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Fanfic / Of Sheep and Battle Chicken

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Commander Shepard, The Butcher of Torfan

Of Sheep and Battle Chicken, written by Logical Premise, is a highly divergent AU of Mass Effect 1, set in a far darker variation of the galaxy. At its core, the story revolves around a badly damaged Shepard, who must overcome her own pains and problems in order to try and save the galaxy... even if there are times where the galaxy seems as if it isn't worth saving.

By and large, the story revolves around the Rule of Awesome, with generous side helpings of Grimdark and Realpolitik. While Shepard and the main cast can, and usually do, mow through vanilla mooks, once in a while something surprising will happen. The Awesome comes when the boss fights begin, the fights themselves being both very well written and logical within the expansive boundaries of the AU.

In addition to the original, the first sequel focuses on the immediate aftermath of the Battle of the Citadel, OSABC And Then There Were None. Particular time is given to Bring Down the Sky, Pinnacle Station, followed by Redemption. As with the first story, those various aspects are greatly expanded. A third story, covering the events of Mass Effect 2, is currently in progress: OSABC II That Which Cannot Die''.


Beyond those base stories, there is a massive wealth of side information and world building that has been done, delivered in the form of both STG Threat reports (generally reserved for single individuals) or Cerberus Intelligence reports (on governments or groups). All of these stories as a whole are referred to as the Premiseverse.

Of Sheep and Battle Chicken contains examples of...

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  • Abnormal Ammo: Most races have variations on the base technology. Asari, for example, rely heavily on plasma and utilize their natural biotics even with their basic weapons.
    • Shepard in particular loads her ODIN shotgun with polonium ammo blocks initially, but eventually switches to uranium hexafluoride.
    • Kai Leng's preferred method of eliminating krogan is throwing knives. With a small magnetic bottle in the hilt, containing astatine.
    • The Kyle-class torpedo, which employs a very small neutronium warhead.
  • Abusive Parents: Abusive barely describes Shepard's parents. Also Liara's to some extent.
  • Affably Evil: The Illusive Man and Matriarch Trellani.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted with EVA, EDI and Vigil, though the latter's such a Troll that many feel the trope applies.
    • Played straight with virtually every Prothean AI according to Vigil and Uressa T'Shora.
  • Alternate Continuity: The core story remains, but is heavily expanded upon.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Partially played straight with both Turians and Quarians, where the women have far more active sex drives than the men.
  • And I Must Scream: Benezia's fate as Reaper tech constantly tries to rebuild what's left of her body.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 2: Several species' homeworlds are devastated by war in their histories, including Earth.
    • Class 4: The intention of the Reapers as per canon, albeit in several galaxies instead of just the Milky Way.
    • The orbital bombardment, performed by the Geth in TWCD, caused a Class 4 Apocalypse on Ilium.
    • Class X-2: The Collectors turn Horizon's sun into a mini-supernova, obliterating the whole planetary system .
    • Class X-3: The Darkness destroyed whole Galaxies during the war with the Leviathans, and later the Reapers.
    • Class X-4: The High Ascended inflicted horrific damage to Darkness's universe by draining the energy from it.
    • Class X-5: Whatever the hell the Outsider is preys on whole realities and can perceive all dimensions.
  • Arc Words: "The game was rigged from the start" and "The snare that catches the hunter and not the hunted."
  • Asshole Victim: Delacor zig-zags in and out of this trope depending on how much character growth/regression he's showing at the time.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Garrus Vakarian. He doesn't have biotics, or extreme cybernetics... but he can still out-shoot nearly anyone else in the galaxy.
    • Tradius Ahern for humanity. Again, not a biotic, also more than fifty years old... can still deliver a asskicking to Shepard, Liara, and Tali at the same time without even really trying.
  • Time will tell for the crew of the SR-2.
  • Angel Team from Omega.
  • Batman Gambit: Several of these are enacted openly and are implied to have been used in the past, particularly in regards to Shepard.
