[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8099181/1/Avatar-of-Victory Avatar of Victory]] by James Golen is a crossover fanfic between [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender the obvious]] and ''Franchise/MassEffect'', a blend of the universes in question that has the Earth of A:TLA replacing the usual one.

What this means for the universe besides Shepard being the Avatar is that Bending is a present and practiced phenomenon among all the races of the Citadel as well as the presence of spirits and certain other aspects of the Avatar universe. Interesting not just because of the crossover itself but because it shows an Avatar who is fundamentally broken and has spent most of her life (including parts of this story) making things worse for herself rather than the spiritual growth that we've seen the other Avatars go through. Fight scenes are excellent and detailed, with most enemies that Shepard faces being competent, and not just because some of them are better at bending then she is. Canon names being included in regard to humans actually ''does'' get explained, so don't let that throw you off.

It has a Spacebattles thread dedicated to its updates, available [[http://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/avatar-of-victory-me-crossover.223851/ here.]]

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!! This fic provides examples of the following:

* AIIsACrapshoot: Played around with in the background. They're viewed as something along the lines of Spirits, and how each culture views those spirits shapes how they view AI's. For example, on Thessia, their spiritual experience was mostly negative, so the thought of a machine with a mind of its own makes them have strongly negative views on AI. The Salarians had no knowledge of any type of spirit at all until contact with the Asari, and had their worldview shaped by said contact. ''Turians,'' on the other hand, believe that AI could be a ''good'' thing, mostly because they have had an extremely ''positive'' relationship with spirits, and they believe that AI(properly controlled and supplicated, like a spirit), could help improve society greatly.
* AFormYouAreComfortableWith: [[spoiler: see more in the "BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy" trope below, but suffice it to say, Korra couldn't conceive of alien life forms or the quarter-million year cycle Vaatu and Raava operated on, so she changed things in her mind to allow herself to handle it (not intentionally, just as a coping mechanism).]]
* AdaptationNameChange:
** Ashley Williams - Asha Al'wahim.
** Legion - Adahn.
** There are also a number of subtle changes in spelling and such for human names, bringing them more in line with the Asiatic names of the Avatar setting. For instance, Joker's real name goes from Jeff Moreau to Jet Moro, Captain Bailey to Bei-Li, and so on.
* AdaptationExpansion: Many characters or events that the original Mass Effect series didn't address ([[ShownTheirWork what little there is]]) are expanded on in this fic, and many characters with less screentime are given ADayInTheLimelight.
** As with Golen's other works in the Avatarverse, there's also a good deal of work put into the Avatar side of the backstory, creating a history going back thousands of years and developing several more locations and cultures than canon had a chance to explore.
* AdaptationalHeroism: Jack is far more pleasant and joined the Alliance before the story began, and [[spoiler: Balak is one of the good guys, while in the main universe he was a batarian terrorist.]]
* AdaptationalVillainy: [[spoiler: The big bad in the Phoenix attack on the Citadel was Councelor Valern, the Salarian Councilor... who hired human groups to make it look like Cerberus, but instead made the majority of the Salarians devote the majority of their war materials and supplies to helping the humans... [[XanatosGambit just as Weaver planned.]] ]]
* TheAlcoholic: Shepard has been hitting the bottle since before she went through puberty. Udina, himself an alcoholic until he was ReassignedToAntarctica early in his career, suggests that Shepard should sober up because 1) despite her tolerance, she has been legally drunk on several important missions, and a drunk Spectre is bad for PR and 2) her drinking might be impairing her ability to function as the Avatar. Unstated is also 3) that she's in charge of a starship with weapons of mass destruction at her disposal, and being drunk while in charge of those is a ''really bad idea.''
** [[spoiler:This culminates in a nasty fight between Liara and Shepard over her drinking later on, which nearly destroys their relationship. Shepard's love for Liara pushes her to moderate her drinking, and the two eventually reconcile.]]
* AlternateUniverse: While as a fusion fic, it's obviously not really in canon for either per se, in this universe, Raava's destruction did happen; the only way Hong was able to get in contact with the past Avatars was that, somehow, he contacted a different Korra who had beaten off Unalaq before he destroyed Raava.
* AlwaysABiggerFish: [[spoiler: Leviathan manages to best Shepard twice when she finally decides to JustShootHim and find another Avatar later, and she is only saved the first time by her crew interfering, and the second time due to Leviathan not knowing/forgetting Shepard can energybend.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Jacob Taylor was already dead when Shepard woke up at the start of Book 2. Shepard managed to kill his attacker (a robot) and stole his clothes and weapon (as she was literally naked otherwise).]]
** [[spoiler: Thane and Adahn didn't survive the Suicide Mission, and Samara suffered brain damage (which is almost always fatal to Asari due to how their brains are structured) which left her in a coma for a time and crippled her motor functions.]]
* ArcWords: In books 2 and 3, "Something has changed..."
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Wrex's description of the station where he fought Aleena: "We weren't alone. That station was crawling with the Terminus' finest. Slavers, mercenaries, pirates, telemarketers. Scum of the galaxy."
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: How one of Toph's descendants made first contact with the Krogan. She came out on top.
* TheAtoner: Al'Wahim; not for herself, but for her ancestor having the dubious honor of getting the last Avatar killed.
* [[spoiler:AwfulTruth: The asari were originally created by the Reapers, to serve as a sleeper weapon they could MindControl en masse. Liara goes into a HeroicBSOD when she finds out. Javik even lampshades it afterwards.]]
* {{Badass}}: Most of the characters, to some degree or another.
