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Fanfic: No Gods, Only Guns
Ancient artifacts of immense power. Murderous synthetics. Ruthless megacorps. Unscrupulous mercenaries. Genocidal stellar god-machines. Incompetent galactic governments. Claptrap dubstep. The horrors of the galaxy are many, but there's one thing a good, mentally-unstable fortune-seeking antihero can rely on: the gun at his, her, or its side.

No Gods, Only Guns is a Mass Effect/Borderlands Fusion Fic combining the futuristic Space Opera of the former with the over-the-top violence and humor of the latter, written by Peptuck, the author behind Renegade, Forward, and TiberiumWars. A completely batshit crazy humanity barely controlled by the Systems Alliance has spread across the stars, amoral megacorporations possess as much power as most interstellar governments, and the rest of the galaxy is stuck just trying to deal with the madness.

Our story begins with a priceless Eridian artifact being uncovered on the human world of Eden Prime by the Hyperion Corporation, followed by a massive attack by the synthetic geth. The Atlas Corporation sends the Crimson Lance to steal the artifact during the chaos, but in the middle of the attack a Siren quite literally drops in out of the sky and the Systems Alliance sends in their own Marines to recover the artifact. An unlikely alliance forged by betrayal, violence, and mutual greed forms between Roland Taylor, a Crimson Lance Sergeant who is wrestling with the ruthless orders of his superiors, and Lilith Shepard, the aforementioned Siren, as well as Roland's squad and the Alliance Marines under the command of Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko.

And that's about as serious as the fic gets. Hilarity Ensues, along with a whole lot of explosions.

No Gods, Only Guns is partially a Crack Fic, but also has plenty of serious moments mixed in with the chaos and over-the-top violence. The author has said that the story was inspired out of a need to write something Lighter and Softer (relatively speaking) than the darker and more serious stories he's written, as well as the fact that both settings have a convergent theme of "Mecha-Cthulhu may be out there, and he may want to eat your face, but if you have a big enough gun, you can kick his eldritch, multidimensional ass."

First Spacebattles discussion thread here, second one here (due to size), and Fanfiction.net link here.


This fanfic contains examples of the following:

  • Action Bomb: All of the Lance soldiers have a function in their armor that triggers a violent detonation of their power cores.
  • Action Girl: Pretty much every female character. Lilith, Ashley, and Maya are the most obvious examples, but there's also Doctor Michel. Tali also shows herself to be one, as does Matriarch Moxxi.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Ambassador Udina, who is a certified Non-Action Guy in canon, has an eyepatch and a cybernetic hand. He's proven himself a Guile Hero who manages to humiliate the batarian ambassador, and later disarms Nine-Toes, punches him into the air, and blows him up as he falls to the ground.
    • Doctor Michel in canon is a Distressed Damsel multiple times. In this story, when Brick shows up to save the day, she's already chopping up Fist's thugs with a buzz-axe.
    • Conrad Verner has demonstrated that he's at least competent with a pistol. And for at least once actually saved Roland's life. He get singed a little, but hey, nobody's perfect.
    • Niftu Cal in this story actually is a BIOTIC GOD!
    • Nassana Dantius, in canon, died near-instantly when Thane reached her office. Here, she's Nassana the Invincible, piloting a giant suit of powered armor.
    • While neither Handsome Jack or The Illusive Man were known for their combat prowess in their respective series, Handsome Jack Harper is not only capable of putting up a good fight and armed with an Orange-tier pistol, but can also call upon Butt Stallion for battle.
  • A God Am I: Niftu Cal thoroughly believes he is such. And he has the firepower to prove it.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: Invoked with one of the chapters, which is titled "Ballistic Diplomacy".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Back and forth with Claptrap. He's mostly just annoying to the characters around him, but periodic hints of psychopathy emerge when he talks about getting payback for his lot number being wiped out.
  • Ambadassador: Udina.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The story's description on Fanfiction.net:
    Ancient artifacts of immense power. Murderous synthetics. Ruthless megacorps. Unscrupulous mercenaries. Genocidal stellar god-machines. Incompetent galactic governments. Claptrap dubstep. The horrors of the galaxy are many....
  • Ascended Extra: In canon Mass Effect, you likely wouldn't even remember Seryna, the forgettable asari who helps Shepard go after Thane during his recruitment mission. Here, she has a much bigger role, going so far as to being directly responsible for the insane five-way war in the Dantius Towers and even suiting up to join Roland's team during the assault.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: In grand Borderlands tradition. Nassana Dantius is the head of an entire planet's Mega Corp. branch, and she is no slouch in a fight.
