Mass Effect: Human Revolution (Discussion thread, with previews, multimedia and Word Of God, found here and continued here and here.) by IgnusDei is a Mass Effect/Deus Ex: Human Revolutioncrossover fanfic.The gap between present day and the Mass Effect times has been filled by the Deus Ex games' events... and anti-augmentation fanatics have won. David Sarif, predicting a new dark age, has had his stock of knowledge cached away and key Sarif Industries personnel, including himself and Adam Jensen, turned into Human Popsicles in the hope of seeing a less bigoted future.It's the 2170s when the Sarif Cache is found, and unfortunately for Sarif, anti-aug feelings are still running high. Adam is the only one who is revivable, and after some initial difficulty he takes his leave from Earth in search of a friendlier place to lay down roots. After an attempt to settle in Elysium didn't go so well, he has become a proud and decorated Detective Sergeant in C-SEC.However, things are about to go wrong spectacularly. When one who should have gone on to become a hero of legend is found murdered, Adam must once again take up the twin mantles of detective and warrior to discover the truth and save the galaxy from enemies both shadowy and overt, current and ancient, mysteriously alien and disturbingly familiar.Non-trivial trivia; IgnusDei was personally involved with the development of DX:HR - at least to the point of having designed several set pieces.Recap page now under construction.
This fanfic contains examples of:
A House Divided: Benezia attempts to invoke this in chapter 23 against the Normandy crew.
Hein points out to Tali how Jensen remains compassionate even as the Templars vie to burn him at the stake, the Alliance plans to help them do so, and the Council barely acknowledges his accomplishments.
Chapter 26: "You're an artificial human that can regenerate from fatal wounds in seconds denying the possibility that a young Asari can breakdown alcohol quickly."
Chapter 38: Adam is confused by the sight of a sapient anthropomorphic rabbit-cat. Hannibal reminds him that they "live in a galaxy dominated by blue women that can mate with their brains" and just killed a flying shark.
Shortly afterwards in that same chapter, Hannibal expresses doubt about the idea of "a Krogan scientist worthy of the term", upon which Adam tosses the other's earlier words right back at him.
Armor Is Useless: Edward claims that the 108 will not stop a sustained or charged Serpent shot or a heat weapon. This is a special case, as the 108 has proven quite reliable against many other weapon types.
Wrex's official rap sheet includes "Two hundred and sixty-seven counts of driving under the influence, three hundred and seventy-five counts of vandalism and assault, and one count littering* although that littering is a bit more serious since he used another Krogan's ripped off genitals to do it."
"Clones, like Lawson, are subject to abnormally expressed genes as they get older. This can result in organ failure, premature aging, cancer, and obesity."
Audience Participation: Space Battles-based readers were invited by the author to choose the party members that would go with Adam down to Noveria, as well as which two of the three tasks Adam would undertake in preparation for going after Elsa Devereaux.
Subverted. Spectre Jondum Bau, on viewing the aftermath of a failed pirate attack, initially decrees a fully automatic crossbow as this... until he sees that the tips of the bolts are coated in a special pollen that scrambles sensors, which renders kinetic barriers useless.
Ballistic Discount: On the mission to Caleston, Garrus needs to acquire some explosives from some Drell mercenaries. At first he walks into their hangout with a pocket full of platinum, but upon realizing that they're all high as satellites on various recreational drugs, he simply walks up to each one, tazes them into unconsciousness, and helps himself to their more practical party favors. Jensen approves, because "that's what he also did back in the day".
Jensen is a polite, soft-spoken man who just happens to be one of the most dangerous cyborgs ever built. Most of the time, he limits himself to non-lethal maneuvers and weapons, even when fighting the most hardened of criminals. But if he gets into a situation that sets off his Chronic Hero Syndrome(innocent people threatened by powerful forces), the gloves come OFF.
Hein is mostly shown as a smarmy, if magnificent, bastard, but he breaks character and goes cold when Garrus tried to defend General Arterius' actions at Shanxi in Chapter 18.
Hein goes cold again in chapter 23 when the possibility of leaving a vital Prothean artifact to the Alliance is brought up.
In Chapter 3, Adam reminisces on the beginning of his feud with Udina; He figured out Harkin had stolen drugs from lockup, destroying a case. It only took Adam four days to get Harkin arrested for severe corruption. It took every favor Udina had to keep Harkin out of prison long enough for him to "fade" away.
When he finds out that Fade is connected with Shepard's death, his memories of how Harkin screwed up a case in which a pimp was able to murder eight prostitutes and dump their bodies in waste recyclers, he pulls out his arm blades and comes this close to shanking him.
Garrus recalls in Chapter 9 that he and Adam once helped a sick quarian into a major hospital, only for the doctors to pass him around because they didn't want to care for him, resulting in his body being found in a rathole clinic on the other side of the Ward. Adam ends up arresting four hospital administrators and three head nurses for Gross Negligence and Dereliction of Duty of Care.
Big Brother Is Watching: In the grand old Cyberpunk tradition, Noveria's Dosadi arcology is full of omnipresent cameras equipped with never-tiring image recognition VIs, ostensibly to keep an eye out for miscreants. Of course, anyone who's savvy knows better. Also, all citizens are Chipped, which allows a VI to keep track of their locations at all times, monitor their purchases and activities and deliver targeted advertising. Truly 21st century datamining taken to the extreme. And even your head is not spared - Arcadia ensures that even dreams are being watched. The Party would be envious.
Jensen in Chapter 7, twice. First he kills five asari Huntresses in under a minute - seconds before they execute a group of quarians, then he Outside Rides a sports Flying Car to rescue Tali before she dies of extensive infections from an extended chase by Saren's forces.
