1393: When You’re Strange – Chapters One and Two

Title: When You’re Strange
Author: Actually-Fen-Harel
Media:  Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect
Genre: Romance/Sci-fi
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 1
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 2
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to the Library. I’m Herr Wozzeck, and… well…

*looks at the topic*

Yep, I’m going right back into my favorite topic to tackle more bullshit.

But oh, this time it isn’t a horrible Gary Stu that we’re shining the spotlight on. See, one thing that the Library hasn’t really touched is that Mass Effect fanfiction also contains one of the highest concentrations of bad shipfic. Trust me, most of the love interests have rabid fanbases, as you can probably tell by typing any of those love interest’s names into DeviantArt. Hell, you even saw a facet of this with the Talimance in Parallel Realities.

But… I think it’s time we looked at terrible ship fanfiction from this canon in full. ‘Cause as far as shipfic is concerned, nothing beats a full-on ship-fic in that department.

So let’s look at one example of that, shall we?

Now, this ship is Garrus Vakarian/Female Shepard. Why? Well, it’s a bit of a long and complicated story, but in the first game, Garrus and Tali were both more popular than Kaidan and Ashley, the actual love interests of the first game. It got to the point that, when ME2 came around, Garrus and Tali got upgraded to love interest. Garrus, however, is the more popular of the two characters, as the internet is absolutely littered with Garrus fangirls. Let’s also mention that turians in general have become fangirl bait, no thanks to the fact that turian voices are actually surprisingly sexy. So a lot of ship-fic tends to concentrate a lot on Garrus, with emphasis then going to Tali.

Keep all that in mind as we go along.

Before we go into the fic itself, I feel it’s important to spotlight that this fic has a cover sheet. Yeah, apparently some fics put cover sheets over their fanfics, ever since fanfiction.net allowed that option to be done.

Why do I bring this up? Well, let’s see if the cover can give us some idea of what this fic is about, yeah?

Garrus

Hm…

I know! It’s about Mary Poppins!

We start the fic with this:

“I want Saren as badly as you do Shepard, let me join you.”

It’d started out so simply. He was just another ex-military, now C-Sec Officer, yet another turian in the glut of turians that were always on the Citadel. He’d shown some skill with a gun, sure; but probably no more than any other turian in C-Sec armor that could be seen strutting around the Presidium – or any of the wards- like they owned the place. Which they pretty much did. Pick any turian out of that orderly throng, and they probably could’ve made the shots he’d just made.

This better be going somewhere, fic. I’ve had enough directionless narration from Twin Humanities to last a lifetime.

But there was something special about this one.

*wipes forehead*

Oh, thank God, it does have a point!

Okay, so what is this all about?

When she looked him in the eyes, she saw a roguish determination there that she hadn’t seen in any of the other deadened eyes of the turians patrolling the Citadel. His eagerness and obvious lack of patience for the red tape that the rest of his race seemed to love was almost endearing, in a strange way.

So I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that this narration that hasn’t established a time and a place yet is involved with Shepard deciding to bring Garrus along on the Normandy. I guess it’s nice that Shepard is thinking in terms of determination, because—

She rocked back on her hip and regarded him, giving him a thorough once-over, sizing him up. From everything she knew of his race, he was a very attractive example of a turian, with simple, but elegant blue colony markings. He was tall, obviously no older than his mid-twenties, and he had a long fringe, broad shoulders, a narrow waist, sturdy hips, and strong legs with prominent spurs. His light C-Sec armor didn’t leave much to the imagination, and as she looked at him, she noted with a light smirk that his chest puffed up in a very turian display of pride.

She made up her mind then. ‘He’ll do nicely.’

“Alright Vakarian, welcome to the team.”

Ooooooor, Shepard will start thinking with her hormones, and Shepard will bring Garrus on based mostly on that.

And wait, back up a bit there. What did you say about his age, again?

He was tall, obviously no older than his mid-twenties,

Again?

his mid-twenties

Um, no.

Okay, so from what we know of canon, turians are a very militaristic race. As such, one of the requirements of turian society is that a turian enlists in the military at age fifteen! Fifteen! Garrus specifically mentions that he did this, even explicitly talking about turian frigate life in the conversation that starts Garrus’ romance track in ME2. So we know that Garrus did this. What does that mean?

Now, it’s never mentioned in canon if C-SEC duties would count towards that since C-SEC is somewhat modeled off of how the turians handle defense. However, it’s strongly implied that it doesn’t. So that means that, in addition to doing his tour of duty, Garrus would have had to climb up the ladder in C-SEC for a long enough period of time that he would get to Detective—a job that’s probably easier said than done considering that C-SEC acts as both militia and police force.

