Fanfic / Uplifted
begins in January 1942 a few hundred miles outside of of Leningrad and well inside of the occupied Russia. There a convoy races towards a recently spotted anomaly, not aware of the drastic consequences their actions will have. Although the premise is fantastic, the series takes the cake for presenting quite possibly the most flawed characters ever created in the Mass Effect
fandom. The story has several themes as well, notably that history is extremely ugly and that the past can always catch up to hand you your ass.
The series is to be set in three eras. World War II
, which is now complete, 1998 to 2012 (Uplifted: Integration) and the Mass Effect future.
The first series is primarily centered around Obersturmbannfuhrer (Lieutenant Colonel by UK and US standards) Joachim Hoch, a bitter but occasionally zealous Waffen SS officer fresh off watching his unit slaughtered outside of Moscow. He is the product of the lost generation. An attempt to retain the happiness that his mother and father had before World War One
. After his abuse at his Father's hands and drastic political differences between Mother and son, Joachim left home and wound up protecting a SS officer from a Communist thug. That man, Gerald Langer took him in and the rest is history.
The series is also notable for the depth of the research that has gone into the writing. The author has taken the time to research and create a detailed and realistic look at the world in 1942-43. It is also notable for avoiding falling into the trap that all Nazis are evil. Of course some, like Himmler, Kaltenbrunner and Heydrich are shown to be complete monsters, but even they present a facade of civility to the people around them. Others, such as Gerald Langer, and Joachim Hoch are surprisingly decent people, despite their their racist viewpoints, views which were all too common back then.
First Generation (1942 to 1943).Uplifted
: Desperate for an end to the exile, now in its forty seventh year, the quarians decide on a last audacious plan to help them destroy the geth. However, January 1942 in occupied Russia might not be the best place for first contact with humanity.Uplifted: Intervention
:It has been three months since first contact between the Third Reich and the Migrant Fleet. New technologies revitalize a beleaguered German war machine as the Admirals take a closer look at their new allies. Meanwhile, Joachim Hoch and Hanala'Jarva come to terms with how complicated their relationship is.Uplifted: Revolution
: Millions are being shipped to extermination camps across Europe, the Allied bombing raids are growing more fierce, the Sixth Army in Stalingrad is on the verge of collapse and the Anglo-American invasion of Algeria will become a reality. The insanity that is the Third Reich is beginning to show. But little does anyone know that revolution is in the air. The uprising has begun.Uplifted: Last Days
: These are the last days. The last days of the Third Reich, the last days of the Western Front and the last days of Humanity being alone in the universe. The world is about to change; but will it be for the better?Uplifted: Arrival
:The fronts may hold, but in the Greater German Reich the battle for the Fatherland's soul is now nearly into its third month. As two simultaneous wars are waged across occupied Europe, and the quarian admiralty prepare their people for their new home on Earth, a third war has begun. National Socialists beware: Joachim Hoch has got you in his crosshairs...
Second Generation: (1998- 2015)Uplifted-Integration
: With a Galactic Crusade on the horizon and a return back to the galaxy imminent, these are the final years of peace before the Quarian people crawl out of their exile and begin their long march across the Council Space with the aid of the Reich and with one destination on their mind: Home. God forgive anyone who stands in their way, because the children of Rannoch will not.
This series features examples of:
- Affably Evil: Most of the high ranking Nazis act like this.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Subverted, big time. The internal divisions within Germany during World War II are one of the main points of the stories.
- Alternate Universe: Set in a universe where a desperate Quarian fleet decided to uplift humanity circa 1942 in order to utilize them as foot soldiers and retake Rannoch. However, contrary to what most people would expect, they choose to ally themselves with the fascists. The choice is logical given what the Quarians intentions for humanity. The epilogue strongly implies the war results in a stalemate. The author is planning a trilogy. A fair warning though: the main characters are Nazis, and the author has no problem displaying their attitudes. Unique in that it avoids depicting all Nazis as evil mass murderers, but makes clear how reprehensible the regime is, as the Quarians slowly realize just who their allies are. The author certainly doesn't downplay how reprehensible the Quarians find their erstwhile allies actions.
- Anti-Hero: Joachim Hoch on the one hand is a Waffen SS Officer somewhat disenchanted with the war, charming and kind, sympathetic to the Quarians, and has lines he will not cross. He offers to let his Jewish sister in law escape, though that confrontation ends badly in a shocking fashion. On the other hand he is violent and brutal in combat, not shy about his antisemitic, homophobic viewpoints (though it does get him into trouble with Hanala at times), and fiercely believes in his cause. He is Waffen SS for a reason. His Quarian counterpart and eventual lover, Hanala Jarva, is manipulative, lying, and brutal, and yet more idealistic than Hoch. Even if it usually is Hoch who plays the role of peacekeeper.
