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Fanfic / Harbinger

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"No. No, you little shit. You sit in that fucking chair and listen to me, you pencil-dicked mouth-breathing pen-pushing pile of fuck. I make an order of magnitude more in one month than you make all year because I know what the fuck I'm talking about. I supplied every part of Origin. I put together Harbinger. I designed every phase of Perseus. None of this would exist without me. So before you try to throw me under the goddamn bus, shut up and listen.

"You collection of slack-jawed, drooling corporate dickballs decided he should be shipped off to some ass-end research colony in the first place. Now you're going to blame me for losing him? You assholes were the ones to throw that investment to the wind. You knew Mindoir was in the Verge. You knew that there were batarians out there. And I told you goddamn morons that she's still aware!"
Harlan Wade, Head of Research, Project Perseus, Armacham Internal Meeting 4/18/2170

The year is 2170. On a small colony on the planet Mindoir, Adam Shepard watches as batarian slavers massacre everyone he knows. Picking up a rifle, he sets out to face the attackers, with a screaming woman's voice in his head, a wave of blue-hot violence pouring through him, and one thought in his mind:

They all deserve to die.


Fast-forward thirteen years to 2183. Adam Shepard is now Commander Shepard, Citadel Spectre and former pointman for the Systems Alliance's First Encounter Assault Recon division. Several months after defeating the Reaper Sovereign and saving the galaxy, Shepard has been assigned to a brewing situation on an Alliance colony: an uprising by a force of Replica clone soldiers, commanded by an insane psychic named Paxton Fettel....

Written by the same author behind Forward, Tiberium Wars and Renegade, Harbinger is set in a universe where the concepts of First Encounter Assault Recon and Mass Effect coexist together. The fic is primarily a Mass Effect story, with strong influences from FEAR. In short: Shepard is the Pointman.

Unfortunately, it seems this is a Dead Fic, but Peptuck is moving elements from Harbinger into his new fic, Vigil.


Unrelated to the 2003 sci-fi RPG, or the Valiant Comics comic book.

Examples of tropes in this fanfic:

