Category Archives: ME Ramblings

Maximum Trolling has now been reached.

If you really want to scare the shit out of yourself :

  • Re-read carefully all the Beacon Sequences in OSABC
  • Re-read the end of ATTWN, with Tetrimus
  • Read the Hanar Figures of Note Chapter

Then go read chapter five of Fear Unrelenting.

The answers are out there.


On forerunner concepts and the Premiseverse

The curious thing about all the old ancestral myths is how dickish all the gods were. The Greeks were the Clash of the Douches, with rapists and what not. The Egyptians were flat out creepy, tearing apart the gods bodies. Even old Indian trickster deities like Coyote were often deeply disturbing.

I can’t help but wonder what aliens far older than our entire race must be like.


Very few Mass Effect fan fictions take up the trouble to ‘scribble in the blank spots’, as it were, outside of the framework of the games. This is hardly surprising — most fan fiction is about working with what is established, either in new ways or new views or what have you.

Outright world building is rare, and doing so on a time scale of millions of years seems pointless to most. Yet there are so many hinted at but ultimately unanswered questions even in canon ME that I can’t help but want to find answers.

The Inusannon play such a role. They are perhaps the most striking of the races I have tampered with, even though the big reveals will only happen in ME3 and ME4 pieces of my books.

They had technology and abilities we couldn’t match, colonies in other galaxies, and could create machines like Vigil — and they still lost. What chance, then, does modern society, with its squabbling and stupid acts, have?

The key to understanding that question is to realize you are asking the wrong question. As it was said in Wargames, the only way to ‘win’ is not to play at all, a concept they quickly identified.

The Inusannon understood that the Reapers had been at this for millions of years, and were not going to fall for dumb shit like fleeing to another galaxy (never mind Reapers already infested every nearby galaxy). They weren’t stupid. Neither were the Tho’ian. So they made choices and actions that fit what they knew the Reapers expected, and took a Third Path out.

Why is this important?

Because, despite all the foreshadowing I will try to do, it is likely to come out of left field much like the Starkid did at the end of three. The Inusannon are not a simple Deus Ex Machina — they cannot stop the Reapers now any more than they could back then. But they are capable of understanding more and seeing more than today’s races do, and making sense of what they saw.

The Inusannon tampered with many races. So did Leviathans (all three groups). So did Protheans, and so did the races before Inusannon. But the Inusannon did not tamper with races trying to make a weapon.

They instead wanted to make sure that when the threat was passed, nothing else would simply rise up and cause them problems again. And some of the steps they took they hid in the plainest possible sight.

Forerunner races are often given a group of traits — ancient technology, mysterious vanishing, can pull shit out of their hat, a single, ancient survivor by way of X, blah blah blah.

The Inusannon defy that. Almost none of their tech is even known, much less released — a lot of it, like Tho’ian tech, was biological in framework and literally rotted away a long time ago. Moreover, the Inusannon, taking cues from the Reapers, set up their own method of monitoring the situation as it developed, even if the method used wasn’t aware of it’s purpose.

AKA Vigil.

So when people ask me things like “Why can’t you just have Vigil give Shepard kick ass weapons”, it is for two big reasons.

The first is the mystique factor. The more I reveal about the Inusannon, the easier it is to eventually figure out how this mess ends up. So it has to come at the appropriate time in the story.

The second is more story based. The Inusannon made a decision that the Reaper situation should not be altered, be that for good or ill. They did not, once they understood WHY the Reapers did what they did, try to stop them. They simply … got out of the way.

But if they come back, they won’t be a threat if everyone has the tech they did.

Most importantly, making the Inusannon living ass-pulls flies in the face of what I see them as — horrible, horrible trolls.

They knew full well the Reaper threat, and decided it was the better part of self-survival to simply shield themselves from the outcomes rather than actually warn anyone of the coming danger.  With their technology they could have easily destroyed the Citadel in the thousands of years after Reapers retreated to dark space.

So why didn’t they? Because they saw the concept of the snare that catches the hunter and not the hunted as hilarious. This is also why they didn’t fill Vigil in all the way, or let their creation know their real plans.

Ultimately, the Inusannon should be seen as a vaguely defined threat, not heroic and willing to co-exist for long periods of time.

Some interestingly heavy textual analysis going on at DLP and next steps

There has been a perpetual thread that pulls no punches about my series going on at the Dark Lord Potter forums for some time now. Unlike Spacebattles, where if your fic is not about Shepard killing Reapers with his dick while doing his best Kirk impression, the DLP folks are actually GOOD at textual analysis and reviews.

They raked OSABC over the coals quite a bit, but every last criticism was very fair (and are things I’ve tried very hard to address in the next two books). And lo and behold, as I’ve gotten better they have continued to go over things.