Offscreen, but the Deep Eyes played this to the quarians Jensen rescued, after they were trapped by a completely different mob.
In chapter 35 the Durendalsaves Zoller from dying of asphyxiation.
Bilingual Bonus: Untranslated French has shown up a few times. The conversations between Adam and Elsa are almost all this.
Bothering by the Book: Played both ways between Jensen and Executor Pallin. Jensen ignored orders to cease the Saren investigation, but then pointed out that Pallin had only declared the case was closed and had failed to go through the necessary channels to make the order official, so Jensen technically didn't do anything wrong. However, that technicality didn't stop Pallin from suspending Jensen for a week without pay for another technicality regarding his investigation.
The day after Jensen swears to punch out and arrest Hwang after finding that he warned Shepard's killer they was coming, nearly getting them all killed, he reviews his to do list, with "punch that bastard Hwang out" and "arrest that bastard Hwang" crossed off already.
Early on, Jenkins tried to pass himself off as "Riddick". In chapter 25 he gets artificial eyes.
A rather dark one in chapter 34. Near the start of the chapter, Jules remarks that he never found out who Gianna Parasini's employer was despite the rape-torture. At the end, we get to find out just who it was.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In the second prologue, Pallin says that accusations of Spectres causing the deaths of thousands happen all the time and thus they won't intervene in Saren's case without solid evidence.
The Asari Huntresses working for Saren who take Tali captive are convinced that Spectres are after them. In the first chapter, it is suggested that Adam is being considered for Spectrehood and canon tells us Garrus was considered too.
When Jenkins considers a police career, he is told to look into Detroit, which is where part of HR took place.
"Laputan Machine, repeat, Laputan Machine!"note Gunther's killphrase from the original DX.
In chapter 18, Aki tells Tali that Adam has a sticky knee actuator that needs fixing and she's more of a doctor than an engineer. In the original DX, Dr. Reyes had to fix Gunther's sticky knee actuator and complained that he felt more like an engineer than a doctor.
"Here we have a Brunette... and here we have glass, and here we have horrible physical pain... Here we have fire... Oh, let me take compile a short preview vid for you." With a few keystrokes, Hein conjured up a short, one second video of a harsh looking human with a black shirt and red arms aiming a gun at the 'camera'.Explanation What happened to Adam during the starting attack on Sarif Industries that forced him to get augmented.
Steiner-Bisley, Panzerwerks/x and Standard Security Corporation are still in operation.
On Elysium, as on Panchaea, Adam had to fight pseudo-zombies.
What does Fyodor depict Garrus as in his drawing in chapter 18? An Archangel.
'Benezia hadn't just gone into her head and assumed direct control of her body.'
"Nooooo... I said that we should have a tie-breaker. Pit your flexibility against my reach... Wait, that came out wrong."
CAT6 show up way ahead of schedule on Ilium.
"I had a good run .... The best."note From the last romance scene in Citadel DLC.
In chapter 31, a "Zaeed Massani package" is mentioned.
Chapter 36: Adam does a biotic punch against a robot zombie grasping at him from between two doors, like Shepard would in canon ME3.
In chapter 38, Adam reaches out to a child in a vent who claims to be unsavable, then vanishes when Adam takes another look.note Just like the child in ME3 who the Catalyst would model its visual appearance rather.
Identity and what makes a being - is a person just his memories, personality and skills, or is there something more? Is he less if any of them are missing or damaged? What if you can copy them wholesale?
Samara had been told this particular breed of human a Frenchman — tended to cave in under threat of violence,so she attempted to threaten him into letting her through. What Samara didn't know was that Robert St-Germain, before getting involved in the restaurant business, was a member of the Foreign Legion, having served in the Algerian Wastes and Huffman island, and was neither impressed with her threats nor her tasteless cleavage (facts that he was more than happy to inform her about).
Also mentioned in chapter 34 from the Scot Taggart.
But bloody hell if Taggart was going to surrender to an overgrown frog. It'd be worse then surrendering to the french, he thought.
China Takes Over the World: The Coalition, of which China is the primary member state, is an In-Universe bogeyman to the European Union, having tried to turn the cold war hot several times in the past.
Cloning Blues: Given that cloning doesn't enhance the capabilities of a species, neither the Citadel nor the Alliance have any problem with it. However, their legal status is pretty horrible, with the foremost producer of human clones proudly calling itself "Sosamshin", after the Korean deity who created cattle.
Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Done with pretty much every recurring character. Most of them are 'played' by the VA or Ink-Suit Actor of that particular character in the source work (with little exceptions for cases like the use of several different Yvonne Strakhovski characters at once) and a lot of Actor Allusion thrown in for good measure.
The first chapter has someone who worked with Adam comment on how he managed to talk the hostage taker down saying he had a "silver tongue". Adam was using his CASIE mod. On another note in the game "Silver Tongue" awards the player with 1000 experience when they manage to talk an enemy into their point of view.
The Enhanced Pheromonal Response Attuner (EPRA)gives its user the ability to release pheromones powerful enough to cause extreme arousal or subservience.
When talking about Saren's attack on Eden Prime, Adam points out that if Saren wanted mass death he would just have dropped an asteroid and if he only wanted the beacon he would have stolen it discreetly. Anderson replies that a bombardment would have been too impersonal and a theft too discreet.
Invoked in a downplayed manner by Nielsen for Shepard's murder. She made it an obvious murder rather than making it look like an accident because she was never acknowledged for her previous kills.
Cowboy Cops: C-Sec's resident "super-cops" Garrus Vakarian and Adam Jensen. Between the two of them, the Spectres get hacked, thugs get shot in the head, criminal bars are assaulted, and tail lights get broken. Adam generally will try to act as a By-the-Book Cop as much as possible, but he's willing to bend and break some rules when things get serious. Garrus on the other hand has fewer compunctions.
