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Fanfic / Mass Effect: Human Revolution

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Mass Effect: Human Revolution (Discussion thread, with previews, multimedia and Word of God, found here and continued here, here, here and here.) by IgnusDei is a Mass Effect/Deus Ex: Human Revolution crossover fanfic.

The gap between present day and the Mass Effect times has been filled by the Deus Ex games' events... and anti-augmentation fanatics have won. David Sarif, predicting a new dark age, has had his stock of knowledge cached away and key Sarif Industries personnel, including himself and Adam Jensen, turned into Human Popsicles in the hope of seeing a less bigoted future.

It's the 2170s when the Sarif Cache is found, and unfortunately for Sarif, anti-aug feelings are still running high. Adam is the only one who is revivable, and after some initial difficulty he takes his leave from Earth in search of a friendlier place to lay down roots. After an attempt to settle in Elysium didn't go so well, he has become a proud and decorated Detective Sergeant in C-SEC and works with Garrus Vakarian.

However, things are about to go wrong spectacularly. When one who should have gone on to become a hero of legend is found murdered, Adam must once again take up the twin mantles of detective and warrior to discover the truth and save the galaxy from enemies both shadowy and overt, ancient and current, mysteriously alien and disturbingly familiar.

Non-trivial trivia; IgnusDei was personally involved with the development of DX:HR - at least to the point of having designed several set pieces.

Recap page now under construction, and there is also a shout out page.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • A Glass in the Hand: In chapter 46 Adam did this to his drink glass in fury.
  • A House Divided: Benezia attempts to invoke this in chapter 23 against the Normandy crew.
  • Abnormal Ammo: In chapter 38 Adam meets a gunsmith Volus who turns six of his .357 rounds special. So far, the effects revealed are:
    • Yellow: Explosive
    • Blue: Chain Lightning
    • Green: Corrosive Toxin
    • White: Cryo
    • Teal: Electromagnetic pulse
    • Black: Anti-Psionic Round, explicitly likened to Subject Zero's God Eater sword
  • Absence of Evidence: Caim quickly realizes that the site of "Jensen's rampage" has been heavily tampered with because it's awfully fresh-smelling for the site of a massacre.
    "This is a place of death, and yet it smells like... nothing. It smells not of blood, or shit, or maggots."
  • Achievements in Ignorance: How Conrad Verner, aka "Jake Armitage" managed to assemble a network of freelance mercenaries, infiltrate a mercenary frigate, and destroy it from the inside while saving the person he was hired to rescue.
    Jensen: Wait... give me a moment to process this. Are you telling me Conrad LARP'ed his way throughout the Terminus systems and inadvertently created a network for freelance mercenaries?
    • Conrad seems to be the go-to man for these. In Chapter 44, Tela Vasir slaps a No Warping Zone on the Durendal so she can kill everyone aboard and seize their cache of artifacts for the asari. Said zones usually make FTL travel impossible until someone shuts down and restarts the drive - the equivalent of forcibly turning off a hanging computer and rebooting - more than enough time for the attacker to board or destroy the vessel. Conrad not only No Sells the zone, but makes the Durendal ten percent faster while thinking the whole thing was a glitch.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Has a lot, given its lineage, and does them well.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Chief Engineer Greg Adams is Addams here, so as to reduce the chance of confusion with Adam Jensen.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The Geth Infiltrator with the 1,183 runtimes? He's batting for the other team here.
    • Zig-zagged with Charr, the poetry-loving krogan seen in ME2 and ME3. He joined up with Wreav to make some extra money so that he and his girlfriend could live in peace on Illium, but quit at the first opportunity to surrender because he didn't know that he'd be doing a genocidal rampage.
    • Zig-zagged with anyone who has been Snatched prior to their on-screen appearance (such as Seed and Bailey) since technically, the original person was't evil, but we don't learn it's not the original person at first.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: There's a Fictional Document called "Toma's Tome of Tuchankan Tall Tales".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Nielsen who was a bioroid assassin for the Alliance eventually went crazy and deliberately carried out an obvious assassination just so people would be able to appreciate it.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Justified; ventilation passages in krogan battle barges are huge because they're really meant for defenders to outmaneuver boarders.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Johann Ramsus in chapter 41, ultimately just a boy desperately seeking his family but failing to reach them.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Played with. Hein states that the influence the asari exert over alien cultures tend to overwhelm and ultimately replace them with their own. He goes on to speculate that the asari, by placing themselves as the absolute cultural ideal as well as making use of their long lifespans, subjugate other races this way. Manah though tries to dismiss his claims as the ramblings of a irrational conspiracy theorist.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Hein points out to Tali how Jensen remains compassionate even as the Templars vie to burn him at the stake, the Alliance plans to help them do so, and the Council barely acknowledges his accomplishments.
    • There's also Manah and her totally-not-an-Ardat-Yakshi powers. Touching her skin with uncovered skin induces a Red Sand-like high effect in the toucher. It is implied that the process is insanely addictive and harmful to the subject. It is also implied that Liara lost her mind because of it. She is kept under watch by Justicars, her movement is restricted and monitored and she's not allowed to tell anyone of her condition directly due to psychological conditioning.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Any real detail would go deep into spoiler territory, but suffice to say that the history of the galaxy is a vastly, vastly different one from canon even before the Deus Ex-derived bits come in via Humanity entering the galactic scene.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: In chapter 41 Adam and Johann fight Scholar in a constantly changing psychedelic landscape.
  • Amicable Exes: Averted with Wrex and Bakara. While it is implied that they were close once upon a time, nowadays they can barely hold a conversation without heating up into an argument. Despite this it is shown that they still care about each other despite their fighting.
    • A later chapter reveals they were engaged at one time, but while Bakara still wears her engagement bracelet, Wrex never picked his up after it was confiscated after one of his arrests.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse:
    • In chapter 40 Blacklight offers to "be paying a visit" to the families and loved ones of the Normandy crew if Anderson refuses to fall in line.
    • Saren cannot overtly resist the Illuminati, as they have the ability to shut down his heart and cybernetics at their discretion.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • "Interludes of Madness, Sorrow, and Fury" is the backstory of Hannibal and Johann.
    • "Interlude 2: Stillborn" takes place in the recent past and tells of a turian named Leto Valerius and his family. His son is today known as Garrus Vakarian.
    • "Interlude 3" starts off even further in the past, in 2130, initially following a team of Templar troops as they investigate a city built by Advanced Ancient Humans. It then jumps forward about two decades to Subject Zero recounting one of her past missions... and how she dies.
  • Androcles' Lion: Way back before he joined C-Sec, Adam was doing his best to fall into alcoholism until Bailey found him and helped him out. This is why Adam didn't out him as a Snatcher. That, and Bailey surpassed his programming and is against the newer, Reaper-aligned Snatchers.
  • Anything That Moves: Not one of the most extreme examples, but Jane of the Deep Eyes casually propositions Garrus for some "Cooldown Sex" after a mission.
  • Apathetic Citizens: The people of Noveria pay little attention to a spoiled brat abusing her clone maid, maybe shaking their heads but not making any effort to call police on her.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • Tali leaves one when she thinks she's going to die.
    • In chapter 20 a Batarian slaver's diary turns into this when Adam and the Deep Eyes pay him a visit.
    • There are plenty in Peak 15, justified as deliberately meant to let recovery teams know what happened.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Chapter 15: Garrus dismisses the idea of a shapeshifting killer, to which Adam says that he lives on a space station.
    • Chapter 26: "You're an artificial human that can regenerate from fatal wounds in seconds denying the possibility that a young asari can breakdown alcohol quickly."
    • Chapter 38: Adam is confused by the sight of a sapient anthropomorphic rabbit-cat. Hannibal reminds him that they "live in a galaxy dominated by blue women that can mate with their brains" and just killed a flying shark.
    • Shortly afterwards in that same chapter, Hannibal expresses doubt about the idea of "a krogan scientist worthy of the term", upon which Adam tosses the other's earlier words right back at him.
    • In chapter 39, Aya and Garrus can't believe the talk of psychic powers.
    • It's a sign of Garrus' Character Development in chapter 41 when his response to having killed a flying shark in a supersonic High-Altitude Battle is not "are you kidding?" but "this is so cool!"
    • Aya on the other hand still can't take talk of possession or ghosts seriously.
    • In chapter 43, Spooky doesn't believe Adam's exposition on the past of the prometheans and reapers. Lunchbox calls him out on it.
    Lunchbox frowned at him. "Oh, come on! You believe in countless conspiracy theories!" He pointed his finger in accusation. "You believe in ancient societies faking the first moon landing but ancient space ninjas fighting ghosts from hyperspace is too much?!"
  • Arc Words: "The more power you think you have, the more likely it can slip from your grasp."
  • Armor Is Useless: Edward claims that the 108 will not stop a sustained or charged Serpent shot or a heat weapon. This is a special case, as the 108 has proven quite reliable against many other weapon types.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Wrex's official rap sheet includes "Two hundred and sixty-seven counts of driving under the influence, three hundred and seventy-five counts of vandalism and assault, and one count littering."
    • "Clones, like Lawson, are subject to abnormally expressed genes as they get older. This can result in organ failure, premature aging, cancer, and obesity."
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Done by Fyodor, the quarian child rescued by the Deep Eyes. While recuperating aboard the Durendal, he draws cutesy child art depicting allegorical monsters murdering fellow quarians, Adam as a mercenary-slaughtering giant German Shepherd and the Deep Eyes slaughtering the mob besieging his family. Alongside genuinely cute pictures depicting Aki Ross as an angel, Grey, Ryan and Garrus as noble knights, and Hein as a classic mad scientist/evil sorceror. It gets worse later on, as he portrays Aya as a Shin Megami Tensei Angel and Manah as a Succubus. And then there's the Paradise Lost illustration...
  • As You Know: Lampshaded in "Interludes", where Johann is unamused by Charles Lawson recounting one of the former's missions.
  • Ascended Extra: Rosamund "Rosie" Draven, canonically a Normandy crew member of no consequence, gets some lines and development of her own.
  • Ate His Gun: Fist.
  • Audience Participation: readers were invited by the author to choose the party members that would go with Adam down to Noveria, as well as which two of the three tasks Adam would undertake in preparation for going after Elsa Devereaux.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: In the backstory, the Moon colonists tried to take over Earth by carrying out guerilla superfighter attacks and demanding the feuding supranational blocs of Earth cede control. All that did was make the Earthnoids mad.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Subverted. Spectre Jondum Bau, on viewing the aftermath of a failed pirate attack, initially decrees a fully automatic crossbow as this... until he sees that the tips of the bolts are coated in a special pollen that scrambles sensors, which renders kinetic barriers useless.
    • Opponents of Wanzers decree them this.
  • Badass Boast: In chapter 47 -
    An image appeared on screen, that of Nielsen's mangled head, with the words SHE DIED SCREAMING LIKE A BITCH AND SO WILL YOU written on the bottom in big capital letters.
  • Badass Creed: Part of Blacklight's is revealed in chapter 38 when one of their troopers tries to use it as a Survival Mantra.
  • Balls of Steel: Roegadyn Bizarre Alien Biology means that their penis retracts safely into the shell-protected groin.
  • Ballistic Discount: On the mission to Caleston, Garrus needs to acquire some explosives from some Drell mercenaries. At first he walks into their hangout with a pocket full of platinum, but upon realizing that they're all high as satellites on various recreational drugs, he simply walks up to each one, tazes them into unconsciousness, and helps himself to their more practical party favors. Jensen approves, because "that's what he also did back in the day".
  • Barrier-Busting Blow:
  • The Battlestar: The Templar supercarrier Hand of Baphomet has twice the strikecraft capacity of her De Sable-class sisters but also mounts a dreadnought's direct firepower.
  • Beard of Evil: Discussed. "Take over the ship? Why does everyone suspect the worst of [Adam], hm? It must be the beard. That fine, Evil Overlord Beard worthy of Cesare Borgia."
  • Berserk Button:
    • Jensen is a polite, soft-spoken man who just happens to be one of the most dangerous cyborgs ever built. Most of the time, he limits himself to non-lethal maneuvers and weapons, even when fighting the most hardened of criminals. But if he gets into a situation that sets off his Chronic Hero Syndrome (innocent people threatened by powerful forces) or his deep-rooted fear of fire, the gloves come OFF.
    • The Roegadyn are stated in their codex entry as being utterly calm in nearly any situation, but threaten their family or clan, and it'll probably be the last thing you ever do.
