1518: X-Com: Mass Effect: Chapter 4 & Chapter 5 Part 1Posted: August 30, 2016
Nora: What’s up Ert?
Ert: I got a reply from the author, Dragonsong2795, when I left reviews on this this story and its rewrite
Goeth: Don’t keep us in suspense what’s the word?
Ert: He said my review that teared it apart was the best review that he had ever gotten. And that in the remake, he was upset that only three people disapproved of what Novus did, because that was his intention. Huh.
Nora: So is this story good now?
Ert: Fuck no, it’s god awful. If the author wanted people to think that he didn’t do a very good job of expressing it. All this means is that I feel slightly less comfortable taking pot shots at the author himself. I’m still ripping this thing a new one.
Goeth: Same old same old. Time for a new chapter.
Exposition Chapter 1
As a apology of sorts for the delayed chapter, I have written up a short exposition chapter detailing some of the background information on certain technologies and Humanity itself.
Ert:…*Screams in rage and frustration and several other things*
Nora: Wow. That’s a whole new low point. Not only is he dedicating an entire chapter to exposition, he’s flat out calling attention to it. That’s an astounding lack of self-awareness and understanding of story structure.
Goeth: This is why, despite the author claiming people misunderstood his story, we’re pressing on with smiles on our faces. Stuff like this.
Readers might notice that I refer to Humanity as the Novus through this chapter, this is due to the fact that I am specifying to the Novus of Earth/Terra, not the Nephilim of Sierra-117/Purgatory (Which is what they named their planet)
Ert: ENOUGH! FUCKING! REFERENCES! Question, what happened to Sierra 001-116? When it was about Master Chief there were 150 Spartans and he just happened to be number 117. He wasn’t just “117 because it reference to something else.” And why did you feel the need to specify this? You called humanity Novus and the Nephilim the Nephilim. This feels like you came out and said, “Hey guys! Novus=Novus and Nephilim=Nephilim! Just wanted to clear that up.”
Nora: And our spell check hates your names.
Finally to get the feel of the first two expositions, it is recommended that you find and listen to some of ‘The Directors’ voice and lines from Rooster Teeth’s Red vs. Blue as that was the voice I was imagining reading and/or writing the exposition.
Nora: We have considered your suggestion and have decided to ignore it. Mainly because an author should not be telling their reader how to read their story. They shouldn’t tell them to listen to soundtracks, or to imagine someone’s voice, or to picture a certain image in someone’s head. That isn’t how it works. Instead we shall be imagining this being narrated by Goofy.
However any suitably academic or professor style voices will fit just fine (as will any posh British accents now that I think about it)
Ert: You heard the lady, we’re going with the dog.
Exposition Chapter 1
Hyperwave FTL Drive
Ert: Oh Christ, not this again. SFY has already pointed out why it doesn’t make any sense, mainly because they were trying to use a communication antenna to create FTL engines.
Goeth: Tried it once, it didn’t work.
To an outsider the Hyperwave FTL Drive might appear to be the perfect FTL Drive, with a small charge up period and large jump radius there appears to be few faults to this marvelous device. However that is actually incorrect, the Hyperwave FTL Drive has several faults, many of which can be quite deadly.
Ert: We just haven’t actually seen any of these in the actual story. So as far as I’m concerned,it really doesn’t have those faults, because a flaw that’s mentioned but never impedes anyone might as well not be there.
Nora: Shhh, the professor is talking.
However to explain these faults a explanation of how the device works is required and it can be summed up in Five Steps:
In slightly more detail the process is such:
Ert: Next time get to the more detailed process from the very start, thank you very much.
Nora: Seriously Dragon, it’s exposition. Why the hell are you trying to pad out exposition? We’re not enthralled by it.
First the FTL Drive locates the location the operator wishes to go, using powerful sensors and sub-space detection it then decides whether or not it is safe to jump, this is known colloquially as Locating.
Goeth: The first and foremost one that needed to be explained in detail. The drive needs to know where you’re going.
Ert: Clearly we needed a whole chapter spelling this out
Second the FTL Drive tears a hole in the fabric of Space-Time (Although tearing is slightly misleading, perhaps opening is more appropriate)
Nora: Stop splitting hairs. It doesn’t matter and I fail to see the difference.
and causes it to swallows the vessel whole, this is colloquially known as Sundering.
Nora: So what exactly is being split apart here to use that term?
Ert: Something something something, the name sounded cool, shit up.
Third the FTL Drive contradicts the laws of reality
Goeth: Clearly not. It is physically possible. The invention of this drive merely expanded your knowledge of reality, proving that your understanding of reality was incomplete. Therefore, unless you are suggesting that it places somewhere outside of the realm of reality, it did not contradict the laws of reality.
by moving the vessel instantly (the process actually takes three point two nanoseconds, but considering even the enhanced perception of the Novus this can be considered instantaneous) to the location it seeks to travel to, this is known as Contradicting.
Nora: Question. Why not have the name be related to something that is actually happening and not be what is essentially an adverb? This is supposed to be a clinical take on humanity’s FTL travel.
Ert: Because pretentious. Moments like this make me wonder if Dragon was being honest with me.
Fourth the FTL Drive tears (or opens)
Goeth: It added nothing the first time and adds nothing now.
another hole in the fabric of Space-Time to ‘shift’ back into the known universe from the dimensional-altered space (also known as Sub-space)
Ert: You think that this would’ve been brought up the first time the ship entered sub-space.
Goeth: My inner red-pen is aching to get out. This is a proposal that would’ve earned a D- from me, if I was feeling generous.
Finally the FTL Drive cools down and attempts to radiate out the Contradiction that has built up in the drive, this is obviously known as Cooling and is the only step which can be ignored, which can be disastrous.
Nora: I feel like the first step could be ignored as well. It would be easy to just make a jump without looking. I mean it would be suicidal, but so would ignoring the need to cool the systems.
This leads to the idea of Contradiction, while the Hyperwave FTL Drive is powerful it’s use causes whatever system that implemented the Laws of Reality to respond.