Crapsack World: True to Cyberpunk tradition. This extends to multiple worlds.
Crazy-Prepared: Ashley says that Sarif couldn't have predicted biotics when putting Adam's augs together. Turns out the kinetic bleeders that prevent Jensen's Action Bomb from being a suicide attack also prevent him from being thrown around by coherent dark energy bolts.
Cruel Mercy: Caim chooses to only blind Jenkins rather than kill him outright.
Crystal Spires and Togas: The batarian capital of Khar'shan is a subversion; as we learn in chapter 25, it has the architecture but not the attitude.
The Dreaded: The Dayak is this, and considering its original prey were Krogan...
Deceptively Human Robots: Most bioroids in a nutshell. If someone pulls the thread enough, they tend to freak out, murder the discoverer, and anyone in the nearby area who they think could have witnessed them rip that poor sod's head off. Considering an early incident happened in an airport terminal, it's a wonder there's hardly any information about them.
Dead All Along: In Jensen's flashback to when he first encountered bioroids, Julien Seed, along with his family, had been killed months before Jensen even met "Julien." Not even the bioroid that replaced Julien knew it, since he still begs Jensen to protect the real Julien's family.
It's ambiguous if Alliance Intelligence Agent Sarah Walker is alive or dead after being "neutralized", but there's no doubt that the Sarah Walker (actually a bioroid named Brea) that Adam is working with isn't the real Sarah Walker.
Back in 2027, Jensen foiled a Russian company's plot to do this to the Japanese government.
In chapter 19 we learn that this was Rael'Zorah's favourite means of expressing disappointment in Tali.
Dirty Business: When Anderson, Hein and Udina have left his office, Hackett privately laments having to recommend Johan Ramsus for Spectrehood.
Disaster Dominoes: How Conrad Verner AKA "Jake Armitage" accidentally destroyed Paxton Toombs' heavy frigate. First he mentioned his theoretical physics knowledge in earshot of one of his mercs. Then they stuck him in the engine room, where he proceeded to accidentally mess up their fuel cells, then space their rations, and then came the Sneeze of Doom...
Conrad Verner: Then next thing I knew, I hit my head on someone's else head, and that someone turned out to be a Biotic, and he attempted to biotically push himself away from the core pit and that field interacted with the dark energy containment system in the engine room which led to a destabilized FTL warp field harmonic which led to a structural fault in the core room which lead to cascade failure in the core itself which led to multiple time dilation events that tore the ship apart!
Jensen muses on this when he considers his fight with Lawson (who is male in this) when he could have simply spied on the man and wonders whether he would have acted the same way if Lawson had been a woman.
A similar musing also pops up in Chapter 34 after Jensen spots Kasumi spying on him taking a leak:
Jensen: "You know, if our genders were reversed I would be well within my rights to punch you."
Kasumi: "I know! Don't you just hate double standards?"
Down the Drain: A Deus Ex story without a sewer level is heresy most foul. Of course there's a few. The first one, interestingly enough, is one on the Citadel. It's well-lit and clean, thanks to mass effect fields. The second, on Noveria, is far more dirty - and filled with monsters, as any sewers connected to mad science labs should be.
Dramatic Irony: Grey is incredibly suspicious of Jensen and their new Omar quartermaster, fearing that the Omar would share every sensitive detail about the Durendal to the Omar collective. The next scene, Hein gives an operational report to the Shadow Broker how he dealt with a Batarian slaver ship.
The Dulcinea Effect: Walker actually an impostor named Brea discusses this, suggesting that she could have just gotten Jensen's help by appearing on his doorstep injured and scared. Somewhat later, this is exactly what happens* though the nature of the people trying to kill her helps his decision a lot when death squads are sent after her.
Walker: "Maybe I should have approached you that way... Knock at your apartment door drenched in rain water, my clothes torn, my body shivering, my eyes red and my lip quivering... I suspect you'd have caught the killer in minutes had I put on my battered housewife routine."
Early-Bird Cameo: The events of the first Mass Effect are still underway, but Wreav, Tela Vasir, Samara, Legion (sorta), Kasumi, James, Jacob, CAT6, Bakara aka "Eve" and Bau have already shown up.
Easy-Mode Mockery: Hein to Adam in chapter 19 on the 108 Powered Armor: "Well, now, maybe Dr. Ross was right? Maybe I should have set this thing to extra easy mode, hm?"
Et Tu, Brute?: Invoked by Shepard's killer who disguised as her mother.
Adam using a fridge as an Improvised Weapon in the first prologue could be a reference to the Memetic Mutation of Adam knocking out entire armies with common fridges and vending machines. He also later casually uses a public toilet's sink in the same way.
Garrus incapacitates a whole group of Drell mercenaries to get something the group needed, rather than negotiate it from the mercs. Jensen felt like chastising Garrus for it, but then he remembered that he would do the same thing+ Knocking someone out and stealing their important item is an accepted strategy in the source game.
In chapter 24, when trapped in a lab on board the Durendal, Adam's automatic response is to look for an air vent.
The racism against Quarians gets a much more personal looking-at thanks to the Tali rescue this time around.
Adam gets a lot of fire from humans for being augmented, as well.
Still exists between Humans and Turians, made worse by the complete-bastardness of both sides' leadership.
As we learn in chapter 25, there's biotic hate going around too.
Fantastic Ghetto: Once the Templars gained control over Caleston, they quickly moved all the alien population into the Red Light district. They don't bother patrolling inside anymore, and the situation quickly descended into mass anarchy and partying.
