1476: X-Com: Mass Effect: Prologue & Chapter 1 Part 1Posted: July 19, 2016
WARNING! This story contains rape triggers! Proceed with caution.
Ert: *Inhales deeply* THANK GOD! IT’S FINALLY OVER! *Looks up* Oh…OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
Nora: So what’s next on the agenda?
Goeth: Old territory. Mass Effect. Well half old territory. A Mass Effect/XCOM crossover by a mister Dragonsong2795. Special thanks to SuperFeatherYoshi for recommending this story for us.
Nora: Quick reminder. We’ve already covered Mass Effect enough to not need to go over it again, but XCOM is a game where the nations of Earth form an organization called XCOM to help fight off an alien invasion.
Ert: At least this one won’t make me want to claw my own eyes out with every single sentence. So, what have we got this time?
Fall from Grace
‘Those who play with the Devil’s Toys, will be brought by degrees to wield his sword’
Ert: Yes, that is a quote that was put at the front of the Enemy Within expansion of XCOM Enemy Unknown. For those not in the know, Enemy Within was an expansion that added modifications for your soldiers of the genetic and cybernetic variety. The implication with that quote and from small hints in the game was that humanity was advancing too quickly technologically wise, faster than their culture was growing. I look forward to that not being the case with this story.
Temple Ship Bridge, 21st December 2015 ‘Operation AVENGER’
Goeth: Ok then, the last level of the game Enemy Unknown when XCOM is storming the alien flagship. So far so boring.
Nora: So on top of everything we’ve seen so far now we’ve got onomatopoeia. This story is just not making a good first impression.
A solitary gunshot rings out,
Ert: GAH! WHY DID YOU PUT IN THE SOUND EFFECT IF YOU WERE JUST GOING TO DESCRIBE IT THE NORMAL WAY ANYWAY!? WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT!?
the Uber Ethereal falls back with a bullet hole right in the centre of its chest.
Ert: Falls back? No. It FELL back. FELL! FOR FUCK’S SAKE I AM ALREADY SO FUCKING PISSED AT THIS STORY!
Goeth: Anywhere near My Little Unicorn?
Ert: To be frank on a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 4 while MLU is a 9.
The shooter a woman with long red hair and green eyes dressed in Psi armor turns to her companion while the rest of the assault squad sigh in relief. “You see ‘Apollo’ I told you that having my old MX-12 would come in handy”
Goeth: Eyes dressed in Psi armor? Yeah they keep telling me that those would take off but I’ve yet to see anyone else wearing them. She probably just picked them up during a clearance sale.
Ert: Also, I have no freaking idea what a MX-12 is supposed to be. I can’t find anything about it XCOM wise. The closest that I can find is some robotic part, and I’m pretty sure you don’t shoot people with those.
Nora: And nicknames should not be in ‘quotations’ like ‘this’ if they’re not being presented with a full name.
Her companion, the man nicknamed ‘Apollo’ raises one his right eyebrow in amusement, he is around six foot with white hair (Even though he’s only 25) and blue eyes.
Goeth: Oh wow. “Raises one his right eyebrow.” This is just sad.
Ert: *Vomits in the corner* Author, please do something about this horrible grammar.
“I never doubted you for a second ‘Artemis’ but what I believe I said was that it would be ineffective against most of the higher tier X-Coms due to their armor”
Nora: Hey Ert? Aliens were never referred to as X-Coms in Enemy Unknown, were they?
Ert: No. They were called X-Rays and ET but not X-Coms. Mainly because it’s kind of awkward to name an enemy after your own organization. And confusing. And pointless. And WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!?
‘Artemis’ shakes her head in disbelief “You always have an answer to everything I say don’t you?”
Goeth: “Shakes her head in disbelief.” Let’s take this from the top. It’s “Artemis shook her head in disbelief.” Now then, let’s try this again. Keep going and actually be grammatically correct.
Ert: *Eye twitches* So we’re going to just ignore whenever this crops up again, otherwise we’d be here all day. Cool? Cool.
Nora: *Pats Ert on the back* There, there champ.
“Occasionally, sometimes I don’t bother to rise to the occasion” ‘Artemis’ frowns at the light jab to a night a few months ago when she’d gotten more than a little tipsy.
Ert: Uh. Ok? Are you going to go into detail on what that actually was? No? Ok then. Thanks for wasting my time.
A member of the assault squad (and ‘Artemis ‘ and ‘Apollo’s personal squad),
Nora: Man this guy sucks at writing narration. Would it really have been that herculean of a task to make that come across more fluidly?
Goeth: “Apollo and Artemis’ squad?” No, clearly his way was much more fluid. It was so wordy that it covers up how little sense it makes for a squad to have two leaders. And if only one of them was the leader, it distracts from the fact that it wasn’t clarified who was.
a woman with shoulder length black hair and brown eyes, pipes up “Hey Commander, XO. Stop messing around, let’s get out of here, this place gives me the creeps”
Ert:…COMMANDER!? Oh fuck me. Commander is a rank for the person who freaking leads XCOM. The commander DOES NOT FREAKING GO INTO THE FIELD! The commander leads XCOM from behind friendly lines, and does not put him/herself in the range of enemy fire. You can do stuff like that in Mass Effect, but not XCOM, and as of right now, the commander is a XCOM character.
A dark chuckle interrupts the commander’s response. The entire assault squad turns and looks in horror at the Uber Ethereal which is once again floating in the air “Do you think ‘New One’ that this is the end, my race may die here, but we will not leave yours unscathed”
Nora: Uh, beg pardon? My race may die here? This is an Ethereal we’re talking about right? The species that lead the aliens that invaded Earth? The ones that are implied to lead an interstellar empire and rule over at least half a dozen alien species? And their entire population took part in this invasion? Yeah, that doesn’t make a lick of sense.
A massive pulse of Psionic energy blasts from the Uber Ethereal, behind him numerous holographic screens appear as the sound of something charging up resonates through the Temple Ship.
Goeth: Well that sentence wasn’t cluttered in the slightest.