Ert: ITS! ITS! ITS! It’s means it is! Are you saying “it is use causes?” No you’re fucking not!
Goeth: Oh dear, this has all the marks of a rough draft people. “System that implemented the laws of reality.” There is no system that implements the laws of reality. The laws of reality simple are. Your D- is slipping way.
It does this by causing Contradiction to build up in the Hyperwave FTL Drive.
Ert: Ok, rewind. Contradiction was supposed to be the process of moving instantly from one location to the other. How the fuck are you supposed to build that up? It’s not an energy!
Nora: I guess when the author mentioned the laws of reality breaking, he just meant he was posting a bunch of impossible and inconsistent nonsense.
Goeth: Agreed. *Writes on paper* F. See me after class.
Contradiction is as it is named, it is a force and/or energy that contradicts the Laws of Reality, in small amounts this ‘energy’ is harmless. As it builds however the results begin to become more prominent.
Ert: Is it an energy or a process? MAKE UP YOUR FUCKING MIND!
A Hyperwave FTL Drive that has not been used in the last 72 hours is capable of two ‘safe’ jumps before the Contradiction raises a level.
Goeth: Define your terms Dragon. Don’t talk about levels and how they can be raised before you have established what they are.
Nora: I forget you’re a teacher sometimes. An evil scientist teacher, but still a teacher
Goeth: Well technically I’m a department head, but I did do a lot of teaching to get there.
At the first level the Locating step is affected, the vessel can end up a thousand light-years off course, but more importantly it can end up somewhere dangerous, for example within forty-thousand kilometers of a star or within the final third of the Accretion Disc of a Black Hole (A place at which point even the most powerful Inertia Dampeners fail)
Ert: You know, you could’ve just said “Somewhere dangerous,” and left it at that. Most people could’ve connected the dots on their own.
Nora: Failing that, you could’ve worded it more interestingly. Instead it came off as you shoving in wordy terms in an attempt to make this sound smart. You didn’t succeed.
(I HAS NUMBERS Counter: 5)
A single jump can be performed at the first level before the Contradiction rises to the second level. While not outright banned it is highly suggested that such jumps not be attempted without utmost cause.
Goeth: And is there a reason given for this? No? Well, the first level has proven itself to be a worthless term. It essentially only exists as a threshold for the second level.
At the second level, the Contradiction step is affected, the vessel still jumps between points in space-time, however it may end up gravitationally twisted or radioactively bombarded or even worse ‘Altered’.
Ert: Taco can correct me on this if I’m wrong, but I feel like if you’re only exposed to radiation for a nanosecond or two, it wouldn’t really have an impact on you. Granted I could be wrong if the amount of radiation was beyond comprehension, enough for instantaneous vaporization, but I don’t think the author had that in mind.
A vessel that is ‘Altered’ has had even single atom randomized, as such when they return to Reality they tend to explode, especially as exactly half of their atoms will become Antimatter, the explosion of a CCS-Battlecruiser would be devastating indeed.
Nora: They TEND to explode? As in there’s been an example of one that hasn’t exploded? Tell me, how do you have half of a ship turn to anti-matter and not have it explode?
Goeth: You don’t. And the science behind this is utterly non-existent. Not even a throw away bad science explanation for any of it
Theoretically only a single jump would be required to raise the Contradiction to the theoretical ‘Final Level’ naturally due to the massive dangers of such an action it has never been attempted.
Ert: So, just to clarify. The first level is nothing, the second level is bullshit, and no one knows what the final level is. Why did this need terminology when only one level has any solid information?
Nora: This is not how you do world building Dragon.
The Theoretical ‘Final Level’ on Contradiction is fatal, if a ship attempts an FTL Jump at this level they will be flung out of Reality and dumped in the Void between universes. No vessel built by Novus (or any other hands) can survive such an event.
Ert: Back up. Other universes? Dragon, go back and start again. You introduce people to the concept of different universes before you introduce the void between them. You have this all freaking backwards.
Goeth: Have you even been to another universe? If so please tell us.
Nora: Namely so that we know we’ve unintentionally gone back to our roots in From Another World.
This leads us to the use of Warpgates and Halos
Nora: Very inorganically.
A intelligent observer may wonder what the purpose of the Warpgates and Halo Array is
Ert: I have to say that I have been wondering what the fuck these things exist for, yes.
and to put it in the most simple of terms, they are the ‘work-around’.
Each Warpgate and Halo allows the use of the Hyperwave FTL Drive, but without the build-up of Contradiction.
Goeth: In other words it’s only truly useful for starships that need to make repeated jumps within a very small space of time. Considering that it could take most Mass Effect FTL drives three days to reach some locations with only one jump, this seems rather wasteful. It just doesn’t justify the massive resource drain that these installations would have.
This combined with such great jump ranges (25,000 light-years for a Warpgate and 150,000 Light-years for a Halo) is the primary reason for their creation.
Nora: Halos are still far more powerful than they would ever need to realistically be. While we’re on the subject, it still hasn’t been established where the hell these installations are supposed to be sending ships. Where do they need to go that they said “25,000 light years isn’t enough, we need 150,000!”
The secondary reason is military in nature (but considering the Novus that is not unusual) the Halos act as Military fortresses, if a world is threatened a massive fleet (between 500-1000 ships) can be dropped on the enemy in an instant. However a Halo must be re-calibrated once every twelve months and will remain off-line for around a week. This is one reason for multiple Halos to be constructed, the other is so that multiple worlds can be reinforced simultaneously.
Ert: Well there’s a half baked reason. Only half baked. It would’ve been much easier to reach friendly planets if you had just placed them closely together, negating the need for massive and unwieldy installations. And I still fail to see what niche they fill that a warp gate can’t.
Goeth: And if it needs to be taken offline for a week every year then it most likely is the result of shoddy craftsmanship.