Female Gaze: In-Universe in chapter 18. 'Despite herself, Aki couldn't help but glance at his posterior. It was plastic and carbon, of course: there wasn't much point in augmenting someone's legs unless you replaced every leg muscle. Still, it was a nicely sculpted piece of plastic and carbon, and from the quick embarrassed glances Tali tried to not to take at it, Aki could tell she agreed, too.'
Final Exam Finale: In the Benezia fight, Adam had to recall and use some of the things that were mentioned earlier.
Flat "What.": Tali gives one when Hein challenges her to hack Jensen's implants.
Its FTL drive core is cracked, which not only reduces its speed, but results in an ongoing(but small) risk of catastrophic failure. It has a fraction of the crew it needs to operate, and is dependent on extensive jury-rigged automation. Its STL engines are second-hand and decades out of date, resulting in a huge heat wake that makes it exponentially easier to track when its going at full acceleration. In stealth mode, it is reliant on cold gas thrusters to move to minimize its thermal signature, as the core isn't capable of creating the gravity well that the Normandy can 'fall into'.
On the other hand, its FTL drive core is several times bigger than the Normandy's, enabling it to travel further. It has state-of-the-art machine shops, meaning it has lower maintenance costs. Its STL engines are more powerful. And despite its limited range in stealth mode, it can stay stealthed a lot longer. On top of all that, it has a main cannon that Hein religiously won't let anyone else see...
Just about all of the latter is the direct result of the former, of course.
Food Porn: In chapter 28, this is the treatment given to Adam trying to feed Manah.
Forced to Watch: In chapter 38, Red Raven tries to invoke this on Adam by having mercenaries target the children he's protecting.
Remember what Sarah said about how she would seek Adam's help in a way that would ensure she would get it? Guess what happens a few chapters later.
Chapter 19: "I have no idea! Maybe [Adam's] brain implants are keeping him stable? Maybe he's some kind of genius? Or maybe he's really secretly the last of the Protheans?" Guess who shows up a few chapters later?
Chapter 23: Wrex thinks he should offer his services to Spectres more often. Chapter 30: He ends up in Bau's service yet again.
In chapter 31, Scholar tells Jules Leng that the latter's "incentive" to go after Adam is "not erasing your whole fucking life." In chapter 36 cue The Reveal that "Jules" is actually a persona overwriting someone else's life.
In chapter 18, Fyodor wanted Ryan to turn Garrus into an archangel. In chapter 38, cue his Mid-Season Upgrade: a modified version of the Templars' Seraph flying Powered Armor.
In chapter 38, Kurt is inexplicably good at not getting hurt. Turns out he's Not Even Human.
Gambit Pileup: By chapter 35, Hein's group, Bau's, the AIA, Scholar and Europa Genomics, Johann and Hannibal, and Saren and the Geth are all having their own plans for Noveria.
Gas Leak Coverup: Jensen is technically an Earthborn War Hero - except that the Systems Alliance is so bigoted towards augs that they suppressed him stopping the Skyllian Blitz more or less single-handedly.
Genre Shift: Each story arc has different characteristics, and the transition can take some by surprise.
Gods are Evil: The Batarian practice of slavery is explained as a result of their belief that they must make a large number of sacrifices per year, or else their gods will destroy the civilizations of Khar'shan.
Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Adam can't bring the 108 to Noveria's Dosadi arcology for some reason. Probably because it might stand out too much. The restriction gets lifted once he enters Peak 15 proper.
Manuel: "You can't just jack a 2027 computer into 2180's hardware and expect them to communicate properly. I tried with an antique I bought on the net, too many incompatibilities with the code, couldn't be done. How'd you resolve that problem?"
Lampshade hung again in chapter 34. Spooky's view of cyberspace resembles the popular stereotype and he mentions that you could try exploiting the social engineering angle... but doing it the Brain/Computer Interface way is more fun.
It was bad enough that Pallin (a turian) willingly helped Jensen conceal evidence that the Alliance might have been responsible for Shepard's assassination, an unknown number of others and illegal research into artificial intelligence and allowed Jensen to conduct his own off-the-record investigation out of fear that revealing the evidence would cause a war between humans and the Council.
Jensen and Garrus respectively hold the C-Sec record for short/medium and long-range marksmanship. In Chapter 7, Jensen kills a missile fired upon Garrus' cruiser with a machine pistol. While hanging off the back of the car that fired it. Garrus returns the favor by headshotting the asari huntress who fired the missile. With a handgun.
In Chapter 15, Slightly more human Hein throws a chaff grenade and then detonates it by shooting it.
Interservice Rivalry: Apparently, different Earth organization's soldiers don't get along well. In particular, one UNAS grunt looks down on Ashley's gene mods and form-fitting suits just like Ashley looks down on augs.
Invisible Jerkass: Supposedly a result of using cloak for too long at one go. The fact that Adam isn't one is a source of surprise for various characters.
It's Always Party-Time In Caleston's Red Light District: After the Templars ghettoed all of Caleston's alien population there, the Red Light district launched into incredible festivities where drinking, dancing, taking drugs, and having sex on the street happen 24/7, usually right next to each other. In particular, Jensen hopelessly attempts to resuscitate a Salarian that collapsed dead after four days of partying, with no sleep in between.
Jerkass Has a Point: Used on both sides regarding the Council's course of action to deal with Saren and his army of geth. Sparatus claims sending a fleet to the Terminus systems would provoke a war, while Udina argues that only a fleet is sufficient against a fleet of geth.
Just Hit Him: Subverted. When Nielsen flings Garrus and Sarah away, the impact knocks out the former and nearly kills the latter.