  • Axe Crazy: Human psychos. And, it turns out, asari psychos. Just look at some of Nassana Dantius' threats:
    “If they get down to the labs, I will drink your liquefied corpses with my morning tea!”
    “I am going to melt you down! And put you in the tiniest jar I can find!”
    “I am going to throw THE BIGGEST RAVE on top of your corpses!”
    “-think you have the lasers? I am ALL THE LASERS.”
    • According to Gethtrap, Sovereign is also pretty much a giant mecha-Psycho.
    • Not only is Sovereign a Psycho, pretty much anyone hit by its indoctrination is as well. Including Saren.
  • Badass: Everyone. Peptuck notes: "When in doubt, err on the side of 'kicking ass'."
    • Ambadassador: Donnell Udina, as noted above.
    • Badass Minds Think Alike: Urdnot Wrex and Mister Torgue apparently think so much alike, that they formed a merger between the Torgue Corporation and Clan Urdnot.
  • Badass Boast:
    • “For I… I am NIFTU CAL! And I am a BIOTIC GOD! And you will SMELL MY GREATNESS!"
    • “I am Nassana Dantius! And I am fucking invincible!
  • Bad Boss:
    • Atlas has every Crimson Lance soldier's armor equipped with a self-destruct device to eliminate evidence and carry out summary executions of troops who disobey orders.
    • Much like the original game, let's just say that Handsome Jack doesn't care about his soldiers' lives.
    • Nassana Dantius threatens to liquefy her own employees and drink them if they don't stop the intruders.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Canceled Op, an otherwise unremarkable bar that is where corporate mercenaries go to drink when their raids get canceled.
  • Berserk Button: The Batarian Hegemony ambassador flips his lid when the Council notes that the "colonies" that Alliance-funded bandits have been attacking include pirate bases.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Lilith does this during the standoff between Roland's squad and Gunnar's group.
    • Nihlus ends up helping Maya when the latter is ambushed by Fist's thugs, though she had the situation mostly under control when he arrived.
    • Played for laughs: Brick wants to do this, but then Tali busts out of Chora's Den with a gun-toting mecha-Skag.
    • Salvador is this for all of Mindoir.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Harpers. The patriarch, Handsome Jack, is a megalomaniacal CEO, and his immediate daughters are Angel, a nonconfrontational Siren, Miranda, a gene-modded supersoldier who is on shooting terms with her father, and Oriana, who Miranda is hiding from Jack. There's also "Junior" a psychopathic tattoo'd criminal biotic who may or may not be a gender-swapped Jack/Subject Zero. They have a yearly family dinner which apparently always ends in a massive gunfight because Miranda, Jack, and Junior are trying to kill each other.
  • Bio-Augmentation: The chaotic nature of human genetic structure is the result of the various megacorps' experiments on the human genome, resulting in quite a few violent and psychopathic mutations among the human populace.
  • Black Comedy: A big source of the fic's humor, which draws heavily from Borderlands' own tendency toward absurdist over-the-top violence.
  • Blast Out: How the standoff between Roland's people and Gunnar's group ends.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Lilith likes violence a bit more than is healthy.
    • Brick gets positively giddy when the prospect of violence is upon him.
  • Boom, Headshot: There is an entire chapter titled "People Getting Shot In The Face." A whole lot of people get shot in the face. It even ends with Face McShooty getting shot...in the face.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The only reason Mr. Torgue doesn't send in the FISTING BOOMING-SHITPUNCHER to the Mêlée à Trois that is Illium? He doesn't want to oversaturate the plot arc by adding in too many characters, so he's just gonna chill (As much as a testosterone-poisoned nutcase like Torgue can "chill") by sitting back and enjoying the destruction while pumping iron. Leaning on the Fourth Wall just doesn't cover that.
    • At the end of chapter 11 after shooting Face Mc Shooty, John Shepard says "Can we get on with this story now?"
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Brick of course. He's actually a pretty nice guy if he's not clubbing you to death with your own spine. Also, despite his love of mayhem and violence, he avoids collateral at all costs. James Vega is also a pretty nice guy for a literal Bruiser.
  • The Butcher: In this setting, General Knoxx was the Butcher of Torfan.
  • Butt Monkey: You can almost feel sorry for Captain Charn. Almost. Well, considering he survived two gun-toting human maniacs....
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: While Garrus, James, and Axton are invading the Dantius Towers, they have an off-kilter conversation about language translation and Axton's relationship with his turret while in a massive gunfight with Eclipse.
  • Character Blog: Gaige maintains her ECHO Cast even while she's on the run, even though she's attempting to lay low. She even makes posts mid-battle.
