Standard disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect, nor any other content that you recognise. Some characters and systems are original creations. I am receiving no money for my work.
My thanks to HTM for sorting through my spelling and grammar.
Gemini Sigma Shipyard – Tang System
The door to the private viewing gallery opened, and three politicians quickly entered from the public viewing gallery next door, escaping the awkward questions of the press still being shouted at them.
"I think I made a bit of a hash of that," Representative Zaal'Koris vas Quib-Quib lamented, glancing backwards as the door closed, silencing the reporters.
"Don't worry, the Citadel reporters were always going to give you a hard time," Prime Minister Swinson calmly replied. She had chosen Zaal'Koris to be with her in the galaxy-wide broadcasted press conference because he was the most level-headed of the faction leaders – colonisation or reclamation – present in the quarian Conclave. She shuddered to think how much worse someone like Admiral Gazu would have performed before the Citadel reporters's harsh accusations.
The Citadel Council had been utterly unconcerned with what the 'suit rats' were doing with the human shipyard and repairyards they temporarily controlled. They were assuming that they were simply repairing their existing ships as most of the Migrant Fleet was falling apart.
For the most part they had been right. With the ability to buy freshly constructed human civilian ships without the massive price hikes the rest of the galaxy imposed upon selling to the quarians, the admiralty board had decided to use both the repairyards and most of the shipyard bays to cycle first the Heavy Fleet, and then the Patrol Fleet, into drydock so they could undergo a full repair and refit. During this period, the Civilian Fleet would buy as many civilian ships as they could to replace the ones that were beyond repair, and scrap the resulting abandoned hulks for their basic resources.
That was well underway.
Over the last 4 years, the entire Heavy Fleet had been fully repaired and refitted. It was now stronger than at any point since its flight from Rannoch so long ago. The Patrol Feet had just begun its repair and refit at a breakneck pace, with estimates showing that their repairs would be complete in 8 years. The Civilian Fleet could take its turn in the repairyards once that was all done, while the shipyard swapped priorities and churned out new quarian ships for the first time since the loss of the homeworld.
The exception to this had been the capital class dockyard slips.
Repairyards didn't have a capital slip per se, just an external logistics area that could be used as a base from which to repair a ship of any size. This half measure was actually perfect for repairing the supercapital-sized quarian liveships. They wouldn't fit in any dockyard slip in the galaxy.
Both the Chayym and the Shellen had been under repair and refit since almost the first day, and after 4 years of constant work, the repair and the refit had extended to the level of fixing flaws in the original design and desperate construction efforts above Rannoch. Updating centuries old equipment took its time as well. A similar module had been created at the Gemini Sigma shipyard to repair the Rayya, and she was only a few weeks behind her sister ships in the state of her repair and refit.
The two capital-class dockyard slips at the Gemini Sigma shipyard had been constantly busy as well. One of them had been used to cycle through what were affectionately known as the 3 Gs, the human-built liveships Gia, Gilgamesh, and Galadriel, and upgrade their systems to provide the maximum possible internal space for use.
The final capital class slip was what had caused all of the commotion today. The three politicians looked out of the viewing port at the beautiful vessel that hung there, her running lights coming on as she prepared for launch.
None of the Quarian Federation's dreadnoughts had survived the geth rebellion. The last, QFS Ostral, had been destroyed covering the Migrant Fleet's retreat from Rannoch. For more than two centuries the Migrant Fleet had been reliant on the sheer numbers of the Heavy Fleet and their few surviving heavy cruisers – unique until the arrival of the humans – to deter a dedicated dreadnought-led attack from the geth, or any other any species that finally decided to exterminate them.
Now, for the first time they had new protector.
The docking clamps retracted all along the 1,952 metres length of the dual-wheeled leviathan as Reclamation brought her drive core to full power and warmed up her engines.
