Commander Victoria Shepard is in a tight spot. Recently resurrected, she is facing both a renewed assault by the Reapers upon the galaxy, and suspicions that she may have gone rogue and joined with the terrorist organization Cerberus. As she and her crew traverse the galaxy, she searches for some way to defeat the Reapers, clear her name, and repair her relationship with ex-girlfriend Liara T'Soni.
While hunting xenos as part of an Inquisition retinue, Captain August Gallardi is forced to ally himself with Eldar Farseer Maeteris against the Crossroads Keeper, a powerful Chaos Daemon with the knowledge of other universes beyond the Warp. Although victorious, the manipulations of the daemon see the two hurled through time and space and spat out on some unknown planet in an unfamiliar part of the galaxy.
Fortunately for them, Shepard just happened to be passing by...
The Mission Stays the Same is a Mass Effect/Warhammer 40,000 crossover written by Broken Trident. It can be found here. The original author has stated he feels he has burned out as a writer, and passed writing duties off to a new writer, Regina Dea, beginning with Chapter 21.
This fanfic provides examples of:
- Absolute Xenophobe: One of the biggest sources of conflict is Gallardi's training and conditioning clashing with the Citadel's open policy towards aliens of all kinds. He begins to grow out of it around Chapter 18, but he has a crisis of faith following the team's departure from Illium. Justified in-story, as Gallardi points out just how horrific the aliens of the 41st Millennium are, and how the aliens of Mass Effect are much more friendly as less likely to eat you.
- Armor Is Useless: Used and averted when it comes to the barriers, unless it comes up against the lasgun or power sword. Played straight with Gallardi's armor which, despite being made of armaplas or ceramite, gets shredded by a ME shotgun blast.
- Artificial Limbs: Gallardi has three. He lost them during a mission on Cadia, when he was overwhelmed and tortured by daemonettes.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Gallardi's plasma pistol can vaporize most heavy resistance the team encounters. Unfortunately, he only has three shots left (and there's the whole explode-upon-overheating thing, but that hasn't been an issue as of late). This is averted later on. Thanks to placing some trust in Mordin, Gallardi gets the rounds analyzed, so the Normandy can produce more ammo.
- Breather Episode: Part 2 of "Illium Adventures" is much more lighthearted than the previous few chapters. Kelly, Kasumi and Maeteris spend a day shopping and traveling around Illium, although Maeteris does encounter Tela Vasir and warn her about the Reapers.
- Chick Magnet: Gallardi, a fit and handsome military man, attracts a lot of female attention, especially with the power sword. Mind you, a number of these women are asari, which disgusts him to no end. As Shepard says:"Well, let me tell something about women — even in our advanced age, a lot of them love dashing swordsmen."
- Cultured Badass: Maeteris turns out to be a very good musician.
- Defiant to the End: A species-wide example for the ME-verse Eldar when the Reapers came for them during their Cycle.
- Demonic Possession: It's revealed that a daemon of some sort has been possessing Morinth for quite some time now.
- Driven to Suicide: Gallardi ultimately can't reconcile his faith with saving xenos and attempts to turn a pistol on himself. Shepard wrestles him to the ground and Maeteris fakes a vision of the God Emperor to get Gallardi back on track.
- Drop the Hammer: Grunt picks up a sledgehammer during the battle for Horizon.
- Energy Weapon: Gallardi's lasgun fires directed energy beams, something that while standard fare in the Imperium is unheard of in the Mass Effect setting — weapons there are all strictly kinetic in nature. This is particularly significant in light of the resulting prevalence of personal kinetic barriers in combat, which block most physical projectiles but don't do a thing for lasers. Gallardi's standard-issue lasgun tears through the galaxy's best personal defense technology like it simply isn't there, and it's expected that once the technology is reverse-engineered and mass-produced it will revolutionize warfare. Since it can also be scaled more or less indefinitely, this will also lead to laser cannons fit for large ships, which is also very significant in light of the fact that the Reapers possess kinetic barriers that the best cannons in the galaxy can't scratch but which, again, would do nothing against lasers.