  • The Chessmaster: Handsome Jack Harper, although some of his moves are less about manipulation and more about his own personal amusement.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In-universe, in fact. It is explained that ECHO systems automatically assign colors to weapons, shields, and armor to denote effectiveness, rarity, and value, just like they do in Borderlands itself. This is also used tactically, as the ECHO HUD systems will mark the weapons and equipment even while it is being used by others, so that someone can tell at a glance whether the weapons or armor are cheaply mass-produced crap, (white) average quality affordable by your average citizen, (green) or high quality (Blue and above). Most of the characters seem to use something in the green range, though Zaeed owns a purple Dahl AR.
  • Composite Character: Certain characters have traits of characters from both series, most notably how all the Vault Hunters represent the various backgrounds of Shepard.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Nassana Dantius sends a bunch of Eclipse mercs to kill Axton, Garrus, and James after they kill her sister while trying to "rescue" her. They're not sure whether she's stiffing them or just trying to kill them for knowing too much. Either way, they're getting payback.
  • Cool Horse: Handsome Jack does indeed have "a goddamn horse made of diamonds", which he rides into battle.
  • Cool Starship: Handsome Jack's personal ship, the Decisive Deception. It's the Normandy.
    • Torgue-Urdnot has a ship called the FISTING BOOMING SHIT-PUNCHER. Complete with an exploding ramming prow shaped like a fist.
  • Corporate Warfare: The story opens up with Atlas sending troops to attack a Hyperion base. Military conflict between the corporations is so commonplace that the Alliance has to control it by having specific penalties for the corporations fighting in Alliance or Citadel space. The borderlands and Terminus space are considered fair game, though.
    • Word of God is that Vladof is at war with the Batarian Hegemony, which only ended when Tediore Corporation got involved... and then Tediore went to war with the batarians.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: Played for Laughs when Lilith, after realizing their goal might be the same, contacted Okeer's group, and they traded IFF with no trouble. After massacring a dozen or so krogan.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • Lilith versus the regular Lance troops is rather brutally one-sided.
    • The batarian slavers who attacked Mindoir in canon do so again, only this time they find Salvador lives there, and he's most unhappy to see them. The invasion is brought to a halt like a rolling toy car would be brought to a halt by a speeding Mack truck: very abruptly, very violently, and with almost nothing remaining afterwards.
    • Fist's bandits are utterly massacred by Zer0 once he shows up to claim Fist's head.
    • One judgmentally-impaired volus versus a room full of highly trained mercenaries on full alert. Unfortunately for the mercenaries, Niftu Cal's claims to be a BIOTIC GOD are far from delusional.
    • The Maliwan fleet over Illium versus the FISTING BOOMING SHITPUNCHER
    • Charn's Blue Suns troops against Gaige. It gets so bad that she boards their ship and accidentally destroys it.
  • Death Is Cheap: Averted. One of the technology that the author states is not carried over from Borderlands is the New-U system due to how story-breaking it is.
  • Decomposite Character: As described above, Commander Shepard's Multiple Choice Past is divided up among various Vault Hunters. Roland was at Torfan (the Ruthless career path), Brick was at Akuze (the Sole Survivor career path), and Axton was at Elysium (the War Hero career path); Lilith has the Spacer background (but is a full-blown renegade), while Salvador has the Colonist background (but the massacre at Mindoir was averted due to his Gunzerker tendencies). As of Chapter 11, the Earthborn background is still unaccounted for. But to make things more confusing, Commander John Shepard, space-born war hero, only human Spectre, is also a character in his own right.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Crimson Lance kills anyone who tries to leave their ranks. Roland and his buddies, however, get pushed past their limit during the Eden Prime mess and end up escaping with the Alliance Marines. Afterwords, Anderson offers them a new job.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Feron ends up killing Nassana Dantius before anyone could get the encryption key from her. Whoops.
  • Distressed Damsel: Subverted with Tali. Maya, Brick, and Nihlus start initially treating her as a helpless girl they need to protect, until Maya remembers that Tali has shot her way out of multiple ambushes and built a giant robot mecha-skag. Maya then points out that Tali doesn't need protection. She needs backup.
  • Damsel out of Distress:
    • Dr. Michel might need help for the bruiser.
    • Tali blasted out of Chora's Den all by herself and built Chitikka, her own personal mecha-skag.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Niftu Cal gets lost while fighting through the Dantius Towers. So decides to just go up regardless of whatever is in the way.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Jenkins goes down by taking multiple bullets at point-blank and refusing to move, using his shield to cover the rest of the squad.
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • Lilith's Phasewalking powers allow her to do this all the time, though the most impressive example is when she arrives inside the Hyperion base by leaping out of an exploding escape pod, phasewalking into the Atlas gunship responsible, and punching the gunship before dropping to the ground, with the exploding gunship backlighting her.
