Mass Effect is the property of Bioware. 20th century fox owns the Alien/Predator franchise.
Someone had blundered is a continuation of my story: Someone has heard them scream. It actually starts about three weeks before the events of Someone has heard them scream and will continue from there, describing the events of the First Contact War and the introduction of Alien's humanity into the Mass Effect galaxy. I will try to write it in such a away that it can be read as a stand-alone story, but several characters (including the ones I made up) from Someone has heard them scream will make appearances. I will also continue with the occasional upload to the story intelligence reports, which contains additional background information pertaining to this mixed Alien/ME universe.
To put the story in prespective relative to both universes, I see the Mass Effect universe as being at the same stage as it was for the canon first contact war. Humans have gone through the events of Alien and Aliens, with the destruction of LV-426 now about 50 years in the past. However, our technology has started to deviate somewhat, because we reverse-engineered the Space-jockey's ship, giving us access to element zero technology. (My way of stitching the two universes together.) There are no prothean ruins on Mars and humans have not found a mass relay in our own solar system.
The title comes from Alfred, lord Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade.
July 10, 2228 Human reckoning
HNV Primarch's Pride, Flagship of the Turian 24th reconnaissance squadron, patrolling the borders of citadel space
Knowing that the eyes of several of his fellow officers were upon him, Captain Praeus Livestian carefully hid any sign of nerves as he studied the starmap that was currently on display. Not that there was anything about the map to make him nervous, just a series of empty star systems, none of which contained more than stars, gas giants, and empty rocks that were generously labelled planets.
To anyone other than a professional astrophysicist, they looked singularly uninteresting. However, it was not the starmap itself that caused him to be nervous. While he had seen maps such as this many times before, it was the first time that he watched one with the eye of a commanding officer, rather than that of a subordinate. His promotion to command of the 24th reconnaissance squadron was less than a month old and his new duties felt like a heavy weight resting on his shoulders.
Assignments such as this were supposed to be easy, simple, an opportunity for a newly promoted officer to settle into his new responsibilities at a leisurely pace. At least that was the theory. In reality it was exactly during this kind of routine patrols that reconnaissance squadrons sometimes encountered unexpected problems that were not covered by the regulations, and when that happened it was up to their commanding officers to make the right call. Commanding officers like one Praeus Livestian, who was now seriously questioning the wisdom of accepting this recent promotion. Unfortunately, it was too late to do anything about it now.
With a final glance at the starmap he turned to his second in command.
"Has the entire squadron signalled their readiness?"
"Yes, Captain. All ships are standing by for your orders." He could hear the eagerness in her voice, despite her efforts to hide it. That was another problem: Liestra Tirius was a fine officer, but she too was recently promoted and young for her responsibilities. Look on the bright side, at least she will not constantly second guess you based on long experience. It wasn't a very comforting thought. On this particular occasion being second-guessed didn't sound so bad. On his previous posting his most senior subordinate had been a middle-aged, highly experienced sergeant. Considered something of a failure by turian standards, sergeant Horation had lacked the drive and ambition to rise any higher in the ranks of the hierarchy, but he had accumulated a great deal of experience over the course of his career. Experience that he had shared, often unasked, with anyone who would listen. It had been a source of considerable annoyance at the time, but right now captain Livestian wished he had the sergeant, or someone like him, to look over his shoulder and spot any mistakes he might make.
"Good. I want to leave within the hour. We'll jump into the sector through Relay 288, then sweep through all five systems, one at a time. He tapped a command and lines appeared on the starmap, connecting the individual systems. I assume that you have familiarized yourself with these systems?"
"Of course, captain."
"Have you found anything of interest in these systems?"
"Not as far as we know, sir. The third system contains a primary mass relay, Relay 314, but it hasn't been activated. Otherwise, there is nothing there."
"I agree. A rather boring part of the galaxy. Well, boring duty is still duty and we can use the time to do additional training exercises." He looked at the map again, trying to remember if there was anything else that needed to be done. He could think of nothing. Time to show myself worthy of my position.
"Lieutenant Tirius, signal the squadron: 'All ships, set course for the relay. Upon arrival we will jump to Relay 288.' Once all ships have acknowledged, you may take the Pride to the relay yourself."
One by one the ships of the 24th reconnaissance squadron, four cruisers and two frigates, approached the relay and disappeared from local space, only to appear, almost instantaneously, more than a two hundred lightyears away.
USM Science Vessel Auriga, Shanxi system
Captain Michael Jankoswki felt considerable satisfaction as he looked around the conference room. He had good reason. His was arguably the most desirable of all duty assignments: commanding officer, USM Auriga. The latest, the biggest, the best. True, she wasn't actually a combat vessel, but under the circumstances that was something of an advantage. If he'd been assigned to command a carrier, or a destroyer squadron, chances were he'd spend most of his time in some pathetic little office, while his ships were either docked at a maintenance station, or simply riding in orbit around whatever planet happened to be nearby.
