Greetings, readers of the Fanfiction archives.
I welcome you to this one-shot/potentially-first chapter of a crossover story.
Of course, if it were to become the latter, I would need your support.
Now, this story is based on the short story "Mist Encounters" by Timothy Zahn (You can download a pdf of it online for free)
So, that means:
All rights reserved and copyrighted by EA and Bioware for Mass Effect content
All rights reserved and copyrighted by Lucasfilm for Star Wars content
All rights reserved and copyrighted by Timothy Zahn for his magnificent character and his story
Journal Entry 19
Our pursuit of the pirate vessel "Vermin Pride" has brought us to a mostly uncharted system at the edge of the Terminus Systems. Evidence suggests that the pirates have a hidden base on an uncharted world—or, at the very least, a safe haven—that they believe will shelter them. However, we intercepted them before they could enter the planet's atmosphere. Post-engagement reports suggested we damaged their engines and caused a rupture in their FTL-drive.
Unfortunately, we could not capture the ship as it dived down to the planet and left a minefield behind them. We suffered minimal damage to our shields, but backed off before they fell. Two fighters gave further chase, but the pirates got off a lucky shot on one of them before our other fighter shot down its other engine. We called off our remaining pilot, though, and had him take an aerial survey of the area.
A ground force is being mobilized at the moment by Officer Jinduil Baeriph with Asari Commando support reinforcing it. Salvage teams have also been prepped to scavenge what we can from the fighter crash site. Hopefully, we won't have to deal with anything troublesome here and we can just head back to Thessia.
Lieutenant Shiala, signing off.
The shuttle shook and quaked as it smoothly swerved around the floating mines which the pirate vessel had haphazardly dumped out on their retreat. The hum of the engines filled the interior of the small vessel with a tranquil sound. However, it clashed with the tense atmosphere that surrounded the soldiers whom eagerly awaited the mission ahead. Minutes ticked by, and soon a half-hour mark was closing in; but just as one of the Asari soldiers prepared to speak, the shuttle shook roughly.
"Beginning atmospheric entry," the shuttle pilot's voice echoed from the cockpit. "Prepare for landing."
"Negative on that," a new voice crackled through the communications line on the pilot's console. "Sending new landing coordinates, our fighter just found something you need to secure."
Confusion flared amongst the troops whom looked to each other, but none dared to break the silence; both in fear of reprimanding and of the spotlight that would shine on them. So, they stood and they stayed still, making no sound as they patiently waited to land. Soon enough, the patience of the troops was rewarded with the warm air of the equatorial forest that the pirate vessel had crashed at. They marched out in unison, their formations without flaw until each of the soldiers stopped to stare at what they had come to secure.
Sitting in a small clearing was a hut of sorts, about the size of one of their shuttles. It appeared to have been constructed from local materials: wood, mud, and clay with a few other things that none of the soldiers could exactly place. By it sat two metal columns glowing with various, exposed lights as well as a primitive computer screen of sorts.
"What is that?"
"Hell if I know."
"Doubt it, they couldn't have made one this quickly."
"Of course they couldn't have, I'm talking about their getaway place- er, a safe haven?"
"Quiet!" an authoritative voice rang out, and the Asari troops stiffened as they returned to their positions in their formation.
A single Asari then marched before them in armor differing from their own, its color scheme and ornaments matching that of an officer.
"All units, begin combing the forest for any signs of the pirates," Officer Jinduil Baeriph ordered and swung an arm out to point her finger towards the brush. "Do not make contact, call for reinforcements before engaging."
The troops were off them, speaking in hushed whispers as they drew farther away from their commanding officer. The mentioned Asari, though, turned her attention away from the soldiers who she commanded as soon as they entered the forest at the edges of the clearing. Her eyes came to rest on the small hut that sat in the secured perimeter that the landed Asari shuttles had created. Several soldiers were poking around it, under orders to investigate the dwelling, and after a while, one of them came to her with a list written up on their omni-tool.
"Report," she commanded and the soldier obeyed.
"The dwelling is composed of a number of local materials, most of it easy to make. However, the materials we found inside of the dwelling are... they are of unknown origins, ma'am."
"Say that again, soldier? Unknown origins?"
"Yes, ma'am," the Asari affirmed with a slight shake to her voice. "We've never seen anything like them before, or the metal blocks over there."
She gestured at the glowing towers with their exposed lights and primitive screens.
"Our observations suggest the design is a mix of primitive and advanced tech, sir. Some kind of stylized architecture."
"But what does it do?"
"Er... we believe they are power generators as they are hooked up to a number of devices in the dwelling."
Just before Officer Baeriph could respond to the report, however, her omni-tools communicator blinked. A pinging noise emitted from it and she raised up his arm as the orange glow of the holographic display flared to life.
"This is Officer Baeriph, report."
"Salvage team to Officer Baeriph, you need to see this, ma'am."
The trek to the crash site of their downed fighter was, thankfully, short. Officer Baeriph and her bodyguards pushed their way past low-hanging branches and bushes, swatting away bugs where ever they landed on their exposed skin.
"Alright, what am I looking at?"
The salvage team glanced at her, and then at themselves before moving to the body of the pilot. The drag marks behind him suggested he had been pulled from the wreckage, but the hesitant way in which they touched the flight-suit clad figure suggested something else to the officer.
"We arrived at the crash site after you landed at the dwelling, but we found the pilot's body dragged out into the open."
With her thoughts confirmed, the officer raised a hand to massage her forehead. A sigh left her and became a growl as she angrily pondered on the possibility of these pirates defiling an Asari's corpse.
"And? Did the pirate's take anything?"
The salvage team shared glances once more before their leader answered him, "Sir... we do not believe that these were pirates."
She then pulled the helmet from the body, revealing blades of grass, weeds, and berries inside. No body filled the pilot's jumpsuit, and instead it was stuffed with the local flora.
"I think we're dealing with primitives, sir. Never-before contacted primitives, at that."
"Primitives who stole the pilot's survival pack which includes their pistol and grenades"
Baeriph looked between the two of them and then grit her teeth. It was one thing to make first contact with a species, but it was a completely different scenario if they had ransacked their own tech. The danger they now posed the to the Asari forces and themselves meant that any negotiations or second-contact meetings would be difficult, at best.
"Alright, transport the uniform back to the camp. I want it studied."
It was nighttime when Baeriph found herself with the researchers that the Unbending Will had sent down. They scurried about, swarming around the small hut and the grass and berry filled jumpsuit. Their omni-tools flashed incessantly as they documented every image from every angle and their voices never stopped filling the air as they debated on possible theories.
A troop perimeter had been established by the time they had returned to the encampment, though, per Baeriph's orders. Patrols marched back and forth, scanning the forest beyond the clearing with their eyes.
"Any sign of the pilot's body?"
Officer Baeriph kept her chin up and eyes staring down past her nose at the two scouts before her.
"No, ma'am; but we did find the survival pack. Looked like the natives ripped it open and rummaged through it," the first scout reported.
