The only thing in this I believe myself to own in this is the exact wording and any new characters I make up, like with most fanfictions. If you recognise any of it as yours, it almost certainly is unless you're claiming all of it, because I sure as hell remember coming up with this on my own.
Now go and read.
Edit: Minor Edit, forgot Army of TWO in the crossover list, which caused a false catch in chapter 3. Thane is a great assassin, but he didn't manage to infiltrate through time to before third contact to become a X-Com operative.
In 1962, we were invaded by extra-terrestrials for the first time. We had first contact, in a manner of speaking there was an invasion, but it wasn't a war. It went down in history books as 'The Judjerian Contact.'
That it went down in history books isn't really that surprising despite the cover up attempt. When several high ranking military officials are killed and military bases are destroyed, people ask questions. And that was only in America… But in truth, it was in Africa where the truth got out first, when a warlord went quite public about his men having secured laser weaponry…
The web of internationally agreed upon lies fell apart rather swiftly at that point.
William Carter was among the many who became international heroes, the question of what to do with the Zudjari and their slave races became something of public opinion, even noting that all those left behind were soldiers, and the lack of gender diversity combined with numbers meant that they would die out within 40 years, assuming that all their needs could be met [they weren't being met at the time, and never fully were. The last Zudjari died in 1994].
And then, eventually, we moved on. More interested in space and with new materials and technologies to research, sure, but life continued at it's regular pace. The cold war cooled further for a time as we stopped focusing so much on WMDs, but tension remained, and we sighed a breath of relief and gasped in surprise when Soviet Russia collapsed under it's own weight. Eventually we ran out of elerium stocks, but alien battery technology led to a rather important revolution as things went. Firearms seemed as if a bygone era when we had lasers that could hold enough charge for several hours of pitched battle. It's easier to build a robot when it isn't restricted to being close to a power point. When an alien engineer teaches you a thing or two about miniaturization and automation, we get to marvel at mass produced phones that have more processing power than that of yesteryears supercomputers fitting in the palm of our hand…
I'm not sure if wireless internet was a curse or a blessing… The realities as to psychic abilities were certainly the former though…
'I'm not sure if they're truly worthy of being called a second stage race… This will have to be a rather... Careful uplift.'
Log Excerpt from Fighter Class UFO number 579, identified as an Ethereal's personal transport.
2014 was a fateful year…
While the first blows of the Second Contact War had been silently struck since 2002 in the form of Thin Man infiltration and hacking attempts, it wasn't until March 1st, 2014, that the Second Contact War officially begun. It wasn't an observation or an insertion, Munich was attacked by aliens, with witnesses identifying 'Mutton' assailants from old TV shows. The attacked area was devoid of human life by the attacks end.
The war progressed rapidly with fractured and tenuous response, but in August of 2017, the Ethereal's accidentally [according to recovered logs, both in the generation limit and in being an allowed Chryssalid deployment] authorised what is wildly considered the most reprehensible act possible, in response to finding out the USA had a stash of First Contact Invasion Sectopod which had recently finished completing refits and were being deployed.
They released Chryssalid's with a million generation spawning limit in North America among a wash of terror strikes.
Chryssalid's nearly match Sillacoid's in potential danger, given the potential danger a nano-swarm can involve, however they are much less controlled, and much smarter… Nuclear weapons were used in their containment; USA as well as areas of Southern Canada and northern Mexico no longer exist except as craters and fallout zones… Yet Chryssalid's are still confirmed as present.
The world got it's act together. African countries and the various mercenaries that had taken up the roll as it's army under the hidden direction of Asaru functioned as a single nation, Asia, Oceana Europe and South America settled power blocks, with people from Mexico fleeing south and Canadians settled in for a long fight or migrated to Europe. Everything was given over to the invasion…
And then we won.
'They exceeded expectations several times, and High Ethereal Norru botched much, but this stage of the uplift was over… And then they started killing themselves, it was rather amusing actually… Even the Muton race before we integrated them knew better than to do that.'
