DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, STAR TREK, OR MASS EFFECT. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER IS OWNED BY JOSS WHEDON. STAR TREK WAS CREATED BY GENE RODDENBERRY AND IS OWNED BY PARAMOUNT STUDIOS. MASS EFFECT WAS CREATED BY BIOWARE AND IS OWNED BY ELECTRONIC ARTS. ANYTHING ELSE THAT MIGHT APPEAR BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS
Commander Shepard sat down in the center chair as she got a feel for it. There was an almost supernatural belief that a starship had an unconscious soul. This comatose soul could somehow choose a captain and form a connection. It was through this connection that the captain of the ship could somehow get the most out of his or her crew. This belief may have passed down from the ancient naval traditions but still...
“I feel you, girl.” Shepard said patting the chair's armrest with her right hand. “Let's get underway then.”
“Do you and the chair want to be alone?” Joker asked her.
“Maybe later but for now,” She replied. “I think we should get underway. Alenko, please inform the dockyard quartermaster that we are getting underway and clear all mooring clamps. Joker, one quarter impulse power once that is done. Set a course for the relay once we are clear at full impulse.”
Her orders were acknowledged and a sense of pride in herself emerged more so than usual. She had found it unusal that Captain Anderson had offered her this opprotunity but she accepted it none the less. Maybe he wanted her to get the feel of command once in a while but if so, it felt good. Shepard saw Nihlus take position behind Joker. It definitely shows how concentrated he is that he isn't griping about the turian behind him.
She thought about the helmsman.
Her mind drifted away from the helmsman rattling off his current tasks to the dream she had last night. A pleasant dream wouldn't have brought her attention away from current events as bad as this did. It was a 'Slayer Dream' if she wanted to be more specific. In the dream, she saw death and destruction and as she looked at Nihlus she knew that he wouldn't make it back from the mission they were going on whatever it was. Nihlus would fall to betrayal though she wasn't certain whose betrayal it was. I have to tell the captain this.
She thought. Especially the fact that the other distinct death she felt was someone else on this ship.
“Five hundred is good.” Nihlus commented to the helmsman. “Your captain will be pleased.”
Shepard got up immediately and walked over to stand near the helmsman to attempt to prevent Joker from verbally assassinating the turian. Nihlus walked off towards the conference room and Joker let out an exasperated breath.
“I hate that guy.” He said.
“Nihlus gave you a compliment,” Kaiden replied. “so you hate him?”
“You remember to zip up your jumpsuit coming out of the bathroom, that's good.” Joker said. “I just jumped us half way across the galaxy by hitting a target the size of a pinhead and getting a drift of only five hundred kilometers something none of his people could possibly do, that's incredible. Besides, Spectres are trouble. Call me paranoid.”
“You're paranoid.” Kaiden told him. “The Council asked the Alliance for help exploring areas beyond inactive relays so they have a right to have one of their people there to see it.”
“Well, that's the offical story” Joker replied. “and only an idiot believes the offical story.”
“And they don't send Spectres on shakedown runs.” Shepard added.
“So there's something more going on.” Joker replied.
“There better be.” Shepard told him. “I hate having those dreams.”
A slow but sudden look of shock could be seen on Joker's face. “Ah crap.”
“Anderson to Bridge.” Anderson's voice came over the comm system. “Joker, status report.”
“We just cleared the relay sir.” The lieutenant replied.
“Good, I want status reports relayed back to Starfleet Command before we reach Eden Prime.” Anderson ordered. “Shepard, please go to the conference room as soon as possible.”
“Understood, sir.” Shepard replied before the link was closed. “The captain sounds angry. Maybe my dreams had merit after all.”
As she walked away, she heard Joker ask Alenko, “Do you think she meant those
type of dreams?”
Shepard walked over to Doctor Chakwas and Corporal Jenkins. The corporal was speaking to the doctor about the planet they were going to as it was where he grew up.
“Doc, be sure to have your medical staff ready for anything.” Shepard told the doctor. “I've had some bad dreams.”
She would have expected a response to come from the ship's chief medical officer but it was the Starfleet Marine corporal who began get hysterical. The corporal got down on his knees and began to cry.
“I'm gonna die!” He exclaimed.
“You're not going to die, Jenkins.” Doctor Chakwas said as she tried to reassure him.
“That's not my last name.” He replied as he sobbed. “I changed it before I enlisted in the SMC.”
“What was your last name then?” She asked.
“The captain needs to see me.” Shepard said quickly leaving the pair behind her.