** AdaptationalBadass: While Grunt was already pretty strong, he was still a vanilla krogan in the source material- he was just a really strong krogan who hit things, "Perfect Krogan" genetics and upgrades nonwithstanding, especially given that the other krogan squadmate you had had previously (Wrex) was capable of doing biotics. This fic fixes this by making Grunt everything he was in the original, but also makes him a Shaman. In a world where spirits exist and have great influence on the real world, this means that he can go around obstacles that would normally be closed, bend beasts and spirits alike to his will, and even convince other people's weapons to backfire on them by communing with them, via a BadassFingerSnap. Oh, and he actually managed to do better than ''Wrex'' in the Rite- Wrex was the last to ''kill'' a Thresher Maw. Grunt... managed to ''tame'' a Maw, and can now summon it like it's a Pokemon. Many of Shepard's other teammates also qualify: Wrex is an earthbender with centuries of experience, Tali learns how to waterbend in addition to her engineering skills, and bending overall is becoming more and more widespread throughout the galaxy after humanity made contact.
** BadassArmy: Just as much as in canon, with the Raloi and even the ''Volus'' starting to qualify: the Volus have, after the Reaper invasion began, [[spoiler: started reverse-engineering the gun that killed the Derelict Reaper on which you found Legion in the original game for use against the Reapers]], and the Raloi are unparalleled snipers.
*** However, even though they are now extinct, by far the most badass were the Nazara. How badass are they, you ask? ''They fought the Reapers to a standstill, and so far came closer than anyone else,'' '''''ever,''''' to ''defeating them outright.''
** BadassCrew: The Normandy's crew, naturally.
** BadassNormal: Asha al'Wahim, a non-bender who nevertheless keeps up with the Avatar.
*** EmpoweredBadassNormal: Garrus Vakarian. Spends the first book bemoaning that he wasn't a bender, only to find himself firebending during the Battle of the Citadel, and having no idea how. [[spoiler: Solana Vakarian, his sister, also permanently gains the ability to firebend, even after the Reaper-tech device that gave her her bending is removed.]]
** BadassPreacher: [[spoiler: Ka'hairal Balak. Also doubles as a BadassTeacher.]]
** BadassUnintentional: [[spoiler: Conrad Verner, who accidentally brings down criminal organizations. Ironic considering [[IJustWantToBeBadass his original aspirations]].]]
* BadassBoast: Shepard asks Garrus how quickly a Turian fleet can mobilize to respond to a threat, given a 90-second preemptive warning. Garrus replies that they can "fight a war... and have fifteen seconds left over." [[MoreDakka He's]] [[CurbStompBattle not]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill joking.]]
** Leviathan also gets an excellent one in Chapter 44, when it [[HorrifyingTheHorror terrifies the Reapers]] inbound to the galaxy into taking orders from it.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: Avatar Wan [[spoiler: was an alien. The "First Cycle" that Korra saw in her Flashback in her series was actually just the only way her mind could comprehend what she was seeing, and Wan's cycle took place nearly two billion years ago on an alien world. Similarly, Vaatu was a Reaper super weapon. The Harmonic Convergences also don't happen every ten thousand years, as Korra thought, but rather, every ''two hundred and fifty thousand'' years.]]
* BerserkButton: [[TheVamp Morinth]] finds out the hard way, you do ''not'' mess with the Avatar's memories. Doing so results in UnstoppableRage.
** In general, messing with Shepard's loved ones. She goes into the Avatar State and lashes out at Traynor when she learns [[spoiler: her sister might have been kidnapped]].
** Do not go back on a bargain with the [[EldritchAbomination Meretsegger]]. The last thing you want to do is to make [[DeathWorld Tuchanka's]] chief spirit of death angry, especially at you.
** [[spoiler: Leviathan, once depowered and stuck in a Zhent body, is one for Vega. Understandable, since at one point she literally ripped his soul out... He got better, though.]]
* BetaCouple: [[spoiler: Garrus and Tali are becoming this.]]
* BiTheWay: Shepard, who had many male lovers in the past (including [[HotForTeacher her Waterbending Instructor]]), ends up romancing Liara in the first arc.
** PlayedWith: Shepard struggles with her sexuality fairly vocally for a while.
* BigDamnHeroes: Shepard and Kasumi are cornered by Vido and Hoq in a gunship, when Zaeed comes out of nowhere in a Tu Wei Lu (Atlas) and annihilates said gunship in order to take out his revenge on Vido.
* BizarreAlienBiology: Inverted- Shepard mentions that the Elcor have red blood, like humans.
* BlowYouAway: Shepard's natural element, stunted after [[spoiler: she used it to kill a batarian..]].
** [[spoiler: Also, Adahn/Legion.]]
** Shepard is nearly killed by several ''Krogan'' airbenders. Not so much because they were airbending, but because... well, the fact that Krogan Airbenders existed was extremely shocking for her and it caused her to hesitate.
* BondOneLiner: Garrus is especially fond of these. In time, he gets Tali doing it, too.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: [[spoiler:The ''Reapers'' turn out to be this: apparently, the main controlling intelligence for each one is an Avatar for that species who was subjected to Indoctrination.]]
* BringMyBrownPants: Liara has this happen to her twice; once after the geth tried to kill her at the dig site where she met Shepard, and again after Wrex shoots her in the forehead to test if her newly purchased armor is worth the two million credits she spent. It is.
* BrokenBird: ''Shepard'', in spades.
** [[spoiler: Jack, following her [[OneManArmy one]]-[[UnstoppableRage woman]] [[KillEmAll assault]] on the Phoenix base.]]
* BroughtDownToNormal: Vega, after having his soul ripped out by Leviathan, is no longer capable of Bending... although he can NoSell having sex with an Ardat-Yakshi. He gets better when Shepard gives him one of her souls as a replacement.
** [[spoiler: Leviathan in the FinalBattle against Shepard; Shepard energybends her and tears her soul out of her Reaper body, forcing it into a mostly powerless zhent body.]]
* ButICantBePregnant: more accurately "But I Couldn't Have Been Pregnant"; Elli finds out during a medical examination that she had twins almost a month prior (during her rage moments against the hanar), and didn't realize it because Protheans are marsupials. She is completely baffled by this, as she hasn't had sex in years and has been stuck as Leviathan's plaything for some time.
