1504: X-Com: Mass Effect: Chapter 3 Part 1

Title: X-Com: Mass Effect
Author: Dragonsong2795
Media: Video Game
Topic: Mass Effect/XCOM
Genre: Sci-Fi
URL:  Chapter 3
Critiqued by Erttheking

Ert: Christ, here’s another freaking massive chapter.

Nora: Don’t worry, we’ll cut the length in half when we cut out all of the research reports.

Goeth: That’s still 5,500 words give or take

Ert: Let’s just get it over with

Chapter 4: The Shanxi Incident Part I – Discovery

So here it is, the well awaited fourth Chapter (although technically it’s chapter three by my count). It was supposed to be uploaded three days ago, but I got roped into looking after my nieces and nephew and then the internet went down (God Damn IT!) and so I had to release this chapter later then I wanted to. On the upside this gave me time to re-write the (Spoilers) Space Battle to be less Humans Rule everyone else dies instantly. If someone asks I will post the originally planned space battle at the end of the next chapter.

Ert: Spoiler alert, that still happens. It’s just not in the way you’d expect from a typical ME crossover

Now for Review Replies!

Nora: Oh, we can also cut review replies. 700 words right there.

Goeth: Some people have a talent for speaking so much yet saying so little.

The Shanxi Incident Part I – Discovery

X-C:ME

Shepard idly strums her fingers on the armrest of her ‘throne’

Ert: Shepard is continuing to waste resources on ego stroking I see.

Nora: Maybe. The quotation marks make me wonder if it’s supposed to be a particularly crappy throne.

Ert: Still.

(Fuck Shepard Counter: 13)

as she observes the two research ships in the flotilla conducting high detail scans of the ‘Shanxi Relay’ out of sheer boredom she sends out a ‘Warpgate’ ping and is shocked to get a reply from the nearby planet of Shanxi.

Goeth: Yes, I also do…thing. For fun.

Ert: I’m sure that whatever a warp gate ping is supposed to be is buried back there somewhere under the three textbooks worth of technobabble, but I’m not in the mood to go digging for it.

She immediately sends one of the eight CRS-Light Cruisers off to discover what responded with just a thought.

Nora: That’s got to be the second time that the hive mind was actually used, with the first time being the time that Shepard declared that all humans would be conscripted for a decade. Utterly defeating the point of having a military caste.

Goeth: Also the supreme leader is on a research mission. Because there’s nothing more important for her to do.

Ert: And don’t say she could just do all that stuff via the hive mind, she could’ve done THIS via the hive mind.

From a outside observers point of view

Ert: Well how about you show us what’s happening from the point of view from someone who is actually defined, why don’t you? You’re using a keyboard, not a camera.

Nora: Also, we’re cutting out the next paragraph because it describes in pornagraphic detail the dimensions of humanity’s blatantly impossible warships. We already covered that enough, as far as we’re concerned.

Without any indication of communication

Goeth: Because the transmission from a radio or something similar would be more noticeable to the naked eye than the hive mind.

one of the smaller purple ships, a CRS-Light Cruiser breaks off from the formation and heads off to investigate a nearby planet. Despite being three quarters of a kilometer long the CRS has some incredible speed,

Ert: Yeah, because as it turns out, its size doesn’t really affect its speed. BECAUSE IT’S IN FUCKING SPACE! In fact, I had a friend point out that, in reality, larger ships should be able to race circles around smaller ships in space, due to the lack of gravity and the larger ships having larger power cores. We accept this break from reality in most fiction, but in a story that’s been trying so hard to be scientific, I’m not letting it slide.

Goeth: There may be hope for you yet.

once it reaches forty kilometers away from the rest of the Research Flotilla defense group

Nora: By the standards of space, forty kilometers is freaking nothing. Even Star Trek in the 1970s wasn’t that bad.

it engages its Hyperwave FTL Drive and in a burst of golden energy the CSSV Las Vegas is launched at Superluminal speeds towards the distant planet of Shanxi.

Ert:…Ok here’s a list of colors that it’s acceptable to make your unique energy. LITERALLY ANY OTHER COLOR THAN GOLD! You want to make it hot pink? That’s better than gold! Puke yellow? Better than gold! Shit brown? Lousy, like all of these colors, but better than gold!

Nora: As established before, Gold is good for very little other than looking good. This author’s obsession with it speaks volumes.

X-C:ME

Unknown System, 15 Light-years from the Trialgra-Proxima System, Three hours earlier.

Goeth: Location tags. The tool of the inorganic and/or lazy.

Ert: Again, you’re a writer, not a movie director.

Two starships soar away from a fleet of twenty warships, the two vessels are very different.

Nora: After cutting out two paragraphs of boring description, we get the bottom line of the point said paragraphs were trying to make.

These two starships belong to a Turian and a Asari respectively. The Turians are tall about six foot on average, a foot shorter than the average Human, but equal in average height with the Asari. They have plating on their faces and body that can run the gambit from steel blue to dull red, these plates

Ert: Oh God no. Uh. *Sigh* Oh boy. You know, I often say that when you write crossovers, you should make it so that people who are only familiar with one of the properties can enjoy it. As often I had readers who said that they only played one of the two games I was writing about. To be frank, it’s annoying to just explain nothing but…THIS IS GOING WAY TOO FUCKING FAR IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

Nora: So yeah, we’re not getting a full summary of the Turians because we don’t need THAT much. It’d be more interesting for a human to see a Turian for the first time and to take in his/her appearance and not get every last aspect of them shoved down our throats. But at least that’s done, so-

The Asari, equal in height to the Turians, appear to be on the surface blue skinned Human women, with the exception of having a short crest of tentacles instead of hair and small scales all over their body reminiscent to fish and other scaled aquatic animals. The Asari are an all female race with the unique ability to ‘meld’ their minds with members of any gender and race in order to procreate. This leads them to be a very diplomatic race due to the genetic deficits that are beginning to show up with each new generation of ‘pureblood’ Asari, without the injection of new genes from other species they may end up going extinct within a few generations. The fact

Ert: Ok, first of all, if you’re going to cram information down our throats make sure that it isn’t bullshit information.

