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"Shepard, that big pile of metal was a ship. A ship from outside this galaxy. From what we know, this ship could take on the entire Citadel fleet by itself were it in prime fighting condition."
— Councilor Anderson’s commentary on a wrecked Star Destroyer

Fractured is a Mass Effect/Star Wars crossover by SovereignGFC originating from before Mass Effect 3 even existed. Note that Star Wars is shifted into its own future — the Star Wars Legends continuity takes place far in this fic’s past (it was also written pre-Disney buyout).

By sheer canonical numbers alone, a Reaper’s main gun (kiloton) should be no match for a Star Destroyer’s (gigaton) with its correspondingly-stronger defenses — but what happens when the humans-versus-everyone else politics wracking Samantha Shepard’s galaxy come into play?

The universe is a big place, and hyperdrives aren’t the only method of Faster-Than-Light Travel...

WARNING: The list below contains massive unmarked spoilers about further crossovers that would otherwise result in half the page being tagged.

Tropes in Fractured

  • A God I Am Not: Invoked by Grayson. He is not held to be an actual god, but technologically, in comparison to the Citadel races, the Republic’s pretty darn close. He happens to be the personification of the Republic, hence the hero-worship.
  • Action Girl: Bordering on Joss Whedon territory, as many, many badass characters are women.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Shepard’s discovery of Liara’s coma and Feron’s death.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: EDI averts this. Despite major tampering and being installed in a new ship, she’s just as deadpan, loyal and chipper as ever.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Averted by the Republic. They explicitly do not have one, and will interfere so long as the civilization being meddled with agrees.
  • Alliterative Name: Cerberus/JVLN (Jakobs/Vladof/Hyperion) spend extreme amounts of time negotiating a name for their new alliance because the name must satisfy this trope. They settle on “Sapiens Shield.”
  • All Just a Dream: Played with. It is never said directly whether what Shepard experienced before her awakening was a dream, though if what Brick found was any indication, something physical/real happened outside any dream-world.
  • Amazon Brigade: At least one ship in the Republic Navy, though it’s indicated that there may be more since the Republic has a lot of Badass Action Girls in its military.
  • Ambadassador: Shepard acts as one.
  • Anti-Hero: Sam Shepard evolves into this (Type IV) after repeated Sapiens terror attacks and a few things that hit too close to home.
  • Anyone Can Die: Liara, Tina, Hammerlock, Scooter, Feron, Earl, Friedman, Ellie, Lilith, EDI.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: It’s science fiction, what do you expect???
    • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: From the Republic to everyone else. Causes problems, because GREED and selfishness on a species vs. species scale! When the three-way mix up starts, everyone Imports something, resulting in some seriously cool ships.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Referenced in discussion of an in-universe StarCraft clone whose AI is prone to this, though the Reapers themselves are not.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Being “jolted” wouldn’t wake you from a blackout caused by G-forces. The G-forces might also qualify as “supposed to be dead,” but Lilith’s a Siren… Corrected to “chemical stimulants” (which is more believable) in a not-yet-completed or released (1/8/2014) “remastered” edition.
  • Ass in Ambassador: Sparatus, until he pulls a Heel Face Turn due to overwhelming (Sufficiently Advanced Alien tech) evidence that his viewpoint is incorrect.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Lancers and Technicals.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Mentioned by name during discussion of the Revenant’s high-speed central tram system. The Revenant super-dreadnaughts themselves are also this. Especially when we find out they get Hummer-like “gas mileage” and have to be resupplied very frequently despite their great size (while in canon Star Wars, large dreadnaughts may be in continuous operation for almost a decade).
  • Badass Crew: The Vault Hunter Convoy and Shepard’s “badass circus.”
  • Badass in Distress: Quoted verbatim by Lilith as she scoops up Maya to rescue, of all people, Shepard.
  • Badass Normal: Most Republic personnel, including named characters, are just your average basic (militarily-trained) human without any kind of cybernetic implants (Shepard), special powers (Sirens), or unusual talents (Tali, Gaige).
