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Fanfic / Psi Effect

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"I think they're arguing over who gets to kill you," the quarian murmured.

Ilena was a fun-loving asari from an Armali science colony orbiting Tevura, she lived a typical life, grew up with her mother and sister in an average asari household- neither one of the great, ancient houses, nor indentured. She liked guns and shoes, and eventually ventured offworld in search of adventure. She becomes a mercenary- hey, it’s the expected thing of an asari maiden –and went looking for trouble until it found her.


Oh boy, did it find her.

Psi Effect is a Mass Effect and XCOM crossover by Cap’n Crysallid, set approximately twenty years before the events of Mass Effect’s First Contact War and approximately a hundred years following the events of X-COM: The Long War.

Praised for its immersive and organic storyline, memorable characters, and world building; Psi Effect chronicles the events of the Bataran Civil War and Ilena’s role in it as the commanding officer of ‘Eclipse’, a front and proxy organization for Human black ops and X-COM. link

Spacebattles link Thread 1 Thread 2


Psi Effect Provides Examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: Chakwas goes from a Non-Action Guy to a psionic Combat Medic.
  • The Ageless: It's a side-effect of the MELD.
  • Alien Abduction: Ironically, humanity are the abductors. The Ethereals would be proud.
  • Attention Whore: Ilena.
    "I will not be left out of this, or any other, conversation."
  • Awful Truth: The Asari of Trident are using captive Rachni... as breeding stock for themselves
  • Beat: A frequent part of the dialogue. Sometimes Shepard needs a moment to adjust when dealing with Ilena.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Shepard is friendly, polite, helpful and perfectly capable of liquefying your brain.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Ilena is a textbook ditz and suffers from Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, but don't forget that underneath that is a biotic commando. It's worth noting that in their first fight she got a 'solid second place' in the Body-Count Competition. (Not that anyone except her was keeping score...)
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  • Blood Knight: Shepard is a major one. It's probably why she gets along so well with Wrex.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Psionics are purple, biotics are blue.
  • Combat Medic: Chakwas is officially the teams field medic and at one point takes on a half dozen Batarian soldiers in CQC. Alone. She doesnt consider it a valid excuse for losing the target she was tracking. Or even worth mentioning for that matter.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: On a massive scale. Humans have the technology needed to impersonate Asari, but cannot magic up an answer as to their origins. However, they learn about a lost Asari ship that intended to found a new colony away from Thessia, and gratefully snatch the concept. Just to make sure, however, they also send a few ships to check if the ship was really lost. It wasn't.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: A psychic, genetically modified commando VS a biotic Krogan Battlemaster. That it's Shepard Vs Wrex only makes it better.
  • Crossover: Obviously.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Shepard's backstory is analogous to a combination of the the Sole Survivor and Ruthless backstories from Mass Effect canon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Daro'Xen, especially when she's dealing with Ilena. Shepard gets in on it too occasionally.
  • Double Entendre: "What happens in Uranus, stays in Uranus."
  • The Dreaded: Eclipse (or more specifically Shepards squad of Psi Operatives) establish themselves as this in record time. Using psi-panic in every battle doesn't hurt.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Shepard and her squad use face concealing helmets helmets to pass as Asari.
  • Duel Boss: At the climax of Korlus, Shepard ends up fighting Vasir and Wrex simultaneously.
  • Enemy Civil War: Mankind instigates one in the Batarian Hegemony by way of slave revolt.
  • Establishing Character Moment: "Surrender!" Ilena yelled out from behind the trolley, holding up her hands and pointing her rifle into the blue, snowy sky. "I surrender! Please don't rape my face! I use it every day and I like it as it is!"
  • The Face: Ilena serves as this for Eclipse, which in this AU is a front for humanity.
  • Famous Ancestor: Shepard is Dr Vahlen's Granddaughter. Unusually, thanks to the Meld, she's still alive and kicking.
  • Flat "What": How Daro'Xen reacts to learning that Humanity has a non-relay method of FTL travel.
  • Free-Love Future: Corporal Chambers is part of a four way polyamourous relationship, with several children. This is not presented as unusual in any way. She also mentions having gay neighbours, but only to comment that they have six kids and no accidental pregnancy excuse.
  • Fun Personified: Ilena seems to have this as her default personality.
  • Gambit Pileup: Korlus. Dear goddess, Korlus. A brief summary of the participants includes: Eclipse, Humanity, the Council, Tela Vasir, the Shadow Broker, Unit 7-31, Okeer, a group of female Krogan, and the Reapers.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: As in canon the Citadel races use a small number of gene therapies. Thanks to the MELD, Humanity makes them look like rank amateurs.