Nora: Yeah. That’s only, what, three things happening that are only barely connected?
“Your race is powerful, let us see if it can survive this change!” A massive energy pulse explodes from the ship, flooding the assault squad with foreign energy knocking them all out except for ‘Artemis’ and ‘Apollo’
Ert: A pulse from “the ship.” As in, the entire ship. *Sigh* So either the entire ship just exploded and somehow everyone survives it, or the author can’t set up the energy wave coming from a specific area.
Goeth: And I think we know which one is the case
“What have you done?” ‘Artemis’ screams at the Uber Ethereal.
The Uber Ethereal laughs with dark intent “I have set the way for the dawn of a new race, and you! You the ‘New One’ will be the Queen,
Nora: I seriously hope that you have leadership skills otherwise we really messed up. Also I hope the author writes in a reason why we didn’t just do this when we first showed up around your planet.
Nora: Also you ARE A woman right? I’m sorry, all you humans look the same.
your Gift will and is resonating through your new people, hail the new queen.
Ert: *Bangs head against wall* I didn’t think the grammar would be as bad as Mykan’s, but my disappointment is finding whole new depths to plunge to. *Bangs head against wall*
Nora: Also either capitalize queen or don’t.
As I once slew the rulers that changed my people against their will, so have you slain me.
Goeth: Hello there! What have we here?
Ert: A story that sounds much more interesting that I doubt will be expanded on.
Enjoy your hollow victory” The Uber Ethereal then shudders before disintegrating in a vibrant display of Psionic energy, that strikes ‘Artemis’ and ‘Apollo’
Goeth: Ah yes. Psionic is not a proper noun, it should only be capitalized if it is at the start of a sentence.
Nora: With all of the grammar FUBARs going on, it’s depressing that that is the most tame.
From the bottom of the Temple Ship a vast beam of Psionic energy blasts out and strikes the Earth, in that moment everything changed.
Ert: Ok. So. We’ve been following Artemis and Apollo. How can they suddenly see what’s going on underneath the ship?
Goeth: And if doing this was the Ethereal’s plan all along, why did they let humanity fight back against them?
“Two possibilities exist:
Either we are alone in the Universe
or we are not.
Both are equally terrifying.”
Arthur C. Clarke
Nora: Someone got greedy. There are two quotes that Enemy Unknown used and you stuffed both of them in, neither of them with no rhyme or reason.
Ert: And the Arthur C. Clarke quote was used at the very beginning of the game, foreshadowing the coming horror at the alien invasion. Saying it at the END of the alien invasion is what we call “too late.” But enough of that. Let’s get to why we REALLY decided to review this story. The author basically wants his audience to write the story for him. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this.
But first the polls.
The first poll I’ll be running will be up on my profile, I repeat it will be up on my profile, any reviews or PMs with votes will be ignored. This poll is due to the fact that I’m not very good at creating starships, so I’ll be borrowing from one of two other canons as the Mass Effect Alliance starships won’t work for this story. The options are:
Option one: Sins of a Solar Empire, mixed Ascent and TEC (if you don’t know what those are go Google it and you’ll see the ships I’m talking about, I’m looking mostly at the Capital Ships for those who know the game)
Option two: Halo UNSC ships.
Option three: Halo Covenant ships.
Option four: create my own.
Goeth: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAH! So I’m trying to follow the train of logic here. “I’m not very good at creating starships, so I’ll put up an option where I have to create my own starships.” What was his plan here exactly?
Nora: You mean aside from getting people to make his own decisions for him?
Ert: And it’s Advent! Not Ascent! I haven’t even PLAYED Sins of a Solar Empire (yet) and I know that!
Now the second poll I’ll be running is based around the events of First contact, which will be at the same timeframe as the Mass Effect games. The poll, and this is a review poll is should I:
A. Keep with canon but change it to reflect Humanities new technology
B. Go with a slightly different version that doesn’t result in a war with the Turians.
Nora: And this is around the point where we realized that this story was going to suck. The author has no plans for it, no plans whatsoever. The First Contact War set the stage for humanity’s contact with the rest of the galactic community in Mass Effect. The fact that they were able to hold their own against the Turians shocked people, and it was the beginning of humanity moving very aggressively and quickly up the politically ladder.
Ert: Needless to say, if you can’t make up your mind on what the tone for humanity’s relationship with the rest of the galaxy is going to be, I have little faith in your story being well thought out and well structured.
Goeth: We had no faith anyway, but this makes it official.
I’m going to be working real hard to get the first REAL Chapter of this story out as fast as I can.
Now a little challenge, for the right to name one of Humanities Dreadnoughts. Guess the character that interrupts ‘Apollo’ and ‘Artemis’ (Bonus points to however figures out the identity of said characters as well)
Ert: OH GEE, LET ME GUESS! They’re John and Jane Shepard. Am I right? Tell me I’m right. I mean, it was so HARD to guess I just need to know if I’m right. Because if so I want to name the dreadnought “Can’t be assed.”
Chapter 2: Rising From the Ashes
Ert:…GOETH! GET OUR LAWYER ON THE LINE! This story came out years after From the Ashes did!
the following Warning must be given there are mentions of Mass Death, Off-screen sex and birth. If any of the previous are something you can’t stand, please stop reading.
Nora: Who the hell puts up a warning for off screen sex and birth? And who capitalizes Mass Death and then only capitalizes the off in off screen? And who capitalizes warning?
Ert: Ugh. Please tell me this guy is speaking English as a second language, this will be so much more acceptable.
Also the next chapter is likely to be a timeline from 2057 to 2157 showing Humanity’s growth leading up to First Contact.
Ert: I feel the old shame for when I did this coming back. But then again the last time I did that was four years ago. So let me rip on this with glee.
Nora: Yeah. Mainly because it would’ve been a lot more interesting to hear people in universe talking about this. We’d get their reactions and personal take on it. Not just a lazy info-dump. Hell, if you’re that desperate have someone reading a timeline, it’s better than nothing.
