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Fanfic / Shepard's R&R

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One legend meets another.

In the year 2186, the Reapers returned for the harvest, and brought the galaxy to its knees. Thanks to the diplomacy and action of Commander Shawn Shepard note , every species threw aside their differences and banded together to fight the ancient menace, but the onslaught was relentless and defeat was almost certain. However, the races pooled their resources to create a mysterious weapon, the Catalyst, and made a final, desperate push to activate the weapon. At great cost, the weapon was fired, and Shepard destroyed the Reapers at the cost of all synthetics of the galaxy. Decimated and weary, the galaxy can finally focus on rebuilding.


A few weeks later, Commander Shepard awakens from his coma after surviving the near-destruction of the Catalyst. His extended sleep was all the rest he was getting, as the galaxy has discovered a mysterious new race of equines with mysterious powers. With the help of his old companions, Ambassador Shawn Shepard journeys to the planet Equus to make sure the Equestrian's welcoming to the galactic community goes as smoothly as possible... and secure the Serenity's systems resources for the Council.

This crossover Fan Fic is a collaboration between ed2481 and Loyal2Luna, and can be found here. Sadly, the story is on indefinite hiatus, due to the author losing his interest in writing MLP stories.


This Fanfic presents examples of:

  • Ambadassador: Shepard fit into this trope in the main series, but thanks to their new positions, the rest of Shepard's companions qualify as well.
    • Deconstructed: It's made clear that they are most certainly not the ideal ambassadors, who would actually know far more about politics and such. While the Normandy team are excellent wartime leaders, they're not as good at peace. The Council makes it clear that the reason that they're being sent in is because Shepard has the ability to draw in and make peace with various factions (such as the Geth and Quarians), but also because most of the actual diplomats were either indoctrinated by the Reapers during "negotiations", or killed in the war.
      • This is especially apparent with Grunt, who would be suited well for Krogan-style ambassadorialship... which basically means "Show how strong you are to make your clan look good while the females take care of the little details." Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of him being literally less than two years old and having the patience and tact to match, causing him to be very disruptive amongst the ponies.
    • Deconstructed for the Mane Six as well. Twilight has a frightening realization that while she's a princess, her friends are ordinary ponies. Sure, they wield the Elements of Harmony, but compared to the military ambassadors and elite agents of Shepard's crew, they just don't compare- the only one who approaches getting something like military service is Rainbow Dash, who is attempting to join the Wonderbolts. This lack of professionalism is especially seen when Rainbow Dash thinks ME tech is lame because they lack ray guns or flying saucers.
  • Boring, but Practical: The immediate reason why the Council wants Equus to join them? It's not because of the terraforming benefits that the ponies could provide... it's because, if nothing changes, then the Reaper War could kick off a massive economic depression that finishes what the Reapers started, and the Equus system is loaded with precious substances such as gold, silver, platinum, iridium, and helium-3.
  • Bullying a Dragon: See Mugging the Monster below.
  • Canon Welding:
    • Equus is only a few hundred lightyears from Sur'kesh, the Salarian home world. Its non-discovery before now is chalked up to how huge space is, how much there still is to explore, and a nearby neutron star providing cover for the system.
    • The average adult female pony is described as slightly taller than a Volus.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Funny twist on this, as the Equestrians, who actually have magic, assume this to be true of the Mass Effect species, who achieve amazing feats using only technology. Glyph, Liara's VI assistant, is mistaken as a familiar by Twilight. Conversely, it's inverted, as the galaxy assumes there's some advanced, covert technology behind Equestrian's fantastic magic. A few biological samples reveal this might actually be the case.