Just One Man: Anderson tries to tell Udina that Adam's one man and thus not a threat. Surprisingly enough for Udina, he recognizes that even one man is not to be underestimated. It's implied that he's aware of the stunts augs pulled off from the 2020s to the 2050s, and really wants Jensen lynched by the Templars before he decides to get creative.
Udina: Never underestimate what just one man can do to harm a nation, Anderson.
Anderson does this again when Jenkins suggests taking the Normandy out to hunt for Saren in the Traverse, saying that she's no match for a dreadnought or Geth fleet.
Kick the Dog: Some anti-Quarian rioters shoot an old woman and leave her for dead just because she tried to defend one.
Kill and Replace: Back in 2027, Jensen foils a Russian Mega Corp. plot to replace the Japanese government's top officials with bioroids.
Kill It with Fire: The Templars' standard method of dealing with things they don't like including Jensen's wife and adopted daughter.
Know When to Fold 'Em: Wrex might be a Krogan with centuries of experience but he sees little reason to keep searching for Tali after she's kidnapped by members of a cult and dragged onto the streets during an anti-Quarian riot.
Kaidan's killer was about to go after Garrus when she heard Adam's voice and decided to bug out.
Late to the Tragedy: In chapter 20, the Normandy encounters a slaver spacecraft after Adam and the Deep Eyes have gone through it.
This is a major flaw with many of the less advanced bioroids, mostly because they think less of "they did see me" and more of "they might have seen me." This leaves a conspicuous body count, since a single hit is often followed up with the murder of close relations.
Little "No": Garrus says this in chapter 38 before doing an airdrop.
Bau: As for its ability to create a weapon, it accomplished this through processes not unlike seen in a modern day factory, though more efficient and advanced. A Super Omni-tool, in other words.
Manchurian Agent: In the flashback where Adam first encounters bioroids, Julien Seed, Jensen's CIA contact, was actually a bioroid himself. He still thought he was the real Julien though, and when critically injured, begs Jensen to make sure that Julien's family is safe.
"Take it from me, boy, there's no such thing as perfection. Your biotics are exceeded by the Asari, your reflexes are exceeded by the Fiera, and don't get me started on your strength, stamina, and resilience. The rest of the galaxy offers far, far better."
Mega Corp.: After the Panchea incident led to uproar over augmentation, all the biotech corporations went into a frenzy trying to secure government contracts to ensure their financial stability. At the end of a corporate war, only Versalife, Tokugawa Heavy Industries, and Sarif were left alive, and had incredible influence due to the competition being largely eliminated.
Memory Gambit: VK Scanners are very good at lie detection, so one really has to be Believing Their Own Lies in order to fool them. Or one could just do this, as at least two characters on Noveria, Ken Ruger and Corto Riviera, prove.
Adam gets changes to his augs after the damage he takes while on Caleston.
Tali gets upgrades to her drones from Alpha and Beta on Noveria.
The Mob Boss Is Scarier: Whoever Shepard's killer is working for, Harkin thinks their wrath would be worse than anything C-SEC could do. Considering double crossing the Alliance Black Ops could result in a bioroid ripping his head off, himself being replaced by one, or both, it's very justified.
From the bridge of the Waking Dreamer, Benezia's personal ship, Benezia processed all of this, and concluded that while it wasn't quite the end for Caleston, she could see it from here.
The archaeologist Dr. T'Soni (even though it's a different daughter of Benezia's) is on Caleston, referencing an Aborted Arc in the original game.
'This... invisible war, will be a war of ideas.'
Caim blinds Jenkins, but at least he gets chicken.
"I never asked for this" finally appears in chapter 20, before reappearing in 25 and 37.
Pressly: "It's not everyone that could go in a heavy risk situation like the one on Caleston and come back alive. Hope you showed the two aliens how it's done." Jacob: "Yeah, we came out alive... but the prize went to this Hein weirdo." (emphasis ours)
A bartender still threatens to hit Conrad with a Singularity.
In chapter 28, two members of the conspiracy discuss the failure of the Primary Unit and its replacement with the Secondary Unit, just like in the intro to the first Deus Ex.
In chapter 31, a Kai Leng steals cereal.
"What about swimming?" "Meh, I never had much use for swimming. I prefer more useful skillsets."
The fact that a Geth had managed to intentionally infiltrate a Terran corporate city was... disturbing. (emphasis ours)
Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Anderson stays calm while Hein insults him as a failed Spectre candidate, but nearly assaults the smug DARPA chief when Hein mentions how Shepard "came down with a bad case of dead".
Never Trust a Trailer: Don't take everything you see in the "previews" at face value. When the events previewed actually happen, some minor but vital details will differ.
N.G.O. Superpower: The Order doesn't have that many troops compared to the Alliance, but its equipment is still on par with the Alliance and it is sufficiently large a power that Udina thinks the Alliance going to war with it would be a bad idea. They possess three supercarrier battlegroups and, if need be, can call on millions of devotees to supplement the at least 10,000 active duty troopers.
The Normandy's crew considers contingencies to take down Jensen if need be, and swiftly realize that just about every single technique they can devise to nonlethally take him down wouldn't work, including biotics, due to Jensen's engineering. They eventually decide that non-lethal isn't an option, and that they have to treat him like a krogan. A fast krogan.
Nielsen's plating is not only bulletproof but also alloyed with eezo, nullifying biotics.
No Transhumanism Allowed: The various races have different opinions on augmentation. Salarians happily embrace them, Turians are lukewarm but willing, Krogan despise them as an admission of weakness. Humans went from having them to hating and banning to reintroducing due to biotics' needs. They also use bioaugs for Loophole Abuse.