The other scout, though, then spoke up, "It's entirely possible that they simply tore the thing apart and just abandoned the contents instead of keeping them."
The officer lifted a blue hand to cup her chin and she narrowed her eyes while thinking.
"Perhaps, but until we actually find that gun I want everyone thinking that it's pointing at u-"
Before Officer Baeriph could finish her sentence, a flash doused her figure in white briefly before it turned into a dark, ethereal blue and a warping noise similar to a biotic explosion filled the air.
Immediately, she was on the ground, curling up with hands over her head as dirt, pebbles, and grass rained from the sky. A few seconds passed by and no further explosions rang out. Daring to open her eyes, Officer Baeriph looked out and spotted the researchers on the ground, all of them attempting to squeeze themselves further into the ground.
Cautiously, she rose to get up, only for another explosion to ring out, directly behind her. She let out a short cry, but stifled it as the Asari pulled herself back into a fetal position and pushed against the grass-sown dirt.
"What was that!" she shouted out after a moment of silence had passed.
Couldn't have been grenades, to small of an explosive radius.
Her eyes scanned over the scorched soil where the explosions had come from as she waited for an inevitable third explosion. Yet, none came, and after a while, one of her soldiers—Nymla was her name—crawled over to her with a report, "All perimeter patrols checking in, they're performing a complete sweep of the area."
"How far out?"
"About twenty meters, but so far they haven't found anything. Whoever our attackers were, they're gone now."
Officer Baeriph grit her teeth as a scowl formed on her face. The soldier, Nymla, stretched out a hand as she rose and her superior took it, rising up onto her own legs while growling silently.
"Considering that there were no reported signs of anyone out there before, the fact that they don't see anything now is not comforting."
Nymla looked about, skimming her eyes over the brush and the forest beyond it as a hazy white veil began to shroud it all.
"It's getting misty out there, that's going to be trouble."
Her superior officer nodded in agreement, but then gave an aggressive quip a second after, "Our natives don't seem to have any trouble with it."
The soldier nodded in agreement this time, but spoke no words as she awaited orders. Baeriph looked to the researchers that had picked themselves off the ground, a few of them quivering with fright. The Asari officer assumed they were new to the team, seeing as they appeared to be in their maiden stages still. Her eyes moved back to the scorched ground where the explosions had gone off and she frowned deeply.
"What were those, anyways? They couldn't have been simple grenades."
"You know; it might have been the pilot's jumpsuit's Element Zero batteries. If you unclamped the safety plating, then it would make one hell of grenade."
"So then our natives didn't just take the survival pack."
"Apparently, ma'am, but I doubt they had a trigger on those batteries. They most likely waited for them to deteriorate before lobbing them at us."
Baeriph raised her hand to her chin once more, caressing it while she mused on the soldier's suggested possibility. If Nymla's theory was true, then these natives were either smart or they were the pirates they had been chasing. However, in the case of the former, the fact that they could calculate the deterioration rate of an Eezo battery and not build a proper civilization contradicted itself. In the case of the latter, why would the pirates even loot the Eezo batteries? They should have had more than enough supplies on their ship, that is, if it didn't crash hard.
After a minute more of thinking, Officer Baeriph finally let go of her and looked to the soldier next to her.
"Nymla, you said that they probably threw the batteries?"
"Hm... I'll order a wing of fighters to make a flyover of the area, maybe we can catch them before they flee to far."
A few minutes later, Baeriph deactivated her omni-tool and began walking towards the nearest scorch mark on the clearing's floor.
Since her troops hadn't spotted anyone near the encampment, then that must have meant that the batteries were lobbed via a catapult or propelling equipment of some kind. However...
The Asari's eyes turned up to the large roll of canvas set up over them, observing it lift and fall with the breeze. Any launched projectiles would have struck the canopy before hitting the ground, therefore, her own theory was invalid. Still, how did they manage such a surprise attack on them?
Suddenly, movement caught the blue alien's eye and she waved a hand, biotics flaring to life around it. Yet, a sound that was a mix between a sigh and a growl fled her mouth as she glared at the small, nocturnal creature that scurried around.
The soldier turned at the sound of her summons and she marched over to her superior officer, stiffening when she came within range of her. Baeriph wouldn't lie that she'd grown at least marginally fond of the Asari soldier's quick thinking. Perhaps she'd suggest a promotion to the matriarch for her.
"Get anyone not on patrol or surveillance to set up some floodlights from the shuttles. I want this entire clearing and the rim of the forest lit up; hopefully we can cut through some of this fog too."
"Very well, ma'am," the younger soldier acknowledged and twisted a foot to swivel around, but stopped short to stiffen up again. "Will there be anything else, ma'am?"
"No, soldier... actually, yes, have the techies fine-tune the surveillance equipment. If our natives or pirates want to lob anymore batteries at us, then let's at least know that there's going to be explosions."
Nymla opened her mouth to speak, but the moment she began talking the reverberating roar of two Asari fighter ships drowned out her voice. Officer Baeriph briefly followed them as they flew overhead and moved out over the forest canopy, but then returned her attention to the younger soldier before her.
"What was that?"
"Excuse me, ma'am. I said, that if we fine-tune the surveillance equipment anymore, we'll probably start picking up the avian wildlife around here; we'll get pings all night long."
Grumble vibrated Baeriph's throat as she nodded in agreement begrudgingly.
"Very well, forego the fine-tuning, but I want the light-"
She was stopped short as a flash of bright yellow, red, and orange lit up the forest directly ahead of them. Their heads turned to the explosion of one of the Asari fighters and the superior officer's mouth dropped in disbelief. The light of the fireball lessened only slightly, but before the roar of the explosion could roll over the encampment, Baeriph had already started shouting into her omni-tool, "Salvage team! To the shuttles!"
"And you have yet to determine the cause of the fighter's crash?"
"What of the pilot's body? Did these natives or pirates defile it again?"
Officer Baeriph shook her head and continued to bow it.
"No, ma'am. This time we chased them off before they could take the body, but they did manage to ransack the survival pack again. They took the pistol, grenades, and the jumpsuit's Element Zero batteries."
The matriarch's eyes narrowed and Baeriph felt the annoyance her superior emitted rolling over her. The ends of her head's crests tingled, as if a soft breeze had tickled them, but it was not a pleasant feeling. Fright and fear made her stomach churn as she waited for a reprimand or something close enough to one.
All around her, the Asari troops watched; but they stayed a great distance away. Most pretended not to be viewing the scene, but Baeriph knew that they were glancing and taking quick looks while listening. The floodlights that had been brought out fully illuminated their numbers, as well as the multitude of nocturnal insects and avian animals that played in the artificial light.
"You are the commanding officer on the scene, Jinduil Baeriph. I leave the future events of this operation up to you, as well as the consequences that will come from it," she spoke pleasantly with a solemn tone, yet the coolness of her voice only spurred the anxiety and paranoia inside of the officer to spike. "But, in my opinion, this entire scenario has gone far beyond a small territory dispute with primitive natives. Are you certain that the pirates are not involved in any way?"
