Alright, my Turian and Asari friends out there... It is time we had a little talk about the Indoctrination Theory that I have been PMed about and seen in reviews for my story. Please forgive me if I should a little like a smart ass as I write this. I am not the biggest fan of conspiracy theories.
First, I am aware of the theory. I know every detail of each game that leads people to this theory. I have watched videos, read blogs, checked the details for myself...
And found them lacking, and for a large part desperate. To quote one article I read on the subject of why fans came up with it to begin with:
"It's also a fascinating example of not liking something so much that the only way to deal with it is to deny that it ever happened."
I am not by any means saying that it may not be true. The evidence is there, IF you look at it in just the right way to see it as what you want to see it without actually looking at the facts. The simple fact is, Bioware did not plan this ending this way because they had no idea how the general public would react negatively. So it is very doubtful that they planned an entire series of games and played it allllll out to come up with a twist ending that can only be proven if you arrange the facts in a certain order to make them seam true. This can be said of various things. I.E. The World Trade Center, The Moon Landing, and Global warming.
Me? I see some of the points that are given as interesting, but not absolute. And in some cases I see them as a grasping attempt to make it seem true beyond the basic points that may have lead to the original theory.
Let me give you some of the facts that I have seen in the games that disprove what is being said. This is all from memory of ONE play through of the last game. I have done no research:
#1: Both Prothean VIs knew it. Focusing on ME 3, The Prothean VI at no point thought Shepard was a security threat. It was programed to actually shut itself down when it detected signs of indoctrination. This was seen when the assassin showed up. From over 40 feet away (give or take. Just an estimate) it detected it, and shut down to avoid it. Given this level of sensitivity, it goes without saying that if Shepard had even begun the process of being indoctrinated, it would have picked up on it.
#2: The colors of the end choices match the actual outcome, not the opposite of the outcome as the theory states. Blue: Paragon. Everyone lives but Shepard. Self sacrifice at it's best. Red: Renegade: Shepard lives, organics live, ALL AIs perish. Self serving, violent, thoughtless solution that is Renegade from back to front. Green: Synthesis. The new solution introduced by the Crucible. Neither Paragon, nor Renegade. A long term, totally off the wall method of solving the problem in a way that NO ONE to that point had thought of. If taken at face value, this means that the Crucible was not a weapon so much as it was an idea that needed to be seen. Even the Catalyst said it. "The fact that you are standing here, The first organic ever, proves it." Something had changed.
#3: Everyone that was indoctrinated was in very close, long term contact with Reaper Tech. Long term. Shepard did missions in the area of Reaper Tech, he battled Reapers now and then, but at no time did he allow himself or his crew to spend longer than was needed in the area. The process of indoctrination, as the game defined it, is a slow process for long term effects. If you gather the data and really count the length of time that Shepard was in the area of Reaper Tech, it comes to about 7 or 8 hours total. People with weaker minds, such as the research techs that studied the derelict Reaper, lasted for days or weeks in constant contact with an actual Reaper before they gave into it.
#4: I add this as someone who has Javik as a team member. Javik was a Prothean who had first hand experience with indoctrination. While this is DLC, he is still a very well integrated character, with a lot to say when he's in your party. He said nothing about Shepard being indoctrinated or acting in a manor that would suggest he was.
#5: Big point here. People being indoctrinated suffer headaches. Not once in the game does Shepard have a headache, until The Illusive Man takes direct control of his mind. Hell, I think he should have headaches all the damned time. Saving the galaxy is a stressful job. If anything, I think the maker of the game were trying to AVOID giving anyone the idea that he was being indoctrinated.
#6: The Theory states that the Reapers would have sent more than one of themselves to stop Shepard from reaching the beam. However, they neglect to mention the fact that the Fleets were directed to attack the Reapers in a way that would Prevent that very thing from happening, AND there was a Reaper on the surface protecting said beam from ground attack. Clearly, they did not expect this Reaper to be destroy, as it was only after that happened that one Reaper pushed through to reach the surface and take up the fight. The Reapers around earth were in direct combat on multiple fronts. It doesn't surprise me at all that only one of them made it to the surface before Shepard reached the beams.
#7: The Theory states that when Shepard was almost at the beam, he froze when the Reaper beam was coming towards him, like he was being control. Are they retarded? Clearly, they have never been in anything like combat. When energy of that level strikes anywhere near you (Use a simple hand grenade as an example) it STUNS you. And that laser was no more than 10 feet away from Shepard when it struck. Think of it as a Super Flash Bang.
#8: The Theory states that the Citadel that Shepard sees at the end is a product of his own mind because it has elements of some of the random places he had visited before: Collector base, the Shadow Broker's ships, etc, etc. Um... This one makes me laugh. When you walk around a world as large as Mass Effect, when do you not see what people refer to as 'recycled backgrounds?' They are used so that the development teams don't have to spend months and months making entirely new backgrounds for every single place that you visit. And, Shepard does state "This reminds me of the Collector Base." Which makes perfect sense, because it was being used to process the people taken there just like the Collector Base had been used. Remember people, the Citadel was created by the Reapers. Their plan had always been to use the Citadel as their first strike point. Which meant they needed somewhere to process the people that lived ON the Citadel. Make sense? Of course it does! Besides, the ease with which the Reapers moved the Citadel to begin with means that it was meant to be moved. It may well have been what they used for Processing all along. That is a theory, however.
#9: The "Secret Ending", where there are people in the future talking about how Shepard saved the galaxy, etc etc. This ending comes no matter which choice you make. This ending does not say "Shepard tried and failed." It does not say "We're all Reapers." It says Shepard saved the day, stopped the destruction of that Cycles species, and life moved on.
#10: Something this big, this huge, this game changing for such a well known and beloved series of games... Would have leaked. Someone would have said something to someone's sister after banging her, and that sister would have told a friend, who would then tell another friend who had a Twitter or Facebook account. And it would have been put somewhere at some point so that we would have been able to find it before this entire thing came out. It's the way these things work.
In closing, the fact is that I could go on forever. I really could. There are dozens of other facts that I considered added, but I won't. There is a ton of really strong evidence against this Theory, but people who want to believe it because they hated the ending will continue to believe it. And they will continue to sight the same things to prove it to themselves. Who knows? Maybe EA, Bioware, or whoever is making the games now will actually pick up on the idea. Then to make themselves appear smart (Derp) they will say it was their idea all the time when they do or do not use it to "fix" the end of the game. Something that I don't understand anyway, because I thought the ending was great in many respects.
I chose the ending I choose because I do not believe in the Theory. I played all three endings. How did my Shepard survive? I will get to that as the story continues. But the focus remains the same. This is Fan Fiction, folks. Not everything in Fan Fiction has to follow exactly how the game ended, the story went, or the characters were designed. I am pretty sure Shepard was never bent over a kitchen table at a resort and fucked silly by Garrus in the story line of the actual game. Hell, the first chapter of my story goes against the actual game, because I wanted it to be more intense than I figured Bioware was capable of giving us. Though I am sure there are a lot of fans out there who would love to see Garrus pinning Shepard to a wall in a fit of passion played out in the game. I know I would!
That is all. Input is welcomed as always. The story will continue very soon!