“My first thoughts were: Dear Lord”
Steven Hackett on the ‘Day of Death’
Ert: Oh great, now we’re putting in quotes the author just freaking made up now. Hackett is a Mass Effect character, and he never freaking said that.
Temple Ship Bridge, 22nd December 2015, Operation AVENGER Aftermath
Colonel Suzanne ‘Susan’ Shepard, more commonly known as ‘Artemis’
Ert: OH HOW DID I FUCKING GUESS IT!? Oh right, because there’s no one else that it could’ve been.
Nora: Oh that’s not right. It could’ve been…Miranda. I think. Or one of those other established XCOM Enemy Unknown field agents. You know. The ones that don’t exist.
slowly wakes from the dark sleep she had been forced into after the Uber Ethereal unleashed his/its final surprise.
Goeth: Either it has a gender or it doesn’t. If you’re not sure if it has a gender, play it safe and call it an it. Is it demeaning? It’s an alien, it doesn’t care.
She turns to look at her XO and gasps in surprise (and arousal to her confusion) at the thin scales now extending from the end of his eyebrows,
Nora:…We read that wrong right?
Ert: Nope. Scales are extending from the end of his eyebrows
Goeth: Which is something so absurd that Crunchy and I could inhale car fumes and still not come up with it. Let’s clarify, they’re extending outwards. That’s what extending means.
Ert: And she’s aroused by it…is it too late to bail on this story? Because if this is what we’re going to be dealing with for the rest of it, I’d rather just bail and go back to EP. At least with him I know what to expect. I’m not sure I’m ready for someone who’s turned on by reptiles.
curling around his eyes and ending at his tear ducts. His barely visible neck has what looks like silvery chitin plating similar to what the Chryssalid had covering their bodies.
Nora: Chryssalid? Silvery?
Nora: I don’t see it. Maybe a LITTLE around the torso, but that’s pushing it.
Ert: I suppose there’s the older design from the original XCOM: UFO Defense (Or UFO Enemy Unknown as it was known in Europe. And know you know where the name XCOM Enemy Unknown came from) that he could be talking about. I sure hope he isn’t though because…well just look at it.
Goeth: It was the 90s. It was a more innocence time. The Mutons looked like this.
Nora: Yeahhhhhhh, I like then newer version better.
She shakes her head at the slight murmuring that she can hear in the background
Ert: Ma’am, you don’t even know what we’re saying yet.
Nora: I SAID NO!
Before she can do anything her radio bursts into life “Commander Shepard, this is HQ do you read me?” the voice of the X-Com commander Steven Hackett bursts into her earpiece.
Ert: Oh, so XCOM has two commanders, one just happens to be higher ranked than the other. Well, that makes ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING SENSE! You wanted it both ways didn’t you? You wanted to call Shepard AND the leader of XCOM commander, and you didn’t stop to think about how poorly the two would mesh.
Nora: So we’re dealing with someone who can’t handle the subtle inner workings of crossovers. The little things that make the two worlds combine.
Goeth: Well it goes without saying, we wouldn’t be covering it otherwise.
Shepard lifts a hand to her earpiece and responds “This is Shepard, I read you HQ” Shepard’s eyes burst open as a terrifying thought occurs to her “HQ, what happened with-“
Nora: Oh dear. I think we’ve got another author who doesn’t know how to use pronouns.
Goeth: Ah, remember the Final Hunt Ert? Remember? Hunter, Hunter, Hunter, Hunter?
Ert: Don’t fucking remind me. The guy deleted around ten chapters and started rewriting it.
Nora: What happened?
Ert: He had Crow rip Yang in half. When he was in his beast form.
Goeth: Isn’t that the girl who lost her arm in the Volume 3 finale?
A sigh burst over the comms before she can finish “It’s bad Shepard, really bad. According to our best intelligence, only three percent of Humanity is still alive.
Nora: I feel like maybe there could have been a little more build up there. MAYBE! I mean it’s the death of 97% of the human species is something that probably get more attention than half a paragraph.
Goeth: It’s rather impressive that they managed to get a census of the entire planet in around three minutes. I mean normally that would take weeks, if not months, assuming that all of the world’s countries could work together to get an accurate number. But hey, it’s not like this was just thrown in for the sake of the narrative.
To add on to that, the Uber Ethereal did something to us. Humanity has changed, and we aren’t sure if it is good or not. Get your squad back here ASAP, ‘Joker’ has been waiting for confirmation of your survival for nearly six hours”
Ert: Yeah, this is a problem with the whole “97% of humanity is dead” thing. That is a big, BIG fucking number. Over 6 billion people are dead. But Shepard isn’t really reacting to it. Society as we know it would be GONE with numbers like that. Whatever the Ethereals did would most likely fry most of our infrastructure. To be frank, this shouldn’t be a XCOM/Mass Effect crossover. This should be a XCOM/Fallout crossover.
Nora: Also, just like the population, he found out that whatever happened affected the entire species pretty damn quick.
“Roger that, Shepard out” Shepard then slowly gets to her feet, then her head snaps to the side as she hears a groan.
Mikhail ‘Apollo’ Volkov slowly gets to his feet, as Shepard’s XO he is the second ‘most tough ass bastard in the squad’
Nora: Wow. That’s *Googles it* absolutely no one. So why the hell did the author want us to guess his name if he’s not actually named after anyone?
Goeth: Oh, there are many explanations to choose from. None of them kind.
(His own words, but they’re often repeated by everyone familiar with Alpha Squad)
Ert: Cover for me for five minutes. I’m taking this sentence out back with a crowbar and I’m not stopping until I pass out.
Goeth: Clean up after yourself, this space station isn’t a barn.
he shakes his head to get rid of the lingering vestiges of unconsciousness,
Ert: Well we’ve got room for two more.
Goeth: And an entry for Thesaurus abuse. I think this is the first time we entered that field/
he can hear a slight murmuring and can hear/feel/see? Relief… and arousal?