    • The High Lords of Sol have utilized her in their plans more than once, to varying degress of succuess.
    • Rachel Florez used these in regards to Shepard once she had been properly molded into the Butcher.
    • The Illusive Man relied on Shepard being too occupied smashing the rest of Cerberus to have the time to track him down.
  • Garrus and Telanya
  • Berserk Button: For Shepard, slavers of any kind. Also, anyone who hurts Liara.
  • BFG: They are usually mounted on battlesuits, but some, like a turian electron accelerator gun "Lance" (also known as a lance cannon) can be carried by infantry in Power Armor.
    • Shepard's ODIN shotgun is a mini-BFG.
    • The particle gun, made by Vigil and given to Grunt.
    • All elcor infantry troops are armed with BFG.
    • Hanar Prism Cannon.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Liara's. Between Liara, Benezia, Aethyta, and Tela there is always something going on.
  • Black Speech: Batarian bhen-hast'ka. It literally translates out to "black speech".
  • Blood Knight: Tazzik, Tetriumus, Matriarch Trellani, Shepard, Grunt to name a few.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Shepard tends towards being ashamed of her own preferences.
  • Brains and Bondage: While it's Shepard who gets her into it, Liara rapidly comes to enjoy this aspect of their relationship.
  • Broken Bird: Quite a few.
    • Matriarch Trellani was once as zealous as any other war priestess, before she discovered the truth about the Asari government.
    • According to snippets of backstory, Aria T'Loak was once a gentle, caring soul... and then her mother attempted to 'fix' that.
  • Brown Note: Some hanar melodies make listeners tremble in fear.
  • Liara undergoes Character degradation after Shepard's death, a result of her own personality combining with the bond-shock of losing her partner.
  • There are hints that Shepard is going to regress badly in OSABC II
  • The Chessmaster: Plenty of them, which causes gambit pile-ups, and not once.
    • In the 24th chapter of ATTWN the POV of a particular Chessmaster - Maxwell Manswell - is shown.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Sparatus delivers it after learning about the betrayal of Saren. In ATTWN, Praetor Invectus Rathaxan swears for several minutes, describing what he is going to do with batarians.
  • The Dark Gods.
  • Crapsack World: The whole civilised Galaxy.
    • Earth stands out, being nearly uninhabitable outside of specific regions and arcology towers.
    • Many human mining worlds, to the point where Mordin idly wonders if humanity has some kind of suppressed urge to make every world like Earth.
    • Batarian homeworld Khar'Shan is that as well, because there are five Dark Gods dwelling in the Lake of Black.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • What batarian Special Intervention Unit prefers to do with some of its prisoners and rebellious slaves.
    • Anyone sacrificed by batarians to the Dark Gods.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shepard receives several from Admiral Ahern during training on Pinnacle station.
    • Tetrimus delivers it during the Burning of Omega.
    • Ganar Okeer expected to deliver it to Wrex, but was beaten himself. However, the group of salarians who rescued Okeer, unleashed so much firepower at Wrex, that he was barely alive.
    • Another one with Okeer, except he killed the Krogan Emperor and all his sons by himself.
    • Tazzik to an unfortunate STG team, granted nobody besides Tazzik survives either but Tazzik does most of the work by himself
  • Cyanide Pill: Multiple organizations use either the classic pill, or more commonly, ocular nerve flashbangs. These organizations include the STG (as in canon), Systems Alliance Commissars, Cerberus, Hades, the Shadow Broker, and the Systems Alliance Penal Legions.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Inverted - they corrupt not the soul, but body. The mechanism is a realistic one, with cybernetics causing cancer and early death due to compromised biological integrity and mental stress from having an artificial body.
  • Dwindling Party: Team Neutron. Shepard's original crew, during her early N7 days. One died at Torfan, another was lost recovering Shepard's body, and now a third has died on Illium. Only one remains, currently living on Tuchanka with Wrex.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Reapers, full stop. Possibly the most Cthulhoid version of them ever written in fan fiction, capable of breaking the laws of physics through the usage of the Godpower as well as being immensely more powerful and controlling several galaxies.
