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Fanfic / Crucible (Mass Effect)

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The first Mass Effect fanfic in a series set after the third game by SirArthurNudge.

Jane Shepard has ended the Reaper War but sometimes the end is just the beginning as a ship from a future appears to save her from the ruin of the Crucible. As Shepard meets the leader of the ship, Lantar Sidonis together with his crews of turian-human hybrids, one of which is Gaius, her and Garrus's son; she discovers that not only there is a force that's not only even more powerful than the Reapers is lurking to devour this universe but the world is also consisting of many things that most mortals cannot understand.

You can find it here. Has finished by Jun 21, 2015.

A companion fic named Interference depicts the events of the Alternate Bad Future until halfway where it changes to a new timeline thanks to the influence from the main timeline in Crucible. Can be found here.

Has a prequel named Refuge set before the first game concerning Executor Pallin and his meeting with a strange human woman.

A sequel of Crucible, called Destiny, is currently in the working. It's here.

A companion Slice of Life fic called Snippets Of Life depicts smaller stories about different characters from all timelines.

For one-shots set in the Alt. future, we have:

Tropes found in this fanfiction:

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    Tropes for Crucible and Interference 

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Each universe has at least two of these in the form of Life and Death who bring souls from The Song into their world and then bring them back when their times end.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Around the end of Cruclble, Life/Ouhil/Aunty revealed she and Sam/Death used to be mortal before becoming what they were today.
    • Badass Adorable: Gaius and Tib in Interference after their merging with their older souls. The two 6-year-old kids beat the shit out of their 3 teenage bullies like it's nothing.
    • Badass Family: The Vakarian clan. Almost every clan in the North, actually.
    • Heart Broken Badass: Maybe around half of the cast are this. The most obvious example would be Gaius.
  • Babies Ever After: Happened on galaxy scale after the Reaper War to many turian/human couples thanks to the effect of the Crucible. By the end of Crucible, Present!Tib was born and Atilius was also waiting for Sabia to give birth to twins.
  • Bad Future: The Ad Astra crew and the antagonists comes from a version of the future where everything has gone so much wrong. Jane and Garrus didn't marry due to his shotgun wedding with a racist general's daughter. When they managed to get together again, she was killed, Garrus was forced to abandon their son to Sidonis. The hybrids were hunted to be war machines or lab rats or slaves. Miranda was tortured to death by Cerberus's remains while Victus was killed in the 2nd krogan rebellion. The Aegrus was trying to devour the universe and Gaius's family was destroyed in the worse way possible. And that was just the short version.
  • Bait And Switch Tittle: The name "Interference" can be understood as alt.Garrus interfere into alt.Shepard and their son's lives. But come chapter 87 and those who read Crucible can finally realize that it's the actions in Crucible, thanks to the help of some Cosmic Powers, interfere into this future and change it to a completely different course.
  • Because You Can Cope: Alt.Garrus's general attitude to alt.Gaius's distress is usually this. Not out of malice but because of his bad habit of simply assuming what people thought without much investigation. It comes back to bite his ass when he realizes Gaius's no longer trust him and even thinks of himself as unloved.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Jane used to have a big crush on Andrei due to him being the first one reaching out for her during adulthood.
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: Many turian dads.
    • Sheor tried to kill Avitus with an axe when discover that the latter's impregnated his daughter before marriage.
    • Avitus's dismay over the fact that Solana is all grown up and has a suitor.
    • Alt!Gaius's worry about his daughter will have dates, right after he realized his wife is pregnant with said kid.
    • And hilariously, Crassus over his cat Mrs. Tibb. When he discovered that the cat is pregnant he was indecisive between killing the neighbor's male cat that did it and the vet that installed the faulty contraception chip.
