A/N: So for anyone interested in a how the story of Biomass Effect came to be, I did an interview online that can be found on Youtube. I was interviewed by a youtuber whose username is Eipok Kruden. The video is the first episode of a series called Tea and Tidbits (of Wisdom).
If you're curious about a few things of Biomass Effect then go check it out.
Liara wore the outfit, but she didn't have to like it. She smoothed out the small crinkles in her skirt as she looked to Morinth through narrowed eyes.
"I hate you."
"There is nothing wrong with wearing a dress," said Morinth as she leaned against the walls and scanned the room.
"It isn't the dress... I hate loose clothing. I prefer practicality."
"You'd be surprised just how practical a dress can be, depends on what you are doing at the time."
"I still hate you."
Morinth paid Liara no mind as she looked around the museum as the guests walked to and fro, from exhibit to exhibit.
"Lottsa people in here," Morinth said offhandedly as she scanned the crown playfully.
"Kinda reminds me of the old days, only replace the history snobs with drug-fueled club-goers and change the exhibits into a giant and elaborate speaker system. Do that and it would be exactly the same."
Liara rolled her eyes as she passed Morinth to examine the statues themselves. Most of it was what was to be expected, there wasn't really anything outside the realm of what she expected to see. She moved past the crowds, keeping an eye on Morinth as she walked before the statue of Athame herself.
To her knowledge, this statue was the largest one known from before early asari developed a comprehensive written language. If Asari did ever meet the Protheans, this statue would have been carved long before they would mysteriously disappear.
Her eyes traveled down the statue, to the active dividers that kept anyone from getting to close to the statue. It was odd, while all the exhibits has the same basic setup of either velvet ropes or glass cases to keep anyone from actually touching them, the distance between the ropes and the Athame statue was a bit larger than it needed to be.
Though that could simply be due to the cultural importance of the statue.
Liara looked away as she moved through the museum, heading back to Morinth, who had found herself a glass of alcohol that she was sipping from while looking around the museum.
She exhaled contently as she looked to Liara.
"Found the good stuff," said Morinth as she motioned to her glass.
Liara hummed in acknowledgement as she looked back to the statue.
"I take it you saw something interesting?" asked Morinth, sounding genuinely interested.
"Maybe. It's not much, but it does look a bit... odd. Not enough to really say for sure, but it is subtly off."
"So lets say my theory is right, think this really is the place?"
"If you were right? Sure... why not?"
"Works well enough for me," said Morinth as she took a quick guzzle from her drink before placing the now empty glass on top of a glass case.
Liara was about to protest that, before Morinth took a step forward.
"Let's look around a wee bit more. They might have more of the spirits on stock," said Morinth, with an accent Liara couldn't quite place.
Morinth cleared her throat before smiling.
"Sorry, that happens from time to time... I think the Irish accent suits me though."
"Is that one of the side effects you were talking about?"
"Yeah, but it isn't as bad as it used to be. At least I still spoke a comprehensible language."
Liara rose a brow, before shrugging. She followed after Morinth, but not before taking the glass off the case and placing it on a nearby bench.
Deep in space, a curious asteroid flies at 225,00 kilometers per second. Its path is not random, it is deliberate. It moves with purpose towards its target. It is not an especially large asteroid, only 400 meters long.
From behind the asteroid, the tell-tale glow of engines began to dim, as more engines at the front activated the asteroid, causing it to slow its speeds.
Advanced processes designed to scramble any scanners that could detect the asteroid activated as it passed the outer rim of the Harsa System.
As the asteroid passed the planet Spekilas towards the Batarian Homeworld of Khar'shan, the satellites momentarily failed as the asteroid passed them, leaving the asteroid completely undetected by the satellites deployed here.
Deep within the asteroid, something began to stir.
Liara sat over the schematics of the museum Morinth laid out, but her mind kept going back to the statue. There was something about it. Normally it could be explained away, but the more she thought on it the more Morinth's idea made sense.
It was just the right size for one of the Prothean Beacons to be inside it. There was a level of security that did not exist for the other exhibits.
Her mind told her it was impossible, but the puzzle pieces fit.
Yes it was circumstantial at best, but it did match with Morinth's idea of the Asari having knowledge they fundamentally shouldn't have kept to themselves.