More recently they had several text-walls discussing the nature vs nurture argument of Premiseverse Badasses, which tend to run in familial lines. One poster put forth the idea that perhaps outside forces augmented such things to create ‘heroes’.

It is a curious viewpoint, one that I had certainly not considered. I would say that genetics plays a role. So do connections and who you know. There is often a  subtle chain of events.

The ancient dalatrass of salarians, Shego, would have never amounted to anything if she’d not been somewhat rebellious in her youth and made lots of friends outside her clan. While I’m not ready to drop the big reveal on the Thirty and what Trellani found out, the only reason Trellani was accepted into the ranks of the normally Thirty-only Church of the Sun’s senior clergy was her relationship with Benezia.

If not for Anderson growing up near Kahlee Sanders and being friends with Pel’s father, Pel and Leng would have never joined, and Anderson would never have met Michael Shepard. And without that meeting, Shepard herself would have just ended up on the streets, dead, or in a Commissariat labor camp, and the entire focus of the series would be lost.

Fate, or destiny, may be something the Leviathans can control with their subtle manipulations. It may well be that they can’t see specifics but altered the timelines to ensure the most powerful ‘heroes’ were all available at the time when the Reapers would arrive.

Or maybe it’s sheer dumb luck.

Anyway, you should head on over to the massive megathread on DLP if you’re interested in that kind of thing. They have a HUGE range of other stories they review, and some of the reviews of the more sizable Harry Potter fics — and the depth of analysis — is as good as any New York Times review.

As for the story itself…

I’m in the process of the following:

  • Getting back to work on several pieces that I mentioned last month, like the Encyclopedia BIotic and Lions. I’ve made progress on both, just not enough to republish.
  • The next chapter of TWCD is at about a thousand words. Memes are hard to create without simply reusing existing ones that don’t really fit.
  • About a third of the way through the hanar military section. The drell and vorcha are outlined, although the vorcha file will be … short indeed.
  • Halfway through the next Engineering Guide file, but still figuring out where to go with the story. The math and science (and bullshit asspulls) on FTL sensor and FTL communications is fun indeed, and I just know one of my readers with a good background in physics is going to call me out as a hack 😀

I’m interested (as always) in what you think should be worked on next, although I’m pretty much tasked to capacity in terms of starting NEW projects. The only one I haven’t started is SevenSeven’s guide to the Citadel forces.

Thankless Tasks : Edits on AO3, and Rewards. Also status update.

The sheer scope of what I am attempting to do is becoming literally unmanageable. Therefore, in the interest of using some of these goddamned Steam coupons, I have had an epiphany.

See some game on Steam you’d love to have but don’t have $55 to fucking waste, or your wife/parents/college debt won’t let you? Have some spare time you would be willing to expend in mindshatteringly boring tasks in exchange for said games?

Contact me. I have put off cleaning up and editing a number of documents, and I literally need someone to clean up the OSABC version on AO3 and get some of the other works on there.

Good with art? Same deal.  (I’m looking at you, LuckyFK. I have a literal muscle-woman that needs art, she makes your ripped up Shepard look like an anorexic.)

As for the Great Work ™:

  • The next chapter of TWCD is … sort of written but still in very heavy first-stage revisions. I have to be careful how I do this so it doesn’t come off as silly….while being completely fucking silly. I also have to come up with associated memestorm for the aftermath. Beyond that the next few chapters are outlined but I may have to revise them.
  • The Engineer’s Guide to Oh God What the Fuck is proceeding well, although I’m going to have to dig out some Conspiracy X and Shadowrun sourcebooks and medical texts and fully crib together my half-ass theories on augmetics. Most of my bionetic stuff is original, while the nanonics is a mix of ConX Atlanean tech and stuff I liked in the Neutronium Alchemist. My cyberware is a blatant homage / ripoff of Shadowrun style cybernetics with a touch of Deus Ex and Megatraveller thrown in, so it literally conflicts itself…and of course despite tossing out the word several times in the game, the Mass Effect canon is completely worthless in defining ANYTHING about the state of cyberware. Say it with me … Goddamn it, Bioware
  • Ahern says the next chapter of Lions is halfway done and if I wasn’t such a lazy fucking pile of shit it would have been put out nineteen fucking years ago, or something like that.
  • I’ve been working on No Single Raindrop to find some sort of concluding arc to it. Maybe by midyear.
  • I’ve done some heavy edits and cleanup to the Encyclopedia Biotica but it’s not published yet. I would love some new ideas for biotic powers.
  • I REALLY need to do some minor retcons around the Hanar, as my original design document did not have the Ascendancy so hostile and had the drell as serving as the main line of communication between the Citadel and the Hanar. May need to revisit that before I get too far into the Hanar Cerberus Files.
  • Speaking of Cerberus Files, I am thinking of re-writing the Batarian Section to be AFTER the collapse of the Hegemony and the Rise of the Batarian Empire. Thoughts?
  • Absolutely no work has been done on the crackfic or happyfic Memories we Forget to Remember. Sorry.


