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Fanfic / Mass Effect 2 AU Lanius

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Mass Effect 2: Lanius is a now-complete Mass Effect Alternate Universe Fic by College Fool, written more as a pseudohistorical document than a traditional narrative.

In this universe, Shepard was resurrected not by Cerberus, but by the Shadow Broker. It seems that Cerberus is working with the Collectors, but to what end? Why would the extremist human supremacist group help their own be abducted? Shepard will find his abilities tested by their finest, including an enigmatic Fallen Hero known only as the Butcher who is uncomfortably similar to himself.


Compare and contrast Renegade Reinterpretations, another Mass Effect Alternate Universe Fic by the same author.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: During the Shadow Broker DLC, the Butcher takes off one of Liara's hands in order to use it to access the Broker's base.
  • Ascended Extra: As in Renegade Reinterpretations, Kasumi is promoted to one of Shepard's starting companions, with Mordin now serving as the other one.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: No matter what happens, a bad guy will win. If the Butcher is killed, it is suggested that the indoctrinated Shepard will eventually restart the Cycle (Control) or that the new synthetics will eventually fall in line with the Reapers (Synthesis). If the Butcher is allowed to live, however, while the Reapers are stopped, he becomes a Karma Houdini, never getting punished for his deeds.
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  • Badass Normal: Unlike Jacob and Miranda, The Butcher is not a biotic. He's a shotgun infiltrator specialist.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: After the Omega Plague, when Shepard learns how Udina secured the full cooperation of Aria:
    Shepard: You blackmailed her?
    Udina: (smirks)
    Aria: We bargained.
  • The Butcher: In fact, "Lanius" is Latin for "Butcher".
  • Cassandra Truth: On the final notes at the end concerning Lanius 3, Cerberus winds up as The Cassandra concerning Shepard's indoctrination.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Before the mission concerning the Omega Plague, Shepard can ask their crew for opinions. Several express relief that they don't have to be the one deciding what order to tackle their three main goals in.
  • Composite Character: Jacob draws some elements from Zaeed, who doesn't exist here.
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  • Controllable Helplessness: By the time Mass Effect 3 rolls around, Shepard is indoctrinated, and is working to to help the Reapers, while Cerberus is trying to stop them.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Suicide Mission is barely mentioned at all, with one set on Omega as a thematic replacement.
  • Do with Him as You Will: The Butcher offered the victims of the Tetlin facility's experiments the chance to decide what would be done to their tormentors. When Subject One said they should be spared, as they must have had good reasons for all they'd done, he recognizes her Stockholm Syndrome and gently corrects her before executing them all himself.
  • Dwindling Party: Archangel's recruitment mission starts with only three other members other than himself still alive. By the time Shepard's team reaches them, Garrus is the Sole Survivor and nearly gets himself killed in a reckless rage.
  • Enemy Mine: Several times with Cerberus.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Jacob is introduced having killed Okeer with a knife, while the Butcher's is in Curb Stomping Garrus's team, then mocking Garrus's attempt to stop him.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": We never learn the Butcher's real name.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As committed as he is to results at any cost, the Butcher was horrified by what he discovered at the Tetlin facility.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Butcher to Shepard. The author tries to emphasise how he's not just a badass but also a beloved leader.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: The first time he sees Shepard, the Butcher comments on how he was expecting someone more "...impressive. Not someone who looks more at home hiding behind a computer."
  • Foil:
    • The Butcher is effectively Cerberus!Shepard. During Mordin's Loyalty Mission, he also serves as a foil to Mordin by providing another perspective and challenging his views and justifications.
    • Miranda is a mirror to Jack: both are powerful biotics, clashing due to their vastly different opinions of Cerberus. In Jack's Loyalty Mission, it's revealed she's what Jack might have become if she hadn't managed to escape.
    • Jacob's staunch decision to own his sins contrasts sharply with Thane's philosophical methods of absolving himself of the deeds he commits as an assassin. In Thane's Loyalty Mission, he also becomes one for Kolyat, showing what he could become if he continues down the path he's starting on.
  • Government Conspiracy: Unlike in canon, here the rogue cell at Teltin was discovered by the Alliance, which led to them taking Cerberus in hand. Shadow Broker is now about Cerberus purging the relevant evidence so they can regain independence.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In the first boss battle with The Butcher, Miranda and Jacob on Horizon, those three are unkillable courtesy of their powerful barriers. Instead, the player has to focus on taking out Harbinger.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The Butcher can taunt Shepard and his companions on Horizon. If Shepard's affected, the screen goes red unless the player's looking at him; if a companion is affected, they may switch targets to focus on the Butcher.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Jacob is far from an idealist, but refuses to let go of a few crucial beliefs.