"So Indy, what's the word?"
Liara looked up at Morinth with a curious brow.
Morinth opened her mouth, but surprisingly someone beat her to it.
"Fictional character, Indiana Jones. An archaeologist from human media. The series presented a very romantic view of archeology, filled with adventure and excitement," said Samara almost reflexively, before she blinked.
Morinth smiled, holding back a laugh. It was so much funnier when it wasn't happening to her.
"What she said," said Morinth as she pointed at her mother with her thumb.
"Riiiiiight..." Said Liara slowly before her eyes darted back to the schematics.
"I'm not entirely convinced there is something in the Athame statue, but I am closer to believing it than I probably should be. The size is right, but what really strikes me as curious is the small differences between the security around the statue, compared to the security around the other exhibits."
"I'll take your word for it. I didn't really focus on the statue. Was mostly looking at some old carvings. Got bored. Needed a drink. You know how that goes."
"Can we please be serious Morinth." said Samara sternly.
Morinth sighed, but otherwise said nothing.
"Thank you," said Samara with a nod before turning to Liara.
"So our focus tonight shall be the Athame statue."
"Sounds good. Look and see if we can find some kind of electronics or an activation key. If Morinth is right..." said Liara as she looked to Morinth's face."...then that is the most likely spot it can be at."
"Still can't believe you are not convinced," said Morinth.
Liara's silence was enough of an answer for the Ardat-Yakshi.
"Then we have a vague idea of what to do that could almost be called a plan. Which is already far better than what I had before you came here Indy, so hey!..." said Morinth with a clap of her hands, "...That is practically an upgrade right there!"
Liara nodded as she adjusted her hat.
"I guess we should leave now to do something incredibly illegal," said Liara with a sigh.
"Yay!" said Morinth earnestly.
Liara sighed again.
Bardon stood on the top of the highest skyscraper as he watched Tusar crawl over the side. His skin constantly shifting colors to appear as whatever were directly behind Tusar. As his skin began to return to that which was normal for a Salarian, he stood as a small smile crossed his face.
"Quite the workout, if I do say so myself," said Tusar.
Bardon rolled his four eyes as he looked to the horizon.
"It does give some peace of mind," said bardon.
"Peace of mind is kind of a necessary adaptation for people connected to a few billion other minds."
The Blacklight majority also agreed with that assessment.
Bardon shrugged as he sat on the ledge, his feet hanging off the side of the building. They overlooked the Batarian capital of the purest gold, ivory white, and shining silver that made up the buildings that shone with the rising sun.
"Say what you will about batarians, they sure can build a sight to die for," said Bardon.
Tusar rose a brow at that.
"Were you not yourself once Batarian? You speak as if you are not them."
Bardon looked back to the Salarian turned Blacklight. The conversation was much quicker within their minds, but there was a level of familiarity and comfort to voicing those thoughts.
"I'm blacklight now. Maybe I once was Batarian, but obviously that is no longer the case. Do you consider yourself Salarian Tusar?"
Tusar's eyes looked and scanned across the sky.
"It is complicated to think about... isn't it."
Tusar moved next to Bardon as they looked out as the black of the sky momentarily shone red from the sun.
"Why not both? After all, you can be a painter and a chef at the same time, why not Blacklight and Salarian at the same time, or Blacklight and Batarian. I don't think it needs to be that complicated. I'm in your head you know, I know this doesn't bother you," said Tusar.
"No, doesn't really bother me, just building upon my understanding. Philosophy if you will. Every part of the whole is entitled to their own views of ourselves. It's about the only thing that separates us from being many parts of a super-entity as opposed to one singular entity."
"Super-entity. You know, I like that. Kinda like the difference between an organism and a superorganism. I can dig it. I can see why you look at it that way."
"How couldn't you, you're in my mind after all."
"True, but just because I can see your reasoning and logic on the subject, doesn't mean I share it. I prefer to think of myself as both Salarian and Blacklight. I'm sure you understand why," said Tusar.
"I'm in your head, of course I understand. Philosophy isn't like facts, it's not black and white, all a matter of perspective."
"You know, since becoming a member of Blacklight, my conversations with others have only gotten so much weirder."
"I know right!"
