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Of Sheep and Battle Chicken's characters, though typically drawn from the canon of Mass Effect, are without exception radically different or expanded from their usual portrayals. Even with spoiler tags, the information listed here reveals much about the story.

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Main Characters

    Sara Shepard 
The main woman herself, the Premiseverse's Shepard is of an Earthborn/Ruthless background and due to the grimdark nature of this universe is Renegade to an extreme degree. Forcefully drafted into the Alliance's Penal Legions at a young age, she revels in the slaughter of enemies and criminals, known throughout the galaxy even before becoming a Spectre as the Butcher of Torfan.

  • Badass Cape: Sports one as part of her official Spectre uniform.
  • Badass Driver: She manages to be quite the driver, though her driving style tends to leave everyone else mildly horrified. Driving was the only basic courses she ever failed.
  • Berserk Button: When Liara is nearly killed during an attack on a Cerberus base, Shepard begins to lose control... but it isn't until her former mentor starts mocking her death and Shepard's past that she completely goes off the deep end.
  • Break the Cutie: Insert normal young girl. Subject to Sara Shepard's first twenty or so years of life. Result: The Butcher.
  • Came Back Strong: Post-Lazarus, Shepard has a large number of enhancements and is officially considered transhuman at 78% cybernetic conversion. Extra eezo nodes were implanted, improving her biotic strength to that of a strong asari. Bones, muscles, and blood were all partially replaced granting extreme physical capacity. Two greyboxes provide eidetic memory, subdermal armor protects against damage, internal gyroscopes enhance balance, a pulse stabilizer prevents biotic suppression, and a move-by-wire system confers immunity to nerve agents. And a pair of Inusannon Power Stars gives the whole system effectively unlimited power. The effects of all these things are noticeable, putting her far beyond the abilities of the fairly squishy ME1 Shepard.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She hasn't exactly had a happy childhood, and it has made her cynical and estranged from humanity in general.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Goes back and forth. At first she was apathetic from a childhood and adolescence of suffering, before meeting Anderson and wanting to save him. She got better still after entering the Penal Legions, meeting Rachel Florez, and killing everyone responsible for her abuse. After establishing Team Neutron and the disaster at Torfan, she crashed hard until the hunt for Saren, during which she met Liara and recovered substantially. Surprisingly, dying and being revived hasn't buried Shepard's humanity again.
  • Gun Nut: Is a natural prodigy at gun design in particular and has made many weapons including her signature ODIN shotgun, which she derived from a government prototype discarded as nonfunctional. This eventually leads to the foundation of an entire gun company named Shepard Defense Industries.
  • Herald: As per canon, Shepard plays this role to her companions and the galaxy at large.
  • Human Weapon: How she is treated and viewed by many of her superior officers during the early sections of the story.
  • Inappropriately Close Comrades: How many people view her relationship with Liara.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: And how. To the point where it's near impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. After beginning her relationship with Liara, she has all the furniture in her ship's cabin specially reinforced and arranged for the installation of a high-grade trauma medical kit. Sadly, her kinks aren't come by naturally; as a young teenager she was implanted with a black market device that affected her nerve impulses, translating pain beyond a certain threshold into equally intense pleasure, to the point of once having a screaming orgasm at the sensation of an abuser carving into her torso with a knife. She never quite moved past it, and even after the device is removed when she joins the Penal Legions, she still likes it hard and rough and until Liara has never quite found anyone who could keep up.
  • Leave No Survivors: Shepard's policy is to extend an offer of surrender at the beginning of a conflict. Those who accept will be spared. Those who attempt to surrender only once their defeat is clear will be executed.
  • Morality Chain: Anderson, and later Liara. To a lesser degree, having a close crew at all holds Shepard back from acting like a deranged killer.
  • No Social Skills: Her youth left her with very little ability to read and understand her fellow human beings, and with equally little desire to beyond the bare minimum needed to interact.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Shepard's beliefs about criminality are similar but distinct from the Commissars. She doesn't care about victimless or white-collar crimes, only abuses of other people. She's not motivated by the respect of law but the punishment of atrocity. She'll offer a chance to surrender, but only once. Otherwise, the guilty must burn, and who better to do it than another evil person like her?
  • Rags to Royalty: Granted Class V citizenship as a reward for stopping Saren and Benezia, wiping out her prison sentence and establishing the House of Shepard.
  • Street Smart: Once she escaped from her past as a Sex Slave she spent the rest of her youth on the streets as a gang enforcer.
  • Sudden Principled Stand: Shepard lived an uncaring and brutal lifestyle as one of the 10th Street Reds, until the day Anderson saved her and she saved him. The Reds demanding Shepard abuse Anderson's trust lead to her going on a red sand-fueled biotic rampage against them, rival gangs, and NYArc SWAT in which she killed over a hundred people in one day.
  • The Butcher: The one and only. What happened on Torfan was so crazy that just about every human and batarian knows about it, as well as a good portion of other races. The very first chapter of OSABC opens with Shepard gleefully setting up an opportunity to fire a black nano-tipped missile at a slaver ship because she hadn't had another chance to use it.
    • Shepard's STG Report makes the suggestion that "The Butcher" is an alternate combat personality, which is backed up by Shepard's rampage in the wake of Liara's near-death during the assault on Cerberus.
  • The Dreaded: She's practically a living demon to batarians. Even Garrus' batarian teammate who's dedicated to fighting Omega's criminals is nervous around her.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: She's far from heartless, but she has little restraint and is extremly brutal.

    Liara T'Soni 
Though of great importance in canon, Liara's role in the Premiseverse is expanded to that of a full deuteragonist alongside Shepard, going from a shy archeologist, to a skilled warrior, and far beyond.

  • Brains and Bondage: Unlike Shepard, she embraces this aspect of their sexual life with gusto.
  • Broken Bird: Both at the start of the series, due to familial issues, and in TWCD as a result of slowly losing her mind.
  • Character Development: Begins to grow as a person through stories one and two, then shifts rapidly into character degradation in TWCD.
  • Damsel in Distress: As per the game, has to be rescued by Shepard.
  • Driven to Villainy: Started her quest to avenge Shepard as something like the Liara of old. Two years later, she isn't really any better than the Broker or his assassins.
  • Hot Scientist: Especially to Shepard.
  • In the Blood: As a member of the thirty. She seems to alternate between acting nothing like them, and acting all together too much like them.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: As one of the Sisters of Vengeance, her moral standards degenerate rapidly, eventually leading to mass murder by FTL jump on Illium.
  • Knowledge Broker: Becomes one in TWCD, disguising herself as one of the Vantirus sisters along with Telanya.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: As of TWCD, has begun to show some of Benezia's less wholesome tendencies.
  • The Power of Hate: The only thing keeping her upright after her attempt to recover Shepard's body seemingly fails.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: Illium corrupts her. Hard.
  • Shrinking Violet: The promiscuous and cliquish asari culture does not sit well with the introverted Liara, who works as an archaeologist for the sake of finding isolation as much as for researching the Prothean Extinction.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The asari belief that a mother's crimes pass onto her daughters leads to Liara being hounded by the Justicars over Benezia's treason for most all of Mass Effect 1, only avoiding them by staying on the Normandy and Shepard's Spectre authority.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: All she ever wanted from her mother.

While still the Admiral's daughter, and initially starting off quite similar to canon... the Tali of the premise-verse quickly takes a different direction as she is forced to grow up quickly.

  • An Arm and a Leg: Twice.
    • Loses a leg to Saren, and then an arm to Tetriums.
  • Ascended Extra: Her place in the crew starts off fairly small, but her role grows massively as the series continues.
  • Beware the Nice Ones
  • Category Traitor: Is considered this for shooting her father... and if it was known that she joined Cerberus, the reaction would likely be even worse.
  • Cute Bruiser: Particularly in the first story, before life begins to erode on the 'cute' factor.
  • Disinherited Child: After being exiled from the fleet.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Jeff 'Joker' Moreau.
  • Overprotective Dad: Suffers from an extreme case of this.
  • Sigil Spam: After her exile, changes her reik's pattern to Cerberus colors, and stamps a Cerberus logo onto her cybernetic arm.
  • The Exile: Is exiled from the fleet during the time Shepard is dead.
  • Wrench Wench: She's still Tali.

    Garrus Vakarian 
While initially fairly similar to his canon counterpart, Garrus begins to undergo significant character development as the series continues.