  • Confirmation Bias: In-Universe, Luna immediately accepts that Shepard is a horrible person upon hearing about Bahak, phrasing it as "He personally killed over three hundred thousand thinking beings," without trying to find out why he did so. She already dislikes him for being an outsider who could hurt her ponies, for being a soldier who has next to no problems with killing, and for being technically undead, so one more piece of data that helps confirm that worldview doesn't hurt. The problem is that when in context, his actions are not supportive of that belief at all, which Tali points out.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: The Equestrians were only discovered after the Reaper War, and as such they're the only ones not devastated by the conflict. This leaves them at a very advantageous position due to the Citadel Races desperately needing their resources. Of course, they don't know that... until Shepard tells Celestia. Fortunately, she knows not to take advantage of his kindness.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Gabby Daniels is one the smartest people on the Normandy, but the engineer is still hit pretty hard by this trope when she meets her first ponies.
  • The Dreaded: Commander Shepard, thanks to events like the Bahak System and the fact he's considered the most dangerous living thing in the galaxy. Upon learning just who he is and what he's done, Celestia admits that Shepard is the first thing in millennia to truly frighten her.
    • Luna also doesn't trust him, as she can tell that he is somehow holding death magic at bay with his very existence. In-universe it's because Shepard was brought back from the dead and cybernetic implants are largely responsible for keeping him alive.
  • Everyone Can See It: Tali and Shepard are hardly subtle about their relationship, and when Tali asks if it's that obvious, her crewmates say yes.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Celestia and Cadence despise changelings (acceptable, given the Changelings' previous actions) and are appalled to hear Luna invited them to the diplomatic summit without their consent.
    • Luna is very dismissive of necromantic creatures, and sensing the circumstances around Shepard's revival certainly doesn't endear him to her.
  • First Contact: The story is about the official galactic welcoming to the Equestrians, with Shepard leading the diplomats. The actual first contact was when Kirrahe's ship crash landed on Equus, where the Equestrians rescued him and signaled the ship's distress beacon.
  • Hypocrite: Luna learns about the Bahak system, aka when Shepard blew up a mass relay, destroying entire star systems in the process. She tries to call out the others on why she would allow someone like him on the planet. The problem? She's made difficult decisions herself as a ruler, and also caused a lot of problems as Nightmare Moon. She tries to question the others about the Commander barely a few sentences after Shining Armor said she once dropped a shooting star on invading gryphons.
  • Genre Savvy: Cadence. Though she and Shining Armor read the same Science Fiction books, she puts her readings far more into practice, warning both her husband and the Princesses about the dangers of what they're doing: Shining Armor for pretending his best troops were the standard Equestrian military, Celestia for being condescending towards Shepard to save face for Luna, and Luna for actually threatening Shepard. Luna, unfortunately, hasn't learned her lesson yet. Cadence then goes on to say that no, Equus could not win a fight with the Citadel Council if even a quarter of the things Science Fiction speculates on are true, and that if the Council is bending over backwards to make a good impression, it means that a) they want something from the ponies and b) they're not the kind of people to just go in and take things, but are more than capable of doing so.
  • Going Native: Kirrahe expresses that he feels he's done this slightly when it comes to Equestria. For the most part he's the same, but he greets Shepard with a big hug as opposed to his more formal standing from when they had met previously. He's also notably more cheerful and wants to continue being the ambassador to Equus. As a downside, he has a bodyguard now, Tanlan, whose job is to monitor him for abnormalities and potentially end him (the Salarian Government is rightfully worried about sudden shifts in behavior, especially since Indoctrination was such a big part of the Reaper strategy).
  • Humans Are Warriors: and so are the rest of the aliens of the Mass Effect universe. Ponies are a deeply empathic race, who have many problems with going out to deliberately harm others. Shining Armor was able to reach such a high rank because he's able to command in situations where loss of life is possible. However, Celestia is taken aback when Major Kirrahe, badly wounded, is able to take down a Mantacore in seconds with no hesitation or regret, something that would take a special pony combat team over an hour to do (and almost certainly with mental scars).
