Fan Fic / Mass Foundations

Mass Foundations is a fanfiction series set in the Mass Effect universe, written by Nord Ronnoc. The series is strongly inspired by Mass Vexations and Masses To Masses, given that both Herr Wozzeck and Nord shared some ideas together on the former.

Redemption in the Stars follows the plot of Mass Effect: Redemption and is centered on Ethan Sunderland, the Courier. In the years after the events of his adventures in the Mojave, a teleportation experiment has gone wrong, transporting him to Omega, set between the first and second games. He soon meets Shepard's former squadmate Liara T’Soni and information broker Feron, and gets involved in their hunt to recover Commander Shepard’s body before it falls into the hands of the Collectors. Redemption in the Stars was originally called Mass Vexations: Redemption and had a degree of involvement from Herr Wozzeck prior to a falling out between the two. It can be viewed here.

The second entry is called All the World's a Stage. The Twelfth Doctor has been brought to the Fallout universe after receiving a distress signal. He sets out to investigate, meeting up with Jocelyn Song, the Lone Wanderer. The title references the well-known phrase from As You Like It. Time will tell if additional references to Shakespeare will be made. Nord has advertised it'll cross over with another setting, which is revealed to be the Soul Calibur universe. It can be read here. Like his other works below, you can also find it on SpaceBattles.com and Sufficient Velocity here and here respectively. It has since then received a rewrite.

The third entry, A New Day, is revolved around a different protagonist, Eric Grimes, a high school graduate, with little connection to the previous story so far. During a vacation with his family, he was transported to the Mass Effect universe when he stumbled upon a strange artifact. He had to adjust to the strange universe he found himself in. Unlike the Courier, Eric is shy and mild-mannered and is inexperienced in a fight. It can be viewed here.

Another entry, Little Star, had been posted. It starred Commander Shepard as she found a distress signal on a planet called Acabar, where strange and twisted creatures known as the Merged had wiped out most of the science team. Nord has likened it to Alien, The Thing (1982), and Event Horizon. He wasn't far off. It can be read here.

Currently, Nord has posted forums of the stories, including a rewrite of Redemption in the Stars, on Spacebattles and Sufficient Velocity. On SB, Redemption in the Stars can be viewed here and a New Day can be viewed here. On SV, Redemption in the Stars can be viewed here, and a New Day can be viewed here. But Nord has rebooted A New Day. You can find the new threads on SB and SV here and here respectively.

Recently, he has released a series of lore entries for each entry in the series, which expands on the lore unique to the series as well as any setting the fics use. The series also has a link on Archive of Our Own.


The series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    The series in general 
  • All There in the Manual: The main purpose of the Mass Foundations Codex.
  • Alternate Universe: See The Multiverse below.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Goes along with Rotating Protagonist. So far, each entry in the series (Redemption in the Stars, A New Day, and All the World's a Stage) features different protagonists. As such:
    • Redemption in the Stars has Ethan Sunderland, aka the Courier, who's a (though implied) multi-ethnic man with a sarcastic and somewhat selfish streak, though he is willing to help his friends out.
    • Meanwhile, in A New Day, Eric Grimes is also multi-ethnic (half-Hispanic and half-caucasian) and male but gay. He comes off as meek and shy yet intelligent, having parents, grandparents, and siblings.
    • In All the World's a Stage, Jocelyn Song, aka the Lone Wanderer, is female and half-Asian, half-black. She comes off as a more traditional hero compared to the other protagonists, though she haunted by her perceived failures.
  • Fan Verse: It's starting to come off as this.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Seems to be the staple of the series so far. Fallout and Mass Effect? Pretty popular crossover if you know where to look. Doctor Who and Fallout? Okay. The summary of All the World's a Stage has stated it'll cross over with a third setting. What was it? Soul Calibur, of all things. ... What?
  • The Multiverse: The bulk of the series' setting. It has several characters travel from one universe to another in some capacity. In most cases, they seem to be one-way trips. The Codex has described the Multiverse as a complicated thing.
  • Weird Crossover: What All the World's a Stage turns out to be. Soul Calibur crosses over between Fallout and Doctor Who.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Redemption in the Stars:
      • After their defeat at the hands of the Courier, Blue Suns amped up their security forces, overwhelming him, Liara, and Feron at the abandoned mining facility. The sudden turn of events forced the Courier to flee, leaving Liara and Feron behind.
      • When the Courier took a Blue Suns Centurion from a scouting group hostage, his demands were rejected as the other Blue Suns call him out on his wanton killing of their peers and attempt to distract him long enough for backup to arrive. He ultimately sees through it and points out that he'll just kill the reinforcements. It worked.
    • All The World's a Stage (original version):
      • The Lone Wanderer is easily able to bulldoze through several her fights thanks to her Power Armor, most notably against Tira when she makes a misstep. When you're someone who's small and lithe as well as wielding a ringblade from late-Renaissance going up against a person who's in large-frame armor and wielding high-tech weaponry, you're going to get curb-stomped soon if not immediately.
      • The Doctor's and the Lone Wanderer's attempt at convincing Patroklos to see the error of his ways only irritates him further, especially when the Wanderer brings up Pyrrha. It ends up with them being kicked out of Patroklos' tent. While he has an epiphany thanks to Pyrrha, it's unknown whether or not it would be effective in the long run.
    • A New Day:
      • C-Sec discovered a good part about Eric when he arrived in the Mass Effect universe. How did they find out? By looking at his ID card. Because of his circumstances, it was implied he was under surveillance, though we don't get much beyond that. After Eric got his credentials, C-Sec brought him in to question him. When they found out he was clean, they let him go.
  • World of Snark: A vast majority of the characters in the series are notable snarkers, especially Ethan Sunderland, the Courier. Even others who aren't known for being smartasses get opportunities to make some quips, including Jocelyn Song, aka the Lone Wanderer, and Eric Grimes.