  • Beam Spam: Republic ships, in spades. It’s what they’re meant to do.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted during Moxxi’s stay in the Fridge.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The first battle vs. the Reapers in the Mass Effect galaxy takes place across many star systems.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Discussed between Shepard and Legion as she attempts to understand why the Republic has intervened despite the increasingly negative outcomes. Averted in while Shepard may think the Republic operates on a strange set of morals, Grayson’s very human approach to things is not made clear to her at this time, causing confusion.
  • Body Horror: Reaperified Pandora wildlife. Also Lilith after too many Jump Paks.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Lilith channels Maya’s game lines while operating a giant turret.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Inverted several times with lists containing nasty things…ending in a rather innocuous item (example: killing, killing…eating).
  • Brick Joke: Gaige’s sandwich. Also, Brick calling “dibs” on hunting Vaults (only applies if one has played Borderlands 2). Lilith’s bad breath, as detected by the Jump Line.
  • Bridge Bunny: Averted; the Republic ship noted to have mostly women on its bridge is quite functional as the women perform combat, analysis, and command duties. No computers are repeated.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Of varying varieties! But not Casual Intergalactic Travel for all (this is a plot point).
  • Catch-Phrase: Many characters employ their canon phrase(s).
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Everywhere.
  • Cherry Tapping: Anyone vs. Republic. Reaper weapons do nothing more than “scorch the hull” of even smaller Republic battleships. Leads to Curb Stomp Battles.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Brick. He likes making innuendoes, but harm his female friends and he will rip your face off.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Subverted. Maya thinks Lilith is going to break her mind. Instead, she invites Maya over for dinner, confesses wanting to switch sides, and begs for help.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Lilith displays shades of this combined with a Power High while operating a giant turbolaser. It gets worse later.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: To celebrate the new pro-human alliance, Sapiens Shield forces its batarian slaves to repaint the hulls of Cerberus starships in order to cover up extremely minor dings. Then the slaves were used as target practice. Sapiens crews bet on who could hit them. The Vault Hunters in combat, by default. Jack/Brick plus their students can venture here.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Sam Shepard is mighty pissed to see her ship show up without her knowledge, until she realizes it’s just the Sirens.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Discussed by Liara when a ship shows up out of nowhere during her and Feron’s orbital escape. Unfortunately for them, it is subverted as the arriving vessel is not the expected rescue.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Star Destroyers vs. Reapers!
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hyperion’s board.
  • Covert Pervert: Kasumi’s cloaking abilities imply that she can be one if she wants to be. Or just spy on a depressed Commander Shepard…
  • Crazy-Prepared: At Shepard’s suggestion, Liara and Feron have a method to escape into orbit they really don’t anticipate using.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Republic vs. Reapers. It doesn’t end the way people hoped, since the people who would have united facing the Reapers just get to sip drinks instead—leaving old grievances intact. The JVLN fleet destroys the batarian navy relatively easily as well. Even Revenant ends up on the other end of this after running low on energy reserves, then getting surprised by a massive Sapiens assault fleet with spoofed IF Fs (read: Revenant cannot fire at her enemies).
  • Dawn of an Era: Shepard’s mini-rant concludes by saying that’s what the Republic’s arrival and the subsequent request from on high to help another galaxy could be for her galaxy—if everybody works together.
  • De-Power: Revenant gets whacked with this several times later on, after being the Big Damn Hero/Calvary initially. First, she runs low on fuel from extended fighting, forcing all manner of energy-saving measures (which decrease her combat effectiveness). Then, IFF codes are spoofed by Sapiens/JVLN/Cerberus so her weapons won’t fire on top of having no shields, engines, or really, defense of any kind other than armor (see: low on fuel). Her armor is suddenly destroyed by Beam Spam from many batarian Lightning Guns courtesy of Cerberus.
  • Deadly Euphemism: The JVLN fleet “repossesses” Khar’shan and “evicts” its current residents.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both serious and humorous types abound.
  • Death from Above: Hyperion tries this on the Vault Hunter Convoy. It doesn’t work. Republic battleships use this tactic on Reapers harvesting civilians as well.
  • Death Is Cheap: Averted. Guess what one of the first things the invading Reapers destroy is? Yep. No more respawns on Pandora! This kills many characters (Tina, for instance).
