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Chapter 1

“What kind of haul did we get, captain?” Kagrom Bek'cah asked as their frigate pulled away from Korlus. “I noticed we picked up a Krogan and some other valuable slaves and was wondering what kinda prices we were trying to fetch for ‘em?”

“I reckon the Krogan will fetch a higher price than usual because it’s a female,” the captain stroked his chin. “I’ve also got people bidding on the Asari that we got paid as tribute, she’s a slightly unusual color so we should get a good price for her as well.”

“What were you planning on doing with the suit rats we captured?” Kagrom asked. “They look to be on the older side than the ones we normally grab.”

“We’re going to put them to work,” the captain chuckled. “There’s a lot to fix on our fair ship, and no one better to do it. And we both know that the Migrant Fleet will pay us a fair amount of creds to return them.”

“You gotten to see any of those new humans starting to spread all over the place?” Kagrom asked.”Because I’ve not seen anything besides what was on the extranet, I’ve been looking for a new species to add to my collection anyway”

“Only glimpses when I’ve dropped by Omega for some shore leave,” the captain replied. “Besides, the Asari can live longer and are much more productive anyway.”

“Bah,” Kagrom replied. “I’ve had enough of Asari, I want to see something truly exotic.”

“Captain, Lieutenant, you might want to look at the sensors,” the sensors officer reported.

“Why look what we have here,” the captain grinned. “I believe we’ve found your exotic creatures Kagrom. They’re just sitting dead in the void aside from that small corvette that just detached. Why don’t we show them how much the toll is around these parts?”

“That’s a fairly big fleet for a bunch of primitives though, captain,” Kagrom said as he looked at the readings. “But I’m not seeing any eezo coming off of them, just some strange radiation.”

“Who cares?” The captain chuckled. “We’re about to be filthy rich if we manage to bring a new species onto the market. We might even be able to retire after a haul like this.”

“Alright,” Kagrom sighed. “You heard the captain, let’s go intercept that corvette. Take it nice and easy though, we don’t want to blow the ship apart by accident by using our spinal gun.”

“Moving to intercept, captain,” the navigation officer replied as her hands danced across the controls. “We’ll be on them in a few minutes and then we’ll be ready to do some boarding actions.”

Mavrak shook her head as the drugs began to wear off in her system. It seemed her captors had underestimated her body’s ability to process and fight off the chemicals they were using to keep her from breaking out of the cell she had been locked into.

Keeping quiet for now, she let various pirates pass by as she pretended to still be drugged out of her mind, and once her vision had cleared up she began to take small peeks at her surroundings.

“I do not believe that I’ll be breaking free of this on my own,” the female Krogan muttered to herself as she tried to snap the cuffs that had been placed on her. “You, whatever your species is, come and help me break us free.”

“I can’t do that,” the much smaller and suited creature replied as it wrung its hands together. “They’ve got bombs on our suits and if we move too far then they detonate.”

“Do you not have redundant organs with which to take the blow?” Mavrak asked as she cocked her head to the side. “What manner of creature are you?”

“I’m Seetor'Shaama vas Xuwa,” the male creature answered. “And this is Sura'Gaalas vas Vakor, we are some of the Quarians that were sent to Korlus for salvage negotiations before we were turned into a tribute to stave off the pirates.”

“I have heard of you Quarians,” Mavrak said as she eyed the two suited aliens before her. “I hear you are a hardy species, capable of doing almost anything.”

Then the pirate frigate shook as it took what seemed to be weapons fire and the lights began to flicker.

“Aha!” Mavrak cheered. “Now is our chance to make our escape!”

“No, we’re not going to be able to break through these bars, and our collars are still active,” Sura said as she looked at the collar on her partner Seetor. “It would take me longer than the time I believe that we have to deactivate these collars. And that is with my usual tools.”

“Open fire with the Guardian systems,” the captain ordered his weapons officer. “We should be close enough for them to cause damage to the corvette without destroying it.”

“Captain, we’re taking return fire, mostly small missiles, and slow kinetic weaponry, but our Guardian systems are being taxed by the missiles and cannot fire offensively.”

“Get around them then,” Kagrom said to the navigations officer. “They probably don’t have weapons mounted on the rear arcs.”

“Moving around to take out their engines, aye sir,” the navigations officer replied. “You should have some fairly clear shots in a second or two.”

The frigate deftly maneuvered around the slower corvette. Moving around to the rear arc where they assumed that no weapons would be placed.

“What did they just hit us with?” The captain asked as the ship's power began to flicker and the kinetic barriers began to flicker and die out.

“It looks a whole lot like an overload sir,” the ground crew commander spoke up. “Those things tend to do this kind of damage to our armor systems. It’s only temporary though, so I wouldn’t be too worried.”

“They keep hitting us with whatever that is!” the systems engineer yelled. “Our barriers are completely overloaded and so is our Guardian system.”

“Sir, we just lost power temporarily to our drives, we’re dead in the void until we get it back up and running.”

“Sir, the enemy corvette just moved closer, and they’re opening some sort of hatch underneath.”

“Looks like we need to get ready to repel boarders,” Kagrom said as he sealed his hardsuit. “Let’s greet our new friends shall we?”

“Alright people, we have no clue who or what might be on that ship,” Paige said to her marines as the Sting that they were on began to move close enough for them to attempt boarding actions. “They might be aliens for all we know. Only shoot what shoots at you first, then we get our tech specialists to take a look at everything. And remember, we need intel, so if you can take someone prisoner then you do so.”

“You heard the lady,” the fireteam leaders began to go through and ensure that all bases were covered. “Remember that we’re not invincible, take cover when you can get it and you better remember to keep your tethers on until you can attach to the enemy ship.”

“Let’s introduce these kind folks to how Marines do things!” Paige said over the open channel once all of the proper checks had been done.

“Oorah!” The Marines responded with an eagerness that belied their professionalism.
Beyond the Horizon Chapter 2

“This looks like the airlock, Colonel,” the fireteam leader reported. “I don’t want to force it and potentially depressurize the whole ship.”

“Looks like they’ve got some sort of auto system here,” the tech specialist said as he looked at the panel on the outside of the airlock. “I can’t really read any of the writing on here, sarge,” he said. “But it looks like the surface of our slates. And it also doesn’t seem to be locked down very tight.”

The outer door to the airlock slid open and the three fireteams of marines crowded into the tiny airlock.

“Anyone else feel really massive right now?” One of the marines asked as he stood next to his brothers-in-arms. “Or is it just me?”

“They might be a short group of aliens,” one marine offered.

“I’m betting they’re a hairy all-male species,” one of the ladies said. “They reproduce by finding females of other species and having their way with them.”

“This isn’t one of your fantasy novels, Julia!” Sergeant Fredericks yelled. “Get your mind out of the gutter and get set for this airlock to open.”

