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Fanfic / Remnants

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Remnants is the sequel to Guilty Sparks and the third entry in the Halo/Mass Effect crossover series The Wormhole Chronicles by General Rage.

After their harrowing escape from Halo's destruction, Commander Shepard, Master Chief, and the other survivors from the Normandy and the Pillar of Autumn are now lost in space, with only three ships to their name and no certainty of what to do next. Further complicating things is that a non-negligible cadre of Batarian and Kig-Yar deserters are now stuck with them in a tenuous alliance, with very few on either side happy about the situation. Shepard tries to keep the peace amongst the squabbling factions, but it's an uphill battle as everyone has a different idea as to what their ultimate goals should be. But they finally get some direction when a Covenant Assault Carrier happens upon them...


There are two companion stories, The Adventures of the Lucen: The VykurCorp Conspiracy, which covers Dr. Liara T'Soni and her own Ragtag Bunch of Misfits as they try to hinder the titular corporation's collusion with the Covenant, and Buzzard Buccaneer Radio, a collection of transcripts from the titular pirate radio station set up by the Kig-Yar deserters. Tropes for both side stories are at the bottom of the page.

Remnants contains the following tropes:
  • Adaptation Expansion: Goes even further than the last two stories did. While nominally following the events of Halo: First Strike, it adds on sub-plots about an artifact hunt (expanding the importance of the Forerunner Crystal from the source material by turning it into one of four Plot Coupons) and a conflict with Kig-Yar pirate leader Snarlbeak, as well as continuing plot threads set up by the previous story.
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  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: The Kig-Yar, and Zek in particular, take a strong fondness to human film and music. They take a special liking to Jaws and Gremlins in particular. Jaws because it calls to mind old sea shanties from their native Eayn, and Gremlins, because they find the titular monsters highly relatable. They also enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean for obvious reasons. However, it turns out that Zek and Retz, at least, strongly dislike Shakespeare's works.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Action Prologue focuses mainly on a female Kig-Yar tomb raider named Taq, a never-before-seen Original Character, to set up the events of the main story.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: In addition to the Covenant, who, for the moment, lack any sort of of focus character, a third faction enters the fray in the form of a Kig-Yar pirate fleet lead by one of Zek's former business partners, Snarlbeak.
    • Special mention also goes to the "Chronicler", the preserved essence of a Precursor who terrorizes Tali after she inadvertently frees it from a Forerunner artifact it was trapped inside of.
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  • Crapsack World: After a mishap with the Amplifier, Shepard, the Master Chief, and Cortana were all transported a year and half into the future, where everything has gone to literal hell. After the three of them disappeared, Zek and his crew abandoned the group, who rushed to the Halo Earth to defend it from the Covenant, but without Shepard or the Chief's heroism, the UNSC was utterly curbstomped by an alliance between the Covenant and the Reapers. Shepard's crew attempted to return back to their home universe through the wormhole, but the Covenant and the Reapers followed them back and launched a massive offensive against the galaxy. All of Shepard's companions except for Tali, Miranda, Liara, Wrex, Grunt, and Zaeed were killed in the early stages, and things got worse when the Flood unexpectedly entered the scene. The Quarian Migrant Fleet was wiped out by Flood-controlled Geth, all of the Council homeworlds fell, Tali ended up going insane from both the enormous personal loss and the lingering presence of the Gravemind eroding at her sanity, all of the major space fleets were decimated in an attack against Harbinger, and by the time Shepard and the Chief arrive, Earth is a war torn wasteland caught in the middle of an apocalyptic grudge match between the Flood and the Covenant/Reaper alliance.
  • Demoted to Extra: Corporal Locklear was a major supporting character in Halo: First Strike, but since he's not the only surviving ODST in this version of the story, he's only mentioned in a single line listing some of the ODSTs who support McKay.
