Disclaimer: The Mass Effect universe is the property of Bioware/Electronic Arts. No infringement of these copyrights is intended as this is a not for profit fan fiction work.
Summary: This is an Asari Empire Mirror Verse story originally written for the Mass Effect kinkmeme written in multiple parts.
In the Asari Empire Mirror Verse, instead of leaving a beacon whose VI fruitlessly waits for the Protheans to return to Thessia, the Protheans leave an entire archive and VI with failsafe planning to activate and guide the Asari to forge their own Empire and lead the younger races against the Reapers in the next cycle.
Series is currently planned out for four or five parts as follows:
Part One: Unification of Thessia
Part Two: Forging of the Asari Empire
Part Three: First Contact - Humanity
Part Four: The Great Darkness
Part Five: Post-Reformation Asari Empire
Authors Credits: First I'd like to thank all of the various Mirrorverse Asari Empire A!A's (Anonymous Authors) for their stories which in turn inspired this one. "Salvation" and "The Human Rebellions" especially were both inspiration for the detailed setting of this story. Second I would like to thank PMC65 for her work in fleshing out Asari culture in "A Thessian's Whisper" and "Shepardess and the Questing Beast". Third I like to thank LogicalPremise for his "Encyclopedia Biotica" and "A season of sorrows unending - Cerberus Files", and especially for making both public use for other authors as well as his OSABC "Of Sheep and Battle Chicken" Series in general. You will be seeing biotic abilities and items like the warp sword from "Encyclopedia Biotica" in this story and a few ideas especially about the Turians and Batarians from "A season of sorrows unending". I'd like to thank LuckyFK from DeviantArt and his Commando Saris series of drawings - they were the inspiration for the tall, muscular asari of the Serrice Saris Lineage who will show up throughout the story. His drawings in general are inspiration for asari of all shapes, sizes and personalities. Also I'd like to thank Euderion for his work on Asari ships and ship classes, and agreeing to let me reference them in this work. You can find the work of both artists on DeviantArt.
Revision History: 03/07/2015; 03/12/2015; 01/27/2016
Yes, this is the second version of the intro after I began trying to figure out my timeline for the various first contact scenarios and realized something - clearly Bioware added the idea of a Prothean intervention on Thessia and the beacon after they developed their timeline for ME1. Why? From the first development of agriculture to FTL Humans took around ~14,000 years; Turians took around ~17,000 years, by canon the Asari who are supposed to have the advantage of the beacon to help them advance take over 40K years...err right. That was some uplift alright when you take well over twice as long as everyone else. If they really were uplifted, I'd expect the Asari to have been in space and colonizing planets 25,000 - 30,000 years before every other species, even the Salarians.
This presents something of a problem unless I want to write the Asari uplifting all the other species from their stone ages - which I don't really, that seems rather boring. So I need to either come up with a way of slowing the Asari or speeding up the other races...and I'm going to keep it simple and just speed up the other races and cut out around 25,000 years of what amounted to the Asari dragging their feet while waiting around for everyone else to show up for the story to begin.
So the short of it? Look at the canon time line and subtract 25000 years at the very beginning - thus the Protheans get wiped out by the Reapers not in 48,000 BCE but in 23,000 BCE. Turians will still begin developing a recognizable civilization in 13,000 BCE only now that will occur only 10,000 years after the Protheans are wiped out. None of this will actually have much of an effect on the story, except that the Asari will only get a 10,000 year head start over everyone else to keep things interesting for them and will have various road blocks put in their way to slow them down a bit further. Do not expect events approaching the Common Era to happen as they happened in canon due to the Asari developing FTL in a more reasonable time scale i.e. around 10,000 years instead of 40,000.
Now other than completely changing the timeline and history – I want to develop an Asari Empire while keeping the Asari the same as canon in relation to their culture and biology. Their Matriarch will have mastered the long view and practiced the deft manipulation of events over the course of centuries. Their Huntresses and Commandos will be the most lethal and dangerous warriors in the galaxy as befitting their centuries of training. Maidens, Matrons and Matriarchs will view their sensuality as both an art and weapon at their skilled disposal, and laugh in dismissal at other races who think the Asari should bow to another race's mores and morals over their own.
While all of the previous, the Asari will also be all of the following: they will value cooperation over competition, both politically and personally; their actions and decisions, while they may be manipulative, will trend toward outcomes that are nurturing instead of exploitative; and the majority of them will tend to be kind toward others rather than cruel.