Goeth: Asari do not take in DNA from other species, the biological barrier makes that impossible. It is established in game that, while an alien species can “impregnate” an Asari, the DNA that isn’t the mother’s is randomly generated. It is true that a very nasty genetic defect can occur when two Asari have a children, the Ardat-Yakshi, but it is not nearly frequent enough to engender the species. Something I am confident in, considering the Asari survived the millions of years it would’ve taken them to develop from primitive lifeforms, to cavemen/cavewomen/cavepeople to space farers. Alien life has only been part of their culture for the last couple of thousand years, which may seem like a long time, but is a microscopic part of a species’ existence. Oh, and this defect is the only genetic defect pointed out in game, while the story implies there are multiple defects. There are not. And it is not a recent development, as Ardat-Yakshi is from an ancient Asari dialect. It is not a medical term. It means “Demon of the Night Wind.”

Nora: And to cap it all off, the Asari are not female, Liara even says, “Male and female have no meaning to us.” They’re mono-gendered. Gender was not a concept they had.

(How Does I Science Counter: 18)

Ert: Second of all, oh dear god. So that’s what this story is going to be. I thought that we would move past the information dumps once we got to Shanxi. It seems I was too naive. The author is one of THOSE kinds of authors. The kind that are more interested in shoving as much exposition as possible into a story, at the expense of the plot and the characters.

The Turian ship is full of soldiers and their families getting a vacation at the Hierarchy’s cost due to a recommendation from the Asari Matriarchy in ways of keeping their soldiers (And civilians) happy and more productive.

Goeth: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s so out of character that it hurts!

Nora: Yeah, I don’t see the Hierarchy paying for a cruise for a bunch of soldiers. And if they were, they wouldn’t need the Asari to suggest it to them. They mainly let their men figure out how to entertain themselves, and are actually pretty loose. So long as whatever they do doesn’t impact their ability to do their duty (Or hurt anyone else) it’s allowed. Yup, provided you don’t stab anyone and can still do your job properly, the Hierarchy would be a-ok with you smoking crack.

The current captain of the ship created solely for that purpose is Adrien Victus, a Turian Lieutenant known of his unconventional tactics and protective nature towards his men.

Ert: Yeah no. Even if they were giving their soldiers a vacation, they are not building a brand new ship for it. And Lieutenant seems a very junior rank for command of a starship. Even one as worthless as this.

The Asari ship is piloted by a single Asari, known to the Turians as Alara T’Kani, her real name is Liara T’Soni, having created an alias and snuck out of her ancestral home after feeling overburdened and a bit of what Humans refer to as ‘Cabin Fever’

Nora: I love how she’s being described with human terms even though she doesn’t know what humans are yet. Unless she does, because the Council apparently ran into that exiled clan, but at the same time humanity is still going to be treated as a surprise. Either way, it’s a mess.

she illegally purchased a civilian freighter starship and headed off towards the unexplored region between Council and Batarian space. Unbeknownst to Liara a large fleet of Asari ships are tracking her lead by her upset and worried mother Benezia T’Soni.

Goeth: It’s also a mess that she would head off into uncharted space, as Liara seemed to prefer excavating on habited worlds. Usually because a single person cannot land on an uncharted planet and explore it for Prothean artifacts. And that’s the only reason Liara would go to a foreign world at this stage, because she’s an archeologist.

Ert: Nah, let’s just get her involved in the First Contact War because the author wants to. Also let’s ignore that her mom kind of had a hands off attitude towards her after she went off on her own, and would NOT divert a large amount of the Asari navy to hunt her down.

Behind the two ships are a fleet of twenty Batarian warships, the ships don’t have the grace of the Asari nor the structure of the Turians, they have slight differences between each ship

Nora: Oh really? Are you going to share it with us? No? All right then.

and are excessively blocky and bristling with weaponry. But they aren’t trying to destroy their prey oh no, these Batarians are slavers who are trying to capture their prey. Their holds are already full of captured races from all over Citadel Space. The only races not present are the Krogan and Vorcha, the Batarians aren’t that crazy.

Ert: Actually I think the Batarians would try to enslave the Krogan. A combination of them being good for manual labor, not having a unified government to form a defensive force and no one else in the galaxy really giving a crap about them would make them an appealing target. Not an easy one, but you know what they say about risk, reward. The Vorcha would just be a waste of time.

Nora: I’d like to know exactly why the hell a Turian vacation ship is so far away from Turian space that a Batarian slaver fleet can attack them and not instantly get vaporized by defensive forces. And why they’re bothering to chase down two ships, one of which carrying Turian soldiers when they’re already got full cargo holds. I mean, there’s no way in hell this wouldn’t end badly for them. There’s got to be some kind of IFF identifying that ship as Turian military, an officer is in charge of it after all. It’d bring the slavers unwanted attention, when they could hit much easier targets. Usually colonies in the Terminus Systems, far beyond the Council’s sphere of influence.

A average Batarian stands between 6’1 and 6’7 and they are characterized by their orange toned skin,

Ert: Oh sweet christ, NO!

Goeth: Personally I’d say they’re more yellow than orange.

The average Batarian is very egotistical and self-serving,

Ert: For the love of Christ. Mass Effect authors? You remember that it’s established in the Codex that the Batarian Hegemony heavily regulates travel and only lets the worst of the worst out of their borders? YOU MIGHT WANT TO ACTUALLY FUCKING REMEMBER THAT! I’m so fucking sick of Batarians as always being depicted as chaotic evil fuckwits with no depth whatsoever. I mean Herr managed to figure this out! Why can’t anyone else!?

they are afraid of many things but the one thing that terrifies them more than anything else is the possibility of being blinded, this is due to their religious beliefs. Unfortunately for the Batarians before the week is over Humanity will be aware of that fact, and they will use it to horrifying effect over the next decade.

Nora: Uh. Author. Advice. When talking about how humanity is going to be fighting their enemies, you don’t do certain things. You do not talk about how you’re going to follow the lead of Crazy Steve from Holy Terror. In that story, Crazy Steve-I mean Batman-I mean the Fixer, threatens to cut out a man’s eyes while interrogating him. Oh, after he snaps his spine, crippling him for life. He is not someone you want to consider a role model

But that is for later, right now the Batarians are cursing as the Turian and Asari ships go to FTL. They immediately start scouting for them, an action that will lead to the beginning of the end for their government and will push their race to the brink of extinction.

