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Marauder Shields 6: The True Catalyst (ME3)

The 6th episode of the "Marauder Shields: Shepard's Last Foe" Mass Effect comic. In this one... We learn the story behind the True Catalyst and get a glimpse of the past.

This episode is the first official episode of the alternative MScanon, created for those Mass Effect fans that didn't enjoy ME3's endings to the fullest - it was crafted out of my love for the series, and if anyone doubts that... Well, tough luck.

For an epic feel, play this in the background: [link]

If you would like drive yourself into the ground while reading this, play this in the background: [link]

[The Mass Effect universe, its design and characters are owned by BioWare/EA Productions. This is a work of parody and fan-fiction, created under the terms of fair use. Special thanks to BioWare for creating the world we all love and care for!]
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© 2012 - 2021 koobismo
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Wait, so Marauder Shields is actually Nihlus? That actually makes perfect sense! Screw BioWare, this is my favourite ending now, and I haven't even seen it all :D
(I absolutely adore Nihlus, he's the second best Turian in the whole Trilogy, right after Garrus Heart )
NickShepard117's avatar
It makes perfect since, good job!
KaminaRhea's avatar
OH NOO MY HEART! :iconfeelsplz:
ClassicBlaze's avatar
Nihlus?!?! I cant believe it was you! Just...thank you...thank you for trying.
mivpus's avatar
Nihlus was Marauder Shields??!?!?!

ShadowDragon117's avatar
I've read one page, and I seriously already love this comic. :heart:

Im looking forward to reading the rest!
koobismo's avatar
Hope you'll enjoy it. :)
azile0's avatar
This is now established canon.
Illmad's avatar
Might I suggest you make this like a playlist? I mean, adding links like 'Next' and 'Previous' in the description. I see lots of people doing that in Original Character Tournaments (OCT's) and it makes it a lot easier to read through. I want to link to this project of yours on Facebook, but I know people will find it a hassle to go to your gallery and find each episode individually. I think this would help making your comic more accessible.
RioCyan's avatar
My first ME crush was Nihlus - this was the teammate I wanted at my side for the entire series, this was the intriguing, complex male I wanted as a love interest. They gave him so much personality in so short a time and then - Bam! Look what they did to him! (Reading this chapter I actually cried. Vindication at last.)
die-yng's avatar
Scorched Sierra is exactly what drove me away from the BSE forums. How come that such a large number of people who like the ending have to spill so much hate for Retake? They can't just let others do what they want, no they have to force their view of ME3 on everybody else, accompanied by vitriol and anger.

Personally I never cared much for MS being Nihlus, as far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter much.

The banshees' cries, so full of anguish, the blind rage of other reaper servants. The anger and hate and disgust directed toward organic life shown by the reapers, all of this clearly indicates (to me) that they are not just logical, emotionless machines, they have feelings and can be controlled by them.

If the reapers and their creations still have emotions, why shouldn't it also be possible for them to retain something of their own self, especially when there are circumstances like you describe them
I know that is a roundabout way of thinking, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
JTC209's avatar
Wouldn't it be great if we can just enjoy these things without people bashing the author?
If you don't like it don't read it.


Keep it up Koob! These things are great! :D
koobismo's avatar
Oh, I don't mind a bit of critique, and I don't even mind a bit of bashing - keeps me on my toes, enables me to crush unreasonable people as you can see in ScorchedSierra's attempt below and under the "Explaining Marauder Shields" entry. >:) I had fun.