* CallARabbitASmeerp: Naturally, the humans have these, as befitting the Avatar side of the crossover. However, the ''turians'' seem to have gained modern sayings in this universe, like "A sitting duck," which the humans don't get.
* TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive: Shepard is clearly extremely reluctant to be the Avatar, and makes it clear that she never wanted the job. Unfortunately, as a member of the Systems Alliance Military, she often has little choice in the matter.
** Subverted with some of the other Avatars. Some time after Korra died, thanks to the exploding human population, settling distant planets, and other such reasons, identifying the Avatar became exceedingly difficult. At least one died without even knowing that he was the avatar, dying as a street urchin getting taken down via hit-and-run as a teenager.
** Used in a ''very'' dark way, as whenever an Avatar goes into the Avatar State, the Reapers will ''instantly'' know where he or she is, if they're close enough.
* CantKillYouStillNeedYou: Why Shepard is still the Avatar rather than reincarnating after being killed by the Collectors; the Avatar spirit realizes it does not have the time to reincarnate before the Reapers arrive, so it has to use Shepard.
* CharacterDevelopment: Through the influence of her teammates, Shepard begins to soften up a little and divert from her usual "Shoot first ask questions later" mentality (such as giving the Thorian a LastSecondChance and allowing the Rachni Queen to go free).
* ChekhovsGun: It's easier to list the things which ''don't'' end up being relevant later in the story. The Codexes appear to be the biggest offenders.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Liara.
** TheCuckoolanderWasRight: She might be crazy, but at times she seems damned-near clairvoyant.
* ContinuityNod: All over the place. One of Toph's descendants made first contact with the Krogan, and Liara nicknames a krogan mook "Sugar Queen," which was Toph's nickname for Katara. Also, Rai Li, a member of the Alliance, is basically the (airbending) War Hero version of Shepard's backstory.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: In chapter 32, Shepard almost dies because a Krogan tries to use Airbending to take her out. The reason she nearly got killed, if Tali hadn't intervened? Shepard was honestly so amazed at the prospect of a ''Krogan Airbender'' that she couldn't help but stare.
* ControlFreak: As much as [[spoiler: she]] would like to appear in control, Leviathan really freaks out when people mess with [[spoiler: her]] things.
* {{Crossover}}: Between ''Franchise/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' and ''Franchise/MassEffect''.
* CurbStompBattle: Once Shepard goes into the Avatar State, things go ''exceedingly'' poorly for [[spoiler: Morinth,]] to put it mildly.
* CurbStompCushion: The fourth time Shepard battles Leviathan, on the Collector Ship. [[spoiler: Shepard manages to land a few blows, but the fight is overwhelmingly in Leviathan's favor, since he decided to [[IAmNotLeftHanded stop trying to capture the Avatar, and instead just kill her.]] Shepard only survives because of her team's intervention.]]
* DarkSecret: Remember Wrex's tale of Aleena, the asari merc that he tangled with once that destroyed a space station when the two fought? [[spoiler: She cleaned up her act later on in her life and goes by ''Counselor Tevos'' now.]]
* DarkestHour: Chapter 49: [[spoiler: Leviathan cripples the ''Normandy'', reveals that he can pinpoint their location with amazing accuracy and can shut down Mass Relays, and Samsara is revealed to be a front for Phoenix, with Weaver as the Illusive Man.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: All. Over. The. Place.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Shepard, contrary to many other stories, chooses ''Udina'' to be the councilor of the Alliance, rather than the far more popular, well-liked, and sympathetic Anderson. When asked why she chose Udina, she replies that Anderson would make a ''terrible'' councilor, pointing out that in the meeting about Saren, he tried to use her "Visions" as evidence for a major galactic government to exile one of its best men. While Udina doesn't agree with her on many, ''many'' issues, at the same time he has political knowledge, has been working in the system for decades, and knows a great deal about discretion- something Anderson showed he ''didn't'' have.
** The Migrant Fleet receives some as well, pointing out that unlike most fanon (where they are simply the woobie that the big, bad, Citadel Council picks on for no reason), that their government and social structure is kind of messed up, creating a monoculture obsessed with a goal they can never reasonably attain. Their other crimes (strip mining other worlds, simply dumping off criminals on inhabited worlds, a massive NeverMyFault mentality) also get some limelight as well.
** The concept of the Krogan riding to the rescue of the Turians in the third game was awesome. Former enemies, fighting against a common foe? Sweet! Unfortunately, this story points out that there aren't that many Krogan left in the galaxy, meaning that the "Hordes of Krogan saving the Turians" doesn't quite go like that. They're strong, sure, but they're not exactly capable of turning the tide on their own. Furthermore, the lack of Krogan numbers are something that even the ''Reapers'' take notice of, as in this story, Brutes have no Krogan components, but have ''Yahg'' components instead. In addition to this, Liara points out that Turian amino acid chirality for their homeworld means that the Krogan who go there would have to rely on any food they brought in or their own internal fat stores, because with Reapers overhead, food resupplies don't seem likely.
** Remember how in all the Mass Effect games, the bad guys had a seemingly endless supply of human husks to throw at you? Ever wondered where they got those when humans were relatively new on the galactic scene, and the number of human colonies weren't that large? Apparently the author did as well, because the primary basic Reaper husk used on Palaven are Salarians, who have nearly a trillion-strong population.
* DefectorFromDecadence: [[spoiler: Balak; he is disgusted with the current state of the Batarians, and hopes to get a chance to get rid of the current rulers and set the Batarians on a new path. After the events of The Arrival, however, he doesn't think even ''that'' is possible.]]
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: [[spoiler: Shepard Spiritbends Leviathan during the FinalBattle, severing her soul from the Reaper and forcing her into a mostly powerless body.]]
