Chapter 54 - The Monster below the Waves
It came without warning. Every failsafe to detect its coming had failed. The asteroid was not discovered until it was already far too late to stop it. When it was first sighted, it was in the upper atmosphere, and quickly flew across the world before it slammed into the sea.
Swells of water over 400 meters tall barreled inland, tearing through the land before disappearing just as quick, only for another wave to hit the coast again and again and again like clockwork. One after another after another the waves came in before they stopped and were swallowed back into the sea. Inevitably another wave would come from behind the previous one to crash through the coastside.
Whole coastal cities were swept into the sea, swallowed up and decimated. Hundreds of millions died in less than 50 seconds, and as the waves continued to slam into the coastlines, the numbers began to rise.
Skyscrapers were torn asunder, pummeled into gravel and violently pulled into the depths. Those that remained hardly resembled the buildings they once were, and many more would fall and crumble into dust one after the other after the other. Whole species, ecosystems, districts, homes, businesses, and families ceased to exist.
Khar'shan was left disfigured, barely a shadow of the shining cities it once was. The marks of this would last forever.
As wave after wave continued to swallow the seashore, a much more nefarious force began to rise. From the exploded shell of the meteor, something escaped. A great and terrible calamity far more destructive than the slamming sea. An insatiable and industrialized hunger swam along the waves. It drank up the dead and dying who were pulled into the sea, putting them through its stomach turned foundry. Where they were mutilated and mutated. Their bodies sewn with machine and shackled with screams.
Before the bodies could turn cold it was ordered to find out what had gone wrong, why their methods of detection had failed, all at the same time. The result was clear, it could not happen naturally, only deliberately. It would be impossible for hundreds of satellites to miss the asteroid all at the same time, it could only be sabotage that caused them all to fail.
As tests were done, it was discovered that the Asteroid had come outside their solar system. Immediately as this information was being gathered, the leaders of the Batarian people, the powerful High Council, were in utter turmoil.
Dakira Brorcomon watched as his colleagues screamed and shouted in what could only be described as panicked hysteria. The rest of the delegates, even those who Dakira knew to be hardened to travesty, were noticeably nervous. Some were fearful, much more however wore masks and words of hate and anger, if not rage.
Everyone screamed to be heard, but no one listened as the chaotic mess of voices drowned each other out.
Dakira himself was lost.
The panic, hate, and disbelief had drained him, leaving him practically traumatized. He was there, his home only just outside the tsunami's grasp, but he was close enough to see the dying faces of people he knew and saw every day scream and drown and panic. He saw the strongest of buildings crumble so thoroughly that the sea was covered in a thin layer of cement dust. He saw people, thinking it was the better option to jump from the buildings in an attempt to land in the water and vainly swim to safety.
None made it, many died on impact with the raging waters below. Others lower to the ground fought in vain, only to drown in the chaos. He could hear the impacts of bodies hitting rubble and water. They echoed in his skull. Some were on fire. Even with the sea surrounding and pummeling the cities, they were still on fire. Even when they were in the water, the fires didn't die.
Dust clouds were spewed in every direction.
It covered Dakira, even now he could feel the dust that covered his skin. No matter what he did, he could not block that thought. He was covered in the dust of homes. His feet wet with waters where millions drowned. His hands trembled as he absentmindedly brushed his clothes, but that only spread the dust further, and made the shaking worse.
It was only luck that he was able to escape in time. Only luck his home was so far inland.
He had wanted a coastal villa once. An idle thought at the time. Now he was unsure he could ever look at the sea again.
The thunderous chaotic cacophony of voices and screams and cried reached their zenith before it became too much.
"Silence!" screamed the Elder councilor, his voice tearing through the halls and causing all to fall silent.
Dakira was already silent, he had been silent. He was staring at the floor. There was vomit there. Not yet cleaned. Not his. Dakira couldn't summon the energy to wretch. He looked away from it to the elder, doing all he could to clear his mind. His face still a mask of shock, horror, and terror, but it was enough for Dakira to listen.
The Elder sat still for a moment as he made sure no one would attempt to speak again. Once he was satisfied, a weary sigh escaped his lips.
