Armageddon. The site of Angron's fury, the site of Ghazghkull's rage. A wartorn planet, torn between the Imperium, Daemons, and Orks.
Far away, in a dimension incomprehensible by any living mind, Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways, observed this planet. He knew the future. He knew the past. He knew the present. Plot upon plots and plans upon plans piled up, each gambit more fantastic that the last. One plot in particular involved a son of Armageddon. In order for it to succeed, a certain Rogue Trader must never reach that war-torn planet. Casting his great power across the boundless Warp, Tzeentch found that Rogue Trader, and his fleet. With a infinitesimal flick of his boundless power, Tzeentch personally banished that fleet into another galaxy, another universe. Another time.
A great rift opened up in the heavens, as if reality itself was folding in on itself. Purple energies crackled, screams of daemons and destruction rang out, as a portal to the Warp was opened for the first time in this Galaxy's history. And, as quickly as the horrific noises, sights, sounds, and other things beyond human comprehension started, they stopped. The portal had spat out three "small" ships: The Pride of Pollux, a Lunar-class Cruiser, the Flames of Darmok, and the Storm of Edda, two Firestorm-class Frigates. The fleet of Rogue Trader Constantios Pollux had emerged.
Void shields crackled as they died. Klaxons blared, lights flickering across the ship, worried Tech-priests lighting incense and offering prayers to the Machine Spirits. Systems never meant to be offline were non-functional. The Navigator of the Pride of Pollux was collapsed in his chair, shivering, murmuring to himself, robes wrapped around him, third eye blinking rapidly. Constantios Pollux, commander of these three vessels stood at the head of the bridge, foot resting on the Command chair, bellowing orders to the nearby crew. He was a giant of a man, standing nearly 7'1", augmented in many ways, none of them cosmetic. A white scar cross over a missing eye, replaced by a robotic one. A square face, stern and commanding. A Cadian Greatcoat hung off of his broad, armoured shoulders, a gift from that fallen planet. His voice was like the cracking of a whip, demanding a damage report, needing to know just what in the Emperor's name just happened. The Lord Trader was not a man to be trifled with.
"Kell! Patch me through to Darmok and Edda! I need to know what their status is! Alexios! Go and get Commander Miriael up here, now! I need to know the troops and crew survived. Magos, what does the Machine Spirit of the Pollux tell you? Have we angered her?"
Each Rogue trader vessel under the command of Pollux was in utter disarray, the simple, small Warp jump along safe lanes having gone horribly wrong. It had been a miracle that their Geller Fields had not failed.
"Lord Pollux, the Omnissiah has blessed us this day. We have not angered the great Machine Spirit of the Pollux. It is young, yet, and confused. It knows not where we are, or what has been done. Praise be to The Motive Force, it is with us and the Pollux: We will not fail today. Yet.. Lord Pollux, the Machine Spirit is unsure, surprised, disoriented. My priests and I will need time to repair the damages done."
The red cloaked Magos was the first to respond to Constantios, its voice crackling with static and modulating in pitch at worrying frequency. The servant of the Omnissiah was huge, standing taller than the large Rogue Trader, its hooded head almost brushing the ceiling. Cybernetic tentacles played with holos and levers, accessing a repair panel, interfacing with the Light Cruiser. Pollux gave the martian a curt nod, opening his mouth to respond, before being interrupted-Lady Commander Miriel of the Armageddon 547 Steel Legion had arrived.
"What in the Emperor's name is going on here Constantios? Where are we? I have several thousand battle ready troops, tanks. and transports down there, ready and waiting for battle, and all I hear are shutdown warnings? Do I need to prep the troops for an assault? Has the Archenemy or Ghazghkull's Orks attacked us?"
The Lady Commander was, in all ways, unremarkable. She was of average build, average height, and average looks. Brown hair was tightly bound up in a bun, a disproving frown permanently etched on her face. Placed on the ship to command the transported Guardsmen, she had spent the last three weeks aboard the vessel, preparing to load and unload the army currently waiting in the bowels of the ship. Constantios nodded at her approach: He respected the Commander, and knew her advice would not be misplaced.
"Lady Miriel. We seem to have lost our way in the Warp, and as you can see by my poor navigator, we won't be moving anytime soon. The Magos tells me that we have not suffered permanent damage, thank the Throne. Kell! Have you found our location yet?"
Officer Kell jumped at his superior's voice, nodding emphatically. Beckoning the Commander and Trader over, he eagerly showed them the starcharts that he had pulled up.
"As you can see, we aren't at Armageddon, that much is for sure. But according to this, we should be close to Holy Terra itself, above the hive cities of Necromunda!"
Constatios Pollux was beginning to have a sinking feeling in his stomach. Holding up a hand to forstall further speech, he leaned in close to the holo that depicted the planet before them.
"Magos, pull up scans of the planet's surface."