  • Double Agent: Retz is a Syndicate agent and an experienced one, at that, but he's long ago transferred his true loyalties to Zek. Exactly when he turned isn't clear, but he apparently had a Heel Realization after one too many jobs. The Syndicate at least suspected he was "too close", which is why the team that assembled to kill Taq didn't keep him in the know and kept full details of the mission from him, but clearly they overestimated just how much of a hold they really had on him since they even kept him in the loop at all.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Demonstrated in how Zek and Snarlbeak treat unggoy in similar circumstances. When an unggoy servant screws up Zek's drink order, he is content to give him a tongue-lashing for his failings and simply dismiss him. When another unggoy servant screws up Snarlbeak's order, Snarlbeak has his right-hand man, Lurz, take him out back and kill him. The latter event freaks out Zek so badly that he starts to second-guess his own Fantastic Racism.
  • Fantastic Racism: Zek, a Kig-Yar, cares little for the unggoy aboard his ship and is quick to chew them out for any failings in their service. To Shepard's dismay, his first mate, Retz, who is otherwise the Only Sane Man in Zek's crew, agrees with him. To be fair, Zek draws the line at brutally murdering them for their screwups, something that Snarlbeak has no qualms about and actually disturbs Zek.
  • Field Promotion: Lieutenant Haverson and Colonel Holland decide to give McKay a Rank Up to Captain to recognize her status as the leader of the ODSTs and to congratulate her on her success in leading the troops during the battle in the Forerunner cargo ship against the Promethean Crawlers. Haverson notes they can't make it official yet (as he's not allowed to promote someone over his rank and Holland is Army, not Navy), but they are allowed to deputize her through emergency provisions (which falls under their current circumstances quite well). Getting Vice-Admiral Whitcomb to officially recognize it once they pick him up from Reach helps matters of legitimacy as well.
  • Ghost Ship: The multi-group alliance ends up finding and exploring the wreck of a long-crashed Forerunner cargo ship. Unfortunately, it's not quite vacant; it's filled to the brim with hostile Promethean Crawlers.
  • G-Rated Drug: Sugar has a much stronger effect on Kig-Yar than humans, to the point where Zek and Retz consider marketing it to further finance their pirate operations.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Grunt and Zek get stuck in one over the course of six hours thanks to a mishap with the Amplifier and the Time Crystal. Shout Outs to Groundhog Day abound.
  • It's All About Me: Snarlbeak is very much this. He has been in a position of power for so long that he cannot fathom the idea of not getting what he wants. When he attempts to broker a deal with the colonists in Chapter 27 so that he can get his hands on the Forerunner artifact they have coveted, he is shot down almost immediately, and promptly loses his shit.
  • The Mole: The Syndicate thrives on creating these, seeding various loyal agents in Kig-Yar pirate crews, criminal activities, and even the Covenant forces to watch out for potential threats to the Pirate Queens' power whose jobs are to wait in deep cover for decades if need be to fulfill their objectives of ensuring nobody crosses them (or worse, tries to overthrow them). Retz recounts how many of them will build up close relationships with their targets only to stab them in the back when they least expect it. Retz is one of the few that decided he actually valued his friendship over whatever power and wealth the queens could offer him, and he makes it clear from his stories he was as ruthless as any Syndicate agent once upon a time.
  • Mole in Charge: Chapter 27 reveals that Cerberus agents trapped in the Halo universe twenty years prior while investigating a Forerunner artifact joined ONI, as the latter agreed heavily with their views. Given the amount of time that has passed since they arrived, Shepards points out that this means said agents could now be very high ranking and might even be in charge of ONI.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Chapter 27 reveals that the aforementioned time loop and subsequent time travel adventure that Shepard's team triggered with the artifact caused a temporary disruption in the timescale discrepancy of the wormhole linking the Mass Effect universe to the Halo universe. This happened at the same time Cerberus sent its agents through it, causing them to be sent back more than twenty years prior to when they planned. That being said, Shepard and his crew are inadvertently responsible for Cerberus infiltrating ONI.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Snarlbeak by choice, not because he can't fight, mind you, but because due to the trauma of his sister's death and the injuries he received avenging her he's now Afraid of Blood.
