1483: X-Com: Mass Effect: Chapter 1 Part 2Posted: July 26, 2016
Title: X-Com: Mass Effect
Media: Video Game
Topic: Mass Effect/XCOM
URL: Chapter 1
Critiqued by Erttheking
Ert: So. Just to recap what happened last time. The Ethereals used…magic. Yeah, space magic to turn all of humanity into reptile/insect hybrid things and killed 97% of the species because space magic. Shepard is now the high queen because nepotism, the majority of lower kings are spread out in a way that ignores population density and focuses purely on balances of power that no longer exist due to 97% of the species being gone, and humanity now has rigid caste systems and slavery. So this is Sparta levels of stupid.
Nora: Oh god I just realized something.
Ert: Yeah, me too. The author is ripping off the synthesis ending from Mass Effect 3. And he somehow managed to make it EVEN DUMBER! That’s a fucking accomplishment.
Nora: Making it dumber or not realizing how stupid it was in the first place and honestly thinking that copying it would be a good idea?
Hackett sighs after reading the report, he then rubs his head to dispel some of the headache reading so many words is starting to give him, he liked the details Dr. Vahlen gave him don’t get him wrong, but sometimes there is just so much to take in.
Goeth: Why does that feel like a commentary on both the game and what he himself is writing?
Ert: Probably because it is. And I have to disagree, it really isn’t interesting to read what’s being offered this time. Because of all the stupid.
Nora: Also I think there’s supposed to be a period in there.
Hackett then turns to the supplementary report, vividly remembering the comments and complaints from Shepard during that period.
Ert: *Sigh* So they actually went through the “We need to figure out if you’re fertile, so bone” thing huh? Even though Vahlen was able to tell if everyone on the station was infertile. So either there was a better method that she used that she can’t use now or she had everyone fuck.
Nora: This is a goddamn porno.
X-Com Research Report 17th June 2016
Head Researcher: Dr. Laura Vahlen
Team Leader/s: None
Nora: What? No “hilarious” Achievement Hunter references? I know for a fact I wish that Dr. Jones and Dr. Free were here.
(Art by Really-Lame-Art …yes that’s his username)
TOP SECRET: ANY NON-AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL READING BEYOND THIS POINT WILL BE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE PUNITIVE ACTION.
THIS DOCUMENT IS RF TAGGED ALL MOVEMENTS ARE BEING TRACKED.
Ert: Story, you aren’t Secure, Contain, Protect, you don’t need to keep all of these secrets from the general population in order to prevent mass panic over how fucked the world is. You just need to keep it hidden to prevent people from flipping out over how DUMB you are.
Homo Novus Royalty Caste Reproduction Research.
Project Codename: Genesis
At the request of the scientific staff, the suspected ‘Queen’ (Now known to be the ‘High Queen’) Suzanne Shepard initiated coitus with her chosen partner, her XO Mikhail Volkov.
Ert: I really am struggling to follow this story’s logic. It’s trying to say that some sort of magic beam can kill 97% of humanity, rewrite the DNA of the other three percent, sort them into castes and place Queens by continent, but we have no technology to check fertility. Wow. That is really freaking pushing it.
Goeth: Even if impregnating a woman is the only way to check her fertility (It isn’t) why not just artificially impregnate her? Is it because it lacks your oh so precious sexual tension? Science isn’t art, it’s cold, rigid and calculating.
Upon completion of coitus, the act itself started a neurological chain reaction that awoke a portion of Commander Shepard’s brain, this act caused a Psionic release that blanketed the planet and awoke the ‘Hive Mind’
Nora: Ok, the design of this is getting more and more stupid by the second. The new species has a hive mind, but one that only works after the High Queen gets plowed. Were the Etherals drunk when they came up with this?
Goeth: Someone was.
Afterwards internal scans showed Shepard to have conceived, however the growth pattern was far too quick for an average Homo Sapiens. Within a week of conception, Shepard began to lay ‘eggs’ to a number of 211 eggs. Each egg is about the size of a finger tip and has a glossy red exterior, within hours of being laid the eggs swelled to the size of an average Homo Sapiens six year old child.
Ert: Uh, ok. I guess we’re just glazing over HOW THE FUCK THAT’S EVEN POSSIBLE! It really does feel like the author is going for how everything was caused by space magic, even when trying to get more scientific explanations. Did she magically grow a uterus that is capable of bearing eggs? Or did she just stretch her vagina and squirt all the eggs out?
The shells then hardened before cracking and disgorged a ‘drone’ caste member what appeared to be a psychological age of six years old, unlike ‘sentient’ caste members the ‘drone’ caste members have an exoskeleton covering over ninety percent of their body with only their head uncovered. Within weeks the ‘drone’ caste members grew to an adult.
Goeth: And since they grew to full maturity within a matter of weeks, I highly suspect that they will all be dead within five years. You see, some species reproduce by a certain method. Let’s call it the shotgun method. They produce a massive amount of children in one go, this is something that is particularly common among insects. And insects do not live long.
Ert: The author does seem to be cherrypicking insect and reptile traits for his new species. Only the most obvious ones and only the good aspects. If you can call humans being mindless slaves good.
Nora: And I’m sure rigid armor covering your whole body is good for using tools. That thing that soldiers led to do and ants don’t?