“Sarge, shouldn’t the inner airlock have opened by now?” A marine in the corner asked Sergeant Fredericks. “I’m fairly certain it’s pressurized.”

“Did they lock the inner doors?” Fredericks asked her tech specialist.

“I’m a tech specialist ma’am, not a linguistics expert,” the marine replied. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Get ready to blow these doors open,” Fredericks ordered. “We’re not waiting any longer.”

The doors finally began to open with a hiss as she threatened to blow them up.

Rushing through the doors as soon as they were fully opened, the Marines found themselves slightly trapped by the enclosed space. “Who ordered the Sardines?” One Marine chuckled at the back of the pack.

“Alright, this is fucking stupid,” Fredericks finally snapped. “We split up into groups of three, we all move through the ship and report captures, MIAs, or KIAs as we move. Copy?”

“Oorah!” The marines responded as they began to disperse through the ship.

“I’m just saying, a furry alien would be kinda hot,” Julia said to her two teammates as they began to clear out their area of the ship.

“Julia, you’re a perve, no one listens to you when you get like this,” Mathias rolled his eyes underneath his Mithril before seeing some movement. “Movement ahead,”

“Copy that,” Julia’s voice turned to iced steel. “I’ve got them in my sights. Taking point.” The marine raised her laser rifle to her shoulder and moved forward until she saw a set of cages and a dozen people locked into cages.

“Colonel, Fireteam Corporal Julia Winchester here, we’ve got either slavers or pirates here,” the woman reported. “Please advise further.”

“Wait one,” a voice replied. “Get them out of the cages and run them back towards the airlock,” Colonel Paige’s voice came through the comms. “We’re bringing a small craft over now, ETA is one-five mikes.”

“Copy that Colonel,” Julia replied as she began to cut the cages open with her vibroknife.

“I don’t know if you can understand us,” Mathias, the calmest and most comforting one said calmly through his Mithril’s external speakers. “But I’m going to talk you through the process anyway. Please follow Corporal Winchester, she’ll make sure you get out of here, and we’ll make sure that all of your needs are met until you can be reunited with your people.”

One of the shorter ones in a suit held up their hands and gestured to the collars that they wore while shaking their heads.

“Fucking hell!” Mathias yelled on the open comms as he looked at what were clearly small-shaped charges. “They’ve got explosive collars on, we cannot, I repeat cannot bring them off of the ship or they may detonate.”

“Remain where you are,” Sergeant Fredericks said as they moved the captives all into one cage and surrounded it while facing outwards. “We’ll come to free them after we’ve taken care of the rest of the bastards on this ship.”

“Godspeed Sarge,” Julia said. “Make sure to kill all of those bastards for me.”

“Wilco, Fredericks out,” the sergeant replied.

“Alright, we hold here until we get some bomb techs here to get these collars off of the slaves,” Mathias ordered his two teammates.

“Alright, let’s go meet these boarders,” Kagrom said to the team that he was leading. “They don’t seem to have kinetic barriers so we should be able to punch through their armor with ease.”

“Shouldering his Batarian Arms Terminator, Kagrom moved in the middle of the pack of other pirates, the mixed species crew in the positions where they would be the most useful. With the Turians at the front of the formation, the Baratians taking up the middle, and the Asari covering the rear and setting up with their biotics.

“That’s a really big alien,” The Turian at the front said as he looked at the trio of armored figures in front of him and began to spray his rifle at the figures. The trio just looked down at the tiny grains of sand-like metal pinging off of the armor before looking up at the Turian and the others and rushing forward.

“I need you to stop these guys!” Kagrom told the twins in the back of the formation. “Our rifles aren’t getting through.”

“Working on it,” the twin Asari said in sync. “But they’re heavier than they look.” Two of the armored figures found themselves floating up to the ceiling before they reoriented themselves and pushed off towards the pirates now “below them, raising their arms and tackling the two Turians to the ground where they pinned them and locked their hands behind their backs with restraints before turning to Kagrom and his other Batarian partner.

“I surrender!” Kagrom tossed his rifle to the ground and held his hands up in the universal sign of surrender. “Don’t kill me!”

The two soldiers just cuffed him and tossed him to the side of the corridor after taking the rifles and shattering them. Proceeding to do the same thing to the twin Asari before moving on down the path to the bridge.

“What the hell are those things?” One of the twins asked as she rubbed at her wrists where the restraints were tearing into her hardsuit. “They were heavy, it took everything I had to lift the two of them up like that.”

“I think we’re going to find out soon enough,” Kagrom sighed as he watched his retirement plans go up in smoke.

“You’re sure that they’re pirates?” I asked Paige. “Because I don’t want us getting into any sort of interstellar incident.”

“Absolutely sure,” Paige replied from the Sting II that was in station keeping right beside the now captured enemy vessel. “They were running a fairly professional operation, but they were definitely pirates. We’re working on getting some sort of translation program working with some of the slaves we’ve rescued, but it’ll take a little while.”

“Keep me posted,” I replied as I looked at the tired face of my Marine commander. “Get some rest too. We’re about to start heading in towards the planet, our Jumpships are going to see about hiding over towards an asteroid on the far side of the elliptical and we’ll go grab them if things go wrong.”

“Copy that Mark, keep me posted.”

“It’s so strange to see everyone younger again,” Natasha said from where she was looking at herself in the mirror. “All of my scars are still there, but I feel like my body has been rewound to back when I was in my twenties.”

“Same,” I replied. “My knee problem went away and Melissa also seems to have de-aged.”

“We’ll have to see if there are any sort of negative effects,” Natasha said. “We cannot accept this if it is only going to kill us faster.”

“We’ll have to see what exactly is going on when we can have Dr. Hale check all of us out,” I replied. “But for now we have to figure out where we are, and what we’re going to do from here.”
Interesting indeed... amusing how the biotic lift merely inconvenienced them slightly, since they are so used to zero-g operations.

This should really cause all sorts of amusing ripples, and Mark is going to be muttering... alot.
Chapter 3

“I knew that I should have downloaded the latest translation protocols before we left the fleet,” Seetor complained to his fellow Quarian. “Right now our rescuers are better off speaking to the pirates then they are to us.”

“The translation may be weeks unless we can get one of the pirate’s Omnitools,” Sura agreed with him. “Maybe we can see if we can get access to the prisoners.”

“And how do you plan on asking for us to get that kind of access?” Seetor asked. “Our rescuers have not so much as removed their helmets or shown us anything other than the basics of their external physiology.”

“By walking over to where the pirates are being held and talking to one of the pirates,” Sura told her partner. “Pirates might not have the greatest quality omnitools, but they always have the latest in translation software.”

“I shall come with you,” Mavrak spoke up as she looked at the smaller aliens. “You might need some sort of assistance to make the scum comply with your demands.”

“Works for me,” Seetor shrugged. “I’ll keep working on the translation program just in case that doesn’t work.”

