Sorry folks, no new content, just some final author's notes about the rewrite. I put in an earlier note why I did it, but not what changed. I mainly wanted to clean up dialogue and trim down some redundant exposition. Anybody who's written a story knows the horror of looking at it again after a period of time, and seeing all the mistakes, cringe dialogue and run-on exposition. In the course of paring this story down, I was astounded that I cut almost ten percent, thirty thousand words! And that was after adding a few thousand words in new scenes... Maybe in another ten years, I'll do another rewrite. :P
So what significant additions/changes were there? Nothing much it turns out until chapter...
13. The Wounded: changed/added dialogue between Tali and Shepard about why Shepard didn't stand up for Legion. In the original, Tali was more harsh and Shepard was a lot more dour and defeated. In the new version, it turns more light-hearted when Shepard turns the conversation back to Tali, asking her what her younger self would think if she saw her current self defending the geth. It gives Tali a little moment of reflection, and keeps Shepard from being relentlessly glum for several chapters straight.
28. Next Moves: added dialog with Commodore Rehme warning Shepard about the Council's motives, specifically that if the Council could pressure the turian Hierarchy into recalling Lorian, they were going to pressure the Alliance to give up Shepard to get to Cerberus. This is followed by a new scene with Miranda and Shepard reviewing the data in Enlea T'Vari's datapad instead of just mentioning it was going to happen. The scene reinforces the idea that the Citadel hasn't gone soft on Cerberus and defines Shepard's reasoning to secretly evacuate the crew from the ship. It's also the first hint that T'Vari was more than just a diplomat. All of these ideas were previously glossed over in a line or two of Miranda's reflections in "Omega's Revenge," right before the attack on Dashta.
Further in the chapter, Tali informs Shepard of Gerrel's invitation to the fleet. In the previous edit, Shepard agrees after some reluctance and it's not fully explained why, but in this new version he realizes visiting Dashta is the perfect opportunity to get the crew off of the ship outside the view of the Council forces at Sahrabarik.
Finally, there is a new scene at the end where Captain Artuis on the Vellius learns of Captain Lorian's recall to the Citadel, and that Enlea T'Vari is going to transfer over to take command of the ship. Previously, this took place in a very jumbled tell-don't-show summary when the Vellius shows up unannounced to save the Normandy crew at Dashta in "Fulcrum." It provides a much better flow to the Vellius subplot as well as additional characterization for T'Vari and Artuis.
31. Practicing Diplomacy: Added another scene between Enlea T'Vari and Artuis on the Vellius, again replacing a character's internal reflection later in the story with dialogue and action in the present. Here, Artuis is frustrated as the turian fleet is scouring the galaxy for the Normandy and she is held back by T'Vari to go on a hunt on her own. T'Vari is shown to have intelligence that Normandy went to Dashta, but for some reason she doesn't let Artuis report it to the Fleet.
33. Omega's Revenge - removed a convoluted summary in the form of Miranda's internal musing of how and why Normandy ended up at Dashta, which became the extra scenes in Chapter 28: Next Moves. There's still some internal exposition, but it's much cleaner and gets into the story much quicker.
36: Fulcrum. Huge cleanup of expository summary of how Vellius came under command of T'Vari and followed Normandy to Dashta, now replaced with dialogue in Chapter 28, Next Moves.
Also added a small scene where Kal'Reegar wastes a YMIR mech, giving him a small moment to shine as he was in the background for most of the fighting on Dashta..
40. A Beacon in the Dark: Re-wrote the scene where T'Vari decides to leave the Vellius. In the original, she is much more confrontational with Artuis in her demands to get to Normandy, and goes so far as to wipe out the comms on Velllius to cover her tracks and ends up with the bridge crew all drawing their weapons on her. It was out of character for T'Vari, who is not a soldier, and illogical that she'd get away with it against a turian crew. In this version, Artuis is much more assertive and inserts herself into the equation by asking Shepard to allow her to come aboard as well. It better suits Artuis as a character and gives her a personal stake as one of her primary motivations is to discover why the man the Citadel is hunting risked his life and ship to save the turian task force at Sahrabarik.