As per canon, the Asari will be able to alter their pheromones to attract and arouse any species and any gender. This is a long term effect in that any species around an asari for an extended period will tend to find them sexually attractive. Multiple asari within an enclosed space will of course amplify this effect. The non-canon addition is that the Asari will also be able to use their pheromones to sooth and calm rather than arouse; they naturally do this with each other - especially their children, but with some training in biofeedback can do this with other races as well.
In this Mirrorverse, Asari will be about the same size and height as male humans with an average height of right around six feet. Some Asari Huntresses and Commandos will be tall and willowy, while some will be tall and quite muscular; they will certainly not all be the same as if cut from the same cookie cutter mold like they were in game. All Asari will be very unisex in habits and personality, possessing both 'male' and 'female' characteristics. This will allow various humans, both male and female, to find different asari attractive for various reasons - some will seem more 'masculine' and some more 'feminine' to humans.
The Asari will have noble and commoner classes, and will have an almost fanatical sense of 'noblesse oblige' toward those that they subjugate and especially toward those races and/or individuals which accept their subjugation and display devotion and loyalty in return to their Asari superiors. The Asari will share a devotion to the concept of duty for the common good with the Turians. For those asari who fall far short of Asari cultural ideas and norms, who abuse and exploit instead of nurture and protect those under them - the Justicars are always ready to mete out their deadly judgment on such individuals no matter their rank or station in the Empire.
23,000 BCE Reapers arrive though the Citadel Relay and begin attacking the Prothean Empire.
22,900 BCE Approximately a century after the initial attack, the Protheans begin to examine the possibility of uplifting very primitive species such as the Turians, Asari and Humans. The decision is made to move forward with the uplift of the Asari even though they are very primitive. The Asari at this stage of their development are just beginning the Earth equivalent of their Late Paleolithic Age (approximately 30,000 years ago) with their population centered in a predictable dispersal pattern around what will become known as the Ceripian Ocean.
The Asari's relatively small population and limited geographical dispersion allows the uplift team to use modified scouting probes to disperse a genetically engineered virus which inserts genetic code into the Asari's genome so that all Asari will be biotics in the future. One side effect of this genetic change is the introduction of an increased risk of undesirable mutations such as the Ardak-Yakshi into the population. Meanwhile the uplift team begins teaching the Asari of the largest settlement around the Ceripian Ocean, named Serrice, the foundations of writing and mathematics alongside more practical skills such as metalworking, navigation, and the basics of astronomy lifting those they are teaching from the equivalent of the early Stone Age into the early Bronze Age.
22,880 BCE After a several decades it becomes apparent that the uplift of the Asari will not be completed before the Reapers finish the extermination of the Prothean Empire. The decision is made for the uplift team, led by Xanabr Ythos, to leave Thessia but not before building a hidden underground archive to either assist the Protheans put into deep sleep in finishing the uplift of the Asari or if that does not occur then after a period of time assist the Asari in uplifting themselves to lead the next cycle against the Reapers. Xanabr Ythos, convinced that the Reapers will find all of the bunkers, secretly builds a shrine in the mountains and inserts hidden code into the Archive to guide the Asari away from the self-serving ways that the Protheans fell into in their arrogance.
22,700 – 13,000 BCE Without the Prothean uplift team to guide them, the Followers of Athame entrench themselves in and around Serrice seeking to preserve the teachings of the Goddess Athame. Only after a few generations do the families of the Followers begin spreading out and founding new city-states, the first is Armali founded by the descendants of Pania T'Soni, second is the city state of Ulee and then the city-state of Cybean. Over the course of time technology in these cities progresses from Bronze Age to Iron Age and finally into the equivalent of early Middle Ages technology. Outside of the area surrounding the Ceripian Ocean and the exchange of more advanced technology primarily from Serrice, most of the Asari still exist as primitive Stone Age tribes.
13,000 BCE With no further contact by the Protheans, the Archive they left behind finally activates in failsafe mode and contacts the Asari to begin uplifting themselves without Prothean aid. The VI based upon Xanabr Ythos instructs the asari High Priestesses of the Great Temple of Athame in Serrice to begin by unifying Thessia under one governmental structure dedicated to what will become known as Athame's Prophecy for the Asari. To assist with this effort, the VI reveals the location of the shrine built by Xanabr Ythos.
Also at this time, elsewhere in the galaxy on Palven, the Turians begin to develop their first civilization.