1530: X-Com: Mass Effect: Chapter 6 & 7

Title: X-Com: Mass Effect
Author: Dragonsong2795
Media: Video Game
Topic: Mass Effect/XCOM
Genre: Sci-Fi
URL: Chapter 6 & 7
Critiqued by Erttheking

Ert: Well, we’re almost over. And there’s not that much this time around. With any luck our suffering will be over soon.

Nora: Plans for next week?

Ert: Unclear. I considered doing his rewrite of this story and just counting it as one big story, but I’m not sure I want to. It’d be retreading old ground basically. I’m tired of stuffing the ballot box for the Sucktastic Awards with EP stories, the Final Hunt got taken down, Persona 3 Trade Me hasn’t updated since I finished with it, and everything else I’ve rifted in the last three years I fully covered. I’m gonna have to go fishing for new stuff.

Goeth: Maybe we should try something anime related. There’s not too much of that on the library.

Ert: Fics about anime? No. Anime inspired stuff? Not so much. But still, it’s worth a look. Maybe Full Metal Alchemist and…I always wanted to do Berserk.

Nora: You do that and we’re gonna be putting trigger warnings up just because the base material is that dark.

Ert: It’s just a though.

Advanced apologies, this is a short chapter, more to get me back in the swing of writing for X-Com: Mass Effect then anything else.

Goeth: And then the chapter after this one was the last.

Nora: Oops

However I decided that just giving the information was boring and probably not fun to read,

Ert: *Swears angrily in the distance*

Nora: Little late to realize that Dragon.

so I gave part of it (the bigger part) in the form of a short story, set after Shepard stormed off the Citadel.

This story is assuming that A. The Citadel has powerful biological scanners and B. That they can partially pierce the Novus armor and jamming equipment

Ert: Assuming? Why is the story assuming anything? The story is the one that decides what is and what isn’t going on. Like the fact that Novus armor can withstand scanners aiming to look at their biology. That’s a thing that’s a fact. APPARENTLY!

Goeth: If it was an ability established before it was buried under all of the other special toys Novus had.

X-C:MEE

Exposition Chapter 2

X-C:MEE

Novus Biology – Part I

An interview between respected STG biologist Terdan Solus and the Citadel Council, three days after the declaration of the Batarian Nightmare

Ert: I guess if you’re committing genocide, you want a term that makes it sound like it’s the victim’s fault, or that they deserve it.

Nora: And do we really need more info on Novus biology? We had to wade through quite a few insufferable info dumps to get to this point in the story. We’ve had our fill.

Councilor Tevos: Operative Solus, you have called us here as you have finished running through the scans of the Novus taken by the Citadel Scanners, what can you tell us about them?

Operative Solus: They have been Genetically Altered. There is no other explanation. They have multiple organs that would not naturally evolve in a Class-7 Mammalian as they appear to be.

Goeth: You make science cry.

Nora: What’s a class-7 mammalian?

Goeth: The tears of science. And nonsense.

Also the Insectoid and Reptilian dermal enhancements would not be possible on such a being. Also they are a very Militaristic race.

Ert: He’s telling them this three days after they started to exterminate the entire Batarian race. NO SHIT SHERLOCK!

Goeth: Stop trying to slot unknown lifeforms into preexisting slots. That’s now how you study alien lifeforms.

Councilor Meticulus: How can you tell?

Ert: You mean ASIDE from the giant warships, ten years of mandatory military service, and the FUCKING GENOCIDE!?

OS: Many of their enhancements are combat oriented. There are venom glands in the upper palate and they have acidic substance producing glands fused with their salivary glands, making their saliva very acidic. However that could also be to allow them to eat mineral rich substances as well. They have a secondary heart that is capable of sustaining them until their primary heart has repaired, or at least that’s what I assume it is for. They have signs of Neurological alterations the purposes of which I can’t even speculate as they are so different to any other being I have ever encountered. There is one thing however that stood out.

Goeth: How do you know that these are enhancements? They could be part of their natural evolution for all you know. You’re making uneducated assumptions. Par for the course with you, but it still sickens me.

Councilor Yelena: What was it?

OS: That only two of the Novus present were actually capable of reproducing, their Queen Shepard and the male that stood directly to her right.

Nora: Ok, I think we can say that assuming that the Council had the technology to figure this out with an idle scan was a stupid idea.

It is possible that they don’t only have some physical appearance traits from their Insectoid DNA, but are actually caste based. The fact that only Shepard and the male, have ten spinal glands confirms this. The rest all had six spinal glands.

Ert: There are possible alternatives to why some Novus could have more spinal glands than others. Goeth?

Goeth: Genetic defects, receive genes, mutations, a late developmental stage, a subspecies, simply being a different trait. Any number of things.

CM: These ‘Spinal’ glands, do you have a hypothesis as to their purpose?

Operative Solus shakes his head: No, I do not. They add something to the bloodstream and the nervous system of the Novus, that I can say with certainty, but as to what it is? I cannot tell, the sensors were unable to properly recognize the additive as it is so common in the Novus bloodstream and even in some of their cells that the scanners couldn’t lock on.

Ert: Well that was a waste of time. Novus has something in their bloodstream. No idea what, but it is there.

Nora: Huge help.

CT: Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Nora: Well he didn’t say “That’s all” so thank you for the stupid question Councilor.

OS nods: Yes. Their Natural habitat is undecipherable, theoretically they could live in almost any conditions. They have glands and nodes that allows them to acclimate to any temperatures between Absolute Zero and 1,500 degrees Celsius.

