The Second Epilogue
Two hundred and sixteen years, three months, eight days, fifteen hours, seven minutes, fifteen seconds post landing:
The Mass Effect Epilogue
Inspired by Cal's Mass Effect Idea
The Turian captain regarded the small group of ships with hungry anticipation. They were odd shaped things, looking more like aquatic creatures than ships with their elongated shapes and fins.
A short war with a group of primitives was just what the Hierarchy needed to keep things from getting too dull, he decided. They'd get a live fire exercise against a few self mobile targets, followed by enough ground action to get the blood pumping, finally capping it all off with a new client species and the wealth it was sure to bring. There were literally no downsides that he could foresee. Everyone benefitted.
"Surprised they're this far from a planet, looks like they've got barely enough life support for a round trip to the gate from their home world," the sensor officer stated. "No sign of eezo."
"Primitives playing with things far above their heads," the captain pronounced, satisfied that his initial thoughts had been right.
Unfortunately for him and his fleet, he was dead wrong. The ships built by magicals were unique in that the majority of what one would normally be on a ship were located on planets light years from the vessels they supported. Rare was the magical ship that had crew quarters or a mess hall, why bother when one could walk through a door and be back on planet. It explained why the life support systems seemed to be so inadequate the the sensor officer, their sole purpose was to buy enough time to get the crew off the ship in the event of an emergency.
Captain Marissa Henley of the Granger Combine research vessel Science Triumphant sipped her coffee, knowing the gesture would help calm the bridge crew.
"GCRV Mwahaha reports the last non-essential off and emergency portkeys primed," her communications officer reported.
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," she said dryly. No one wanted to have to take an emergency portkey if one could help it, though unable to prove it everyone agreed that the spinning got worse as distance increased. Current theory among the boffins was that the transport magic interfered with the inner ear. "Order every ship to set their deadman."
"Order sent and acknowledged."
"Any response to our hails?"
"No, captain I – weapons powering up!"
"Order all crews to prepare to abandon ship," she ordered. "Everyone gets out the second those weapons fire."
"Firing! Snorkack's been hit. No losses to crew."
"Abandon ship." The woman frowned, why weren't scuttling charges . . . her frown turned into a smile when the Snorkack disappeared in a multicolored ball of wild magic.
Captain Henley watched calmly as every ship self destructed before stepping off the bridge and onto her base world.
The Turian captain was shocked to his core at what happened. The primitives had suicided. Whether it was due to the fact that they could not handle the thought of combat or to avoid the possibility of capture remained to be seen.
"Did we get any sign that their weapons were powering up?" the captain asked.
"No sign of any weapons, sir," the sensor officer replied. "It appears they were completely unarmed, sir."
He'd just destroyed a group of helpless primitives, the thought rocked the officer. "Send a message to high command telling them what transpired here. Tell them . . ." what would be the best career move? "Tell them that I recommend assembling an invasion fleet immediately before the primitives send out a force to see what happened to their ships."
"Do not mention that the ships appeared to have been unarmed."
Captain Henley allowed herself to relax after the other ship captains confirmed that they'd suffered no losses as a result of the disastrous first contact. Her career might have died with her ships but none of her people had gone with it. That was all that mattered.
"Home office's response came back, captain!" the base communication officer announced loudly as he approached.
"It's from the origonal two."
That had the potential to be very good or very bad, she reflected to herself. "Give it here." She took the paper from the man and let her eyes dart over it, sagging in relief she gave it a proper read. "Gather up people, I've got an announcement!"
Her crews approached, the tension going out of them as the say how relaxed she looked.
"Got a message from home office," the former Captain of the GCRV Science Triumphant announced. The crews of the destroyed ships gathered closer, hope and fear warring for dominance on every face. "Written by the Fabricators themselves. They say that we are to be commended for our handling of the situation." She paused to let them digest that. "It further states that we will get first preference for a new research assignment and that policy will be changed so that from now on all research ships will be escorted by either goblin warships or Potter Security vessels if there is any possibility of a repeat of today. Good work, people. I want you to help get the base broken down and off world, this sector is about to be a warzone and the sooner we're out of here the better it will be for everyone."
Fleetlord Burnscar was in command of the first significant military force to respond to the provocation. It was pure happenstance that his task force was in the middle of a training maneuver in the neighboring system.
"Shanxi command reports evacuation complete, Fleetlord!"
"Excellent. How soon before reinforcements arrive?"
"Admiral Helmut is two days out with the sixth, two dozen Potter ships will be arriving in the next hour, and-" A ship bearing a strong resemblance to a five hundred meter striped sock appeared. "A Potter Cleaning and Landscaping ship will be arriving momentarily," she finished dryly. "Head Elf Slappy of the Kind and Generous Harry Potter sir requests a conference, Fleetlord Burnscar."
"Slappy greets Fleetlord Burnscar!" the fierce looking elf stated. "Slappy has come to clean ships of bad aliens that dared try to hurt the kind and generous Harry Potter sir's Hermy and Loveygood's peoples. Slappy tells Fleetlord that the Wonderful Harry Potter sir, the Generous Harry Potter sir, the Noble Harry Potter sir, and the Powerful Harry Potter sir will arrive in the next three days to help clean bad alien ships." The elf's grin turned murderous. "Head Elf Dobby is coming hisself in the Great Wizard Harry Potter sir, Head Elf Dobby has ordered all good elves to come, all good elves will clean bad alien planets after bad alien ships are clean."
Fleetlord Burnscar's grin matched the elf. "Be sure to take a few prisoners before the ships are completely clean, much easier to get answers that way."
"Unless one is the kind and generous Harry Potter sir," the elf agreed. "Slappy will tell his elves to take many prisoners, prisoners to be presents for Head Elf Dobby to give to his Spikenose. Many prisoners for Slappy to give to Auditor Terror so maybe Terror will date Slappy."
"Wonderful," Burnscar agreed. The number of romantic pairings between Auditors and House Elves was one of the more disturbing things about the alliance. "Mind helping us upgrade the system defense grid while we wait for our guests to arrive?"
"Slappy and all his good elves would be happy to help make the kind and generous Harry Potter sir's Hermy and Loveygood's system stronger before bad aliens arrive."
More reinforcements arrived in dribs and drabs and joined the effort to turn what had been an unimportant research station into the deadliest trap in the galaxy.
The Turian invasion fleet was the largest assembled in living memory. Two dreadnaught battle groups and enough troop transports to take and occupy a planet. The planners all knew it was overkill, but when else were you going to get a chance to have a live fire exercise of this scale? They would soon learn that it wasn't enough, it wasn't even close to sufficient.
"Enemy fleet's still coming through the relay, Fleetlord."
"Order all ships to stand by until they're all through, I don't want any of them getting away. No active scanning until then, I don't want to tip them off too early."
Time seemed to crawl as ship after ship appeared and their advantage became slimmer and slimmer.
"Looks like they're all through, Fleetlord. Enemy fleet is starting to move towards the planet. Enemy fleet is transmitting an order to surrender."
"Prepare to record."
"This is Fleetlord Burnscar. I am in overall command of the Shanxi system defense. You have attacked our allies in the Granger Combine, you have invaded their system, you are ordered to power down and prepare to be boarded. If you refuse, the death and destruction I visit upon you will be your responsibility. You have been warned."
"Recorded and ready for transmission, Fleetlord."
"Signal all ships to make ready. On my mark, I want one of the system defense portals to put a shot across the bow of their lead ship. I want an active scan on their fleet as soon as the portal burns out. Two heartbeats later, I want my demand to be sent."
"In three . . . two . . . one . . . mark."
One hundred thousand kilometers away, a house sized vanishing cabinet rotated to target the space in front of the Turian lead element and opened. A thousand lightyears away, its twin opened and degraded its orbit to plunge into a pulsar.
Fleetlord Burnscar watched in satisfaction as a lance of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays and electromagnetic radiation blocked the enemy fleet's advance for a split second.
"Fleetlord, we're getting the take from our scan. They don't have shields," the sensor officer reported in shock.
"Any response to my ultimatum?"
"They're stating that we are in violation of a number of council edicts on the use of nuclear weaponry and demanding our immediate submission."
Fleetlord Burscar's grin became feral. "Away boarders!"
Throughout the course of history there are a handful of events so significant that they leave an indefinable mark on those alive to witness them giving them perfect recollection of where and when they were when they were when they heard the news. It was a common question in the decades following the event, where were you when the dreadnaught appeared? Where were you when the universe changed?
It didn't take long before a team from C-sec had been dispatched to investigate the derelict in hopes that they'd be able to make some sense of how it had appeared and what had happened to the crew. What they found would terrify even the most battle hardened Krogan.
Tevos stared at her Turian counterpart until the idiot began to show signs of discomfort. "Have you identified the ship?"
"Yes, it's the Indomitable."
"Wonderful, exactly where is it supposed to be and what is it supposed to be doing?"
"I'm still waiting for Palaven to reply to my inquiry. Command assures me that declassifying the answer will be their highest priority."
"No need to rush," the Salarian rep said jovially. "Fortunately, the computers were left decrypted. I can answer any questions our esteemed colleague would care to ask without the need to bother the busy people on Palaven."
"How did you get that information? I was given to understand that C-Sec hadn't completed their report," the Turian said sharply.
"Still gathering information," the Salarian agreed. "Fortunately for us, there happened to be an STG team on station that was able to bang something out for us so we wouldn't have to wait."
"Well?" Tevos prompted.
"Seemed it was part of a fleet sent to invade and occupy what our friends on Palaven thought was a primitive world."
"Their ships were seen attempting to violate the council edict against opening relays," the Turian interrupted. "It was a police action."
"In response to the violation of one council edict from a species that was unaware if it, you with full knowledge decided to violate several others?" She glared at the man for several seconds. "Continue, please, what have we learned."
