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Fanfic / When There Was a Tomorrow

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When There Was a Tomorrow is a Halo/Mass Effect crossover by General Rage. Set after the events of Mass Effect 2 and its subsequent Lair of the Shadow Broker arc, it begins with Team Normandy doing recon of a wormhole in search of a possible Reaper threat. The Paragon Commander Wade Shepard (Vanguard, Spacer/War Hero background) deals with tensions among his crew (and his current relationship with Tali) at first, only to come under abrupt attack from an (unbeknownst to them) Covenant warship during their observation.


After repelling boarders and destroying the ship from within, another Covenant warship ends up chasing them through the wormhole...and into an Alternate Universe where another humanity's first contact with alien species didn't go so well (well, not that it went well in the Mass Effect universe). After making some serious diplomatic efforts to assure some local naval assets they mean no harm, the Normandy is towed to the fortress world of Reach, and as a show of good will, Shepard offers to assist with a downed communications relay to prove that his alien crew is on the level...only for things to go south.

Simply put, this story is a What If? scenario dealing with the differences between Mass Effect and Halo's technology, provides more than a few interesting interactions between the relatively xenophobic humans of the Halo universe and the Normandy Crew, and Shepard struggling to deal with The Chains of Commanding as he's thrust out of one apocalypse in the making and into another, not to mention some of the best written battle sequences since Finishing the Fight.


As of July 31 2012, the story is complete. The author has stated his plans to make it into a series (now titled The Wormhole Chronicles) with this book as the first, and posted the first chapter of the next book, Guilty Sparks, the day before Halo 4 was released.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Gremlins (Grunt Husks), unlike their un-Huskified fellows, need no longer rely on plasma grenades to suicidally blow away their foes.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
  • Adaptational Expansion: Several.
    • Chief among them is the Battle of the Vieri Plains and its aftermath. While the Battle itself is mostly the same as it was in the game, the aftermath, which wasn't detailed at all, covers two whole chapters.
  • AI Is A Crap Shoot: Despite just getting comfortable with EDI and Legion, Tali is apprehensive at the sheer pervasiveness of AI use in the Halo universe, and is happy to share her objections where appropriate.
    • A more straightforward use of this trope would be the Covenant AI that EDI fights in the first chapters.
    • Invoked with the nature of AI in Halo- by their very nature, they can go crazy once they get too old ("Rampancy"), although none exhibits this during the story.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It is unclear for now as to where exactly the wormhole came from. Some have suggested the Reapers were somehow responsible, but there are hints that they are just as clueless to its origins as everyone else is.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Edward Buck only shows up during a side mission in New Alexandria in Halo: Reach, and it is entirely possible to not encounter him at all, since said mission is drawn from a pool of other random missions. Here, not only does he show up being assisted by Garrus, who gets him out of trouble thanks to his sniping skills, in addition to a brief scene where Noble Six gets him out of trouble in New Alexandria, but he makes an appearance alongside Dutch and Romeo to assist Shepard at the Wormhole, thanks to Garrus pulling some strings, and his squad ends up boarding the Autumn and going to Halo.
    • The Master Chief's only appearance in Reach is as an Easter Egg in The Pillar of Autumn. Here, he has a scene with Halsey at Sword Base and is part of the group that saves Shepard at the very end of the story.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Because of this trope, the Normandy crew tries to keep quiet about the whole "Reaper" business, since they assumed UNSC Command would think them as crazy. After Reapers are revealed to be involved, the crew is surprised that the UNSC's forces accept their information verbatim. Though given the reaction they received in their own world ("Ah yes, Reapers... we have dismissed that claim,") they had very valid concerns about not revealing the nature of the enemy, especially given their shaky standing with the UNSC to begin with.
    • Shepard openly states that when they go back to their universe, they're bringing UNSC issued helmet cameras with them, so that they can prove it when they keep running into Reaper forces.
  • ...And That Would Be Wrong: Kasumi starts talking about how certain types of parties have the best stuff to steal... before remembering that she's talking to Samara the Justicar, and immediately follows up with:
    Kasumi: "I mean, I wouldn't steal anything... not as they didn't deserve it of course. Cause stealing from innocents is unjust and, wrong and icky."