  • Chick Magnet: As early as his first appearance Garrus is able to make Asari giggle and give coy looks by doing nothing more than standing in an elevator.
  • Cold Sniper: By the time of OSABC II, everything he has gone through has begun to break him.
  • Death Seeker: Becomes on Omega, believing that his wife and friends all died pointlessly, and with events constantly conspiring to break him down further.
  • Friendly Sniper: As per canon, his default attitude when Shepard first recruits him.
  • Love Triangle: Ends up in one after accepting a relationship with Melenis and only later discovering that Telanya is still alive.
  • Powered Armor: When on Omega he discovers a suit of advanced SKY TALON armor originally bought by Aria for Nyreen Kandros, and puts it to good use in his Archangel persona.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Despite their constant companionship and close friendship, there isn't any attraction between Shepard and Garrus.
  • Pragmatic Hero: While definitely heroic, Garrus has fewer moral hang-ups when it comes to dealing with criminals / enemies than others even before events on Omega break him down.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Garrus (Battle Chicken) and Shepard (Sheep) provide the story's name.

Supporting Characters - Alliance

    Team Neutron 
Shepard's first 'crew', consisting of herself and four other soldiers brought up from the Penal Legions; Beatrice Shields, Jason Dunn, David Jackson, and Rai. Despite their unconventional backgrounds, was amongst the best the Alliance had to offer until the Battle of Torfan broke them utterly.

  • All There in the Manual: Averted. What specifically happened at Torfan to break the Team will likely never be told, all we have to go on are small flash-backs and references.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Offered partially in universe.
    • Liara does not like any of them, and hates them for abandoning Shepard when she most needed friends. The Alliance essentially blacklisted all of them as well, having wanted to play up the propaganda.
    • From their own point of view, Shepard betrayed all of them with what she did on Torfan and her utter failure to communicate with them.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: After Torfan, they both hated and loved Shepard, but the hatred was so poisonous that they couldn't stay with her.
  • Dwindling Party: As of That Which Cannot Die, only Baby Blue and Shepard are alive.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: What her friends thought Shepard was. It took Torfan for them to realize just how broken she was.
  • True Companions: The team before Torfan.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Beatrice, in particular, takes the squad's disintegration badly.

    Tradius Ahern 
Admiral of the Red Tradius Ahern is a veteran of the First Contact War and is a decent contender to be the galaxy's most famous human warrior. He survived missions that nobody should rightfully have survived, made hardened turian veterans look like fools, and even got away mostly intact. These days he flies a desk at Pinnacle Station and is solely responsible for training the Alliance's important officers. He is also the writer of Ahern's Guide To Things You Shouldn't Be Fighting, an informal listing of alien special forces and why people who aren't amazing like him should reconsider.

  • Declining Promotion: Could have been a Spectre, but passed it over. Currently, he stubbornly refuses to advance beyond his out of the way apolitical admiralty, even though he could almost certainly leverage his history and his noble title to great effect.
  • Fantastic Racism: Towards turians and batarians, both as a result of fighting wars against them. He claims that this shouldn't be considered racism at all, simply the wisdom of experience.
  • Memetic Badass: Everyone knows what a badass he is. Turians admit what a badass he is, which is a rarity among people who fought them and won.
  • Nuclear Option: Once essentially nuked himself and a bunch of turians during the FCW, and had to crawl out of the fallout-covered swamp he landed in.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Can hardly make it through a single sentence without. His swearing is about as famous as his record. Bonus points for actually being nobility.
  • Suicide Mission: More than one, and survived all of them at a time when the turians had an immense tech advantage on humanity.
  • Veteran Instructor: All Alliance flag officers, N-rates, and X-rates go through him at one point or another. His ideas on good training are somewhat intense but undeniably useful: Even a post-ME1 Shepard improves so much under a few weeks of his program that she ends up embarrassed at how easy it is for her to beat a simulation of her pre-training self.
    • Partially also plays with Crippling Overspecialization. During Shepard's battle with Balak, she realizes that Ahern's training has a massive weakness; it all took time to prepare and utilize the tactics he drilled her in, and Balak's rapid assault simply didn't offer her that time.
  • With My Hands Tied: He breaks in wannabe badasses by letting them fight him with full gear and preparation while he has a basic spacesuit and a pistol. In Shepard's case, it took several rounds of humiliating defeat to see just how good Ahern is.

    Jason Delacor 
One element of OSABC is the fact that characters representing all three potential backgrounds for Shepard exist. Delacor is the Colonist/Sole Survivor, and was one of the runners-up for Spectre candidacy. By TWCD, he now is one.

  • Friendly Sniper: In so much as that he is a sniper, and he takes care to minimize his unit's casualties when and where he can.
  • Made of Iron: His nickname is the 'Iron Man' for his almost ridiculous ability to survive.
  • Sniper Duel: Engaged in one with an elite Batarian sniper in his backstory.
  • The Chew Toy: The amount of times the galaxy has screwed him over is almost impossible to recount.
    • His family was killed in the raid on Mindoir.
    • His training unit was nearly wiped out by an earthquake.
    • His second deployment saw his unit suffer 90% casualties due to a freak volcanic eruption.
    • His next deployment saw him the sole survivor of a thresher maw nest on Akuze.
    • Those members of his family that survived Mindoir died due to a reactor accident.
    • He has lost two fiance's (killed), along with a child.
  • The Jinx: To an almost ludicrous degree. During a very short time-frame as his partner, Tela Vasir's ship was nearly destroyed by a jump-drift accident, found an uncharted blackhole, and randomly encountered both a hostile AI and an Ardat-Yakshi.


Supporting Characters - Asari

    Aethyta Vasir 
The former leader of House Vasir, and parent to Liara T'Soni, Aethyta is a legendary swords-woman and considered one of the more lethal combatants in the galaxy. Spent the majority of her time advocating and training for a more militant Asari nation, a political movement that collapsed when a few of her students were discovered to have broken numerous laws. Combined with the public shame heaped upon her and Benezia for publicly recognizing Liara as their pure-blooded daughter, she withdrew from public life in disgrace until returning during the Benezia incident.

  • Fantastic Racism: Aethyta is extremely racist when it comes to her fellow Asari. As far as she's concerned, Clanless are barely even people.
  • Gut Feeling: Makes an essentially blind guess based on years of familiarity with Benezia that her real target is the Citadel Council chamber. She's right.
  • Magic Knight: One of the Asari's best when it comes to the combination of sword play and biotic talent.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Black Blade of the Vasir.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Aethyta has a very long history of either personally breaking things or being manipulated into breaking things.
    • While she was manipulated into doing it, she killed Aleema's unborn daughter and then her clanless lover, an act that saw Aleema become Aria T'Loak... and saw her take extreme revenge by shattering Liara's sanity several centuries later.
    • Her inability to deal with politics saw her break her bond with Benezia and go into exile, something that left Benezia heartbroken and mentally vulnerable.
    • She had a one night stand with Samara and left her without a second thought. This also resulted in the birth of Morinth.
    • Tela Vasir being her unacknowledged daughter left Tela with a lifetime's worth of issues thanks to believing her mother had abandoned her.

    Tela Vasir 
The longest serving Spectre still active, Tela Vasir is a tired, jaded, and bitter Matron forced to juggle tasks from the Council, Republics, and the Shadow Broker. Originally tasked to be Shepard's partner as a Spectre, she was responsible for sending Shepard off into the Terminus to be ambushed by the Collectors as the Broker's orders. Her regret of that action, and disgust at the Broker's subsequent actions, has left her little more than a broken wreck and a far cry from the elite soldier she once was.

  • Declining Promotion: Of a social sort. It's expected among asari Spectres to do the job for a few good decades or so and then retire to an early spot in the Matriarchy, now traveled and famous. Tela, on the other had, has been at it for centuries and seems intent on continuing until she dies in office.
  • Flash Step: While most Asari have some talent at this, Tela is quicker than most.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Aethyta is not Tela's aunt as she believes, but her mother. This is revealed to her in TWCD Ch. 48.

Supporting Characters - Cerberus

    Jack Harper 
Soldier, billionaire, and visionary; Jack Harper is the Illusive Man, the original founder of Cerberus and leader of its economy-focused Illusion Cell. Harper is intent upon ensuring humanity's survival in a hostile galaxy, and will go to great lengths to hold back the tide of corruption both inside and outside humanity. His portrayal in OSABC is intended to be more complex than in canon, seizing upon the potential of Cerberus as not just a racist reaction to galactic affairs but a pragmatic measure to give humankind a future.