Of course, all that comes before the important piece of information I left out above: the required tour of duty for a turian lasts until said turian reaches the age of thirty. It doesn’t have to be as a grunt that shoots things, but they have to stay within the turian military in some capacity until that age.

And yet, somehow, this fic placed Garrus in his mid-twenties ‘cause that sounds hotter, or something.

*headdesk*

Good God, we haven’t even gotten onto the Normandy yet and already we’re getting lumped in with intense amounts of stupid!

*sigh*

I get the horrible feeling I’m in for a lot of pain…

His mandibles flared and fluttered a bit in an excited turian grin. “You won’t regret this, Shepard.”

She raised an eyebrow at his apparent cockiness, and suppressed a snort.

Yes, because a declaration of “I won’t let you down” is totally a display of cockiness.

She turned to the female human behind her, Chief Ashley Williams, who was currently wearing a decidedly uneasy look on her face,

Oh, come on, fic! The tragedy mask isn’t a look of unease so much as it is a look of unfathomable sadness! And why the hell is Ashley wearing it, anyway? You’d think that a theater mask wouldn’t be considered proper head protection by the Alliance.

and shifting her weight from one foot to the other in obvious discomfort. “Got somethin’ to say, Chief?” Shepard scrutinized her Gunnery Chief as she spoke, wondering why the woman seemed to have suddenly lost her air of quiet confidence.

Ten dollars says “because it’s convenient for the plot, now shut up and run with it.”

Ash’s eyes rose up to meet Shepard’s for only a moment before lowering them again to some point directly behind her. “If it’s all the same ma’am, I’d like to go back to the Normandy. Give you a chance to test out our new team member.”

And why would she suggest this? I mean, it’s not like…

Oh, goddammit, don’t tell me that this is what I think it is!

Her gaze flicked to the new turian recruit, at the sight of which she shuddered very slightly, then back to the obviously fascinating spot behind Shepard as she finished speaking.

Taren Shepard wasn’t stupid. If the Chief thought she was going to slip her prejudice against aliens under her nose without being noticed, she had another thing coming. But it could wait for now. There were far more pressing matters to attend to than one closed-minded crewman.

*headdesk*

Fuck me, it is.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve hit some Ashley Williams bashing. Frankly, I’d go on a long rant about this, but Fraug already did so, so I’ll just point at his comment and you all can read it.

Now, granted, this is the first chapter, so that attitude may change, but I’m not holding my breath just yet considering that I’ve heard the bashing gets really bad later on down the line…

She affected a nonchalant shrug. “Fine with me, Chief. I’ll see you on-board.” She promised, giving The Chief a pointed look. Ash met her gaze long enough to nod slightly and salute, promptly disappearing through the doors of the clinic.

Well, at least Ash is saved from the brunt of the basher’s wrath this time around. I hope.

Shepard gave a cursory glance to Vakarian and the human male, Kaidan Alenko, and gestured towards the door. “Shall we, then?” She hit the door trigger and exited the clinic without waiting for an answer, with the two males trailing closely behind her.

And off they go! Well, I guess this will lead to fun times, yeah?

As they walked, Vakarian mentioned a male krogan named Wrex was currently being questioned by C-Sec in regards to his threats to kill a local crime lord, named Fist. Shepard blinked. “Well that’s beyond perfect, let’s go get him. If I can get him to join us, even better. A krogan on the team would be phenomenal.” She said, her voice elevating in excitement. Kaidan raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment.

Ooor, it’ll lead to an instance of telling (not showing) where Garrus informs Shepard off-screen about Wrex and then we get Shepard’s reaction to that on-screen. For some reason.

Huh. Should we call this tewing instead of sholling? ‘Cause this is halfway between the two, you know? I mean, if you’re going to show Shepard’s reaction anyway, why not show the whole scene? And if that scene was not shown for a pacing concern, why show Shepard’s reaction?

*headdesk*

I don’t know! This just… Oh dear…

Anyway, after this, we’ll go ahead and skip over more narration that eventually ends with Wrex looking at a human C-SEC officer with a sneer, and then Wrex turns towards Shepard.

Wrex turned to give a once-over to Shepard, and as she met his gaze evenly, without a hint of fear, he stopped, a smirk on his face. “Enjoy the show, human?” He inquired,

That’s what she said!

though he didn’t appear to care that much, barely sparing Shepard a fraction of his attention as he looked around him, keeping his surroundings in view.

Well, considering that the krogan have 240 degrees of vision according to the Codex, that strikes me as a little odd. But hey, I’m not the kind of writer who just ignores what the Codex says if it conflicts with what I’ve written down, so obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about, amirite?

Now Shepard couldn’t help but snort a bit. “Yes, I did. So, you’re lookin’ for Fist? So are we. Maybe we could help each other. We help you knock out his hired help, we get the info we want out of him, then you get the pleasure of killing him. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. What do you say?” She crossed her arms and settled back on her right hip, her usual negotiating stance.