  • Audience Surrogate: Private Kowalski and his squad are this. They are just normal soldiers in the middle of a world full of super-soldiers, ageless alien warriors, genocidal machines, and extradimensional terrorists.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Shepard's summation about Biotics for the UNSC. While yes, they can change the flow of battle dramatically, it relies on a substance that only the Normandy can acquire, it's impossible to give them to an adult, and the only option they have for creating them (in-utero exposure to Element Zero) would take far too long to get them the army of Biotics they'd desire. This is especially important since according to the Joint Chiefs, the Covenant is very close to winning the war.
  • Berserk Button: Zaeed's button is pressed to the breaking point when he sees a Jackal eyeing up his old gun.
  • Big Bad Triumvirate: The fic features three main antagonists: the Inquisitor, Xytas, and Kreave. While the Inquisitor is both the fic's true Big Bad and Greater-Scope Villain, Xytas and Kreave are its respective focus characters of the Covenant and the Mass Effect forces allied with them, and the ultimate opponents preventing the cast's escape from Reach at the climax.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Reavers (Elite Husks) have plasma-sword blades extending from their wrists and/or palms.
  • Blood Knight: Kreave, who has taken a contract with the Covenant to enjoy a large scale war...and kill Shepard.
  • Blunt "Yes": Legion gives one to Tali when she asks if she's prejudiced against Geth. He then goes on to clarify that prejudice means "Pre-judge," meaning to extrapolate facts about a future situation based on previous knowledge, and that until the Eden Prime War, all the experience anyone had on Geth was not "We want to be left alone to build our future," it was "Kill Robots who murdered the Quarians." He goes on to state that he doesn't blame her for it.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Averted. The Inquisitor is quick to reveal his plans to Shepard, consisting of massing a Covenant Armada on Reach, then creating a wormhole back to the Mass Effect Universe to use as a vanguard (similar to the geth) to the Reaper invasion. As noted by the characters In-Universe, however, The Inquistor only confirmed what Shepard already knew or otherwise could have guessed from the data Legion gave him, plus they note he seemed very chatty for a Reaper and all but call his "challenge" a trap he wants them to rush into and they have no choice otherwise if he's not lying about the plan. And even then, a conversation between The Inquisitor and Harbinger at the end of the story reveals The Inquisitor was lying about its long term plans for The Covenant.
  • Book Ends:
    Gravelston: "I brought you to Reach, least I can do is help you get off it."
    • The Supercruiser from The Fall of Reach shows up twice in this story - once at the beginning where it forces the Normandy to flee in the Halo universe, and once at the end, where it is functionally the Final Boss for the ship-based crew.
  • Bowel-Breaking Bricks: Upon seeing the Covenant Supercarrier:
    Joker: "EDI... I now have bricks in my pants."
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Shepard's reaction to more people who have sworn to their gods to end his miserable existence is little more than an exasperated sigh.
    • The SPARTAN soldiers and the Normandy crew consider suicide missions to be this.
  • The Chains of Commanding: In addition to the Cosmic Horror Story back home, being lost in an Alternate Universe, his crew starting to bicker with each other again, and his straining relationship with Tali, Shepard is under a lot of stress right now.
    • Shepard and Carter have a touching conversation about this in New Alexandria, and it helps break Shepard out of his Heroic BSoD.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the very first chapter, Shepard, Mordin, Jacob and Miranda all discuss ways to get a probe close enough to the wormhole and Mordin raises the possibility of sling-shotting it through a moon's orbit to get it to approach velocity. Tali and Kat use this same method to launch a probe carrying a nuclear bomb at a Covenant warship during the story's climax.
  • Combat Breakdown: During the initial attack of the Covenant at Sword Base, they caught the members of Shepard's crew that went down there off-guard and they ended up using up their normal ammunition with no way to restock, forcing most of them to resort to using UNSC weaponry alongside the defenders. Shepard points this out when he links up with Miranda and comments on how she's using a UNSC-issued pistol, and she glances down at it like she forgot she was using it in the firefight.