High Etheral Tebbar.
What happens to the world when plasma bombs end up in the hands of criminals and terrorists?
What happens to overly nationalistic countries within power blocks after they've fractured?
Asaru and X-Com worked tirelessly throughout the ensuring 5 year period post Second Contact War, using every method available to X-Com in order to try and preserve the peace and neutralize threats, but clamouring politicians began trying to force their way.
And then several major cities across the world are destroyed by Plasma bombs and highly controlled Chryssalid, Sillacoid and Outsider releases, in what is known as 'The Great Mistake'.
But what might go down in history books as a worse mistake?
A large portion of X-Com personal leaving for a planet known about only in Ethereal logs, rather than hand over what they have and know, taking several protected towns populations with them, in a great exodus… And they were not allowed to return.
My first steps were on Terra.
And when I was just learning to run, those above me began interfering.
Having regained my stride, and learned to fly, another's hands sought to bind me.
Now, I dance on other's worlds and hold thanks.
For they have reminded me of that which is truest to man.
We survive, we adapt, we win.
'Kavitha Thakur, Words written on the first planet fall memorial stone. First stanza of 'This is not Exile'.'
-Historical record, neural upload memory of Captain Hoth talking to Officer Bradford.
"I was surprised by the vote to name the planet. They went with Renebus."
"That… I take it it means something?"
Badford nodded. "It's Latin for escape. I don't know how it got traction, but it's where we live now. Also, elements 0 and 1 have been identified, and the Ethereal monitoring station has been found, so things are going to go a lot smoother."
"So, what's the good news?"
"There was no alarm, we've figured out what the miasma and xeno-ooze is, we've almost cracked permanently storying elerium, and we'll be able to make a variety of alien materials we couldn't make before."
"Ah, ok, elerium's interesting me most, how?"
"Element 0, the one in floatstone? It's an elerium isotrope that automatically creates gravity waves without outside interference, specifically it holds it's nucleus together so it doesn't undergo radioactive decay, or it's just ridiculously slowed down, the egg heads aren't sure yet."
"That… Ok, fine. I'm also happy to leave everything else to the engineers, but you figured out the Miasma and Zeno-Ooze?"
"They have high MELD concentrations, and the signals we detected were from the monitoring station. It and it's repeaters were telling the ooze what new stuff to make and how to terraform, and what the miasma can and can't deconstruct. We've already begun replicating the signal and a test base-"
"Wait, hold on, I want to check this, the planet is full of MELD, floating around in fog and ooze, terraforming the planet and altering the biosphere? Without direct monitoring?"
Bradford smiled at my horrified look.
"Yep. Welcome to the Ethereal's mind, do be careful, I hear the terrain's been seeded with land mines and shifts without warning."
- Closing Memory.
- Logging Out.
Collated Scouting Report: Humans.
When the Zudjari and High Ethereal Norru screwed up with their attacks, they really screwed up. It is in my opinion the native dominant sapient species of Sol-3 [Terra], Humans should be left to their own devices for extended monitoring, if that is indeed still possible. They've safeguarded themselves rather well against non-electronic infiltration, however we have been able to insert cloaked observational drones.
Of particular note, I would like to first state that Humans should be considered to be two separate groups from this point forth, and despite size disparity, almost equally dangerous.
Section 1: Renebus Humanity [Renebusians] General Notes
The smaller group left Earth with a majority of our captured vessels to a planet undergoing terraforming. We'd already removed all data considered too sensitive or too advanced before they arrived, but saw no need to contain them, and we had not the means at the time. They've name the planet Renebus, which after some cross checking seems to be the word for Escape, which should tell you their view of Earth. They maintain an Earth based calendar and a Renebus solar year calendar, the former is only used for tracking progress, and knowing what year it is on Earth at present, while the later commences from the date they finally finished setting up their first settlement. Their first settlement was completed in year 2033, April Second [There was a delay period of one day in opening, we're unsure why.] Earth Calendar.
