1446: When You’re Strange – Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen

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 16
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 17
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hello ladies and gents, and welcome back to more of this shit fest. I’m your host Herr Wozzeck, and…


Well, on the plus side, we’ve only got ten chapters left in this shitfest. This’ll make the coming weeks go by quite a bit faster.

And as an even bigger plus, this fic no longer exists on the internet! So that means this author sees something about it. Now, that doesn’t mean this riff is over, oh no. Thankfully, I managed to save what remains of this story before its untimely deletion, so we’ll be seeing it to its deadfic end!

And that will be… I think that will be one more month of installments!

With that said, let’s continue!

Our next chapter opens up with this:

A/N: Well, it’s been a while. Lots of interesting stuff happened last time, and more to come, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

Yes. Let’s. And hope that—

Oh, and haters keep right on hatin’.

Yeah. Because your fic sucks!

You’re not gonna stop this train of lunatics. :D


Your name is Actually-Fen-Harel, not Cree Summer. You don’t get to call your readers “beautiful freaks”, especially after you treated them like fucking five year olds. So stop that, you patronizing bitch.

Anyway, the fic itself begins with:

Shepard looked back at Virmire as the Normandy sped away, watching the brilliant flash of fire bloom up from the facility as she pressed the button on the remote detonator.

Wait, so even though they blew up the base by remote charges, it still looked like the nuclear bomb explosion would have in the game? And don’t tell me it’s just a bunch of explosions: I doubt that you can see your standard explosions from a whole cluster of C4 charges all the way from space, and especially not at the distance you were at in-game.

*hits buzzer*

Fuck You, Science! Count: 16

Her smile was sad as she watched. While it was a beautiful – if small – explosion, and her crew had benefited significantly from the data they’d found there, she was saddened by the needless loss of life she’d witnessed within the facility

There’d been many indoctrinated test subjects within, and while she had never been one to mourn putting an end to a life that deserved it, death by forced brainwashing was a horrible way to go. Her own methods were quick, and usually painless; mercy killings in some instances.

Yes, because that rachni fatality she attempted to do on Noveria definitely counted as a mercy killing.

She sent a prayer to the spirits for those lost both inside the facility, and those on Kirrahe’s team that hadn’t made it.

*hits buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 23

Actually-Fucking-Half-witted, don’t even try to convince us that Taren!Sue cares about people’s lives. Because you know what? She doesn’t. You do not give us a character who not only goes with the most overdone death because the alternative is “less fun”, but also claws out her subordinate’s jugular vein over him being a jealous twat, and then expect us to take a sentence like this seriously. You just don’t.


Have I mentioned that I hate Taren!Sue? Because I think now is a good time to mention that I hate Taren!Sue.

Anyway, she then goes down to the engineering bay, where she’s hearing the salarians talk to her crew. But somewhere in there…

Garrus was talking with Kirrahe and one of his surviving team leaders about accommodations for his team until they reached the Citadel, which would be about a week-long trip.

Virmire to the Citadel is a week-long trip, eh? You’d think this would be contradicted by the fact that the Hoc System (which houses Virmire) has a mass relay (which would make travel instantaneous) with which you could plot a course to the Citadel. But hey, we’ve got turian hybrids in this stupid fucking fic! So hey, anything goes, right?

Anyway, she then runs over to Kirrahe and is all “hi Kirrahe, I’m gonna report to the Council now, and—”.

I am ready to make my report to the Council, should you like to join me. I believe you mentioned something to that effect before we began the assault.”

Kirrahe’s face lit up fractionally as he nodded. “Yes, am ready, Shepard.

Wait, so Kirrahe is now going to get involved? Oh dear, I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Anyway, Kirrahe says more things we don’t care about, and then as Shepard walks up with him, she’s like “I really liked your speech, you really inspired the men, and…

For so many of your team to have made it out alive, they must’ve been even more inspired. You’re a damn good leader, and I hope your government recognizes that.”

Well, Taren!Sue’s right about one thing: Kirrahe certainly makes a far better leader than she ever would! Just sayin’.

Kirrahe gets all flustered, and then they get to the comm room and Shepard tells Joker to patch the Council in. Of course, they get in some banter about fornax in there, and—

[“Patching them in now, Taren. And for your information, I do work sometimes. I just know how to balance my play and work time, unlike someone else I know.”]

Shepard laughed. “Ha! Touche, Joker.”

Wow. First she acts completely unprofessionally on the field, and then she just laughs it off as a quip when Joker calls her out on that.

*headdesks onto buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 24

Why is this woman in the military, again?

Anyway, the Council gets pulled up, and then Shepard says:

“Councilors, this will be a jointly filed report by Captain Kirrahe and I. We have critical information about Saren and his associates that you need to know about. I am sorry to say that the galaxy must begin preparations for war. We’ll soon be under siege by an enemy we may not be able to defeat, but we’ve gotta try.”


You know, patrons, it’s generally a sign of bad writing when the only good quality your character has is “at least she tells the Council things about the Reapers when she has proof”. Literally nothing else about this character is likeable, and this is way too fucking late to start.

Valern, the salarian councilor spoke first. “What proof do you have of this impending attack?”

Shepard held her hand up for a moment of silence. “If you will give me a moment, I will call Garrus Vakarian into the room. He recorded the entire mission for us on his C-SEC issued visor.

And why didn’t you just tell Garrus “hey, can you upload these vids to my datapad so I don’t have to call you up when the meeting happens”? Or better yet, why didn’t you just tell Garrus to join you when you went to get Kirrahe? Hell, the prose told us they had been talking before Shepard pulled Kirrahe aside. What the hell was stopping her from telling Garrus to come up with her?