Goeth: Well that was quick.

Ert: Uh-huh. What was it the author said earlier?

this gave me time to re-write the (Spoilers) Space Battle to be less Humans Rule everyone else dies instantly.

Ert: I guess it’s not a lie. Everyone else doesn’t die instantly. Everyone else dies LATER! Let’s see where the story goes on

X-C:ME

Aboard the Turian Ship TSV ‘Light of Menae’

Goeth: The author clearly did some research in finding out that Menae was one of the moons of the Turian homeworld. The author clearly did not do some research in finding out that everything about Menae was classified after the Krogan Rebellions. This makes a ship being named after it seem unlikely. Not impossible. But unlikely. It’s like taking an aircraft carrier and naming it Area 51.

Adrien Victus, a twenty year old Turian with an impressive service record and a reputation for getting his men out alive no matter the circumstances scowls as the ship moves to FTL with the Asari vessel beside them matching every move.

Nora: Oh come on, do we really need two exposition dumps on the same person? If you’re going to go down that path, why not at the very least stuff them together so we only have to suffer through one?

It galled him to flee from a fight, but even though he hated it he knew that one civilian ship and a repurposed former cruiser with half the armament of one still in military service could possibly stand up to eight other cruisers and twelve frigates. Even at full strength with a high competent crew those were insane odds at best and suicidal at worst.

Ert: Yeah, considering that this isn’t even a real warship that they have, running would be the only options that the Turians would really have. Which just kind of makes even even more stupid that they were taking such a crappy ship into uncharted space. For a vacation. Where the hell were they even going? Random planet #421951?

Goeth: Beaches are nice, but the star is starting to lose its stability.

They were being forced further and further into the unexplored territories between the Galactic East edge of Council Space and Batarian space, an unexplored area that had no connecting Relays present,

Nora: Here’s a crazy idea. Turn around. I mean, space is freaking big. You can turn in any direction that you want to, FTL in that direction, stop, make an adjustment, and then do it again. In Mass Effect, two ships can only really fight if both ships are willing to not FTL jump out. How come the Normandy can escape from aliens as advanced as the Collectors in ME2 with a jump away, but the Batarians can’t be shaken?

Ert: Author bends the rules of the universe for contrivance.

although hope that one will be found eventually is something all the Citadel Races await with both curiosity and fear, curiosity for what worlds lay beyond and fear of what might lurk in the unexplored sectors of space.

Although Xeno-archeologists were around eighty percent certain that the Prothean homeworld lies somewhere within this unexplored expanse,

Ert: If the Council had a good idea where the Prothean homeworld was, they would be putting a lot more resources into finding it. The Protheans are kind of a big deal to them. One of their races worships them for fuck’s sake

Adrien Victus neither knew this nor did he honestly care, he is a soldier not a scientist and the lives of nearly a dozen Turian families were under his care.

Nora: What is this, the Enterprise-D? Who takes families into areas where they’re obviously going to all be killed?

Goeth: *Whistles*

X-C:ME

Three hours later

Adrien Victus sighs at the feel of the FTL Drives slowing

Ert: If you can feel the ship coming out of FTL then something has gone horribly wrong. Either the internal dampeners are fucked or the drive itself is tearing the ship apart.

Nora: Either way it’s a very bad position to be in.

and the beginning of their return to subluminal speeds. Mere seconds after the blue halo of Mass Effect FTL travel terminates he starts giving orders.

“Sensors, find us a Relay or planet to hide on immediately, we’re vulnerable out here”

Goeth: Question. Why not hide in the empty void between star systems? It’s so massive that the Batarians could search it for years and never find you. They’d need to know where to look.

Ert: Because then humanity wouldn’t be able to get all of the glory.

Nora: I still don’t get why they don’t just turn about and go back the way they came. That’d do a good job of throwing off the Batarians.

“Helm, keep us moving forward at eighteen units per tick (3,798 kilometers a second (Around 0.0125% the Speed of Light) one unit equals 211 kilometers)”

Ert: Please tell me that you’re not going to be doing that the whole story…*Looks forward* Fuck me sideways.

“Comms inform Mrs. T’Kani about our intentions and ask if her sensors are picking up anything useful”

“Aye, sir” comes the response from the three bridge officers that Victus had addressed.

Victus is about to order some more actions when the sensor officer shouts out in shock “Spirits above!”

Victus immediately hones in on this exclamation “What is it Sensors?”

Ert: Yeah, let’s pause for a second while the author gets another generous helping of vaseline.

Nora: We seriously need to come up with more ways of implying that the author is masturbating, we’re going through them pretty quickly. *Opens notebook* We used one handed writing…*Scribbles down* maybe we can use a reference to a joystick.

The sensor officer one Primus Vakarian looks at his commanding officer with shock and hints of fear in his eyes and expression “Sir I have picked up fifteen ships present in this system, they do not match the profiles of any known race, the smallest of these ships is 750 meters by 320 meter by 115. There are eight of these, seven clustered with the other ships around a Mass Relay and the other one by the second planet in the system. The next largest ship is 820 meters by 400 meters by 200 meters there are two of them, they appear to be a different design compared to the others but have a similar energy reading. Then we have four Dreadnoughts a 1.1 kilometers by 608 meters by 350 meters” Primus falls silent at this

Ert: You know, for a cis-gendered woman, Shepard is real good at waving her dick around

Nora: I’m getting sick of numbers real fast. Not just because half of the time they only exist to hit us over the head again with humanity’s awesomeness, something we have had more than enough of, but because they just end up being meaningless. These numbers and these numbers, which correlate to those numbers and that number. It just comes out as a jumbled mess with no purpose.

Victus takes this all in then notices an anomaly “You said there are fifteen ships but you have only mention fourteen, what about the fifteenth?”

Primus’ mandibles flare out in fear and shock “T-the last ship is f-five kilometers long”

Ert: Wow. I mean wow. I know we keep making masturbation comparisons, but that really did feel like someone utterly blowing their load.

Nora: Ok, let’s move onto new material, we’ve worn that hat out.

Goeth: Why is Garrus’ dad an Autobot?