As to their calendar year, Renebus' years are shorter by a number of minutes, however despite it's longer days it's shorter total year results in identical calendar years.
It is believed that pre-landing they managed to finally crack the used computer codes and have mastered our language as it used by slaves, this inference is drawn by their rapid advancement, and their deployment of nodes which they used to manipulate the nanoclouds used for terraforming. Scans give no signs of infiltrators, suggesting they finished their translation in transit based on what they had managed to interrogate from them.
Mechanical Augmentation has fallen out of favour with Renebus humanity. Early on it was used to an incredible degree, but once they managed to domesticate our MELD bio-factories they saw less and less of a need, given their failures in the direction of brain uploading and advanced AI production. It's believed they only changed direction because they couldn't mechanise themselves to their satisfaction. However, while heavy practitioners of bio-augmentation they perform very little in the way of warfare augmentation, preferring instead to rely heavily on robots and battle suits.
As Renbusiens lacked in captives, it also lacked in captive AIs. It instead produced AI's that were rarely Turing complete, but could with the right modifications appear fully human. They've achieved this through creating neural networks consisting of a small number of rather stupid AIs which they call ByteGeists. It is claimed they were named such because they were, 'Byte sized ghosts in the machines, working together to animate them as needed.'. On combat platforms they normally exist as a number of linked computers scattered over the frame, each hardened and EMP resistant, they coordinate through Ultrasonic vocalisation, Radio Transmission, and psionics.
The last one is not an error.
The mind reading technology [Known as mind taps.] that was produced by the human Doctor Vahlen has lent itself well to connecting minds to machines, and they've mastered the cloning and maintenance of brain tissue. They've managed to create artificial psionics using banks of Sectoid brain tissue connected to a mind tap, the combined unit takes up the size of a medium sized infantry power generator, and can be used with Humans or AIs. Their prowess is quite weak, capable of only mind-frays and links at present, however we are doing our best to replicate this technology due to the potential for increased combat effectiveness.
Renebusians are considered to have a very low level of mass effect mastery barring it's use in transportation, in which case they are slightly above where we would expect them to be, having all but completely removed conventional engines from their ships, and having bays of Sectoid brain matter available, which they've learned how to create Psi-Gates with, however their distance is rather lacking, making it more a defensive mechanism.
Socially, Renebusians live in a rather free democracy, with the high levels of information freedom. It's also a true democracy, the govern themselves much in the same way their AI's decide what to do [though for practicality they do make consensus in blocks as dictated by time zones and terrain], and thus far they've chosen high quality leaders and have kept them in power as long as they're willing. The use of artificial psionics means that we cannot tap the decision making process in most cases and have difficulty trying to direct it, particularly given their increasing skill at data encryption.
Their military, being the remains of X-Com is kept separate from their government, which only controls their policing forces. It's not so highly monitored, but is held to rather high standards by the public.
They discovered the Mass Relays relatively quickly, but have left them alone. We expect they won't activate them until their population reaches 2 billion, their population is approximately 1.9 billion, according to their census, as of 2107 AD/74 PF. It is believed their population will reach 2 billion in 2122 AD/77 PF, should they maintain their recently achieved 2% population growth rate.
Section 2: Earthbound Humanity General Notes
In 2017, when High Ethereal Norru authorised the release of a low-observation Chryssalid release in America as a response to them having been perceived to have already achieved the creation of modern alloy walkers, several mistakes were made. The details and his punishment are for a separate report, but it was this event that caused Earth to band together as desired, however it also caused an extremely hard lined scorched earth policy to be taken to suspected Chrysallid infestations.
A lack of control as the American Chrysallid Release resulted in a series of events causing America to attack itself with WMDs, particularly nuclear weapons, which also caused a large scale eruption of a number of volcanoes. The environmental effects of this and the scorched earth policies meant that by the time the uplift was complete [as was Norru's punishment], the planet was caught in an artificial ice age. Given the existence of the humans fleeing to Renebus, it was decided we would not interfere unless the humans were about to go extinct on the planet.
