Mass Effect is the property of Bioware. 20th Century Fox owns the Alien/Predator franchise.

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This is Tavea I'Seni of Citadel News Network, and we are currently in the Council's meeting chamber, where the human delegation has just arrived. In a few moments, the representative of the Alliance of United Systems, Anita Goyle, will formally sign the peace treaty that will bring the war between the humans and the turian Hierarchy to a conclusion. Ater months of negotiations, we are informed that the Alliance of United Systems has declined to join the other species of Citadel Space at this time. However, they will open an embassy, and sources tell us that representative Goyle will, in fact, remain here on the Citadel to become humanity's first ambassador. The details of the treaty will be published once it has been formally signed, but we have been informed that the humans have agreed to abide by a modified version of the Treaty of Farixen, as well as the prohibitions against AI research and the unauthorized opening of mass relays. In a brief statement that was released earlier today, the turian Hierarchy expressed its satisfaction at the conclusion of the brief conflict saying: "Many lives were lost, but they were not lost in vain. These brave soldiers died to ensure that the laws of Citadel Space will be upheld, now, and in the future."

Anita Goyle signed her name with a flourish that she had been practising for days. The aliens had been astonished when she insisted on a paper version of the treaty, but they had readily agreed. After all, what did they care about humanity's quaint little customs? An electronic version, containing holographic images and voice recordings of the signatories would be stored in the Citadel archives. That was the important thing, as far as they were concerned.

As she straightened, her eyes met those of Matriarch Benezia, who was standing amongst the delegates. She was smiling graciously, as always, but Anita had gotten better at reading alien faces. Some people present were quite happy with the current agreement. Others, not so much. But Benezia? she was furious! With Anita personally, with humans in general, with the Council. Anita made a personal note to keep track of the asari. She would have to be watched.

-o-o-o-

This is Westerlund news, bringing you the FIRST EVER report from the Citadel, I am Breena Lakovski. The peace treaty between the turian Hierarchy and the Alliance of United Systems has just been signed, in what government officials call the greatest milestone in human diplomacy since the Egyptian and Hittite empires signed the first ever peace treaty in 1259 BC. Not everyone seems to approve, as many people doubt the wisdom of making peace with the aliens at all or assert that the United Systems should have demanded steeper terms. However, both government officials and Assembly members have applauded the treaty. Assemblyman d'Orsinio went on record to say that "We have already shown the galaxy that we are strong, that we can fight. Now it is time to show that we can be reasonable. To prove that we can be friends as well as enemies."

Meanwhile, the General Assembly announced today that they will grant the newly created rank of Skymarshal to the USM Chief of Staff, general Thomas Spears. This rank will make general Spears a permanent member of the General Assembly, with full voting rights. In a brief press conference, general Spears assured the public that he would use his new position to continue his work to safeguard humanity. This would include an increased defence budget to continue the recruitment drive and the military build-up that started during the war. As the general himself said: "We have only just realized that the universe is a far more complicated and dangerous place than we previously thought. It is good that we have peace, but as an ancient philosopher once said, 'Si vis pacem, para bellum.' 'Those that want peace should always be prepared for war' and our policies should always reflect that."

-o-o-o-

Unknown planet

The Adjudicators had gathered to discuss the latest news.

"So, they made peace."

"For the moment, yes."

"That may have unfortunate consequences," The first speaker said. "If they warn the Citadel Species about the serpents..."

"Unlikely. Most of the useful information is strictly controlled, the rest is just stories. Besides, they may have made peace, but that doesn't mean they are friends. We may have another war before long. According to our agent, there are terms to the treaty that have not yet been made public."

"Such as?"

"The humans will claim the area they call the SKyllian Verge for colonization."

"Wait!" A third speaker interrupted. "Was that not...?

"The Hegemony's area of interest? Yes, but then so is the rest of the Universe, according to the batarians."

"So the Council is throwing the humans at the batarians. That would solve at least one of their problems, perhaps even two. Impressive, they continue to exceed my expectations."

There were nods of agreement all around the room.

"Very well, we will see what happens. meanwhile, there is much to be done. We have a new Kainde Amedha queen. And we have our safety system."

"We can reproduce the substance?"

"We can. But keep in mind that it is not full proof. The engineers found that out, more than once."

Again, nods of agreement.

"Very well, I suggest that we'll proceed as planned. Contact our agent. Once we are ready, well need a vector to introduce the serpents to the galaxy. She will have to find the right individual for that job."

-o-o-o-

Palaven

The viewscreen shattered as a metal talon smashed through it. It wasn't the first thing Saren had broken, though normally the damage happened by accident. His artificial limb was only a few weeks old and he hadn't become accustomed to it yet.

Peace! They had actually made peace!

Tens of thousands of turian soldiers dead on the battlefield, his brother, HIS BROTHER, executed like a common criminal. And what did the Citadel Council do? What did the HIERARCHY do? They made peace.

He turned away, looking for something, anything to focus his attention on. Anything to distract him from the news.

There!

The datapad was still lying on the desk, where he had left it. It contained a download from his omnitool, the last data he had received before his injury. He had been studying it a lot lately, trying to figure out what he was looking at. At first, he had not even realized he had this information. It seemed that his last GHOST infiltrator had linked the feed from his helmet visor to Saren's omnitool, a common practice for special forces. Now he studied it again, and again. There! Just for an instant, a dark shadow moved forward.

What were the humans doing in that laboratory?

He already knew they had infiltrator cloaks, even though they denied it. Fools, did they think he wouldn't remember? To his dying day, he would remember that blade, partially translucent, slicing through his flesh. But that was not all. Infiltrator cloaks he understood. This one might have been better than anything he'd ever seen, but the concept remained the same. This creature though, this was something else. And it wasn't the only one of its kind. Rumours were already floating around about the other first contact. That ship, the Calypso, they called it. It had carried these things, and the humans had covered it up, destroyed the evidence.

What were they hiding?

Saren didn't know, but he would find out. For that, he needed resources, information, and he had none of these things.

The council has something almost as good as power, they have access. That was what Desolas had said, almost the last thing they had discussed. And Desolas had been right. The council had access, and they had used it brilliantly.

Saren sorted through his old messages. There was one, that he had received just before setting out with the invasion force. It was an invitation of sorts: SPECTRE training. He had scoffed at the notion. Why would he want to run around the galaxy as a glorified errand boy for three powerless fools? But it seemed they weren't so powerless, or so foolish. And they had everything he needed.

"Don't worry, Desolas. It will take time, but I will avenge you."

THE END

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In canon, Saren wants revenge on humanity because of the death of his brother. Desolas went crazy after being indoctrinated by a reaper artefact and the humans... were there. That's all. No human was in any way responsible for what happened to Desolas. I decided to change that. Now Saren has a reason for his fixation.


It has been a long ride. Originally, I hadn't planned for the story to be nearly this long. But as I was writing it, the story became more complicated. Now that it's come to an end, I want to thank you all for reading it, for your support and reviews, and for sticking with the story, even when I was late with my updates. In particular, I want to thank all those who PMd me for all the useful suggestions and discussions that helped me build up this little fantasy. There is no way I could have done it without your input.

Meanwhile, the story will continue in my next instalment:

In Torfan, no-one cares if you scream.

This will be a short story and though it is set in the same universe, it will not feature either the xenomorphs or the predators. They will return in the story that comes afterwards. I have uploaded the prologue already. Note that it is M-rated, so you may need to adjust the search filter.