    Redemption in the Stars 
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Ethan, Liara and Feron snuck into the abandoned mining facility to get Shepard’s body through the wastewater pipe. Downplayed, as mining always produced large quantities of wastewater and the pipes of the size shown (they’re implied to be just large enough to move through) are quite likely to be used. Because the facility processed eezo, the water was radioactive as well; they could only get through because of Ethan’s Rad-X.
  • Action Girl: Liara was an obvious one along with an unnamed Blue Suns Commander fits this trope much better.
  • After Action Patch Up: Much of the epilogue can be summed up as this.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Batarian Pyro Jath’Kar taunts the Courier with a reference to the Apocalypse Now.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted. The Courier couldn't understand any of the alien languages until he purchases a translator from a human-run shop.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Feron expressed doubt about the Courier's origins, even after the Courier himself had asked about how biotics work. This was lampshaded by the Courier and Liara. Eventually, he relented after the Courier showed his memories to Liara in a mind-meld.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The Shadow Broker’s base at Alingon is described as being absolutely grey and utilitarian and with good reason. The building was spliced out of several pre-made hubs so that the dedicated architect wouldn’t have to be employed.
  • Captain Ersatz: The turian scoundrel Hando Due and batarian Greedro are obvious stand-ins for Han Solo and Greedo. The encounter itself was due to the Courier’s Wild Wasteland trait.
  • Continuity Nod: Plenty of examples from both series are presented in this fic, such as:
  • Gunship Rescue: Downplayed. The Cerberus frigate turns the tide at the Alingon base and keeps the attackers at bay for a while, but then Tazzik’s engineers manage to disable its guns, forcing the squad to negotiate.
  • Dead Man Switch: At Alingon, the squad couldn't destroy the missile turrets at the entrance because doing so would instantly alert the base security. The alert didn't activate when the turret is simply temporarily disabled, however, which leads to the Race Against the Clock below.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Strongly averted. The Courier used VATS, the Jury Rigging perk, his Pip Boy map, and the Geiger counters. Liara frequently employed various biotic talents during combat and Feron can fix equipment with omni-gel, like the Infiltrator class of the first game. Even the Blue Suns’ members use the full spectrum of their equipment from the second game, with missile launcher soldiers, flamethrower troops and Legionnaires with anti-shield Disruptor ammo all present and accounted for.
  • Groin Attack: A Blue Suns Centurion attempts this on the Courier, but he dodges it due to his close-combat experience in the Mojave. This mistake lets Ethan capture her.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Ethan saw Lynch engaging an asari vanguard at the Shadow Broker base before being forced to turn around. The next time he looks at him, purple blood is dripping off his armor.
  • Hostage Situation: This time it's the protagonist who takes a Blue Suns Centurion hostage, when cornered and needing to get information on Liara and Feron’s coordinates. His demands are rejected, however, as the other Suns call his bluff and attempt to distract him long enough for the back-up to arrive. He ultimately sees through it and points out that he'll just kill the reinforcements. It works.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Averted. In the first chapter, Ethan has only a decent chance of hitting the flamethrower gas tank at medium range with VATS.
  • Insecurity Camera: Played with. The cameras themselves are quite well placed throughout the building and on the outside, but they’re absent at the rear entrance since there are already guards and turrets present. Inside, they’re brought down by the terminal located too close to the entrance, allowing the group to hack into it.
  • Instant Sedation: More realistic than usual; a manual syringe is used, the target is restrained, and the hitman, Tazzik, checks the dosage before using the sedative.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Ethan made his Transportalponder this by accident when he tried to upgrade it. However, it broke when he arrived to the Mass Effect universe, leaving him trapped until he can fix it.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: When the Courier first engages the Blue Suns, a Centurion splits away from the remaining group to deal with him. Justified, as they don’t know his skills yet and Centurions are Elite Mooks in the game.
    • Justified again in the third chapter, where only one Blue Suns hovercar out of five is sent to investigate the car left behind by the team and where Ethan is lurking. They didn't expect him to stick around near the facility and so the rest are searching for him on the outskirts.
  • Mugging the Monster: A batarian thug tries to rob the Courier soon after his arrival. It doesn't work out too well for him.
  • Not So Invincible After All: The Collector-General is a hulking figure of solid and lava, able to unleash biotic barrages and with inhumanly durable barriers. When Ethan ends up fighting it alone, the Shadow Broker’s guards consider him doomed and see no reason to intervene. When the creature finally gets brought to his knees, they fire at him, but it was too late.
  • One Size Fits All: Averted. Ethan cannot use a translator looted from the batarian thug because his ears are shaped differently, so the earphones simply wouldn’t fit in for him.
  • Race Against the Clock: The Cerberus commandos and the Courier manages to overheat the missile turrets guarding Shadow Broker's Alingon base. However, the effect only lasts 30 seconds, after which the turrets go back to normal. The resultant race to get to the compound before they activate is punctuated by the automatic countdown.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Ethan kills a heavily shielded turian Centurion by stabbing him in the throat with his Bowie knife. Justified in-universe as kinetic shielding is only meant to work against high-speed objects, either being very ineffective or completely useless against melee attacks.
  • Sadistic Choice: When Lynch received the coordinates for the location of Shepard's body and the comm link in the base on Alingon, he informed the Courier of the opportunity to rescue either Liara or Feron. However, they're unable to save both and they're well aware of it. Ultimately, Ethan chose to rescue Liara.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: The Courier did that to the Blue Suns’ Pyro in the first chapter.
  • Shout-Out: Several examples.
    • When Ethan wakes up, he checks to see if his body's in one piece, much like what the Eleventh Doctor did after his regeneration.
    • The scene at the Afterlife Bar with expies of Greedo and Han Solo.
    • Lynch's name and the Courier's remark to it is a reference to the antagonist and Hannibal's reply from The A-Team
    • The batarian pyro taunting Ethan after setting him on fire, along the lines of:
  • Shown Their Work: The base infiltration scene on Alingon doesn’t arbitrarily choose the 30 second number to add more drama. That is the maximum duration of the Sabotage ability you can unlock in the first game.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Most of the interactions between the Courier and Feron come off as this.
  • Teleportation Misfire / Teleporter Accident: Kickstarted the plot of the fic, making Ethan's motivation to find a way back home.
  • The Cavalry: The Courier, Liara and Feron are saved from their first engagement with the Blue Suns by a sudden intervention of an unseen sniper.
  • The Dragon: Tazzik serves as this to the Shadow Broker, who serves as the Big Bad of this fic. Since he does most of the action as a bad guy, Tazzik also counts as The Heavy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ethan gets one from Cerberus agent Lynch when he appears at the scene to find what is essentially a failed mission, with Liara and Feron captured and Shepard’s body still with Tazzik.
    • And earlier on, when Ethan attempts to bargain for information by taking a Centurion hostage, the other Blue Suns call him out on the unprovoked killing he has done before. Ethan reflects their accusations, calling them out on their Moral Myopia.
    • Liara's not happy when Ethan suggest they hand Shepard over to Cerberus. He manages to convince her to see from his viewpoint, but it's clear that she's still upset about his past actions.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The Courier finishes off the Harbinger-possessed Collector by discharging the entire clip of his M-6 Carnifex into his head, with predictable results.

