1432: When You’re Strange – Chapter 13 and The Most Disingenuous Author’s Note Ever Featured On This Site

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 13
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 14
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to this piece of shit.

*le sigh*

Well, there’s no use denying it: this fic jumped the shark hard last week. I mean, I didn’t think you could jump the shark so profoundly in a fic that already had plot holes the size of Jupiter to begin with, but there it is. Apparently, making your main character so unlikable that you actively don’t want to read the rest of this fic is one way to do that.

*sigh*

At least we’re halfway there, if we go by chapters.

Anyway, let’s get going, shall we?

So we open our next chapter with this:

A/N: In which Kaidan wakes up to the reality that he’s now totally fucked.

And the readers wake up to the reality that no, the last chapter was not a bad dream.

First, there was darkness. He floated in it, crawled through it, lost, unable to find anything to grab onto. He screamed, but never heard a sound. He clutched at his throat, and felt something wet. Since he couldn’t see anything, be brought his hand to his nose, trying to smell the fluid. It smelled coppery, like human blood. He swallowed tightly, and stuck his tongue out, tasting the damp, sticky substance tentatively. It was blood.

Oh, and purple prose. That—

Horrified, he searched his memory, trying to understand why there was blood on his neck. He couldn’t remember anything before the darkness. He started to feel more of himself, touching his face, finding deep gashes there that had never existed before, feeling the tender skin on the sides of his neck, running his hands down his chest to find more blood. Was this death? Was this what the afterlife felt like? Alone, dark, unforgiving.

You done?

Okay.

Now, as I was—

His heart began to race, the fingers of panic and fear inching their way up his spine, and he ran his own fingers through his hair, trying to make sense of it all. Suddenly, thoughts came to him, flashes of memory he wasn’t sure were his own, and he saw a light somewhere to his left. He started scrambling towards it, hoping beyond hope that it held his salvation from this pit of blackness. More memories began to claw their ways to the surface, flashing before his eyes as if he were currently experiencing them, knocking him back down to his hands and knees with the power of them.

Wow, this fic really ramped up the pretension after it jumped the shark, didn’t it? Not that I can blame it, but still!

Anyway, we get a recap of what happened last chapter, and then he wakes up in the Normandy’s med bay, with Dr. Chakwas presiding over him.

“…enko, you’re in the medbay. How do you feel?” She asked, concern etched in her voice, though her eyes conveyed annoyance, which in itself was unusual.

Kaidan blinked hard, and shook his head as he tried to clear away the last remnants of fog from his thoughts. He immediately regretted the action, as he felt a sharp, tugging ache from the sides of his neck, and gimaced.

“I…in a bit of pain, doc.” He managed, his words still slightly slurred from what he could only assume was anesthetic.

No kidding. It’s too bad you’ll be in more pain for a while yet…

Anyway, Dr. Chakwas asks what happened, and then Kaidan recounts it. Dr. Chakwas recounts some of it back at him, though, and of course—

The shock on his face was almost comical. “She marked me? Marked me how? And talons? And why would turian tradition matter? What the hell is going on here?” His voice rose an octave at each question.

*snerk*

It rose an octave at each question? Actually-Fen-Harel, do you even know what an octave is? I doubt you do given the subharmonic bullshit you constantly pull throughout this fic, but do you really know what an octave is? Because…

Actually, you know what? Give me a second.

*runs out, grabs recording equipment*

Here. Here’s what you just made Kaidan do:

And here’s the funny thing: I was not able to produce that last octave naturally! I had to manipulate the sound on Audacity to get that final octave! Octave leaps are big, AFH. They’re very big. And since that involves a property of science where most human vocal chords can’t do that…

*hits buzzer*

Fuck You, Science! Count: 10

Chakwas’ eyes were cold as steel as she regarded him as if he were a small, stupid child. “You’ve never noticed that Shepard is a bit unusual for a human? All the time you’ve spent pining after her, and you’ve never seen the slightly sharper than average angles, the sharper teeth, the more pointed nails, almost like talons? One would think, as much as you followed her around like a lost puppy, you’d have noticed it all, and found it a bit too alien to be completely human. Since most of the crew seems to know already, I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you, especially seeing what’s happened between you and her. She’s a quarter turian, Kaidan.”

Dr. Chakwas, did you just tell Shepard’s secret to the one guy who probably shouldn’t be hearing it?

His face ran the gambit from confusion, to realization, to horrified shock as she spoke. His mouth snapped open and closed a few times as he blinked furiously, before he finally spoke in a screeching shout. “WHAT?!”

Chakwas winced as the high tones of his exclamation pierced her ears.

I mean, I would be covering my ears given how he spaced each of his questions at octave leaps just now, but sure, whatever.

“I think you heard me perfectly fine, Kaidan. She’s a hybrid. And her and Garrus are a bonded pair. Under turian law, that makes what you did incredibly reprehensible. She marked you for your actions. You’re lucky that’s all she did; if you had been on Palaven and tried that, it would have been far, far worse. Turians are not a very forgiving race when it comes to time-honored traditions being spat upon like that. If it had been up to Garrus, you’d be dead, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Wait, so you’re saying that it’s okay for Shepard to have done that just because it’s a tradition of a species.

