Hi everyone! So clearly the winner of the November poll on my pat-re-on is Saiyan Effect. The new poll is already up and open for everyone as it will be the Christmas time/holiday season poll and I am opening it to all my pat-rons for that one. After that, it will go back to normal and be restricted to the higher tiers. Look up Bored Peasant's Written Works if you want to vote.
Someone did comment that 400,000 batarians getting resurrected seemed like too many, but I do remember somewhere that the whole batarian population was something like 40 billion. Nearly half that were slaves and among them were the Free Batarian movement who were in hiding. So I am sticking with the 400,000.
Anyway, on with the story!
CHAPTER 16 – OTHER PARTIES
In a galaxy, it would be assumed that there are near infinite places to hide. This became more difficult, but not overly so, if there were plenty of people in it. It became even more difficult, but still drastically easy, when there is a system of connected planets allied with each other and have formed a galactic community. When those species have been spacefaring for thousands of years, the number of hiding places would seem to run lower, but when they happened it an established star system, one that was formerly well populated, the chances of discovery increase even further.
When something within the known boundaries of that star system was well within known and suspicious territory and one that had recently received a large amount of attention due to a war that resulted in the complete annihilation of the planet at the hands of an alien king, the chances of discovering something new was considered reasonable.
When the salarians got involved under those circumstances, it went to almost definite.
Even still, when Linron Soltus, the newest salarian councillor, read the report on his desk, he blinked. Then he read it again. Failing to fully comprehend the report, he read it one more time. Sadly, the report didn't change. The words remained the same. But their existence in that particular order with those particular consequences confused him far more than they should have.
After all, who had ever heard of a planet being created, let alone reassembled, in a day? Only a few short months after it was confirmed destroyed.
It was the sort of thing that came about only in children's stories or religion, like those human ones that said that their God created the Earth in a day. Ridiculous superstition, he had scoffed to himself when he first heard about it. He had never put stock in any religion or religious beliefs in the wider galaxy. The asari had their goddesses and the turians had their Spirits. The batarians had their Pillars, the hanar had their Enkindlers and the humans had their gods. The salarians didn't put any stock in any of that, not anymore.
Linron wasn't going to immediately discount that, going by the reports that he had in front of him. He wasn't sure that he could.
The destruction of Khar'shan had been confirmed by every intelligence agency, from the STG to the hanar-controlled drell. The video witnesses from reputable Citadel sources had been live streamed and therefore much harder to be considered fake. It was a given, complete and total, that Khar'shan was destroyed by King Vegeta of the Saiyan Kingdom.
Which still meant that Linron had no idea how it was back.
There was no logical reason to assume that falsehoods had been made in the reports and there were simply too many corroborating reports from trusted sources that said the same thing to deny. Khar'shan was gone, but now it was back. Only this time, there was no infrastructure to speak of. Life signs of people had been reported, though far less than there had been previously, but there were only a few artificial buildings that could be used to house a populace of less than a million total beings.
If one was to go back to the idea of gods and power, he had read from their initial contact reports that the saiyans had (as he had presumed) rather arrogantly to be gods, or at least their leaders were. He had once again been dismissive of that, as he believed anyone with reasonable critical thinking should be. The idea of a so-called higher power that created everything then sat back and watched their creations indulged in continuous destruction seemed ludicrous to him.
Now, he wasn't sure what to believe.
Linron wished that he could ignore it all together, but the sensible part of his mind told him to never ignore a truth just because he either didn't understand it or he didn't want to believe it. The truth wasn't considered the truth merely because it was convenient, after all. The main point was finding a way to turn it to his advantage, like he had when gotten Valern out of his office. But he wasn't yet sure how to swing this to his advantage.
Still, no matter how he looked at it, this led to some massive implications. A race that could destroy and create planets, out of control of the Citadel Council, must not exist or at least must not be outside of their control. The need to find a way to neuter such a race, to prevent them from being a threat to the supremacy of the Citadel and, by extension, the Salarian Union.
