It had been a rather frustrating experience for Arvus ever since they'd made their way into the system.

He'd been at his station for days, ensuring the Eternal Vigil's systems ran smoothly, that the other ships in the expedition weren't detecting anything unusual, and keeping tabs on the status of the ship's crew. Nothing unusual for a typical patrol mission, even if the overall situation was anything but normal.

He'd been slightly worried when he'd been asked to send his men to the planet to secure a landing site, but in the end, he'd still ordered them down. With the commander of the expedition herself 'asking' him to do so, there really hadn't been any chance of refusing. Once a landing zone was secured, they'd send down the diplomatic team, talk to the locals, and bring yet another species into the Council's fold.

But then they'd discovered that, somehow, they'd managed to miss yet another spaceship already floating above the surface of this planet. Despite having the best scanners the Council could afford, and likely an entire cell of STG agents within the fleet, they'd missed a ship that was bigger than a dreadnought in orbit nearby.

It wasn't anything like the other ones that they'd encountered so far. Whereas the others were somewhat conical, heavily rusted, and heavily irradiated, this ship was a smooth, massive metallic disc, with glowing green highlights.

There was also the fact that it didn't give off any eezo signatures, had an exposed main gun that put the Vigil's to shame, and was made out of completely unidentifiable materials.

Which meant that either this species was much, much more advanced than they'd anticipated, or that there was yet another species they'd need to establish contact with.

Because we really needed yet another complication with this mission. Just what I wanted.

Either way, the rest of the expedition had practically frozen in light of this new discovery. The commander wanted to make sure that the diplomatic team was able to contact the ship first, while the other captains were making sure that their guns were ready to swing towards the new contact at a moment's notice.

And yet, despite this, he'd been ordered to leave his soldiers on the ground, without any kind of support, until the situation in orbit had been resolved. They would send reinforcements 'in an emergency', but until that point, they were on their own. Because being surrounded by hundreds of heavily-armed locals with no common language somehow wasn't an emergency.

Arvus groaned, holding his head in his talons. His migraine was in full swing now, making it feel like his head would split open at any second. From his glances around the rest of the CIC, the rest of the crew were feeling similarly frustrated. They were being forced into a bad situation yet again, and it was even more likely that they'd end up taking casualties.

Sighing, Arvus shook his head. The situation was bad, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Tanivia's last report, while slightly angry, had been somewhat positive. The locals weren't attacking, and her soldiers hadn't gotten too jumpy.

It's going to be fine, Arvus. It's going to be absolutely-

"Sir! Incoming transmission from Corporal Tanivia!"

Why now, why now, why right after I thought that, damn it?

"Put her on." Arvus ordered, straightening himself up and clearing his head. If the worst had happened, he needed to be ready to send out orders as quickly as possible.

After a few short moments, Tanivia's voice echoed out of this ship's speakers. "Eternal Vigil, this is ground team, do you copy? We have a…situation here. A weird one."

"What kind of 'situation', Tanivia?" Arvus asked, already feeling dread build up inside of him.

"We've gotten in contact with the locals. They managed to make a text-to-speech translator that works with us. Somehow."

"…Say again, Tanivia?"

"We can talk to the locals with some sort of computer they've got. I have no idea how it works, and neither do they. Either way, we've been talking to them for the past twenty minutes."

That was…good? Bad? Impossible?

On the one hand, his soldiers weren't being shot at. From the sounds of things, they had been successful in keeping the situation controlled.

On the other hand, the team that had personally fired first upon these people was now talking to the local officials without a single diplomat present and via technology that should not exist.

Who am I even kidding? This is going to be bad. Very, very bad.

"…How much have you told them about us?" Arvus asked, silently begging that they hadn't told the locals about the other ships they'd encountered.

"We haven't gone into anything classified or dangerous. At least, as far as I know. We're just covering the basics so far. Is there any chance the Asari are on their way here yet?"

Arvus glanced over at a nearby comms officer, grimacing when the crewman shook his head. "They're still occupied right now. The situation in orbit is…sensitive."

"Try to get them down here soon if you can. The local leader's been fairly welcoming so far, and he's willing to let us examine some of their gear. We wouldn't mind a little help with negotiations, though. They nearly convinced Caevius to trade his rifle for a plasma gun."


"That was a joke! A joke! I wasn't actually going to do it!"

"Then you really need to work on your jokes, Caevius." Tanivia said, giving him the most deadpan stare she could muster.

She couldn't completely blame him, though. After 'Courier Six' had let them examine some of the local weaponry, she'd almost been willing to do the same thing. The projectile-based weapons the local soldiers were using weren't impressive, as expected. Six's guns, on the other hand…

They're literally a post-apocalyptic society. How the hell do they have infantry-scale laser and plasma weaponry before us?

"Regardless, we should be fine for now, sir. Whatever's going on up there, please get us an actual diplomat soon." Tanivia continued, facing her omnitool.

"…Understood. We'll do our best. Just…don't make the natives upset until then." Arvus ordered, with the call cutting out shortly afterwards.

"Like we'd want to make them upset." Tanivia muttered, turning back towards the rest of the group. Courier Six was standing near Caevius, with both energetically communicating through the bizarre translation device. The 'New California Republic' soldiers that had accompanied Six were milling around, either watching the discussion going on nearby or glancing around nearby.

After the language issue had been solved, the tension had dropped remarkably quickly. The rest of her squad and the other native soldiers were much more relaxed than before, and the weapons had finally been lowered.

Not that the rest of her soldiers were going to leave their position at the intersection, of course. It was just that occupying that position simply felt slightly less hostile than before.

At least this 'Six' person seems fairly calm about it so far. Tanivia mused, moving back towards the conversation. She had been expecting some sort of ruthless warlord, or deranged dictator, or something else of a similar nature. She hadn't been expecting an easygoing, friendly, upbeat person underneath the hulking mass of guns, armor, and equipment the man wore.

As she rejoined Caevius, hearing him laugh and chatter happily with Six, she couldn't help but feel slightly better about the whole situation. They'd avoided a yahg-level fuckup, at the very least, and Six had been levelheaded so far.

Maybe this won't be so bad after all?


Sorry about the previous formatting issues, it should hopefully be fixed now.