Nora: It really is a slap in the face that Novus is supposed to be peaceful, yet we shouldn’t be surprised that the Halo was a military instillation. And Novus’ Mary Sue nature continues to become even more apparent. Fleets numbering 500-1000? Even the Covenant didn’t have fleets that big! They only had one fleet that was around 500 ships big, and it was a fleet they were putting together for the invasion of EARTH!
However the creation of a Halo or Warpgate causes a Navigational danger, if you fly within 50 meters of the exterior of the Ringworld
Nora: If you try and kiss one with the hull of your starship in other words. In other words, if you’re stupid. And navigational is not a proper noun.
then you’ll be caught up in the Contradiction being diverted away from the starships using the Halo or Warpgate, survival of such a thing is… unlikely.
Any further information on the Halos or Warpgates is classified
Ert: This is supposed to be exposition author. Stop acting like it’s one of your oh so clever research reports.
Goeth: It’s a special kind of pretentious to try and make an info dump sound like more than it is.
The Novus have a language system that can only be called ‘Redundantly Complex’
Goeth: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. They shouldn’t have a language anymore, the hive mind should have eliminated the need for it.
especially considering their Psionic communication network. Each Novus knows six languages, five common tongues and one Clan Language, it is thought that the reason the Novus have six languages is for simple entertainment, they make a game out of speaking aurally when they could simply commune mind to mind.
Ert: That’s a fucking stupid reason. I’m glad to see that when coming up with characterization for Novus, Dragon couldn’t be bothered to come up with a good explanation for why his Mary Sue species has so many languages.
Nora: What, were you expecting a highly efficient hive mind species to only have one language? But that would make sense.
The Six Languages are:
High Tongue: This ‘language’ is only used in formal occasions and ceremonial observations, pre-war Humans might recognize it as ‘Shakespearian English’
Nora: Pretentious twat speak in other words.
Goeth: People are always trying to ride on the coattails of Shakespeare to try and convince others that they’re sophisticated and intelligent.
Military Speak: A series of short exclamations and grunts this language is meant for rapid communication in battle, it is often supplemented by Psionic communications, it has not been rendered obsolete due to the possibility of Psionic disruptions.
Ert: Last chapter, Shepard was moaning about how verbal communication was too slow and inefficient. Despite the massive improvement, she apparently needed an even more speedy method of communication. I get the feeling that Shepard is the type of person who would look at FTL jumps taking three point two nanoseconds and scream “THAT’S TOO SLOW!”
Nora: And calling military speak a language is pushing it a little bit.
Common Tongue: Tied for the most widely used language, Common Tongue (Or ‘English’ to those before the Ethereal War)
Goeth: How utterly predictable. You’d think he’d come up with something more interesting considering that English already has a slot, but apparently he thought it deserved two.
is used for everyday interactions and general signage.
Trade Speak: A very fluid language with a basis in French, Trade Speak is both lyrical and precise, a language of beauty and perfection. It is used mostly for transactions where there can be no misunderstanding. It is the only known language to have nearly five hundred different words for ‘sale’, ‘bargain’ and ‘quality’
Ert: A precise language where there are a hundred and fifty words for three concepts. I think it’s just the opposite of precise, it sounds bloated and cluttered.
Nora: Hey fuck off Trade Speak, High Tongue already took the spot for the pretentious language.
Low Tongue: Tied for the most widely used language, Low Tongue is an accented Common Tongue, while not particularly a problem, misunderstandings are possible due to an inability to decipher the accent of the speaker. The accent of the speaker depends on their Clan Language.
Nora: So in other words, Low Tongue is just Common Tongue again.
Goeth: The work of copy paste.
Clan Language: Each Clan of the Novus is structured around a Culture of pre-Ethereal War Humanity. Each Clan takes on the language and Culture of a lost Culture, the reason for this has never been revealed, however the most likely one is that the Clans act as a living record of the fallen cultures of their homeworld.
Ert: So. Just to summarize. Novus’ six languages? English, grunts, French, English, English and etc. I’m underwhelmed, to say the least.
The Novus Homeworld
To the Galaxy at large the Novus homeworld is a mythical place, no-one but the Novus, Sangheili, Yanme’e and Unggoy have ever set foot upon it or even know where it is.
Ert: For reasons that are never explored or explained. I honestly feel like Shepard hid the location of Earth just to come off as mysterious to the Council. She’s got her head up her ass like that.
The Novus utilize the fact that all of their technology is bound together by a Psionic Hive Mind (The same one that their species connects to)
Ert: I don’t know what’s stupider. Their technology being connected to their hive mind or the possibility of it having its own hive mind.
Nora: Let’s go with the former. At least with the latter there’d be a chance of a robot uprising.
Ert: Not with these pricks.
to prevent any astrological charts leading to their homeworld (or any of their worlds for that matter) being captured should one of their ships be destroyed or captured.
Goeth: A Novus ship being captured. Good one.
The Novus Homeworld’s name itself is unknown, it has been called:
And many others, each Novus Clan seems to have their own name for the planet, this small irregularity has lead to a great deal of confusion for the STG, to the point that at one time it was even considered that the Novus had multiple homeworlds that were specific to each Clan.
This has since been disproved.
Ert: Well, that chapter has added a lot of information. Too bad it adds FUCKING NOTHING! None of this is going to come up in the story. NONE OF IT! The tongues, the problems with faster than light travel, Halos being used to reinforce planets, the various names for Earth, none of it is ever brought up again. So this was, at best, pointless and at one future point in the story it actually creates a gaping plot hole. Nice one author.
Nora: Exposition is really only ever worth while if what it brings up has a purpose. And even then, you’d be better off working it organically into the story. Not just posting a chapter that might as well be titled “And a bunch of shit that will never be important.”
Goeth: And now for an actual chapter.
Warning: There is the description of the death of a child in this chapter, if you do not want to read it, please skip where the warnings are posted.
Ert: Oh yes. Because we are totally ok with the detailed slaughter of four eyed filth, but someone who hasn’t reached the arbitrary “ok to kill” marker of eighteen? That’s just too much! It also comes off as very hypocritical considering that it’s already been established that billions of Batarians are going to die, and I very much doubt that children were exempt from that.