Ert: Oh sweet Crystal Dragon Jesus. I’d like to know how either Novus or the Council would know that. Particularly since Absolute Zero is, as far as we know, simply a theoretical state of being. We have yet to see it occurring naturally. So did they artificially create absolute zero just to see if it would kill a drone?

They could even survive in total Vacuum for up to six hours before it becomes detrimental to their bodies.

Goeth: How do their nonsense abilities protect them from decompression?

Nora: Magic or something.

Their lungs also appear to be able to properly exchange gases in any atmosphere, there are also hints of ‘gills’ that would allows them to survive underwater.

Ert: Oh my fucking God.

Small alterations to their skeleton, musculature and epidermis allows them to survive any pressure below one hundred and five standard atmospheres.

Ert: OH MY FUCKING GOD!

Simply put. There is no planet they cannot colonize if they really want to. They even have the ability to ‘vent’ excess radiation to prevent mutations and radiation poisoning and/or sickness.

Ert: FUCKING! FUCKING FUCKINF FUCKING FUCKINF CUFKIN FULINF FUKICNG FUCKING FUCK!

Nora: No planet they can’t colonize? Ok then, go colonize Venus. Let me know how you though it when it starts snowing metal. Or that one planet where it rains molten glass.

Goeth: If there’s no planet they can’t colonize, why did they develop that laughable terraforming technology?

The Councilors all show apprehension in their species manner (A/N Basically, they all go pale)

Ert: *Smacks author* NO! You’re already pushing my patience with this script style of writing, keep your fucking author’s notes out of it!

CY: Are all of the species that the Novus lead like this?

OS: No. In fact all of their allies are similar to Council species.

Nora: Except not really.

The closest to the Novus is the Sangheili. But that comparison is similar to comparing the power of a Station Tug to a Dreadnought, that is to say, while they are both living beings the difference in biology is vast.

Ert: In reality me comparing the two of them was utterly pointless and I’m not sure why I did it.

OS pauses for a secondary

OS: One last thing. There are signs of genetic drift, when the ships appeared at the Citadel. Ten had crews that shared genetic markers above ninety-eight percent with Shepard, however the remaining ships only had a ninety-six percent similarity.

Goeth: No. You did not get readings that detailed, and even if you did you did not have time to analyze them in three days.

Therefore it can be deducted that each ‘clan’ of the Novus is different.

Nora: No it can’t.

Thus, what might work on one clan, won’t necessarily work on another.

Ert: What’s this what you speak of? Elaborate Dragon! This is an EXPLAINING chapter after all!

Goeth: *Sigh*

Taking into account clan inter-breeding and generational differences. There might be as many as forty-seven hundred (4700) sub-species of Novus with different traits and differences in appearance.

Ert: So clans are different fucking sub-species now? There aren’t enough words in the dictionary for this level of stupid.

Goeth: I’ll add a couple, even things out.

However, given how little we know of their society and population estimates. That number could be as high as ten to twenty thousand.

Nora: When it should be zero.

A/N: Since this might be confusing to some, I’ll explain it in a more simple format.

Ert: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST AUTHOR! The entire fucking point of this chapter was to explain shit! And you couldn’t even do THAT right? GOD!

At the beginning of the Novus there were Eleven Clans, before they left the Earth that rose to Eighteen, now each of those Eighteen clans is a sub-species of the Novus.

Goeth: No. No they are not. Explain how any of those sub-species are actually different. Explain what genetic divergence there is? And how there can be such radical genetic drifting in so little time.

Nora: Probably something about that speech Shepard gave about how Novus was everything. Even though she was talking about social and cultural matters.

They have slightly different genetic alterations and have altered their appearance slightly for personal or cultural reasons.

Ert: Because vague.

Nora: Vague and stupid.

From each clan there is the possibility of seventeen more sub-species from inter-breeding between the clan, leading to after one generation a total number of Three Hundred and Six (306) new clans and sub-species.

Goeth: *Sigh*

Which leads to their being three hundred and five possible new sub-species with each clan for the next generation. Leading to 93,330 possible clan and sub-species combinations, naturally not every clan will inter-breed with one another and some will remain ‘in house’ so to speak. But it is an exponential growth.

To sum this up

Ert: I have no idea how interbreeding works, nor do I have any idea how this species is realistically maintained, I am giving my species reproduction rates that would certainly lead to overpopulation and extinction, also I’m changing the way clans work on the fly.

Generation 1: Eleven clans/sub-species (11)

Generation 2: Eighteen clans/sub-species (18)

Goeth: Ok, the clans being sub-species makes no sense, as clans don’t form new clans with new generations, but at least the numbers are somewhat believable.

Generation 3: Three Hundred and Six clans/sub-species (306)

Goeth: And then this happened. And it only gets worse from here.

Generation 4: Ninety Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty clans/sub-species (93,330)

Generation 5: Eight Billion, Seven Hundred and Ten Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Five Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy clans/sub-species (8,710,395,570)

Generation 6: 7.5,870,991 to the nineteenth power or 7,587,099,100,000,000,000,000,000,000 clans/sub-species of Novus.

Ert: I’m trying to figure out how we went from a less than 66% to a I refuse to do the math for these numbers percent increase.

Now you can see how the Novus grow so quickly, especially if you take away the possibility of population decline through, old age, starvation and other causes of death.

Nora: Yeah question, why is starvation not an issue? I know old age isn’t an issue because the spine thing created immortality and can turn any metal into gold and raise the dead, but why do they not need to eat. Don’t tell me they can photosynthesize or something.