In the following days, Shepard conceived again however instead of being a ‘drone’ caste member it was an ‘sentient’ caste member. It took six months for the ‘sentient’ to gestate before being born, during which time Shepard displayed all the normal emotional responses for a pregnant Homo Sapiens, albeit slightly accelerated due to the shorter gestation period.
Ert: Oh great, are we going to move on to the classic pregnant woman stereotypes? Something that’s always blown out of proportion?
Nora: I’ll just be happy if she doesn’t make another joke about rape.
Personal note from Dr. Laura Vahlen: Commander, while as interesting as this research is. Perhaps the next series of experiments in this area should involve a less… aggressive subject then Alpha Squad Commander Shepard.
Goeth: Use your words doctor, don’t be vague. This is an official report, don’t dance around the matter when it could be open to interpretation.
Ert: I get the feeling that absolutely no one is going to be very professional in this story.
End of Report
Hackett smiles briefly at the mention of Shepard’s nature when pregnant,
Nora: He sure is taking her getting knocked up for the sake of science well.
Ert: Everything is taking this whole damn situation way too well. They’re acting like it’s a quirky adventure. They SHOULD be treating it as an atrocity and a massive violation of the sanctity of their bodies. But the author thinks that it’s a cool idea, so they’re all ok with it.
the only one who could get near her without being snapped at was Mikhail, even then he looked fairly haggard.
Ert: Pregnant women stereotypes. They’re so funny. Look. Look at how hard I’m laughing. Ha. Ha. Ha. They’re so fucking funny. They’ve been done a million times before, but you did it better than anyone else because you’re so fucking good. Ha.
Hackett then frowns in thought ‘If the entire human race is connected in a Hive mind, why do we still put top secret and do not read at the front of all X-Com reports? Probably just habit, or maybe preparation in case we ever encounter another sentient extraterrestrial race’
Goeth: If you have a hive mind, you wouldn’t need a report. This is disappointing. A hive mind isn’t the internet that you use with your brain. All minds of the mind are actively linked, constantly aware of each other. When one part of the brain learns something, all of the other parts of the brain instantly know it. The spoken word becomes obsolete unless the hive is speaking with something outside of it. But the author doesn’t seem to realize that.
Ert: So Hackett produces some numbers on how many humans are left that are similar to ours, if slightly higher because the author inflated the original population of the human race to 8 billion, and says that the other Queens are already fucking.
Hackett and Shepard had both worried over whether or not the fact that there was only eleven beings capable of reproducing on the planet would lead to genetic problems down the track, but according to Dr. Vahlen, the only thing the children inherited from their parents were looks and pheromone types, so inbreeding would cause absolutely no genetic degradation as it would have just six and a half months ago.
Ert: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HA! HA! HA! GOD THIS STORY IS SO FUCKING STUPID! It doesn’t even say WHY this won’t happen, just that it won’t. Not even a throwaway line of technobabble, like how apparent Asari DNA is randomized when they mate with an alien.
Goeth: Also, pop quiz for the author. What will be the genetic variants among children if they all inherent their parent’s looks? I just want to see what you actually know about DNA.
Nora: Also another thing that people seem to be ducking. Isn’t it going to be creepy when there’s only around a hundred different ways a person can look? And me saying a hundred is very generous.
Ert: I think the author thinks that free will and individuality is overrated.
Hackett still wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not, but at least their race wasn’t headed towards extinction through regression or inbreeding.
Goeth: Yup. Just extinction via pathetically small numbers and breeding potential.
However on the upside they had begun to make significant strides in developing new technologies from the data aboard the Temple Ship. Most interesting however was the nature of the Extraterrestrials left alive onboard, when the Uber Ethereal self destructed all Chryssalids and ‘Thin Men’ died from the Psionic backlash, however the rest of the Extraterrestrials were left alive, upon discovery of them the explorers of the Temple Ship were amazed to discover that the remaining ETs were actually friendly to them.
Ert: Oh look. More stupid. This is something that I’ve seen a couple of times in XCOM fan fiction and I have to say, I really don’t like it. Making friends with all of the aliens? The best case scenario is that they’re all mindless slaves who were brainwashed by the Ethereals into fighting for them, and the only way they’d fight for humanity is…oh….wait.
A quick check by Dr. Vahlen told them that the Sectoids, Mutons and the rest of the ETs were now linked to Humanity Psionically and therefore saw humans as their leaders and rulers,
Ert: Yeah, I forgot. You’re ok with that. So basically you’re doing the exact same thing that the Ethereals did. Enslaving entire species and making them extensions of your will. God I hate this story. All I can do is imagine the Turians wiping humanity out. Even though I’m smart enough to know that won’t happen.
Nora: God forbid we get something interesting out of this. Like humanity finding the Muton homeworld and finding out that they had tried to fight off the aliens too. Maybe try and give them their independence back. No. Make the Mutons fodder. Oh and the Sectoids are being used as guides now.
The Temple Ship has many miraculous devices, but the most interesting of these devices was the ‘Nanoforge’. A five kilometer long, two kilometers wide and one and a half kilometers deep half-cylindrical depression filled with Nanobots, this machine was able to create several dozen Firestorms within seconds given the proper resources.