    • Tali is introduced to the story by blasting her way out of Chora's Den on the back of a mechanical skag armed with four enormous shoulder-mounted cannons and electrified jaws.
    • This is how Okeer enters the Dantius Towers. By krogan standards, though, he's being reasonably discreet.
  • Elemental Powers: The standard Borderlands elemental weapons are present, including shock, flame, corrosive, and explosive.
    • Playing with Fire: Maya's Phaselock not only crushes enemies but also sets them on fire (as per the Helios skill). Lilith also has an advantage with flame-elemental weapons, and the Eridian artifact on Eden Prime has given her the Phoenix skill.
    • Shock and Awe: Lilith generates cascades of electricity around her when she is phased out of existence.
  • Elite Mook/ Boss in Mook Clothing: Nassana's private asari commmandoes. Hyperion's Constructors.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: "Splode-hacking." No guesses as to which corporation favors that tactic.
  • Famed in Story: Zaeed Massani, who is apparently the difference between "This run will be suicide" and "We might not all get horribly killed."
  • Fight Magnet: Sirens in general. Both Bailey and Barla Von warn Maya that simply being on the Citadel puts her at risk, and literally three steps off the elevator into the Wards, Maya is getting shot at.
  • Flat "What.": Saren's response when he listens to gaige's ECHO log where she obliterates the Virmire base by accident.
  • Flipping the Bird: Mr. Torgue takes things Up to Eleven by blowing up the top ten levels of his building on Illium and shaping the explosion into a giant middle finger pointed at the Hyperion and Maliwan headquarters.
  • Gambit Pileup: Illium. The Dantius Towers are the victims of Roland and Lilith's team, the quartet of Garrus, Axton, James, and Bloodwing, Warlord Okeer, Niftu Cal, Feron (working for the Shadow Broker), and Handsome Jack, though the latter joins in mostly for giggles.
  • Genre Savvy: Everywhere.
    • Roland and Ashley expect Gunnar and Higgins to betray them. They just don't know when.
    • Lilith deliberately uses a Dynamic Entry and Unflinching Walk to terrify the crap out of the Lance.
    • Handsome Jack's plan seems to bank on the fact that the protagonists will go after the Eridian artifact and steal the McGuffin.
    • Bailey and C-Sec know better than to try to keep Maya and Brick off the Citadel. They just expedite the process of them getting things done to minimize damage.
    • Maya knows she's a Fight Magnet and expects to be attacked by Fist's thugs. She just doesn't expect when.
    • The Crimson Lance figure out pretty quickly that the best way to stop Lilith is to not fight her but just close the doors in her path.
    • Dahlia Dantius doesn't fall for Axton's trick where he has someone holding him at gunpoint open his Sabre Turret.
    • Axton's crew has bolted a ramming prow onto the front of their shuttle, because they have James on their team.
    • Both Axton's crew and Eclipse recognize when someone is Tempting Fate by wondering where the enemy is. Axton's crew immediately recognize the danger they are tempting, while the Eclipse squad's leader immediately cuts off his subordinate's wrath-bringing comment. But he's a moment too late.
    • Conrad Verner and Seryna already figures that, at least for Maliwan, the prototype will be much better than released products.
    • Wrong Genre Savvy: Lilith expects double-crossing from System Alliance's troops when they pay her. From the squad lead by Donald Anderson and contains guys like Kaidan Alenko in their ranks. She's disappointed when everything goes without a hitch.
    • Saren immediately recognizes what it means when a human survives an attack by large numbers of Mooks.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • In the fourth chapter, Lilith says that no Siren would ever want to take the risk of going onto the Citadel. The next scene involves Maya passing through Citadel Security without a problem.
    • One chapter later, Roland describes the Citadel as "safe and cozy". Cut to Chora's Den in the Citadel, firefight in progress, just as Tali blows a bandit's head clean off...
    • Seryna mentions that one of the people attacking the Dantius Towers is a volus who is "high off his rocker" who she doesn't expect to last long. Cut to Niftu Cal, actual BIOTIC GOD singlehandedly blasting his way into the building while still tripping balls.
    • Captain Charn believes that, after the mess-up on Mindoir, nothing can scare him. Sure enough, the next scene shows him screaming like a little girl when Deathtrap basically roboslaughtered his group and his ship.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: One of spacebattles resident noted this when Peptuck posts about his favourite phrase:
    "They hit (the Prime) in a hurricane of robomurder."
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Saren evidently has the same Vault symbol-shaped scar that Handsome Jack has under his mask.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: During the Dantius Towers raid, Niftu Cal shoots down a Mantis gunship by shooting the mangled corpse of an Eclipse merc at it.