* DoingInTheWizard: Wan was the first Avatar[[spoiler:, but not the first ''human'' Avatar. Also, Vaatu was actually a Reaper super weapon and did not return every ten thousand years (Korra simplified it, taking a hyperbolic "ten thousand years"--akin to Wan Shi Tong's epithet He Who Knows Ten Thousand Things--as a literal, when the cycle operated on a far greater time scale).]]
** Inverted in that it turns out that the reason that humans can't be both Biotics and Benders at the same time is that [[spoiler: Biotics is a ''form'' of Bending, just not one that anyone knew about. And since Humans can't bend multiple elements (except the Avatar), you can either be a biotic or a bender but not both. In fact, Shepard's "Natural" bending state is that of biotics, and the reason that she was capable of using airbending is because she was the Avatar.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Rael'Zorah, after learning that the geth marked him, and anybody protecting him, with death due to his experiments. Overlaps a little with HeroicSacrifice.]]
* DyingAsYourself: [[spoiler: This is effectively how Abentus came into being. The race it was crafted from, at the behest of their Avatar, willingly threw themselves at the Reapers to be harvested. With the entire species having been processed in a matter of months, there was no time for Indoctrination to set in, leading to the birth of a Reaper with free will.]]
* [[spoiler: EarthAllAlong]]: [[spoiler: It turns out that the Earth that has been the center of the Alliance in this universe wasn't the first Earth... or the first humans. ''Omega'' is actually the remnants of the original Sol system, from billions of years ago, and that it was ''our'' earth, or something like it, that was the precursor race that kicked off the whole cycle. Unfortunately, they fell to shadowy spirits who formed the First Reaper, and scattered life across the galaxy.]]
* EldritchAbomination: Nataraja, a Reaper super weapon/Dark Spirit that is unleashed on Palaven.
** Meretsegger, Tuchankan death incarnate. There are only two courses of action you can take when confronted by it: RunOrDie... and there's no guarantee that running will save you. To give you a hint of how powerful this thing is, it made ''Shepard'', the '''AVATAR''', run away screaming. If that doesn't tell you the threat, than consider that it is the main spirit of death... for [[DeathWorld Tuchanka.]] A galactic codex entry has it on the same level of dangerous as ''Koh''. When someone suggests that they try to kill it, the response is that since it's a death spirit, all it would do is make it stronger and annoyed that someone tried. [[spoiler: Grunt walks right up to it and convinces it to fight the Reapers, since they twisted the bargain the Meretsegger made with them]].
* EvilCounterpart: [[spoiler: Kai Leng]] is shaping up to be this for Shepard; he can bend multiple elements, physically cross through the spirit world, and is a batshit insane loose cannon whereas Shepard is pragmatic but still on the side of good.
* ExtremeDoormat: [[spoiler:Tali'Zorah]] has a ''very'' hard time telling people 'no'. Thanks to Garrus and Shepard, she's getting a lot better.
* FateWorseThanDeath: [[spoiler: Due to getting his soul ripped out, Vega suffers one of these just after winning the fight for Fehl Prime.]]
* FishOutOfTemporalWater: Elli (the Prothean Shepard saved). She expresses confusion and outrage (mostly outrage) that [[StarfishAliens hanar]] are a Citadel species (they were pests in her cycle) and that technology has not advanced much since her life.
* {{Foil}}: [[spoiler: The Migrant quarians and the Rannochian quarians are definitely this. The Migrants have engineers? Due to the fallout of the Morning War, 1/3 of the Rannochians are biotics. Where the Migrants have had to maintain a population of 17 million and a one child policy, the Rannochians have been having multiple children per family (Zek'Eluus has six siblings, apparently). The Migrants hate geth, and the Rannochians attribute the fact that they survived to the geth. Whereas the Migrants are descended from an anti-geth faction which made up most of the government and military, the Rannochian's ancestors defended the geth and apparently, were composed of most of the civilian population, which was nearly destroyed due to said military/government nuking and then gassing the planet to get rid of them, [[LaserGuidedKarma prompting the geth to retaliate and completely wipe them out, before helping save the remaining civilians.]]]]
* FunWithAcronyms: Two of the big Turian organizations are THIS and THAAT. THIS stands for "Turian Hierarchy Intelligence Service", and "THAAT" is "Turian Hierarchy Advanced Arms and Tactics."
* FusionFic: The Avatar world replaced Mass Effect's Earth. Thus, we get various mash-ups, like "Chora's Den," a BadGuyBar and strip club, getting turned into "Korra's Den," a theme bar based on the Roaring Twenties that WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra took place in. It's not a strip club, either. Also, it turns out that bending is not unique to humans--pretty much every race has benders of one kind or another.
* GeneralFailure: Sajuuk... was not a good Avatar. At all. He alienated or killed almost all of his potential allies, causing the Protheans to lose the war to the Reapers, and died in disgrace a short time later. He makes [[JerkAss Javik]] seem reasonable in comparison. [[IHatePastMe Shepard makes a conscious effort not to be like him when this Cycle comes around]].
** Al'Wahim's ancestor was actually a pretty decent commander, but [[NeverLiveItDown he got the last Avatar killed in action]].
* GrewBeyondTheirProgramming: Seems to be a staple of the setting, with at least four named AI characters who all developed independently of each other, and well outside what they were originally designed to do. Adahn is a sentient geth (Known in canon as "Legion"), obviously. EDI was a targeting computer. [[spoiler: Sybil was a casino cheating program, while Sonny was designed to emulate human behaviors.]]
** As of chapter 47, [[spoiler: Adahn]] one-ups most of the other examples in the setting due to [[spoiler: being an airbender since the Morning War.]]
* GroinAttack: Happens to a krogan in chapter 32. [[TheresNoKillLikeOverkill With a mining charge]].
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler: Shepard's 'evil' clone from Citadel is on Shepard's squad in the third book.]]
