Renegade Reinterpretations is a Mass EffectAlternate Universe Fic by College Fool, written more in the style of a counterfactual historical document than a traditional narrative.Stop me if you've heard this one before. A freshfaced new race, barely out of its gravity well, discovers the remnants of precursor technology and uses it to bootstrap itself to the stars, only to be hampered by an older race with a hostile interest. Sound familiar?Not so Fast, Bucko! Instead of the Turians, it's the Batarians who discover Relay 314. Without canon's lightning-fast advancement rate, humanity gets steamrolled in the initial fights. It takes decades of frenzied research (pushed along by the constant reverse-engineering of any captured alien equipment), and a guerrilla war that would make the Vietcong proud, to get into a position where humanity can even begin to effectively fight back. When it finally can, though, it does so most fiercely, pushing the Hegemony all the way back to the Batarian homeworld of Kar'Shan and more. Turian interference eventually forces an armistice...though only after a far more vicious, if still short, Human/Turian war, and treaty stipulations neither side is fully happy with.The story thus continues into a option-by-option rewrite of the events of the games, with a much less nice humanity in play. As a result, there is no more Paragon/Renegade divide; the divide this time is between "Xenonationalism" and "Assimilationism". Both are aspects of Renegade, but with their own nuances. Advocates of the former are xenophobic, self-centered, specist and arrogant...yet recognizing the necessity of cooperation and compromise while being strongly against coercion. The latter are idealistic, wish for aliens to be a part of the galactic landscape, and seek to improve the world...via humanity doing the fixing, being paternalistic, and never taking no for an answer.Although it is effectively finished, that happened before the release of ME3 and the author has stated that he has no interest in revising it for the trilogy-ender.Compare and contrast Mass Effect 2 AU Lanius, another Mass EffectAlternate Universe Fic by the same author. Also contrast two separate response fics both titled Paragon Reinterpretations, one by MB18932 and the other by RillyB.Dilly, that take the Paragon route instead. College Fool himself talked about writing a fic of that type, called Paragon Persuasions, but never got to it.
This fanfic contains examples of the following:
Above Good and Evil: The work tries to reconstruct Morinth as amoral, clearly distinguishing it from her psychopathic canon behavior.
Added Alliterative Appeal: 'Mordin is an awesome character as it is, and not simply for his Simply Sublime Scientific Salarian Singing Skills.'
Ascended Extra: Kasumi, canonically a DLC character, becomes part of Cerberus and one of Shepard's starting companions in ME2 alongside Miranda.
Kelly's role is expanded, with her being allowed to act as a true ship's counselor and potentially become a proper love interest for Shepard.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Hey, Thane fans! Annoyed your favorite character didn't have an obvious place to shine during the Suicide Mission? One part's specifically dedicated to you, where success or failure equals a sure death, but opting not to send anyone leads to other teammates dying down the line!
Brains and Brawn: Okeer and Grunt come as a package deal here, unlike in canon. Okeer doesn't do any fighting, so it's still Grunt who's the frontline companion.
Brick Joke: After hearing various tall tales about the (unrecruitable) Batarian One-Man Army and summarily dismissing the idea he exists, Shepard can find a dossier on him in the Shadow Broker's files.
Child Soldiers: Morinth is one — at least, by the standards of the Asari.
Clones Are People Too: Humanity resorts to mass cloning to supplement its numbers. The clones are given full legal rights some time in.
Practically seamless integration is greatly assisted by the fact that they're not all exact duplicates of each other, but more like mass-produced, normally-genetically-varied people.
Composite Character: With a dose of Legacy Character. Jack was the original Subject Zero, but that was a long time ago. Miranda is a clone, but also exhibiting aspects of Jack as a sort of split personality. On the romantic history aspect, that gets merged into Morinth.
The Confidant: Kelly's role as this is expanded; after major decisions, Shepard can now discuss them with her, hear her thoughts, and then choose whether or not to justify their actions.
Cruel and Unusual Death: Several feature in the revamped Suicide Mission, but special mention must be given to the fate of the infiltration/tech specialist: burning to death in a matter of seconds.
Curb-Stomp Battle: At the start, even the weakest Batarian rent-a-mook tears through several times his number in humans.