She entered the conference room and noticed Nihlus looking out into space intently. The turian was alone in the room which set her on edge. He turned towards her and seemed pleased to see her.
“Shepard, good.” He told her. “I was hoping to have another chance to talk.”
“I was expecting Captain Anderson to be here.” She said.
“He'll be here shortly.” Nilhus replied as he walked over to the display screen and a picture of Eden Prime appeared on it. “I'm curious about this planet we're going to, Eden Prime, and I wanted to know your thoughts about it.”
“They say it's a paradise.” Shepard told him. “Personally, I think paradise is a relative term.”
“But still, it's thought of as a paradise. Proof that humanity can establish colonies this far out and protect them as well.” Nilhus remarked. “But how safe is it?”
She took a step in his direction at the perceived threat. “Do you know something?” She asked sternly.
“You're people are still newcomers, Shepard.” He said sharply. “Even with your advanced technology, is the Alliance truly ready for this?”
“Is anyone truly ready for anything?” She asked him. “I'm a Starfleet officer which means I signed up to take chances and when you take chances, you have a chance to fall. There's an old human saying. I don't know if there is something similar among your people or the Citadel races but you need to ask yourself; why do we fall? So we can learn how to get back up.”
“Your people are too advanced to be allowed to stumble.” Nilhus told her. “As it is said among both our people, the bigger you are mean you fall harder.”
“And giants tend to make the biggest falls of all.” Anderson added as he came into the conference room. “I see you and Nihlus are getting along finally, Commander.”
“Give a guy a concussion or two and he's your new buddy.” Shepard told her commanding officer.
“We're making a covert pick up on Eden Prime.” Anderson informed her. “A Starfleet science team found an intact Prothean beacon and we're bringing it back to the Citadel for study.”
“While I appreciate archaelogy as much as anyone, this seems like a waste of time.” Shepard told him.
“I could think of several other uses for the Normandy than what we're doing now but these orders come straight for the top. We don't have much use from Prothean relics but the Citadel species based their technology almost completely upon it.” Anderson said. “Given Eden Prime's location, Starfleet Command believes that it is best to get rid of it as soon as possible.”
“Some might see it worth it to start a war with the Alliance if they can get a hold of a Prothean beacon.” Shepard remarked. “Granted, they'd have to be mentally incompotent vorcha to even try.”
“All advanced galactic civilizations use some form of Prothean technology including yours.” Nihlus told her.
“Except the relays are a convience for us and not a necessity for you.” Shepard reminded him. “One of our ships almost thirty years ago went through half of one of your fleets without breaking a sweat. We haven't exactly been stagnant for that time either. Admiral Illyria isn't exactly a forgive and forget sort.”
“The beacon isn't the only reason I'm here.” Nilhus said to her.
“Shepard, Nihlus is here to evaluate you to join the Citadel Spectres.” Anderson told his first officer.
“Why?” She asked. “We're not even a Citadel race and they want a Starfleet officer as a Spectre.”
“It's bigger than that, Shepard. There are too many people in Citadel Space who view the Alliance as a rogue nation unwilling to work with the Citadel Council.” Anderson said. “We need to show that the Alliance is willing to do more than hurling photon torpedoes at anyone that pisses us off.”
“We also have phasers, sir.” Shepard reminded him.
“You're missing my point.” He replied.
“We had one?” She asked.
March 6th 2183
Systems Alliance Department of Temporal Investigations Headquarters
Greenwich, England, Europe
The first vampire to have a soul, Angel, watched his two best agents enter his office. Agent Sheldon was a lanky Caucasian human who looked like someone who the vampire thought couldn't get laid in a brothel with all the credits in the galaxy at his disposal. His partner, Agent Leonard, however looked as though someone carved the statue of a Greek god out of obsidian.
“Director, why'd you ask to see us?” Sheldon asked.
“Actually, she wanted to see you two.” Angel replied as he gestured towards the short dark-haired woman who sat by the window of his office.
Leonard and Sheldon had met Agent Alenko on previous occassions. The last time was helping her stop a traveler from the twenty fifth century who was selling anachronistic technology on Omega. They had managed to stop him as well as recover or destroy any technology they ran across.
“So, what bit of bad news have you brought for us today?” Leonard asked.
“Events have begun on Eden Prime that will lead one Starfleet officer into becoming quite famous. One thing she'll become known for is the apparent ability to turn the space-time continium into her bitch.” Alenko said. “I'm warning you so that you should know that you will not do a thing to her or her crew.”
“But our job is to...” Sheldon began to say.
