This was the original inspiration for this fic, from the End of Times sourcebook for mage:
"...Time is running out for all the world's experiments, and the last Etheric Masters have a few desperate plans to save the world through science.
Pencils down. Death rays ready. Let's get to work."
I decided to use bible quotes at the start of each chapter because I built out a huge list of bible quotes regarding death, murder, etc. for a D&D campaign I ran several years ago. "Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine." Was such a perfect line to start this story, and I kept it up from there.
Here's some misc. director's notes for each chapter.
I'm not sure where I got the idea that the Technocracy mothballed hundreds of thousands of HIT mark V's in Kansas City, but there you go. I mean, where else would they put them?
I tried to use the TV clips to make super subtle allusions to how the WoD factions are preparing for the coming conflict. Not sure how that went.
The 10th street reds are obviously a group of mages making a deal with a high level technocrat to make peace so they can all focus on the coming threat. Obviously.
I needed a fresh pair of eyes to view the strange new earth through, and hence spawned Fiala, the clueless, upbeat asari reporter. James the mage and Dances-on-Graves were both spur of the moment decisions. Originally I had a lot of plans for these characters, but didn't go in that direction so much.
HIT mark 13s are obviously Daleks.
I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. The Citadel council are the perfect straight men for this story. Plus, it's a lot of fun making fun of them.
I cribbed "resist, humanity demands it, resist!" from System Shock 2.
Also epoxy'd Blaster's distress call from Transformers: the Movie (1986) – "Optimus Prime, do you read me? The Decepticons are blitzing Autobot City. We're really taking a pounding. Don't know how much longer we can hold out."
Was I laying a foundation for my super chantries at this time? Hmm, not exactly. I knew I was going to use Doissetep, but not sure how at this point in time. It was mostly for the setup that the technocracy's Void Engineers were out mapping hell joke.
Anderson as the only sane human was an idea on how to show how stupid crazy wizards can be, and also have a laugh. Anderson's double-sigh was maybe my favorite line to write here.
"Solar bombardment" was the phrase that encapsulated the entire human/Reaper conflict in my chapter outline.
Sparatus's comment "What were we thinking, picking a fight with humanity? It must be our mother's faults. They must have dropped us on our heads…" is stolen from Gabriel Blessing's excellent fanfiction "Hill of Swords". Yoink.
I wanted to branch out and show how more than just mages were involved with kicking Reaper ass. For Vamps, we have the 3rd gen powerhouses. But Werewolves have a lot going for them as well, and the more I wrote, the more they wrote themselves. Plus, they just kept escalating the crazy, which is fine with me.
Not sure where the Reaper who cared about fashion came from.
The Detriot dig – abandoned factories, gas stations without pumps, etc. comes from Family Guy. Stewie makes fun of Bridgeport, CT and since I'm living here, I stole the joke.
The Wyrm snip was writing not only to be badass, but also to set up the thank you card with a little smiling worm doodle that comes later on.
Ahhh, Amos 5:19, one of my favorite bible quotes.
Since this is a story about humanity kicking ass, I wanted to show the ineffectiveness of the Citadel Council. Hence turians tryhard, salarians get the lazy side of information/entertainment, and the asari get bureaucracy and space twitter.
Volus communists seemed to be the best way to grind the economy to a halt. Plus fuzzy hats.
Radio free earth is part Radio free mars from Cowboy Bebop, and part infomercials. Some Fallout 3 as well. Had lot of fun making fake sponsors, ala Lake Wobegon. I also started using the radio as a way to convey mage concepts to the readers and dump some exposition. Plus an additional way to inject jokes. Of course the zombie defense league would be a thing in WoD!
The cardinal mistake of fighting a land war in asia is a Princess Bride ref. Do I even need to mention that?
Killing someone with a spoon is a Robin Hood ref. Rip Alan Rickman.
Shepard and Anderson's conversation on D-Day started from a Sabaton song, "Primo Victoria". And the more I looked into the dates with the ME3 timeline, the more coincidences started to match up. Discovering that made the scene write itself.
