Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / Mass Foundations

Go To

There are universes that diverge from a choice and there are universes that are fundamentally different from one another, forming a vast, limitless multiverse. In these set of universes, there are orbs that manipulate and alter any reality, rip apart the boundaries between them. If left unchecked, they will bring an end of everything.

Welcome to the multiverse. Enjoy your stay.
Summary of the series on Archive of Our Own

Mass Foundations is a fanfiction series primarily set in the Mass Effect and the Fallout universes, written by Nord Ronnoc. Initially, the series is strongly inspired by Mass Vexations and Masses to Masses, given that Herr Wozzeck and Nord once shared some ideas together on the former.

Redemption in the Stars follows the plot of Mass Effect: Redemption (which is set between the second game's opening and the main plot) and is centered on Ethan Sunderland, the Courier. In the years after the events of his adventures in the Mojave, a teleportation experiment has gone wrong, transporting him to Omega. He soon meets Shepard's former squadmate Liara T’Soni and information broker Feron, and gets involved in their hunt to recover Commander Shepard’s body before it falls into the hands of the Collectors. Redemption in the Stars was originally called Mass Vexations: Redemption and had a degree of involvement from Herr Wozzeck prior to a falling out between the two.

A New Day is revolved around Eric Grimes, a high school graduate. During a vacation with his family, he was transported to the Mass Effect universe when he stumbled upon a strange artifact. He had to adjust to the strange universe he found himself in. Unlike the other characters, Eric is shy and mild-mannered and is inexperienced in a fight for most of it.

Little Star starred Commander Shepard as she found a distress signal on a planet called Acabar, where strange and twisted creatures known as the Merged had wiped out most of the science team. Nord has likened it to Alien, The Thing (1982), and Event Horizon.

All the World's a Stage stars the Twelfth Doctor as he has been brought to the Fallout universe. He sets out to investigate, meeting up with Jocelyn Song, the Lone Wanderer. The title references the well-known phrase from As You Like It. Time will tell if additional references to Shakespeare will be made. Like his other works below, you can also find the original version on and Sufficient Velocity here and here respectively, which has crossed over with the Soul Series.

Molten Lead has a field agent Zachary Turner assessing and scouting for potential candidates for Shepard's squad as depicted in Mass Effect 2 when Rasa turned up missing, struggling with his inner demons as well as external sources manipulating events behind the scenes. It can be viewed on and Sufficient Velocity here and here respectively.

Currently, Nord has posted forums of the stories, including a rewrite of Redemption in the Stars, on and Sufficient Velocity. On SB, Redemption in the Stars can be viewed here and a New Day can be viewed here. On SV, Redemption in the Stars can be viewed here, and the original version of A New Day can be viewed here. SB and SV threads for the reboot of A New Day can be viewed here and here respectively.

Recently, he has released lore entries at the end of each entry in the series, which expands on the lore unique to the series as well as any other setting the fics use. The series also has a link on Archive of Our Own.