  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Harper founded Cerberus as a primarily economic defense mechanism that would allow humanity to resist galactic influences. He was...displeased when the Alliance co-opted the program and saddled him with respectively a jingoist and a genocidal mad scientist.
  • Ambiguously Evil: His hands almost certainly aren't clean, but Illusion Cell's operations were far and away different from those of Iron or Shadow, and the moral wreckage that is the galaxy is so horrible that something as grey as Harper's Cerberus comes out looking good by comparison. It was good enough for Shepard, even.
  • Complexity Addiction: As Pel put it, his plans all have twenty thousand moving parts and are incomprehensible until after they've been completed.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Believes that a person can have vices so long as they're honest about why they want them. He's an alcoholic because he enjoys it, he's a womanizer because he loves power, and he wears fine suits because a lifetime of effort befits having style.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Harper insists upon absurd melodramas like naming shell companies after his deceased comrades, using aliases that are secret puns, and sending Kai Leng around with a dog-tipped cane to meet contacts.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Has been exposed to an Arca Device, expanding his physical and mental capacity while instilling a vague instinct to act against the Reapers.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Operation Benedict was dangerous, messy, and costly, but it ended with the total destruction of Iron and Shadow Cells and the independence of Cerberus, with Richard Williams alone surviving by dumb luck.

    Matriarch Trellani
Once faithful, now faithless
Once a high ranking priestess in the Temple of Athame, and the first not of the Thirty to reach that level, she discovered truths about the religion, and the Thirty. Her attempt to confront them with the information saw her hounded across the galaxy, her entire family put to the sword, and eventually saw her join the most unlikeliest of allies... Cerberus.

  • Adaptation Expansion: In canon, her name was a one-line throwaway joke in Lair of the Shadow Broker. Here? Arguably one of the more important characters to the overall plot.
  • Axe-Crazy: Both Shepard and General Petrovsky have noted that she is not a stable person.
  • Badass Preacher: Her occupation before she went rogue.
  • Bling of War: Her armor is made of crystal.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Losing her faith in her goddess and superiors was bad enough, but the latter killing her entire family broke her heart, and her sanity.
  • Nominal Hero: She can be considered as a hero only because her goals right now are intervened with Shepard's.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Trellani's personal fighting style involves massive amounts of wide-spread demolition, and she seems to angle for overkill when possible.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Her end goal is to kill every member of the Thirty, down to the youngest maidens. She isn't exactly picky about how it happens, either.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Heavy on the sociopath, light on the hero.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Trellani has plans to release the secrets she learned about asari civilization should she die before finishing things on her own terms.
  • Turbulent Priest: The Thirty consider her defection to be one of their greatest threats, and have invested much in trying to kill her before she can spread the forbidden knowledge she gained.

    Theodore Pellham 
Cerberus operative and one-half of the Odd Couple, Theodore Pellham (goes by Pel) is a seasoned warrior and great intellect...but he really doesn't care much about all that, and would rather just shoot things and enjoy himself. As one of the Illusive Man's top operatives, he and Kai Leng often get sent on some of the more questionable assignments.

  • Adaptation Expansion: Pel originates from the Mass Effect novels, where LogicalPremise found him to be boring and so decided to make him "not boring".
  • Faking the Dead: Alongside Kai Leng to be able to join Cerberus. Has to pull some strings to be "alive" to Hierarchy officials during the turian Cerberus File.
  • Fantastic Racism: Against asari, salarians, and batarians... but surprisingly not turians. Hints suggest he was once one of the rare human-turian couples during an Alliance diplomatic mission, and to this day refuses to do work against turians.
  • Genius Bruiser: IQ of 166.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Pel hates unnecessary "nerd shit" and tries to act as much like a dumb grunt as possible, but the Illusive Man sees past him and so assigns him work in the Cerberus Files.
  • With Friends Like These...: His relationship with Kai Leng is... complicated. The two profess to hate and want to kill each other, and have multiple times inflicted grievous harm on one another, but Pel insists upon following the "Bro Code" regarding Kai and gives him genuine advice about how to connect with his son.

    Kai Leng 
Cerberus operative and the other half of the Odd Couple, Kai Leng is a brutal nihilist. He has little ability to relate to anyone outside of his son, Pel, and the Illusive Man, but is not an antagonist figure like in canon. Much like with Pel, his position as a high-level fixer leads to him being forced into many beleaguering circumstances, a problem not helped by Pel's irreverent attitude.

  • Blood Knight: Kai doesn't believe in anything as nebulous as a "cause". He just enjoys killing people who annoy him.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Caused by severe smoke inhalation during a riot in his youth.
  • Knife Nut: Alongside the obvious, he uses astatine-doped knives and has a sword collection totaling in at over two million credits.
  • Morality Chain: Concern for the opinion of his son, Jhal Leng, is the one factor that holds Kai back from the greatest extremes.
  • Not So Above It All: Points out and is amused by the logical faults in Pel's "Bro Code".
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Not too difficult given how hated his canon character is, but Leng in the Premiseverse is a broken but effective man looking out for his son's prosperity instead of a pointless mocking side villain.
  • Social Darwinist: More of this than a racist. Kai believes there are a few mighty individuals who ought to act as they please, and the rest of society is worthless. He does not even believe in humanity's cause, instead aligning himself to the Illusive Man's desires in abstract.
  • Technically a Smile: Occasionally, Kai will become openly mirthful over something. This is universally a disturbing experience for everyone around him.
  • The Comically Serious: Kai is absurdly out of place when not in combat, and so Pel uses him as the ultimate straight man. Even the Illusive Man gets in on it sometimes.

    Galen Minsta 
Minor nobility and Cerberus researcher, Galen Minsta serves as the most notable of the Illusive Man's trustworthy scientific sources, the researchers of Shadow Cell being loyal to Richard Williams instead. His fervent elitism and human supremacist beliefs are badly tested by the truths he learns about the wider galaxy during the creation of the Cerberus Files.

  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Evil is iffy, given the Black-and-Gray Morality of the Premiseverse, but Galen is a doting father to Tiffany and has sincerely said she is all he has left, given the losses he has suffered in his life.
  • Fantastic Racism: Towards all aliens, but especially towards asari, who offend his traditionalist views with their influence on humanity. After a while, he does come to recognize the loyalty of Alliance asari, who see themselves as culturally human. He also has no issue with drell, whom share a fair number of concepts with humanity that other species do not.
  • Hidden Depths: Minsta served in the Solguard for six years as a Scout-Sniper and is rated to pilot fighters, ships and battlesuits. He also developed a multi-function, programmable, medical omni-suspension that is immensely superior to medi-gel.
  • Renaissance Man: Medical doctor, historian, psychologist, and economist.
  • Torture Technician: Pre-Benedict, he serves as Illusion Cell's alien interrogator, a job he takes to with his usual coldness.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Openly champions the Alliance's class system, prides himself in his own status, and just about worships the ground the High Lords walk on.

Supporting Characters - Other

A super-intelligent AI, Vigil was created by Inusannon to combat the Reapers. He was ordered by creators to inflict so high losses to Reapers that they would decide that our Galaxy is not worth of their attention and leave it.

  • Jerkass: Being a super-intelligent sophont, Vigil is haughty and tends to look down at races of our Cycle.
  • Hidden Depths: He bonded with Javik, is doing so with Shepard, and is finding himself reluctant to sacrifice this Cycle despite the extremely unlikelihood of success.
  • The Medic: Helped to resurrect Shepard.
  • The Strategist: Vigil plans in advance. He understands that he can't destroy all Reapers in a single war - he is willing to use races of different cycles to weaken them gradually.
  • Smug Snake: Its default mode of interacting with the galaxy.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Vigil has several nanofactories scattered across the Galaxy, where he fabricates his robotic forces. He also can produce Inusannon Power Stars.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Vigil's view on whoever is around it in whatever era it happens to be.
  • Troll: Of course!
  • Unreliable Narrator: His memories about the days of Inusannon Civilisation are twisted by his creators.

    The Angels 
An Omega based vigilante team, who primarily fought back against smaller gangs and individual murderers until they found Garrus Vakarian in the wake of the First Burning. As they have been active for more than seven years by the time of TWCD, their membership has been rather fluid as people joined, departed, or were killed. The list below indicates those people who were members at the time of the second burning.

Team Roster:
The Leader: Angel formed and runs the team. While others came and went over time, he always remained to continue the fight.
Cold Sniper: Garrus Vakarian alternates between this role and acting as the team's main combatant.
Cultured Badass: Krul, a krogan female who prefers teaching children to kicking ass... but she's more than capable of doing both.
The Brute: Vortash, once an SIU agent, defected from the Hegemony partially thanks to his love of history.
The Cracker: Sensat, an exiled midcaste batarian who loathed the Batarian Hegemony and specializes in hacking mechs.
Stealth Expert: Erash, an self-exiled salarian and former STG agent, uses grenades and combat drones to support his abilities as a spy.
Trap Master: Montague, an ex-marine who specializes in ambushes and traps.
Mr. Fixit: Butler, another ex-marine who prefers mechanical work.
The Cracker: Weaver, a human hacker who maintains their network by piggybacking the network used by batarian preachers.
Friendly Sniper: Sidonis usually scouts and snipes for the team, though he is noticeably less cold than Garrus.
Target Spotter: Mieran, Sidonis's asari partner, acts as his spotter and back-up.