“Hey Julia,” Mathias called out to his teammates. “Looks like your guess was wrong. We got strange blue alien women instead of big hairy male ones. “

“Shut up Mat,” Julia replied with a scoff. “At least I dare to dream about what might be.”

“No, you just read smutty novels and claim that they’re literature,” the third teammate said as he high-fived Mathias. “That doesn’t help your case at all.”

“Is it wrong for me to have fantasies?” Julia asked, feeling slightly offended.

“No, we just don’t need to hear about them,” Mathias replied. “I’ve got plenty of fodder for fantasy, but you don’t hear me talking about it.”

“Hey, the big alien and one of the small suited ones are coming over here,” their third teammate warned the two bickering friends.

“Why would they be coming over to the cells where the pirates are held?” Mathias asked.

“Hey you!” Mavrak glared at one of the Batarians that dared to meet her gaze as she escorted Sura over to where the pirates were kept.

“We need access to your translation programs,” Sura told the pirates. “If you cooperate then we will do our best to keep you alive.”

“I’ll do it,” one of the Asari twins spoke up. “This is just something my sister and I were doing for our Maiden phase after all.”

“What do you think they’re talking about?” Mathias asked Julia as they watched the small suited alien talk with one of the blue women and make some sort of tri-vid thing appear on her wrist.

“I have no idea,” Julia said as she watched the interaction with interest. “Maybe the little one is threatening the blue one.”

“Well, whatever it is they’re talking about it looks like they’re done now,” Mathias replied as the aliens stopped talking to eachother.

The little suited one then did something with the orange hologram and tried speaking in her strange language again before what sounded like a mechanical or machine translated version of English was emitted from the strange device.

“Can you ***derstand me now?” The mechanical voice seemed to echo through the cramped space.

“Better than we could before,” Mathias said as he knelt closer to the device, not knowing if he needed to be closer for it to work. “Are you able to understand me?”

“Understand you yes I am better,” the choppy voice replied. “The program becomes longer to better use of.”

“Great, now we have to talk and listen to choppy and backwards English until this gets figured out,” Julia complained. “I’m taking a nap, have fun talking with a translation program.”

“New translation programs suck,” Sura said to Mavrak on the side as they kept talking to the armored alien and trying to get everything translated properly. “It takes time for the built in VI to sort the language and find the proper words to use. And don’t get me started on putting the words in the right order.”

“How long will we be talking to them like they are children?” Mavrak asked.

“As long as it takes,” a female voice spoke up while Mavrak and Sura turned to look at the teal colored Asari as she walked up to them. “Translation when it comes to a new species is difficult at best, and near impossible at worst. “That is part of the reason why Asari are chosen to be the diplomats. We can do a surface meld, learn the language, and begin programming the translators.”

“Bah,” Mavrak scoffed. “Why would I need to learn a language when I already speak the most universal of them.”

“And what might that be?” Sura asked cautiously.

“Violence is the universal language, and everyone speaks it,” Mavrak said proudly. “Watch as I speak it with these aliens here.”

Mavrak went up and stood right in front of one of the armored aliens and went to punch one of them when they grabbed her arm and swung her around so that she was pressed to the ground with her hand in her back.

“See, they speak my language!”

“They might lock you up in the cell with the pirates because of that,” Sura said as she crossed her arms and shook her head at the Krogan female.

“Not try to that again,” Sura’s Omnitool said. “Disable will I.”

“I would not try that again young one,” the Asari told the Krogan. “These people seem very inclined to do violence, and do not appear as peaceful as many of the species that we have met in the galaxy.”

“I am Krogan,” Mavrak said as she stood up. “I do not listen to what soft squishy Asari have to say.”

“No, but they might want you to,” the teal colored Asari pointed at the armored figures that were now pointing weapons at Mavrak. “And I am not certain that you would win in combat.”

“Fine. I shall do as you say for now,” Mavrak replied. “But I shall have my own way in the future.”

“I am Amyxla Ditrili,” the Asari introduced herself. “I am a Matron and was negotiating for the release of some of my siblings from one of the Barons when I was taken and gifted to the pirates as a tribute.”

“I am Sura'Gaalas vas Vakor,” the Quarian replied. “We were negotiating for the salvage rights of several Quarian wrecks on Korlus when we were captured by bandits and sold to the pirates.”

“Then we should probably band together until this is over,” Amyxla told the Quarian. “I am uncertain what manner of species this is. While their ship appeared primitive, their armor is far superior to any I have seen in my lifetime.”

“And they have to be self contained too!” Sura said with excitement. “They don’t seem to be uncomfortable after having spent a day in the armor, and in fact seem to be communicating with each other as well via some sort of comms system. I wonder what made them develop this kind of armor or if this is their highest class of it?!” The Quarian began to speak rapidly as she gushed over the alien’s armor systems. “It’s heavy too, I heard the Asari twins saying that they could barely pick up the two of them with their biotics. And it doesn’t look like the aliens are adjusted to artificial gravity yet. Note that they keep engaging and disengaging magnetic boots of some kind every time they move. As if they’re used to using the magnetic locks to keep themselves anchored. And they’ve got tether loops too! We haven’t used those in generations! Since before we left Rannoch and became the Migrant fleet!”

“They certainly do appear physically impressive in the armor,” Amyxla cut the Quarian off mid-rant. “I wonder what they would look like without it on.”
Chapter 4

“They got the translation software up and running properly,” Paige relayed the information. “They’ve got some sort of device called an Omnitool that works as a multipurpose computer similar to our slates. I’m sending one over that’s programmed to translate for you before you see what’s happening on the planet.”

“Copy that,” I replied to the transmission. “What’s the ETA?”

“Should be a couple of hours,” Paige replied. “We got lucky when the pirate ship got in close instead of keeping us at a distance.”

“We’ll take our time getting to the planet,” I said as I looked at the intel that had been relayed to me. “I don’t think we’ll much like what we’ll find down there if the information that you just gave me is correct.”

“Yessir, those ‘barons’ seem to be just like the pirate lords,” Paige spat. “If I weren’t babysitting the VIPs I’d ask to go down and clear them out with you.”

“We’re not taking any mechs down,” I said as I closed the file I had been reading on my slate. “It doesn’t seem like they have anything similar to it at all so we’ll stick to conventional warfare for now.”

“Keeping the aces up our sleeves?” Paige asked.

“That, and some of our mech pilots need some extra practice at being infantry again.”

“They complained about not getting to use their mechs didn’t they?” Paige asked.

“Yep,” I replied, popping the “p” sound. “Natasha is putting them through their paces right now, and we’ll be dropping them with the ODSTs should it come to it.”

“Did you get the chance to read the Codex thing that I sent over?” Paige changed the subject. “Because if the page on this system is correct than the planet down there has salvage options aplenty. And they’ve somehow cracked artificial gravity, that’s something that would help us out tremendously. Especially the spacers that we’ve got.”