He looked around in confusion, trying to put order to his thoughts, which had been thrown to the winds of chaos like so much dust. How had he not realized that she was so different? And what had he done that deserved such treatment? “I don’t understand why what I did would deserve being… marked, as you put it. All I did was tell her I loved her, and I kissed her. And how did she mark me? Where?”

She shook her head and gave him a stern look as she turned to walk to her desk. She retrieved a mirror, and came back to stand next to his bed. She handed him the mirror as she spoke. “You tried to come between a pair of bonded turian mates, Kaidan; regardless of how innocent your actions may seem to you, they were not to them. She marked you the way her and Garrus’ traditions demanded.”

*headdesk*

Okay, first of all, she doesn’t get off the hook here just because it’s a thing the turians do. I mean, just because it’s part of a species’ culture doesn’t mean it isn’t barbaric, especially when it’s harmful to people. And frankly, Dr. Chakwas, you could use the “it’s just a thing they do” point to justify batarian slavery. It may be a thing they do, but that does not make it right. Especially when it plays into shaming culture and what that can do.

Second, this does nothing to address how, when Kaidan tried to defend himself, it ended up nearly killing him. Or how this can technically count as a form of victim blaming. Because I’m sorry, but I don’t know what universe exists where it would ever be okay to say “you were stupid” to attempt to defend himself when he had no idea you had turian-style talons while you were choking him!

Third, she isn’t even fully turian anyway, and in fact she’s not even majority turian. She’s only one quarter turian. So why the fuck is she suddenly bound to punish her subordinates according to turian law?

In fact, why does Taren!Sue keep emphasizing her turian heritage over her human heritage? Her previous partners have all been turians, she knows turian languages, she was implied to have spoken those turian languages to any turian dignitaries that met her… You’d think she would at least balance it out with her human heritage. But no: she throws Alliance regulations out the window the very first opportunity she gets, and from how she talks about her sexual history none of her partners have been human. I just… why does she adhere to turian culture so much for someone who was brought up by a human father and a half-human mother?

And before you ask, no, I’m not just saying that: I get wanting to connect with a culture you share heritage with even when you were born away from that. Hell, I think about that all the time as a Cuban who was born and bred in the US. However, that doesn’t mean I’m a communist tool who talks about the Revolution and praises Che Guevara between sips of Cuban coffee. And that’s the issue with the treatment of Taren!Sue’s turian side: I get that biology also plays a part of it, but think about it, AFH. Her mother was a lab subject, her father is human, she’s grown up in a human household on a human colony, she was rescued by Alliance personnel, and then she was trained in a human military outfit with human rules and human regulations. Even though she is part-turian, logically she would filter her experience with turian culture through her experience growing up as a human, especially if she were fighting to keep her turian side a secret from all but her closest friends and allies. And yet for some reason that I cannot understand, Taren just throws herself whole-heartedly into the turian culture. I have no idea why Taren keeps doing things the turian way, because logically she should be doing the exact opposite.

There’s a difference between having a connection to your cultural heritage and outright fetishizing it. And given how the fic fetishizes its take on turian culture and Taren’s close relationship with it? That’s what is going on here.

*headdesk*

This fic just keeps getting dumber with each passing chapter!

He took the mirror from her, and took a deep breath before he looked into it. His eyes widened as his mouth opened in horror when he saw his face. Three long, angry, red, fresh scars marred his once handsome features. His voice was small as he spoke in his shock, almost a whisper. “No…No, no, no. This can’t be happening.”

Chakwas’ eyebrow raised incredulously as she regarded him bemoaning the loss of his looks. “I don’t think your looks will be at the top of your worries soon, Kaidan. I’m not sure you realize what that mark signifies. Any species besides perhaps humans that see you from this point forth will know what you’ve done. Any turian that sees you will be within their rights to perform any act upon you, so long as it does not end in your death. Whatever your dreams or ambitions may have once been outside of the Sol system, they are no longer available to you. Your only option to remain further unscathed by this, is to work within Alliance-controlled territory.

*headdesk*

Wow, so Shepard gave him a mark of shame without a second thought. Okay, look, I’m very aware that rapists (or would-be rapists) should pay for their mistakes, and I know that in a perfect world they would. But I’m sorry, “they can do whatever they want if it doesn’t kill you”? So you’re saying someone can rape him back if they so wish?

That is, if they don’t court-martial you for breaking fraternization regs, and attacking a superior officer.

And what about Shepard’s court-martial for nearly killing her subordinate? I know Kaidan nearly raped her, but come on, you’re insane if you’re going to tell me that nearly killing someone under your command doesn’t result in a court-martial of some kind, if only to determine what happened so she can be cleared of all charges!