Ert: I’m holding my head and groaning, wondering if this is the author making up new crap or there’s so much super, special awesome bullshit

The total population of the Novus would easily reach (taking into consideration an average of five thousand Novus per clan) by the Sixth generation they would have a population of:

37,935,495,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

(I HAZ NUMBERS counter: Infinite)

Ert: Just fuck you.

Goeth: And the only way these numbers are possible is if the previous number is multiplied to the power of itself. Which, needless to say, is not how breeding works.

That’s quite a lot, but it would most likely be much higher.

The Councilors all gasp as the implications of that reach them.

Nora: The stupid, stupid implications.

CT: Goddess, the Novus could easily out number the Krogan within just a few decades.

Ert: Nowadays that isn’t much of an accomplishment anymore. But this author doesn’t seem to know much about Mass Effect

Goeth: Or reproduction.

OS: Quite possibly, yes. However they appear to show immense ability at self-restraint and personal control.

Ert: HA!

After all, Shepard only killed Batarians, she could easily have killed everything on the Citadel with the power displayed.

Ert: *Rolls eyes* Total self control right there.

Nora: Yeah. I mean they could have killed NO ONE but that wouldn’t be half as satisfying.

Recommend that no aggressive actions are taken. Unlike Krogan, Genophage would not effect Novus, their ability to adapt naturally and Genetically alter themselves to adapt is beyond Salarian ability to predict. Not to mention, is possible that Novus already possess an Immunity to the Genophage.

Ert: This is why I made a design for the Novus Empire in Stellaris and am trying to kick their asses.

Goeth: I’m honestly surprised that he hasn’t made it so that Novus defecates uranium.

Nora: Immune to something they’ve never encountered. Because that’s how it works.

Councilor Yelena frowns: How?

OS: Simple, they studied the Krogan

Ert:…..WHEN!? FUCKING WHEN!? They’ve been in contact with the Council for DAYS! ARE YOU FUCKIN HONESTLY TELLING ME THAT THE MENAAGED TO GET A CUFKCING CURE FUCKING GENOPHAGE IN THREE UFCING DAYS!? FPR REAL!? FICK YUO!

. With Novus Medical technology and ability at Genetic manipulation. Would be child’s play for them to create an artificial immunity to the Genophage. That is, if they don’t already possess a Natural immunity to it.

Nora: Which is it? Do they have a natural immunity or an artificial one? There’s a big difference.

Goeth: A vaccine fort he Genophage in a matter of days, or just happening to be immune to it. Which one makes less sense?

Nora: Oh boy. Close race.

Their Immune systems are beyond anything any other species possesses. There are signs that several Class-9 Toxins

Ert: Oh suck a dick. Or lick a pussy. Whichever you’re least comfortable with.

are present in their bodies, this shows that they are able to withstand toxins of a virulence that no other Council Species, barring the Krogan, can.

Simply put Councilors, We cannot effect

Ert: AFFECT! AFFECT! Affect=the verb, effect = the result of the verb! GET IT RIGHT!

the Novus with our current Biological weapons arsenal. Their bodies are just too resilient for anything we have to effect them. Not to mention their own biological weapons are probably on a magnitude that we cannot even imagine.

Nora: No, no-no-no Dragon, we do not want to hear about

Interview ends with much fearful muttering and curses.

The Handshake

Ert: Yeah. No. Just no. Three paragraphs on what a handshake is? No. Fuck off. Just no. No. Fuck off. Fuck off. *Takes a deep breath* Ok. Let’s try and cover it.

Although no-one has commented on it (yet) some people might wonder as to the importance of the Handshake between Shepard and the Turian Councilor Meticulus.

Ert: Ok, fuck it no. TL;DR, handshake = no weapons. I am not doing the whole thing. No. No. No.

It is amazing how so many of our simple gestures of today have very in-depth meanings and historical importance behind them.

But I wonder, who knows the significance of the song ‘Ring around the Rosie’?

Ert: *Rolls eyes* I learned it in fucking high-school, it’s about the Black Death. Are you done with the lecture and ready to get on with the actual fucking storytelling?

End

Seriously however, who does know the deeper meaning of that song?

Nora: And half of the reviews to this chapter are people pointing it out now. Thanks for that. And now, for the (thankfully) last chapter.

Chapter 5

The Shanxi Incident Part III – Decimation

Goeth: I’m struggling to understand how it can still be called the Shanxi incident. Shanxi hasn’t been involved for a long time now.

Nora: Let’s chalk it up to laziness and move onto business.

X-C: ME

After the spectacle of Shepard storming off the Citadel, having killed all of the Batarians aboard, the Galaxy held it’s breath and waited.

Ert: None of them do anything, but to be fair none of them really CAN do anything. Novus are so broken that fighting them would be trying to put out the sun by spitting on it.

Goeth: But that’s why we have Stellaris?

Ert: That’s why we have freaking Stellaris.

But.

There was nothing, the war that had been promised didn’t come, after a month and a half the Batarians relaxed, thinking that the Novus had been scared off by their might.

Nora: The Batarians are not this stupid. Scared off by their might? The Batarians lost a hundred freaking warships and only took out a single Novus ship. How does that scare off anyone?

Goeth: Four eyes = four balls and no brain?

They could not have been more wrong.

Nora: Oh really? You were so SUBTLE about the whole affair.

Two months after the attack on Terra Nova, a massive fleet of Novus warships appeared suddenly mere kilometers from the outer atmosphere of the Batarian border world of Mer’Shak.