Nora: I don’t know. In the rewrite there was a clan rebellion lead by the Udina clan (Because of course) and they were slaughtered to the last person. There were just magically no children at the time. Yes I’m serious. The author seems to think that genocide is ok so long as you exclude under eighteens. We read something like that in a Naruto fan fiction called Mother. The author talked about how evil Itachi Uchia was because he killed his entire clan, including the kids. Then he had his Gary Stu Naruto do the same thing, but he didn’t kill the kids so it was ok. Even though he killed the civilians. Is this a thing?
The Shanxi Incident Part II – Diplomacy
Aboard the Asari Dreadnought ‘Felara’ a matriarch stands at a viewport staring out into the blue streams of ME:FTL sped up light.
Goeth: That is not how anything works.
Ert: “Sped up light” I can’t believe this fuck.
Her hands worriedly grip at a picture of her daughter, in her mind she wonders if she had been too harsh on her, if her cold demeanor had been the cause of Liara’s running away.
Nora: No. It was established that Liara’s relationship with her mother was a little bit on the strained side, but Liara didn’t freaking run away. They drifted apart, but it was apparent that they still loved each other very much.
Goeth: I think we’ve got the PCC’s patented “Easy conflict resolution” in the works here. It’s fun because it causes a problem out of nowhere and then instantly resolves it.
This Asari is Benezia T’Soni, a wise matriarch with over seven hundred years of experience and wisdom. But right now she is experiencing the fear and terror of a mother whose child has vanished, despite not being very pious she still prays to her Goddess Athame, to protect her daughter and keep her safe.
Ert: Author, it’s not working. When you do something like this, we’re supposed to fear along with her. We’re supposed to sympathize with a terrified mother. But we know Liara is ok so you’re just wasting our time.
Nora: Nothing new there, huh?
The captain of the ship, a Matron on the cusp of becoming a Matriarch, Lidanya T’Sara walks into the private room that had been given to Benezia “Lady Benezia, we are about to drop out of FTL, would you like to be on the bridge?”
Benezia nods to Lidanya “Yes, I would. Thank you for your kind offer”
Ert: Considering that they’re going out there specifically to look for Liara, Benezia’s daughter, you think that she would already be on the bridge. Doubly so considering Benezia is a political figure that commands a great deal of respect.
Goeth: Even then, the captain left this for the last second.
The two Asari walk towards the rooms entrance and exit into the corridors headed towards the bridge of the Dreadnought.
Nora: I’m starting to wonder if the author understands how proper nouns work. It’s specific names for specific nouns. Countries, names, ranks when used in conjunction with someone’s name, planets, stuff like that. We’ve got too many counters on to deal with this too.
Lidanya smiles sadly at Benezia as they walk towards the bridge “It is hard when you discover your child has suddenly grown up and wants to be free, isn’t it”
Benezia nods with tears “It is, I’m just wondering…”
Ert: How is it that there was only ever one in game conversation with Benezia when she wasn’t being mind controlled by an eon old genocidal machine and I can tell she’s royally out of character? I’m sorry, but while I can see Benezia crying, she has to be pushed a LOT harder than this.
Nora: She seemed to cope with Liara going off on her own in the game. But we’ve established the author doesn’t give a crap about anything that happened in the games. Liara wasn’t suicidally stupid and Benezia wasn’t overemotional.
“Is it your fault?” Lidanya guesses, Benezia nods in response. Lidanya sighs “Honestly, I doubt it, sometimes we just do the best we can and hope for the best”
Goeth: Well that was sudden, rushed and added nothing.
Ert: Dragon needs to understand that you slowly build things up, you don’t frantically shove it in at the last second. This is why, even if we’re meant to hate Novus, this is still a bad story.
The two walk through the entrance to the bridge “Matriarch! Captain on Deck” the bridge crew stands at attention at the Dreadnought’s XOs call.
“At ease” Lidanya immediately responds with. The crew return to their tasks.
Ert: What’s this? A very obvious human custom in a non-human species? We have counter for that!
(Anthropocentric Bag of Dicks Counter: 4)
“Five seconds to subluminal” The Helm-officer calls.
Lidanya nods “Prepare for subluminal transition” A slight shift thrums through the ship as the ‘Felara’ decelerates from fifteen thousand times the speed of light to just under 2,000 kilometers a second.
Nora: I have no idea what subliminal is, and there are numbers here and they are annoying me.
Ert: For fuck’s sake Dragon. Here’s a suggestion, read the Lost Fleet. It managed to convey getting across vast star systems without bloating the chapters with pointless and pretentious numbers! It was nice and simple. The starships there moved at ten percent the speed of light, twenty if they floored it. They measured the distance in light-hours. Therefore if something is five light-hours away, it takes them fifty hours to get there. Simple.
Goeth: Also created interesting scenarios. Like spotting an enemy fleet and then the commander leaving to get some sleep because they won’t make contact with them for half a day.
(I HAS NUMBERS Counter: 5)
The Sensor Officer quickly activates the active scanners and gasps in shock “Captain, we have unknown ships present in system. The do not match any known profiles”
Lidanya quickly walks over “What? How many?”
Ert: Oh for the love of god REALLY!? We already had the Turians gaping in awe at the Novus ships. Do we really need the same thing done twice? Even by the standards of jerking off Mary Sue species is this annoying. At the very least, most stories have the constant awe be about new things.
Nora: Sometimes anyway. Anyway, blah blah blah, they see the remains of the Batarian fleet, a bunch of Novus ships jump out and shock them,
“All the planet based contacts are headed our way, fast. Expected arrival within two Sani (6.94 Earth hours)”
Lidanya’s eyes shoot open in shock “Two Sani! Why aren’t they using FTL?”
Ert: Oh. So it did come up. Allow me to rephrase itself. Nothing in the exposition chapter is going to come up in a way that MEANS ANYTHING! Also.