The series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    The series in general 
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: So far, each entry in the series (Redemption in the Stars, A New Day, and All the World's a Stage, for example) features different protagonists. As such:
    • Redemption in the Stars has Ethan Sunderland, aka the Courier, who's a (though implied) multi-ethnic man with a sarcastic and somewhat selfish streak, though he is willing to help his friends out.
    • Meanwhile, in A New Day, Eric Grimes is also multi-ethnic (half-Hispanic and half-caucasian) and male but gay. He comes off as meek and shy yet intelligent, having many relatives before winding up in the Mass Effect universe.
    • In All the World's a Stage, Jocelyn Song, aka the Lone Wanderer, is female and half-Asian, half-black. She comes off as a more traditional hero compared to the other protagonists, though she was haunted by her perceived failures.
    • Commander Shepard, starting in Little Star, is an extremely capable combatant and leader, as demonstrated in the original trilogy. She is alo abrasive towards people that angered or infuriated her, like with Harland's proposal on the orb and her neglect in the situation. She also isn't afraid to interrogate people that comes off as suspicious, even when they're unarmed. But above all else, she is primary focused on saving as many lives as she can, even it includes people she despised.note 
  • Fan Verse: It's starting to come off as this.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Seems to be the staple of the series so far. Fallout and Mass Effect? Pretty popular crossover if you know where to look. Doctor Who and Fallout? Okay. The summary of All the World's a Stage has stated it'll cross over with a third setting. What was it? Soul Calibur, of all things. ... Wait, what?
  • The Multiverse: The bulk of the series' setting. It has several characters travel from one universe to another in some capacity. The Codex has described the Multiverse as a complicated thing.
  • Trapped in Another World: Redemption in the Stars, A New Day, and All the World's a Stage have this as a basic plotline. Something had caused the protagonist(s) to be transported to another universe and they have to adapt and maybe find a way back. Though in All the World's a Stage, the Doctor and the Lone Wanderer were able to travel between universes thanks to the TARDIS.
  • Weird Crossover: What All the World's a Stage turns out to be. Soul Calibur crossing over with Fallout and Doctor Who.
  • World of Snark: Many characters get opportunities to make sarcastic quips, though the more prominent one go to the Courier, Shepard somewhat less so.

