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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Talidoesn't needprotection. Sheneedsbackup.
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.
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.
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.
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, actualBIOTIC 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 girlwhen Deathtrap basically roboslaughtered his group and his ship.
"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.
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.
"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.
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 weaponryto other gear, with the exception of our two Sirens, who seem to like Maliwan SM Gs for the elemental bonuses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 fromAngel.
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.
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 ZAEEDMASSANIis the onewho 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.
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.
Gaige mentions repairing a ship using "boxes of scraps they called spare parts". And after (un)safely landing on the nearest garden world, she also talks about "maybe someplace clean to work, like a cave or a cove something…”
When Tali and Brick confront the quarian who sold her out to Fist, they try to reenact the apartment scene from Pulp Fiction, but their target's already seen the movie so he knows not to say "what" and Tali and Brick get confused over the precise script and which version of the movie they're trying to quote.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 have them killed.
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, although it is hystericallyawesome) 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.