  • Genre Savvy: Ilena is savvy enough to mention several tropes explicitly. Shepard is also savvy enough to peg Ilena has comic relief about five minutes after meeting her.
  • Gravity Master: Biotics, same as in mass effect canon.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: In an ironic twist, Humanity are the alien infiltrators looking to sabotage and destabilise the galactic community. However they're generally good people, have been focusing their efforts on the Batarian Hegemony and have a pretty good excuse for being paranoid.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Referenced and Gender Flipped. Apparently pre-space flight Asari had legends about green skinned space hunks who came to Thessia to build pyramids and/or get laid.
    • Fridge Brilliance: This becomes five times funnier when you remember what Protheans looked like.
  • Groin Attack: Annabelle Shepard grabs Wrex by the quad before hoisting him into the air and bodyslamming him into the floor. He's quite shocked by it.
  • Human Resources: The only source of MELD. Unlike the Etherals, they found ways around having to kill people for it. Every human has a certain amount of MELD their body produces without harm and can be donated. However X-COM operatives don't get burials.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Ilena, an Asari, is the main viewpoint character.
  • Honey Trap: Annabelle Shepard is one for one of Vasir's Troops.
  • Imagine Spot
  • Immortality: One of the effects of MELD is, barring accident, anyone who takes the treatments is functionally immortal.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Ilena gets turned on by Shepards story of wiping out every Thresher Maw on Akuze. Then again, most things turn Ilena on.
  • Mythology Gag: Frequent, especially since the fic is set 20 years before the canon First Contact.
    • Annabelle Shepard has a daughter named Hannah, who is the XO of her ship. In Mass Effect proper that was the name and career of Spacer Shepard's mother. Hannah's son John is revealed to be alive, though he is still a child at this point.
    • Daro'Xen quite likes the sound of "Admiral Xen."
  • Mixed Metaphor: Ilena. Of course.
    "Nature abhors waste. And a vacuum. Which is why we dump trash in space."
  • Name's the Same: Melding (Asari communication/sexual act) is not the same as a mind meld (Psychic Link) or the Meld (Gene Mod). This gives Ilena some confusion about the nature of the relationship between humans and sectoids.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Annabelle Shepard is the mother of Hannah Shepard, who is in turn the mother of John Shepard, the potential protagonist of the Mass Effect canon.
  • Occam's Razor: Subverted and used for Dramatic Irony. People who see humans in action assume them to be Asari with weird purple biotics. They're wrong on every count.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Ilena leads Eclipse, Vasir's Blue Vixens, and some Blood Pack krogan in working together to kill a Reaper-tech abomination. And it all happens offscreen during Shepard's fight with Wrex and Vasir.
  • Older than They Look: Shepard is 90 at the time when when the fic takes place. She looks around mid-twenties, early thirties at most.
  • One-Man Army: Shepard. Wrex. All of X-Com's Psi Operatives.
  • Orgasmically Delicious: Ilena certainly thinks so about human food. The cover art on is her holding a Tolberone, and she got into a fight over ham with one of Shepard's younger relatives.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Humanity, to the Citadel races.
  • Psychic Powers: Humanity still has them. The asari have their more limited version.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: There are several examples on the Spacebattles threads. The adventures of Spectres Shan Vol and Borruck by Derian von Harken are especially popular.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The two Eclipse squad leaders of Red and Blue Squads, Enyala and Liselle. Liselle, leader of Blue Team, is a hot tempered risk taker with little formal training while Enyala, leader of Red Team, is a trained asari commando who evaluates each problem before dealing with it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Also counts as Technician Versus Performer.
  • Skewed Priorities: Ilena has just received genetic modifications to give her incredibly enhanced vision and a built in HUD. Her reaction to this?
    "Wait! We have this thing where our eyes turn black when we meld! Please tell me you didn't get rid of the black-eyes thing!"
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Ilena is a major fangirl of Tela Vasir, as an Asari Spectre and major badass. Shepard herself is a more subdued fan of Annette Durand, the Volunteer who destroyed the Ethereal Temple Ship.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Averted from the first chapter. There's been no official First Contact; humanity is infiltrating Citadel space through organizations like Eclipse, and the Batarian civil war is engineered by humanity to neutralize the threat of slavers by removing the biggest source of market demand, just to name the two most obvious.
  • The Stoic: Annabel Shepard. With the occasional Not So Stoic moment.
  • Transhuman: Thanks to the MELD human society is very different, although being part of X-COM requires you to have a "baseline" human form. Corporal Chambers had to give up her cat ears.
  • Vitriolic Bestbuds: Ilena and Daro'Xen quickly develop this.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Humanity have more or less completely replaced the Ethereals, including using spaceships derived from the saucers and battleships, and all their mooks.