    • Hein is mostly shown as a smarmy, if magnificent, bastard, but he breaks character and goes cold when Garrus tried to defend General Arterius' actions at Shanxi in Chapter 18.
    • Hein goes cold again in chapter 23 when the possibility of leaving a vital Prothean artifact to the Alliance is brought up.
    • Adam freezes with Tranquil Fury in chapter 28 when Toombs calls him an Illuminatus. Cue Teleport Spam Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In chapter 24 Manah recognises that Hein is trying to tempt her with what she wants to hear, hopes that Bau will be more honest, and immediately gets a slap of Brutal Honesty.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Jensen and Vakarian are the Citadel's two supercops, and recognized by many as friendly, mild-mannered, trustworthy sorts. But don't push them...
    • After Garrus discovers that an innocent Quarian girl is being sold to Saren's goons, he charges into Chorra's Den, kills several well-armed thugs and... gets himself caught.
    • After Jensen finds what Tali believes to be her dying message, eight asari huntresses go to greet the void within the next half hour..
    • In Chapter 3, Adam reminisces on the beginning of his feud with Udina; He figured out Harkin had stolen drugs from lockup, destroying a case. It only took Adam four days to get Harkin arrested for severe corruption. It took every favor Udina had to keep Harkin out of prison long enough for him to "fade" away.
      • When he finds out that Fade is connected with Shepard's death, his memories of how Harkin screwed up a case in which a pimp was able to murder eight prostitutes and dump their bodies in waste recyclers, he pulls out his arm blades and comes this close to shanking him.
    • Garrus recalls in Chapter 9 that he and Adam once helped a sick quarian into a major hospital, only for the doctors to pass him around because they didn't want to care for him, resulting in his body being found in a rathole clinic on the other side of the Ward. Adam ends up arresting four hospital administrators and three head nurses for Gross Negligence and Dereliction of Duty of Care.
    • Jensen continues this when he threatens Udina in the Normandy's airlock. We don't know what happens inside, but it causes Udina to piss his pants.
    • Chapter 20. Jensen finds out an armed-to-the-teeth AIA wetworks squad killed a turian kid who lived in his apartment block and looked up to him for seeing them. All twelve of them die within the next minute.
      Sergeant Cross: Do you know how many men and women and children (Walker)'s killed? Nah, she just quivered her lips at you and that's all it took for you to start with the killin'! I killed for the sake of my nation! You killed eleven men for the sake of PUSSY!
      Jensen: And I killed twelve men for the sake of little Mettius. (throws Cross at window so hard he splatters - though his Dragon-Fire implant makes him rather squishy)
  • BFG:
    • Bren uses a 20mm Gatling.
    • The krogan HeK quad shotgun is 54mm a barrel and powerful enough to be used as anti-aircraft or improvised mortar.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: In the grand old Cyberpunk tradition, Noveria's Dosadi arcology is full of omnipresent cameras equipped with never-tiring image recognition VIs, ostensibly to keep an eye out for miscreants. Of course, anyone who's savvy knows better. Also, all citizens are Chipped, which allows a VI to keep track of their locations at all times, monitor their purchases and activities and deliver targeted advertising. Truly 21st century datamining taken to the extreme. And even your head is not spared - Arcadia ensures that even dreams are being watched. The Party would be envious.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Jensen in Chapter 7, twice. First he kills five asari Huntresses in under a minute - seconds before they execute a group of quarians, then he Outside Rides a sports Flying Car to rescue Tali before she dies of extensive infections from an extended chase by Saren's forces.
    • Offscreen, but the Deep Eyes played this to the quarians Jensen rescued, after they were trapped by a completely different mob.
    • In chapter 35 the Durendal saves Zoller from dying of asphyxiation.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Untranslated French has shown up a few times. The conversations between Adam and Elsa are almost all this.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: In ME:HR, Roegadyn have prehensile penises tucked behind a sturdy "shell," similar to Earth's leopard slugs. This apparently makes them the male equivalent of asari - Mjrn, at least, speaks fondly of a Roegadyn boyfriend she dated years earlier who could, "turn it into this big bulbous flower..."
  • Bothering by the Book: Played both ways between Jensen and Executor Pallin. Jensen ignored orders to cease the Saren investigation, but then pointed out that Pallin had only declared the case was closed and had failed to go through the necessary channels to make the order official, so Jensen technically didn't do anything wrong. However, that technicality didn't stop Pallin from suspending Jensen for a week without pay for another technicality regarding his investigation.
  • Brain Uploading:
    • Discussed and subverted in chapter 28 - Shepard's Soul Catcher has everything that should be needed to reconstruct her, and yet doesn't actually have her.
    He took out the hexagonal chip from his coat, the Soul Catcher that contained Shepard's memories, her mind, her skills... but ironically, not her soul.
    • In chapter 35 we learn that part of the process of making Snatchers involves making a copy of a person's memories.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The entire population of Caleston's ghettoized Red Light District, resulting in a massive orgy/party for days and an angry mob when Jensen is discovered. Everyone else affected by the Black Queen qualifies, but they're mostly sane, for Templars.
    • The finale of the Battle for Noveria involves a similar, albeit far more localized, event.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The litter charge in Wrex's rap sheet? "Two pairs of testicles he had torn off a fellow krogan and unceremoniously thrown in a floating park's lake."
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: In chapter 47, Pallin stored some vital data in a floppy disk. Adam and co. have to go to some lengths to find a machine that can read it.
  • Breather Episode: The crew take a break on Ilium after the insanity of Caleston. Then a bunch of goons show up looking for Conrad... and a Justicar for Manah...
  • Brick Joke:
    • The day after Jensen swears to punch out and arrest Hwang after finding that he warned Shepard's killer they was coming, nearly getting them all killed, he reviews his to do list, with "punch that bastard Hwang out" and "arrest that bastard Hwang" crossed off already.
    • Early on, Jenkins tried to pass himself off as "Riddick". In chapter 25 he gets artificial eyes.
    • A rather dark one in chapter 34. Near the start of the chapter, Jules remarks that he never found out who Gianna Parasini's employer was despite the rape-torture. At the end, we get to find out just who it was.
    • Another dark one in chapter 40. Back in chapter 34, Mjrn asked Wrex who would win in a fight between him and Bren. In chapter 40 Wrex has to fight the Husk made from Bren's corpse. Wrex wins, though not without a lot of help from the rest
  • Broad Strokes: The author has explicitly stated that Deus Ex: Invisible War did not happen as in canon, but most of its elements appear to be present; most major trading nexuses have Omar collectives, and The Fundamentalist Order Church is a powerful human institution - as well as a major force behind Fantastic Racism towards emergent technologies such as augs and AI. This means they hate quarians, too. They have a militant arm called the Templars. Alex Denton survived to 2156 and was working with the Illuminati.
  • Brought Down to Badass: After the Noveria arc, Jensen finds out that Aleph has to put himself into stasis to stop Jensen's brain from frying. This means Jensen can't use any of the powers he gained since Calestom. It doesn't take long for the reader to be reminded that even if Jensen can't play with the basic forces of the universe, he is still an elite wetworks agent and C-Sec's star cop—and that's outside the 108.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In chapter 41 the Scholar-rewritten memories show Pritchard snarking off to "Kai Leng" despite having acknowledged him as an Attila the Hun immediately before. He gets broken fingers for his trouble.
  • Burn the Witch!: The fate of Adam's wife and child.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In the second prologue, Pallin says that accusations of Spectres causing the deaths of thousands happen all the time and thus C-SEC won't intervene in Saren's case without solid evidence.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Aleph calls biotics "starfire", nanomachine control "Molecular Control" and Charge "Zero Shift".
  • Call-Back:
    • Modernised GEP Guns are in use.
    • The asari Huntresses working for Saren who take Tali captive are convinced that Spectres are after them. In the first chapter, it is suggested that Adam is being considered for Spectrehood and canon tells us Garrus was considered too.
    • When Jenkins considers a police career, he is told to look into Detroit, which is where part of HR took place.
    • "Laputan Machine, repeat, Laputan Machine!"note 
    • In chapter 18, Aki tells Tali that Adam has a sticky knee actuator that needs fixing and she's more of a doctor than an engineer. In the original DX, Dr. Reyes had to fix Gunther's sticky knee actuator and complained that he felt more like an engineer than a doctor.
    • "Here we have a Brunette... and here we have glass, and here we have horrible physical pain... Here we have fire... Oh, let me take compile a short preview vid for you."
      With a few keystrokes, Hein conjured up a short, one second video of a harsh looking human with a black shirt and red arms aiming a gun at the 'camera'.Explanation 
    • Steiner-Bisley, Panzerwerks/x and Standard Security Corporation are still in operation.
    • On Elysium, as on Panchaea, Adam had to fight pseudo-zombies.
    • The Omar Drebin's first name is "Smuggler". The canonical Drebin was an expy of the DX character with that title. Word of God directly confirmed that he IS that Smuggler.
    • Chapter 20: Adam gets loaded into ordnance for impromptu transport.
    • In chapter 23, the Black Queen's temptations included visions of Faridah Malik, Pritchard and Megan.
    • In chapter 26, we learn that Adam had entered the Hive by punching out the bouncer and taking his keypass.
    • Either Chad Dumier's Dead Guy Junior or My Grandson, Myself is head of the WTO.
    • Adam gets unwanted changes made to his body again.
    • Chapter 28, albeit about Toombs: "The body may/will heal... but the mind..."
    • "So, is this going to be a thing? You getting caught, stripped naked, tied up, then needing me to rescue your naked ass?"
    • In chapter 30, Smuggler tests Adam with traps the same way he did JC.
    • Tarsus Academy was apparently still set up. No official word on whether Tracer Tong was still its founder.
    • The Warrior's "Reason You Suck" Speech references the Tyrants by their animal codenames, as well as Adam's fights with Bryce Lawson and Toombs.
    • In chapter 38, Adam paraphrases the words he said to Tracer, and which Tracer would go on to say to JC, a century ago. "The more power you think you have, the easier it slips from your grasp." He says it again in chapter 41.
    • JC Denton keeps getting mentioned, though few details have been released about what exactly he did.
    • In chapter 44, Johann says this isn't the first time he put on someone else's face.
  • Call-Forward:
    • What does Fyodor depict Garrus as in his drawing in chapter 18? An Archangel.
    • 'Benezia hadn't just gone into her head and assumed direct control of her body.'
    • "Nooooo... I said that we should have a tie-breaker. Pit your flexibility against my reach... Wait, that came out wrong."
    • CAT6 show up way ahead of schedule on Ilium.
    • "I had a good run .... The best."note 
    • In chapter 31, a "Zaeed Massani package" is mentioned.
    • Chapter 36: Adam does a biotic punch against a robot zombie grasping at him from between two doors, like Shepard would in canon ME3.
    • In chapter 38, Adam reaches out to a child in a vent who claims to be unsavable, then vanishes when Adam takes another look.note 
    • In Interludes 2, Brutus is fascinated by human reproductive systems.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • An attacking mech does this on Noveria.
    • Hannibal has a habit of this, which gets a Lampshade Hanging in chapter 41.
  • Cassandra Truth: The reaction of the Deep Eyes to Adam talking about the Illuminati in chapter 26.
  • Cat Fight: Hein was hoping for one to break out between Ashley and Jane.
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: Turians don't ban augmentations or implants, but they are reserved for the higher tiers of their Fantastic Caste System. However, turians who are born handicapped can't enter military service, meaning they're not even first-tier citizens - which means they can get medical treatment for diseases, but not augmentations to remove, for example, a set of diseased lungs without private funding. note 
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: In chapter 44, Adam and Aya walk in on Johann masturbating. He does not stop for their benefit.
  • Ceiling Cling: Done by Nielsen. Adam later pulls this off.
  • Central Theme:
    • Obsolescence for the whole story. See So Last Season.
    • Identity and what makes a being - is a person just his memories, personality and skills, or is there something more? Is he less if any of them are missing or damaged? What if you can copy them wholesale?
    • Pride for the Caleston arc.
    • The malleability of memory in Noveria's Dosadi arcology.
    • Connection in chapter 34.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Invoked by Subject Zero in Interlude 3, who has a hardsuit cut down into a belly button-exposing corset. Her reasoning is simple: because her Psychic Powers render her immune to bullets, she doesn't really need the full body coverage, and the fact that their weapons are completely ineffective against a mostly-exposed girl utterly terrifies her opponents.