Nobody Here but Us Statues: Used seriously when Jensen, Garrus, and Walker attempt to arrest Shepard's killer. Being a shapeshifter, her skin takes on a porcelain texture and poses like a depressed statue, which isn't noticed among the other decorations. Once Jensen deduces what they're up against, the next thing he notices is that the statue isn't there anymore.
Noodle Incident: Whatever happens in the Normandy's airlock between Adam and Udina to make Udina piss his pants after the ambassador rants about how Adam is an abomination and how he's going to have Adam arrested by the Church (Which would be a Fate Worse than Death) the next time Adam enters Alliance space.
At some point in their partnership, Garrus and Jensen found themselves in a fight in which Garrus had to fight naked.
Liara's offscreen death is treated as one. She's not even ever mentioned by name directly.
Nostalgia Filter: Discussed in chapter 33 when Ken Ruger talks about the 1950s being "nicer" and Adam's mental dialogue reminds himself of "the racism, misogyny, and Cold War paranoia".
At least one reader has pointed out that due to Alliance use of genemods, Ashley would be considered an aug to an Earthsider. This gets brought up In-Universe when Ashley meets a UNAS Marine who makes the above point to Ashley.
Vodarek explains that, while humans take a dim view of batarians with their slave culture, batarians think humans to be pretty monstrous with the Templars and general human behaviour towards non-vanilla humans like the Omar.
The universal response to Hein's "change of plans" with regard to testing Jensen's 108 suit; instead of the "boring" scheduled friendly spars with Deep Eyes they've prepared for, he's broadcast a false surrender signal to a very large Batarian slaver ship to give them all some fun combat practice.
Chapter 25 has a comedic one from Wrex after he gets hard over Chakwas.
Chapter 38: Grey and Bau's reaction to learning that Wreav plans to bombard Noveria with Huskification nanites.
108: The model number of the experimental armour Hein wants Adam to test.
OOC Is Serious Business: Jensen and the Council are positively shocked when Udina acknowledges it was Jensen and Tali (and Garrus) who found the evidence proving Saren's guilt. However, Udina seemed to be in physical pain as he was saying the fact.
Precision F-Strike: Garrus says "fuck you too, pal" when confronted with a racist Deep Eye in chapter 18.
Pre-emptive Declaration: Jensen is cloaked and clinging to a speeding aircar carrying some of Saren's goons with Tali as their prisoner.
Jensen: ...Lights on, ping them. Driving with a busted tail light is something you can pull them over for. Garrus: I don't see- Jensen: (punches out tail light) Garrus: Ah, there it is. (cue lights and sirens)
Precision F-Strike: In chapter 38, this is one of the signs of Joker losing his grip on his sanity.
Pretender Diss: In chapter 35, Damien is unimpressed by a bunch of rich teens playing at gangster, since he once joined a gang due to poverty while they were doing it For the Evulz.
The primary thematic sin of this arc (besides the other seven) is Pride, or if you prefer, Hubris. Caleston was profitable, but some of the bigwigs at RedWater started believing some of the Humanity Fuck Yeah propaganda that both Terra Firma and the Alliance have been spewing, and thought they could outdo both Illium and Noveria at once. Bafford and the Templars thought they could control an entire world by themselves with just a thousand troopers, because they thought they were just that good. And the Black Queen herself thought her powers of seduction would work on Jensen/Aleph.
They all bit off more than they could chew.
Private Military Contractors: So far we have Manticore Tactical Solutions, who employ at least two named arseholes and are strongly implied to be Evil, as well as Standard Security Corporation who are more Punch Clock Villains. There have been a few mentions of a Kerberos Tactical Solutions but it has yet to appear onscreen.
Psycho for Hire: Turns out, Shepard's killer was this, considering she keeps a Room Full of Crazy with violent art and her orgasmic emotions she experiences stalking, cornering, and finally killing her marks. And it's the Alliance who's hiring her, too.
Hein+ , after ending an argument over which side was more justified in their Shanxi war crimes "And as for you, mister Vakarian, if you ever try to justify General Arterius' actions in my presence ever again... .... I. will. end. you."
Udina is against augmentations because, according to his Insane Troll Logic, Adam's use of augs reveals humanity's inferiority compared to the alien races that didn't need them to reach their current level of advancement. The irony is that Salarians happily embrace augs and Turians while lukewarm are still open to the idea. It's the Krogans who share the dislike of augs due to seeing them as a sign of weakness, but they are genuinely superior to baseline humans.
For the aliens' own part, Executor Pallin (a Turian) thinks that Earthlings are NOT Puny.
"The Humans could be just as unyielding as the Turians, as powerful as the Asari, or as insidious as the Salarians."
Puppy-Dog Eyes: Despite wearing a full face mask, Tali is able to pull this on Hein to get him to fiddle settings on Adam's Dream Catcher to allow better memories.
Hein's crew is looking increasingly motley with everyone he picks up. There're a bunch of US Marines, a cyborg supercop, a Turian Rebel, a group of Quarian pilgrims, an Artificial Human, an Omar, a pair of hackers, an Asari with a unique mutation, a ditzy physicist...
Jondum Bau's too. He has a pair of Systems Alliance marines, a smuggler and child, a Krogan and a Roegadyn mercenary.
Apart from providing Shout Outs to other Square Enix series, all the other applicants of the Spectre candidacy list besides Jensen, Johan LiebertRamsus, and Edward Gray just serve to fill the extra spots on said list. Later subverted when Elsa Devereaux becomes a full character in the Noveria arc.
Alliance Intelligence Agent Lawsontries to invoke this when revealing that Agent Walker wasn't Agent Walker at all, and was in fact a bioroid working for the Shadow Broker. This is all completely true, but he also implies that the Shadow Broker himself was behind Shepard's murder, which is an attempt to throw the heat off of the Alliance higher-ups who actually ordered it.
