Annotations by Gryphon
Annotations by Phil
 Corwin had the same sentiment at the end of Quarentena.
 The convergence between the name of the setting of City of Heroes and one of the moral alignments in the Mass Effect games is a complete coincidence, but rather a fun one for us.
 Baumton, better known as "Boomtown", was one of the Hazard Zones in City of Heroes - a part of the city that had been devastated before the game began and was presented as a dangerous ruin where characters could go for a bigger challenge than they'd face in the equivalent-level "city zones".
 Five million people, that's pretty impressive for an 'old' colony that hasn't expanded its borders much, though there may be other cities elsewhere on the planet. (And it's 5 times the population of Rhode Island, the original setting of Paragon City!)
 For those of you who remember Steel Canyon: the alley next to Subgenetics.
 The Green Line station over by the gate to Boomtown. (UF's Paragon City does not have the War Walls, so there's no actual gate there in this setting.)
That should be enough City of Heroes geography for the moment...
 It's supposed to be a U, but that's only apparent from certain angles.
And turned on its side, it looks like a giant letter C, like that in the Crey Corporation logo! Could it be a conspiracy, or just a coincidence?
 Atta's an Elite Boss (but not a SupaTroll) who heroes encounter in the depths of "The Hollows" (formerly known as Eastgate). The Trolls do have a reasonable presence in Steel Canyon, however, so I guess he just wanted to make sure his boys were OK with all the incoming chaos.
 William Ewart "Dangerous Dan" Fairbairn (1885-1960), street fighter extraordinaire and originator of the gutter combat techniques used by British, Canadian, and American commando forces in WWII; Imre Lichtenfeld (1910-1998), inventor of the Krav Maga fighting system used by the Israeli Defense Force; Bruce Lee (1940-1973), originator of Jeet Kune Do; Klavdiya Pechkolnakova (2300-2349), founder of the Neo-Soviet NKVD's infamous "Red Room" training facility and the first of several particularly lethal Neo-Soviet agents to be codenamed Black Widow.
 These are the Mass Effect 1 husks, btw. As opposed to the Mass Effect 2 husks encountered on Eden Prime, who just perform straightforward melee.
 Freakshow Juicers, Smashers, Swipers, and Tanks, respectively.
 Sort of both.
That, or he watched way too many action movies with drell leads while waiting for the tinctures to cure during late nights in the lab.
 One of the Chief's little personal contributions to the armory. Nevermind her own grandmother's preference for the weapon.
Tali the Elder did get hers from him, after all...
 For which she can reluctantly thank her father for putting her through "The Grinder".
 Players of the original Borderlands will be familiar with the Scorpio. As Roland notes, it's just like having another soldier on the field! ... If that soldier was unable to move and not very bright.
I dunno, I'm finding it pretty useful on my first playthrough in the game. If nothing else, great for a distraction while you get in place for the critical shots.
 For similar visuals to the combat style which Garrus and Arna adopt here, the reader is referred to the cathedral firefight in Appleseed: Ex Machina.
 "Boy, are we glad to see you guys! Please tell me you brought more dudes."
 "More dudes, yo? Backup, bro! Invaders got the numbers on us, dig? We gots to get Player 2 in on this action tout de suite or we're all going down."
 "What ho, brah. We're totes up for more, yo? Take us to your leader, homeslice."
 "Welcome to Paragon, girlfriend! Yo soy Ohmtown, dudes. Come with me."
Ohmtown is a Freakshow representative who was usually based out of Sharkhead Isle (as a villain contact) in City of Villains. A pretty decent dude, all things considered.
 "Yo, bossgal. Helpers to see you."
 "WANTED for the creation of unauthorized technology and excessive adorability."
 It's Gaige the Mechromancer from Borderlands 2. She seemed like a natural choice as the de facto leader of the Freakshow.
 This gigantic statue, depicting the WWI-era hero M1, was the focal point of the whole Steel Canyon district. Exactly who it represents in 25th-century UF is unclear.
 US size 450, not European.
Available at all fine Zentraedi/Meltrandi shoe stores!
 Draconic; derived from the dragon language in Skyrim. Like all the dragons' names in that game, it's a combination of three Draconic words that convey an impression of the owner's basic character. In this case it's based on the words kein, war; dok, hound; rii, essence.
 In UF, Jack and Shepard didn't meet aboard the prison ship Purgatory, but Shepard still had the pleasure of watching Jack pretty well destroy it from within at an early point in their acquaintance.
 It's safer bumping knuckles with a Troll than with the Hulk, is all I'm sayin'.
 Stolen military combat drug, give me sight beyond sight!
 Jen Rossum's origin is slightly different here than it was in her original City of Villains incarnation; precisely how it differs, we'll get to in Act IV.
The inclusion of Jen Rossum in this little tale derived from the development of Act 2, when we decided to include Tali'Zorah as a potential member of the team. Since she would need a really damn good reason to force her way onto Shepard's team, I proposed that maybe one of her online friends would be a victim of the attacks, which would be a prime motivating factor for her. At about the same time, I quipped that Tali's little organization was the "International Techno Union", which was Gryphon's little Supergroup in City of Villains. From there, it was a short jump to actually involving Jen Rossum, and it was a natural progression from there to have the attack actually take place in Paragon City, a place that Gryphon still had high regard for and that I had learned to appreciate in the months before the closing of City of Heroes.