     All the World's a Stage 
  • Apocalypse How: Of the Multiverse Annihilation variety by the orb, as claimed by Nightmare to the Doctor.
  • Artifact of Doom: Soul Edge, obviously. There's also the fake orb that supposively can rip apart universes.
  • Call-Back: The orb from A New Day makes an appearance, having additional functions such as ripping universes apart and long-distance, instant surveillance. However, it turns out to be a fake given by Missy, so who knows what it's actually capable of.
  • The Cameo: Three-Dog fills this role in the epilogue. Going by his dialogue, it's implied the Brotherhood has taken him off the air, but he manages to find a way back on radio somehow.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The Doctor and Jocelyn went to the Soul Calibur universe to investigate the cause of the Ania in the Fallout world. Instead, they found themselves defending an early 17th-century Hungarian town against a hoard of Malfested. This has brought the attention of Patroklos, Nightmare, and Siegfried. However, each of them have their own reasons.
  • Dynamic Entry: How the Lone Wanderer introduces herself in All the World's a Stage. She falls through the ceiling and crashes on one of the Ania that's about to attack the Doctor. The Doctor calls her out on this, not like it's her fault.
    The Lone Wanderer: Are you okay?
    The Doctor: Oh, I’m fine. Question is: are you? I mean, considering that you fell through the ceiling!
    The Lone Wanderer: Yeah... The floor gave out. That wasn't the first time it happened
    The Doctor: Don’t you think you could’ve dropped in at a better time? Like tea, perhaps?
    • This trope comes back in the fourth part as a Brick Joke, where Jocelyn crashed on top of Nightmare. The Doctor's quick to remark.
  • Expy: The Ania bears a strong resemblance to the Broken Glass Creature from a Touch of Glass, a Creepypasta.
  • Refusal of the Call: Downplayed. While the Doctor and the Lone Wanderer were willing to help Siegfried, the Lone Wanderer refused to carry Soul Calibur after being induced with flashbacks.
  • Rotating Protagonist: The first chapter of All the World's a Stage goes exclusively from Doctor's perspective. After that, it switches between his and Jocelyn's for most of it.
  • Sadistic Choice: Jocelyn faces one when the Malfested are attacking the Hungarian village. Earlier, she's met a child whose parents are looking for him. Either she rescues the child from a burning-down mansion, leaving the guardsmen vulnerable, or help the guards, which would lead to the child's death. Fortunately subverted, as reinforcements arrived, allowing her to rescue the child without abandoning them.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Happens to Nightmare non-lethally. Turns out Missy has given him a fake orb as part of a prank, albeit one with collateral damage and a good number of casualties from a string of seemingly unrelated events.
  • Shout-Out:
    The Courier: We’re in a city tag-teamed by a bunch of nuclear bombs, we’re fighting an army of robots, and we’re knee-deep in brass. None of this makes sense!
    • In the epilogue:
  • Silicon-Based Life: The Ania, being described as made of glass. The Doctor says they're microorganisms taking form upon contact with any solids, both crystalline and amorphous. He also describes then as dangerous predators, able to rip apart anyone in mere seconds.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Missy. She sets up much of the plot by giving a fake orb to Nightmare as a prank. She claims that he has that Dalek mindset. The Ania preying on people and other casualties happen to be collateral damage, as Jocelyn quickly called her out on it. Naturally, Nightmare is less than pleased with the revelation.
  • Wham Line: In regards to where the shard causing the Ania to rise up and attack people came from:
    The Doctor: This shard came from a parallel Earth. Renaissance era. Early 17th century.
    • And another one in the next part. Not only that, if one has played the sixth Soul game, they can figure out who's speaking here.
      Patroklos: Have you heard of a sword known as Soul Edge?
    • And in the fourth part:
      Missy: “Oh, he’s not the most reliable sort, I imagine. Can’t really trust him, with that Dalek mindset and all."
      The Doctor: (sighs) “Missy. I shouldn’t be surprised it was you.”
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Lone Wanderer's and the Doctor's appalled reaction to Patroklos's desire to indiscriminately kill off the Malfested, regardless of whether or not they actually are affected. While the Lone Wanderer appealed to his better nature, the Doctor went on "The Reason You Suck" Speech while the Lone Wanderer appealed to Patroklos's better nature.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: While the third part of All the World's a Stage introduce more characters, the bulk of it was a series of weird flashbacks for Jocelyn when she touched Soul Calibur.