"The asteroid came from outside our solar system, it bypassed all three hundred satellites without so much as a whisper. Only when it is too late to stop it do we learn of its existence. People are dead… Our people are dead. Regardless of caste, regardless of worth, and regardless of merit, they were our people to protect and defend. Whole families have been taken from this world, families we know, people we loved. Cities that once stood proud are now reduced to little more than rubble drifting with the waves. This was a deliberate attempt to strike a blow against us. The first punch has been thrown, and here we are, screaming and bickering like children. You all disgust me with your actions. Are we not the Batarian High Council. We have a right, a sacred duty to our people. We ensure their safety, and we have failed. Now when the time comes to make things right, all we can do is fight. I say no more. You will all behave in a manner fitting your station, and we will discuss what is to be done about this mess, and you will do so immediately or you will be struck from this council, by force if necessary."
The room remained quiet as the Elder leaned back in his chair, face as hard as stone as he motioned for deliberations to start. Even so, the room remained silent for a few moments more before anyone was prepared to speak.
"What do we do? What can we do for this?!"
"We can all agree on who caused this. Perhaps they figured it was in their best interest to rid of us, permanently."
"There will be a call to war," said Selin Na'kyr.
"And the call will be answered. Put every factory of war to work. Recruit any who can stand. There will be justice for what we have suffered."
Dakira found himself agreeing with the man. After seeing lives snuffed out like candles in the wind, he knew there had to be retaliation. It was the only thing that made sense.
The Batarian elder stroked his chin, before he nodded. Tragedy fueled both his and their hate, and the Batarian High Council knew of only one group with the power to pull this off, with the will to destroy them. It was no secret that the Citadel Council had no love for the Batarians. The council saw savages and despots, where there were warriors and royalty.
"We will mobilize for full war in the coming week. We will strike a blow of greater devastation than the one the Citadel Council has done against us."
The sounds of agreement and clapping echoed among the ancient halls at the declaration.
"The people… Our people will need our guidance."
"And they will have it."
The Batarian council was in agreement, and as soon as the talks were done, they got to work.
They released their propaganda, planting seeds of a heartless council, ruled by a wrathful war hungry Turian, a silver tongued demon of an Asari, and a scheming deceiving Salarian.
It was in the shadow of travesty that great flames of hate and mindless revenge festered and grew within a torn apart civilization.
Meanwhile however, there was something else out on their world, that was looking for the true culprit of this atrocity.
Below the oceans of Khar'shan a shifting aquatic creature cut through the ocean, speeding to nearly two hundred kilometers per hour. This curious creature was a specially designed Blacklight biomorph built specifically for unparalleled speed in the sea. It was known as the Mercury Fish. Propelled by a combination of streamlined powerful muscles along both sides of its serpentine body and jet propulsion along its knife like fins that sucked in water through a mantle of elastic muscle fibers before they were contracted through its funnel and shot behind it at great speeds, not unlike that of a squid's, only far more specialized.
It wasn't ideal, nor was it fast enough to get to their destination in the most efficient manner, but there was not that much Blacklight biomass on Khar'shan. There were only a few dozen Blacklight individuals on the whole planet, and they were far too spread out. There was not enough to construct a bioship or flying bioform, but that was fine. Things on this planet were far too hectic to have sightings of strange alien creatures flying through the sky. Under the waves, it was far simpler to avoid detection.
Still, Blacklight made this form as hydrodynamic as possible and the fishlike creature cut through the sea like butter at speeds in the 'acceptable' range. Which in and of itself was impressive considering the seas above were not calm, and it was difficult to remain in the most optimal direction, but the creature managed, and it was not alone.
From all across the planet dozens of these Mercury Fish rocketed towards the impact site. Shards of the asteroid were found propelled far from the impact site. It was quickly analyzed, and the math did not add up. The stone was porous, not particularly dense. While there should have been devastation, it should not have been on quite this scale, not unless the asteroid had a core of solid iron.
Something was off, and Blacklight could sense it.
They saw the propaganda firsthand, but there was no way the Citadel council would orchestrate such an event. Not if what Blacklight knew of the council was true. While they had never met the newest Councilor Valern face to face, they were confident in their analysis of Tevos and Sparatus to believe they would not allow such a travesty to occur. They spoke to them face to face, saw their faces down to the minute detail, carefully analyzed every decision and action they ever had.
They knew the Councilors very well, so much so that they could construct their personalities to be indistinguishable from the real deal. This was so far outside of their character that to conceive them throwing an asteroid at the Batarian homeworld was akin to saying Ghandi was as murderous as Jason Voorhes. It was far too unlikely to even entertain the thought to any serious capacity.
