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Transcendent Humanity is an AU Mass Effect fanfic by Solaris242. The nail kicking off this AU is the Protheans leaving behind no Element Zero, no technology — instead, simply a cryptic message:

We came. We watched. We studied you in your infancy, and hoped to see you grow into kin.
But THEY came. THEY destroyed us. THEY wiped our race from the stars, until only those of us here remained.
THEY can trace our technology, so we are leaving. THEY will not find you. You will be safe.
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Trust not the Gates, nor the Keep.
Grow strong, little ones. Save yourselves, and avenge us.

Instead of developing as other races in Mass Effect, Humanity... transcended... they... evolved.

When a Turian patrol encounters advance scouts from Sol, they think they belong to a primitive race. When they enter the Sol system they find an occluded star, a supercomputer larger than worlds, filled with a trillion minds. Transcendent Humanity speaks as one, the force of their voice ripping through firewalls, absorbing language and codex, booming aboard the Turian ships.

This is Sol, the home of humanity. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.


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Examples of Tropes Found In Transcendent Humanity:

  • Adaptation Personality Change: Udina does not seem as jerkass as canon. Maybe the fact that this humanity is in a higher position to the rest has something to do with it. Or the immortality. Who knows?
  • Aliens Love Human Food: Inverted. Humanity loves alien food. The first alien cafe to open within the Sol System ends up one of the most popular restaurants in the entire system.
  • Almighty Idiot: The Reapers, who are even called "lobotomized gods". This works out to the benefit of the Milky Way races when they they free the Go Mad from the Revelation Reapers from their control A.I.s.
  • Always Someone Better: A lot of humanity's tech, especially in the computing department, gives them this status to the Citadel races. The Collectors even stole some of their bio-reactors because it was better than what they were using.
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  • And the Adventure Continues: How the story ends, with the characters, both Transcendent, Ascendant, and alien moving together towards a better future.
  • Awful Truth: The Voice of Humanity was designed by Cerberus to keep humanity chained so Cerberus could keep ruling them from the shadows. Even their special prison, Tartarus, was created to house those who might break said chains and dethrone Cerberus.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A comedic version occurs with an Asari named Teyin. Before Humanity arrived on the galactic scene, she ran a rather unpopular cafe and often had to eat the day's leftovers because she couldn't afford food. After she makes a joke to Udina that "If all humans love [her] food as much as him, she'd be set for life", Udina pulls some strings to have her set up as the first alien cafe in the Sol System. Apparently, she gets so much business that she had to hire nine of her customers in the first two days.
  • Body Surf: During Nazara's assault on the Citadel, as part of humanity's emergency response all human civilians are forcibly evacuated by having their consciousness moved to evac ships. Military personnel then take over their bodies to assist with the evacuation of non-humans. Something that shocks those around Uploaded as they see their friends instantly become different people.
  • Brain Uploading: Humanity has invented it, and most humans then immediately download back into optimised clones of their existing bodies.
  • Bring My Yellow Pants: Tango is glad she/he doesn't have a physical form when she/he confirms that the Reapers/Destroyers still exist. However, in this case, it's yellow pants.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Ghosts often use home-bodies with pale skin, white hair, and neon-blue eyes to announce their status.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Not exactly. The digital space is anything you want it to be, however, and some people, at least, "wear" robes.
  • Dyson Sphere: The Sol System contains an incomplete one. Upon branching out to Arcturus, a second is being planned. It serves as a monumental supercomputer to hold all of humanity's collective mind/population.
    • The Geth are also, as in canon, trying to construct a Dyson Sphere. They note that without the "Stellar Uplift" technology the humans use, it will take roughly half a million years.
    • A third is built in the Khar'Shan system to help fuel the attack on the Hegemony, and remains after the Batarians are defeated.
    • The Reapers had a post-dyson sphere in Darkspace that they used as a naval port. It's star had been almost completely dismantled for materials and was no longer undergoing fusion. Instead, it was powered by the Dark Energy difference between Extra-galactic and Galactic spaces, roughly analogous to how a wind turbine works.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Uploaded can change their appearance and gender easily, to the extent that they don't even consider the sex of their partners. When asked, Simon/Simone notes you'd have to go back centuries to even learn what gender they were originally.