Darker and Edgier: The classicalGrim DarkSpace Marine would now be quite at home in this galaxy. Hell, the rank and file ground soldiers of humanity are actual Space Marines, given the naval terminology of the Alliance interstellar forces; they just now live up to the term.
Death or Glory Attack: The Assimilationist endings give the possibility of putting humanity in the worst possible positions... but also the best, if you see human dominance as good. Xenonationalist by comparison is more moderate; there's no way to get an overwhelmingly bad end-condition for humanity, but no very good one either.
Deal with the Devil: Present in The Assassin's Backstory: Thane was raised as a Cerberus assassin, rediscovering his culture upon meeting his future wife, and attempted to escape that life... but turned back to Cerberus for help getting revenge on the Batarians who murdered her.
Establishing Series Moment: The darker tone of RR's Suicide Mission becomes undeniably clear with the fate of the infiltration/tech specialist. Specifically, they're sent inside the vents with the belief they can be retrieved, only to be lost regardless of success or failure because of a simple sealed hatch.
Everyone Has Standards: Even Morinth doesn't find much pleasure in seducing and killing the company Hock finds himself in.
Moral Myopia: The author suggests that 'If Bioware hadn't tried to play the emotional anvil by having Morinth's only victim with a face be apparently the only young, pretty, white, harmless, nice virgin girl on the pit of vice and sin that was Omega, and instead let it be some Omega crime boss who caught Morinth's notice for his inner-fire, most people would find the exact same character a lot less evil.'
Poor Communication Kills: When Shepard awakens at the start of ME2, they're drugged up and thinking they're still under attack. The 'tutorial' level becomes Shepard rampaging while Cerberus agents frantically try to get them under control long enough to explain they're not the enemy.
Prolonged Prologue: The backstory takes 41 chapters, with content directly relevant to the first game only showing up in the 42nd.
Reality Ensues: Humanity, without the implausibly fast tech advancement of canon, gets steamrolled by the Batarians. Also, the dossier on human relations with the Geth prior to the first game's events say that there are none, which is inevitable since they really haven't been seen outside the Perseus Veil in centuries.
Red Herring: There are several regarding the best specialists for the different parts of the Suicide Mission.
Sadistic Choice: Several, particularly during the reimagined Suicide Mission where certain choices mean death either way, and it's more a matter of how much death happens.
Shadow Archetype: Okeer to Mordin. As put: 'The moral scientist focuses on the weapons of war: the immoral scientist develops life.'
Turians consider humanity to be this to them.
The Shrink: Kelly is allowed to actually act as a counselor: if Shepard speaks to her, she brings up choices they've made and gives Shepard the chance to justify or otherwise talk them out without offering judgement.
Spared by the Adaptation: Okeer. The fic demonstrates very well just how much Bioware threw away in canon by precluding his recruitment.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Discussed and Averted during Liara's Dossier entry for ME2. The reinterpreted 'Redemption' comic ties Garrus and Tali into the plot. (The author also notes the irony of Liara not being the full focus of her own entry.)
Suspiciously Specific Denial: Though it probably qualifies as Blatant Lies as well. In the RR-verse, the extranet's largest MMO, Galaxy of Fantasy, which claims influences from Turian mythology but also totally doesn't have in-game groups analogous to all the significant species, was totally not inspired to start a new period of in-game plot development by having the in-game race that was totally not the Batarians instigate a threat to the entire in-game world that is totally not the Galaxy by summoning a terrible, all-destroying presence that is totally not Humanity from the nether-realm that then turned on them and nearly destroyed the world. Really. And the fact that over 95% of Human players sign up as that faction for their first character when it later became playable is just a coincidence as well.
Tykebomb: Cerberus abducted various aliens as babies and raised them to be loyal to humanity. Morinth is the first Asari they did so with.
We Have Reserves: The only real thing humanity had going for it at the start, especially after the advent of mass-cloning. Subsequent galactic politics involves Council fears of the Humans succeeding where the Krogan uprisings once failed.
You Bastard: Seemingly to head off complaints of being too pro-human, the author calls out readers several times for thinking genocide and domination of the other races is a good thing. In response, in their reviews, several readers have called him out right back, with the conviction that in a Them-Or-Us world, it is.
Zerg Rush: Stated to be the most common Human tactic for most of the war - because that failed less than anything else.