Their conversation was cut short when another Blacklight across the planet witnessed something moving very quickly towards the planet. It was far off, but that was nothing enhanced eyes couldn't fix.
Blacklight quickly calculated the trajectory, and realized the asteroid was heading towards the sea.
A feeling of unease permeated across the Hivemind. In every sector they lived, on every planet they hunted, in every space they inhabited, the feeling grew, encompassing the sea of their consciousness.
The waters were still, before a storm exploded.
Something was wrong. Deep within their conjoined mind they felt that something very bad had just landed on Khar'shan.
Liara moved carefully through the opening behind Morinth. Once inside the Museum proper, Samara lowered her hand, and the biotic glow from her hands dimmed as the latch was thrown back into place. Morinth was the first to hit the ground.
"Security is down, so we probably don't have to worry about much."
"You don't think that if there was a beacon, that security would be much more difficult to crack?" ased Liara.
"Nah, otherwise it would be too obvious. At least that's my theory," said Morinth.
"Or, if you are right, maybe security is just so good that we can't detect it," brought up Liara.
Well if that were true, they would have come to me and Samara after the first time we broke in. I think maybe they think the fact no one knows about it to be security enough. Not counting the minor improvements to the security they added around the statue compared to the other artifacts. It may be better compared to the other security systems, but its still shit."
They made their way through the halls, Liara paused every so often when she thought she heard something. Morinth took notice.
"Relax will ya, the guards are few and far between. They barely get off their lazy asses to take a piss."
Liara looked around one more before she nodded.
"I suppose their unprofessionalism will be our advantage."
"Now you're thinking like a true criminal my archaeologist friend."
Liara chose not to comment as they deftly moved through the halls towards their destination. The place in the dark was ominous. Faint glints of moonlight shone off the stone faces of each exhibit. There were parts where Liara could swear she saw their eyes glow a fiery red.
Ignoring the downright macabre ambiance for now, they made their way past the halls and rooms, to the main floor. The Statue of Athame stood proud. The same glow from before shone on Athame, but it was less ominous. It highlighted the Goddesses features, almost bringing her to life before their eyes.
"Damn she's hot," said Morinth as she put her hands to her hips.
Liara felt her palm smack into her own face before yet another sigh escaped her lips.
"Sorry, maybe a little less enthusiasm… Soooo, you're the expert here Croft, so what do we do now?"
"As I said before, look for electrical devices around the statues that do not belong."
Morinth gave Liara a two fingered salute before wandering off in Goddess knows what direction. Liara walked to the statue of Athame with her hands in her pocket, her eyes observing and scanning every small crack, every minute detail, and every nook and cranny of the statue, before Morinth's voice tore through the silence.
"Hey, what's with this bust?" asked Morinth.
Liara looked away from the statue of Athame before moving to see the statue Morinth was looking at. It was a bust, one Liara knew well.
"That is Janiri, Athame's guide. According to myth, he brought enlightenment to Thessia long ago."
Morinth nodded as she looked back to the statue.
"Looks familiar, cause that is not Asari." said Morinth.
Liara observed the statue. It was worn, and it's features mostly lost to time. She admitted that it did look similar to known skulls of the Protheans, but that could be coincidence. The statue was worn enough that it could have just as likely been an asari in a headdress.
"I'm still not convinced," said Liara, though even Morinth could hear the doubt in her tone.
"Whatever you say Indiana Croft, whatever you say."
"Please do call me by my real name. I would appreciate it," said Liara as she heard Morinth giggle slightly, though Liara choose to not bring any attention to it.
Liara looked back to the statue, as her eyes fell down. At the base, where the statue met the stand, there were small indents, each one a straight line barely the width of a grain of sand, but traveling all around the base. Below that her eyes caught the sight of a strangely familiar metal.
Morinth had caught on as she noticed Liara narrow her eyes. She looked to the statute itself, and had seen the small indents, almost like microscopic wires barely visible enough to see.
"The stand is mechanical… is there a recording on it or something?" asked Morinth as she observed the base."...I don't even see a speaker."
"That is because there isn't one." said Liara quickly as she lifted her hand. The familiar amber glow of her omnitool shone across her face as she began doing small scans across the surface.
"There is something here," she said as her eyes scanned the data.