  • Chandler's Law: At the end of Chapter 27, but with a new-car-smell fresh twist; In a group filled with badass - a Cowboy Cop, a Mad Scientist, two Playful Hackers and an entire squad of Marines - the goons are there hunting the fragging Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Chaos Architecture: The Granada Hotel in chapter 41.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys:
    • Alluded to and promptly subverted in chapter 28.
      Samara had been told this particular breed of human — a Frenchman — tended to cave in under threat of violence,so she attempted to threaten him into letting her through. What Samara didn't know was that Robert St-Germain, before getting involved in the restaurant business, was a member of the Foreign Legion, having served in the Algerian Wastes and Huffman island, and was neither impressed with her threats nor her tasteless cleavage (facts that he was more than happy to inform her about).
    • Also mentioned in chapter 34 from Taggart, a Scot.
      But bloody hell if Taggart was going to surrender to an overgrown frog. It'd be worse then surrendering to the French, he thought.
    • Also mentioned during the space battle over Noveria. Everyone in orbit, save the Normandy, joined in to fight the geth attack. Emphasis was given to the fact that the French were up there fighting as well while the Alliance's Normandy was stuck following the AIA's blackout protocols.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Omnitool Adam takes off Bryce Lawson in chapter 17. In chapter 28 we learn what's on it. Then in chapter 40 we learn what the audio recording it contained is really about.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Shepard's Soul Catcher chip. Initially seems to do nothing when Adam first interfaces with it. Turns out to contain the imprint of a Promethean... and maybe, just maybe, Shepard too.
    • The Durendal has a main gun that Hein won't let anyone else touch.
    • Garrus has been unavailable for Dosadi due to working on something. In chapter 38, it turns out to be Powered Armor.
    • In chapter 33, Kasumi tells Adam that Fake Memories will eventually wear off and the real ones reassert themselves if not reinforced or the brain damaged. In chapter 36 it turns out that Jules Leng is a fake persona overwriting someone else.
    • In chapter 38, Adam picks up a smoke bomb, which gets used shortly afterwards against a bunch of mercenaries.
    • Cloak psychosis, first mentioned in chapter 23, gets a horrifying payoff in chapter 38.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The Fiera were briefly mentioned in chapter 17, way before one of them actually showed up.
    • There have been recurring mentions of Jack Harper and his Kerberos Tactical Solutions PMC.
    • Ken Ruger, at first appearing to just be another Dream Hacker, turns out to be one of Scholar's men.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • In chapter 31 Adam was taught to conjure things in the dreamscape by willing them so. He puts it to use in chapter 41.
    • When Scholar claimed in chapter 31 to be an even better dream hacker than Kasumi, he was not joking. God, he was definitely not joking...
  • Childless Dystopia: There hasn't been a single krogan birth in fifteen years.
  • China Takes Over the World: The Coalition, of which China is the primary member state, is an In-Universe bogeyman to the European Union, having tried to turn the cold war hot several times in the past.
  • Church Militant: The Templars, the Order's military branch. Where soldiers enter combat reciting poetry, calling enemies "witches" and "blasphemers," and burning large swathes of land down to catch a single person are apparently typical behaviors.
  • Collective Identity: Manticore and Europa Genomics take a bunch of random criminals, thugs, homeless, junkies, and other dregs of society and brainwash and write Zaeed Massani's personality into all of them, turning them into an army of disposable killers who act in perfect coordination and who incidentally all speak with British accents.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Done with pretty much every recurring character. Most of them are 'played' by the VA or Ink-Suit Actor of that particular character in the source work (with little exceptions for cases like the use of several different Yvonne Strahovski characters at once or combining miltiple David Duchovny characters and their expies into a single person) and a lot of Actor Allusion thrown in for good measure.
  • Compelling Voice:
    • The first chapter has someone who worked with Adam comment on how he managed to talk the hostage taker down saying he had a "silver tongue". Adam was using his CASIE mod. On another note in the game "Silver Tongue" awards the player with 1000 experience when they manage to talk an enemy into their point of view.
    • The Enhanced Pheromonal Response Attuner (EPRA) gives its user the ability to release pheromones powerful enough to cause extreme arousal or subservience.
    • Ramsus claims that Shepard was so charismatic, so skilled in securing loyalties, that it bordered on being preternatural.
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • When talking about Saren's attack on Eden Prime, Adam points out that if Saren wanted mass death he would just have dropped an asteroid and if he only wanted the beacon he would have stolen it discreetly. Anderson replies that a bombardment would have been too impersonal and a theft too discreet.
    • Invoked in a downplayed manner by Nielsen for Shepard's murder. She made it an obvious murder rather than making it look like an accident because she was never acknowledged for her previous kills.
  • Computer Equals Monitor: Defied in Chapter 47.
    Lunchbox: They always shoot the screen. In the movies set in the twentieth century, I mean. They always shoot the screen, and the computer is "destroyed".
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Quite literally with Mira in chapter 37.
  • Concealment Equals Cover:
    • This is the case under the Ilium Armax Arena's programming, much to Edward's displeasure.
    • Discussed in chapter 34 by Wrex, who states that Bren's BFG would defy this even through cement.
    • Also justified in chapter 34, where the Mecha-Mooks are trying to take Spooky alive and thus use beanbag rounds that don't penetrate.
  • Conspiracy Thriller: Given its origins is it surprising?
  • Continuity Nod: Non-plot relevant references to the games include:
    • "You make me spill my drink!"
    • NUKE! Soda is still being sold.
    • Jules smokes Royal Hellhounds Cigarettes.
    • In chapter 39, the description of a person getting the business end of a stun stick is exactly like how using the cattle prod worked out in the first DX.
    • Adam comments on how his battery system was upgraded so "He didn't have to eat a candy bar every time he punched someone.
  • Control Freak: If Johann can be believed, the Illuminati as a whole are this, which is why they keep offing people who would be useful but aren't under their control.
  • Cowboy Cop: C-Sec's resident "super-cops" Garrus Vakarian and Adam Jensen. Between the two of them, the Spectres get hacked, thugs get shot in the head, criminal bars are assaulted, and tail lights get broken. Adam generally will try to act as a By-the-Book Cop as much as possible, but he's willing to bend and break some rules when things get serious. Garrus on the other hand has fewer compunctions.
  • Crapsack World: True to Cyberpunk tradition. This extends to multiple worlds and to the galaxy at large. Hardly any major power in this story is completely free of guilt.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Ashley says that Sarif couldn't have predicted biotics when putting Adam's augs together. Turns out the kinetic bleeders that prevent Jensen's Action Bomb from being a suicide attack also prevent him from being thrown around by coherent dark energy bolts.
  • Cruel Mercy: Caim chooses to only blind Jenkins rather than kill him outright.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The batarian capital of Khar'shan is a subversion; as we learn in chapter 25, it has the architecture but not the attitude.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Apparently a common alien female response to the sight of a pookah, especially from asari. Even Manah forgets that she can't touch people without likely frying their brain in her overwhelming urge to hug Alistair. Remarkably, Tela Vasir seems to be immune to the effect.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • When Adam prepares to go up against a physiopharmaceutically-augmented clone turian, Adam visualizes a Super-Detailed Fight Narration in Bullet Time. Then Wrex barrels in and takes the clone out.
    • In chapter 37, Mira cheats to win in a chess game acting as a puzzle-based barrier to entry. So Adam just jacks into her core and lobotomises her directly.
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: The music at Hwang's. For those of you not following the SB thread, the author linked to this track.
  • Cycle of Revenge: In chapter 18, we learn that in ME:HR's version of Shanxi, human soldiers continuing to fight after General Williams's surrender led to General Arterius executing them, which led to their children picking up guns, which led to the turians fighting back...

  • Decon-Recon Switch: Of crossover fanfic in general; some of these things don't belong together, but they can be slowly integrated over time.
    IgnusDei: The 'real' world is a fusion of Mass Effect and Deus Ex (with other Square Enix sci-fi titles thrown in for flavour). This is the world we accept. It makes sense.

    The 'others', the Prometheans and the invading abominable eldritch force, are based on Shin Megami Tensei / Xenogears / Drakengard / Final Fantasy / Warframe / Berserk. Your Mileage May Vary, but there's something to be said when your mind rebels whenever they show up. They're truly alien, and their mere presence enters in conflict with established facts and reveals weird things about the universe.
  • The Dreaded: The Dayak is this, and considering its original prey were krogan...
  • Deceptively Human Robots: Most bioroids in a nutshell. If someone pulls the thread enough, they tend to freak out, murder the discoverer, and anyone in the nearby area who they think could have witnessed them rip that poor sod's head off. Considering an early incident happened in an airport terminal, it's a wonder there's hardly any information about them.
  • Dead All Along: In Jensen's flashback to when he first encountered bioroids, Julien Seed, along with his family, had been killed months before Jensen even met "Julien." Not even the bioroid that replaced Julien knew it, since he still begs Jensen to protect the real Julien's family.
  • Dead Person Impersonation:
  • Deadly Euphemism: The Alliance Intelligence Agency likes "sanitize".
  • Death Glare:
    • Udina of all people gives Hein one.
    • In chapter 19 we learn that this was Rael'Zorah's favourite means of expressing disappointment in Tali.
    • A common form of communication between members of Adam's Unwanted Harem.
  • Dialogue Reversal: Adam and Garrus sure do love this trope.
    " Vakarian/Jensen! You think you could..." (Boom, Headshot!) "I think I just did!"
    "You got anything to eat?" "Yeah, I got my candy bars. But they're amino/dextro." "Damn."
  • Dirty Business: When Anderson, Hein and Udina have left his office, Hackett privately laments having to recommend Johan Ramsus for Spectrehood.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In chapter 42, Scholar wants to get back at Adam by having one of his men rape a girl and pass it off as Adam's doing.
  • Dissimile: In chapter 41.
    "A deep love, a great love... A love powerful and formidable... a love that CRUSHES LIKE A GIANT METAL FOOT!!!!"
  • Disaster Dominoes: How Conrad Verner AKA "Jake Armitage" accidentally destroyed Paxton Toombs' heavy frigate. First he mentioned his theoretical physics knowledge in earshot of one of his mercs. Then they stuck him in the engine room, where he proceeded to accidentally mess up their fuel cells, then space their rations, and then came the Sneeze of Doom...
    Conrad Verner: Then next thing I knew, I hit my head on someone's else head, and that someone turned out to be a Biotic, and he attempted to biotically push himself away from the core pit and that field interacted with the dark energy containment system in the engine room which led to a destabilized FTL warp field harmonic which led to a structural fault in the core room which lead to cascade failure in the core itself which led to multiple time dilation events that tore the ship apart!
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: In chapter 35.
  • Doomed by Canon: Averted with Jenkins and Shepard, as well as Kaidan.
  • Door Stopper: Over 859,000 words and counting. For reference this story is already longer than War and Peace which comes up to 587,287 words.
  • Double Standard:
    • Jensen muses on this when he considers his fight with Lawson (who is male in this) when he could have simply spied on the man and wonders whether he would have acted the same way if Lawson had been a woman.
    • A similar musing also pops up in Chapter 34 after Jensen spots Kasumi spying on him taking a leak:
      Jensen: "You know, if our genders were reversed I would be well within my rights to punch you."
      Kasumi: "I know! Don't you just hate double standards?"
  • Down the Drain: A Deus Ex story without a sewer level is heresy most foul. Of course there's a few. The first one, interestingly enough, is one on the Citadel. It's well-lit and clean, thanks to mass effect fields. The second, on Noveria, is far more dirty - and filled with monsters, as any sewers connected to mad science labs should be.
  • Dramatic Irony: Grey is incredibly suspicious of Jensen and their new Omar quartermaster, fearing that the Omar would share every sensitive detail about the Durendal to the Omar collective. The next scene, Hein gives an operational report to the Shadow Broker how he dealt with a Batarian slaver ship.
  • Due to the Dead: At least where Erin and Fiona are concerned, Johann treated their bodies with respect. Where his opponents are concerned, it's a whole different story.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Walker actually an impostor named Brea discusses this, suggesting that she could have just gotten Jensen's help by appearing on his doorstep injured and scared. Somewhat later, this is exactly what happens when death squads are sent after her.
    Walker: "Maybe I should have approached you that way... Knock at your apartment door drenched in rain water, my clothes torn, my body shivering, my eyes red and my lip quivering... I suspect you'd have caught the killer in minutes had I put on my battered housewife routine."
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The events of the first Mass Effect are still underway, but Wreav, Tela Vasir, Samara, Legion (sorta), Kasumi, James, Jacob, CAT6, Brooks, Bakara aka "Eve" and Bau have already shown up.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Hein to Adam in chapter 19 on the 108 Powered Armor: "Well, now, maybe Dr. Ross was right? Maybe I should have set this thing to extra easy mode, hm?"
