“What do you mean you can’t find them?” she demanded looking at Uwik in frustration.
“Exactly that. STG is unable to find the location of the Migrant Fleet” he replied testily.
Callamus rubbed his eyes “If the vagrants have decided to leave Citadel space it is of no concern. What is, is the fact that a Nirnian ship was spotted orbiting Tuchanka” he told Tevos and Uwik wearily, holding up the datapadd that carried this information.
“Yes, Yes. Ship entered Tuchankan space for an hour then left. No communications were made with the planet. My theory is they saw the result of the Krogan’s violence and abandoned any thought of contact.” Uwik snapped, waving another padd around.
“Then explain why we had a Krogan Warlord by the name of Urdnot Wrex uniting the Clans!” Callamus almost yelled back at the Salarian.
“Happens all the time, always doomed to failure, besides STG will eliminate him if he becomes to powerful” Uwik informed him loudly.
“Enough” Tevos told them both firmly “we have enough to worry about without you too worrying about things that can’t be changed at this moment. We have to handle the Batarian crisis and decide on what to do about Omega.” They looked at her for a moment before they began throwing arguments around. Tevos closed her eyes and sent a silent prayer to the Goddess for patience. With the disappearance of the Quarians, the uniting Krogan, the increasingly vocal demands of the Empire to enforce the Citadels anti-slavery laws and the shadowy leader of Omega, no longer Aria T’lok swearing fidelity to the Empire. All in all the council was now constantly on the defensive. The Batarians had become increasingly hostile towards the Nirnians, their ambassador even going so far as to insinuate that the Hegemony would split from the council if they gave in to the Nirnians demands. Omega was a different problem. Omega controlled the Terminus system, and if the Nirnians had a foothold in the terminus, then they would soon be breathing down the Citadels neck. She shuddered mentally at the though, they had to hurry. They were running out of time.
The ruby light of the setting sun bathed the dusty expanse of desert that stretched out below his feet, gilding his dark mask with its deep copper light and causing Shadows to stretch out away from the rock formations, towards him like dark fingers. Even now, four years after the fact, he still couldn’t believe that he was standing in the homeworld.
A small weight crashed into the back of his legs with a cry of “Daddy!” he smiled and spun and picked up his purple suited three year old daughter.
“Hello Tali” he smiled sweeping her through the air, making starship noises.
She giggled excitedly “Daddy, Mama says we are going to see the funny people today!” Rael smiled at her words, yes the funny people as she called the Nirnians, stationed at their embassy in the capital city of Rayya.
He had taken Tali with him one day to his job at the Nirnian embassy where he worked as a technical consultant because his wife had been busy helping organise the workers who were building the newest settlement. He looked out toward the nearby town and spotted the silvery white of Geth and the golden shapes of Automata. It had taken some time but the Quarians had finally let the Geth interact with them again. Also since the Geth had sued for imperial citizenship and been accepted, the Quarians had found that if they wanted the Empire’s help, then they had better get used to working with the Geth. This thought led to another, this time about a new referendum the parliament would soon be voting one, to the effect of voting whether or not to apply for imperial citizenship as well. From what they had seen, the empire took care of its own and they had made it clear that they were not pressuring the Quarian people to joining, but so far the positives seemed to be outweighing the negatives.
The Day he had brought her to work had opened his eyes about the Nirnians, The main thing being that they were suckers for children, especially one as cute and inquisitive as Tali. They had swept her off and taking the giggling child on a whirlwind tour through the embassy before depositing her with his approval, in one of their daycares and Tali had spent the rest of his shift among the children of the various faculty.
When he had checked on her at lunch she had been fast asleep in a pile of alien children, snuggled up to one of the fluffy Khajiti kittens and being used as a pillow by an Altmer child. Then when he had finally located her after his shift she had been sitting with Voice Ralus as he caused a brightly coloured, glowing illusion of something called a monkey to dance around.
Rael sighed mentally. Magic, in the past three years he had seen incredible things. Fire conjured at a thought, massive wounds healed with a wave of a hand. Perhaps someday his people would be capable of such feats, but not today.
He shook his head, dispelling such gloomy thoughts, Today was an important day. Today his daughter went in for her immune booster. Today was one of the last days his daughter would have to worry about a suit. It had taken three years and a team of the Empire’s best alchemists and the Quarians best scientist to create the cure for his people’s lack of immune system, distilling the hope for the Quarian race’s future down into a tiny shot of clear liquid. Sadly he and his wife Lia would never experience life outside their suits because they were now too old, but Tali would be free in four months.
“Yes Tali.” He told her smiling. “We’re going to meet the funny people.”