  • I Got Bigger: Spike, thanks to spending some time among dragons who were somewhat more tolerable than the ones he met during the dragon migration. Thanks to a more species-appropriate diet, he grew several feet taller, went from bipedal to quadrupedal, and grew wings. The downside is that such rapid physical changes were apparently very painful for him.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Liara, as suspected in canon, still harbors romantic feelings for Shepard, but lost her chance to Tali and tries her best to suppress her feelings for Shepard's sake. It becomes an issue again as she finds out she accidentally impregnated herself with Shepard's child, pulling her back into a love triangle she wanted to avoid. She ultimately decides to keep the pregnancy a secret from Shepard.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Pinkie Pie, in an effort to make friends, shoots Grunt with a Party Cannon in the middle of a big meeting. Shockingly, this innocent act of "attacking a diplomat with an unknown weapon," only doesn't end in disaster because Grunt found it amusing, and she gets chewed out by everyone later on. More seriously, it leads to Luna immobilizing Shepard with magic to prevent him from drawing his weapons, which has repercussions later on.
    • Liara brings up that the Council forbids making contact with pre-spaceflight races after the disastrous contacts with the Krogan and the Vorcha... while standing next to Grunt, a Krogan. She's at least apologetic about it.
    • Cadence congratulates Liara on her pregnancy, saying that the father is a lucky man and that she can see how Liara feels about him. She doesn't know a) Liara has been hiding her feelings since Shawn and Tali are together, b) Liara didn't know she was pregnant, and c) Shawn isn't practicing polygamy like the Equestrians sometimes do.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Shepard and Tali object that Tanlan is potentially there to kill Kirahe, but Kirahe points out that the Union is extremely wary at the moment about mental contamination. Given the threat of Indoctrination, he has a bit of a point.
    • The council wants Shepard to bring in Equus because of their vast material resources and money... but as they themselves point out, the Reaper War has triggered a massive economic recession that could kill galactic society more effectively than the Reapers could, and at the bare minimum, they won't just strip-mine all the planets like a pirate gang or Terminus nation would.
    • Liara brings up how first contacts with pre-spaceflight capable races can go wrong, and gets glared at by the krogan in the room... but given that said contacts would include the Rachni, Krogan, Vorcha, and Yahg, two of which resulted in major galactic war and the last of which devoured the first contact team, she's got a bit of a point.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Kirrahe briefly wonders how ponies can blush, given that they're covered in fur.
  • Last-Name Basis: Averted unlike the source material, as Shawn is repeatedly referred to by his first name, while in the games Commander Shepard is only called "Shepard".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Shepard admits that he's amused that he's negotiating with a race that looks like they stepped from a cartoon designed to sell cheap toys- referencing, well, real life there, while Dash hears the name of the energy released by Element Zero, and thinks that "Mass Effect," would be a pretty good name for a sci-fi series.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything:
    • For once, Justified. Shepard questions why he and his old squad are selected to be the diplomats to Equestria, and is told that he's pretty much the best "diplomat" left. Many of the galaxy's diplomats attempted to negotiate with Reapers and were subsequently killed and/or indoctrinated, and the rest were too traumatized by the conflict and retired, leaving Shepard in the unique situation of being hardened enough to continue functioning while also possessing a long history of diplomatic successes to qualify. For the rest of Shepard's squad, they've all been promoted to an appropriate rank for the negotiations, and jumped at the chance of serving with Shepard again.
    • The Mane Six, meanwhile, are the Elements of Harmony and show the most honest part of ordinary Equestria, which is why they were called. This is also deconstructed, as while they may be good ponies, the closest any of them are to diplomats or officials is Rainbow Dash, who's training to join a stunt flying squadron. Compared to the specialists and military officials that Shepard brings to the table, the ponies come across looking less than prepared.
  • Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication:
    • The only male pony at the first contact luncheon is Shining Armor, a member of the guard. The rest are females... though admittedly this is somewhat averted when Pinkie shoots Grunt with a cake, and Luna uses magic to restrain Shepard's response.
