Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance, Citadel Embassies, The Presidium, The Citadel, Widow System, Serpent Neubla, December 14, 2197
An image of a balding human, with a black eye and tattered business suit appeared on screen, “It was Cerberus. They were behind the assassination attempt,” said the man.
“What about Death’s Legion?” ask a voice from off camera.
“Them too,” said the former head of the Liberta’s Bureau of Finance, Johan Damacy, brother to late Lord Darcy Damacy, ruler of the Theocracy of Libertas.
I paused the recording. “Ladies, gentlemen and assorted others, this confirms what many of you have suspected for some time,” multiple stern faces of the assembled Spectres looked back at me through holo projectors and wall mounted screens, “Cerberus is back. From this moment forward you at to give top priority to hunting down anything related to Cerberus, regardless of how vague or insignificant it may seem. This is an Omega Gamma class threat. You all know what is at stake. Last time we barely survived. It is time to take the fight to them.” The others nodded in agreement. I switched off the monitors and left the office.
Just outside the door waited one Jacqueline Vega, “Hey!”
“So, ready to hit Cerberus in the nuts?”
“How did you…oh yeah, Vega.”
“The big teddy bear can’t keep any secrets from me. Besides you are going to need more than just Miranda to wipe them out. Talking of which, where’s the Princess at?”
“She is back on Horizon,” I said
“Oh,” Jack glanced at the ground, “So she is finally doing it,” she flashed a wicked grin, “I hope your ready for what comes next.”
“Oh god, she married a prude.”
“I’ll…you know what, it be fine.”
“Of course, it’s the Princess we are talking about here. I just wish….”
“I’ll happen when you want it to happen, Jack. If not, well, you two will be fine,” I said.
She squinted at me, “How did you…goddamm Vega and his big mouth.”
“True, but he does care. That boy would take the express way to Hell and Back just for you, Jack.”
“Yeah, yeah, and he would do it with a grin plastered on stupid face. Anyway, I already talked to some of my old students. They are ready to go. You just say the word. Got it?”
“Will do,” I said.
As Jack left a call came in on my omni-tool, “Commander Thompson-Ramos?”
“This is Ashar Bakrik, Councilor Tevos assistant. She would like to see you in her office as soon as your available,” said the voice on the other end.
“I am on my way.”
The view from Councilor Tevos’ office was as expansive as it was breezy. An overhang cut a sharp shadow over the permanent artificial daylight that illuminated the Presidium. Tevos stood, alone in the middle of the space, “Commander Thompson-Ramos, thank you for coming.”
“Of course. What can I do for your Councilor?” I said.
She paced in front of her desk, “Considering the current situation what I am about to discuss may seem like a distraction from Cerberus, but it imperative to deal with this matter as soon as possible.”
“And what exactly is the matter, Councilor?”
“There has been a dark development in the Asari civil war, but one that may lead to its conclusion.”
“Which is?” I asked.
“A new player on the field, one that threatens both sides of the conflict, a former Justicar by the name of Phora. Her forces have killed five matriarchs in six months. In at least two cases the targeted matriarchs forces betrayed their mistresses and joined Phora’s army. And it is an army in every sense of the word, Commander. She already claims multiple colony worlds and at least a third of Thessia itself. I am hoping that we can build a permanent peace out of a temporary alliance. ” she said.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend, until my enemy is dead,” I said.
“That is a distinct possibility, but after a decade of fighting with little to show for it, even the most ardent among the matriarchs are exhausted, both politically and militarily.”
“That is all well, Councilor, but where exactly do I fit in all of this?”
“I need someone who has connections with some more important players and is not an asari. Your former associate, Galeena T’iala, is the granddaughter of Matriarch Celeene, the leader of a small faction of neutral matriarchs, and I believe you are also acquainted with Aria T’Loak.”
“What does Aria have to do with this?” I asked.
“The peace summit will be held in Omega.”
“We needed a well guarded place, outside of Citadel space controlled by an outside faction. Hence, Omega,” she said without a trace of irony in her voice.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
“Indeed they do, Commander. The asari had been war for ten long years. Millions perished during the invasion and many millions more have suffered since. If bringing these factions to Omega leads to a lasting peace, it is a risk we have to take. And need I remind you that if Cerberus is active today, that means the Reapers can not be far behind. We, all us, will need every resource at our disposal to deal with the real threat. You’re job is to convince Matriarch Celeene to join the summit.”
“But I would need Galeena’s help and she is still Khar’shan,” I said.
“The situation in the batarian home world has stabilized and I have convinced Captain T’iala to join you in Agessia. Once you secured Celeene’s cooperation you will take her to Omega for the summit.”
“I see. Then I am off to Agessia.”
“Thank you Commander. With any luck this war will be over soon. May the Goddess watch over you.”