  • Deus Exit Machina: Revenant gets whacked with this, but it’s Justified as the villains make special plans to take advantage of every circumstance weakening the ship in order to defeat it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: And how! The United Defense Command pulls a Class 4 Apocalypse on seven worlds occupied by Sapiens Shield, including civilians.
  • Do-Anything Robot: EDI, though it is mostly due to her being integrated into an extremely powerful ship and given plenty of knowledge created by others. Her own capabilities are important, however.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The crew of RNS Force of Justice take immense damage, become incapable of fighting normally, and almost give in to despair. Their captain will have none of it—the ship goes out in a blaze of glory, destroying all Reaper forces in the area as their ship’s reactor is deliberately set to explode (combined with ramming).
  • Dual Wielding: Salvador, as per his class (matches the game), Lilith (because Rule of Cool, doesn’t match the game).
  • Easy Logistics: The Republic refugees on the Citadel. 50,000 extra people aren’t a problem beyond a passing reference, somehow. The Republic fleet in general plays this trope straight until energy reserves begin to dwindle during the massive battle vs. the Reapers.
  • Epic Fail: Space tugs attempt to assist the Republic in moving some of its ships to mothballs. Since Mass Effect assumes ship mass is reduced by the mass effect (Star Destroyers don’t have it), these tugs don’t do much. Fuel savings are less than 1%.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Lilith, ahem, appreciates her first in-person glimpses of (clothed) Samantha Shepard. It doesn’t go anywhere, but as has always been said: Everyone is Shepardsexual. No exceptions! Feeds into Take Our Word For It regarding Shepard’s appearance.
  • Evil Makes You…
    • …Ugly: Shepard’s good looks fade relative to her original appearance, and her hair gets cropped short (hat tip STVOY “Living Witness”). Lilith gets whacked even harder due to her addiction to Jump Paks and is considered ugly in-universe.
    • …Monstrous: Lilith. Gets near-orgasmic experiences from intense combat, dependent on Jump Paks, exists to destroy things. May also describe her appearance.
    • …Change Clothes: The new uniforms of the United Defense Command look rather…different.
    • …Scar: Much more discussion of scars/imperfections.
  • Exposition: Implied in Chapter 24; not written out because the reader doesn’t need to hear characters talking about things they (the reader) have been told already. It is (not so) cleverly disguised in other places as well (usually as a character learning things via reading or “reports” issued by various government agencies).
  • Facepalm: Several characters.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Both Lilith and Shepard transform from their mostly-good selves into petty, catty, vicious individuals. Justified because Lilith gets Drunk on Power while Shepard experiences one-too-many Heroic BSOD-causing events.
  • Failed a Spot Check: After a devastating invasion by robots from outer space, the Citadel Council doesn’t notice an invasion fleet has wiped out the batarian homeworld and set up shop. Justified, because everyone hates the batarians and think nothing of what appears to be normal batarian behavior (sulking in the corner, not communicating with anyone).
  • Fantastic Racism: Hello Cerberus! Councilor Sparatus also displays this toward Shepard and humans. Republic analysts talking about the demerits of the Mass Effect races show it—even against their fellow humans (who happen to be from another galaxy).
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Shepard vows to have someone fed to skags…for leaving gum in the drinking fountain.
  • Fetch Quest: Lampshaded by Shepard (Mass Effect’s UNC assignments were notorious for this), before being sent off on what might be another one during a lull in the Reaper battle.
  • Flash Step: Lilith still has her signature Phasewalk ability.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Let’s see, there’s the “Star Wars” galaxy with a plot that merges into the Mass Effect plotline. There’s the story of the Vault Hunters on Pandora (comes in later). Hyperion’s preparations for a launch to what is known as “G-6” (Mass Effect). Plot arrangements include, but are not limited to:
    • Shepard returns from the Omega-4 Relay vs. SW ships arrive at the Citadel
    • SW/ME negotiations vs. Shepard’s life
    • SW/ME negotiations vs. Anderson leaking info to Shepard
    • SW/ME negotiations vs. Cerberus plotting
    • SW/ME negotiations vs. Shepard’s discussion of starships schematics vs. the Illusive Man’s machinations
  • Friendly Fireproof: Tina’s mega rocket blows up everything…except the Vault Hunters. Who were pretty darn close to it when it exploded.