- Even the Girls Want Her:
- Quite a few asari start following or hitting on Maeteris during her trip to Illium. As an Eldar, not only does she reject their advances, she finds it annoying and degrading.
- Also happens to Shepard when infiltrating Hock's mansion; because of Maeteris' skill with makeup, every single person there can't help but stare at Shepard, and she notices several asari present that are ready to jump her at any given moment.
- Fish out of Water: Both 40K characters: Gallardi has trouble dealing with a humanity that is open to aliens, while Maeteris is put off by how optimistic and friendly everyone is. Ironically enough, the two former enemies find that the only person they can really relate to is each other — which, considering how much the Imperials and Eldar hate each, is quite funny to read.
- Giving Radio to the Romans: Downplayed: Gallardi gives the Systems Alliance (but not the Citadel Council) the principles for Imperial laser technology. Considering how much ME-verse combat revolves around kinetic barriers, directed energy weaponry is a major Game-Breaker in this universe.
- Heroic BSoD: Maeteris suffers one when she learns of the Eldar's destruction in a previous cycle. Gallardi also goes through one when he is forced to kill a couple of humans to help a quarian.
- Hostage Situation: Chapter 17 ends with some goons holding two asari officers at gunpoint and demanding that Gallardi surrender to them. Problem is, Gallardi is an Absolute Xenophobe and is perfectly fine with letting the Asari die. Gallardi ends up saving the asari in the next chapter, even taking some injuries, showing that he is growing out of his Absolute Xenophobe mentality.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Kasumi evokes this when she, Kelly and Maeteris go shopping in Illium. She goes by the handle 'Zhao Daiyu' when dealing with store owners and such, reasoning that fewer and fewer people can tell the difference between Japanese and Chinese people, and aliens can't at all.
- Interspecies Romance:
- Shepard had one with Liara before dying. This becomes a divisive issue between her and Gallardi.
- Jack teases Maeteris and Gallardi about the UST between the two.
- Insult Backfire: During the argument between Gallardi and the Illusive Man, Gallardi brings up a quote from an Imperium general on how courage wins wars and makes Humanity what it is. When the Illusive Man calls said general hopelessly idealistic, like Shepard, Gallardi says that Shepard should take that as a compliment: the general he quoted was Lord Commander Solar Macharius, whose crusade brought nearly a thousand planets under the Imperium's control in about a decade and who was considered a military genius on par with the Emperor Himself. Shepard says she has a lot to live up to for that comparison.
- It Only Works Once: The plasma pistol Gallardi brought with him only has three shots left, and no way to replace ammunition. This is solved later, but hasn't been brought into effect fully.
- It's Raining Men: Gallardi has training as a drop-trooper, and he begins to work with Mordin to re-engineer his drop chute using Mass Effect technology.
- Kill It with Fire: Grunt gets to use a flamethrower on Zoria, much to his approval.
- Logical Weakness: The main reason the Warp is perfectly calm in Shepard's time is because the Reapers have been steadily killing all rising races before they ever manage to create any lasting disturbances. Even the daemon possessing Morinth is implied to be an extreme rarity.
- Mind Rape:
- Maeteris does this to Jack by implanting some of her memories of Chaos into Jack's mind. This sends Jack into a minor Heroic BSoD, and it informs Maeteris that Jack's a psyker.
- She does this again to Tela Vasir, using the memory of the Eldar's destruction to convince her that the Reapers are real. Although in this case, it was a bit more voluntary.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Gallardi, after he takes risks to save the life of an Asari, and then after he kills a couple of humans in self-defence. It's bad enough he attempts suicide to appease his faith, but Shepard and Maeteris intervene to snap him out of it.
- Noble Bigot: Captain Gallardi, although in the later chapters he is moving past his xenophobia.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: In the 40K universe, Gallardi is just a standard Elite Mook with a slightly better than average gun. In the Mass Effect universe, his lasgun can rip through armor and kinetic barriers like a knife through butter, and his background of constant war makes him more experienced than most of the other characters (save Maeteris, but she's on a completely different level than he is). Even studying his personal data storage, which as far as he knows, is basically standard, massively improves EDI's cyber-warfare abilities by allowing her to incorporate Imperial cryptographic and cyphering protocols. Mordin lampshades the evolution of technology as the most likely explanation.