Also, thank you! :)
I just have one question: Why do you believe that a sentient turian husk makes a better ending? Given that you've stated that "Up until this point (as seen in our "Explaining Marauder Shields", urm, infographic [link] - check it out if you haven't already), Marauder Shields was 100% compatible with everything happening in Mass Effect 3 up until the very finale", the fact that the webcomic revolves around a character impossible by the lore of Mass Effect kinda kills that claim.
koobismo's avatar
The character is *NOT* impossible by the lore of Mass Effect. The lore never clearly explains how the process of huskification occurs and what characterizes its progress - if anything, the lore is pretty inconsistent between the three games, with the Synthesis ending showing yet another crack on the lore vault's wall. What I am doing here is taking the basic concept - as presented in Mass Effect, IDENTICAL to what we see in the lore - and building upon it, characterizing it, adding details that did not find its way into the games... but where never shown as "impossible" either. You may dislike or like this characterization if you want, it's totally up to you, it is in fact a matter of opinion - but saying that it's "impossible" due to the fact it just wasn't presented in the games is just false. In other words: tell me that the story sucks in your opinion, but don't try to tell me that you've just killed my claim, son, because you didn't.

This comic is expanding the lore, much like the Extended Universe expanded upon Star Wars, the Sith and the understanding of what the Force is... Explain, add, pile up, build upon, add overarching structures and new concepts - and as long as none of the previous events are blatantly retconned, you're in the clear with anyone but the very purists (check around the comment section - we've got a lot of ME lore specialists around here, including the editors of the ME wikia, and somehow no one's sounding the same alarms as you do - bah, I'm actually in contact with one of the secondary writers of the ME games, and he loves what I'm doing).

Also, note the use of the word "EVENTS" in the paragraph above, not "opinions, misconceptions and theories created by characters set in the world, that can or cannot be proven false by the narrative", as this is exactly one of the tools that a storyteller working on an already established universe can use. It's all about applying the proper tools while crafting something of your own.

And before you go on another "doesn't cut it" rant like you did in a comment here: [link] - remember this... You CAN dislike this as much as you do, you can critize the shit out of everything I'm doing... And I'm totally okay with that. But making vague claims about things being impossible or "handwaving" just because you either not understand or just dislike the *techniques* used to construct this narrative... Umm, nope, that doesn't cut it, you know? ;)
What do we know about husks? They are victims of the Reapers, their minds and bodies warped to their means. The idea of a husk working against the Reapers contradicts the lore surrounding husks and indoctrination. We are never shown a husk working against the Reapers—a very good example of this is the artificial rachni breeder in the case of wiping out the queen in ME1. And it's not an issue of not being present in the game; the issue is that it contradicts what is present in the game.

The difference between the Star Wars Extended Universe and this webcomic is that the Extended Universe is official canon; the events in each work happen in the same universe in which the same rules apply, the lore is indentical in each work. Marauder Shields is fanon; while Mass Effect may be canon (to a degree) to Marauder Shields, Marauder Shields has nothing to do with Mass Effect.

Your "opinions, misconceptions and theories" argument also falls flat. While fanon can say that an idea in canon is wrong if the alternate idea takes canonical evidence into account, fanon cannot advocate an idea that canonical evidence already dismisses. There is evidence that supports the "opinions, misconceptions and theories" in Mass Effect, but does not support the "opinions, misconceptions and theories" in Marauder Shields.

Being a member of the Mass Effect Wikia myself, I am aware that there is a great deal of information there posted by knowledgeable well as more than a few people who subscribe to common and blatant misconceptions about Mass Effect lore, especially regarding the ending. If you haven't read the anti-ending blog posts on there, you's depressing, to put it lightly.

To be honest, your storyline is not bad at all. Were it absent of the titular character, I would consider it passable, although I certainly wouldn't call it a better ending than the original. But it can't possibly qualify as a better Mass Effect 3 ending when it doesn't adhere to the lore.
koobismo's avatar
First of all, read the full reply here, as it contains everything I wanted to say about this whole subject: [link]

Now, for this comment...
There I was, trying to explain how you don't own up to your own rules, the very ones you've been trying to impose, while you've been making a glorious asspull in the very first paragraph, selling something that's clearly just untrue.