Tuchanka- Urdnot Wrex
Wrex sat on his throne of rubble and smiled to himself. It had taken four years for this to happen. Four years of head-butting, challenges and battles. But now he sat, leader of the United Krogan Tribes.
He had almost given up on uniting his people until the females from all the tribes had joined him. Now holding the most precious resource on his planet, Wrex had swiftly taken control. He smiled again and looked at the datapadd in front of him. On it were the details for the hospitals, schools, and agriculture his people needed.
They had rebelled at first. Stating that the Krogan were warriors, why waste time building things that had no use for them. That particular idiot had been head butted so hard that his forehead plate had cracked.
They were slowly reclaiming their planet, a Nirnian who had called herself a Champion of Kynareth had been moving about their planet, using some of that Nirnian witchcraft to restore the nature on their planet, stating that their willingness to try had been the test necessary to receive her help.
Plants had grown in her wake and air and water had purified after she had touched it. Then she had left, telling them that the rest was up to them, they had been given a clean slate, and to not waste it. Wrex didn’t intend to. The smile remained on his face. There was hope for his people.
He smiled as he strode through the newly refurbished halls of Omega, the sound of his simple monks attire only just preceding him.
Built to resemble a Nirnian station the floors were flagged with stone. The power grid had been altered and the construction carried out by millions of Dwemer spiders and larger automata. Cleaning up the gangs and the criminals had taken a bit of time, many being stealthily shipped off to Nirnian prisons to await trial.
But the Batarians, he smiled slyly, oh how the Batarians on this station had fallen. From the terror of the stations underbelly to a highly sought after delicacy among the Vampire and Were population.
It had been a disaster at first. The vampire Blood and Nutrition agency had been testing samples for months without success.
Asari blood was poisonous because of the eezo. Turian was poisonous because of being Dextros. Salarians were edible, but then only barely as the tasted like the swamps they had emerged from, though it was interesting to note that Argonian vampires liked them.
Vorcha were just plain gross, Krogan to bitter and rather dry, only good in small amounts. Volus were disgusting because of the methane, Hanar tasted like raw fish, Drell were apparently vaguely palatable. Elcor, ehh ok.
But the Batarians, they had turned out to be slightly addicting to the Vampires and Weres, not like Skooma, but like a fine wine or chocolate. Even now the Vampire population were clamouring for more, this meant that any and all Batarians found guilty would mysteriously vanish and a new Vintage would come out.
He walked up to what had once been afterlife. Now it sat as an open market, surrounding the central office. Aria had not wanted to leave, but a dagger skewering her pillow next to her head had sent the queen of Omega running.
He wasn’t fooled, he knew she was still out there, biding her wily time until she thought she could retake the station. But what she failed to understand was that once the empire got its hands on something, it never let go. He settled down in his office chair and nodded in satisfaction, the light from his desk shining off his ink black scales and red markings.
Reading through the report written on a Nirnian light sheet* he idly shifted his tail and scratched the horns and feathers on his head. The door opened and the head of his secretary poked in “Excuse me governor, but you have a visitor.”
He nodded and put down his sheet “very well, send them in” he told her in his calming baritone. Her head retreated and the door opened to reveal a Turian, He smiled and made the first move, extending his left hand in greeting. “Greetings, I am Imperial Governor Claws-Through-Stone. What can I do for you?”
*like a flexible tablet the thickness and flexibility of a sheet of paper but incredibly is written on with a stylus and can store thousands of pages.
Palaven- Garrus Vakarian
Five year old Garrus Vakarian looked carefully around the room, empty just as he had hoped.
As stealthily as he could, he snuck across the carpet in his bare feet and sleeping clothes. His goal was the glass case that sat on the wall that held the weapons of Vakarians long passed.
The case’s glass front shone dully in the light of one of Palaven’s moons, turning opaque and hiding its contents. The light did however reveal something next to the case, a helmet, battered and worn, four long gouges marring the blue paint and scoring the visor. In an almost dreamlike fashion he heard his father’s voice echo out of memory “That’s where I got clawed by a Krogan on patrol.” Was all he would ever say about it.
Hungrily Garrus turned his attention back to the case, reaching out with hands that trembled slightly and flicking the latches on the top with his soft baby talons. The latches undid with a faint snapping sound and he winced, freezing as he waited to hear if his parents had heard. Silence. He smiled slightly and opened the case door to reveal two large hand axes made of a black metal. The front blade curved
gracefully and the spike on the back glittered dangerously in the light of the moons.
Carefully he reached for the one on the right, his small hands wrapped around the handle, just barely making it around. The light flicked on and he froze guiltily. Turning his head slightly to catch sight of his father standing in the doorway, watching him with calm grey eyes.