    • Liara explains that this is how the Krogan work to the assembled ponies, which is why Grunt isn't happy here- the female krogan are the ones who talk and negotiate deals. In a similar situation between male clans, Grunt would be expected to strut around looking tough and fight things to show off the strength of his clan to potential rivals.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • Happens both ways. Pinkie Pie shoots a party cannon at Grunt, the diplomats think they're under attack, and Luna restrains them before they could respond. Luna and Shepard almost come to blows while demanding the other to back down. Shepard doesn't realize he's confronting an actual Physical God who could kill him with a thought, while Luna doesn't realize that she's threatening a galactic legend whose death would draw the wrath of all the other races (not to mention has killed things the size of cities with his bare hands), and her threats are ineffective against the superior technology of the Mass Effect Universe.
    • Minor usage, where Rainbow Dash challenges Joker to a race, her against the Normandy. Shepard shut it down before it could get anywhere past taunting, but considering the Normandy can travel faster than light, Dash had no idea how outclassed she was. Even with Rainbow's impressive transonic speed, it's still nothing compared to even the Normandy's sub-light engines speed.
    • A Manticore, in the backstory, tried to attack Major Kirrahe. In a fight between an experienced member of the Special Tasks Group of one of the most powerful governments in the galaxy, whose primary weapon is a gun that shoots sticky grenades, the Manticore is headless in seconds.
  • Mundane Utility: Among the Council's reasons for wanting to form relations with Equestria, the magical abilities of each of the pony tribes is far more cost-effective for terraforming than existing technologies.
  • My Greatest Failure: Shepard picked the "Destroy" ending, wiping out all of the Geth who had finally made peace with the Quarians, and EDI as well. Naturally, he beats himself up regularly over this. It's slightly justified, though, as "Destroy" is the only ending in which Shepard survives.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Cadence's love senses allow her to see that Liara is not only in love with Shepard, but is pregnant with his child. Unfortunately, Shepard is not polygamus and Liara didn't know that she was pregnant.
  • Mythology Gag: When Shawn talks about how Kirrahe crash-landed on Equus, he describes nearly exactly what happened to the Normandy in the end of Mass Effect 3- after the Crucible, he made a jump to get away from the energy wave, then crash-landed on a life-bearing planet.
  • Name's the Same: Invoked. Several Equestrian Science Fiction books, as well as their authors, are nearly the same as human books.
  • Naïve Newcomer: All of Equestria is this to the galaxy at large.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Subverted, as in the main Mass Effect series. However, there is one subversion of the subversion, when a biometric scan to see if pony physiology is compatible with the Normandy's environment was just a ruse to get deeper physiological data on their species.
  • Odd Friendship: Pinkie Pie and Grunt. Seriously, who would've guessed?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Shepard, Chakwas, and Tali get three in quick succession:
      • The ponies are genetically engineered to a terrifying degree, on a scale that they can't even comprehend.
      • Some of the ponies are potentially smarter than the Salarians, and it may not be limited to Pinkie Pie.
      • The realize that they left Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie alone with Grunt.
    • Twilight gets one when she learns about who Commander Shepard is.
  • Only Sane Man: The only member of the Royal Family who realizes how dangerous and game-changing the presence of Aliens is is Cadence. The rest seem to treat it as a continuation of normal affairs- Shining sees diplomats to wow with military displays, Luna shows aggression, Celestia is condescending, and Twilight just wants to learn. Cadence recognizes that things need to proceed very carefully since the aliens are more powerful then they are.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: This is Discussed by Shepard and Celestia. Shepard also discusses it with the dragon ambassador Straza, with Shepard mentioning the various types of dragons in Earth myth, legend, and fantasy.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Literal Space Aliens aren't something that the nigh-immortal rulers of Equestria have ever seen or prepared for before. Cadence calls them out for trying to continue to act like this event is a continuation of normal politics when they clearly do not have the upper hand.
  • Paper Tiger: Cadence calls out Shining on this, as he passed off some of the most elite soldiers in Equestria as their standard line soldiers, as well as other tricks like having hollow boulders in place of the ones unicorns are supposed to lift. While Shining wants to look big and tough in case the aliens decide to get rough, Cadence knows that with the tech difference (not to mention that the aliens would have full control over the orbitals) it's just a bluff and nothing more.