Throughout the bridge the famous Turian discipline breaks and all the bridge members shout or curse in shock.

Nora: Ironically this is the more respectful slap in the face that the Turians get this story.

Victus staggers back in shock “F-five kilometers! That’s almost five times larger than any Dreadnought in Citadel Space”

Primus nods shakily “Sir, that’s not all”

Ert: Of course not. If the soldier was doing his job properly we would’ve gotten all of this information in one, easily digestible paragraph. But nooooooooo. We had to pad it out. We need to slowly build up to the big dramatic reveal that, and this might shock you to your very core, humanity is, IN FACT…awesome.

Goeth: PLOT TWIST!

Victus shudders slightly at those words “What more Primus”

Primus points to his screen and Victus reads the readout on the energy signatures of the ships “Spirits, the weakest barriers present of those ships are nearly three times stronger than those of a Dreadnought!”

Nora: Vague and unspecific information that only exists to say that My original universe (Donut Steel) > Mass Effect

A couple of the less disciplined Turians faint in shock while the rest swallow hard and mutter to the spirit of the ‘Light of Menae’ to save them from this situation.

Victus stars shouting orders again “Comms inform Mrs. T’Kani to keep close to us”

Ert: Was she just flying off on her own before this? If not, why are you bothering to tell her this? If she was, WHY!?

Goeth: I find it amusing that the author talked about how this was one of his few 10k word chapters. Apparently he’s one of those people that prefer a high word count over well used words.

“Helm, take us towards the Mass Relay and the alien fleet”

Then Victus stops and prays aloud “By spirits let us hope they’re friendly, we have taken too much damage to risk a fight” Silently the entire bridge crew (those still conscious) agree with him and add their own prayers

Ert: Well if they aren’t there are still ways you can use them to your advantage. Such as getting the hell out of dodge while they fight the Batarians, but don’t let me get in the way of your paint by numbers stronger humanity story.

X-C:ME

Shepard is idly musing at what a Warpgate could be doing on Shanxi

Goeth: Shepard. Doesn’t know where her own absurdly powerful FTL gates go.

Nora: Supreme leader of the human race ladies of gentlemen.

when her Psionic connection to the ‘Beaches of Normandy’ and its AI Artemis

Ert: No. Fuck you. You cannot do that. Psionics DO NOT FUCKING WORK ON ROBOTIC BEINGS! They do not interact! There’s a reason you can’t use mind control on a Cyber-Disk or a Sectopod! Was the author so busy looking up big and impressive sounding numbers that he didn’t bother to remember how the basic elements of XCOM and Mass Effect work?

Nora: Do you need to ask?

Ert: It’s in my contract.

alert her of an interesting development.

Goeth: Ah yes “interesting.” The concept of this story arousing our curiosity. We have dismissed that claim.

Shepard brings her ship around and sends out an order over comms and intercom

Nora: Once again the hive mind goes out the window. Having alien crew members has little purpose when all the humans have an instantaneous communication grid that they don’t have access to.

Ert: The author doesn’t seem to know how to smoothly meld his ideas together. Hence the lack of chemistry between “Humanity has a hive mind” and “Humanity is now the Covenant except not evil because I say so.”

“All ships and crewmen, we have just detected an sentient space faring alien race. Prepare First-Contact protocols. As of right now we are on alert status, these aliens might not be friendly.

Ert: Where was this level of precaution the first three times you made first contact! What, are you just concerned that these aliens would be easily enslaved or whatever whitewashed term you use for assimilating them into your total dictatorship?

Especially if they worship the Mass Relays and see us messing with one. All Sangheili and Marines arm up for possible boarding”

Next to Shepard a hologram of a woman with her features but in Ancient Greek Hunting clothing appears

Goeth: And the list of plagiarism and copyright infringement grows.  They also have Halo’s Smart A.I.s.  Because why not.

“Mother, I have done an in-depth scan of the ships approaching, they are two different designs. One appears to be civilian ship and is 300 meters by

Ert: Oh shut up.

Both have signs of battle, but it looks like they have been attacked by multiple ships somewhere between eight and thirty by my estimations”

Shepard nods in acknowledgement as Thel walks up in golden painted Sangheili type Guardian Armor

Nora: We can’t find anything on that. This tells us that the author just decided to make up a type of Elite armor and not describe it at all because his Mary Sue Shepard wasn’t wearing it. All he had to do was pick one of the pre-existing armors.

(Collected by ODSTboy)

to stand on her left while Mikhail is on her right dressed in his own armor. Thel looks at a close up visual of the military or former military vessel “That military ship, it bears many scars, some older than the recent ones, it is a very old warship.

Nora: I know that the other marks aren’t just three months old, because I wouldn’t be able to be insufferably pretentious otherwise.

Ert: Another thing about the humanity is awesome trope. Humans can never do anything wrong. They can’t lose a battle, can’t lose a fight, can’t lose blood, can’t flub a line, CAN’T FUCKING FART IN PUBLIC! They’re perfect in every conceivable way, because THAT DOESN’T GET REAL FUCKING BORING REAL FUCKING FAST!

I would like to meet the race that built it on friendly terms, they have a very interesting design, one that is meant to face an enemy”

Ert: And then we can show how superior we are and have them all bow down before us and declare us gods.

Mikhail nods in agreement “You’re right for a race like that to retreat, whatever is chasing them must either be vastly stronger or must outnumber them four to one or more”

Goeth: I didn’t realize psionics allowed people to be all knowing.

Nora: They don’t. They’re just assuming again. A warship designed to face the enemy is the sign of a great race? Most warships are designed to face enemies. Stop trying to make your characters sound smart author. You’re not good at it.

Shepard getting an errant thought asks something “Artemis, is there any sign of plasma damage or other Ethereal weapons on that ship?” the Human bridge crew mutters under their breaths at this and the Sangheili, Yanme’e and Unggoy all shift uneasily, in their minds anything that can make the Humans look uneasy and slightly afraid is something to be feared.

Ert: No. Spoiler alert, the Ethereals don’t show up in this story. Because they’d be more than canon fodder and that ruins the author’s little game.