  • From Bad to Worse: The Borderlands galaxy (“G-3”) is an utter Crapsack Galaxy. Then the Reapers show up. Have fun!
  • Fun with Acronyms: In several places, mostly related to the Republic. JVLN (Jakobs VLadof hyperioN)—pronounced “javelin” also counts. If there’s a way to make an acronym joke, you can bet it was done, no matter how lame!
  • Gatling Good: Averted with regard to inappropriate sound—Tina’s Gatling Scorpio fires fast (875RPM) and makes a “weird humming noise” (says Lilith). Played straight in that it exists.
  • Giver of Lame Names: The krogan CDEM observer is less-than-impressed with the name of the Republic command ship defending Tuchanka (RNS Promenade Sunrise).
  • Glass Cannon: Jakobs vessels are strongly implied to operate on this trope, and are then called such verbatim in Chapter 33.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Lilith.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Discussed between Legion and Shepard as a reason for the Republic’s continual involvement despite worsening conditions resulting from said involvement.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Mamaril’s plan to use the interstellar radio. It brings a combined fleet from the Citadel and what’s left of the Republic’s task force.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Republic stops the Reapers and saves the day. Except things don’t just get better because the Big Scary Aliens are gone… Zig-zagged, though, because after a time the Republic’s goal of uniting the forces of the Mass Effect galaxy succeeds—but not due to anything the Republic has done.
  • Gunship Rescue: Republic charges count, as does the arrival of a trio of Infinity dreadnaughts at the Citadel during Sapiens attack.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-universe, the jokes in Chapter 20 about drug dealers and peer pressure are much less amusing once Chapter 34 rolls around (Lilith is now an addicted wreck—but not to Eridium).
  • Heartbroken Badass: Shepard, after Feron’s death and Liara’s incapacitation. Combined with other events, this causes a Heroic BSOD.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Hey Shepard, being a bitch can have consequences! (Lilith secretly aids Maya’s party after being insulted by Shepard, having a heart-to-heart with EDI, and vowing to turn her life around.)
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Liara dies, Miranda’s sister is Mercy Killed after being subjected to horrific experiments, terrorist attacks hit everywhere, and seeing the results of Lawson’s experiments sends Shepard down a very bad path.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lilith’s last act.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Vault Hunters find themselves unable to leave Pandora by spaceship because their rocket launcher defeated their enemies, but also destroyed their ride.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Deliberately done such that common phrases fit in the Verse the character using the phrase is from (kill two skags with one runner, out of the reactor core—into the supernova, doesn’t take a hyperdrive core engineer, squashed pyjack, for example).
  • Hollywood Tactics: Averted by the Reapers. When they realize the Zerg Rush against Revenant is failing, they split, forcing the Republic to pick and choose what to protect. Also averted by Sapiens Shield: they Flaunt Their Fleets but don’t just rush in willy-nilly, instead opting to exploit every possible weakness, then attack.
  • Human Mass Driver Slug: How Lilith gets from Infinity to Revenant.
  • Insane Admiral: Maximilian Xytler is not the most stable (or professional) flag officer.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Subverted. The Broker base-ship has a stealth system…that no one finished setting up.
  • Irony: Discussed by EDI in reference to a comment by Garrus.
  • It Only Works Once: Hyperion’s super-fast galaxy-hopping drive and Tiny Tina’s Siren-powered super rocket launcher.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lilith seemingly mocks Shepard’s inability to run around Revenant plugging a data module into some computers. However, as she points out, she never suggested Shepard be the one to do it. Cue Phasewalk spam.
  • Kick the Dog: Shepard mocks Lilith’s changed appearance. Leads to a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Adrien Victus suffers this due to his unorthodox tactics (despite having a stellar record…) Referenced verbatim.
