Tweet of the Day: Scotland the Brave Part Two: The Painted Ones
The final chapter in my Mass Effect 3 ending fic. Thank you all for your comments and support. If this happens to be the first fic you see/read, please follow the links above for the rest of the story.
41 ,000 solar years after the Battle of Earth.
“Atmosphere content checked. Minimum contaminants. No hazardous biological entities detected. The air is breathable,” said one of the figures as it walked down the gangplank from the ship’s airlock. It took off it’s helmet to reveal a oval face, with four large frills, two that extended from the cheeks, the other pair atop the head that ended in multicolored cilia. A membrane over their compound eyes turned dark when exposed to the bright light of the bay.
At the end of the bay a door opened. The visitors drew their weapons and pointed them at the elevator.
“Kallil, is that a Shepard?” asked the one with the pink-red complexion.
“It can’t be!” said Kalill, who had a darker bluish complexion.
“Welcome to the Citadel,” said the figured that stepped out of the elevator flanked by two green tinged aliens with large dark eyes.
The speaker was a biped and was nearly a meter taller than Kallil and his companion, while the others two were quadrupedal with two pairs of arms to match.
“A Shepard speaks our language, how is that possible?” said Kallil.
“A Shepard?” asked the biped. “One moment. I see. I believe you are mistaken. I am not ‘a Shepard‘. Commander Shepard was a human -”
“A heuuman?” interrupted Larimax. “None of the artifacts we discovered makes mention of heuumans, only of Shepards.”
“It seems we were mistaken, Lari. We assumed that the race was named after The Shepard. An easy mistake to make considering the scant data we have on Those That Came Before,” said Kalill.
“Yes. Humanity was the race on which this platform was modeled after. Commander Shepard was a military leader among the humans who then led a successful defense against those you called the Destroyers,” said Eda
“Platform? So you are not an organic? The Shep, I mean the heumans, created true artificial intelligence in their image,” said Kallil. Its cilia shimmered with each syllable.
“And The Shepard vanquished the Destroyers. It explains why it is here after so many eons, but how does it know our language?” asked Larimax.
“I have monitored your language, as the Citadel has monitored your race for sometime. We prepared for your arrival. My apologies if I startled you. I thought it best to introduce myself as early as possible. Come, there is much to see. You may keep your weapons if you wish, although I hope you will not feel the need to use them,” said Eda.
Kallil and Larimax holstered their weapons and followed Eda.
“The Citadel has been the heart of every galactic civilization since the first,” explained Eda as she led the newcomers through a tour of Citadel.
“Those that fell to the Destroyers, correct?” asked Larimax.
“In our cycle we knew them as Reapers, an ancient cybernetic race of massive power that preyed on galactic civilizations every fifty-thousand years,” said Eda.
“But The Shepard vanquished them, did he not?” said Larimax. As it spoke its frills flapped in unison and changed of color of the cilia with each syllable.
“The first to do so since the rise of the Reapers. But he did not do it alone,” said Eda. “This is the Presidium, the heart of the Citadel.”
A beeping sound came from Kalill’s backpack. It extracted a small black box.
“I see you found one of the archives, and it appears to be intact,” said Eda. She extended her arms, “May I?”
Kallil and Larimax exchanged a look, their cilia quivering for a moment. Then Kallil handed the box to Eda.
“Thank you. One moment. Update complete,” said Eda.
A blue beam emerged from the box. A series of symbols appeared and changed. The cilia on Kallil and Larimax frills shifted into a rainbow pattern as they read allowed the messages, now translated into their language.
“I’m afraid that the information is incomplete, although fifty-eight percent of the data remains intact. I will do what I can to fill in the blanks, but, I do not mean any disrespect, the sheer volume of data involve will require more than two individuals to process,” said Eda.
“Oh, of course,” said Kalill. It pressed a button on its collar, “We have made contact with friendly synthetic construct. Disembark science team one.”
Over several micro-cycles, the crew of the alien ship set up instruments and started exploring the Citadel, assisted by holographic representations of Eda and dozens of Keepers. Several more ships arrived in the next macro-cycle filled with scientist, technicians and military officers. The last ship brought the First Leader to the Citadel.
Her hunched back ached under the strain of a long life a life close to its inevitable end. But like so many before her, she had dreamed of one day standing on the Citadel, the home of Those That Came Before.
“Welcome to the Citadel, First Leader. Do you speak for your people?” asked Eda.
“As the legal representative of the Avar, I carry the weight of their voices,” replied the First Leader.
“May their clarity never waiver. Please come this way,” said Eda. Eda guided the First Leader to the Citadel Tower. “In our cycle this place was called the Council Chamber. Here leaders from every major race of the galaxy conferred on matters of galactic importance. Trillions of lives depended on the decisions made here.”
Eva pointed to a row of pedestals arranged in a semicircle at the end of the Chamber. As the First Leader stood in the platform each pedestal came to life. An image of each of the races that made up the Council appeared.
The cilia on the First Leader frills glowed a bright silver, “Are these Those Who Came Before?”
“Yes. These races once made up the Council and they have a message for you and your people, First Leader,” said Eva.
Another image appeared, the image of The Shepard, First Leader of the Humans, “We wish to speak the truth as best we can. We wish for you to learn from our triumphs and our mistakes. We were many voices, often in conflict but united in need. Let the voices speak,” said The Shepard.
Then the Turian, “Honor.”
The Shepard spoke last, “Hope. The voices spoke to each other. We were strong together, and weak alone. Our time has passed, your time has come.”
The First Leader eyes moistened, “We accept the Words of Those Who Came Before in the spirit in which they are given. We pray we are worthy of them.”
A kilometer long cleft opened on the ice or a moon orbiting a gas giant. A gigantic claw broke through the surface. Red energy blasts disintegrated the ice. An enormous form emerged from the depths.