“I’m going to have Dr. Rogers, and her team looking into everything once we have the chance to settle in,” I replied. “And once we get a feel for the planet we’ll decide if we can fix some of the apparent damage.”

“Alright, Mark,” Paige responded. “Have a nice trip, the planet’s still a couple of days away from the jump point.”

“I’m gonna spend it getting used to being young again,” I replied. “Myself and all of the older members of the Ducal Guard are having to adjust our fighting styles back to what they were when we were younger, and that sort of thing takes time.”

“Agreed,” Paige replied. “The old longevity treatments were helping, but my back doesn’t ache anymore, and that ACL that never quite healed properly is back to its old self as well.”

“All the things we got used to are different,” I replied. “It’s like anyone that was over forty got an age reversal treatment. You should see Winson and Hazen right now, it’s like they’ve been given an entirely new lease on life being in their twenties again.”

“I’m sure that they’re dominating in the ring right now along with Natasha,” Paige replied with a smile. “I’ll let you get back to it, sir. I’ve got a big lizard that keeps trying to pick fights with my Marines to talk to. Paige, out.”

The video call ended and I stood up to stretch. Before strapping myself back down and getting to work on a basic plan to deal with the world that we were about to be heading to. This ‘Korlus’ world needed a massive correction, and we would be the ones delivering it.

“When I said that I wanted to go on a life-changing adventure I didn’t really mean this,” Melissa pouted at me as her twenty year old self glared at me instead of her previous forty-year old self.

“If you thought that I expected this then you’re barking up the wrong tree Mel,” I replied. “And call me Mark, we’re functionally the same age right now and you’re a genius anyway.”

“Alright, I’m done complaining now,” Melissa said after composing herself again. “What did you need help with again?”

“We’re about twelve hours away from making orbit around the world called Korlus,” I replied as I sent over the documents to her slate. “I’ve made an analysis, but I want your input on the plan of action that I was thinking of taking.”

“Jesus Christ!” Melissa said as she read rapidly over the data we had compiled via the use of the Omnitool and the Codex that Paige had sent over. “First off, Aliens look really weird, this one has four eyes, that one is a blue woman, those lizard things.”

“Back on track, Mel,” I tapped Melissa on the shoulder. “I need your help on figuring out how to fix our problems first, and then on how to handle getting our people acclimated to aliens.”

“Well, it seems that the population is just shy of four million,” Melissa repeated what the report said and then glanced over to the defense section. “You want to drop some ODSTs and tanks on the orbital guns and then start cleaning up areas and terraforming don’t you?”

“We have Oppies,” I replied with a shrug. “If we can start making the place habitable then we can really start fixing things up down there. And all of the salvage can help us with the raw materials we’d need to get a colony fully functional. Not to mention that this “eezo” can probably be found on some of those downed ships, and we should be able to use it to adapt our current ships to use Artificial gravity among other things.”

“Well, it looks like just over half of the population is slaves, a quarter of them are those lizard creatures in scattered settlements around the planet, and then the rest of them are the wealthy people or the slave owners.”

“You’re better at predicting how this kind of thing will blow up,” I told Melissa bluntly. “What are the odds that we can actually make significant changes down there, or are we better off taking the pirate ship we just captured and finding somewhere else to put down roots?”

“This thing is going to go up like a powder keg, Mark,” Melissa replied as she raised a blond eyebrow. “I think that we should only maintain a military presence down there until we’ve managed to get rid of all of the elements that would try to get us off the planet. Split our people up, have our scientists probe the data we’ve got for a potentially livable planet or system within jump range but off of the beaten path and have our colonists settle there. Use the scrapheap as our “public” base of operations while hiding our colonists on another world.”

“Alright then,” I sighed. “I’ll have Kerlin Ward take over the leadership of the Colonists under the supervision of Dr.Rogers. I’ll need your help to get the political analysis on all of this right and to make sure we don’t run over the wrong set of toes.”

“Just make sure that the slave owners and the barons die,” Melissa looked me in the eye. “I’ll make sure that this doesn’t blow up in our faces on the political side.”
I suspect that things will be going seriously off the rails soon. Why am I imagining the former Clanners and the Krogan getting along in the most terrifying of ways?
I love butterflies. As my previous story should tell you. Canon? What’s that?
Okay, I just started reading this and I'm not quite certain as to some of the things going on. But, what is it with people getting 'younger' and are these Clanners?
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Chapter 5

“This is Duke Hull of Kentares IV,” I said over the comms channels that we had figured out were being used by the aliens. “You will surrender your planet and all of the orbital guns to us. If you cooperate we will see to it that you are treated well provided that you have committed no crimes against sentient rights.”

“And why would we do that?” A bunch of strange sounds were translated by the Omnitool that I was currently using. “You are a primitive species. Not even worthy of being made slaves.”

“Do we know where that specific transmission came from?” I asked the comms officer.

“Yes sir,” the comms officer replied. “It’s in the orbital bombardment arc of the Redemption.”

“Warning shot with a Naval PPC, and then send in the drop troopers,” I ordered. “I want that baron to be silent within the hour.”

“Wilco sir,” the comms officer replied. “Colonel Carter is reporting force readiness and is preparing to drop.”

“Can you get me a direct line to her?”

“Aye sir,” the comms officer handed me an earpiece. “She should be able to hear you now.”

“Hey, Carter,” I said into the earpiece. “I don’t just want those guns ours, I want you to put on a show while you do it. I want to make us seem so scarily competent that they surrender rather than us having to deal with every single obstinate one of these pests.”

“How flashy do you want it, sir?” I could hear the grin in Carter’s voice.

“That’s up to you, Colonel,” I replied. “I just want them to know that they picked the wrong people to try and antagonize.”

“You heard the Duke!” I heard her yell over the earpiece at her unit. “I want us to crash their party so hard they wish they had invited us in the first place!”

“Yes Ma’am!” the Marksman replied. “We’re ready for the orbital drop now.”

“Then full send, let’s prepare to drop!”

“Have fun, Colonel,” I said with a chuckle. “Just try not to have too much fun.”

“No can do sir,” She laughed. “You just let us off of the leash and now you get to deal with the consequences.”

“Hey Jewel!” I yelled at the Admiral. “Is it too late for me to join the ground teams?”

“Yes!” She yelled back. “Just because you look young again doesn’t make you any less of a VIP!”

“But I thought I was going to be able to kick ass and take names again!” I yelled back with laughter in my voice.

“Nope, get in line for the trip down,” she snarked at me. “The rest of the unit gets to hot drop while you get to ride down in style sipping champagne and eating cheese the whole way down.”

“Bullshit,” I laughed. “We both know that the Sting isn’t made for comfort. It’s a damn fine gunship though.”

“Maybe you’ll get some action on the next site,” Jewel replied. “But for now you’re stuck up here with us spacers.”

“Now matter how many times I do this it never gets any less fun!” Carter yelled to her tank’s crew.