"One interesting thing of note is that there is absolutely no sign of the crew, not so much as a skin cell."
"Any information on the race the Turians have declared war on?"
"Three at a minimum. Watch." The Salarian brought up a recording. "This is from the first contact. I have one more you need to see."
The alien creature on screen bore a strong resemblance to the Asari.
"This is Captain Henley of the Granger Combine research vessel Science Triumphant. It is my pleasure to greet you and to be the first to extend the hand of friendship on behalf of myself, my ships, and the Alliance."
To Tevos' horror, the Turian response was to open fire. "What in the hell were you idiots thinking?" she demanded.
The Salarian helpfully paused the video. "Sensors records show no indication that the alien ships were even armed."
Tevos pinched the bridge of her nose. "How many of them got away?"
The Salurian unpaused the video and the council watched as the strange ships disappeared in multicolored explosions. "My analysts suggest that the Captains ordered their ships to be destroyed with their crews to prevent a demonstrably hostile power from gaining any intelligence." His tone of voice indicated his approval of the order. He wondered how they'd gotten warning to their government to have a fleet prepared of if the government had gathered the fleet after the ships had not returned? Answering that would tell much about the Alliance.
"The initial report made no mention of the fact that the ships were unarmed," the uncomfortable looking Turian councilor said defensively.
"Play the next recording," Tevos said. She watched calmly as Burnscar made his demand to surrender. The Turian response threatened to set off another wave of rage. "Why'd you stop it?" she asked after her Salurian colleague paused the recording again.
"This next part is from the ship's internal security cameras, you may wish to brace yourselves. Things are much worse than we could have imagined."
"The other Councilors watched in shocked horror as hundreds of odd floppy eared creatures appeared out of nothingness and set upon the dreadnaught's crew. Screaming Turians tried to fight back only to be overwhelmed and vanished. The violence was over as quickly as it began and the odd creatures began mopping up bloodspots and polishing work surfaces. The little aliens disappeared, leaving the ship vacant for several seconds until one reappeared looking directly into the camera.
"I is Slappy, Head Elf of the Kind and Generous Harry Potter sir. You bad aliens have tried to harm the Great Harry Potter sir's Hermy's people. You bad aliens have tried to harm Slappy's family. Slappy has cleaned your ship, Slappy has no need for a clean ship so Slappy returns it to you. Bad aliens be warned, Dobby is coming, Dobby will clean your planets. Dobby will have no one to return them to. Dobby will deal with bad aliens that try to harm the kind and generous Harry Potter sir's Hermy and Loveygood's people. Slappy suggests bad aliens hope very hard that the kind and generous Harry Potter sir is merciful and decides to stop Dobby, Slappy knows that no one else can."
The recording ended.
"We believe that Harry Potter is either the name of their leader or their god," the Salurian stated. "Analysts are worried that was an announcement of genocidal holy war."
"You dragged us into a shooting war with a technologically superior multi race alliance?" Tevos exclaimed in horror. "I knew we should have gone with the Krogans."
AN: That's all, folks.
Ideas by Cal, Shalon Wood,
Beta by Clell Harmon
Omake: The Asari
Captain Teisso V'lajin of the Asari Republic ship Tranquility took it as a good sign that she didn't immediately come under fire the second she emerged from the relay. She took it as a better sign that she wasn't immediately boarded by the terrifying little aliens that had destroyed the crew of the Indomitable.
"We're being hailed," her communications officer reported.
One of the odd Asari lookalikes appeared. "This is Captain Greene of the Potter Security Vessel Sirius Dogfather, I am transmitting route instructions. Any deviation from the assigned route will be taken as a hostile act and we will respond accordingly."
"This is Captain Teisso V'lajin of the Asari Republic ship Tranquility, we have received your instructions and will comply. I am here on behalf of the council to begin negotiations to end the current hostilities between your alliance and the Turians. The council wishes to stress that none of the other races were aware of the Turians' criminal actions towards your people."
"I'll kick it up the chain," Captain Greene promised. "Any other ships following you?"
"We are the only ship sent by the Council to the best of my knowledge," Teisso replied.
Her breath caught when one of the terrifying creatures that had made up the boarding party that had taken the Indomitable appeared next to Captain Green.
"You is calling Dippy?"
"Try to take them all alive."
"Dippy will try," the deadly alien agreed.
"We detected another ship in your wake," Captain Greene said blandly. "Heavily stealthed, but not heavily enough to confuse our sensors."
"Likely STG," Teisso said, mouth dry. "I had no idea they were there."
"That's for the Auditors to determine," Captain Greene stated with a disinterested shrug. "You'll be contacted by a Granger Combine ship in a few minutes, follow their instructions to the letter if you wish to stay alive."
"We will comply to the letter," Teisso agreed, happy that her mission hadn't failed before it began. Damned Salurians.
The time between heartbeats felt like an eternity as the crawled deeper into the system. The reward for doing a good job is to be assigned a more difficult one, with that in mind she should feel honored to have been chosen for the assignment, Teisso reflected to herself. Good enough to be trusted and expendable enough to be sent. The orders had been simple, do your best to end the war. If that isn't possible, do anything you deem necessary to convince them to focus on the Turians rather than the Council as a whole and if all else failed do whatever necessary to keep the Alliance from targeting the Asari.
"We're being hailed," her comms officer reported.
"This is the GCRV Eureka, you are ordered to cease all forward movement."
"Received." She nodded to her helm. "Do it."
"We're sending a shuttle for your envoy, they may have up to two aides accompany them."
"Thank you, I shall be waiting at the airlock. My first officer, Sasinau will be on hand to ensure that any further instructions are complied with," she stated, nodding to the woman.
The shuttle was empty, just a shell seemingly without so much as a piloting station. Taking a seat in one of the three provided chairs, the Asari took the opportunity the transport time afforded to mentally go over her instructions, the familiarity doing much to help her maintain her equilibrium.
A muted bump was the only indication she got that the shuttle had reached its destination before the airlock cycled. A dozen troops stood rigidly on either side of the airlock forming a corridor she had to walk down to enter the ship. Being the eternal optimist, she decided to take it as a sign of respect rather than a threat. Another of the odd Asari like aliens walked past the lines of troops to the airlock.
"Greetings, my name is Miranda Smythe. I am a diplomat from one of the home world governments. Welcome, it is my pleasure to extend my hand in peace and friendship on behalf of my world and my nation."
The tension went out of her. "I am Captain Teisso V'lajin of the Asari Republic ship Tranquility, it is my pleasure to accept on behalf of the Asari Republic and the Citadel."
"Come with me," Miranda ordered. "I think we have a chance to avoid a war but I'll warn you, it won't be easy to convince the Alliance to back down."
"Don't you represent the Alliance?"
"I represent the government of the nation in which the Alliance was founded," Miranda replied. "That gives me a bit of influence, but not enough to dictate terms. I was chosen to meet with you because I'm the closest thing to a neutral party they could find."
The came to an empty conference room and Teisso took a seat at the table across from the friendly alien.
"I think the first thing we need to do is go over a bit of background information," Miranda stated. "The Alliance is an agreement between a number of groups. The main ones are the Potter Conglomerate, the Granger family, the Granger Combine, and the Gringotts clan of Goblins."
"Corporations?" Teisso said weakly. The diplomat did her best not to let her dismay show at the thought of dealing with illogical beings motivated by profit and greed rather than sensible beings motivated by power and intrigue. She'd just have to make the best of things.
"For the most part founded and run by people with very little use for government oversight. The exception is the Gringotts clan of Goblins which is recognized as sovereign and which has extended the fig leaf of that sovereignty to cover the other members of the Alliance. The nations of the home world are in agreement that we do not wish to engage in an interplanetary war. The Alliance has agreed that home world may stay out of it."
"You can't stop them?"
"Until very recently, the sole source of faster than light starships available to anyone outside of the Alliance was the Granger Combine. They still produce ships an order of magnitude more advanced than anything anyone else has been able to make." The diplomat smiled. "In short, no. We couldn't stop them even if we were willing to go to war on your behalf."
"I see." Teisso took a moment to absorb the information. "Do you know why the Alliance is so focused on war?"
"The Granger Combine is incensed that their unarmed research ships were attacked. The Potter Conglomerate is incensed that their ally's unarmed research ships were attacked. The Gringotts Clan agrees and argues that violent conquest and a horrific example of what happens to any foolish enough to attack the Alliance is the best way of keeping something similar from happening again. The house elves . . ."
"Want to commit genocide," Teisso finished.
"I think Warmaster Harry Potter has managed to talk them out of it," Miranda stated calmly. "I know that both the heads of the Granger Combine and the head of the Granger family both argued against it as did the heads of several of the smaller corporations in the Alliance."
"Who or what is Warmaster Harry Potter?"
"Harry Potter is the head and founder of the Potter Conglomerate," Miranda stated. "He's also one of the five or six most powerful individuals in the Alliance."
"Is he also the leader of the house elves?"
"Not exactly. The leader of the house elves is Head Elf Dobby. Harry Potter is human." Not that the elves wouldn't cheerfully follow any order he chose to give.
"If he's a human, why do the house elves treat him with such reverence?" she asked in an attempt to gain more understanding of how the Alliance worked.
"House elves are very social creatures, they need to have a family to belong to and in return for being admitted to the family, they will help the family in a number of different ways. In the past, some unscrupulous people took advantage of that to enslave many of them. Harry Potter put an end to that starting with Head Elf Dobby, the first of the free."
Miranda took a deep breath, even just going over the highlights it was a long story.