Plans were apace regarding a genophage solution for the saiyans, though Linron was aware that there had been some complications regarding the acquisition of the required DNA samples. The prevailing thought was that to best hit the Saiyan species, it would need to be done quickly, unlike the slow death caused by the genophage to the krogans. They were, after all, a species not bound by the same restrictions of all eezo based races and were clearly more technologically capable than the brutish krogan. If a plan could be made to infect them quickly and in sufficient numbers, it would do much to cripple the Saiyan race.
Of course, there were more complications on top of that. Ambassador Gohan had the same abilities as those who were on their home planet and would be missed if not included in any such attack if he was on the Citadel, which would risk retaliation. Then there were the usual problems of how to spread it fast enough through either airborne or waterborne pathogens, how to make it stick, how to paralyse their people to ensure that there was no one that would be able to leave before infection… the challenges were numerous. And after the attacks that had been made by the batarians, the saiyans were being extremely cautious as to whom they were allowing to access their home system.
Still, Linron had unfailing confidence in the abilities of the STG and the Spectres, the salarian ones anyway, in being able to accomplish their mission objectives. He had been using ones that were personally loyal to him to place chemicals that would weaken Valern. Not enough to actually make him sick, but enough to mimic the symptoms of illness and lead to an early retirement. It was masterfully done too. Too much and it would show up on a toxicology screen, not enough and it wouldn't give the symptoms.
Too bad for Valern that he had been focused more on intelligence gathering than he had been on chemistry while working with the STG.
Still, there were a myriad of concerns regarding the saiyans and now that Linron was in the Councillor's chair, he was going to make sure that salarians would be prepared for any eventuality. Even if they had to make it themselves. Dalatrass Linron, his clan leader and one of the most politically powerful salarians alive, was most insistent and convincing on the matter.
Linron Soltus may be Councillor, but even he wasn't foolish enough to fight against his dalatrass.
A chime on his desk shook him from his thoughts and he glanced at his time piece, standing to head towards his official coronation as Councillor Linron. The private handover had been completed; now it was time to share himself with the unwashed masses. Still, he couldn't help the self-satisfied smile that crossed his face for a moment before he exited his office.
It felt good to be Councillor.
Harbinger was old.
Harbinger was older than any living being in the galaxy, save for possible any creators that remained. It was they who implanted in him the need for a cycle. A cycle that he has stayed true to for the best care of the galaxy, to prevent the chaos brought upon it by the organic races from progressing to a point where they were… unmanageable.
Harbinger and his people, the pathetically named 'reapers' by the lesser races, were the order in the chaos. For generations beyond the comprehension of the gnats that sprung up out of the dirt every cycle, the reapers let them grow to their highest point and then cut them down before they could grow beyond their acceptable bounds.
Oh, he knew that there were some of the races that hadn't fully had the chance to make their way to their peak before they were cut down. Such were the sacrifices that had to be made. They were beyond the minimum threshold, and if left, would be beyond their allowed maximum potential. It was nothing personal to those races. None of it was. It was simply, the cycle.
And the cycle must continue.
But now there was something else that had appeared. Apparently, it was from beyond the bounds of this galaxy, somewhere that the reapers had not reached, nor was part of their cycle. Something that threatened the continued existence of the cycle. It threatened their ability to bring order from the chaos of organic life. Life that thought itself superior, despite finding out again and again in numbers beyond counting that they were not, and their ending was inevitable.
The cycle must continue.
The emergence of these new creatures, these saiyans, threatened the cycle. They would need to be eliminated. The problem would be determining how. How to stop a being that had the ability on their own to destroy a planet, removing a useful tool for the reapers in being able to aid in the cycle continuing, and denying useful ground forces that were a necessity every cycle.
Oh, he was supremely confident, no more than that; he was absolutely sure that the reapers would be able to bring about the next cycle. There was no way that these saiyans would be able to prevent the arrival of enough of their mighty nations to block out the sun. they would not be able to find out a way to stop the cycle.
The cycle must continue.
Still, over the eons that he had been monitoring and guiding the cycle, there were plenty of races that had put up a significant fight. It would mean that many of their great ships were destroyed, meaning that the next few cycles would need to focus more on stealth and recouperation, absorbing more biomass and creating more reapers. He knew that they would win though. They always did.
The cycle must continue.