Artemis shakes her head to indicate a negative “No, they appear to have been done by some sort of kinetically launched round, judging by the presence of Unknown Element 21 (Element Zero)

Ert: Author is “too cool” in order to have his humanity just call it Element Zero. But he wants people to know what they’re talking about, so he doesn’t actually make them radically different in meaningful ways by using terms the audience is unfamiliar with. And pray tell me What are unknown elements 1-20? You didn’t think of that did you. You just wanted a cool term.

they appear to utilize the Mass Effect style technology found in the Martian ruins” A overlay appears over the visuals of the two ships with a dark blue ‘core’ appearing near the rear of the ships.

Goeth: This is why you don’t turn up your nose at alien technology just because it doesn’t fulfill an adolescent power fantasy.

Shepard nods in acknowledgement “So if worse comes to worse we can Hyperwave jump them and hope our armor holds against the explosion?”

Ert: Uh, go back a little bit, I think we missed something.

Nora: No we didn’t. That’s just a disconnected thought that doesn’t make any sense at all. What explosion?

Artemis seems to pause a second “The chance of full armor penetration is minimal, but it is a possibility if they are angled the right way”

Shepard thinks over the possibilities of such a maneuver. Mikhail ‘overhearing’ her chain of thought shakes his head “That would be an unnecessary risk Susan, we would be better off using a well aimed plasma bolt and FTL jump to snipe their cores leaving them dead in the water with minimal damage and risk”

Ert: So, just for the record, they’re talking about attacking and destroying the damaged ship and the civilian ship, both of which are packed with non-combatants right?

Nora: Yup. Even if the author didn’t want it to come off that way, the way the story is structured it comes off that way.

Goeth: If you snipe a core with a plasma cannon, there’s not going to be much of a ship left. You want to aim for engines. Morons.

Thel nods in agreement with Mikhail “That is the best plan if we wish to capture them, otherwise our weapons can easily destroy their ships with minimal risk to us”

Shepard nods slowly as she contemplates the options given to her by her consort/husband and chief (Non-human) advisor.

Ert: So did Shepard just admit to her empire being racist?

Nora: Let’s just say yes and call it a day.

(Fuck Shepard Counter: 15)

A piping voice sounds out from behind her “What if they are friendly”

Shepard smiles as she turns and regards her daughter Anastasia (Ana) Shepard, looking almost like a miniature version of her the only difference is her hair rather than being a luscious red like hers is instead a luminous white like her fathers.

Nora: Then we enslave the weaklings! Anyone weaker than us must be conquered. Anyone stronger than us must be destroyed!

Goeth: And the author cannot describe appearances, falling back on the old lazy trick of “Like X, except for Y”.

Ert: And the Y is spheshul hair coloring.

The fact that her entire clan except for those from before the ‘Day of Death’ are alternate between luscious red and luminous white has lead her clan to have an un-official marker in their unique hair colors.

Ert: Jesus Christ I want to punch something. This all comes off as stuff that you think would’ve come up before, but the author just awkwardly stuffs when whenever he gets the chance.

Nora: And they do this via magic.

Goeth: All the same hair color? Good to see that genetic diversity is dying.

Shepard however yanks her attention back to the emerald green eyes of her daughter boring into her. Shepard sadly smiles as she talks to her daughter “Because Ana, sometimes the unknown can be dangerous, we don’t want to hurt them, but if they attack we must. Although you are just a little too young, you’ll understand when you’re taught, but I should tell you the basics now”

Goeth: Here are the basics little one. Humanity > everyone else. Everything we do is right and anyone who disagrees with us is wrong and has to be killed, tortured or enslaved.

Shepard slips into her ‘story time’ voice

Ert: Glad to see that you’re taking this seriously…

that she uses when she reads to her daughter before bed (Young humans having to sleep daily rather than weekly like an adult)

Ert: Fuck it, the author’s being lazy so so am I. I’m just going to copy paste what I said last time.

Ert: Jesus Christ I want to punch something. This all comes off as stuff that you think would’ve come up before, but the author just awkwardly stuffs when whenever he gets the chance.

and begins “Long ago, before we could fly through the stars like we can now, we would often stare up into the night sky and wonder what miracle lay out there. Unfortunately for us, instead of miracles or friendly beings the first thing that found us. Were monsters. They did horrible things to us Ana, they cared little for the pain they caused or the fear they spread.

Nora: We’re totally different though. We haven’t performed genetic experiments on anyone or shelled anyone’s cities! What does it matter if the presence of our hive mind is very clearly making other species subservient to us and that we lord our superior technology over all other races?

Goeth: This feels like propaganda.

We still do not know what they wanted, but we could not let them win. So we fought, we fought long and hard. We won,

Ert: When trying to explain to her naughty the complex morality of dealing with unknown life, Shepard somehow worked it back to HUMANITY FUCK YEAH! Not surprised.

Nora: Just bored.

but everything changed. Once we were like the Unggoy, Yanme’e and Sangheili, we had life-spans measured in years rather than eons. That changed when we beat the monsters, the Ethereals. We gained great power and ascended to what we are now, Novus,

Nora: But we only call ourselves the Novus every once in awhile for some reason.

Ert: Like I said. The author doesn’t want to change humanity in meaningful ways. He just wants to make them more OP.

The Unprecedented. But” Ana and the listening in Unggoy, Yanme’e and Sangheili froze “When the fight was over, out of eight billion people, eight billions individual stories and irreplaceable individuals. Only three hundred million were left, three percent of our race.

Goeth: Yes, this is most certainly propaganda. Revisionist history is clearly at work here. She didn’t seem to care when those billions of people died, but now she is treating it as a great tragedy to earn sympathy points.

Nora: This is supposed to come off as heartwarming, but Shepard just feels like a sociopath.

We rebuilt, we grew back into our splendor and we strode forth into the stars with the technology taken from the monsters. But we made two vows, the first was to never let a monster like the Ethereals walk on our homeworld again and the other was to make sure that we never became monsters either”

Nora: Well ONE of those things certainly happened. I’m guessing the other one is still a work in progress huh?

Shepard stands from her throne and opens her arms wide as if taking in all the beings on the bridge “And to see the proof of our second vow all you need to do is look at this bridge, rather than slay the unknown and conquer like the Ethereals, we sought to understand. We could have left the Unggoy to perish, but that would make us monsters. We could have treated the Yanme’e like slaves, but that would make us monsters. We could have conquered the Sangheili, but that”

Ana pipes up and says “Would make us monsters?”