Nora: Ugh. Why is everyone in this story getting horny? I don’t like the way this is going. If anything particularly nasty comes up we’re abandoning this story.
Before Mikhail can do more than straighten up and smile at Shepard, he is assaulted, by Shepard. She wraps her arms around him and then as if possessed kisses him full on the lips.
Ert: And we’re officially in something out of a porno. Think about it. Most of the species has died off and the ones who are left have to fuck a lot in order to get the numbers back up. Look me in the eyes and tell me this doesn’t sound like something out of Star Whores.
Goeth: Oh dear. What have we gotten ourselves into?
With the way things are going Mikhail wouldn’t b surprised if she wasn’t about to become more… intimate right then and there. But before such a thing can happen a loud “COMMANDER” rings out from Ashley ‘Hera’ Williams.
Goeth: Well, I am rather fond of Ms. Williams as of now. She spared us from more swapping of bodily fluids.
Snapped out of her sudden aroused state Shepard’s eyes widen as she realizes what happened and then she blushes and stutters out “S-s-sorry, M-m-Mikhail. I-I don’t k-know what c-came over m-me”
Ert: Yeah, neither do I. Is the author going to going to explain that at all?
Nora: That’s honestly a grey area. On the one hand, it we don’t get an explanation it’d be stupid. On the other hand…
Mikhail is rendered speechless however another member of the squad Kaiden ‘Hermes’ Alenko isn’t and he speaks up “I don’t know commander, it looked pretty obvious what you were trying to do” Kaiden then chuckles “I was enjoying the show until ‘Hera’ decided to break it up”
Mikhail shakes out of his daze while Shepard blushes even deeper “Alenko, you’re a bloody pervert”
Nora: *Snort* I beg your pardon Shepard? You were the one who threw yourself at someone else and made out with him, and HE’S the pervert? At least he’s got his hormones under control, can’t say the same for you.
Goeth: No one here has their hormones under control.
Ert: This is without getting into how Kaiden isn’t a voyeur. At all.
Alenko shakes his head rapidly “No I’m not, I’ve just got a healthy appreciation for intimacy”
As one Mikhail, Shepard and Ashley deadpan with “That’s a Pervert”
Ert: Do not fucking go animu on me story. I am not in the mood, I AM NEVER IN THE FUCKING MOOD! Also, this is such a happy moment. A silly moment. Hahahahahaha-SIX BILLION HUMANS ARE DEAD YOU FUCKING MORONS!
Nora: Bit of an inappropriate tone, isn’t it?
Alenko sighs “Nobody will take my side”
A slightly French accented voice speaks up with “Because we all know your side is the wrong side Branleur” Annette ‘Athena’ Durand shakes her head while groaning “Damn, I’ve got the mother of all headaches”
Ert: Oh hey look! A character that’s actually from XCOM and not Mass Effect. I think that’s the first one in the story besides the Uber Ethereal. (Incidentally that’s a stupid fucking name) Sadly I don’t know much about Annette. She came with the Enemy Within expansion pack and you get her for completing a chain of new missions. Sadly I never got her because the first mission is escorting an enemy POW to safety and…aheh.
Nora: From what we know of her via research though is that she was captured and experimented on by the aliens and eventually rescued by XCOM when she was captured again by other humans (Although she was doing a damn good job escaping by herself) She’s guaranteed to develop psionic powers and she also has a unique ability to amplify psionic powers, although she does lose it. I have to say, her being the Volunteer, the psionic human who leads the assault onto the alien ship, would’ve made more sense.
Alenko shakes his head in confusion “What does… whatever you called me even mean?”
Mikhail snorts in amusement “She called you a wanker pretty much”
Ert: We checked out, it’s not BS.
Alenko looks confused “A what?”
Mikhail shakes his head in exasperation “I forgot you’re a Yank,
Ert: Fuck you buddy. Americans know damn well what a wanker is. Not that it matters because Kaidan Alenko isn’t American, HE WAS RAISED IN FUCKING CANADA! And the implication is that he was born in goddamn SINGAPORE! The guy ain’t American!
she said you have a healthy relationship with your right hand… probably because no real woman can stand that dark tortured Emo style you favor”
Nora: Dark tortured emo style? What?
Nora: You’re going to have to point out the emo there, because I don’t see it.
Ert: Is this going to be more Kaidan bashing? What the hell to people have against him? Is it because he came out of the closet as biesexual in the third game?
Before Alenko can respond the last member of Alpha squad speaks up “While this is interesting and all, maybe we should be heading back to base?”
Goeth: So everyone else has been introduced and has been given names along with a greek god code name. I suppose this one is Hades because everyone hates them despite being no worse than the others.
Ert: Yeah, Hades doesn’t have anything on what Zeus got up to.
Shepard nods “You’re right, just let me do something”
Durand snorts in amusement “No you cannot rape your XO”
Ert:……….Am I supposed to find that funny? Because I fucking don’t.
Nora: Yeah. Considering that what she’s done to him so far could technically be classified as sexual assault, Shepard is treading on thin ice here.
Goeth: These people disgust me.
Mikhail pales somewhat when Shepard replies with “I wasn’t planning to… right now anyway”
Ert:…….WELL FUCKING GREAT! NOW WE HAVE TO PUT A TRIGGER WARNING ON THIS STORY!
Nora: I just want to remind people what’s going on in this story. 97% of the human race is dead. Civilization as a whole may take centuries to recover. And our heroine is considering raping one of her soldiers. And it’s supposed to be funny. Read the wording. Durand didn’t say, “You can’t fuck him” she said rape. If Shepard had implied that she was planning on fucking him later, it would’ve been different. I’d still be rolling my eyes at it, but I wouldn’t be angry. I am legitimately angry right now. I am upset that the aliens didn’t win. ADVENT in XCOM 2? I’d honestly take that over an XCOM that lets this woman run free. I’ll take ADVENT.
Goeth: Me too. It’s implied that they bred fresh soldiers via cloning. A much cleaner process of reproduction.