Ert: Well, ok. Let’s get it over with. We’ve been building up to it for the entire story. To quote a certain song, let the bodies hit the floor.

Goeth: I’ll start tallying.

It didn’t even take four hours, the Novus simply bombarded the planet from orbit, nothing was left but plasma scarring and radiation.

Nora: So four hours into their invasion and they’ve already crossed a line even the Ethereals didn’t.

Ert: The same could be said of the incident on the Citadel, but this is the first official military operation. So there’s that.

By the time the Batarian fleet had arrived in response to the lack of communications, all they found was a dead world.

The Batarian Hegemony immediately sent massive fleets to the outermost border of their empire, they planned to stop the Novus attack. They thought that the Novus still used the Mass Relays as a means to move through the Galaxy.

Goeth: Still? What do you mean still? They never used Mass Relays in the first place, which is what still implies.

Nora: Yeah, remember? They turned them on just to piss off the Council.

Thus they were unprepared for what happened next.

Nora: You say that like it’s some kind of profound statement, when I don’t think anyone has been ready for anything this entire story.

Ert: Reader or character.

X-C: ME

In orbit of Batarian Industrial World Terak’Her

All was quiet, it was the cooling period. The workers of the mighty planetary factories were resting and the space lanes were clear of almost all ships, only a couple of repair tugs and two frigates on a defensive picket were present.

Goeth: I’m surprised that they aren’t making the factory workers slaves. Most fanfic writers can’t stop bringing up how Batarians own slaves.

Ert: Presumably because then this little genocide would feel hypocritical.

Nora: Particularly if non-Batarian slaves were killed.

Then, in a burst of gamma radiation and neutrinos,

Ert: Taco? Ball’s in your court.

five hundred and eleven ships erupted back into the ordinary universe, at least ordinary compared to the energetic hell from which they had just emerged.

Ert: And under what other circumstances would it not be considered ordinary.

The Frigates didn’t even have a chance, within seconds of the Novus fleet appearing they were reduced to super-heated vapor by the power of the Novus plasma weapons.

The repair tugs didn’t last much longer, they were swatted out of the sky with a negligent salvo from the Novus point defense systems.

Goeth: Even the genocide is getting a little lazy by this point. I remember last chapter we got detailed descriptions on how Batarian ships were being torn apart. Now it just says “then they died, the end.”

Ert: Well I keep making masturbation jokes, so reader? Imagine a joke that involves placid cocks here.

Then, came the iron rain.

Goeth: Note: will most likely not be iron. Will most likely be an alloy of some kind.

From orbit nearly forty thousand Novus troops jumped from their ships, relying on their shielding, inertial dampeners and super-human constitutions to let them survive.

Nora: And they would realistically all burn up.

Goeth: Very quickly.

Ert:  And forty thousand people is a pathetically small number to invade a city with, let alone a planet.

As they fell through the sky of Terak’Her, six thin long sheets of membrane extended from their backs, although they were shaped similar to the wings of a Dragonfly, these membranes were not used for flight, not entirely.

Ert: *Smashes face into desk* And you waited until just now to bring up this stupid bullshit for no reason I take it? Oh wait, you just thought of it. Just like everything in this story.

They served two purposes, first they allowed the Novus to control their descent and second, they expelled the excess heat that atmospheric friction was forcing upon the Novus, even in their armor they would have overheated from the transition from orbit to surface.

Nora: And they can do that. Because they can. No logic, rhyme or reason, or even a throwaway bit of technobabble. They can just do that.

Goeth: I feel like my life’s work is being mocked.

The Batarian forces on the surface were unprepared, they had expected an orbital bombardment, followed by a number of dropships, that was how battle had been done for the last several hundred years after all.

Ert: Except it isn’t, because orbital bombardment had been outlawed by the Council. Besides, when you bombard something from orbit, then you’ve moved into the field of “I want everything on that planet dead,” area.

They didn’t even contemplate the possibility of a race being so technologically and physiologically advanced that they could jump from orbiting starships and land on a planet without burning up in the atmosphere.

Nora: Presumably because they didn’t

When the Novus forces slammed into the surface, the local Batarian forces did the most logical thing they could think of.

Ert: Shoot them?

They ran.

Ert: Whatever, I stopped caring a long time ago.

In their thousands the once proud Batarian Planetary Defense Force (PDF) ran, they almost made it forty meters (43.7 Yards) before the Novus opened fire.

Nora: We kind of figured.

Ert: Mainly because it wasn’t a very fucking hard or worthwhile concept to figure out. AND SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH THE NUMBERS!

Then the Batarians learned just how weak they really were.

Goeth: It took them this long to figure it out, huh?

Ert: I’m honestly surprised that they still aren’t in denial about the reality of the situation.

The Batarian infantry barriers were not developed with plasma weaponry in mind and thus were overwhelmed by the sheer might of the assault that the Novus guns launched upon them.

In less then ten minutes nearly two hundred thousand Batarian PDF soldiers were cut down by the Novus assault.

Ert: And how many Novus soldiers jizzed their pants when they did this?  Also, each Novus soldiers killing five Batarians in ten minutes?  No.

Then the Novus advanced, in their thousands. Without any orders vocalized they marched upon the Batarians.

Those who fought or were military were cut down, several Blood Pack units that were planet-bound attempted to fight off the invasion. They didn’t even manage to drop the shields of any of the Novus.