But then again, we all know that if that happened. Taren Shepard would have been charged for a count of attempted murder, and then she would be on the stand, and suddenly she’d be carried away. And God forbid if that should happen, am I right? Because otherwise, that lawyer from Parallel Realities might finally get a chance to say this:

And we can’t have that happen to our dear Mary Sue, right? Madness!

The only hope you have outside of Sol, is if Shepard decides to use her status as a Spectre to keep you on this ship, but I doubt that will happen.”

The mirror in his hand fell to the bed with a thump, as he stared ahead of him blankly. Chakwas retrieved the mirror, walked to her desk, and sat down as she replaced it on her desk, leaving him to his thoughts. She shook her head in dismay, picking up a datapad to continue the supply inventory she’d been working on before Kaidan had woken.

Ugh, this whole thing with Kaidan just gets worse all the time.

Anyway, that ends that scene, and—

~o0o0o0o0o0oo0o~

What the fuck is that line break?

*headdesk*

Dammit, hr tags! Come on! Or something simpler than that… that… God, it looks like an alien nest or something, what the fuck?

Anyway, we cut to Taren!Sue, where she’s driving the Mako around a geth colossus.

“FUCK! That colossus is doing a number on our shields!” Shepard growled, as she spun the Mako behind an outcropping of stone to let its shields slowly regenerate. She huffed as she sat back in her chair, and looked around to see Garrus sulking a bit that he didn’t have a shot from their current position. She chuckled and shook her head at his impatience, then looked back to see Liara in the back seat, swallowing around the lump in her throat.

Oh hey, Liara might finally have some lines in this fucking fanfic. About fucking time!

She normally wouldn’t have brought the young asari on a mission, but she’d insisted she was ready, and after a short demonstration in the cargo bay of her increased biotic prowess, Shepard had grudgingly admitted that they could use her, with the traitor Alenko out of commission.

If you had any doubt that this narrative was fetishizing Shepard’s turian culture bullshit and lionizing it to the point where she cannot be wrong, I point you to that line right there.

For now, she was just happy that the asari had kept her lunch down after experiencing Shepard’s maddening driving.

Oh hey, the narration finally has something nice to say about Liara. Thank fuck for that.

Anyway, we get more action scene, where Garrus finally blows shit up. More stuff happens, more geth, blah blah, more Mako, and then she finally goes and parks it somewhere.

She looked at Liara as she climbed out after Garrus, and gave her an appraising once-over. “Ready to prove your worth, T’Soni?”

The young asari nodded, pulling her pistol out quickly and checking it over. “Ready and able, Shepard.” She nodded.

It’s a miracle! Liara finally gets to say something! And… it’s… not really something supported by the narration’s constant putdowns of Liara as a childish ninny.

It’s almost like this one line here confirms what I’ve been saying about how this fic has written Liara the whole time!

Shepard returned the nod, and headed up the stairs, her team in tow. Several geth poured out of the hidden rooms of the small facility. She sent a warp towards the nearest geth, which Liara backed up with a push, and a few decently aimed shots from her pistol. The geth went down, and they began focusing on the remaining four geth platforms. Shepard shot an overload from her omni-tool at the clustered group, watching as they stalled for a moment, tossing a warp here and there, and picking one off quickly with her own pistol, as Garrus landed two solid headshots, leaving only one geth standing.

The last geth was a big one, that Shepard had learned from Tali was called a ‘Prime’, and it took all three of them to bring it down. When they finally stood over its smoldering, crumbled body, watching as it bled white fluid everywhere, they all heaved a collective sigh of relief.

And of course, once she joins in, it’s a brief, summed up action scene with absolutely no tension. InHarmsWay would be proud of these action scenes, let me tell you.

Shepard headed off to the back room, disabling the console there, and returned to join Garrus and Liara, who were examining the Prime corpse with interest.

Liara was the first to speak up, catching Shepard’s attention to what her and Garrus had been looking at. “Shepard, look at this. I’ve never seen this on any of the documentation of geth platforms before. It looks… organic. Why would the geth have organic parts? I thought they prided themselves on being synthetic?”

Shepard knelt down to take a closer look. She leaned forward, trying to figure out exactly what she was seeing. It looked like the geth had a semi-organic heart, of all things. Her eyebrows raised in surprise, she looked at Liara and Garrus, who both had matching looks of confusion spread across their faces.

… And advanced geth units apparently have organic components now!

“I have no idea what to make of this.” She said, completely puzzled by what both her eyes, and now her omni-tool, were telling her, as she raised it up in scan mode.

Make that two of us, Taren!Sue. I mean… what the hell?

“I know someone who might have an idea though. I’m sending these scans to our resident quarian. Her people made the geth, perhaps she’ll know what’s going on here.”

Oh hey, Tali finally gets something to do in this fic! I was wondering what she’s been doing since she was mentioned… last mentioned… um…

What did she last do?

*offstage trombone*

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SHE’S BEEN MENTIONED SINCE CHAPTER TWO!?