“You say that every time we drop from orbit!” One of her tank drivers yelled back. “I’m halfway convinced that you’re just an adrenaline junkie.”

“You might have hit the nail on the head with that one,” Carter shrugged. “Where exactly are you dropping us by the way?”

“You said you wanted to crash their party right?” The pilot grinned. “So I put us exactly where we needed to be in order to crash it.”

“What do you mean?” Carter asked as she tried to figure out where they were dropping.

“You’ll find out when we get there, Colonel,” the driver laughed. “Just trust me and enjoy the ride!”

“Yeehaw!” the tank driver yelled as the Von Luckner crashed through the ceiling of the baron’s gun complex right into the middle of the literal party that he had been putting on, crushing the food tables and sending rubble flying everywhere. “I told you we’d crash the party properly.”

“I don’t think Duke Hull meat it quite so literally,” Carter laughed. “But you do get points for the maximum effort.”

“Well, don’t just thank me,” the driver said as the infantry and more tanks started falling down from orbit around their position to surround the guns. “It takes some serious coordination to crash a party this well.”

“Fine, I’ll give you all a bonus once the paycheck hits,” Carter sighed before looking at the cameras linked to the outside of the tank.

“This is Colonel Carter of the Marksman,” she said through the rough translation program that she had available. “Surrender. You will comply or will kill you, burn the body and feed you to whatever passes for carrion on this world.” She nodded at the tank gunner and he moved the machine guns to point at the nearest armed personnel while the main gun pointed at what looked like the baron in charge of this cluster of guns. “He looks like an old style lyran general threw up on his outfit.”

“Looks like he pissed himself,” another crew member said. “There’s a wet spot in those pants and I don’t think white is supposed to stain right there from spilling whatever it is they drink here.”

“I take it things are going well?” Melissa asked me as we sat and looked at the reports that Carter and the Ducal Guard had submitted.

“Yes actually,” I replied as I glanced over the report that Nat had sent me. “We’ve got over half of the baron’s in line, and we’re going to start working on the rest tomorrow.”

“Seems like this set was more focused on extorting people for salvage rights and less on the slavery bit,” Melissa said as she looked at the records. “What’s the plan for them? I know we’re killing the slavers though.”

“We’re going to be putting them into work crews as we install the extra terraforming devices we brought with us,” I replied. “They’ll be paid whatever passes for a fair wage and will be assigned living quarters as we go along. I want them to directly see that they could have improved this mess all along.”

“That’ll have to wait until we get our own colonists put down somewhere safe,” Melissa said as she handed me another set of data points.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Dr. Roger’s scientists think that there’s a decently habitable world within a one jump radius of us. They’re sending out the Secrecy and Snake to get a picture of their two most likely picks.”

“We’ll have to call all of the senior level people in for a meeting to decide on the right system if it comes down to two choices,” Melissa said as she drained a bulb of water. “The Colonists will want to feel like they’re a part of the decision making process and that’ll help out with all of the scattered emotions they’ll be feeling from being cooped up in the dropships in a strange place.”

“I know,” I replied. “But they’ll have to wait at least a week while the two spy ships make their inspection and return trip.”

“Let’s hope that there’s good options out there,” Melissa said after a moment of thought. “A resource rich planet would help us get started on building up some good defenses.”

“I was thinking about taking a page from Taurus’ playbook,” I said. “We’ve got the spare dropships once the colonists are offloaded, so why not drag asteroids into orbit and fit them with defenses. The two Elephants are perfect for it given that they’re tugs, and we can make some pretty large scale lasers and other arms using the machine shops on the Argo.”

“Something to plan for later,” Melissa said as she unstrapped herself from the table and began to float up. “Get some rest, Mark. You look like you haven’t slept in a couple of days.”

“I guess I am falling back into old habits,” I muttered to myself as I continued looking over the massive amount of data that I still had to go over. “Why’d Mary have to retire right when I need her most?”
Chapter 6

“Hey Nat,” I spoke to my wife on a direct channel to the Maxim that she was currently riding in. “Are the Krogan and Vorcha listening to you?”

“I’ve had to beat it into a few skulls,” Nat replied. “But so far it’s been fairly successful. Once I explain that we’re going to leave them alone for the most part as long as they don’t take slaves or do other things that would cause us to go after them they’re content for the most part.”

“That’s good to hear,” I said with a smile. “Melissa and Carter are pacifying the rest of the baron’s now, and I’ve got Dr. Rogers and some of her team going over the pirate frigate with a fine toothed comb.”

“Good, I would love to be able to have artificial gravity on a dropship, it would enable more training and other things to be done while we are in transit,” Natasha replied. “I think the Sting would be more effective as well if they were able to ignore the G-Forces.”

“Agreed,” I replied. “We’re temporarily recruiting some of the slaves that the Pirates had on board to assist with the very basics of everything, that should hopefully give us a head start on figuring that out.”

“We’re coming up on the next settlement now,” Natasha said. “I’ll let you know how everything goes.”

“I’m grateful that we got the translation program running,” Seetor said to his fellow liberated slaves. “But we’ve spent so much time explaining how various systems work that you’d think we were dealing with a bunch of primitives.”

“We most likely are,” Amyxla stated. “They appear advanced in many ways, but the lack of Element Zero in their technology means that they simply adapted to a different way of life. I am quite certain that they may consider us barbaric in some ways as well.”

“Sura,” one of the strange sounds was translated. “Can you show me what this is specifically and how it works?”

“Of course,” the female Quarian stood up. “I can show you how the artificial gravity generators work.”

“Why does it do that though?” Dr. Adam Kelley asked the suited alien now identified as a Quarian. “I know that it does produce artificial gravity, but why, and more importantly how does it do it?”

“It reacts with the electric charge and manipulates the mass of objects,” the Quarian repeated the same thing that they had been stuck on for the last hour or so. “Why does it matter how it does it?”

“Because if we know why it produces that reaction, then we might be able to replicate the effects of it without needing this rare “element zero” which isn’t even a real element according to the very definition. And if we know how it produces the reaction then we can try to figure out ways to implement it into new ways of using our current technology.”

“I’ve never asked why or how,” the Quarian admitted. “I just needed to know the specifications of specific cores and if they would be compatible with certain ships. I’m not really sure if there are any current scientists apart from maybe the Salarians and Asari who would be doing that kind of research. There certainly aren’t any in the fleet that are dedicated to that kind of idea or problem solving. We’re too busy trying to survive.”

“If you’re not asking questions about the things you’re using then you’re no longer adapting,” Adam said after a moment of silence. “If you not only want your fleet to survive then you need to start asking the right questions. Being good with the tech that you have is all well and good, but it’s not enough to just be good. Knowing the right questions is the start of science and discovery, and also the nature of invention.”

“Okay,” Sura agreed. “Let me help you take it apart and we’ll try to figure out why and how artificial gravity works. Then we can do small pieces of the Eezo core until we’ve got a baseline.”

