Chapter 18- Manifest Destiny
June 19th, 2165
Vesta Laboratories- Project Andromeda Lab
"Sir, I think we've just hit the jackpot." Dr. Hugo Mills said excitedly.
"Oh? Please, do tell." Jack Harper replied.
"One of our probes just found a Garden class world in the Andromeda Galaxy. Project Andromeda has succeeded in its goal." Mills replied.
"Excellent. I will contact the President immediately. In the meantime, the Andromeda team shall be re-assigned to work on Project Manifest Destiny. As soon as I have clearance, we will send in an exploration team, although knowing the current President, the initial team's shuttle will have a dreadnought fleet escorting it, 'just in case'. You are dismissed, Dr. Mills."
As soon as the doctor had left, Jack Harper sprinted towards the Quantum Entangler.
"Eva, call the President. It's impo-"
"You wanted to speak with me?" The holographic form of the current President asked, cutting Harper off.
"Yes. Project Andromeda has succeeded, and Project Manifest Destiny is ready to proceed as planned." Harper said.
"Good. However, there has been a change of plans. Due to the looming Reaper threat, I have decided to accelerate the plans for extragalactic colonization. A full, multi-racial colonization fleet will be assembled within the month." The president said.
"What? But we don't even know if we will be able to live on said Garden world! We know nothing about it other than the fact that it could potentially support life, and you're telling us to send a goddamn colony fleet in?"
"Not just any colony fleet. Should we fail to hold off the Reapers, our extra-galactic colonies will be all that remains of our civilizations, so we will be working with the Council on this project."
"But what if the world is uninhabitable? We will have stranded the colonists there, assuming the Cherenkov radiation shields don't fail and kill them all while they're in transit!"
"I am confident that our radiation shields are up to the task. With regards to the potential stranding of our colonists, that's where the Council has stepped in. In their infinite generosity, they have decided to provide an asteroid, a rather large one with plentiful metallic deposits to boot. That, coupled with us packing a small ocean of nano-construction paste, should allow us to get a base in the system that would make 314 Station look like the ISS in comparison. In addition, the fifth fleet will be present as a defense force should we encounter hostiles."
"The fifth fleet? You're really going all out, aren't you?"
"It wasn't my idea, I wanted to send the Eighth, but the senate wanted a stronger force to escort one of this galaxy's biggest investments. Oh, and speaking of military escorts, the Turians will be sending their eleventh fleet in as well."
"Dear god... and we don't even know if the galaxy's inhabited!"
"Better to bring a gun and not need it, rather than need a gun and not have it."
"With all due respect, sir, we're bringing a tank to a knife fight. How many non-naval military personnel are being brought in?"
"The Turians are bringing their Fifth through Eighth legions, while we are providing the Third Army."
"Very well. How many ships are being involved in this venture?"
"The Quarians have generously provided half of the refitted Migrant Fleet to carry the colonists, while the Geth have provided the thousands of ships needed to carry the non-living cargo and synthetics that we couldn't cram into the asteroid the Council sent us."
"Over thirty thousand ships? From the way you're speaking, it sounds as if you have been planning this for quite some time, and yet I've only just told you that we've found a suitable destination. What's been going on behind my back?"
"Truth be told, I've been planning to send the fleet regardless of the status of Project Andromeda. We have been preparing Operation Noah's Ark for several months now, and we should be ready to depart by the end of June, which was to be the case regardless of Andromeda's status. If I remember correctly, we should arrive in Andromeda by the beginning of August 2164."
"That's good, I guess. Is there anything else you wish to discuss?"
"Yes. I want to know the status of Project Unthinkable."
"The most recent test went well, although the weapon is limited by the light-speed barrier. After all, it takes a few minutes for light from the sun to reach Earth, so that would give anyone in system a chance to evacuate. Thankfully, most sensors are also limited by the light speed barrier, so they will only know about the supernova when the initial radiation hits and fries them."
"Good. I expect to have at least three ready by the end of the month for transport on the colony fleet."