No, this couldn't be them. It had to be something much more willing to commit devastation
on an unprecedented scale. Something technologically advanced enough to fool hundreds if not thousands of satellites.
Only one thing came to mind. Something the Batarians were, for the most part, completely unaware even existed.
Though this was not normal Reaper behavior. The enigmatic Leviathans had revealed many Reaper strategies they had observed over their long life.
It was always the same.
The Reapers do not just slaughter all in their sight. No, they were much more insidious than that and far more methodical. They harvested, they processed, and they archived whole species as newborn Reapers on an interstellar industrialized scale.
Thus a conclusion was drawn on the premise that the Reapers were the cause. The conclusion was that the Reapers were doing something new. Something that never happened before in any previous cycle. What that something was exactly was unknown, which made the situation that much more dire.
They needed to figure out exactly what was going on here. However with their small numbers, they were massively unprepared. Caution was key. The Mercury fish proceeded to slough off bits of skin as they swam that were repurposed as they sank deeper and deeper towards the seabed to find resource rich geothermal vents. Adopting traits of chemosynthetic bacteria, they fed on the energy from the vents to fuel further growth of more Blacklight biomass.
With more biomass being generated, the Mercury Fish across the planet shot off to get closer to the impact site.
Clothing and possessions flew across the room haphazardly into bags and cases as the trio of Asari moved at the speed that could only really be achieved by realizing you just committed what was no doubt a major felony by not only destroying priceless museum property, but to willingly steal the only thing that was keeping their government ahead of just about everyone else.
It was painfully clear they had to get off of Thessia as soon as possible before they all found themselves in a nameless prison being tortured by spies and psychos with far too much time on their hands and a talent of extracting every scrap of information they could. At least that was what Morinth assumed would happen to them if they got caught… Actually reassessing that situation, that would most likely be Samara's and Liara's fate. Morinth was pretty sure her less than savory lifestyle would result in execution on the spot.
WIth renewed vigor from that morbid thought, Morinth hastened at the task at hand of packing everything that belonged to her, and stealing every hotel item that was not nailed down if for no other reason than she felt it might make her feel like she got her money's worth at the expenses she threw around the past few days. That and the scented soaps were to die for.
"Do you have everything?!" asked an equally frantic Liara.
Morinth nodded absently as she lifted her bags, of which there were five, as she made the way to her door. Liara only had the single bag, and Samara appeared to have brought nothing at all but the clothes on her back. Which meant she had free hands.
With a wicked smile, but still in panic mode, Morinth threw two of the bags at her mother. The Justicar caught the bags and examined them for a moment before her eyes traveled back to Morinth.
"What? You have free hands."
Samara exhaled audibly but never the less took the bags, if only because arguing about it was bound to waste even more time.
"Alright, we're outta here. I know a gal. She isn't exactly a friend, but if the credits are good, she'll get us off planet," said Morinth as they made their way to the elevator. Thankfully it was empty.
Nodding to herself Morinth looked at her friends in crime.
"We'll be in Omega before you know it."
The rest of the ride remained quiet as they descended to the lower floors. As soon as the elevators were open, they attempted to move as calmly as they could through the crowds, even with their steadily growing paranoia.
Soon, they were on their way towards sanctuary.
Finding themselves on the run, they had a moment to talk as Samara piloted the ship towards their next stop, hopefully the last stop they would make on Thessia.
Liara held out her hand, and activated her Omnitool. After a few moments, an orb of emerald light faded into being.
"Chosen of the Protheans, to what do you enquire?"
Liara stared at the orb for a moment as she let those words sink in. Everything she thought she had known was being challenged, it had been challenged by Morinth, but now, hovering before her was the truth.
She had to ask.
"Why do you call us Chosen of the Protheans?"
Liara feared she already knew the answer.
"During the zenith of the Prothean Empire, our civilization came into contact with your prehistoric ancestors. Initially, your Element Zero rich planet was to be stripped mined long before we discovered your species. It was believed by many of the High Imperials that it was our Cosmic Imperative to uplift you from savagery. Your biology was altered significantly to allow for great potential of cognitive development. Your use as soldiers of war was revealed to us that your planets abnormally high Element Zero content showed several unique genetic quirks that allowed us to further alter your species into natural biotics."
Liara swallowed hard as she let the words sink in. The VI Vendetta simply continued.