Reclamation was the largest dreadnought in the galaxy apart from the Density Ascension, and her main gun – coming in at 1,940 metres – gave her a firepower of 228 kilotons, outclassing everything in the galaxy except the asari superdreadnought's own main gun. With such limited resources, the admiralty board had truly gone for quality over quantity. They had built the most powerful ship their resources and eezo stores would allow.
Her engines fired and Reclamation began to move. Due to their much shorter length, half that of Reclamation, a turian or salarian dreadnought's main gun gave them only 80 kilotons of firepower. As the new quarian dreadnought with more than three times their firepower cleared the shipyard and entered open space, screams of joy could be heard reverberating throughout the station.
Zaal'Koris shook his head as the screams changed to a chant. "The damn fools are going to get us all killed. We couldn't beat the geth when we had a battle fleet, and they had a few stolen and converted cruisers. What makes them think that we can do it now? Even with a magnificent new ship like her, the geth have had over 200 years to do nothing but build."
"The colonisation faction was defeated. Being a sore looser isn't attractive, Koris," Jack Harper smirked blowing cigarette smoke at the quarian representatives mask filters. "Besides, you could have won that war at the start if you'd been willing to go for the killing blow, and not worry about collateral damage. Don't whine now that your faction has been defeated and the Migrant Fleet is finally willing to do what is necessary."
"Because genocide is always necessary," Zaal'Koris deadpanned as he directed a withering look at the human Minister of Culture.
"Careful, the prosecution might just call you as a witness," Jack smirked again, even though internally he was burning with frustration at that damnable court case.
Prime Minister Swinson's clear voice cut across both of them. Frustration evident in her attitude as well.
"Prime Minister, I do hope that the Supreme Court will take account of our… unique situation," Zaal'Koris offered hesitantly. "The relationship between our people has been so valuable to both sides, I don't think it would be in either of our interests for it to dissolve due to mutual stubbornness."
"I'm certain they will," Chris Swinson replied shortly, not letting slip how her efforts to kill the court case at its lower levels had failed. The best she had been able to do had been to slow its progress down while she tried to create a precedent that the Supreme Court could use to make an exception for the quarians.
Jack Harper remained silent. Normally he would have pounced on any evidence of weakness in Prime Minister Swinson. But in this case, her weakness was his weakness.
Whereas Chris had used traditional methods to try and influence the judges, stacking the courts with those overdue for promotion, due for retirement, hiding conflicts of interest, and with ideological and personal axes to grind, he had unleashed the full power of Cerberus on them.
He had blackmailed, intimidated, and on one memorable occasion kidnapped family members, to kill the court case. But the thing progressed, despite all of his efforts.
Jack's gut churned at the memory of that disaster; two entire cells wiped out, the hostage rescued, and Cerberus humiliated in the eyes of the shadow organisations.
He knew exactly what was going on. It had been obvious by the second time that both he and Chris Swinson had failed to kill the court case.
The Citadel was conspiring to ensure it succeeded, to force the Alliance government to cast out their only ally. And the quarians truly were their only ally.
There was no way that any Citadel intelligence agency could have made the penetration and network building necessary to frustrate his and Prime Minister Swinson's efforts in the time they had. Not even the STG had that kind of power.
Both of them had relied on that, but both of them had failed to take account of the shadow broker.
Suddenly faced with the criminal fraternity of an entire galaxy looking hungrily at new markets – markets that were easy pickings given their law enforcement agency's tech disadvantage – the Alliance's criminal and shadow organisations had been left at a severe disadvantage. So, they had done the only thing they could.
The had bought information from the shadow broker to enable them to survive and for the strongest to begin expanding into Citadel space. But the shadow broker hadn't demanded money as payment, or even information, they had demanded favours.
Those favours gave whoever had the ability to pay the shadow broker access to almost every criminal network in the Alliance, from the mafia crime families to religious fundamentalist terrorists, from financial fraud organisations to dark web sexual exploitation rings.