    • "Brick was beating a psycho to death with another psycho."
  • Humanity Is Insane: Since it's Borderlands humanity, yes. There's actually an in-universe justification for this: the human genome is all out of whack because of the megacorps' experiments on the human genome have resulted in a number of mutations that have negatively affected the psyche as well as the physical body, which is why the more spectacular genetic changes also often cause insanity.
    • So much so that Illium has insurance specifically to deal with human-related damages.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Summed up during this fight between human Marines and the geth:
    But for all the brutal efficiency, the geth had made a terminal tactical error:
    They had entered close combat with humans: a species as well-armed as the turians, violent enough to earn krogan respect, and with nearly as adaptable a gene-code as the vorcha. Though in the latter case, it was through pummeling their own DNA into submission rather than a natural result of their homeworld.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Storage Deck Units allow for the storage of "digistruct" weaponry, which are akin to conventional and elemental weapons. Element zero-based weapons can't be stored in storage deck units, as they cause "fire and/or explosions."
    • Lampshaded when Brick keeps having to disarm Tali, who is trying to shoot him. he grabs her shotgun, she pulls out a pistol. He grabs the pistol, she pulls out an assault rifle. He snatches the assault rifle, she pulls out a sniper rifle. He knocks the sniper rifle out of her hands, and she draws a rocket launcher....
    Brick: How many goddamn guns you got in there?!
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: In order to prove that Roland is loyal to the Lance, Higgins forces him to make a choice: kill unarmed Hyperion scientists or be executed for disobeying a direct order.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Atlas, as usual. Though in this fanfic, it involves how to run an army. White-quality equipment (To anyone who doesn't play Borderlands 2 or Defiance, white is the worst-quality) is apparently standard-issue, and Lancemen have to pay for their own weapons. No wonder morale is so bad among them....
    • Well, for the Mook treatment, Maliwan isn't much better. They also give their Mook white-quality equipment. Maybe it's standard practice?
    • Or, considering that everyone in the fic has proven to be Genre Savvy, Maliwan management is aware of how expendable their security forces will be in a gunfight against the sufficiently badass.
    • According to Peptuck, the basic Mooks are given white quality equipment because it's cheap... and because of expendability.
  • Intangible Man:: Lilith's Phasewalking allows her to move intangibly from one point to another, ignoring energy or projectiles. She's still affected by gravity, though, and can't run through solid objects. Sovereign can do the same thing.
  • Intellectual Animal: While the extent of Bloodwing's intelligence is ambiguous, just as in Borderlands 2, the fact that s/he (Bloodwing's species routinely changes gender for mating purposes) has her own omnitool has certain.... implications.
  • Killed Off for Real: Conrad.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Conrad Verner's fate, just as he was about to reveal critical info on Malwan's lightsuits and their vulnerabilities.
  • Kill It with Fire: Lilth's MO.
    "Oh, God! Everything is on fire! Especially the parts that can't burn! AUUUUUUGH!"
  • Large Ham: Niftu Cal and Mister Torgue. Lilith and Claptrap get some seriously hammy moments too.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Angel, when transmitting to someone's ECHO display, is always described as looking "weird." This is a reference to the fact that Angel's avatar in-game is always a live action video being played in a game that uses cel-shading.
  • Lighter and Softer: Peptuck's premise, compared to stuff like Tiberium Wars, Renegade, and Harbinger.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Pretty much half the action involves mooks getting blown to pieces in increasingly ridiculous ways. Justified, considering many of the characters seem to like Torgue and Jakobs weaponry to other gear, with the exception of our two Sirens, who seem to like Maliwan SMGs for the elemental bonuses. Also notable is Deathtrap who's digistructed claws consistantly cause people to explode, just like they did to Marcy.
  • Lured Into a Trap: Higgins sets up one of these with Gunnar to trap Roland, forcing him into a Sadistic Choice: kill several unarmed Hyperion scientists, or face summary execution from the rest of his squad.
  • Manly Tears: Mister Torgue sheds them when he witnesses the Vault Hunters and Okeer teaming up to take on Eclipse and Nassana Dantius.
    • Also when Conrad Verner is killed.
  • Mega Corp.: All of the canon megacorporations from both settings appear to be present and have power comparable to many smaller interstellar states. Many of the human megacorps have actually formed mergers with alien mercenary groups, such as Maliwan merging with Eclipse and the Blood Pack joining Vladof. Also, Torgue forming a merger with Clan Urdnot.
    • The quarians have actually formed their own megacorp, Migrant Fleet Manufacturing, by leveraging their immense technical expertise to essentially build the giant space fleet equivalent of an aftermarket-modification garage. They make massive amounts of money not by building anything, but by taking existing tech and making it better.