    • Leviathans, who are even more sophisticated in reality warping abilities. Word of god says that a single Old One can destroy multiple Reapers (False Ascended) without assistance.
      • The author has also mentioned that the Reapers are not even at the top of the food chain. What could be more dangerous than beings that easily break the laws of physics? Two words: reality breakers. The fanfiction titled "Fear Unrelenting, Seen Darkly" goes in depth into this, though it will also provide some spoilers for what happens in his Mass Effect 3 - 4 stories.
  • Eldritch Location: The Inusannon ruin on the planet named Gryt-III (described in Encyclopedia Biotica).
    • The Lake of Black on Khar'Shan is this as well, because it is a home for the Dark Gods.
  • Energy Absorption: Uressa T'Shora is capable of absorbing energy from any Asari near her to increase her own.
  • Energy Weapon: Used by different races/parties and much more often then in canon.
  • Evil Gloating: As a result of Turian melodrama, this is all too common.
  • Fix Fic: Plays with this trope in addition to Dark Fic, greatly expanding the various races and making the overall Mass Effect universe more coherent... if far grimmer.
  • Gambit Pileup: Events on Illium in TWCD.
    • A great deal of the events throughout the series can be described as the results of many people's gambits all constantly colliding with one another. To put this in perspective, by the end of TWCD's third arc, we have TIM/Cerberus allied with Vigil and Shepard, the Thirty, the SIX, the High Lords of Sol, the Shadow Broker, Aria, P., the Reapers, the Collectors, three factions of the Leviathans, the Hanar Ascendancy and Batarian Empire which each answer to a different Leviathan faction and Hades as Richard Williams is planning to usurp the High Lords. Several of these plotters admit to having trouble keeping track now.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The fate of most Salarian Wheel Priests, and the occasional Asari who discovers just what Athame and the Thirty really are.
  • He Knows Too Much: Major Kyle was killed even though he understood only the basics of what was happening in the Alliance.
    • More than a few characters are killed or have attempts on their lives simply for knowing things they should not. Tali'Zorah, Kelly Chambers, and Matriarch Trellani are a few examples.
    • There were believed to be plans to kill Liara after Shepard was killed in action, as elements in the Alliance thought she was this trope.
    • As of TWCD, everyone in the core Illusive Man-Shepard team will qualify once the High Lords of Sol realize just what they know.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: The Elcor in a nutshell.
    • They aren't wrong.
  • Humongous Mecha: While there aren't any of the city-building sized variety, some of the heavy mechs are massive compared to most beings.
  • The Idealist: Uressa T'Shora. Though she might not be as she seems, possessed of a clearly unnatural but never explicit importance since her birth.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Beatrice Shields, a member of Team Neutron, carried a torch for Shepard for years and reacted... poorly to her relationship with Liara.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: No one on the SR-1 is unaware when Shepard and Liara are busy.
  • Just a Machine:
    • Subverted with EDI, as Admiral Ahern has specific orders to treat her as a person.
  • Kick the Dog: More than a few beings in power simply dispose of people beneath them for no other reason than they can, though this usually happens historically or off screen rather than directly.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: A lot of the supplemental material (the one shots as well as the STG and Cerberus Reports) spoil the fates of several characters.
  • Taken up to eleven after her resurrection.
  • Tazzik, after being rebuilt by Broker's people.
  • Mind Probe:
    • Standard Asari interrogation involves just melding with and shuffling through the memories of the prisoner.
    • Backfires when an Asari Commissar tries to meld with a Glorious Batarian, she promptly begins convulsing in agony when she reaches the memory of the event that made him into a Glorious biotic.