  • Elevator Action Sequence: One in chapter 39 set in Peak 15 involving cloaked enemies. Namely Omar.
  • Enemy Mine: Of the human Spectre candidates, Elsa, Yang and Frost eventually come to work together in the search for Adam.
  • Energy Economy: The Prometheans used this.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Invoked by Shepard's killer who disguised as her mother.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In chapter 17 a black ops commando leader who Would Hurt a Child in order to Leave No Witnesses is disgusted that a subordinate wants to rape their target. Though that could be because said target is a Bioroid.
    • In chapter 38 another bunch of Blacklight troops try to wiggle their way out of the killing kids thing and are disgusted at one of their number who has no such qualms.
  • Evil Versus Evil: In chapter 7 Saren's asari Huntresses kill a group of Order-aligned anti-quarian rioters.
  • Evil Wears Black: The AIA uses black-painted Kodiaks, in contrast to the standard Alliance blue.
  • Experience Points: The Sarif-made Praxis implants used by Jensen and Brea streamline their learning abilities when they engage in difficult tasks, which enabled them to learn dozens of languages. The Pro(me)theans' had a much greater understanding of the process - like Stephen Hawking's compared to Pythagoras' knowledge of physics. They called the metaphysical resource it manipulated "Anima" - which the Reapers feed on to survive... and Jensen consumes to enhance himself in a similar manner.
    Mey "Red Raven" Leng: Surely you must have noticed... every man you've killed, every spirit you've broken... each victory made you stronger, faster, more resilient. Did you ever wonder why that was?
  • Expy:
  • Extranormal Institute: The Systems Alliance has Kinderheim 511, where biotic children are psycho-conditioned to bring out their full potential while also implanted with control phrases.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: The seraphim in chapter 41 have 36 eyes on their wings.
    • The God Eater sword creeps out everyone who isn't Ramsus.
  • False Reassurance:
    • In chapter 39 Adam tells Tartakovsky he won't kill the other, then sics Hannibal on him.
    • In chapter 41 Adam agrees with Scholar that "You give men the justice they deserve", then punches him so hard his neck snaps.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The racism against quarians gets a much more personal looking-at thanks to the Tali rescue this time around.
    • Adam gets a lot of fire from humans for being augmented, as well.
    • Still exists between humans and turians, made worse by the complete-bastardness of both sides' leadership.
    • As we learn in chapter 25, there's biotic hate going around too.
    • The asari really really really hate the fiera for stealing one of their "hats".
  • Fantastic Ghetto: Once the Templars gained control over Caleston, they quickly moved all the alien population into the Red Light district. They don't bother patrolling inside anymore, and the situation quickly descended into mass anarchy and partying.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Harkin says that his fear of this is why he is holding out on C-SEC.
  • Female Gaze: In-Universe in chapter 18.
    'Despite herself, Aki couldn't help but glance at his posterior. It was plastic and carbon, of course: there wasn't much point in augmenting someone's legs unless you replaced every leg muscle. Still, it was a nicely sculpted piece of plastic and carbon, and from the quick embarrassed glances Tali tried to not to take at it, Aki could tell she agreed, too.'
  • Final Exam Finale: In the Benezia fight, Adam had to recall and use some of the things that were mentioned earlier.
  • Flat "What":
    • Tali gives one when Hein challenges her to hack Jensen's implants.
    • This is Adam's response in chapter 28 when Conrad tells him about getting an offer to join the Normandy's engineering crew.
  • Flawed Super Prototype : The Durendal is this to the Normandy;
    • Its FTL drive core is cracked, which not only reduces its speed, but results in an ongoing(but small) risk of catastrophic failure. It has a fraction of the crew it needs to operate, and is dependent on extensive jury-rigged automation. Its STL engines are second-hand and decades out of date, resulting in a huge heat wake that makes it exponentially easier to track when its going at full acceleration. In stealth mode, it is reliant on cold gas thrusters to move to minimize its thermal signature, as the core isn't capable of creating the gravity well that the Normandy can 'fall into'.
    • On the other hand, its FTL drive core is several times bigger than the Normandy's, enabling it to travel further. It has state-of-the-art machine shops, meaning it has lower maintenance costs. Its STL engines are more powerful. And despite its limited range in stealth mode, it can stay stealthed a lot longer. On top of all that, it has a main cannon that Hein religiously won't let anyone else see...
      • Just about all of the latter is the direct result of the former, of course.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: For the humans anyway, once they learn that a key figure in ancient Promethean history is named Stephen. Wrex, however, thinks that it sounds weird and foreign enough to work.
  • Food Porn: In chapter 28, this is the treatment given to Adam trying to feed Manah.
  • Forced to Watch: In chapter 38, Red Raven tries to invoke this on Adam by having mercenaries target the children he's protecting.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Remember what Sarah said about how she would seek Adam's help in a way that would ensure she would get it? Guess what happens a few chapters later.
    • Chapter 19: "I have no idea! Maybe [Adam's] brain implants are keeping him stable? Maybe he's some kind of genius? Or maybe he's really secretly the last of the Protheans?" Guess who shows up a few chapters later?
    • Chapter 23: Wrex thinks he should offer his services to Spectres more often. Chapter 30: He ends up in Bau's service yet again.
    • In chapter 31, Scholar tells Jules Leng that the latter's "incentive" to go after Adam is "not erasing your whole fucking life." In chapter 36 cue The Reveal that "Jules" is actually a persona overwriting someone else's life.
    • In chapter 18, Fyodor wanted Ryan to turn Garrus into an archangel. In chapter 38, cue his Mid-Season Upgrade: a modified version of the Templars' Seraph flying Powered Armor.
    • In chapter 38, Kurt is inexplicably good at not getting hurt. Turns out he's Not Even Human.
    • Early in chapter 41 Jacob tells Ashley that her response to seeing a real angel would be to shoot.
    • Also from chapter 41, Hannibal wonders if Adam and Johann are related. We eventually learn that Johann's father is a clone of Adam.
  • From Bad to Worse: Played for Laughs when Hein reassures Jensen about being deployed to Caleston by way of torpedo:
    Hein: Don't worry, I can guarantee you you won't fall into chilly arctic ice like last time.
    Jensen: That's a relief.
    Hein: You're far more likely to fall into lava instead!
    Jensen: Wait, wha-
    Torpedo Hatch closes
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Apparently, Garrus has been guilty of it, as recounted in chapter 18.
    "I don't want his suit to fall apart on me and have to fight next to a naked Turian."
    "Well, it certainly wouldn't be the first time! Reminds me of the time me and Jensen-"
  • Future Food Is Artificial:
    • Or at least Hwang's is.
    • Hannibal complains about it whenever he eats.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • By chapter 35, Hein's group, Bau's, the AIA, Scholar and Europa Genomics, Johann and Hannibal, and Saren and the geth are all having their own plans for Noveria.
    • Lampshaded by Garrus in chapter 39:
    "My head is starting to hurt. I mean, who else is involved? We've got Geth, Krogan Warlords, European megacorp, a major Private Military Company and the OMAR on one side, and on the other you've got us, the Shadow Broker, the European Navy and DARPA! Oh, and from what you tell me, there's an ancient conspiracy of Terrans that want to control everything, and there's some kind of artificial construct inside your head. Help me make sense of this, Jensen!"
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: Jensen is technically an Earthborn War Hero - except that the Systems Alliance is so bigoted towards augs that they suppressed him stopping the Skyllian Blitz more or less single-handedly.
  • Genre Shift: Each story arc has different characteristics, and the transition can take some by surprise.
  • God Is Evil: Well, Gods are Evil. The Batarian practice of slavery is explained as a result of their belief that they must make a large number of sacrifices per year, or else their gods will destroy the civilizations of Khar'shan.
  • Gorn: "INTERLUDES Of Madness, Sorrow, and Rage" really pulls out the stops, detailing Ramsus's rampage through an Alliance facility, which can best be described as "What would happen if Hannibal Lecter was a biotic and telepath with special forces training?"
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In chapter 33 the narration cuts away before a combat mech does something to a mook krogan, instead having Adam say a horrified "oh God".
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Ursus has one built into his Power Fist.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In chapter 41 Adam throws a Dayak at Scholar.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Adam nails a Blue Suns merc in the nads.
    • In chapter 28 another merc gets stabbed in the crotch.
    • In chapter 41 Wrex shoots Wreav in the quad.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Adam can't bring the 108 to Noveria's Dosadi arcology for some reason. Probably because it might stand out too much. The restriction gets lifted once he enters Peak 15 proper.
  • Hollywood Hacking:
    • Lampshaded in chapter 26.
      Manuel: "You can't just jack a 2027 computer into 2180's hardware and expect them to communicate properly. I tried with an antique I bought on the net, too many incompatibilities with the code, couldn't be done. How'd you resolve that problem?"
    • Lampshade hung again in chapter 34. Spooky's view of cyberspace resembles the popular stereotype and he mentions that you could try exploiting the social engineering angle... but doing it the Brain/Computer Interface way is more fun.
  • Homage:
    • Word of God has directly admitted that Tali's "last words" were based on Valerie's from V for Vendetta.
    • Kaidan's corpse position is right out of Snatcher.
    • Again, Word of God stated that the toilet fight between Lawson and Jensen was inspired by The Matrix's subway fight scene (complete with recommendation to read it to the respective soundtrack).
    • A fake SHODAN takeover in chapter 24, complete with lines appropriate to the situation and Adam's response.
    • Use of Anima is right out of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
    • In chapter 26, a roegadyn bouncer reenacts Hulk smashing Loki with three krogan.
    • At the start of the Noveria mega-arc, Kasumi's chase sequence is inspired by District 13.
    • Chapter 34 contains one to a certain nasty scene from The Crow, aptly also involving Michael Wincott's character here.
    • The start of chapter 36 to how you start missions in Warframe.
    • The Scholar fight in chapter 41 to Senator Armstrong's fight, complete with One-Winged Angel, giant Spider Tank and "I have a dream" Motive Rant.
      • Alexandre and Subject Zero's Traintop Battle in Interlude 3 is Jetstream Sam vs Raiden round 1.
    • Interlude 2 is a cross between Batman and Dune, with a father character named Leto and the mother being an expy of Lady Jessica, being sent to "tame" a rough planet full of a highly valuable resource.
    • Interlude 3's first part is one to Vagrant Story.
    • In chapter 44 Manah does a psychic-enhanced sleepwalk similar to River's.
  • How We Got Here: Chapter 33 ends with Adam and Spooky under fire and chapter 34 rewinds the clock a bit to show what led up to it.
  • Human Resources: In Interlude 3 Alex Denton uses his Health Leech Drone to break down a hapless recovery crewman into materials to heal himself.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Author notes at the end of a codex entry on the Liberation of Shanxi (which involved poisoned food, "pirate attacks", and other underhanded tactics) had this to say: "Yan Lo is meant to represent a sharp contrast to other Mass Effect crossover fanfics and how the Alliance handled Shanxi. While, for example, the GDI in Peptuck's Renegade won the battle by the virtues of being badass and possessing overwhelming firepower, the Earth forces in this fic won by virtue of being COMPLETE AND UTTER BASTARDS".
    • It was bad enough that Pallin (a turian) willingly helped Jensen conceal evidence that the Alliance might have been responsible for Shepard's assassination, an unknown number of others and illegal research into artificial intelligence and allowed Jensen to conduct his own off-the-record investigation out of fear that revealing the evidence would cause a war between humans and the Council.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes:
    • Garrus shows genuine interest when Adam explains how human women lactate, thinking it very odd.
    • In chapter 46, he openly states that he deeply regrets learning as much as he has about human reproductive biology, and then says that "Humans are gross!"
    • Wrex has a similar reaction to learning how a human uterus functions when he finds out Bakara made one inside of herself.
  • Humongous Mecha: Where the three branches of modern militaries are "infantry, sailors, pilots", 22nd century humanity has "infantry, spacers, mecha pilots". Wanzers were the critical factor in humanity's victory in the First Contact war, though the Turians still insist that it was a fluke.
  • Hypocrite: The Order Church condemns transhumanism on one hand, while employing an augmented black ops group on the other.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Garrus on the Deep Eyes' weaponry:
      Garrus:"Oh, most certainly. Not sure why an elite squad of Terran marines is doing using gunpowder weapons, though. Fallen on hard times?"
      Edward Grey:"I'm not the one wearing an Agent mark 1."note 
      Garrus: Touché.