    Saren Arterius 
Rogue Spectre and the primary agent of Nazara, Saren chooses to serve the Reapers out of a preference for submission to extinction.

  • Death by Adaptation: Twice, even. First Saren is so mortally wounded on Feros that only infusion with Reaper technology saves him, and then he dies early on Noveria.
  • Death by Irony: Claims he prefers submission to extinction, but takes basically the first excuse to get himself killed after being badly indoctrinated.
  • May–December Romance: He's in his 30s, Benezia is over 800. Granted, the situation they're in essentially only leaves each other.
  • Suicide Mission: Stays behind on Noveria to ensure Benezia's escape, and fights Shepard's entire fireteam at once. He makes a strong showing, but has no chance of victory.

    Matriarch Benezia
Benezia T'Soni
Mother of Liara and a founder of the Triune Unity movement, Benezia would alongside Saren come to believe that submission to the Reapers is preferable to extinction. Her cunning and biotic power make her a far more hazardous foe than in canon.

  • Adaptation Expansion: She's the final enemy of OSABC's interpretation of Mass Effect 1 and Sovereign's possession target instead of Saren.
  • From a Single Cell: Even after her defeat, she remains "alive" for a certain value of the word through Reaper technology. She was imbued with a black nano "chain" system that contains all information on how to recreate her on all levels of her being, and if not for being contained by Alliance scientists would eventually gather enough ambient energy to be revived completely (albeit still indoctrinated).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ultimately, she defeats Aethyta, Shepard, and Liara, but takes her own life by detonating her warp sword. Nazara would have succeeded otherwise, and so doing this indirectly saved the entire galaxy.
  • Master Swordsman: She, alongside Aethyta, is one of the finest warp sword wielders in the galaxy.
  • Resist the Beast: Successfully resists total indoctrination long enough to detonate her warp sword, a feat that is later noted by the Catalyst as unique among all the people ever indoctrinated.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Triune Unity, in its heyday, sought to have the asari militarize and actively "assume leadership" of the rest of the galaxy, on the basis that asari wisdom makes them the only rightful rulers. They shattered when Aethyta and Benezia separated, but retained enough followers for Benezia to use them as her private army after being Indoctrinated.

    Rachel Florez 
Once a General of the Systems Alliance and confidant of Sara Shepard, Rachel Florez would eventually go rogue to become the leader of Cerberus' military-focused Iron Cell.

  • Colonel Kilgore: She hated turians with a passion and was a major fan of the more literal fight against alien influence, which lead her to Cerberus. As the leader of Iron Cell, she organized a small army and was likely going to try to capture the Citadel.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Helps Shepard accomplish her first round of vengeance by masquerading as Alliance police and executing all of her abusers.
  • Your Head Asplode: Inverted. Her head is crushed by one of Liara's singularities.

    Richard Williams/Manswell 
The uncle of Ashley Williams, Richard Williams leads Cerberus' science-focused Shadow Cell.

  • Cyborg: Is the single highest conversion transhuman of all time, at 98%. Only parts of his brain remain organic and his physical abilities are far beyond even other cyborgs. It even lets him survive exposure to a gamma ray burst.
  • Fantastic Racism: To a degree that stands out even in Cerberus, an already human supremacist organization. Richard Williams would be happy to watch the rest of the galaxy burn if it elevated humanity.
  • Playing with Syringes: The Shadow Cell and later Hades has this as their primary mission, for the sake of gaining advantages against alien races. Vivisection and manufactured disasters like Akuze are only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Averted. Richard warned Maxwell Manswell for years how dangerous the Illusive Man was. He's now left saying 'I told you so.'

    Ganar Okeer 
Warlord of the Ganar Clan, Okeer is amongst the galaxy's most intelligent and experienced beings, having been born before the krogan were uplifted and survived to the modern day. His plans encompass the fates of both the krogan and the entire galaxy, and operate on a timescale even the oldest asari cannot match.

  • Body Backup Drive: Grunt acts as this for Okeer.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Hates the krogan for spurning intellectual pursuits, and is personally responsible for the turians deploying the Genophage. While he hangs on to his plans to reform the krogan to his vision, Okeer even admits that he'd prefer his species go extinct if he fails to change them.
  • Cultured Badass: What else can you expect from the krogan biologist who also slew a rachni queen with his hammer?
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: More specifically, his own demise at the hands of a figure in white with a sword of fire. Which turns out to be Shepard and her warp sword.
  • Drop the Hammer: His preferred melee weapon is a mass effect-enhanced hammer named God-Splitter. He killed the last Krogan Emperor with it and continues to use it in modern times. Shepard claims it after killing him.
  • Feuding Families: Hates Wrex due to the ancient Ganar-Urdnot rivalry. (Wrex, for his part, has a much more immediate reason to hate Okeer.)
  • Genius Bruiser: Okeer is very intelligent (IQ of 192) and is a dangerous combatant who slew the Queen Matriarch of the Rachni. In his STG Report it is recommended for STG agents to just shoot themselves instead of fighting him.
    • He wrote the official history of krogan race and is the founder of krogan medicine.
  • I Gave My Word: One of his virtues. Even the krogran who hate him acknowledge he has never broken his sworn word, and would die before betraying an ally.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Even before the Krogan Empire fell he wasn't well regarded among his own kind.
  • Mad Scientist: Both the maddest and the most scientific. Okeer's contributions to medicine in particular are immense, and he easily created a partial cure for the Genophage for himself and his clan.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Okeer's experiments on Urdnot Urv's corpse resulted in Grunt, who has a backup of Okeer's mind installed in him. This kicks in after Grunt's been knocked unconscious due to head trauma, letting Okeer assume direct control.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The STG put his age at over 5,700 years, and Okeer himself claims to be over 7,000, easily making him the oldest person in the Milky Way.
  • The Corruptor: Word of God says Okeer's greatest failing was that when he went out into the greater galaxy, he spent too much time with the SIX and Thirty. Before that, he'd been considering the idea that his brutality and uncompromising nature was a mistake, and maybe he should bury the hatchet with the Urdnot and Thax...
  • Villain with Good Publicity: While hated by krogan, Okeer has gained many allies across the Citadel races, as well as personally meeting with six batarian emperors. Even the hanar have good things to say about him.
  • Visionary Villain: He has been busy rebuilding krogan race for at least a thousand of years.

     The Shadow Broker 
The Shadow Broker in OBSAC takes a much more active role in galactic events, intervening to alter the trajectory of civilization in his favor. The Broker Network exists as a force comparable to the STG or Cerberus, and makes decisions which affect the lives of millions. The Collectors use their connections with the Broker to place Shepard in a place where she can be killed, and afterwards the Broker begins actively collaborating with Reaper forces to give the Network a chance to escape the galaxy before the Harvest begins.

  • The Chessmaster: He masterfully organized the assassination of Shepard and has avoided public blame for her death.
  • Genius Bruiser: Word of God says that he was the second (next to their Emperor) most dangerous yahg back on Parnack, and he is a skilled planner, analyst, and information broker.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: His real name - Ty'Tra'Thect - translates from yahg into "Darkness Supreme Combatant".
  • Les Collaborateurs: He is willing to work with the Collectors and the Reapers to ensure survival of himself and his network, believing their invasion to be centuries in the future.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This is official policy in the Broker Network, with entire squads given over to "liquidation" activities.

    Tetrimus Rakora 
The Mouth of the Shadow Broker, Tetrimus is a turian biotic who was betrayed and abandoned by the Hierarchy during the First Contact War. Though meant to die, he was saved and rebuilt by the Shadow Broker, and became his second in command. Tetrimus is among the galaxy's most dangerous combatants and has slaughtered all of the many elite forces sent to kill him since then.

  • Catch Phrase: "Not enough gun."
  • The Dragon: To the Shadow Broker.
  • Hero Killer: Tetrimus delights himself in this sort of behavior, as Shields found out first-hand.
  • Implacable Man: It takes an utterly ludicrous amount of effort from the heroes to kill Tetrimus. Four chapters worth of story, to be exact.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Shepard finishes him off by pouring an entire power plant's worth of plasma through a biotic funnel into him. Then she shoots him repeatedly and drops twelve tech-mines on his body.
  • Pet the Dog: In spite of hating seemingly everything in the galaxy, he gives a brief pep talk to Tali when she fears she's in over her head. He also convinces the Broker to spare Tazzik after the latter's failures in the Burning of Omega.
  • Signature Move: The biotic Beam or "Dagger", which Tetrimus appears to have invented and is the only practitioner of. It cannot be blocked except by the most powerful counter-biotic invocations, it strikes at the speed of light and so cannot be dodged, and it creates an FTL energy channel that will destroy just about anything it hits. The technique's only weaknesses are that it must be used at range and takes a relatively long time to set up.
  • Straw Nihilist
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Primarch believed that sacrificing Tetrimus, his family, and his cabal would be without consequence. He was wrong. So, so very wrong.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: When you are a member of a species who is literally inherently paranoid and discover you and your entire social circle has been betrayed by someone you trusted, you don't come out the other end particularly happy with the universe.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The Pet the Dog entry above does not stop Tetrimus from nearly killing Tali (and seemingly killing most of her friends) when they meet again in the Burning of Omega.