Nora: Oh great, now Novus is pushing the Krogan species further and further into extinction. Because they happened to be on the wrong planet at the wrong time. Our heroes ladies and gentlemen.

Ert: If they didn’t have bullshti immune systems-

Goeth: And bullshit everything else

Ert: I’d so support using the Genophage on them.

The battle for Terak’Her was short, vicious and decisive.

It took less then twenty-four hours for the planet to fall, specialized CPS-Corvettes were used to take nearly forty million Batarian prisoners to a nearby storage facility where they were placed into cryo-stasis.

Ert: Fuck you. Fuck you! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCKING FUCK YOU! First of all, moving forty-million people with FTL drives that need time to cool down? No! Second of all, pretending that you have the moral high ground after everything that you’ve done. FUCK NO! You already bombarded a planet to atoms and killed every last Batarian on the Citadel. Now you’re pretending that you’re good guys? Three, what’s the plan? Hold the entire Batarian species hostage? Jesus Christ, now they’re abducting people, just like the Ethereals. They’re just like the Ethereals.

Nora: And they had forty million cryo pods lying around. You know. Just in case.

Or course that wasn’t the entire offense, in a complete violation of every rule of battle that the Council Races knew, the Novus struck at six different planets simultaneously.

Goeth: Because that’s how logistics and strategy works.

Nora: And they apparently have thousands upon thousands of ships to do with this. Sure, why not?

And conquered all of them with no losses,

Ert: I should not want to see mass graves being filled. This story makes me want that with Novus. I want Novus to die so badly it scares me a little.

this wasn’t what the Batarians were expecting. On the dawn of the second day of battle, eight more worlds were placed under siege. Three of those worlds were military strongholds, the Batarian military managed to hold the Novus off for two days without problem… or so they thought.

Ert: Ok, so what’s the plan? Do you want to kidnap the entire Batarian species, or do you want to exterminate them like you said originally?

Nora: Why do I get the feeling Shepard is giving conflicting orders and giving her horse a position of power.

The Novus had been waiting for their Hyperwave FTL drives to lose their Contradiction so they could jump again and had decided on the morale destroying choice of giving their enemies hope, just so they could snatch it away from them.

Goeth: I’m struggling to figure out how any of the Batarians could have hope at this point, or how it could be crushed if they did.

Nora: Seriously, they’re either blind to reality or not. Pick one. Also, why crush their hope. You’ve managed to devastate hundreds of millions without a single loss. If you’re trying to make everything as hopeless as possible, then you’re just sadists.

On the fourth day of the war, the Novus deployed Titans, these twenty-one foot tall Mechs were walking monsters. The Titans’ shields shrugged off all damage the Batarians did to it and their Plasma cannons and mortars annihilated whole battalions of the Batarian forces.

Nora: Mortars? Massive mechs and you give them something as cheap and underwhelming as mortars?

Goeth: Someone doesn’t know how to war.

The Penultimate battle of the war was fought on the fortress world of Renmak’Her, Five Thousand Novus warships dropped out of FTL within the defense picket of the Batarian Navy.

Ert: Oh why stop there? Why not make it eleventy billion warships, and that turns out to be only 1% of the Novus fleet, and the rest already conquered every single planet in the universe without anyone else noticing.

Nora: Ert, no giving him ideas.

Four Batarian Dreadnoughts fell before the navy could even respond.

The Batarian’s thought their odds of survival couldn’t get any worse at that point.

Goeth: And they’re right. Anything more would just be Novus showing off.

Ert: Let’s get to Novus showing off.

The Novus, having judged the Batarian resolve with near perfect accuracy, dropped their ultimate ground based weapon.

The Colossi.

Behemoth war machines standing nearly one hundred and eighty feet tall, with powerful shields that even some Citadel Dreadnought captains would beg for.

The Batarian defenses didn’t fall, they didn’t collapse, they didn’t vanish, they weren’t crushed, annihilated, decimated or eliminated.

Goeth: This story has a stunning lack of perspective for the very things that it creates. The colossi are actually the most underwhelming Novus creation we’ve seen so far compared to their warships.

It simply, ceased to exist once the Colossi started landing.

The Colossi didn’t even falter when they hit the enormous Mass Effect Kinetic Barriers protecting each Batarian City, they just walked right through them like they weren’t even there.

Ert: Probably because you didn’t establish them.

That’s all for now.

Dragonsong2795 out!

Death and Rebirth

As sad (and probably unsurprising) as it is, I am regretfully putting X-Com: Mass Effect to sleep, simply because it became a pretty shitty story due to a lot of things, all of which are my fault in the end.’

Ert: True, true and fucking true.

So that’s it for X-Com: Mass Effect, sorry to all you faithful readers who kept with me.

However, I’ve decided to give the idea (Humanity being rewritten into a powerful semi-insectoid race with advanced technology) another go.

Ert: And it still sucks.

While the idea is the same there will be many differences, some of which I will list now, however to those of you who are not interested and don’t wish to continue reading, I bid a fond farewell and hope that you find some awesome stories to read.

To everyone else here are the differences.

Ert: Yeah no, fuck off.

Nora: And we are finally, thankfully, done.

Ert: That…was…bad. You might notice that I wasn’t saying much towards the end…not much TO say. This finale was fucking underwhelming. Welp. Off to find more crap to review.

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59 Comments on “1530: X-Com: Mass Effect: Chapter 6 & 7”

  1. SuperFeatherYoshi says:

    Ugh, what a fucking anti-climax.

    And to think the rewrite is actually WORSE than this story. Just what the fuck was the author thinking?