“Now you’re starting to think like a scientist and an engineer,” the human scientists patted the Quarian on the shoulder.

“I would like to speak to your leader,” Amyxla said to the ranking officer on the ship that they were still detained on. “I was in the middle of negotiating for the release of some of my sisters and would like to return to that if at all possible.”

“I’ll relay the message up the chain,” the armored alien folded its arms. “But I wouldn’t expect a response anytime soon.”

“And why is that?” Amyxla tried altering her body language to be more appealing to the alien but for some reason her senses kept on failing her. “Is there something going on that I should be aware of?”

“No, there isn’t,” the alien replied. “And whatever you’re trying to do you should stop it, it just makes you look as awkward as the lizard.”

“Just take off the helmet. Are we not allowed to see what our rescuers look like?” Amyxla tried once more.

“We have no idea how our immune systems will react to you,” the alien replied. “Until that is done under controlled circumstances you will not see a single one of us without a fully secured suit on.”

“I can make it worth your while,” Amyxla decided to try and seduce the alien. “I have many years of experience as a lover.”

“No means no,” the alien turned and placed her hand on her hip where some sort of massive sidearm was located. “Keep fucking around and you’ll find out just how seriously we take that around these parts.”

“You said the Blue alien tried to seduce you?” I asked Paige as she commed me to relay the question that the alien had asked.

“Yes, I think us not being in an unsealed environment is doing something to her physiology when she tries to speak with us,” Paige replied. “The Quarians and the Krogan almost seem to defer to her, and the pirates seem to find her extremely attractive for some reason.”

“And your marines?” I asked. “Are they affected?”

“Negative,” Paige shook her head. “A few think she’s as attractive as any woman with a ‘massive’ rack like that, but that’s been the extent of it. The small group of biologists we have observing them say that her body language changes depending on which alien she is addressing at that precise moment, almost altering the perception of any of them to think more highly of her while they are in her presence.”

“Can they identify whatever it is?” I asked. “Are there pheromones or something in the air?”

“Nothing they can identify, but they say that the rest of the aliens appear safe, and the younger looking of the blue aliens are safer to be around because it seems that they haven’t developed the ability sufficiently for it to be as much of a threat, but any of the older blue aliens should be treated as a possible mind control scenario until further notice.”

“Thanks for the update, Paige,” I replied. “Tell this Amyxla that once things settle down on Korlus she’s free to go. And you can tell the other aliens that as well.”

“I think we’ll have one of the Quarians stay behind,” Paige laughed. “She seems quite taken in by Dr. Kelley and his questions about how their technology works.”

“Good, we’ll need people who are familiar with how things work,” I said. “I’m tucking in for the night, Dr. Hale is fussing at me for overworking myself as it is.”

“Sleep well, sir, we’ll hold down the fort while you get some rest.”
Chapter 7

“Finally some decent sleep,” I muttered as I woke up after having slept for around twelve hours or so and fumbled myself out of the floating hammock trying to reach the slate that was ringing because my alarm was going off, or someone was trying to reach me.

Seeing that it was my alarm, I was tempted to turn it off and roll over to get back to sleep but I knew that there was still work to be done and so I got dressed and made my way out of the quarters that I had been assigned while on the Manassas.

“Melissa, Victoria,” I greeted them both as I entered the mess hall for a cup of coffee. “I take it we haven’t had any issues while I was asleep?”

The two women just exchanged glances before sighing.

“There were… complications while you were out,” Melissa finally said after she had drained her cup of coffee.

“Alright, good news and bad news, lay it out,” I said as I strapped myself in across from the two of them.

“We had two more ships jump into the system,” Jewel said as she flipped open to the relevant report on her slate and sent it over to mine for me to peruse while they gave me a verbal debriefing. “One of which was a slave barge, and the other was the escort for said barge.”

“We managed to lure the escort into an area where we had the Redemption hiding and took them by surprise with some NPPCs before boarding with a group of Marines,” Melissa chimed in. “According to the way that they measure ships here it looks to be a cruiser, but it’s badly maintained and would need a serious overhaul before we would put it into any serious use.”

“How did they miss the Redemption when they could clearly see our Sting and jumpships from before?” I asked while eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee.

“It’s a known fact that K-F drives emit certain kinds of radiation that is easily detectable right before and immediately after a jump,” Jewel stated. “Apparently our ships are nigh invisible to their own unless we’re right on top of them if we haven’t jumped in a while.”

“That’s something we should keep track of though,” I said after thinking about it for a minute. “While it helps us out if we create a bunch of monitor class vessels it doesn’t help us out in the long term if we’re easily seen on sensors when we first jump into a system.”

“Once we figure out how to replicate some of their technology we can look into tactics and the strategic implications,” Jewel replied.

“As it is, I’m going to be joining the R&D teams once I’m done helping you iron out the plan for Korlus,” Melissa said. “I think Carter is done with all but one of the Barons, and the last word from the Ducal Guard was that there were only a couple of remote Krogan settlements holding out.”

“Alright,” I said as I stretched some of the remaining exhaustion away. “Let’s go finish up the plans for Korlus and our hidden colony,” I said to Melissa who was acting as my Aid-de-Camp or assistant for most of this kind of planning. “Then we need to establish when we’re going to unveil mechs, I’m leaning towards saving them for a significant strategic advantage, but I’m not exactly sure when that would be.”

“Industrialmechs should be fine,” Melissa said as we began to leave the mess hall. “Just strap some machine guns on them and make sure they look a bit ramshackle and they’ll think it’s just another ‘primitive’ design that we seem to be using. I’ve got Dr. Roger’s teams that are aboard the Argo working on some modifications to our Lumberjack’s aws. Given the amount of metal salvage down there, I’m sure that we’ll need all of the industrialmechs we can get working on hauling salvage.”

“That might work,” I replied as we entered the room that I was using as an office. “But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

“This is great fun!” Natasha said as she and Nadia Winson entered yet another version of a Circle of Equals with one of the Krogan settlements that were on Korlus.

“You have challenged my brother and I for the right to rule over the settlement,” a rough series of sounds came through before it was translated. “We shall see if you are capable of standing before two true Krogan!”

The two Krogan hefted their melee weapons and glared at the two Mithril clad Ex-Clanners before throwing their weapons to the side and charging forward to fight in hand to hand.

“Which one do you want?” Natasha asked the de-aged Ghost Bear Khan as she ducked out of the way of a fist. “Because I’m good with fighting either of them.”

“I will take the bigger one,” Winson rolled her eyes at Natasha’s contractions. “But next time I believe we should challenge them to a game of either football or rugby, I believe that the rest of the Guard are feeling left out.”

“Sounds good to me,” Natasha said as she threw the slightly smaller Krogan over her shoulder with a roll of her hips and a shift in momentum. “Just remember to not break this one as badly as you did the last one.”