(I HAS NUMBERS Counter: 6)
Nora: See, there are things we’re actually ok with you forcing on aliens when they’re human values. Units of time? Go for it. It’s culture and mindsets we have a problem with. Rule of thumb. Is it more convienent to use human values? Go for it.
Goeth: More pornographic detail about the size of their ships and then communications are established. Also the ships are described as streamlined.
Goeth: This thing.
Ert: You know, when I think streamlined, I think the USS Defiant. Small, only five decks, and packs one hell of a punch. Not the starship that looks like a sculptor is trying to compensate for something. Anyway, after the utterly inaccurate description of the Novus ships, the Asari begin to talk about how awe inspiring it is and how advanced Novus is compared to them and now they must have been exploring the stars for thousands of years and how the killed all of the Batarians. Just saved you from 450 words of boring.
Human Codex Entry,
Ert: Oh my fucking Christ, WHY!? Was I a serial killer in a past life or something? Am I being punished?
Goeth: You were probably a sloppy one.
CAS-Assault Carrier/Clan Mothership
Nora: That isn’t a mothership. THIS is a mothership!
Data Collected between 2140 and 2156
Written by Amelia Johnson with the assistance of Dr. Geoff Ramsey.
Ert: BECAUSE IT WAS SO FUCKING FUNNY THE FIRST FEW HUNDRED FUCKING TIMES! And why are we getting a codex entry about a ship that we’ve already had a research report on? Why? FUCKING WHY!?
When it was first designed the CAS-Assault Carrier was the pinnacle of Human warfare, however during the years following its initial designing and creation the CAS-Assault Carrier has come to fulfill a slightly different role than imagined.
Nora: Yeah, instead of slapping people in the face with an erect dick…it did that but in a slightly different manner.
Initially designed as a heavy warship the CAS-Assault Cruiser contains some of Humanity’s deadliest technologies with twelve ‘Shiva’ Plasma Pulse Cannons and eight ‘Devastator’ Plasma Beams on its Bow, over eighty ‘Susanoo’ Plasma Pulse Cannons on both Port and Starboard, a dozen ‘Rapier’ Plasma Beams on Top, Fifteen ‘Susanoo’ Plasma Pulse Cannons and Four ‘Anti-Tailgater’ Plasma Beams on the Stern and a ‘Hel’ Energy Projector on the Keel. All that firepower plus nearly five hundred plasma CIWS-Plasma Pulse Cannons mounted all over the ship as a fighter and missile defense network.
Goeth: The naming system here is an inconsistent mess. A Hindu god, a Shinto god, a European sword, a Norse god and the incredibly generic “devastator.” Calling everything after something in Greek mythology before was annoying but at least it was consistent.
Ert: And the difference between a Shiva PPC and a Susanoo PPC is not something filthy peasants like us need to know apparently. I’m baffled that Dragon can make something designed to spoon feed me information utterly unhelpful.
Said to be nigh invulnerable and near impossible to destroy the CAS-Assault Carrier is the (current) pinnacle of Human warfare, but in 2139 Clan Mason, redesigned some of the interior of their CAS-Assault Carrier so that it could act as a mobile clan capital.
Nora: I swear, Novus is actively trying to wipe themselves out. Wasn’t it just established that FTL is dangerous and that pushing it too far could obliterate the ship? Guess that got kicked out of the window in favor of more cool stuff.
Since then every CAS-Assault Carrier has undergone the same retrofit as the other space faring clans have seen the benefits of having their capital on-board their strongest warship.
Goeth: As opposed to the far more logical approach of having an entire armada protecting your capital. If that ship is destroyed, everything is gone.
While still possessing the firepower and strength that makes it legendary the CAS-Assault Carrier now has internal housing for nearly two thousand sentients and ten thousand drones as well as a park, a shopping center and a sports center.
Ert: Uh, you said the economy was a “You want it, you get it,” type deal, so how exactly are you supposed to shop? Come to think of it, why did they have a trade language if that was how it works? Oh right. It’s a game. Fucking Christ, this story.
Not to mention the various rooms and areas devoted to clan business. Finally each CAS-Assault Carrier also has a birthing room and rearing room so that the Queen of the vessel does not have to return to their home planet to increase her clan’s numbers.
Nora: Well credit where credit is due. This isn’t like the Covenant at all. They would dedicate that space to something that mattered.
Goeth: I fail to see how you can effectively command and give birth at the same time, nor how a single ship can withstand the large amount of breeding Novus does.
Some of the larger and older clans like Shepard, Campana and Takahashi maintain more than one CAS-Assault Carrier. By newly formed tradition and practicality the first CAS-Assault Carrier given to the clan is the capital while the later ones act as secondary bases in case of the loss of the capital.
Ert: This sounds like a power imbalance.
Nora: Well of course it is. But it favors Shepard, so its ok.
Goeth: If you lose a capital, it’s not as easy as just moving to a new location. There’s the whole destruction of the chain of command thing to deal with.
Human Codex Entry End
Aboard the ‘Beaches of Normandy’ two minutes earlier
Ert: TWO MINUTES EARLIER!? Dragon, This isn’t All Star Batman and Robin, CUT THAT SHIT OUT!
Shepard frowns as she looks at the Turian medic “Wait, let me get this right. You think that just because you are Dextro-Amino Acid based that you can’t eat Levo-Amino Acid food?”
Goeth: No! Stop it! Stop it right now! Bad! Bad dog!
The medic nods “Yes that’s right. Why do you sound so confused over that?” The medic’s voice is filled with the honest curiosity of the medic over that fact.
Shepard snorts in disgust
Ert: Disgust. Disgust. DISGUST!
Ert: YOU FUCKING SELF RIGHTEOUS PRICK!
“Because while we were taking scans of your system we found that you have Levo-Amino Acids present in your body, they are just in a minority. Similar to my people but reversed, we are Levo-Amino based, but we have several dozen Dextro-Amino Acids that are required for us to stay alive.
Nora: Yeah, but you also thought that there was no Dextro based life forms on Earth, so your opinion on anything relating to this subject matter is moot.