Icarus Vakarian stared at his five year old son who had his hands on one of the axes Icarus had brought back from Shanxi. Really he couldn’t blame Garrus for wanting a closer look at the beautiful weapons, but Icarus wasn’t sure if he was ready to tell his son the story of how those axes came to him.
“Garrus” he said calmly.
Garrus visibly swallowed “Dad” he replied nervously.
“What are you doing?” Icarus asked, although he already knew the answer.
“I just wanted to hold them” Garrus had let go of the axe and was now facing his father, mandibles clamped tightly to his face in a slightly guilty expression and his large blue eyes looking up at his father cautiously.
“Why did you not ask?” Icarus asked his, truly curious.
“I was afraid you would say no” came the small whisper. Icarus sighed and walked past his son, picking up the axe Garrus had been touching, hefting it in one hand as he stared at its dark surface. This was the blade that had saved his life so many times, there was a collection of runes along the haft from where it’s previous owner had named it. He had shown the inscription to a Nirnian he was on drinking terms with after his shifts with C-sec.
The names for both the axes translated to: Stolen Retribution and Ice Breaker. Garrus had been reaching for was Retribution, he wasn’t religious but he wondered if the spirits were trying to say something. He sighed and put the axe back and shut the case.
“Those axes are ebony axes from Shanxi, I picked them up to defend myself during the battle of Frostreach” he told his son seriously.
“The Battle of Frostreach?” Garrus asked tilting his head to the side. Icarus sighed but made a decision.
“The battle of Frostreach was a big mistake, and a lesson. A lesson of what happens when you let arrogance guide your actions.” He told his son seriously. Garrus nodded and Icarus had a sudden idea. “Come” he told his son, leading the way to his office and pulling out the rather tattered deck of Cards, they were from Nirn and sometimes he would play with a few of the other two hundred. He showed them to his son and smiled “Want to learn a game?” he asked. Garrus nodded and they spent the rest of the night playing the Nirnian game Giant and Mammoth.*
*A child’s game, AKA go fish seeing as a giant and a mammoth are always a pair.
Unnamed asteroid field, Unnamed System, Council side of relay 314 -Nirnian Mining Vessel Untapped
“Hurry up, we need to meet our quota!” Foreman Tarsus called to his employees who all rolled their eyes and turned back to their collections of Automata, using the control gauntlets to direct their groups to continue mining the asteroid that drifted within the stasis web that held if close to the mining ship the
The ship was approximately dreadnaught sized but much rounder, with craters in its hull were a snared chunk or rock would be held until it had been stripped of all of its resources, even the stone was used for construction and art, very little was wasted.
If a rock was too big it was split apart using shaped charges, all in all a highly efficient operation. On the bridge it was relaxed yet watchful, the state of Nirnians away from safety. “So remind me again why we’re out here?” The Argonian XO Sighs-Before-He-Jumps asked, looking at his captain who sat in the command chair.
“We are out here because I had the brilliance to realise that the Council doesn’t use the same resources as we do. So therefore they have swaths of untapped resources just waiting for us.” Replied Captain Amir Aldwyr replied flicking through a clipboard of light sheets, reading over the days haul so far.
“Yeah but we’re in unexplored space with no military backup. Shouldn’t you be a little more concerned about this?” Sighs asked uncomfortably.
“Please were Nirnians. Who would dare attack us?” Famous last words.
Unnamed system, Council side of relay 314- Bahlak
“So that’s a Nirnian civilian ship. Do you think we have enough to take ’em?” Bahlak turned to glare at his XO who lowered his upper eyes submissively.
“We have a fleet of almost seventy ships and one dreadnaught. That is the definition of enough.” He growled before turning back to the main screen. “Signal the fleet, we’re going to teach those arrogant bastards a lesson.” The bridge became a hive of activity as the slaver fleet launched forward.
Unnamed System, Council side of relay 314
The Batarian ships sprinted into the system and immediately began to lay into the Untapped with whatever weapons they had to order. The ships barrier flair blue and inside the crew scrambled to battle stations, automata automatically being recalled and the asteroids forced away from the ship as they prepared to jump to oblivion. Then their barriers failed after concentrated fire and a lucky shot hit their Aether drive, crippling the ship.
Smelling its prey was wounded, the slavers aimed in for the kill. The Untapped summoned more asteroids in its defence, hiding in a veritable forest of flying rock, using their stasis and repulse charmed depressions to hurl the rocks at their enemies at ridiculous speeds.
