In the ruins of occupied Shanxi, an Alliance soldier and a turian scout discover that they have more in common than is readily apparent. This leads to a story of a Secret Relationship across species (and government) boundaries and all that entails, stretching from the First Contact War to a little after the Destroy ending of Mass Effect 3 and resulting in Commander Shepard having a mentor and protector she never knew about.
Warning: Not Safe for Work due to some scenes of explicit sex (tame, though).
The Translation in Blood provides examples of the following tropes:
- Affectionate Nickname: Hannah calls Sparatus "Bird"; he calls her "Pyjak".
- Air Quotes: A couple chapters consist of letters back and forth between Hannah Shepard, Councilor Sparatus, and eventually Commander Shepard. In one message to her mother, Commander Shepard complains indignantly about Sparatus using air-quotes on her in the canon incident that went memetic, a gesture that Sparatus apparently picked up from Hannah (and it drove Shepard nuts when Hannah did it to her).
- Colony Drop: As in canon, the turians try to suppress the Alliance resistance on Shanxi by deorbiting satellites and other space junk.
- Crack Pairing: An extremely odd choice for the main pairing considering that in the games Captain/Rear Admiral Shepard and Councilor Sparatus were never even on the same planet at the same time. Not to mention that Hannah is a character who has maybe twenty or so lines of dialogue in the entire trilogy, only shows up if you have one particular background, and is never seen, while Sparatus is one of the Council members and thus extremely plot important no matter which background you take. Nevertheless, it works.
- Cutting Off the Branches: Commander Shepard is female, has the Spacer background, saved the Destiny Ascension at Mass Effect's climax, romanced Garrus, and chose the Destroy ending. Although given that her not saving the Destiny Ascension would mean that the story would come to a swift end, that one's sort of obvious.
- Disappeared Dad: Shepard's biological father is never identified; Hannah raises her as a single mom. In the epilogue, Hannah marries Sparatus, who hands off the bride at Shepard's wedding to Garrus Vakarian.
- Framing Device: Hannah and Sparatus' backstory is told as Hannah, now a rear admiral in the Systems Alliance Navy during the Reaper War, recalling her service during the First Contact War. The story switches back to the present day around 2/3 of the way through.
- Interspecies Romance: Two of them, between Hannah and Sparatus and Shepard and Garrus. The fic ends with Sparatus, now Shepard's stepfather, about to hand off the bride at Shepard's wedding to Garrus.
- The Matchmaker: Sometime around Mass Effect 3 Shepard figures out Hannah and Sparatus' secret, and sets them up to get back together before the assault on Earth.
- A Match Made in Stockholm: Sparatus and Hannah start out on opposite sides of the First Contact War, get separated from their units, and end up with him taking her prisoner. They gradually grow friendlier and eventually sleep together. He lets her go and tells her how the resistance can make life difficult for the turians in hopes of ending the war with less loss of life, and the two exchange love letters for many years afterwards.
- Mysterious Backer: Sparatus is recast as one for Commander Shepard due to loving her mother. This ranges from surreptitiously diverting supplies to the Normandy SR-2 during the Reaper War to having Shepard and her dates watched by C-Sec.
- Mythology Gag: Sparatus' turian air-quotes from Mass Effect 2 are described to Hannah after the fact by Shepard. Turns out Sparatus picked up the gesture from Hannah, who used to do that to Shepard and it drove her nuts.
- No Name Given: Shepard's first name is never stated.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: Sparatus was only able to capture Hannah because her rifle got caught on something when she was fleeing and went off, wounding her in the arm.
- That's an Order!: Variation played for laughs. In chapter one Hannah settles a minor argument with Shepard by using her officer-to-underlings voice and calling her "soldier". Shepard automatically snaps to attention and responds as she would to Hackett or Anderson, then remembers she's talking to her mother and goes, "Hey, that's cheating!"
- This Is the Part Where...: Right after the That's an Order! thing.Shepard: Is this where I make a joke about you being a "rear" admiral?
- Translator Microbes: Hannah was bringing a captured turian translator back to the Alliance resistance when her vehicle was hit. Sparatus can understand her from the start because of his translator, but only gradually learns English.