God, this scene just makes no kinds of sense already and it hasn’t even started. What the fuck?

He has all the proof you could possibly ask for, and if you will not accept his irrefutable evidence,

Yes, because one video of one conversation with a hologram is “irrefutable” evidence. As opposed to, you know, the indoctrination research you just blew up.

then I will gladly submit any of my ground team’s minds for your inspection, Councilor Tevos.” She looked pointedly at the asari councilor, as if daring her to refuse the offer, should they attempt to dispute Garrus’ recording as faked.


And it’s already started with the Council bashing. You know, I feel like I should be surprised, but I’m honestly not. I’m just not.

Sparatus, the turian councilor spoke up. “Very well Shepard, bring forth your evidence. I will accept the recording as proof, though I cannot speak for my compatriots.” He slid a glance at the other two councilors, and Tevos nodded. After a few moments, Valern – grudgingly, it seemed – also nodded.

Well, at least the turian councilor doesn’t get the shaft this time. Though that isn’t saying much, considering that it actually wouldn’t make sense with this fic’s penchant towards fetishizing turian culture and all that.

Shepard dipped her head slightly, bringing her fingers up to her ear to activate her comm chip. “Garrus, please report to the comm room.”

She was about to address the Councilors again when she heard his voice on her comm, where nobody else could hear. {“On my way. You know, it feels strange when you call me anything but Vima now. I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since we bonded, it feels like years with all the little side mission we go on. Oh, by the way, I downloaded a new vid yesterday I think you should see. It’s an independent film about a turian-human couple, and the challenges they face… as well as the perks they discover as they get closer to each other. The reviews were pretty stellar.”}

Oh for fuck’s—


Garrus, you are a fucking C-SEC officer who is focused on doing shit, not a love-sick little pony! And also, Shepard is calling you up to a meeting that she frankly should’ve told you to come up for earlier. Save that conversation for later!

She coughed as her eyes shifted nervously to the Councilors, who were waiting for her to speak, and she replied as tactfully as possible, given the situation. “I’ll take that under advisement, Garrus. Shepard out.” She hoped he would get the hint.

See? Even your soulmate isn’t having your shit. And mind you, this is the same soulmate who took time out of the Noveria mission to strip down and hug you because biology decided not to work that day!

Fortunately, Kirrahe decided to take the opportunity to give the Council his report, while Garrus’ voice sounded once again in Shepard’s ear. {“Ohhh ho-ho, the Council are on the comms right now, aren’t they?”} He took her silence as an affirmative answer, so he resumed his assault on her auditory senses. {“Am I being distracting? Is my ‘beautiful voice’ keeping you from performing your duties, Commander?”}


Really, Garrus?

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

Has the entire cast of Mass Effect been replaced by extra-immature porn actors? Because these are sounding less and less like trained military personnel, and more like people who strip on Omega for a living.

She shot a quick, nervous glance towards the holo-image of Sparatus as the thought of flexing her throat to trill her annoyance (as well as some arousal) through her comm occurred to her, then was swiftly squashed. Even through the long-range comms, she knew sub-harmonics could easily be heard, and she wanted to let the video evidence show them the truth of her heritage, rather than her own slip-up.

Wait, hold the phone. The fic just told us that Taren!Sue is going to tell them the truth about her heritage?

Garrus sounded like he was barely holding back laughter as his voice resonated through her senses once more. {“I’ll bet you’re just dying to let me know exactly what you think of my little distraction, aren’t you? You know, my visor recording will reveal to the Council that you’re a hybrid. I wonder what Councilor Sparatus will think of that? I’m going to love watching his face. As much as he’s always gone on about humans not being ready to join the galactic community, I’m curious how shocked he’ll be to find out he’s let a turian masquerading as a human join the Spectre’s.”}


I don’t know how many fucking times I have to point this shit out, but she is ONE. QUARTER. TURIAN. ONE. NOT THREE, ONE.


Jesus fucking Christ, what is this shit?

Thankfully, Garrus comes in, and then he steps in and Kirrahe stops giving his report. And then, of course, he uploads his visor’s chip there (which begs the question of why she wasn’t there in the first place, but then again we all know we wouldn’t have gotten that “oh so sexy” banter if Shepard had done the logical thing), and then we get playback, which, thankfully is summed up. Except, you know…

Sparatus quirked an browplate the first time Garrus called Shepard Vima, but held his tongue. Each subsequent time the term was uttered, his face grew more perplexed and tight, until he finally had the appearance of a very constipated turian. Ever the proper turian, he refrained from commenting on it, but it was obvious that it was bothering him.

That. Which is more about the situation than we get here:

When the video played the part of her telling Wrex to retrieve the genophage cure data if he was able, Valern and Sparatus both interjected their harsh disapproval of her actions, but ceded that it would be many years – if it ever occurred – before the krogans would finish the cure by their own means. By comparison, their reaction to the geth being modified was mild. Very concerned, but mild.

Well, it’s good to see that the fic went right back to its same old tract of “hey, here’s a situation where Taren!Sue could actually be in the wrong and they might bring up a good point: that’s exactly why we’re going to skip it, I am the best writer, OMG”. Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t go back to that earlier considering that she got off scot free for clawing Kaidan’s jugular right open, but hey, what do I know, right?

When the recording finally reached the point of their conversation with Sovereign, Shepard paused the video of her own volition, and looked at each of the Councilors in turn as she spoke. “What you are about to see is the holographic representation of a reaper. This is the cause of the invasion I have warned you about. As you watch this, please keep in mind that the actual ship that contains this being is nearly as large as the Destiny Ascension, and has obliterated everything in its path so far.