    • In chapter 24, one hobo dismisses the possibility of Adam defeating Caim's Wanzer by lifting and tossing it as "making shit up", then says that it was defeated with a knife.
  • I Call It "Vera":
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In chapter 35, a gangster tries to draw his un-safed gun, only to have it go off in his pants.
  • The Illuminati: Still alive and well even after the Collapse caused by JC Denton at the end of Deus Ex. It is thanks to them that Earth managed to get back on its feet but whatever grand or noble ideals they had have long since eroded.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder:
    • Aki tells Adam that "I'm a doctor, not a god damned spymaster" in chapter 44.
    • In that same chapter, Neil says that "I'm a pilot, not a dark energy physicist!"
  • Impossible Thief: The Durendal's new Omar quartermaster enjoys trolling his new crewmates like this. He flicks a handkerchief over his free hand, and an item that was somewhere else is suddenly there. It classifies for this trope, because for his first demonstration, the item was the the active power cell of the gun that Grey was pointing at him.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail:
    • In chapter 39 the hiding that Elsa's not in the group attacking the Geth space forces is blown when Segal notices that Drake 1's using a weapon she never would.
    • In chapter 41 the fake Adams attacking Garrus have their Fandango on the left arm rather than the right.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Jensen and Garrus respectively hold the C-Sec record for short/medium and long-range marksmanship. In Chapter 7, Jensen kills a missile fired upon Garrus' cruiser with a machine pistol. While hanging off the back of the car that fired it. Garrus returns the favor by headshotting the asari huntress who fired the missile. With a handgun.
    • In Chapter 15, slightly more human Hein throws a chaff grenade and then detonates it by shooting it.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: At the end of chapter 62, after the situation is summed up, Taggart declares that it's time for all present to drink themselves into a stupor.
  • In-Series Nickname: Alliance troops are called "Allies" by UNAS ones. Similarly, OCU trops are "Ossies".
  • In the Back: In chapter 39 an Omar Assassin stabs Aya in the back. Thanks to her Healing Factor, it doesn't take.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Apparently, different Earth organizations' soldiers don't get along well. In particular, one UNAS grunt looks down on Ashley's gene mods and form-fitting suits just like Ashley looks down on augs.
  • Invisible Jerkass: Supposedly a result of using cloak for too long at one go. The fact that Adam isn't one is a source of surprise for various characters. In chapter 38 we see the horrifying results.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: Wrex claims that his father used to stage pit fights between POW for food after starving them for a few days.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In chapter 26, a Roegadyn said "puny krogan" after beating one around. In chapter 40 Wreav says "puny Roegadyn" after killing Bren.
    • In chapter 17 a Blacklight trooper says that he killed for the sake of his nation. In chapter 40 Ramsus mockingly tells another Blacklight man the same.
    • In chapter 16 one character says "it's probably just the wind" when Adam is trying to sneak past in cloak, only for a more savvy companion to disagree. In chapter 40 another character speaks similarly under similar circumstances, but this time no one disagrees.
  • I Think You Broke Him: Happens in chapter 34 as a Homage to a certain scene in The Crow.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Well, It's Always Party-Time In Caleston's Red Light District. After the Templars ghettoed all of Caleston's alien population there, the Red Light district launched into incredible festivities where drinking, dancing, taking drugs, and having sex on the street happen 24/7, usually right next to each other. In particular, Jensen hopelessly attempts to resuscitate a salarian that collapsed dead after four days of partying, with no sleep in between.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Edward says this to Anderson when they think Benezia is about to kill them.
  • I Owe You My Life: The Geth hold this attitude towards Saren when he supposedly saved them from a plot to put them under human control as machines of war, thus referring to him as their "Messiah".
  • Jerkass:
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Used on both sides regarding the Council's course of action to deal with Saren and his army of geth. Sparatus claims sending a fleet to the Terminus systems would provoke a war, while Udina argues that only a fleet is sufficient against a fleet of geth.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: The Red Tribals of Mars. It was one thing when they rebelled against the oppressive Mega-Corp, but they crossed the line both In-Universe and out when they started kidnapping and raping.
  • Just Hit Him: Subverted. When Nielsen flings Garrus and Sarah away, the impact knocks out the former and nearly kills the latter.
  • Just One Man:
    • Anderson tries to tell Udina that Adam's one man and thus not a threat. Surprisingly enough for Udina, he recognizes that even one man is not to be underestimated. It's implied that he's aware of the stunts augs pulled off from the 2020s to the 2050s, and really wants Jensen lynched by the Templars before he decides to get creative.
    Udina: Never underestimate what just one man can do to harm a nation, Anderson.
    • Anderson does this again when Jenkins suggests taking the Normandy out to hunt for Saren in the Traverse, saying that she's no match for a dreadnought or Geth fleet.
  • Kick the Dog: Some anti-Quarian rioters shoot an old woman and leave her for dead just because she tried to defend one.
  • Kill and Replace: Back in 2027, Jensen foils a Russian Mega-Corp plot to replace the Japanese government's top officials with bioroids.
    • As per its source material, the modus operandi for Snatchers.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Templars' standard method of dealing with things they don't like including Jensen's wife and adopted daughter.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • Wrex might be a krogan with centuries of experience but he sees little reason to keep searching for Tali after she's kidnapped by members of a cult and dragged onto the streets during an anti-quarian riot.
    • Kaidan's killer was about to go after Garrus when she heard Adam's voice and decided to bug out.
  • Late to the Tragedy: In chapter 20, the Normandy encounters a slaver spacecraft after Adam and the Deep Eyes have gone through it.
  • Latex Space Suit: The Armax Arena on Ilium uses these.
  • Layered Metropolis: Noveria's Dosadi arcology is one. There are Lower, Middle and the ultra-exclusive Upper layers.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Chapter 18, from Neil on trying to "score" with Aya: "Not so! My man Vee here can set me up with the right dialogue options — maybe even some cheat codes?"
    • In Chapter 19, the scene where Jensen is testing out the 108 suit is a single huge lean pointed toward videogame tutorials, especially the ones that use a Justified Tutorial where you're getting used to operating technology.
    Jensen: Wait, is this some kind of test to see if I can look around? What's the point of that?
  • Leave No Witnesses:
    • Blacklight squad modus operandi. Even children are not immune.
    • This is a major flaw with many of the less advanced bioroids, mostly because they think less of "they did see me" and more of "they might have seen me." This leaves a conspicuous body count, since a single hit is often followed up with the murder of close relations.
  • Little "No": Garrus says this in chapter 38 before doing an airdrop.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: A variant of this trope is name-dropped in Chapter 32 when Tali is discussing human buildings.
    Tali: "I can see why the rest of the galaxy is worried about the rise of humans. You could easily outpace the Asari within a century!"
    Adam: "... Behold all my works, ye mighty, and despair."
  • Magic from Technology: The pro(me)theans had this, though not to the godlike level of "true" Sufficiently Advanced Alien. Word of God engages in some Doing In the Wizard for two seemingly fantastical elements in this post. Canonized in chapter 25:
    Bau: As for its ability to create a weapon, it accomplished this through processes not unlike seen in a modern day factory, though more efficient and advanced. A Super Omni-tool, in other words.
  • Man Bites Man: In chapter 41 Scholar bites Johann's hand off, hardsuit and all.
    • For whatever reason, the asari Justicars that recover Tela Vasir's mangled body, have one of their Ardats chew her arm off as punishment.
  • Manchurian Agent:
    • In the flashback where Adam first encounters bioroids, Julien Seed, Jensen's CIA contact, was actually a bioroid himself. He still thought he was the real Julien though, and when critically injured, begs Jensen to make sure that Julien's family is safe.
    • It is implied that Armando Bailey helped Jensen against another Snatcher in the fight at Pallin's home despite being one himself.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The asari Huntresses in chapter 7 wore "gilded Venetian masks".
  • Master of None: Scholar's opinion on humanity.
    "Take it from me, boy, there's no such thing as perfection. Your biotics are exceeded by the Asari, your reflexes are exceeded by the Fiera, and don't get me started on your strength, stamina, and resilience. The rest of the galaxy offers far, far better."
  • Meaningful Name: The Normandy's cloaking system is a "Gyges Replica mk IX", after the original Invisible Jerkass.
  • Mega-Corp: After the Panchea incident led to uproar over augmentation, all the biotech corporations went into a frenzy trying to secure government contracts to ensure their financial stability. At the end of a corporate war, only Versalife, Tokugawa Heavy Industries, and Sarif were left alive, and had incredible influence due to the competition being largely eliminated.
  • Mega Crossover: Of a sorts: the bulk of the continuity is set around the Deus Ex and Mass Effect universes, but there are elements from Atlus, Konami - like Metal Gear or Snatcher - and Square Enix series such as Front Mission and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within fused in and altered to fit, creating an experience greater than the sum of its parts. There's enough other stuff combined in it too that sometimes, it feels less like a Mass Effect/Deus Ex crossover, and more like a crossover of those two franchises and everything else. However, the in-universe reason there are so many Shout Outs to 20th/21st century pop culture is that humanity was completely wiped out in 2072 and somehow re-created... by a geek who filled in his gaps in real historical knowledge with plot elements from movies and video games. It's not really a megacrossover; everything that's not Deus Ex or Mass Effect is the creation of a geeky god.
    Chapter 73:I love movies, said the Maker. I love games, said the Maker. My whole mind is made up of them. My whole world is made up of them, said the Maker, smiling. I am no Maker, said the Maker. I am no God, said the Maker. All I do is imitate, said Maker.
  • Memory Gambit: VK Scanners are very good at lie detection, so one really has to be Believing Their Own Lies in order to fool them. Or one could just do this, as at least two characters on Noveria, Ken Ruger and Corto Riviera, prove.
  • Mercy Kill: In chapter 40 Adam and co. do this to badly burned Blacklight troops.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade:
    • Adam gets the 108 Powered Armor in time for Caleston.
    • Adam gets changes to his augs after the damage he takes while on Caleston.
    • Tali gets upgrades to her drones from Alpha and Beta on Noveria.
    • Garrus gets wings in the form of a jetpack-equipped Powered Armor.
  • Mind Rape: Ramsus has the ability to do this. According to him, his sister is more powerful to the point he seems like a insect in comparison.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: Whoever Shepard's killer is working for, Harkin thinks their wrath would be worse than anything C-SEC could do. Considering double crossing the Alliance Black Ops could result in a bioroid ripping his head off, himself being replaced by one, or both, it's very justified.
  • The Mole: Four, all for the Shadow Broker!
    • Alliance Intelligence Agent Sarah Walker a.k.a Agent Brea. Not really a spoiler, since her introductory scene is her assuming her new identity.
    • Wrex still works for the Shadow Broker, even after he's hired by Jondum Bau and is among the Normandy.
    • Hein at least works with, if not for, the Shadow Broker as well, and was involved in Brea's past.
    • The Shadow Broker mentions that he has a few agents seeded within the Templars.
  • Mook Horror Show:
    • The very first thing we "see" Adam do in the first prologue is take out a gang of asari bank robbers.
    • Adam takes out a Blacklight squad this way in chapter 17, with it being shown from the squad sergeant's POV.
    • The Durendal crew taking on an entire ship full of slavers. You almost feel bad for the slavers.
      "Eyes of Blue... Eyes of blue... Eyes of blue... Eyes of blue... Eyes of blue... Gods, let them not find me. Please, Gods..."
    • The Shadow of Elysium is a legend born of one. Shadow 108 becomes one as well over the course of the fic. Adam has an addiction, it seems.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: The heroes range from good guys trying, almost desperately so, to fight the good fight even at their own cost to cynics and more pragmatic sorts willing to use subterfuge. The villains include the Brainwashed and Crazy, Jerkass Woobies, Reluctant Monsters, ultranationalists, Take Over the World types, raping sadists and Eldritch Abominations. Sitting uneasily on the line are vengeance-crazed, bloodthirsty (at times literally so) Wild Cards.
  • Morton's Fork: The Snatchers.
    Pallin: If nobody knows about them, then they're free to infiltrate and kill anything they wish. If everyone knows about them... then panic, unrest and paranoia will spread like wildfire.
  • Motive Decay:
    • Every faction arrayed against Jensen was once benevolent, but over the decades and centuries their ideals have steadily eroded far past the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Doctor Chakwas says this of the Normandy to Anderson issuing a Armor-Piercing Question.
    "Where did things go so wrong, David? When did we lose our way?"
  • Mundane Utility: In chapter 41 Johann uses his biotics to shape some debris into a chair.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In chapter 28.