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Zaeed, who managed to destroy the prison ship ''Purgatory'' on his own (he took Jack's place in the recruiting process), but also managed to save all the people at the refinery... by accident.
* HeroicLineage: Kasumi is a direct descendant of Avatar Aang.
** Though Zia deconstructs this by pointing out that because the Avatar comes from such a wide range of populations, geographical areas, and is reborn into every single generation, virtually one hundred percent of the human race has at least one Avatar somewhere in their ancestry.
** One of Toph's descendants was among those who made First Contact with the Krogan.
* HeroicRROD: Tapping into the full power of the Avatar State can tear the user's body apart from the stress. This happened twice to Shepard; during her NoHoldsBarredBeatdown of Morinth, and again when Phoenix [[spoiler: kidnaps her sister.]]
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Adahn and Thane during the FinalBattle; the former takes a shot for Tali and is blown to pieces, and the latter pulls a YouShallNotPass to allow the others time to escape and regroup.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: [[spoiler:Saleon gets it so bad, ''Garrus'' feels bad putting a mercy bullet in him!]]
** [[spoiler:Morinth ends up getting killed as a direct result of trying to take over Shepard's mind.]]
** [[spoiler: As in Mass Effect canon, despite starting from much nobler intentions, Weaver ultimately succumbs to indoctrination, though he accepts it and gracefully--more or less--bows out of action and sets Samsara/Phoenix on the path to self-destruction, rather than fighting to the bitter end against Shepard.]]
* HumanityIsSuperior: Played with. Humans are special because out of all the races in the galaxy, we're the only ones who can bend all four elements (plus, we have the [[TheChosenOne Avatar]]). However, humans are also the only race who can't combine bending with biotics, and the longer life span of some of the species means that they have a ''lot'' longer to get really, really good at their art.
** As it turns out, [[spoiler: biotics are actually another type of bending, and the Avatar is able to harness this form, but due to the Avatar's presence, other humans cannot be both biotics and benders.]]
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Weyrloc Guld dies when Tali stakes him from the head down with an compressed ice spear.
* InsistentTerminology: Avatar Vajrapata insists that Unalaq was not a Dark Avatar. The real thing, a ''true'' Dark Avatar, is ever so much worse because a ''true'' Dark Avatar comes from an Avatar actively deciding to be evil.
** [[spoiler: After learning that the 'Goddess Athame' was actually a Prothean, Liara now says 'by the Anthropologist' where she previously would say 'by the Goddess'.]]
* KnightInSourArmor: Many of the main characters, but Wrex and Shepard in particular. Shepard seems to have taken the view of [[{{Literature/Discworld}} Sam Vimes]]: the galaxy isn't fair, so she's going to ''make'' it be fair.
* LampshadeHanging: On the copy/paste nature of a lot of the "bases" you fought through in the first game. Garrus claims that the turians practice on mockups of Alliance bases frequently, which leads everyone to wonder how badly the Alliance is compromised... until Garrus mentions that since most Alliance bases are just prefabs that use the same layout for simplicity's sake, "The only variation is the positioning of the cover."
* MakingASplash: Tali learns how to Waterbend [[spoiler: and is later revealed to have learned Bloodbending]].
** Thane also knows this to a degree, to help pull the fluid out of his lungs, but this causes tissue damage in the process.
** According to Thane, the hanar have a great deal of waterbenders, though we have yet to see one on screen.
* MegaCorp: A rare benevolent example of this trope is found in Samsara, a human non-profit organization-turned galactic economic powerhouse and {{Foil}} to Phoenix (Cerberus). While it's practices are admittedly shrouded in secret at times (and to be fair, you wouldn't exactly want people to know [[spoiler: you stole tech from the Illusive Man to bring the Avatar back to life]]), it still manages to retain some semblance of proper human morals.
** RealityEnsues: However, powerful as it may be, Samsara's pockets aren't bottomless (unlike Cerberus...). [[spoiler: Resurrecting Shepard and reconstructing the Normandy (both massively-expensive projects)]] threw the organization into an immense debt, to the point that [[spoiler: Siwang Weaver had to fund the company with his own money for a short time and ask Shepard to pawn off any interesting stuff she found during her missions.]]
** [[spoiler: Not so benevolent now that Weaver has been revealed to be the Illusive Man. Though the benevolent part still seems to apply to most of the remaining members who weren't in the know about Phoenix.]]
* MoreDakka: [[spoiler: The Turian fleet vs. Leviathan's rampaging Reaper body]].
* MotorMouth: People (usually Shepard) have to constantly remind Liara to take a breath before she talks herself into unconsciousness. Also Mordin, but that was how his canon self was as well.
* MythologyGag: Hoq has two artifacts in his vault that are ''very'' familiar to Avatar fans. For one, replacing the head of the Statue of Liberty is the head of the Aang statue that stood at the entrance to the harbor of Republic City. The other is Sokka's Space Sword.
** When Jack is taken prisoner and has to escape from Phoenix in Book 3, she does so wearing an outfit similar, if not identical, to the one she pioneered in [[Franchise/MassEffect Mass Effect 2]].
* NeverLiveItDown: In-Universe; Asha's ancestor, while a decent commander, accidentally got Avatar Hong killed. Her family has been considered jinxed since then, and her desire to be TheAtoner is part of the reason why she joins Shepard. It really doesn't help matters that Shepard died on Asha's watch as well...
** Garrus apparently will never live down when he almost nuked Shepard and her squad on Agebinium, some time between book 1 and book 2.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Morinth is on the receiving end of one when she goes too far in meddling with Shepard's memories.
* NoodleImplements: Shepard in chapter 56 asks Wrex for "a pillow case, an electrical cord, a jug of milk, and your lizard-parrot." to make the salarian dalatrass tell her where the krogan females are. It turns out she was exploiting this; due to how fast salarians thought, the most effective thing she could have done was to let her come up with what Shepard was going to do to her.