Well, it’s good to know that Taren!Sue is a patronizing bitch who can’t be assed to wait for the video playback to end before explaining what is in it. It’s actually kind of a relief that Actually-Fucking-Half-witted isn’t the only patronizing bitch in the area…

If you choose to ignore this threat, the entire galaxy will suffer for your refusal to see the truth.”

What Tevos should say: “Excuse me? Who do you think you are to take that kind of tone with us, you patronizing bitch? You’ll be hearing from Anderson about this!”

What she actually says:

Tevos nodded her affirmation. “Please continue, Shepard.”

Because Tevos will be next on the “clawing the jugular out” thing if she dares speak up, don’t you know?

Anyway, more summary, blah blah, Taren!Sue pauses again and explains what the Reapers are, she goes on, she summarizes the Feros report (which is coincidentally the first we hear of Feros this whole fic: I guess the romance was too interesting to even allude to Feros before this point, right?), blah blah, prothean beacons this, ‘I’m understanding their warning’ that, more bitching about the Reapers…

As I mentioned earlier, Councilor Tevos, I would be happy to submit my mind for your examination, should you believe me to be lying, or adjusting the truth. Or, if you simply want to see what the beacons have been telling me. Whatever it takes to get the council on-board with preparations, we will cooperate fully.”


Well, suggesting a mind meld with the asari councilor is a nice idea, I suppose. I mean, I’m about to play that plot thread in my own fic. But I can’t help but feel that it’ll fall to the wayside to some more Council bashing. Because we all know that these fics just can’t resist the temptation to—

Tevos seemed deep in thought, before she finally nodded and spoke. “I believe you, Shepard. However, I must confess, I am curious about these visions. I would like to witness them myself. If you are able to impart a clear translation of them, I should very much like to know what the protheans left behind for us to find.”

Wait, what? You mean the Council actually believes Shepard?

Nah, that’s blasphemy!

Taren!Sue then goes on about how they bumped into Saren, indoctrination this, rest of the video that, salarian councilor lets it be played, and of course…

Shepard nodded and resumed the video. The playback continued to their confrontation with Saren, as Shepard watched Sparatus’ face closely. When the file played Saren’s questions to her about smelling and sounding like a turian, both of Sparatus’ browplates rose significantly, and when her recorded self revealed her heritage, his jaw and mandibles slackened in shock, his eyes wide in realization. Shepard fully expected him to scream in outrage, but neither a sub-vocal scream, nor his silent voice betrayed any such thought.

She chanced a look at the other two Councilors, who were equally surprised, but seemed to recover far more quickly. Shepard fixed her gaze back on Sparatus, who was now looking at her, rather than the video, and when she heard the indignant shock and questioning begin to rise in his subvocals, her lip twitched into the tiniest of smirks as she stretched her throat and trilled affirmation. He blinked, his eyes going wider than it seemed possible for a turian, then returned his eyes to the video, which was displaying Saren convulsing as Sovereign took control once more.

Okay… So why isn’t Sparatus calling for a lab session with this bitch? Because that would just confirm shit and all that.

Anyway, firefight, and Shepard says “I’ll have more information to send to you later”, and then Tevos asks if she has any more intel to report. Shepard tells her no, and then…

Tevos nodded as if to accept Shepard’s words, then cut the comm link, but Sparatus intervened this time. “Do not expect that we have forgotten the… other information regarding you personally, Shepard. We shall be discussing those details in depth once you arrive. Council out.”

As the comm link blinked and faded out, Shepard looked to Garrus, worry creasing her features. “Odd that they would wait to discuss that. Do they suspect someone is listening in, maybe?”

Or, you know, it could be that they seem to realize that a turian hybridism is nonsensical as fuck and they need to figure out what the fuck to do about that. Or that this is completely out of left field. Or that this could cause issues with that whole “first human Spectre” stuff. Or that Anderson’s intentional cover-up of that fact might have repercussions. Or the stupid fucking decision to tell Saren.

But no. There’s a spy around. Because why the fuck not, right?

Garrus shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe they want a more in-depth study? Or they need time to confirm it? I’m surprised Sparatus held back as well as he did, I fully expected at least some sort of outburst, if not from learning your heritage, then from finding out that we’re bonded.”

Shepard nodded enthusiastically. “Exactly, it doesn’t make sense.

Actually, it makes perfect sense, considering your secret is about as well-kept as those cheap umbrellas we all keep buying at CVS.

I mean, there was a small reaction for a moment, but Sparatus is usually so outspoken. I wonder if they’re looking to sweep this under the rug, so to speak.”

Garrus quirked a browplate at this. “Sweep it under the rug?”

Shepard blinked in confusion at first, then realized she’d used a human saying, something she normally didn’t do around him. “Oh, sorry. It means to cover it up, or try to hide or ignore it.”

His features relaxed as comprehension dawned on him. “Ah, yeah that would make sense, if that was their intention.”

Well, I guess that is a very Council-like thing to do, is to sweep things under the rug. And to be honest, yes, go them! We need to preserve the sanity of this galaxy somehow!

Shepard turned to Kirrahe, who appeared to be deep in thought, and not paying any attention to their conversation. “So, Captain, ready to get your crew settled in for the trip?”

Kirrahe’s eyes lit up as she addressed him, and he cleared his throat as he spoke. “Yes, ready. Am curious myself, regardless of Council’s intentions though. How do you have turian DNA?”

Shepard and Garrus both sighed and shared a tired look. She gave a slight smile to Kirrahe and began. “Well Captain, it all started years ago, in the first contact war…”

And then Kirrahe’s brain exploded from the stupid.

