Fan Fic / Mass Foundations

Mass Foundations is a fanfiction series set in the Mass Effect universe, written by Nord Ronnoc. The first and second installments of the series, Redemption in the Stars and a New Day, are out. There are also three other installments planned that are currently TBA. The series is strongly inspired from Mass Vexations, given that both Herr Wozzeck and Nord shared some ideas together.

Redemption in the Stars 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 sequel, 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.

Nord has also written a Spin-Off 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. He 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 Space Battles and Sufficient Velocity here and here respectively.

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 called... the Mass Foundations Codex, which expands on the lore unique to the series as well as any setting the fics use. You can find the codex here.

The series provides examples of:

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    The series in general 
  • All There in the Manual: The main purpose of the Mass Foundations Codex.
  • Multiverse of Snark: A vast majority of the characters in the series are notable snarkers, especially the Courier. Even others who aren't known for being smartasses get opportunities to make some quips, including Jocelyn Song 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 rebukes this, calling them out on their Moral Myopia.
    • Basically Liara's reaction to Ethan's suggestion of handing Shepard over to Cerberus. He managed to convince her to see from his viewpoint, but it's clear that she was still upset about the whole ordeal.
  • 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.

    A New Day 
  • 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 25 years from 1998 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 (duh). 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: C-Sec discovered a good part about Eric when he arrived to the Mass Effect universe. How did they find out? By looking at his ID card. See Sure, Let's Go with That below for more. Also, after Eric got his credentials, C-Sec brought him in to question him. After they found out he was clean for the most part, they let him go.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Like the other series that inspired this fic, Eric was transported to the Mass Effect universe.

  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: In All the World's a Stage, 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 and later Nightmare, though the latter had a different reason.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first part of All the World's a Stage goes from the Doctor's perspective. After taking care of the Ania, it switches to Jocelyn's afterwards for most of it.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Silicon-Based Life: The Ania in All the World's a Stage, 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.
  • Wham Line:
    • For All the World's a Stage, 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, but 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.