Within moments, a full color, live-feed holo of the planet's surface was before them. It seemed full of plant life, and readings showed a small concentration of several thousand humans in a decently sized township. A growing agri-world, perhaps? However, almost none of that information registered to the two looking over the holo. Instead, their eyes focused on the swarms of buzzing xenos that flew across the planet, and the bug-like humanoid xenos, collecting paralyzed humans. A new strain of Genestealers? The mythical Hrud? Pollux did not recognize the xenos. Pollux did not recognize the technology of the humans. There were no shrines to Him on Terra, no Imperial Aquilia. To be blunt, the tech appeared to be more Tau-like then Imperial. Despite the lack of Aquilias, despite the lack of Imperial architecture, the people down there were still human. Still children of the Emperor and Omnissiah. This, this defilement could not be allowed to happen. The enemies of Man must be destroyed.
"Commander, prep your troops and vehicles for planetfall! Magos! Bless the dropships, and send Skitarii to protect the ground command. The Foul Xenos must not be suffered to live. Ave Imperator!"
Joker stared. He had seem some strange things in his time. Mankind's first SPECTRE, corrupted Turians, a Reaper, and, to top it all off, a woman brought back to life. But this, this took the cake. Each ship that had emerged from that brief gaping hole in reality was ridiculously gigantic, larger than almost any known species' warcraft. The two smallest of them easily equaled Sovereign in size, and the largest dwarfing Quarian Lifeships. However, it was not only the size of the strange ships that gave him pause. It was their construction. Each one of the ships was dark, covered with strange architecture and symbols, the most prevalent being a double headed eagle. If he had not kept up to date with the latest Alliance ship designs, he would swear those ships were human. Edi's electronic voice brought him back to reality, though the pilot was still more than a little bit shocked.
"Joker? Please tell me that my scanners aren't malfunctioning"
As he looked on, a small swarm of ships disengaged from the bottoms of the strange ships, heading towards the colony on Horizon. Grabbing his headset, he began to patch himself through to Shepard. The Collectors were still blocking the signal, but he had to get through. He had to.
"They aren't, but I wish they were. Shepard! We have new arrivals! They're uh, they're not Collectors. Honestly, I don't even know what they are."
Grenadier Sergeant Sigismund sat in his troopship, holding his powersword in one hand, tip pressed against the floor, pommel against his helmet. His eyes closed, the Steel Legion Guardsman waited for the battle. He was a veteran, having fought in hundreds of battles, seeing thousands upon thousands fall. The Third War for Armageddon, the Spinward Front, countless battles against Genestealers, Orks, Rebel Imperials, and Chaos cultists had left the Sergeant a broken man. He had fought for more than 20 years, joining up at 14, now at the age of 36. Countless horrors, deaths of hundreds of companions, promotions from a conscript to a Veteran Grenadier Sergeant. He was not a noble, gifted his station. Sigismund had earned it. He just wanted to be done, to head back home. A Forth War for Armageddon was not what he expected to call him back. And now, here he was, over some Tau-sympathizing backwater, if the rumors were to believed. Glancing up from the ground, the Sergeant looked at his squad, assigned for this campaign four weeks ago. They were an alright bunch, good soldiers, but not a group he knew particularly well. Sigismund was not known for his social skills.
"Men, I know you have all fought before. I will not lie. This time may very well be our last, just like every time. However, we will not fail in our duty. We are Guardsmen! We are the Steel Legion! And we will hold the line! FOR THE EMPEROR!"
"FOR THE EMPEROR!"
Sigismund was not particularly zealous, nor was he an orator. But a little moral boost never hurt anyone. As the Veteran Grenadier squadron echoed his cry, a red light flickered to green in the back of the Valkyrie: Deployment.
The door in the back of the ship opened up, letting in the sound of what sounded like light stubberfire from where the colonists appeared to be fighting back. Sigismund's squad's Valkyrie was at the front of the deployment, the point of the charge. He could already hear the deep booms of Leman Russ cannon fire, peppered with the screams of ionized air from Lasgun fire. With a grim smile, Sigismund jumped, followed by his squad. Time to purge.
"Shepard! - have - arrivals! The - Collectors. Hone - they are - "
Commander Jane Shepard cursed when Joker's comms cut through to her, static crackling from the Collector interference. More ships arriving, was that what he had said? More Collectors? The signal jam was still at full strength, it had been a miracle that Joker was able to contact her at all. She had no way to tell what he was frantically trying to tell her, and besides, she was occupied at the moment. Crouched behind a torn up crate, the SPECTRE raised her M-15 Vindicator, spraying overhead at the Collectors attacking her position. She had just encounter a husk unlike anything she had seen before, rattling her and both her squadmates, Miranda and Zaeed. And now, after renewed, intense Collector assault on their position, more ships were arriving? More Collector ships? It was a desperate, uphill battle to try and save the colonists from one ship. And now more. A small, hateful tendril of fear wormed its way through her mind. How could she win? How could she save those who needed it?