"After freeing Dobby, Harry asked him what would make him happy. Dobby replied that all he wished to do was to work and help a family for house elves saw work as the purest expression of love and loyalty. Harry Potter thought hard before speaking. He told Dobby that he had no family, but that he would be proud to take Dobby as a friend. He told Dobby that he had no work for Dobby to do, but that he would find it for his new friend if Dobby wished. In time, Harry Potter freed more elves and found more work for them until one day he came to a realization. Calling all the elves together, he told them that he was wrong when he said that he did not have a family, for they were his family, and that he would work hard for the rest of his life to help his family grow and prosper."
Teisso committed the story to memory, origin legends were some of the best ways to understand a culture.
"Least that's what they say in the history books, suppose it's probably as true as everything else in them. I know that the house elves state that it fails to capture Harry Potter's greatness and nobility and that Harry Potter himself says that it's a load of garbage and that he didn't even know what he was doing half the time. Elves say he's just being modest so who knows where the truth is."
"Would it be possible to get some history books?"
"We anticipated your request, we have several in the process of being sanitized to remove anything that might help you pinpoint the location of our home world. They'll also help to explain why the elves are so incensed by the attack on the Granger Combine."
Teisso nodded for the woman to continue.
"Most house elves work for Potter Cleaning and Landscaping which is an independent company under the umbrella of the larger Potter Conglomerate. The second largest employers are the Granger family and the Granger Combine which aren't the same thing but are close enough to count as one family to the house elves with the Alliance as a whole being a bigger family." Miranda pursed her lips. "House elves consider the head of the Granger Combine, Fabricator General Hermione Granger, to be a brilliant girl that's sweet tempered and a bit dim at times."
"That sounds like a bit of a contradiction," Teisso stated.
"She learned about house elves and the treatment they received after Harry Potter freed Dobby and she was horrified. To her, the conditions they were kept under was nothing less than slavery. Slavery was the most immoral thing she could think of and she decided to free them all, even the ones that didn't want to be freed."
"Didn't want to be freed? Why wouldn't they want to be freed?"
"The considered the houses they served to be their families, they saw her as a home wrecking attempted kidnapper," Miranda snorted. "Harry Potter got wind of the situation and explained to the elves that she had taken it to heart when they said they were members of the families that mistreated them. He then had her tell them how she felt in her own words, she explained to them that not only had she taken it to heart when they told her that they were helping their families, but that she had taken it to its logical conclusion. She told them that she saw people abusing their family members and made it her mission to rescue and adopt them all."
Miranda looked into Teisso's eyes. "Family is more important to house elves than anything else, she was at the time a very young girl and the thought of a child willing to dedicate her life rescuing future members of her family from bad situations was something that spoke to them. Combine that with her close relationship with Harry Potter and nearly all elves see her as a member of their family, she reciprocates and she also sees her employees as members of her family. So far as she and they are concerned, you attacked her family when you fired on her ships. An attack on her family is an attack on theirs. She and they take that very personally."
When the Turians attacked her ships," Teisso corrected hastily. "Neither the council nor the Asari Republic had anything to do with the crimes against the Granger Combine."
"I'll try to stress that when I make my report," Miranda promised. "It might even matter to someone. I know the goblins would say that you were allied at the time and you should have picked your allies with more care."
"So what now?"
"Now I give you a long list of demands," Miranda replied. "I'm told that they are the bare minimum that the Alliance is willing to consider. I've also been told that some of them were calculated to be as insulting as possible in hopes of provoking the Turians to continue the war."
"What? Why?" A mix of terror and horror swirling in her gut, hoping desperately that her mission hadn't been doomed from the start.
"Only one thing convinced the Alliance to agree to the possibility of a negotiated settlement, the Batarians. Every member of the alliance agrees with the fact that slavery is an anathema to all civilized beings. A war with the Turians would delay the destruction of the Batarian government and the emancipation of all slaves held in Batarian space. In short, there's almost nothing the Alliance wants to do more than crush and humble the Turians. Fortunately for all concerned, destroying the Batarians and freeing the slaves is one of the few things."
Teisso shrugged. "I doubt the Citidel would have a problem with that." Her eyes went to the list of demands. "The loss of every client species?"
"Gringotts is quite eager to enter a partnership with the soon to be independent Volus," Miranda explained. "The rest of the Alliance feels that the loss of tax revenue would make it more difficult for the Turians to build up a fleet large enough to threaten another of their research colonies."
Teisso turned back to the list. "Why stand up for the Quarians?"
"First of all, it's the right thing to do. Second, they asked us."
"One of their ships came through a day before yours did. They petitioned for aid from the Alliance and were granted permission to move to Alliance space."
"You know what they did?"
"We do. Oddly enough, the Geth contacted us shortly after with a similar request."
"What?" Teisso stared at the human with undisguised shock.
"Says good things about their intelligence network or bad things about the Quarians' counter intelligence or both," Miranda agreed. "We're still not sure how the Alliance will respond."
"They can't be dealt with," Teisso said firmly.
"Above my pay grade," Miranda said with a shrug. Though considering the Fabricator Locum's reaction upon meeting her first platform it was unlikely in the extreme that the Alliance would do anything more than welcome them with open arms. "Be happy to pass up any intel you'd be willing to pass along."
"I'll see to it."
"Bottom line on the Turian matter is that the Alliance wishes to be open about the fact that they are trying to provoke the Turians into refusing peace. They are willing to let things go at heavy reparations and the above demands, but the vast majority of the alliance would prefer to make an example of how they act when we're being nice as a counterpoint to the example we make with the Batarians."
"I'm surprised you didn't demand they lose their seat on the council."
"As I understand it, the Alliance feels that sort of thing is an internal matter."
"The Turians aren't going to like losing so much."
"My people have a saying that goes something along the lines of; winning a war can take almost everything you have but it's worth it because losing a war will cost everything. They have no chance of winning and the cost to the Alliance isn't even a rounding error on a quarterly finance report."
The Turian Representative got visibly angrier and angrier as he read the list of demands. How dare they, what made them think they could force such shame on the race most responsible for the safety of the Council races.
Tevos nodded to the Salarian representative, indicating that he should take the lead.
"We have both been in contact with our respective government and have formed a joint response," the Salarian stated.
"Without consulting me?!"
"There was no need. Our response is, as follows: every race with a seat on the council agrees to your terms. Your government is welcome to send a different response."
AN: A lot of show, a little tell, very little desire to treat this idea with the attention it deserves. Both this and the parent idea were supposed to be short omake, I am not going to let them spawn a whole new story.
Omake: Background Information
Tevos herself was waiting at the dock when the human vessel arrived along with two battalions of Asari commandos, every available C-Sec officer, and god knows how many STG teams to ensure the security of the representative.
"Good afternoon, my name is Quintin Chalmers. I happened to have attended two years of formal schooling with a number of the founders of the Alliance so I was chosen by the home world governments to speak with you about them in hopes of convincing you not to continue your war with the Alliance."
Tevos carefully forced her lips into a human smile, something the protocol officers assured her was a friendly gesture in their culture. "Let me have the honor of conveying the happy news that peace has been made."
"Wonderful, it seems my trip has been wasted." Quintin relaxed a touch. "I would still be willing to deliver what insights I could on the leaders of the Alliance if you wish."
"Please," Tevos agreed. The retinue made their way to more comfortable and secure surroundings of the Council Chamber.
"To start with, I . . . we grew up in an era in which those with magical powers . . . ah, a bit like your biotics, sequestered themselves in hidden societies. People without powers were lucky to make it to their first century, those with often failed to make it to their third." Quintin sighed. "It was a horrible time, both societies were threatened by genocidal terrorists that, well, I'll go into more detail later if you like but suffice to say that their reasons were just as idiotic as they usually are. We were students learning to master our powers and were doing our best to survive."
"The terrorists attacked children?"
"Children were some of their favorite targets," Quintin stated. "They were cowards that knew they could never stand up to the might of the public. Believing otherwise is what led to their destruction. A lot of students feared and admired Harry Potter, he was one of the main targets of the terrorists. He survived his first murder attempt when he was a year old and he survived countless more before the war was over, often by killing his attackers without mercy or any hesitation. As children we admired him for his heroism and feared him for his body count and absolute ruthlessness."
"Understandable," Tevos murmured. "I can only imagine how horrific it must have been."
"Even after the Battle of Hogsmeade when nearly all of the upper years had blood on their hands, Potter was still something different. Most people can take a life in the heat of battle but most people have to work themselves up to it, Potter doesn't. It scared us how utterly ruthless he could be but it also comforted us to know that he was on our side. It made things a bit uncomfortable for everyone at times."
"Could you tell me more about the Battle of Hogsmeade?"
"The school would permit students to go to the nearby town on some weekends to go shopping and to have a day out. The terrorists attacked with the intention of murdering as many children as possible. Harry Potter led the townspeople and students in the town's defense until Neville Longbottom, one of the other leaders of the Alliance arrived with more upper years as reinforcements and they then slaughtered the terrorists to the last. No student was lost."
"Then we learned that we shouldn't have been afraid of Harry Potter, not when Fabricator General Granger and Fabricator Locum Lovegood were around. They showed us what terror was, they destroyed everything." Quentin shook his head. "Think of it this way; Potter's surgical, if he has a problem with you then he will kill you. He'll put his foot on the throat of anyone he leaves alive and he'll pull out their teeth so they won't be a threat but he'll leave survivors. Granger and Lovegood are indiscriminate, they'll burn your worlds to a crisp and not give the matter another thought."
"What about the others?"
"The goblins will loot then burn. The house elves will loot, burn, and kill everything down to the microorganisms. The rest of the alliance will mostly let the above take the lead. You understand why I'm so relieved that you chose to take their offer of peace, I have no desire to see what would happen if you didn't."
"What of the home world governments?"
Quintin sighed. "Understand that we have power and independence only so long as the Alliance permits it. We shall send an ambassador, but we will not be joining the Citadel or placing ourselves under your authority. Too large a chance that such an action would provoke the Alliance and we're too fond of the illusion of our independence to lose it."