*HEADDESK* *HEADDESK* *HEADDESK*

Fuck’s sake…

Anyway, Taren then tells Joker to get Tali, and Tali finally gets to have another line. So then Shepard asks Tali about the organic geth thing, and predictably…

“[Keelah, Shepard… this makes no sense. We never gave the geth organic parts, it would’ve greatly reduced their efficiency and lifespan, not to mention it being highly illegal to do so.

Hey, don’t point out how the science in this fic doesn’t make any fucking sense, that’s my job!

Not that it takes away from Tali’s point. I just… of all things, an organic heart? Why the fuck would they give themselves an organic heart? Even for carting around that conductive fluid throughout the body, that doesn’t make sense for them to have an organic heart, and you cannot seriously expect me to believe that it would in today’s age when we have artificial hearts being inserted into organic bodies. So why would they use an organic heart in that situation? And what function would it even serve?

Frankly, I don’t know enough about conductive fluids, and honestly I’m not sure anyone here would because this is science on a PhD level at Harvard or something that none of us would get. But while we’re at it, we could ask Taco what his take is on this, given that he’s an electrical engineer.

And in the meantime, I’ll just buzz this preemptively, ’cause I’m pretty sure he’ll be at a loss to explain this shit.

*hits buzzer*

Fuck You, Science! Count: 11

Tali asks for scans of other geth. Shepard okays that and also tells Tali she’ll be getting a new Spectre omni-tool, and—

Also, wouldn’t giving geth organic parts be just as illegal as making sentient AI’s?” Shepard asked, with a smirk.

“BAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

*GONG*

Your aim’s getting better. Two more inches to the right and you might actually have hit her in the face!

A slight scoff could be heard over the comms before Tali replied. “[Of course, Shepard; but making a sentient AI pales in comparison to giving that AI organic parts. It’s like cloning a person, and programming a consciousness of your choice into the body, essentially playing god, as Ash would say.

And how is that even remotely different from building a machine that looks like a body and programming a consciousness of your choice into it? The only difference is that one requires someone who really has an unhealthy obsession with either themselves or someone else: either way, you can argue you’re still playing God no matter what!

Anyway, Tali then goes on about how it wouldn’t have worked, and then the data gets sent (along with other data from the other geth in the area), Tali sees some small organic parts there, and Tali is like “we gotta study this because we have no idea what this could mean for the galaxy”. Taren!Sue is all “I’ll see what I can do”, and then decides…

“Alright guys, let’s see if we can get this thing into the Mako. Sorry Liara, but you’re riding with the dead geth. There’s no room for it anywhere else but in the back seat.”

Right, brilliant idea, Taren!Sue!

So then they secure the geth, there’s a joke about the Mako driving, they then move off, and that ends the chapter.

A/N: So yeah. Definitely a twisty turn here for the story. In case you hadn’t noticed yet, Virmire is going to be a totally different ball game, as is a lot of the story from here on out.

Oh really? Huh, it’s like this totally ignores that you already had an element of the story that framed it as an AU yet it changed nothing…

I’m going to be fixing some of the game plot holes,

as well as most likely creating my own.

Believe me, you’ve been doing nothing but creating plot holes the size of Jupiter throughout this whole thing, so good luck.

This is AU, so the plot bunnies will be running rampant, and breeding like crazy, I assure you.

And their babies will have an IQ of 20. Some babies they will be.

Hope you enjoyed the latest chapter, I will get back to this soon. Until then, Happy Holidays/New Years!

Peace!

Oh shut up. It’s starting to get grating at this point.

What’s next, an author’s note that attempts to rationalize her shitty characterization of Kaidan while treating the haters like they’re two years old?

A/N: I’ve gotten several complaints that Kaidan was not being treated fairly. I am going to attempt to put those issues to rest here.

Ok, here’s the thing. There’s no way that Kaidan could’ve missed that Garrus and Taren were together, before he forced his affections on her. She’s been marked, as has Garrus, as a bond mate. In my ME headcannon, which is very much a part of this story, this is a very visible mark, it can’t be hidden by clothing. So if Kaidan didn’t see the marks on both of them, he’s completely blind. And no, I don’t mean blinded by love, I mean BLIND. Kaidan isn’t ignorant, and didn’t make a mistake in this case, he knew what was going on between Garrus and Taren, yet he chose to ignore it, and continue to pursue Taren regardless.

Perhaps this was not all made clear enough by Taren’s statement, which was in the middle of her speech to Kaidan before she marked him: “You have come between a bonded, mated pair, something that any person of any species should have enough common sense to never attempt, and yet you did. You knew, and you ignored it, saw the marks, and you pursued me still.”.

if I need to reiterate that Kaidan was being an idiot, then I will. He was well aware of what had happened, he knew that getting in between them was a bad idea, yet he still did it. He is only reaping the consequences of his actions here, nothing more, nothing less. I stopped Garrus from killing him, I had Taren save his live in the end, and, as Chakwas put it: “She marked you just before you blacked out, then ordered Garrus to help her carry you in here, and in doing so, saved your life. You’re lucky she did that much. I doubt I would have been so generous in her place.”