“I am young again,” Winson said as she broke the big Krogan’s knee with a well placed kick and flipped over the large lizard. “I am simply enjoying the fruit of my youth once again.” Winson then spun the Krogan around and knocked him unconscious with a precise knee strike. “If any of these brutes fought smarter I would have taken them in as a bondsman.” Winson muttered as she walked away from the Circle of Equals. “They would have made great warriors if they used their minds as well as they used their strength.”

“Agreed,” Natasha said as she finished toying with the slightly smaller Krogan before forcing him to yield. “One begins to wonder if they’ve lost faith in their own ability to adapt to things.”

“Hopefully we can begin to fix that,” Winson looked over the second to last settlement. “For the settlements here seem to be places where their hope comes to die. And I would like to see if I can bring back their warrior’s spirit and the pride of victory back to this species.”

“I’ll bring it up at the next meeting,” Natasha said to the Ducal Guard member. “I’m sure that if you can properly justify it that Mark will allow you to at least try.”

“I shall have to consult the proper data on this species,” Nadia Winson replied. “But I believe that it may be worthwhile to at least try.”

Author's Note: Couldn't sleep... So you lot get another chapter.
Chapter 8

“I am pleased that you chose to accompany me,” Amyxla told Seetor as she and the male Quarian boarded the shuttle headed for Korlus.”Our hosts were beginning to unnerve me.”

“They’re scary,” Seetor agreed. “I don’t know why Sura is so fascinated with how they’ve developed.”

“They did seem to be asking a lot of questions,” Amyxla said to the male. “Is there any way that I could learn some of those questions?” the Mataron asked as she tried to make herself appealing to the suited Quarian. “Over dinner somewhere perhaps?”

“Sssure,” Seetor stammered as he blushed at the very attractive Asari, seeming to throw herself at him. “I just have to make my report to the Fleet before I attend to personal business.”

“Come to dinner with me first,” Amyxla said with a seductive smile. “I’ll make it very worth your while.”

“I guess the report can wait for a few more hours,” Seetor said as he followed the Asari Matron to one of the few high end places on Korlus. “I’m not sure I can afford to eat here though.”

“This place is owned by a friend,” Amyxla smiled. “And they’re very good at catering to specific needs. I’ve arranged a clean room in the back for when we have finished our meal.”

“There’s definitely something up with those blue women,” Mathias said as he watched the Asari lead the shorter Quarian around by the nose. “She has a great rack, but there’s no way that I’d be trying to stick my dick in something like that.”

“Did you notice that Sura seemed to open up to us more once we began separating her from the other two?” Julia asked with an icy tone to her voice. “The Asari doesn’t even seem to be aware that she’s doing it unless it’s not working. It’s as if it’s on a subconscious level.”

“Look, she just altered her body language to start talking to that,” Mathias trailed off as he tried to figure out what the alien was called. “Turian, that’s it, notice that she stopped emphasizing her bust and hips to the Quarian and started showing off more of the top of her head to the Turian.”

“It’s not pheromones, and it doesn't seem to be anything that she’s doing on purpose,” the third member of their little trio of Marines said. “I’m not even sure how the Quarians were affected considering that they spend their lives in their own self-contained suits.”

“Dr. Hale and her staff are going to be going over the couple of dead ones that we got from the Cruiser,” Colonel Paige said as she descended the ramp. “Just keep your helmets on people, we’re doing our best to seem like we’re something similar to the Volus that we’ve been told about. If we can convince the aliens that we only live in our suits then we’ll have created another level of mystique in which to shroud ourselves in.”

“Are those the orders from the Powers that Be?” Mathias asked his CO.

“Affirmative,” Paige replied. “We’re going full send on the cloak and dagger for this op.”

“Wilco,” Julia replied, her jokes having stopped once she had started actually working. “Can I speak to you in private, Colonel?”

“Of course, Corporal,” Paige replied. “But can it wait until we’re back up in the void? I’m not comfortable in an unsecured area like this.”

“Aye ma’am,” Julia responded. “Korlus isn’t safe until we’ve gotten everything figured out here.”

“What did you want to speak to me about, Julia?” Paige asked once they were aboard the pirate frigate that she was temporarily in command of.

“I would like to request a transfer for more field intelligence training,” Julia told her CO. “I know that Duke Hull brought intel people and I would like to train with them. This new world/universe, whatever you want to call it, has a lot more ship on ship combat and I have a feeling that I’m going to be needed to assist with intel work while I’m a part of your marines ma’am.”

“I’ll sign the authorization,” Paige said as she looked at her marine. “But Dunham’s going to put you through your paces so don’t expect it to be easy,” Paige looked her marine in the eye. “And leave the perverted bullshit here, Dunham doesn’t put up with that kind of shit.”

“Aye ma’am,” Julia said as she stood up to leave the office. “Thank you for the opportunity.”

“Just don’t leave your teammates in the dark,” Paige told her subordinate. “Mathias is smart, he’ll catch on if you don’t tell them and you won’t live it down afterwards.”

“You’ve got control over all of the guns now?” I asked Carter over the comms.

“Yes sir, we own the skies now, and we can start moving to remove the rest of the slaver and murder bands whenever you’re ready to begin.”

“Now that we own the skies I want to have Stings start dropping infantry on top of them followed by providing CAS. I want the slavers dead before the end of the week.”

“What if they surrender?” Carter asked. “What do you want us to do with them then?”

“If they surrender before getting ripped apart then we’ll start putting them to work just like we are with the Barons,” I replied. “I’ll let you get back to it, Carter. Hull out.”

“Alright, now to get back to what to do with the captured ships,” Melissa looked at me. “The slave Barge we emptied out and paid for the slaves to be sent back to wherever they came from with the loot we took from the cruiser.”

“I want to use it as a supplemental grav-deck for now,” I replied. “We’re going to have to clean it up first, but it’ll give our people the chance to relax in 1g for a bit longer.”

“Have Dr. Kelley and the Quarian got any new information for me?” I asked. “I seem to have misplaced a file that I was looking over the other day.”

“You mean this file?” Melissa sent it over to my slate.

“Yep,” I replied as I opened the encrypted data. “This could be the solution to helping us rapidly terraform and make Korlus a decent front.”

“I agree with you,” Melissa sighed. “But we don’t know how large the technology scales, and we don’t know how it works yet.”

“In this case I’m perfectly willing to utilize it first, and figure out how and why it works while we’re using it.”

If it can be scaled up to the level that you want to then we’ll make massive progress in a very short amount of time,” Melissa said as she looked over the data again. “But we’ve got to plan for the eventuality that it won’t work.”

“In which case we’ve already worked out the backup plans,” I replied to her. “Now we just have to see how things play out.”

“How are you so confident that your plans will work?” Melissa asked in frustration.

“I’m not,” I replied with a shrug and a smile. “But there’s only so much that I can actually accomplish before there’s nothing left for me to do but hope that everything works out. And if I appear confident that it will work, then the rest of the people who follow me will believe the same thing.”