"During the later phases of the Reaper's cycle it was determined that Prothean extinction was inevitable. Your kind had just began to start crafting its own art and culture during this period, and it was determined that Asari were likely to survive the cycle. I had already existed on this planet for centuries beforehand when I was ordered to enter sleep mode to conserve energy."
"If all that's true, and the Republic had access to you…"Interrupted Morinth. "...Then why don't the Asari Republic take the Reapers seriously, what did you forget to tell them?"
"I was not activated until approximately 3.4 hours ago. My last activation was 50,985 years before that."
"Wait, then what was the Republic doing with you?"
"Draining my memory. It is possible they were unaware I was installed. I cannot say for sure as I was not active at the time."
"He has a point," said Liara suddenly as she turned to Morinth.
"To my knowledge, no Prothean Beacon was ever found with a functional VI. Vendetta might be the first."
"Alright, then why did you activate when we got there?" asked Morinth.
"I was programmed to recognize Prothean and those touched by Protheans."
"But there wasn't any Prothean present." said Liara.
"That is incorrect. Genetic markers consistent with Protheans were discovered in the one you call Morinth."
Liara's thoughts came crashing down when she saw Morinth smack her own forehead.
"Oh, right. We never told you… Yeah the Ardat-Yakshi were created by the Protheans," said Morinth.
"What!?" blurted Liara.
"Yeah, Blacklight figured it out. Its why they sought me out… kinda. So I guess Vendetta was built to recognise it. I mean if the Protheans did make it after all..."
"There appears to be a misunderstanding. I was built to recognise Prothean genetic sequences and echoes of Prothean thought patterns. You Morinth possess the former," said Vendetta.
Morinth rose a brow in confusion for a moment, before her eyes widened considerably. Then her head shot to Vendetta fast enough that it nearly gave her whiplash.
"Excusez-moi," said Morinth blankly.
"I am unable to translate. That language is not registered."
"I said excuse me. How can you recognize Prothean genetics from me? Last time I checked I wasn't Prothean." said Morinth, much more serious than Liara had ever seen her.
"To clarify, the genetic marker is degraded, and has evolved beyond its original intention, but it is there. I detected it and reactivated as a result."
From the front seat Samara froze. Her eyes still focused on the words Vendetta was saying.
"Ardat-yakshi are partially Prothean?" questioned Samara, to herself mostly, though Vendetta had still heard her.
"Ardat-yakshi, Demon of the Night Winds. Please clarify this term."
"They are asari. Asari with a very rare genetic disorder. When we meld, we kill our partner, but we become stronger as a result." said Morinth.
Vendetta remained silent for a moment, before a strange beeping came from him.
"Yes, the condition you refer to as Ardat-yakshi was created in an attempt to gift asari with the power of a Prothean. To recall and share experiences with any you come into physical contact with. This genetic sequence was extracted from Volunteer Protheans and spliced directly into the Asari genome. I hypothesize that an unforeseen mutation occurred as a result of Asari unique method of reproduction interacting unpredictably with the Prothean recall ability. Prothean extinction finalized before the condition could be identified and removed or otherwise altered from the asari gene pool. However the sequence is based on Prothean genetic material."
" Just to clarify, you're saying that I… and Rila and Falere are actually spliced with Protheans?"
"The spliced sample was modified beforehand, and it appears to have evolved unpredictably since the initial project, but it is indeed based on Prothean genetic material, however miniscule. This sequence is detected in all asari, though only those you refer to as Ardat-Yakshi are within acceptable levels. It was enough at least that it allowed me to recognize you as being touched by the Prothean and reactivate."
"Touched by the Protheans alright, and it was a bad touch," said Morinth as she fell against her seat, staring blankly off into the distance.
Morinth's thoughts raced as she learned the true origin of her condition, of the very condition that forced her to run and hide. She was far too mentally exhausted from everything that had happened today to really react as much as she probably would under normal circumstances, but to think... Her entire life, the condition that ruined her and her sisters, was an actual piece of the Protheans themselves.
With that information, she came to a conclusion.
"Protheans suck," she said out loud.
She took a deep calming breath. This was not the best time to have a freak out. That could wait until Omega, where she could lose her mind and maybe commission a T-Shirt that said 'Fuck the Protheans' and then use said shirt to fuck with any evangelical Hanar that may be there, but that was for future Morinth to deal with. Right now there were far more important matters to attend to.
"You never answered my question from before. What was the Crucible project?"
