|Crimson Depths I: Paragon
Author: JustAFerret PM
A biotic quarian is raised in a human colony and joins the Alliance military. His seemingly simple tour of duty leads to the first steps in discovering a galaxy-wide conquest of control by a shadowy organization. OC/Kasumi romance.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Kasumi G. - Chapters: 22 - Words: 134,131 - Reviews: 90 - Favs: 50 - Follows: 60 - Updated: 05-20-13 - Published: 05-19-12 - id: 8132321
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Not much to say since it's all already been said. So I guess all I can say is enjoy. I hope this will turn out great. So please R&R!
"Attention ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking; we have begun our descent into Cuervo. Please put all trays back in their appropriate position and gather your belongings. We will touch down with the colony in thirty minutes."
Pranae'Lehto vas Nedas gave a weary sigh and did as she was told. She didn't have much in the way of belongings, only a holo of her husband and some food tubes. There was also a small white case that was given to her before she left the fleet. She knew what it was for, in case she decided to make her life easier by getting rid of the only thing that tied her and her husband, Joam, together: their child.
When she found out she was pregnant it was the happiest day of her life. Joam had supported her completely and promised that they would become a happy family and he came through, he took care of her for a long time and she was genuinely happy, until it was ruined because of Pranae's good intentions.
She and Anora'Vanya vas Selani were worried about the state of the fleet's systems. They both knew the fleet's systems were deteriorating at an alarming rate. So together they hired some batarian contractors to upgrade them and passed along some defense schematics, but they had no idea that the contractors would pass the schematics to a pirate gang.
Anora was the first to act; it was also her last act. She went on a suicide mission and killed the pirates before they could do anything with the schematics. She never returned, leaving Pranae to face the wrath of the admiralty alone. While Anora was posthumously pardoned, Pranae was forced into exile. She was separated from her husband and the only place that could keep her child alive, and thrusted into a place she knew very little about aside from what she learned on her pilgrimage.
To make matters worse, a new species jumped into the galactic scene. A species called Humans were colonizing every habitable planet they could get their hands on. The flotilla decided to drop her off right in the middle of their efforts, a colony called Cuervo.
She could feel all the eyes on the shuttle watching her. None of them have ever seen a quarian and they gazed at her in wondrous awe. She felt like an animal in a zoo, like she was only there to be gawked at by the new arrivals. Nobody had even bothered to sit next to her, merely content to observe this new species.
Of course it was only a matter of time before that curious look in their eyes would be replaced by hate and contempt.
That thought made all of this more heart-wrenching. She truly felt alone. Nobody was going to help her; she was left with an unborn child that she was thinking about aborting, if only for his sake. There was no way she was going to be able to support herself let alone a newborn. She held the holo closer to her chest and shook her head.
No, I won't. She thought to herself. As much as she tried to detach herself from the child growing in her womb, she just couldn't do it. She had already named him, just before she departed from the fleet, never to return again.
"Klenon." She whispered. That name brought tears to her eyes. She couldn't do it. She just couldn't. This was all she had left of her old life. She wasn't willing to throw it away. She could have taken him back to the fleet; children of exiles were welcomed back to the fleet with open arms. But Pranae didn't even want to do that, she didn't want him to grow up without a mother.
Pranae's own mother was a migrant fleet marine. She died when Pranae was only three. She didn't want Klenon to grow up without a mother like she did and if anyone was going to take care of him, it was going to be her. She wouldn't have that taken from her too.
She tilted the holo and stared longingly at the picture of her and her husband. Her finger traced the outline of her husband's visor and she pressed a hand against her stomach.
"I won't do it." She told both herself and her son. "I'd die before I would give you up."
Pranae looked up from the case to see a tall, brunette woman standing in the aisle with a confused look on her face.
"Oh sorry, I didn't see you there." Pranae said with slight embarrassment. She gingerly took the case off the seat and put it on her lap.
"Is something wrong?" the brunette asked. Her tone was crisp and sympathetic. It eased Pranae's nerve-wracked body a little. She straightened her posture and answered her.
"No. Well, yes. It isn't something that you should worry about though. I'll just keep to myself." Pranae assured the kind woman. The woman bit her lower lip, deep in thought. She finally sat down next to Pranae, her hands on her lap.
"My name is Hisoka." The woman said with a brilliant smile. Her deep brown eyes watched Pranae curiously. Pranae shifted in her seat, wondering if she should tell Hisoka her name.
"I'm Pranae'Lehto." She finally replied. Hisoka's bright smile returned.
"That's a nice name. Where are you from?" she asked. Pranae hesitated a few seconds. She wasn't sure how to tell her. She knew nothing about these humans. What if she accidentally offended her by saying something wrong?
"Come now don't be shy. I know we're new here, but rest assured that I'm very civil and polite when meeting others." Hisoka affirmed. Pranae nodded in thanks and carefully pondered over her words, still clinging onto the holo in her hands.