As we learn in chapter 25, the batarian practice of slavery is perpetuated by their priesthood, who pick children at random to become slavers. They use fearmongering to justify it with the excuse that only the sacrifice of slaves will keep batarian civilisation from descending into the lawlessness of the greater Terminus.
The Justicars, viewed in the canon Mass Effect as a sort of Knight Templar who protect the Asari from their own mistakes... are a lot more morally ambiguous in this timeline, where the Ardat-Yakshi are a tiny percentage of known asari mutations, most of which are more like autistics than "highly evolved killers". And said autistics tend to be used for "Holy Prostitution" to support the rest of the order. The result is that the terms Mutant Draft Board and State Sec can be added to their Knight Templar credo.
Jacob's view on his biotics, also from chapter 25.
Required Secondary Powers: In chapter 34 Smuggler points out that while he could easily recreate the electronics and materials needed for the airbursting explosive rounds, the software and targetting computer needed to make them work right isn't so straightforward.
Right Behind Me: In chapter 29, Jensen asks Manah if Justicars dress in a certain manner... and then describes the exact manner of the justicars. Manah asks how he knew this. Given the name of the trope, it's pretty clear what happens next.
Not an exact usage of the trope, as the Justicar has merely entered the room, and Jensen and Manah are on the other side of the room, but Manah's back was turned to her at the time, so it still counts.
Running Gag: People still manage to contact Jensen over his radio, then giving a cryptic response when Jensen demands where they found his frequency. Apparently, even Hein knows the Ancient Chinese Secret.
Rule of Symbolism: In-Universe, Adam muses on the choice of flowers given by Shepard's murderer. This leads to her eventual discovery, since she was foolish enough - intentionally as it turns out - to use a branch from a tree outside her own house for it. In general, there are a number of prophetic dreams and visions across the story. If you squint, you might make out some Foreshadowing.
Rule of Three: Vodarek ran into and was spared by Adam three times. He takes it as a sign that it's time to stop pushing his luck.
Rules Lawyer: When Pallin tries to throw the book at Adam and Garrus over the Tali case, Adam returns the favour.
Sarcasm-Blind: In chapter 38 a Hardsuit-operating Blacklight trooper fails to recognise his comrades' sarcastic disgust over his eagerness to harm kids.
Scare 'Em Straight: In chapter 24 Hein fakes a hostile AI takeover, complete with a corpse, to impress into Tali the danger of messing with AIA equipment without adequate precautions.
In chapter 20, Wrex recalls a mission where his fellow mercs started going nuts after finding some artefact and he decided to cut and run without waiting to get the other half of his pay.
According to Pressly, Sergeant Reynolds' reaction to having been lauded as the Hero of Elysium while Jensen was brushed aside and later hunted was to Rage Quit and accuse the Alliance of being ungrateful bastards.
Sickbed Slaying: Shepard in Chapter 2. Neuropozyne has bad effects on biotics, so she's helpless when an assassin sticks a knife in her. Preventing a second such incident in as many days is the reason Jensen and Garrus bring Tali to the Normandy rather than a public hospital.
Sinister Minister: Father Sandy, a priest from "The Order" biased against Omar and Quarians.
In chapter 18, Edward Grey and Garrus get heated over Shanxi, which Hein has to remind that neither actually were present for unlike himself.
In chapter 32 the inversion is Discussed by an unknown contacting Adam, who asserts that Quarian culture conditions them into self-victimization and against taking responsibility lest the atrocities of the Geth be laid on their shoulders. Adam disagrees, saying that what the Geth did is their own fault and the father should not take responsibility for the sins of the son.
I should have written the part they were introduced at first, but the whole point of the Roegadyn, the Fiera, and even the humans is to demonstrate something, a problem. It's the same problem Gunther Hermann faced, and it's the same problem the Deep Eyes and Ashley will soon face.
How do you deal with your own impending obsolescence? What do you do when you are powerful, but then you become redundant?
What happens to the Proud Warrior Race when it meets something prouder and bigger and stronger than it is?
What happens to the blue alien space babes / space elves when they encounter something hotter and haughtier than they are, armed with a history and culture that's even older than Thessia's City States?
You get the idea.
The Krogan face this with the Roegadyn, and before long their mercenary lifestyle will be on the decline. What will happen to Wrex once work dries up, as the jolly green ogres take up all the available work? Because they will take it over. Unlike Wrex, most Krogan are surly, bitter assholes. Roegadyn are polite, jovial, and more professional. Who are you going to hire, honestly? The Turians and the Salarians aren't exactly too happy about the humans, either. Terrans can outfight and outsmart and fight even dirtier than either of them can. What will happen to the Turians if they declare war on humanity and LOSE? What happens to the Salarians when the humans dig up all their dirty little secrets and cause their government to crumble? Even the Quarians face this somewhat with the Omar: Bassac said it himself:
"Let's be honest here: Omar make better slaves than Quarians. They're just as technically adept and less of a pain in the ass to maintain. Just get them a dose of that neuropozyne and some sugar and they're good."
As mistreated as they are, the Quarians survive economically by hiring out as scabs or doing shit work. The Omar can do it just as good as they can and they've managed to avoid the wrath of the entire galaxy, so what's going to happen to all those poor Pilgrims?
And the Fiera? Well, let's just say it'll be a while before the Asari will lose their 'wise, culturally superior to everyone' spot, but they're not stupid. They see the writing on the wall. There's a reason why there are so few male Fiera left.
The Asari don't like competition.