    Redemption in the Stars 
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Ethan, Liara and Feron snuck into the abandoned mining facility to get Shepard’s body through the wastewater pipe. Downplayed, as mining always produced large quantities of wastewater and the pipes of the size shown (they’re implied to be just large enough to move through) are quite likely to be used. Because the facility processed eezo, the water was radioactive as well; they could only get through because of Ethan’s Rad-X.
  • Action Girl: Liara was an obvious one. An unnamed Blue Suns Commander fits this trope as well, carrying heavy weaponry and efficiently commanding her troops.
  • After Action Patch Up: Much of the epilogue can be summed up as this.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: The batarian pyro taunts the Courier with a reference to Apocalypse Now.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted. The Courier couldn't understand any of the alien languages until he purchases a translator from a human-run shop.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Feron expressed doubt about the Courier's origins, even after the Courier himself asked about how biotics work. This was lampshaded by the Courier and Liara. Eventually, he relented after the Courier showed his memories to Liara in a mind-meld.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The Shadow Broker’s base at Alingon is described as being absolutely grey and utilitarian and with good reason. The building was spliced out of several pre-made hubs so that the dedicated architect wouldn’t have to be employed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ethan and Liara were able to recover Shepard's body, but Ethan had to convince Liara to give the body to Cerberus. While Ethan was given the leeway for a project to repair his Transportalponder, a lot of bad things happened to make that happen. Feron was captured by Tazzik and the Shadow Broker's crew, Alan Mark was killed in action, and Christine was critically injured. When Liara asked him to promise not to jeopardize the project to resurrect the commander, he was hesitant, given that their new-found friendship was now on rocky ground thanks to his actions. Worst of all, he made an enemy of the Shadow Broker.
  • Gunship Rescue: Downplayed. The Cerberus frigate turns the tide at the Alingon base and keeps the attackers at bay for a while, but then Tazzik’s engineers manage to disable its guns, forcing the squad to negotiate.
  • Dead Man's Switch: At Alingon, the squad couldn't destroy the missile turrets at the entrance because doing so would instantly alert the base security. The alert didn't activate when the turret is simply temporarily disabled, however, which leads to the Race Against the Clock below.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The Courier taunted the Collector-General to keep it off of Liara while she was taking Shepard's body. Not only did it work, he survived the confrontation against it. Even more impressive if one realized that he managed to distract Harbinger, who was implied to be possessing the Collector, with an insult and covering fire.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Strongly averted. The Courier used VATS, the Jury Rigging perk, his Pip Boy map, and the Geiger counters. Liara frequently employed various biotic talents during combat and Feron can fix equipment with omni-gel, like the Infiltrator class of the first game. Even the Blue Suns’ members use the full spectrum of their equipment from the second game, with missile launcher soldiers, flamethrower troops and Legionnaires with anti-shield disruptor ammo all present and accounted for.
  • Groin Attack: A Blue Suns Centurion attempts this on the Courier, but he dodges it due to his close-combat experience in the Mojave. This mistake lets Ethan capture her.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Ethan saw Lynch engaging an asari vanguard at the Shadow Broker base before being forced to turn around. The next time he looks at him, purple blood is dripping off his armor.
  • Hostage Situation: This time it's the protagonist who takes a Blue Suns Centurion hostage, when cornered and needing to get information on Liara and Feron’s coordinates. His demands are rejected, however, as the other Suns call his bluff and attempt to distract him long enough for the back-up to arrive. He ultimately sees through it and points out that he'll just kill the reinforcements. It works.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Downplayed. In the first chapter, Ethan has only a decent chance of hitting the flamethrower gas tank at medium range with VATS.
  • Insecurity Camera: Played with. The cameras themselves are quite well placed throughout the building on Alingon and on the outside, but they’re absent at the rear entrance since there are already guards and turrets present. Inside, they’re brought down by the terminal located too close to the entrance, allowing the group to hack into it.
  • Instant Sedation: More realistic than usual; a manual syringe is used, the target is restrained, and the hitman, Tazzik, checks the dosage before using the sedative.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Ethan made his Transportalponder this by accident when he tried to upgrade it. However, it broke when he arrived to the Mass Effect universe, leaving him trapped until he can fix it.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: When the Courier first engages the Blue Suns, a Centurion splits away from the remaining group to deal with him. Justified, as they don’t know his skills yet and Centurions are Elite Mooks in the game.
    • Justified again in the fourth chapter, where only one Blue Suns hovercar out of five is sent to investigate the car left behind by the team and where Ethan is lurking. They didn't expect him to stick around near the facility and so the rest are searching for him on the outskirts.
  • Mugging the Monster: A batarian thug tries to rob the Courier soon after his arrival. It doesn't work out too well for him.
  • Not So Invincible After All: The Collector-General is a hulking figure of chitin and lava, able to unleash biotic barrages and with inhumanly durable barriers. When Ethan ends up fighting it alone, the Shadow Broker’s guards consider him doomed and see no reason to intervene. When the creature finally gets brought to his knees, they fire at him, but it was too late.
  • One Size Fits All: Averted. Ethan cannot use a translator looted from the batarian thug because his ears are shaped differently, so the earphones simply wouldn’t fit in for him.
  • Race Against the Clock: The Cerberus commandos and the Courier manages to overheat the missile turrets guarding Shadow Broker's Alingon base. However, the effect only lasts 30 seconds, after which the turrets go back to normal. The resultant race to get to the compound before they activate is punctuated by the automatic countdown.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Ethan kills a heavily shielded turian Centurion by stabbing him in the throat with his Bowie knife. Justified in-universe as kinetic barriers are only meant to work against high-speed objects, either being very ineffective or completely useless against melee attacks.
  • Sadistic Choice: When Lynch received the coordinates for the location of Shepard's body and the comm link in the base on Alingon, he informed the Courier of the opportunity to rescue either Liara or Feron. However, they're unable to save both and they're well aware of it. Ultimately, Ethan chose to rescue Liara.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: The Courier did that to the Blue Suns’ Pyro in the first chapter.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Ethan wakes up, he checks to see if his body's in one piece, much like what the Eleventh Doctor did after his regeneration.
    • Lynch's name and the Courier's remark to it is a reference to the antagonist and Hannibal's reply from The A-Team movie.
    • The batarian pyro taunting Ethan after setting him on fire, along the lines of:
    • Ethan spotted a blue police box just floating out in space.
    • The Courier called the Harbinger-possessed Collector in the fifth chapter a prawn, comparing its appearance to third-degree burn victims and ghouls.
    • During the fight between Ethan and the Collector, the Collector remarked, "Like a spark to the fire", referencing Tor's kill line.
    • The name of the epilogue—I Need You—references the title of the second half of the End of Evangelion movie.
    • The name of the fifth chapter refers to the Mission: Impossible series. It helps that the protagonist's name is Ethan.
  • Shown Their Work: The base infiltration scene on Alingon doesn’t arbitrarily choose the 30 second number to add more drama. That is the maximum duration of the Sabotage ability you can unlock in the first game.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Most of the interactions between the Courier and Feron come off as this.
  • Teleportation Misfire / Teleporter Accident: What kicked off the plot of the fic, adopting a pretty common Obvious Crossover Method, thus making Ethan's motivation to find a way back home, though it was a self-imposed error in improving the Transportalponder and Big Mountain being Big Mountain.
  • The Cavalry: The Courier, Liara and Feron are saved from their first engagement with the Blue Suns by a sudden intervention of an unseen sniper.
  • The Dragon: Tazzik serves as this to the Shadow Broker, who serves as the Big Bad of this fic. Since he does most of the action as a bad guy, Tazzik also counts as The Heavy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ethan gets one from Cerberus agent Lynch when he appears at the scene to find what is essentially a failed mission, with Liara and Feron captured and Shepard’s body still with Tazzik.
    • And earlier on, when Ethan attempts to bargain for information by taking a Centurion hostage, the other Blue Suns call him out on the unprovoked killing he has done before. Ethan deflects their accusations, calling them out on their Moral Myopia.
    • Liara's not happy when Ethan suggest they hand Shepard over to Cerberus. He manages to convince her to see from his viewpoint, but it's clear that she's still upset about his past actions.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The Courier finishes off the the Harbinger-possessed Collector by discharging the entire clip of his M-6 Carnifex into his head, with predictable results.