The blackmail material, intimidation ability, and outright cannon fodder that the shadow broker's proxy networks had provided had defeated everything that he and Chris could throw at the judicial system, when they were restrained by not being unable to undermine it publicly.
It had been a bitter blow for both of them to discover that the only friend the humans had in the galaxy were the quarians.
Both of them knew it was the STG pulling the strings, making sure that the court case succeeded in every court. There was no one else that could offer the shadow broker so much information that they would offer such a complete use of their proxy networks, giving away how deep into the Alliance society they had penetrated.
He knew about it, and had Cerberus ramping up the anti-salarian propaganda and striking at any salarian target he could find in Alliance space.
Prime Minister Swinson, however – Jack looked over and his lip curled in disgust – she knew it was the salarians doing this as well, but she still took every effort not to officially know, because as soon as she did, she would have to do something about it.
The weak liberal thought that she could use the salarians. That if they wanted a client state that was of any use, they would have to help the Alliance survive these first few decades. So, she would let them do that, and then turn on the Union as soon as the Alliance was strong enough.
She failed to realise that the Alliance's belief, that humanity's belief, in its own superiority was being drained every day it had to kowtow to aliens. She wasn't saving humanity. She was dooming it. She was letting an entire generation grow up with the idea that humans and aliens were somehow equals.
Jack Harper looked back out of the observation window and fumed that he still didn't have the political power to remove Christine Swinson. She was proving to be a far more capable Prime Minister than many had expected, and it had allowed her to fend him off. But she couldn't survive forever. Eventually she would make a mistake, and he would be waiting.
Arcturus Station – Arcturus
Samantha Jenkins wrinkled her nose as the smell of welded metal drifted across the concourse.
The huge Arcturus Station was the new capital of the Systems Alliance, constructed at breakneck speed since its first keelplate was laid 4 years ago. Despite the hull of the station and life support systems being completed, the internals of the two counter rotating sections were nowhere near complete. As such there was construction noise and odours everywhere.
Thankfully, none of the construction crew called it by its design base's namesake, Babylon 4, anymore. After pointing out that the fictional station had been effectively destroyed, just as the three before it had, the construction crew had decided it was best not to tempt fate.
Arcturus was a very close copy of the Babylon 4 design, showing that fiction writers's dedication to physics, at least in construction, could one day see their designs sailing the stars as humanity advanced. Though, the giant solar panels had been removed and replaced with more useful docking struts for capital class or multiple cruiser class ships. The space saved by not having the main cargo bays internally was worth the external vulnerability.
At 20 kilometres long, Arcturus Station was almost as large as the long-forgotten quarian haratar station, and rivalled several asari stations for sheer size. Though, of course, none of them came anywhere near the 44.7 kilometer size of the Citadel. The unique ability of Arcturus was that it could move.
Granted, its tiny engines and the need to constantly balance their thrust with the centrifugal forces generated by the counter rotating sections that provided gravity – allowing the huge station to use its eezo to make moving it possible in the first place – meant that it could be outrun by a geriatric snail with severe asthma and a heart condition. But it could still move. It meant that the last resort tactic of smashing asteroids into stations that were too well guarded to destroy conventionally wouldn't work.
Parliament had been adamant that if the new capital was to be a space station then it had better be well protected against even insane threats.
Sam snorted as she watched sparks rain down from the welding on the central core train tracks kilometres above her. As a security officer, she knew that nothing was ever totally secure.
She scanned the crowd again as protesters and counter protesters filled the concourse, one of the few complete sections of the station. She was charged with guarding one of the entrances to the Supreme Court building. It was the first part of the station completed, so that the first ruling of the Supreme Court would take place here in the Alliance's capital. Not in Vancouver, where the location of so many of the Alliance's functions – even temporarily – was leading to accusations of Earth centric and western centric bias.
Samantha gripped her weapon tighter as a mech approached.
"At least we're guarding the prosecution doors," her colleague muttered as the mech approached and the prosecution's legal team entered the concourse.