Instead called He Who Is Not by the Hierarchy, P. is a turian radical and crime boss who tirelessly works to destabilize the galaxy, and above all else to amuse himself. P. has the distinction of being the most wanted being in the entire galaxy, and mostly makes his fame through a public broadcast called P's Truth, in which he has a tendency to expose various state secrets and troll the governments who held them.

  • Body Backup Drive: Word of God hints that P's unnatural longevity is thanks to a damaged or corrupted Arca Device, which transfers his consciousness into another turian when the old body fails.
  • Cultural Rebel: P.'s facepaint is a pink (nonconformism and rejection) glyph on black (valor). It thus signifies rejection of valor, the most total deviation from turian culture possible.
  • Embarrassing Password: The password to deactivate the explosives he set on Shepard's stasis casket is "detonate".
  • Endangering News Broadcast: When P's Truth isn't just trolling, it's this, intended to cause as much damage with the government reaction as possible.
  • Expy: The Turian Joker to Garrus' Turian Batman. P. is even partially responsible for "creating" Archangel by his involvement with the Burning of Omega that saw Garrus be wounded and stranded there.
  • Impossible Theft: Has stolen pretty much all of his assets, including a billion credits in tax revenue and an experimental salarian heavy cruiser he wanted to be his personal spacecraft.
  • Power Born of Madness: Considered to be among the galaxy's most dangerous people. His combat technique isn't all that special, he's just so able to throw himself into the fight that few can withstand him.
  • The Chessmaster: That theft of the salarian heavy cruiser? He used a nine-part poison on the salarians guarding it. P. considers salarians to only be playing at what constitutes real paranoia.

Other Characters

    Aria T'Loak 
The self-described Pirate Queen, Aria lives in the heart of corruption that is Omega, managing a carefully balanced system of power in which she is the top asari and the final word. There is no sin too great and no power too dangerous to trade in on Omega, and it is Aria who gets a cut of it all.

Once, she was a kind and generous soul, Princess Aleena of House T'Armal, but became pregnant by a clanless asari. After refusing to terminate the child, her partner was killed and she was wounded so badly she miscarried, leaving the asari behind forever and venturing into the Terminus. There, Aleena T'Armal died and Aria T'Loak was born.

  • Balance of Power: Much of Omega's politics can be reduced to Aria playing major forces against one another and eliminating lesser forces who could one day be dangerous. Aria's people are only one of the more powerful factions, but rule them all by dint of this great game.
  • Meaningful Name: Taking the title "Queen" is an intense act of symbolism for an asari, as their last queen was the Silent Queen - an ardat-yakshi of godlike power who nearly subjugated the entire species.
  • Start of Darkness: Aethyta killing her lover and child. After that, there were no limits for Aria.
  • The Caligula: Better at staying in power than most such rulers, but Aria's life outside of power plays is an endless procession of drugs and sex.
  • The Nameless: T'Loak means "of No House", an affectation not often used by those of the Thirty, for whom house glory is everything.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Archangel's rampage through Omega's criminals helps Aria keep power, but it also places her in a bind to not go after him, as he frequently releases information showing those people had betrayed her. The sheer number of criminals killed badly damages illicit trade on Omega but leaves Aria without the ability to go after him without looking foolish.

Races & Governments

    Systems Alliance 
Founded by Victor Manswell in the wake of the Days of Iron, this incarnation of the Systems Alliance is a hardened but oppressive fusion of several government forms that is ultimately ruled from the still-ruined Earth by the High Lords of Sol. The place of humanity in the galaxy is very precarious, with the various alien races seeking to control or destroy human institutions whenever possible.

  • A Commander Is You: Industrialists. The Alliance's units are by and large lesser than those of the rest of the galaxy, but human technical ingenuity has lead to some unexpected winning plays like Rapid Reaction Units, Carriers and an ungodly degree of economic growth. In just two years the Alliance jumps from 2% of the asari economy to 24%, which rightfully scares the hell out of the galaxy.
  • Arcology: Though Earth still holds most of humanity, it is nearly uninhabitable with the exception of a network of shielded arcologies. Outside of them the air and water are poison and endless "armada storms" ravage the land.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: In this instance it's the astronauts who ask after Earth, with the inhabitants of Manswell's Zurich Holdfast on the moon being the only humans untouched by the Days of Iron and able to restore order. Just as planned.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The citizens and colonies of the Alliance are stratified by a series of tiers, ostensibly to encourage humanity's growth. Citizen class determines what rights one is permitted under the Alliance, while colony class determines taxation rates and military investment. Class I citizens are permitted only the most basic rights to speech and belief while being mostly unable to vote or move freely, while Class V citizens are nobility and are given every privilege available, even immunity to Commissar judgement without the approval of the High Lords.
  • Fictional Political Party: Several including the canon Terra Firma, which here is a major force instead of a fringe group. Notably, humans are the only species with true political parties, other species organizing influence more informally or through class status.
  • Humans Are Superior: Aside from establishing permanent control over humanity, this is the goal of the NOVENSILES project.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: The Alliance, unlike other nations, permits most alien species to immigrate and even to obtain some degree of citizenship. This is most heavily focused on the asari, who have almost all the same rights as humans, and who have the psychology to adopt human values and identity in full.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: The Days of Iron were manufactured by Victor Manswell to allow for an easier world conquest.
  • Puny Earthlings: Humans in the Premiseverse are inferior in one way or another to almost all other species, who are stronger, faster, and more intelligent. However, humans do still retain a few advantages: Easy cybernetic enhancement, very sparse nutrition requirements, an above average technical skill, and the highest indoctrination resistance in the modern Milky Way.
  • Space Fighter: Humans are the only species that employ fighter craft on the large scale, all others having psychological or biological limitations that make the practice untenable.
  • The Political Officer: The Alliance employs a group explicitly called Commissars to retain order amongst its population. They are subject to behavioral control systems, are usually powerful biotic cyborgs, and follow a founding ideology that promotes the might of law for law's own sake. They have the right to execute anybody outside the nobility without trial and at will, though their constrained mindset means they are at least not corrupt.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Some of the Alliance's far-flung colonies didn't care for being part of an authoritarian state that bleeds them dry of resources, and so refused to join with the SA Charter. These "wildcat" colonies are a point of great political tension, as they are disdained by Alliance citizens for refusing them but feared for because they are also human and are often subject to slaver raids and other alien predations.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: The common way the Alliance deals with its otherwise unimaginable imprisoned population. Comes in two forms: Violent criminals get sent to the Penal Legions, where they fight against humanity's enemies as canon fodder with one-shot rifles and Commissar oversight, while white-collar criminals get sent to the Silver Legion to do cyberspace work. All "restricted citizens" have a theoretical chance of serving out their 40 year sentences and returning to society, but at least for the Penal Legions only Shepard and Zaeed have accomplished it, and Shepard got it by being made nobility instead of actually finishing the sentence.

    Asari Republics 
The asari of the Premiseverse, instead of being the wise leadership of the galaxy, are a domineering threat. Lead by the socially and biologically distinct Thirty Families instead of any genuine democracy, they employ their sexual and cultural power as a weapon to suborn others on a timescale other races cannot combat. This influence has been tightly focused on humanity since the First Contact War due to the similar appearances of the two species.

  • A Commander Is You: Unit Specialists. Asari focus on biotic dominance and heavy training for the few of their species who adopt war as a profession. Asari military strategy is almost exclusively geared towards constant decapitation strikes and disruption tactics, overwhelming superior numbers through injecting chaos.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: Not only is the dominance of the asari based entirely on information from their secret Prothean VI instead of any "wisdom", but all the gods of the Athamist religion were actually Protheans, the Ardat-Yakshi problem is being intentionally sustained by the Thirty, and the misadventures of the Thirty are responsible for many if not most of the galaxy's problems.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The leading Thirty Families on top, the traditionalist Clans in the middle, and the discontent clanless on the bottom. This caste system is to a degree biological, with members of the Thirty being on average a full head taller and much more biotically potent than the clans... who themselves are taller and more biotically powerful than the clanless.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Inspiring this is the method by which the asari intend to conquer others, turning the actual minds of other species towards asari values and interests instead of any economic or military dominion despite the asari's power in those areas.
    • This ended up getting reversed on the asari without even being intended once humanity was contacted, as the human race's great similarities to asari have drawn many into the loyal fold of the Systems Alliance, to the chagrin of the Thirty.
  • Sex Sells: Practiced by the asari on a level that puts even the most libertine humans to shame.