If it is not patently obvious that Kaidan was in the wrong here, and he is getting exactly what he bargained for when he continued on his errant path, I don’t know what else to say.

Alright. You want to be that way? Fine.

*takes off gloves*

Allow me to give you a reality check, Actually-Fucking-Half-witted, you stupid, arrogant, passive-aggressive little fuck: YOU are the one who is completely missing the point here!

First of all, I’m not even going to touch the “turian culture does it, so it must be okay” bullshit. Frankly, I’ve already touched that, and also the whole aspect of this fic’s odd fetishizing of its own ideas of turian culture. Ideas of turian culture, by the way, which paint the turians as a barbaric species that lets animalistic instinct run wild. I’d point out exactly why this is stupid, non-canon, and actually implicitly racist, but Admiral Sakai already did that last week so I’ll just point you at that and go on to point number two.

It frankly doesn’t fucking matter that Kaidan walked away alive. Shepard cursed him to a life of eternal shame to the galaxy, which frankly won’t even be that effective considering that humans won’t even really understand what happened there. But whatever, right? It’s apparently not too much to have done that, because turian culture or some shit like that.

Except, you know, for the fact that there is a clear delineation in that scene between what is defense and what is a punishment.

Like, let’s analyze how that scene unfolded. First, Kaidan touched her boobs and held her in place biotically. Then, Garrus appeared from out of the shadows after a minute of waiting for the most dramatic entrance point, and attacked Kaidan. Then, Shepard ordered him to stop. In fact, Shepard had to command Garrus to stop, if your wording of “trilled a command” is any indication. So far, I’m with you: the whole “Garrus was in the room in the first place” stupidity notwithstanding, Garrus defended Taren from sexual violence. That is when Shepard approaches him and gives him a mark of shame. Therefore, we as readers have a clear break between when the defense of Taren stops, and when the excessive violence begins. Generally, when there’s a break in the violence, it means either the justification has changed, or the violence is about to get amped up. And in this case, it was a combination of both.

And it gets even worse if you take that further. Because you know what? If you really wanted to punish Kaidan, why didn’t you just have her lock him up and ship him to a court martial? He did nearly rape Taren, and there is evidence: there is at least one eyewitness in the room, and I’m willing to bet that the captain’s quarters had some kind of surveillance. Shit, Chakwas even brought it up in her conversation with Kaidan! With those two things, it wouldn’t take that much to ship Kaidan off to a court-martial where he would then get in trouble for what you say he would be in trouble for.

But hey, I guess giving Kaidan the proper punishment according to Alliance regs is just not that important if it means you get to miss out on your ladyboner for your own version of turian culture, right? Never mind that this would be considered an extrajudicial punishment and Shepard’s Spectre status would not protect her from being in big trouble with the Alliance, we gotta wank off to turians some more, and that makes her actions okay!

Which, speaking of that, thanks for introducing a moral myopia into the fic! Don’t believe me? Look at how your narration treats people Shepard doesn’t like. It incessantly bashes Liara even though she literally had no important role in the story whatsoever, it outright calls Kaidan a traitor, it lavishes love and attention on Shepard… And that’s not even getting into how the characters sing Shepard’s praises, and how the ones that don’t kiss her feet get the shaft.

And frankly, this right here seals that tendency. Kaidan doesn’t line up and sing Shepard’s praises, and he especially does not approve of Shepard’s relationship. But instead of being based on actual logic like we were baited to believe, it’s based on him being a jealous twat. And now, everyone lines up to sing her praises when she uses excessive violence on him, and anyone who doesn’t like the actions of your so-called heroine is a moron.

Including the reader, apparently. Because nothing says “protagonist-centered morality” quite like you giving us a super patronizing lecture about this shit like we’re fucking six-year-olds.

And frankly, all that wouldn’t even be in question, if Kaidan was the kind of man who would do that sort of thing. The problem is, he is not. He can be rather entitled as Mass Effect 3 showed, sure, but going as far as to assault his commanding officer because he’s jealous? No. That’s not the real Kaidan. But you seem to know that, given your disingenuous author’s note where you say “IT’S MY KAIDAN, I CAN DO WHAT I WANT WITH HIM!”

You know what? That justification was shit when Eezoman used it to justify his hate boner for Miranda in Subject 23, and it’s shit here too. In fact, here it’s worse, because you actually admit you’re not writing him the way he would act in the games. If you’re going to write a Kaidan who you know wouldn’t act like that in canon, why are you writing Kaidan at all? Just come up with a new character. But no, you yourself admit you don’t like Kaidan. So I think it’s pretty fucking obvious why you did it anyway. Don’t pretend your hate boner isn’t as big as it is, Actually-Fucking-Half-witted: it’s pretty obvious from here that it must be pretty big if you’re going to do this to Kaidan.