- Armies Are Evil: Averted, big time. One of the side effects of portraying World War II in a realistic fashion is that there really is no black and white morality, even when large numbers of men are being sent to their deaths by their respective nations.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Tiger tank, as Hoch and Hanala find out when trying to take one deep behind enemy lines in Libya. At least until the Quarians later re-engineer the design as part of their plans for humanity.
- Babies Ever After: Admiral Zorah, from Uplifted goes on to become the ancestor of Tali Zorah, and Lachlan Shepard is the ancestor of Commander Shepard. Meanwhile, we find out that Martus Xen is ancestor of Admiral Daro Xen, and that Joachim Hoch manages a series of descendents, one of which is the Illusive Man. Uplifted: Intervention makes this more clear during the first interlude, showing that Hoch and Hanala with a large and extensive family coming together to celebrate the turn of the new Millennium in 1999. Understandable, given that the series focuses on the descendents of these families from 1942 all the way to the events of Mass Effect canon.
- Badass: Jack Churchill. An example involves a Gestapo officer tied to the front of a truck used as a battering ram. Nothing more needs to be said.
- Badass Grandpa: Gerd Von Rundstedt. Literally. Joachim Hoch becomes one in the first interlude. In his late 80's, having battled multiple bouts of cancer and survived World War II, he is still gearing up to lead the push to take back Rannoch from the Geth. He has decided that he can't even think of dying until he has set foot on, and preferably liberated the Quarian homeworld.
- Battle Couple: Joachim Hoch and Hanala Jarva vas Devoas. John Shepard and Tali Zorah as well. Ironically, it is Hoch (a disenchanted SS Officer) who tends to be the more restrained one.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Captain Hanala'Jarva vas Devoas pulls this off at the beginning. Facing capture by the Nazis, she informs them that if the fleet doesn't hear back from them in 30 days, the Quarians will bombard humanity off the Galactic map, despite the fleet believing her KIA and having only 2 surviving crew. This results in the Nazi regime believing her to be an authorized representative of her people, a status which she takes full advantage of.
- Berserk Button: Under no circumstances should you point a gun at Joachim Hoch. Hanala'Jarva will ruin your day and not even feel an ounce of remorse for it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Heinrich Fuhrmann is a soft spoken, gentle giant, who frequently stammers, refuses to shoot wounded soldiers or the men trying to save them and frequently finds himself duped by his superior officer, Joachim Hoch. However, whatever you do, don't try to shoot him. You might find yourself getting a bayonet in your chest or hit by enough molotov cocktails and machine gun fire to kill a small army.
- Black and Gray Morality: Basically the epitome of this trope in Mass Effect fanfics. Of the two protagonists one of them. Joachim Hoch, is a Waffen SS Officer who is not shy about his viewpoints, charming and kind on the one hand, and violent in the other. A classic Anti-hero. His Quarian counterpart and eventual lover, Hanala Jarva, is manipulative, lying, and brutal. The Quarians ally with the Nazis, because they would make the best shock troops when the time comes to retake Rannoch. While it is true that the Quarians plot a coup against Hitler, their motives are again less than pure. The Allies? Not as bad as the Nazis, but they would turn on the Quarians the first chance they get. Somewhat justified given that the fic is set during World War II.
- Black Sheep: Both Hanala'Jarva and Joachim Hoch. Hanala has never fit in with her more duty minded family, instead being interested in the arts and culture as a child. Once she succumbs to the pressure and decides to serve, her viewpoints diverge even further. Joachim Hoch was a strong willed boy who eventually turned to Naziism after growing up with an abusive, weak willed, Jew sympathizing, Communist leaning mother. Needless to say, they didn't get along even while she was alive.
- Blood Knight: Otto Skorzeny and Jack Churchill. Churchill once famously lamented the end of World War II, and Skorzeny was his counterpart on the German side.
- Bloodless Carnage: Averted, and how. War is shown in all of its nastiness. Including the horrific injuries suffered, and the physical and psychological effects. The best example of this would be when Joachim Hoch loses his arm and has to have it cauterized in the field, before getting an artificial replacement.
- Boldly Coming: Hanala'Jarva vas Devoas and her approach to diplomacy. She's been described by some reviews as a Quarian Captain Kirk.
- Break the Badass: What happens to Joachim after the brutal deaths of the Langers at the beginning of the revolution. Begins a bloodfeud between him and Kaltenbrunner.