  • Children Are Innocent: Enforced by the adults in Interference to their hybrid children which causes more harm than good in the long run. Instead of telling the kids that there're are bad people out to kill and use them simply for being Hybrids and prepare the hybrids for the worse, the parents shield them from everything with "you will understand when you're older" or dismiss that they're just kids and won't be able to understand anything. This attitude causes misunderstanding from the hybrid children and thus makes them unprepared when the brutal truth catch up to them in the form of Mondala.
    • Alt!Jane and Garrus were big offenders of this trope. Her loss of innocence from a young age caused her to be overprotective over Gaius so when they had to explain Alt!Garrus's constantly away for his work of reforming the Hierarchy, instead of expose the truth to Gaius that "your dad does it because he's fighting against the people who want to hurt or even kill you and your kind" they just went with "I will explain it when you're older". This made Gaius misunderstand that his father hated and wanted nothing to do with him. Had they just gave Gaius the truth, the child would have felt less hurt and be more understanding of the situation.
    • Alt!Victus also did it to Tiberius. He overcompensated for his son lack of motherly affection by shielding the child from every bad thing, even the flaws of others. But by constantly telling the child stories about Tarquin's heroic deeds without reveal anything bad about his deceased older brother, Victus has effectively put Tarquin on a pedestal, making Tib see himself as unworthy and thus damaging his self-esteem beyond repair when he grew up.
      • Victus being into on this trope also cause him to not believe Tib when the kid tried to tell him that he was being bullied at school (which included racial slur throwing), it wasn't until Alt!Shepard confirmed it to him that Adrien realized that he was dead wrong about his trope.
  • The Chosen One: Gaius was chosen by Herz and Makern to be her champion to fight Makern when he's old enough. His other self, Alt.Gaius was not chosen because according to Makern, he was too broken.
    • Jane later was revealed to have been chosen by Death even before she was born to be the one leading the galaxy against the Reapers and being responsible for the creation of the Hybrids since as she's his child, she has the right powers and supports to do it.
  • Close-Knit Community: The North, which is justified since they're nearly isolated from the rest of the world, along with the harsh living conditions since the ancient time, not to mention they all work under Herz.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Exaggerated from the original series. The Reapers, which had devastated the galaxy, was considered to be small fries compared to the Aegrus, and there are other forces that have been controlling the whole universe and multiverse behind the scene since forever.
  • Creepy Child: Happened in Interference when many hybrids kids, thanks to the sudden merge with their older souls, changed overnight and started to switch between being an innocent child and a ruthless war veteran. It, of course, freaks the adults out big time.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Alt.Amata's death. General Marius's end is also counted and he totally deserved it.
  • Death Seeker: Alt.Gaius as he no longer has any will to live after all the tragedies in his life.
  • Demoted to Extra: Many characters from the original series either play smaller roles or not mentioned at all (like Jack, Grunt, Samara, etc.)
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Makern was just a normal turian back when he first married Herz, an incarnation of a star.
    • Later it's revealed that Sam, the Psychopomp of the Mass Effect universe is married to a human woman named Sarah, the mother of Jane.
  • Doting Parent: If someone is a parent but not abusive, chances are they're this trope. Biggest examples would be Miranda and Garrus. Makerm himself used to be one until his daughter's death turned him into a Knight Templar Parent.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: By the end of Crucible, all the time-travelling Hybrids are dead but their souls've been transferred to a new re-winded timeline to reunite with their loved ones while still keeping their memories of the Bad Future to prevent it from happening again. Jane reunites with her parents again, knowing that she's always been loved and they will always be with her. Tiberius is born safely with both of his parents being happy together. The A.I.s are given the rights to live on the Citadel with EDI and Tristan adopt what remains of The Catalyst, now called Jeffrey, as their son and they're working releasing the Keepers. The governments of all species, meanwhile, get to see what the Hybrids've done for them to reflect on their unfair treatment of the latter in the future. The Makern plot is still unsolved but there's a lot of hope for the future.
  • Femme Fatale: Mira, a beautiful, deadly, power-hungry and borderline psychopathic hybrid.