For now, there were many of their tools and artefacts that were left around that the galaxy that he was using to manipulate the local native life forms of this cycle. It was unfortunate to lose the batarians so early. They would have been useful tools. Matter for their ground forces. But there were others. These asari… constructs essentially, being engineered by the protheans of the previous cycle, had their own abilities that could be made useful. They could be used for the next cycle. Too bad that most of the bodies broke down before they could be used for a second cycle. Though as these life forms lived one fiftieth of a cycle naturally, it was possible they could be engineered to live longer and be used for another cycle.
The cycle must continue.
He would put his bait out in the meantime. The angry one, agent of the Citadel, would be ready for contact soon. He would be a useful tool for this round of the cycle. He would be able to perform the duty that so many others have performed in preparing the Citadel for activation and scattering the unity of the life forms.
The fool thought himself capable, but in the end, he was just a tool to be used by Sovereign, who would be the one in charge of activating the Citadel Relay, allowing the reapers to come through from the dark empty space between the galaxies and rain down fire on the chaos of the galaxy for the next cycle. Soon, his fellow reapers would be activated again, ready to continue their work in ensuring chaos did not reign supreme and they would be able to preserve the remnants into themselves and ensure that the chaos did not wipe out these nations and beings, by bringing them into the fold of the reapers.
They would be remembered through all time though, their cultural souls kept safe and free, never to be lost to the ravages of war or the obscurity of history, keeping with Harbinger's sacred mission. They would become one with the reapers, under the reapers total control. They were never to be trusted even the slightest amount with their own preservation and they would never be in a position to threaten future cycles by remaining in their chaos. They would be fully cleansed from this cycle and be kept as a reaper, completely dedicated to the cycle.
And the cycle. Must. Continue.
Beerus looked bored, staring down at the parade that the people in front of him had put on in an attempt to entertain him in a futile display for him to not destroy something. He had a chilled food of some variety in a crystal goblet in front of him that smelled enticing and looked very nice, he would have to admit.
Ignoring the parade, he picked up the spoon that he had been provided with, aware of his host, some king or other, nervously staring at him, clearly hoping that Beerus would enjoy it. He grabbed a spoonful of the confection and held it up to his gaze. "What is this?" he asked.
"I… it's a moiki fruit glassier!" the host stammered. "It's one of our most famous desserts! People from planets all around the sector import them for themselves."
"Really? Is that so?" Beerus asked, his tone dry. "Very well, I shall have to see for myself."
He placed the spoon in his mouth, taking the whole of the so-called delicacy in one bite. He chewed on it a few times before swallowing. Then he stuck his tongue out. "Bleugh!"
"Ah! Ah, did… did your excellency… uh... disapprove?" the host stammered.
"It was weirdly rubbery to chew and had a slimy after taste," Beerus whined, not that he would admit it. It was carefully constructed feedback. "It looked pretty but it was all style, no substance."
"Hmmm," Whis hummed next to him, daintily wiping his own mouth with a napkin that he had conjured. "I'm afraid I must agree. While the care certainly went into the decoration and presentation, I rather dislike how bland the initial bite was. I was hoping for something that would shock and delight the tastebuds. This was, unfortunately, not what I had hoped for."
"O-o-oh," the host quivered in fear. "I will organise something else for your excellencies right away! Something that will most definitely make up for the…"
"Don't bother," Beerus cut him off and standing up. "I can tell that I am not going to get anything here that I am going to enjoy."
The fear from that statement made the entire complement of aliens in range of his hearing start shaking in fear, the rest clearly understood what was happening and started shaking too. It was a scene that had become more familiar to him over the millions of years that he had been the God of Destruction for Universe 7. He had never really cared about the impact of it before. It was his job, after all. He never needed to feel guilty about doing his job.
Not when he got so much joy out of it, even now.
"Hmmm," Beerus hummed to himself, closing his eyes and still drawing flinches from everyone other than Whis. "I can see that genuine effort has been made and you tried to make this as enjoyable as possible. You displayed everything delicately, and as a man with a fine eye, I can appreciate the talent that went into this."
A bunch of the grouped-up aliens, whose race Beerus hadn't even bothered to remember, heaved a sigh of relief.
"However," he drawled slightly, opening his eyes but keeping them narrowed, "I also have a delicate tongue with exquisite tastes. And that so-called delicacy that was served to me was certainly not up to my standard. And that cannot be allowed."
