Director Vance stood in the Nest, watching the bustle of activity on the Floor below him. The men and women below him had been working practically for two days straight, ever since the moment that the signal had first been received. Since that moment, they had been working as hard as possible to figure out whether or not they should even respond or sound the drums of war.
Any moment now, the White House would be calling. It was a regrettable need to actually inform the President of the Agencies existence, but there was no other way around it. The Agency needed to lead the charge in contact. No one else could be trusted. Not the CIA. Not the FBI. Not the DoD. Not the KGB. Especially not the KGB.
Vance turned to glare at the red-phone on his desk. He was beginning to feel the strain, but he was at the top. There was no one to replace him, so he simply poured himself another cup of coffee and pushed on through it.
The phone rang.
Taking a deep breath, Vance answered the red phone on his desk. "Yes?"
"Please hold for the President," a calm, collected voice said. The line went silent for a moment and Vance sank down into his chair.
After a moment, the line picked back up and Vance straightened up, leaning forward on his desk.
"Director Leonard Vance?" The unmistakable voice of President Reagan rang through the line.
"Yes, Mr. President." Vance respectfully answered, drumming his fingers on his desk.
"You see here, Mr. Vance," Reagan continued on. "I have yet to actually be informed what you are the Director of. I am a very busy man, and more so due to recent events that I am sure you aware of."
"Mr. President," Vance rolled his eyes. "I am the Director of the Homeworld Protection Agency, formed in 1939 by President Roosevelt. We were created for scenarios just like this one."
Reagan was silent for a moment. "... I don't like things being kept from me." His voice was reprimanding, but Vance could care less. The HPA was autonomous from actual government oversight. "What do you suggest, Director?"
"My people can take care of this. We can make sure that everything goes smoothly, assuming that this Commander Shepard is not here to start a war." Vance was fairly sure that she wasn't, scans so far had not picked up any weaponry that posed any serious threats to the planet. "We can make first contact the moment that you give the order, Mr. President."
Reagan was silent and Vance spun in his chair.
"Do it," was the simple, resigned reply.
"Yes, Mr. President." Vance hung up the phone.
Kara Thrace took a long swig of water, grimacing at the taste of her unbrushed teeth, spitting it out over the already rusted floor. Her mouth as clean as she was going to be able to get it, she downed the entire bottle.
Two full days in the Sol System, and there hadn't even been so much as a "Hello Commander Shepard, good to see you again!" There hadn't been a single transmission on any of the Systems Alliance frequencies.
Nothing. The DRADIS was eerily empty. There was no sign of the Citadel. No sign of the thousands of wreckages that should be littering space.
Kara was a hard woman, but she felt fear in her gut at that fact. Was there anyone left alive? Had the Reapers won, despite her best attempt? There was no way to know.
On the plus side, it had been relatively easy to keep the Colonials contained. There wasn't much that fighter jocks could do against an N7 Operative with biotic powers to rival the Asari. She made sure that they had food and water and weren't getting up to any trouble, but aside from that, Kara couldn't bring herself to care about what they were doing.
The console beeped, shaking Kara out of her thoughts. Turning to look, there was a flashing sign on the Comms screen, and with renewed energy Kara could feel her hopes begin to rise. Someone was contacting her! She latched onto the signal as quickly as possible. Immediately, she was met with static from the bridges speakers. For several moments, Kara had a horrible sinking feeling in her stomach. Just a rogue radio wave. Nothing real.
The voice made her jump in surprise. It took her a moment to realize that it had come from the speakers, and she laughed quietly to herself. Moving faster than she had for a long time, Kara dashed to the console. "Hello! Is anyone there? This is Commander Shepard!"
"We read you, Commander." The voice was music to her ears, and Kara could feel tears of relief welling in her eyes.
"I need to get in contact with Admiral Hackett." Finally she was getting somewhere. She could get off this godforsaken ship and reunite with Liara. First thing she was doing the moment her boots hit dirt was find the nearest captain, priest, or justice of the peace. There was a wedding to be had!
"I'm sorry Commander, but we don't have any Admirals serving under that name."
At that, the seed of worry firmly replaced itself in Kara's heart. "What? What are you talking about? He is acting Commander in Chief. Did he die?"
"We don't know ma'am." The voice was male, steady. Definitely human. What in the world was going on? "My name is Director Leonard Vance, and I am speaking on behalf of the planet Earth. What has brought you to our planet? How are you able to speak our language?"
If Kara had been anyone else, that would have knocked her on her ass. Welcome to the planet Earth? No Admiral named Hackett? This wasn't happening. It was a joke! It had to be. No other explanation. That made Kara's brow furrow in frustration. When she found out who was responsible for this, they were going to be scrubbing latrines for the rest of their lives.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Kara could feel her frustration turning to anger. "This isn't the time for jokes! Put me through to Alliance command!"
"Ma'am, there is no organization on this planet known as the Systems Alliance," the man that called himself Vance insisted. "I am a citizen of the United States of America. Are your intentions friendly, or hostile?"
The situation was becoming more and more confusing by the second. The United States of America? All that Kara knew was that it was some super-power during the 20th century. She had never really paid attention to her teachers during history class. There had been better things to do, like doodle spaceships.
She was starting to regret that decision.
"The United States of America?" Kara asked. "What are you talking about? They haven't been around since finding the..."
It all clicked. Everything fell into place inside Kara's mind and the worry and doubt were replaced by something entirely. An odd mixture of relief, confusion, and anger. "Son of a bitch," she muttered to herself. "Stupid bosh'tet." The damn crucible hadn't been a complete crock! It just did something completely unexpected that no one had ever even remotely imagined it might do.
"What year is it?" Kara needed to confirm.
"It is January 21, 1982," Vance replied calmly. He had absolutely no clue what was happening, Kara couldn't help but think. Completely oblivious to the galaxy at large, the problems awaiting humanity. Never for one moment did Kara doubt that Vance was telling the truth. It made far more sense than she cared to admit.
The damn crucible was a time machine.
Well, it wasn't, but something malfunctioned (she personally blamed the Rachni for that one) and now here she was. Stuck on a ship that processed shit, over a primitive Earth, all without Liara.
"I..." Kara started, but stopped, unsure how to proceed. She hadn't planned for any of this. "I request asylum." A plan quickly began to form in Kara's mind. A crazy, ludicrous, absolutely insane plan. It could be completely disastrous, but it could save everyone. "I request asylum on the behalf of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. We offer technology in return for shelter and supplies."
I am sorry that it took so long to post a new chapter. I have been caught up in work, and writing a feature length screenplay. I will try to post more consistent updates, but no promises.
Also, to the person who posted the scathing comment. You were assuming, and that's not good for anyone. This story is heading in a very specific direction that I already have planned out, and I'm sorry that you are disappointed.