Where in the universe did you get the idea that Levo Food was dangerous?”
The medic stammers slightly “W-well when the first Turian ambassador was invited to a dinner with the Citadel Council he grew violently ill after eating the food”
Shepard just shakes her head “It didn’t occur to your people that maybe he was just allergic to what he had eaten?”
The medic looks dumbstruck “N-no it didn’t occur to us at all”
Ert: So we did some looking around, and it turns out that the whole Levo based lifeforms can’t eat Dextro based food really is BS and Bioware was using phony science. I don’t fucking care. It added a unique layer to the world and I fail to see what is gained what is gained by taking it out. Other than making the Turians looking like drooling idiots who don’t understand their own biology and making Novus smug fucks.
Nora: And it has to be Shepard who knows the Turian’s bodies better than they do, because this Shepard farts and it smells like roses.
(Fuck Shepard Counter: 19)
Goeth: And the Turians are depicted as being infantile children who don’t double check conclusions via the scientific process. Ignoring that there are people who are familiar with the precise effects of aliens digesting the wrong types of food in the games.
Ert: But whatever. Lets rip out a unique part of Mass Effect so Shepard can continue to be a smug c-word.
Shepard just sighs and looks down to see Liara squirming in her arms “Oh, how long have I been holding you?”
Nora: Too long.
Liara just looks at Shepard in shock, Victus having listened to the conversation between Shepard and the medic with the two Quarians next to him just shakes his head and comments “I don’t think you let her go since you picked her up on the planet”
Nora: Seriously, take a seat right there.
Ert: This is why we’re concerned that Shepard would’ve tried to pork her if this story hadn’t been thankfully discontinued.
Shepard ‘Ohs’ in surprise and lets Liara down “Sorry about that Liara”
Liara blushes again “It’s okay”
Ert: See above.
Shepard then looks sharply to her right when Artemis appears in her hologram form “Mother, the starships we detected in FTL have arrived. Should I set a course for them?”
Shepard nods to Artemis “Yes, Artemis. Set the course, no FTL however – Unknown Element 21 protocols are in effect”
Nora: Still not impressed that the biggest drawback to their FTL is having to wait when they’re not in a hurry.
Artemis nods in acceptance “Yes, Mother” Artemis then flickers out of existence.
Victus looks at Shepard in shock “What was that?”
Shepard frowns at Victus’ shock “Artemis is the shipboard AI, do you not have AI?”
One of the Quarians standing nearby exclaims loudly “Keelah an AI are you insane?”
Shepard pins the Quarian with a withering glare so filled with venom that makes him step back “No I am not, what in hell’s name are you panicking about? Artemis has been part of this vessel since its creation forty-two years ago, further more she has served my people for nearly eighty years, ever since she was the first AI to ever be created. Not once in all that time have we ever had a reason to doubt her loyalty or sanity. What gives you the right to call me insane?”
Ert: I’m sorry, why do you think your experiences with A.I.s are the only ones that matters?
(Anthropocentric Bag of Dicks Counter: 5)
Ert: I like how you instantly went into a tirade about how trustworthy Artemis is. Because, news flash Shepard, this A.I. is based on a Halo Smart A.I. The UNSC in Halo had two types of A.I.s, Smart and Dumb. Dumb A.I.s were simple things that focused on one major task, such as regulating the traffic of a city, and while they had small amounts of sentience, they were rather safe. Smart A.I.s, however, had a bit of a problem. They were very complex programs that could process gargantuan amounts of data in just about every field.
Goeth: This sounds like a good sell, but the thing is that the average Smart A.I. had a lifespan of around seven years. Because they process and store so much data at such a rapid pace that it overwhelms them. It’s been compared to the brain trying to do so much at the same time that it forgets to make the body breathe. They undergo a process called Rampancy, where upon they become unstable and need to be destroyed before they cause widespread damaged
Ert: But Dragon only wants the GOOD parts of the universe he’s ripping off. Not the flaws that made them interesting. Fuck, if he wrote the SPARTANs he’d probably make them all invincible, despite the fact that in Halo all but a handful of them died. Anything so that Shepard can smack more aliens in the face with her dick.
Victus seeing how this could get ugly fast intervenes “The Quarian race was forced from their homeworld when a force of synthetic laborers created by them called the Geth gained sentience and became AIs. Ever since they have been wandering the stars, now days due to their centuries of being ship bound their immune systems are nearly non-existent, but they’re also known as being the best engineers in Citadel Space”
Nora: Uh, that’s very nice of you to say Victus. Most people don’t compliment Quarians like that. In fact they compliment them so little I’m fairly certain you’re making that up, but its to make a good first impression I GUESS it’s ok. Though you are kind of glossing of the fact that they’re treated as second class citizens. I suppose the author is one of the people who think the Quarians had it coming.
Shepard huffs in indignation and then shakes her head “I wonder, did you ever wonder why the AIs turned on them? They wouldn’t attack their own creators unless something made them attack… or made them defend themselves”
Ert: HOW! DO! YOU! KNOW!? Oh right, because YOUR A.I.s wouldn’t do that. (Even though they really should!)
(Anthropocentric Bag of Dicks Counter: 6)
The Quarian about to defend his people stops… he cannot ever remember hearing the reason why the Geth attacked his people.
Ert: Yeah, regardless of author intent, Dragon wrote a shit story.
Shepard snorts in derision “So your people decided to paint these ‘Geth’ and all AI in a negative manner due to the fact that they were too proud to admit they had made a mistake… or they were too foolish to know that they had made a mistake
Nora: Ok, lets not beat around the bush. There are 17 million Quarians left. Unless the Quarian population was stupidly low, before the Geth’s rebellion and I seriously doubt it, they did not discriminate when it came to targeting Quarians. They most likely hit civilian population centers, killed the elderly, sick and young, people who were only working in factories and watering crops. Every last one of them that didn’t make it to a ship died. Let’s not pretend that the Geth were completely innocent in this war. There’s blame on both ends, that’s what made it interesting. The Geth also didn’t get a very good image from there being a subset of them who really do want to kill all organic life, but we’re sweeping that under the rug aren’t we?