I also re-wrote a scene where Tali flips out in Engineering when she hears the Council representative is coming aboard. She abandons her post and makes it all the way down to the hangar deck with Reegar in tow before she realizes what a bosh'tet she's being and sulks back to her station. In the updated version, Garrus realizes what she's about to do and subtly calls her back over the intercom. I think it's a lot cleaner and simpler, and gives Garrus a little more interaction with Tali, which I really enjoy writing.
41. Welcome Aboard: re-wrote some of the dialogue to reflect how Artuis invited herself aboard the Normandy, and why, and to provide some exposition on how she could stay aboard when Shepard planned to move the ship with a turian ship's captain aboard, without telling her crew where they were going.
42. The Messenger: A fairly substantial change begins here. In the original version, Samara was nowhere to be found for twenty chapters, until "The Rounds" where she tells Shepard she renounced her position as a Justicar. Samara was such an important factor in influencing Enlea T'Vari when she first came aboard. Shepard would no doubt use Samara's influence again to get T'Vari to talk about who she was working for. In the new version, Samara is successful in intimidating T'Vari into talking, but when she hears that T'Vari is working for a Council of Matriarchs, she becomes suddenly withdrawn.
43. Valedictions: Added a scene where Samara explains why she can't interfere, and how it is imperative that she leave the Normandy as soon as possible. She alluded to the Code requiring her to kill her friends in Chapter 5, Fond Farewells, and further in her flashback aboard Dashta in Chapter 30, Parting Ways II. but this scene brings this problem into sharp focus at the same time explaining why Samara can't help Shepard against T'Vari.
44. There Was A Hole: Re-wrote the scene where Captain Artuis returns to the Vellius. Previously, she was shown reading Mordin's report and thinking about what happened on the Normandy. This version begins with her boarding her ship and discussing the events with her XO, giving them both a little more characterization through dialogue instead of internalized exposition.
45. Sins of the Mothers: added and changed dialogue to clarify the asari weren't responsible for creating the geth, but that they and the other Council races were fully aware of what the quarians were up to. Instead of stopping the development of the geth, the Council sent "advisers" under the guise of monitoring the research, with the intent of acquiring geth for their own purposes.
57. A Good Turian: moved the scene with Shepard talking to Udina to the next chapter, allowing this scene to begin and end with Garrus.
58. Walk Away: Added the Shepard scene to the beginning and ended with Shepard at the ship's bar, so the chapter could begin and end with Shepard, similar to above.
59. Turned the discussion between Shepard and Garrus into its own chapter. Along with the changes in 57 and 58, the story flows better through these dialogue-heavy chapters.
60. Rubicon: Added a small scene with Shepard, Miranda and Mordin in the airlock discussing about how they planned to get Enlea T'Vari's datapad back to the Citadel without it appearing on any computer networks. In the previous version, it was delivered by Captain Artuis at the very end, but I ended up removing that scene. Even though Artuis had proven herself trustworthy, I doubt Mordin would risk giving it to an outsider especially since he would be in a position to do it himself.
Also, ended the chapter with the Illusive Man plotting to re-take the Normandy, moving the scene where Miranda warns Shepard of TIM's likely ambush to the next chapter for better flow.
61. Moving On: in addition to relocating the conversation between Miranda and Shepard, I added a farewell scene for Captain Artuis and the Vellius. In the original version, Artuis turned up in a scene in the "We Die" denouement, delivering T'vari's datapad to Anderson on the Citadel. Not only did that scene get cut during the rewrite, it meant that she and her crew vanished completely in the "We Live" ending. This way, no matter what the outcome of the story, Artuis got a proper sendoff.
62, 63, 64. The Rounds: Split the character scenes from two chapters into three, evening out the chapter lengths a bit.
67. Available Data. Previously the lead-up to the negotiations, Mirron's tirade about the massacre of the quarians during the Morning War and Tali's rebuttal, all the way, up to Xen's reappearance were all one very long chapter. The chapter now ends with the geth being asked how they feel about killing billions and their response of "No Data Available," leading to the Moreh's crew capturing a massive amount of data as the geth try to reach an impossible consensus.