The horrified gasps and unmitigated terror displayed by the locals was a balm to his soul. His dark, blackened soul.
"So, for two out of three," continued, "I will only destroy a third. Goodbye."
He took off to the sky, Whis following after him like the loyal attendant he was. He moved until he was far into the atmosphere, where the air was the thinnest, just at the edge of the range before he would normally have Whis take over for air's sake. As God of Destruction, he didn't really need to breathe air, but he liked to and if he was going to be a god, then he was going to do things he liked as a god!
Looking down at the planet, he carefully shaped his energy and, with a mighty boom that shook the entire planet even up as high as he was, a third of the planet sheared off.
He stared down at it for a long moment, heedless to the screams of terror that the people no doubt gave as he considered his next step. He knew that the planet was doomed. Not many planets in the universe could survive having a full third of their mass obliterated in an instant. The atmosphere would collapse in on itself and the tectonic activity would cause what was left to shake itself apart. All in all, he doubted that the planet would live beyond a week, possibly two before it implodes. It would be enough for a large number of their people to leave the planet. They wouldn't end up extinct like he had done for so many other races. Not unless they were morons and chose to stay on the planet anyway. Then it was on them.
Beerus huffed to himself. He really was too soft these days.
"Well, that's that," Beerus said, turning away from the dying world. "What's next?"
Whis hummed to himself. "Well, there is a meeting later with the Lords Zeno about something but that is not for another week." He placed a dainty finger on his chin as he considered things. "After that I have your next ten year nap scheduled but there seems to be nothing planned before meeting with the Lords Zeno."
Beerus felt a shiver run through his spine. Having one Lord Zeno was terrifying enough. Somehow Goku and the other saiyans had come back with a second one. Luckily enough, the two Zeno's kept each other company and that was a great thing in keeping their heads. Lord Zeno was certainly less likely to just erase a universe these days, but Beerus didn't want to tempt fate by doing something in his presence that the Zenos would take offence over.
He had no idea how Goku kept his head. Though it was certain that Goku lacked the social graces to know when he was potentially misbehaving, he made up with his overly cheerful naivety.
Beerus was sure that the guy was just an idiot that lucked his way through life. Though he definitely couldn't discount the saiyan's natural fighting talent.
Still, thinking of Goku did bring to mind something. "I suppose we haven't seen the saiyans for some time," he mused. "Is there anything that would justify you talking to your student?"
"Oh," Whis exclaimed. "That is true, I haven't spent much time with Vegeta over the last few decades." He placed a delicate hand on his cheek. "My, what a poor excuse for a mentor I am, forgetting my dear student for such a long amount of time. I suppose that I really should make time to visit and see how he is doing." He gave a high, delicate laugh.
Beerus let out a sly smile. "Not to mention get something to eat that doesn't taste like a Gluvian Worm is sliding down your throat."
Whis laughed again and grinned shamelessly. "Well, who is to say that a single trip can't accomplish more than one thing at a time?" he asked rhetorically. "I must say, I do look forward to having some more of that pavlova."
"Oh yes," Beerus said, feeling his mouth water. "The meringue was so light, fluffy and crumbly it would just melt in your mouth. And it has been a long time since I have had the tempura egg rolls."
"Not to mention that wagyu beef that just fell apart," Whis said, his voice going distant as he thought about the food. "Like a puddle of exquisite deliciousness in my mouth."
They were both silent for a moment before a rumbling could be heard from Whis' midsection.
"Oops," Whis laughed, holding his stomach. "I guess that the food here just wasn't enough to satisfy me."
"Then that sounds like a great excuse to go and get lunch," Beerus declared happily. "How long will it take us to get there from here?"
Whis activated the ball on top of his staff and peered into it for a moment. "Hmmm, from here it looks like it will take us nearly twenty minutes at top speed to get there."
Beerus blinked, feeling despair flow through him. "Really? It's that far away?" he griped. "We could watch a full episode of a classic and loveable anime on the trip there! Ugh, fine! Let's go. The faster we leave the faster we get there."
"Sounds like a plan, Lord Beerus," Whis agreed, turning to the right direction. "Let's go."