  • Cool Ship: The Normandy was this to begin with, but compared to Halo's technology, is this compared even to local ships. Nonetheless, Shepard starts requisitioning a slipspace drive and other goodies to make it even cooler.
    • As of Chapter 10, it's paid off. Joker and EDI have used their new weapons to utterly decimate Covenant Wraith and anti-air formations.
  • Country Matters: Miranda (of all people) calls Jack (of all people) this while they try to quickly resolve their mutual resentment in Chapter 16.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The first time Grunt tries to fight a Hunter, he is already wounded, in the middle of battle rage, and not thinking clearly, so he charges directly at it, howling battle cries. He gets slapped by the Hunter so hard that he's partially embedded in the concrete walls, knocked out, and has to be taken back to the Normandy for medical treatment.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When showing off the weapons and tech of the Mass Effect universe, Jacob shows off the M-920 Cain... and the base practically shuts down because of how huge the explosion is, since (as he was hoping to keep it a surprise) Jacob didn't tell anyone about the weapon's effects beforehand, and a gigantic explosion in the middle of a military base is typically a sign things have gone very, very wrong.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In chapter 5, Garrus figures that the reason why Emile seems less angry about being paired with two aliens is either because Emile respects Garrus more, or because Samara's outfit has a V-neck. A little more literal example is a few scenes later, when the three are ambushed by a lone grunt while Emile is commenting that she looks good for her age.
  • Dying Truce: In the epilogue after their Duel to the Death ends, Six looks down at Kreave, who is lamenting that he failed and now no one will remember him at all. Six tells him that as long as people remember what happened on Reach, they will remember them as well. Kreave accepts this, telling Six to kill many Sangheili when they arrive.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: In Chapter 12, Kowalski and the rest of his squad enter a toy store in Kozma's Hope, full of abandoned and broken toys. Samara, takes interest in a ragdoll and becomes somewhat lost in her own world as she stares into it for quite a while. Samara later adds with a slight rage to her voice as she puts the ragdoll back:
    Samara: "This place is meant to be a loving cherished memory between parent and child, and the Covenant have desecrated it in the name of their Gods".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jack, a homicidal girl with a Hair-Trigger Temper and utter contempt for almost everyone, is nauseated by a video on Brute eating habits.
    • Miranda, a part of Cerberus (and one of the people who helped piece Shepard back together from a burnt sack of inanimate meat), who has seen uncountable horrible things, simply labeled the video "Fucking Savages."
  • Exact Words: Samara promised to free an Unggoy from pain after the interrogation... and when Emile kills the unggoy, she admits that she was about to do the same.
  • Fanboy: Kreave is as much as a Krogan can be in regards to Shepard. Unfortunately, this manifests as wanting to best and kill him in single combat. Case in point: when he learned Shepard was on Reach, he dedicated every moment to finding the Commander, and even trained his own Krogan Vanguards to emulate Shepard's fighting style.
    • Many UNSC Marines were rather endeared towards Samara. Whether it was because she is a wise, noble, and friendly alien with seemingly magical powers who regularly saves their lives, or because she's a hot blue-skinned space babe who wears a V-neck, skintight bodysuit depends on which character you talk to.
  • Fantastic Racism: The humans of the UNSC in general and the Spartans of Noble Team in particular are initially very leery of the aliens on the Normandy crew (save Jorge). Carter and Kat get snapped out of it when Legion pretty bluntly points out how illogical the whole thing is, pointing to how the UNSC is willing to trust AI.
    • It's somewhat justified, and the text explains this, because the only aliens that UNSC humans have encountered (before the Normandy showed up) have tried to drive their species to extinction and burn their worlds to glass. Called back in the sequel when one of the posters in the Pillar Of Autumn has pictures of the non-human members of Shepard's crew with the title "Don't shoot these."
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Noble 6 and Legion, surprisingly.
    • Private Kowalski and Samara seem to keep running into one another.
  • For Want of a Nail: Grunt takes a Needler Rifle round meant for Kat's head, saving her from her canon death.