“Is to protect the timeline. Everything Shepard will do will eventually lead up to my time being as it is.” Alenko replied interuppting Sheldon. “One of the incidents restores the timeline but I'd keep that under your hat.”
Sheldon shook his head and it was easy to tell that he was angry. “Why in the hell did you even bother telling us not to do our job?”
“Do your job to the best of your ability, Agent Sheldon, but for the time being Shepard is off-limits.” Alenko told him. “I assume I've made myself clear or will there be a need to creatively edit the timeline in order to achieve what we need to occur without too much alteration. I don't want to do this. It's too tedious as well as fucking annoying but it is sometimes necessary.”
“The beacon's not the only reason I'm here, Shepard.” Nilhus said.
“Shepard, Nilhus is here to evaluate you to become a Council Spectre.” Anderson informed her.
Shepard took a step back. “Wait a minute,” she said. “somebody wants to give me carte blanche to do whatever I think need to be done. I'm not sure you were even cleared for the information about the last time that happened, Anderson.”
Nilhus' omni-tool flared to life as he read data off of it. “Fifteen thousand dead, three obliterated planets, a quantum singularity known as Shepard's Rage
, and the nickname of the Horseman of Death or Death for short.” He said to them before he deactivated his omni-tool. “Wasn't that what happened last time?”
Anderson looked over with surprise first at the turian then at the slayer who shrugged her shoulders. “Death...really?”
“Yeah, though I blame Famine for the three destroyed planets. Little quarian always wanted to blow something up.” She said.
“Fifteen thousand dead.”
“War, Famine, Pestilence, and myself. We were tracking down those taken from Elysium anyway and the fifteen thousand people we killed were either slavers or mercenaries too stupid to be working for the slavers.” Shepard explained.
“Too stupid, I'm not sure that...” Anderson began to say.
“About a thousand of the people we killed were only indirectly. They actually killed each other as Pestilence and I fabricated evidence that implicated members of their families either doing horrific things to other mercenaries' families or screwing them over or getting romanticly involved.” Shepard informed him. “I think Pestilence made War sick with his krogan/turian porno. That is one twisted salarian.”
The three individuals in the conference room shuddered from the thought. Nilhus was the first to speak up.
“I don't think we need to hear anymore about that.” Nilhus said.
“Captain, we have a problem.”
The cloaked U.S.S. Normandy approached Eden Prime and the closer they got, the more apprehensive she got. She hadn't had the chance to tell Anderson about her dream as he was her 'Watcher' in the old sense. Most Slayers found themselves a mentor to confide in about Slayer things. She was fortunate to have found three. Anderson had been a rather late addition in the mix as the first two happened to be two asari matriarchs. The subject of magic had been an odd thing to bring up to the two aliens who couldn't believe a technology advanced civilization attributed their rise entirely to a magical event but to their credit, they didn't immediately dismiss the subject out of hand. The two of them had researched the topic rather rationally and helped her as best they could.
“Captain, I have what appears to be two salarian frigates near the planet.” Lieutenant Commander Christopher Bowne said from the tactical station.
“Appears to be, Mister Bowne?” Anderson asked seeking clarification.
“Sir, neither ship has a detectable mass effect field and along with what my sensors are reading as disrupter banks; they also have an active warp field.” Bowne reported.
Nilhus looked over at Anderson. “That isn't possible.” He said. “If the salarians have developed any of those technologies, there would have been evidence of it sooner than now.”
“Something tells me they may have gotten some help.” Joker said from the helm station as he magnified a section of the bow of one of the frigates. A red hexagonal symbol with curved green horns on each side of the hexagon could be seen on the screen. “This is the symbol of the ancient salarian god of destruction and domination, Sekar. According to the myth, Sekar believed in the domination of the inferior through destruction. The last cult of Sekar was destroyed about four and a half millenia ago when a belief system similar to the wheel of life was adopted.”
“Wow,” Shepard said a bit amused. “didn't know you took a Watcher training course at the academy.”
“I had to fulfill a cultural studies credit requirement at the academy and took a course dealing with the mythology of the Council races.” Joker explained. “I got a B.”
“Mister Bowne, what is the status of the frigates?” Anderson asked.
“Disrupter banks are charged.” Bowne reported. “I believe they have torpedoes loaded and they have shields raised.”
“This shouldn't be possible.” Nilhus said again. “Why would the salarians be attacking an Alliance colony?”
“They aren't attacking the colony.” Shepard told him. “They're waiting for us.”
“Shepard, take Alenko and Jenkins and suit up.” Anderson ordered. “We'll beam your team and Nilhus down and keep our new friends busy.”
