Earth date (ED) 2075 AD
The Manswell expedition launches from Earth en route to the alpha centauri system with 300 colonists aboard in cryogenic stasis. Evey Silber, one of the colonists, is discovered to be in in the early stages of pregnancy, to her surprise, hours before the cryo procedure begins. Risks to mother and child are deemed low, and the procedure continues.
Communications with the vessel are soon lost.
ED Unknown - Galactic Standard calendar 2600 (GS)
A Salarian STG team searching for deniable assets in the skyllian verge discover a damaged pre-ftl space craft, belonging to no known species, trapped in the gravity well of a star. Upon boarding the team discovers 300 cyropods containing an unknown species, all bar one have failed. Opening the failed pods revealed only dessicated corpses. The working cryopod and all data on board is transferred to the STG vessel. The alien vessel, containing nothing more of value, is manoeuvred into a rapidly decaying orbit around the star.
The STG team is attacked and boarded by pirates en-route to Sur'Kesh. The team is wiped out to the last Salarian, inflicting heavy casualties on their assailants, and all data is purged from the ships systems. The pirates take possession of cryopod and set course for 'the heart of evil' (Human translation: 'Omega'). Soon after the pirates arrive word reaches Aria T'loak, the Queen of Omega, of their foolish actions and the prize they have taken. After a liberal number of untimely deaths and accidents, the cryopod ends up in her possession. Aria had it placed in a secure vault deep under Afterlife.
Due to pressing concerns caused by the actions of the now deceased pirates in drawing the attention of the STG to her station. Aria all but forgets the pod and it becomes just another curiosity among many.
Recalling the oddity, Aria orders an indentured Quarian engineer, by the name of Rem'Kel, to open the cryopod, promising his freedom upon completion of the task. The engineer begins to piece together the unknown programming language written in an unknown script. The enormity of the task dawning on him much swifter than any real progress.
Rem'kel reports to Aria that his has cracked enough of the code to open the pod. Later that same day Aria, two hand picked bodyguards, and a Salarian doctor stand before the cryopod that had kept Rem'Kel occupied for the last two years. Rem'Kel checking and rechecking his notes against the code he had written.
The queen of Omega stared at the pink, furry Asari looking creature, through the viewport, thoughtfully tapping her finger against her lips. After a while she turned her head slightly in the direction of the Quarian.
"It is still alive?" She asked.
"The cryopod computer seems to..."
"Computer, surely you mean VI?" Interrupted the Turian bodyguard.
"If it was a VI Turez, I would have said VI!" Rem'Kel snapped back "If is was a VI it would not have taken me the better part of two full years to crack it! I had to learn how to program in a language that no one could understand, from the top down. Be glad it only took two years, I could have easily spent another year trying to..."
"Rem'Kel, shut up." Aria spoke in a tone that brook no disagreement, silencing the him in moments. "Good. Now answer my question. Is it alive?"
The Quarian fiddled with his omni tool for a moment and a holographic screen appeared on the wall.
"It's reading as alive as anything in cryo stasis can be. As for if it will live once it's out I have no idea. I'd guess that's why Kirano's here." He gestured to the Salarian doctor who was examining the projected image with interest, muttering to himself.
"Pale Asari with fur, Batarian ear like growths below fur line on the sides of head, forward facing eyes indicates predator, teeth indicate likely omnivorous diet, endoskeleton, lungs reminiscent of most species, likely breaths oxygen." Kiranos' eyes darted across the projected image taking in all the details that could be important, before settling on a disturbing sight. He raised his hand and pointed at the creatures pelvis. "Parasite, no and yes... With child, parasitic link to mother." Kirano turned to Aira, "How long have you had this?"
Aria stared at Kirano for a long moment before answering "Why?"
"Long term exposure to cryo stasis fluids dangerous to all known life, especially infants. Now how long?"
"Thirty years, plus however many years it was like that before it came into my possession." Aria replied not happy at the tone the Salarian was using, however he was the best doctor that Omega had seen in over a century, so she could forgive this small slight against her.