After the war, humanity splintered into three major power blocks, Europe/Australia, Asia, and Africa/South America. The Europe/Australia block was focusing on rebuilding, and held isolationist stances, while Asia was rather cooperative within it's subunits and looked to expansion.
Asian sub blocks then began to attack unaligned subunits, and encroach on Oceanic territories. X-COM being a neutral force tried to maintain peace, while both Australia and Europe quietly protested and then looked the other way, the main exception was the African/South American block, which was basically under the control of X-Com, with its sub Commanders beginning to meet secretly as what they called 'WW3' approached. After it was found terrorist groups and religious extremists had come to control certain weapon caches, the African group left X-Com assisted by the SA group, taking a large number of space craft and a majority of Africa's population, as well as people from Europe and Australia.
Africa then left X-Com, and begun training it's military to the X-Com standard, the leader, one Rejinaldo Bolivar De Alencar-Araripe ascended to control the combined nations of South America, which turned into a military dictatorship, but with much greater freedom than normally exists in such dictatorships. Euorpean living was considered preferable, but the people of the South American Union lived better than many in Asian power blocks, and was better than how many South Americans used to live… It was also a government that held a measure of familiarity and, due to its actions as X-Com, favour.
Asian sub units, seeing X-Com as useless due to it's inaction and recent fragmentation, as well as perceiving weakness in the other nations due to their inactivity, increased their aggressiveness, and extremists did the same. The conflict grew to the state of plasma bombs being set of in major cities. This was the last straw for the new nation of Brasilia [The reformed SAU], which had just managed to co-opt several X-Com groups, and had secured access to all remaining Ethereal aerospace fighters, and almost all other vessels.
Brasilia begun a massive bombing campaign followed with occupation forces, with 'Rods from God' often being dropped by fighters in space that were effectively immune to counter attack. Brasilia's forces overran less technologically able groups with power armor wearing and bio-mechanical augmented forces, which included the use of captured Mutons who had sworn allegiance to Humanity, and later Brasilia in particular. Heavy use of drones also occurred, but where plasma bombs were suspected or when X-Com equivalent soldiers were fielded, orbital bombardment was used over engagement or aerial bombardment.
Where possible, he allowed Civilians time to flee, and offered sanctuary in his territory, though civilians would become nationals of Brasilia. Secretly, he also allowed a number of millionares to begin solar colonization, though heavily watched. They were led by one Victor Manswell.
And then plasma bombs started going off in his allied territories.
Rejinaldo quickly called a halt to his attacks, setting his forces to defensive postures as he looked within… With access to mind reading through refined Mind-taps and psionics, Rejinaldo viciously removed traitors, spies, infiltrators, as well as a blooming EXALT group, spending 5 years restructuring his territory, making the laws harsher, putting in place a caste system, and then demanded the surrender of all nations, stating their resistance would determine where they remained in the new world order.
He was ignored.
His men overran Asia and the Middle East, Mecca was wiped from the planet with orbital weaponry alongside a number of other religious cities and national capitals when opposing forces hid in them, hoping that the presence of civilians and so much history would help, as well as the stiffening of their forces that would come with defending such important ground. Many European countries surrendered, leaving only Canada and Australia as major resistance blocks… They held on with tactics that shocked invading forces, a tenaciousness that reminded others of the second contact war, and knowledge of a terrain in which they thrived, and killed others who didn't appreciate it's dangers… In the end, they were starved out rather than have the engagements continue, or continue with orbital bombardment in order to conserve the worlds atmosphere.
They both managed to get better terms in their surrender than other nations.
By the wars conclusion, Earth's population had dropped to approximately 3.1 Billion Humans, with approximately 800 million in stasis traveling to Renebus. The wars final death tally was 3 billion people dead, and the environment in tatters.
It was then Rejinaldo handed leadership over to Manswell, who's access to scientists, safety from the war, and access to Maritan, Lunar, and several other bases designed to preserve humanity and mine for resources resources allowed him to slowly rebuild Earth.