"Understandable, thank you for the information."
"Thank the head of the Granger family for arranging my visit. He's more interested in cutting deals and making money than making war. Well, except for on the Batarians. His view of slavers is in accordance with the rest of the Alliance. I advise you to watch what happens. It will be an example of how the Alliance acts when it's got the gloves on, so to speak. The slaves represent a rather large population that the Alliance will do their utmost to rescue. Had war broken out between the Council and the Alliance, it is an advantage that your worlds would not have had."
AN: Either they found someone who would say what they wanted them to say or they found someone and coached them to say what they wanted said. Not too happy with this one but: have idea → write idea.
Omake: The Battle of Hogsmeade, A Historical Perspective
Her heart was pounding as she stepped up to the podium. It was rare for someone her age to get the opportunity to speak to such an influential audience on such an important subject. She hoped that she'd been chosen because she was likely the closest thing to an expert to be found rather than due to her family connections though, knowing her people it was likely a mixture of the two.
"Hello, my name is Liara T'Soni. Thank you for inviting me to give a brief talk on my dissertation on the formation of the Alliance. As you will no doubt recall if you had a chance to read my dissertation, before we begin, I must caution you that my access to Alliance records is extremely limited and as such this should be though of more as a work in progress than anything definite." Brace yourself for stupid questions, she told herself. Chances were that at most only one of the three had done more than causally glance at the title page. "My argument is that studying the Battle of Hogsmeade and its after effects is the best way to gain insight on the Alliance and its leadership as well as the leadership of their home nation's government."
She took a deep breath and moistened her lips. "The battle looms large in the founding myth of the Alliance. It showed the people of Britain that they could stand up to the best the terrorist Voldemort had to offer and that they could break them. Voldemort sent his forces to Hogsmeade with two orders. The main and most important goal was to kill Warmaster Harry Potter. The first team, the assassination team was ordered to focus entirely on the task of eliminating the Warmaster while the second team was tasked with protecting the first team. Their second order which was to be carried out only after the death of the Warmaster or in case Warmaster Potter was not present was to eliminate as many Hogwarts students and townspeople as possible."
"How sure are you of the terrorist leader's orders, Ms. T'Soni?" Tevos asked.
"I was able to get them from the interrogation reports, Councilor. While very few prisoners were taken, there were enough for what would become Alliance intelligence to get a good idea of what the main terrorist goals were," Liara reported. "According to them the terrorist leader Voldemort stated that if the assassination team suffered higher casualties than the security team that he would see personally that their casualty figures matched starting with the commanders of the security team."
"I see. Proceed."
"It's not known how the terrorists were able to get such good intel on the Warmaster's movements, considering how poor their intelligence was for most of the war. Several scholars have speculated that the Warmaster leaked his movements to the enemy to draw them out, but I personally discount this due to how few armsmen he had with him. According to the records he had no more than two members of his bodyguard in addition to his aide. I am afraid that I am able to give no satisfactory answers to this question."
She took a deep breath. "As I was saying, due to either spectacular luck or unusually good intelligence the terrorists were able to land their assassination team right in front of Warmaster Potter. According to every eyewitness account I've been able to find, the Warmaster attacked without hesitation upon their appearance. It should also be noted that the Warmaster had yet to reach adulthood when this happened."
"You say that Warmaster Potter had at most three individuals with him," the Turian councilor spoke up. "How many enemies did he face?"
"It's hard to say, Councilor," Liara said. "Eyewitness reports and post battle assessments state that the assassination team was made up of anywhere between as few as twenty five to as many as fifty individuals."
"Why such a big disparity in numbers?" the Turian councilor persisted.
"Several reasons, Councilor. The main one is that the Warmaster, upon seeing the terrorists attempting to flee in the later stages of the battle invented a new effect which fatally disrupted their teleportations. I'm sorry I can't give you a better answer, Councilor."
The Turian waved it off and motioned for her to continue.
"The attack took place in front of the Three Broomsticks, a popular bar and restaurant in which the Warmaster was planning to have a meeting with several representatives of the goblin nation including future Fleetlord Shattertooth and future Destroyer Groupmaster Axeslash. It should be noted that the Fleetlord ordered his subordinates to watch the battle from as many angles as possible and to lean out the windows as far as possible in hopes that one of them might get hit by a stray spell."
"Why?" Tevos interrupted.
"The goblins were, at the time, neutral. The Fleetlord's orders included a caveat that any spell that hit was to be treated as if it came from one of the terrorists regardless of the actual source. He was hoping to use it as an excuse to join the battle on the side of the Warmaster."
Liara waited to see if there were anymore questions that had been covered by her paper. There were none. "Above them was one of Warmaster Potter's classmates: Susan Bones, the niece of the Alliance Home Secretary Amelia Bones, then Director of Magical Law Enforcement, along with her security detail."
"Minister of Trade, Susan Bones?" Tevos clarified.
"Yes, Councilor," Liara agreed. "Also present was her best friend, now Minister of Health Hannah Abbot. As she was being evacuated, Minister Bones ordered that as many members of her security detail as could be spared should remain behind to fight alongside Warmaster Potter and to protect the town. She then, accompanied by only her friend and one guard, went immediately to her allies in the Granger Clan to summon additional reinforcements. Also present at the Granger Clan estates was a relative of the Granger Clan, Juliette Featherstone-Hugh."
"The future Juliette Longbottom, of Longbottom Pharmaceuticals?"
"Yes, Councilor." Liara reminded herself that she was dealing with Councilors so she couldn't expect them to have troubled themselves with little things like reading the damn paper they were supposed to discuss before the discussion like academics would. "As well as Featherstone Foods, Hugh Farms, JL Research Labs, and several other companies. Lady Longbottom was at the estate to use a communication device to converse with her future husband and she alerted him to the attack. He in turn opened a portal to the Three Broomsticks, ordered the evacuation of the younger students and organized the elder students into an attacking force which hit the assassination team from behind. That spelled the end of the team sent to assassinate Warmaster Potter. Not one member survived"
"What about the second team?" the Turian councilor prompted.
"It gets strange there, Councilor. The youngest three of the Weasley brothers, the founders of 'TripleW' and 'Weasley and Daughters and Sons and more Daughters and one more Son and another Daughter and likely more to come Custom Brooms' had written a pamphlet which stated that the best way to achieve romantic success was to save a potential mate from either a murderous terrorist or a dangerous creature. Many of the unattached youth in town away from the main battle saw the presence of terrorists as an ideal chance to secure a mate by slaughtering as many terrorists as possible which they did with cheerful abandon. They had the advantage that the terrorists were in much smaller groups than they were at the main battle site and the advantage that the terrorists were unused to meeting resistance. Upon seeing the success the young people were having against the terrorists, the townspeople joined in."
"Were there any notables present in any of the smaller battles?"
"The largest of the small fights was fought and won by Donald Drake, of DW Confections which is a member of the alliance and his future wife Wanda Drake nee Wilkins. They were able to hold off several terrorists until reinforcements arrived, saving the lives of several younger children in the process. Both were given the Order of Merlin, the then magical government's highest award for their courage under fire."
She sighed. "The battle of Hogsmeade was mostly over at that point, the only other action of note was the massacre of the third terrorist group. I'm afraid there's very little information on that action, councilors."
"Is that where the house elves were?" the Turian asked.
"One house elf, Councilor. I was able to glean some information from goblin sources, though I must caution you that I am unsure of how accurate those sources are," Liara stated. "The first source was a love song about Head Elf Dobby and Auditor Spiknose, the second was from a play dramatizing their romance. Both suggested that the Head Elf was standing guard over the Fabricator General and the Fabricator Locum during the battle. I was able to corroborate this through an interview with a house elf source who stated the Head Elf had been ordered to watch the Fabricator General and the Fabricator Locum by the Warmaster." She bit her lip. "I'm afraid the information I need to give a more definitive answer is likely locked away in some classified Alliance database."
"Summarize what happened as best you can," Tevos ordered.
"The Head Elf arrived in the Fabricator General's workshop and it was clear to all that he had been enraged by something. He stated that danger had come but that he would deal with it for the danger was an insult and his rage was that they would dare attempt to harm those under the Warmaster's protection while he was away but that cowards like them were unworthy of the Warmaster, were unworthy of his people, were unworthy of the Fabricator General or her people, were unworthy garbage and so he a mere janitor would deal with them. He then asked to borrow a few fasteners of some sort, I'm afraid the translator had trouble with the word, and stated that they would be the instruments of the cowards doom. The play then had a four hour monologue on the Head Elf's attraction for Auditor Spikenose, listed her attractive qualities repeatedly and in great detail, and his despair that the only gifts he can give her are unworthy of her attentions and his decision to kill them rather than insult her by asking her to interrogate them."
"Four hours?" Tevos murmured.
"Goblin plays often take days or even weeks to perform," Liara explained. "It's then followed by a two hour chorus encouraging the Head Elf to speak with Auditor Spikenose and assuring him that the Auditor will understand that his duty to protect the Fabricator General and the Fabricator Locum was more important than his desire to fight at the Warmaster's side and then listing his attractive qualities repeatedly and in great detail from the perspective of Auditor Spikenose. In my opinion the only important take away is that this reenforces the idea that several races in the Alliance see prowess in battle as a good way to attract a mate."
"And reenforces the idea that we do not wish to have any more conflict with such a culture," Tevos stated, sounding exactly like every other matriarch did when they'd just made an especially cutting remark.
"Yes, Councilor," Liara agreed. "The aftermath of the battle was as or perhaps more important than the battle itself."
"Continue," Tevos ordered.
