Do not own Mass Effect, this work has already been written in full, will spread out updates because I'm a lazy person/it's a bit big for a single dump, etc. etc...
More notes at the bottom.
"A species without Paragons is one with a sorrowful and terrible history."
Tell me if you've heard this tale before. A young species develops and grows, tentatively reaching into the empty space past its own atmosphere. Wonder and excitement follow the discovery the proof of a long dead race. The species, emboldened and enabled by the discovery and technology within, expands even further across the stars and the galaxy itself. It settles colonies, it explores, and for a generation it is a golden age of discovery and peace.
And then it makes First Contact, and enters into a new era. Seemingly without thinking, the calendar changes. The After Contact age has begun.
If you identified this young species as Humanity, you are correct. And sadly, that will probably be all that meets your expectation: for first impressions are vital and for all that the Turians were an unprovoked aggressor, they were an honorable aggressor. But these aliens were not Turians, but Batarians. The fall of Shaxni was not in an occupation, but in the sack and enslavement of the entire colony. And General Williams was not soon dragged in chains to face a court marshal by a victorious Alliance, but dragged in chains into the mines to work as a slave for a half-century.
There is no miraculous catch up, of a species with not even thirty years of development matching another's hundreds or even thousands of years of technological mastery. There is no honorable resolution. There is not even an intervention by the Council, not until the end one hundred and thirteen years later. Even that is not as you might wish.
This is the darkest century of human history. This is the catalyst that changed and defined the Human race as it emerged upon the galactic stage. This is not a happy story, or a story of glory, or even a particularly pleasant one. It is, at heart, a Renegade's story, of one race rising up defying a galaxy's expectations.
This is the First Contact War, and war and history are rarely pleasant.
This piece defies easy description. For one, it is not a fanfic: it's a narrative. A re-imagining of the Mass Effect universe from its bipolar Paragon/Renegade nature to one that is entirely Renegade in concept. In a Humanity without Paragons, the divisions in the Renegade spectrum are free to be explored.
Roughly the first third of this work comes in the recounting of the First Contact War, an even far more important and influential to the setting of 'Mass Effect 1,' providing the basis of many new themes and the loss of several old ones. This is as close as it will be to your traditional fanfic. The rest follows a conceptual redesign of much of Mass Effect 1 and 2: the story impetus of 1, and many of the characters for 2. This follows more of concept sketch than a traditional fanfic: it may interest you or it may bore you.
Regardless, know that all that will be posted has already been written. This piece works best when read with chapter progression, but I'm not inclined to posting them all at once. The only delays of an otherwise regular schedule (daily, preferably) should be exceptions and not the rule. Next 'chapter' tomorrow should give you a better idea of what to expect.