An explosion sounded to her left, as Harbringer destroyed a wall, snapping Jane back to reality, more Collector Drones arriving by the minute. She could not allow herself to be distracted. She had to save the colonists. She had to.
"We are superior."
Zaeed yelled expletives at the talking Collector from behind his cover. He had been pretty badly hit by the first incarnation of Harbringer, his lower leg useless. Miranda was attempting to reload, her last full thermal clip pressed into the rifle. It was not hopeless, but if Commander Shepard had been a gambling girl, she would not have bet on her odds. Turning to the N7 Operative, Miranda shouted over the din of battle.
"Commander! We can't hold out much longer! What should we do?"
"Take as many of the bastards you can with us! Leave the big one to me, just focus on the-"
Jane Shepard was cut off, as a sizzling, screaming sound of air was heard. The Collectors paused in their fire, allowing her to hear the deep, thundering sounds of warfare. Were those ships Joker had mentioned Alliance? Did they get reinforcements? Miranda ventured a look above her cover, seeing a sight truly bizarre, a sight that she would remember for years to come.
A strange, angular ship had arrived. Emblazoned with golden doubleheaded eagles, it paused above the Collector horde, as ten trenchcoated and armoured men deployed from its bowels. The Collectors opened fire, their shots easily shrugged aside by the strange armor worn by the gas-masked soldiers. Nothing from the Collectors even seemed to touch them. Stranger still then that impenetrable armor, was the fact that none of them had a Biotic shield. In fact, none of them had any recognizable equipment, Council or otherwise. One of them even carried a sword. A honest to God sword. Joining Miranda's example, Commander Jane Shepard and Zaeed glanced over their cover, viewing the strange sight. However, despite the oddness of the new arrivals, it appeared that they were more than effective. Yellow-tan trenchcoats flapping, rifles blazing with power, each soldier marched forward, burning those before them with shot after shot. The guns of the strange men flashed, destroying Collectors with each rapid-fire blast, tearing apart the surroundings with their shots. The very air itself seemed to sizzle and burn with each blast. A worried thought crossed the Commander's mind: Laser weaponry? The Citadel itself had yet to develop the technology, and here these soldiers were, using these weapon with trained, practiced ease. Each blast completely ignored the Biotic shields of the Collectors, bypassing them completely to blow off limbs, blasting gaping holes in the enemy.
With a loud whisper, Jane Shepard turned to the mercenary.
"Zaeed? Have you ever come across this kind of tech?"
"I've seen a lot of strange shit, but never something like that. Goddamn, I need one of those beaut's"
"Face your annihilation."
The Harbringer turned to face this new threat, declaring its intent. A blast from the uplifted Collector barely fazed the trooper it blasted, the swordsman, only staggering him. Both paused for a millisecond, the swordsman seemingly surprised he survived, the Harbringer slightly confused by the same. The sword-wielding soldier marched forward, sword held at the ready. The battle raged around them, but Jane Shepard could not tear her eyes away. Each shot fired at him was ignored, and with a blur of motion, the Harbringer was cut open, its body dissolving before it could hit the ground. Again, the strange weaponry completely ignored Biotic shielding. Were these some new, experimental Cerberus or Alliance soldiers? Who, or what were these arrivals? Shaking her head in disbelief, Shepard yelled for her squad to engage the remaining Collectors in the area. She would be damned if she let herself be rescued without providing at least some help.
In a matter of moments, the Collectors in the area were eliminated, though sounds of battle still echoed around her. Standing, the SPECTRE walked towards these strange, tan coated soldiers, followed by her two squadmates, Miranda supporting the old mercenary. The swordsman met them, a skull-shaped gas mask hiding his eyes. The soldier certainly looked human, at least, the proportions matched, though it was impossible to tell when everything was covered. The two sides paused, looking at each other. Shepard extended a hand.
"Careful Commander, we still don't know who these people are. Are they even human?"
That was Miranda's whisper. Zaeed laughed roughly at her response
"Hey, they saved our asses, didn't they? I say we give'em a chance."
Jane Shepard nodded, still awkwardly holding her hand out. The soldier stared at it, before reaching his gloved hand up, removing his helmet, removing his skull-shaped mask, revealing a very human, and very scarred and grizzled face. A face that may have once looked plain, but now, with a broken and badly healed nose, burn marks, and scars crisscrossing all over, looked something less than attractive. Looking down at her hand like it would bite him, the soldier shook it gingerly, speaking in some unintelligible language.
This is a story I've been thinking about writing for a while. I know I have not put a huge amount of backstory for either the choices made in Mass Effect, or for the Imperials, but hopefully I can cover more of than in the next Chapter. Also, the moment when universes actually cross over are my favorite parts of crossovers, so I decided to start there.
Please, leave as much constructive criticism as you can. Emperor knows I could use it. I will try to answer any questions by the end of Chapter 2.