  • Knight Templar: Miranda as part of the Cerberus Power Trio.
  • My Greatest Failure: Anderson is haunted by how he allowed one of his former pupils to be lynched in a political Kangaroo Court.
  • New Game+: After "completing" one run, new content is "unlocked". The author advises that the previous chapters be reread in light of what has been revealed.
  • Non Standard Game Over: The Butcher causes several of these; for instance, confronting him directly during the game of chicken on the Derelict Reaper leads to him instantly killing Shepard, and choosing not to trade him back to Cerberus in accordance with their plans results in him cracking a Cyanide Pill.
  • Not So Different: During Thane's recruitment mission, Jacob claims the Drell's no different than Cerberus at its worst: a criminal assassin murdering just to broker advantages for his employers.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The purpose of the "new content" in New Game+.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Legion's True Geth (which consist of about 45% of all Geth here) are childlike and don't understand why outsiders don't grasp their desire (and concept) of Peace. In large part because the militant isolationists simply aren't communicating this clearly, unfairly putting the burden of compromise and communication on the Quarians.
  • Power Trio: The Butcher, Jacob and Miranda.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Jacob Zaeed Taylor. Unlike The Butcher, who will achieve his goals at all costs, or the fanatically loyal Miranda, Jacob prefers to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, cruelty, or even violence if possible. He also Knows When To Fold Em and has no problems with escaping to fight another day.
  • Running Gag: Every encounter with Jacob ends with him jumping out a window and using his biotics as a parachute to float down safely.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • At Omega, you have to choose the order in which you tackle three goals: stopping the anti-alien plague, the human-abducting Collectors or Cerberus's smash-and-grab on alien property. There's no way to go after all simultaneously; you can only choose which of the three types of damage to prioritise and minimise.
    • Tali's Loyalty Mission: securing her loyalty requires Shepard to take the Renegade option cover up evidence of a Cerberus conspiracy touching the highest levels of the Quarian government. Doing so may severely damage chances of any peace with the Geth, as well as risk the conspiracy resuming. There are no third options.
    • Samara's Loyalty Mission also boils down to deciding whether Morinth falls into the hands of ExoGeni or the Butcher and Cerberus. Again, there are no third options.
    • During the Overlord DLC mission, Shepard has two choices: save David by deleting all of the data, meaning all the evidence against Cerberus is wiped out and they get away clean, or preserve it to hurt Cerberus, while knowing the Alliance may choose to continue the research on David themselves. Either way, the Butcher mocks your decision.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Averted. The Butcher is either The Butcher of Torfan or, if Shepard has the Ruthless Background, is the Hero of Elysium.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Shepard can choose to do this on Illium when the Butcher tries taking Nasana hostage in order to escape.
  • Survivor Guilt: Garrus suffers this, amplified due to how the last of his team dies while you're desperately trying to reach them and the actions of The Butcher.
  • Taking the Bullet: During the Shadow Broker DLC mission, Jacob and Miranda are scripted to step in and take blows to protect the Butcher.
  • Time Skip: The DLC missions would be framed as Shepard reflecting back upon them, and would be set in appropriate parts of the overall timeline. Playing a mission 'out of order' would simply mean certain spoilery plot points would not be mentioned.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Shepard. No matter how much information the Player finds out about the true nature of Cerberus, Shepard doesn't find out.
  • Villain Has a Point: Discussed in the Analysis Notes for Thane's recruitment. While Jacob points out that the Drell are effectively the Hanar's own personal cabal of assassins, his protests are tainted by how hypocritical it seems for him to protest this given his involvement with Cerberus.
  • We Used to Be Friends: As revealed in a loyalty mission, Miranda was Subject One at the Teltin facility, and bonded over their shared horrific experiences. However, Jack was the stronger biotic, and when she escaped, Miranda wasn't able to follow. Each thought the other betrayed them, to escape alone or join Cerberus.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Cerberus Trio will keep chewing Shepard and co. out for going after Cerberus forces first during the attack on Omega.
  • The Worf Effect: In order to prove the Butcher is a formidable opponent, he's involved in the slaughter of Garrus's team, pushing their leader to the brink of the Despair Event Horizon.


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