  • Exact Words: Humanity is allowed to have more dreadnoughts than they normally would be, provided they pay the Citadel the equivalent of four dreadnoughts for every one they make over the normal limit, though humanity is allowed to pay in goods rather than credits. The Council is distinctly unamused when they're paid in dreadnoughts, especially since said dreadnoughts perfectly match the specs of their own.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Uploaded don't think anything of having sex with men, women, or even Geth nor whether they themselves are currently male or female. It's explained to be a result of having largely left their original bodies behind and most having spent centuries making new ones whenever needed.
  • First Time Feeling: The Geth Envoy eat toast through an organic home-body. After the first half-hour of silence... Her hands tremble.
  • Flechette Storm: The Transcendent Humanity's 'Pop Guns'. 100m long cylinders that explode into a storm of extremely well-guided anti-matter propelled flechettes... they absolutely destroy ships.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Cerberus secretly sent twelve ships out into the cosmos for this purpose.
  • For Want of a Nail: In the original universe, Shepard is there to stop the Citadel relay being activated. In this universe they aren't...
  • Fragile Speedster: Raptor bodies are designed for close combat and speed; as a result, they have little armor.
  • Gender Bender: Uploaded don't have to use a physical body of the same gender every time, one Turian sets up a realspace meeting with a human captain he'd gotten to know on joint patrols, only to be more than a little surprised when he meets "Simone" instead of "Simon".
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Roughly half the Reaper fleet didn't emerge from dark space, apparently because the existence of Humanity and the Voice, proof that a race could develop a singular Hive Mind consciousness without artificial intervention, meant that everything they'd been working for, and committed countless atrocities to do, was a mistake, that they were wrong.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Batarians decide to use the Collector incident to one-up Humanity before the Council, claiming that the Humans wiped their ships out and tried to place the blame on the Collectors to save face. Their intention is to make Humanity look bad and gain materials, space, and resources for themselves. The Council, for their part, sees through the deception but also sees an opportunity to profit off the results. Rather than trying to pacify the Council races or the Batarians as they've been doing, however, Humanity finally decides it's had enough of playing nice and decides to remind the galaxy that they are not an Extreme Doormat.
    The Voice: YOU CLAIM WE ARE THE AGGRESSORS? YOU WILL SEE AGGRESSION. THE BATARIAN HEGEMONY WILL SURRENDER TO HUMANITY, OR IT WILL BURN.
    • Humanity wins the ensuing war against the Batarian Hegemony and conquerors Khar'shan, but this drives the few surviving elements of the Hegemony into an alliance with the Reapers, with the upgraded remains of the fleet ultimately providing enough of a distraction to allow Nazara to activate the Citadel relay and allow the Reaper invasion to begin.
  • Good Counterpart: Transcendent/Ascendant Humanity and the Voice is this to the Reapers, a race that's developed a Hive Mind singular consciousness without the artificial intervention the races that were made into new Reapers had forced onto them.
  • Good Is Not Nice / Good Is Not Soft: Transcendent Humanity at one point planned on killing a large portion of the Admiralty (maybe 16) in order to bring them under their sway to prepare for the Destroyers, simply because that's easiest since they can Make It Look Like an Accident. They are also only looking to dominate culturally because other methods would be too costly.
  • Hive Mind: The Voice of Humanity is a sort of sentient subconscious consensus of all Uploaded minds. In chapter 22, it fully wakes up... The result is Ascendant Humanity, with those humans that accept the Voice's offer retaining their individual minds and identities, but becoming connected to a depth never seen before, akin to acting as individual neurons in the universe's largest brain. They can disconnect if they want to, but remain fundamentally changed by the experience, with one character describing it as the difference between being awake and a lucid dream.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Cerberus releases "The Doctor", an AI created by a former member of theirs, as part of their plans, mind-wiping her of any Cerberus secrets before they do so. Unfortunately for them, she had a built-in failsafe that keeps such changes to her code from being permanent, at least the first time they're applied, so the memories return, allowing her to reveal the existence of Cerberus to humanity.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Quarian Admiralty refuse to even consider the Geth offer of peace, which included the return of the Quarian homeworld. Humanity uses this against them by uploading a recording of the meeting to every Quarian omnitool in the home fleet.