  • Not So Different: Zek from his father, Dread Feather, whether he likes it or not. Be it both of them leaving their loves behind (Zek's mom and Taq), to being forced into the Covenant, to even rebelling against them in the name of freedom and refusing to be a slave. Snarlbeak takes great pleasure in lampshading it all to an in-denial Zek.
  • The Reveal: A big one gets dropped in Chapter 27: Cerberus Operatives ended up in the Halo universe twenty years prior to the events of the story while investigating an anomaly in space. Since then, they've been worming their way into ONI, where they thrived due to the Human-Covenant war breeding massive xenophobia toward aliens. They intend to use its resources to defeat their enemies when they get back to the Mass Effect universe.
  • Sanity Slippage: Showing she's still not over what happened to her on Halo, Tali ends up getting the echo of a Precursor stuck in her head thanks to one of the Forerunner artifacts and the remaining scarring from her Flood spore infection, which slowly starts to drive her insane and against the crews as it manipulates her into helping it while disguising it under her trying to kill it. She's barely able to finally root it out and kill it for real once they convince her that she's being tricked.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Chronicler, the living essence of a Precursor that Tali unwittingly releases from a Forerunner artifact. It proceeds to viciously Mind Rape her, tries to turn her against the crew, and nearly has her reroute the ship to an unknown location. Word Of God states that it was attempting to send the cast to Installation 05, where the Gravemind is waiting.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Snarlbeak's lieutenant, Lurz, is one letter short of Lurtz, the first of the Uruk Hai from The Lord of the Rings. Both act as the right hand of their respective leaders.
    • The scene where the ODSTs are being interrogated for who gave grenades to the Syndicate Jackals that were used on Taq is very reminiscent of the similar scene in "The Hidden Enemy". And just in case you had any doubts, Sergeant Lendon is revealed much like one of the clones in that episode to be collecting body-part trophies from the enemy, though his are a bit more macabre given they're body parts of Jackals rather than droids (though like said clone he's innocent of the accused crime).
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!!: Having an increasingly short temper, Snarlbeak is prone to this.
  • Towers of Hanoi: Discussed by some of the tech specialists while trying to solve a Forerunner puzzle. When Tali brings up Shepard having to solve this on Noveria, Halsey grimaces and then explains that when she made the various A.I. she's worked with do it, they all stopped speaking to her for days afterwards. Cortana challenged herself to it once, and got so sick of it that as soon as she finished, she deleted the program from Halsey's computer.
  • Visionary Villain: Snarlbeak is one, as he wants the Forerunner relics that possibly lead to the Astral Cutlass of Kig-Yar legend to forcibly tear control from the ruling Pirate Queen clans and name himself the first Pirate King, and dragging the entire Kig-Yar race into privateer status with the Covenant, as he intends to take advantage of the power vacuum he recognizes is quickly forming with the destruction of Halo shaking the Prophets' faith in the Sangheili to put his race on top.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Shepard is faced with an extremely unenviable helping of this. The humans don't trust Zek's pirates or Varvok due to their prior hatred of humans, and for Varvok, the feeling is mutual. Zek has no ill will towards humans, but isn't above leaving out crucial details to further his own hidden agendas, and some of the Jackals are willing to play with tensions if they can profit off the side. Between the humans themselves, the Marines and Army hate the ODSTs due to the latter's mutiny attempt at the end of the previous fic, while many ODSTs (i.e. the ones that were more loyal to Silva) see the rest of the UNSC soldiers and Marines as traitors and sellouts for willingly cooperating with aliens. Most of said ODSTs in turn have a rather frosty relationship with their new CO, Lieutenant McKay, who tried to reason with Major Silva and then sided with the anti-mutiny Marines when he blew her off.