"Can you imagine the chaos that thing would cause at the defence doors with all of the anti-AI lot over there?"
Sam could indeed and breathed a sigh of relief at the thought as she waited for the mech to deliver its owners's message.
"Jenkins Guard: We have answered the summons," the mech stated in its electronic monotone.
"What summons?" Sam questioned exasperatedly, activating her omnitool to check. "Doesn't your owner know they have to testify in person? They can't just relay stuff through a mech, that's not how court works."
"We have no owner. We were asked to provide a representative. This unique platform was constructed to answer that request."
The flaps around the mech's flashlight head opened for a moment in what appeared to be frustration.
Samantha felt the same emotion as she opened the summons to dismiss the timewaster before freezing as her omnitool recognised it as genuine.
This summons is issued on the authority of the Supreme Court of the Systems Alliance.
The Counsel for the Prosecution requests the presence of an ambassador of the geth to serve as an expert witness in: Case: #1 – Definition of Synthetic Life with Regards to the Charge of Genocide and the Application of the Declaration of Principles.
The bearer of this summons is to be provided all assistance necessary to reach the Supreme Court building on the noted date.
Sam panicked as she raised her weapon and backed away, broadcasting on the guard's emergency channel "Alert! Geth infiltration!"
The geth's helmet flaps closed and it slumped forward. If Sam thought it could feel emotions, she would have almost believed it was sad.
"Geth do not infiltrate," the mech managed to put a great deal of depression into its monotone, as if it had taken a leap of faith and been let down.
"Did you arrive in a geth ship? Announce yourself at the border? To Arcturus traffic control? To the station's crew?" the chief prosecution counsel, Ruth Hale, had finally reached the entrance and tried to stop the situation from escalating.
"Organics fear us. We did not wish to incite an aggressive response," the geth replied calmly, straightening and appearing less sad. Instead, it appeared almost confused.
"Do you see how avoiding announcing yourself at all stages requiring you to do so may be interpreted as wishing to hide your presence for nefarious purposes?" Ruth asked gently.
There was a moment's silence before the geth answered. "Geth do not intentionally infiltrate."
Ruth smiled and turned to the still shell-shocked guard. "Jenkins, I believe you can call off the alert. Despite their unorthodox arrival, this is not an infiltration. It is my star witness…"
The pause continued for an uncomfortable length of time before Counsel Hale realised the geth would not understand social cues and asked the question directly. "What is your designation?"
The platform replied simply, "Geth."
"I meant you specifically."
"We are all geth."
"What is the individual in front of me called?" Ruth Hale asked, using her legal training to keep her frustration out of her voice.
"There is no individual. We are geth. There are currently 1,183 programs active within this platform."
"My name is Legion; for we are many." Sam whispered not knowing whether to be awed or terrified.
"That seems appropriate," Ruth announced, relieved to have something she could use to humanise the geth to the judges.
"Christian Bible, the Gospel of Mark, chapter five verse nine. We acknowledge this as an appropriate metaphor. We are Legion, a terminal of the geth. We have been tasked with answering your summons."
"Wonderful, this way, please," Ruth smiled again and gestured for her new star witness to follow her inside.
Sam stood to one side and watched as Leigon entered the Supreme Court. "This I was not expecting," she muttered to the rest of her security team.
Apologies for the shortness of this chapter. The second half of it is causing me major trouble, it either reads as a complete mary sue or a 20,000 word technocratic essay
As it's been 3 months I decided you deserved this first half at least while I continue to work on the second half.
Best Wishes – Knight Vigilant Koren
Timeline Changes So Far
First colony on mars: 27 years earlier than canon
Discovery of Prothean ruins: 64 years earlier than canon
Founding of the Systems Alliance (council of nations version): 63 years earlier than canon
First Contact War: 45 years earlier than canon
Founding of the Systems Alliance (parliamentary super state version): 44 years earlier than canon
Citadel Ascension Process: 52 years longer than canon (humans become an Associate Race 7 years later than canon)