And don’t expect that slapping an AU label on your fic is going to cover your ass here. Until last chapter, the only thing that was “AU” about this fic was Shepard’s origins, and that’s literally it. And even then? You don’t go very far with it. If you took out the only defining trait of this AU entirely (Taren’s turian hybridism), I guarantee nothing would change. Because here’s the thing: her hybridism does not change the universe around Shepard. It should, but it doesn’t, and when you finally do go full AU, you do so with something that isn’t even closely related to that. The only thing her hybridism does is to force a situation where Shepard and Garrus have a sexual relationship very early on in the story.

And that is the main issue with your “IT’S AN AU, I CAN DO WHAT I WANT” argument: if your AU doesn’t affect the universe around the character, it’s a failed AU. And now that you’re blatantly saying “I know he’s not in character”, that just cements that the only reason you’re calling it an AU is to avoid writing things correctly. The only thing the one change you’ve made does is to add superfluous details to a strand of the plot that, if you had decided to retell the entire story of the games, would be so miniscule you’d wonder what the change was there for at all. At least when InHarmsWay wrote Parallel Realities he contrived reasons for the AU not to change the plot of the games. They weren’t good reasons, and they made sure the parallel galaxy never actually served an important story function, but at least he gave the illusion that things were being affected by them!

But you know what the worst thing about this all is? You wrote a sexual assault on Kaidan to Shepard. You did that, but you’re not really taking it seriously. Therefore, your justification for Taren’s punishment is insulting to people who have actually experienced sexual assault.

Here’s the thing: Kaidan tried to rape her. That can’t be denied, and for as much shit as I give Taren here you can’t deny that Kaidan does deserve a lot of flak for that much. He tried to rape Shepard, and he deserves to be punished for that. I mean, touching her tit and holding her in place biotically while he talked about how he was going to be rough and how she might like that? Yeah, that was indeed a prelude to a rape, as you said in the author’s note that chapter. And yes, he does deserve to get in trouble for that. There’s no use denying that much.

Notice how I don’t bring up Garrus at all in that paragraph? That’s because rape is wrong, regardless of whether or not the person is in a committed relationship. And here you are, talking about it, and in your out-of-character author’s note you’re characterizing this whole scene as if the worst thing Kaidan did was to step between Taren and Garrus in an attempt to break it. And, you know, not the part where the contact was sexual assault. The story frames it in a very similar way, too: the worst thing about this is not that Shepard got sexually assaulted, but that Kaidan stepped between Garrus and Shepard. And before you say it, don’t fucking try to weasel your way out of this as “but I really meant it that way, because how else would two people in that situation be taken”. If you had meant it that way, you would’ve prioritized the rape aspect of this whole thing, instead of prioritizing the “THEY BROKE UP MY SHIP, HE MUST DIE”.

That is the most insulting fucking thing about your disingenuous whining, that you think we need to have the broad beats spelled out for us yet can’t be bothered to concentrate on the only real sin Kaidan committed in that scene!

You want to write a shitty Mary Sue? Sure. You want to trivialize rape? Whatever. You want to make it so obvious that you have a massive hate boner for Kaidan that you turn the entire story against him? Be my guest. But when people inevitably call your stupid ass out on all these things, don’t give us a lecture as if we were six fucking years old. You’re not telling it how it is: all you’re doing is insulting your audience’s intelligence. And if you think I’m going to let you do that unchallenged, you’ve got another thing coming.

There’s nothing worse than an author who is a patronizing bitch to her readers. That solidifies your stance as a shitty author worse than your innumerable plot holes, your awful world-building, your complete disregard for how science works, and your shitty characterization do! So congratulations! I hope you’re happy that you’ve landed on my shit list without even having set foot in the Library. That is a special accomplishment in fail, for only the most special of whiny author’s notes!

*headdesk*

Fuck it. I need some sangria after that.

I’ve been Herr Wozzeck, folks. I’ll see you guys next week, when this stupid piece of ass is not being a patronizing bitch to the readers!

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60 Comments on “1432: When You’re Strange – Chapter 13 and The Most Disingenuous Author’s Note Ever Featured On This Site”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    ~o0o0o0o0o0oo0o~

    What the fuck is that line break?

    Ok, I’ve seen Tarzan grammar before, but never Tarzan line breaks.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    In my ME headcannon, which is very much a part of this story, this is a very visible mark, it can’t be hidden by clothing.

    Wait, if this is ‘a very visible mark that can’t be hidden by clothing’, how come none of the tuirians in the games, anywhere, ever, show anything of the sort?

  3. infinity421 says:

    Them octaves, huh?

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    “IT’S MY KAIDAN, I CAN DO WHAT I WANT WITH HIM!”

    “It’s my Kaiden, I can cry if I want to”?

  5. BatJamags says:

    First, there was darkness. He floated in it, crawled through it, lost, unable to find anything to grab onto. He screamed, but never heard a sound. He clutched at his throat, and felt something wet. Since he couldn’t see anything, be brought his hand to his nose, trying to smell the fluid. It smelled coppery, like human blood. He swallowed tightly, and stuck his tongue out, tasting the damp, sticky substance tentatively. It was blood.