  • The Ghost: It took almost a dozen chapters before the Big Bad A Reaper called The Inquisitor was even named. It has yet to speak or make a physical appearance in the story as of Chapter 14, though it has been the subject of multiple conversations since its first mention.
    • It finally appears in Chapter 18 and it's not in very good shape.
  • Guns Akimbo: The first Hunter husks encountered, one having two assault cannons and the other having two shields modified with gravity hammers installed in them.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: When Kreave, piloting a Vampire fights Shepard, who is on foot, all of their dialogue is a continuous stream of Badass Boasts, Hannibal Lectures, talking each other down and and telling each other where to stick it.
  • Heroic BSoD: While recovering in the medbay from getting curb-stomped by a Hunter, Grunt realizes how much his arrogance has embarrassed himself and Shepard. He doesn't take it well when Shepard insists his injuries were punishment enough and demands worse. He eventually concedes to Shepard refusing to take him along on missions for the next few days.
    • Shepard is described as not being "in a commanding mood" in Chapter 18 after Tali's apparent death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lieutenant Colonel Jensen gives up his Gauss Warthog to Kowalski and his squad in order to stay behind in their totaled warthog, manning the machine gun in order to hold off incoming Covenant so the others can escape to the Autumn.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Inverted with The Inquisitor's portal device Shepard uses the unstable biotic energies of its host body to turn it into an improvised bomb, destroying both its avatar and the device's reactor.
  • Hope Spot: The possibility for Jorge surviving Operation: Uppercut is set up by virtue of Legion joining in on it. He still dies. It's just as tragic as it sounds.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Dr. Halsey says as much to Shepard when explaining The Spartan-II's recruitment process. The Normandy Crew have differing opinions on whether it was the right thing.
    • Mordin and The Master Chief personally assure her that she did.
    • Tali is of mixed feelings. On one hand, her upbringing as part of a very tight-knit community thinks it's reprehensible, while on the other, she spent a lot of time with Halsey and even has her diary, which shows what Halsey really thought.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Jack comments that if she left the team, Samara would kill her. Samara quickly corrects her, saying that if it wasn't for the oath she swore to Shepard, Jack would have been dead months ago.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the first two chapters, characters are always quick to remind other characters that wormholes "pull," not "suck."
  • In Spite of a Nail: The Shepard crew's presence does nothing to prevent most of Noble Team from dying, nor does it make any difference on whether Reach falls.
    • Justified, as despite the fact that the crew of the Normandy are Grade-A Badasses, they're still only about a dozen extra people with some nifty tricks against an entire alien armada of religious zealots willing to burn everything in their path. There is a reason why the saying "Quantity is a Quality all its own," is a well-known saying, after all.
  • Ironic Echo: With Shepard at his mercy, Inquisitor-possessed Xytas tells the Commander "You fought somewhat proficiently, but it was futile...This outcome was never in doubt." Shepard throws those words back in his face when he turns the Inquisitor's form into an improvised bomb to destroy the portal device.
  • Jerkass: Colonel Ackerson is in top form here.
  • Male Gaze: The female members of the Normandy crew draw more than a little attention for various reasons. Jack because she barely wears anything, Miranda and Samara for their skintight uniforms, and Tali for her hips.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: The Inquisitor, since attempting to return to the ME-verse left it heavily damaged enough that even a few UNSC frigates could finish it off.
    • Despite the damage, while never confronting the heroes personally, the Inquisitor is more than capable of decimating Reach's groundside defences.
  • Mirror Character: Halsey and Mordin. Both are achieved scientists grateful to be acquainted with somebody who can actually follow them in a conversation. They even participate in some friendly scientific banter during their interactions.
  • No Name Given: Noble Six is still Noble Six, and prefers it that way.
  • Not Brainwashed: The Inquisitor boasts that it did not require Indoctrination to bend The Covenant's leadership to its will.
  • No-Sell: Jack and the other team biotics run into this when they attempt to biotically throw a hunter. It's not that they have some sort of device that makes them immune to being tossed, it's that they're so massive and heavy that they can't be thrown biotically (without massive effort, that is.)
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Shepard and his crew can't help but see an uncomfortable number of parallels between The Illusive Man and Dr. Halsey, and several of his teammates seem to be losing respect for him for siding with her, maintaining loyalty only because Shepard thinks she's their only ticket home.