  • Foreshadowing: During chapter 75, Herz mentions some things about everyone owing a death. More than 20 chapters later, Death appears for real and is planning to take what people owe him.
    • Jane and Gaius's ability to see and talk to ghosts.
    • Jane's mention about her father who liked to smoke a lot.
    • The Bare-faced Turian has green eyes and smokes like crazy.
  • Grandfather Paradox: The time-travellers believe that their world works on the multiple alternate timeline version (it's actually the single timeline version). So when they're starting to get flashbacks they believe that their original timeline is forcefully calling them back (not necessarily arriving back in one piece); it's actually the timeline starting to get rewritten and the Bad Future's disappearing which will erase their time-travel effort before it even begins. But then Death, Life and The Song has other ideas...
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Hybrids. They mainly have turian-liked appearance but with human five-fingered hands and ape-liked feet. Because of their far superior human strength and flexibility combined with turians' heighten senses and speed, in addition to all being born biotics, they're either feared or hunted by other races. It should noted that since they're considered a species of their own, and with their currently low populations, their nanites gear them to have high drive and attraction to each other but if a hybrid mates with someone outside of their species, the child will also be a hybrid but with extra different degrees of things like having a human/hybrid pairing would results in even more flexibility.
  • Happily Adopted: On Omega in the alt.future, many hybrids are adopted by couples in inter-species relationships when their blood parents died or abandoned them. Lantar/Kate and Jakus/Kikyo were such couples. Later in Interference, Jane becomes stepmother of Hadrian and was happily adored by him.
  • Harmful to Minors: What happened to Alt!Gaius and many other hybrid children because of the discrimination they had to face. Implied with the turian orphans after the Reaper War; you don't survive it without any scarring.
  • Heroic BSoD: Many cases but it seems Gaius and Garrus often fall victims to this trope the most. Must be running in the family.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Alt.Jane saved her child and died in the process. Jarkus, one of the Ad Astra crew pulls one later. And after that, Alt. Gaius chooses to stay to save Tib and Garrus. Thankfully, it doesn't stick.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: The Hybrids are hated, feared and hunted simply for existing by the majority of people.
    • In the alt.timeline, it gets to the point that there's bill that forbidden Hybrids from wearing clan mark for easy differentiate, and another bill in the making that would allow the Hierarchy to kill whichever child they want when their numbers are getting too numerous, or to take them away from their parents without reasons. Even before that, there are daily mobs attacks on hybrid families and kill them while the government all but officially allows it. Basically, Hybrids are viewed to have less rights than cattle and their parents aren't allowed to leave the planet to act as breeding stocks.
  • Interspecies Romance: This is a story with half the cast are human-turian hybrids so naturally, their parents are this trope.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: A bunch of women who carried Hybrid babies were kidnapped by the quarians. Luckily for them, Garrus and Avitus manage to find them thanks to the help of one of the boyfriends.
    • Poor Alt.Amata suffered from this twice. The first time she lost her son. The second time, she was killed and her daughter didn't survive for long either.
    • The foetuses in the quarian's lab madeit pretty clear that a lot of pregnant mothers had been killed. Probably in the same way that Alt.Amata did.
  • Imprinting: All turian and hybrid children imprint on their parents by their sight, smell and sound. Naturally, the first thing a child imprints on is its mother, but it doesn't matter who the father is. The imprint can be so strong that even if the child is separated from its parents from a very young age and remember nothing of them, it can still remember the smell. The process also causes a baby to react very violently if the one holding it isn't its parent or at least a family member.
    • Alt.Gaius imprinted on his mother Shepard and Sidonis's family while Garrus, his real father was virtually a stranger. In the present, Garrus arrives at the birth just right on time and successfully makes Gaius imprint on him.
  • I See Dead People: Shepard and Alt.Gaius has the ability to see and interact normally with dead people.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kaidan eventually comes to term with the fact that Shepard is happiest when she's with Garrus and wishes her nothing but happiness.