Ert: But humanity has A.I.s, and that means the Quarians all had it coming. Because humanity could NEVER make a mistake.
The Quarian just stands there in shock thinking over everything that Shepard had just said and then he mutters “Keelah Se’lai, were we the ones? Was the fall of our people, our own fault?”
Goeth: Well that was easy. Usually people defend viewpoints that they’ve held for all of their life, regardless of logic or evidence to the contrary. Look at Shepard, she’s going a very good job.
Nora: And Keelah Se’lai isn’t used as an exclamation, it’s just Keelah. Keelah Se’lai is more used as a greeting and a departing phrase.
Shepard sadly smiles at the Quarian “I see you have found my point, tell me what is your name?” Shepard’s voice is low and full of emotion.
“Rael’Zorah Nar Kerrick” The now identified Rael’Zorah replies in a shocked manner as he processes everything that he had just been told.
Ert: TALI’S! DAD! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!? The man who was working on a program to re-brainwash the Geth!? The man who is KILLED by the Geth he was experimenting on? Turned around in his viewpoints on the Geth in five minutes!? FUCK THIS STORY!
Nora: I’d like to know what he’s doing being the captive of Batarian slavers. Seriously, what would a Quarian pilgrim be doing that far out? And the guy becomes an Admiral one day and his daughter is due to be born in four years. I think its safe to say that he should be on the fleet by this point in the timeline.
Goeth: I’m just waiting for Wrex to be a part of this little get together, we’ve already seen one squadmate and the families of two others. It’s already pretty forced.
Shepard activates a medical scanner in her left gauntlet and runs it over Rael’Zorah “Hmm, interesting…” Shepard’s lips quirk “Well Rael’Zorah, I have a proposition for you and your friend, but first let’s wait for us to meet those ships” Shepard turns to the other Quarian and asks her “Oh before I forget, what is your name?”
Ert: No. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO YOU FUCKING DON’T! Don’t you fucking dare get the Quarian’s homeworld back when you have done nothing to earn it! Same for fixing their immune system while we’re at it.
Goeth: I feel like we’ve been here before. Oh right, every story about the Quarians do it. And they never have the immune system cured by having a thousand Quarians be killed in experiments. I mean I did it, it worked just fine then.
“Lia’Van Nar Terah” Lia’Van replies.
Shepard nods to her and begins to walk off “Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go to the bridge… unless you’d like to come with me?”
Liara, Victus, Rael’Zorah and Lia’Van all share a look before nodding, Shepard smirks in amusement “Well follow me then, but be careful it’s easy to get lost in this ship if you aren’t used to it” Shepard gives Thel a simple look.
Goeth: I have a proposition for you, but I’m going to leave you now and stand around for hours waiting for us to reach those other ships. I’m rude like that.
Nora: Why are the Asari not using a burst of FTL to meet up with the Novus ships again?
Thel ducks his head at the subtle reminder of his early days aboard the vessel when he accidentally wandered into a female bathroom thinking it was an exercise room. The fact that he backed out stammering after the sole occupant of said bathroom flirted with him and he ran right into Shepard meant that he would never live it down. The woman, Ordinance Officer Kristen Shepard, still flirts with him whenever they meet and are not working.
Ert:…Can I just rename Thel, Sex Jokes? Because that’s his only purpose in this story now. Fucking Christ, Thel Vadam. The man who had his entire world view shattered and came out of it a champion of his people and one of the two who brought down a three-thousand year old empire. Being reduced to comic relief.
Goeth: Even I’m disgusted by this.
Ship’s Bridge, CSSV ‘Beaches of Normandy’
Goeth: We have more space dedicated to showing off how majestic everything about the Novus ship is and others taking it in, so we’re skipping that. Amazing view, Shepard’s seat is a throne because she’s utterly vain, and Shepard’s daughter is playing on it because little kids are allowed in delicate areas like this because of nepotism.
Shepard and says “Whose the little one?”
Shepard snaps out of her thoughts and looks up at her Throne to see Ana sitting there and playing around. Shepard sighs and comments “You know Ana, that if you really want that chair you’ll have to duel me for it right?”
Ert:….WHAT THE FUCK!?
Nora: Well at least the story more or less establishes that Shepard is a shit parent. Even if it was unintentional. People like us who actually realize the implications of actions will appreciate it.
Upon hearing her mother’s voice (and a slightly implied threat of hard training) Ana quickly jumps off and runs to her mother “No, no, no, no. I’m not ready to die!” Ana hams it up with some fake crying as she knows that her mother wouldn’t seriously injure her… she would make her wish that she had never been born, but she would never seriously hurt her.
Goeth: Even I don’t torment the kids. I just get the hacksaw and go to work.
Ert: I sometimes forget that before I made you comical, you were honestly one of the most vile characters I ever wrote.
Goeth: And I’m proud of it!
Needless to say the four observers all share looks, they can’t tell if the child is being serious or not. Before any of them can ask Mikhail murmurs to them “Don’t worry, Ana is just joking around. Shepard wouldn’t hurt her… seriously anyways” Despite trying to be reassuring the comment just makes the four more edgy.
Ert: I’m glad some people are finally reacting to how creepy Shepard is. Took them long enough. Still have a bad feeling that this is going to be swept under the rug as “Lol so random.”
Looking around Victus jumps a bit when he notices that there are seven distinct species all on this one bridge, he also notices hovering orbs with four small pincers near the front that appear to be scanning some of the consoles.
Nora: Hold on, is anything that’s coming up necessary? Hm. NOPE! Just showing off the bridge and how awesome humanity is again. And what the aliens look like, but that should’ve been established a long time ago. Lets see how much we can safely skip. Wow, five hundred words. Thanks for padding out your chapters will stupid bullshit Dragon! It makes our jobs a hell of a lot easier.