Ert: *Sigh* Why? Why do authors keep doing this? Why do they keep dropping devices that allow humanity to churn out bullshit like this? Author, do you know what XCOM was engaging? Because all the advanced technology that you got, you made. You had to research that plasma rifle, that PSI chamber, that Titan armor. It didn’t just get dropped into your lap. At the very best you could get alien weapons by stunning their users, and even then that was an exception to the rule. And you were using it to fight a technologically superior foe who kept upping the ante. Dropping stuff like the nano-forge, which I’m all but certain is going to grind out an armada of warships for humanity, completely misses the point of that.
Goeth: Personally I’d much rather see Humanity starting its own space program from scratch. With all of the UFOs they ended up shooting down and how intact they always are, they have more than enough to work with. And considering how severe the Ethereal invasion was, the countries of Earth would have no problem funding the development of a defensive armada.
Nora: That’d be interesting. Trying to desperately throw together a fleet while checking the skies to see if another wave of aliens are incoming. Maybe just jury rigging a downed UFO and sending up to fight a desperate fight if they had to. At the very least humanity could slap plasma cannons on satellites. I think aliens would be a call to dissolve treaties that ban weapons on satellites.
Ert: Also MELD is getting mass produced too. Because humanity struggling to churn out even tiny amounts of MELD would be too-oh you get the iea. Oh, and this.
he was currently the leader of humanity. Mainly because Shepard didn’t want to handle the job, though she was still thought of by the entire human race now as the leader they all looked to, Hackett shudders ‘Shepard in command of the entire human race, it might be better that she isn’t interested in ruling’.
Ert: NO FUCKING KIDDING! Have you seen the way this lady acts?
Goeth: Once again the author misses the point of how a hive mind would work. Needless to say, if there was a High Queen, you wouldn’t just be able to slap in a regent.
Nora: Also, Hackett probably saved the world, but he’s a military leader. Not a peacetime leader. Does he even know how to draw up a tax plan?
Hackett sighs as he shakes his head clear of all the distracting thoughts and goes over the data in his terminal once more. He immediately notices a new research proposal from Dr. Vahlen.
Research Proposal – Societal Reactions to a Massive Upheaval.
Ert: Let me guess, it’s not going to cover massive economic upheaval, panic, death, the fact that entire religions and nationalities were wiped out or anything like that?
During the last six months a curious social phenomenon has been occurring, Humanity has started to group itself into clans, specifically clans based around each Queen, and the High Queen.
Ert: How did I fucking guess it?
Nora: You know what would be cool? A story that shows this from the perspective of the outside. As in the Turians find Earth and are absolutely horrified by all of this. But they’re even more horrified at how none of the humans seem to be reacting to it.
Goeth: To be honest that would make the entire hive mind thing more than a cheap gimmick.
I would like to do a more in-depth examination of this phenomenon to see if there will be any dangerous side effects to the stability of the proto-government that has formed in the wake of the ‘Day of Death’ as it is now being referred to.
Ert: And they’re already forming a new government. Well that worked out unrealistically fast.
Nora: I look forward to humanity devolving back to absolute monarchies.
This study shouldn’t take more than a month, and it will provide invaluable information for the formation of a new permanent government.
Ert: Call me crazy but I feel like this would take more than a month, even with a hive mind.
Goeth: Human beings are complicated creatures as it turns out.
Dr. Laura Vahlen.
Ert: Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to say, that’s the scene divider and it looks stupid.
Hackett signs his approval immediately to the proposal, he had seen before how allowing potentially dangerous trends like this to fester has affected humanity. He then sighs as a message comes over the PA.
‘Commander, a situation has developed, please report to the situation room’
Nora: Uh, wait. Rewind. What potentially dangerous trend? People forming clans? Uh. Author. We were joking when we said that you thought individuality was bad.
Ert: This is starting to get creepy, and it was already pretty damn creepy.
X-Com Situation Room, three minutes later.
Goeth: “Three minutes later, Hackett strode into the XCOM situation room.” So much smoother.
“What is the problem?” Hackett asks as he strides in.
Bradford looks almost… constipated “Well sir, I can’t believe this but… the proto-government has broken down,
Ert: Well that’s the most realistic thing that has happen in the entire story. Something that’s about to be ruined in three seconds.
peacefully but they’re requesting-”
Hackett frowns as Bradford stops “Yes, what are they requesting?”
Shepard, having been standing in the background, walks forwards and says “The people are requesting that I take over government and the job of leading Humanity”
Nora: Ok, where do we start. First if all, the proto-government didn’t break down. It sounds more like it was dissolved. Second of all, Bradford can’t spit out what they want so that we can have a dramatic reveal from Shepard. I hate it when stories do things inorganically so that they can stuff tropes in. Third of all, Shepard has no leadership experience outside of leading a squad. And there’s a difference between that and leading a species. She’s even less qualified than Hackett.
Goeth: And even then it was established that the people were looking to her as their leader. So this is a “reveal” that tells is something we already know.
Hackett despite the seriousness of the situation grins and says “Well then, hail the new queen?”
Ert: *Arms plasma rifle* To all those who do not accept this rapist as your ruler. You are not alone. Fight back!
Nora: Forget the Ethereals. I wish that EXALT had won.