Anyway, we then cut to Tali, who has enlisted the help of the salarians to investigate the Prime unit. And of course…

The geth had been modifying themselves for many years before the reapers had gotten their claws into them, and each new technological advancement was carefully recorded and cataloged in the data packet she intended to return to the Flotilla with, after sending a copy to the Council through Shepard.

Never mind, of course, that she would not be able to have gotten this information given how geth wipe their memory whenever they get disabled, but hey: why adhere to important plot points in game when we can make our heroes’ lives easier, right?

So then Tali sees “something” flicker on the Prime, and then everyone else notices that the flicker is still there, and she runs a scan and…

As the readings started to roll up her screen, she muttered the important bits to herself. “Low level functions still active, cognitive processors shut down, area scanners… active… Keelah, it’s still alive! Barely, but still…”

Wait, it’s still…

Well, I take back what I said about the memory wipe. That’s clearly not the dumbest thing in this chapter thus far.

Tali, showing she’s smarter than practically everyone else in the fic, tells Shepard to get down to engineering, before telling the others she needs Ashley and Wrex to do the same thing. So then she leaves the room, and gets them, and runs back into engineering.

And that ends Chapter 16. So that was… inoffensive. Considering what we bumped into the last several chapters? Thank fuck for that.

Chapter 17 begins with this:

A/N: Been a while, trying to get back into the swing of things. Skyrim is sucking my soul out piece by piece. XD


Some craziness, some fluff, and some excitement! Enjoy :D

Beta’d by: The crazy and wonderful Barbex

Well, this chapter was beta’d. Personally, Chapter 17 of 25 is way too late to enlist a beta reader’s services, but hey, what do I know, right?


Anyway, we get Taren!Sue running into engineering, and then as soon as she gets there, everyone’s like “IT MOVED!” (and yes, the all-caps are in the fic too). Tali then explains to Taren!Sue that it’s still moving, and that she called to get her opinion.

Shepard’s focus turned back to the Prime unit, lying completely decimated on the floor, and her eyes widened in disbelief. “How can this thing possibly be alive? It’s got enough holes in it to take down a krogan!”

Really? A bomb with slightly less power than Fat Boy can apparently fuck up the ecosystem of an entire planet and turian hybrids are a thing that can happen, but you’re putting your foot down at “this geth is like a block of Swiss cheese how is it alive”? Really?


Anyway, Wrex gets a comment in, and then Taren!Sue asks how Tali knows that it’s still alive. Tali then shows Taren!Sue some read-outs, and then Taren is like “wait, how is this possible, and it can hear us?” Tali mentions it’s been trying to repair its optical sensors, and then…

Shepard turned to face Garrus, a worried expression darkening her features. She gnawed at her lips for a moment, then parted them to speak. Just then, a filtered gasp was heard from Tali’s direction, and she swiveled her head towards Tali just as a familiar “Keelah!” was heard.

“What is it, Tali?” Shepard queried.

Tali was silent for a few moments, her fingers flying rapidly over various commands on her ‘tool; until she finally lifted her head to stare with bright, wide eyes at Shepard. “Shepard… The geth is… trying to communicate with us!”


A surprised murmur spread over the small crowd gathered like wildfire, and Shepard took a step towards the origin of the flame, skepticism plain for any to see on her face. She nodded towards Tali’s ‘tool, and spoke urgently, “Show me.”

Tali angled her omni-tool screen so Shepard could see the readout, pointing to specific data points. “See the numbers here, and here? These are baseline coding queries. The only time you would see these kinds of readings is if you have a completely new geth unit. I haven’t seen anything like this since I saw old data of the readouts of new geth units from before the Morning War.”

Which is technically not a name the quarians should use to label that event (trust me, I would know, I made that error too), but hey: we already know this fic will invent turian culture to fetishize that is entirely at odds with their militarism, so why the fuck not, right?

Also… yay, technobabble!

Shepard stared at Tali in shock. “So what you’re saying is, this geth is waiting to… receive programing?”

Tali continued to watch the data streaming over her screen, but nodded. “Correct. It’s asking for its directive.”

Okay… And…?

She finally lifted her eyes from the readout and locked eyes with Shepard. “Shepard, if we could program this geth to work for us… even with us…” she trailed off, imagining the possibilities.


Oh my God, you’re kidding me.

“It could be a significant ally in this fight, if it were possible.” Her eyes narrowed as thoughts churned through her mind. “Tali, could you program this geth to help us? Would it even work? Or would it turn on us the first chance it got?”

What Tali should say: “what are you, crazy? No!”

What she actually says:

Tali wrung her hands, shifting her concentration to the wall just to the left and behind Shepard, seeming to search for the answer in the face of the metal sheeting. Suddenly, her eyes brightened as her entire body perked up, and her filtered voice pierced the heavy silence of the room as if a shot had rung out. “Yes! I can. I need to contact my father, he has more experience with geth coding, but I think it could work. We could at least give it rudimentary functionality to assess its status properly. For now, I will remove its ability to move its arms and legs so it won’t pose a threat to anyone. Then I can contact my father and get to work on the hard parts.”

So first it was Garrus, then it was Kaidan, then it was Wrex… I guess it was only a matter of time until Tali’s turn to get pulled massively OOC came.