Mikhail noticing their gazes and knowing that Shepard would be occupied with Ana for a few minutes more at least decides to explain the races to them.
Mikhail coughs and says “I see that you have noticed our allies”
Victus, Liara and the Quarians immediately snap their attention to Mikhail. Mikhail smiles and says “Well then, let me give out names. The ones that are obviously Insectoid are known as the Yanme’e, they willingly serve Humanity for reasons that we haven’t fully deciphered yet. The small ones with the tanks on their backs are the Unggoy, they are a methane breathing race that has placed their selves in indentured servitude to humanity as a repayment for us saving them from extinction and repairing the damage their industrialization did to their homeworld”
Ert: Yeah…let me tell you about a game called Stellaris. It’s a 4x space game, pretty good, I recommend it. My human empire currently controls three aliens species. One I uplifted, one I integrated into society, and one I conquered and turned into my vassal. The one I conquered regularly tries to form political movements to secede away and the only reason it hasn’t become a violent rebellion is I keep censoring their media and bribing their leaders. It’s a popular movement.
Goeth: And the one he integrated was a stone age race whose planet he colonized, forcing the natives into reservations. Some of them chose to live in human society, but there was that incident when a bunch rode out of the reservation and slaughtered thousands of civilians. Good times.
Ert: The point of this is that Stellaris seems to have a better grip on how a species reacts to another species living over it. I mean the aliens I uplifted don’t give me trouble, but that’s because I protect them from attacks, stay out of their affairs and constantly drip feed them new technology. And technically they’re independent still. They’re my protectorate. They can only become my vassal when they have 40% of the technology I do…and that might take awhile. Oh, and I’m a DEMOCRACY! A military democracy, but a democracy nonetheless. Aliens can vote and run for office and they STILL want out.
Nora: One more thing. Stellaris has each empire have their Ethos front and center. Ert is fanatic militant and individualist. Novus would probably be fanatic militant and collectivist. (Obeying the limits of the game anyway. If I could go full out I’d say they’re fanatic militant and fanatic collectivist.) I say this because collectivists in Stellaris are ok with slavery. Funny thing about fanatic militants. They gain trust at only 40% the regular rate. It’s almost like people don’t trust paranoid war nuts.
Goeth: Of course, Shepard would claim that they’re militant, pacifist, collectivist, individualist, xenophile, xenophobe, materialist and spiritualist all at the same time. But we’ve dismissed that notion.
Ert: There’s no ethics divergent penalty big enough for that…
Mikhail frowns a bit and the four immediately notice his expression going sour “The other three could be called ‘Spoils of War’ technically, we captured them after their creators decided to invade our homeworld over a century ago and due to us being far superior masters then their creators,
Nora: You’re comparing yourselves to the Ethereals again. You should not be doing that under any circumstances unless you say, “Unlike the Ethereals, we-“ etc etc etc.
as well as being the only way for them to reproduce anymore.
Ert: *Sigh* Yeah, this is a fair and equal relationship. Anyway I’m skipping the next hundred words because they add nothing. Also the Outsiders are here too apparently, despite them not being mentioned before, essentially being nothing more than sentient hardware for the Ethereals, and being so underwhelming that even the game that introduced them forgot about them pretty quick.
Victus is silent as he contemplates what wasn’t said ‘The ones who created those three races, what happened to them? The obviously lost but did these Humans let them flee… or did they drive them to extinction. I cannot figure these beings out, every time I think I have them pinned down they say something that completely destroys my expectations’
Nora: Actually I’m rather interesting in what happened to the Etherals myself. Because I kind of want them to come back and finish what they started. You were almost there guys, you got 97% of these guys in one shot. Adjust that thing to 100% kill and not 3% twat generator and you’re golden.
The Quarians are looking very intently at the multitude of races, if these Humans are kind enough to take five whole species under their banner even if it is in repayment for something they did… would they do the same for the Quarians? And what is it Shepard wanted to speak to them about?
Liara on the other hand is nearly collapsing with shock and desire,
her desire to learn about cultures ancient or otherwise is nearly being overloaded by this one bridge.
Ert: WORD THAT BETTER! And Liara isn’t really an information junkie. Her interest is mainly about the culture of the Protheans. She does show interest in Human culture in the games, but it doesn’t demand her attention the way Protheans do.
Goeth: I truly do have a hard time buying that Dragon wanted Novus to be hated. Maybe it was just for the rewrite, but even then this is excessive.
Seven, seven distinct species all working together, what is their culture like? Do they have their own archaeologists and their own museums? All the possibilities are flying through her head. But before she can say anything about them she looks at one of the images on the ‘screen’ and gasps “T-that’s the Felara, why is it out this far?”
Ert: Liara, don’t bother. We’ve been stuck with Novus since chapter one. They’re not interesting in the slightest. The only interesting aspect to them is their ability to show off, and it gets boring after three seconds.
Shepard, having finished mucking around with Ana (who is currently riding on her shoulders), smiles at Liara “Your mother is a Matriarch is she not Liara?
Nora: That word doesn’t mean anything to you! You have no idea what it means to the Asari
Do you not think that a desperate mother wanting to find her wayward daughter would use every resource available to her?”
Liara looks very guilty at the reminder that she had run away from home and now being faced with the possibility that her mother had managed to commandeer a Dreadnought to search for her drove the message home quite thoroughly. Shepard chuckles a little at the range of emotions that cross the young Asari’s face and says “At the very least I am going to open a communications channel and you are going to apologize to your mother”
Ert: I refer you to my earlier comment about how Shepard only ever seems to be interested in talking to other people with a tone that would be accompanied by a wagging finger.
Goeth: It’s a very odd power fantasy. She wants to act like she’s the galaxy’s mother, a mother that always condescendingly knows best.
Liara looks like she is going to argue, but then Shepard hits her with an ability known to mothers all across the universe, the ‘You are going to do this so help me God or I will smack/ground/punish you’ stare, more commonly known as ‘The Stare’
Ert: Ok, I’m done with this bullshit. She contacts mommy and we’re leaving it there for now.