Shepard merely glares at him and stalks off, with Mikhail desperately holding in laugher and the rest of the room laughing loudly at Shepard’s reaction. She may have been their High Queen and therefore bound to follow her till the end, but it didn’t mean they couldn’t make jokes at Shepard’s expense.
Ert: You’re bound to her? Well then, that makes the whole aspect of people asking her to be High Queen feel pretty hollow. If you’re bound to her, then you don’t really get a lot of say in the matter.
Goeth: The hacks that argue that free will is an illusion actually have a point in this context.
Council Codex Entry
Human Politics (Classified – Council or Government officials only)
Data Collected in 2167.
Nora: Because nothing that happened in the next century and a half was important or interesting enough for us to actually be there for it. I’m not even being sarcastic. Nothing this author writes is worth following.
Ert: Also suddenly we’re seeing things from the Council’s perspective. Even though they haven’t been mentioned before this. At all.
At the turn of the millennium for Humanity, in the Human year 2016, six months after a disastrous series of event completely changed humanity as they knew it. The Human government was replaced, by a council that answers to a mysterious ‘High Queen’, the name, nature or even basic appearance of this ‘High Queen’ has never been learned by any non-human. Despite the best attempts of the Salarian STG to observe said ‘High Queen’.
Ert: *Rips hair out* OH MY FUCKING CHRIST STORY! Will you take a step back, look at this, and realize who fucking shady this sounds?
Nora: At least we moved on from Shepard being a shit head to humans to her being a shit head to other species. I’m hesitant to add to the counter now, mainly because it’s unclear if the Council has opened talks with the human race or is just spying on them. Because the author can’t establish to save his life.
Each council member is the best at whatever aspect of Humanity they represent, the places on the council are as follows:
Nora: Show of hands, who actually wants to see all fifteen positions the author came up with. No one? Good, because neither do we.
The council has been named by several humans as the Novellus Council, the meaning of this name is unknown.
Goeth: It’s a rather unimaginative name, not much to understand.
It should be noted that the Human Government doesn’t have a police force like other governments, when questioned about this anomaly the answer has always been ‘Why would we need one?’
Ert: Ah, ok. So it turns out that they have been in contact with the Council and that Shepard is just being an asshole and not meeting with the Council because she’s a bitch.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 5)
Goeth: Oh. And Shepard is over a hundred and eighty years old, despite a hundred and fifty being the soft limit in the Mass Effect universe. Because space magic. And the utter lack of human free will is now confirmed. Even the sentient ones don’t really have power over what they do. It’s a good thing that the genus of this species was changed. They really aren’t human anymore. In the worst possible way.
this has often sparked debates over whether humanity either A. Does not have crime, or B. Does not have laws. Humanities Government has never provided an answer to this questions, but several humans have been seen refusing to do certain jobs as ‘they are against our laws’ indicates that A. is more likely.
Nora: Credit where credit is due, the lack of crime does make sense in this story, as opposed to From Another World and Parallel Realities, where everything is just perfect because. It’s just a shame that the implications for this world is utterly horrifying. Makes me think of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri and how you could stop unruly civilians by nerve stapling them. What’s that mean? No idea. But the people you do it to never rebel again.
Interestingly enough ancient records of Humanity not only has indications of peacekeeping forces and criminals, but also indications of a fractured society without central government as late as six months before the founding of the current government of Humanity. What event could possibly have caused such a radical change in Humanities society? Is it related to the constantly mentioned but never explained ‘Day of Death’? For every question about Humanity that is answered, dozens, even hundreds of questions seem to appear, will the Council Races ever manage to answer these questions? Or perhaps the better question should be, are we ready to deal with the consequences of finding those answers?
Ert: *Smacks self in face* Why the fuck is humanity not talking to the Council about what happened? Why are they being pretentious twats and keeping everything a secret. Is it so that they can have a dramatic reveal? Because I’m starting to hate dramatic reveals!
Council Codex Entry End
Shepard’s private quarters, X-Com HQ.
‘Do you all agree with my outline for the new government?’ Shepard Psionically casts to all of Humanity.
Nora: Well it doesn’t matter if you do or not, it’s happening anyway. High Queen!
Goeth: So when are we now? Is it the mid 22nd century or did we move back to right after death day? That last document really screwed up the flow.
‘We do’ came the unanimous vote of every sentient living human being older than twenty years of age.
Ert: Yeah no. You can’t act like free will is still around when you have every single human being thinking the exact same thing. Even the Geth weren’t that unified. The countless programs had to frequently convince others of their logic, and while those who disagreed eventually accepted the logic of the majority, there was a lot of work they had to go through to get 100% agreement. And even then the Geth could still find moments when they didn’t agree on everything, look at the Heretic Geth! And during the mission to stop the Heretic Geth from brainwashing the True Geth, Legion’s 1000+ programs couldn’t unanimously agree on a solution. That’s why the Geth are actually interesting and don’t come off as creepy while the inverse is true for this humanity. It’s why when the Geth were all given individuality in ME3, I was honestly really pissed off!
Nora: I hate to say it, but renegade Shepard had a point Legion’s loyalty mission. “Geth aren’t like organic life, don’t apply our morality to them” And like Legion says just after “No two species are identical. All must be judged on their own merits. Treating every species like one’s own is racist. Even benign anthropomorphism.” The Geth don’t see the value in individuality, to them it just doesn’t make sense.