"No, ma'am," Officer Baeriph answered firmly and looked up to meet the hologram's eyes. "Our ground teams not committed to the encampment's security have already captured the crashed pirate vessel... there were few survivors, but their shipments were intact."
The soft sound of the matriarch inhaling breathed through the communications line with a slight, static undertone. However, the hint of pleasure in it gave the officer hope that her superior was impressed.
"Good, at least our original objective is complete. Still, though, first contact with these unknown natives should be dealt with before we return with a delegation."
Officer Baeriph waited for the matriarch to end the call so she might relax, but after a minute had passed, that hope died. Curious, the Asari looked up and saw the pondering face of the matriarch that sat aboard the bridge of the Unbending Will.
"The pilots' jumpsuits, did you check if their omni-tools were still intact?"
"...N-No, ma'am, I don't believe we-"
"Do it. Now."
Within seconds, Baeriph had the researchers back at the table with the uniforms on it. The one filled with grass and berries was combed over while the one stripped from the deceased pilot was as well. The superior officer waited for a time, scrunching her noise at the smell that the berries in the first jumpsuit gave off, but her patience was rewarded when the researchers approached her and the hologram projector.
"Ma'am, the first jumpsuit was missing its omni-tool, but the second still had its own."
What had been a paranoid idea that had appeared moments ago was now a panicking thought as the officer's eyes widened.
"Clever creatures," the matriarch's voice suddenly rang out and Officer Baeriph turned to look at her. "They've been listening on our conversations this whole time."
"We should cut that line, immediately, ma'am."
"It is already done, Officer Baeriph."
She nodded back, but bit her tongue before she could speak further. The solemn mask that the matriarch wore was cracking with the slightest hints of aggravation. Hopefully, she could end the call before she was given a serious reprimanding. The best idea she could come up with, though, was suggesting immediate action.
"I'll scramble hunting parties; these natives are probably still nearby."
"No, Officer, I'd rather you stay put."
She inhaled sharply, but silently, bending her back into a slight curve as she took on a stiffer stance out of fright.
"I'll be sending down some of my commandos in the morning, but until then, ensure that you survive. Matriarch Benezia, out."
That night, they had, had five casualties.
Two of them had been killed by their unseen foe, killed at separate times, but both murdered with the grenades stolen from the survival packs. Their heads down to their chests had been blown open by the concussion grenades, and their bodies were discovered seconds later.
One other was set upon by a nocturnal predator, her cries drew other patrols to aid her. By the time they killed the beast, her throat had already been ripped open.
The last two, though, they had killed each other out of paranoia. Both thought the other was the unknown enemy and they shot each other with as much biotic power as they could muster. The commotion drew a few patrols to investigate and they found their bodies a few paces away from each other, necks snapped.
"Ma'am, the commandos are here."
Officer Baeriph turned her weary eyes the sky where a shuttle was descending. It landed softly, but the eight warriors whom jumped out landed with heavy impact, the strength of their powers showing in the way their bodies moved. Asari Commandos were strong and powerful, feared throughout the galaxy and revered to be as unstoppable as Krogan battlemasters. Not only that, though, these were the personal commandos of Matriarch Benezia, trained and commanded by one of the most respected matriarchs in all of the Asari Republics.
Each was armored from head to toe, save for their leader, an imposing Asari in height and appearance with the jagged scar running up her right cheek along with three more crossing her head crests.
"Officer Baeriph," the lead one spoke and jutted out an offering hand. "Captain Faives."
"Greetings, captain," she spoke, her tone less than formal as the evident-sound of frustration burdened it. "I apologize if I seem less than accommodating, but at this point, I'm more than ready to vacate this rock."
"Have faith, Officer Baeriph," the captain reassured and raised a hand to stop her the Asari officer from making any other remarks. "We are the best of the best, no one can escape us—not even this mysterious native."
With that, she raised an arm and directed its pointed finger into the jungle. Snapping it to the right, she shouted a set of names and four of the Asari started jogging out into the greenery. Moving her finger to the left, she sent the three others in that direction. The six commandos faded from view, but Baeriph eyed them splitting up before they fully disappeared into the forest. Captain Faives, though, remained within the encampment and moved to the alien dwelling with the commanding officer of the camp trailing behind.
"So this is the house you invaded?"
"It's more of a hut, but yes, this is our unknown alien's home."
The Asari commando spent some time using her eyes to rummage through the categorized boxes of unknown tool and devices that were found inside the dwelling. She observed them carefully and critically, most likely seeing if they held any clue to what they were facing. Yet, after minutes of observational studying, Captain Faives seemed to give up and left the hut be.
"So, what do you think this alien looks like?"
"What's its appearance? How do you think it looks?"
"How should I know what the damn thing looks like?"
"I'm asking if you can imagine what it looks like," the captain proclaimed and gave an amused smile as the officer scowled. "There's enough evidence and clues to its appearance in what it's done."
"Well, it doesn't have claws, otherwise the survival packs and the jumpsuits would be torn or scratched," Officer Baeriph mused after a while of grumbling. "Then, to take out the Eezo batteries from the jumpsuits, themselves, would require opposable-"
Her next words fell into a cry of surprise as her omni-tool—along with every other one in the entire encampment—activated and emitted a shrill crackling cacophony. In that moment, their voices became drowned out and suppressed beneath the static cry of their omni-tools; none could hear or think as they attempted to cut themselves out of the comm network.
Before she could ask any questions, Captain Faives began shouting into her own omni-tool. She called out the four names of her commandos, none answered through the heavy static of the communications jamming. A string of curses left the Asari commando and Baeriph's stomach became painfully tight. Comm jamming was usually performed in military maneuvers for a single reason alone: To cover an imminent attack. No matter how technologically inferior their enemy was, the loss of long range communications meant that they were vulnerable to an incursion, and so Baeriph immediately began throwing her voice across the encampment.
Patrols pulled back to a tighter perimeter and troops started lining up behind cover. The shuttles were prepped in case of an evacuation while the researchers on site were moved to hide in the dwelling, the least likely of places to be damaged, unless the aliens cared little for their makeshift hut.
An agonizingly long amount of minutes passed before movement was spotted in the forest. Fortunately, none of Baeriph's troops fired as one of the Asari commandos came meandering out of the jungle. She showed no sign of injury or harm, yet the look on her face was one of alert. Captain Faives greeted her the moment she passed the perimeter boundary, and together, they waited for their five other sisters-in-arms. Eventually, two more showed up together, apparently having run into each other when the comm jamming started. Then, another came with a recently discharged pistol; but the shadow she had shot at was simply a forest creature. A fifth commando appeared not soon after, and a sixth behind her too.
Officer Baeriph waited, and she waited, and after an hour Captain Faives approached her.
"We have a problem, Officer."