That was the problem with peacetime duty. There just wasn't anything to do. Lately the United Systems Military hadn't even managed to secure funding for their annual naval exercises. Some beancounting pencil pusher in a cubicle somewhere had decided that simulators were good enough. Simulators! As though a simulator could ever replace the real-life experience of orchestrating a fleet manoeuvre. No, combat commands were no longer the plum assignments these days. The best you could hope for was that some disaster on a backwater colony would be severe enough to warrant a naval deployment to ship in food and blankets. Exploration, that was the new big thing, the coveted position, and the fast track toward flag rank. And when it came to exploration, Auriga was the best.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard USM Auriga,' Jankowski said to the assembled naval officers and civilians in the room. "In particular, I would like to welcome captain Sakai of USM Gallipoli and Commander Dupont of USM Bomarsund." He glanced at the two officers, who nodded by way of greeting. "Their ships arrived in Shanxi today and will be our escorts for the near future. With their arrival we have also received permission from USM command to commence our operation."
He paused for a moment as a murmur went around the room. This was the news they had al been awaiting for weeks.
"Gallipoli and Bomarsund are currently taking on fresh supplies from Shanxi as this will be their last opportunity to do so for the near-future. Once resupply has been completed we will leave Shanxi system and make for the newly discovered relay at LV-758. That is where our scientific experts will take over. Dr. Xui?"
Jennifer Xui, one of the two civilians in the conference room looked up.
"I was given to understand that there is something special about this particular relay. Is that correct?"
"Yes, captain." She looked around the room to make sure that she had everyone's attention. What she was about to say was probably know, at least to some of the people here, but it was worth repeating. "All relays we have found so far, like the one here in Shanxi, and the Arcturus relay that was our first discovery, link to multiple nearby relays. The one in LV-758 seems to be of a slightly different design. The initial inspection, made by the team that discovered it, was somewhat cursory, and I could have wished for better data. Still, assuming that the data is correct, this relay is capable of producing more power, allowing travel across a longer distance. However, it lacks the interface that allows ships to select a destination. This has led us to believe, that this relay can only take us to a single destination, albeit one that is further away than normal."
"Thank you, doctor," Jankowski took over smoothly. "Once we reach the relay, drs. Xui and Fasse and their team will activate it. That shouldn't take us more than a day. Once the relay is active, we'll send one of our escorts through as a scout. Assuming everything goes according to plan, Auriga will follow. We will then proceed with exploring the surrounding systems at the other end of the relay. I believe, and I'm sure that you will all agree, that Auriga's unique design will allow us to perform a more thorough investigation in a shorter time frame than has ever been possible. In fact-"
"Can you believe that guy?" Jennifer Xui asked Leon Fasse as they walked back toward their quarters.
"Who, our captain?"
"No, Santa Clause. Of course, our captain. Seriously, to hear him talk, you'd think he'd personally build this ship with his bare hands and that we're going to use it to find the Holy Grail, or something."
"Come on, Jennifer, cut the man a little slack. Commanding a ship like this is a big deal, especially with so much of the navy being mothballed these days. I still don't believe they were willing to spend the money on something this big. I mean, this ship is huge!"
"Yes, a little over a kilometre long actually. As big as a fighter carrier. In fact, that's why naval command signed off on it."
"What do you mean?"
"I talked with a couple of people in naval R&D when we got assigned here. It turns out the navy couldn't get the budget for a new carrier design past the Assembly, because there are just too many pacifists around, these days. So they presented this as an exploration ship. All the peace-puppies happy, but in reality you can take the same hull, slap a couple of fighter bays onto the sides, and you have a carrier. That's the plan, anyway. In a few years, the navy will apply again for a new carrier and present the fact that the hull-design is already finished as a cost-saving exercise."
"Oh, yes. I suppose that's part of the reason Jankowski is looking so smug. Not only did he get one of the few active commands in the navy where he will actually get to do something, he also gets to run field tests on what is basically a new carrier design."
"Lucky man," Leon grinned. "I think I see admiral's stars in his near future."
Jennifer came to a halt as they reached the door to her cabin.
"I'll see you tomorrow. Early! We still have a lot to do and I don't think our dear captain would appreciate it, if we caused any delays on his road to glory."
I put the story in 2228 based on the Alien timeline (Approximately 50 years after the events of Aliens)
Auriga was the name of the science ship in Alien Resurrection. According to the background info, that one is more than 3 kms long. I reduced that to make her a better fit for the ME universe, but still a huge ship.
Michael Jankowski was the captain that bungled first contact with the minbari in Babylon 5.
A/N. A reviewer for someone has heard them scream complained about the excess length of my author's notes, which could, occasionally, become very long. I will try to keep them short this time. Instead, if I feel that a review needs a lengthy reply, I will either respond by PM, or, if I think it should be publicly available, I will put it on the review page.