    • Alt.Gaius decides to do this after realizing that his constant sabotage Alt.Amata's dating life but doesn't make a move on her himself is the same as destroying her happiness.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The kids at school bully alt.Gaius and alt.Tiberius for being different. In the former's case, they go as far as breaking his finger with a hammer!. Worse yet, Shepard's reaction to the school's attitude implies that they suppose this because Gaius's a hybrid.
  • The Lifestream: The Song, the place where all souls come from and return to. Billions and billions of universes floating in it, tied to it but mortal cannot see it, only hear its sings.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Alt.Gaius lost it when Alt.Amata and their son died. He even said that the real him has died together with them that day.
  • Love Hurts: Not only romantic love but also every other kind of love hurts like hell. Almost everyone suffers from this trope, even Mira.
  • Mama Bear: Shepard, Herz, Kari, Miranda, Titus and many more.
  • The Mentor: Andrei Zakharov, Shepard's former mentor and first crush.
  • Mercy Kill: What Avitus did to a little turian girl after her gang-rape.
    • Alt.Gaius does it to a group of children infected by the Aegrus.
  • Moral Myopia: Alt!Garrus and Alt.Gaius, like father like son. When they weren't with the woman they love (Alt!Jane and Alt!Amata, respectively), they had no trouble sleeping around but the moment they knew Jane/Amata was seeing someone, they went out their way to sabotage that relationship with all kinds of reasons.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Had Atilius killed Marius all those years ago, a lot of disasters wouldn't happen now.
    • Herz imprisoned Makern to prevent him for massacre the South, but his time in his prison actually help him develop his powers that she previously gave him. Whereas he was just a stronger than normal turian before, now Makern can one-shot a REAPER while in a weakened state.
    • The adults in Interference trying to enforce the Children Are Innocent trope have accidentally caused more harm than good. See the Children Are Innocent trope above for more details.
  • One Degree of Separation: Herz, Trebia's mortal form, was the original ancestor of the 4 clans (one of which was the Vakarian). Kadisa, who married into the clan was a friend of Sam, who's been manipulated his daughter Jane to become what she was today to be the one who push Trebia's plans into actions. Jane later marries Garrus, Kadisa's grandson. Their son Gaius's best friend Tiberius is the son of Victus and Miranda. Tib's lost love Emi is a daughter of Jack, who designed Shepard's nanites and the blueprint of the Normandy. Alt.Gaius's wife Amata is daughter of Andrei, his mother former mentor and crush. And Jane's father died from saving Anderson's life.
    • Marcus, a member of the Ad Astra is actually the son of Proteus and Alice, one of the missing pregnant women from Garrus and Avitus's investigation connected to the quarian
    • Much later, it turned out that Locasa, another member of the Ad Astra is Anne and Pallin's daughter.
  • One-Steve Limit: Quite realistic that many characters share the same name. It helps that many parents tend to name their kids after someone they know or after themselves.
    • In Garrus's case, he's named after his grandfather just like his uncle. Said uncle also has a son named Garrus (nicknamed Rus).
    • Alt.Gaius's son is also named Gaius and his daughter's name is Jane after his grandmother Jane Shepard.
    • Lantar Sidonis's first-born was also named Lantar.
    • Emile's father's name is Jack.
    • Vitius Crassus's wife is named Sarah, which happens to be the same as Shepard's mother.
    • One of the Ad Astra crew, alt.Marcus Vespillo, was named after general Marcus Atilius by his parents as a tribute to what alt.Atilius did for them.
    • Crassus's first-born is named Nimerius, after his grandfather.
    • EDI and Tristan's adopted son, The Catalyst, is named Jeffrey, after Joker's real name in hope that the kid will grow up with the latter's personality.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The Mondala, an orphanage in name only since many children there were taken away from their parents by the government. They torture, train and starve the kids to turn them into killing machines. At one point, the jailers even planned to make the starving but still strong children kill the weaker ones to use them as food. Luckily, Alt.Sidonis managed to save them all before that happens.
  • Orphanage of Love: what Lantar and Kate created in the alternative future. And probably in the main timeline of Crucible too.