  • Mini-Mecha: Salarian Shieldbreakers, battlesuits of Final Line Soldiers, Asari Paladins, Human Thermopylaes.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Death is merely one step in Okeer's various plans involving Grunt.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Shift, one of the few beings who might be able to fight a resurrected Shepard in a one-on-one match, a fight that is built up for most of a chapter... is killed by a massive eezo-fueled bomb when the good guys decide that discretion is the better part of valor.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Subverted with High Lords of Sol. They know a lot, but talk (almost) open between each other. Played straight with the Turian Council of Woe.
  • One-Hit Kill: Some of very powerful biotic attacks, like Tetrimus's Beam, can obliterate a human in a single strike.
  • Only Sane Man: Vigil usually takes on this role, mocking the lack of common sense and general shortsightedness of all of the people around him.
    • Among the Thirty, Sulissa T'Soni seems alone or nearly so in realizing how insanely terrible many of the Thirty's plans are.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Morinth disguising herself as her mother.
  • Pet the Dog: Thana T'Armal, despite being one of the cruelest beings in the verse, whose list of evil, cruel, or sociopathic actions is almost too long to list... still became emotional and almost wept on the death of her oldest friend and bodyguard.
  • Private Military Contractors: Numerous, but Zaeed Massani's Firestorm in particular.
  • Properly Paranoid: The AIS's security protocols concerning Benezia's corpse.
  • Punched Across the Room: Krogan tend to do this to each other, and smaller, less durable people, with the expected results.
  • Puny Earthlings: Deconstructed. Almost all other species are stronger, toughness, quicker and/or endowed with superior senses than humans. However, this is because humans are the only galactic species to naturally evolve, while the others were designed and tampered with by precursor species. This makes them much more genetically fragile. Humanity is thus number one in augmentation compatibility, indoctrination resistance, and mental health. In addition, the disparity frightened the High Lords of Sol so much that they started the obscenely over the top NOVENSILES project in the belief it's the only way for humanity to survive.
  • Realpolitik: The driving force of many Council acts as well as the main theme of the story's take on government; anything is permissible to a group so long as it gets results.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: That Which Cannot Die's early plot. Although Shepard is largely unaware that she is putting her old band back together.
  • Reality Warper: Any sentient being with access to the Godpower. But Reapers, Leviathans, the Darkness and the Outsider really take the cake.
  • Rescue Romance: While Shepard finds Liara immediately attractive, it's Liara who crushes extremely hard on her rescuer.
  • What Liara and Telanya descend into after the events of the second fic.
  • Shepard against Cerberus, when she thinks that Liara has been killed by a sniper.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Alliance's goal with the Black Pyramids is to turn them into these by covering them in charged foam, locking them in titanium drums, surrounded by a lead box, locked in an isolation chamber.
  • Sex Slave: Part of Shepard's extensively awful backstory.
    • Batarian females are barely sentient and often treated like this.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: By the time of OSABC II, Liara and Telanya are barely holding themselves together.
  • Sir Swearsalot: Tradius Ahern and Theo Pellham.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Garrus holds himself back from becoming this, remembering the names of every innocent killed in the collateral damage of their fight on Omega.
    • In a contrast, Liara fails entirely, killing thousands of people in her desperate quest for revenge... and she no longer cares.
  • Stepford Smiler: Most Quarians are implied to be deeply disturbed mentally no matter how sane they might appear; the suicide rate for exiles is implied to be well above ninety-percent.
  • Storming the Castle: Shepard's assault on Cerberus' primary headquarters.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Inusannon, Reapers, Leviathans.
  • Super Mode: Shepard pushing her cybernetics to the extreme.
    • The Asari 'heart-rage' can grant them temporarily increased biotic power, but is devastating to them internally. Most don't survive using it more than once in their lives.
  • Super Soldier: Turian Final Line Soldiers-cyborgs, Tetrimus, Shepard post-ressurection and Tazzik after being rebuilt, Quarian Heavy Marines.
    • Subverted with Asari War Priestes. They aren't augmented cybernetically or biologically, but accumulate A LOT of E-0 inside their bodies and train for several tens of years. Because of that, their biotic abilities are extremly powerful and sophisticated.