    On the other hand, the man had some resources, some knowledge of cybernetics, a few good soldiers, and a growing number of talented agents on his payroll. And Conrad.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Adam disables the infamous elevator music.
    • The real Sarah had black hair.
    • From the bridge of the Waking Dreamer, Benezia's personal ship, Benezia processed all of this, and concluded that while it wasn't quite the end for Caleston, she could see it from here.
    • The archaeologist Dr. T'Soni (even though it's a different daughter of Benezia's) is on Caleston, referencing an Aborted Arc in the original game.
    • 'This... invisible war, will be a war of ideas.'
    • Caim blinds Jenkins, but at least he gets chicken.
    • "I never asked for this" finally appears in chapter 20, before reappearing in 25 and 37.
    • Pressly: "It's not everyone that could go in a heavy risk situation like the one on Caleston and come back alive. Hope you showed the two aliens how it's done."
      Jacob: "Yeah, we came out alive... but the prize went to this Hein weirdo." (emphasis ours)
    • A bartender still threatens to hit Conrad with a Singularity.
    • 'At this moment, Brea wanted nothing else than .... shoot him in the foot.'
    • In chapter 28, two members of the conspiracy discuss the failure of the Primary Unit and its replacement with the Secondary Unit, just like in the intro to the first Deus Ex.
    • In chapter 31, a Kai Leng steals cereal.
    • In chapter 32, Edward insists that "It can wait. I'm in the middle of some modifications." It gets a snort out of Garrus.
    • "What about swimming?"
      "Meh, I never had much use for swimming. I prefer more useful skillsets."
    • The fact that a Geth had managed to intentionally infiltrate a Terran corporate city was... disturbing. (emphasis ours)
    • Tartakovsky still gets impaled, though the perpetrator is different here.
    • In chapter 40 we learn that Hayden Draven wanted to become a martial arts action star, the "next Bruce Lee".
    • Chapter 41: "Bravery is not a function of robotics."
    • "I... kind of of expected a man in a suit smoking a cigarette in a dark ominous office," said Adam.
    • Near the end of Interlude 3's first section, the wounded POV character encounters an enemy - the zombified remains of a marauder - guarding a bright light that leads to a place that offers him a choice.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Anderson stays calm while Hein insults him as a failed Spectre candidate, but nearly assaults the smug DARPA chief when Hein mentions how Shepard "came down with a bad case of dead".
  • Never Split the Party: Adam is savvy enough when searching for Shepard's killer.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Don't take everything you see in the "previews" at face value. When the events previewed actually happen, some minor but vital details will differ.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The Order doesn't have that many troops compared to the Alliance, but its equipment is still on par with the Alliance and it is sufficiently large a power that Udina thinks the Alliance going to war with it would be a bad idea. They possess three supercarrier battlegroups and, if need be, can call on millions of devotees to supplement the at least 10,000 active duty troopers.
  • No Conservation of Energy: In chapter 39 an exasperated Peak 15 researcher discusses this trope, stating that he has no idea where the kinetic energy for Pull or Throw comes from as the mass effect shouldn't be the source.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The RedWater Mega-Corp apparently doesn't believe in guardrails even on 12 km drops.
  • No-Sell:
    • The Normandy's crew considers contingencies to take down Jensen if need be, and swiftly realize that just about every single technique they can devise to nonlethally take him down wouldn't work, including biotics, due to Jensen's engineering. They eventually decide that non-lethal isn't an option, and that they have to treat him like a krogan. A fast krogan.
    • Nielsen's plating is not only bulletproof but also alloyed with eezo, nullifying biotics.
    • In Interlude 3, we learn that Federova and Namir's immunity to Adam's takedowns was due to also knowing Illuminati fighting moves.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: The various races have different opinions on augmentation. Salarians happily embrace them, turians are lukewarm but willing, krogan despise them as an admission of weakness. Humans went from having them to hating and banning to reintroducing due to biotics' needs. They also use bioaugs for Loophole Abuse.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Used seriously when Jensen, Garrus, and Walker attempt to arrest Shepard's killer. Being a shapeshifter, her skin takes on a porcelain texture and poses like a depressed statue, which isn't noticed among the other decorations. Once Jensen deduces what they're up against, the next thing he notices is that the statue isn't there anymore.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever happens in the Normandy's airlock between Adam and Udina to make Udina piss his pants after the ambassador rants about how Adam is an abomination and how he's going to have Adam arrested by the Church (Which would be a Fate Worse than Death) the next time Adam enters Alliance space.
    • At some point in their partnership, Garrus and Jensen found themselves in a fight in which Garrus had to fight naked.
    • Liara's offscreen death is treated as one. She's not even ever mentioned by name directly.
    • In chapter 44, it's said that something about Adam scares the Hell out of Manah's psychic sight.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Discussed in chapter 33 when Ken Ruger talks about the 1950s being "nicer" and Adam's mental dialogue reminds himself of "the racism, misogyny, and Cold War paranoia".
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Sarah's Healing Factor is potent enough that she can repair severe spine damage.
    • Kai Leng's or Draven's Healing Factor allowed him to survive dropping off the side of a moving gunship, fall several stories onto a car roof while missing an arm after taking a shotgun blast at short range.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Vodarek explains that, while humans take a dim view of batarians with their slave culture, batarians think humans to be pretty monstrous with the Templars and general human behaviour towards non-vanilla humans like the Omar.
    • In chapter 38, Hannibal wonders if Adam and Johann are related because "both had a taste for daring, dangerous", suicidal exploits... and he's just as willing to follow the former as he would the latter.
    • In chapter 41, Garrus notes that for all Edward's dislike of turians, his loathing for soldiers with initiative is oddly similar.
    • Also in chapter 41, Scholar notes that both Adam's melee and ranged fighting styles are similar to Illuminati assassins'. Adam does not appreciate the comparison.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • In Chapter 12, Adams notes that the kinetic bleeders that keep Jensen's Action Bomb from being a Suicide Attack would also do a good job of deflecting biotic attacks.
    • Similarly, in Chapter 47, Pallin comes to the conclusion that eezo alloying in Snatchers originally believed to deflect biotic attacks was actually meant to fool dark energy-based sensors.
  • Off the Rails:
    • Shepard getting murdered.
    • And now Kaidan's been terminated too as of Chapter 13.
    • To offset the above, Jenkins is alive and more or less well except for the small matter of getting blinded.
    • A different T'Soni daughter is the archaeologist everyone is looking for. Because Liara is dead.
    • Shanxi was a stalemate.
    • The krogan have been completely sterilized.
    • Saren is under Illuminati control.
    • The rachni queen died offscreen.
    • Cerberus is a PMC seemingly uninvolved with any plotting.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • The Normandy crew destroying five geth Wanzers.
    • Hannibal destroying a Jackal and a bunch of Copleys in chapter 36.
    • The fight against Lephantis in chapter 41.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The universal response to Hein's "change of plans" with regard to testing Jensen's 108 suit; instead of the "boring" scheduled friendly spars with Deep Eyes they've prepared for, he's broadcast a false surrender signal to a very large batarian slaver ship to give them all some fun combat practice.
    • Chapter 25 has a comedic one from Wrex after he gets hard over Chakwas.
    • Chapter 38: Grey and Bau's reaction to learning that Wreav plans to bombard Noveria with Huskification nanites.
    • Said by Neil in chapter 44 when Tela Vasir wants to board the Durendal to confiscate prothean artefacts and Manah.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Jensen and the Council are positively shocked when Udina acknowledges it was Jensen and Tali (and Garrus) who found the evidence proving Saren's guilt. However, Udina seemed to be in physical pain as he was saying the fact.
  • Organic Technology:
  • Orgy of Evidence: These very words are used by Elsa in chapter 50 regarding the crime scene at Executor Pallin's house that points overwhelmingly towards Adam as the murderer.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • In chapter 41 as Scholar tries to overwrite Adam's memories to make him into a new Kai Leng, the segment-separating headers switch from ~[h+]~ to ~[EG]~.
    • In chapter 46, Aleph's memories of the past are presented in second person, like being spoken to by a RPG narrator.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe in chapter 47, where Hein realises that Scholar's memory-alteration techniques mean Adam can't trust that anyone or anything is who or what they claim to be.
  • Parrying Bullets: In Interlude 3 Alexandre deflects bullets with his sword.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: On Ilium, a Drell tries this on Tali, but gets caught by Drebin.
  • Police Are Useless: This is the case on Ilium. They're either bribed to ignore trouble or defer dangerous situations to the mercenaries of Eclipse, who would handle the situation with minimum subtlety and finesse.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Discussed aversion in chapter 41, where Bau expresses surprise that the geth would use a reaper artefact without understanding how it works, because salarians are expected to understand their technology before being allowed to use them and he had been under the impression synthetics would do the same.
  • Precision F-Strike: Garrus says "fuck you too, pal" when confronted with a racist Deep Eye in chapter 18.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Jensen is cloaked and clinging to a speeding aircar carrying some of Saren's goons with Tali as their prisoner.
    Jensen: ...Lights on, ping them. Driving with a busted tail light is something you can pull them over for.
    Garrus: I don't see-
    Jensen: (punches out tail light)
    Garrus: Ah, there it is. (cue lights and sirens)
  • Precision F-Strike: In chapter 38, this is one of the signs of Joker losing his grip on his sanity.
  • Premortem One Liner: Garrus to Red Raven in chapter 41:
    "When you reach the lowest level of the seven hells, tell them Garrus Vakarian sent you there!"
  • Pretender Diss: In chapter 35, Damien is unimpressed by a bunch of rich teens playing at gangster, since he once joined a gang due to poverty while they were doing it For the Evulz.
  • Pride: Supposed to be the theme of the Caleston arc. Cue author:
    The primary thematic sin of this arc (besides the other seven) is Pride, or if you prefer, Hubris. Caleston was profitable, but some of the bigwigs at RedWater started believing some of the Humanity Fuck Yeah propaganda that both Terra Firma and the Alliance have been spewing, and thought they could outdo both Illium and Noveria at once. Bafford and the Templars thought they could control an entire world by themselves with just a thousand troopers, because they thought they were just that good. And the Black Queen herself thought her powers of seduction would work on Jensen/Aleph.
    They all bit off more than they could chew.
  • Private Military Contractors: So far we have:
    • CAT6 who are dishonourable discharges due to allegations of insanity who have the misfortune of being led by someone who genuinely has a few screws loose.
    • Manticore Tactical Solutions, who employ at least two named arseholes and are strongly implied to be Evil
    • Standard Security Corporation who are more Punch Clock Villains.
    • There have been a few mentions of a Kerberos Tactical Solutions but it has yet to appear onscreen.
    • Vampire, whose physiopharmaceutically augmented operators live up to the company name.
  • Psycho for Hire: Turns out, Shepard's killer was this, considering she keeps a Room Full of Crazy with violent art and her orgasmic emotions she experiences stalking, cornering, and finally killing her marks. And it's the Alliance who's hiring her, too.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: In chapter 28, a veteran gone mercenary tells Edward that joining CAT6 was the only way for him to get money to survive.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • Sarah Walker in chapter 15: "Get. In. The. Car."
    • Hein "And as for you, mister Vakarian, if you ever try to justify General Arterius' actions in my presence ever again... .... I. will. end. you."
    • Aya in chapter 28 when Jane, Neil and Garrus discuss her butt: "I. Hate. You. All."
    • Blacklight Elite Mooks in chapter 40: "Jack and the Bogeys won't! Go! Down!"
  • Puny Earthlings:
    • Udina is against augmentations because, according to his Insane Troll Logic, Adam's use of augs reveals humanity's inferiority compared to the alien races that didn't need them to reach their current level of advancement. The irony is that salarians happily embrace augs and turians while lukewarm are still open to the idea. It's the krogans who share the dislike of augs due to seeing them as a sign of weakness, but they are genuinely superior to baseline humans.
    • For the aliens' own part, Executor Pallin (a turian) thinks that Earthlings are NOT Puny.
    "The Humans could be just as unyielding as the Turians, as powerful as the Asari, or as insidious as the Salarians."
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Despite wearing a full face mask, Tali is able to pull this on Hein to get him to fiddle settings on Adam's Dream Catcher to allow better memories.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Discussed in chapter 45; the drive exhaust from krogan spacecraft is purple, which Manah thinks is pretty but Echo thinks should have been something manlier like red.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The conclusion of Noveria. The geth and krogan invasion has been repelled, and Europa Genomics' experimentation at Peak 15 has been stopped... but most of the citizens of Upper Dosadi were either turned into or killed by Reaper incubators, massive damage has been suffered, Scholar got away, Ramsus is dead and his sister with massive psionic potential is still in Illuminati hands.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:
    • Hein's crew is looking increasingly motley with everyone he picks up. There're a bunch of US Marines, a cyborg supercop, a turian Rebel, a group of quarian pilgrims, an Artificial Human, an Omar, a pair of hackers, an asari with a unique mutation, a ditzy physicist...