"Is it your missing commando or your missing commando?" she snapped and the captain growled before her fingers gripped the lower-ranked Asari's chest-plate.
"To lose a sister is one thing, but to lose her to a primitive enemy? That is an impossibility," Faives seethed past grit teeth.
"Well impossibility is this alien's specialty," Baeriph claimed the moment she was let down from the commando's grasp. "First they make one of our people's corpses disappear, then they attack us inside our camp without anyone noticing, and they also take down a fighter in mid-flight!"
Her hand came up to her face and she bit the inside of her cheek, letting feeling evolve into pain. It drew her away from her thoughts and let her focus, but the maelstrom of frightful emotions and possible outcomes to their current situation was too much.
Finally, then, she got up.
Without a word, she looked around at her troops, her matriarch's commandos, and at the equipment they had set up.
"Pack it all up," she grumbled before looking at the confused faces of her soldiers. "Pack it up! We're leaving!"
People stumbled at her declaration and Captain Faives approached her with a look of fury scrawled on her azure face.
"How. Dare. You. Two of our own are out there and you would abandon them?"
Officer Jinduil Baeriph looked her in the eye with a mixture of solemnness and fear on her face, keeping her chin up as she gulped and responded with a quivering voice, "If the alien has had its way, then she is already dead."
Captain Faives seethed further, but she spoke no other words as her eyes swept over the frightened faces of Baeriph's troops. After a while, she lowered her head and gave a heavy sigh of begrudging defeat.
"How long will it take for you to pack all of this?"
Baeriph looked to the closest soldier whom glanced at her comrades. They quickly calculated their estimations and one came to whisper the number in her ear.
"Fifteen minutes, at least."
"Make it twenty, we'll be scouring the forest."
The commando was off then, her sisters-in-arms following her as they disappeared into the brush and pillars of wood. Seconds ticked by, then minutes, and after nearly five had passed, Baeriph glared at her soldiers. They ran off in haste, gathering equipment and tools, packing up lights and tables and other devices.
The officer looked to her right and down at the young Nymla whom stood stiff beside her.
"Yes, er, Nymla? Yes, what is it, Nymla?"
"What about the alien dwelling?"
She threw a thumb back at the hut sitting within the dozens of research equipment the Asari scientists and researchers had brought down.
Baeriph gave it a long look, wanting nothing more than to burn it and leave the ashen remains as a reminder to the natives that opposing the Asari with such audacity had consequences. However, first contact was a critical step in setting up relations with new species and if another race came across this world with its natives then made peace? Even worse, if they discovered the Asari had found them first and attempted hostile actions? The only way to save face at this point would be to catalog them as to violent, just like the Yahg.
"Pack it up too."
"I, uh- What?"
"You heard me; we have enough room in a shuttle to take the hut, just make room."
Nymla opened her mouth to respond, but at seeing her superior officer narrow her eyes, she pursed her lips and scurried off. Officer Baeriph sighed, her breath heavy with frustration, aggravation, and most of all, humiliation. Defeated by primitives? Unthinkable, but the sparse amounts of technology and strategic intellect they seemed to possess pointed towards far-off theories. Still, this would mar her career; she'd be lucky if she got to keep her position on the Unbending Will.
Suddenly, then, as she stopped in her pacing, she glanced at a glint of light on the armor of an Asari commando standing outside a shuttle.
"Back already?" she grumbled and walked towards it. "You! Did Captain Faives send you to check-"
She never got to finish her sentence, just as the many times before when something occurred. This time, it was like the first as an explosion threw her to the ground. A flash of blue and black then grass blades were tickling her temples as ringing filled her ears. Confusion and shock kept her frozen, but then horror forced her face to morph into a terrified countenance. She propped herself up on her elbows and started crawling backwards, away from the simmering fire and the scraps of armor that remained.
"By the Goddess!" Baeriph screamed and a soldier's hand gripped her forearm.
They picked her up as she flailed, but a few rubs from a medic's hand calmed her down as she inhaled deeply multiple times. A small period of rest passed before the Asari officer made up her mind, once and for all.
"G-Get the rest of that onboard, now! We're leaving immediately!"
"What about the commandos-"
"They brought their own shuttle! They can burn down the forest at their own time, but we're getting out of here!" she spat and walked with a wobble to her step towards the nearest shuttle.
Half way there, the medic returned to her side and looped an arm over her shoulder while the other made her own limb do the same on her shoulders. The other soldiers already onboard pulled her in gently and let her sit down in the nearest seat before giving her space. There were no mumbles or murmurs, no gossip amongst them as they stood or sat quietly.
Then, out of the blue, a hand reached out and touched the officer's shoulder. She jerked and grabbed the wrist of the arm, finding Nymla there.
"What!" she screeched and the terrified soldier gulped down her panic to point out the window.
"M-Ma'am, the b-body..."
Her brow furrowed and the superior officer turned to look, seeing the remnants of the armor, smoking residue, and blackened dirt; and that was it. There was no blood, no flesh, no bone, no Asari physiological features left on the ground.
"That's... that's not possible," Officer Baeriph stated with a small voice, her eyes widening by the second. "An explosion like that couldn't- it couldn't- just disintegrate the body!"
She stared for a few seconds more before raising up her omni-tool. Static no longer filled the comm line and so, she sent out her order, "All Asari troops, begin evacuation at once."
With that, the shuttle lifted off and they began ascending to the stars just as the other shuttles did. The process was agonizingly long, however, and every moment that passed was filled with dread that they might suddenly combust into flames or an engine might fail and they would fall to their deaths. However, there was no issue; no problem. They lifted off safely and without fault.
"Ma'am," Nymla's voice sounded again and she opened the eyes she had not realized were closed. "It seems the commando's found their missing sister."
Baeriph turned her gaze down, through the glass viewport of the shuttle, and watched as the six commandos marched to their shuttle, carrying what remained of their eighth member.
"A perfect ending to a perfect mission," she mumbled with weary eyes.
She forced her spine to straighten and chest to fill with air at the sound of that voice. Within her oxygen-filled chest, though, dread festered and grew with each clack of the matriarch's heels on the hangar floor. An eternity passed as she waited, and it almost felt like she was melding with her partner again; save for the lack of pleasure or her partner.
As the seconds slurred by, Baeriph struggled to control her posture. Her body was tired and her mind was exhausted, and the nap she had taken on the way up to the Unbending Will had did little to assuage her of that fatigue. Gravity threatened to pull her chin down as it did for her shoulders. However, years of training and reinforcing that training with every mission she undertook gave her the strength to keep up her appearance; even when Matriarch Benezia came to stand in front of her.
Her eyes locked with the elder Asari, and she resisted the compulsion gulp before the revered matriarch.
"Ma'am," she addressed in a stoic voice rather than the disdained voice that her superior had used.
"I do not believe I gave you permission to evacuate the alien dwelling site."
"N-No, ma'am- but as you said before, I was the commanding officer on site and I did what I deemed was best."