"To long. The damage is likely already done. It should live but, if it isn't already then, it will go blind, among other issues, no doubt." Kirano shook his head sadly. "The unborn will certainly be blind and weak. Also no element zero in its system, may have some sickness due to background exposure." He looked around the room. "Also recommend decontaminating this room, it likely is carrying native diseases or we might infect it." Aria gave a single nod and Kirano typed into his omni tool bringing to life the battered but functional decon units in the cell. "Will take a short while, best get comfortable."
Ten minutes later the room was as cleaner than anywhere else on Omega, but still was not clean enough for Kirano to be happy. He knew he would have to make do, and that he was trying Aria's limited patience. She raised a tattooed eyebrow at him and he gave a single answering nod. Aria turned her head to to Rem'kel who had been going over his code and notes for the umpteenth time.
"Open it." She ordered.
Rem'kel tapped on his omni tool and after a few moments the bolts popped on the pod door. The cryo fluid drained into a hidden reservoir and the door swung up.
The creature within gurgled, blinked and then slumped unceremoniously on the floor, coughing and spluttering as it did.
Evey realised quickly she had been lied too. Coming out of cryo stasis is like waking up after a long dreamless sleep, they had told her. Which mind you was true. What they failed to mention, was the burning sensation searing the inside of her chest as she coughed up the suspension fluid in her lungs. Or the how it felt like hot needles were being shoved liberally into her eyes every time she tried to open them. Or the gods-damned ringing in her ears like standing next big Ben while it chimed the hour whist simultaneously next to a waterfall. Or her complete inability to move at all under her own power. Oh and the headache that was now forming from hitting her head on the floor. Nice catch wake up crew.
What felt like an eternity later, which Evey figured was more like a minute or so, she gasped for breath and no coughing followed. She felt a few tears of joy roll down her cheeks as she thought 'We made it little one, we made it to Alpha Centari.' After a few moments more the pain in her eyes began to abate along with the ringing. Fighting against the stiffness that plagued her muscles she forced her head up to look around for the other cryo sleepers or the wake up crew, and sorely wished she had not.
A bird headed thing in armour and holding a gun.
A cross between a rhino and camel in armour and holding a gun.
A person in a spacesuit with a glowing yellow arm.
A lizard looking thing in stained doctors whites.
A purple lady wearing tight clothes and a look of complete disdain.
The scream she planned came out as a quiet whimper and as she curled up into a foetal position and closed her eyes tight. The bastards hadn't mentioned hallucinations either. Then the noises came, barking, whistling and growling. All of it unintelligible and fucking terrifying.
Terror and a healthy dose of adrenaline gave her the strength to move. She forced herself backwards into the base of the pod, which was not her greatest plan. But she reasoned if her back was to the pod then these things were not.
Dragging protesting knees up to her chest, to put more of herself between the things and her child. One arm wrapped around her knees as tightly as she dared, she tried to make herself as small as possible and cried out.
"Please don't hurt my baby!" As the words left her mouth the room fell silent, and in a whisper Evey added. "Or me either, please."
Aria and the others watched as the creature fell out of the cryo pod into a heap on the floor. It spasmed for a moment then started heaving up the remaining liquid in its lungs.
"Doesn't exactly look like much." The Krogan, Trex, grumbled.
"So long as that muck its spewing doesn't get on my armour." Turez replied.
"Yeah wouldn't want to ruin the paint job" Trex snorted.
Aria ignored the rest of the petty banter between her guards, but could not help but agree with Trex's statement, as simple as it was. The creature did not look like much, helplessly coughing its lungs out onto her floor, it looked weak. Yet she had not ruled Omega for centuries by making assumptions, she needed facts. She watched as Kirano scanned the creature and the fluid it was expelling, before returning to her side.
"Suffering from documented cryo stasis symptoms, blindness, deafness, and vomiting. Have no data to compare cellular state to, may be evolutional junk or true cellular damage. Likely somewhat dehydrated and starved. Will need some levo safe food, recommend Thessian based, decontaminated as best we can."