  • Swiss Army Gun: The weapon that Shepard makes for Liara is both a shotgun and a pistol, depending on the firing mode chosen.
    • In a more straight example, the number of firing modes that Zaeed's Jessie contains is staggering.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Shepard and virtually every organization she's ever had to work with.
    • The Alliance gave her minimal support during the hunt for Saren, and all but planned for her to fail due to not understanding/believing the threat.
    • With Cerberus in the sequel, as while Shepard does not trust them, they are her only real option and she knows it. Unfortunately, Cerberus also knows it.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Hyperdimensional physics. Only those races which evolve the capacity to understand them naturally can do so without going insane, which none of the current cycle besides a small number of salarians are. Those who manage to understand it anyway lose all perspective on the universe and become homicidal nihilists.
  • The Innusannon. Always malicious.
  • The Catalyst to the Leviathans.
  • The Reapers to the Catalyst.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Shepard if Liara is badly hurt. Or if there are any slavers around. Or if she's just in a shite mood that day.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Many young Asari of the Thirty fall victim to this trope, much to the disgust of Matriarchs like Aethyta.
    • A few members of Earth's High families also qualify.
  • Villainous Rescue: Aria saves Aethyta, Liara, and Telanya during the First Burning of Omega. She does it specifically so she can force Aethyta to watch as Liara descends into madness. That she gets some use out of her first is just additional icing on the cake.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Besides Nazara's cannon, re-engineered by turians, there is also a Heavy Hyperluminal Particle Accelerator, used by Final Line Soldiers (it was also re-engineered by the same turian engineers). It can be described as a hybrid of a plasma flamethrower and a mass relay, ignores kinetic shielding and projects a bright blue beam.
  • We Have Become Complacent: The STG. Mordin and various other characters observe that the Special Tasks Group has been crippled by general arrogance, a string of horribly idiotic decisions made by STG leadership over the past few decades, and forced to dedicate more and more time to cleaning up the SIX's power struggles. As a result, the STG was blindsided by the Benezia Incident and in TCWD by the new Cerberus.
    STG Master: "These are connected facets of the same longer-term issue, Dalatrasses. Cerberus has a goal it is working towards, and we do not have a firm concept of what it is, but Shepard's recent communication implies it is no longer the buttressing and support of the Systems Alliance or the Lords of Sol. They were prepared at Horizon, they were - based on the footage we saw of Cerberus' infantry trashing an entire echelon after dispatching a war priestess as if she were a vorcha - prepared at Illum, and it seems they were prepared at Vol Prime. They will be prepared at the Citadel. And we are not, instead left to fumble in the dark to try to ascertain what we have missed."
  • Wetware Body: Several early Asari leaders were in fact Prothean AI's downloaded directly into Asari bodies.
    • The Immutable is a former Salarian AI that prefers using cybernetically enhanced Vorcha as host bodies.
    • Uressa T'Shora is the sole remaining Prothean AI in a host Asari form, and has some ability to transfer itself from one host to another when age requires it to.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In the 26th chapter of ATTWN Shepard learns about the NOVENSILES project - High Lords' plan to upgrade the mankind.
  • The end of the 49th chapter of TWCD, where Trellani tells to Aethyta what she found in the Temple of Athame.
  • "What Now?" Ending: This is how Fear Unrelenting, Seen Darkly, set fifteen thousand years after OSABC concludes. Shepard's last message to the galaxy of that time reveals what The Outsider is and the best way to defend against it, and Vigil powers down after delivering her message. For bonus points, the very final words of the last chapter are "Now what?"
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: TIM is probably the best player amongst Humanity, constantly adjusting his plans and crafting new ones in order to ensure he has a chance to come out ahead.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Garrus and Telanya play rear-guard at the Battle of the Citadel, holding off an army of Geth to buy Shepard and the others time to attack Benezia. Councilor Sparatus is among the first on the scene afterwords, and is nearly moved to show emotion at the sight of them holding each other on the ground, surrounded by their fallen enemies.


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