*frowns*

Wait, so… This lady is all okay with killing Fist once she gets the data about where Tali is…?

Um… this author is aware that you can let Fist walk away for a few Paragon points if you don’t bring Wrex along, right? Right?

And why do I get the horrible, horrible feeling that this will create a “she’s a Paragon, except when she’s a Renegade” situation a la Parallel Realities/From Another World?

Wrex eyed her suspiciously. “Who are you? And what info do you need from Fist?” He asked, skepticism heavy on his voice.

Shepard lets a smug grin play across her face. “I’m Commander Taren Shepard, Alliance Navy, and Fist has information on the location of a certain person that has incriminating evidence that can get Saren Arterius’ Spectre status revoked, and have him declared a traitor to the Council and the galaxy in general. So, is that a good enough reason for you, or are we done here?” She leaned forward just enough to look Wrex right in the eyes, issuing a clear challenge.

Wrex reeled back a bit, clearly surprised by Shepard’s reason. He maintained eye contact though, and smirked in Shepard’s face as he responded. “Good enough for me.” He extended his hand for her to shake in a very human gesture. As she shook it firmly, he spoke again. “If you’re done talking, let’s go. I’m tired of waiting around. He’s in Chora’s Den.”

Shepard nodded and moved to a transit hub terminal to hail a cab for them.

Hm… Well, I’ll give this author some credit; I’m pretty sure that Wrex might be pretty surprised at Shepard over how much confidence she exuded there. At the same time, though, I’m worried that this means that Shepard will fall into the “tough, hardass bitch” stereotype that will entail lots of faux-empowerment once the romance actually starts. I guess we’ll see as we go, but I can’t help but get the feeling that this is going to end up in very bad places..

A/N: Short chapter, I know. I’m kinda just putting feelers out here. This is my first attempt at a Shakarian ship fic, so I want to do it justice, while keeping it interesting.

Well, lady, so far you’ve misrepresented the age of a character, made your Shepard out to be someone whose hormones very easily override her common sense, Flanderized Ashley Williams, and potentially turned Wrex into a dummy for reaction shots. I think you’ll forgive me if I have very little faith that you’ve done it justice.

I ship Shakarian hardcore, so I’m pretty nervous about it. Let me know what you guys think while I work on the next chapter.

Well, fortunately for us, she’s already gotten the next chapter up. So…

Ah, what the hell. We’ll make today’s installment two chapters as opposed to just one. Buckle in, patrons.

Our next chapter starts thusly:

A/N: By the by, while writing this, I will very rarely actually be quoting the original words from the game, unless my memory just happens to recall them correctly. ALL of this is AU and from my fickle memory, so if I get things wrong, deal with it. It’s AU, and I’m not fixing it. Kthxbai. :D

On the one hand, thank fuck for that. We’ve had enough plot regurgitation here at the Library to last me a lifetime, so you know what? Fuck it. Bring on the canon differences!

But on the other hand, if that’s an excuse to just get canon information wrong? I’m sorry, no. If you’re too lazy to check the canon, you can’t just be all “oh, it’s AU” and expect that shit to fly. Even if it’s AU, it has to be bound by some of the rules involved. Unless it’s a high school AU, but even those try to keep some of the characters IC.

Key word being “try”. Most cases aren’t successful.

*le sigh*

Anyway, we open the chapter with this:

When they arrived at Chora’s Den, the place was crawling with Fist’s toadies. Most were easily dispatched with a few well-placed shots, others were slightly less easily destroyed by the three biotics in the group.

Much like the tension in this scene was easily destroyed by shit pacing, amirite?

The only one left standing was a particularly hardy krogan, which Wrex scrambled the brains of with his shotgun, after he managed to wedge the barrel of it right between the eyes of the unfortunate krogan, just under the crest.

Holy commas, author, do you not know how a sentence works?

Also, you had Wrex kill a krogan by shooting him in the nose. How the fuck did Wrex get his shotgun there, and how the fuck did it not occur to you that this is a stupid fucking description?

The resulting orange and gray splatter had Shepard admiring the artistic beauty of it for just a moment, before she re-focused on the door to the back room.

One needlessly purple way of saying this fic’s Shepard might possibly be mentally unstable later, and we are no worse off than we were before.

They gathered around the door, and she palmed the trigger,

How the hell she managed to squeeze her palm to squeeze the trigger of her gun shall forever remain a mystery, much like this fic’s rampant abuse of the comma.

only to be confronted by two workers with no armor, armed with cheap pistols. She snorted at the sight, and before they even had a chance to speak, they both had a brand new holes between their eyes.