  • Precursors: The Equestrians are apparently heavily genetically-engineered, which Liara and Shepard can only assume is the result of some of these. Given the Cycles of Extinction, there are plenty of candidates to work with, though given that they weren't destroyed with the rest of Reaper technology in the wake of the Crucible, it can safely be assumed that they weren't to blame.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Grunt fits this to a T. Admittedly, he is literally less than a year old and most of his experience is in hitting things or blowing things up, but he's easily one of the most disruptive members of the party. He starts demanding that someone shoot or hit him, kicking off the "Pinkie Pie Party Cannon" event. He also openly bemoans that the type of negotiating he's used to isn't of any use here, and thus he's very bored.
  • Puny Earthlings: Biologically, the ponies come across as this. They can understand tech (potentially) faster than the Salarians, have access to magic, and are genetically engineered to an insane degree. Celestia and Luna even act like this initially. This is quickly dispelled for Celestia when she sees Kirrahe easily- in a matter of a few seconds- kill a Manticore, something she notes would take an eight-pony squad of combat specialists an hour to do.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Celestia would come off as this, as she is very polite and accommodating. The problem is that Cadence fits more into the role due to the fact that both Celestia and Luna have become far too complacent in their rule of Equestria, having completely mastered the domain yet failing to account for the fact that they aren't ready for the galaxy. Luna, unfortunately, is arrogant and hostile.

  • Romantic Runner-Up: Liara, considering her unrequited crush and Shepard's current relationship with Tali. This proves a problem when she realizes that she's pregnant with Shepard's child.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Two times.
    • When Celestia realizes just how grave an error that threatening the Commander Shepard was, she sincerely apologizes for the incident, despite her admission that it could be seen as a weakness.
    • The Citadel Council explicitly orders Shepard to not reveal how damaged the galaxy is to not disadvantage them in future negotiations, and the real purpose of ensuring that Equestrian resources will be used by Citadel Species. After Celestia gives the above apology, Shepard decides to reveal the Council's stake in the negotiations. Celestia is understandably wary, but thanks him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Shining Armor is a fan of the local equivalent of Warhammer 40k.
    • The doctor who performed the autopsies of the salarians is named Grey Anatomy.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Shepard is.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Grunt and Pinkie Pie actually get along quite well, as they both find personal artillery pieces to be highly entertaining. However, Pinkie's cannons only shoot parties, whereas Grunt's shoot explosive parties.
  • Super Senses: Cadance, as fitting for a Love Goddess, can immediately tell when somepony is pregnant. This extends to alien species as well, to Liara's shock and horror.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Remember the heartwarming Mind Meld scene Liara shared with Shepard, just before the final push to the Conduit? Turns out, that was how the Asari are impregnated, and Liara discovers she's pregnant with Shepard's child. Quite a problem, since Shawn is currently dating Tali. She ultimately decides to keep it a secret from Shepard.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Kirrahe, when he first wakes up in the ponies' care, attempts a Sherlock Scan to figure out everything he can about his captors, coming to the conclusion that they're smart enough to know how basic medical treatment works, but are too naive to tie him down... which lasts until he tries to get up and he realizes that he's so badly hurt from the crash that he's physically incapable of getting up, and thus doesn't need to be tied down.
    • While Shepard and Tali give Rainbow Dash and Pinkie a tour, they first give a very thorough speech about how the Normandy is an active, operational spaceship, the dangers of them running around and touching things they shouldn't, why they shouldn't wander off, and how bad things could be if things really went wrong. They point out that mistakes on a warship mean that people could get seriously injured or killed, most of the crew can't understand the ponies, and that when things are done on a ship they're done for a reason and not for the amusement of guests.