    • Shepard notes that the Hunters, being hive-minded worms working together with hundreds of them in one body, aren't too dissimilar from how the Geth operate.
    • Legion claims that how the UNSC operates is similar to the Geth, using SPARTAN soldiers as an example- the II's would be equivalent to heavy platforms like Juggernauts, while the III's would be like smaller but still tough foot soldiers. Both useful, both different types of platforms optimized for different mission requirements.
    • Multiple people comment that Grunt is basically the Normandy's equivalent of Emile (and vice versa).
    • Kreave tries to claim this is the case between himself and Six during their final battle. Six shuts him down hard.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Thanks to a programming glitch they received when interacting with UNSC technology, Legion will occasionally refer to themselves as "I" (singular) instead of the usual "we," which, according to Tali, is a major cause for concern.
  • Odd Friendship: Tali and Doctor Halsey form one, as do Legion and Noble Six.
  • One-Winged Angel: Xytas, once his Reaper implants are activated.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kreave holds this mentality regarding Shepard. So much that he's attacked Sword Base not for the chance to recover the artifact underneath it, but to get the chance to capture Shepard and face him one-on-one.
    • Xytas is similarly zealous about slaying "The False Shepard," and once The Inquisitor activates his Reaper implants, he and Kreave briefly butt heads over the privilege during a firefight with him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Everyone's reaction to finding out that the Covenant have inexplicably acquired Mass Effect technology.
    • Another one comes when they find out That the Batarians, Blood Pack, and The Reapers are giving the Covenant their support.
    • Particularly when Garrus, Tali, and Six end up fighting an Elite Husk.
    • The arrival of "The Centipede," a husk made out of fused together drones.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Shepard secretly orders Legion to hack into the Covenant Battlenet aboard the Corvette. Joker and EDI see a transmission go out from said Corvette, think they're trying to warn the Carrier about Operation Uppercut, and send a counter signal to overload the source, incapacitating Legion.
  • Ramming Always Works: After Shepard destroys the wormhole generator, a Covenant assault carrier begins bearing down on them. Admiral Gravelston orders the Nebraska, which has been severely damaged and unable to engage the carrier with gunfire, to ram it, destroying both ship in the process.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: While the Normandy and her crew have ample doses of Plot Armor during the fight with the Covenant Battlecruiser, the biggest gripe has been how the ship is able to endure being blasted with plasma despite only having shields that protect against physical attacks. All well and dandy, except that, in space, Kinetic Barriers would utterly trounce plasma weapons, as plasma is still a form of matter and could be repelled with kinetic barriers. And as those would keep the plasma away from the heat conducting hull of the Normandy and without access to an atmosphere to absorb the heat via convection, the plasma would be neutralized as a weapon, as it would have to rely on heat radiation to damage the Normandy - which is extremely inefficient.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Colonel Urban Holland is willing to stick his neck out to help Shepard, most notably when he bails the Commander out when Colonel Ackerson reneges on a deal they make for their freedom. Admiral Gravelston counts too, for hearing Shepard out after first happening upon him after they arrive in the Halo universe.
  • Reporting Names: For the Covenant-type Husks, courtesy of Noble Team: "Centipedes" for the multi-Drone Husks, "Gremlins" for Grunt Husks (ones turned into living bombs), and "Reavers" for Elite Husks.
  • Required Secondary Powers: One mentioned plenty of times in the Codex of the Mass Effect games, but never actually seen, but a normal, unagumented human tries firing Grunt's M-300 Claymore shotgun and breaks all the bones in his arm and several in his shoulder and chest from the recoil. The Codex specifically mentions that the only ones who can fire the gun without significant damage have cybernetic implants (like Asari Commandos or Shepard) or Krogan (like Grunt). Anyone else can and will get badly hurt.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Kreave recounts working with an Alliance radio operator to explain how he's able to taunt Shepard over his comm channel. He also mentions killing the operator by jamming his eyes into radio antennae.