Well, not that we needed confirmation after that needlessly purple description of that krogan’s brains scattering across the wall, but, um… good to know I’m not going senile?

She heard a gasp behind her, and turned to see Kaidan’s mouth open in shock. She scoffed at his expression. “What?” She snapped at him.

His eyes drifted to her slowly, as if he were truly in shock. “Y-you… You just shot two men that didn’t even have armor on. Hell, they probably would’ve just left if you’d bothered to ask them!” He stared at her dumbly.

And let me guess: she’s about to be annoyed by—

His attitude annoyed her.

And that’s one check against Shepard. Kaidan pointing out real human rights problems is an annoyance, apparently.

“They were armed, and aiming those armaments at me. Do you really think I’m going to give them a chance to shoot me when I can just solve the problem outright and move on?”

You got shields, their pistols were described as cheap… really, did you ever think they truly posed a threat to you?

Kaidan shook his head at her, his eyes clearly conveying his disapproval at her lack of mercy. Wrex chuckled. Shepard smirked at him and continued, “And, speaking of moving on…” She promptly stepped over the bodies of the men she’d just shot, and took stock of the small room they were in.

She saw some lockers on the wall, and opened the unlocked one, grabbing a pistol and a mod from it. She carefully inspected the new pistol, and set it on top of the locker, unholstering her own pistol and removing the mods from it, then installed the mods on the new gun and holstered it, before converting her old pistol into omni-gel.

And then taking a deep breath from the massive fucking run-on sentence we just witnessed. Seriously, what the shit?

“Let’s get this over with. Fist’s gotta be in this next room; according to the building schematics, this is the last room in the building.” She noted, after pulling up the relevant info on her omni-tool.

She palmed the door trigger,

Oh, that’s what the fic meant by “trigger”. I was beginning to wonder what the fuck was going on for a second there…

and she heard a strained human male voice screaming obscenities in between something about having to do everything himself.

*facepalm*

Then why don’t you just show us what he said!? Jesus, there’s show don’t tell, and then there’s show don’t tell! This is just… what the hell is that description?

*headdesk*

She was about to walk past the metal divider wall in the room’s entryway, when she saw the turrets suddenly popping up out of the floor. “Shit, TURRETS!” She warned to her makeshift team, as she slammed her back against the divider. They all quickly found cover behind the seemingly solid metal walls, and started throwing everything they could at the machinery that was currently assaulting them.

“Dammit, I need back up! This turret won’t stop trying to swivel onto my face with enough force to break my nose!”

“Maybe if you’d stop throwing wedding bouquets at it, it would stop!”

Finally, the left turret gave out under the abuse, sputtered, and exploded; leaving only the right turret, and whatever badly aimed pot-shots Fist was tossing their way.

“Oh, fuck this shit.” Uttered Shepard, reaching for her belt and setting a five second timer on the grenade which she quickly lobbed at the turret, being careful to avoid Fist himself in the blast radius.

*watches as the thesaurus lurches in*

Wha—oh come on, the thesaurus abuse isn’t even that bad in this fic!

They still needed to get whatever info he had on this damn quarian, and she was looking forward to watching Wrex finish his target off.

And hopefully this completely pointless narrative aside as well. Seriously, did we need to be reminded of this information?

The grenade did its job, creating an impressive little explosion next to the turret, and causing the turret to shatter, the metal warping and splitting to turn the once lethal machine into a useless hunk of metal.

*groans* Holy Christballs, this prose…

They came out of cover then, to see Fist trying to shoot at all of them at once, and missing more than hitting any of them. Shepard sighed, bringing up her new pistol and shooting the gun out of Fist’s hand. The shocked look that flashed across his face, followed quickly by the inevitable stench of fear, brought a smirk to Shepard’s lips.

*ducks*

Oh dear, Taco is going to flip the fuck out.

Also, how the fuck is Shepard able to smell the fear coming off of him? Because I should think that is very physically unlikely, thank you very much!

She walked up to the crime lord and punched him square in the nose, and he fell on his ass in a pitiful, simpering heap.

He looked around at the four individuals crowding around him, then focused on Shepard as he finally managed to find a semblance of a spine to speak up with. “Who are you people? What do you want?”

Shepard sneered and reached out to grab hold of the coward’s armor collar, snatching him up so her face was inches from his as she spoke. “We need information about the quarian that came to you. Tell us where she is, and I’ll tell my krogan friend here to back off from killing you. Don’t tell us, and I’ll be happy to show you the meaning of pain.”

Wrex growled behind her. “Shepard…”

This just in, ladies and gentlemen: you know you’ve failed at writing a sadistic character when motherfucking Urdnot Wrex thinks you’re going too far.