Shepard then blushes again and shakes her head violently as if trying to clear her thoughts by force. Shepard then takes a deep breath and recomposes herself.
Nora: Oh gee, let me help you. Oh what’s this? It seems my lantern ring formed some brass knuckles. Better try them out.
Ert: So am I like this all the time?
Goeth: You tend to be less graceful.
Shepard walks over to the command console of the Temple Ship and seems to almost link with it. The squad feels the ship start to move slightly “There, within the next six hours this ship will park itself in geosynchronous orbit over HQ. Now let’s get going”
Ert:…And you did that why? Anything? I mean, if you want to go back to it to either take it over or destroy it, it’s going to be a hell of a lot harder now. The only craft humanity has in XCOM that I can see leaving the atmosphere is the Firestorm and it was never confirmed if that was possible. And the Firestorm is a fighter, so there’s no way in hell for it to get soldiers and engineers up there. So yeah. Shepard is an idiot and a horrible person.
Nora: Timer time.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 2)
Ert: We don’t want to be too specific so every time this Shepard pisses us off in some major way, this counter gets a ding.
Alpha Squad quickly makes its way to the hanger bay where the Skyranger is waiting. As they approach the pilot activates the Coms “About time you guys got here”
Mikhail laughs “What are you complaining about Joker, you get paid extra every moment you’re outside the Hive”
Ert: That’s stupid. That’s like saying XCOM soldiers get paid for every engagement. They are not mercenaries, they are professional soldiers. With the exception of people like Annette and Zhang.
Nora: This story sure does focus on humor a lot. Not that a XCOM story can’t have humor, but this is taking it too far. It’s having humor at the expense of tension. I know I keep bringing this up, but six billion people are dead. Entire countries worth of people are gone. At the very most there are 222 million people left, and I expect that number to be cut in half from the fallout that would come from the collapse of society. And no one seems to care, they’re just cracking jokes.
Joker laughs as well “You’re right ‘Apollo’ I forgot about that, at least I now have something to look forwards to. By the way the Commander’s been on the horn wondering why the Temple Ship is on its way to the Hive,
Ert: Ok, what the hell is the Hive? From the way they were wording it I thought it was the Temple Ship and that Joker was being paid extra for a high risk mission, but now it doesn’t make any sense.
Nora: I think it’s supposed to be the XCOM base. I think. It’s unhelpfully clear. From the way they keep talking about it it sounds like a base, but the location is all wrong. The Temple Ships is on its way to the Hive when the Temple ship was sent to gyosyncroyis orbit. That’s the level of orbit the Moon maintains FYI. Needless to say, XCOM would not have a base out there. XCOM bases are hidden underground.
Goeth: Also XCOM’s base wasn’t referred to as a bee hive. It was referred to as an ant farm.
I was kind enough not to relay these messages to you guys. Anyways let’s get going, and do any of you know why we now have scales and this hard stuff?” Mikhail shakes his head at the sound of joker knocking on the chitin that now covers his neck.
Ert: Yeah I’ve been meaning to talk about this, but the technology to simultaneously modify hundreds of millions of people? Even the Ethereals aren’t capable of that. If they were, they wouldn’t have to constantly be abducting citizens for their DNA. Also I’d like to know what exactly he did that can both change someone’s DNA and also kill people.
Nora: Shhhhhhhhh Ert. The author has a stupid idea that he’s proud of and he wants to share it. Logic be damned.
Goeth: Pft. Amateur. Real genetic modification takes work.
The Squad hops in the Skyranger and Joker takes off heading back across the void between Earth and the Temple Ship towards the Hive.
They slow down on final approach to the Hive, Mikhail turns to Shepard and says “Do you know anything about what that Uber Ethereal was ranting about?”
Ert: How about we establish a few more things first. Namely, the Hive. When was it built, HOW was it built, and if XCOM has a space station orbiting Earth, out in the open for all to see, how did the Ethereals not smash it into atoms? Them actually finding the location of the XCOM base was a big deal in Enemy Within, because it was HIDDEN! If it’s out in space, on the alien’s home turf, they would’ve swarmed and destroyed it a long time ago.
The rest of the squad quickly go silent as they hear Mikhail’s question, Shepard shakes her head “I’ve got no idea, but it almost sounds like the Ethereal’s people were invaded just like we were. Did they also rise up and fight like we did? Are we just repeating history?”
Mikhail shakes his head “No we aren’t, because we won’t do what the Ethereal’s did, we won’t become the monster we fought. They once said ‘Those who gaze into the Abyss should beware, for as they look into the Abyss, so does the Abyss look into them’
Ert: Oh my god, just shut the fuck up. Author, bit of advice. If you have a quote in a story, have it fit the general tone of the story you’re going for. And for the love of Christ, don’t shove three different quotes from three different people down our throats in a very compressed space of time. It makes you look pretentious.
Nora: Also I’d be a little hesitant to trust the aliens who most likely spent the last year or so trying to take over your planet.
Goeth: Perhaps you should have stayed on board the Temple Ship and taken a look through its databases. You know. Actually do some research. Or would that be too hard for you?
We gazed into the Abyss, we stole its power and its technology. But, but we never forgot who and more importantly What we are. We are Human, we are separate yet similar, we are one species with many races We are
Ert: Blah blah blah, humanity is awesome, humanity is the best, aliens < humanity, we do things better than they do, Christ. Any more jerking humanity off and we’d have to add another trigger warning to this story.
Nora: *Sigh* So on top of everything else we’re getting another “humanity fuck yeah!” story?
Ert: Certainly looks like way. I’m going to even it out by having future deaths of humans in my story be even more brutal than what I had planned. Also, not only does he take a great big shit on the point Friedrich Nietzsche was trying to make, he also took a great big shit on the point Buckminster Fuller was trying to make. Part of his “We so awesome” speech is how they made alien technology their own. So what was the fucking point of the Fuller quote?
Nora: The game didn’t do much with the moral repercussions about augmenting your soldiers, but at least there was something. Shen being concerned about it and saying that steps would have to be taken so that the cyborg soldiers could live a normal life after the war. It’s more than what this story is doing!