Ert: Yeah, you didn’t conquer the Elites. You just took land and power after shedding blood and a display of power that you achieved through superior military technology. TOTALLY FUCKING DIFFERENT! We’re the good guys! We’re the good guys because the author likes us, therefore everything we do is good! FUCK YOU SHEPARD!

Shepard: Huh?

Ert: Different one.

Shepard: You get used to it after awhile…

(Fuck Shepard Counter: 14)

Shepard smiles at her daughter and heir and kneels down to hug her “Yes, Ana, that would make us monsters. We do not want to be monsters, but that is the danger that comes with power. Humans used to be weak and greedy when given power, only unique and uncommon individuals could resist the dark side of power” Shepard releases Ana from her hug.

Ana looks confused and asks “What’s the dark side of power?”

Nora: Oh. Forcing people to have sex for science, banishing those who dare to defy you, using mind control powers to make people want to be your slaves, seizing power and offering false hope that the rightful owners will be able to retake it, forcing conscription on the masses, having expendable slave soldiers, take your pick. This story has the full works.

Before Shepard can answer Thel does “The dark side of power, is that it can turn good people into arrogant, selfish monsters that wish to hurt others to prove they are ‘better'”

Ert:…The utter lack of self awareness on the author’s part is staggering.

Shepard nods slowly “Humans used to be the same, we would put down others for the stupidest of reasons, everything from the color of our skin to the scores of our last math test. We were on the verge of becoming monsters”

Nora: Author, we know what happens later in the story. You can’t have this speech talking about how humanity is better now, considering the stuff that they pull off.

Ert: You’re trying to be heartwarming, but the circumstances around it make your speeches come off as naive, dishonest and just flat out wrong. We have a term for this. Glurge

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Glurge

Shepard then adds a Psionic message to her daughter ‘But instead, we have become protectors and guardians.

Goeth: HA! Tell me Shepard, who have you protected? No one. You have never defended an alien world from attack. Presumably because it would ruin your victim narrative about humanity, if someone else was harmed the same way.

You must listen and learn Ana, one day you might be the one to guide Humanity. Do not let power draw you down and destroy you. Because it might just take all of humanity with you. Do you understand’

Nora: Ana, don’t be like your mom.

Ert: Good lesson.

Ana nods in response which confuses Thel slightly until he realizes that Shepard had been talking Psionically with her daughter.

Goeth: The hive mind truly feels like a novelty. There was nothing about that last sentence that was more sensitive than the rest of the conversation. This conversation should’ve been all one way or all the other way.

Shepard smiles and hugs her daughter again “Don’t worry Ana, I will be around for a long time,

Ert: Don’t remind me.

Goeth: Oh I don’t know. Give me a few fusion lances and I might be able to do something with it. Shooting chemical reactions as projectiles? That’s a concept I honestly never thought of. And desperately want to experiment with it

all you have to do is watch me and you’ll know how to become a good ruler,

Nora: HA!

you’ve already started. It would have been easy for you to remain silent and not spoken up to ask why we were not trying to befriend the aliens.

Nora: You’re getting the cane for that by the way. :)

That strength, to stand up in front of people screaming or talking about doing something that you don’t agree with is part of being a ruler. The next part, is to be able to let them understand your point of view while understanding theirs as well.

Ert: Uh-huh. Let me catalog away that little tidbit into my “bitch about later” folder

Goeth: This thing is the size of the Oxford English Dictionary.

But you’re a little young for that yet” Shepard sees Thara walk in looking for Ana “Now go with Thara, Ana, and put on your armor. I don’t want you to be hurt Ana”

Ert: THEN WHY DID YOU BRING HER OUT TO THE FRONTIER!?

Nora: Because the kids always worked out on Star Trek the Next Generation.

Ana nods and hugs her mother extra tight before letting go and running off towards Thara who nods thankfully at Shepard.

Shepard stands up and turns back to the holographic control board that is in front of her ‘throne’, beyond the Holo-board she can see the bridge crew get the ship ready for any emergency. Shepard nods to Thel “Thank you for informing Thara of Ana being here Thel”

Nora: As much as I like this time wasting dialogue, it’d be more fun if they actually, you know, did something.

Thel just nods in acknowledgement of the thanks. Mikhail smirks at the Sangheili,

Ert: * GONG GONG GONG GONG GONG GONG GONG* FUCK YOU!

he was reserved until they had alcohol, then all bets were off.

Thankfully Thel and Shepard had never woken up in bed after a night of drunken sex, that would have lead to Thel having to fight Mikhail due to the nature of their cultures.

Ert:…Go fuck yourself. I’m not listening to this.  Thel ‘Vadam  deserves better.

Goeth: And then sex. For some reason.

Women however were fine and Shepard occasionally tried to get him in a threesome with some of her female soldier buddies

Ert:….Ugh. UGH! UUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

Nora: *Grinds teeth* Why is it that Shepard’s biesexuality is only revealed at the time we’re talking about threesomes with two girls involved? Why does that strike me as it only being there because girl on girl is hot? Kind of reminds me of how I figured out I’m heteroflexible and I went out of my way to say that it wasn’t to fulfill a lesbian threesome fantasy for someone else.

from before the war that never ended up as part of X-Com. He was still refusing, but he didn’t know if he could keep it up forever. Something Shepard was counting on secretly.

Ert: Because all men are horndogs who just want to put their dicks in as many people as possible right? RIGHT!?

Nora: After we randomly got a hot biesexual pandering moment and a all men are perverts joke, I think we’re ready to stop.

Goeth: Tune in next time for more nothing!

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52 Comments on “1504: X-Com: Mass Effect: Chapter 3 Part 1”

  1. leobracer says:

    “Primus Vakarian”

    I didn’t know Garrus was related to the creator of the Transformers.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    Ert: Yeah, because as it turns out, its size doesn’t really affect its speed. BECAUSE IT’S IN FUCKING SPACE! In fact, I had a friend point out that, in reality, larger ships should be able to race circles around smaller ships in space, due to the lack of gravity and the larger ships having larger power cores. We accept this break from reality in most fiction, but in a story that’s been trying so hard to be scientific, I’m not letting it slide.

