Chapter 1

What Doesn't Kill You Only Makes You Stronger

Author's Note: This chapter isn't really going to have much of anything, just a timeline explaining things. I'm going to take a couple of liberties mainly so that I can have a story where Humanity actually has some power. It's nothing too serious, mainly they just take a lot longer to make contact with the Council, so they have more time to repopulate and actually qualify as a galactic power, mainly because a weak Humanity is BORING to read and write about. Also thanks to the Fallout wiki for info on the timeline. Also for the record, for the Council's timeline, they make contact with Humanity in this story at the same time that they did with humanity in the original Mass Effect, in other words the Migrant Fleet has been flying around for 300 years and not 800. Just wanna make that clear. Let's go. Also I think I mentioned that it is a pain in the rear trying to shoehorn the Reapers into every crossover fic, so I decided to take care of them with the first timeline post, ok? Cool.


50,000 years ago: After much painstaking work, the Prothean team from Illos manages to salvage enough parts from the Citadel to finish a makeshift starship and an arsenal of nuclear warheads. Boarding the ship, they activated the Citadel and traveled into Dark Space, using the warheads to destroy all of the Reapers while they hibernated, at the cost of their own lives. The only Reaper not present in Dark Space, Sovereign, feels the neural shocks created by the destruction of its entire kind all at once. The strain was so great that the machine's mind was destroyed, leaving it a lifeless, but still functional, husk.

War...war never changes.

August 14, 1945: V-P Day, the Japanese surrender to the Allies, marking the end of the second World War.

The bloodiest war of its time, World War II ended with the first use of atomic weapons against a hostile nation. Hundreds of thousands died, some instantly, some slowly as a result of radiation sickness. Used in the hopes of ending the war quickly, in would in turn set off an arms race that would last over a century, marking the start of the Cold War.

1969: America is divided into 13 commonwealths in an attempt to better regulate the population by region.

Instead of moving forward as man had done in the past, Humanity's mindset stopped developing, beginning to stagnate. Blinded by nationalism the way a fanatic is blinded by unquestioning faith. Never asking, never rationalizing, simply doing what he or she is told without thought. No matter the consequences.

April, 2052: The Resource Wars begin. Conflict breaks out between Middle Eastern nations and members of the European commonwealth who are dependent on their supplies of oil. The conflict would last for years to come and would reduce both sides to ruins.

July 27, 2052: The United Nations is officially disbanded.

2066: China invades Alaska, war begins with the United States and the People's Republic.

2069: The United States forcefully draws Canadian resources to assist in the war with China, straining them to the breaking point. Canadian protests fall on deaf ears.

2072: The combined American need for resources and the attempted sabotage of an Alaskan oil pipeline results in Canada being forcibly annexed by the United States.

2074: America launches an invasion of China, its limited resources becoming even more strained.

January 10, 2077: America reclaims Alaska

Humanity fought among itself as its oil fields dried up, desperately scrabbling for the remaining scraps that were left, even though they were only furthering their own destruction. Until one day when it just became too much.

October 23, 2077: Nuclear missiles are launched by countless nations, including the United States of America, The People's Republic of China and the USSR. The Great War begins. It ended two hours later, but the effects would last for centuries.

Nuclear fire consumed the world. The number of people who died in the atomic holocaust remain a mystery. Radiation and acid rain claimed the lives of countless people and species. Mutated creatures prowled the surface, preying on anything that crossed their paths, until most herbivores were all but extinct. However, Humanity lived on, some of them taking shelter in natural formations, some deep underground in massive bunkers known as Vaults, and some simply being fortunate enough to have survived the wave of radiation and fire. However, despite the total destruction of all nations, new ones sprouted up, and conflict followed Humanity even into the wastes.

December 5, 2161: An individual known to history as the Vault Dweller is sent out from Vault 13 to find a replacement water chip.

2162: The Vault Dweller retrieves the water chip, but encounters a mutant that calls himself the Master, who was raising an army of genetically engineered Humans known as Super Mutants to retake the wastes and rebuild it under his rule. However, his goal includes Humanity's extinction and Super Mutants becoming the new dominate species of the planet. The Vault Dweller defeats the Master and his army scatters without his leadership. The Dweller then returns to Vault 13. He is denied access by the overseer and is exiled for his contact with the outside world. Furious, many of the inhabitants follow him in self imposed exile.