  • Right Behind Me: Several marines are talking about how Miranda saved them with "Psychic Powers," (biotics), when several others come up and start talking about Samara doing the same thing. Just as one is about to comment on *ahem* at least two of her attributes, one of his fellow soldiers stops him, simply pointing behind him, to reveal the Asari in question.
  • The Rival: Katherine feels somewhat threatened by having Tali, another mechanic, on the team for their first mission together. She gets over it by the time it's over though.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Deconstructed. All that work that Shepard did patching up his squadmates' issues before the Suicide Mission did hold... but it often covered up even deeper problems. Tali may be welcome back into her fleet, but she struggles with AI morality. Legion may have more trust in organics, but it's still having difficulty with understanding how organic life functions. Thane may not be worried about his son, but his acceptance of his end may have triggered a bit of a Death Seeker streak. Grunt may be more focused now that his Rite is over, but his meteoric rise to power, coupled with his origins, leaves him feeling unfulfilled and unworthy of his own gifts. Garrus still struggles with his own insecurities about leading teams. And Samara, while she may not show it often, feels guilty about her having to kill her own daughter.
  • Shout-Out: To the original Total Recall (1990) when Noble Six pretends to be a hologram in Chapter 9.
    • When Dr. Halsey lists off the reasons that the Spartans are called Spartans, Shepard guesses that the people in charge of the project "liked that ridiculous 20th Century[sic] action flick."
    • Chapter 13 is a loving homage to Aliens.
    • One of the Marines is named Ramirez.
    • Chapter one has Kasumi mention that she went to a restaurant that runs simulations of the end of the universe, which sounds like a similar eating establishment in Douglass Adams' book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
    • "We got less than twenty four hours to get off this mud ball, Aszod is over 75 miles away from our current position, we have no idea if this ship is gonna be there or how many bad guys are in our way, we're tired, low on fuel, food and ammo, it's dark and I'm wearing sunglasses."
    • In Chapter 18, Kasumi's talking with Six. While they're talking, she says this line when asked why she's staying with the Normandy: "Because I can help." She answered simply "Because I don't turn my back on my friends. I owe them, all of them, and if that means I have to duck and cover more often than not fine. Leaf on the wind, I go where it takes me." It's possible that the "Leaf in the wind," line comes from Serenity, where Wash says a similar line in the finale.
    • Shepard's reason for trying to stop Tali from joining him in the final assault on the wormhole generator is the same reason why Robert Parr tries to stop his wife Helen from helping him in his final battle:
    Shepard: "I can't lose you again! ...I'm not... strong enough to..."
    • Kreave's rant about why he loves war in the epilogue seems like a setting-updated version of The Major's "I Like War" speech.
    • When Ackerson is interrogating Tali about the Geth, she gives us this gem:
    • Shepard's first date with Tali apparently involved watching Star Trek (the original series), and he tried to persuade her to take home copies.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Kat, possibly Holland and Auntie Dotnote .
  • Stations of the Canon: In the broad strokes, the plot of "When There Was A Tomorrow," plays out much the same as the plot of Halo: Reach. However, at the same time things are radically different: the Covenant are much stronger, and only by the intervention of the Normandy Crew does it work the way it does. Also, by the start of "Guilty Sparks," the changes are starting to add up: The Master Chief is not the only Spartan on board the Pillar of Autumn, as it also contains Kat and Jun, as well as Linda.
  • Stripperiffic: Initially played straight and then averted with Miranda and Jack, as after the battle at Sword Base, Shepard forces them to start wearing armor. Played straight with Samara, whose outfit is actually the standard Justicar uniform.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How Kreave feels about the Covenant. Mind you, he has his own hangups like his obsession with Shepard, but he points out that at least he is trying to fight the war against the humans like an actual war, instead of going off and doing whatever he feels like in an attempt to find some old pieces of technology (as the Covenant are want to do when Forerunner artifacts are involved).