Relief efforts were vastly unequipped to handle the devastation caused by the meteor. Those lucky few to survive the initial waves had lost everything and everyone. Rare was it to find a family unfazed by the indiscriminate waves of destruction. Everyone had lost someone, whether that be friends or family.
Projections showed that there was no way to feed everyone, and mere days after the food ran out, pandemonium spread. Inconclusive tales of people eating the dead circulated, along with murmurs of slaves revolting and slaughtering entire castes.
For the crew of the cargo ship known as Dehko, things looked grim. The captain of the ship was an older Batarian, named Pron Cranrerk, who despite his age was a kindhearted man. When the devastation came his ship was halfway to delivering a shipment of canned goods. It really didn't take much for him to order the crew to make a rather large detour. The ship could hold large amounts of people, thousands if not more. He figured it would go better for those who had already lost so much.
Of course, even with all the food aboard, there was still the issue of it running out, though it only had to last just long enough to get to the seas untouched by the collision and its aftermath.
Pron sat at his desk, overlooking his finances. His estimates showed that this endeavor of his would no doubt make things difficult for him, but he doubted that with the devastation something as trivial as a missed delivery would be seriously investigated, and his savings existed for just such an occasion. Yes, Pron was one of the lucky ones, his crew not so much. While many were from lands far from the cities touched by the calamity, many more had known people in the most affected areas.
He had seen thousands of faces every day, faces of shock and denial. It was so easy to blame the council when you had to look at those faces, and Pron was not one to question the wisdom of his government. He was not a very educated man, and spent most of his life knowing only hard work.
He blamed the council as much as any other.
If only he knew the true terror to come.
Deep beneath his ship, a shadow did pass. One that dwarfed his vessel significantly. It was noticed almost immediately.
Hundreds of people crowded the edges of the ship, looking below at the dark shadow and the strange lights that were randomly distributed around its form. Some of the lights were still, others moving rapidly. Then the ship stopped.
Passengers were thrown forward, a few dozen unlucky people at the bow of the ship flew off into the waters from the sudden change of momentum.
The air grew silent as Pron got to his feet. His old legs carried him out of his room towards the bridge. There he found a panicked crew attempting to make the ship move. Out the window, he could see people throwing ropes over the bow, no doubt to pull some unlucky soul back on board. He looked back to his crew, specifically his helmsman.
"Did we hit something? Debris from the tsunami?"
"No sir, we just stopped. The engines are working, but... we're just not moving. It's like we're being held back."
"Held Back? What …"
Before the captain could even complete his question, it was already answered as he heard screams outside. Screams of fear, screams of absolute terror could be heard outside, and as the Captain's eyes shifted to the window he saw far worse than those familiar screams.
He saw things slither from over the bow, wrapping around the railing and writhing onto the deck. They were long necrotic tendrils that lashed and swung around the wreckage and moved in all the wrongest of ways, whipping back and forth like a swarm of hungry varen who had not eaten in days.
As they flew through the air, the captain could tell that the tendrils were covered in a thin layer of elastic skin but the skin looked restricting, like it was pulled far too tight. Just beneath the translucent skin were many esoteric mechanical components that was weaved seamlessly with flesh and bone. From the fleshy mass flashed strange lights in sequence across its form. Traveling up and down the tentacles as they continued to lash about the ship.
Occasionally they would snatch people by their limbs to be dragged into the dark waters below, presumably towards the stomach of whatever abomination of nature this thing was.
The captain listened to the screams of pain and terror of helpless batarians, batarians who ran and trampled in vain as they were grabbed and mutilated and swallowed by some unseen aquatic thing, and before he could fully process what it was he was seeing, more tentacles exploded from all around the vessel. A pair of particularly massive tentacles, thousands upon thousands of feet long, had risen so high into the sky.
The tentacles were so massive that the sun was momentarily blocked from the captain's view by their bulk. For only a second, the captain saw only silhouetted tendrils lashing in the brief darkness before the tentacles above violently slammed back down into the ship. With ease they tore through the sturdy metals and proceeded to tear the boat in half.
As the ship sank, another calamity spiraled into being right below the depths. It was a quickly forming whirlpool that went down for nearly a hundred feet down, where a lamprey like maw of serrated rotating teeth pulsated and roared a strange mechanical whine.
Staring down into that dark abyss Pron could hear his Helmsman screaming vainly into the radio.
"Comms are down! We can't get anyone!" screamed the last words of the helmsman.