I mean, seriously? This is the same Tali’Zorah nar Rayya who gets nervous as fuck about any suggestion about activating Legion while on the Normandy? I’m sorry, in what universe would she suggest they reprogram it entirely? And no, Actually-Fucking-Half-witted, I don’t care if Tali says “we can reprogram it to work for us”. Frankly, with the way quarian culture as a whole demonizes the shit out of the geth, I doubt Tali would willingly do that. I mean, you’re talking about robots that drove people out of their homeworld and are responsible for pretty much every bad thing they’re experiencing. And that was when they weren’t worshipping Reapers: the Geth did that on their own. Why the fuck would Tali be okay with reprogramming a geth to serve them when the geth breaking their servitude to the quarians was what got them into their present pickle to begin with? Tali is aware of her people’s lineage, as all quarians; and with that lineage in mind, what could possibly convince her that this is a good idea?


I guess I should point out that this is nowhere near the stupidest thing in this shitty fanfic, but it’s still a pretty fucking big problem that three hundred years of quarian hardship are just being ignored for the sake of having a T-800 analogue!

Her own excitement was infectious, as nearly the entire room seemed to buzz with energy and anticipation at delving into this strange new project.

And not abject horror considering the Citadel races also generally have such a strong aversion to AI that it actually also helped trigger the quarians’ role in what the geth know as the Morning War?


You know what? Sure. Why not. It’s not like the issue of AIs and free will and how it can be difficult for an organic to accept an AI is one of the recurring themes of the trilogy. Nope, nope, we’ve gotta have our T-800.

Seriously, is anyone going to look at this suspiciously?

Wrex and Ashley both seemed rather unsure of the whole situation, while Shepard and Garrus kept a wary eye on Tali and her new pet project, as she began to remove servos, wiring, and chips from the Prime’s legs and arms.

Yeah, see? There you go. Someone remembered what a terrible idea that is.

After a few minutes, she stood and surveyed her handiwork. “There, it won’t be able to move anything but its head and spine now.” She glanced up at Shepard and Garrus, who were still pointing guns vaguely in the Prime’s direction. “You don’t need those anymore, it can’t move.” Her eyes seemed to smile behind the dark tint of her mask, and they slowly holstered their weapons, still watching the Prime carefully for any sign of a threat.

Tali sighed. “It’s perfectly safe for now. The worst it can do is self destruct, and the only thing that would hurt would be itself. I’ll contact my father as soon as we get near a comm buoy, which should be in about five minutes.” She nodded and knelt back down next to the Prime, twisting wires together and fidgeting with seemingly random parts.


I just hope this does go into a thing where it does start to think on its own and then they realize “wait, what’ve we done”. At this point, that’s the only thing that can salvage how this fic just threw away several hundreds of years of context that support a reading of this galaxy being the kind of place that wouldn’t let shit like this fly. Or, you know, we could have someone just mistrust the geth on principle.

Shepard looked up at Garrus, and grimaced slightly. “She might think that thing is safe, but I’m putting a rotating security detail on it to guard it at all times. If that thing’s toe twitches, they’ll have orders to shoot it. In the head this time.”

Garrus flicked a mandible out in a smirk, but nodded his agreement. “Yeah, I don’t trust that thing as far as I can throw it.”

You know, like that.

God, it’s weird how I ask for her to be less hateful one second, and then more hateful the other. Bad writing can be weird like that, right guys?

Anyway, Garrus and Taren!Sue have a moment of “blah, figured I’d try something new” because Garrus used a human phrase, and then they head off to eat and get some food.

We then cut to Taren!Sue and Garrus being all domestic and shit about food and all that, and then we get more prelude to sexytimes, and of course…

Shepard’s hands stilled momentarily on one unopened package of dextro rations, sighing and closing her eyes as she trilled acknowledgment that she’d been caught. “I… I never really cared much for the flavor of levo rations. Dextro have much more spice to them. Even if they aren’t as useful to me nutritionally as levo, I still prefer dextro rations for the flavor.

So basically, you love to eat dextro even though you yourself admit that they’re basically empty calories. You gave Kaidan the turian punishment, she knows turian languages, all of her previous partners were turian…

Goddammit, woman, stop fetishizing turian culture! It doesn’t make you look exotic, it makes you look like a fucking tryhard. So please stop. Just… stop!

Besides, you just admitted that levo amino acids have nutritional value to you. So, um, what was that whole “amino neutral” bullshit you were talking about in the previous chapters? Because I’m pretty sure that amino acids don’t work that way.

Plus, mom always cooked dextro since she and I both could eat it and…” She trailed off, keening sadly.

Garrus keened for her in sympathy,

Oh, and she can’t get over her mom’s death. Because that makes sense for a sadist, who seems to have lost her sadistic edge for some reason that—

but she quickly shook her head.

“No, don’t. I got over that a long time ago. No point dwelling in the past.”

Oh, good, she snapped out of it. I’d have been worried even if she wasn’t a sadistic bitch.

Anyway, they go on about dinner and shit, and then they start talking about how…


Oh fuck’s sake. Just… just look at this shit:

She returned quickly with her food and utensils for them both. “Well, don’t get used to it. I’m not what one would consider a… ‘good turian mate’, as it were.” She intoned, bringing up her fingers to air quote her comment. “I don’t normally cook anything but rations, and well, you’ve seen my quarters. Organization and house tending is a toss-up.” She flushed slightly, embarrassment crawling its way across up her face.

Because this just in: all women have to be obedient little housewives in order to be desirable.


Garrus, please talk some sense into her.

Garrus trilled sharply in disappointment, watching her blush even hotter before letting up and barking a laugh. “Well, it’s a good thing I’m not a very good turian then, isn’t it Vima?”

Thank you.

She looked up from her plate to him, and in a flash, her face went from a sheepish expression to indignation. “You dick! You actually had me thinking you were upset about it!” She reached over the table and punched him in the shoulder.