  • Humanity Is Advanced: And how. They've managed to begin constructing a vast Dyson Sphere out of the solar system, have uploaded (most of) themselves as code, and wiped the floor with a massive Turian fleet without firing a shot (granted, they hacked them and flew them back to Palaven after stripping them of all their data, which they could only do because they were in range of all of their hacking power, but still).
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: The Citadel Council is shocked to the core when they realize Humans are effectively a race of software.
    • The Geth Envoy, upon realizing that Humans can create organic "platforms" for themselves, request to borrow one to experience what being an organic entity is like. His/her reaction to eating toast is a thing of beauty.
    • An Asari notes that Humans look rather like hairy Asari.
  • Immortality: Uploaded humans are immortal and often download back into biologically immortal clones of their original bodies, though it's also fairly trivial to create a new body if it was ever damaged or destroyed. Uploaded humans can survive the destruction of any body they occupy, mechanical or organic, as long as their QIH they reside in within the body is undamaged, and if necessary they can also escape harm by jumping to safety using communication signals to jump to other bodies or systems. Ultimately this makes it very difficult to kill Uploaded.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • Or a cup of tea. Councillor Tevos, after the encounter with Udina, the Human ambassador.
    • Udina drinks so much after seeing video footage of Udina-husks after the Collectors steal humanity's bio-reactor technology that his doctor doesn't bother to treat him, and just tells him to make a new body.
  • Ironic Hell: For their crimes, namely locking the Voice and those who would have threatened them away, Ascendant Humanity sentences Cerberus's members to an eternity in their Hermitage, unable to leave physically or digitally, only being able to receive basic news messages and only send text-based messages. This was actually rather lenient on their part, in part because a copy of the Doctor gave testimony in their defense, and partially because they were genuinely in Well-Intentioned Extremist territory.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Played straight and inverted in a certain way: The Humans reasoned AI is easy enough for Council species to outlaw them, but Humanity never cracked that problem themselves. It's later revealed that one woman did successfully create an AI, but it's compared to shoving your brain in a blender and hoping the blender learns enough to mimic you.
  • Logical Weakness: Because Humanity has no FTL capabilities, their ships are vulnerable to hit and run tactics.
  • Loophole Abuse: Humanity is given amnesty regarding the laws banning AIs and allowed to vet any new AI developed. The Geth legally joined Humanity the day before said amnesty went into effect and leaves the day after.
    • Humanity is allowed to build as many dreadnoughts as they wish, as long as they pay the council for their value in credits or goods. They then pay in dreadnoughts built to each races specifications, much to the council's distress.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": A Human fleet has this reaction when the Batarian pirates they intended to take out were wiped out by the Collectors.
  • Mighty Glacier: Human ships have impressive armor and incredible firepower but take a long time to get anywhere.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: An interesting case of both Speculative Science and One Big Lie. Humanity didn't have any Element Zero and consequently couldn't explore that branch of physics, since they lacked the means and results against which to test, falsify and reevaluate their theories. The discovery of the Charon gate and Element Zero, however, are the One Big Lie of the Mass Effect universe. In a sense the story is a combination of Accelerando and The Road Not Taken.
  • Moment of Silence: Just before The Turians are told to bugger off in Turian. Loudly.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The Geth ambassador's first taste of toast.
  • No Sense of Units: By the time a Dyson Sphere is big enough to have an effect on a star, it's population should be well above a couple of trillions. By the time its inhabitants would consider building another...
    • Though it is worth noting that humanity was currently undergoing a vast mobilization, with a significant portion of their population in the resultant fleet readying for war, a significant portion likely hidden as a worst-case contingency, and over a hundred billion in organic population on the Sphere as well. So it's not that bad.
  • Oh, Crap!: The collective Turian reaction upon arrival at Sol and noting both that their entire military would be outnumbered 10+:1 if it was present and Humanity's technological abilities. Notice a pattern here?
  • Orgasmically Delicious: Implied when Udina tries some Asari pastries. He tells the cook that no amount of money or bounty from the Council would move him but a plate of said pastries would tempt him. It should be noted, though, that digital entities in organic bodies do tend to experience sensations more intensely if they haven't had them in a while- see also that Geth were barely capable of movement for half an hour after a bite of plain toast.