Yes, we are never shown a husk working against the Reapers - the comic presents the first ever occurence of such an event after all... An ANOMALY. You see, we're also not privy to the way huskified minds operate - is it software, is it nanohardware, are their "interpretation centres" artificial, do they use biological, but modified brains? Do they have a Reaper equivalent of a blue screen, perhaps? ;) Are all husks equal or does an individual's prior biological traits (i.e. smart, bulky, small person, a huge guy) have any impact on how they look like, how they work, on their general usage? You see, this little gem: "the issue is that it contradicts what is present in the game" comes out of nowhere, it is a blatant lie. A possibility of a Husk being DAMAGED - as seen in Episode 21 - is not contradictory to what is present in the game. It's just not shown... Possible it couldn't happen? Yup. Possible it could happen? Yup. Anything else is you declaring yourself the Master of the Lore and knowing better than the whole world, which is usually the first sign of being blatantly delusional.

Sorry to be using harsh words here, I'm not usually this dickish, but the whole feel of your comment - everything you've said about fanon, "blatant misconceptions" of wikia editors that don't agree with you and your overall confidence in presenting your own interpretations as something true makes me believe that you should take a step back, read everything you've written once again and try to see how you present yourself to me and other people reading these comments... The Master of Lore thing. What I'm trying to say is "this and that is open for interpretation, so my interpretation is..." - whereas you're pulling out the "impossible" guns saying that "it's not open for interpretation" and then declaring your actual *interpretation* as the one and only truth.

Your definition of fanon and canon is obviously based on the fanon being treated as something worse, something lesser, just because it is not being scripted by someone hired to do so. You see, here's a little tip - the quality of a work should be judged solely by its... quality. Not by the category it belongs to, even if it's filled with slashfics and storylines replaying the game's events in different locations (a problem of the writers not using all the tools they could). Listen, I've been hired to write some horrible, horrible stories and scripts, stuff I would never look upon and say "yeah, I'm proud of this"... and I've done some sweet stuff completely for free (one even set in a world created by a friend), including this series I'm really happy with.

And, yeah, while we're at it - I've read some awesome fan writing set in the Mass Effect universe, some of it pretty much a ton better than a few sections I've found in Mass Effect 3.

As far as Marauder Shields being a "better" ending to Mass Effect 3 - well, it's an alternative ending. If you think it sucks, it's your right, Good Sir, you are fully entitled to your opinion. As far as I'm concerned you can just step out of the shell and say that what I've done with the character of Marauder Shields puts you off so hard you want to punch me in my face - and I still wouldn't mind (well, you saying that, not punching). It's the claims that try to show me my "obvious lore inconsistencies" - where I've put a lot of work and quite a lot of consultation to make this work - and treat other people (like the ME wikia authors) with a certain level of superiority that make me arm up.
koobismo's avatar
P.S. As a sidenote... You're not the infamous Wesker1984 on a few other sites, by any chance, are you? ;) Just something you've said about ME's lore, one sentence I've heard previously...
You bring up somewhat of a good point, but if you think about it it may be possible, i'm probably just grasping at straws here but we never really know what marauder shields was before he became marauder shields. Due to some twisted thing he may just be that much of a difference enough to change the canon
koobismo's avatar
Well, I do know what MS was before becoming MS, if you have questions you can always fire them at me. ;) As far as ScorchedSierra's crusade against the "impossibles!" happening in this comic - read my reply to his comment, it helps understand what tools I'm using and why the "impossible" tag just doesn't stick when applied to a fictional sci-fi universe that never goes too deep when presenting topics related to the Reapers, indoctrination and huskification.
I know its an old post, but who was MS in his previous life? Was he really Nihlus?
GRoseaia's avatar
I always wondered what the appeal of this webcomic was

Oh right, because it's awesome
koobismo's avatar
You're awesome. Also, thanks. ;)
LilyheartsLightning's avatar
I always wondered what the appeal of this webcomic was. And now I see what it is: completely ignoring what happens in the ending in order to insist that it's such a bad conclusion.

Why am I not surprised?
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