- Bullying a Dragon: * A lot of civilians in the series seem to think that bullying the somewhat mentally unstable Waffen-SS Colonel Joachim Hoch is a perfectly rational thing to do. Very few survive his wraith unscathed.
- Casual Interstellar Travel: This is Mass Effect, so it's part and parcel of the setting.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Though not shown, it's heavily implied. Joachim Hoch leaves his detainment in Kiel starved and beaten mercilessly, all for sins of others. Hoch almost feels like he deserves this.
- Conveniently an Orphan: (Subverted) Joachim Hoch's mother is alive, but he was adopted by Gerald Langer after he ran away and hasn't seen her in years. Even after she is killed in an Allied bombing raid, Hoch's roots are still an important plot point.
- Commissar Cap: Hanala seems to enjoy stealing Hoch's cap. Rundstedt forces SS officer Joachim Hoch to give his hat to his granddaughter as a form of humiliation, telling him that he is not a real officer. Rommel seems to have a tendency to fiddle with his.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: After the death of Galas'Yoad in the first book, Dieter Hertzer and crew of Sigrid use the goggles he'd modified for night vision to devastating effect against an Allied convoy moving through the desert at night.
- Cute Bruiser: Hanala Jarva certainly qualifies. She is small, pretty and inexperienced. Yet she will not hesitate to kill anything that harms her crew, or her later lover Joachim Hoch. It's telling when a disenchanted Waffen SS Officer is the least violent member of the couple.
- Critical Research Failure: In-Universe: Debatable, given that the Quarians initiated contact with the Third Reich just prior to the final solution. Still, it is implied that Admiral Jalina'Calis either ignored or failed to discover the more unsavory aspects of the Third Reich when she advocated their uplift. The Quarians are forced to do a lot of unexpected work to salvage the situation.
- Cyborg: Joachim Hoch after losing his arm. Reinhard Heydrich after the assassination attempt.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Joachim Hoch has this. He was conceived as a last ditch attempt to bring happiness to a couple who had lost their children to the First World War, and was beaten by his father until he was killed during the occupation of the Ruhr. He then ran away from home and was taken in by an SS officer (a surprisingly decent man), and ultimately followed in his footsteps. He's a surprisingly balanced person in spite of all this.
- Delayed Reaction: (ex-)Nazi Joachim Hoch, upon finally realizing how things operate on the Migrant Fleet. "I haven't seen a paycheque in months and I imagine you don't get paid anything ever, and... oh God, I'm dating a genuine communist. Christ, what the hell is wrong with me?"
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Iron Cross recipiant Waffen-SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Joachim Wilbur Hoch. Poor bugger....
- Enemy Civil War: How the Allies view the German one.
- Even Evil Has Standards: SS Officer Joachim Hoch has no problem with the idea of deporting all of the Jews from Germany, but draws the line at exterminating them. His adoptive father, SS Officer Gerald Langer seems to feel the same way. Hoch is horrified when he realizes what is happening in the second book. Otto Skorzeny is depicted in a similar fashion, though his ultimate loyalties lie in a different direction than Hoch's.
- Fantastic Romance: Hanala Jarva and Joachim Hoch, while Erwin Rommel and Admiral Utala Falan are another example of this trope.
- Friendly Enemy: Rommel and the Allies. Proven when he murders Adolf Eichmann and allows Stirling to escape after Eichmann shoots a Heer officer for preventing the execution of commandos and civilians.
- The Gestapo: In this case, the real life Gestapo.
- Good Is Not Nice: Basically all of the protagonists have a brutal streak a mile long, even Erwin Rommel, who coldly guns down Adolf Eichmann at Malta. The Allies are no better, as Joachim and Hanala discover when captured by the SAS.
- Going Native: Hanala is accused of doing this by her parents and brother.
- Guile Hero: While starting out as a side character in first story, by the sequels, Admiral Halid Zorah becomes one of these, though he remains on the sidelines. Still, he tends far more towards being a Magnificent Bastard.
- Gunship Rescue: When the Quarians show up in the middle of the Libyan desert towards the end of the first book to rescue the protagonists from the hords of Husks inside the crashed reaper fragment. Justified in that they were following directions given to them by Martus'Xen.
- Half-Human Hybrid: In an interlude, Tali's mother casually mentions that the company Daedalus Industries has successfully hybridized Human/Quarian DNA using Asari genetics as a baseline. Of course she mentions it while a young Shepard and Tali are sitting at the table together... Justified in universe by the fact that Humans and Quarians have been part of the same government since 1943 in the Uplifted verse.