    Little Star 
  • Body Horror: The Merged. They were created when two alternate states of each person were mashed together, causing things such as their mouths stretching at unnatural angles, having one body wide enough for two, or even have their head split in two.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: As soon as the orb arrived, the science team on Acabar did nothing at first. By the time they came around, that was when hell broke loose and the Merged, well, commerce, causing the facility to go into lockdown.
  • Meat Moss: Downplayed. The arm Shepard and her squadmates found was merged on a wall, but no other bits of flesh were found. Later on, Neil became a victim when Merged!Dave threw him against the wall in the armor.
  • Nursery Rhyme: The passphrase required to open the door to the armor, where the surviving members of the science team reside.
  • The Reason You Suck: Shepard to Harland when the scientist announced her plan about the orb.
    Shepard: Dr. Harland, I’m aware your intentions are good. You made that absolutely clear.
    Harland: And?
    Shepard: If you think that excuses for what happened here, don’t bother. You’re lucky I said I would get you out of here. Otherwise, I would’ve kicked your ass the moment I walked in the room and had you arrested. I mean, you didn’t find it odd that it appeared out of nowhere? The moment you found something was off, you went into studying it without containing it until it was too late. You sure do give science a bad rep. Feels great, doesn’t it? Being the mad scientist.
  • It Can Think: The Merged had lost their sanity but they were able to retain their intelligence. They pick up and use guns as well as open doors and other basic actions.
  • Sci-Fi Horror
  • Title Drop: The door to the armor that Arthur led Shepard and her squadmates to needed a passphrase, which was the first part of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