“I guess,” Melissa agreed. “It just always seemed like you and Mom knew exactly how things were going to happen and moved in response.”

“If I knew everything that could have happened then Sapphire would be with us on this trip too,” I reminded Melissa. “But she’s not with us anymore so clearly I’m not as perfect as it seems.”

“I guess it’s just hard to reconcile the hero-worship that I had of you and mom and the reality of it all,” Melissa sighed. “You never stop learning this kind of thing. Do you, Uncle Mark?”

“Nope,” I replied with a shake of my head. “The day that you stop learning is the day that you die. And I thought I told you to call me Mark.”

“Slip of the tongue,” Melissa smiled sheepishly. “You made me feel like I was twelve all over again.”

“It’s a parenting thing,” I said with a smile. “One day you’ll understand.”
Warriors and scientists - good.Reapers would not see what hit them.
But,they are lucky that they do not end in WH40.Mechanicus would torture them to death.
Chapter 9

“What do you think they’re building?” Seetor asked Amyxla as they looked towards the area just outside of the dome complex that had been sectioned off.

“I have no idea,” Amyxla replied as she stood up. “But I have found my sisters and they are refusing to leave this goddess forsaken planet. But I have other obligations and so must be on my way. I experienced a pleasant time with you Seetor'Shaama vas Xuwa. Should the stars align I hope that our paths will cross again.” The Asari Matron walked towards the shuttle that would be taking her on a path back through Omega and back into Council held space.

“What a woman,” Seetor muttered to himself as he began walking towards the quarters that he had rented for himself and Sura prior to the whole captured slave ordeal. “Well, I think it’s time to head back to the fleet. Someone else can negotiate with these barbarians, but it won’t be me.”

“You intend on returning to the fleet?” Admiral Rael’Zorah asked.

“Yes, I believe that someone else would be better suited to negotiating for salvage with the new government that Korlus has,” Seetor replied. “I was captured to be sold as a slave here and feel that my place is in the fleet.”

“We understand,” Rael exchanged glances with the rest of the Admiralty board. “Is Sura to be remaining behind then?”

“She is enamored with the new species, and is planning on assisting them with understanding modern tech,” Seetor stated. “I believe that she would be a poor choice for negotiating in the future.”

“We shall confer and attempt to locate someone who would be capable of negotiating for more salvage. As it is, our current stores of spares are going to be lacking in the near future and we may have to rely on Sura to negotiate with these primitives.”

“It is not my place to make that sort of decision,” Seetor responded. “I would rather get back to my ship, the Xuwa and take my place as an engineer once again.”

“We’re sending a shuttle to pick up the salvage that you had previously negotiated for,” Zorah replied. “It will have your replacement on it and you can use it to return to the fleet.”

“This is interesting,” Dr. Hale said as she examined the body of one of the Asari they had taken from the cruiser. “If it were not for the fact that I know that this is an alien then I would have thought this was a human with a genetic mutation.”

“What do you mean Doctor?” One of her students and aids asked her.

“On a physical examination the body appears extremely close to a human’s physiologically,” Hale replied. “There are two breasts, they are not only shaped similarly to other mammals, but are nearly identical in appearance to human’s, they have a vaginal cavity that looks remarkably like a humans, and they even possess many of the nerve endings there that a human female would possess. It’s when you begin to look underneath the surface that things become unusual.”

“Unusual how?” A nurse asked.

“Well, the genetic code has an eighty percent match for the human genome, and the brains are similar as well. But it’s clear that they possess abilities and strange growths that we do not,” Hale indicated the growths in the brain that they had not identified yet. “I believe that this one,” She tapped the location of one of the growths. “Is the one responsible for those strange powers they possess, these ‘biotics’ as they are called. I have not identified what the latter one is for, but it is clearly larger in the older Asari than it is in the younger.”

“I see what you mean,” the other experienced doctor said as he peered at the picture of the two side by side. “What seems miniscule might have a greater impact on their abilities once they have achieved maturity.”

“These two are samples of what is called the ‘Maiden’ stage of their lives,” Hale replied. “We have yet to examine a Matron or a Matriarch, but once we are able to I believe we shall be able to identify some more differences.”

“Until then, we are to remain on the mind control protocols,” the other doctor replied. “No one is to be outside of a suit of Mithril until we are able to figure out what is causing the attraction in other species.”

“Agreed,” Hale replied. “While we might be safe around the younger members of the species it is better to be safe than to be compromised in this case.”

“In other words,” A voice came through the comms systems. “Keep your hands and body to yourself when around the Aliens. If you are compromised we will have to quarantine you until we can be absolutely sure that you are safe to be around.”

“When will the Omni forges be finished?” I asked Dr. Rogers.

“We’ve made solid progress due to the help that Sura has provided,” Rogers replied. “We got lucky in that the technology does scale up to the size we needed. Although Sura is convinced that it shouldn’t have worked because ‘no one has tried before’.”

“It seems like they’re stuck in a rut technologically,” I replied. “We can’t afford to fall into the same trap though.”

“We’ve made significant inroads towards artificial gravity though,” Rogers said after going through her reports. “Dr. Kelley reports that he believes that we should have fully working artificial gravity generators in six months, and the first prototypes will be in three months or so.”

“And the inertial dampers?” I asked. “That should follow the artificial gravity, correct?”

“Yes, and we think that we’ll be able to miniaturize it enough to put it on our ASF, thus increasing their capacity for movement far beyond what they’re capable of currently.”

What about mating these eezo cores to our ships?” I asked.

“We don’t think it’s a good idea currently,” Rogers shook her head. “We’ve got enough on our plate right now and we don’t know how one of said cores will react with a K-F drive.”

“Alright,” I nodded my head. “I need you to figure out who is going with the colonists to settle on Veil.”

“We’re going to be rotating through,” Rogers stated. “We’ve got enough of us that the break will be welcomed by most of us. We’re only going to have a few permanent members who remain behind in this system. Just like the rest of your troops I believe.”

“I’m going to be staying here with the Manassas, some members of the Ducal Guard, and the Marksman,” I replied. “Until we’ve fully established this as our facade then we’re going to have to maintain a solid presence here.”

“You planning on letting Winson try her plan?” Rogers asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “If it works then we’ll conduct them into the policing and militia forces down on Korlus, and it’ll help us free up some of our own troops.”

“And this Genophage?” Rogers asked. “What are your plans on that?”

“I want to see if we can fix the mentality and culture of the ones down on Korlus first,” I replied. “And if we can’t fix the Genophage by then I may introduce Iron Wombs technology to them, but we’ll have to see if Winson’s plan works first.”
Krogans as battle-bros,and Quarian as mechanics - to be honest,humanity here do not need Council at all.
I remember some story on title,as usual/ where Quarians discovered humans accidentally,we get along,then take some Krogans,then Council declared war on us.
And was loosing till story died.