    A New Day 
  • Blind Date: Luke and Natalie sets this up for Eric, who's been bitter lately. This has him meet Garrett Pitt.
  • Different World, Different Movies: While Eric was browsing the Extranet, he found out what games BioWare had released from 1995 to 2023, one of which was the third game in the Baldur's Gate series called Black Hound. It was obvious they never released Mass Effect. Meanwhile, Dragon Age was in development at one point but it ended up being too expensive much to make, so it was shelved. Jade Empire received a sequel on the Xbox 360. Instead, there was the SFX franchise, built on similar premises to Mass Effect. BioWare had also collaborated with Obsidian Entertainment on to create some sort of a modern spy RPG called Everything or Nothing, which sounded like Alpha Protocol.
  • The Cameo: Quite a few characters from the Mass Effect series were in this fic. Garrus was seen talking with an asari C-sec officer in the fourth chapter while Eric became friends with Suvi Anwar from Mass Effect: Andromeda at the Black Star in the third chapter in a discussion about their religious beliefs.
    • Steve Cortez shows up to offer help to Eric and his friends during Mass Effect's endgame while they were sneaking off an Alliance facility on Earth.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The first chapter, Arrival. Not only does it refer to Eric and his family arriving at Bangkok, it also refers to Eric's arrival to the Mass Effect universe, a year prior to the events of the first game.
  • Dream Sequence: Occurred in the fifth chapter. Eric's dream consisted of the Faceless Masses save for people he personally knew, all ignoring him. Then he went to a tunnel, with large security cameras watching his every move. The dream ended with everything going dark.
  • Flashback: Seems to be this fic's staple, which starts at the beginning of some of the chapters. All them expand on Eric's past, shaping how he is now, and tends to mirror present events, excluding a Whole Episode Flashback.
  • Give Me a Sign: During his first week of training, Eric has fumbled handling a gun. Humiliated, he flees to the bathroom and, in a fit of desperation, asks God to help him in his time of need. Double Subverted that it doesn't work, but something unrelated does: a bit of pep talk from Luke, boosting his confidence.
  • Holiday in Cambodia: Eric and his family visited Bangkok, Thailand, then Angkor Wat in the first chapter until Eric stumbled upon the artifact at the aforementioned temple.
  • Queer Romance: One between Eric and Garrett.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first chapter, Alfonso and Eric namedrops The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and BioShock Infinite during a brief discussion about the many-worlds interpretation, as well as Final Fantasy X on another topic.
    • Also in the first chapter, when Eric and his family arrived at Angkor Wat, Garcia and Alfonso joked about encountering the head-tossing snakes from Illusion of Gaia at the temple.
    • Eric often calls his brother Al. The similarity stops there, however, as Eric's brother is older than him.
    • Eric comes upon an article that has a founder of a club claiming that there are similarities between modern military tactics and Gears of War.
    • Natalie mentioned Ian Shaw turning an elcor serial killer to C-Sec while picking Eric up, much to Eric's and Natalie's bemusement.
    • The third chapter's title, "I'll Carry You Home Tonight", is lifted from fun.'s We Are Young.
    • The protagonist Natalie's playing as in Redeemer is a Distaff Counterpart of Guts, albeit one possessed, wielding fire-based powers as a result. Even the description of her sword's taken word-for-word from the series' Running Gag. With that in mind, a demon-possessed knight-like character with fire powers also bears a Distaff Counterpart resemblance to Nightmare. Even the wording of the sword's description to the Dragonslayer is similar.
    In the warrior’s hands was a two-handed sword, though it was too big to be called a sword. It was massive, thick, heavy, and far too rough. Indeed, it was a heap of iron.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Natalie told Eric that she and the other analysts at C-Sec came to a conclusion that, because of the circumstances of his arrival to the Mass Effect universe, he either came from the past or from another universe, which wasn't far off to begin with. Naturally, Eric accepted that as the answer.
  • Squee: Eric's reaction to jumping through the mass relay while riding on a passenger liner, much to Garrett's annoyance.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Like the other series that inspired this fic, Eric was transported to the Mass Effect universe one year prior to the first game.
  • Vacation Episode: The first chapter starts out as this in Bangkok and Angkor Wat.
  • Wham Line: Partway into the seventh chapter titled Boston, there was this line early in the flashback:
    It would have been nothing out of the ordinary for him, if not for a trial of smoke rising southwest of here.
    A couple paragraphs later: A faint boom and another trial of smoke rose near the same spot. There was never a fire going on over there.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The seventh chapter, Boston.