"Is it that fluid dangerous? Is it a threat? Is it sentient? Can it understand us?" Aria rattled off the questions without taking her eyes off the retching creature.
"No. No. Highly likely. No." Kirano looked about to explain his rapid answers when the creature opened its eyes and looked around the room. It's eyes met hers and all the colour drained from its already pale face. It let out a weak cry and curled up into a ball on its side, making small whimpering sounds.
Trex let out a bark of laughter "That is the most pathetic excuse for defending itself I've ever seen."
Rem'kel spoke softly, reminding them he was there at all "Can I go now? I did as you asked Aria."
Turez turned swiftly on the Quarian, raising his pistol to the Quarians faceplate. "You'll speak when spoken too boy!" He yelled.
"Shutting up." Rem'kel whispered.
"It's going to need some medical attention Aria, if you want it to live. But if you don't, I also know some good taxidermists." Kirano added.
"Look at it! It's about as dangerous as a blind pyjak with no tail!" Trex bellowed as he grinned sadistically at the curled creature and took a step forward.
"Take another step Trex and I will smear you across the walls." Aria intoned without emotion.
She watched the creature crawl, with surprising speed, backwards into the pod and curled into another tighter ball using its limbs to cover itself. Before it cried out a few unrecognisable sounds, it's eyes wide with fright. It then tried to make itself even smaller and whispered a few more sounds.
Kirano clicked his tongue and whispered to Aria. "There you have it, complex language and not so subtle body language. It's sentient, must be undiscovered pre-ftl species."
Aria stared at the creature for a time, its eyes never leaving hers. The natural sounds of Omega occasionally breaking the silence of the room. Every gunshot and echoing scream made the creature twitch in fright. Internally Aria enjoyed the look of pure fear on the creatures face, but she knew that too much fear could be dangerous, not for her of course, but for the others in the room.
"Let us see if your hypothesis is correct Kirano. If it can learn quickly, I may have some use for it." A smile crossed her lips and Turez knew that it could only mean someone was going to have a very bad day soon. "If not, well, I have been meaning to get a pet."
Everyone in the room laughed, and the creature tried to make itself even smaller. Which set Trex and Turez in a fit of unmuffled laughter
"Shut up or die, your choice." Aria barked at her guards, silencing them almost instantly.
Aria turned back to the creature, put on an almost genuine smile and walked up to its cowering form.
Eveys day was no worse off for her crying out to the strange aliens, but nor was it any better. She had finally accepted that yes, these things were in fact aliens, not hallucinations. Less than half of them had weapons, so that means they might be friendly. Then it clicked in her mind if she didn't understand them, they likely didn't understand her either.
Her ears were still ringing slightly but she could hear and feel the dull thump of some kind of music. Punctured at intervals by an echo of gunfire, cries of pain, and screaming. Which she couldn't help but flinch at.
Gods! Where had she woken up? Where were the other colonists? She cursed her luck, of the 300 colonists ten were drawn from a lottery, ten million people bought tickets and she got 'lucky'.
She watched them warily as the lizard alien talked with a purple alien. Still hopeful that it was all some misunderstanding and that they would soon let her go, or at the very least not hurt her or her baby, too much. Who the hell was she kidding, they are going to probe, poke, and cut her open, tear out her baby and do the same to it. Then when they are done they'll eat what ever is left.
The purple alien kept staring at her like she was some freak. It said something and put on the creepiest smile, then said something else. Which made everyone else in the room, let out a series of hoots, barks and growls that could be laughter or perhaps a call for dinner. Evey couldn't help but squeeze even tighter into the corner of the pod. Which made the camel-rhino and the bird man start again. The purple one said something in a slightly louder voice and both instantly fell silent.
The purple alien put on a smile that could almost be called pleasant yet looked more creepy on its face. It walked right up to her and squatted down within arms reach. As it did Evey turned her head and covered it with her free arm.
All that was going through her head was. 'This is it. Time to become some science project, or shoved in a zoo, or worse a cooking pot. Maybe one of them will choke on her. She wished that she could have met her unborn child, who would die before knowing life.'