  • Killed Off for Real: Feron, Hammerlock, Scooter, Crazy Earl, Marshal Friedman, Tiny Tina, Liara.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Both in a literal sense as an employee of Cerberus and the trope definition; Kai Leng kills Liara in cold blood, kidnaps Oriana, and architects a strategy to destroy Revenant.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Rampant.
  • Last Stand: Citadel races engage in this vs. the Reapers until the Republic cavalry arrives.
  • Lemony Narrator: Has elements of this. Especially in the first chapter that basically recaps the first two Mass Effect games.
  • Living Battery: The reason the batarian super weapon works. Limits use of this form of Phlebotinum.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Big surprise, coming from two universes that by TV Tropes reckoning already have this. However, none of the canon Star Wars Loads of Characters actually show up…
  • Loophole Abuse: EDI’s reason for helping Maya instead of obeying the now-unscrupulous-hero Shepard.
  • Lost in Transmission: The Vault Hunters call for help, but the signal weakens, attenuates, etc. despite being highly advanced quantum entanglement tech. Probably Rule of Drama, as Shepard knows full well what is missing.
  • Mauve Shirt: Any character who has a canon background from the games/movies/books (hence Red Shirt, With Characterization) who is later killed off after contributing little to this story other than dying (such as Hammerlock). Characters like Tina don’t count since they’ve actually done something notable aside from dying on top of having characterization from canon—see Sacrificial Lion.
  • Meaningful Name: The Republic serves as the Big Damn Heroes; their ships generally have heroic or at least non-nasty-sounding names.
  • Mercy Kill: Oriana is freed from her hellish new life by Miranda after she was kidnapped and returned to her father, after which Oriana became the subject of unspecified yet vile experiments.
  • Memes: Some chapter titles and some lines. Shepard’s “Here, there, everywhere” in-universe meme references real internet memes (image macros).
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe, Shepard’s highly-cathartic appearance before the Council reaches this level within hours of video covering it being released.
  • Mighty Glacier: Revenant dreadnaughts.
  • Mildly Military: On purpose! The Trans-Galactic Republic, despite having a whole lot of firepower, deliberately mixes civilian life with military life on its largest vessels (because when the ship is the size of a large city, city-like appointments are nice).
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Lilith after one too many insults from Shepard.
  • Money Spider: Averted with Psychos, who may drop ammo in-game despite carrying no weapons. They are specifically noted as to not carry guns by Mordecai.
  • Mood Whiplash: Starts out as a fairly serious fic, then gets dark as characters die, the Mass Effect galaxy is invaded, and discord makes it an unpleasant place. Characters from Borderlands die (including Tina). Suddenly, bursts of comedic socipathy and schadenfreude played for laughs appear in the mid-twenties chapters. Also, Shepard gets a Stupid Statement Dance Mix while Jack and Brick train little comedic sociopaths of their own. A literary headrest might be necessary—things get very dark in Chapter 31. The galaxy militarizes, not too different than Palpatine’s New Order, Shepard “grabs a gun” by leading Apocalypse How Level 4s against worlds populated by both enemies and innocents, the quarians link hands with the geth…to destroy all opposition, and the United Defense Command takes on an extremely fascist tone. In Chapter 34, Lilith sets off on a course for redemption, ultimately earning it through a Heroic Sacrifice in Chapter 35.
  • More Dakka: Hyperion (Super) Constructors, Sabre Turrets, Gaige’s Gatling, Maya’s quad Scorpio, Lilith’s double SMGs…
  • Ms. Fanservice: EDI’s new form as a cross of Maya and Shepard. Doubles as Take Our Word for It (though Maya does have a canon appearance which is not altered here).
  • My Defense Need Not Protect Me Forever: Defenders of worlds awaiting Republic reinforcements.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Played with as the person in question stared not at Sam’s chest, but her lame shoulder.
  • Neck Lift: Done by an assault trooper boarding a batarian craft and Sam Shepard to a Cerberus spy sent to capture a Republic ship en route to mothballing. Sam Shepard does it to the evil version of herself in Chapter 35.
  • invokedNever Live It Down: Played for Laughs and listed verbatim after Anna Erickson got “puppy eyed” from behind a quarian mask. The reason? Tali wanted to poke around a Star Destroyer headed for mothballs, and Joker wanted to fly it. They both get their wishes.