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    X-C:MEE

    X-COM: Mass Electrical Engineering?

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    OS nods: Yes. Their Natural habitat is undecipherable, theoretically they could live in almost any conditions. They have glands and nodes that allows them to acclimate to any temperatures between Absolute Zero and 1,500 degrees Celsius.

    Absolute zero.

    And 1500 degrees Celsius.

    Well before absolute zero, oxygen freezes. Nitrogen freezes. If these guys can survive at absolute zero, they may as well be able to survive in hard vacuum.

    Except that at absolute zero, the chemical reactions necessary for life (any chemical reactions at all, really) cannot occur because there’s zero molecular movement.

    1500 degrees Celsius is hotter than a house fire.

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    Which leads to their being three hundred and five possible new sub-species with each clan for the next generation. Leading to 93,330 possible clan and sub-species combinations, naturally not every clan will inter-breed with one another and some will remain ‘in house’ so to speak. But it is an exponential growth.

    Except for the part where, as these different genetic lines mix, the differences between them get smaller. What you end up with is not an exponentially-increasing number of subspecies, you just get one big species with members whose genetic traits are picked from a slightly larger pool.

  5. AdmiralSakai says:

    Not to mention, is possible that Novus already possess an Immunity to the Genophage.

    Well, of course they do. The genophage was designed specifically to infect Krogan and ignore everybody else. The fact that a previously-undiscovered species is immune to it says more about the skill of the salarian biologists who developed it than the Novus themselves.

  6. AdmiralSakai says:

    Then, in a burst of gamma radiation and neutrinos,

    Ert: Taco? Ball’s in your court.

    five hundred and eleven ships erupted back into the ordinary universe, at least ordinary compared to the energetic hell from which they had just emerged.

    Gamma rays and neutrinos are produced in… actually a lot of different high-energy events in the cosmos. If an FTL drive was producing gamma rays and neutrinos I’m not sure if I’d want to get near it, but the story never says how powerful it was (various sensors can detect this stuff way before it reaches dangerous levels) and with good enough shielding you’d probably be fine.

  7. AdmiralSakai says:

    The repair tugs didn’t last much longer, they were swatted out of the sky with a negligent salvo from the Novus point defense systems.

    Why are they destroying the repair tugs? They aren’t exactly a front-line warship.

  8. AdmiralSakai says:

    They served two purposes, first they allowed the Novus to control their descent and second, they expelled the excess heat that atmospheric friction was forcing upon the Novus, even in their armor they would have overheated from the transition from orbit to surface.

    Hmeh. I don’t think this would work, but thermodynamics is hard. Taco, bail me out here.

    • GhostCat says:

      I wouldn’t think so, since using something small and thin as a heatsink typically leads to the small, thin thing quickly overheating and that doesn’t sound like a good thing to do when hurling yourself through the atmosphere of a planet. Even if they didn’t melt, they would glow like beacons.

  9. BatJamags says:

    Ert: I guess if you’re committing genocide, you want a term that makes it sound like it’s the victim’s fault, or that they deserve it.

    Very true. We’ve now gone from the over-the-top evilness of the Imperium of Man to the tactics that real-life mass murderers, tyrants, and dictators use. If you create a scapegoat, you can rally the population around hurting that group of people. It’s disturbingly effective.

    You see it with the Nazis, the KKK, the Soviet Union, the Roman Empire, the WWI-era Allies, the medieval Islamic Caliphate, the medieval Catholic Church, the medieval Byzantine Empire, the medieval period in general, and all sorts of other people and incidents you don’t want to associate yourself with.

  10. BatJamags says:

    Operative Solus: They have been Genetically Altered.

    This has given them a Predisposition toward Arbitrary Capitalization.

  11. BatJamags says:

    They have multiple organs that would not naturally evolve in a Class-7 Mammalian as they appear to be.

    Which means we have a situation 2-3-7b in Epsilon Quadrant. We’ll need to deploy strategy A-32-7c with a 527 to get the situation into a third-tier Smith scenario.

  12. BatJamags says:

    The Batarian infantry barriers were not developed with plasma weaponry in mind and thus were overwhelmed by the sheer might of the assault that the Novus guns launched upon them.

    In less then ten minutes nearly two hundred thousand Batarian PDF soldiers were cut down by the Novus assault.

    Killing retreating enemy troops? Isn’t that a war crime?

  13. BatJamags says:

    In less then ten minutes nearly two hundred thousand Batarian PDF soldiers were cut down by the Novus assault.

    Ert: *Cough* That’s it? Two-hundred people dead? After that huge, fuck off space battle last time? I have to say Dragon, I’m kind of disappointed with this chapter. All the build up you gave us…I was expecting more.

    Uh, Ert? Look again.

  14. Delta XIII says:

    The total population of the Novus would easily reach (taking into consideration an average of five thousand Novus per clan) by the Sixth generation they would have a population of:

    37,935,495,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    Funnily enough, that’s my approximate body count at this point.

    • BatJamags says:

      It probably would’ve been my body count if this story had continued.

      Well, that and if I had a way of going into the fic. Zapping each Novus out one by one and then trying and executing them for their war crimes would take so long, you know?

  15. "Lyle" says:

    Novus Biology – Part I

  16. "Lyle" says:

    They could even survive in total Vacuum for up to six hours before it becomes detrimental to their bodies.

    So they don’t need to breathe to survive?

    Their lungs also appear to be able to properly exchange gases in any atmosphere, there are also hints of ‘gills’ that would allows them to survive underwater.

