- All things considered, it's probably for the best. Jane got to be the Hero. And I got to be the Villain. And I can live with that.
Blessed Be The Peacemakers is a Mass Effect fanfic written by The Fighting Irishman, initially published in 2015.
Overview:Jane Shepard is the hero of humanity. When she was still a soldier, she earned fame for her incredible defense of the colony of Elysium during the Skyllian Blitz, and would go on to stop the Geth Incursion led by the rogue SPECTRE Saren Arterius. With her death and resurrection by Cerberus, she looks to continue the fight that only she seems to believe in: that the galaxy is under threat of total annihilation by extra-galactic machine-creatures known as the "Reapers."
Except this isn't quite her story.
Jane Shepard was not the only child of the spacers Hannah and Daniel Shepard. She also had a brother: Jonathan Shepard. And while Jane got to be the one that was put up in the lights as the heroic "Lioness of Elysium", John was the one that was a part of the infamous human counter-attack: he would end up becoming the face of one of the most violent encounters in human history since first contact, and would earn the nickname "The Butcher of Torfan."
This has weighed heavily on him.
John would condemn himself to a lifetime of wandering the galaxy, wallowing in his misery and a bitter Shell-Shocked Veteran or so he planned. For, one day, seven years after the last time he'd lain eyes on his beloved sister, he would see a familiar face on Omega, someone whom he'd heard had been dead for two years
A well-written yet considerably Darker and Edgier look at the Mass Effect universe, dealing with issues of such as PTSD, familial relationships and abandonment, religious and existential angst, and the ways that broken people try to reconcile themselves with their past actions. And that's ''without'' getting into the specialists that Commander Shepard recruits!
Provides Examples of:
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Amazingly, there are moments when the Commander Shepard drives her older brother John up a wall. And she usually does it on purpose.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Samara has spent over 400 years as what amounts to a "consulting detective," and there are multiple times where she figures things out by employing the asari equivalent of a Sherlock Scan.
- Broken Ace: It's implied that, while not his sister, John Shepard was no slouch himself once upon a time. The years after Torfan have hit him hard.
- While not nearly to the extent of her brother, Jane is dealing with a couple of hang-ups herself. Namely, strains in her relationship with Liara, as well as a ruined friendship with Ashley Williams. And it's implied that Virmire weighs heavily on her mind.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Of all people, Zaeed comes across as this, what with his love of classic literature, refined tastes in music, and making chocolate chip cookies.
- He gets put on mess duty as punishment for nearly causing the refinery workers to burn to death in his hunt for Vido. When his suspension ends, the crew and the mess staff are sad, because he was apparently that good of a cook.
- Cigar Chomper: John likes his cigars.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: What John had planned for Morinth. After blowing out her knees with two shots to each joint, he proceeded to douse her in no less than five bottles of alcohol, taking great care to smash the bottles on her face each time. Then, as she lay there crippled, soaking, and covered in cuts and bruises, John pulled out his cigar and prepared to light Morinth on fire in revenge for the death of Nef. Samara stopped him, but still. It's not a pleasant thought.
- The Cynic: This is John in stark contrast to his sister.
- Deadpan Snarker: There are plenty of characters that engage in this (this is Mass Effect, after all), but John is currently the kingpin. Most likely as a coping mechanism.
- Deconstruction: The fic as a whole seeks to take apart the notion of Renegade Shepard as a sort of "awesome" badass counterpoint to the Paragon Shepard, or at least the common characterizations of Renegade Shepards: While John Shepard is capable of some truly awesome moments and witty lines, he is also crippled by self-loathing, regret, shame and substance abuse because of the horrible acts he committed while on Torfan. Also, his actions, especially when they border on the line of "true" renegade, draw forth reactions of fear and concern from his loved ones. His execution of Jedore while recruiting Grunt as well as his attempted revenge killing of Morinth.
- Dented Iron: John starts off the story popping pills and drinking to numb the pain of a debilitating knee injury he suffered at some point between Torfan and the present. It is repaired on the Normandy thanks to the work of Dr. Chakwas and Mordin Solus.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: John has basically spent the last near-decade of his life doing this.
- Disappeared Dad: Daniel Shepard, father of John and Jane, was killed by Batarians during the Skyllian Blitz. John has not forgotten this.
- Freak Out!: As a result of his PTSD from Torfan, John is prone to hearing voices, suffering flashbacks, and even hallucinations. They come without warning, though are usually telegraphed to the reader by the mention of a ringing in his ears right before an episode.