  • Mauve Shirt: Reiss, a minor character from Borderlands 2 who dies early on, survives the fighting alongside Roland. Granted, he keeps getting shot, but insta-health repeatedly keeps him alive.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Hyperion's Loader. Constructors is the Elite Mook version, enough to make Zaeed and Axton react with stunned terror.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The showdown at Dantius Towers. Axton, Vega, and Garrus are preparing to confront Nassana Dantius over an unpaid contract at the same time as Warlord Okeer is plowing into the tower to look for research into krogan at the same time as a high-as-a-kite volus is rumbling through the lobby to challenge Nassana over her experiments at the same time as Roland, Lilith, and company are preparing to assault the tower to get information on the Vault. And Handsome Jack joins the fracas just for kicks and giggles. Also, Feron is inside the building as well (working for the Shadow Broker), and Torgue was considering joining the fight, but then decided that it would oversaturate this plot arc. Well, until Conrad is killed. Then he decided to give him Due to the Dead, in the most Badass way possible.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Gaige tends to leave carnage and twisted scrap in her wake, even when she's trying to lay low (which led to her wrecking and downing two starships at once, including the one she was riding in at the time) or scrounge for spare parts (which led to her destroying Saren's base on Virmire).
  • Mook Horror Show: The batarian pirates attacking Mindoir go through this when they face Salvador. Through their eyes he's like an unstoppable, psychotic one-man force of nature.
    • Said commander of the pirates goes through this again when trying to capture Gaige.
  • Mugging the Monster: The batarians attacking Mindoir had no idea they were about to walk headlong into Salvador.
    • To a lesser extent, Doctor Michel.
    • And Char-Nobyl's snippet shows several asari picking the wrong bar to rob.
    • Yeah sure, an inexperienced young engineer girl with big bounty on her head, easy money, right?
      • The fact that this happens twice, with two different engineer girls, makes it even more hilarious
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Joker's mention of "an army of [claptraps]" can be seen as one, given that the claptrap they're dealing with actually did lead an army of claptrap units in Borderlands 1.
    • Niftu Cal's rant in Chapter 10 as he blasts through the middle of the lab where the battle is raging is lifted largely from the Apocalyptic Log in Mass Effect 2 where a researcher talks about what a god is truly like.
    • When Angel finally phaseshifts the Decisive Deception, she is described as "assuming direct control."
    • Gaige refers to Geth-Buddy/Gethtrap as "like an army of geth. A legion, or phalanx, or something."
    • Miss Tediore's remote body resembles EDI's robotic body in Mass Effect 3.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Most of the megacorporations. Also, Baron Flynt's pirate armada, which is so huge that he has a team of accountants to keep track of all the accountants who keep track of his men. Vladof is apparently so powerful that they were taking on the Batarian Hegemony and winning.
  • No Indoor Voice: MISTER TORGUE DOES NOT SPEAK IN ANYTHING BUT CAPS.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever happened when Lilith's Siren powers manifested, it resulted in most of an Alliance ship catching on fire and forced her to go on the run.
      • It was staed that it was her mother's ship.
    • Captain Bailey mentions that the last Siren to visit the Citadel was a krogan. He doesn't go into details, instead simply shuddering at the memory.
    • Zaeed once fought on a disintegrating space station alongside a cross-dressing vorcha and a batarian Siren.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: "Biotic God" Niftu Cal actually has some talent to back up his claims in this continuity.
  • Number Two: Ashley Williams plays this role to Roland. Angel once again serves as this to Handsome Jack.
  • Obviously Evil: Gunnar and Higgins. No one doubted they would betray Roland; the question was only when.
  • Off the Rails: Let's just say that by the time the story starts dropping a five-way battle with Warlord Okeer and all his krogan, Lilith's team with Roland, Conrad, Zaeed, and Seryna, the mercenary team featuring Garrus, James Vega, and Axton, NIFTU CAL, ACTUAL BIOTIC GOD, Maliwan security forces, (culminating in Nassana Dantius being revealed as an Asari Psycho) Feron, and Hyperion, canon is rather... loose.
    • You know that things have gone off the rails when Gaige pretty much levels the entire Virmire complex offscreen, by accident.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Joker and Claptrap's reaction when, in the middle of stealing the Decisive Deception, Handsome Jack calls them up personally and threatens to flay them alive for stealing his personal ship.
    • Zaeed and Axton's reaction when Handsome Jack starts dropping Constructors.
    “Crap,” Axton muttered.
    “Hell,” Zaeed agreed.
    The glowing eye turned to regard them.