    Little Star 
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shepard and her team ended the Merged threat, but many of the Acabar crew had died in the effort. While Harland was implied to be put in prison, it wasn't the case months later, now that she was working for Cerberus with the Courier. The facility seemed to be rebuilt by Cerberus, and it wasn't known if the whole process could repeat itself.
  • Body Horror: The Merged. They were created when two alternate states of each person were mashed together, causing things such as their mouths stretching at unnatural angles, having one body wide enough for two, or even have their head split in two.
  • Call-Back: Like Miranda back in Redemption in the Stars, Harland questioned the Transportalponder. Unlike last time, the Courier was more irritated than amused.
  • Character Overlap: The Courier makes a surprise appearance at the end of the fic, meeting with Harland after arriving at the rebuilt facility.
  • Dwindling Party: Not to Shepard and her team. Prior to the events of the fic, there were dozens of people working at the planet's facility. By the time the orb arrived and Shepard's arrival afterwards, only six of the crew remained. And that number dropped to two: Dr. Harland and a security guard, Chelsey Fayne, who was rendered unconscious due to stress and lack of sleep.
  • Fusion Dance: A rather gruesome mix of Two Beings, One Body and the Composite to anyone becoming the Merged.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: While pursuing the orb, Arthur got injured and opted to stay behind to blow it up, taking his life with it.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: As soon as the orb arrived, the science team on Acabar did nothing at first. By the time they came around, that was when hell broke loose and the Merged, well, commerce, causing the facility to go into lockdown. It was exacerbated by Harland, as she ordered the others not to cease experimentation in a chain of emails.
  • It Can Think: The Merged have lost their sanity but they were able to retain some form of their intelligence. They pick up and use guns as well as open doors and other basic motor actions.
  • Mauve Shirt: Most of the surviving research team is this. Witt, Arthur, and Neil have some involvement before biting it by the end of the story. Subverted with Chelsey, though.
  • Meat Moss: Downplayed. The arm Shepard and her squadmates found was merged on a wall, but no other bits of flesh were found. Later on, Neil became a victim when Merged!Dave threw him against the wall in the armor.
  • Nursery Rhyme: The passphrase required to open the door to the armor, where the surviving members of the science team reside.
  • The Reason You Suck: Shepard to Harland when the scientist announced her plan about the orb.
    Shepard: Dr. Harland, I’m aware your intentions are good. You made that absolutely clear.
    Harland: And?
    Shepard: If you think that excuses for what happened here, don’t bother. You’re lucky I said I would get you out of here. Otherwise, I would’ve kicked your ass the moment I walked in the room and had you arrested. I mean, you didn’t find it odd that it appeared out of nowhere? The moment you found something was off, you went into studying it without containing it until it was too late. You sure do give science a bad rep. Feels great, doesn’t it? Being the mad scientist.
  • Sci-Fi Horror: Monsters invoking Body Horror? Check. Corrupt Corporate Executive (or at least down from a lower level)? Check. An experiment that has Gone Horribly Wrong? You bet!
  • Shout-Out:
  • Title Drop: The door to the armor that Arthur led Shepard and her squadmates to needed a passphrase, which was the first part of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. This gets lampshaded by Shepard.
    Shepard: Really?
    Arthur: Wasn't my idea.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Shepard was tempted to use her Spectre status to shoot Harland after everything she had done, seeing that the courts would let her go. She didn't follow through with it, encouraging the scientist to turn herself to the Alliance. In the ending, she seemed to be right.