The downside was that they could not aim and a mining ship was not designed to withstand such a large assault. The slavers persisted, dodging through the rock and latching onto the Untapped’s hull and forcing their way onto the ship. The miners fought like devils until the Batarians began firing canisters of sleeping gas into the crowds of fighters. Golden mining automata slashed their way through but succumbed to the onslaught.
In the end of the six hundred crew onboard three hundred and seventy two died and the remaining two hundred and twenty eight were fixed with neural control collars and sent back to the holding ships. On the bridge Captain Aldwyr looked at Sighs “Send a distress call to the empire, tell them it’s the Batarians and that the ship is lost with some of our crew taken.” He ordered, pulling up a screen and looking at it morosely “Message away sir” came the reply “I’m enacting protocol Helgen. Let them burn with us” he said grimly. Sighs looked at his friend and nodded “As we commend our souls to aetherius, blessings of the Divines be upon us all. And Oblivion take the souls or our enemies” he said and they simultaneously pressed the self-destruct.
Aboard the Batarian holding ships the surviving Nirnians were struggling. Not that it did much good, every time they so much as raised a finger their collars would shock them into near unconsciousness. This did not stop some from hurling weak flame and lightning spells through the bars of their cages. A summoned familiar had made a brief appearance before being destroyed and its summoner almost killed.
But the message had reached Nirn, and soon the galaxy would feel the wrath of the empire brought to bear.
“Your majesties we have recived an urgent message from the NMV Untapped” the messenger’s face was white as he activated the central hologram in the throne room. The image of a male Argonian shimmered into life and relayed its message.
“This is the NMV Untapped, we are under attack by Batarians, they have taken our ship except for the bridge, our crew has been either killed or taken, and we are enacting the Helgen Protocol. Farewell, avenge us.” There was silence for a moment, but it was shattered by a roar of fury from the golden throne that shook the room and caused the other monarchs to cringe away in fear.
Ayrenn stood, her eyes blazing, she snarled and acting in concert with Serana who had gone icy with fury activated a scrying spell. The scene that unfolded in the smoky globe shocked and infuriated all as they saw the treatment of their people. The spell ended and only one word was said, or more accurately bellowed by the council. “War”
The Batarian ambassador walked away from them with an affronted air and Tevos closed her eyes in what could have been mistaken for a blink but was a prayer for patience. The Batarians still refused to end their slavery and the situation was becoming untenable.
There was something that sounded like an explosion and the ambassador came sprinting back in, the blood drained from his face and an expression of terror on his face.
Behind him, her body crackling with lighting and surrounded by her guards stalked Voice Galeyal, her usually calm face wrought in a mask of fury and her footsteps left scorch marks on the metal floor.
“YOU BASTARD!” She screamed as she cornered the trembling Batarian and in a swoop caught him by his throat and heaved him up, pinning him against the wall. Her height working in her favor as his feet danged a good nine inched above the ground.
“Voice Galeyal release him!” Tevos cred, and C-sec rushed towards her, only to be stopped by her guards.
“YOU HAVE FLAUNTED YOUR ACTIONS FOR THE LAST TIME” the Voice screamed into her prey’s face, the lightning crawling up her arms and shocking the ambassador who screamed in pain.
“Voice Galeyal!” Tevos nearly screamed, her voice seemed to break through to the enraged Altmer.
“Councillors” she hissed, still holding the Batarian “You have five minutes to disown these…these scum from you society. For we are going to war for the insult they have offered us. Never has the council voted so unanimously. They have taken our people and killed many. Even now they torture those they took. I would demand their release but I know these…” she shook her prey viciously “vermin will never give them back.” Her eyes were glowing with her power and she shook her prey like a saber cat with a skeever.
Tevos gasped in shock how could the Batarians be so stupid as to provoke the Empire? “You have no proof that it was the Batarians” Callamus said in what he probably meant to be a reasonable tone.
“No PROOF!” she shrieked, tossing the ambassador like a ragdoll to one of her guards who neatly caught him and bound his hands behind his back before pressing a dagger against his neck. “I’ll show you proof!” Galeyal snapped, a cloud grew from her hand and showed a sickening scene of the Nirnian prisoners being shocked by their collars in a filthy holding cell, many with open wounds while a male was being flogged brutally for ripping out his implant. “This is happening NOW” She told them venomously.
“Whether you like it or not, the Hegemony will no longer exist once we are finished. Your choice” the Imperial party turned to stalk away.
“You can’t just kill them all!” Tevos cried after them, panic filling her chest.
They paused and without turning around Voice Galeyal said the most chilling thing Tevos had ever heard. “Valerica has been unleashed upon them. That is worse than death.” Before they vanished into the elevators.
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