    Why bother? You just fucking said they don’t need to breathe at all. Lungs would be either vestigial or would have evolved out of the species by now.

    • GhostCat says:

      Even tardigrades and other extremophiles would find these conditions incompatible. Not only can these things survive in vacuum, but in high-pressure environments like the primarily hydrogen and helium atmospheres of gas giants – which would fall under the umbrella of “any atmosphere” – so it’s a good thing they don’t need oxygen to survive.

  17. "Lyle" says:

    Ert: FUCKING! FUCKING FUCKINF FUCKING FUCKINF CUFKIN FULINF FUKICNG FUCKING FUCK!

    *sympathetic pat* I’m right there with you. He keeps writing but all I can read from it is “fapfapfapfapfapfapfap.”

  18. "Lyle" says:

    OS: One last thing. There are signs of genetic drift, when the ships appeared at the Citadel. Ten had crews that shared genetic markers above ninety-eight percent with Shepard, however the remaining ships only had a ninety-six percent similarity.

    That isn’t what genetic drift is, dipshit.

  19. "Lyle" says:

    A/N: Since this might be confusing to some, I’ll explain it in a more simple format.

    “fapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfap”

  20. "Lyle" says:

    Ert: Nowadays that isn’t much of an accomplishment anymore. But this author doesn’t seem to know much about Mass Effect

    Goeth: Or reproduction.

    Or genetics.

    Or biology.

    Or military tactics.

    The list could go on, and on, and on, and on….

  21. TacoMagic says:

    Simply put. There is no planet they cannot colonize if they really want to. They even have the ability to ‘vent’ excess radiation to prevent mutations and radiation poisoning and/or sickness.

    I’ll be in the closet of extreme profanity if anyone needs me.

  22. TacoMagic says:

    Ert: I’m trying to figure out how we went from a less than 66% to a I refuse to do the math for these numbers percent increase.

    Yarr! Ye be warned, thar be math shoals ahead!

    He’s doing basic permutation multiplication here. That is to say, if you have a set number of items, and you chose a certain number of them, your total number of non-unique combinations is the number of permutations. For instance, if you have a set of items: {a b c} and you choose two of them, you have 6 possibilities:

    ab
    ac
    ba
    bc
    ca
    cb

    You get this number with the permutation calculation: nPk (n objects picking k of them) which has a pretty simple equation:

    nPk = n!/(n-k)!

    Which for two picks, actually simplifies to:

    nP2 = n*(n-1)

    So, since we have 3 items in the above set and are picking 2 of them, we have 3*(3-1) = 3*2 = 6. And indeed there are six possible permutations. For the 18 subspecies case, you take 18*17 to get the 306 subspecies. From there, he just compounds this increase by doing it for each generation (306*305 = 93330, etc).

    However, this is entirely stupid for the determination of species for two reasons. First it’s making the absolutely moronic assumption that if two similar subspecies interbreed, the resulting offspring is their own subspecies. Second, you’ll also notice that the above set assumes that the order is important. Basically, from a mathematical standpoint, it asserts that the combinations XY and YX are unique, which is insane for breeding combinations.

    The actual math he wanted was n chose r (nCr) which is a different formula:

    nCr = n!/(r!(n-r)!)

    So if we look at the 3 letter case we get:

    3C2 = 3!/(2!(3-2)!) = 3!/(2!*1!) = 3

    So there are 3 unique combinations. Which happen to be:

    ab
    ac
    bc

    So if we look at the 18 case again, the real number of unique combinations is:

    18C2 = 18!/(2!(18-2)!) = 18!/(2!*16!) = 153

    So, yeah, it’s a case of the author knowing just enough math to completely screw the pooch.

    Not to mention there are no words for the level of scientific ignorance required to think that this is the way subspecies work.

    • GhostCat says:

      The math also assumes that each clan will have enough members to reproduce with each of the other existing clans to produce the next generation – which doesn’t seem possible since each generation breaks off into new clans rather than joining the established ones. Each of the original eighteen clans would have to have contained significantly more viable breeders than the given average of five thousand members per clan or it would require an increasingly large number of breeding cycles to produce each subsequent generation.

      • TacoMagic says:

        It’s actually more unlikely than that because of the ant queen breeding methods. It means that every pairing will need to produce at least one breeder queen and one breeder drone that breed true for each new subspecies. With as infrequently as queens/drones are produced, it would seem most likely that each queen is automatically assumed to be a purebred of the new subspecies. At that point, you may as well just say that each Novus is technically their own subspecies. In the way that each tabby cat is its own subspecies because their stripes are slightly different.

        • GhostCat says:

          That’s what I figured; even if they could produce something like the royal jelly in bees to force certain offspring to become viable breeder queens, within a very limited number of generations these micro-clans would have to be producing nothing but breeding queens and drones.

          I can’t remember if they lay eggs or still have live births, or if it was even ever mentioned which one applies; eggs and/or vat-babies would really be the only way to even attempt to maintain the volume of young required.

      • TacoMagic says:

        Tough, keep in mind, his numbers are way, way inflated by the fact that he totally fucked up the math.

        The actual numbers should be:

        153
        11,781
        69,390,090
        2.4×10^15

        So, even by the stupid logic of the fic, he’s off by four orders of magnitude. That may not seem like all that much, but four orders of magnitude is the difference between getting hit with a baseball going 50 mph and 500,000 mph.

  23. GhostCat says:

    There are venom glands in the upper palate and they have acidic substance producing glands fused with their salivary glands, making their saliva very acidic.