Behind the black helm, her eyes glared through narrow slits and bore into the younger Asari officer's mind. Eventually, though, her raised shoulders lowered as the aggravation written on her features faded away.
What smidgens of hidden fear lay beneath Officer Baeriph's countenance became alleviated by the newfound confusion which came from the change in the matriarch's expression.
"I do believe what you did was for the best," Matriarch Benezia declared as her eyes trailed over to the remaining six of the eight commandos she had sent to reinforce Baeriph's troops. "If would appear our primitive natives were simply masquerades for whatever pirates survived the crashing of their ship. A pity that they managed to outmaneuver us, but this will serve as a reminder to never underestimate our foes."
Her words were harsh, yet gentle; caring, yet cold. The soldiers shifted uncomfortably, but the looks on their faces shifted from shame to determination. There came a moment that swiftly departed where the matriarch looked on with pride at her troops' renewed fervor, but it disappeared as she turned her gaze to a nearby shuttle. Its doors were opened and its occupants stood outside of it, leaving the alien dwelling inside of it viewable without obstruction.
"So that is the alien dwelling you discovered?"
Her inquiry was answered by silence at first, but Officer Baeriph was quick to respond once the question had processed through her tired mind.
"Er, yes, ma'am. I saw it fit to bring the hut here for further study."
The matriarch gave no vocal response, and instead nodded with pursed lips and unblinking eyes that continued to stare at the primitive structure. After several minutes had passed, though, she turned her attention back to the recently returned ground force.
"All of you are to report for debriefing, immediately. Those pirate attacks were far to effective; I want to know exactly what happened down there and how we can avoid such failures in the future."
An audible exhalation sounded from the Asari commandos nearby and Baeriph breathed in deeply to stifle the blossoming amusement in her chest. Their arrogance was set low and this humiliation would surely teach them some form of humility; yet still, to see one of the galaxy's most highly-skilled and trained soldiers fail was disturbing to say the least. Matriarch Benezia was sure to give them a harsh punishment for what happened.
The call of her name and rank pulled the Asari from her musings, placing her mind back in her body which stood stiff in the hangar bay of the Matriarch Benezia's frigate.
"Please accompany me back to my office."
Once more, fear clutched the officer's heart as she obeyed diligently. Whenever she glanced at her troops through the corner of her eyes, she saw them giving concerned and pitying looks. Everyone thought that she would receive a reprimand, perhaps even a demotion. At least this would all be private, that was one blessing from the goddess that she had to thank.
The clacking of the matriarch's heels filled her head and the pounding of her heart faintly sounded beyond it as she walked softly with a swift pace behind her superior. The hissing of the hangar doors sliding into place followed in their wake and Baeriph prepared to turn right towards the elevator to the upper decks. However, Matriarch Benezia abruptly turned to the left and strode to the lift of the hangar's control tower.
"Wh-What?" the younger Asari murmured as she faltered in her step.
A quick look from the corner of the black-helm wearing Asari's eye compelled Baeriph to follow, nonetheless.
Within a minute, the two of them were in a room filled with lit terminals and the Asari who worked them. The opposite side of the room was seemingly nonexistent, but as they approached it, the younger Asari began to see her reflection in the glass.
"What are we doing here, ma'am?" she finally asked as her superior took a seat in moved chair positioned in front of the massive window.
"Performing an experiment, officer. Please, take a seat, I believe we'll be here a while."
The lights in the hangar had been dimmed to nighttime mode and the troops within had vacated the bay. All that remained visible on the unlit floor were the shuttles parked on one side of the hangar and several, larger shuttles sitting on the other end.
Officer Baeriph did her best not to speak; not to ask any questions. She remained silent and Matriarch Benezia appreciated that as she, herself, observed the dark hangar. While not plunged into total blackness, it was hard to make out any details of the prominently perceptible vehicles and equipment that covered the floor. Her eyes traced shapes more than once, but every other second she devoted to watching the shuttles that had returned from the uncharted planet's surface.
Nearly two hours went by before her theory was proven correct.
A shadowy figure climbed out of the shuttle which housed the alien dwelling, nimbly landing on the ground and staying put as it looked around. A few seconds after it had appeared, it began sneaking across the hangar bay, stealthily keeping the darkest areas and using any of the sparse cover that it could find to keep itself unseen. The matriarch, though, never lost track of the figure.
"Wh-What is that? Who is that?"
The elder Asari did not turn to address her officer, but instead spoke as she watched the entity move towards the larger shuttles at the other end of the hangar bay.
"I do believe that is the alien whose world we trespassed upon."
"One alien? One?" Officer Baeriph fumed incredulously, obviously finding the fact that a single individual had utterly beaten her troops alone. "Ma'am, that's impossible... and I thought you said it was pirates?"
A smile spread on Benezia's lips and she leaned her head back, all the while keeping her eyes on the figure as it inspected the side of a shuttle.
"A lie, Officer Baeriph; but if you are so concerned about the absolute numbers of our mysterious foe, then let us see if any others will join them."
They waited a few more minutes, and the entirety of the time the matriarch could feel the younger Asari seated next to her hoping for more aliens to appear so that her failure might become less humiliating. Tragically for her, no other shadowy figures appeared and only the lone one whom now began boarding a shuttle remained as the sole source of the ground force's troubles.
"Well, it would seem that they truly were alone," Matriarch Benezia declared and began to rise from her chair. Her arm came up next to her mouth as the orange light of her omni-tool flared into existence. "Alright, commander, move in. Secure our guest, but do not harm if possible."
With that, she swiveled around and strode to the elevator with Officer Baeriph following. In minutes, they had exited the lift and were entering the hangar bay with a platoon of soldiers and a squad of commandos guarding them.
At the base of the shuttle which the alien had attempted to steal was the alien, themselves, as well the commandos whom had captured them; two flanking either side of their unexpected—or in Benezia's case, certainly expected—guest.
However, as she laid her eyes upon the alien, she felt confusion curl around her thoughts. With all the trouble and commotion that the native had caused planet-side, the matriarch assumed that they would put up a fight. She believed that they would sport bruises and leak a small trickle of blood after quarreling with their Asari commando captors. Yet, they seemed perfectly fine.
Then, she noticed the key feature of their appearance: their skin was blue.
The same healthy shade she saw many of the soldiers under her command whom were still in their maiden phases; the same shade Liara sported.
Her brow furrowed and the matriarch pushed the thoughts of her daughter from her mind as she began observing the figure again.
Blue meant they were Asari, and that meant that this was no native of the planet... but they were not Asari. Their shoulders were broad and their face was chiseled with slightly sunken cheeks. Their head and brow wore bluish-black hairs, the majority of it covering their scalp and grew down past their shoulders, some of it draping over it to brush their collar bone.
Then, she saw their eyes.
At first glance, she had thought them ringed red, but as she stared into them, she saw only red. Both eyes were solid scarlet, seemingly glowing as the blue-skinned alien stared back at her... no, they weren't staring, the alien was observing her too.