She snarled and ripped her eyes away from Fist long enough to give Wrex a look that would melt steel,

… And that means… what, exactly? Because I don’t know why you’d look at someone as if to melt steel, but it’s definitely not a “shut the fuck up” glance, I’ll tell you that much!

before turning back to Fist and shaking him violently. “So where is she?”

He trembled and Shepard could smell fresh urine as he answered her.

*headdesk*

Okay, I know urine is a pretty distinct smell, but I can’t help but wonder if Shepard is supposed to be an anthropomorphic dog. I mean, smell is kind of an odd sense to obsess over, isn’t it? Especially when she can “smell fear coming off a guy”. However the fuck you’re supposed to do that as a human…

“She went to the Zakera wards, to the alley behind the supply warehouse there. I told her she was going to meet the Shadow Broker, ’cause that’s the only person she said she’d give the info she had to.”

Wrex snorted. “Nobody meets the Shadow Broker. Even I was hired by an agent.”

Fist nodded emphatically. “Yes, but she didn’t know that. So, I told her I’d set it all up, and told her where to go. When she gets there it’ll be Saren’s men waiting for her. If you go quickly, you might be able to catch her before they kill her.” He clasped his hands in front of his face in supplication, obviously begging for Shepard’s mercy.

Well, I mean, she did pretty much kill two unarmored men without warning or reason, so…

She scoffed and gave him a look of pure disgust, letting go of the collar she’d been holding him with, and turned to Wrex, nodding at him and pointing her thumb over her shoulder back at Fist. Wrex nodded, and promptly shot Fist in the face with his shotgun, sneering at the mess of shattered bone, blood, and brain matter.

Well, I think the spare punctuation box is going to be happy at the sheer volume of commas this fic is going to produce.

He turned back to see Shepard grinning broadly at him, and he returned the gesture, letting his bloodlust show in his eyes.

Shepard turned and started towards the exit, talking as she went. “Ok boys, let’s go rescue this damned quarian before she manages to lose the intel we need.” She turned for just a moment to look at Wrex. “Hey Wrex, you know we could use someone like you on our team. If you want lots of chances for bloodshed and explosions, we’d love to have ya. We’re going after Saren, after all.” An evil smirk painted her lips as she gazed at him.

Wrex regarded her for a moment, then nodded. “If you keep operating like you have so far, I’ll enjoy creating chaos with you, so sure, I’ll stick around for while.”

Huh, funny time to bring that topic of conversation up, isn’t it?

She laughed. “I knew you’d come around. Alright, let’s head out!” She said, and they headed quickly out of Chora’s Den, blasting away the few goons that had filled the small club, and racing to the location Fist had given them.

As they arrived, Shepard saw a turian with rather unattractive colony markings stroking the arm of a quarian in a purple suit.

He was also holding a sign saying “LOOK MA, NO TENSION!”

She looked beyond them to see two salarians in full armor, and nodded between Vakarian and the two agents at the back. He nodded, and took out a rather impressive sniper rifle, leaning it on the crate he was crouched behind, and scoped them in. She took aim at the turian, and spoke quietly. “Now.”

One of the salarians was down, and the turian had a hole in his shoulder that was freely bleeding blue, but the fight wasn’t over. The quarian tossed a grenade at the remaining salarian, and the turian took a shotgun blast to the chest from the small quarian. It was all over within seconds.

I defer you to the sign the turian held.

She glanced over at the quarian, checking for injuries, and saw none. They came out from behind cover, and headed towards the quarian, who was standing there, watching them. She holstered her shotgun and raised her hands as she spoke. “Thanks for the help, but I could have handled those bosh’tets. I had a feeling Fist wasn’t really going to help me.”

But Tali, we have to have our resident damsel in distress here with us, don’t we?

So then Shepard tells Tali what’s up with her, she’s all “come to the human embassy with us,” blah blah, and then…

One quick transit terminal and a cramped cab ride later, they arrived at the Presidium, and made their way to the Embassy, where Anderson and Udina were waiting for them. Introductions were made all around, and Tali activated her omni-tool, bringing up the file she wanted to play, and Saren’s voice filled the room.

“Eden Prime was a major victory. We’re one step closer to finding the conduit.”

Hey, that’s less summarizing I have to do! I’ll take it!

Anyway, we get more of Udina being Udina, Tali plays the Benezia part of the recording, more plot dump, and—

A dark cloud of apprehension descended upon the room, as they all looked at each other with a growing sense of dread at this revelation.

—we get random purple prose like that. And then—

Shepard stormed up the steps towards the Council members, Wrex and Vakarian in tow, as she heard Tali’s omni-tool booming out Saren’s voice to the entire chamber, blaring Saren’s betrayal to everyone that had gathered to watch the meeting.

On a side note: I love how this fic just forgoes line breaks, as if not having line breaks to delineate scenes were an artistic decision.