  • Tempting Fate: In chapter two, Jack asks why Grunt didn't kill some of the Unggoy (Covenant Grunts) that were running away. He replies that they are not worth killing, and that they aren't shooting back. Seconds later, a barrage of plasma forces them into cover, forcing Grunt to admit that these aliens are worthy of being killed.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Even when every last one of his Blood Pack subordinates are dead, Kreave only finally starts to lose it when Six stabs him in the head and starts peeling off his crest, and briefly crosses the Despair Event Horizon while dying, fearing he won't be remembered gloriously.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Almost no one in the UNSC trusts Shepard's crew at first, in addition to Halsey's pre-existing rivalry with Colonel Ackerson from canon.
    • Emile really doesn't like Garrus, for that matter. Part of it comes from him questioning Carter's orders, another part comes from that, well, Garrus isn't human.
    • Shepard and Tali's relationship become strained as they start keeping secrets from each other about problems they've been having.
    • Kreave does not think highly of Elites, and he and the Shipmaster of the Long Night of Solace demonstrate undisguised contempt for one another over not letting Kreave's Blood Pack mercenaries go on the offensive.
  • Wham Episode: Chapters 10 and 11 are back to back Wham Episodes, revealing that Balak, the Blood Pack, and the Reapers have thrown their lot in with the Covenant. In-universe, the appearance of the Supercarrier serves as this, turning what was a UNSC victory into a complete rout.
    • Chapter 14 sees: Tali possibly dying.
    • In Chapter 15 Jorge still dies. Made all the more heart-wrenching by hints that it might have been averted.
    • In Chapter 18, Not only does The Inquisitor reveal itself and its motives, but as Noble Team and Team Normandy flee to the fallout shelter, Kat tries to explain her reservations about Colonel Holland's latest mission assignment for them Until Grunt narrowly shoves her out of the way of a sniper round, preventing her canonical Plotline Death.
  • Wham Line: Even before all that comes along, we're given the line "For now simply know that your prior feelings when we first met were understandable and I do not think poorly of you for them." Now, what makes this apparent Character Development laden line so surprising? Legion is the one saying it! What makes it even Whammier is that when Tali points out this change in behavior Legion insists it's not calling itself "I" and seems genuinely unaware that its doing so. The exact significance of this line has yet to be seen, however.
    • Now it's been extrapolated on. Legion uplinking with DOT caused it to develop a burgeoning sense of individuality. Unfortunately, this is elaborated in the sequel, and it might be causing rather severe problems.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Garrus is horrified when Emile kills a grunt they've finished interrogating, even moreso when Samara, who successfully interrogated the grunt in the first place, said that's what she planned to do anyway, since it would, as she promised, free him from his fear and pain.
    • This covers Shepard's response to learning about Dr. Halsey's past with the Spartans, and some of his crew's reaction to him (reluctantly) siding with her anyway.
    • Six gives this to Legion after Jorge dies, going so far as to deck the robot in the face.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Jorge's opinion on seeing the Normandy's weapons, including the Cain and Collector Particle Beam.
  • Wrong for the Right Reasons: Carter points out that Garrus, during the first mission, was very insubordinate, questioning his decisions almost every step of the way... but for the most part, it was in the interest in saving the lives of fellow soldiers. For this reason, he puts Garrus in charge of shepherding soldiers away from the Battle of Viery, as he knows that Garrus, for all his insubordination and his being not-human, cares deeply about keeping people safe.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Legion is set up with the possibility of saving Jorge from having to make a Heroic Sacrifice during Operation: Uppercut. Unfortunately, he ends up getting incapacitated and Jorge dies anyway.
    • Subverted when Kat is saved from being sniped by an opportunistic Jackal when she should have died only to be incapacitated by another sniper a few chapters later. She survives but loses her mechanical arm and is too injured to fight for the rest of the story. Doesn't stop her from helping prepare a nuke.
    • Tragically played straight with Six's Heroic Sacrifice to stay behind to ensure the Pillar of Autumn gets away, where Legion first attempts to offer to take remote access of the mass driver gun from the Autumn, but Six makes them admit that they just don't have enough time before the battlecruiser gets in range and it has to be manual. Legion then offers to take the gun manually themselves, stating they would rather sacrifice their platform and any number of their core programs lost in the transfer of their data back to the Autumn or Normandy to prevent Six from throwing his life away, but he shuts that down too, refusing to let any part of his friend die for him.