"Yes, Councilor. Future Quidditch Commissioner Ronald Weasley, the owner and founder of Weasley and Daughters and Sons and more Daughters and one more Son and another Daughter and likely more to come Custom Brooms was at the Holyhead Harpies' home stadium with the team when he received news of the attack and he somehow convinced the team to go with him to join the fight at the town. They in turn were joined by several other professional quidditch teams shortly afterwards."
"How much use would a professional sports team have in repelling an attack or aiding in recovery?" the Turian councilor asked.
"Surprisingly, quite a bit, Councilor," Liara stated. "Leaving aside the fact that the sport is horrifically violent, they were the best fliers available which meant the high ground belonged to the allied forces. They also came with the team support staff which included several medical and security personnel. They're credited with saving dozens of lives and they were the first significant force to arrive on scene after the Granger Clan and Potter Security reinforcements."
Liara took a couple calming breaths. "The Warmaster was wounded quite severely in the battle and was credited, along with Neville Longbottom with breaking the attack. The terrorist leader Voldemort then attempted to take advantage of the fact that most of the magical government's law enforcement was aiding in the rescue and recovery efforts to launch an attack on the seat of government itself. It did not end well for him. According to House Elf sources, the Warmaster awoke to find his faithful friend the Head Elf Dobby waiting for him and it was then that the Warmaster told the Head Elf that their bonds weren't just of friendship, but of family. That they were brothers and that he would be proud to have his children call Dobby their uncle. This, Councilors, was the beginning of Potter Cleaning and Landscaping."
The Turian councilor flinched at the name.
"At the same time, the Fabricator General and the Fabricator Locum had declared that the Warmaster was much too kind and forgiving to do what needed to be done," Liara continued after a pause. "So, they told their followers, it's up to all of us to do it for him. Because while he was kind and forgiving, they were not. I believe that is what Mr. Quintin Chalmers was attempting to warn you about, Councilors, when he came to brief you on the Alliance. The more I learn the more I find myself wishing that I had not chosen to explore this field of study."
Tevos choked. "What?" The matriarch looked as if she was about to vomit.
"They began a secret project to build terrible weaponry to utterly destroy the terrorists and any supporters the terrorist leader might have. It isn't enough, the Fabricator General said, to kill them. We must destroy their families and anyone who dares associate with them. It isn't enough, the Fabricator Locum said, to destroy their families and their associates. We must destroy anything and everything they might use or have used against us. We must burn, smash, loot, and destroy it all. A pity we live on this planet or we could scour it of all life, it's the only way to be sure, they both agreed." Liara made eye contact with each of the councilors. "I got this story from a goblin children's book and was able to corroborate the larger details with four other sources, all goblin unfortunately. The last line, according to the book, was why they decided to research ways to travel to other planets."
"Did they . . . what did they do?" Tevos asked, horrified beyond measure by what the young maiden was telling her.
"It's unclear. They constructed a gun that would fire projectiles the size of shuttles to use on their enemies in less populated areas. In more populated areas, the book just said: And that, my friends, was the birth of the Mobile Infantry. I have not been able to find a source that will explain what the Mobile Infantry is. They just told me that I would sleep better if I didn't know or that I would soon find out along with everyone else." She licked her lips. "There are illustrations from the book on page two hundred and sixty nine."
The councilors stared as the drawing of a steel giant belching flames out a grinning mouth as it roasted alive a screaming figure in a mask and black robes.
'AAAAA! says the death eater,' informed the caption. 'BUUUURN! says the cap trooper.'
"This is from a children's book?" Tevos asked in horror.
"It's one of the most popular items bought for new goblin mothers," Liara replied blandly. "I'm told it's also quite popular with humans and house elves. That's the human version, by the way, the goblin version is supposed to be a bit more graphic. Too graphic for anyone that hasn't reached their second century according to the human that gave that book to me." She was fairly sure that he had been joking, but she was dead certain she didn't want to risk finding out that he was not. "I have yet to reach my second century and I have chosen to take that advice."
The councilors did not take that bit of news very well.
Liara gave them a few moments to calm down before continuing. "Two more significant events occurred after that. The Granger Clan, the Warmaster, and Bones the Elder then enacted their plot to destroy the magical government and the goblins began joining Potter Security as mercenaries. The texts I have access to have very little information on what happened to the terrorists after that, just that the situation was handled, the Alliance was formed, and the first Portal to mars was opened. This concludes my summary of my dissertation on the Battle of Hogsmeade and its importance to the birth of the Alliance. Thank you."
"Well done," the Salarian councilor stated. The first thing he'd said since she'd entered the room. She wasn't surprised that he hadn't asked any questions, he was probably the only one of the three that had bothered to read her dissertation.
Tevos was uncharacteristically silent when she took her seat at the council and did not say a word for several minutes.
"I have confirmation of one of young maiden T'Soni's theories. The one about Alliance races using martial prowess to attract mates."
The other two councilors gave her their full attention.
"The Matriarchs arranged a cultural exchange. Ninety maidens went to a school in Alliance Space while thirty members of each of the major Alliance races attended their academy in their place. The world chosen was idilic, quiet, peaceful, perfect."
"Attacked by pirates," the Salarian representative stated flatly.
"For once the Matriarchs are cooperating on something," Tevos laughed. "They all want to find the idiot who leaked the fact that we had students from the Alliance in a vulnerable location and we have informed the Alliance of our willingness to give them access to anything they desire for their own investigation."
"How bad was it?" the Turian representative asked.
"The pirates were organized," Tevos stated. "Four cargo ships, three destroyes, and two troop ships. Not enough to face a proper patrol detachment but more than enough to see off the customs boat we had on post." The Asari closed her eyes. "The house elves took each one of the ships while the humans and goblins slaughtered their crews on the ground."
"Why weren't they in an emergency shelter?" the Turian representative asked sharply. "The staff of the school should have known that their safety was of paramount importance."
"They, the students, found out why they were being evacuated and slipped their minders," Tevos replied. "There were seventeen slaves on the ships. The humans asked each of them if they were interested and also asked nearly every student at the academy if they were interested." Tevos sighed. "Often while brandishing trophies taken in battle and boasting about how many slavers they'd been personally responsible for. The goblins, I'm told, were a bit more circumspect but no less eager to brag about their accomplishments."
"What about the house elves?"
"You don't want to know about the house elves." Tevos decided that it was neither the time nor the place to bring up demons of the night wind and had no desire to speculate on why the house elves found them so attractive. At least they could survive a meld, she refused to contemplate how badly things could have gone if there'd been a fatality. Fortunately it was not her mess to deal with, she wished her colleagues all the luck in the universe.
"I see. Were any of the students or prisoners interested in forming relationships?"
Tevos nodded. "Several of the meld happy maidens have formed at least temporary bonds with the humans and about an equal number with goblins. It was only the timely arrival of an Alliance patrol that prevented the students from using the captured ships to continue the attack on the pirate base." She sighed. "I'm told that upon hearing of what happened, the students at the Alliance academy that had not been chosen to go on an exchange petitioned to have Urdnot Wrex brought in as a guest instructor. He has accepted and promised to take them on field trips." And she really really didn't want to know what he meant by that.
Harry yawned as his ship made transition back into real space. He didn't care what Luna and Hermione said about there being no detectable physiological side effects, he maintained that FTL made him drowsy.
"Batarian fleet is still covering the relay as per our most recent intelligence, Warmaster," Throatcut, the captain of his flagship announced respectfully.
"Wonder if they didn't hear or didn't believe that we didn't use them," Harry mused aloud. "Suppose it doesn't matter. Connect me to Head Elf Dobby."
"Dobby is here, Harry Potter sir," his friend said excitedly. "Dobby and all good elves want to thank the great and most generous Harry Potter sir for letting us kill slavers again."
"What're friends for, Dobby?" Harry asked with a grin. "Much as it pains me to give it up, I'm going to give you the honor of the first shot. You deserve it more than I do, old friend."
Dobby and the elves around him began to vibrate with excitement. "Thank you, Harry Potter sir!" Many tales would be written on the generosity of the Great Harry Potter sir, he who was generous enough to gift his family with the first slaver kills in decades.
"Also going to remind you that the more slavers we kill now, the less we get to throw out airlocks later so don't get too carried away."
"Yes, Harry Potter sir," Dobby agreed. The elf resolved to see that every elf got their own personal pensieve and that every elf present would be sure to record their memories of the event. Mere words were insufficient to convey the magnitude of Harry Potter sir's greatness, generosity, and wisdom.
"I'm going to record a message for our friends out there to kick things off. Feel free to add anything you like."
"Yes, Harry Potter sir," Dobby said cheerfully.
"Prepared to record, Warmaster," the comms officer stated.
The grin on Harry's face was almost angelic, it had been decades since he'd had a chance to get out and get his hands dirty. Between his duties, his responsibilities, and the fact that everyone still seemed to think he was made out of glass, it was getting harder and harder to spend a bit of time on the sharp end. Fortunately for him, everyone also agreed that there was only one proper response to a group of slavers and that he was the proper person to deliver it.
"Greetings, I'm here on behalf of the Alliance to put an end to slavery and to address a statement made by your former ambassador. He stated that slavery was a vital part of your culture. To that, I respond, throwing slavers out airlocks is a vital part of ours." He gestured across his throat, signaling the comms officer to cut the recording. "Dobby, the show's all yours."
Omake: Couldn't Resist
Aboard her flagship, the Apex Predator, the Admiral of the fleet contemplated the world below. Slavers, the most vile scum in existence. A thought occurred to her, the more they took alive the more she could personally throw out an airlock. She swiveled her head around to give the order to attack.
"Commencing orbital bombardment by your command, Admiral Hedwig."