    A better answer would be “it depends”. Just on its own, a larger ship will have greater inertial mass, requiring more force (and more power) to make it accelerate or decelerate. It might have an even greater ability to produce that power and shunt it to engines… or it might not.

    • TacoMagic says:

      I find it unlikely to be more maneuverable primarily due to the inability to put full-powered engines on all surfaces of the ship to completely utilize the greater power for all movements, so “fly circles around” is probably a bad comparison here. Nor would you really want to design a capital ship that way because you’re going to be dealing with stresses and torque moments over greater distances, which could cause fast maneuvers to tear the ship apart.

      This is the difference between physics and engineering here. Physics says that more power equals the ability to move and change direction more easily, which is true in an ideal situation (one where you can arbitrarily and instantaneously point your engine, ie the force vector, in any direction). Engineering realizes that building something like that is insane, if not impossible.

      However, it’s very likely that a capital ship would be capable of faster overall relative speed due to that greater availability of power focused on a primary vector through a “main” engine.

      • erttheking says:

        Yeah that’s what he meant, sorry I wasn’t clear

        • TacoMagic says:

          “Run circles around” can still be a weirdly accurate depiction if we talk about certain versions of FTL though.

          If the ship can simply move space with its FTL drive, then there is no actual propulsion. So, utilizing that kind of movement, a capital ship could display what would appear to be extreme agility from an external point of reference.

          Since that’s a technology that doesn’t exist yet, it’s impossible to know whether that kind of maneuvering would be viable. Still, an alien race that has licked FTL could produce a ship that would be nearly impossible to hit.

          Actually, from memory, I think the final boss from Homeworld Cataclysm did something like that.

        • erttheking says:

          Homeworld Cataclysm…I really wish that game got remastered with the other two Homeworld games. The story looks really good from what I’ve seen. So long as it doesn’t have anything like Homeworld one had with that fucking mission where you take damage if you aren’t on a very narrow path and that path has mines everywhere.

        • TacoMagic says:

          Yeah, it’s really sad that they lost the source code for it. It was a very good addition to the franchise.

        • erttheking says:

          THEY WHAT!? ARE YOU SERIOUS!?

        • TacoMagic says:

          Yeah, that’s the reason it wasn’t in the HD remake.

          http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/139695-Gearbox-Homeworld-Cataclysm-Re-Release-Comes-Down-to-Finding-the-Source-Code

          Apparently the sound assets still exist, but the actual source code has been lost.

          Granted, with the sound assets and the original game, they could feasibly just remake everything for the new engine from scratch, but I’m betting Gearbox doesn’t want to make that investment given that it’d probably barely pay for itself.

        • erttheking says:

          *Inhales angrily* Christ in heaven…guess I’m gonna need to track down an original disk…

  3. BatJamags says:

    Nora: And to cap it all off, the Asari are not female, Liara even says, “Male and female have no meaning to us.” They’re mono-gendered. Gender was not a concept they had.

    Technically, all Asari can bear children, and there needs to be a second parent for this to happen. So, while they don’t have a concept of gender on a societal level, their biological sex is technically female.

    I’m not sure whether the author was talking about gender or sex, though, so they may still be wrong about this.

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    A couple of the less disciplined Turians faint in shock

    Because of course the response of a military officer to an unknown situation is to pass the fuck out.

  5. BatJamags says:

    Nora: I’d like to know exactly why the hell a Turian vacation ship is so far away from Turian space that a Batarian slaver fleet can attack them and not instantly get vaporized by defensive forces. And why they’re bothering to chase down two ships, one of which carrying Turian soldiers when they’re already got full cargo holds. I mean, there’s no way in hell this wouldn’t end badly for them. There’s got to be some kind of IFF identifying that ship as Turian military, an officer is in charge of it after all. It’d bring the slavers unwanted attention, when they could hit much easier targets. Usually colonies in the Terminus Systems, far beyond the Council’s sphere of influence.

    But Batarians = teh ebuls! They have to harass the main characters so that humanity can = teh ossums when they save them!

  6. BatJamags says:

    they are afraid of many things but the one thing that terrifies them more than anything else is the possibility of being blinded, this is due to their religious beliefs. Unfortunately for the Batarians before the week is over Humanity will be aware of that fact, and they will use it to horrifying effect over the next decade.

    So humans are supposed to be the bad guys, right?

  7. BatJamags says:

    It’s like taking an aircraft carrier and naming it Area 51.

    Hey, some very good friends of mine serve aboard the U.S.S. Area 51!

  8. BatJamags says:

    Goeth: Beaches are nice, but the star is starting to lose its stability.

    So… Haestrom?

  9. AdmiralSakai says:

    Shepard smiles as she turns and regards her daughter Anastasia (Ana) Shepard, looking almost like a miniature version of her the only difference is her hair rather than being a luscious red like hers is instead a luminous white like her fathers.

    She brought her kid on an active-duty patrol ship?

  10. AdmiralSakai says:

    But you’re a little young for that yet” Shepard sees Thara walk in looking for Ana “Now go with Thara, Ana, and put on your armor. I don’t want you to be hurt Ana”

    Wait, who’s “Thara” again?

  11. BatJamags says:

    luscious red and luminous white

    Is it really necessary to use the same adjectives every time you talk about hair colors?

  12. AdmiralSakai says:

    Thankfully Thel and Shepard had never woken up in bed after a night of drunken sex, that would have lead to Thel having to fight Mikhail due to the nature of their cultures.

    Was… was that a reference to Halo The True Meaning Of Christmas??!?!?!

  13. BatJamags says:

    Shepard however yanks her attention back to the emerald green eyes of her daughter boring into her.

    Those eyes aren’t the only boring things around here.

  14. BatJamags says:

    Before Shepard can answer Thel does “The dark side of power, is that it can turn good people into arrogant, selfish monsters that wish to hurt others to prove they are ‘better’”

    Why do I get the feeling that Thel is making a dig at “humanity?”

  15. BatJamags says:

    So, to summarize the first half of this chapter:

    Batarians are EEEEEEEEVUL

    Humans encounter a first-contact situation.