After that, it’s yet more plot dumping, blah blah, send in a fleet, Terminus systems, blah blah, swear in Shepard, and—

The asari councilor looked at Shepard, then slid a sidelong glance at the other two councilors. “There is another possible solution. While we cannot send in an entire fleet, a single ship, with a Spectre in command of it could be sent to deal with him, and it would have the advantage of not starting a war.” She looked at the other two councilors, giving them a pointed look, and then nodded, all three bringing their hands up to the consoles in front of them. “Commander Shepard, step forward please.”

So apparently, in this AU, the turian Councillor doesn’t give a shit about thirty years of tension between humans and turians. Huh, never thought I’d see something more progressive from an AU where Shepard is quite clearly the long-estranged daughter of Mrs. Lovett, but I’ll take it!

Shepard raised an eyebrow, and she did so, as Anderson patted her shoulder in his fatherly way.

All three councilors gave flowery little speeches about honor and responsibility and being chosen, not trained as they typed in their authorization codes, inducting her into the elite ranks of the Spectres. As they finished speaking, Shepard gave a half bow of respect, and spoke. “Thank you, councilors. I’m honored.”

“I’m so honored I’ll even forgive you for summing half this shit up like a crappy author!”

As the councilors filtered out of the room, Udina turned to Shepard, his hand curled into a thoughtful fist, his thumb resting on his chin. “As a Spectre, you’ll need a ship, a crew, and certain Alliance resources must be made available to you.” He nodded at her, then looked to Anderson. “Anderson, come with me. I’ll need your help setting things up for her.” Anderson nodded and followed Udina out of the hall.

Shepard turned to Wrex and Vakarian, letting out a sigh of relief. “Well. No pressure, but you’re going to be working under a Spectre now. You sure you want to come along for the ride?” Wrex pounded his fists together excitedly. “I’m with you, Shepard.” Vakarian nodded. “Definitely. I’m even more excited now than I was. Working with a Spectre? I can hardly wait!” His eyes sparkled in excitement as he gave her a broad, teeth-baring turian grin.

“I also can’t wait until I break free from having dialogue in the same paragraph as yours!”

Bitch, you’re gonna be my dildo in five chapters, you’ll never escape from me, MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Shepard grinned back at him. “Alright then, let’s head to C-Sec so I can check the Spectre Requisitions for some new gear. Should be something shiny there for you two as well. Maybe an even bigger sniper rifle, Vakarian?” She winked at him, and his grin turned into a nervous flutter of his mandibles.

*facepalm*

Oh my God, they haven’t even known each other an entire day and already she’s flirting at him. That’d be fine for a one-night stand, but for a longer-lasting romance? I’m sorry, what?

“Uhh, it’s just Garrus, Shepard. If you start calling me Vakarian, people might think you’re talking about my father.” He flicked his left mandible out in an awkward smirk.

*ducks under the table*

At least Cerbersheep is being quiet this time around.

Shepard raised an eyebrow at him and affected a sly smirk as she took a step closer to him, leaving only a foot of space between his armor and hers. “Alright then, ‘just Garrus’. I’m Taren. If I catch you calling me Commander or Shepard, I may have to kick your tight little ass. Please don’t make me, it would be a shame to ruin that pretty fringe.” Her smirk broadened into a wicked grin as his mandibles fluttered into overdrive and his neck flushed blue. She brushed past him, down the ramp, and walked to the rapid transit terminal, hailing a cab to take them to C-Sec.

*facepalm*

She heard Wrex chuckle and speak softly for a krogan, probably trying to keep her from hearing him. “I think she likes you, turian.”

She turned to see Garrus’ reaction, and saw his neck turn even darker blue as he looked wide-eyed at Wrex in shock. Wrex just laughed and ribbed him with his elbow, before heading down the ramp to join Shepard. She quickly turned back to the terminal, pleased in the knowledge that Garrus hadn’t seen her watching his reaction. She spared Wrex a wink as he came up to her side, and they both shared a devious chuckle.

And they’re acting way more like friends who’ve known each other for decades than any two people who have just met have any right to. Whoop de doo.

Anyway, that’ll be all for this week, patrons. I believe we’ll leave it there, and we’ll go to another fic next week. We cool with that?

Excellent. I’ll see you guys next week with more Mass Effect insanity!

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61 Comments on “1393: When You’re Strange – Chapters One and Two”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    Why do I bring this up? Well, let’s see if the cover can give us some idea of what this fic is about, yeah?

    Garrus

    Hm…

    I know! It’s about Mary Poppins!

    Is it sad that my first thought on seeing this is relief that the artist’s take on turian anatomy is nowhere near as ridiculous as most others?

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    Taren Shepard wasn’t stupid.

    Why is she named after the turian Councilor??

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Oh. That.