A strange spring of courage formed in her chest, if she were to die she would stare into the eyes of her killer, even as tears began to form in her own. She lowered her arm and glared into the blue eyes of the alien. The alien stared back at for a moment then spoke a few words.
"I don't understand you." Evey replied a moment later.
The alien let out what Evey guessed was a sigh before it pointed to itself and very slowly spoke.
"Aria. Ah ree ah. Aria."
It then pointed at each of the aliens in the room and repeated the sequence. Word, phonetic, word. It's hand made a second sweep of the room before finally coming to rest pointing at Evey herself.
The whole room was completely silent and had their eyes locked onto her. She let out a breath she hadn't noticed she was holding and very slowly pointed to herself and said in a whisper at first but clearly audible by the end.
"Evey... Ee ve. Evey" She then pointed to the aliens in the order the Purple one had. "Aria, Turez, Trex, Kirano, Remkel," before pointing once more to herself and repeating "Evey."
The one called Aria formed something akin to a smirk on its face before its eyes turned completely black. Then she felt something caressing her mind, calm and powerful, picking at and watching her memories.
She was six, crying while holding a broken arm.
She was twelve, coming first at a gymnastics event.
She was seventeen, losing her virginity.
She was twenty two, attending her parents funeral.
She was twenty five, she was told she won a place on the expedition.
She was twenty six, she was told she was pregnant.
She was here now, terrified.
A thought appeared in her mind that did not feel like her own, that simply told her to sleep. She felt like a puppet that had its strings cut as she fell fast asleep, her last thought was that when she awoke, that the nightmare would be over.
Aria forced the human, as she had learned they called themselves, to sleep, so she could make sense of all the things see had seen. It had been harder than she expected to brute force a meld, but not too much harder. The humans mind had adapted quickly to her presence, just accepting it as something normal. She pulled out some pertinent information on the humans body, its functions and language. She almost pitied the human when its last thoughts before passing to sleep were that this was all a dream. Aria ended the meld and slowly stood up and gently shook her head to clear it.
She opened her omni tool and keyed in a few high level override commands and sent them. The bolts on the blast doors to the cell slammed home and all power to the cell was cut off. Slowly some of the red emergency lights warmed up casting a dull light about the cell. Then it was banished as Aria erupted in blue biotic fire casting an eerie purple light across the walls.
"If any of you so much as mention this creature or its name, to anyone who is not already in this room. The death you will experience shall pale in comparison to what I will, personally, do to you while you still draw breath. Do I make myself clear?" Arias voice dripped venom.
Four nods later and Aria swept her omni tool and the power returned and the door unlocked.
"Good." She turned to the doctor. "Kirano, treat Evey and the unborn, I pulled enough of her language to compile the beginnings of a translation, all her previous medical issues, and a list of her bodily functions to make you aware of them. I'll write it up and pass it on to you soon. I want you, as soon as you deem it safe, to implant multiple trackers, I don't want this 'Evey' going missing. She won't wake up till I meld with her again, so no need to worry about anaesthetic. Turez you are to assist the doctor, anything he needs he gets regardless of cost, if you can't find it you come to me and I will. Is this acceptable doctor, you will, of course, be paid handsomely for your services."
"Perfectly Aria, I will strive not to disappoint you." Kirano said as he turned to Turez and began listing things he needed and wanted.
"Trex" Aria continued, "I want you to pick out some people and fortify this level. Nothing gets in or out without my permission. Then I want you to guard 'Evey', personally, none of your people are to ever so much as lay eyes on her without my expressed say so."
The Krogan nodded and left the room, as Aria turned to Rem'Kel.
"Rem, you are now freed as per our bargain. Now before you run off back to the flotilla, I would like to speak to you as one free Asari to a free Quarian. I have a business proposition for you. Come this way."
Aria left the room with Rem'Kel in tow. Plans and ideas already being formed in her mind.
End of Chapter 1
Good day all. I'm Vlarto, yes I really am responsible for that mess you just read.
I hope you enjoyed it and the British spelling of some words.
Chapter 2 should be out very shortly if not already.
Have a good day.