- Nothing Personal: What Gallardi's and Maeteris' ambushers said to them once the tables were turned on them. They were a small merc band led by a turian and a Shadow Broker agent's team, respectively.
- Not So Stoic: Maeteris is full of poise and grace and firmly follows the ascetic lifestyle of her kind, but Kasumi manages to get a laugh out of her more than once, and she and Gallardi end up bonding somewhat by jokingly speculating on the Tau attempting to recruit the Orks to join the Greater Good.
- Odd Friendship: Gallardi develops one with Maeteris, since the Eldar is the closest thing to normality that he can find.
- One-Man Army:
- Gallardi's weapons and combat training allow him to be this at times, since he has a laser weapon in a universe where such things are still in the realm of fantasy and he's been fighting wars for far longer than anyone else they've encountered.
- Maeteris during her Unstoppable Rage moment is depicted as destroying entire ranks of husks in melee.
- Outside-Context Problem: The main reason why Gallardi is so powerful: everything about combat in the ME-verse is built around kinetic barriers, and Gallardi's lasgun ignores them entirely.
- Psychic Powers:
- Maeteris is a Farseer, so she has quite a few powers available for use.
- Jack was also turned into a psyker due to the tests Cerberus performed on her when she was a child.
- M'tarr communicates through a psychic link.
- The Asari seem to be developing into a race of psykers, similar to the Eldar, with the main example being a passive effect that enhances their attractiveness to other races by highlighting the similarities between said races and the Asari. Notably, the few Maeteris has found with notable active psychic potential are children that have two Asari as parents. After exorcising the daemon from Morinth, she theorizes that being an ardat-yakshi (which is more common among tose with two Asari parents) isn't a genetic disorder at all, but a side-effect of uncontrolled psychic powers interacting with the Asari melding ability.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Citadel Council seems to be drifting towards this (save Sparatus).
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Harbinger possesses a Collector and begins to go into one of his "resistance is futile" speeches. Gallardi shoots him before he can even finish his first sentence.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Morinth survives her encounter with Shepard, thanks to Maeteris and Samara banishing the daemon possessing her.
- Maeteris, of all people, upon finding out that there is a Gyrinx outside the Normandy.
- Shepard gets one as well when she and Gallardi brofist.
- Many of the women aboard the Normandy upon meeting M'tarr, Kasumi and Kelly especially.
- Taking You with Me: The Eldar did this to the Reapers, pouring their psychic energy into their sun and causing it to go nova, destroying hundreds of them and wiping out all trace of Eldar civilization.
- Time Stands Still: Maeteris' time shift ability doesn't actually do this, but it's close enough that she lets everyone think that it is.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gallardi gives one to the Illusive Man, calling him a selfish coward for not having enough faith in Humanity's ability to combat the alien races. For someone who lived in the most Crapsack World possible, it's actually pretty inspiring.
- The Reveal: It's implied Morinth has been possessed by a Daemon.
- Third-Person Person: M'tarr always refers to herself by her name.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Some exists between Gallardi and Maeteris, oddly enough. Jack teases them on it.
- Unstoppable Rage: Maeteris does not take news of the Eldar's destruction very well, and ends up plowing through the Collector army attacking Horizon almost singlehandedly.
- Walk, Don't Swim: When he first arrives in the Mass Effect universe, Gallardi lands in a small pond. It's deep enough that the water comes up over his head, but it's shallow enough that he can jut walk out once he gets his rebreather on (not like his armor would allow him to swim anyway).
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: The biggest source of conflict between Gallardi and Shepard; he's an Absolute Xenophobe brought into a world where relationships between humans and aliens are rather commonplace. He and Shepard get into a few arguments over the issue, but are professional enough to not let it interfere with operations (the one time that their arguments did become divisive was on an entirely different matter Shepard's drinking after a rough reunion with Liara being brought up by Gallardi, who had an experience with a hungover junior officer getting most of his unit killed). With Gallardi's Character Development, he's begun to accept human/alien relationships a bit more.