    Humans ignore first-contact situation so that Shepard can have story time with her daughter.

    Random, out-of-nowhere, incomprehensible paragraph that seems to have something to do with Shepard and Thel having sex?

    Of all the confusing, meandering, and obnoxious pieces of crap…

  16. BatJamags says:

    A piping voice sounds out from behind her “What if they are friendly”

    Shepard: HERESY! *BLAM!* We must purge the xenos scum!

  17. DerCheesenBorgirsGiveYouGas says:

    crappy throne

    Like… a toilet?

  18. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    Asari do not take in DNA from other species, the biological barrier makes that impossible. It is established in game that, while an alien species can “impregnate” an Asari, the DNA that isn’t the mother’s is randomly generated.

    The author just forgot to turn on Not Created Equally.

  19. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    the Hierarchy would be a-ok with you smoking crack

    Chef Donner Titus Hannibal can attest to that

  20. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    These numbers and these numbers, which correlate to those numbers and that number. It just comes out as a jumbled mess with no purpose.

    Sounds a lot like my experiences with Calculus ever since I hit university! :D

  21. SuperFeatherYoshi says:

    Too bad you skipped the review replies, because it is simply a gold mine of information on how ficked up in the head the author is.

    Segundo: The Drones are not slaves, rather they are a caste born to work. Can something truly be called slavery if the one thought enslaved not only loves their role but also has been given the opportunity to escape from the perceived slavery but never taken it. Think about that for a second.

    Remember, kids! It’s not slavery of they like it!

    Leonas: I have already PM’d you with a response but I will repeat it here: Humanity is still independent, Rebellions can and do happen even in Hive Mind insects they have been observed, usually when a younger queen chooses to stay rather than leave.

    As for the Nephilim, they still have some information on Humanity, but they are keeping it secret and slowly winding their way into Citadel Society in hopes of finding something (Anything) that they can use to show their loyalty to Shepard again and regain their position as full Homo Novus.

    Translation: I have no idea how the hell a hove mind works, but I’m still putting it in the story because I think it’s cool.

    GreenRena: It is actually quite difficult as I have to think through the eyes of several trillion rather than a single person. I think the biggest problem most authors encounter is that they make all the beings emotionless and make them all subservient to the Hive Mind. Where in this story the Hive Mind is more akin to a really advanced communication network more than anything else.

    See above.

  22. SuperFeatherYoshi says:

    due to a recommendation from the Asari Matriarchy
    *Headdesk*
    It’s the Asari REPUBLICS you dumbass! The Asari Matriarchy is a faction from Battleclaw 40k!

  23. SuperFeatherYoshi says:

    The Asari ship is piloted by a single Asari, known to the Turians as Alara T’Kani

    Gotta love how Liara picked a fake name that rhymes with her real one.

  24. SuperFeatherYoshi says:

    while the rest swallow hard and mutter to the spirit of the ‘Light of Menae’ to save them from this situation.

    The hell? Since when do turians believe in the Machine Spirit? Is this really turning into Battleclaw 40k?

    *Looks up Wiki*

    Okay, so turians believe that ships have spirit? True. Turians believe that spirits can interact with the physical world and thus save them from dangers? Wrong wrong wrong wrong!

    Turians believe that spirits are only supposed to act as INSPIRATION for them! Not really helpful when you’re surrounded by ridiculously powerful Mary Sue ships!

  25. SuperFeatherYoshi says:

    they have a very interesting design, one that is meant to face an enemy

    Ehhhh… What? The warship is designed to face an enemy? Well… YEAH! As opposed to what, exactly? A warship meant to have friendly tea parties with an enemy?

  26. Jon Arbuckle says:

    I just realised something. You know how Shepard is indestructible and has total psychic control over her entire race of Mary Sues? What’s to stop Harbinger just going, “I’ll have that, ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL,” giving him an unstoppable army when the reapers show up? Humanity has doomed the galaxy.

    • SuperFeatherYoshi says:

      As much as I would LOVE that, preeety sure indoctrination is more complicated than that. I don’t think the Reapers can just indoctrinate an entire hive mind, since the rachnis helping out with building the Crucible weren’t affected by the Reapers’ indoctrinating rachnis on Utukku.

  27. TacoMagic says:

    In fact, I had a friend point out that, in reality, larger ships should be able to race circles around smaller ships in space, due to the lack of gravity and the larger ships having larger power cores.

    Your friend makes my engineering hurt.

    Unless we’re talking about FTL here then, yeah, fair point.

  28. TacoMagic says:

    The fuck is going on with the pacing of this chapter!? They’re rushing headlong into a first-contact situation when all of a sudden we break for indoctrination time with Shep’s larva, and then without any kind of transition, we’re reading about kinky alien three-ways.

    What the actual fuck!?

  29. "Lyle" says:

    Primus points to his screen and Victus reads the readout on the energy signatures of the ships “Spirits, the weakest barriers present of those ships are nearly three times stronger than those of a Dreadnought!”

    You know, it might just be my unfamiliarity with any of the source materials in this story, but why is it assumed that just because these unknowns have giant ships with strong shields that they are a threat? Everyone is panicking but if the ships on the screen haven’t made any fucking aggressive moves when the two Pleasure Barges show up, why are they assuming they’re going to get attacked by them? Is this a normal thing in the canon world? Pop out of space, see a big ship, KABLAMMY? Seems like everyone is really overreacting. They should attempt to open comms. Even if they don’t speak the same language, there are universal signs of friendship that could be communicated. And if the barges are being chased by slavers, hiding behind BIG ASS NEW FRIENDS would be very beneficial.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      I don’t blame them for being cautious, considering that “Pop out of space, see a big ship, KABLAMMY” was how the Rachnai Wars started, and I’ll give them credit for not taking any provocative actions themselves against the unknowns.

      If it wasn’t for the slavers wandering around and shooting at stuff, I could very easily have seen this becoming a tense standoff that slowly became friendlier as both parties worked to establish basic communication.

      And then, of course, Queen Fussypants would use that line of communication to start with the whole mind-rape and join-or-die shit, and everything would go to hell.

    • erttheking says:

      It’s just them being in awe of the God Mode sues, that’s all.


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