    “Dammit!” Axton commented.
    “Bollocks!” Zaeed replied.
  • One-Man Army: Most of the characters. Particular note goes to Lilith, who manages tow ipe out dozens of Crimson Lance singlehandedly, Salvador, who turns the entire invasion of Mindior back by himself (and eventually goes to Omega to start a one-man war on the gangs there), and Gaige, who - with some help from her Robot Buddies, manages to singlehandedly destroy Saren's Virmire research/cloning base by accident, without even knowing what it was there for.
    • Apparently, Brick, Shepard, and Nihlus have been in situations where their "Plan B" consists of "Fight the entire planet."
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Mr.Torgue dropping his dumbbell and ceasing to speak in HIGH VOLUME shows how much Conrad Verner's death affected him.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Torgue and Wrex's reaction to the raid on the Dantius Towers at first. And a great deal of other mercs are just sitting back and enjoying the destruction.
  • Person as Verb: "Torgue" and "Urdnot". Also, Robomurder and ROBROFIST.
  • Powered Armor: Eclipse/Maliwan "Lightsuits" are lightweight suits of powered armor that still lets their operators move really fast and pack elementally-charged gatling cannons. Nassana has a super-badass version.
  • Power Gives You Wings: The Eridian artifact gives Lilith the wings that are iconic to her Phoenix powers.
  • Power High: Both Lilith and Maya love using their abilities.
  • Power Incontinence: Lilith has some control issues; simply getting angry or excited will cause the air around her to heat up enough that it causes flash-sweats.
  • Power Tattoo: Both Lilith and Maya have naturally-formed blue tattoos running along the left side of their bodies, which depict Eridian script. Sovereign has glowing red markings along the left side of its hull that do the same thing.
  • Precursors: The Eridians, which for all intents and purposes seem to have replaced the Protheans in this continuity.
  • Ramming Always Works: James Vega is in full force here.
    • The FISTING BOOMING SHITPUNCHER has a ramming prow shaped like a fist, which can digistruct explosive panels onto it to it can ram, punch, and blow up things at the same time.
  • Refusal of the Call: Roland initially turns down Anderson's offer to join the Alliance, due to being haunted by memories of Torfan. However... while he's sitting in a bar, contemplating what to do with his new freedom, he gets an ECHO call from Angel.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: The Tediore corporation were working on an upgrade to their guns. An upgrade that when installed, caused 1.2 million guns in Batarian space to instantaneously explode, thus leading to them going to war with the Hegemony.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Having a Robot Buddy designed for rampaging assault does not bode well if your combat environment is a space freighter.
    • Also, making ECHO-cast while on the run is not the brightest idea.
    • Storming Maliwan HQ did not end well for Conrad Verner. And it almost didn't end well for others, if not for the appearance of the Decisive Deception and the FISTING BOOMING SHITPUNCER. And the reason it almost didn't end well for them? Because Handsome Jack considers them expendable after Conrad Verner is killed and they didn't succeed in getting the encryption key from Nassana Dantius, and instead blowing her up and partying over her SDU and credit chit. It was so bad that Zaeed, freaking ZAEED MASSANI is the one who calls them out on it.
  • Really Gets Around: Taking after The Illusive Man, Handsome Jack has courted many a woman and in fact has fathered children all over the galaxy. However, he only recognizes Angel as his legitimate heir and Miranda, Oriana and "Junior" as his only bastards worth a damn.
  • Remote Body: Miss Tediore uses synthetic avatars to communicate with other people. Comes in handy while selling guns to the batarians, as the malfunction causing over a million batarian-owned Tediore weapons to explode results in Balak punching the avatar's face apart.
  • Robot Buddy:
    • Claptrap for the group that survives Eden Prime.
    • Tali has Chitikka vas Paus, as per Mass Effect canon. Unlike Mass Effect canon, Chitikka is a giant heavily-armed mecha-skag, with it serving as her equivalent of Deathtrap.
    • Garrus has a mechanical version of Bloodwing, complete with chainsaw blades.
    • And Gaige, genuine Gaige appears with Deathtrap. She also dubs the friendly geth she meets "Geth-Buddy" and his rebuilt scrapyard Prime form "Gethtrap". Although instead of Robot Buddy, Robot Friend(s) is more apt (considering that it/they followed Gaige on it/their's own free will).
  • Sadistic Choice: Higgins forces Roland to choose: execute the Hyperion scientists, or be killed for disobeying orders.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One Eclipse mercenary, after seeing his entire squad get killed by Feron, just throws down his gun and runs, because they don't pay him enough.