    Horrified, he searched his memory, trying to understand why there was blood on his neck. He couldn’t remember anything before the darkness. He started to feel more of himself, touching his face, finding deep gashes there that had never existed before, feeling the tender skin on the sides of his neck, running his hands down his chest to find more blood. Was this death? Was this what the afterlife felt like? Alone, dark, unforgiving.

    His heart began to race, the fingers of panic and fear inching their way up his spine, and he ran his own fingers through his hair, trying to make sense of it all. Suddenly, thoughts came to him, flashes of memory he wasn’t sure were his own, and he saw a light somewhere to his left. He started scrambling towards it, hoping beyond hope that it held his salvation from this pit of blackness. More memories began to claw their ways to the surface, flashing before his eyes as if he were currently experiencing them, knocking him back down to his hands and knees with the power of them.

    *Pulls an intercom out of SDQF*

    All hands, we have a purple alert inbound. Please report to your battle stations. This is not a drill. I repeat, we have a purple alert. This is not a drill.

    Kane: *Over intercom* We sustained a great deal of damage from the last purple incursion. I’m not certain the filters will resist this one!

    Keep it together, people!

    Chief McCarthy: *Over intercom* Routing auxiliary power to filters! Those commies won’t get past our defenses!

    Shut the fuck up, Chief. We’re in for a long chapter.

  6. BatJamags says:

    That is, if they don’t court-martial you for breaking fraternization regs, and attacking a superior officer.

    And what about Shepard’s court-martial for nearly killing her subordinate? I know Kaidan nearly raped her, but come on, you’re insane if you’re going to tell me that nearly killing someone under your command doesn’t result in a court-martial of some kind, if only to determine what happened so she can be cleared of all charges!

    I still can’t help but notice that Chakwas refers to breaking fraternization regulations at attacking a superior officer (which presumably refers to the biotic push which he used in self-defense), but not the ATTEMPTED RAPE. *Seethes*

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      The attempted rape is never brought up for some stupid reason.

      Talk about trivialization, am I right?

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Honestly, I don’t find it nearly as fucked-up as her animalization of an entire species.

        Mostly because I still don’t fucking understand why it’s such a common thing. Do people think this makes the turians sexy?

      • BatJamags says:

        I think maybe the author must think that the “attempted” part means it doesn’t count? I don’t frickin’ know.

        And with regards to what Sakai said, I don’t get it either. Turians are always portrayed as being extremely disciplined. By comparison, humans are the wild, animalistic ones.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Apparently. Because animalism = sexuality, or some stupid shit like that.

        I’ll never understand this, will I?

      • TacoMagic says:

        I think it’s a disconnect caused by the Turian’s more open attitude toward sex. They aren’t sexually repressed, therefore they’re lust beasts. Because that makes fucking sense or something.

  7. BatJamags says:

    The only hope you have outside of Sol, is if Shepard decides to use her status as a Spectre to keep you on this ship, but I doubt that will happen.”

    Or he could get some human doctor to heal up the three scars.

    Just sayin’.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Oh God. There is a conversation about exactly that in chapter… 16, I think it is. Where Kaidan actually asks Chakwas to heal that scar tissue!

      Of course she refuses, but you actually do bring up a good point: why doesn’t he just go to a plastic surgeon of some kind?

  8. You should backup the fic then PM a link to this chapter to the author.

  9. BatJamags says:

    *World’s most patronizing author’s note*

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Yeah. Before that author’s note, you could be forgiven for thinking she’s just your average prepubescent author.

      Now, though? No.

  10. AdmiralSakai says:

    Frankly, I don’t know enough about conductive fluids, and honestly I’m not sure anyone here would because this is science on a PhD level at Harvard or something that none of us would get. But while we’re at it, we could ask Taco what his take is on this, given that he’s an electrical engineer.

    Well, I’m not an electrical engineer, or Taco, but I am a roboticist, so…

    I really can’t see any reason to have a liquid conductor instead of a solid one, at least not in amounts where it could actually spill out. Maybe if the only room-temperature superconductors were liquid I could see them being used in large-scale energy distribution, but from a power perspective most robots don’t really lose a lot of power to electrical resistance compared to the efficiency of the motors and computing hardware so it wouldn’t have any purpose there.

    More to the point, liquids have an annoying tendency to leak and get everywhere if the tubes containing them take even a little bit of damage. This is much more of a problem if the liquid is conductive and has large currents running through it– you can nick the insulation on a metal-core power cord and be (mostly) fine, but if there’s liquid in there and it forms an unbroken stream you’ve just shorted a dozen amps through your CPU.

    That said, there’s a lot of other things that fluid that comes out of geth could be.

    Hydraulic and pneumatic actuators are still pretty common, and while I personally doubt they’d survive into the era of Element Zero I wouldn’t be too surprised if they did.