The Turian Councilor looked sick as the Council went over the reports of the opening battle of the Alliance Batarian war. Torn between profound relief that they had taken what he had thought at the time to be a profoundly insulting and now realized to be and astoundingly generous peace treaty and disbelief that the Alliance could be as militarily capable as the report implied. It was like something out of a nightmare, accounts of asteroids the size of battleships used as kinetic weapons at near light speeds, directed energy weapons as powerful as stars, and absolutely no sign that any Alliance ship used element zero.
"We're sure they didn't transition through the gates?"
"Confirmed," her Salarian counterpart stated. "They have stated that they are unwilling to use them since they did not create them have not yet divined every one of their secrets."
"What were they doing with gate if they don't use them?"
"Research. We have reason to believe that they do not have a gate in their home system and that their colony at Shanxi was there solely to research the gate."
Omake: Mobile Infantry
Cogwheel felt perfect calm as the explosive charge ejected his capsule from the troopship above the slaver hell world he and his troops were about to grant the privilege of experiencing the full force of the Fabricator General's wrath and he was filled with joy at being honored by being chosen as one of her chosen instruments of wrath.
He checked his altitude and blew the capsule. It's fragments creating a cloud of chaff which would hopefully confuse whatever anti-air surprises the intel folks missed or orbital bombardment forgot to service for whatever reason.
It'd been a shame they'd missed the dust up over Shanxi. But the Fabricators, both General and Locum, had both agreed that they weren't letting their troops go into battle with anything but the very latest and greatest and it had taken a bit of time for them to get everything built or upgraded. For a while it'd looked like they'd get to make the big jump on Palaven, but the trigger happy idiots ended up getting slapped down by their own allies before the Mobile Infantry or the Fleets had the chance to do it for the Alliance.
Noticing his altitude, Cogwheel deployed his first parachute and started scattering cluster bombs. If the intel folks were right, they should be ruining the day of a group of mercenaries that thought they were well camouflaged. He released his chute and went back into free fall. No sense making it easy for the anti-air units.
A smile bloomed on his face as he started looking for a landing zone. It'd been years since he'd had a chance to go operational for real. He was one of the lucky few that had been chosen to act as one of the Fabricator's hands to deliver justice after the cowardly attack on the Warmaster those many years before. None had dreamed that after delivering such a clear example of what befell any that attracted the Fabricators' wrath that any would be so foolish as to do it again. No Cap Trooper had ever believed that they'd ever fight again except as one of the few mercenaries the Fabricator General permitted her birth nation to hire, but here they were and for what they were about to receive, they were truly grateful.
He deployed his last chute to slow himself down and released it right above the roof of what intel thought was an important military building.
Shoddy construction, Cogwheel thought to himself as he went through it and the next two floors. Granted he weighed quite a bit in his armor but any structure in the Alliance would have been built strong enough to withstand more than his weight with or without magical reenforcement. He amused himself by roasting anyone and anything with the flamethrower built in his mouth until he came to a stop in what appeared to be a meeting room full of uniformed figures.
They were all clustered around a table examining a map covered in unfamiliar symbols. He made sure to get a good look at it and waited until his crew chief confirmed that the image had been captured and forwarded to intel before he tossed out a grenade and moved to the next room.
Behind him the grenade began squawking in the local dialect. "I am a ten second bomb, I am a ten second bomb. In ten seconds you will all be dead, in ten seconds you will all be dead." The bomb exploded three seconds after the count down began. It was one of the many running gags in the Mobile Infantry.
Cogwheel slowed down when his HUD informed him that he was entering what intel believed might be slave quarters.
"I will not harm you. I am here to rescue you on behalf of the Alliance. Inform me if you need medical aid and it will be provided. Inform me if you need food and it will be provided. Inform me if you wish to be evacuated now and I will ensure that you are evacuated immediately." He let the message cycle through half a dozen of the local languages three times before he got his first taker.
For the second time in her life, Liara T'Soni stood before the Council. Unlike the first time, this time she had no idea of how she was going to break the news or how it was going to be taken.
"You stated that you had more information on the Alliance?" Tevos prompted after it became clear that the young maiden wasn't going to speak without being prodded.
"Yes," Liara agreed. "I was able to answer one of the questions that I couldn't answer in the earlier draft of my dissertation."
"Well." Liara sighed, probably best to just get it over with she decided. "The good news is, I now know what the Mobile Infantry is."
"What is the bad news?" Tevos asked, feeling a sinking feeling in her gut.
"That I now know what the Mobile Infantry is," Liara replied. "I was able to get some footage from the invasion of Khar'shan." She keyed the footage. The Council watched as massive flame belching armored figures laid waste to every bit of resistance the planet's defenders were able to muster. "Their corporals are issued ten kiloton missiles." The Council watched the video in shocked horror. This was what they would have been up against if they hadn't managed to negotiate a peace treaty. "My sources inform me that the Granger Combine was planning to use these against the Turian core worlds in the event that their offer of peace was rejected."
"How . . . uh . . how many of these . . . things are the Alliance able to field?" the Turian councilor asked.
"Unknown. I've got a friendly relationship with a couple individuals from Alliance space who informed me that the reason such a small number of Mobile Infantrymen were used was due to the fact that the Fabricator General decreed that new suits be constructed for each one before any operation could commence."
"Limited numbers?" the Turian councilor choked.
"They also tell me that what we're seeing is the way they act when operating under strict orders to limit collateral damage."
"That's limiting collateral damage?" the Turian councilor asked in horror.
"They are trying very hard to avoid injuring or killing any of the slave population," Liara stated. "As previously stated, their corporals are issued ten kiloton missiles. Larger yield weapons, up to several megatons, can be drawn on the authority of the platoon leader. I'm told that they usually are and are usually issued to everyone as a matter of course. The fact that there are any standing structures at all is evidence that they are operating under very strict, for them, rules of engagement. They would not have been so restrained had they dropped on Palaven."
AN: Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.
Omake by me and DigiCom
Fighting Goblins, dropped from space
Warriors all, of skill and grace
With shining spear and bloody sword
The brave folk
Of the Goblin Horde
Omake, too ... by AlyssonR
The Goblin quartermaster looked up and grunted.
"Boss, I've got a Quarian here with a purchase order for five thousand rolls of duct tape …"
Later . . .
The Goblin quartermaster looked up and grunted.
"Boss, I've got a Quarian here with a purchase order for fifteen hundred cans of WD40 ..."
Omake by Arthur Kraft
Liara: This short video is from one of their Military Historical Archives.
Video shows the usage of one the Mobile Infantry area of effect weapon called the Fire Nuke. (video showing Bug City being destroyed by a Fire Nuke).
Liara: Yes well, I did mentioned that those bugs looked like the Rachni, they stated then you might want to surrender now or do you wish to escalate this...
Earbleed didn't say a word as she walked into the interrogation room. Didn't so much glance at the prisoner as she pulled out her chair and took her seat. The creature made some vague noise of protest when she put her case on the table but she ignored it. It was a pirate and a slaver. It deserved no consideration, it deserved no name, it was nothing but a chunk of meat filled with information that she needed to wring out before they tossed it out an airlock.
"My name," she said as she opened her case. "Is Auditor Earbleed." Her hand went in and she grabbed her tool. "You are going to answer every one of my questions. This." She pulled out her tool. "Is my vuvuzela. If you do not answer my questions, I will play it. If you refuse to speak, I will play it. If you insult me, I will play it. If you lie to me, I will play it. Is that understood?"
"I will enjoy breaking you, insol-"
She raised the tool to her lips and blew. Its screams delighted her, she would have to remember to do something nice for First Elf Sleepy of the Great and Magnificent Harry Potter Sir for bringing her such a wonderful specimen. She stopped playing. "I said, is that understood?"
Sylvia Greengrass resisted the urge to pout as she stepped through the gate to the brand new Greengrass Davis Imports office on Shanxi. Granted being the branch director on the one world open to the gate system was going to be a plumb assignment in the future but that was the future. Now the ink on the peace treaty wasn't even wet, there weren't more than a handful of aliens in the system outside the POW camps, and there was absolutely nothing to do except watch the green paint on the walls of her new office dry. She hated green but tradition was tradition and her mother would be by eventually to inspect the place and it was not worth the argument repainting the place would cause. She sighed. Maybe she could have two offices? One for business and one for show?
Omake by Larry F
The Potter Conglomerate Griffon-class destroyer named the Hippogriff silently advanced at cruising speed into what was suspected to be Turian space. She was operating alone, one of a squadron that had been sent out in various directions to scout for enemy presence. Two hours into her patrol, she found it. Her captain gave the command for battle stations, and the klaxon blared out to be heard from stem to stern inside the warcraft.
Benjamin Nofferton ran down the corridor to his combat station, number three spellcaster turret on the port side of Bravo deck. Reaching the turret, he quickly cycled the armored hatch, and grasping the grab bar above it, swung feet first into the waiting seat. As the hatch automatically closed behind him, he drew his wand and inserted it into the arm-mounted socket awaiting it. The turret hummed to life, and the sighting mirror cleared to show him a view outside the vessel. He gave his wand a flick to test the system, and felt the magical feedback from the great thirty-meter long ashwood and dragon heartstring staff mounted on the outside of the turret with satisfaction. Drawing magical energy from a gigantic core stone buried deep inside the ship, the staff would greatly amplify the spells he cast, increasing their range and potency by a factor of thousands. He then tapped the communications mirror mounted to the right of his seat, and listened for the instructions of the bridge gunnery officer.
The commands were quick to come. "Port side turrets! The enemy ship is two-hundred and sixty degrees azimuth, fifteen degrees elevation. Fire as you bear." Using the foot pedals to swing the turret in the proper direction, he searched for the reported enemy. It didn't take long to spot it with the mirror magnifying each object that passed through the aiming circle in its center. Trusting the magic of the mirror to automatically adjust his aim, Benjamin began waving his wand in the proper motions for his first spell, which he intended as a simple test of the enemy's defenses. Completing the motion with the downward sweep toward the ship he was targeting, he incanted the command, "Bombarda."