    • Another helping of this happens when the Halo survivors try to get the third Forerunner MacGuffin from a planet inhabited by people who fled the UNSC after the Covenant destroyed their world. Turns out they clashed with and killed a bunch of military personnel and hijacked their cargo transport to do it, and Haverson is legally obligated to take their leadership back to Earth to face prosecution, pushing Shepard's Guile Hero cred to its limits.
  • Wretched Hive: The Hollow, a hollowed out moon inhabited by all sorts of Kig-Yar pirates, criminals, and similarly disreputable folk.

The Adventures of the Lucen: The VykurCorp Conspiracy and Buzzard Buccaneer Radio contain the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Singular is the end result of what remains of the heretical Geth (who allied with Sovereign and slaughtered thousands, if not millions of organics) and a Covenant AI (already in late-stage rampancy and just as dedicated to the mission of killing anything that doesn't follow the Covenant, but especially humanity) merging their damaged programming together into a singular being. There was little hope of it being anything other than an organic-hating AI out to enact mass genocide across the galaxy.
  • The Bus Came Back: The heretical Geth return in the form of The Singular, which are the fusion of what remained of the heretical Geth after Shepard destroyed them all that managed to escape the virus and merged with a Covenant AI.
  • Call-Back: Remember that Covenant raid on a Salarian lab back in Guilty Sparks mentioned by Major Kirrahe? Well, Liara and company finally get around to finding out just what they stole. It's a biological agent that was originally designed as a pesticide against a special type of invasive insect, but what the creators didn't expect it to do was attack the insect's amino acids. Said amino acids were dextro-based, meaning the salarians inadvertently created a possible bioweapon against turians and quarians that would only target them.
  • The Cameo: Though Locklear is Demoted to Extra in the main story, he's one of the first humans to call the titular station in Buzzard Buccaneer Radio.
  • Colonel Badass: Nel's father, Colonel Tiveriux Hygilius Catonis, admits that he prefers being a scientist with a test tube rather than a soldier with a gun, but he proves he has Nerves of Steel on the battlefield and in the interrogation room and can hold his own in a firefight.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: While its really more of a spin-off, The VykurCorp Conspiracy shifts its focus away from Shepard's crew completely in favor of Liara's, and they are much less organized and more dysfunctional than Shepard's crew since Liara is not quite yet The Leader that Shepard is.
  • False Flag Operation: Orukuri's big plan. On Unification Day in the city of Ciptrine on Palaven, the Colonial Liberation Coalition will pull off a simultaneous assassination of Primarch Fedorian and unleash the S3 biological bomb. At the same time, the CLC will attack the city alongside the Blood Pack, Eclipse Sisters, and human mercenaries pretending to be Cerberus (thus fulfilling the quota of inciting xenophobia alongside terrorism) while wielding Covenant weaponry. When the chaos hits its peak, Vykur Corp PMC Forces will step in to restore order and eliminate the CLC and the fake Cerberus while the Blood Pack and Eclipse Sisters leave their "allies" out to dry, plus providing the vaccine for the plague. Then they'll break the news that the S3 strain was stolen by Cerberus from the salarians who developed it as a weapon to kill turians, who in turn gave it to the CLC that joined forces with krogan and asari-led criminal gangs to spread chaos on the most "sacred and hallowed of days". With this, the turians will be swept up in a race-wide flood of nationalism and xenophobia against the old Hierarchy and Galactic Council that made all this possible with their goals of "integration", while Vykur Corp is posed as the heroes that will lead the turians to a brighter future of "turians first".