We are, of course, shouting out hard to Metal Gear Solid with the cardboard boxes.
Anagnorisis – Greek word for "is a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery." Scraped from Dresden Codak's 42 3rd act twists (dresdencodak + /2009/05/11/42-essential-3rd-act-twists/)
Several references to the movie Predator – the mud, scraping a blade across your chest
"a monster that devours everything in its path" is from Transformers: the movie, describing Unicron
"fly you fools" is from Lord of the Rings
I also got to introduce Harbinger's angst – that was fun to write, even though I wanted to take his obsession with Shepard even further.
Harby's "This is my serious face" was a line stolen from a fanfiction I can't remember the name of, but the line was so good I still remember it.
I had a small scene I excised that was supposed to be the final, final confrontation, but here's my rough outline:
It all comes down to this, Shepard. You. And me. Harby declared.
Someone coughed. What about all the other Reapers we killed?
Harby spoke loudly. It all comes down to this! One man! One Reaper!
Shepard's not a man. Cough cough
With only the tools we naturally have!
Cough. Since when are Reapers natural?
He's delusional. Doesn't he realize he's talking to/at a Shep image. Like a giant cat, leapt and crushed it. Laser pointer image causing Harby to jump around.
(Liken to the SM stress ball for Jadeite in Big Human on Campus)
"Grarrrr! Shepard! I will hurl you into the sun! I will rip you apart, burn you into ash, then hurl you into the sun! gnarrrrnrnrnl!"
Here's the list of Reaper names I brainstormed. Some never used:
Fiala just writes herself.
How big was Doissetep going to be? It needed to be big enough to sweep across France but beyond that I didn't know, so I picked a roughly rectangular country and went with that.
The entire chapter is basically a giant setup for a 'there were two of them' joke.
Tzimisce inspiration taken from Marvel's Shuma-Gorath
Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail reference in omake
I was starting to run dry just talking about humans, and needed to show what else was happening in the galaxy. I set the stage a bit in chapter 9 with the Crucible, and the more I thought about it, the more I found I could get humor out of the antics the other Normandy crew would be up to, running around, asking themselves "What would Shepard do?". So I ran with that.
I had no idea what I was going to do with Udina, so I just had him removed from the story completely. His presence would have given the Citadel Council a way to get more information about humanity and I couldn't have that. Is he just out to lunch forever? Was he a HIT mark all along?
-"You must construct additional pylons!" Starcraft
Why is Tali able to put behind an entire lifetime's worth of fear and prejudice against the geth? Because it's more funny and practical if she does. I mean, seriously, running around saving the galaxy with Shepard has to rub off. And I also got to write about quarians being afraid of suit-zombies.
Gratuitous use of Starwars quotes
Dr. Carl Greenburg the Minnesotan Akashic was spawned instantly to fill my need for a non-stereotypical Akashic. Alternative choice was Francis from L4D. "I hate space zombies"
I never knew much about Wraith: the Oblivion, but I figured if it was anything like Vampire, there would be some awesome/crazy I could use as references. It did not disappoint. Anderson's reactions are basically mine while I was reading Wraith's story.
I chuckled as I named the exo-planetary beachhead assault Operation OverOverlord.
"Let this be the hour when we draw swords together. Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath, now for ruin, and the red dawn." Is a Lord of the Rings quote.
Why Doissetep 6000? I was going to try make an "its over 9000" joke but it felt trite. Plus Doissetep 6000 just rolls off the tongue.
Here's the original draft for the chapter:
"Doissetep 6000 pops out for round 2 – bigger, badder, and covered with eldritch fire. Dragonforce BGM optional."
