- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Shepard almost always keeps the same three-person teams as in the source material.
- Butt Monkey: Sarah.
- Darker and Edgier: The sequel. Sarah loses an arm and a leg, literally and is suffering from PTSD, Abby and HK are wondering what the hell they are doing, and Shepard is meaner and less pleasant. Justified, considering the entire galaxy is at war.
- There's a section in the middle of the original that involves torture and forced extraction of information when HK gets captured by the Collectors.
- Epigraph: The sequel has quotes, usually from Mass Effect characters, before each chapter. Usually they describe the current situation, though some are Played for Laughs.
- Indecisive Deconstruction: Partial. Some things are played straight, and may or not be lampshaded. The general tendency for things to stay the same despite outside interference is kept and barely discussed. On the other hand, readers are constantly reminded that things would actually be quite terrifying. Except when they're fun. The characters also seem to accept being in the Mass Effect world pretty well, except for a few parts when they don't.
- Interestingly, each character can be viewed as a different take on self-inserts. Abby basically plays it straight, as she is young, energetic, liked by everyone, and inexplicably good at fighting. HK is equally effective, but is quiet and doesn't really talk to the crew much. Sarah is completely incompetent and everyone hates her.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: In-universe. After completely failing training, Sarah tries to get Mordin to give her biotics, which is impossible. She later attempts to prove she can be useful in combat, too (twice), and fails again.
- In Spite of a Nail: Although there are a few new situations, basically every canon situation is resolved in the same way as in canon, regardless of what the inserted characters say. The sequel, however, plays with this trope more and is even heading towards subversion.
- The Quiet One: HK.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Sarah's antics on Tuchanka where she pulls a gun on Kasumi after failing to clear a path for Shepard, Miranda and Shepard deliver a particularly brutal one. She isn't even given a chance to defend her actions or express her frustrations. Probably more cruel than intended.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Abby to HK.
- The Stations of the Canon: Save for a few exceptions, the recruitment, loyalty and final missions happen almost exactly the way they do in canon.
- Trapped in Another World: A very interesting version of this. Although we see Abby, Sarah and HK in the Mass Effect world, they still exist at home, and are on a sort of autopilot. They retain memories of what they're doing at home.
- Write Who You Know: The authors are the main characters.
Fan Fic / Team Milky Way
Team Milky Way (actually spelled Team MilkyWay although it might be a typo since the sequel is spelled normally) is a Self Insert fanfic set in the Mass Effect universe co-authored by TehMarishal (Sarah), celestial-insanity (Abby), and hk47fan (HK). The three make a wish over IM based on a chain mail and end up in the Mass Effect universe. The story was written largely on impulse (Word of God), with the authors putting down whatever they felt like writing.This resulted in a somewhat schizophrenic story. Sometimes, it is very light and fluffy, with some very comedic moments. At other times, the fic is quite dark and gloomy. Team Milky Way alternatively follows Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny, sometimes both and sometimes neither. It hangs lampshades and makes some pop culture references (but not to the same degree as Mass Vexations). Sometimes is is a Deconstruction, sometimes it is a Reconstruction, sometimes it plays tropes straight.Team Milky Way starts somewhere near the beginning of Mass Effect 2, with Abby, Sarah, and HK finding themselves aboard the Normandy SR-2. They travel with Shepard, helping her recruit team members and gain their loyalty. There is a lot of drama, comedy and action along the way. Unlike other self-inserts where the characters reveal everything or nothing, Team Milky Way takes somewhat of a middle ground. Shepard is aware of their knowledge, but not how they got it, and they only tell her things just before they are about to happen. This results in some issues for all involved parties, but not as much as you might think.There is also a sequel, deleted scenes, a (possibly abandoned) spinoff, and a silly alternate ending for Sarah.