* NoSell: [[spoiler: Thanks to having his soul ripped out of him by Leviathan, James Vega ''can survive sex with an Ardat-Yakshi.'']]
* [[spoiler:OfficialCouple: Despite some ShipTease with Kaiden early on and EatingTheEyeCandy with Vega, Shepard ultimately settles down with Liara, and their relationship survives, endures, and develops all the way to their wedding in chapter 81.]]
* OhCrap: Shepard's reaction upon hearing that the seemingly numberless hordes of Geth that she was fighting throughout the first part of her mission... were only about five percent of ''all'' Geth.
** "[[DeadpanSnarker I've made]] [[{{Understatement}} a 'huge']] [[ThisIsGonnaSuck mistake.]]" Words spoken by Morinth after accidentally angering the Avatar into the Avatar state.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted, in that there are a number of 'Tali's in the story, including [[spoiler: Shepard's little sister.]]
* OnlyAFleshWound: Adahn repeatedly sustains damage to his chassis that would (and did) kill normal Geth, and the worst that comes of it a forced lockdown for a brief period. [[spoiler: This abnormal resilience is a sign of the presence of a soul.]]
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: Adahn is thrown for a loop when he discovers that the Geth slaughtering the crew of the ''Alarai'' [[spoiler: are composed of both Heretic and Orthodox Geth runtimes [[EnemyMine forming consensus with one another.]] Through interrogation of a disabled Geth, he learns why: the Migrant Fleet's torture/experimentation of Geth resulted in them learning to feel irrational hatred.]]
* OppositesAttract: Shepard and Liara. Liara is a genius who earned her doctorate (or equivalent) early, Shepard barely passed high school. Liara at first screams and runs away from any fight she gets into, Shepard is an N7 graduate who set a new record for getting through the program. Liara is a CloudCuckoolander, whereas Shepard is very down-to-earth (which leads to her serving as the CloudCuckoolandersMinder for Liara).
* PlayingWithFire[=/=]KillItWithFire: Garrus finds out he's a firebender during the attack on the Citadel.
** Tali also breaks out a flamethrower when the ''Normandy'' gets attacked by Thorian Creepers.
** Given the crossover, firebenders in general.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Shepard and Garrus.
* PowerLimiter: The Javik VI acts as one to Shepard, preventing her from using the Avatar State to overcome certain situations. [[spoiler: He allows her to use the Avatar State when fighting Leviathan]].
** Also, it's implied that memories of using airbending to kill a Batarian are why Shepard's airbending is stunted.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Captain Bei-Li. And surprisingly considering his [[ObstructiveBureaucrat canon portrayal]], Ambassador Donnel Udina.
* TheRemnant: [[spoiler:There are quarians still living on Rannoch, descended from the ones who didn't want to destroy the geth.]]
* RefusalOfTheCall: Shepard outright blows off many of the sidequests from the first game, claiming that she's not interested, or that the activity in question is downright illegal. She also refuses to recruit Zaeed, as he appears to be (to her) a gibbering madman who is ''slightly'' less controlable than a Thresher Maw.
** [[spoiler: James Vega]] makes an early cameo in the mission to Yue (the Rogue VI on Luna in canon) and gets caught up in the Normandy crew's batshit insanity. When all is said and done, Shepard asks [[spoiler: him]] about possibly joining her mission. The reply she gets is a NoJustNoReaction.
* RuleOfFunny: Combined with GameplayAndStorySegregation, this is why despite Shepard going straight to Therum to recover Doctor T'Soni (Liara), Liara believes that Shepard and her party are hallucinations. In the game, this only happens if you recruit Liara after doing many, ''many'' other missions before recruiting her (such as Feros and Noveria).
* RunningGag: In the second story arc, Shepard's budding biotics cause her to break her armor. A lot. This seems to have gotten fixed when she gets the Collector Armor, which is partially biological and is able to adapt to her new powers.
** Adahn REALLY needs to stop observing Shepard. He's running out of crap to repair himself with. This has become far less of a problem since he joined the crew [[spoiler: and he's now dead, meaning that the joke is done]].
* SamusIsAGirl: [[spoiler: Leviathan was once a female zhent. She gets put back into that body during the Final Battle of Book 2.]]
* ScarpiaUltimatum: Between the events of Book 1 and Book 2 [[spoiler: Asha al'Wahim]] finds herself on the wrong end of one.
* ScrewThisImOutOfHere: When hunting a rogue AI on Illium, Shepard and co. run into a band of Eclipse mercenaries who are after the same thing. The salarian in the group decides to throw in the towel once Shepard introduces herself.
* ShoutOut: Lots:
** One prothean is named [[{{VideoGame/Homeworld}} Sajuuk]].
*** Wrex mentions that part of Krogan Culture is "Kith and Krannt." While Krannt is a canon part of Mass Effect Krogan Culture [[TrueCompanions (a group of warriors who fight together, a combination of brothers and soldiers)]], "Kith" is a slight respelling of "Kiith," roughly translating to "Clan" in Homeworld.
*** Or it's just a play on the old phrase "[[http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kith kith]] and kin," meaning those you know and those you're related to, respectively.
** Humanity's first grenades were based off of [[{{VideoGame/Portal2}} citrus]], hence why humans refer to them as 'lemons' instead of calling them 'pineapples' as in the real military.
** Liara names one geth [[GloriousShotgunPrincess Wuffles.]] It's not the same one, and is a mook who lasts all of three lines before he gets mowed down.
** There are also several more {{Shout Out}}s and nods to Glorious Shotgun Princess, such as Legion/Adahn's encounter with Sovereign, compared to Wuffles/Legion's encounter with Harbinger.
** One quarian marine (''strongly'' implied to be Kal'Reegar) hears Garrus talking about Feros, and how "Naked asari clones were crawling all over him," and the marine mutters [[ADateWithRosiePalms "I'll be in my bunk."]] [[Series/{{Firefly}} Jayne Cobb]] and Kal'Reegar share the same voice actor/regular actor.