As the ship sank deeper the survivors of the tsunami aboard the Dehko were swallowed into a cavernous maw of meat and metal. The ship itself was torn apart again and again and again, until the rubble could not be distinguished from any other debris that could easily be explained by the tsunami.
Satisfied, the great sea beast sunk deeper into the depths, searching for yet another ship. The Dehko was not the first ship to be taken, and it would be far from being the last.
Deep in the sea, around the hydrothermal vents below Khar'shan, Blacklight did grow. The once miniscule amount of bacteria had developed into massive clusters of tube like appendages of pulsating flesh and long hollow wormlike tendrils. These tubes of flesh that hung off the mass were grown with many cavities and organs filled with whole colonies of chemosynthetic bacteria. Biomass was being acquired fast enough that the tubelike worms broke small pieces off themselves to develop into far more useful Blacklight infected creatures.
They continued their search as the small seeds of blacklight grew and infected the native sea life to turn into more blacklight biomass that could be used to speed up their investigations.
One particular Mercury Fish swam in the deep trench, where more fragments of the asteroid was scattered to. It was just as porous as the other scattered pieces, however there was something strange about this fragment. Long tendrils as wide as a human hair flew through the water to wrap and grasp the stone. Hidden in the small pores of the stone were traces of fluid, fluid that corresponded with a coolant fluid, a very specific coolant normally only seen in starships.
The Mercury Fish cocked it's head as it brought the stone closer to its mouth, which had shifted and molded as it swallowed the stone. Within the mouth, billions of tendrils filled with sensory organs examined the stone. The coolant was melted down and analyzed. It was not a particularly efficient fluid, and was very cheaply made. Really it was far too crude to be used by any commercial or military vessel. It was a brand renowned for its low cost, and was favored by pirates.
As the cells moved deeper into the stone, they found something else. Stuck in the coolant was a small bit of blood, and it was unnaturally radioactive.
The Mercury fish spat out the rock before it shot off.
Thus far, despite this being the area the meteor should have landed at, there was far too little stone to account for the devastation it caused. However it was soon theorized what hit the sea.
The coolant came from a starship, specifically the ship of Jona Sederis.
That blood was far too radioactive to be any species Blacklight ever encountered, except for one.
The children of Saleon.
Blacklight brought biomass production to new heights as they gathered energy and divided cells as fast as biology would allow.
Fields of biomass around the deep sea hydrothermal vents completed the extractor lung construct as billions of photosynthetic bacteria swarmed to the surface to bathe in the light of the Batarian's sun Harsa.
If the Children of Saleon did survive, and if they were here on this planet then blacklight needed all the biomass it could manage.
Though this was determined to be true, one thing stood out.
Why couldn't blacklight find the Eclipse ship?
In the galaxy, no civilization exists in a vacuum, and all are connected to the same source. The extranet. Despite it being monitored by their leaders, Khar'shan was no different. Soon, footage was leaked. First hand accounts of the damage was uploaded.
It wasn't long until the entire galaxy knew what happened on Khar'shan.
CODEX: Blacklight Bioforms
Mercury Fish- Mercury Fish are Blacklight bioforms designed specifically for speed in an undersea environment. Superficially they resemble an elongated marlin. They possess a spear like snout and streamlined bodies to give them a highly effective hydrodynamic design to reduce drag when moving at great speeds. Poweful muscles along the sides allow the creature to move at speeds in excess of 200-250 kilometers an hour, though they can reach speeds of 290-320 kilometers when moving through relatively calm waters in a straight line.
The fins are incredibly sharp, allowing them to slice through water with ease. In addition the base of their fins possess a mantle and a funnel allowing for jet propulsion much like that of several species of cephalopod.
A/N: About Vendetta not activating for so long. Well I figured there had to be a reason the Asari didn't seem to know about the Reapers despite having had access to a Prothean Beacon for who knows how long. My guess is they never woke up Vendetta. So I had to think up a reason for that to be the case, and since it's mentioned that the Beacon 'thought' shepard was prothean (Or as Javik said if he was on that mission, it could be the Prothean standing right next to Shepard) then maybe only those who happened to be touched by Vorlons… er… I mean Protheans could activate said VI.
I think it makes sense anyway. Better than the asari activating Vendetta and thinking a non sapient VI is lying about the fleets of Mecha-Cthulhu.
From there it was just a matter of getting someone 'touched' by Protheans to be there when it activated. Helps that Bioware never gave a concrete reason for Ardat-yakshi to exist.