Everything else escalated from there.
this scene is basically taken from Star Wars, A New Hope when the Millennium Falcon gets to Alderaan, a line cribbed from Transformers, and Perry Bible Fellowship comic 224 ( /comics/commander-crisp/)
The only important reference is this one:
The super londo brothers; Dunkstein and Slamough (youtube + /watch?v=3OZU3fi08-o)
The void engineer refs:
A downwards facing pentagon bearing the words Vigilo Confido. -XCOM
The Palatine Aquila; a double headed eagle. -WH40K
A No Ghosts sign with a hasty additional No scrawled through it. -ghostbusters
The Alliance Starbird; red circle of defiance. -Rebel Alliance from Star Wars
A downward fig leaf bend dexter, marshaled with the letters NERV. -Evangelion
An orange Lambda in a circle. A crowbar. Black Mesa and Aperture labs logos. -Half Life
A rounded yellow star with black vertical eyes; a red and yellow circled flower. Speckled mushrooms, white with green or red. -Mario
Three golden equilateral triangles joined at the tips -Legend of Zelda
Purple shields bearing faceplates pointed at the bottom with triangle flanges, winged tips and a winged triangle crest. Some ships carried blockier red faceplate-brands instead. -Autobots and Decepticons
A yellow asymmetrical arrowhead with a MACO five pointed star inside. -Star Trek
A clenched fist holding the hilt of a sword with an upward triangle on a red background. - Hellboy BRPD
Blue and gold lionheads. A jagged red loop draped over a red diamond. -WOW's Alliance and Horde
Triangular shades superimposed over an upwards facing grooved drill. -TTGL
-ERETHELBERETHELBERETHELBERETHELBER- clearly emblazoned across prows, engraved in bands looping around entire ships. Elbereth is a reference to NetHack; inscribing it on the ground prevents non-human enemies from attacking you. Since every action you do on the square has a chance to rub out a letter, and if there is no 'elbereth' text you have no protection, a common strat is to repeatedly engrave 'elbereth' over and over, so you still have protection.
Banners, proudly proclaiming:
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US – internet meme
PRAISE THE SUN – dark souls
THE ENEMY'S GATE IS DOWN – ender's game
Perry Bible Fellowship comic 105 - (pbfcomics + /comics/the-schlorbians-strike-again/)
Obviously the infinity railgun's fire sequence comes from the Death Star.
Some of Authocthonia's armor and weapons are inspired from Dune.
This chapter is basically entirely made out of callouts.
Zerg hydralisks and mutalisks.
WH40K terminator armored Garou with thunderhammers and lightning shields
Manos: The Hands of Fate is a movie so bad that seeing it will instantly kill you.
Doissetep using Neptune as a flamethrower is a spin off of the idea to use a gas giant as a propulsion system: look up 'fusion candle'
Auto-chan = Unicron
The final changes to Harby and Auto-chan are callouts to TMNT; the shredder and the 4 turtle's weapons.
"This hand of mine glows with an awesome power! Its burning grip tells me to defeat you!" - Gundam
There's a lot here.
Indiana Jones, Doctor Who, Gilbert and Sullivan, Casey and Andy, and more.
In the scene where Etherite pirates capture the Reaper, the tweezers being used as a horror implement comes from this scene in A Switched Chance's chapter 8 (FF ID: 6685668):
"Terry was holding out what Harry knew was a simple pair of tweezers, but for some reason it looked lethal. It was probably the fanatical glint in his eyes that screamed 'mad scientist'. Harry wished he could imitate it."
The coffee maker Casey and Andy have was based on this: (girlgeniusonline + comic dot php?date=20070618)
Casey and Andy (galactanet + /comic/view dot php?strip=1)
Jarvik's "I am the dawn" comes from glorious shotgun princess
For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee. -Pyrrha Nikos, RWBY
The Dawn Machine reference is from Fallen London/Sunless Sea.
The True Name plan of Tremere is in one of the end time scenarios for Mage: the Ascension. As soon as I read it, I knew I was going to include it and twist it around. Add in the Exalted idea from the previous chapter and I don't know what else can be done to top this.
Every other twist I did in this story, I was thinking "Heh, that's a crazy idea, but it's not as crazy as bringing all humans back to life each time they die for the rest of eternity!"