Shepard smiles at Mikhail and opens her mouth to say something only to be interrupted by the Commander Hackett “That’s a very wise speech you made Colonel. I hope that in the coming days we can remember it”
Goeth: Wise and boastful are not synonyms commander.
Ert: No Goeth, you don’t get it. Humanity fuck yeah.
Goeth: Right. Also, I find it odd that humanity is apparently superior when the Ethereals killed the majority of them.
Mikhail jerks in surprise “Commander you were listening to my speech?”
Ert: He was the only one as far as I’m concerned.
A laugh comes over the Comms “Joker heard you starting up and opened up the Comms to HQ, everyone here heard it. I think I speak for all of us when I say, thank you. I think a lot of the people here needed to hear what you said. Now more than ever with what has happened to Humanity. We haven’t been able to study it too much but according to doctor Vahlen, we aren’t Homo Sapiens, Sapiens anymore, but something new, something different”
Nora: Ok then, we’ve been beating around the bush for this for awhile.
Commander Hackett’s voice cuts out and the voice of the Research department’s head Doctor Laura Vahlen comes over the Comms “Alpha Squad, we appear to be a new species altogether, however around ninety percent of our DNA still corresponds to what could be considered the average ‘Human’ that is as the Commander said ‘Homo Sapiens – Sapiens’ but due to whatever the ‘Uber Ethereal’ did, we now have Reptilian and Insectoid traits.
Ert: Oh my Christ, my brain hurts. You couldn’t just stop with one, could you? You couldn’t just make humans part reptile or part insect, you had to go all the way and make them both couldn’t you? *Sigh* Goeth. Questions about this new species please?
Goeth: Are they warm blooded or cold blooded? Do they still have skeletons or do they have exoskeletons? Do they now reproduce via eggs? Has their lifespan been reduced to a few years? Do the males have no purpose besides impregnating the Queen? Do they undergo brumation?
Nora: I imagine very few of these questions will be answered.
Mainly the scales on our faces , hands and feet and the chitinous armor on our torsos, upper arms, upper legs and around our neck. More alarming is the fact that according to the DNA scans I’ve ran on the surviving staff, none of us are fertile anymore”
Ert: Uh, I don’t think that’s how you check to see if someone is fertile.
Shepard immediately picks that one up “Could the Ethereal’s have sterilized Humanity?”
Goeth: Just a moment. I just realized something. The people of the Hive were affected too, despite them apparently being on a space station.
Nora: So the Ethereals had a beam that killed 97% of the human race, altered the DNA of the survivors, sterilized the survivors, and also affected a space station in orbit. I just. Wow.
Ert: In other words, it was magic.
Vahlen pauses for a moment, Mikhail wonders if she is shaking or nodding her head, before answering “No Commander Shepard, from what I’ve read of the DNA profiles, what I have been able to gather in such a short time anyways, Humanity is now has castes similar to a hive insect, for example bees or ants. It is simply that there are no ‘Queens’ on the X-Com staff present in the HQ”
Ert: *Smashes face into desk* You know, this is why only inputing PART of an insect’s DNA into humanity wouldn’t really work. So Shepard has to reproduce for the entire species on her own? Yeah, good luck with that. And now I know we need a trigger warning in this story.
Goeth: Also, all males should still be fertile, as male insects only exist for the sake of reproduction.
Shepard stiffens up “Queens? That’s what the Uber Ethereal called me, he said ‘You the “New One” will be the Queen’ c-could that be what he meant?”
Nora: Well I doubt that he used the term by accident. Unless Queen is Ethereal for stupid bitch.
Vahlen pauses once more and a low murmuring is heard “It is possible, according to our tests none of the non-reproductive castes can feel aroused or attracted to others. Have you had any of these feelings?”
Goeth: Dr. Vahlen, I feel as if your research is rather lacking. You have not spent nearly enough time gathering data to form conclusions just yet.
Blushing furiously Shepard looks unable to answer so Mikhail does “I would say yes, Shepard seemed to be over amorous towards me after I awoke and alerted her to my presence, she seemed uncaring over anything regarding modesty until Colonel Williams distracted her long enough for her to realize what was happening. Then she reverted to a normal societal response to such a situation” Shepard glares at him while blushing.
Ert:…Was just saying yes too hard? Also, it’s official. This is a porno.
Vahlen pauses once more and then almost seems giddy “Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately there is only one way to test whether or not this is an isolated incident”
Goeth: No there isn’t. Turn in your doctorate. If you cannot learn about how a species has been affected by genetic manipulation in a more practical way than this, you do not deserve to call yourself a doctor.
Ert: To be honest I think she already pissed away that line.
Mikhail sighs before answering “Although I am reluctant to answer the obvious reply to that, I would imagine that letting copulation happen would be the only sure-fire way to test any theories on the subject”
Ert: Please tell me he’s not going to talk like this for the entire story. I really can’t stand people who make there sentences as long as possible. Especially when they pad it out with odd sounding words.
Shepard almost goes nuclear with the blush on her face. But she doesn’t appear all too unhappy with what the two are implying.
Nora: Well she’s taking this all sickeningly well.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 3)
Nora: I’m starting to regret our word choice.
Ert: Too late.
Vahlen sighs and then her voice is heard with a great weariness to it “Unfortunately you are right XO Volkov, ultimately however the test is up to Commander Shepard, we cannot force her to do anything that she doesn’t want to.
Ert: Apparently Shepard can force Mikhail to do something that she doesn’t want to though
Nora: Why don’t they go back to the Temple Ship and try to find a way to reverse this before they start having people screw to see what would happen?
Goeth: Because these people aren’t real scientists.
However Commander I urge you to try, despite whatever personal feelings you may have, and I couldn’t imagine you don’t have any on this subject, we need to know whether or not you can procreate, because if you can’t and no-one else can it will be the extinction of Humanity”
Ert: TEMPLE SHIP! GO TO THE TEMPLE SHIP! USE ALIEN TECHNOLOGY TO UNDO THIS SHIT SHOW!