Double Update : STG File on Okeer and new chapter of TWCD

None can match my writing speed.

A few people have commented how sad it is that Okeer was not recruitable by Shepard, given how much more I have augmented the character. I gave this some long, hard thinking, but ultimately decided he had to die.

Okeer would have been more than happy to sell out the galaxy for even a chance to become a Reaper. Honestly, the idea would have appealed to him.  He would not care about the costs — to live eternally as a god, to be able to control the totally of the krogan race, to experiment with entire galactic societies, and ultimately to fight some unknown, all-powerful force to see who was the strongest?

Yeah, no.

Interested in thoughts on the chapter and the STG file.

On Victor Manswell — a gift from my friend

Victor Manswell n the Chapel at the Holdfast accompanied by his wife Margareta.
Victor Manswell n the Chapel at the Holdfast accompanied by his wife Margareta. Image by Tyler Kelting.

I’ve written a great deal of the Premiseverse, from the backstories and histories of the Thirty to figuring how eezo works. A great deal has been not invented from whole cloth, but rather co-opted by me from existing materials Bioware never used.

Once such element that I have altered is Victor Manswell.

The following are snippets about Victor. They are not by me or my hand, but by someone who read my works and presented their own take on Saint Victor. And yet, such is his iron will, vileness and determination — that I found myself only having to alter the concepts put here in the very smallest of manners.

It is the work of a friend named Julian, and I am interested in thoughts upon it.

From the Historical Annals, Post Reaper Views on Critical Points of History

“… the enigmatic individual usually known as “Victor Manswell” (March 28, 1998? – November 14, 2095). Also known as Markgraf Viktor Alchsneiss Schlossvogt von Hechingen, or as Sankt Viktor der Feuersbrünste. He claimed to be part Prussian, part Baltic German, and able to trace his line back to the House of Hohenzollern. He provided what seemed to be valid genetic proof of his claim, saying that he himself had only recently grown curious enough to run such genetic tests and that therefore he not not previously known of his ancestry. He spoke and moved and behaved every inch like a man telling the truth. But then, Franziska Schanzkowska (1896-1984) very likely believed herself to be truthful in saying that she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. If the Margrave’s statements were untrue, perhaps he believed them truthful….”

From the Salarian Discourse on Humanity, Volume XII:

“Apparently, “Manswell” had been a close associate of a group of human industrialists and millionaires known as the Bilderburgs. It is disputable if such association translated into influence. What is beyond dispute was that he had over a trillion dollars in gold and in commodities essential to human life — food, water, weapons, prefabricated structures, protective equipment, and other materiél. He controlled where the things he had went, and he controlled where they did not go. The man called Victor Manswell was the richest surviving human being anywhere, and bad things tended to happen to those who questioned him….

From the Systems Alliance Uplifting Infantryman’s Primer:

“… Remembering the enormous contributions of experienced professionals like Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to the American Revolution, Manswell made use of his personal cadre of expert private military contractors, whom he had handpicked long ago. As he reached out to more and more military contractors on Earth, he recruited them with the food, gold, arms, and medical supplies that he had stockpiled in advance. In particular he recruited from among German, Austrian, French and American mercenaries and defectors to his cause. Then he passed these personnel to his training cadre and send the program’s graduates to train and recruit others, who in turn trained others, and so on. Safe in space, Manswell already had all the necessary specialized support facilities for his new troops, with lavish accommodations for supporting them and their families. This let him control whether those families stayed healthy. Manswell also used a carefully considered system of collective discipline and corporal punishment, one derived from the traditions of Prussia. He moderated his disciplinary system by allowing unit members to reduce   others’ punishments with a voting system, and also to volunteer to endure part of a punishment that another unit member would otherwise receive. …”

On Saint Viktor:  A collection of the Will of Iron:

“… He earned the gratitude of countless Alaskans when he annihilated the so-called “Coordinators.” This tenacious group of organized extortionists, formed from rogue emergency management units, had seized almost all of Alaska’s remaining power and fuel infrastructure. The thugs also had centers of power in other states, and were able to call on thousands of combatants from as far away as Cuba. They were led by the unstable “Chief Commissioner” of the “National Emergency Resource Coordination Commission,” William Cosgrove Hammond, who at times imposed barter prices so high that many people were left burning human waste just to survive the cold. Finally, the Iron Guard under the equally ruthless Mickey Rourke tracked Hammond down as he attempted to flee all the way to a bunker complex in Nevada. He failed to get that far — Manswell had him drawn and quartered.”