- Happily Adopted: Joachim Hoch, in all but the legal sense by the Langers. So much so, that he is willing to betray the Third Reich to the Quarians in order to secure their safety.
- Heel–Face Turn: Done with extreme reluctance by Joachim Hoch after discovering the final solution, in order to save Gerald Langer and his family from the coming civil war and prevent any prosecution. It's telling that even after learning about the camps he is still not an entirely willing participant, despite his revulsion at the Holocaust. However, he sees the inevitable, and wants to spare his adoptive family.
- Historical Fiction: The first trilogy is written as one, and the number of historical characters who appear certainly justify it.
- Historical-Domain Character: Erwin Rommel, Mad Jack Churchill, General George. S. Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Donovan, Adolf Hitler, Gerd Von Rundsedt... The list goes on and on.
- Hope Bringer: The Quarians end up being this to Rommel and Rundstedt for drastically different reasons. Rommel acts as one for Admiral Jalina'Calis
- I Call It "Vera": Tank Commander Dieter Hertzer affectionately calls his Tiger Prototype "Sigrid". Sigrid is later sacrificed, causing Hetzer to shed some tears. In the next fic it's revealed that Rommel assigned him a New Tiger, which is called 'Sigrid II'. This is not so much out of the goodness of Rommel's heart, but because he has no use for clunky over engineered tanks.
- Imperial Germany: Uplifted is basically centered around this distinction. The Imperial Germans are by and large depicted as arrogant, reactionary, intolerant, and anti-semitic, but still horrified when they discover the Final Solution. The Quarians intentions are less than pure however, as they intend to uplift Humanity and use them as foot soldiers to retake Rannoch. The Quarians decision to Uplift Humanity ultimately results in a Imperial Germany with interesting geopolitical results. Vietnam for example, becomes a war against a National Socialist uprising, and the Russian Federation and Soviet Union exist as separate nations with a contested border at the start of the 21st century.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Averted. The accuracy of weapons is shown with a surprising degree of realism. Someone's clearly done their research.
- Interspecies Romance: Joachim Hoch and Hanala Jarva vas Devoas in the Uplifted trilogy are an excellent example of this. The romance between an SS officer and Quarian Captain is fascinating to read. The affair between Erwin Rommel and Admiral Utala Falan is another example.
- Instant Death Bullet: Majorly Averted. Reinhard Heydrich survives long enough to get medical aid from the Quarians after an assassination attempt. Heinrich Fuhrmann is shot several times and survives, while Galas survives the initial attack by British commandos, until he is executed at close range. Other examples abound.
- The Laws and Customs of War: Mixed, both sides play fast and loose with this one, the Germans making a distinction between the western and eastern fronts. Allies tend to be more obedient to this, except when they don't as Joachim and Hanala find out in Libya.
- Like a Son to Me: Both played straight and subverted. Gerald Langer tells this Joachim Hoch, but when faced with Ernst Kaltenbrunner threatening his biological family, he tells him about Joachim's less than favorable past. On the other hand, Gerald tried to get around the legal issues by getting Joachim to marry his oldest daughter in order to formally bring him into the family.
- Magnificent Bastard: Erwin Rommel, invoked by Col. David Stirling in Uplifted: Revolution
- My Country, Right or Wrong: The viewpoint of Joachim Hoch and many others at the beginning of the story. Nationalism is the order of the day.
- My God, What Have I Done? The Quarian admiralty board has one in the second book when they discover the Nazi concentration camps.
- Nazis with Gnarly Weapons: Several German weapons see production earlier than they would have otherwise, most notably the ME-262 and Tiger.
- Nazi Nobleman: Wernher von Braun makes a cameo early on in. Otherwise averted.
- Nazi Protagonist: Uplifted is told from the point of view of Joachim Hoch, an officer in the Waffen SS, who is assigned to conduct a charm campaign for the stranded Quarians. An ardent nationalist and anti-Semite, his views gradually soften through the course of the series, ultimately falling in love with one of the Quarians. Erwin Rommel could fit the same category in the sequel, where he plays a major role alongside Hoch. Hoch would qualify as a true protagonist, not a villain protagonist. Admittedly the stories take place in the context of an Alternate History where the Quarians decide to uplift humanity in a desperate bid to end the exile.
- No Swastikas: Averted. So much so that the captured quarian, Hanala is memorized by the flags flying in Vienna.
- Not So Different: Seen particularly in Skorzeny and Churchill. But also an overall theme of the stories. To the average grunt, the war wasn't that different irregardless of who you fought for, as seen during the Invasion of Malta with Rommel's troops.