    A New Day 
  • Blind Date: Luke and Natalie sets this up for Eric, who's been bitter lately. This has him meet Garrett Pitt.
  • Different World, Different Games: While Eric was browsing the Extranet to find out about the Mass Effect universe's counterpart of his family as well as its consistency, he found out what games BioWare had been doing, lasting 28 years from 1995 to 2023. They've released a third game in the Baldur's Gate series called Black Hound. It was obvious they never released Mass Effect. Meanwhile, Dragon Age was in development at one point but it ended up being too expensive much to make, so it was shelved. Jade Empire received a sequel on the Xbox 360. Instead, there was the SFX franchise, built on similar premises to Mass Effect. BioWare had also collaborated with Obsidian Entertainment on to create some sort of a modern spy RPG called Everything or Nothing, which sounded like Alpha Protocol.
  • The Cameo: Quite a few characters from the Mass Effect series were in this fic. Garrus was seen talking with an asari C-sec officer in the third chapter while Eric became friends with Suvi Anwar from Mass Effect: Andromeda at the Black Star in a brief interlude over their religious beliefs.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The prologue, Arrival. Not only does it refer to Eric and his family arriving at Bangkok, it also refers to Eric's arrival to the Mass Effect universe, two years prior to the events of the first game.
  • Dream Sequence: Occurred in the fourth chapter. Eric's dream consisted of the Faceless Masses save for people he personally knew, all ignoring him. Then he went to a tunnel, with large security cameras watching his every move. The dream ended with everything going dark.
  • Flashback: Seems to be this fic's stable, which starts at the beginning of some of the chapters. So far, they expand on Eric's past, shaping how he is now, and mirrors present events.
  • Holiday in Cambodia: Eric and his family visited Bangkok, Thailand, then Angkor Wat in the prologue until Eric stumbled upon the artifact at the after-mentioned temple.
  • Vacation Episode: The prologue starts out as this in Bangkok and Angkor Wat. See the above example.
  • Queer Romance: It's shaping itself up to be one between Eric and Garrett.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the prologue, Alphonse and Eric namedrops The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and BioShock Infinite during a brief discussion about the many-worlds interpretation, as well as Final Fantasy X on another topic.
    • Also in the prologue, when Eric and his family arrived at Angkor Wat, Garcia and Alphonse joked about encountering the head-tossing snakes from Illusion of Gaia at the temple.
    • Eric often calls his brother Al. The similarity stops there, as Eric's brother is older than him.
    • Natalie mentioned Ian Shaw turning an elcor serial killer to C-Sec while picking Eric up, much to Eric's and Natalie's bemusement.
    • The second chapter's title, "I'll Carry You Home Tonight", is lifted from fun.'s We Are Young.
    • The protagonist Natalie's playing as in Redeemer is a Distaff Counterpart of Guts, albeit one possessed, wielding fire-based powers as a result. Even the description of her sword's taken word-for-word from the series' Running Gag. With that in mind, a demon-possessed knight-like character with fire powers also bears a Distaff Counterpart resemblance to Nightmare. Even the wording of the sword's description to the Dragonslayer is similar.
    In the warrior’s hands was a two-handed sword, though it was too big to be called a sword. It was massive, thick, heavy, and far too rough. Indeed, it was a heap of iron.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Natalie told Eric that she and the other analysts at C-Sec came to a conclusion that, because of the circumstances of his arrival to the Mass Effect universe, he either came from the past or from another universe, which wasn't far off to begin with. Naturally, Eric accepted that as the answer.
  • Squee!: Eric's reaction to jumping through the mass relay while riding on a passenger liner, much to Garrett's annoyance.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Like the other series that inspired this fic, Eric was transported to the Mass Effect universe.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fanfic/MassFoundations