July 2165: The Vault Dweller and his followers found the village of Arroyo.

October 2, 2188: The Vault Dweller's daughter is born.

2189: The New California Republic is formed, as are the Followers of the Apocalypse.

May 2241: Vault 13 receives a signal ordering their inhabitants to leave. A couple of days later, the doors open to reveal two squads of Enclave, remnants of the US government, soldiers waiting for them. Several inhabitants of the Vault are killed and the rest are captured. In the village of Arroyo, the grandson of the Vault Dweller, the Chosen One, leaves in search of a Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK) in order to save his failing village.

2242: The Chosen One succeeds in finding a GECK, but in his absence, Arroyo is attacked by the Enclave and its inhabitants abducted, intended to be used along with the inhabitants of Vault 13 in experiments to complete the Enclave's biological weapons. The Chosen One attacks the Enclave's oil rig and destroys it, rescuing the people of Vault 13 and Arroyo. Together and with the assistance of the GECK, they create a prosperous community in the previously struggling Arroyo.

2247: Three members of the Followers of the Apocalypse are captured by a tribe known as the Blackfoot for ransom. One of them uses his knowledge of warfare and tactics to train the tribals in fighting their enemies, earning their respect and leadership of the tribe. The Follower takes the name Caesar and uses the tribe to conquer neighboring tribes, adding his ranks to his own with every victory, eventually uniting dozens of tribes by force and destroying their identities. Caesar's Legion is born.

July 13, 2258: The Lone Wanderer is born, but his mother does not survive the experience.

2274: The NCR expands to the Mojave Wasteland, encountering Mr. House, the ruler of New Vegas, who had recruited three tribes as allies to form the bedrock of the city. The New Vegas treaty is signed, 5% of the power generated by Hoover Dam is sent to New Vegas while the rest is sent back to California.

2277: The Lone Wanderer's father leaves Vault 101, forcing his son to flee for his own safety as he is blamed for complications involving mutant insects entering the Vault as his father left. The 19 year old travels the Capital Wasteland, the ruins of Washington D.C., searching for his father, only to see him killed by the Enclave, who had fled to the east coast after their defeat at the hands of the Chosen One. The Lone Wanderer retrieves a GECK from Vault 87. He assists a faction known as the Brotherhood of Steel, a group whose ancestors were US army deserters, in finishing the life work of his father, Protect Purity, and defeats the Enclave. He also assists a woman known as Moria Brown in writing the Wasteland Survival Guide, a book that is applauded as brilliantly researched and written. Despite the Lone Wanderer only doing research, the young woman states that he was the main author.

On the opposite side of the remains of America, the New California and Caesar's Legion clash in the Mojave Wasteland. The Legion attempts to take Hoover Dam, but the NCR is able to trick them into charging into Boulder City, which was rigged with explosives. The resulting explosion dealt heavy losses to the Legion, forcing them to retreat to the other side of the Colorado River, where they spent years regrouping. Angered at the failure of his men, Caesar orders his Legate to be covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown into the Great Canyon.

2278: The NCR launches an invasion of Bitter Springs in response to the abduction and execution of soldiers by a local tribe known as the Great Khans. Due to a miscommunication, a group of First Recon snipers fire on a group of children, women and elderly. This is later recalled as the Bitter Springs Massacre.

2281: Conflict breaks out again between the NCR and Caesar's Legion for a second time. Mr. House also hired a courier to deliver a data chip disguised as an ordinary poker chip to him, but the Courier is intercepted and shot in the head twice before she is left for dead in a shallow grave. Over the weeks she makes a full recovery and sets out to hunt down the man that nearly killed her, who turns out to be the leader of the Tops, Benny. She cornered him in his private suite, disarmed him and then shot him five times in the chest with his own handgun. Upon learning of the true nature of the chip, she chose not to deliver it to Mr. House, and when the NCR, whom she had been helping ever since she set out to search for Benny, requested her to kill Mr. House, she complied. The Courier later helped the NCR win the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, where she killed the current Legate in one on one combat, and then Caesar himself, breaking the back of the Legion and forcing them out of the Mojave.