Sociopathic Soldier: This is the justification given in chapter 38 for why Blacklight black ops troops are so easy to defeat - The Alliance Intelligence Agency selects for the jingoistic ultranationalists willing to cross any line to protect their interests, and as it turns out being a talented combatant and being one willing to get his hands dirty are categories that rarely overlap.
Spotting the Thread: The deal with Ken Ruger in chapter 33 - in order to find where he's hidden his things, Adam needs to spot the things that don't fit.
Stealth Pun: That had to be explained to everyone in the audience; Zaeed Massani and Kasumi Goto are major characters in the Dosadi arc; Kasumi as a programmable clone, Zaeed as a highly-dangerous mass-copied personality for disposable mooks. In short, they are Downloadable Characters. Ouch.
Super-Detailed Fight Narration: Used as a sign of Jensen activating his Super Reflexes. In Chapter 6, Wrex interrupts before he can execute the attack. In Chapter 17, he proceeds to beat Agent Lawson to a pulp. Though the author admitted that that the latter might have come across a bit stilted.
In 'real life', Bioroids are a theoretical construct, the subject of a paper written by Dr Drago Pettrovich Madnar (of the Terran European Union) in 2024 on the subject of bypassing the Uncanny Valley entirely by grafting biological parts on a robot. Absolutely nothing came of his theories or research.
Take a Third Option: In Mass Effect 1, a particular sidequest has Shepard decide between sending Nirali Bhatia's body to the Alliance for research or to her husband for proper burial. When Jensen is in the same situation, he negotiates for Hein to hire Tali to help develop geth countermeasures and reactivate weapons, making dissecting Bhatia's cadaver redundant.
Hwang:All the way back in 2010 people were willing to pay top dollar for 'organic' and 'free range' food that was for all intents and purposes the same goddamned thing you'd get at a regular grocery store, and they managed to convince themselves that it somehow tasted better!
"Battle Sims like Armax's aren't all that realistic either: That Hit Point system they use doesn't take into account organ placement, blood loss, armor penetration..."
'FRN-00 had tried combining E and A, and found that he did not like the sound of it at all.'.
Jules used to think that Katanas Are Just Better until a still-unnamed person disabused him of the notion with the aid of a jian.note In the final battle of The Crow, Top Dollar used a katana. Top Dollar shares an "actor" with and is one of the inspirations for Jules.
In chapter 33, Ken Ruger extols the virtues of 20th-century music, scoffing at "modern" procedurally-generated synthesiser dreck.
Jensen criticizes Sarah for wearing her street clothing out for the Shepard murder investigation instead of buying a hardsuit. She scoffs at this, saying "what are the odds of us getting into a firefight?" Three hours later, with a bunch of Blue Suns...
'He may not be quite done dealing with the Alliance, but he hoped that was the last time he'd have to deal with Edgar Hein.'
Tomato in the Mirror: Back in 2027, Jensen and Julien Seed, his CIA contact, are quite surprised to find that Julien is actually a bioroid. "Julien" resists his programming enough to fight other bioroids and destroy the facility, and is human enough that he begs Jensen to Mercy Kill him and protect the real Julien Seed's family.
Treacherous Spirit Chase: While moping on a bench, Kaidan sees a woman who is uncannily identical to Shepard, and follows her into an abandoned building. Bad choice, since "Shepard" is actually the bioroid who killed the real Shepard, and rips his head off.
Turing Test: Referenced in Chapter 24, when Hein hides Jensen's presence from the Alliance by stuffing his 108 armor with electronics and claiming he'd just been playing with a Turing subroutine on his personal combat droid.
Twin Threesome Fantasy: Averted by Jensen, who not only turned down a Shower Of Love with the Leda twins but got them kicked out of C-Sec when their behavior towards him progressed into sexual harassment. Others, especially Neil, get rather excited over the pictures of their seduction attempts.
Ungrateful Bastard: Udina and much of the Alliance. Jensen indulged his Chronic Hero Syndrome on Elysium, where he was key to its defense while the militia was rallied. The Alliance then alerted the Order Church to his whereabouts, and he basically had to flee the planet steps ahead of a torch-waving mob. Udina himself wanted Jensen not only arrested but turned over to the mob he escaped in Chapter 8. And he also wrote secret orders declaring that Jensen is to be detained the instant he steps on Alliance territory, to be turned over to the Church. We don't get to see exactly what Jensen did to Udina in the Normandy's airlock after hearing this with his augs, but Udina pissed his pants. And even Ashley gets her Ingrate on - during the planning session for Jensen's capture, she blithely suggests using a batarian slave collar on him. Just hours after the evidence Jensen provided successfully convicts Saren.
Caleston is a vision of what might happen to a Cyberpunk world when the issues of corporate oppression and angry transhuman children get out of control, one that our heroes need to see: Gangs kill and take whatever they want. The corporations lose their power to religious extremists. Idealistic hackers get murdered in their homes. Hedonism goes out of control, and the workers simply refuse to work for shit pay to feed ungrateful children. Deep beneath that same world are the remains of a wondrous civilization, its people having learned to become demi-gods in their own right, and cast down by sentient machines infused with the dark purpose of their creator... In the middle of that ruin lies the knowledge of the one that stood against the darkness, a beacon sent to the distant, dark future to light the way.
Wronski Feint: In chapter 38 Neil does this against hostile drones.
One of the last big events of the early 21st century "Corporate Wars" was a leeetle accident on behalf of "Parasol Labs" in Macon, Georgia.
Part of the Skyllian Blitz. Elanos Haliat stole a variant of Pax from the turians and dropped it on Elysium. One million people went Reaver almost immediately, killing almost seven million more before they died of sepsis from eating people's entrails. Jensen's life-support augs made him immune, so he was able to rally a defense.