The moment she realized this was the moment that the alien knew she realized.
Her feet stopped when she stood a few feet away from him, staring straight forward at the alien of equal height. They looked back with a stoic face, devoid of emotions as no muscles twitched or contracted.
Finally, she broke the silence by asking him a simple question, "Can you understand me?"
They stared at her for a moment before they opened their mouth. The lights of the hangar bounced off of the cuffs restraining their arms as they lifted them up, but the action provoked her commandos. Each of the two on either side of them reached for their weapons, but she pulled up a hand in a silent order to stop them. They ceased their hostilities then, and allowed the alien to do what he wished to do.
From his mouth came a masculine voice which spoke in a smooth, silky sound. It was cool, like a breeze and the words it spoke—even if they were foreign and the matriarch could not make sense of them—flowed like a pleasant stream. Then, the alien pointed a finger at their open mouth; more specifically, at their tongue.
Officer Baeriph scrunched her nose and furrowed her brow in disgust, obviously misinterpreting the gesture.
"What is it doing?"
"Speaking without words," Matriarch Benezia elaborated immediately and looked to her for a brief moment to give her a direct answer. "He does not speak our tongue."
She did not wait to see the dawning look of realization on the young officer's face, but instead returned her gaze back to the alien. Her eyes locked with its own again, but she soon started observing it once more. At the same time, she took note of it performing a similar action. It scanned her figure, taking in every detail and noting everything about her appearance. The elder Asari had no doubt that it was not viewing her feminine figure like so many other species would, but instead, it was studying her.
Eventually, after some time had passed, their eyes locked once more and they looked to each other with stoic faces. The alien stared at her and she barely registered the solid red eyes of it darting from feature to feature of her face.
After a few minutes had passed, though, she chose to take another step in the process of understanding each other. With one hand, she pointed at herself and said to it, "Benezia."
Its eyes narrowed for a fleeting moment, but just as soon as the expression had appeared, it vanished. The existence of it, however, brightened the look on Benezia's face, but no reaction came from seeing the smug look she displayed.
One minute went by before the alien opened its mouth again, and from its throat came the same, smooth, masculine voice which pronounced, "Ben-neh-zee-ah."
The corners of the matriarch's mouth lifted higher and she listened to the alien repeat her name.
"Benezia," the matriarch corrected, slowing her speech to help it along.
Her amused smile widened into a proud one and she nodded her head as the alien watched her, his—she assumed him a male—eyes never leaving her face. She opened her mouth to speak again, but before she did, the alien lifted his arms once more.
The cuffed limbs drew the alarm of her commandos again, but they hesitated to react physically. A gentle raise of her hand assured them that their chosen course of inaction was appropriate and they relaxed. Meanwhile, the alien awkwardly held up his arms just as he did before and bent them to point a finger at himself like he did minutes earlier.
This time, however, he did not open his mouth and direct his digit at his tongue. Instead, he let it sit with the end of it guiding their gazes to a general view of his face. Then, he opened his mouth and let loose a single, lengthy word: "Mitth'raw'nuruodo."
Journal Entry 881
Our original mission was to track the pirates of the "Vermin Pride", a filthy vessel piloted by members of the Blood Pack. They raided a convey heading for Lusia—apparently under orders from their leader, the Krogan battlemaster named Ganar Wrang—and made off with shipments of food, construction equipment, and weapons; supplies Lusia needs to survive in its still-vulnerable state. I was contacted by Councilor Tevos and ordered to hunt down the pirates, which my crew and I did without question.
We intercepted them before they could make a jump through a mass relay to Omega, and forced them to take another route outward to the edges of Terminus Space. Our jamming stopped them from alerting their allies and isolated them, but they were not without their defenses. My ship, the "Unbending Will", and its crew were capable of shrugging off the pirates' desperate moves that were meant to slow us down or throw us off their trail; none of them faltered in their duty.
By the time we caught up to them, the "Vermin Pride" had emerged in uncharted space. We were within a system that had only been discovered by a probe—which meant the only charting to have been done was that of the sun and its orbiting worlds.
It was here that the pirates made their pathetic, last stand and failed. We damaged one of their engines and one of our fighters destroyed another, but we lost a second fighter to their own attacks.
Both the pirate vessel and our destroyed fighter crashed on an uncharted world which leads me to begin explaining the circumstances of "Mitth'raw'nuruodo".
A ground force and salvage team were assembled to go planet-side, and none of us expected to find an unidentified alien dwelling there. It was reported by a surveying fighter pilot, and so, we set to work inspecting it. Of course, we had no idea that the native whom called it home was actually still alive and also nearby.
Over the course of the next two days, our ground force—lead by Officer Jinduil Baeriph—came under guerilla attack by an unknown alien. We lost five soldiers, two Asari commando, and a fighter with its pilot to the alien's superb tactics. It seemed his ultimate goal in assaulting our ground force was to draw out my Asari commandos and steal their armor, using the full body armor to conceal his identity and infiltrate the ground force's encampment to board one of the shuttles. After that, he sought to steal one of our ships, but I had managed to conclude that he had followed us onboard my ship and he was soundly captured.
However, when we interrogated him, he did not fight or resist. Instead, this alien—whose appearance is that of what I might imagine a masculine humanoid of Asari build might appear as—studied me, he studied us all as we studied him.
Attached to this entry is a recorded audio file of my meeting with "Mitth'raw'nuruodo" after our researchers had managed to translate his language from knowledge extracted from what he called a datapad. The process took a few days, but he seemed willing to wait, as was I.
Matriarch Benezia, signing off.
"Can you understand me now?"
She waited, sitting still and silent as the blue-skinned, solid-red eyed alien watched her.
Matriarch Benezia inhaled sharply and let her mouth curve into a pleased smile at the sound of his elegant, cultured voice speaking the galactic basic jargon.
"Good," she replied and he lifted his chin up by a minuscule increment, "now, let us have formal introductions."
She cleared her throat and lifted hand up to her chest before letting it wave forward gently, the palm of it parallel to her chin.
"I am Matriarch Benezia of the Asari."
His head lowered in a slow nod as he processed the newly attained knowledge and after a few seconds of silence, he lowered his steepled fingers and spoke up, "I am called Mitth'raw'nuruodo."
"Hm... yes, Myth'raw'noorahdo," she spoke, her facial expressions morphing with each syllable she butchered. "I apologize; I will forego mentioning your name for the rest of this conversation."
"If you wish it so," the alien complied and nudged his head forward in acceptance.
The matriarch adjusted her position in the chair she sat in and straightened her back. The fine fabric padding of her personal quarters' chairs offered much comfort, but formality required little comfort and far more alertness. The individual across from her on the opposite end of the table seemed to think in the same manner as he sat with the same posture: Back straight, shoulders up and back, and elbows beneath the edge of the table.
"Now," she began while holding up her arms, hands on top of each other, "I would like to inform you that it was not our intention or goal to trespass onto your world or invade your privacy. Our goal here was to track a ship of pirates; I believe you saw them crash?"