  • Insistent Terminology: When Saya volunteers to infiltrate STG Headquarters on Sur'Kesh, Liara reminds him that what he's doing is functionally treason to the Salarian Union. Through his Omni-Tool, Saya clarifies that it's actually sedition, since the Union isn't at war with the Shadow Broker. note 
  • Irony: As it turns out, the reason Nel's father was so insistent on convincing her not to join the military or turn her off the idea of it was because his father forced him to join, ignoring his desires to be a scientist rather than a soldier because he had to live up to the family's legacy of military service. He believed that he was doing for her what his father wouldn't do for him, giving her a free choice to be whatever she wanted to be, that she didn't have to be a soldier because that's what the family had always been. As he sorrowfully notes looking back now, he really was Not So Different forcing what he wanted on her rather than letting her be what she wanted to be after all.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Buzzard Buccaneer Radio focuses more on how the ordinary UNSC soldiers, Kig-Yar pirates, and batarians feel about the events involving their small joint fleet.
  • Mega-Corp: The titular VykurCorp, which is a turian conglomerate whose leadership has joined up with the Covenant to overthrow the current turian hierarchy.
  • Never My Fault: Part of Nel's Character Development carrying over from the previous fic is coming to terms with how, while plenty of people in her life have screwed her over whether intentionally or not, she's not blameless in how her life has gone and she freely admits she has been a selfish bitch many times. During her reconciliation with her father, she tearfully doesn't deny she's played her part in how distant and hostile their relationship has become and wants to be fix things.
  • Parents as People: Hearing it from Nel, her father Colonel Catonis sounds like a flat-out Abusive Parent, but when he finally has a chance to explain his side of the story it's shown, while certainly not perfect and freely admitting he was a much shittier father than she deserved, he genuinely loves her and never wanted to hurt her, but his own baggage regarding his familial issues, his work life, and his personality meant he couldn't show her how he truly felt and he does want to be better for her and mend the rift between them.
  • Poor Communication Kills: As it turns out, Nel's father has a bad case of this, unable to get across his actual feelings for Nel due to his own issues and how broken their relationship has gotten. One of the most noticeable points is when Nel recounts how he never showed up to her court-martial, which she believes is because he was ashamed of her and allowed her to get thrown out of the service with a dishonorable discharge. As it turns out, he didn't show up because his colleagues in the War Spirit Blood program wanted him to testify against her and throw her under the bus so the program could go forward, which he refused to do.
  • Shout-Out: Saya's infiltration of STG headquarters is reminiscent of the Splinter Cell games.
  • Spotting the Thread: Liara and the team receive a transmission from an unknown source concerning a Covenant ship carrying armaments for the Hegemony and CLC terrorists. They board the ship in question and realize the sender was a heavily-damaged Geth forcibly hooked up to the systems that asks to be freed. Vik is instantly suspicious of it, and while Liara shares his concerns learning about Legion makes her willing to give it a chance, especially when it offers to help them further. When she frees it, everything looks fine and dandy and the Geth even thanks her...and then Liara realizes what it just said.
    Liara: Repeat what you just said.
    Geth: (in monotone) We said we are free.
    Liara: No, you said 'I am free', you referred to yourself as an individual. I have it on good authority Geth don't see themselves like that.
    Geth: (drops the montone and takes up a harsh robotic accent) I really wished you hadn't noticed that.
  • Villain Has a Point: Hanilex and Orukuri bring up very decent points in their Freudian Excuses for why they've allied with the Separatists with the former dealing with the stigmata of being a Turian biotic and having his whole life be a lie due to his father using his money and connections to hide this, while the latter has to deal with how the government lied about the circumstances under which his son died (he died protecting a human colony in the Terminus as part of a joint-Species Taskforce by the Council, and the matter was kept hush-hush since the Council isn't technically allowed to operate there) because they knew there would be backlash. Nel, her father, even Liara all note the Hierarchy has problems with how it runs and it's not blameless or flawless. However, it all comes back to how bombing civilians isn't the right way to force change and make things "right".
  • War Is Hell: Something that Nel's father believed and tried to force into her head as a child to discourage her from joining the service. It didn't quite take, both because she genuinely loved the adrenaline of combat and because she wanted to spite him.

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