Sorry to break your bubble, Taren!Sue, but I think we can all agree that Garrus wouldn’t be the kind who would consign you to the ‘turian housewife’ thing. Especially if this were the canon Garrus.

Right, Mr. Vakarian?

He winced, watching her expression slowly soften into bemused triumph as he rubbed his shoulder. He shook his head and hummed amused surprise. “One would think you hadn’t noticed that I don’t care about that sort of thing yet, the way you were acting. I figured I’d let you wallow in your shame for a few minutes, since you seemed so intent on it.” He flicked a mandible out in a smirk.

“Damned turian.” She said, rolling her eyes.

Yeah, yeah, good banter. I’m just glad AFH actually remembered that Garrus isn’t much for the norm in turian culture, anyhow.

So we’re back to something about this fic not sucking. So how long can it stay that way?

She registered movement behind him, and her eyes flicked towards it. She saw Chakwas moving towards one of the beds in the medbay. She suddenly realized it was Kaidan’s, and growled. Garrus’ attention snapped to her, then to the object of her ire, and joined her with his own growl. They watched as Chakwas changed the bandages on Kaidan’s neck, checking the healing progress of the wounds, which they could see from their positions were healing cleanly.

Shepard snorted and ripped her attention away from the scene, down to her plate. “He doesn’t deserve to stay on this ship.” She seethed through clenched teeth, picking up her fork to begin prodding her food in an attempt to distract herself from doing what she really wanted to do: toss Kaidan’s traitorous ass out of the nearest airlock.

Oh fuck you.


I’d go on about that hate boner this fic has for Kaidan, but frankly, I think I’ve gone well into detail in that, so fuck that shit.

Anyway, they then go back to eating (showing once again that this fic hates the shit out of Kaidan enough that it will go out of its way to talk shit about him even when it serves absolutely no fucking purpose to the scene), and then we cut to…

He fidgeted quietly, unable to shake the uncomfortable feeling he was overcome with ever since he’d awoken in the medbay after… the ‘incident’. It wasn’t just the itching of the bandages on his neck, or the pain of the sterilized, but otherwise unattended slashes in his face; no, this was another feeling entirely. It felt as if he were being… watched. He’d tried many times to turn about and see who might be doing the watching, but each time he’d been held back, either by the pain from the now mostly healed wounds in his neck, or by Dr. Chakwas admonishing him not to upset those very same wounds.

Okay, so it’s maybe not so pointless. If this is going to do the Subject 23 thing where it attempts to throw those of us who bitched about Kaidan’s characterization a bone here, I swear to fucking Christ…

The feeling went as far as haunting him in his dreams. But even there, when he would turn to look, there would be nothing. Nothing but the feeling of someone watching him. By that point in the dream, he would shudder, and wake to the brightness of the medbay once more.

Don’t worry, dear, that was just the author looking at you and patting herself on the back at how good a job she is at showing her hate ladyboner for you. Don’t worry, I have a red pill here that can help you deal with that.

Anyway, Dr. Chakwas checks his bandages, it’s all around good news, and she’s all “there’ll be little to no scarring there on your neck.” Which I find difficult to believe considering how they were raked across his fucking neck, but hey, that’s obviously something only a scientifically accurate fic could ask for, right?

“Thanks Doc.” He nodded, then paused. “Doc, what about my face? Can’t you do something for it?”

Her features hardened as her eyes regarded him with a steely gaze. “You know I can’t, Kaidan. My loyalties lie with Shepard and the Alliance, and neither of them will side with you on the matter of your… indiscretion against her. What you did was completely reprehensible, no matter how it’s looked at. Your wounds are healing well, and the marks on your face are clean, and will heal properly. That is all I can offer.” She shook her head and turned to walk towards her desk.


Oh fuck you, Actually-Fucking-Half-witted. I thought we were over this shit, and now you’re reviving it again?


I’d go into why this is still bullshit, but frankly I’ve already said my piece. I’m not going to indulge this fic if it wants to keep pretending Taren!Sue was at all justified in clawing out his jugular and nearly killing him in the name of some stupid turian punishment.

Kaidan shook his own head in confusion. “Why are you so loyal to her, Doc? I can understand being loyal to the Alliance, but you haven’t served with Shepard any longer than I have.”

What Dr. Chakwas should say: “She’s a Mary Sue, dear. If I don’t, I’m going to get what you got.”

What she actually says:

She stopped near her desk and turned to face him. “That’s where you’re wrong, Kaidan. I’ve known Taren since she was sixteen years old. I’ve been her primary physician since then, and she considers me a second mother, just as I consider her a daughter. I know more about her and her past than most on this ship. Things that are not in her records. She has saved my life in as many ways as I have saved hers. I owe her a great deal, just as she does me. I would not have been appointed as the doctor for this ship, had that not been the case.”

I’d ask if military doctors work that way, but…


Actually, give me a second.

[Ask Obsidian about military doctors?]

Kaidan blinked in surprise. “Why wouldn’t you have gotten this assignment? You’re a great doctor, your skill speaks for itself.”

Chakwas smiled. “Thank you Kaidan. But in answer to your question, we all have our secrets. Some are darker than others. Mine just happen to be dark enough to warrant more than a few lousy postings until now. Skill isn’t everything, sadly.”

Oh yay, we get another story about an Alliance person who would’ve been screwed without the powers of nepotism. It’s not like we already have Ashley’s whole “the Williams name” issue we could’ve explored that with, let’s leave that to the fucking plot regurgitation. Inventing the exact same backstory for Chakwas is such a brilliant idea!