** The description of the Pre-Mass-Effect FTL drive the Quarians used is nearly identical to the Jumpdrive from ''{{TabletopGame/BattleTech}}'', and even has Quarian scientists whose names are very thin parodies of Kearny and Fushida (the scientists in the [=BattleTech=] universe that invented the Jumpdrive). Surprisingly, this is actually a ''plot point'' later on.
** At one point Miranda mentions that Shepard's shuttle is on [[Series/BattlestarGalactica2003 DRADIS]].
** As of the second book, the armors sport collapsable helmets, which function like the ones in [[Franchise/DeadSpace the Dead Space games.]]
** "We're in space, it's not like [[{{Franchise/Alien}} they can hear us even if we scream]]."
** An exchange between a recently recovered hostage and Shepard:
-->'''Passenger''': But surely they have better accommodations than this.
-->'''Shepard''': Nope. This is all the room we have. [[{{Airplane}} And don't call me Shr-Li]].
** [[AxCrazy Kai Leng]] kills a turian researcher in the same manner [[Series/DoctorWho the Master gasses his cabinet in ''The Sound of Drums'']].
** [[VideoGame/PapersPlease Arstotzka]] is a nation in Subarctic Thessia that produces very severe asari.
** The name Legion was somehow taken in the previous Cycle. Instead, the geth subconsensus adopts the name "Adahn" after a nickname of [[VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment The Nameless One in a quarian video game "The Void: Misery".]]
** As of chapter 34, we also have references to the [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion The Sea of Dirac]] and a Turian (who in the Avatar of Victory universe are Romanesque, and use Latin, which of course never existed in the Avatar's world) organization whose motto is [[Wiki/SCPFoundation Tuti Teneti Protego]].
** [[Film/PacificRim "First; do not touch me again. Second, do not ''ever'' touch me again."]]
** Just after hitting [[spoiler:the Omega 4 Relay, Morinth says [[{{Series/Firefly}} "Well... here I am..."]]]].
** The mandala that appears whenever Shepard, [[spoiler: Javik, and the Reapers or rakshasa]] go into the Avatar State/their equivalent? They look a lot like fire versions of the Mantra halos from VideoGame/AsurasWrath.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Fai Dan tries to shoot himself, but Shepard uses bloodbending to make him divert his shot.
** [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope Subverted with]]]] Okeer. He survives the initial recruitment mission, [[spoiler:and then Grunt kills him in the next chapter]].
** [[spoiler: Zig-zagged with Tela Vasir. Whereas in canon, she worked for the Shadow Broker and tried to kill Liara and Shepard, [[NotHisSled in this version]], she survives... because ''Jondam Bau'', a Spectre that you meet in the third game, takes her place. And he's supposed to survive (if you do it right).]]
** [[spoiler: Shepard saves Mordin from dying after he cures the Genophage.]]
* {{Squee}}: Liara's reaction to finding out there's a living Prothean onboard the ''Normandy''.
** Shepard lets her inner child loose whenever she's around an Elcor.
* StationsOfTheCanon: Played with. While certain things change (the Thorian is a Spirit made manifest in the physical world, similar to Wong Se Tong from "The Library"), much of the story remains fundamentally the same (save for Shepard being inspired by visions from the Prothean cycle to invent the [[{{BFG}} M-920 Cain]] just after Therum). At the same time, we see characters appearing ''way'' before we meet them in Mass Effect, such as [[spoiler: Legion, Miranda, Vega, and Kolyat. Hell, ''Jack'' was present at Eden Prime, the FIRST MISSION!]]
** The backstory has far more changes, though. For example, it wasn't the turians that humans made first contact with, but krogan from a crashed ship, which allowed the humans to prepare for the wider galaxy far better.
** Humans aren't the only ones with spirits, though. Turians have the largest number of "shamans" in the galaxy (should that be shaturians?) because they encounter many spirits on Palaven. The Asari consider them to be evil due to bad past experiences, and the salarians didn't know any existed until they met the asari.
* StealthPun: In-universe. To access a secret hallway, Shepard has to poke the nose of a picture of Admiral Grissom- literally tweaking the nose of the most famous human of the last two generations. For those who don't know, Grissom was the first human to use a Mass Relay, and is the man that Grissom Academy was named after.
* SummonBiggerFish: Chapter 61 has two: Kalros, as per canon, and [[EldritchAbomination Meretsegger]], whom Grunt convinces to fight the Reapers because they violated a deal the death spirit made with them millenia ago.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Averted. While Siwang Weaver may share ''many'' traits with ''Legend of Korra'' season two character Varrick, the Author points out in chapter 40 that the character of Weaver was introduced ''eleven months'' before season two premiered.
** Although post-season two, some of Varrick's traits have been incorporated into Weaver, most notably having an assistant named "Ju Li," and occasionally asking her to 'Do the thing.'
* SweetAndSourGrapes: [[spoiler: A Quarian who was exiled from the Migrant Fleet is escorted away by another Quarian. Their destination? Rannoch.]]
* TakeThat: to several of the Mass Effect plot elements.
** The Migrant Fleet, and anything to do with it, is ''not'' looked kindly upon in this story, calling it a myopic propaganda machine who indoctrinated (not Reaper-Style) all who live in it to serve commands of those higher up in the chain of command. There are still plenty of heroic quarians among the fleet, however.
** Zaeed... is viewed as a barely-sane maniac who leaves a trail of devastation a mile wide. Even a Shepard who comes across as ''far'' more Renegade than the Avatar really should, who has ''Jack'' as a best friend, thinks that he's not worth taking on the mission.