"I'm from the Migrant Fleet. Or at least I was." She said. The two women felt themselves being lifted suddenly. They were entering Cuervo's atmosphere and would land on the colony soon.
"You were?" Hisoka said. "What happened?"
Pranae felt her throat tighten recalling all of the memories, the message that she was accused of treason, the trial, and then her exile. It brought all the pain of the last few weeks back in one emotional wave. Hisoka seemed to notice this and put an encouraging hand on hers.
"If you don't want to talk about it that's all right. It's none of my business anyways." Hisoka said, patting Pranae's hand.
"I'm just worried." Pranae said. She paused a moment before adding, "I can never return home, the only place I'm accepted in this galaxy. You don't know this…but us quarians aren't the most welcomed people in the galaxy. Because of some stupid mistake our ancestors made generations ago, we're forced to live on ships and we've been branded as beggars and thieves by the rest of the galaxy."
Pranae took a deep breath to calm her feelings and pushed back the tears that were forming around her eyes. "I won't be able to find a job anywhere…and I have someone else to think about."
Pranae casted her eyes downward and Hisoka realized what she meant. She put her hand on Pranae's shoulder and squeezed it gently.
"You poor thing. I had no idea you were expecting." She said sympathetically. Pranae put a hand on her stomach and quietly wept.
"I don't know what to do. I don't want to lose the only thing I have left from the fleet. But there's no way I can support both of us." She said, fighting back the tears. Hisoka thought for a moment then turned back to Pranae.
"What did you do on the fleet? Did you have a job there?" she asked. Pranae was puzzled why she would ask that, but still nodded.
"I was an engineer on a ship called the Ghalia." She answered her. Hisoka let a small smile play on her lips before holding up a finger and getting out of her seat. A few moments later she came back with a dark-haired man who looked to be in his late thirties.
"Pranae, this is my husband, Hiroshi. He's a contractor that was hired for helping the colony here." Hisoka explained. Hiroshi gave her a nod and held out his hand. Pranae stared at it for a while, not sure what to do. Hiroshi gave a nervous chuckle before retreating his hand.
"Sorry, I wasn't thinking through that one." He said while rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. "So Hisoka tells me you are an engineer?"
Pranae nodded slowly.
"Well, I manage Goto Construction. My business is new but we still managed to grab Cuervo from the competition and well, I'm always on the lookout for potential employees. So if you want, I could give you a job to help you out." He offered. Pranae was dumbstruck by the offer. This man who she didn't know just offered her a chance she didn't have just a few minutes ago. This seemed too good to be true for her.
"A-are you serious?" she stuttered. The man nodded with a grin. Pranae stared at him, literally stunned by his offer. "I-I don't know what to say…"
"Well you can always say yes." Hiroshi joked. Pranae, for the first time in weeks, allowed herself a small giggle.
"Yes! Yes of course I'll take the job! But, umm…what's the catch?"
"No catch really. You do your job well and you get paid well. Everybody wins." Hiroshi assured her. Pranae was almost bouncing in her seat out of sheer joy.
"Wow. I can't believe it. You didn't just save my life, you saved my son's life. Thank you so much." Pranae said, beaming with hope. Hiroshi just offered a knowing smile.
"We couldn't just leave a single mother out by herself. Not while we're going through the same thing." Hisoka said, putting a hand on her own stomach. The realization dawned on Pranae and she gasped.
"Four months." Hisoka said proudly. "It's a girl."
"Congratulations." Pranae said.
"Thank you. Tell you what, once we land, we'll show you a nice apartment Hiroshi found on one of his business trips here. He can set you up with a place to live." Hisoka said. Pranae could swear she was about to faint from the charity she was receiving from these two people. The ancestors must have been watching over her.
"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you." She said ecstatically.
"Don't mention it." Hiroshi said with a dismissive wave. "I got to get back to my seat. Michael is probably wondering where I am."
The two humans shared a brief kiss and Hiroshi walked down the aisle leaving the two women alone once again. Hisoka settled down in the seat next to Pranae and she turned her attention to the holo in her hands.
"Who's that?" she asked, pointing at the picture frame. Pranae took a quick glance at it and handed the frame to Hisoka.
"It's my husband. Or my ex." Pranae answered.
"Yes. It's a long story." Pranae said. Hisoka took a long look at the frame, observing every detail of the picture, before handing it back to Pranae.
"Well we have time, Pranae." She insisted. Pranae tilted her head a fraction before nodding in agreement. She started talking about how the two of them had met while on duty and how they ultimately married while Hisoka listened to every word, content to watch as the young mother explained every detail about her life on a ship.
I can tell that this will become a beautiful friendship. She thought with a smile.
Deep within the dangerous Terminus Systems, an enormous space station hovered within an asteroid field. Inside, an asari matriarch made her way through the wide halls surrounded by asari commandos clad in black and dark red armor. She came to a stop in front of a tall steel door. The two guards standing at attention on either side of the door put a fist in the center of their chest and bowed before the door smoothly opened. The matriarch dismissed her escort with a wave of her hand and stepped inside. The door shut behind her.