      *shudder*

      You’ll bear witness to one possible explanation next chapter.

      It’s exactly as stupid as you might expect.

      • SuperFeatherYoshi says:

        What? Isn’t the turian councilor named Sparatus?

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        He is, but hush. The potential explanation is still stupid.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        His full name is Tarren Sparatus, so we’re both right.

        This is especially weird because Palaven’s Dogs features a turian named Teron, which is supposed to be just a different regional spelling of Tarren.

        It’s also weird because PD sort of accidentally turned the turian Councillor female, but that’s its own can of worms.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    As they arrived, Shepard saw a turian with rather unattractive colony markings stroking the arm of a quarian in a purple suit.

    How does she know what markings are attractive and unattractive? (Other than Beauty Equals Goodness, I mean.) I’m a massive turian fanboy and I still couldn’t tell!

    Actually, for that matter, why would there be such things as attractive and unattractive colony markings? Do colonies deliberately choose odd or silly-looking ones?

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Yeah, that does strike me as a little odd, doesn’t it? She’s like “attractive colony markings”. I hope she likes insulting other colonies!

      And for how she knows… Again. Next installment of snark.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Oh god, it’s not going to be revealed that she was raised by turians or some such idiocy, is it?

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        It’s dumber than that.

      • batjamags says:

        Sakai, that like on your comment is highly ominous. I’m going to hope it was someone who agreed with the sentiment but didn’t actually know.

        *Crosses fingers*

        Please?

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        You know, I actually wrote a character like that for PD: One of the major background characters, a turian industrialist named Gul Rillek, has an asari daughter who he raised as his own after her mother [DATA EXPUNGED].

        The thing about Sciacus Rillek is that nobody would ever mistake her for anything but an asari raised by turians, because she has turian facial markings and speaks their language has no idea how asari culture works!

        Even assuming that this author is taking translators as fully universal (meaning that nobody would notice Shepard having the same Turii accent Sciacus does)… Why doesn’t she have facial markings? Why doesn’t she have a Turii family name? Why don’t any of the “proper” humans notice anything at all strange about her? Why the fuck was she allowed to rise to a high position in the Alliance military when her promotions would be decided by people like Ashley Williams? Why, why, whyyyyyyyyy did the author think this was a good idea?

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Because tittilation.

  4. TacoMagic says:

    “I want Saren as badly as you do Shepard, let me join you.”

    I can’t help but think there’s a better way to phrase that thought in a fic about sex.

    Then again, maybe that’s actually the perfect phrasing.

  5. TacoMagic says:

    she noted with a light smirk that his chest puffed up in a very turian display of pride.

    BAAAAAAA!

    *gong*

    Dainty.

    • TacoMagic says:

      Wrex turned to give a once-over to Shepard, and as she met his gaze evenly, without a hint of fear, he stopped, a smirk on his face. “Enjoy the show, human?” He inquired,

      *THUD*

      BAAAA!?

      Krogan are rather densely packed, so they don’t gong very well.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Yeah, sorry Cerbersheep. If anything, you’ve just pissed him off.

        *watches as Cerbersheep is pummelled and smashed against the floor Hulk-style*

        Like so.

      • Cain: i’d help, but it’s harder to modify the stats of canon characters than it is to change the laws of physics.

        Garrus: What about me?

        Cain: You’re no longer scientifically considered a canon character, now that you’re a character in the Library.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      I did not think “dainty” could be used to describe Cerbersheep.

      • GhostCat says:

        For a quadruped the size of a dump truck, he’s surprisingly light on his feet; according to Gumdrop, he’s an excellent dance partner.

    • batjamags says:

      There are a lot of smirks in this thing. If you’ve got any spare gongs, I can see if I can help Cerbersheep out. Mostly just because I need to hit this fic with something.

    • TacoMagic says:

      Shepard smirked at him and continued

      The shocked look that flashed across his face, followed quickly by the inevitable stench of fear, brought a smirk to Shepard’s lips.

      An evil smirk painted her lips as she gazed at him.

      BAAAAA!

      *Cerbersheep charges back through the lobby, wearing a French maid outfit*

      Some things cannot be unseen.

    • TacoMagic says:

      He flicked his left mandible out in an awkward smirk.

      Baaaa?

      Yeah, I have no idea how a single mandible can smirk. I can’t even justify a gonging because it seems like the author doesn’t even have a basic grasp of what a smirk actually looks like.

  6. TacoMagic says:

    and shifting her weight from one foot to the other in obvious discomfort. “Got somethin’ to say, Chief?

    “I have to potty.”

  7. batjamags says:

    Oh, not another ME fic. And this Sue’s latched onto Garrus, too! That’s just perfect.

    *Headdesk*

    This is gonna hurt.