"Are you sure? We're packing enough firepower to level half the galaxy as it is, and you want to add in Nova bombs? I mean, we will be able to produce them in time, but are you sure that it's necessary? We don't even know if the galaxy is inhabited and we're sending an invasion fleet!"
"This colony is our most important asset. We are taking every precaution to safeguard it."
"Very well. I will have the Nova bombs ready when you need them."
"Excellent. Finally, we will be sending you the blueprints to a Prothean superweapon found on Mars. You are to ascertain its function, before beginning its construction. If I am correct, it will act as a superweapon against the Reapers."
"I will make sure to get right on it."
"I know you will. Goodbye, Mr. Harper." The president's hologram shimmered out of existence.
Jack then turned, and walked to a seemingly inconspicuous wall panel. Pressing it, he watched as a compartment opened, revealing his whiskey stash. While alcohol was prohibited on the station, Jack really felt like he needed a drink after what he had just heard.
August 8th, Andromeda Galaxy Far Rim
The tiny patrol craft slowly made its way through the system. Legate Tarxi of the 507th scout flotilla let out a sigh of annoyance as he gazed into the ship's sensors. His fleet had been posted into this system in order to protect the unenlightened race present on the world below, although the legate did not know what from. Mercenaries and rogue elements never ventured this far away from the galactic core after all.
The Empire had controlled the galaxy for hundreds of thousands of years, guarding primitive races until the tech-priests determined that the race was fit for enlightenment, after which the empire would share its technologies. Technology was sacred, with every innovation being considered a blessing. The priests in their laboratories were constantly debating, experimenting, and inventing new things for the betterment of all. It was a perfect society.
The basis for all the empire's technology was the most holy element of mass, which, while not particularly uncommon, made everything, from the smallest shuttlepod to the great interstellar slings function. Every ship contained a small shrine to its mass core, where prayers would be said.
Suddenly, one of the sensors began to sound off. An anomalous radiation signature had been detected nearby. The legate's eight eyes all widened at the readout. The radiation registered was the same kind that was present at the infamous Hakrin research temple, which had been destroyed while experimenting with dimensional travel!
As the startled legate watched, a portal began to open, replacing the starry background of space with pure blackness.
That was when the small scout craft's sensors began to go haywire, every single one of them beginning to scream, all of the individual instruments clamoring for attention. However, the Legate's eyes were the most shocked instruments of all. As he watched, a huge asteroid exited the portal, pushed by a large array of propulsion torches. Surrounding it were hundreds of ships, with hundreds more pouring through the portal after the asteroid exited. Some were the size of the massive dreadnoughts used to guard the Empire's core worlds, while others barely qualified as frigates. Then, one of the patrol craft sensors alerted the legate to the fact that he and his fleet were being scanned.
"What are our orders?" The transmission came from another ship in the tiny flotilla.
"Hold position. Do not fire unless fired upon." The legate replied, watching as one of the smaller ships in the ever growing fleet broke formation, heading straight towards them.
Just then, the ship's holo-emitter flickered into action, a bipedal figure appearing.
"Greetings. I am Sarah, representing the Council of United Worlds and the Systems' Alliance Joint Colonization fleet." The hologram said.
"How did you learn our language?" The legate asked.
"I am an artificial intelligence, and-" The AI's introduction was cut short by a scream from the legate.
"ABOMINATION!" Tarxi shouted, opening a comm channel to the rest of the tiny flotilla.
"Attention all ships of the 507th scout flotilla! You are to cover my retreat towards the relay. We must get this information to high command!" He continued, unaware that the AI was listening.
"Please, there is no need for hostility! We have nothing but peaceful intention-"
"BE SILENT DEMON!"
"Very well, If it is war you want, it will be war between our people. However, I cannot allow you to escape this system to warn your allies. It has been a pleasure speaking with you."
The AI said. Moments later, the mass cores of the scout flotilla overloaded, acting as miniature black holes for a fraction of a second. Nothing remained of the 507th scout flotilla but debris.
To Be Continued...
A/N: Sorry about the long wait between updates. However, the rest of this story has been planned out, including the ending. The 'Manifest Destiny' arc will continue in the next chapter, after which the story will wrap up with the Reaper War.