- Hell Is That Noise: A subtle reference to a ringing in the ears is a cue that John is about to suffer an episode.
- Hidden Depths: Zaeed of all people seems to be the one most capable of this throughout the fic. He is prone to random rants about what constitutes good literature, music, and baking chocolate cookies. During Miranda's loyalty mission, he sneeringly calls out Niket for being so easily swayed by Miranda's family fortune as a motivation to betray her, and gently tells Miranda in the aftermath to take all the time she needs in reconnecting with her sister.
- Knee Capping: This seems to be John's favored method of dealing with people.
- Mercy Kill: John executes Donovan Hock this way. The latter was reduced to a broken mess after his gunship crashed. If anything, John was doing him a favor.
- Morality Pet: During his self-imposed exile on Omega, John becomes rather attached to a family that lives on Omega: Diana and her daugher Nef. Diana even notes that Nef sees John as a sort of big brother (or crush, much to Nef's dismay.) As anyone who has played Mass Effect 2 knows, Nef is Doomed by Canon to be killed by Morinth. John is heartbroken by this. Heartbroken and ENRAGED.
- Noodle Incident: John continually alludes to a rather messy breakup between his sister and one of her girlfriends. note We never get anything more than a few cursory details, and all of them Played for Laughs.
- On a much darker note, the battle of Torfan is one massive noodle incident for John. And he's only just able to open up a little bit about it.
- Not So Above It All: Jane might be the Lioness of Elysium, but she has her little quirks. Case in point: she willingly allows Grunt to watch pro wrestling vids in the hope that he gets to bust out a move in combat. She is positively gleeful when Grunt nails a krogan with a Tombstone Piledriver during the recruitment of Thane.
- Really, despite being fully able to carry herself as a professional and collected individual, Jane Shepard is kind of a dork.
- Odd Friendship: John and Zaeed hit it off, despite the fact that Zaeed is probably far more unscrupulous than him. A more straightforward example is John's developing friendship with Samara, of all people.
- The Paragon: This is Jane Shepard, bar none. John Shepard is not.
- Parental Substitute: John seems to be slowly gravitating towards Thane as a replacement for his deceased father, though there is no explicit recognition by John that he is doing so.
- Reality Ensues: There are plenty of moments of this throughout the story.
- What does Jane do when she sees John for the first time in years? Punches him in the face, because even though she'ss overjoyed that she got to see him again, she's still hurt that he left.
- John's more "renegade" actions are met with concern by others.
- John is forced to undergo psychiatric evaluations by Miranda and Kelly Chambers to determine whether he is mentally fit to fight.
- John does not magically become willing to talk about Torfan despite meeting his sister and reconciling: some things are just too painful to relive.
- Refuge in Audacity: There are a couple of moments like this in the story. Humorously, In-Universe Commander Shepard is the source of some of this as well: When she was defending Elysium from Batarians, she was apparently doing so in her pajamas.
- Running Gag: Whenever Zaeed bitches about something that may or may not be a part of his job description, Miranda will curtly remind him that he is being paid an exorbitant amount of money to do precisely what he is told throughout the mission.
- Miranda also makes a point of referring to him as "Mr. Massani." Until after her loyalty mission, where she finally starts calling him by his first name.
- Secret Relationship: John and Miranda.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: It's clear that whatever happened on Torfan has left John Shepard a bitter, caustic, and emotional wreck.
- Shout-Out: The author is clearly a fan of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and it shows in the numerous references to the game (and Metal Gear series) littered throughout the work.
- The most blatant is the fact that John carries an iDroid. He is frequently mocked for possessing such an archaic device instead of just buying a damn omnitool.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This is basically the give and take that exists between Jane and John. The former sees the best in people, is able to come up with a miraculously smooth outcome that benefits everyone in some way, and carries herself with a degree of dignity. The latter sees the worst in people, frequently gets involved in shadier or outright darker moments than his sister, and has stopped caring what anyone thinks about him.
- Straw Nihilist: John comes off as this, or at least tries to present this as his facade. As the story goes on, his general experiences with the team (as well as conversations with Thane) tease out a more optimistic view of things. Things such as the death of Nef hit him really hard, though.
- Transparent Closet: Much to Commander Shepard's embarrassment, Samara figures out relatively easily that she is in a relationship with Liara.
- Unscrupulous Hero: John.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: This is the crux of Samara's relationship with John. It's what ultimately drives him to not execute Morinth in such a horrific way, and instead let Samara both accomplish her mission as well as provide the dignity of a quick death to the already-dying Morinth.