Mass Effect is the property of Bioware, Alien is owned by 20th Century Fox


Unnamed star system

The ship was dead in space, orbiting a lifeless rock that barely deserved to be called a planet. It could have remained there, undetected, until the central star of the system exploded, except for the message that it broadcast across a broad stretch of the electromagnetic spectrum






Captain Shiana Armali listened to the signal for what must have been the thousandth time and looked at her salarian first officer.

"Any success at getting a translation, Levarn?"

"Negative, captain. Signal does not match any known language and the sample is insufficient for our translation software to attempt a translation without references. In fact, we cannot even be completely sure, that these are actually words."

"What about the ship itself? I know it doesn't match any known profiles, but can we trace the design or construction?"

The salarian looked at his display, which showed several open search windows.

"Not so far, captain."

Captain Armali looked at the scans of the distant vessel. Compared to her own ship, the Thessia-designed Light of Dawn, it seemed utilitarian and somewhat crude: a small crew compartment stuck low on the front of a massive, box-like structure that was most likely a cargo hold. Two massive engines were mounted on top of the of the hull with several smaller engines, most likely manoeuvring thrusters, distributed along the sides. No attempt had been made to blend cargo hold, crew area, and engines together and there was no sign that aesthetics had played any part in the design. Apart from the short broadcast, which seemed to be repeating itself indefinitely, there was no sign of activity aboard the vessel.

Aboard the orbiting vessel, a computer program was activated as the Light of Dawn approached. The presence of an unknown ship had been registered by the sensors and the program attempted to match the energy signature to the data in its library. No identification was made. This was an eventuality for which the program had not been designed. The crew would have to decide on the course of action. Unfortunately, it seemed that no crew members were available to make such a decision.


Some background information:

The idea for this story started out quite differently. I intended to tell the story of Alien (the movie) inside the Mass Effect universe, but with a twist: The 'Space-Jockey' would be human and the crew of the Nostromo would be replaced by a group of ME aliens (humanity being unknown to them). If living humans appeared at all, it would have been at the end of the story, with the humans coming in to clean up the mess. However, I quickly ran into trouble:

1) Alien, for all its suspense, is actually a slow moving story. It relies on a combination of visual impressions and careful pacing to build tension. Attempting to do the same in written form seemed like a big challenge. Perhaps an experienced writer could do it, but I didn't think I'd be able to do it justice. Most likely the story would quickly become boring.

2) jerseydanielgibson has already done an incredible job of retelling Aliens (Seriously, if you haven't done so already, check out Mass Effect vs Aliens: The Siege Of Hadley's Hope and its sequel Mass Effect Vs Aliens 2: Valkyrie Rising). Trying something similar would have looked a bit too derivative.

3) I just couldn't make the plot work. In Alien, the situation becomes critical because the Nostromo is far from help. They have to deal with the problem themselves. In the ME universe travel times are short: hours or days. It would be easy to call for help, or quickly move the ship to a place where a special forces team could move in and neutralise the threat. After all, there is only one xenomorph on board. They should be able to handle that.
Also, why would the ME races even bother? In Alien, the derelict ship and the xenomorph are special because humans have not met intelligent alien life. (That got messed up in the prequels.) For the ME races it is old news. Sure, it is an interesting creature, but not so special that they'd go to insane lengths to aquire it. That removes the need for all the secrecy, even if I replaced Weyland-Yutani with a lab on Noveria. So, no need for the Nostromo to make the pickup, just send a properly equiped team. Under those circumstances it's unlikely that things would go so wrong (I know, in Prometheus the scientists messed everything up, too, but those guys were so stupid it was emberassing. I don't want to write a story that relies on the protagonists being too dumb to live.) I thought of quarians boarding the derelict, just to salvage it (shifting their motivations away from the xenomorph). However, it seems unlikely that quarians, being fanatical about decontamination procedures, would ever allow the facehugger on board.

So, I gave up on this idea. Perhaps I'll get back to it later, but for the moment it just seems too difficult. Still, I liked the idea of the role-reversal as well as the Alien + ME combo. So, I tried to figure out an alternative scenario and this is the result. With humans taking a more active part in the story I had to more worldbuilding as well. In order to make that easier, I have started a second story: Intelligence reports. This will eventually contain a series of infodumps, disguised as in-universe espionage.