    All the World's a Stage 
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: On the Soul Calibur side of things. The presence of Azwel and Graf Dumas indicated that this fic is combining both timelines. To what extent is yet to be determined.
  • Artifact of Doom: Soul Edge, obviously, and probably Soul Calibur.
  • Call-Back: The orb from A New Day and Little Star makes an appearance, not only placing the Doctor and Jocelyn in the TARDIS, but also transporting them to the Icarus station, run by UNIT, in the Doctor's universe.
    • The Doctor demonstrated the concept of bigger on the inside to Jocelyn with two boxes, much like the Fourth Doctor's explanation to Leela about how the TARDIS was Bigger on the Inside. Unlike Leela, Jocelyn started to understand where the Doctor's coming at.
    • Upon the Lone Wanderer encountering Missy for the first time, the Time Lady recognizes Kroton, though she had trouble remembering the specifics, and the rogue Cyberman had to remind her, leading to the exchange between the two that summarized his current role and the time they've last encountered one another.
  • Rotating Protagonist: The first chapter and prologue goes exclusively from Doctor's perspective. After that, it switches between his and Jocelyn's for most of it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One from Avengers: Age of Ultron in one of Jocelyn's flashbacks, with the Courier paraphrasing a line from Hawkeye.
      The Courier: We’re in a city tag-teamed by a bunch of nuclear bombs, we’re fighting an army of robots, and we’re knee-deep in brass. None of this makes sense!

    Molten Lead 
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the previous entries, having a Villain Protagonist who's fanatically devoted to Cerberus, along with an an unsettling atmosphere throughout the fic. There are also political references to the later half of the 2010s, specifically ideologies such as the alt-right. It even got a Mature rating on Archive of Our Own and FanFiction.Net due to these depictions, the increased level of gore and violence, and Zachary's Attempted Suicide near the beginning.
  • Eye Scream: The prisoner that tried to off Zachary Turner with a scalpel in the first flashback was on the receiving end of it.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Zachary was seconds away from stabbing himself in the throat in his cell during the first flashback, only for Kai Leng to step in just before he did the deed.