    • Jondum Bau's too. He has a pair of Systems Alliance marines, a smuggler and child, a krogan and a roegadyn mercenary.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: In chapter 45 Adam and co. scrounge up a still-functional thousand year-old spaceship drive.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: In chapter 41 Engineer Addams flubs up "asari woman", which was nitpicked out by a reader.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Hein gives one to Tali in Chapter 18 to call her out on her carried-over-from-the-Geth distrust of Adam due to his cyborg upgrades.
    • The Warrior gives one to Adam in Chapter 31 about his overdependence on his augs.
    • Scholar gives one to Johann in Chapter 41 about his overdependence on his psionics and delusions of morality.
  • Red Herring:
    • Apart from providing Shout Outs to other Square Enix series, all the other applicants of the Spectre candidacy list besides Jensen, Johan Liebert Ramsus, and Edward Gray just serve to fill the extra spots on said list. Later subverted when Elsa Devereaux becomes a full character in the Noveria arc.
    • Alliance Intelligence Agent Lawson tries to invoke this when revealing that Agent Walker wasn't Agent Walker at all, and was in fact a bioroid working for the Shadow Broker. This is all completely true, but he also implies that the Shadow Broker himself was behind Shepard's murder, which is an attempt to throw the heat off of the Alliance higher-ups who actually ordered it.
  • Redshirt Army: The SSC are glorified security guards rather than proper military-grade forces, unlike most fictional PMC, and do about as poorly as you can expect against geth and krogan.
  • Religion of Evil:
    • As we learn in chapter 25, the batarian practice of slavery is perpetuated by their priesthood, who pick children at random to become slavers. They use fearmongering to justify it with the excuse that only the sacrifice of slaves will keep batarian civilisation from descending into the lawlessness of the greater Terminus.
    • The Justicars, viewed in the canon Mass Effect as a sort of Knight Templar who protect the asari from their own mistakes... are a lot more morally ambiguous in this timeline, where the Ardat-Yakshi are a tiny percentage of known asari mutations, most of which are more like autistics than "highly evolved killers". And said autistics tend to be used for "Holy Prostitution" to support the rest of the order. The result is that the terms Mutant Draft Board and State Sec can be added to their Knight Templar credo.
  • Reluctant Monster:
  • Required Secondary Powers: In chapter 34 Smuggler points out that while he could easily recreate the electronics and materials needed for the airbursting explosive rounds, the software and targetting computer needed to make them work right isn't so straightforward, not something he can create in the short time available.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In chapter 7, a random quarian points out Tali to the asari Huntresses looking for her. When Tali refuses to cooperate, they kill that quarian.
  • Right Behind Me: In chapter 29, Jensen asks Manah if Justicars dress in a certain manner... and then describes the exact manner of the justicars. Manah asks how he knew this. Given the name of the trope, it's pretty clear what happens next. Not an exact usage of the trope, as the Justicar has merely entered the room, and Jensen and Manah are on the other side of the room, but Manah's back was turned to her at the time, so it still counts.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Invoked in chapter 42 when the Shadow Broker leaks vital information on Europa Genomics to the other Illuminati proxies who don't know they're all on the same team, causing the others to attack EG.
  • Robo Speak: Done by Adam in chapter 41 to maintain his cover as a combat mech. Garrus teases him about it shortly afterwards.
  • Robotic Reveal: Invoked in chapter 24, where Hein hides Adam's usage of the 108 Powered Armor by rigging some machinery in it and some meat he tells the Normandy crew is a Wetware CPU.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Nielsen, Shepard's killer, has an insane amount of art in her apartment depicting violence, decapitation, and general misery. And most of the men being killed look like Jensen.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In-Universe, Adam muses on the choice of flowers given by Shepard's murderer. This leads to her eventual discovery, since she was foolish enough - intentionally as it turns out - to use a branch from a tree outside her own house for it. In general, there are a number of prophetic dreams and visions across the story. If you squint, you might make out some Foreshadowing.
  • Rule of Three: Vodarek ran into and was spared by Adam three times. He takes it as a sign that it's time to stop pushing his luck.
  • Rules Lawyer: When Pallin tries to throw the book at Adam and Garrus over the Tali case, Adam returns the favour.
  • Running Gag:
    • People still manage to contact Jensen over his radio, then giving a cryptic response when Jensen demands where they found his frequency. Apparently, even Hein knows the Ancient Chinese Secret.
    • Garrus getting caught, stripped, and Adam having to free him.
    • Bau getting strangled.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: In chapter 38 a Hardsuit-operating Blacklight trooper fails to recognise his comrades' sarcastic disgust over his eagerness to harm kids.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: In chapter 24 Hein fakes a hostile AI takeover, complete with a corpse, to impress into Tali the danger of messing with AIA equipment without adequate precautions.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • In chapter 20, Wrex recalls a mission where his fellow mercs started going nuts after finding some artefact and he decided to cut and run without waiting to get the other half of his pay.
    • According to Pressly, Sergeant Reynolds' reaction to having been lauded as the Hero of Elysium while Jensen was brushed aside and later hunted was to Rage Quit and accuse the Alliance of being ungrateful bastards.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Adam was juggling three eggs perfectly well until Neil shouted at him for doing so out of fear that he would break them, which startled him and caused him to break them after all.
  • Serial Escalation: The "boss fight" between Scholar, Adam and Johann in chapter 41 starts out simply enough as a man-to-man fight but gets crazier and crazier as they tap into the Void.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Visible in the players on Caleston:
    • The gangs: Envy
    • Caim: Wrath
    • The Redlight District: Lust and Gluttony
    • The RedWater Tower: Greed
    • The Miners: Sloth
    • The Templars: Pride
  • Shoot the Bullet: Adam intercepting GEP Gun rounds. He later does the same to a grenade fired by a Templar.
  • Shooting Superman: Infantry-scale attacks, even from the second strongest known human biotic, aren't going to do anything to a building rated against nuclear strikes.
  • Shout-Out: We have a page.
  • Sickbed Slaying: Shepard in Chapter 2. Neuropozyne has bad effects on biotics, so she's helpless when an assassin sticks a knife in her. Preventing a second such incident in as many days is the reason Jensen and Garrus bring Tali to the Normandy rather than a public hospital.
  • The Siege: In Interludes 2 the Jester and her followers besiege Leto's Omega manor.
  • Sinister Minister: Father Sandy, a priest from "The Order" biased against omar and quarians.
  • Sins of Our Fathers:
    • In chapter 18, Edward Grey and Garrus get heated over Shanxi, which Hein has to remind that neither actually were present for unlike himself.
    • In chapter 32 the inversion (fathers getting punished for the sins of the sons) is Discussed by an unknown contacting Adam, who asserts that quarian culture conditions them into self-victimization and against taking responsibility lest the atrocities of the Geth be laid on their shoulders. Adam disagrees, saying that what the geth did is their own fault and the father should not take responsibility for the sins of the son; in the end everybody must be held accountable for their own actions.
  • SkeleBot 9000: The true appearance of bioroids/Snatchers.
  • So Last Season: This at the racial level is supposed to be one of the Central Themes:
    I should have written the part they were introduced at first, but the whole point of the Roegadyn, the Fiera, and even the humans is to demonstrate something, a problem. It's the same problem Gunther Hermann faced, and it's the same problem the Deep Eyes and Ashley will soon face.
    How do you deal with your own impending obsolescence? What do you do when you are powerful, but then you become redundant?
    What happens to the Proud Warrior Race when it meets something prouder and bigger and stronger than it is?
    What happens to the blue alien space babes / space elves when they encounter something hotter and haughtier than they are, armed with a history and culture that's even older than Thessia's City States?
    You get the idea.
    The Krogan face this with the Roegadyn, and before long their mercenary lifestyle will be on the decline. What will happen to Wrex once work dries up, as the jolly green ogres take up all the available work? Because they will take it over. Unlike Wrex, most Krogan are surly, bitter assholes. Roegadyn are polite, jovial, and more professional. Who are you going to hire, honestly? The Turians and the Salarians aren't exactly too happy about the humans, either. Terrans can outfight and outsmart and fight even dirtier than either of them can. What will happen to the Turians if they declare war on humanity and LOSE? What happens to the Salarians when the humans dig up all their dirty little secrets and cause their government to crumble? Even the Quarians face this somewhat with the Omar: Bassac said it himself:
    "Let's be honest here: Omar make better slaves than Quarians. They're just as technically adept and less of a pain in the ass to maintain. Just get them a dose of that neuropozyne and some sugar and they're good."
    As mistreated as they are, the Quarians survive economically by hiring out as scabs or doing shit work. The Omar can do it just as good as they can and they've managed to avoid the wrath of the entire galaxy, so what's going to happen to all those poor Pilgrims?
    And the Fiera? Well, let's just say it'll be a while before the Asari will lose their 'wise, culturally superior to everyone' spot, but they're not stupid. They see the writing on the wall. There's a reason why there are so few male Fiera left.
    The Asari don't like competition.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: This is the justification given in chapter 38 for why Blacklight black ops troops are so easy to defeat, at least for elite superhuman warriors like Adam, Hannibal and Johann - The Alliance Intelligence Agency selects for the jingoistic ultranationalists willing to cross any line to protect their interests, and as it turns out being a talented combatant and being one willing to get his hands dirty are categories that rarely overlap.
  • Spotting the Thread: The deal with Ken Ruger in chapter 33 - in order to find where he's hidden his things, Adam needs to spot the things that don't fit.
    • In the second Citadel arc, in a crime scene from cop murders supposedly done by Adam, the human Spectre candidates find a mix of an Orgy of Evidence and a lack of evidence at the same time that tips off most of those there that something is wrong, namely: (1) everything very neatly points to Adam being the perpetrator, which does not fit his psych profile at all, (2) the scene has absolutely no smell and (3) there's evidence of at least three different fighters.
  • The Starscream: In chapter 43 we learn that after the Collapse, JC Denton reformed the Illuminati in an attempt to save the world, but those working with him had different ideas and turned against him.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • That had to be explained to everyone in the audience; Zaeed Massani and Kasumi Goto are major characters in the Dosadi arc; Kasumi as a programmable clone, Zaeed as a highly-dangerous mass-copied personality for disposable mooks. In short, they are Downloadable Characters. So is Aleph, the AI equivalent of Javik who currently rests in Jensen's subconscious. Ouch.
    • In chapter 31 Adam notices a herd of 1,183 electric sheep while dreamwalking with Aleph. In other words... Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? For extra value, They Look Like Us Now.
  • Sterility Plague: The Genophage. According to Bakara there hasn't been a krogan birth in 15 years, resulting in the krogan species slowly dying off, leading Urdnot Wreav to retaliate by joining forces with Saren.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Technology: All of the really weird, "magical" stuff going on, i.e. Theodore summoning a horde of salt-based psycho Reaper angels or Scholar turning into a giant demonic ogre and sending Adam and Ramsus through an insane dimension-hopping acid trip is due to highly-advanced technology.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: Pro(me)thean architecture uses what appears to be stone and wood to the less advanced.
  • Super-Detailed Fight Narration: Used as a sign of Jensen activating his Super-Reflexes. In Chapter 6, Wrex interrupts before he can execute the attack. In Chapter 17, he proceeds to beat Agent Lawson to a pulp. Though the author admitted that that the latter might have come across a bit stilted. Subverted in chapter 41, where his plan to take out a Geth Wanzer ends with "do something crazy".
  • Super-Toughness: Armadyne's Copley mechs have such thick armour that they are Immune to Bullets even without needing their Deflector Shields, Armor Piercing rounds need to be used in large quantities to get through and even Adam's new Vibroweapons need two stabs to take one out.
    Spooky: They got armor thicker than my dick!
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    In 'real life', Bioroids are a theoretical construct, the subject of a paper written by Dr Drago Pettrovich Madnar (of the Terran European Union) in 2024 on the subject of bypassing the Uncanny Valley entirely by grafting biological parts on a robot. Absolutely nothing came of his theories or research.