  • Never Trust a Title: Can be played straight and inverted (often in the same chapter since one plot has everything to do with the title, another has nothing to do with the title—or is even the opposite of the title). Chapter 17 is called “Recovery”; the Vault Hunter convoy bounces back from their problem, Liara not so much.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Zig-zagged all over the place. The Republic may save the galaxy from the Reapers, but in the process they prevent/undo all that the Magnetic Hero Shepard would have otherwise accomplished in canon (read: possibly uniting everyone), leaving the galaxy fractured into divided camps. However, the galaxy later unifies around stopping the Reapers using mashed-together technology, only to permit said technology (and the distorted sense of mission) to twist minds leading to a fascist dystopia. Lilith’s Heroic Sacrifice at the end sets things right, however.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Republic concern over alien disease. Justified for Republic humans and Mass Effect humans, since they’re genetically identical and thus could be susceptible to similar ills.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted when Force of Justice self-destructs over an asari colony. Tens of thousands die or are sickened.
  • No Indoor Voice: Salvador, lampshaded by Shepard at the first Vault Hunter/Shepard & Badasses meeting.
  • Noodle Incident: Joker irks Maya, who levitates him in response. We never find out exactly what he said.
  • O.C. Stand-in: Rakkman (a minor quest boss from Borderlands 2) receives this treatment. He has become an expert in the Siren-worshipping religion of the Psychos. So does Michael Mamaril, a character originally included as a tribute to a fan of Borderlands who passed away.
  • Offstage Villainy: Henry Lawson’s “experiments” on Oriana and others at New Haven are never described in detail. The only information the reader receives is that it makes Project Overlord (itself a huge step over the Moral Event Horizon) look tame.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Local Cluster Council and Federated Cluster Union are presented this way when appearing directly to characters.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Eridian Vaults. Only when the galaxy is threatened and they are opened by someone intending to save the universe can the Vaults’ true power be unleashed. Otherwise, you just get nothing (good/neutral karma) or monsters (bad karma).
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Moxxi gets depressed and angry…because Pandora’s gotten about 9001 times crappier than it was. Because, you know, the planet’s covered in Reapers and two of her children are dead.
  • Organic Technology: The batarian “lightning gun.” Cerberus successfully copies it after failing to duplicate Republic energy weapons.
  • Partial Plot Reference: Bigger than a Shout Out, but not a reference to the entire other work (to the opening scene of Star Wars: A New Hope—from the stormtrooper boarding all the way through Darth Vader’s “Bring me the crew”). The convoy getting the crap beaten out of them may be interpreted as a reference to Black Hawk Down.
  • People From Other Galaxies Speaking English: This sometimes happens. Also a consequence of Translation Microbes.
  • Pet the Dog: The neo-fascist, militarized United Defense Command gets a very minor one when they maintain the “sacred graveyard” procedure for planets exposed to a Base Delta Zero (Apocalypse class 4), despite using said procedure on civilians.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Averted and played straight. Some things work (communication, translation), some things don’t (copying weapons, computer hacking).
  • Poor Communication Kills: Well, refusal to communicate, anyway. Rather than band together, the Citadel races pull their forces back to defend their own patches of space. They get owned until the Republic shows up. Refusal to communicate dooms the batarians, as no one notices their homeworld getting taken over.
  • Power High: Unsurprisingly, Lilith. Combined with shades of Combat Sadomasochist. She really loves her turret. Maybe even more than Axton!
  • Ramming Always Works: RNS Force of Justice, again. Its last defiant act is to overload its reactor while simultaneously crashing through Reapers. Shout Out to a cutscene in X-Wing.
  • Reality Ensues: Several times in-universe regarding Republic technology. Salarians can’t break into it and Cerberus can’t duplicate it because it’s too advanced. Reaper firepower is also insufficient to challenge it under most circumstances.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Lampshaded by Shepard when the Revenant takes massive damage, yet no Explosive Instrumentation occurs.
  • Red Shirt: The drivers from the Vault Hunter Convoy and most of the navies of the Citadel races (at least until they Take a Level in Badass).