Anyway, Chakwas leaves, Kaidan thinks, and then we cut to Tali calling up her father, where she says it’s good to hear from him.

His response?

A small sound of disapproval could be heard from the quarian on the screen. [“Pity it isn’t under better circumstances. I still cannot believe you are withholding data from the Flotilla to send it to the damned Council first. Have you forgotten your duty to the Fleet, Tali? Has your pilgrimage truly changed you so much?”]

Even more than you think, daddy. That’s the only explanation I’ve got for why she discarded a three-hundred year old hatred at the drop of a hat for this fic’s need to have a T-800.

Anyway, Tali tells him she’ll have the data to him soon, and then Rael makes a mention to Tali’s report. He asks her to show him the geth in question, which she does.

A barely audible gasp from the comms console snapped Tali’s attention back to the screen.

Rael’s eyes brightened behind his mask as he spoke barely above a whisper at first in his shock. [“Keelah, a Prime? Tali, you failed to mention it was a Prime unit you’d recovered! This is an extraordinary opportunity!”] His voice rose with his excitement.

For you, maybe. For Tali, it really shouldn’t be. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks it’s telling that Rael had to hide his experiments from his own daughter in the second game? And how she then was all “I never wanted this”? It’s almost like this is stupidly non-canon or something like that.

Tali quirked her head to the side as her confusion relayed itself in her voice. “I don’t understand father, why does the platform matter? I thought it was the programs the platform housed that mattered.”

That’s because it is, but with a guy as large as a prime, there might be more programs, right?

Rael adopted the tone of an impatient teacher trying to teach something that should be common knowledge to even a child.

So basically, he sounds like my own daddy. Good to know!

[“For normal units, that is what matters, yes. But a Prime is unique, in that it may house up to two-thousand programs on it independently, without requiring a hub, or other units near it to be intelligent, to learn and evolve.

And it needs to be that big? So what the fuck does that make Legion, then? Because he had a thousand, one hundred and eighty-three programs on his platform. It doesn’t sound like an upgrade that would justify the size of the Geth Prime in question if that’s what it takes. You sure you got your numbers right, Daddy!Zorah? Because I’m not sure you did.

It eventually does need to connect via a hub for software updates from the geth consensus, but it is otherwise an autonomous unit. If we can program this unit successfully to assist us, it could indeed be a powerful ally in your Commander’s little war, and perhaps beyond even that.”]

Okay, so to be fair, I am actually less surprised that Rael’Zorah is fine with programming the geth. I mean, he did link them up to a neural network to perform weapons tests on them in-canon, and he thus did seem to fall under the “whatever it takes” mindset. So I’ll give the fic a free pass on Rael.

That doesn’t excuse Tali, though. She’s different in a lot of ways.

Tali was nearly bouncing with excitement. “So you will help us program it?”

Rael nodded enthusiastically. [“Yes Tali. I will bring a small group of specialists with me. This will take a few days to organize however. What is your current heading?”]

Tali tapped a few commands into a nearby console. “We’ll be at the Citadel in a week. Here are our current coordinates. We can meet you at any relay along the way.”

Rael inclined his head. [“Very well. I shall send word when we are ready to depart, and leave a location for the rendezvous with your pilot. Be well, child. Keelah se’lai.”]

“Keelah se’lai, father. See you soon.”

Well… to be brutally honest, this still makes more sense as a form of “parent leaves the fleet to check on shit for their child” than it ever did in Parallel Realities. Still seems a little implausible, but hey: a ready-to-fight geth prime is in the cards for pilgrimage gifts, I suppose.

But yeah, this is still stupid as hell. And all for a T-800 analogue. Yay to more nonsensical ways to make this an AU. Watch, all this AU bullshit is going to just succumb to plot regurgitation anyhow, isn’t it?


Anyway, I’ve been Herr Wozzeck, folks. See you all next week!


37 Comments on “1446: When You’re Strange – Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    You’re not gonna stop this train of lunatics. :D

    Actually, it looks like we did. I’m not one to confuse correlation with causation, but this ‘fic didn’t stay up for too long after we reviewed it…


  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    Virmire to the Citadel is a week-long trip, eh? You’d think this would be contradicted by the fact that the Hoc System (which houses Virmire) has a mass relay (which would make travel instantaneous) with which you could plot a course to the Citadel. But hey, we’ve got turian hybrids in this stupid fucking fic! So hey, anything goes, right?

    Well, mass relays aren’t instantaneous. They’re orders of magnitude faster than 3-D propulsion, sure, but you’re still able to have a conversation with Joker during transit at the beginning of ME1- what I don’t know is if jump time scales with distance, and if a typical cross-galaxy trip is minutes or weeks.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      It’s more likely to be minutes, I think.

      Also, don’t forget that the relay jump off the Omega 4 relay only took a few seconds. So…

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Well, in PD the relay system sort of works like the Internet or the American highway system in that there are a few main, high-speed “arteries” that branch out into many, many smaller relays, and that as you get smaller and smaller travel gets slower- it takes several hours to get from one galactic arm to the next using only “finger” relays, but by getting onto one of the main lines a ship can travel all the way from the rim to the center of the galaxy in the same amount of time. The Mu and Omega relays were both part of the core artery system, and so are much faster than the ones the Normandy spends 90% of its time using.

        Of course this system is purely conjectural and has little to no support in canon, but from an engineering perspective I think it makes sense.

        Plus, if the Reapers wanted to make sure other civilizations would set up their center of operations on the Citadel,putting the central hub of the artery relays there would guarantee it would become heavily trafficked and centrally located in any empire- in fact, if civilizations preferentially explored faster relays because they were more useful, they would be lead directly to it every time.