Goeth: But the main reason that the Geth are interesting while this is disturbing comes down to a couple of reasons. First and foremost, this humanity had individuality and lost it, the Geth never had individuality. Secondly, there is no one Geth who is above all the rest because of arbitrary reasons. All are equal. Third, there are no mindless Geth. And fourth and finally, the Geth are have a true hive mind. Unless a Geth is disconnected from the rest of the Geth, like Legion or the heretics, they are one. A single Geth learns something, and then all know it. Not this half baked hive mind that’s basically species wide telepathy.
Shepard nods to herself, although Mikhail sitting opposite her at her small table does. ‘Then onto my next proposal, during the Invasion. Many lives were lost due to people not being able to fight against the invaders effectively. I would like to propose that from the age of twenty every human being must complete a year of military training and then nine years of military service,
Ert: *Spits* TEN FUCKING YEARS IN THE MILITARY!? Well, I can see how this went. The author was clicking around and said ,“You know what? I want a more militarized humanity like EVERY SINGLE FUCKING MASS EFFECT CROSSOVER HAS! So I’m going to rip off the Turians.” Except they came up with something a lot less interesting, as while the military is the center of Turian society, it actually fulfills a lot of roles that aren’t related to combat. Law enforcement, fire brigades, supplying worlds, building schools, spaceports and water purification plants. They do more than just train and act as soldiers. Which makes sense, because having an entire generation be in the army for ten years would cause a massive worker shortage. Even if you have mindless drones.
Goeth: Also Shepard is showing her lack of common sense. Every human having military training wouldn’t have helped at all against a technologically superior foe bombing cities and launching abductions.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 6)
then those who are not of the military caste can continue into their chosen vocation or education, with the condition that they remain ready and able to fight at all times. Does anybody have any questions or objections?’ Shepard sits almost rigidly hoping that they accept her proposal.
‘Is humanity going to be more militaristic now?’ comes a question from a Intellectual caste member. With Cultural caste members mentally echoing the question.
Nora: Well with a change like this, the answer is obvious yes. I mean-
Shepard shakes her head ‘No,
Ert: FUCK! YOU! You cannot make military service compulsory for a fucking decade to EVERYONE (Kind of defeats the point of there being a military caste if people outside of it have to fight too, don’t you think?) and then claim humanity isn’t militaristic.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 7)
but we will make sure that we are able to fight for peace should we have to. Also this way every person will know how to handle a gun and there should be less gun related accidents’
Ert: If you want there to be less gun related accidents, how about you keep guns out of reach of people who aren’t qualified for people to use them? Hm? If all crime is gone, I fail to see how you can’t just do that. Training every single person to prevent gun accidents feels like burning down a house to kill a fly. Overkill.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 8)
A moment of intense murmuring follows and then ‘We agree with your proposal, Milady’ Hackett’s ‘voice’ comes to the fore ‘Should I start setting up a staggered roster so that we don’t have vital services cut off?’
Shepard nod her head in answer ‘Please do, I would also like a form of FTL and starship to be worked on ASAP, we need to be able to scout out the surrounding interstellar space in case there is more surprises from the Ethereals to deal with’
Goeth: Ah, so we did go back to just after Death Day. That Council report really didn’t belong there.
Ert: And the wording is so awful. “A form of starship.” Jesus fucking Christ.
Vahlen chimes in ‘I’ll get right on it commander’
Shepard opens her eyes which she had kept closed throughout the mental conversations and looks at Mikhail “Do you think I’m moving too fast?”
Nora: I think you should be asking less about if you’re going to fast and more if you’re going in the wrong direction. The answer to both is yes by the way.
Mikhail shakes his head to indicate he doesn’t “We were taken by surprise when the invasion started, even with X-Com existing already.
Ert: No it didn’t. Because if it existed before, then that’s an implication XCOM Declassified is canon.
Nora: And if people wanted to play XCOM in the cold war, there’s something that does it better.
We can’t afford to let our guards down. However the pace of advancement now lies with your choices Susan. You will set the pace for humanity, and humanity will follow their ‘High Queen’ wherever you lead”
Goeth: And people said that I was stupid to build a generation ship that’s set to leave the galaxy.
Ert: Save a spot for me.
Shepard looks off towards a wall mounted screen showing images of the state of all major cities following the ‘Day of Death’ “I can only hope that my lead isn’t into damnation”
Ert: Oh, status of major cities after death day (I know it’s called day of death, but I don’t freaking care). Can we, you know, actually see that? No? Thanks for wasting my time again story.
Nora: And don’t worry Shepard. The author is on your side, he wouldn’t let his little brat mess up.
Mikhail stands up and walks around the table, he then engulfs Shepard in a hug “No matter what, mankind will follow you. So don’t panic and worry, you have advisors to warn you of potential mistakes and me to keep you grounded, as I said before, I won’t let you become a monster like those Ethereals.
Goeth: *Snort* Then find a way to let the other aliens be independent.
Nora: But I want them to fight for me!
‘Vigilo Confido’ vigilance and trust, trust my vigilance to keep you human”
Shepard snorts with amusement “We definitely succeeded in following ‘Mutare ad Custodiam’ then didn’t we”
Mikhail laughs “I guess in a way we did, but don’t tell Dr. Vahlen that” Shepard snorts trying to hold in somewhat hysterical laughter, her tiredness making the joke seem funnier than it actually is.
