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Posts Tagged ‘khopesh’

It is said that history is written by the victors.

With the Reapers defeated, humanity looks to the future, even as it learns of the machinations of the Reapers in Earth’s history… nearly four thousand years ago.

Before humanity took to the stars, the mad Pharaoh Akhenaten chased his dreams of the heavens and nearly destroyed his kingdom.  The strength of Egypt was crucial to human development, but it almost fell prey to dark guidance.

Finally, a forbidden chapter of history sees the light of day.  Once erased from the annals of time, the story of Egypt’s hidden crisis can be told.  The story of one known only as The Shepherd.

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Brass Effect Cover Art

…OK, this was mostly an excuse to put a story to that scarabkhopesh Mass Relay variant that I wound up doodling as I perused the Mass Effect wiki.  Here’s the closeup simplified version.

Brass Relay

I still haven’t played the games, and likely never will, but there’s something compelling about the concepts and the art.  I picked up this The Art of Mass Effect book a while back when a local game shop went out of business, and it’s been percolating in my mind since.  (…and holy schamoley, it’s selling for how much?  Man, I got a deal on it.)  It’s a solid book, though I’ll admit that I want the Art of Guild Wars a wee bit more.  Still, fan of Star Trek and Star Wars as I am, the Mass Effect universe and its pseudomagic technobabble are interesting, so it’s fun to at least peruse the wiki a bit.

OK, OK, I’m also driven to learn more about the lore because of the whole “Mass Effect 3’s ending is so stoooopid” kerfluffle going around.  I fancy myself a writer and game designer, and I figure it behooves me to understand what’s going on when there’s a storm in the gaming world like that.

Anyway, I admit I’m walking a fine line between spoof and serious here.  I do think there’s potential to do some “backstory” prequels to the main Mass Effect trilogy.  Akhenaten is a curious historical figure, and Egypt was at one point the foremost society on Earth, with a strong interest in astronomy.  OK, “Shepherd” is obvious, but hey, it fits.  Also, the idea of taking the shepherd’s crook and the khopesh and giving them some more meaning (they are key to some Egyptian imagery of the Pharaohs) appeals to the art history geek in me.  There’s also the potential to do a little Stargate riff with some high tech Egyptian craziness.  Maybe even include something like the Antikythera mechanism, conveniently all about astronomical positions.

And then there are the story twists that I like… spoilers down yonder if you want them.  Maybe I’m just a sci-fi fiction fanboy, and maybe I’m too close to my own idea here, but this sort of sounds… good.

OK, spoilers.

There’s a lot of story potential here, I think.  Secret Egyptian stuff has long been interesting to a lot of people, and Akhenaten was King Tut’s father, but a bit of an oddball with plenty of grey space to explore.  Specifically, I’m imagining that fancy scarab to be partially brass, an heirloom of the Pharaohs.  Naturally, it’s also something more, in this case, a bit of Reaper tech with that nasty tricksy Indoctrination ability.  It’s been feeding the Egyptian kings ideas to mold the future of humanity.  That’s twist one, though it’s a mild one that really just sets the scene and gives us a reason to care about ancient Egypt in the Mass Effect universe.

Twist two, Akhenaten has a congenital brain defect that means the Indoctrination tech works differently on him.  Specifically, he sees more than the tech wants him to see, and he doesn’t fall prey to the Reaper will.  He actually understands the impulses as dangerous, and tries to use that knowledge and steer Egypt and humanity away from the Reaper influence.  He’s seen as mad… but only because he’s the only sane one in the room who sees the bigger picture, and he’s woefully underequipped to express some of the alien concepts, even if anyone would believe him in the first place.

Twist three, The Shepherd also has a Reaper artifact, though it’s a nondescript heirloom in his/her family line of shepherds.  They are no heroes, but they have a knack at being in the right place at the right time, albeit usually in small ways unremarkable to the historians.  This is why the story is largely ignored; it wasn’t recorded by humans, but the Reapers were very aware of it, and it’s only now, picking through the aftermath of their defeat, that humans finally get the story.  The Shepherd is also Indoctrinated, but this one sticks.  The player is sold on the idea of stopping the Mad King Akhenaten to Save the World, but stopping him just puts humanity through a course correction, so it’s back on the path to the events in the original Mass Effect trilogy.  Those Reapers play a long game with plenty of contingencies and gears within gears.

Naturally, this all comes out late as a revelation to underscore the “free will is important… as long as it serves the Reaper cause” theme that seems to be weaving through some of the existing lore.  Congratulations, hero, you just stopped the only man who could have taken humanity into a new technological future that could have made the Reapers fear humanity instead of the other way around.

Don’t worry, we’ll fix it in the DLC and reframe you as the real hero in a triple cross, where you actually wind up fusing The Shepherd’s consciousness into a small probe that gets sent to the Citadel to merge with the resident AI.  Or something.

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