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised, though: it speaks to a lot of things that this is just one more manifestation of that thing where InHarmsWay introduces something and then forgets to establish what the hell that something is until about eight chapters later.
Really, wouldn’t it be just swell if he cut to Stupard after an <hr> tag?
Shepard walked into a darkened room with a blue ring on the floor.
Dude, I was kidding! That…
Oh, fuck it, we’re almost to the end of the chapter. Let’s just do this.
As soon as he stepped onto the ring a scan activated. ‘A Quantum Entanglement Device,’ he thought to himself. ‘Another piece of technology you stole from us. Bastards.’
Yes, because Cerberus needed to steal this technology from you in canon instead of coming up with it on their own.
There Shepard saw the man he hated for so long. The Illusive Man. His hair had gone grey since the last time they met. He sat in a chair in front of a view of a dying sun. TIM took a puff of his cigarette. “Commander Shepard,” he said while releasing the smoke from his lungs.
“Illusive Man,” Shepard said back. “I thought we’d be meeting face-to-face.”
“A necessary precaution. Not unusual for people who know what we know.”
Wait, hang on a second.
Didn’t TIM and Stupard talk once before? How the hell does TIM not recognize him? I mean, yeah, I know that many, many years have passed since the last time they spoke to each other, but wouldn’t TIM notice something odd about the fact that Stupard shares a very uncanny resemblance to some kid he talked to about thirty years back? I mean, Stupard recognized TIM almost immediately. How the hell does TIM not recognize Stupard?
And how the hell does…
Oh, wait. Guys, think back to the prologue. Remember what I said about the first TIM and Stupard conversation back there?
Here, allow me to refresh your memory:
After we get that piece of information, TIM and this John Shepard character talk, without revealing each other’s names.
I should’ve quoted the passage from the prologue that says this, but hey, what can we do? So now, I’ll show you guys the part of the prologue that says that:
Shepard spoke to him through a small holographic communicator. The Illusive Man was not allowed to know his true name, just like the Illusive Man wouldn’t reveal his. Shepard simply went by “The Commander.”
Why was TIM not allowed to know Stupard’s true name? Well, this wouldn’t make any damn sense unless the parallel galaxy knew that Stupard was eventually going to start hunting Cerberus. However, it’s entirely possible that this was their intent all along, in which case, it makes sense. I mean, if they’re going to seek revenge on Cerberus by doing it under the cover of night or something like that, you risk giving your plans away by telling them who your supreme commander is. So that makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense, though, is how your prose doesn’t specify if the parallel galaxy concealed Stupard’s appearance during that conversation with TIM in the prologue. Why didn’t you at least put him in a mask or something? That would’ve hidden Stupard’s identity wonderfully, and it could explain why TIM doesn’t recognize Stupard or at least comment about how he looks familiar. But no, we don’t get that. So instead, we’re left to wonder how the fuck TIM doesn’t recognize Stupard just from looking at him. I mean, I know that several decades have passed, but most people can recognize someone when they’re all grown up, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe that TIM could recognize Stupard once he’s all grown up. Yeah, not having a name to attach to something can be rendered moot if you can recognize the guy when you look at him. I severely doubt that TIM has such poor facial recognition skills that he can’t tell that this is that artician kid he was talking to several years ago, especially given that he’s got cybernetic eyes.
In other words, this whole thing can retroactively be seen as being incredibly fucking stupid, and making TIM out to be a complete moron.
Wow, we haven’t even left the first chapter of the ME2 arc, and already we’re faced with a ridiculous amount of stupid. Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, given that the author successfully introduced a race of Mary Sues before he even got halfway through the prologue.
Let’s just continue.
Smart, but cowardly. If the Illusive Man was before him, Shepard didn’t think he could restrain himself from beating the man half to death. He wouldn’t kill him outright. TIM would be brought in to face justice at the hands of his people. They deserve that much.
Wait, so if he was standing in front of you, you wouldn’t be able to restrain yourself from kicking his ass, but you’d be able to restrain yourself enough that you wouldn’t outright kill him?
Uh, yeah. This just got very confusing.
“What exactly do ‘you and I know’?”
“That our place in the universe is more fragile than we’d like to think. That one man—one specific man—is all that stands between humanity and the greatest threat in our brief existence.”
“Good to see that your memory’s still intact. How are you feeling?”
“Skip the pleasantries. You have tried to have me killed at least a dozen times during my investigation into Saren and now you’re saying that I may be this galaxy’s greatest hope for survival. A bit hypocritical, is it not?”
“I never issued an order for your death. Far from it. As humanity’s first Spectre, you are far more valuable alive.
Technically, TIM is right on this count. You’ll remember that Scarface back in chapter 8 specifically went after Stupard with the thought process of ‘oh my god, you’re the last artician!’ Since TIM doesn’t recognize Stupard as being an artician and is thus operating on the same logic that all others in the ME galaxy are, he would have no reason to issue a death order for Stupard. And as TIM explains in the next sentence:
The cells you attacked were following their own directives and thought you were an Alliance soldier trying to shut them down.
Okay, that’s actually kind of stupid. He was an Alliance soldier that was trying to shut them down. They were following their own directives after you had abandoned the projects they were in out of a need to distance yourself from them. There’s no “thought” about Stupard shutting them down—he was there to shut them down!
I had no involvement in their attempts to kill you. I’d appreciate it if we focus on the now and look pass the feelings you may have for me or this organization.”
Given Stupard’s backstory, I think you’ll find that it’ll be much harder for him to get to that than you think.
The rest of the chapter is… plot regurgitation, pretty much. TIM gives Stupard information on Freedom’s Progress, a colony that was hit in a recent string of colony attacks that has resulted in the populations of entire colonies vanishing off the face of the galaxy. TIM tells Stupard to look over there, to which Stupard is like ‘dude, I don’t like this’. TIM says that if Stupard isn’t satisfied, they can part ways, but that they should at least work together to figure out what the cause of the disappearance of Freedom’s Progress is.
And that’s where the chapter ends.
We’re dealing with boringly written prose, shitty-ass logic, more plot regurgitation than is safe for the average human, and inane dialogue when it’s not following canon.
Yep, we’re back in Parallel Realities all right.
Stay tuned for next time, when we finally get the first noticeable changes to canon in this entire fic.