2283: The east coast Brotherhood of Steel signs a treaty with settlements that it has established friendly ties with thanks to the clean water they had been providing with Project Purity. The Washington Confederacy is born. It begins to spread outward, towards the north and the west using technology salvaged from the Enclave and a massive robot known as Liberty Prime to eliminate all hostile forces with ease while signing treaties with non-aggressive settlements.

2286: The NCR pushes eastward, driving the Legion further back. Disorganized with the loss of their leader, the Legion was forced to abandon many strongholds that it had once held and flee to the uncharted lands in the east, raiding small tribes for supplies. However, before long they encountered the rapidly growing Confederacy and were forced to combat their highly trained troops and advanced technology. Eventually, the Legion was trapped in Tennessee, with the Confederacy on one end and the NCR on the other.

The Courier and the Lone Wanderer were both sent on missions to eliminate the remaining leaders of the Legion in the ruins of Nashvile. These missions both proved to be complete successes. While there, they encountered each other and mistook each other for enemies. They fought for hours, first using firearms, but then when their ammunition ran out they fought with knives and eventually engaging in hand to hand combat when their knives broke. After a long and brutal battle in which neither combatant could gain the advantage, they both collapsed, too exhausted to even sit up. With nothing else to do, the two began to talk, learning much about each other and the factions that they were a part of, becoming friendly and realizing their misunderstanding. Eventually NCR and Confederate forces were sent to retrieve them, and make contact with each other for the first time. They later sent negotiation parties to meet each other, forming an alliance.

2289: The last remnants of the Legion are crushed. The NCR and the Confederacy sign the Treaty of Nashvile, which establishes the boarders of both nations, dividing the former United States of America in half.

2290: The Lone Wanderer and the Courier are wed.

As the years continued to pass, the people of America continued to rebuild. Industry and agriculture were reborn, while lacking the same scale as the Prewar world, it was more than enough to sustain the continent's now smaller population. However, they were not the only ones who had formed their own nations.

2294: A small fleet of ships, a few of them military, dock on the east coast. All of them carry emissaries from nations in Europe and Asia. Accompanying each of the emissaries were individuals that were much like the Lone Wanderer and the Courier, talented and powerful individuals that had shaped the fate of their nations and defeated great enemies. The Liberator originated from the Russian Union, the Champion from the Royal British Empire, the Holy One from the Vatican, the Warrior from the Chinese Alliance and the Defender from the Japanese Federation.

2305: A collaborated census between the nations revealed that the world's population had begun to grow again. While currently low enough to be sustained by Post-War Earth's limited resources, many are worried that history will repeat itself if precautions are not taken. The NCR founds and spearheads an operation known as Project Exodus. Using technology taken from Mr. House along with the most advance technology that the nations had combined with all of the resources that they could spare, the nations begin construction on an interplanetary colony ship, intending for it to be the first of many. The goal of project Exodus is to colonize Mars and establish a heavy industry settlement to provide Earth with resources.

2310: While delivering barrels filled with the strain of FEV that the NCR had started to produce to help develop the population of friendly Super Mutants, a truck breaks down near a Deathclaw nest, exposing several eggs to the mutagen. The eggs were taken to NCR scientists for study, but when they hatched, the Deathclaws showed signs of increased intelligence and even the ability to speak. Bounties were put out for undamaged Deathclaw eggs in order to further this study.

2379: The colony ship, after many years of hard world, scavenging, manufacturing and endless funding, is completed and launched. Military and civilian personal from all of the nations are given seats on it. Later on in the year, the ship lands successfully and unloaded its already developed infrastructure, as well as a terraforming generator. Project Exodus is declared to be a complete success.

2387: The city of New Lowell is founded on Mars.

In a different time, the new nations of the world might have clutched at each others throats, scrabbling over what little scraps Earth had left to offer. Instead, they worked together to create a brighter future for all of Humanity, believing that future to be on the surface of Mars, but they were misinformed. Not because they were wrong, but because they had no idea how right they were.