The spell flashed across the vast distance to the target, arriving nearly a minute after being cast. To Ben's astonishment, the amplified spell passed through the glowing energy surrounding the opponent - which he had taken for some sort of protego spell - without even slowing down. The magnified image in his mirror was sufficient to show him visible results, as the explosion tore the end of some sort of antenna off the outside of the enemy's hull. Benjamin allowed a slightly vicious smile to cross his face before he began the motions for his next spell, "Bombarda Maxima!"
Omake: The Alliance Military
Liara resisted the urge to scream as she was ushered before the Council for the third time in her life. She was supposed to be an academic not a some sort of intelligence analyst or diplomat. 'But you're the expert on the Alliance,' they'd said. 'There's no one else,' they'd said. She knew she should have just ignored the fascinating new multi-race alliance and their strange biotic powers and stuck with the Protheans but no, she had to pioneer a new field of study. Well look where that got her. Probably the only maiden ever to address the Council multiple times and certainly the only one her age. She wasn't even technically old enough to leave the care of her mother for another decade or two and it was only due to the political implications that the woman was allowing it. An idle part of her mind wondered what the matriarch was getting for her daughter's service to the Council. She'd have to remember to ask later. It had better be substantial for the amount of trouble she was going to or she was going to have words.
Her more politically minded brethren would have given anything to be in her spot, Liara was just annoyed at how much it was cutting into her research time. The only thing that made it bearable was the fact that the Council had apparently given her access to every bit of information they had on the Alliance.
"I've been able to get a bit more information on the Council military through my sources and through careful reading of the archive they've given me access to," she announced when she got to the podium, for once disdaining any polite niceties. She just wanted to get this over with and to get back to her admittedly massive new office to continue her scholarship.
The Councilors motioned for her to proceed.
"The Granger Combine is the only member of the Alliance that uses Mobile Infantry. According to my best information, the rest of the Alliance sees them as too difficult to maintain, too specialized to bother with, and too expensive. The only other polity that uses Mobile Infantry is the Alliance's birth nation's government which hires a limited number of mercenaries from the Granger Combine. They also call them Imperial Knights or Knights of the Round Table which is a term that holds special cultural significance for the birth nation. I have included a supplemental paper explaining that significance which you may peruse at your leisure." Or file without reading, which is what two thirds of the Council was likely to do she thought sourly. Sometimes she wondered why she even bothered to write the damned things.
Liara continued, "the Alliance as a whole maintains both naval and ground forces as well as a space patrol consisting of frigate sized ships which is more of a law enforcement and rescue organization. The patrol alone has more combat power than the navies of every Council Government combined." She gave them a moment to digest the fact. "In addition to the Alliance Military, several of the Alliance members maintain their own military forces as well. These range from small system defense forces, the smallest of which that I could find was about sixteen times the size of the Turian Navy, to forces that rival the Alliance military in size."
"Summarize the largest," the Turian councilor ordered.
"The Potter Conglomerate Security Devision has a Navy slightly larger than the Alliance Navy according to public records. It's ground forces on the other hand are much smaller and mostly used for security and personal protection including that of many of the other leaders of the Alliance. The Potter's main ground element consists of goblin mercenaries. The Potter's secondary ground element is terrifying." Liara brought up an image of a large armored figure. "This is a Space Marine. According to my best information, the Potter Conglomerate's primary expeditionary force."
"How do they differ from normal ground forces," the Turian councilor asked. "Is the armor powered in anyway?"
"I have been unable to find out if the armor is powered," Liara stated. "My sources do not believe so, but they are unsure. They told me that the Space Marines have a terrifying reputation. To answer your first question, I was able to get a bit more footage from the Slaver War." She brought up the image of a armed slave ship being pursued by three small ships. "This first clip was taken by an STG observer. The large ship is carrying several thousand slaves and an estimated five hundred mercenaries. The smaller ships are Space Marine boarding craft. I don't believe they carry more than fifteen or twenty marines each."
"Forty five marines are going to assault a ship containing five hundred mercenaries?" Tevos spoke. "Are there more ships?"
"Plus crew," the Salarian councilor stated. "Add another fifty to one hundred and fifty if they have the normal security compliment for a slave ship."
"Do you know how many are left behind to guard the boarding craft during the assault?" the Turian councilor asked.
"I'm told that they leave at least five marines plus the ships crew," Liara stated.
The Turian nodded. "Thirty to forty five Space Marines verses a minimum of five hundred and fifty hostiles. Were you able to get any footage from the ship's internal cameras?"
"I was not. My mother was," Liara said. She turned to her people's councilor. "She wished me to point out the fact that this is another thing the Council owes her for."
"The Council acknowledges the debt," Tevos replied.
Liara started the video. The three boarding craft accelerated towards the slave ship and shocked the councilors by ramming into their target. "I'm told that ramming is the standard boarding method for Space Marines," Liara murmured as she set up the next clip. Several panicking mercenaries were hurriedly setting up a crew served weapon at a hastily constructed hard point. The sounds of several rapidly approaching footsteps were clearly audible in the background. The three councilors gasped as the first armored figure came into view. Without pausing, without seeking cover, without even slowing its advance the figure raised a rifle and rapidly shot each mercenary once in the head before passing through the camera's field of view.
"That was the only clip my mother was able to get," Liara stated. "An STG crew entered the derelict hulk two weeks after the operation. Their report states that all but three of the slavers and mercenaries were shot only once and all but four of them were shot in the head. Only seventeen of the slaver weapons were fired."
"Were you able to get an idea of how many Space Marines there were?" Tevos asked, visibly shocked by what she'd seen.
"No. I was assured that I didn't want to find out and I thanked my source and stopped asking questions," Liara stated. "That concludes all I know about Potter Security at this time." She brought up another image. "The goblins are the second of the three major races of the Alliance."
"Three major?" Tevos interrupted. "That implies that there are more than three races in the Alliance. Do we know how many there are?"
"We do not. In addition to the Quarians, which have chosen to join the Alliance under the sponsorship of the Granger Combine and the Geth which have joined under the sponsorship of Potter Cleaning and Landscaping, I've found references to; Centaurs, mermen, gnomes, and trolls. I can't tell you anything about any of these races, but I speculate that individual members of them may be found working for members of the Alliance."
"The goblins," Liara continued. "Have the largest ground forces in the Alliance in pure numbers. They also have the third largest Navy after the Alliance Navy and the Potter Security Naval Element. Individual goblins are often found working for other members of the Alliance. Mainly the Granger Combine, the Granger Clan, and Potter Security."
"That's it?" the Turian representative asked.
"It is until I get better sources. Humans find Asari attractive, I have been able to use that attraction to cultivate several human sources. Goblins do not find Asari nearly as attractive as humans," Liara explained. "At least not young maidens that have not seen combat."
"Aren't you a bit young for that?" Tevos pointed out.
"Several humans have remarked that I remind them of their children or a younger sibling," Liara stated. "One calls me her." she sighed. "Alien spy kid sister."
"Objection withdrawn, proceed."
"The house elves are a bit of a mystery," Liara admitted. "They're happy to talk and don't seem to have any objection to sharing ship numbers but their ship names are all so similar that it's easy to get confused. I don't have a good idea on their ship numbers. What I am able to say is that they don't differentiate between naval forces and ground forces. Every house elf is expected to be able to do every job as a point of pride."
"I would like to request clarification on what you meant about similar ship names," the Salarian councilor stated.
"Every one of them contains 'Harry Potter sir' and every one of them refers to how great, wonderful, and/or powerful he is. For example, you might have the ship 'The Great and Powerful Harry Potter sir' which meets with 'The Powerful and Great Harry Potter sir' on their way to their rendezvous with 'The Great and Powerful and Great Harry Potter sir' or something similar. The house elf habit of sudden segues into how great, wonderful, and powerful Harry Potter is in the middle of conversations can also muddle things. All I can tell you is that the house elves have a large navy and that it is technically part of the Potter Conglomerate."
"What about the Granger Combine?" the Turian representative asked.
"They have almost no naval forces to speak of but they have terrifyingly powerful ground forces. In addition to Mobile Infantry, they have something called Titans which I'm told is similar but much much larger. Bolos, which I'm told are not something I want to find out about, and a number of things each more terrifying than the last. My sources tell me that the Fabricators see building terrifyingly powerful war machines as fun diversions and that I'll sleep better if I don't look any closer. I have chosen to take their advice. I encourage you to find another researcher if this isn't acceptable to you." She almost hoped they'd take her up on her offer, big budget be damned.
"What about the other members of the Alliance?" Tevos asked, ignoring the maiden's threat. She had no intention of letting the girl off that easy.
Liara shrugged. "Varies by the member. The Granger Clan for example employs a number of Potter Security personnel, has two battalions of goblin combat engineers, and at least two companies of Mobile Infantry on hand at all times. The Longbottom family has a small group of ships and several thousand 'jungle fighters.' Though what those are is something of a mystery, they do not appear to have taken part in any of the conflicts with Council races. It should be noted that the Longbottom family is tied by blood and marriage to the Granger Clan and through the Granger Clan to the Granger Combine. The head of the Longbottom family has expressed an interest in visiting Council Space to do a botanical survey. When he does he will likely be escorted by a number of Potter Security ships and the Fabricator General has also made it clear that any attack on her kinsman is an attack that will merit her most severe response. I have been assured that we do not want to see her angry, we wouldn't like her when she's angry."
The Salarian representative signaled his intention to speak. "Please summarize, if you can, the various Alliance factions attitude towards war."