Earthbound Humans, after these decades of war, are a rather tightly bound species. Technologically, outside of military arms and armor, non-bio-augmentation, and terraforming, Earthbound populations lag rather far behind. And then they discovered a unknown technological cache on Mars, and found a Relay hidden in Charon, and have a moderate mastery of mass effect technology. They've used their larger population base to colonise relatively large amounts of area in comparison to Renebusians, and so despite their lagging in technology, are as threatening due to their larger population base.
Section 2: Earthbound Muton and other Slave Races General Notes
During the Uplift, a number of drones, Mutons and Thin Men were captured. Thin Men defected first, knowing human language, and as was expected of them, they began advancing humanity from within. What was not expected was that Humanity would develop mindshields.
Freed from control, and with communications to Ethereal command centres jammed, Thin Men and Mutons began true defection, while Cyberdisk, Drone, Seeker and Sectopod AI's were extracted and put to use.
AIs on Earth are very tightly controlled, and being how they lack in self-identity, little more than advanced programs the humans know how to replicate, but not write.
Thin Men were returned to non-infiltrator forms as is best remembered by them, and they are mostly content to live in their camps in Africa, often working as overseers for industrial robotics to earn their keep.
Sectoids died out, given their inability to breed, the fact that if they could they'd suffer problems due to inbreeding and lack of sapience in general. Cloned tissues of Sectoids and Ethereals are still used.
No Ethereals joined X-Com.
Muttons are rather strange, they've taken rather well to Earth's current society, living happily in their assigned Africa/America bases. The fact they fought alongside X-Com has brought them a measure of respect.
During Earth's civil war they also fought in defense of their nations, and with Brasilia's offensive, however they were under heavy scrutiny, which they accepted.
At present Muttons who interact with humanity try to fit in as much as they can, making good use of their size. Those that don't struggle to recreate their society from records into something functional [though perhaps only 30% are following that path], while also living under human law and observation.
AN: Hello, welcome to my latest story.
For those following me, I can't tell how wonderful those made me feel to see those notification pop up occasionally [and how bad, for leaving things dead], I'm sorry this isn't more on the Wanderer series, my muse for that has been kidnapped, but I am still looking. It just happens that my muse for this and another story [You'll see later] are still here... But hey, at least I got book one out.
This is going to be a crossover of many things, primarily and most recognizably Mass Effect and X-Com. However I'm going to be liberally stealing from a variety of sources.
Some notes before I continue:
The Quarians remain better with computers/engineering than humanity. Their state is in part due to the council [Working alone I doubt the Morning War/Geth Uprising would have happened.]. X-Com/Civ:BE ByteGeists are sad in comparison to the Geth, and that branch of humanity is the better one with information systems and robotics.
The timeline has been shifted, partially because I doubt it would have taken that long to find the ruins on Mars, partially because of Ethereal interference and Humanity getting it's crap together after The Great Mistake [That being where humanity turned on itself, not the Chrysalid release].
If you wish to know more of Earth-Humanity, take a look into the works of Logical Premise, it's going to be very similar. For detailed information on Renebus humanity, I'm sorry but you're going to have to wait, but in Civ:BE terms, think a 2/4/9 society, of Purity/Harmony/Supremacy.
Another note on technology, EDI-esque AI's [other than EDI] won't exist, I have trouble suspending my disbelief in stories where they do. The AI's in this story will exist by being dumb enough not to become god-mode-sues. Also, no neural uploading despite how one would think available technologies could accomplish it, mostly to avoid the god-mode-sues again, the details will be in the stories other documentation that I'll publish alongside if people don't tell me to dropkick this into a trash receptacle.
However, finally, this crossover contains/plans to contain elements from the following: Mass Effect, X-Com [Enemy Within, Enemy Unknown, Long War], Civilization: Beyond Earth, Deus Ex: Human Revultion, [Edit] Army of TWO, and the works of Logical Premise. All such works belong to their creators, not me.
*Looks up* I promise not to leave an AN 1/10th the size of the chapter again.