 Raymond Keyes, Ph.D, aka Positron, one of the City of Heroes signature NPCs; Maxim Netrinov, MD, Ph.D, aka Professor Neutrino, one of my own player characters. Neither is a superhero in UF. Yet.
 Band name!
 He's more than an Assault Bot, he's 76!
 More or less Jen's "workin' on stuff in the shop" costume from game days, except she's not wearing her welding goggles. Also, I think this is the first UF appearance of PF Flyers, the Gibson Les Pauls of the vintage sneaker world (to Chuck Taylor All-Stars' Fender Stratocaster).
 Jen's weapon here is not the standard City of Villains pulse rifle, which wouldn't be all that high-tech in the UF 25th century, but rather a Forerunner Lightrifle from Halo 4. I don't have Halo 4 (largely but not exclusively because I don't have an Xbox 360), but Phil hooked me up with some video. The UF version of Universal Robot No. 76 is also equipped with a Forerunner weapon, the incineration cannon.
 The original version of Jen in CoV had an Amanda Dessler-style Obvious Cyberoptic; much later, when the appropriate effect became available in the costume tool, I refined her design so that both her eyes looked normal, but the right one emitted a targeting laser when in "weapon drawn" mode. Here that laser's changed to Forerunner Orange to fit her weapon's motif better.
 City of Heroes had two monorail lines, the Yellow and the Green, to allow transport through the various main city zones; though neither line hit all of the zones at once, Steel Canyon and Skyway City had terminals for both lines, allowing players to transfer between them in those zones. This restriction was removed in after Issue 19 of the game.
 It's like smartphones and tablets that use the Android OS -- many different devices, but one OS that drives them.
 This is probably my favorite Gaige moment in this piece...
 The idea that Gaige is Zaeed's fugitive daughter came from the amusing relationship the original Borderlands 2 version of the character has with her father in the promotional ECHO recordings that preceded the release of the Mechromancer DLC. I just loved the idea that Zaeed Massani, of all people, had tried to settle down and do the Regular Suburban Citizen thing someplace, and it had worked out... about as well as could be expected. "I called my dad and got him to create a distraction. He's very brilliant with things like that and I'm not going to go into details about it, but lets just say it involved a golf cart and a lot of gasoline, good job, Dad."
That, and Gaige's father's line of "You're going to take that bitch down, right?" pretty much sold us on the idea.
 ... or this might be...
 Here we see that Chikktika has evolved into the testbed for the Realized Virtual Machine technology Tali is, at this phase, just in the early stages of inventing.
 The "Close Enough" skill in action, ladies and gentlemen!
 Yes. This is a Martian Heat-Ray. Corwin had one kicking around the shop.
 Ohhhh, I hate these friggin' things.
 Lightrifles don't technically have a rapid-fire mode, but they do fire lighter three-shot bursts when unzoomed, which is close enough.
 This advanced biotic trick is visually based on something Maya the Siren does in one of the Borderlands 2 trailers (specifically the "Wimoweh Trailer", the one with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in it).
 "But... great wind! Biotic god!"
The Volus Adept is actually a pretty strong support class in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.
 "You heard the bossgal! We got plenty carnage comin' without 'em!"
 The old Jack wouldn't have wanted any help; the new Jack more than welcomes it.
 "Hit your Excel! Let's get it on!"
 As in City of Heroes, Excelsior is an abandoned super-soldier drug; the Freakshow use it to augment their ability to accept their homebrew cybernetics and to enhance their battle prowess. Gaige, who built her cyberarm properly some time before she ever encountered the Freaks, presumably uses it mainly for the second purpose, and possibly also just because it's a bitchin' high.
 Jack's Praetorian Rodeo is one of my favorite visuals from this episode.
 We've seen both of these drugs before; Miraculon is the classic "medpac" drug of the UF universe, while Vorpanol is specifically for treating concussion.
 "And now you shall see the firepower of this fully Equipped and Upgraded Assault Bot!"
 Beware the power of The Stare.
 ... or possibly this...
 This visual owes a good deal to the way the Mark V (the suitcase armor) suit's helmet assembles itself in Iron Man 2.
And the way helmets deploy and retract in TRON Legacy.
 To be fair, by the time everything exploded, that was the end of the fight, so he didn't miss much.
 We called this "76's D0g moment" during development, after D0g's fight against the Combine Strider in Half-Life 2: Episode 2.
 DO A BARREL ROLL!
 Partially inspired by the way some Freakshow could rez themselves, though Jen's bionics are not of Freakshow design (they're much higher-quality).
 Yup, another Forerunner weapon. Where she got them will be explored, like her origins, in Act IV.
 City of Heroes players may recognize this as the original name of the "Rikti Crash Site"/"Rikti War Zone" hazard zone.
 It's a bit eerie how well the Mass Effect 2 Revenant (high fire rate, large magazine, lousy accuracy) fits the Borderlands Vladof manufacturer profile.
 ... or it might be this one.
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
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zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.