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(Contains: violence/gore)
We are the harbinger of your perfection.

"The cycle repeated
As explosions broke in the sky
All that I needed
Was the
one thing I couldn't find
And you were there at the turn
Waiting to let me know

We're building it up
To break it back down
We're building it up
To burn it down
We can't wait
To burn it to the ground

The
colors conflicted
As the flames climbed into the clouds
I wanted to fix this
But
couldn't stop from tearing it down
And you were there at the turn
Caught in the burning glow...

You told me yes
You held me high
And
I believed when you told that lie
I played soldier, you played king
And struck me down when I kissed that ring...
I built you up, but you let me down
So when you fall, I'll take my turn..."
-- Burn it Down by Linkin Park

Something that's always creeped me out was that the Reapers' goal changed from wanting Shepard dead to wanting Shepard alive. Shepard was sedated for two days in the hands of indoctrinated scientists -- who knows what they did to her/him. Combined with reports of freaky noises on the Normandy, Shepard's decaying mental condition, hidden infrasound in certain ME3 audio files, and the scarily plausible Indoctrination Theory, Mass Effect from Arrival onwards becomes a frightening franchise. This was me trying to express that creepiness.

There's something mildly disturbing in doing this to my canon Shepard -- the one I've poured the most of my heart and soul into -- but it definitely adds to the creepiness. If it were your Shepard instead if mine this artwork might hit you a bit harder.

Take this as literally or symbolically as you please. A note on Shepard's eyes, though: you can't see it well, but the design of TIM's eyes was used. Why? As someone succinctly put it: not everyone who is indoctrinated has cybernetic blue eyes but every person who has those eyes is indoctrinated.

Thanks goes to the IT thread on the BSN that I've been lurking on for about three months now. Linkin Park's Burn it Down fits so well into ME3 (particularly Control and Synthesis endings if IT is true) that I was shocked the first time I heard it. The guitars even sound like Reaper horns! It was the primary inspiration song, while the other was Feel Something by Illy. If you want a kick to the gut, listen to Reignite ([link]) while viewing this -- the bitter irony is palpable.
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:iconcharlieindigoalpha76:
CharlieIndigoalpha76 Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
WE ACKNOWLEDGE.
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:icondragon-claw666:
Dragon-Claw666 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Professional Filmographer
This is really a great but disturbing picture. :wow:

Nice work! :thumbsup:
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It was disturbing creating it, but it kept haunting me until I capitulated.

Thanks! :D
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:iconrevercetti:
ReVercetti Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I choose only Control. From my point of view - it's the most rational ending in the game. And I've also have suspicion that Shepard was partly indoctrinated. So - I'm very pleased with your picture) Very nice!
And I also like this song))
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Honestly, Control still scares me but still infinitely preferrable to Synthesis. Thank you! I'm glad you like it.

Yeah, Linkin Park rock, and Burn it Down fits eerily well.
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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The story inspired by this ended up being well received, so I thank you for the inspiration.
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist

I am so sorry for dropping off the face of the earth (and for so long)! Real life has been crazy -- I even forgot dA even existed ^^; You are very welcome for the inspiration! My stupid browser isn't letting me open the pdf, which is really frustrating, but I'm already getting chills thinking about it. But I'll keep trying, because I really want to read it! :)

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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem, I just did one of those dropping off the face of the earth bits myself! Disappeared for 5 months! You can also read the story here if you never got it! archiveofourown.org/works/5466…
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cheers for the link. That was well written! I was shivering the whole way through. Your story gave me the same creepy vibe I had when I first thought of the idea.
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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That's such an honor to hear that I captured it! It's odd how obsessed I was with the idea once I saw your work. I could do nothing until I write it, like I was possessed haha. Then half my followers on tumblr half hated me for the depressing story, but I have no regrets! 
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can definitely relate to feeling possessed: once I thought of it I couldn't get it out of my head until I captured it. It's sad some people didn't much appreciate your story; I certainly did. I do have to be in the right mindset to read 'depressing' stories but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy them. Once again, thanks for writing your story!
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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Here is the story I wrote that was inspired by this pic! [link]
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:iconspectrefanchin10:
SpectreFanchin10 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012
i love that song good band to matchthe trilogy perfectly
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My thoughts exactly! :D
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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes yes love all of this. Also, what is this hidden infrasound?
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Infrasound was found in certain audio files in ME3; the two I remember are the dream sequences and the scenes where Coats is present. Because speakers can't pick up infrasound and it's noted in the codex that Reapers use infrasound as a tool for indoctrination, it's pretty interesting that it was included in-game. What's been found isn't conclusive by any means, of course.

Here's a video that explains it and shows evidence (biased towards IT) [link] . If you're curious I'd suggest you pop into the IT Thread on the BSN and discuss with them, as they were the ones who found it :)
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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Is Coats what they call the boy? I have been defending the IT for a while but I had never heard of that evidence, that's interesting. I think the infrasound thing is awesome - and a bit creepy. I feel like they were trying to indoctrinate us.