  8. batjamags says:

    Taren Shepard wasn’t stupid. If the Chief thought she was going to slip her prejudice against aliens under her nose without being noticed, she had another thing coming. But it could wait for now. There were far more pressing matters to attend to than one closed-minded crewman.

    I am going to punch this fic’s face. In the face.

    *Alarms blare*

    I don’t even care right now.

    *DRD agent headshots my head. In the head.*

  9. batjamags says:

    She heard a gasp behind her, and turned to see Kaidan’s mouth open in shock. She scoffed at his expression. “What?” She snapped at him.

    His eyes drifted to her slowly, as if he were truly in shock. “Y-you… You just shot two men that didn’t even have armor on. Hell, they probably would’ve just left if you’d bothered to ask them!” He stared at her dumbly.

    At least a Renegade Shepard is a nice change of pace, even if it is poorly written.

  10. batjamags says:

    She palmed the door trigger,

    Oh, like the trigger on my new Door Launcher?

    *Launches door at fic*

  11. batjamags says:

    They all quickly found cover behind the seemingly solid metal walls, and started throwing everything they could at the machinery that was currently assaulting them.

    “Oh, fuck this shit.” Uttered Shepard, reaching for her belt and setting a five second timer on the grenade which she quickly lobbed at the turret, being careful to avoid Fist himself in the blast radius.

    Great. As if the DRD weren’t bad enough, now I’m doing paperwork for Thesaurus Protective Services and Nick Wishywashy and the Agents of S.E.E.M.I.N.G.L.Y. want me to join the Uncertavengers Initiative.

  12. TacoMagic says:

    When they arrived at Chora’s Den, the place was crawling with Fist’s toadies. Most were easily dispatched with a few well-placed shots, others were slightly less easily destroyed by the three biotics in the group.

    Oh crap, is this author one of PhoenixofShadows understudies!? I don’t think I can take any more action scenes of that caliber.

  13. TacoMagic says:

    She walked up to the crime lord and punched him square in the nose, and he fell on his ass in a pitiful, simpering heap.

    in a pitiful, simpering heap.

    simpering

    simpering

  14. erttheking says:

    Mass Effect again? What is it about Mass Effect that gives us a neverending supply of crappy fanfiction?

    • TacoMagic says:

      Of all the things to steal the torch of most shitty fanfiction from Twilight, Mass Effect was certainly not the one that I expected.

      • GhostCat says:

        I don’t know if it’s just the ones that have made it into the Library, but the Mass Effect badfics seem a lot longer than most of the Twilight ones, too.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Well, this one is a touch shorter than most. Also, it’s deadfic, so this will go by relatively faster.

      • erttheking says:

        Yeah…it’s weird. You’d think it’d be something as widespread as Twilight or the previous torch holder, Harry Potter. Although to be fair, there are actually good Harry Potter and Mass Effect fics, not so much with Twilight because most authors worth a damn weren’t wasting their talents on it.

  15. batjamags says:

    On a side note: I love how this fic just forgoes line breaks, as if not having line breaks to delineate scenes were an artistic decision.

    Oh, hell. What is it with idiosyncratic line breaks this week?

  16. TacoMagic says:

    Shepard grinned back at him. “Alright then, let’s head to C-Sec so I can check the Spectre Requisitions for some new gear. Should be something shiny there for you two as well. Maybe an even bigger sniper rifle, Vakarian?” She winked at him, and his grin turned into a nervous flutter of his mandibles.

    This doesn’t even make any sense, both for Garrus and for Turians as a whole.

    Yeah, Garrus gets all fumbly and stuff if you do the romance line with him, but that’s because he actually cares and doesn’t know how to react to that. But, during his dialogue, it’s brought up that Turians regularly have casual sex as something they just do. They don’t view it as much of anything beyond just an activity that’s pretty fun. If it came to just sexual innuendo like this, he’d probably not even miss a beat.

    And, given his snarky nature, he’d most likely build on the innuendo more than anything else. Something like, “Nobody has ever complained about the size of my rifle,” or some such.

  17. Swenia says:

    Alright then, ‘just Garrus’. I’m Taren. If I catch you calling me Commander or Shepard, I may have to kick your tight little ass. Please don’t make me, it would be a shame to ruin that pretty fringe.

    Wait, you guys were telling me that humans don’t have to deal with the Heat. What gives? She may as well be waving her swollen genitals in his face.

    • batjamags says:

      Well, she was running around smelling things like a dog, so you could be on to something there. I guess you could say…

      *Puts on sunglasses*

      This Shepard is a total bitch.

      YYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAI’m sorry.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Next. Installment.

      Holy fuck.

  18. Lina says:

    They gathered around the door, and she palmed the trigger,

    Is that what you kids are calling it now-a-days? I’ve got to catch up on my euphemisms.


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