        • Herr Wozzeck says:

          Yeah. I dunno, I don’t know nearly enough about engineering to tell either way.

          That said, a week for relay travel still sounds far too ludicrous for me…

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Yeah. I personally assumed that even relatively long trips are under 30 hours, but really we have no sense of time in the games so it could really be anything.

      • BatJamags says:

        I’m not sure why, but I was under the impression that the first game took place over the course of about a month, which would make week-long relay trips impossible. Then again, I could be confused and just making stuff up.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        I thought it was a matter of several days.

      • BatJamags says:

        It definitely wasn’t that short. With all the side missions, that would be a busy couple days.

    • I’m pretty sure the conversation was after a successful transit, given that he mentions that drift was just under 1500 K. That might mean they entered the Relay 1500 Kilometers away from optimal entry point or something, but I doubt it.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    then I will gladly submit any of my ground team’s minds for your inspection, Councilor Tevos.”

    Wait, can she do that? I’m pretty sure that in any sane military regulations ordering a subordinate to have sex with somebody is not allowed.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Well, I mean, you forget that by that logic Shepard and Liara constantly have sex all the time.

      But yeah, that is a good TWSS.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Well, twice. And the critical difference there is that this was something Liara proposed and Shepard (who is her commanding officer, more or less) agreed to- not something that got forced on Liara by the chain of command.

        But it doesn’t really matter if you classify melding as sexual or not, since the main issue is that it’s an extremely invasive, personal search and you can’t just volunteer subordinates for that without consulting them.

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    Well, at least the turian councilor doesn’t get the shaft this time. Though that isn’t saying much, considering that it actually wouldn’t make sense

    Well, it’s not like that’s stopped WYS before

  5. AdmiralSakai says:

    She nodded towards Tali’s ‘tool, and spoke urgently, “Show me.”

    That right there has to be the absolute worst possible way to abbreviate “omnitool” that could possibly exist.

    What’s so wrong with “omni”?

  6. AdmiralSakai says:

    After a few minutes, she stood and surveyed her handiwork. “There, it won’t be able to move anything but its head and spine now.” She glanced up at Shepard and Garrus, who were still pointing guns vaguely in the Prime’s direction. “You don’t need those anymore, it can’t move.”

    Now I wonder which unfortunate crewman will become the first organic in 300 years to get headbutted to death by a geth…

  7. AdmiralSakai says:

    We then cut to Taren!Sue and Garrus being all domestic and shit about food and all that,

    What the fuck does this involve?

    I’m morbidly curious about what Actually “25% turian = mauve blood” Fen-Herel thinks a hybrid’s diet is.

    Actually, for that matter, I’m just morbidly curious about what Actually “pair-bonding is entirely about biting and has nothing to do with personality” Fen-Herel thinks turian food in general is.

  8. AdmiralSakai says:

    That’s because it is, but with a guy as large as a prime, there might be more programs, right?

    Not really. Executable files don’t usually take up a large portion of computer memory these days compared to real-world-representative data formats like movies and models (especially stored real-world sensor data, which is a huge memory hog in modern robotics), and just in general power and cooling concerns for things like the processor and GPU are the primary limiting factor on robot computing power these days, not memory availability. Furthermore, for most robots that are heavier than about 25 kilograms (i.e. not quadcopters or insectoids), the primary power concern is the motors and various other types of actuator, not the control computer.


    It was just a dick joke, wasn’t it?

  9. BatJamags says:

    then I will gladly submit any of my ground team’s minds for your inspection, Councilor Tevos.” She looked pointedly at the asari councilor, as if daring her to refuse the offer, should they attempt to dispute Garrus’ recording as faked.


    And it’s already started with the Council bashing. You know, I feel like I should be surprised, but I’m honestly not. I’m just not.

    I mean, yeah, the Council kind of had their heads up their asses about this, but Taren!Sue has no way of knowing that at this point, and they clearly won’t be so dismissive if they’re presented with actual concrete evidence.

    What people keep forgetting about the Council is that shockingly enough, they didn’t play Mass Effect. They didn’t see what Shepard saw, and they’re not aware that they’re a plot device to create dramatic irony. The Council has no reason to believe in the Reapers until they actually show up.

  10. BatJamags says:

    As the readings started to roll up her screen, she muttered the important bits to herself. “Low level functions still active, cognitive processors shut down, area scanners… active… Keelah, it’s still alive! Barely, but still…”

    Oh no.

    This is going to be Legion, isn’t it?

    Please, please, please don’t be Legion.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      He calls himself something else and the way he’s reactivated totally goes against everything Legion stands for, so no.

      You’ll wish it was, though.

  11. Mr. Bubbles says:

    Shepard held her hand up for a moment of silence. “If you will give me a moment, I will call Garrus Vakarian into the room. He recorded the entire mission for us on his C-SEC issued visor.

    Umm… Garrus’s visor was a present from his DAD. You know, he mentions it at one point? It ties into his whole ‘my dad and I don’t really get along but we respect each other’ thing.

    Lady, Garrus Vakarian was my Shepard’s best bro in Mass Effect. Your Shepard (probably) banged him. How the hell do I know more about the guy than you?

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      I’d say that she definitely banged him, but the sex scenes in this are so purple I’m not sure myself.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Oh shit, you’re right!


      You know what the funny part is? This isn’t the last time Actually-Fen-Harel fucks up canon information with a parent, either!

  12. NotSureWhatKindOfFuckedUpPhiliaThisWouldBeBorgir says:

    In before Tali/Legion lemon scene? :S

    With imitation crab penish

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