  • All There in the Manual: As per Renegade, Codex entries have appeared, detailing useful information on psychics.
  • Antagonist Title: "Harbinger" is the name of both this fic and the Reapers' leader.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Fettel is powerful enough to control all three thousand Replicas mentally, but finds it easier to give general orders to force commanders and let them execute.
  • Bullet Time: Shepard has this ability, being the Pointman. Shepard refers to it as "slowing."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Harlan Wade is in top form.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Shepard has creepy midnight blue eyes.
  • Creepy Teenager: Shepard, who scares a veteran Alliance Marine. He maintains his creepiness into adulthood.
    • And being a FEAR story, Alma is a given.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Mindoir is this in two directions - first by the batarians to the colony, next by Shepard to the batarians.
    • Harbinger easily wipes out the Replica perimeter forces that engage the inital Collector landing.
  • Death Glare: Shepherd has one that can shut Joker up.
  • Doomed Hometown: Mindoir gets pretty badly trashed. Then subverted; Shepard manages to kill the entire batarian raiding force singlehandedly, saving the colony.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Replica under Fettel fighting the Collectors.
  • Expendable Clone: As with the original FEAR setting, the Replica exist to serve as expendable shock troops. They're outfitted with rugged, inexpensive gear and as a whole don't care about their losses. Several characters compare them to mechs, just with organic parts instead of robotic.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: Shepherd's reaction to a psychic manifestation by Alma is to hold down the trigger.
  • For Want of a Nail: Integration of FEAR and ME universes has several side effects:
    • The asari Justicars and turian Blackwatch deal with psychic threats in addition to their primary roles (law enforcement & black ops respectively).
    • Henry Lawson is high up in ATC's structure, and the Pragia facility - where Jack escaped from the same time Mindoir went down - was run by ATC..
    • Because he's groundside dealing with Fettel, Shepherd is not aboard the Normandy when the Collectors attack.
    • Shepherd spends much of his career in FEAR, instead of the N7 track.
    • The Normandy survives the Collector attack since Shepard isn't aboard.
    • The date of the First Contact War is different from canon, a subtle indicator of how things as becomming different.
  • Gambit Pileup: The situation on Naxos, with at least four factions: Fettel and his Replica, Armacham, Shepard's crew, and the Collectors.
  • Giant Mook: Replica Heavy soldiers. Aside from immensely heavy armor, they have shields so powerful that it takes four direct hits with Carnage charged-particle grenades to disable them.
  • Hope Spot: The batarian squad leader gets one... right before Shepard slide kicks him down, and jump kicks his neck.
  • Humans Are Special: Humans produce the most psychics-per-population out of any known species, and apparently human psychics can use a much wider range of abilities than those of other species. Humanity is also the only species that has produced a psychic as powerful as Alma.
  • Hypocrite: Armacham's Director of Ethics calls the Council such when a turian Primarch delcares the Replica an affront to the "true" military because they have no purpose other than to fight and die, which is morally and ethically "bankrupt." The ATC director points out that the Council species uplifted the krogan solely so they could fight wars against the rachni, and that the turians essentially established an institutional, universal conscription to make their military the most powerful in the galaxy, denying their own people the right to say "no" and forcing them to serve in the military.
  • I Knew It!: One poster suggested that Henry Lawson would be an Armacham man even before Peptuck confirmed it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Teenage Shepard is able to put accurate three- or four-shot bursts into enemy heads while running at full speed; he only gets deadlier after joining the Alliance military.
  • Incoming Ham: You'll know when Harbinger shows up.
  • Indy Ploy: Shepard's Plan A. Lampshaded to hell and back.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Henry Lawson vetoes a proposal to recover Shepherd post-Mindoir because of this trope.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Ensign-What's-Her-Name.
    • "Shepard dropped behind cover, thankful for whatever insane engineer had decided that colonial cooling units needed to be rated to take anti-tank fire."
    • Shepherd's reaction to Alma's projection is to hold down the trigger, which is what most FEAR players end up doing once they see her.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Shepard, who moves so fast nobody - batarians or Replica - can track him.
  • Mage Killer: Every government has a special unit designed to deal with psychics, like the asari Justicars, turian Blackwatch or the human FEAR division.
  • Mega-Corp: Armacham. Establishing an entire colony with a thousand security personnel and producing two whole battalions of fully-outfitted Replica is mentioned casually in the first chapter, for example, and the Codex entry for Armacham confirms that they have so much economic and political clout that they can weather Spectre investigations.
  • Mook Horror Show: One might almost feel sorry for the batarians when Shepard goes berserk. Toward the end of the prologue, we discover most of the batarians were trying to run to their escape shuttle when Shepard killed them.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Armacham. Of note is that their Codex entry has a Spectre reporting that ATC can mobilize "half a million troops" with "three Extranet calls."
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The reaction of the once-confident batarians towards Shepard's counterattack.
    • The Replica's response when Harbinger assumes direct control.
  • One-Man Army: Going by Zabaleta's estimates, Shepard killed over three hundred batarians by the time Alliance reinforcements arrived.
  • Painting the Medium: Synchronicity Events are done in the same distinctive "Riverthink" format that pops up in the author's other works.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Per Word Of God, Alma destroyed Sovereign.
  • Pillow Pistol: Shepherd sleeps with his pistol under his pillow. Almost a decade of service in FEAR has taught him paranoia.
    • Ashley notes that the reason he's sleeping with a pistol was because once they started sharing a bunk, they didn't have room for both of them and the shotgun.
  • Private Military Contractors: Armacham markets the Replicas as a voice-controlled PMC force, and is developing Fettel's Replicas to be controlled by a psychic commander. They also maintain their own PMC forces separate from the Replicas, as per FEAR.
  • Properly Paranoid: Yes, Shepard sleeps with a pistol under his pillow, jumps at shadows, and opens fire at things he sees out the corner of his eye. But considering the nature of the setting, he's perfectly justified with being incredibly paranoid.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Though they don't actually bleed, psychics have to be careful when using their powers, as they can cause brain damage or death if they overtax themselves. Shepard has to be careful when using his powers, as undergoing slo-mo for too long will cause his to start suffering intense headaches, and he'll eventually black out if he doesn't stop.
  • Psychic Powers: Being that one of the dominant elements of the setting is FEAR, this is a given. Though all species generate psychics, the actual abilities each species has are limited (save for humans, per Word Of God). The most common and only universal psychic power is telepathy.
  • Punched Across the Room: When Shepard punches someone while in slo-mo, his fists impact with so much force that the blow can send whoever's on the far end literally flying end over end. He punches so hard that his armor has been modified to create a mass effect "cushion" to absorb the impact from the blow lest he break his arm - which incidentally creates an expanding blue corona on impact, making it look like Shepard is punching someone with a flaming blue fist.
  • Required Secondary Powers: See above. Shepard, despite being stronger than a normal human, needs armor assistance to use his Super Speed in close combat without injuring himself.
  • Scenery Gorn: Peptuck's description of Mindoir.
  • Shout-Out: There was a Delta Force operator in FEAR named A. Shepherd as well.
  • Super Registration Act: Psychics, being incredibly dangerous, are generally isolated and controlled for everyone's safety. Most psychics are recruited into their respective species' militaries. The dangers inherent to telepathy mean that non-asari psychics can't hold public office. Registered psychics have extensive background information available to Citadel officials.
    • The fact that Paxton Fettel's background is largely blank makes Ashley and Liara extremely suspicious.
  • Super Speed: Shepard, coupled with Bullet Time and Improbable Aiming Skills. The batarians never stood a chance.
    • Shepard's punches move so fast when he's using slo-mo that they trigger enemy kinetic barriers, which normally only respond to incoming hypervelocity rounds. His arms move so quickly that he needs to use mass effect fields to cushion the blows lest he shatter his bones.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe, how most people respond to the Replica. Shepard has also had to deal with it thanks to his psychic abilities, which make him come off as disturbing at best. Ashley is apparently one of the few women Shepard tried to have a relationship with who managed to get past it.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Emphasis on "unstoppable". When Shepard loses it in the first chapter, one could accurately describe his mental state as "elemental wrath". During the ensuing rampage he doesn't yell, he doesn't speak, he just kills every last Batarian slaver that set foot on the surface of Mindoir.
  • We Have Reserves: The Replica invoke this; Paxton Fettel pushes several Replica toward Shepard just to get a better look at him before the clones get killed.