  • Pet the Dog: Telyin, an Asari who sold Udina some pastries, makes a joke that she'd be set for life if all humans love her food as much as he does. Udina promises to see what he can do, and three years later she's running the first alien cafe in the Sol System which is apparently more popular than every restaurant on the Citadel.
  • Pull the Thread: Not just yet, but Humanity has already ascertained that the Asari almost definitely have a Prothean beacon and are reverse engineering technology from it to keep up but aren't going far enough to completely dominate... their other ideas are that Asari are technological savants when it comes to reverse engineering (dismissed) or they have a Destroyer beacon (deemed unlikely)... And they already know the Citadel is the center of the Mass Relay network (decided not to point this out just yet).
  • Ramming Always Works: Even a Reaper is no match for a human dreadnought ramming into it.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The Ghosts have incredible hacking abilities and control over electronic systems but even they can't stop Nazara from activating the Citadel relay due to the sheer processing power it has.
    • The renegade Reapers have significant numbers but almost no tactical ability, tending to simply Zerg Rush their enemies, causing them to kill far less of their fellow Reapers.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Humanity's response to the Council's concern over Humanity having the other races' dreadnought schematics. "You weren't hiding it that well." Humanity proceeds to pay the Turians (whose dreadnoughts were the repayment) with a Dreadnought, 6 Cruisers, 15 Frigates and 5 flights of fighters, as payment for having stolen their schematics.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Once freed from their metaphorical shackles, the Reapers that went catatonic when humanity's very existence revealed that their mission had been "wrong" go on a tear against any Reapers they can find.
  • Schmuck Bait: A Ghost disables several ships, with a virus-containing email. The bait is a supposedly scantily dressed young Batarian woman whose father has a common name.
  • Sense Freak: Ghosts (Humans who spend most of their time outside physical bodies) refer to the sensation as "skin shock" when they return to a physical body and become fascinated by something trivial.
  • Shout-Out: The passcode for Whiskey is one to Serenity, specifically the first scene of the movie with Mal and Wash.
  • The Singularity: One for computing technology and programming followed the discovery of Uploading. As a result, Humanity's hacking skills are completely broken. Also, because the entire population is virtually immortal, they advance at an ever-increasing pace.
  • Stealth Pun: The diplomatic escorts are inside M-7 Avaunt exoskeletons. They're guards. Avaunt Guards.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Averted. While the hacking abilities of the Humans give them a major advantage compared to the computing power of the other races, they don't have any Element-Zero-based technology yet, which is one of the reasons they can't just conquer the galaxy to unite it against the Destroyers/Reapers.
    • For example, the Collectors actually manage to hold out better than you'd think when they tried to attack a Human colony.
    • While Human hacking skills are insane, at the same time they admit that they wouldn't have been able to pull a repeat of the mass Turian hacking they pulled at the beginning of the story just anywhere- they were only able to do that because the Turians were in the solar system, and thus in range of all of their hacking power.
    • Human "Small Arms" are able to one-shot pretty much any infantry in the galaxy. However, due to the nature of the guns, they're almost totally ineffective against kinetic barriers (which everyone uses.)
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Doctor actually manages to consume Nazara after it's crippled during the Citadel attack, and follows up on other Reapers.
  • There Was a Door: Invoked by Captain Warrens after one of the Ghosts crashes in.
  • Transhuman: The majority of Humans.
    • Note that when "Majority" is said, please keep in mind that over one hundred billion Humans still live as organics. It's just that ten times that many exist as data.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: All of Humanity, to an extent. In fact, they treat physical bodies as disposable, and in Udina's case aboard the cruiser By Other Means, his body is melted down into raw organic material and recreated at the other end while his consciousness sits pretty in a simulation.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Human handheld weapons are phenomenal at taking out physical targets, but have very little effect on Kinetic Barriers. This allows the Collectors to hold off a human assault far better than anyone expects.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Averted. It is noted that, due to Uploading, death is extremely rare — and the population has soared into the trillions.
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: To the cyber-based Uplifted, hacking tools and cyberwarfare are Serious Business. Shown well in this quote from Ghost Whiskey's internal thoughts:
    Attacking a potential ally without provocation was one thing, but if word got out [that she'd released a spambot], she didn't fancy her choices back at home.

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