    Some types of geth have plasticky, synthetic muscles, and while the synthetic muscles I’m most familiar with are dry, they are kind of rubbery and some types use air-filled bladders so a liquid or partially-liquid design doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

    Additionally, these geth have organic components, which I have a hard time imagining could work without containing fluid of some kind.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      (What the hell happened to my formatting?)

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      I checked the Mass Effect wiki before writing that line. According to my research, that is conductive fluid, so…

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Well, if it’s actually the fluid in the artificial muscles, I suppose that it could be conductive in order to distribute charge perfectly evenly across the muscle…

      • TacoMagic says:

        Alternatively, it could be the conductive properties of the fluid that are important. The most useful solid super-conductor that we currently have requires extreme cooling to operate. It’s within the realm of possibility that the Geth developed some kind of superconducting fluid that operates close to room temperature.

        Given the other dodgey physics in the ME universe, I’d say superconducting fluids would be perfectly acceptable.

        Were that the case, the possibility of fluid leakage may just be something they live with. Since they constantly shift their collective consciousness around, the failure of any one unit is largely irrelevant anyway.

  11. parrish122 says:

    So the author of this story claims in this note that the markings can’t be hidden by clothing, and that Kaidan would have to be actually blind to miss it.
    Then why does Taren pull her shirt collar down to show it to him? That says to me that *she* thinks it’s hidden. And Kaidan’s reaction makes it clear that he had not seen it before that point .
    I think the author just got angry that some of her readers didn’t agree with Taren’s treatment of Kaidan, tried to defend it…and forgot what she’d written in chapter twelve.

  12. TacoMagic says:

    But while we’re at it, we could ask Taco what his take is on this, given that he’s an electrical engineer.

    Bio-electrical engineer, so I do actually have some experience in artificial organ integration.

    But, as to why the Geth would want to incorporate organic circulatory systems in their frames?

    *Shrug*

    My suspicion is that the author stole this from Battlestar Gallactica since the robotic Cylons used organic components in their makeup. However, in that case it made a lot more sense because the cylons were aspiring to become more like their organic origins.

    Additionally, their respawn technology required organic components, so for any of the drones to be able to use it (like the fighters did) they had to be at least partially organic.

    I could kinda see the Geth going there from a cultural standpoint much later in the series, since they begin to yearn for a sense of self and they could perceive that it required organic components to make happen, but that’s a bit of a reach, and this feels quite a bit early to be pulling that card out of the deck.

    If they did go down the rout of trying to integrate organic components, an organic circulatory system does actually make sense due to the immunology involved. It’s a TON easier to maintain a circulatory system in a closed organic loop than it is to start involving artificial pumps and whatnot. You can do it, but it requires a constant supply of drugs to make happen. Blood thinners, anti-coagulants, and immosuppressants to name a few. Much easier to just make the whole system organic and then integrate outside of the vasculature.

    You could also argue that they’d want to do this from the maintenance perspective. With so many units being destroyed in the wars, and with any given unit’s life expectancy being irrelevant for combat situations, organics would represent an inexpensive and easily renewable way to build. You replace a lot of the inner metal parts with grown organic material, and you end up using less precious resources to build your army.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Hm… That’s actually a good point. Okay, this isn’t nearly as intensely stupid as I thought it sounded.

      Issue is, though, it still doesn’t stop it from being stupid with Saren’s ultimate goal in mind. Which, boy howdy, is that shit stupid.

      • TacoMagic says:

        Oh, it’s stupid in a much more fundamental way than that. See, according to ME2, the aggressive Geth are essentially indoctrinated. There is no way that a Reaper would introduce organic components into their AI army.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Actually, there’s a perfectly good reason if Indoctrination only works on organic creatures.

      • TacoMagic says:

        In the case of the Geth it wasn’t true indoctrination, more just that they were being manipulated with promises to be elevated by the Reapers after they converted all sentient organics. I used indoctrination as an easy word of equivalence since the end result is much the same: a species willing to do what you want them to do. And since the “heretic” Geth were completely devoted to the cause, the Reapers really wouldn’t have much need to give them organic components for indoctrination purposes. Maybe to get the rest of the Geth over to their side, but at that point we start reaching kinda far for justification.

        From the standpoint of the Reaper’s MO, I don’t think they’d even want to try to merge organic life into synthetics. Sure, that was something that the Catalyst suggests at end game, but I don’t think the Reapers really thought about it as an option.

        Then again, ME3 proved that the Reaper’s motivations were ultimately phoned in, so you could really claim whatever you want and not be at too much risk of being contradicted.

        • Herr Wozzeck says:

          The reason why the geth are being given organic components are revealed next week.

          All I’ll say? Wesker from the Untold Zombie Chronicels would’ve been proud.

        • TacoMagic says:

          *Wesker leans into the room and flashes a thumbs-up*

          Oh for crap’s sake.

        • Herr Wozzeck says:

          Actually, not next week. I lied.

          Tomorrow. You’ll have fun with that.


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