She calmly walked past various statues and paintings from different races with long, deliberate strides. She came to the end of the room and stopped in the center of a large circle. The room's sensors detected her location and several holographic screens appeared around her.
"Call. Contacts 133 to 137." She said. Five screens moved to the front and combined into one large one and five horizontal lines popped forward from the screen.
"Untia, I'm here." A voice said, its line moved in waves as he spoke.
"What's your progress?" she asked bluntly.
"Almost there. I have a steady supply of test subjects coming my way and we're nearing a significant breakthrough." The voice said in a thick, deep accent. Untia narrowed her eyes and frowned.
"Almost there? You told me that you would have the proper viral modifications by now." She scowled.
"A minor miscalculation. It's been getting more difficult as more test subjects come my way. I managed to keep the city under my thumb but if I'm not careful, I could have them turned against me." The voice defended.
"It's obvious that you need to keep the city under control." Another voice said, this one a cool, female's voice. "You can hope all you want, but it'll only get you so far. I say you take over now while you have the chance."
"No." Untia said flatly. "There are contacts there that can be used against us. Secrecy is our best weapon right now."
"How can we stay secret for so long?" another voice asked in a flanging tone, the tell-tale sign of a turian. "There is a new species coming to the galaxy, what if they're immune to disease? Like the Vorcha?"
"You're being paranoid, Larix. No other race is immune to disease, not even the asari. These species are as primitive as the krogan. They just had the good fortune of not being bombarded by the genophage." Untia said while shaking her head.
"It still warrants caution. I've spoken with Yelvin. He says that these…humans are expanding rapidly. Who's to say that they won't stumble upon your station? Or if they actually are immune to disease despite your insistence?" Larix asked. Untia frowned.
"Then we'll have to make sure that they are discouraged from further colonization until the project is complete and make sure we weaken them as much as possible." she said. "Then they'll end up like all the other fools."
"I have a proposal." A new voice said, this one a batarian. Untia narrowed her eyes, intrigued.
"Go on, Kahan."
"The humans are encroaching on the hegemony's territories and my people are not happy about it. That's good motivation for some to fight back. I'll be able to drum up support. Hopefully I'll be able to keep them preoccupied enough while you finish with your chemistry project." Kahan sneered.
"This project is the foundation to a new era! Once we know it works on dextro's, we can engineer a new one to work for levo's as well as these humans."
"Then we begin phase two. Dr. Ava, how's the amp coming along?" Untia asked.
"We've already begun research into potential schematics. The CUB inhibitors have been put into mass production and will be included in the full package." Another voice said calmly.
"And the Nano-bots?"
"Dr. Coriah made a breakthrough. She tuned the microchip to be responsive via remote activation. One press of a button and the target's days are numbered. We just need to modify them to be compatible with every species."
"Which will only take more time now that these humans are here." Larix interjected. "I'm telling you, they are going to cause us trouble."
"You seem to be really interested in these humans, Larix." Untia noted.
"Indeed. Though my own interest can be far more beneficial to us than his." The last voice said, its high pitch being the trait of a salarian.
"Your interest?" the turian said disbelievingly. Untia retreated from the circle and approached an end table that had a glass of asari-made elassa on it. She opened it and poured herself a drink in a tall glass.
"I've seen the reports from the Relay 314 Incident. These humans are…versatile. Some of them could be called relentless and efficient. They will make an excellent addition to our cause if they can be reasoned with." The salarian said. Untia walked back into the circle with her glass and took a quick sip. The sweet berry taste trickled down and left a tangy after taste in the back of her throat.
"Excellent. We can all benefit from this incident." Untia commented with a sly grin. "What else do you know?"
"These humans are unlike anything I've ever seen. None of them are identical to one another; they are literally the most diverse species we've ever come across. With that kind of potential, the possibilities are quite limitless." The salarian said eagerly.
"Which is just what we need. Larix, scope out the humans, tell me what you can about them. If they are reasonable enough to come to a truce with your people, they can certainly see the light on how the galaxy should really work." Untia ordered.
"Yes…Untia." Larix mumbled. His line dropped shortly after his sentence. "The rest of you can go, except for you, Kahan."
Three other lines dropped, leaving the batarian. Untia swallowed the rest of her drink and dropped it on the table.
"Kahan. You have a blank check on how to go about this. Make sure no human will ever want to set foot near the terminus systems. Instigate massive genocide if you have to, just make sure they are too weak to resist when the time comes." Untia said.
"Of course. We batarians are nothing if not thorough." Kahan declared proudly. "I will, however, need arms and armor, perhaps some mechs too if we want to hit them hard the first time."
"Consider it done. You have free reign over this. Do whatever is necessary, but under no circumstances should you contact me. If I need something, I'll go to you. Do not fail me." Untia warned him. She cut the line and walked out of the circle in front of the large window pane in front of her, gazing out into the galaxy that would soon be brought to order.