2392: While digging an iron mine, several Martian settlers uncover a cache of technology. Alien technology. Reports of this sends officials and scientists back on Earth scurrying, formulated countless theories and explanations. When the relics are shipped back to Earth, they are studied by top scientists, revealing massive stores of data and the name of the creators of the relics, the Protheans.

2409: Countless technological advancements originate from the discovery of the relics, some of them completely replacing Human technology, such as ballistic firearms, computers, starship engines and power sources, some of them hybridizing with currently existing technology, such as robotics and power armor, while a few aspects of Human technology were left untouched, mainly energy weapons with the exception of their power sources. But all of them pale in comparison to the discovery made at the edge of the Solar System thanks to the advanced starships Humanity was now capable of building. A Mass Relay, a device that allowed them to travel across the stars. However, many were paranoid. Despite there being no sign of them, many wondered why the Protheans had a base on Mars, which would be perfect for observing Earth. A large amount of people believed that the Protheans might be hostile and would wipe out Humanity when they realize how advanced they have become. The new nations of Earth decide to unite under a single government as they expand beyond their home system. While each country maintained its sovereignty, the new government would manage Humanity's ventures beyond Earth and represent the values of its people. This government is known only as the Coalition. Mars is also named the capital of the Coalition as terraforming and colonization continues on its surface at an accelerated rate.

Humanity united, a feat few had thought possible. In many ways, the nuclear holocaust had broken the shackles of nationalism that had held then back for so long. With only a few flags to divide them, a dying homeworld, and a massive gaping unknown standing before them, their differences were forgotten as they stood together, pushing forward in a way that the people of the 20th and 21st centuries had failed to do.

And for a time, they knew peace and prosperity. For centuries as the Coalition spread across space, careful not to spread themselves too thin, colonizing tightly clustered planets when they could. With peace, Humanity also developed tolerance, for the Coalition could not be considered a true Human government.

Necro-Humans, or Ghouls, mutants who had been exposed to radiation, made up a significant portion of the population as did Meta-Humans, or Super Mutants, the FEV having been refined to the point where there was no longer a death rate for those exposed to it and to where the intelligence of the average Meta-Human was on par with a Standard-Human. Both of these populations are rather small compared to Standard-Humans, but they are still a significant part of the Coalition and their populations are sustained by people who are voluntarily exposed to FEV for Meta-Humans, or artificial wombs for both. Even the population of intelligence Deathclaws was on the rise, working their ways into all aspects of Coalition life.

However, while the Coalition did enjoy peace for a time, they would find that the galaxy was similar to the Earth they had left behind in many ways. All aspects of life that they had experienced on it still existed in the new frontier.

October 24, 2715: The Coalition discovers the 314 Relay.

Among them was war...

October 26, 2715: A Turian patrol fleet encounters several Coalition ships attempting to activate the 314 Relay. The Turians open fire, prompting the present Coalition military vessels to return fire. Three Turian and five Coalition ships are destroyed before the Coalition forces were forced to retreat to the nearby colony of Shanxi.

And war...

October 29, 2715: The Turian Hierarchy launches an invasion of Shanxi. The First Contact War begins.

War never changes.




The Coalition: The Coalition is the government body that rules over most of Humanity, Necro-Human, Meta-Humans, and intelligent Deathclaws, the only exceptions being zones of Earth that have not been annexed, due to high hazard rates and focus slowly but surely being lost on Earth and redirected to Mars and other colonized worlds. Technically the Coalition is an alliance forged between the new nations of Earth, but as the years passed and more and more resources were poured into making Humanity stronger, more power was slowly granted to the Coalition government, giving it more power over its member governments, and when the first shots were traded with the Turians in the First Contact War, the Coalition cemented itself as a government that represented all of Earth as a whole.

The main body of the Coalition government is it's Parliament, elected representatives that pass laws that affect the entire Coalition, while individual cities are ruled by elected governors and a board of advisers. It is worth noting that the original name of the Coalition was intended to be the Coalition of Man, but it was scrapped due to the growing Deathclaw population.


Author's Note: Well, that's the first chapter of From the Ashes, I hope that you enjoyed