“Captain Anderson, you will be facing two to one odds.” Nilhus said to him. “That doesn't speak well.”
“Then they had better get two or three more ships to make this a fair fight, Spectre.” Anderson replied. “You have a mission to do.”
Shepard entered the transporter room last to see Alenko and Jenkins waiting for her. She didn't see Nilhus anywhere and she gave a look to Alenko.
“Nilhus beamed down already.” He informed her.
Shepard was about to thank him when she heard a familiar meow come from behind the transporter control station. A small black cat came around the station to look at Shepard. Midnight meowed at her human.
“How did you get in here, Midnight?” Shepard asked her cat as she bent down to pet her.
“I don't know how but the door just opened and she walked in.” The transporter chief said. “She hasn't been any trouble ma'am.”
“Of course she wouldn't be a problem but I still want to know how she got out of my quarters.” Shepard replied.
“Commander, when she tells you” Alenko said. “let me know, okay.”
“I'll be back, Midnight.” Shepard told her feline friend as she stepped on the transporter pad. “Energize.”
As they beamed away, Midnight raised her right paw into the air and meowed at her human.
“Commander Shepard's team is away.” Bowne reported.
“Decloak the ship.” Anderson ordered. “Red alert.”
Joker looked over at Anderson. “Should I open a channel---” He began to ask before the ship shook from a torpedo impact. “I'll take that photon torpedo as our answer to that.”
“Attack pattern Lehane Theta, Joker.” Anderson said. “I want full sensor scans on the salarian frigates.”
Anderson watched the viewscreen as quantum torpedoes lashed out against the lead frigate. Phaser strikes against the same locations brought down the shields as fiery plumes of plasma erupted on the hull. Before he could issue an order to bear their attack on the second vessel, an alarm sounded from the tactical station.
“Captain, detecting three more ships dropping out of warp.” Bowne reported. “Profiles match as two salarian frigates and a dreadnought.”
“I did say they needed to bring more friends to make this a fair fight.” Anderson responded.
“Sir, Romulan D'deridex class warbird decloaking off our port bow.” Bowne quickly added. “They're firing on the salarian dreadnought.”
Though there had been no actual proof in the early days of the Systems Alliance, a few monitoring stations had been set up along the border of what in the various Star Trek television series had been the Neutral Zone. Those monitoring stations for a century and a half had not reported any sign of any Romulan activity and Starfleet Command had decided to try and not kick a hornet's nest that may or may not have been there. Nine years ago, the Alliance received an urgent request for aid from the Turian Hiearchy as a near repeat of the Relay 314 incident had occurred at the relay the Citadel Council had designated 726. The difference being was the new found race chose to go to war with the turians for their foolish attack. Three turian worlds had been invaded and conquered easily before the turians have even thought of asking for help.
Relations with the Romulan Star Empire and the Systems Alliance were a great deal better than relations between the Romulan Empire and the Citadel Council. The Council had tried the same appeal they did with the Alliance in an ultimately futile move. An alliance was formed between the Empire and the Alliance in case any hostile action became necessary. Despite an overwhelming technological advantage over the Citadel races, a numerical advantage was still held by the Citadel races.
Batarian slavers have only assaulted a single Romulan colony. Starfleet Intelligence believed the subsequent assassination of the ruling party of the Hegemony with what was believed to be the use of a thalaron emitter and an intercepted warning to their replacements has kept the slavers and other criminal groups from assaulting the Romulan border.
“Captain, one of the salarian frigates has began to fire on the colony.” Bowne reported.
“Quantum torpedoes full spread.” Anderson snapped out the order. “Target their warp core. That son of a bitch needs to be stopped now.”
Shepard coughed heavily as she tried to breathe through the smoke and dust that had formed from the sudden and unexpected orbital strike. She could finally see well enough to see a faint blue glow of a biotic barrier shielding them. Shepard stumbled over to Alenko who was straining to keep the barrier up. She put her right hand on his shoulder.
“I think the attack stopped.” She told him before he slowly dropped the barrier.
“I don't think...I...can do....that again, Commander.” Kaiden replied breathing harder than her.
“I as sure hell don't want to see you try, Lieutenant.” Shepard said tapping her communicator. “Shepard to Normandy, what the hell happened?”
“Shepard, this is Chris.” Bowne reported. “We've managed to decrypt a few of the salarian's communications. They aren't here to destroy the colony or destroy the Normandy.”
“If they aren't after the colony, then why in the hell did they attack it?” She asked.
“They were after you.”