Ert: *Tilts head* What are these pricks laughing at? The closest translation I can find for that last bit is “To change is to defend.” I’m not exactly sure what’s so gut bustlingly funny about that.
Goeth: Maybe it’s like My Little Unicorn were people laugh at everything.
Ert: Oh good, get me the cyanide now.
Mikhail grins but then shakes his head “Come on, you’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep”
Shepard nods in agreement “Yeah, you’re right” Just before she falls asleep Shepard has a thought and voices it “Did you know about those clans people are talking about?”
Mikhail just shrugs, he hadn’t noticed the chatter all that much.
Nora: He doesn’t know much about the clans that humanity has been divided into? This is the crappiest hive mind I’ve ever read about. And this guy is supposed to be the freaking royal consort! This is pathetic.
Human Codex Entry,
Clans of Humanity,
Data Collected in 2016
Nora: Any reason this one is in present day and not in, oh I don’t know, 3,000 AD? That’d make as much sense as randomly jumping to the Council.
Written by Dr. Laura Vahlen with the assistance of Doctors Gavin Free and Michael Jones.
Ert: I WAS FUCKING KIDDING!
Following the massive upheaval created by the events of the ‘Day of Death’ humanity began to fracture into ‘clans’ based around each Queen. The clans are varied in nature and inevitably they fall into one of six archetypes, these are:
Nora: Well the train of not caring is still going on strong. It doesn’t help that each clan is basically an extension of the castes. Which doesn’t make any sense as a clan that could be the only clan on a continent would need more flexibility than one caste.
Goeth: Not only is this whole matter nonsensical, it’s impractical on a dozen levels, and we just found a thirteenth level.
Of course there are clans that are a mixture of several or even all of these traits.
Ert: We’re not going to point out which one is which though, that’d take effort. Also there’s only eleven clans, you clearly need six to form the first six as a baseline and it sounds as if there’s duplicates, so the amount of variety there could be here is pretty damn low.
The most well known clan is the Shepard Clan, which is the largest clan and is the personal clan of the High Queen herself. Members of this clan tend to be more than others, they strive to prove they are the best of the best and have never failed in this regard. To put it in more simple terms they are the Special Forces, Einsteins and Michelangelos of modern times.
Nora: Well glad to see that the author has added an all too important part of society to this new creation. Classism. The members of the Shepard clan are better than everyone else because he says so. Because they’re in the right clan.
The official Clan roster is kept in the most secure archives often with dozens of defenses both physical and cyber to protect the data within.
The following are the original founding clans (according to the online and Psionic forums)
Goeth: Again. The presence of a hive mind should realistically make this a non issue, but the author seems to be afraid of exploring the full reproductions of this.
Ert: And once again, we don’t care what the names are.
Named for the Queen or High Queen that rules the clan, each clan looks first to their Queen and then to the High Queen (With the exception of the High Queen’s clan) Each clan has a position on the Novellus Council (Taken by the Queen) and may not influence another council member even if they are of the same clan.
Nora: No influencing people allowed! You’re not allowed to debate someone and change their opinion! That’s for dirty democracies!
Ert: And on top of everything else, humanity now has elements of being an oligarchy. The fun times just keep rolling.
Human Codex Entry End
Project: Iron Maiden
X-Com Research Report 27th June 2016
Head Researcher: Councilor Raymond Shen
Ert: *Sigh* You know, Shen would be freaking out over this if he was in character. He was always hesitant when it came to transhumanism. I look forward to his personality being offered up to the hive mind as a sacrafice.
Goeth: You will be missed, breaker of barriers.
Team Leader/s: Councilor Laura Vahlen, Dr. Julia Picard, Dr. Gavin Free
Nora: Achievement Hunter AND a Star Trek reference? Just freaking stop author. One was kind of cute, now it’s just getting annoying. Also a “You will be punished if not authorized” stuff. Blah blah blah.
Mechanized Exoskeleton Cybersuit Specialized Drone Research.
Project Codename: Iron Maiden
Ert: You already said what the project was called dimwit!
Following the Event, it was discovered that no MEC Troopers survived the Psionic wave, this strange event was pondered on for a while due to the fact that every other X-Com Personnel survived. Upon deeper scans the reason became apparent, the MEC Trooper’s cybernetic implants in the brain caused a short when mixed with the Homo Novus physiology,’
Ert: AH! A BELIEVABLE CONSEQUENCE OF HUMANITY’S BIOLOGY RADICALLY CHANGING! DUCK AND COVER!
Nora: You think every last MEC dying would’ve been brought up at some point. I guess they got swept under the rug, along with the other 97% of humanity.
we have adjusted the technology in order to adapt to this discrepancy. Militaristic ‘sentient’ caste member David Lenore, agreed to be the trial subject for a new range of MEC Trooper cybernetic enhancements, the test was a resounding success.
Goeth: *Snort* I like how they put sentient in quotation marks. As if the person who wrote this report doubted it. Well we know that humans having free will is just a lie, it was only a matter of time before someone else pointed it out.