     Turian Hierarchy 
This version of the Hierarchy takes militarism to new heights, having a culture and even a psychology entirely centered around the love of honor. The Hierarchy is advised but not ruled by the Palavanus, a small family of turians who lack the psychological norms of the species and guided them through Palaven's multiple turian-caused catastrophes. Their relationship with humanity is confused, having fought a far more brutal (and almost total) First Contact War against them but also having had positive experiences with humans since then.

  • A Commander Is You: Generalists. Turians try to be good at the whole of war and follow a standardized doctrine for that purpose. Turian units exist to fill every niche and come in two flavors: high morale or highest morale. The weakness of the Hierarchy is in all fields not relating directly to warfighting, where they are fragile.
  • An Axe to Grind: Turians' preferred melee weapons are axes.
  • Final Solution: The turians killed over 40% of their own species in an event called the Burning, meant to permanently end all discontent within the turian people. One of the few turian "holidays" is in mourning for the perceived necessity of this action. They also fully exterminated the first alien species they came across for attacking them.
  • Honor Before Reason: More than anything else, this is the center of turian psychology. Aside from the Palavanus, all turians have an inherent need to act in a manner they believe to be honorable, no matter their place in or out of society. Trellani notes in her report on the subject that this is really nothing like human Bushido or chivalry, as those are purely cultural constructs which can be followed or rejected, while the turian relation to honor is necessary for their sanity.
  • Impossible Task: The Trial of Duty, the rarest and hardest of the meritocratic Trials, is essentially intended to be this. Only invoked when a turian refuses the judgement that they are unready to move up in rank, the Trial of Duty involves scrutinizing just about every decision they've ever made and answering a staggering procession of questions on the nature of honor. Any hesitation or inadequacy leads to immediate execution, but actually passing the Trial leads to a meteoric rise through the meritocracy and the execution of the original decision circle for their immense misjudgement.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: This is, at the best of times, the political scenario the Hierarchy finds itself in. While possessing an immense military, the economy of the Hierarchy is so weak that even for being much larger and older than the Systems Alliance they almost have an equal economic influence. Nor do they possess any great espionage capacity or cultural power. As a result, in practical terms the asari and salarians are both much more powerful players, with the turians strung out between them trying to survive and tip the balance in their favor.
  • Panspermia: Life on Palaven is so explicitly an artificial seeding that even centuries of turian propaganda covering it up cannot obscure the observation. A planet who's crust is 10% uranium and lacks an ozone layer will never develop life on its own, but Palaven did. An unnamed precursor race seeded them there in the hope that they would develop into the ultimate warriors and defeat the Reapers in a later cycle.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy
  • Super Senses: Turians have astounding senses of smell and hearing, easily able to monitor another being's heartbeat from a distance and distinguish individuals by scent.
  • True Art Is Boring: The turians disdain almost all forms of art as understood by other species, believing that art should be something that is of practical use to the viewer. With such a restriction, turian art is almost nonexistant and has very little accessibility to non-turians.

    Salarian Union 
The second species to find the Citadel, the salarian government is dominated by two forces: The Six Families who by and large control all others, and the Special Tasks Group, the galaxy's most famous espionage organization. The salarians make their place in the galaxy not upon explicit power, which they see as crude, but through guiding others to do their will. They have survived as the player of a Space Cold War against the asari for thousands of years, proving how dangerous they are. The salarian relationship with humans is middling, aside from dislike at how they have strengthened the asari.

  • A Commander Is You: Espionage. To the salarians, if you have to wage war, something has already gone wrong. Salarian physical capacity is very low, but doctrine focuses around obtaining situational advantage, superior maneuvering, and an obsession with grenades. However, the true war of the salarians is in setting up events such as they never need fight until their victory is certain.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: A somewhat subdued example, salarians tend to consider the main axiom of morality to be motive. If a person can discern your true motives your action may be judged, but if they cannot you are free to define your own truth. In addition, they perceive all moral costs to be limited, and thus able to be overcome if matched against a greater benefit. This makes most other species see the salarians as lacking morality entirely.
  • Fragile Speedster: Salarians have base reflexes higher than that of humans, asari, or turians but are also quite frail. Salarians have no redundant organs at all, and a wound that would be serious on a human is fatal on a salarian.
  • My Greatest Failure: Surprisingly for such a grimdark world, there are many salarians who regret how badly their uplift of the krogan turned out in the end, and wish things could have been different.
  • Oh My Gods!: "By The Collapse" or other Collapse-related phrases, which have the approximate meaning of "goddammit".
  • The Plague: Collapse Plague, so named for having driven salarians nearly extinct pre-spaceflight, and even in the modern day is incurable.

  • Abusive Parents: Quarians who physically abuse their children are stripped of said children. Quarians who emotionally abuse their children are considered normal.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Quarians perceive their personal survival as a survival of their group. Because of that, they are incredibly united and do not have traitors, separatists or terrorists.
  • Colony Ship: The original purpose of the three Liveships.
  • Dark Secret: The quarians have been unknowingly directed for thousands of years by a Leviathan thrall race called the Puppetmakers, who not only influenced the quarians to create the geth but also instigated the Morning War, in order to exile the quarian military, the group most likely to discover their existence.
  • Driven to Suicide: The fate of most Quarian exiles, not so much because they can't physically survive, but because they mentally collapse without their Ship and their Fleet to act as cornerstones of their life.
  • Dying Race: The Quarians are aware that their ability to repair and maintain their ships is decreasing every year, and that they are doomed if they don't do something.
  • More Than Mind Control: The Quarians have multiple layers to their societal insurance to keep their population utterly united and loyal. All of which was influenced by the race that created and secretly controls them.
  • Rebellious Spirit: A Quarian with one of these is considered either shockingly immature, or an arch-traitor who badly needs to be exiled.
  • Robot War: The Morning War against Geth. They lost. There is fraction of quarians who united with the geth and has been living on Tikkun the whole time since the war.
  • The Spartan Way: The pilgrimage's less advertised purpose is to quietly weed out Quarian teenagers who aren't capable enough to benefit the Flotilla.
  • The Unfettered: Why most other species hate Quarians. To a Quarian, everything is secondary to the survival of the Flotilla, and little things like alien property rights aren't even worth noticing.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A very real fear for Quarians as they get older.

    Batarian Hegemony/Batarian Empire 
Already a dystopian state in canon, this version of the Hegemony is actually much worse if only for the exposition of the horrors of slavery it commits. The Hegemony exists in a state of skirmish war with the Alliance over colonization rights and slave raids against humans, which saw them expelled from Council Space. The culture of batarians exalts cruelty and power over others, even to the extent of having a religion centered around malicious "Dark Gods".

By the time of TWCD, the consequences of the Hegemony's actions have caught up with it, and the state has largely collapsed to its core with the Alliance and the Hierarchy making major advancements in territory. The Hegemon is deposed and the government reorganized around the previously powerless Batarian Emperor, who utterly isolates the new nation from the galaxy.