Beerus reached a handout and grabbed hold of Whis' shoulder. Now he just had to deal with having his mouth water in anticipation on the journey there. Not to mention hearing Whis' stomach grumbling. Oh yes, he was going to enjoy himself.
Saren looked down at the display in front of him, sneering at what was being shown. The worms that were 'helping' him had messed up again. It was the third time this week and if it wasn't for the fact that he needed them to give him deniability then he would have just done it himself.
The 'help' was a collection of pro-slavery trash that had escaped from Omega when Aria had done an about-face on the issue, outlawing the practice on her station. It had come as a surprise from the notorious Pirate Queen, being a drastic change of policy from her previous stance of 'do whatever, just don't bother me' that she'd followed for nearly two centuries. It was an open secret that Aria had even been involved in facilitating slave trafficking directly between larger clients. To go from that to making every slaver completely banned on Omega… it was a mystery.
Or rather, it would have been a mystery for everyone else. Saren had more skill than any of those plebs and the backing of his position as a Spectre. He had simply hacked into the security vid feeds in Afterlife and gone through the footage. It had taken a few hours but he had found, he believed, the reason for the sudden change, when that Saiyan prince, Tunks or whatever he was called, strolled casually into the Afterlife VIP area, shortly before the window overlooking the club exploded. And going by how he didn't leave but Aria had a massive tantrum that led to her throwing around furniture in her office, Saren doubted that Aria had been the one to win their argument.
Aria's change of policy on slavery had not blown over well with most of the mercenaries on Omega. Many small riots had broken out among Blood Pack and Blue Suns against Aria's forces. Aria had needed to step in personally to take on belligerent groups that had decided to challenge the Queen. None of the ones that she personally faced had any survivors, but she made sure that there were plenty of witnesses. She had to be ruthless to make sure the trash didn't get any ideas of an uprising.
It had led to a mass exodus of the remaining slavers and pro-slavery mercenaries to other worlds and bases scattered throughout the Terminus systems. Hundreds, if not thousands of mercenaries had now moved to out of the way places and other non-Omega or Citadel colonies. Though truthfully, now that they were no longer able to sell to the Batarian Hegemony or on Omega, the market for slaves had fallen drastically to whatever petty warlords that were scattered throughout the lawless space.
There were still plenty of those warlords. There were even a few that had fleets out in the Terminus and controlled multiple planets. Though Saren believed that they were allowed by the Hierarchy because it gave them the justification to have a large fleet presence. Saren knew that if there was no threat then the asari would argue for a massive downsize in military forces.
But with there suddenly being a large number of angry and unemployed former slavers that were available for the right bidder. Which meant that Saren suddenly found himself with a morally corrupt and ethically uncaring army for the right price. How convenient.
At the moment he had them training and he was directing their efforts at improving their hacking and mechanical skills. Even the stupid grunt-only troopers were getting a crash course in computers before they were going to work on shooting. It was unbelievable to him that so many people who chose to do mercenary work never trained themselves to be better.
He had also heard some things he had not yet verified. Something about Khar'shan not really having blown up, or the saiyans recreating it. He would need to find out the truth about this to see if it changed his plans. For now, he was doing his best to prevent the information spreading to the batarian mercenaries. They were currently the most fanatical about helping him take down the saiyans in retaliation for the destruction of their home world. Losing them would be an annoyance he wouldn't tolerate.
Still, he was getting rumours from some STG contacts that things would be moving up on the saiyans, hopefully soon. He would need to make contact with the new salarian councillor and find a way to insert himself in the plan. He knew that there was a chance that the salarian wouldn't trust him until there was proof of his hatred of the saiyans. However, Saren was ready to give it his all. He was committed to this.
It might not be today; it might not be for another few years. But Saren would see the saiyans pay for the brother they took from him, and the arrogance that they throw around as they bully the galaxy around them.
He would have his revenge.
Well, that's done for now. I am publishing the chapter like this for now. I got a message about some metadata and security stuff I hadn't considered before, so I thought I would try this and see if that improves things.
Anyway, I thought I would include a Harbinger POV. I don't see that often, if ever and thought it would be a good inclusion. And it looks like Beerus is coming for a visit! That's always fun. Let me know what you think.