  • Overnight Age-Up: In Interference, that's what happens to the younger versions of the Ad Astra crew because Sam brings their older souls from Crucible to here to merge with the younger souls in order to give them knowledge and a second chance to change the future.
  • Papa Wolf: Too many to count but the most obvious examples would be Garrus, Avitus, Adrien, Gaius, Tiberius, Makerm and the bare-faced turian. Turian fathers in general and many of the male characters who are in a interspecies relationships also run very strong on this trope.
  • Posthumous Character: Alt.Amata, Alt.Emillie. Aside from Emi's only appears once in the present as a baby, both of them are already dead by the time the Ad Astra travels back in time.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of bad things in the alternative future could be avoided if people are just willing to ask for help from others instead of trying to keep silent and solve it by themselves. Hell, even a little warning could make a huge change in some tragedies that had happened!
    • For example, if alt.Garrus had decided to share his pain over Shepard's death with someone else (namely, his father), he wouldn't have to "blow off steam" with Perdita and set up a chain of disastrous events.
      • Alt.Garrus could have explained about his continuous breaking of promises to Gaius, but instead he just assumed that the child could endure it a bit more because he understood that his father's absence was due to his work in building a better future for Gaius and his hybrid kind. Sure, an adult can understand that but not a six-year-old who's been going through abuse from his schoolmates and stepmother. By the time alt.Garrus realized his mistake, alt.Gaius's already had the idea that his father hated him and he was a bad child.
    • Or Alt.Miranda could have asked Victus or Liara or any of her friends for help and protection to avoid Cerberus, but she just decided to give Tiberius to his father Victus, and ran away by herself to be bait, wanting to have control over her own destiny. The result: she was tortured and degraded in absolute horror that continued way beyond her death by Cerberus once they caught her. Her son grew up and became a broken, regretful man with self-esteem issue and screwed up a lot of things in his life.
    • Or Alt.Atilius could have warn Alt.Garrus about Alt.Perdita's issue with children, but nope, he decided to give her the benefit of doubt and shut his mouth about it, leading to her "incident" with young Alt.Gaius when Garrus left the boy in her watch.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Reveal to be what Shepard has done throughout the 3 games to enemies such as Saren and TIM. Being tied to Sam/Death, she can control people to not kill themselves in few cases, and actually point a gun to their own head in other cases. However, even if she wants her enemies to live but daddy wants otherwise then there's nothing she can do about it.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Makern lost Koria due to one greedy old nobleman from the South and decided that he needed to destroy them all completely before building everything from scratch under his absolute rule.
    • A group of quarians led by Raan and Tali killed Alt.Amata and their son, Alt.Gaius made them pay by dropping a bomb on Rannoch, completely pushed the whole race to extinction while making the leaders watch before they too died.
  • Science Fantasy: Crucible started with the time traveled Ad Astra which continue the sci-fi theme from canon, then the existence of living stars was revealed which kinda ventured out of this, and then ghosts/souls started to popping here and there and finally Death himself appeared which firmly pushed the series into Fantasy theme.
  • Sex for Solace: Alt.Garrus slept with Perdita to forget about Shepard's apparent death. Worst decision ever!
    • Later he did it with Alt.Jane to help both of them release the stress after their son's incident with Perdita.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The Reapers were resurrected again while everything was in a devastated state with no hope of fighting back so in order to prolong time until a new code can be uploaded to destroy them, Herz was forced to release her husband Makern out of his prison to deal with them.
  • Superior Species: Word of God was that there're no species that is culturally, morally or psychologically superior to others, but In-Universe, it's obvious that the Hybrids are much more powerful than any currently-known species at least in term of physical abilities. The combination between turians' strength and discipline with humans' adaptability and flexibility has created a race of, as in Garrus' words, "weapons-made flesh and built for war".