** Possibly a fairly minor one to a particular time-consuming FetchQuest from the first game: Alenko accepts the Keeper-scanning sidequest in Shepard's stead in Chapter 3. Rather than wasting a couple of hours wandering all over the Citadel in search of the few Keepers hanging out in the open, he just sits himself in an area directly over a Keeper tunnel and catches up on some reading while the scanner catches any Keepers that happen to pass underneath him.
** At least one Justicar says that keeping Ardat-Yakshi locked away is a stupid idea, since all it's doing is taking a bunch of people who love their freedom and have the ability to kill with their minds and putting them all in one place, forming 'A ticking time bomb.' Mass Effect 3 has a mission where you go to an Ardat-Yakshi monestary that's been taken over by the Reapers, and you see just how right she was.
** Shepard says that if it wasn't for the Krogan, she'd be "As spiritually bankrupt as [Avatar] Korra."
* TheUnfettered: [[spoiler: Siwang Weaver states that he will do absolutely anything, and sacrifice anybody, to defeat the Reapers.]]
* TemptingFate: Vega says as much, saying that naming the VI on the moon after the guy who created an Orwellian society in Ba Sing Se was pretty much ''asking'' for it to go crazy and start killing people.
** In Chapter 45, Shepard comments on how she's never seen a Krogan Firebender. Guess what she ends up running into near the end of the battle.
* ThrownOutTheAirlock: Morinth's NoHoldsBarredBeatdown ends with her getting spaced.
* TimeAbyss [[spoiler: The Avatar Cycle has been passing between different species for more than '''2.5 billion years.''']]
* TokenHeroicOrc: In this case, token heroic Batarian [[spoiler: Balak ends up joining Shepard's team. They don't really like each other, but they are willing to set aside (most) of their differences if it gets the job done. Later, we learn ''why'' he's a token heroic batarian... or rather, we learn why ''the batarians are so bad to begin with.'']]
* TomatoInTheMirror: [[spoiler: Chapter 52, which follows Shepard during the events of leaving Earth when the Reapers invade, follows Shepard's clone Zia instead of Avatar Shepard herself.]]
* UndyingLoyalty: Ashley (renamed Asha al'Wahim). She sees it as a way to atone for her ancestor accidentally causing the death of the previous Avatar... and Shepard dying on her watch during the Collector attack.
* TheUnintelligible: Imagine if Donnely's scottish accent was kicked up to maximum overdrive and slightly drunk. Thus far Jack has been able to understand him, but not many others. Even ''EDI'' has trouble understanding him.
* UnstoppableRage: Morinth pokes around Shepard's memories and targets one of Liara. She gets a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown and ThrownOutTheAirlock for her troubles.
* UnwittingPawn: The Golden Spiders mercenary group are this to the Illusive Man/Phoenix.
* VirtualGhost: The VI of Javik that Shepard gained from her contact with the Prothean Beacons shows both a lot of autonomy, and a strong (abrasive) personality. Since the VI doesn't know all of what's inside it, who created it is still in question.
* WhamEpisode: While the story mostly stays in line with canon, there are still several ''major'' surprises in store.
** Chapter 49: [[spoiler:Leviathan is [[LetsGetDangerous capable of tracking the Normandy while in stealth with ease, and nearly kills the entire crew.]] In the aftermath of having to unshackle EDI... well, remember Siwang Weaver? The HonestCorporateExecutive who brought Shepard back this time? It turns out, he's not only not very honest, ''he's the Illusive Man.'']]
** Chapter 76: [[spoiler: While there was a great deal of {{Foreshadowing}} in hindsight and they're no longer under their thrall, it turns out the asari were originally ''created by the Reapers as a sleeper weapon.'']]
** Chapter 80: [[spoiler: We learn the true history of the Reaper cycle, how the galaxy is descended from ''us'' [[EarthAllAlong and our Earth]], who seeded the galaxy with life because they were the first sapient species, and how the Reapers arose from a race, the shadowed ones, that sought to dominate them. Moreover, bending itself was created as a weapon to fight back against this malignant species, and they in turn created the Harbinger to crush humanity. All this is revealed by a ''good'' Reaper, Abentus, and the Pantokrator, an AI akin to God created by the first humanity and the creator of Raava (and thus indirectly of the Avatar cycle itself).]]
* WhyWontYouDie: Garrus to [[AxCrazy Kai Leng]]. Even Shepard wonders how many times she has to kill him after dropping a boulder on his head.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: [[spoiler:The Hate Engine, while ''incredibly'' dangerous, and responsible for ''billions'' of deaths, [[TraumaCongaLine really looks like she needs a hug]].]]
* XanatosGambit: Weaver's plan for the Phoenix invasion of the Citadel. [[spoiler: If it had worked and the councilors were killed, humanity could have stepped in. He didn't put much faith in that and arranged for Udina to take the blame for hiring pro-human mercenaries, leaving the evidence just flimsy enough that Shepard or others could find the true one responsible, Councelor Valern... who was indoctrinated by Rho, who Weaver is keeping as a prisoner and was forced to start the coup early. Since that Valern was behind it becomes public, the Salarian military will in all likelihood split themselves away from the dalatrasses entirely and throw their weight behind humanity in order to distance themselves from Valern's insanity, giving the war effort a massive boost and causing a massive amount of power to go to the humans, turians, and asari. The worst part is that ''this works.'' The codex at the end of the chapter says that that exact thing is happening.]]
* YouKilledMyFather: Shepard's reason for hating Batarains: slavers arrived and killed her parents [[spoiler: and enslaved her little sister]]. She [[spoiler: was forced to use Airbending, the most pacifistic of all bending styles, to murder a Batarian in an elevator... which she was then trapped in for several hours. There's honestly a whole bunch of problems knotted up there.]]
* YourSoulIsMine: The Ardat Yakshi can do this, as well as Leviathan.
* YouShallNotPass: [[spoiler: During the FinalBattle against Leviathan, Thane is fatally injured. He holds off the Reaper's forces long enough for the others to regroup and escape.]]