Ert: I’m more focused on how their reaction to every single MEC trooper dying, many of which were probably long time XCOM veterans, is to just talk about how they’re going to make new ones. Question, did the Ethereals turn all humans into sociopaths?
Now however we have started to look at the long term. The MEC Troopers represent a significant boost to our military strength that we cannot afford to have tempered by a lack of volunteers. Due to this we have decided to see if a ‘Queen’ can create a specific type of ‘drone’ with only minimal information.
Goeth: Wait. Wait, wait, wait. You need MECs so badly that you breed a specific type of drone for them? That’s…wow.
Ert: Here’s a little thought! If you need MECs, why not make them robots!? It worked just fine for ADVENT! So this isn’t an area where you are just as bad as ADVENT. This is an area where you are actually WORSE than ADVENT!
Nora: This gets us angry for two reasons. One, we’re sill upset about the whole drone thing. Two, you make forcing someone into something they didn’t volunteer for sound badly. In the same chapter that you implemented a decade’s worth of compulsory military service. In short, fuck you.
Ert: To cut out a whole lot of boring, they create drones that actively feel uncomfortable outside of MEC suits and then out of nowhere they make four new MEC suits. Oh, and then the story acts like it’s a video game saying that “Whatever is not available for construction in the Cybernetics lab.” I know I did something like this once, but in my defense I didn’t word it in a way so that it could ONLY work in the context of a video game.
Goeth: Another report, more filler with the threats, another Achievement Hunter reference, so much padding.
Inertial Dampening, Artificial Gravity and Inter-Atmospheric Hovering Research.
Project Codename: Mercury
Goeth: Inter-atmospheric hovering. That is not a thing. Because inter-atmospheric is not a thing. I don’t even know what that’s trying to say.
Hyperwave technology is more versatile than first thought, we can do things with it thought impossible just a year ago, while we haven’t yet cracked FTL, we have created a way to dump excess inertia into the so-called ‘sub-space’ we have discovered that by linking a Hyperwave beacon to the hull we can absorb the inertia of the starship.
Nora: Uh, the hyperwave beacon was used for communication. It was theorized that it was used for inter-dimensional communication. In game it can be used to make the hyperwave relay, which gives you more information on alien ships So your plan for inertial damping was just to slap one of these things on the hull? That’s pushing it.
Ert: Let’s be blunt and call it pure bullshit, because that’s what it is.
It must be linked to the navigation and helm to prevent it from absorbing intended actions such as moving the ship, however it is very functional and easy to implement.
Ert: Very easy. So easy that it’s downright sickening.
Nora: Any more things that they’re going to slap on starships?
Goeth: I think they might use a Muton corpse to power the engines.
It also has the effect of allowing vessels to ‘hover’ in atmosphere without problems as the effect of gravity appears to be treated the same as inertia, that is to say absorbed and dumped into ‘sub-space’ Or it can be channeled into plates at the bottom of the ship to provide artificial gravity (Note, when outside of a planet’s gravity well excess inertia or energy from ‘sub-space’ is used to create the AG effect)
Ert: Dumping gravity into sub-space? Channeling gravity into plates of the ship to create artificial gravity? Author. If you can’t explain the way things work in a convincing way, don’t bother. Trust me, we won’t miss it.
Goeth: Gravity…gravity does not work that way.
Nora: Ugh, and we’ve got yet another report coming up. Dear lord this is boring and annoying. You know the drill, warning and an Achievement Hunter reference.
Ert: I didn’t sign up to do an entire rift dedicated to technobabble…
Project Codename: Vesta
We have done it, we have figured out the Ethereal Hyperwave FTL. A FTL Hyperwave drive wraps the vessel in a bubble of Sub-space created by Hyperwave manipulation. This bubble simultaneously launches the ship forwards at FTL speeds and also prevents any relativistic effects from such an action. The bubble also can slow the ship down from superluminal to sub-luminal within 0.01 milliseconds without any inertial stress or damage to the vessel or occupants.
Ert: Look, I’m going to be blunt. Seeing constantly bullshit sci-fi explanations like this is making my eyes glaze over. Let’s just say that this story is stupid for constantly boring the reader with unimportant crap like this in one go and move on.
Goeth: There are interesting concepts in a world where more than one type of FTL is possible. Only a few works use that though. Stellaris is probably the most recent one.
Nora: Boy would I rather be playing that right now
Humanity now has the power to traverse to the stars.
Goeth: This does not belong in an official report.
Ert: Nothing in this story does.
To facilitate the High Queen’s other request we have designed and created a vessel codenamed Prowler, while the vessel is fairly small (Only a hundred meters in length) it still has empty areas within where we are planning on adding stealth equipment, currently it has a black paint and strategically placed lights to allow it to masquerade as a spot of empty space,
Nora: *Sigh* If a species is relying on visual confirmation to see enemy ships, then they’re going it wrong.
Ert: I don’t know if the author has noticed, but space is a very, VERY big place. You aren’t seeing jack shit with your eyes. You know why the Normandy was still physically visible but was never spotted despite that? Because people weren’t scanning space by looking out of windows.
thermal energy collection devices in the hull hides the heat created by the Prowlers reactors and life support.
Nora: So is this going to be our discount Normandy for the story? Because it certainly looks like it’s going in that direction.
Ert: Probably. See above.