    Saliva is already mildly acidic so salivary glands are “acidic substance producing glands” – there’s no need for an extra set of glands. If having very acidic saliva was a desirable trait, then natural selection would probably lead to a gradual increase in the saliva’s natural acid levels by favoring those with more acidic saliva rather than spontaneously creating an entirely new set of glands from nothing.

    • SuperFeatherYoshi says:

      This isn’t natural selection, remember? Even the author himself describes this as “half psychic, half bullshit”.

  24. GhostCat says:

    They have a secondary heart that is capable of sustaining them until their primary heart has repaired, or at least that’s what I assume it is for.

    Wait, what?

    How the hell is that supposed to work? If the primary heart is damaged due to natural causes, such as heart disease, then the secondary heart would likely be affected by the same thing since it is a part of the same circulatory system and is exposed to the same things as the primary heart. And if the damage is due to trauma, such as taking a piece of shrapnel to the chest, then having a working heart that continues to pump blood would just make them bleed out faster.

    • SuperFeatherYoshi says:

      Secondary Heart is an actual thing in XCOM, it’s a genetic modification that improves the survivability of your soldiers. The game just handwaves it as “distributing vital functions throughout the body”.

      So yeah… XCOM’s devs didn’t exactly bother with scientific accuracy, though this fic’s science is so stupid that even by XCOM standard it makes no fucking sense.

  25. TacoMagic says:

    . With Novus Medical technology and ability at Genetic manipulation. Would be child’s play for them to create an artificial immunity to the Genophage. That is, if they don’t already possess a Natural immunity to it.

    *Facepalm*

    I guess the author completely forgot that the genophage was specifically targeted at the Krogon, so wouldn’t have any effect on the Novie anyway.

  26. GhostCat says:

    Small alterations to their skeleton, musculature and epidermis allows them to survive any pressure below one hundred and five standard atmospheres.

    One atmosphere on Earth is 14.6959 pounds per square inch, so one hundred and five times that would be … :does math: 1543.0695 psi.

    That’s a bit over three-quarters of a ton per square inch of surface area.

    This is considered a “small” alteration?

  27. GhostCat says:

    Ten had crews that shared genetic markers above ninety-eight percent with Shepard, however the remaining ships only had a ninety-six percent similarity.

    That’s really weird. Genome-wide variation from one human being to any another on Earth is only around 0.5%, or 99.5% similarity, and that’s among a diverse population numbered in the several billions. This is a much smaller population, so you’d expect their genetic similarity to be very high. Have they started deliberately weeding out Shepard’s genetic traits via selective breeding?

    • Cain: Perfectly understandable course of action.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      Actually, since vast sawthes of their population are generated by a very small number of breeding pairs, wouldn’t the Novus have very low genetic diversity?

      And wouldn’t that make them more vulnerable to diseases and things?

      • GhostCat says:

        Yeah, the genetic similarity should be much higher than the numbers given in the fic. The population would be nearly homogeneous.

        The frequency of genetic diseases would depend on how much gene – tweaking they do and how early in the generations they start, and how stringent their eugenics programs are. That would hamper the author’s whack-ass geometric progression of the number of clans even more, though, since it requires every clan to produce enough viable breeders to pair off with every other clan. I imagine there would come a time when the population would just stagnate to the point that they are just making clones of each other.

  28. GhostCat says:

    They have slightly different genetic alterations and have altered their appearance slightly for personal or cultural reasons.

    That doesn’t make them different subspecies, just members of a polymorphic species. Humans are polymorphic; our genotype is the same but our phenotypes contain slight genetic differences and we are constantly altering our physical appearances for cultural or personal reasons.

  29. TacoMagic says:

    But I wonder, who knows the significance of the song ‘Ring around the Rosie’?

    Ert: *Rolls eyes* I learned it in fucking high-school, it’s about the Black Death. Are you done with the lecture and ready to get on with the actual fucking storytelling?

    It’s actually way more interesting than that. Best that folklorists can tell, Ring around the Rosie actually has its origins in the Protestant ban on dancing in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries and doesn’t have anything to do with the black death at all. See, in the 1800s children got around the dancing ban by using little meaningless sing-song nursery rhymes while running as a group in circles. There were a number of these that came about and show up for the first time in English recorded instances in the late 1800s (many of which, including ‘Ring around the Rosie,’ appear for the first time in Kate Greenway’s Mother Goose). Many other regional variants of the rhyme were recorded around the same time, most of which do not lend themselves very well to the black death theory given the large divergence in accepted lyrics.

    The ‘black death’ explanation is actually a folk myth that is rather recent in origin. It appears to have been cooked up in 1951 by by James Leasor and is a simultaneous example of accepted audience-misinterpretation and modern ‘viral’ metamyth propagation.

    Stephen Winick did a really good deconstruction of this myth back in 2014 that you can find here: http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2014/07/ring-around-the-rosie-metafolklore-rhyme-and-reason/

  30. GhostCat says:

    They served two purposes, first they allowed the Novus to control their descent and second, they expelled the excess heat that atmospheric friction was forcing upon the Novus, even in their armor they would have overheated from the transition from orbit to surface.

    Because a thin membrane would make an awesome heatsink; it’s not as if they would quickly overheat and incandesce/catch fire/melt/[destructive verb of choice].

  31. "Lyle" says:

    the Novus with our current Biological weapons arsenal. Their bodies are just too resilient for anything we have to effect them.

    I think the author just admitted that his Sue-race are cockroaches.


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