  • Reference Overdosed: To the point where someone unfamiliar with the three universes might not be interested in the story.
  • Retcon: The entire postscript and some aspects of the Trans-Galactic Republic are retconned to permit a sequel to occur. For example, "Republic Navy" is really "Spacelane Protection" (It Makes Sense in Context—blame the politicians...).
  • Right Behind Me: Shepard, to Tali after the latter plays “Reaper Problem” on her omni-tool.
  • Rousing Speech: The captain of RNS Force of Justice pulls one to get one last punch out of his crew before his ship is destroyed by overwhelming Reaper force.
  • Rule of Cool: Half the reason why this was written.
  • Rule of Funny: Some sections (especially Ch 27) live on this trope.
  • Rule of Three: Three Infinity warships charge to the rescue of the namesake and what’s left of Revenant.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Tina.
  • Sanity Slippage: Justified for both Shepard and Lilith. The former experiences severe depression/Heroic BSOD and instead of recovering, gets worse over the course of the story. The latter takes her love of combat too far and starts abusing combat drugs (JumpPaks).
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Interestingly, there are galaxies less than a million light years away from ours in Real Life. However, the trope is still in play since most large galaxies are farther away than the 250,000 l/y used here.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Republic ships can overload their reactors.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Cowering like cowards (thanks, Claptrap).
  • Ship Tease: Lilith/Shepard (specifically noted as not going anywhere); Shepard/Grayson (again, no-go). Jack/Brick (neither confirmed nor denied).
  • Shout-Out: Stuffed.
  • Show Within a Show: “Persephone’s Predators.”
  • Shown Their Work: The Morse Code Brick uses does in fact spell something (“fail” which isn’t what the message says…) Many pieces of Phlebotinum are presented in a way that jives with canon when numbers are offered from (quasi)official sources.
  • Sigil Spam: Dahl is really fond of plastering their logo everywhere in the failed settlements the Vault Hunters travel through.
  • Space Is Noisy: Specifically noted by Shepard during the Second Battle of the Citadel, as applied to the vast number of Reaper weapon impacts against Revenant generating huge amounts of feedback through the ship’s audio-indicator system. Also Justified for Lilith’s turret—it’s just the feedback system built into the weapon, not actual sound in space. Explicitly noted as such in-universe. Amusing in a meta sense since it’s probably one of a few things done according to real physics in an otherwise-scifi, Rule of Cool world.
  • Spirit Advisor: Angel appears in a dream to Maya, and the content is shared with Lilith.
  • Spoiler Title: Several chapters.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Gender Inverted. Done to Axton by Brick.
  • Standard Human Spaceship: Everyone has them. Even the non-humans.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Everyone has them.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Mostly played straight, but mildly averted after Tiny Tina’s super-powered Weapon of Mass Destruction goes off (an explosion like that should have done major damage instead of just ear ringing and a headache).
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Shepard’s appearance before the Council gets turned into this in-universe (“Reaper Problem”).
  • Super Doc: Averted with Feron’s death in Chapter 16. The Republic docs don’t know how to treat a drell, and aren’t aware of their special requirements (dry environment). Averted (unusually for her) with Dr. Chackwas in Chapter 18—no one is able to shake Liara out of her coma.
  • Take Our Word for It: Shepard’s appearance is vaguely hinted at but never really described in any great detail. For heaven’s sake, we don’t even know what color her hair is! However, as everybody in the six galaxies can tell you, she’s hot. Even The Girls Want Her (Lilith), and a combination of Shepard and Maya (as EDI’s new holographic form) gets quite a bit of attention.
  • Take That!: The Mass Effect fandom has generally disliked the character of Diana Allers for various reasons. She repeatedly gets beaten out on important scoops by fan favorite Emily Wong. The Mako’s ability to drive up cliff faces (in defiance of physics—due to the game’s “physics” engine) is also poked at. The notion of “bad guys always build impractical superweapons” comes up for some abuse in Chapter 25—which doubles as a Shout Out to the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel that did the same. Also, politically-self-reinforcing internet chat rooms, basement dwellers, and “supremacists” of any stripe.