Morinth stood straight as she looked to the statue of Janiri. There was a small green glow coming from between the cracks, before a beam of light flew from the statue of Janiri, and struck the statue of Athame, who began to glow the same green light.
"By the Goddess… Literally," said Liara as she lowered her arms.
Morinth, watching the statue glow, could only turn to Liara.
"Do you believe me now?"
Liara said nothing as she frantically began running towards each exhibit, her face a mask of determination as the found yet another light to emanate from the artifacts. Then after only a moment, another.
"One more," said Liara to herself as she moved once more. Morinth could only watch as Liara moved dutifully and with purpose to her final destination, causing yet another light to strike Athame. Then something happened.
"Yeah, I believe you now."
"Guess this mean you won't be punching my teeth in," said Morinth offhandedly as static flared in her ear.
'What is that? What is happening?' came the voice of Samara over their ear pieces.
"I think we found it." said Morinth blankly.
The whines of old machines reactivating roared through the floor, before the statue broke apart and fell to the ground.
It was at this time Liara had the closest thing to a heart attack she ever could recall.
"THE STATUE!" she screamed as it crumbled to reveal a metallic spire glowing with ancient light.
Near immediately an orb of light emanated from the beacon and descended towards Morinth and Liara.
"Obtaining chronological marker, Hold...Timescale established. Post-Prothean cycle confirmed." spoke the voice from the orb.
"It's a Prothean VI," said Morinth.
"I am called Vendetta, an advanced virtual construct of Pashek Vran, overseer of the Project Crucible. Species identified as Asari, The Chosen of the Protheans. What do you enquire?"
Morinth could only smile.
"I got a question, what is Project Crucible?"
Before the VI could answer, Liara made her way to the Prothean Beacon.
"Not now, later. There is no way the guards didn't hear a statue crumble," said Liara as she held her hand over the beacon.
"We'll take the VI with us," said Liara.
Morinth frowned, but couldn't disagree with that logic when she heard boots stomping on the ground. Liara finish the download as she took off at her top speed, Morinth right next to her as they made their way to the nearest exit.
Morinth got on her comm.
"Mom, we're getting out now, we're headed towards exit 2F."
'I will meet you there.'
The two rounded a corner, only to find themselves face to face with a small squad of five very well armed asari. They stopped their running as they saw their sights hover over them.
"Freeze, hands in the air, NOW!"
They reflexively rose their hands. Each one's heart's speeding as they did.
Liara lowered her head slightly, allowing the brim of her hat to hide most of her features, but Morinth was laid bear to the world.
One of the guards moved forward them. She stopped half way, her eyes meeting Morinth.
"Wait… I know you."
"Shit, " said Morinth out loud. That was the issue with being one of Thessia's Most Wanted.
"I get that a lot, I think I just have one of those faces," said Morith as she swallowed hard.
"No, I know a face when I see one. You are her aren't you? The Ardat-Yakshi."
The guard moved closer, but before she could make another step, Liara and Morinth watched as she was propelled past them at a speed that was no doubt significant enough to knock her against a wall. Which obviously enough, is exactly what happened.
The moment the guard hit the wall, Liara and Morinth turned to see Samara had landed directly behind another guard from above, before delivering quite the strike to her throat. As the guard fell, Samara acted quickly as she grabbed the rifle that had fallen from their hand by its barrel, and swinging it towards the next nearest guard, catching her directly in the face with the stock. With a single fluid motion she stepped forward, and delivered several quick strikes to a third guard. It was at this time everyone had more than enough time to process what had happened, but as they rose their arms towards the Justicar, Morinth retaliated with what Liara could see was a textbook biotic singularity followed by a flurry of movements Liara could not quite identify.
Several seconds later the guards were left unconscious on the ground while three asari stood over them. Liara looked to the downed guards, before turning to Samara and Morinth. Samara looked on stoically, while Morinth seemed quite proud of herself.
"Amazing?" said Morinth helpfully.
Liara found that word may have not been quite strong enough.
"Is that what happened from melding with Blacklight?"
"Among other things. C'mon, we should scram before the fuzz gets here," said Morinth as she was the first to take off. Liara stood still for only a moment, before she joined them, her mind still recalling what she had witnessed. If that was what could be done after taking in an entire species knowledge… She snuffed out that thought. She could think on it later, after they had gotten back to safety.