  • Take a Third Option: In Mass Effect, a particular sidequest has Shepard decide between sending Nirali Bhatia's body to the Alliance for research or to her husband for proper burial. When Jensen is in the same situation, he negotiates for Hein to hire Tali to help develop geth countermeasures and reactivate weapons, making dissecting Bhatia's cadaver redundant.
  • Take That!:
    • Against organic food:
      Hwang:All the way back in 2010 people were willing to pay top dollar for 'organic' and 'free range' food that was for all intents and purposes the same goddamned thing you'd get at a regular grocery store, and they managed to convince themselves that it somehow tasted better!
    • "Battle Sims like Armax's aren't all that realistic either: That Hit Point system they use doesn't take into account organ placement, blood loss, armor penetration..."
    • 'Since the Arena made most of its money on selling food and drinks to spectators and too little on the Premium Armax Currency that allowed players to quickly upgrade their loadouts, this posed quite a bit of problem.'
    • 'FRN-00 had tried combining E and A, and found that he did not like the sound of it at all.'.
    • Jules used to think that Katanas Are Just Better until a still-unnamed person disabused him of the notion with the aid of a jian.note 
    • In chapter 33, Ken Ruger extols the virtues of 20th-century music, scoffing at "modern" procedurally-generated synthesiser dreck.
    • In chapter 41, Ashley gets reprimanded for not having any backup options when her long gun overheats. By Word of God, this is a jab at ME1's gameplay, where the time needed to switch weapons is absurdly long for a real gunfight.
    • In chapter 42 it is recounted how Shepard punched the Normandy's quartermaster for charging her for high quality gear.
    • Interlude 3: Red, green or blue. ... They all hoped for a better ending. But it will never end.
  • Take That Us:
    • Adam on Caleston:
    The whole experience felt like something straight out of a bad fantasy novel.
    • "Singularity's a bitch, ain't it? Nothing like in the video games, where they just float like idiots."
    • In chapter 41, Garrus wonders about "the strange critters out of some bad video game".
  • Talking the Monster to Death:
    • Attempted by Adam on Samara. It doesn't outright get her to stand down, but it weakens her will and thus Barrier enough for him to knock her out.
    • Edward tries doing this to Toombs. It fails.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: Yang Wen-Li is good at this;
    In games I can always gauge how my opponent thinks... usually by the games they pick. Truth is, that was my first game of kepesh. When T'susza picked it, and revealed her many, many expansion packs I understood that she liked to purchase power. Her opening moves revealed that she held to the surgical mindset of all Asari commanders. Adam had picked Go, a simple game, a profound game, a game that cares nothing of money.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In chapter 41 a recording of Scholar "speaks" to Adam, Garrus, Hannibal and Ramsus as they re-enter the Granada Hotel and somehow matches dreams to their identities. It's so uncannily well done some readers are doubting whether it's really a recording.
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe, Adam is very shocked that Neropozyne still exists. He thought someone would have at least used Megan's research to make it obsolete.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Teen gangsters show up on Caleston and Noveria.
  • Tempting Fate:
  • Tested on Humans: According to Scholar in chapter 41, he got the Krypto Chips to their current tiny size by running through many iterations of clones.
  • Thermal Dissonance: Lampshaded in chapter 23 when the Deep Eyes are surprised by how cool the surroundings are just a kilometre from Caleston's mantle.
  • They Look Like Us Now:
    • Tali says this almost word-for-word in chapter 36 about the Geth Infiltrator.
    • In chapter 38 we see Weepers, mutant things that can pass for human at a distance. And then there's a more advanced version that can imitate a child almost flawlessly.
  • They Would Cut You Up: In chapter 36 Tali has this fear of the Geth doing this to Adam.
  • Title Drop: In Interlude 3.
    "My answer remains the same! I want power! Power to bring about a fresh wind that will fan the flames of a human revolution!"
  • Token Heroic Orc: In the flashback in Neo-Kobe, Julien Seed sides with Adam despite his exposure as a Snatcher. Fastforward to present-day and Bailey does the same.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Back in 2027, Jensen and Julien Seed, his CIA contact, are quite surprised to find that Julien is actually a bioroid. "Julien" resists his programming enough to fight other bioroids and destroy the facility, and is human enough that he begs Jensen to Mercy Kill him and protect the real Julien Seed's family.
  • Tomato Surprise: Also In-Universe, Sarah is not an aug but a bioroid.
  • Too Much Information: In chapter 34, Wrex has this reaction when Mjrn starts talking about the virtues of Roegadyn penis. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: While moping on a bench, Kaidan sees a woman who is uncannily identical to Shepard, and follows her into an abandoned building. Bad choice, since "Shepard" is actually the bioroid who killed the real Shepard, and rips his head off.
  • Turing Test: Referenced in Chapter 24, when Hein hides Jensen's presence from the Alliance by stuffing his 108 armor with electronics and claiming he'd just been playing with a Turing subroutine on his personal combat droid.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Adam gets this done to him in chapter 46 by Pallin's replacement.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Averted by Jensen, who not only turned down a Shower of Love with the Leda twins but got them kicked out of C-Sec when their behavior towards him progressed into sexual harassment. Others, especially Neil, get rather excited over the pictures of their seduction attempts.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Udina and much of the Alliance. Jensen indulged his Chronic Hero Syndrome on Elysium, where he was key to its defense while the militia was rallied. The Alliance then alerted the Order Church to his whereabouts, and he basically had to flee the planet steps ahead of a torch-waving mob. Udina himself wanted Jensen not only arrested but turned over to the mob he escaped in Chapter 8. And he also wrote secret orders declaring that Jensen is to be detained the instant he steps on Alliance territory, to be turned over to the Church. We don't get to see exactly what Jensen did to Udina in the Normandy's airlock after hearing this with his augs, but Udina pissed his pants. And even Ashley gets her Ingrate on - during the planning session for Jensen's capture, she blithely suggests using a batarian slave collar on him. Just hours after the evidence Jensen provided successfully convicts Saren.
  • Unrobotic Reveal: In chapter 41 Elsa catches sight of Adam's distinctive Electronic Eyes through his cracked visor and realises that the 108 is not actually the android it was claiming to be.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Adam in chapter 41 after being set on fire, culminating in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the krogan responsible that makes what Hartigan did to the Yellow Bastard look pretty. His mental dialogue shortly afterwards suggests that he got his reputation as the Shadow of Elysium while under this.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Some readers have accused the story of reaching this level, between the Gambit Pileup of clashing Magnificent Bastards fighting wannabes and conspiracies, mysticism In-Universe and out, Narrative Filigree and the Reference Overdosed.
  • Villain Team-Up: In chapter 40 the AIA's Blacklight troopers and Manticore's mercenaries under Red Raven team up to attack Peak 15. The former's leader Lieutenant Corvin doesn't trust the latter, though.
  • Voice of the Legion:
    • When the Brainwashed and Crazy mob on Caleston corners Jensen, they suddenly stop, and using the voices of the entire front row, the Black Queen announces how she's dominated everyone on the planet.
    • This is how the Omar Collective communicates.
  • Weaponized Animal: Peak 15 has apparently resurrected a Dayak, a extinct creature native to Tuchanka. Which happens to be large biotic shark that can Teleport Spam on land.
  • We Help the Helpless: Adam's and Garrus' M.O as C-Sec's "Supercops".
    Garrus: "For me and Jensen, it never was about doing the right thing. It was about protecting people from all the things in the dark.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Discussed in chapter 24.
    Hein: "Evidence? Pft! These days text, audio and video are hardly damning. They can be easily be fabricated."
  • Wetware Body: Gaian devices can do this, as shown in Interlude 3 with Müllenkamp using them to take control of Templars.
  • Wham Episode: The second prologue ends with Shepard getting murdered. Chapter 13 follows with Kaidan's murder.
  • Wham Line:
    • Jensen to a male agent Lawson in 16:
      "Why did the Alliance kill Shepard?"
    • Jensen in Chapter 24:
      "Well, whatever you found on Mars, it's not Promethean."
    • Adam to Hein in 24:
      Don't you care that these people murdered your DAUGHTER?!"
    • In Baraka's audio logs:
    I received an email today from Doreah. She's managed to take a census and... we were right. There hasn't been a Krogan birth in fifteen years.
    • Chapter 40:
    Ramsus stared at Adam, a confused look on his face. "What AIA substation?"Explanation 
    • Chapter 41:
    "L'horloger..." (Translated: "The clock/watchmaker...")Explanation 
    • Interlude 3:
    Worm has changed his name to Merovingian
    "Arise, Alex Denton," said Ophelia.
    • Chapter 46:
    Because Executor Pallin was found dead, days before. His head had been twisted off.
    • Chapter 47:
    • Chapter 48.
    "Knight Penitent Caim Caerleon," he bowed. "By orders of Lord General Gismor and High Augur Lynn May Chen, I am to assist you in the capture of the Abomination Adam Jensen."
  • What Could Have Been: In-Universe in chapter 34, where Red Raven "sees" the possibilities of Gianna Parasini's life that now never will be.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Baptiste corporation deflected lawsuits regarding their ZORG mech by stating that anti-augmentation laws did not apply to the animal brains used.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In chapter 40 Chakwas chews Anderson out over his having the Normandy support Blacklight's operations, declaring that it's Not What I Signed on For and announcing her resignation.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: As Hein tells Tali, this is his plan with Adam.
    "I want to make him the most powerful being in the galaxy. Then let him save those on Earth again and again until they go mad from envy at the fact that he's isn't the monster they think he is."
  • Wiki Walk: Adam does one when looking up cherry blossoms. He chastises himself for it.
  • The Worf Effect: The AIA's Blacklight commandos have gotten their arses handed to them easily in three separate encounters with Adam, Johann and Hannibal.
  • Worthy Opponent: Saren's view on any Spectres that actually make it all the way to Sovereign.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • In chapter 15, a black ops squad kills a turian child in order to Leave No Witnesses.
    • In chapter 18, we learn that the turians on Shanxi fought back against human children continuing the fight.
    • Lord Commander Caim of the Templars has no problem killing teenagers, even after they've been disabled by Jensen.
    • In chapter 38, a bunch of mercenaries sent to "sanitise" Peak 15 have no qualms trying to kill children. If the memory-copying tech worked correctly, this would be true of Zaeed as well.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: In Interlude 3, Ursus uses a piledriver and an elbow drop on Alexandre.
  • Wretched Hive: Almost all of Caleston, quite intentionally. To quote Word of God:
    I thought about rewriting the Caleston (sic) to be less Grimdark, but then I realized something:
    Caleston is a vision of what might happen to a Cyberpunk world when the issues of corporate oppression and angry transhuman children get out of control, one that our heroes need to see: Gangs kill and take whatever they want. The corporations lose their power to religious extremists. Idealistic hackers get murdered in their homes. Hedonism goes out of control, and the workers simply refuse to work for shit pay to feed ungrateful children. Deep beneath that same world are the remains of a wondrous civilization, its people having learned to become demi-gods in their own right, and cast down by sentient machines infused with the dark purpose of their creator... In the middle of that ruin lies the knowledge of the one that stood against the darkness, a beacon sent to the distant, dark future to light the way.
  • Wronski Feint: In chapter 38 Neil does this against hostile drones.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Adam and Elsa get reassured of this in chapter 42.
  • You Are What You Hate: The augphobic Lang is later revealed to be a Snatcher.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Adam's not welcome on Earth due to the anti-aug sentiment.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Saren hired Wrex as one of many mercenaries for a past job, then sent "cleaners" after them, who Wrex of course evaded.
  • Your Head Asplode: How Johann kills Theodore in chapter 41.
  • You're Insane!:
    Grey: "Are you insane?!"
    Hein: "Oh, most certainly!"
    • Tali says this to Elsa in chapter 37 when the latter suggests she use her seat's emergency thrusters to get back to the Acheron.
    • This is Aya's reaction to Garrus in chapter 38 when the latter suggests airdropping from the Copperhead to save Adam.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: A recurring theme.
    • One of the last big events of the early 21st century "Corporate Wars" was a leeetle accident on behalf of "Parasol Labs" in Macon, Georgia.
    • Part of the Skyllian Blitz. Elanos Haliat stole a stockpile of Black Gas from the turians and dropped it on Elysium. One million people went Reaver almost immediately, killing almost seven million more before they died of sepsis from eating people's entrails. Jensen's life-support augs made him immune, so he was able to rally a defense.
    • Comes close to this with the Brainwashed and Crazy alien mob on Caleston, responding to Jensen interrupting a group eating a willing subject by trying to Zerg Rush him.
    • Aaand Wreav seems prepared to fire huskification nanotech at Noveria.