Nora: Plus there’s the whole “If no one else can” aspect. Have you checked? I mean there are still hundreds of millions of people left. Your only conclusion for this is that Shepard got horny.
Ert: So there are some jokes and they land at XCOM HQ, located fuck if I know.
X-Com Research Report 17th June 2016
Head Researcher: Dr. Laura Vahlen
Team Leader/s: Dr. Ryan Haywood, Dr. Jack Pattillo.
Ert; GET IT!? IT’S AN ACHIEVEMENT HUNTER REFERENCE!
Goeth: Yes, that makes for ok flavor text, but let’s get to the point. Also six months. That’s around the time she should’ve spent researching this before making any major conclusions.
Project Codename: Fallen Angel
Ert: Oh how fitting. And by that I mean arrogant.
On December 21st at 12:47 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the leader of the Extraterrestrial invasion the Ethereal codenamed as the ‘Uber Ethereal’ launched a incredibly powerful Psionic waveform that blanketed the entire planet. Over ninety percent of Humanity died as a result of this action, the remaining survivors appear to have been genetically altered to such a degree that they can no longer be called Homo Sapiens – Sapiens, while the extent of the change hasn’t been fully recorded yet, we have decided to call the new species Homo Sapiens – Novus, while Novus has many meanings I believe that one of them ‘Unprecedented’ is a good description of what has happened to Humanity.
Nora: So the only new thing that came out of that section was the fact that the new species is called Homo Novus. Not Homo Sapiens- Novus, that sounds stupid and shows that the author doesn’t know how taxonomy works.
Upon deeper DNA testing and internal scans we have been able to ascertain the following, first. Humanity is no longer solely Mammalian, we now also have Reptilian and Insectoid traits coming to the forefront. Primarily a exoskeleton that now covers our torso, upper legs and arms and goes around our neck, but still has an endoskeleton inside helping support the body far more than either could alone.
Goeth: Ah, it seems we were hasty. My questions are being answered. They’re just rather lousy answers.
Ert: Seriously. Did the skeleton just freaking disappear? Like I said before. There’s advanced technology, and then there’s magic. Magic wants nothing to do with this story, it’s busy doing important things.
Where the exoskeleton does not cover with the exception of the pelvic region are scales like one would see on a snake, however these scales appear to have a high iron content to them, hence their slightly reflective qualities, it also accounts for the increase in desire for red meat.
Nora: Scales on the pelvis = people want more red meat.
Goeth: That doesn’t make sense in more ways that one. Snakes don’t actually taste food the same way we do. Their taste buds are on the roof of their mouth. Also they tend to swallow things whole.
The pelvic region and genitalia along with parts of the face only have epidermis (skin),
Ert: I KNOW WHAT THE FUCKING EPIDERMIS IS AUTHOR! But it seems you don’t! The epidermis is only the outer most layer of the skin.
Goeth: Tsk, tsk.
however testing shows that the epidermis is much more resilient than the average Homo Sapiens. Addendum, Homo Novus appears to have a more carnivorous take on our dietary requirements with each meal needing to be at least thirty percent meat in order to support our new bodies.
Goeth: HA! Please tell me how any of these changes removes the human need for calcium, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and other such things that can’t be easily obtained in meat, and increased the need for protein
However upon consuming a meal, it was observed that a Homo Novus only needs to eat once every ninety-six hours or once every four days, consequently the average food requirements for a Homo Novus is a twelfth that of Homo Sapiens, if our population were to ever grow to the same levels are previously recorded it is feasible that the Earth can support far more Homo Novus then it ever could Homo Sapiens. A subsequent check shows that in extreme conditions, a Homo Novus can go up to three months without food if required,
Ert:….BULL! SHIT! I don’t care if snakes apparently only need to eat a few times a week, human beings need to eat more! We are larger and more complex beings that do more and as a result, need more energy!
Goeth: And again, we have much more complex diets and require much more variety in our nutrients.
Nora: This is just veering into B-movies from the 1950s in terms of logic.
however for optimal growth a Homo Novus that is exercising in a attempt to grow muscles or is recovering from a severe injury or illness should eat at least one kilogram of red meat every forty-eight hours or two hundred and fifty grams every twelve hours.
Ert: Ok, I’m game. As humans are part reptile, they need to regularly eat red meat in order to heal properly. As part insect, they also need to regularly consume feces.
Nora: Oh, but that’s not nearly as super awesome Ert!
Ert: MAKES ABOUT AS MUCH SENSE AS WHAT’S BEING SAID HERE! Blah blah blah, more BS about food that I’m skipping. Oh. And humanity has castes now. Four of them.
Royalty. Like Ants Humanity now has a ‘High Queen’ that will produce some of the children, upon an experiment that will be detailed in the following report.
Nora: Oh goodie, Vahlen is wasting her time to write up reports about people fucking.
We discovered that the High Queen can either lay up to two hundred eggs that produce ‘drone’ type castes with a gestation period of a week or they can have a six month gestation period of a single ‘sentient’ type caste.
Ert: *Vomits in a bucket* Thanks for that mental image asshole. So where do the eggs come out of? Is there a new hole that Shepard has or does she just squat like she’s taking a shit? Hey, you’re the one that came up with this demented idea, not me.
Goeth: Best not to ask, there might be an answer.
It is speculated that the extra gestation time is required for the more complex neurological structures in the brain that allow higher functions like thought and self-awareness need extra time to form thus the extra gestation period compared to the eggs,
Nora: Speculated? What do you mean speculated? Does it work that way or not Vahlen? From the timetable you’re probably only just seeing this for the first time, but come on. Give us something a little more concrete than that.
it must be mentioned that the gestation period is still three months shorter than the average Homo Sapiens – Sapiens,
Ert: WE CAN FUCKING DO MATH VAHLEN! I know what nine minus six is, thank you very much!