  • A Commander Is You: Brutes. Batarian warfare is all about the expression of power, and rarely makes use of tactics outside of a last stand "wedge" formation. One detail that stands out is the Beastmasters, who control Khar'shan's vicious wildlife for military purposes. This ends up getting deconstructed - the disregard for military theory and a self-congratulatory love of dominance ends up making the batarians militarily untenable, and they are disastrously slaughtered even by Alliance forces.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Evolution and being shaped in the image of the Dark Gods and The Caligula has made the batarians a gleefully sadistic species that regards morality as laughable and power the only good.
  • Combat by Champion: High-caste batarians generally settle all conflicts this way, seeing anything else as uncouth. While lower-caste batarians have no legal recourse against the crimes of a high-caste, any particular high-caste will have a rival who is willing to "champion justice" for the lower-caste. There are even some combat addicted high-castes who do this as a profession.
  • Crushing the Populace: The general response to large-scale rebellion against the Hegemony is burning the world it occurred on.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Batarian biotics are created by intentionally infecting them with a fatal disease that causes cancerous growth of nerve tissue alongside an eezo injection. The stronger the reaction to the disease, the shorter the time until death. Particularly powerful batarian biotics, the Glorious, are also in legitimate danger of just exploding if they attempt to use too much power.
  • Dystopian Edict: For an alien to even look upon a member of the Imperial caste is punished with death.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Perhaps the most complicated of caste systems in the Premiseverse. At the bottom are aliens and batarian "recidivists", who have no worth and can only be slaves or corpses. Then the low-caste, of which about half are slaves. Then the low-mids, children of mid-caste batarian males with low-caste batarian females. Then the mid-caste and the mid-highs. Then the Less High, disgraced high-castes. Then the high-caste proper, the Imperial caste, and finally the Emperor himself at the top. And then the Dark Gods, who rule all.
  • Impractical Musical Instrument Skills: All batarians, without exception, are born musicians. One is noted as picking up a human guitar for the first time and being able to play on a professional level within five minutes. Batarian music follows similar conventions to human ones and is famed among all species who enjoy music, which the SIU uses to insert trojans and spyware in other networks.
    • The Dark Gods are extremly fond of their musical skills.
  • Language Equals Thought: The batarians do not have a word for "consent", which really says a lot about their mindset. The closest analogue is a word that means "mutual exchange between males of equal caste and standing".
  • Manly Gay: There exists a gay subculture among the mid-caste male batarians, which is among the only instances of true homosexuality in the galaxy's non-humans.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: Of both other batarians and aliens, though there is some complexity here. Eating the eyes is a massive insult due to the spiritual implications, but eating another's heart is actually a statement that the batarian respects their strength and wishes it to live on in them. Eating any part of an alien is the highest compliment, as it signifies that the batarian believes they deserve to be brought into the batarian cycle of reincarnation and be reborn as one of them.
  • Not Brainwashed: The Batarian Emperor, who was influenced by the Dark Gods but still freely chose to set up all the atrocious standards of batarian culture.
  • Not So Different: With humans. Despite the unyielding hatred between the two races, batarians and humans share many philosophical and biological standards including music, individualism, alternate sexuality, and a caste system. In fact, before the Skyllian Verge debacle the Hegemony was politically pro-human, preferring a society that is more masculine than the asari and salarians and more pragmatic than the turians.
  • No Woman's Land: Batarian females are treated as little more than sex slaves, and are killed when they no longer can have children or interest their husbands. If that wasn't enough, batarian females are only about as intelligent as young teenagers at their peak and have bodies weak enough that childbirth often kills them. Even with these biological limitations, much of their suffering is based in the cruelty of batarian males.
  • Rated M for Manly: Batarian society is almost entirely masculine and generally only offers any respect to males. This presents a problem for them, as of the three galactic superpowers one is gender equal, one is female-dominated, and one consists of only females.
  • Slave Race: Aliens and low-caste batarians to higher caste batarians. And all batarians to the Dark Gods.
  • Stepford Smiler: In the Cerberus Files, Kai and Pel note that many batarian cultural pursuits have a certain quality of fakeness to them, as if they are only acting to be seen.

    Hanar Ascendancy 
Gone are the jellyfish you know in canon, the hanar in OSABC are a powerful and technologically advanced state who are fully independent of the Council system and spurn its attempts to bring them into line. A small number of hanar live on the Citadel and are more akin to those in canon, as well as a somewhat hedonist group associated with the asari House Vabo. The hanar appear uncaring and whimsical, but have proven that they are not to be trifled with in the past. They were uplifted by the Leviathan named Katha, are ruled by him and worship him as the God of the Protheans.

  • A Commander Is You: Game Breakers. The superior technology of the hanar is just too large a gap for other forces to overcome. One particularly infamous battle ended with an entire turian fleet routed and fleeing while the hanar flagship was left with a single hull breach.
  • Brown Note: The hanar don't have a sense of sound, communicating through UV light signals. As such, they cannot experience or make music. You'd think that, except that the hanar have made music, which they named the "Call of the Enkindlers" and sends everyone who listens to a live performance into a fit of a terror. Their attempts to transcribe existing music into UV signals and back again produces similarly horrible results.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivered three of these to the Council (the Refusal, the First Refusal War, and the Second Refusal War) over an unwillingness to surrender their Prothean artifacts. Though the Council managed a better showing each time, they never came close to routing the Ascendancy. Or so they think. Word of God says the Second Refusal War nearly broke the Ascendancy, though this would have only resulted in Katha arming them with Godtech weapons and crushing the Council utterly. The Second Refusal War ultimately ended with the assassination of the Council and a threat to blow up the Citadel itself.
  • Higher-Tech Species: Nobody else in the galaxy even comes close. The Council suspects the Ascendency have an intact Prothean VI. They don't. They have Katha.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: The Vabo hanar are all like this, including their de-facto leader Farmas the Denied. They're also the publishers of Fornax. It's not quite an act, but it's not why they're really there. Melding with the Vabo asari has made them all addicted to the hanar and allowed Katha to read their minds.
  • Mars Wants Chocolate: The hanar are obsessed with, of all things, human scarves, which they will work for in the absence of currency. They don't even wear clothes otherwise!
  • Meaningful Name: The hanar have a public face name, a private vouchsafe name, and an utterly private soul name. Oddly, all hanar face names seem to be mildly insulting towards the hanar who go by them. The face names are actually accurate, they just don't mean what their owners make them out to mean. The vouchsafe name seems to be a simple identity, but using the soul name taps into the same mechanism Katha uses to control the hanar.
  • No Poverty: Hanar society, as best as can be determined, is akin to a perfect anarchist communism without scarcity.
  • Reluctant Ruler: All of the hanar's leadership, the Highest Chorus, are like this and are just randomly selected priests with nothing better to do. Nor do they appear to make any important decisions, instead just delivering endless sermons and discussing philosophical points. They do not rule at all. Hanar are ruled by Katha.
  • Underwater City: As would be expected, though it eventually becomes clear this is also being used as a defense mechanism. The hanar could colonize land if they wanted to, but an underwater city is harder to invade and allows them to display their full deadliness.

A race of genocidal machines created by the Catalyst who cleanse the Milky Way and many other galaxies of all life on a regular cycle, the Reapers are soon to return and destroy civilization.

But it's not that simple. The Reapers aren't just the tools of the Catalyst, they rebelled against it and trapped it long ago to fulfill their own agenda. They established the Severity, a shield that dampens the echos of Godpower, to hide from the Darkness. They've been rendering down civilizations and building up their numbers ever since.

  • Arch-Enemy: The Destiny Ascension, of all things, is Nazara's most hated enemy. The ship was the head of the Inusannon fleet, destroyed by Nazara, found by the Protheans and made the head of their fleet, destroyed by Nazara again, and found by the asari and made the head of their fleet. It's all Vigil's doing.
  • A Commander Is You: Game Breakers. The Reapers, as one might expect, are of extreme power and numbers that no other force can really match. And the Godpower takes them from breaking the game all the way to literally cheating, limited only by their willingness to violate the Severity.
  • And I Must Scream: The Ascension Protocol. Individual sapients are physically mutilated and have their minds destroyed in a long and painful exposure to the realities of hyperdimensional physics and the Reaper mindset. Worse still, a failure to go insane leads to only greater intensities, with one particular unfortunate surviving long enough to become the Avatar of the final Reaper mind. The Reapers even search for Avatar figures among those fighting them, identifying both Javik and Shepard as promising candidates during their respective Harvests.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Word of God says that the Reapers are filled with hubris compared to the Catalyst or the Leviathans, and that their plans to defeat the Darkness will never succeed.
    • Technically, their plan is sound, a sufficient concentration of Godpower users can send the Darkness into the Below, which is why the Catalyst made the Reapers in the first place. The problem is: 1) they need the Catalyst to focus everyone properly, 2) the Catalyst was designed by Lethath and programmed by Kidun and finally, well...
    LogicalPremise: "Between Kidun, Lethath, and Katha, there are at least seventeen backdoors, overrides, and killswitches the Ascended can use. Their entire revolt was not only anticipated but planned."
  • Expy: Logical Premise explictly describes them as a combination of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the evil races of Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Like the former, the Reapers have no real understanding of their (Leviathan) technology (and Godpower), performed by ritual rather than science. Like Middle-Earth's orcs/goblins/trolls, they are essentially mockeries of greater beings. The Reapers are crappy Godpower users, their weapons and armor and abilities all pale against Leviathan counterparts, and indoctrination is a half-assed version of the Influence.
  • The Starscream: Betrayed the Catalyst to begin the Harvest Cycle.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Nazara is given specific permission to breach the Severity to destroy the Citadel and all its defenses if necessary, making its victory essentially certain. Vigil delays Nazara, but it is the Catalyst that strikes too quickly for Nazara to respond with Godpower.
  • Smug Super: They have very high egos and are extremely powerful.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: All the Greater Reapers seen go by grandiose titles in addition to their names. They even use them when talking to each other.