    • As Shepard points out, the resources of one star system, no matter how rich, would not be enough to stabilize the galactic economy. The Council points out that this is true, but it will provide an infusion of cash that will allow the economy to stabilize long enough to get at least somewhat back on its feet and give consumers and businesses confidence that things aren't going to spiral into oblivion.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • Rainbow Dash actually complains that the Normandy, a posterchild for the Cool Starship trope, "doesn't look like a real spaceship." She was expecting something a flying saucer or rocket, with lots of fins.
    • She's also hit by this when she learns about how Mass Effect technology works- rather than laser beams and teleporters, most of it is based on understood physics principles and are constrained by energy use.
      • Funnily enough, this actually makes Twilight like and sympathize with the "Aliens," more- that they aren't all knowing beings with unlimited grasp over all science and reality, but have limitations to their power and knowledge, makes them less unknowable and more identifiable.
  • Telepathy: The Equestrian Princesses use this, quite helpful to hold private conversations while still in the company with someone who they don't want to clue in. Shepard immediately notices Celestia and Luna's use by having all the expressions and eye contact of a fierce discussion without opening their mouths.
  • Translator Microbes: As per usual in Mass Effect, Omnitool apps allow one to communicate with other species with no language barrier, and one has been set up for Equestrian by the time Shepard makes landfall. This is averted when Kirrahe first crashes down, and he has to make his own dictionary and translator guide.
  • Verbal Backspace: Rarity fantasizes about going into space and meeting dashing space explorers to romance her, but takes it back when she learns the race most likely to act like that are the Asari, who are all "mares" (female).
  • We ARE Struggling Together:
    • The Mass Effect races are not unified. In fact, the stress of the Reaper War seems to have made this worse. In the Council, the Salarians are increasingly isolated because of the actions they took during and before the war (such as studying Yahg to see if they were able to be used like the krogan, or telling the rest of the galaxy to go away once the Krogan were cured of the Genophage), and the Hierarchy is facing civil war. Hacket is also stuck being the reasonable man when the Council pressures Shepard to get the Equestrians on their side thanks to the pressures that they're under.
    • Equally, the leadership of the ponies is also divided. Celestia wants things to go off smoothly, but she's too willing to bend over backwards and is condescending. Luna is openly hostile towards the various aliens and hyper-suspicious of their motives, nearly starting a fight at several circumstances (and the Dragon ambassador implies that she's started wars before with this exact attitude). Cadence is annoyed that both ponies are jeopardizing the whole thing for their planet, not seeing the big picture, and frustrated that they want to try to do the "we know better because we're the strongest and always right," thing they always do, despite these aliens being fully capable of wiping them off the face of the galaxy. Twilight has her own issues- like trying to keep her friends from accidentally insulting alien diplomats or assaulting them.
  • What an Idiot!: Luna, for not only threatening Shepard and his friends right to their faces, but also for believing that the natives of Equus would be able to hold their own against the technologically and numerically superior races of the Mass Effect galaxy if war were to break out. In-Universe, Cadence is not afraid to call her out on this.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • The council gets in a brief moment of this with the Salarian Councilor when bringing up the Yahg uplift experiments you see in the Mass Effect 3 mission "Priority: Sur'kesh." Given that a) the Yahg slaughtered the first contact group and b) the last time the Salarians uplifted a race, the end result was the Krogan Rebellions, they're very much right to give the Salarians grief over it.
    • Joker gives one to Shawn over his decision to pick the "Destroy" ending, which killed EDI. What's worse is that Joker even knows that Shawn didn't have a choice if he wanted to save the galaxy, but he's still so heartbroken he can't help but hate his friend. Shawn feels even more guilt since there were two other options that would have potentially let EDI live... but they'll never know now.
    • Cadence gives one to Luna and Celestia after the first luncheon. Luna she gives one for needlessly antagonizing the aliens who are only being nice because they want to be, and points out that if they have the resources of a galaxy-spanning government, they could effortlessly wipe the ponies from the face of Equestria and just take what they want. Celestia because she's being condescending and not taking the aliens seriously at all.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: Spike doesn't want to talk about his wings coming in.