- Not What I Signed On For: Joachim Hoch's reaction to finding out about the Holocaust. He sees nothing wrong with deporting them, but Even Evil Has Standards
- Nubile Savage: Played With and Inverted. This is how Hanala initially seems to view Joachim Hoch. Seeing him as a male version of one, despite the fact that by Earth standards he is a well dressed, relatively educated, intelligent man.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Averted, painfully with Heinrich Fuhrmann. The adrenalin and alcohol allows him to function long enough save his friends, but he spends months in recovery afterwards.
- Parental Substitute: Gerald and Lene Langer to Joachim Hoch.
- Patriotic Fervor: Joachim Hoch at the beginning of the series.
- Pet the Dog: Gerald Langer. He's a Nazi, literally. An anti-Semitic, homophobic Waffen SS officer who took in a young Joachim Hoch and raised him as his own son, and probably the only reason Joachim didn't end a complete sociopath. He is one of the most genuinely caring characters in the series.
- Prussia: Plays straight with this trope, with the Prussian aristocracy forming the core of a coup against Hitler. However, the Prussians are viewed as arrogant and narrow minded against non Prussian officers. It is a fairly realistic portrayal of the period.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Erwin Rommel qualifies. As does Gerald Langer. Rommel is self explanatory, especially in regards to his real life actions, while Langer quite successfully manages the Quarians and the first contact.
- State Sec: Explores the personal side of the rivalries held between the Wehrmacht and the SS, both of whom have nothing but contempt for the other group.The writer doesn't play favorites, having a prominant Prussian call his protagonist a "Well dressed ditch digger." Ouch.
- Stay with Me Until I Die: Admiral Jalina'Calis (Hanala's Grandmother) watching the sunset over the North African desert with Erwin Rommel promising her that the desert would be her people's new home.... It was just... D'awwwww
- Sibling Rivalry: Hanala and Rael Jarva. While initially amicable, Hanala and Rael quickly come to resent each other once Hanala returns to the fleet completely changed by her experiences on Earth. Instead of the sweet girl he remembers, he is faced with a competitive, antagonistic and violent sister with a fundamental difference of opinion regarding the future of their people.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Joachim Hoch, an ardent SS man since he was eighteen and apparently a supporter when he was younger, had his Mentor and Father figure Gerald Langer cover up his Father's Communist ties, his Mother's Socialism and Anti-Nazi stance. It is all unraveled in Uplifted: Intervention It is unraveled when he is shot in the face by his dead Brother's ex-fiancee -A runaway Jewish woman. Under hard questioning by Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Langer admits the ties of his family. The result is not pretty. By Uplifted Revolution, Joachim has spent two months in the care of the ever hospitable Gestapo. The results are not pretty.
- The Dutiful Son: Rael'Jarva, growing up he was the model of what the future Quarian ideal would have become had the fleet not intervened in World War II.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech : Hanala to a group of Quarians on the Citadel for not rejoining the fleet. The crowd's reaction is justifiable however, given that the previous attempts by the Migrant Fleet were failed offensives. They understandably want nothing to do with whatever scheme the fleet has come up with.
- The Remnant: Kaltenbrunner and Skorzeny in the interludes. Fomenting national socialist uprisings in a world where national socialism ultimately takes the place that communism took in the hearts of radicals everywhere.
- Unholy Matrimony: The Illusive Man and Daro'Xen
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Hanala'Jarva having several... incidents. Most of them justified. The last incident involving Hanala unloading a whole MP-40 clip into a starving runaway Jewish woman who was to be Joachim Hoch's sisters-in-law after he startles her into shooting him in the face. is more questionable.
- War Is Hell: The author certainly doesn't gloss over the nastiness of the war, an example would be the Italian sailor who is joking one moment, and cut in half the next by a British airstrike.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The subject of the Prothean dreadnought buried in Libya (which turned out to be a live Reaper) hasn't been brought up very much since its appearance in the first book. Seeing as there are only four books out of a projected nine published, though, it's likely to just be a long-term Chekhov's Gun.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Played With. From a distance, and with certain measures taken to hide their features the Quarians can blend in, but are noticeable up close. Sometimes veers into Paper-Thin Disguise territory though.
- World War II: The first trilogy is this trope. Mass Effect crossed over with the Second World War.
- Worthy Opponent: A running duel between Otto Skorzeny and Mad Jack Churchill in Uplifted involving: A truck with a Gestopo agent used as a battering ram, Machine Guns, Pistols, Churchill's famed Compound Bow, A sword fight and a fist fight.