Oh BioWare, what great plan did you once have? :(
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Major Coats is Anderson's right hand man and the guy we see in the Big Ben trailer. Yeah, I quite like the IT. It fits much more with what I know of the writers at Bioware. The people who found the infrasound didn't really advertise it, though I can't remember why. But yeah, if it is a clue for IT it shows just how in depth the guys at Bioware are. The scary part is that it's very plausible that the goal was for the player to experience indoctrination as much as possible.

Here's hoping Leviathan DLC will clear some things up :)
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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh that guy. I wouldn't bet on the Leviathan DLC clearing some things up :(

You know, I've been fiddling with the idea of writing a one shot based off the Refuse ending with these pics for inspiration...Would it be OK if I do that and credit back for the inspiration? :)
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm hoping for the best and expecting the worst. It got me through ME3, though I let myself get too hopeful for the EC :(

I would feel honoured, to be honest. Go for it! :D
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:iconxelestial:
Xelestial Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I really want to do it so I'll let you know when I get around to it, but it's going to be very dark and depressing so I'm going to have to wait for a time when I feel sufficiently ready to handle those kinds of feels :'(

Also got my hopes up for EC even though I tried not to, but then they just shoved feels on a bunch of plot holes.
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kudos to you for this. I couldn't imagine trying to write that out -- I chose art as the form of expression instead. And that was hard enough. :( Good luck!

It also introduced new ones -- Harbinger being off in lala land was the one that annoyed me the most. Though if he gets distracted that easily, that could be the way to defeat him. :XD:
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(3 Replies)
:iconpriximus:
Priximus Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012
holy****!! 8O
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is this a good 'holy ****' or a bad 'holy ****'? =P
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:iconpriximus:
Priximus Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
It's awesome!! :D But seriously that GOTTA HURT if you don't die instantly x3
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
GOTTA HURT is what I was going for. :XD: I tossed up whether to make her expression wooden or pained, and decided on the latter. Just for the creep factor.
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:iconpriximus:
Priximus Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012
And you succeded with ease!! :D
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:iconlostoverlord:
Lostoverlord Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012
What's terrifying is that Shepard could very well have been indoctrinated. And indoctrination is described as being a prisoner in your own mind while Reapers control your body... and you're conscious the entire time, but you can't do anything but watch.

I guess it was good luck within bad that the Refusal ending in the DLC didn't result in Shepard becoming the Indoctrinated puppet of the Reapers. Its a moral victory, but a doomed one.
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Agreed. The plausibility of Shepard being indoctrinated is terrifying as she/he has had enough contact with Reapers and their artifacts. The implications for Shepard are just as scary -- like you say, a prisoner in your own mind (though wasn't that just for Benezia?)or succumbing to believe entirely in the Reapers' philosophy. It's chilling to imagine Shepard's squadmates/LI having to take her/him down, not to mention the colossal damage Shepard could cause by being a sleeper agent.

I found Refusal refreshing in being able to tell Starbrat to stuff it, but ultimately as unsatisfying as the other endings. Shepard's speech was inspiring, and Starbrat's "So be it" was telling. But at the end of the day it was just giving an official option to simply letting the timer run out in the decision chamber.
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:iconlostoverlord:
Lostoverlord Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012
I was honestly expecting Shepard to be the final boss in a Saren-Esque battle. He's got enough cybernetics in him to be hacked by an AI hybrid for goddness sake, whose to say that even if the organic side of him refuses that the synthetic parts would move on their own.

No - its not just Benezia. In the books, another was indoctrinated - Paul Grayson - he was a prisoner at first then he believed that he broke their control, but the Reapers were manipulating his desires through cybernetic implants and eventually, his personality was consumed.
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, that would have been a plot twist. I don't know how it could have been implemented, but it is all too plausible. I actually just thought the other day about Shepard's cybernetics being similar to Saren's. Somewhat sad that it came to me two years after playing ME1 and 2 :X. Saren's cybernetics, while not bringing back his personality, did resurrect him in a way. Then what do we see in ME2? Shepard being rebuilt using cybernetics and biosynthetics. By Cerberus, no less.Because nothing can possibly go wrong with that...

I was expecting TIM to have some sort of kill switch he could use on Shepard. He struck me as the type who would have a specifically tailored weapon to use if Shepard ever tried to come after him, or even caused major problems for Cerberus. You don't make your enemy into a supersoldier and allow a possibility of them killing you (if that makes sense).

My bad -- I haven't gotten around to reading the novels or the comics yet. Thanks for clearing that up :)
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:iconviggorrah:
Viggorrah Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice. Very nice.
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! Glad you like it.
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:iconcardboredbox:
Cardboredbox Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh. Wow. Ouch. Very emotional piece here. Just.
Wow. it's a good wow. Just...speechless here.
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :)Having spent a month working on this on and off, it actually lost its emotional punch for me by the end and I was worried this piece lost its spark. Glad to know that wasn't the case.
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:iconthatdragonagegirl:
ThatDragonAgeGirl Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I Agree With What You've Said.
Very Emotional, Very Well Thought Out. The Detail, The Sort Of Grittyness To Shepard With All That Dirt. Very Emotional.
Well Done Ellagne *Clap Clap*
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:iconellagne:
Ellagne Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. The detail was difficult, but completely worth it :)
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June 24, 2012
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