Goeth: Which is funny, considering the numbers we’re about to see. It’s a classic example of sci-fi writers have no sense of scale.
it must also be mentioned that we have no idea of the length of the gestation period for a ‘sub-royalty’ or ‘royalty’ caste member. Until coupled with a partner of the opposite gender Royalty can be consider ‘deactivated’ and will seek out partners who have proven themselves as stronger and/or smarter than the rest, the partner for the High Queen has been named the ‘Lord Consort’.
Nora: Oh goodie. The only purpose Commander Shepard is going to have is to breed. Because unless the author completely missed the point on how insect queens work, the queen’s only purpose is to reproduce.
The gestation period for a ‘royalty’ caste member is unknown, but judging by previous estimations for the ‘sub-royalty’ caste ten months is the estimated time.
The second caste is the Sub-Royalty, while the Sub-Royalty are almost identical in nature to the Royalty, these ‘Queens’ can only birth ‘sentient’ or ‘drone’ castes and without Psionic stimulation from the ‘High Queen’ are unable to birth other Sub-Royalty or Royalty. Current estimation shows around ten Queens are scattered over the world, three Europeans, three Asian, two South American, one Australian and one African.
Goeth: HA! HA HA HA! Oh this is rich. There are a grand total of ten women who are capable of giving birth. Even with their accelerated birth rate of 200 people per week, I did the math. That’s 114,400 people a YEAR! And from what we learn later, that’s only if we’re ok with non-sentient people. So-so we’ll be back up to our old population numbers in about-oh I don’t know- OVER SIXTY THOUSAND YEARS! I just…this is just laughable.
Ert: Now they did mention that they could make more royals and sub-royals, but this is just freaking pathetic. And even then, I imagine by the time that more royals and sub-royals reach breeding age, the old ones will be infertile. Because they’re still humans and they still age. So either way, this is going to be some pathetically slow ass repopulating here.
There are no North American Sub-Royalty but the ‘High Queen’ is North American.
Nora: Well the author is Australian, so he’s not playing favorites here. Still…
The partners of the Queens have been named ‘Consorts’ and appear to be subservient to the ‘Lord Consort’ however that may also be due to the fact that the ‘Lord Consort’ is military trained where as the consorts are all civilians.
Ert: And this HAS to be the case? The High Queen gets a military fuck buddy while all the others get civilians? Is there a point to this?
Goeth: Not a practical one from what I can see. Having a soldier as a lover would be ideal for protection. Especially considering that the loss of even one Queen would have a devastating effect on the pathetically low population.
Ert: To sum up what’s a lot of uninteresting babble, the third caste are “Sentients” which are divided into the cultural, artists and the like, intellectual, scientists, military,who are officers and intelligence agents, and civics, the etc. So nice to know that the author’s thought of a good idea is one where individuality gets stepped on. You wanted to be an author? Fuck you, you’re military.
Nora: It sounds fun when you’re watching from a distance…
The population breakdown of adult humans (which have been tallied following the event at three hundred million) following the Event is thirty percent militaristic ‘sentients’, forty percent civic ‘sentients’, twenty percent intellectual ‘sentients’, nine point ninety nine percent cultural ‘sentients’ and point zero one percent Royalty or Sub-Royalty.
Goeth: Actually it’s more like .00000005%. Rounding up.
Now however there are also between 20,000 to 22,000 ‘drones’
The final caste is the ‘drone’ caste. The following facts are known about the ‘drone’ caste. First, the ‘drone’ class isn’t sentient and wouldn’t be able to survive without a ‘sentient’ caste member to issue orders. Second, the ‘drone’ caste is broken up into civic and military lines, or workers and soldiers. With the workers following the commands of the civic ‘sentients’ and the soldiers following the commands of the militaristic ‘sentients’ however this is all speculation. There are also nursemaid and handmaiden sub-castes that serve the Royalty and Sub-Royalty castes. The last fact is that like insects the ‘drones’ are infertile females, ‘sentient’ caste members appear to be either male or female at random like a Homo Sapiens conception. The gestation period for a ‘drone’ caste member is around a week, but they are born in vast clutches of ‘eggs’ the average amount is one hundred and fifty eggs for a ‘sub-royalty’ caste member and two hundred for a ‘royalty’ caste member.
Goeth: HA! Ok, remember what I said earlier? I take it back. Those numbers were TOO GENEROUS! They’d be able to make 78,000 drones a year, 88,400 with the help of the High Queen. Sorry guys, our repopulation timetable has been pushed back from sixty thousand years to eighty thousand years. Again. If we’re all ok with a species of non-sentient drones. Otherwise it’s going to take a lot longer.
Ert: AND GOODIE! HUMANITY NOW HAS SLAVES! When you get down to it, that’s what this is. Non-intelligent humans who only exist to take orders from others. And they’re soldiers so you can bet they’re going to be used as cannon fodder while all the “normies” are playing officer.
Nora: And they do the grunt work as well. This is just really uncomfortable.
Lastly we come to the final point of interest, with the successful awakening of the ‘High Queen’ (See following file) a Psionic network of sorts similar to the Ethereal’s Hyperwave Network has connected all Humanity together in a ‘Hive mind’ with the ‘High Queen’ active it appears almost impossible for a Homo Novus to ignore her commands,
Nora: And he totally ignored how an insect colony works. Like we said, the insect queen doesn’t actually rule the colony.
Ert: And now the woman who wanted to rape someone has command over all of humanity. Goody goody gumdrops.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 4)
however this appears to be dependent on the reason for the command, if the command is life or death of either the individual being commanded or the species as a whole the command cannot be ignored even by a ‘sentient’ caste member, however is the command is frivolous like asking someone to get them a drink a ‘sentient’ caste member can ignore the command, however it is possible a ‘drone’ caste member cannot. But that is only speculation.
Nora: Uh, I don’t like the ambitious note that they left off on here. “If it’s not life or death, a command can be ignored…probably. Most likely.”
End of Report
Ert: And we’re out of room (And patience) so we’re gonna have to stop here. Join us next time to see if this thing can get any dumber!