  • Taking You with Me: Implication of the Republic’s self-destruct systems.
  • Talking to Themself: Shepard gets this after her Heroic BSOD.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Shepard and Cerberus early on, as in canon.
  • Tempting Fate: Defied multiple times by the inhabitants of Sanctuary. Defiance discussed and lampshaded by Zed and Hammerlock. Despite blowing up Hyperion’s moonbase and stealing an advanced starship, the town of Sanctuary suffers no ill consequences even though Hyperion knows full well where the Vault Hunters came from (and thus who they could kill to “get back” at the Vault Hunters). The Genre Savvy characters there know something should happen…except it doesn’t.
  • The Battlestar: The Republic’s large ships are all this.
  • The Cavalry: When Gondor Calls for Aid, the response will inevitably be this. The role falls to the Citadel fleets and what’s left of the Republic’s task force.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Shepard’s previous issues (failed missions) had this. She was managing it, until the Liara/Feron situation.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Psychos obsess over the Vault and are considered nutty in both Borderlands games. When the (yet-unnamed-to-them) Reapers show up, they chant about Sirens opening Vaults. Which is the Eridian solution to the Reaper problem…
  • The Dreaded: Reapers (and canonically so). Until the Republic arrives, anyway.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Handsome Jack’s obsession with the Vaults stemmed from his desire to save the galaxy (by making him dictator of everything). Of course, his evil intent caused the wrong sort of thing to activate when Vaults opened…
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Shepard’s mini-rant contains elements of such a speech, taking one or two sentence shots at the asari, salarians, turians, volus, quarians/geth, and humans.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Most of Mass Effect 2 is treated this way for brevity’s sake. May be less so in the as-yet incomplete “remastering.”
  • The Stoic: Michael Mamaril, when the Reapers invade Pandora.
  • Title Drop: Repeated, but downplayed. It’s mentioned in passing, but not necessarily through characters speaking, and certainly not in an epic fashion.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Sirens.
  • Translation Convention: References are made to non-English languages (asari, batarian, salarian), but this is never rendered for the reader.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Mamaril and Moxxi turn the citizens of Sanctuary into a ragtag army to fight the Reapers by calling for help. Most of them get slaughtered.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Shepard moves into this territory after the death of Oriana and discovery of Sapiens experiments on New Haven.
  • invokedValues Dissonance: Republic ships are heavily armed ass-kicking machines. The Republic’s stated goal is exploration and economic growth. Lampshaded via “I don’t get it either, I just run the ship.”
  • Verbed Title:
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: Discussed by Axton when Maya Phaselocks an innocent repair bot.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Maya thinks of herself as one, in other words, strategy schmategy.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: The fate of the “space raisin” found with Shepard.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?/Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Unfortunate occurrence of trying to balance “screen time” for so many characters, both major (that is, well known in canon) and minor.
  • Wiki Walk: Maya repeatedly finds herself spending hours in the Hyperion Information Stockade due to this happening over and over.
  • Worf Effect: The Reapers when attacked by the Republic. Set up as The Dreaded in Mass Effect canon, the Republic massacres them. The batarians, known for their ferocity, are similarly beaten down by JVLN. JVLN itself receives this treatment vs. Infinity-class warships, at least in the first encounter vs. Mobius.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The Republic’s battleship Revenant gets this—after spending nearly the entire story destroying anything by sneezing, she ends up being pummeled badly. However, there are plenty of foreshadowed reasons why she’s not in fighting shape…
  • World of Badass: Most of the main characters are badass in one way or another.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Maya. As is her default skin in Borderlands 2.
  • You Just Had to Say It: Grayson comments on the strength of Revenant’s armor preventing damage to important ship systems. Immediately following, attacks breach it and hit vital parts of the battleship.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Shepard to herself when briefly imagining a relationship with Adam Grayson, who is twenty-eight years her senior.
  • Zerg Rush: Hyperion’s attempt to stop the Vault Hunters from reaching the starport. Also applies to the initial Reaper attack against the Citadel, though instead of maintaining Hollywood Tactics, the Reapers adapt.

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