Liara thought about the question for a moment. "The Alliance as a whole would rather avoid war. If War is unavoidable, they will take steps to ensure that they do not have to face the same enemy again. As for the factions." Her mind went to her first love. "The Granger Clan, under its current head views it as wasteful. He'd much rather make a deal. Failing that, he'd like to engineer a coup and see if the new government was more reasonable than the last. War would be his last resort. If he were in charge of the war against say the Protheans, the Protheans would still be around and doing just fine. Likely working for him or closely allied to him too."
"What about the Goblins," the representative asked.
"The Goblins will destroy anyone that resists or refuses to surrender immediately. There may still be be Protheans ruins and survivors, may even be an intact civilization for us to meet. The Granger Combine will destroy everything . There would be no Protheans ruins. Once called to war the Fabricators believe in using overwhelming force. Once."
"Potter Security," Tevos stated.
"Likely a campaign of targeted assassination and surgical strikes, at least at first," Liara stated. "The Potter is a graduate of one of his home nation's military academies and later of at least one of their special operations courses. The Potter would utterly crush the Protheans and would then ensure that they would never be able to grow strong enough to threaten him or his ever again." Liara took a deep breath. "The House Elves will commit genocide and would do so without destroying any trace that your civilization ever existed. The Protheans ruins would be in perfect shape and it would be a mystery as to whatever happened to the people that constructed them."
Omake: Kindred Spirits
Liara's couldn't contain her excitement as she stepped off the shuttle onto the human world. This was it, a chance to do field work on her chosen subject. It was a chance that she'd feared would never come; first because of her mother's overprotectiveness and then because of her work with the Council but this was it!
"Liara T'Soni?" a tall human female with long kinky brown hair asked.
"I am. Professor Parker?"
"I am," the human replied. "Welcome to Shanxi."
"Thank you, professor."
"Please, call me Ivy or Quatrième if you're feeling informal. It's what my family and friends call me and I have high hopes that we will be the best of friends."
"I'm afraid I don't understand, profess- uh, Ivy."
"My name was a joke," the professor sighed heavily. "I am the fourth daughter of the family and my father has an unfortunate sense of humor."
Liara did not understand what that had to do with anything and made a note to look into the matter later. The study of humor was, after all, one of the better ways to gain an understanding of a new culture.
"As I was saying," Ivy continued. "It is an absolute pleasure to make your acquaintance. It's not often that one gets a chance to meet someone with such a similar background. I have high hopes that we can become the best of friends."
"That is my hope as well, Ivy." Especially since the woman had somehow managed to convince both the Alliance, the Council, and her mother to permit the visit. "Do you mind if I ask what you mean by similar backgrounds?"
"You haven't read my dossier?" The woman blinked in surprise. "I'm sorry, I just assumed that you'd have been given access."
"You are one hundred and seventy years old, you have doctorates in xenobiology, linguistics, xenoarcheology, and you are currently taking several distance classes from the University of Thessia. You became a tenured professor for the University of Mars at the age of thirty five and have been a professor at that institution ever since," she summarized what she remembered of the woman's background.
Professor Parker smirked. "I am also the fourth daughter of the Granger family, yes that Granger family, and the seventh child overall."
Liara stared at the woman in shock. "What?" The woman's smile deepened. "But . . . but your family name is not Granger."
"I chose to take my husband's name after marriage. His parents and grand parents were Potter Security Operatives. We grew up together, we attended to school together, and eventually realized that neither of us wanted to ever be apart. He's the chair of the Crypto-Zoology Department at Mars University and he's also eager to get your insights on biotics if you're willing to spare the time to give them. He's also hoping to persuade you to use your influence to get specimens from Thessia. Be sure to bleed him bloody dry if you're willing. His department's budget is bloody huge thanks to Luna's generous patronage."
"I don't have any influence," Liara said automatically.
"Walk with me," Ivy suggested, heading towards the exit. "We're not far apart in age but humans mature much faster than asari which gives me a different perspective on things. Just the fact that your mother is who she is gives you an enormous amount of political power. People will want to use you or curry favor with you because they think it will allow them to get something from her."
"I would never use my mother's influence to get anything," Liara said quickly.
"You don't have to," Ivy sighed. "People will just give it to you. Working as an advisor for the Council is the same. You're close to power so people think that they can use you to syphon a bit of it off for themselves."
They exited the shuttle port and began walking down the street. "Are you hungry? I know of several restaurants that serve food that is compatible with your biology and that I believe you would enjoy down this street."
"I would be interested in trying human cuisine," Liara agreed. "How do you handle that sort of demand?"
"I don't," Ivy stated. "One of the reasons I chose to become an academic was that I thought it would provide some insulation from that sort of thing. I was dead wrong, of course, but one can't expect their younger selves to have any sense. What I do is let Harry deal with it. I would suggest speaking with your parents about it. Both of them."
"Would you mind elaborating on that?"
"Were you aware of the fact that your mother had three commando teams watching you at all times to ensure your safety?" Ivy asked.
"I was not," Liara admitted.
"Don't be angry with her. It's a sensible precaution for people like us. She's powerful to the point that it makes you a tempting target. Not doing everything she could to protect you would show her to be both negligent and a bad mother. It's one of the first things I was taught as a child, that I was so precious that I needed to be protected at all times."
"Where are they?" Liara looked around. "I don't see anyone following us?"
"I don't know," Ivy admitted. "I know that there are at least a dozen Potter Security operatives around me at all times. I suspect that there is a stealth shuttle or two flying above us. I know that Harry has at least thirty elves watching me at all times with orders to proactively defend me from any possible threat to my safety." She paused. "Almost certainly more now that you're here and under his protection as well."
"Harry made a personal promise to your mother to keep you safe. It's the only reason she agreed to your visit," Ivy explained. "I am going to assume that tidbit was another fact which she neglected to inform you of."
"I've read some of your papers about the Alliance last night," Ivy announced as they sat down to breakfast. "Some of them were fairly close, some of them were thought provoking, and one had a couple rather glaring errors that you might wish to address."
"Which one had errors?" Liara asked, dreading the answer.
"The one on the structure of the Alliance Military," Ivy stated. "You stated that my sister had no naval forces to speak of. That is untrue."
"I wasn't able to find any references to the Fabricators having armed ships," Liara sighed. "There was also the fact that none of the reports I had access to mentioned Granger Combine warships taking part in the Slaver War."
"She has a fleet she uses to play with and test new weapons systems. They likely wouldn't be a factor in any wars, but they still exist. She's also got an oversized patrol fleet around Mars which is always filled with the latest proven technology." Ivy took a sip of tea. "Luna also has a test fleet, but she tends to use it to test hull designs so I'm not sure if it's armed."
"Loads," Ivy agreed. "Completely understandable considering how poor your sources were. I won't go over all the small errors but I will point out that you were completely wrong about Harry's forces and the Alliance forces."
"In what way?"
"You stated that the Alliance as a whole had the largest naval and ground forces and that Harry had a relatively small ground force. The Alliance as a whole has no naval or ground forces. Member have the option of providing ships or troops which meet a standard set by Harry and the goblins or they can pay to have troops and ships hired on their behalf. Most either pay or pay and provide."
"Harry Potter is the one they contract with to provide their share of the military forces, isn't he?" Liara asked.
"He is," Ivy agreed. "About eighty percent of what you think of as the Alliance Military is actually his."
"Along with the house elves," Liara suggested.
"Along with everyone if he decided to act. Harry Potter is the Warmaster of the Alliance," Ivy stated. "If he deems it necessary to use military force, he has the authority to call upon all military forces within the Alliance and we'll figure out if it was justified afterwards."
"That seems like a lot of trust to put in one person."
"You've government has agents running around that are immune from the law," Ivy pointed out. "Harry has that power because everyone trusts him not to abuse it."
Omake by Orian D'Cate: An Unova of Golurks
As the Prime Minister glanced up at the approaching footsteps, he just barely resisted the urge to sigh. "What is it now, Humphrey?"
"The Japanese government, sir." replied Sir Humphrey, entirely too smug. "Seems they've finally gotten their hands on photographs of our wonderfully violent new automations."
This time, the Prime Minister did sigh. "Let me guess: their unmentionable counterparts took one look at them and noticed what they weren't supposed to."
"And what do they want from us, other than to halt production?"
"Oh no, you've got it completely wrong old chap! They don't want production stopped at all!"
The Minister perked up ever so slightly. "They don't?"
"Of course not! What are you, daft? It's Japan! They love this sort of thing!"
Sir Humphrey bobbed his head vigorously. "Indeed! I've received no less than fifteen different missives from as many Japanese companies and branches of governments, all stating they would like to place an order for, I believe the term was, an 'Unova of Golurks' of their own. Of course, most of those requests were then followed up with inquires into possible cosmetic customizations, with bonuses offered for speedy delivery. It seems there are quite a few international festivals that could benefit greatly from live promotion provided by our discovery. By the way, sir: do you happen to know exactly what an 'anime' is?"
The Prime Minister was forced to confess that he did not.
Omake: What's in a Name?
"I have to ask." Liara couldn't contain herself any longer. "You said your name was a joke when you introduces yourself. I've looked it up. I can understand your nickname; Quatrième means fourth in French, but I do not understand why your name is a joke. All I can find about ivy is that it is a type of plant that climbs walls. I initially suspected that you were prone to climbing walls as a child but I double checked and saw that naming conventions in the part of the planet from which your family originates names their children at birth and does not change their children's names based on later behavior so I must admit that I am stumped."
Ivy smiled. "Ah. It's a play on words. The roman numerals for four are 'I' and 'vee' which when said in succession have the same sound as my name 'Ivy.'" She sighed. "I'm told my mother didn't notice for a week."
"I see. I take it that isn't common?"
"It is not," Ivy agreed. "The only other person I know named after a number is my younger sister Tavi, Octavia. That one was my mother's fault, she thought it sounded dignified."