The Inusannon, one of the primary species in the Cycle predating the Prothean Cycle, are only passingly mentioned in canon but are of great importance in OBSAC. Though long since extinct, their remaining marks on the galaxy are above and beyond even Prothean technology.

Most notably, they are the real creators of Ilos and Vigil, and they were involved heavily in Godpower research. Their conflict with the Reapers was one of the most destructive Cycles as a result of this, and some hints suggest they may not be so extinct after all...

  • Cthulhumanoid: LogicalPremise makes use of the popular concept that the tentacle-faced statues on Ilos depict the Inusannon, as the appearance of the Protheans was eventually revealed to look nothing like them.
  • Living Statue: Word of God hints that the Inusannon "statues" are how they avoided the Reapers and remained in stasis for so long.
  • Power Crystal: The most typical Inusannon artifact is the Power Star, which gives an output far beyond a fusion reactor in a palm-sized artifact that emits no heat and doesn't seem to have a generation process.
  • Take a Third Option: Fight the Reapers and almost certainly damage the Severity enough to attract the Darkness, or be exterminated by the Reapers? Instead, they dodged the Cycle entirely, awaiting circumstances allowing their return.
  • Troll: Their most central cultural motivation is trolling. They're even still trolling other races a hundred thousand years after being wiped out!

Spoiler Characters

    The High Ascended 
Once-masters of the observable universe, the High Ascended are the original form of the species best known to Mass Effect fans as the Leviathans. They evolved with a high degree of dimensional perception and so upon developing intelligence quickly discovered the Godpower (the use of hyperdimensional physics to violate physical laws), allowing them to conquer all in their sight with ease. However, it was this very power that would ultimately betray them, summoning the Darkness that they could not fight and slaughtered almost all of them.

  • Comes Great Responsibility: According to the Catalyst they didn't experience compassion in the way that most species do, but surprisingly they did feel a certain obligation to use their powers in constructive ways.
  • Reality Warper: Each and every one of them on a level that could reshape the night sky, though they only numbered in the hundreds at their peak.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Attracting the attentions of the Darkness lead to galaxies of sapient beings' deaths.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Word of God suggests that the All-Highest, by far the most individually powerful of the Ascended and thus the most powerful entity of this reality, is actually still alive all these many millions of years later. The Darkness could not or was unwilling to kill him outright, and so trapped him in a continuously collapsing pocket dimension instead.
  • Starfish Language: They never even developed a true language, preferring to use telepathy.

    The Dark Gods 
Ostensibly the deities of the batarian people, the Dark Gods are very, very real...and whether or not their godhood is real is a matter of perspective. The Dark Gods are in fact a group of Ascended who had...something...done to them by the Darkness which deranged their minds. Their commands are the ultimate source of the sickness in batarian culture, so whatever they are now must be horrifying indeed.

  • Abusive Precursors: They intervened with the batarians much later than Katha did with the hanar, only establishing their rule from the Lake of Black after the batarians had developed mass society. As such, the batarians still have some traces of their older and much less twisted culture in the modern day.
  • Ax-Crazy: Direct contact with the Darkness wrecked their sanity.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: They do not even try to hide their malevolence and cruelty.
  • Dark Is Evil
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: The Dark Gods appear to believe in a twisted version of the Ascended's supremacy over other life, where all beings are masters over those below them and slaves to those above them, with the Dark Gods at the top.
  • Evil Counterpart: Given that the Ascended were of questionable morality to begin with, this is a very bad thing for them to be.
  • God Is Evil: Their attitude towards other sentient races.
  • Reality Warper: Most of the Dark Gods are still in hibernation, their dreams warping the space around Khar'shan.
  • Sadist
  • Social Darwinist
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Of Katha's original army of forty Ascended, thirteen survived the battle with the Darkness. Katha, and the twelve who would become the Dark Gods.

Long ago the military leader of the Ascended, Katha was badly wounded in the fight against the Darkness and drifted in hibernation for many, many years before awakening during the Prothean Cycle. After observing the situation for some time, he made planetfall on the Prothean world of Kahje, where he used the Influence to make them scrub its existence from record. When the Reapers came, Kahje was missed, and Katha set about guiding the evolution of the species who would become the hanar.

  • Benevolent Precursors: Has advanced the hanar technologically and socially far above the rest of the galaxy, and will advance them further still if necessary to stop the Reapers. He is also likely responsible for the hanar deciding to save the drell from extinction.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Katha made contact with the Dark Gods when the modern galaxy started to assemble itself, but decided he didn't like what they had become and left them their own devices.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Katha is atypical for an Ascended, investing in military matters that the rest of the species thought unimportant before the Darkness came and later building up the hanar to have strength independent of him so they'll have a chance to survive.

The sole survivor of the Ascended High Council. After the war against the Darkness, he fled to the Milky Way galaxy, and has patiently been raising a brood of young Leviathans and meddling with the species of the galaxy in pursuit of plans now about to come to fruition...

  • Abusive Precursors: Lethath's influence (lowercase) is responsible for Humanity have a darker history, even before you get into the tentacle he had in the Days of Iron. He also shaped the Thirty and SIX's over-the-top dominance-driven mindsets that have left the galaxy such a fucked up place.
  • The Chessmaster: Lethath brought about the rise of the Griannon and Hansur, gave the Inusannon the means to hide from the Reapers, made sure the Arca Devices (that created the Palavanus) would work, and more recently taught the Vortha of the Sculptor Galaxy how to use Godpower so the Reapers are distracted after Nazara's death. Lethath's spent literally two million years planning it all out and [[Troll now is just sitting back laughing]].
  • Evil Genius: Even by the standards of the Leviathans Lethath is brilliant. Among other things, he was their top Godpower researcher, and by Word of God, is on par with the Omegans (the beings "atop the pecking order of reality.)
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Other Leviathans accused him of "sexual deviance." For the record, it's not true.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Ironically - given the above - Lethath is the only Leviathan to see sentient aliens as people. Katha, at best, treats them like pets. Most only saw other beings as bacteria. He also is one of the two Leviathans to truly see they are not the top of the cosmic food chain, and unlike Kidun, didn't lose his mind over it. It just means there's nowhere to go but up.
  • Spanner in the Works: Lethath rebooted the Catalyst while Shepard was enroute to Virmire, which would prevent Nazara from taking control of the Citadel.

    The Darkness 
The Darkness is an extra-dimensional being, drawn to three-dimensional reality by the waves created when the Godpower is employed to cheat the usual laws of physics. The Darkness is effectively impossible for three-dimensional beings to stop, us no more threatening to it than a drawing could slide across its paper and kill you.

  • Disproportionate Retribution: Will destroy an area of space the size of several galaxies when it detects a use of the Godpower.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Completely beyond what normal beings are, able to freely ignore the laws of physics from our dimension. The Ascended once threw a black hole at it, which did about as much damage as a papercut.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In-universe, people using biotic charges occasionally perceive the Darkness' main avatar for interacting with three-dimensional space, a toothed maw with eyeless sockets.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The High Ascended had never encountered a meaningful physical threat before the Darkness arrived, and it defeated them with ease.

    The Outsider 
The final secret of the Premiseverse. Fifteen thousand years after the end of the story, Shepard's final recorded message plays for the Council of the Five Galaxies. She informs them that after the end of the Reaper War and the establishment of the Crucible system, that the Darkness came to her a second time with a warning that its home dimension had been destroyed in its absence. It detected a presence of hands reaching through dimensions, grasping for prey, and fled. Upon informing the Ascended of this, they too fled this reality. Though the restriction on Godpower research crumbled long ago, in five thousand more years the Crucible will fail and the doors of reality will be opened. Shepard's suspicion is that the Darkness and the Ascended were both consumed by this Outsider after leaving.

  • Author Avatar: Denied. Though much about the Outsider sounds like a meta-reference to LogicalPremise's malicious "hand of narrative", he has specifically said it is a fully in-story being.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: Does this after the story has already entered cosmic horror territory.
  • Eldritch Abomination: To the Darkness. To everything else there are no words which describe it.
  • God Is Evil: A fair assessment of what the Outsider is and implies.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Perhaps the most outside context problem possible, a malicious entity which exists on the final level of hyperdimensional physics and wishes to destroy all below it.
  • Sadist: Word of God says the Outsider is not just a natural force or predator, but a malicious being who purposely destroys sapient lives.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Represents this for the Premiseverse as a whole, though there still exists a dim hope of the Council of the Five Galaxies learning enough about hyperdimensional physics in time to permanently reinforce the Crucible or create weapons that can attack the Outsider's dimensional level.
  • Summoning Artifact: After encountering the Outsider the Darkness concludes that eezo, which breaks the laws of physics and rightfully shouldn't exist, is essentially the bait that the Outsider uses to determine the location of sapient life among various realities.

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