He nodded in acknowledgement and she continued.
"The reason we did investigate your home, though, was because one of our laws—which concerns first contact scenarios—would have us study any unknown species that we may come across so future negotiations might go more... smoothly."
As her voice faded into silence, she watched his face for any expressions that might appear. The stoic mask he wore, however, revealed no shift or morphing in his emotionless countenance. Then, out of the blue, he responded to her claim, "Yes, the K'rell'n traders who first contacted my people spoke of similar laws."
Her brow furrowed and the matriarch mused upon that strange word: K'rell'n.
"I am afraid that I do not know of these K'rell'n traders you speak of."
He did not speak after that, only stared and observed further. She did the same, hoping that the stalemate caused by their simultaneous studying of each other might produce something vocally.
Benezia's plan rewarded her when Mitth'raw'nuruodo raised his head and relaxed his spine to sit comfortably in his chair. Seconds after that, he let his voice fill the room, "What do you wish of me?"
"What is it that you wish of us?" she countered, giving her own inquiry to garner some form of an answer from him before he could do the same to her. "You went through a great deal of trouble to sneak aboard my ship. What was it you hoped to accomplish; or rather, what is it you still wish to accomplish?"
His red-eyed blinked once, but they did not narrow or widen; and his frown did not twitch at all. Mitth'raw'nuruodo remained neutral-faced and gave nothing that would give her an edge over him.
"If you wish to kill me, I would ask it to be done quickly," he suddenly requested and she blinked before widening her own eyes.
"Kill you? No, I will not do that. Although, I do believe my troops would love to tear you apart with their biotics," Benezia chuckled and he raised up his head—that action of moving his head vertically apparently the only action he was willing to fully display. "You ran Officer Baeriph and her troops around in circles, as well as cost them five lives along with two of my commandos."
"It was necessary."
The warmth of humor in her heart and her cheeks dissipated within an instant as a cold curiosity took control of the matriarch. She tilted her head to the right slightly and raised an eyebrow up in a quizzical look.
"Necessary? Why? What did you seek to accomplish?"
"I wished to return home."
So he wasn't native to this world, his ship must have crashed here some time ago.
"Oh, so you've been shipwrecked."
"No," he firmly stated, "exiled."
She breathed in another sharp breath and looked down at him as her back straightened, lifting her torso up higher. His words hung in the air, filling it with tension and manifesting alarm in the matriarch's mind. This alien... he was a criminal.
He raised up his arms again, steepling his blue hands and resting his pressed pointer fingers against the tip of his nose as he closed his eyes. A minute went by before he opened his glowing scarlet orbs once more and spoke with a ruminating tone, "The leaders and I disagreed."
Had Benezia been in her maiden stage still, or even her matron stage, she would have snorted in laughter. However, she was a matriarch, revered and feared by many, and honored as one of the greatest matriarchs in the Asari Republics. Her formal reputation kept her from finding his statement humorous—at least, it kept her from physically showing it.
"Yes, we do have similar issues with our leaders, as well," she sympathized, memories of arguments with other Asari matriarchs and the Citadel Council coming to mind. "...Perhaps we can help each other?"
For a moment, he sat still and unmoving, but steadily, he leaned forward and rested his elbows on the edge of the table. His solid red eyes bore into her own eyes, and she resisted the feeling of intimidation that they conveyed.
"How so?" Mitth'raw'nuruodo inquired curiously and the corners of her mouth curled.
"My people have many starships, as do many other races. I see no reason as to why we cannot help you return to your people."
Sending the alien off, back to his home world would mean his disappearance from the known galaxy, and that would mean the danger he posed would be gone. Of course, it also meant that there was the possibility that they could track him to his home world and recruit them to the Council, and from there, gain a new ally for the Asari.
The masculine, blue-skinned humanoid, though, did not leap in joy at the suggestion, and instead questioned her with a cautious tone that nearly became a threatening one, "In exchange for what?"
"I will explain in a moment, but first, I would like to know how you managed to defeat Officer Baeriph and her ground force along with my Asari commandos; you see, my people are some of the fiercest warriors in the known galaxy."
It was in that moment—after she had declared the Asari as one of the greatest military mights amongst the other races, Citadel-aligned or not—that Mitth'raw'nuruodo finally showed a glowing expression. His mouth curved and he smiled in amusement before remarking, "Not fierce enough."
He moved away from the table and rested his back against the chair once more before he began to elaborate on the tale of his guerilla war against Baeriph and her soldiers:
"It was not hard. Your starfighter crashed near my dwelling and I had time to examine it before your soldiers arrived. The pilot was dead when I dragged her out from the wreckage so I took her body and hid it away."
"And then you filled the jumpsuit with grass," Matriarch Benezia concluded. "You hoped it would fool us into thinking it was primitive lifeforms we were dealing with as well as draw our attention away from the missing omni-tool you stole."
He nodded and continued on, "I saw it flashing on her body and scavenged it; but the grass served more than to distract you. More important to me was that you would find the entire scenario intriguing and take the pilot's uniform back to your camp, along with the grass and fermented pyussh berries."
Mitth'raw'nuruodo nodded once more and began to explain that part of his plans, "Yes, when fermented and crushed, pyussh berries are a strong lure for small animals."
The Asari matriarch mused on her explanation and wondered how this fit into Officer Baeriph's report. It clicked in her mind moments later.
"You strapped the Element Zero cores to the animals, didn't you?"
He nodded and smiled again.
"That's how you got them in, well past the perimeter patrols."
"But how did you calculate the deterioration rate of the cores?"
"My people use similar technology that deteriorates once the safety measures are removed. I took little risk and strapped the cores to the animals as soon as they were in range of the berries' scent."
"Hm... well executed."
"Yes, and it is also how I attacked your soldiers. I used a sling to throw more berries at their armor, drawing the animals to them."
Matriarch Benezia nodded in acknowledgement, resisting the anger that welled up within her as she began to imagine the red-eyed alien killing her troops.
"What of the fighter? How did you bring that down?"
"I knew you would attempt another survey of the forest, so I made preparations beforehand. In the two highest trees, I strung up my monofilament line. One of the spacecrafts hit it."
"And being so close to the ground, they could not recover," she mused, but then furrowed her brow as a new question emerged in her head. "But our fighters are not equipped with FTL drives, and recovering a crashed one would do you no good."
"I did not expect the ships to survive. All I wanted was the pilot's equipment, and their communications device."
The matriarch became confused then as she mentally ran over Officer Baeriph and the researchers' reports.
"But you did not take the second pilot's omni-tool. They checked the body, it was still there?"
"No," he argued, "what was there was the first pilot's 'omni-tool'."
Such a simple plan, yet so ingenious.
"So you switched them, and when we discovered that the first one was missing then shut it out of the communications line you still had the second one. Quite ingenious."
Mitth'raw'nuruodo smirked and countered with, "Very simple."