  • Seen It All: Quite a few characters are completely unfazed by the batshit crazy that surrounds them. On Illium the traders actually have personal kinetic barriers so annoyances like raging gunbattles in the next building don't interrupt their buying and selling. When Niftu Cal attacks, many of the onlookers don't bother running, and instead start taking bets on who will win. When he hurls a giant desk into the next wave of Eclipse mercs while shouting his status as a BIOTIC GOD, they respond by betting even more. This even applies to insurance companies on Illium, which has had so many corporate raids that they technically qualify as natural disasters at this point.
  • Sergeant Rock: Roland, before he turns on the Crimson Lance.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: Gaige is under full attack from geth. All she can think is how she can practice SCIENCE! on them.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Most of the Crimson Lance, which is how the Lance likes it. The fact that Roland and some of his squad have actual morals is what prompts Higgins' Sadistic Choice.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Nihlus is alive thanks to never being on Eden Prime.
    • Higgins, who was implied to be killed by Roland in the Borderlands: Origins comic, survives Eden Prime, though apparently as a minion of Saren.
    • Corporal Reiss survives when he dies within moments of meeting him in Borderlands 2.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: When Lilith and Kaidan argue about whether to sell the Eridian Artifact or to give it to the Alliance, Roland puts an end to it by putting forth the idea of selling the artifact to the Alliance.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Completely averted. The story starts on Eden Prime with a battle over the beacon, and some of the events on the Citadel surrounding Fist and Tali occur, but the story very, very swiftly goes flying off the rails, especially once it gets to Illium. It then gets launched into orbit when Gaige accidentally blows up Saren's Virmire base.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: It wouldn't be Borderlands without gratuitous explosions, though Mister Torgue blowing up the top ten levels of his corporate headquarters just to flip off Hyperion and Maliwan is emblematic of his methodology.
    • Vega is explosive enthusiast. He also doesn't mind sharing his enthusiasm, which is a good thing, since they were hunted by a Super Prototype Powered Armor.
    • How Feron kill Nassana: by stuffing six MIRV grenades into her power-armor. The resulting explosion is big enough to get her mentioned as one of the top one hundred biggest fragmentation grenades ever detonated in the galaxy.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Lilith has gold eyes that light up whenever she uses her Siren powers.
  • Super Strength: Brick in particular and the "Bruiser" human-variant in general.
  • Tempting Fate: Invoked. Roland, upon learning that three separate groups are also plotting to attack the Dantius Towers, says he has to move fast before someone else gets involved. Cue Handsome Jack, listening to the whole conversation, deciding to just go ahead and jump into the fray just because Roland said that.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Axton and Zaeed have this sort of relationship for unexplained reasons, and when their two groups meet up, they decide to work together against the Eclipse and krogan.
    Zaeed: Besides, I’d rather we both walk out of this one alive. Because no one’s going to kill that little shit but me, dammit.
    [...]
    Axton: Keep them alive, because I plan to shoot out that scarred asshole's other eye myself!
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Well, going overkill is actually standard practice, but at least one company is making this into their personal religion and raison d'etre. To the point that its name become synonimous with this trope.
    Torgue-Urdnot. Because fuck subtle.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Sirens in general have phenomenal cosmic powers, though there are only six Sirens per sapient species with genders in the universe. Word of God has stated that Commandant Steele will not be present in this story since the author considers her largely unimportant.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Everything is more badass in this story. Even Conrad Verner, who has evidently practiced a lot with his Dahl pistol.
  • Unflinching Walk: When Lilith arrives on Eden Prime, she does so by blowing up a gunship, then phasing back into existence in front of a couple of startled Lance troopers with the explosion backlighting her.
    • Axton, Garrus, Vega, and Bloodwing pull one after killing Nassana's mercenary sister and deciding to kill Nassana herself for either stiffing them on the paycheck or trying to ensure their silence.
    A flaming aircar exploded behind them. None of them were sure why it was on fire to begin with.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Played for laughs when Saren discovers that Gaige, Deathtrap, and Gethtrap have destroyed his Virmire facility, seemingly on accident.
  • World of Badass: Good God, yes! Even canonical Non Action Guys like Udina, Doctor Michel, Conrad Verner (note to Mass Effect Fans: that was not a joke), and Niftu Cal, the volus "biotic god" (note to Mass Effect fans: that was also not a joke, nor was it multiplayer, although it is hysterically awesome) are not to be tangled with.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Maya's hair is a shade of blue, which is apparently a "natural" hair color due to a benign genetic augmentation by Maliwan.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Maya blows up a bandit's head simply by pumping some energy through her fingers into his face.
    • Garrus decapitating Dahlia Dantius with an explosive round.
    • Balak uses his Enforcement Gauntlet to blow up the face of Miss Tediore's Remote Body.
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