To the Archbishop of Germany, on the eve of the assault on France:
“You ask me whether I kill the innocent? Do you make a joke of this? The burning wave of all the works of the wicked is coming to the shore of mankind. It is taller than fifty buildings; it is wreathed in smoke and cinders.  If I do not act to turn that wave aside, then in short years everyone left alive on this planet will be begging me to help them die. And you ask me whether I kill the innocent? What would you do?”

To the refugees of the so-called “Central Authority” of Romania, who protested his heavy-handed rule:

“Until the faces of the debt collectors are reflected in the eyes of burning corpses, humans have a nasty habit of forgetting they’ve even visited the bank. Humanity’s debt now is in a broken planet, in dead populations, in a land that cannot produce food, in air we cannot breathe, water we cannot drink!

I am just the guy restructuring the debt to save your sorry asses. And you’re arguing.”

Excepts from the Journals of Jacen Manswell, on a call from the Family to set aside the SSA war against Earth:

“Neither I nor anyone in this family will stand by while all sinners and all innocents burn alike.  Neither I nor anyone in this family will put down this burden, will look away from the pain, or will disown the Motherland. Neither I nor anyone in this family will shrink from consequences. Neither I nor anyone in this family will suffer disobedience!

Iron does not bend, and it does not break. This meeting is adjourned.”

Excepts from the Journals of Darcen Maxwell, unpublished:
“By the leave of this family — and its many sacrifices —  you are numbered among those who give orders, or who will grow to give them. No one is born with the skill for such, you must learn how to give them.

Sooner or later, you will have to face the microscopic issue of what to do when you are disobeyed by your lessers. In such a case you may well be forced to eliminate the offender — even perhaps to slaughter his defenseless animals, kill everyone he ever knew, blast his homeland to cinders, exterminate his culture and people in their entirety.

Therefore, you had better be damn sure of what you say, what you don’t say, how you say it, and when you speak. You are both blessed and cursed. You have fewer chances to make mistakes than does the man in the street, and sometimes you have no chances to make mistakes at all. I won’t always be here to help you understand the situation.

God help me, sometimes I … don’t … I don’t even … ”

Deathbed conversations : the annals of Maxwell Manswell:

“Enough. Max, you will listen to me. In the cell at the end of that corridor there is an organically alive but societally dead creature, the kind called an enemy of the people. If ever we can no longer kill the few to save the many, then we ourselves must expect death. That is how it must be for me — how it must be in the time of your heirs, their heirs, and theirs, and theirs. You know what is required. Soon I will return here. Don’t make me summon the part of myself that will kill you if you fail.”

The Sermon on the Hill: Victor at the dedication of the Statue of Christ Tormented at Arlington National Memorial:

“God sent his Son to die for our sins. God took back from His Son’s experience a firsthand familiarity with the experience of death, and death holds for Him no fear.

But mark well that for his part, Satan fears death. When we ask why this is so, we must see that unlike God, Satan has no part of himself that has experienced death. What he does know is that his existence is finite. Someday, souls will escape him simply because he is no longer there to turn them to him. This is one reason why, like God, Satan trains humans to magnify his work.

Satan fears death, and knows in advance the shame he will feel for each soul ultimately escaping his grasp. He knows he will not live forever, and from his fear and shame at this, he yearns to guide us to hurt and destroy ourselves.

Satan strives to encourage our belief in disinformation about sin. Satan’s propaganda on this subject falls into four main categories. First is the lie that God does not exist. The second is the lie that there is no sin. The third is the lie that when God promises to forgive the sins of the repentant, God intends to go back on his word. The fourth is the lie that God is some sort of incompetent or charlatan, lacking the power to forgive sin at all.

I find the worst of those who have been convinced by such falsehoods as these. Then I kill them … before they can kill our race.”

Conversations in Yellow: Accumulated memoirs of Shi Kon Chu, First Gong of Family Chu

“I think the risk of one family going to Hell is an acceptable trade for the preservation of humankind. I think the risk of fifteen being cursed for all time by historians and the weak is of no moment.

Extinction threatens us. And it is not an option.”

New Chapter Tomorrow

The Editing Gang is fixing things up tonight but it’s pretty late — I’ll probably have a new chapter (and the next piece of the Cerberus Files: Goddamned Atrocities of Aliens) ready to go sometime tomorrow.

In other news, I may want to take a crack at Lions here sooner rather than later, I feel a need for more Leng-Pel hijinks and Ahern cursing.