    • To elaborate, the hybrids are all born-biotic that can jump, run faster and far longer than any council species, their normal punches have the same force that other species can only generate with biotic, their human traits also allow them to fill out the disadvantages normal turians have (be able to climb, run vertically up walls, swim, handle the cold, having ape-like feet that help balancing and tool-manipulating), they can eat both dextro and levo food which means they can live almost anywhere in the galaxy while being able to interbreed both between themselves and with humans and turians (which increase the degree of certain traits like sensors, flexibility, etc.). They also born from two already-ascended species means that they don't have past burdens that came from fighting tooth-and-nails through evolution and disasters, they just simply be born one day and have everything from culture to technology available to them from their parent species. Even Bakara said that sooner or later the hybrids will become the leading species.
    • The few weakness that the hybrids have are their sometimes over-reactive immune systems (due to their symbiotic relationship with their nanites), their fast metabolism (due to having a stomach that must process both levo and dextro which leads to nutritions failing out and being biotic) makes them require more food than normal, and if someone manage to mess with their nanites, it can be fatal.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball/Temporal Mutability: It's a bit confusing but the multiverses work mainly as "Overwriting the timeline" but later the CrucibleVerse itself become a hybrid version of both "Overwritting" and "Branching timelines". Basically, time can be seen as a river with different universes as balls floating in it. Each ball has in front of it what look like millions of almost identical versions of itself in different points spread across the width of the river while behind there's nothing. As the ball floats forward depending on how the river flows ­it'll take the place of one of the many copies and the others in line with it to disappear. The potential what ­might have ­been's all disappear when the ball finally arrives. So as the future hybrids come to present of the CrucibleVerse and change it, the Bad Future soon disappears to be replaced by a new future.
    • But due to Sam, Aunties and their "employers"'s intervention, a new future, different CrucibleVerse is created by pulling the bad future backwards and, as it can't survive on its own, branching off from the main timeline like a Siamese twin. In new time line, the souls of those time travellers from the Bad Future are put into their younger bodies while alt.Jane meet her main counterpart to know everything that happened in the now disappeared bad future to change the new twin universe for the better. This also cause Life and Death from the main timeline to work double-duty since they partly exist outside of time and space.
  • Toilet Humor: Apparently, the great Batarian king Josok was very fond of intestinal gases jokes. The first time Death met him, the guy projected a jet of fire from his ass.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Alt.Gaius's pictures and vids of his family.
  • Transferable Memory: The visions of alt. future, the potential future and the past constantly appear, sometimes can be seen by different people at the same time.
    • The North hall also have a place where you can read someone's memories from a personal object of them.
  • Traumatic C-Section: This was done to Alt.Amata, the wife of Alt.Gaius. She was still alive when her stomach was cut open and her daughter was ripped out of it, still kicking and screaming before the quarians shot the mother in the head (they also killed her son before that). After that the baby was taken to a lab to be experimented on. Judging from hundreds of dead Hybrid babies' bodies being tested, cut apart and preserved in that place, Amata was not the first or only victim.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Mira from a young age thanks to her long time living in Mondala.
    • Later this happened to the younger version of the Ad Astra crew in Interference thanks to their older version's memories.
  • Wham Line: "It's the Reapers, sir!"
    • "You loved her... spirits help me... you were in love with Emi."
    • Her father smiled at her. "I've got you, Baby-doll. I've always got you."

    Tropes for Destiny 
  • Married to the Job: What's caused a crack in Jane and Garrus's marriage as she constantly away from home to do her job and left most of the responsibility of raising Gaius to her husband. They've argued about it several times before but she still got back to her own way to the point it drove Garrus into considering divorcing her (granted, he was very mad and not thinking with a clear mind at the time). However, there were some implications that Jane's tendency of avoiding her family and focusing too much on her work was due to her upbringing and insecurities, but in the end, she chose her family and quit being Spectre altogether.