68. The Face of the Enemy: This chapter now begins with Tali taking control of the debate, allowing Legion and her to be the focus as she helps Legion overcome the geth inability to express itself using emotional terms. Internal exposition was replaced with new dialogue between Legion and Tali in front of the Conclave, further explaining the meaning of "no data available."
69. Keelah Se'lai: Rewrote and simplified the Migrant Fleet Navy's pursuit of Normandy. Previously there was a scene on the bridge of a quarian ship receiving orders as it chased Normandy from the flotilla, and several scenes of High Captain Wylo trying to get control of the situation. It was already a complicated chapter to begin with, added more one-time characters, yet it didn't add anything to the story. In this version, the Normandy crew simply hear Wylo's order to the Navy to back off, and they do.
81. Overrun: Hoo boy, the chapter where everybody dies. The biggest complaints (outside of killing almost everybody in the first place) was that it felt too rushed and there was no real indication of how many geth were attacking. I think by that time all those years ago I was ready for the story to be done and I didn't want to stretch it out knowing how it would end. For the rewrite, I didn't change much except adding a little more detail. But it's written from Tali's perspective at the back of the room, and she was concentrating on re-coding the geth and not the fight itself, so there's still not much more to it.
82. Denouement: Mostly tightening up dialogue here, but removing the scene where Captain Artuis delivers T'vari's datapad to Anderson. It's a shame because I really liked the scene, and it means Anderson only gets two measly scenes in the whole story. He was originally going to play a major part, ditching the Citadel after being censured to actually join Shepard on the Normandy at Sahrabarik. But I went in another direction and poor David ended up only getting a cameo along with Mordin during the arrest of Councilor Tevos.
83. Epilogue: Again, mostly tying up the dialogue in a scene which is almost 100% conversation between Tali and Garrus, especially around Tali's revelation she had been on the verge of sending the geth to wipe out the Citadel as revenge for contributing to the geth uprising and their deliberate lack of action after, letting the quarians die out to cover it up.
84. Altered Course: removed two firefight scenes in their entirety, one where Shepard has to fight his way to the bridge of the Xenophon, and another where Shepard is ambushed after getting there and is saved by Legion. The chapter was already too long and had too much going on and I think in this case the firefights only slowed the plot, especially a lengthy scene where I did a millisecond-by-millisecond analysis of how Legion took down the Centurions attacking Shepard. Now, Shepard's gambit to neutralize the Cerberus crew by accelerating the ship is much more successful, leaving only a handful of the crew capable of resisting.
85. The Ghost of Tikkun: In the original edit of the happy ending, I recycled the "We Die" dialogue between Tali and the geth collective and the war pretty much ended off screen. It needed more, so I wrote a scene depicting what happened on the bridge of the Migrant Fleet Navy flagship as they approached Rannoch and were confronted by the newly-reawakened geth. While the geth were more than willing to stop fighting, there were still six thousand ships barreling toward Rannoch just itching to complete their mission to retake the homeworld. In this ending, it's only when Tali has the geth to reveal their true numbers that the quarian commanders to back off.
88. Recovered: Added a small bit of dialogue between Shepard and Tali. Tali plays down her role in convincing the geth to allow the Migrant Fleet Navy to withdraw. Shepard reminds her that by her own reasoning, the only way to judge the geth's overall mood was to look at their collective behavior. The geth didn't just "decide" to let the quarians go, they were expressing gratitude to Tali for saving them from Cerberus.
This kind of leads into the next scene where Legion is also having trouble expressing himself to Tali in the same way. But because his little mini-collective of 1,183 programs are much more in have been growing together during their time on the Normandy, Legion is actually able to vocalize it.
89. To Fight Another Day: broke up this very long chapter into two, where the first half was resolving all the major plot threads, and the second part was purely about...
90. Coming Home: The epilogue of the story into its own chapter, where it belongs, beginning with the shuttle ride down to Rannoch, and ending with Legion registering the arrival of the first Creator ships into orbit. Nothing really changed, other than giving the finale ts own emotional beats and self-contained flow.
And that's all! Once again, thanks to everybody for reading both this version and the original from years ago. Thanks especially to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts, both positive and negative. Reviews are the only currency a fanfic author can expect to receive, and I appreciate every single one!