Renegade Reinterpretations is a Mass EffectAlternate Universe Fic by College Fool. Take note: It's written more as a pseudohistorical 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 who discover Relay 314, it's the Batarians. Without canon's lightning-fast tech advancement, humanity gets steamrolled in the initial fights. It takes decades of frenzied research and guerrilla fighting to get into a position where humanity can 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, if one neither side is fully happy with.The story thus continues into 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. The former is xenophobic, self-centred and arrogant... yet recognising the necessity of cooperation and compromise while being strongly against coercion. The latter is idealistic, wishes for aliens to be a part of the galactic landscape, and seeks to improve the world... but with humanity being the one to do the fixing, 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.
This fanfic contains examples of the following:
Above Good and Evil: The work tries to reconstruct Morinth as amoral, clearly distinguishing it from sociopathy.
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 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.
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.
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 Character 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 retrived, 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.
The Extremist Was Right: Cerberus is reinterpreted as this; with human survival genuinely on the line, all lines of research must be taken no matter the ethical concerns.
Four Is Death: You get the "Minimal Losses" achievement if you manage to make it through the Suicide Mission with only four deaths.
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.'
Nature Versus Nurture: Central to the reimagined Morinth, who is now a Child Soldier raised by Cerberus, biologically Asari while human culturally.
Not So Different: Humans and Turians. Also Assimilationist humans and Asari, with aspects such as crimes paid through labour resembling Asari indentured servitude. Humans and Geth too.
If you gave the Collector Base to the Council but fail to win its favour in 3, humanity ends up in a position ironically similar to the Batarians before the First Contact War.
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.
Schedule Slip: The author promised at least one more update after covering the possible endings, to be delivered within a week. That promise was made back in September 2011 and has yet to be fulfilled.
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.
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.)
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 given Clones.
What Could Have Been: Several Author's Notes detail plans to make Zaeed's counterpart a Batarian agent of Cerberus. However, this was dropped when they realized this would make three of the Cerberus agents in RR's ME2 alien infiltrators.