The Prowler is equipped with the most advanced sensors we have developed, using Hyperwave pulsations to accurately sense objects up to ten light-years distant.
We recommend a small crew of three sentients (One captain, one helmsman/navigator and one weapons officer) and ten drones (Five soldiers, five engineers)
Nora: Feels a little small for the crew of a spaceship. Especially considering that only three of them are sentient and I get the feeling the drones aren’t very flexible.
Goeth: Nonsense, they’re very flexible. Look, this one can be bent into a pretzel.
Ert: Report number I stopped counting, cutting out the usual bullshit.
Human ‘Eternal Youth’ Research.
Project Codename: Juventas
During the last decade following the ‘Day of Death’ as it is known in current terms, an alarming trend has been seen. No human has exhibited any signs of aging for nearly a decade.
Ert: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HA! HA! HAAAAAAAAAAAAA! FUCK! YOU! So you throw all this other bullshit at us, and then you expect us to swallow that humans don’t age? That they’ve achieved functional immortality? Author, do me a favor. Cut the pretense and have every last human impregnate an Asari. That’s the power fantasy, wish fulfillment, fuck logic path that your story is going down.
Goeth: So please tell me author. Insects or reptiles. Which one of them do you think is immortal?
With the exception of those still growing to physical maturity. This strange phenomenon has been the source of much discussion on the online forums
Nora: Ok, who wrote this? Either forums are still being used with a hive mind and Vahlen is checking it for information, or the hive mind is referred to as a forum. Im not sure which is dumber.
as to both the cause and the possible ramifications of the so called ‘Eternal Youth’ after exhaustively searching through every medical scan taken in the last decade we have discovered the answer to not only this but several problems that have confounded us over the last decade.
The culprit of these mysteries is a series of nodes the run parallel to the spine on either side.
Ert: OK! I can only take so much stupid for one day, so I’m skipping the rest of this report. All that you need to know is that these nodes produce MELD, so all humans have genetic modifications (Something that wasn’t mentioned and requires more than raw MELD but the author is making humanity awesome, so our logic can go fuck itself) and they produce stem cells that replace all damaged cells. And now humans can’t die of old age.
Nora: Because space magic. Also higher castes get more nodes and affect intelligence, and they act as a relay for psionic communication and they probably also dispense soft serve ice cream too.
Ert: Oh for the love of fuck ANOTHER FUCKING REPORT!
Starship-based Plasma Weaponry Research.
Project Codename: Jupiter
Ert: TL;DR humanity has three ship based plasma weaponry and the story shamelessly steals the ship based weapons the UNSC used in Halo, to the point where the exact same name is used. And they’re probably going to create plasma blades.
Goeth: I’m surprised we’re not covered in seamen, considering how much the author was jerking off humanity.
Over the next few decades Humanity’s growth and potential exploded, their technology and abilities grew to levels thought unimaginable before the Ethereal War. Humanity has begun its growth into what will be known as a Galactic Superpower.
Nora: “What will be known as?” It’s not exactly the most novel concept you’re coming ups with here. Just a superpower on a galactic scale. Kind of goes without saying.
2030: Mankind recreates it’s architectural style, they start to build using geometric shapes, triangles and half triangles are most common, but when seen from orbit the cities of humanity appear as massive circular designs, often hundreds of kilometers wide.
Nora: Historians would later describe these changes as pointless and pretentious.
Ert: Also, this is beyond nitpicky, but fuck it. You know what half a triangle is? ANOTHER FUCKING TRIANGLE! Half triangle only seems to be a valid term in the world of quilting.
Goeth: And we’ve moved from establishing change with science reports to a timeline. For no reason.
May 22nd 2035: Mankind establishes Artemis Colony on the edge of the Mare Serenitatis, lead by Queen Cassandra Delacroix (Nee Beaumont)
Ert: Oh come on, you already used Artemis to describe something in this story. You’re double dipping from the well of pretentious Greek mythology references. Also, WHERE!?
Goeth: The moon. The author may want to consider that not everyone is familiar with the geography of celestia bodies other than this planet.
July 24th 2040: Mankind establishes Ares Colony on the slopes of Mount Olympus, Mars, lead by Queen Danielle Taylor (Nee Shepard).
Nora: The closest we could find was Olympus Mons. The author is just making shit up to stuff in another Greek mythology reference. References should be made sparingly, not ever three seconds.
Ert: Unless you’re a very whacky game like Rogue Legacy that is. I wish more people would understand this.
December 22nd 2057: During a routine scan of Mars a subterranean structure is discovered in the Promethei Planum
December 23rd 2057: Mankind discovers the Mass Effect Technological Branch, unimpressed with the slower and less efficient FTL Drives, shielding and weaponry, mankind catalogues and subsequently ignores it.
Ert: Go fuck yourself. No seriously, go fuck yourself. I get that half of the crossovers with Mass Effect are about masturbating about how great your totally original humanity is and spurting all over the Council, but no. Fuck that. UGH! Screw it, there’s a little bit of chapter left but fuck it, I’m done for right now. You couldn’t make the Prothean technology more advanced in some ways could you, XCOM had to be better at everything. And this was fucking deliberate as we didn’t know anything about how advanced their FTL drives were. Just…fuck this story.
Nora: Someone needs a nap.