His newly shown amusement was rather irking now, the matriarch had to admit, so when she spoke, it came with a newfound aggravation, "So you killed the pilot for her omni-tool, but why did you continue to kill more soldiers?"
"Your troops wore helmets, but I needed soldiers with fuller armor."
Her eyes widened at the sudden revelation that came to her. The Asari commandos she had sent down were donned in full body armor, which included masked helmets.
"Ah, you needed to hide your face. That would be the only way you could enter the encampment undetected."
"Yes," he confirmed and continued on with his elaboration. "I ambushed one first and used an explosive on her. She did not have time to react and so I became free to study her armor to find a way to kill the wearer without damaging the armor, itself."
"You killed her with an explosive?" Matriarch Benezia inquired, puzzled as no reports spoke of an explosion during the commandos' hunt. "How come no one heard it?"
"I did it at the same time I jammed your communications. Luckily, it was loud enough to cover the sound of the explosion."
"Ah yes, the comm jamming. I assume you did that with the omni-tool you took?"
A nod was her only answer.
"So, then you killed another commando and took her armor, and then infiltrated the encampment. What then?"
"I went to the shuttle which held my dwelling and stood the armor up outside of it using small branches. Inside of the armor, I hid one of your Element Zero cores."
"So that when someone saw the explosion, they would assume that there was only one commando missing and the other was dead."
This alien, he was ingenious.
"But what about the flight back to my ship, how did you conceal yourself then?"
"The second power generator, it is mostly empty as I have been using it for parts to repair the first one."
So he hid in one of the metal towers, apparently using one that was hollowed out.
"I assume that means you've been here for some time, then?" the Asari asked, but he gave no answer once more.
He was back to studying her again, but as she was close to finding the answers she desired, Benezia did not keep silent.
"I can see why you were so desperate to leave."
"I was not desperate," he suddenly claimed, his face hard, but solid red eyes somehow burning with a kind of determination. "It is necessary that I return to my people."
This alien, exiled and abandoned by his own race still sought to return to them. For what reason would he seek to do so?
With woven fingers, Benezia set her hands beneath her chin and asked, "Why?"
For a time, Mitth'raw'nuruodo remained silent, but soon, he answered her with an ominous statement, "Because they are in danger... There are many dangers in this galaxy."
She pondered on his words, wondering what dangers he meant. If he sought to return to them because they were in danger, then that meant he wished to defend them. However, the matriarch knew what kind of battles he fought, and her soldiers knew first-hand.
"Does that include us?"
Her eyes narrowed beneath the black helm she wore, and the elder Asari straightened the back she had not realized had slouched.
"How would you help defend them from these dangers?"
A moment of silence passed by then, minutes upon minutes of quiet musing as she awaited his answer and he collected the words for that answer.
Finally, though, he opened his mouth to respond, but the statement he made was not a direct response to her inquiry, "My people... they do not accept the concept of- I do not know the word. An attack on an enemy before he attacks you."
"A pre-emptive strike?" she spoke, suggesting the word to him to which he nodded back in acknowledgement.
Repeating it, he said, "A pre-emptive strike. I, alone, of our warrior-leaders accepted this concept as being within the correct bounds of warfare."
Warrior-leader? So he had been a general, of sorts, a kind of Asari Matriarch or Turian Primarch, maybe even a Krogan Battlemaster. It made sense to her, though, thinking about it now.
"So, you believe that you can convince your people to accept this concept?"
"I do not intend to try," he declared firmly, eyes never leaving her face as he stared from across the table. "I do not need their permission to fight on their behalf."
"And what if none follow you? Will you fight alone?"
"How noble," Benezia mused and steepled her fingers in the same fashion that he did, "but also very foolish, and quite the waste of potential, as well."
Curiosity appeared on his countenance and he raised an eyebrow.
"You have an alternative to suggest?"
A smile graced the matriarch's lips once more and she straightened her back. Her shoulders pulled up and back, and her chin raised up while she placed her entwined hands on the edge of the table.
"You're still studying me, aren't you? Even now, as our prisoner, with little-to-no chance of escape, you're still watching and observing and studying."
"Of course," he answered simply, not a trace of guilt or hesitation in his voice, "you said it yourself: You are potential dangers."
Her eyes narrowed as she thought back to when she could have said that. Eventually, she took his claim as drawing from when she asked if they were dangers to his people too. This belief of his, however, would be her opportunity.
"Indeed, but what better method is there to neutralizing a potential danger than to do so from within?"
His head bowed slightly and a dark shadow was cast over the blue of his face, leaving only his solid scarlet eyes to glow in the dark veil.
"Your benefit is clear, but what of mine?"
"First, and foremost, you would cease being our prisoner. Secondly, you would be brought before the Citadel Council, the ruling government of civilized space composed of the strongest races in the known galaxy. If they accept you into our ranks, then you would have access to our files and, more than likely, be given the capability to deal with any threats to your people that might exist in known, charted space. Thirdly, and most likely the most favorable to you, you would have the ability to return to your people."
His chest lifted up and his back straightened. Mitth'raw'nuruodo looked to her with wide eyes that closed within a second, but the surprise and wonder that appeared there for but a moment was enough to make Matriarch Benezia smirk. However, that smirk faded as his frown deepened.
"You claim that this 'Citadel Council' of yours may accept me. What if they do not?"
"Then I will take you wherever you wish to go," the Asari offered and the downward curve of his mouth lessened. "Are these terms acceptable?"
His steepled fingers slid across each other before they entwined, making his weapons hold each other. Pressing his extremities to his chin, he let his lips kiss his knuckles while his eyes closed. Their red glow disappeared behind blue eyelids and the faint sound of him drawing a breath in became heard.
Seconds passed, and then minutes. Increments of time stacked upon each other, adding up as the matriarch waited. However, it did not bother her. She was an elder Asari, patience was a virtue she had learned to accept and utilize. With this ability, she was able to sit and stay, listening and watching without becoming anxious or excited. So it was, that Benezia continued to observe her alien guest as he mulled over his choices.
Then, suddenly, his glowing scarlet eyes snapped open and he raised up his head while his hands lowered to the edge of the table.
"The risk is worth taking. I shall go with you to speak with your leaders."
Matriarch Benezia allowed a satisfied smile to curve across her mouth before she responded, "Excellent, let us be off, immediately."
Thus it begins, then:
The rise of a military master; of a mind greater than most, if not all.
So, thanks for reading this.
Like I said at the beginning, I don't own anything besides the idea of the crossover.
Everything else is owned by EA and Bioware (Mass Effect), and Lucasfilms and Timothy Zahn (Star Wars and The Thrawn Trilogy)
Now, would you guys like to see more of this?
The original idea of this entire thing was just to be a one-shot, but I got a plot running in my head and I kinda like it.
So, give me your thoughts.
Favorite and Follow if you wish too, and Review or PM to give your opinions.
Thanks for reading,
Mithrao - Fanatic of Thrawn