RR

: Yeah, I get that in any situation like this you would be very careful and want to be ready, especially considering the history of ME, so I agree, ready fleets, but too many just want to see blood imo.

Dutchsoldier: Yes, a single path technology wise can still have many many differences. Look at programming langauge for example. A lot of languages do the same thing, and work on similiar principles, but you can't easily have a program designed with C to just start interacting with Java without some work. I get that some tech in game, e.g the mass effect engine, is a limit on how we can travel, and the principles are going to be the same because physics is the same.

Kira-117 and Ralmon: Cheers for taking the time to write an indepth review, you two have pointed out some good stuff that I need to think about. The defence platform was sent because it can operate on its own, and Humanity can spare it. The fleets are more worried about the fleet above earth that they aren't entirely sure are friendly. Also, the bit about the adverts, I will eat my hat if they go anywhere, yes we may have streaming services now that limit them, but if they were watching a news program what is to say that the advert wasn't a filler between segments?

The President thanks a waiter for bringing him a large tray containing a jug of coffee, milk and sugar as he sits down in a chair in front of a large wooden table that he is about to conduct an important meeting over. While many would expect the President would want the coffee pre-made, to an exact standard, he instead prefers to make it himself, deciding how much milk, and how much sugar to add depending on his mood - it is a little thing that the President thinks will help to keep him grounded.

"Mr President," An aid calls to him once he has made himself a cup of coffee, "When you are ready."

The President nods after a sip of his brew, and in a few seconds 6 holographic figures soon join him around his large wooden table, each figure pays the correct compliments before the President makes his intention for this meeting clear. "I do not have long, so let's make this quick."

The six figures around the table represent a different branch of the government, each of whom he wants a debrief from. The first to reply is the man in charge of the UNSC - humanities space assets. "Currently, all available ships we have are now in mission." This means that the ships are no longer docked, and are ready for a fight if it comes to it. "Most of our assets are surrounding the fleet above Earth, with the most notable asset being the Planetary Assault Craft (PAC) Everest, helmed by Admiral Hackett. PAC Hope and Carrier Newtown should be in orbit in the next 18 hours. We are planning on bringing a few mothballed ships online in the next few days, including the Dreadnought Jormungand, and we have recalled ex-servicemen to help operate them. Current recruitment efforts are also providing a strong source of manpower, freeing suitably qualified and experienced personnel from harbour duties and other related duties to man ships. Our largest concern at the moment is the dockyards are beginning to run out of materials, with our latest estimates stipulating all docks will run out of materials completely by Tuesday next week. If we want to continue production of Ultron Defence Platforms, or other space assets, we need to restart our material deliveries from Jupiter or find a source local to Earth."

Currently, all non-military spacecraft are banned from transitting space, this is to help the military see any alien craft, and to create a battlespace that is free from civilians, but it is a costly endeavour. The President nods a few times before saying, "Would any have of you have objections if we allow the deliveries of critical supplies?" With no overly concerning issues raised, the President moves to the next man in the room, "How are our armies looking?"

"Stretched thin," The man in charge replies, "But like the UNSC we are increasing our manpower by the day; currently our recruitment services are being inundated with people signing up to serve, the people who pushed out the latest recruitment adverts really need recognition for their efforts. In order to combat this, I am pushing proposals for new phase 1 training establishments, and an increase in civil servants to help process the new recruits."

The President looks over some documents that have landed onto his data-pad, which contain plans for new phase 1 establishments, before nodding, "You have the green light." The President didn't even check to see how much this would cost. "Anything else?"

The man nods, "We are also now in full control of the police forces, which are receiving training on what to do should the worst come true."

"Excellent," The President replies, "The armed forces are going to need all the help they can get. Cerberus? How are you progressing?"

A Woman leans slightly further forward in her chair before replying, "Pyso ops are currently working well, we are seeing large increases in nationalism which are helping recruitment efforts." Looking to another person in the room who is in charge of the civilian response, the woman then continues, "We could increase the effectiveness of our ops if you could bring the world cup to the left. We could use the sports TV broadcasting to push our messages."

The man Cerberus talks to nods before replying to her, "We have been considering bringing the event forward, it would help people focus on something else."

The President taps his fingers on the desk a few times before saying, "If I remember correctly, the cup is not supposed to start for another month or two; people will not be able to get tickets, transport, accommodation and so on. Are you sure this would be a good idea?"

Once more it is Cerberus who replies, "The beauty about the sport is there are enough people who could and will make the dedication to travel for the new dates, and the change in dates can easily be explained so that the event misses the regions hot summer."

The President frowns a little, he does not like the idea, "Convincing the organisation to change will also be..."

"Easy," Cerberus says, "They are as corrupt as you can get, all they think about is money money money. Assure them a temporary tax relief, and they will be eating from your hand."

The President blows out a deep breath before nodding, "Then let's do it, your psyops are important enough to rearrange the tournament. Anything else?"

"Yes. We have concerning news from our investigation of the alien structure. We sent an unmanned drone to investigate it further, and it is now located here." The woman associated with Cerberus pushes a picture of the galaxy to the Presidents data-pad. "The platform arrived at another one of these constructs, which is identical to the one orbiting Pluto. We believe the UDP was captured in some sort of massless tunnel between these constructs and propelled at extreme speeds."

The President looks down to his data-pad which now displays a map of the galaxy. Finding Earth, the President notices a few things; first of all he can see the 3 failed attempts to colonies solar systems a few light-years from Sol, which resulted in way too many dead or missing to try again without advances in FTL technology, and the current lone successful attempt at extra-solar colonisation. He can see the immediate surrounding systems that are being explored by Cube Sats, and the research stations in dark space between solar systems. It takes the man a few seconds to find the lone Defence Platform. "Is this accurate?" The Defence Platform is nearly two thousand light-years away.

"We double and triple checked. The platform is 1,987 Light Years away. It took a total of three hours to get there."

The President places the data-pad down on the table in front of him, before asking, "How powerful are these beings to have created a means of travel so fast?"

"We do not believe these... massless relays are the aliens own construct. Their design is very alien to the limited sample of alien vessels we have seen, and from Ultron's readings, far older. Maybe hundreds of millions of years old."

The President frowns at the supposed age before saying, "Have that double checked, I find it hard to believe, but moving on what concerns me the most is the aliens can obviously enter our system from extreme distances using these constructs. Can we destroy it? End their means of travel into our system?"

The UNSC representative replies to this question, "We have already considered this. It is manipulating unfathomable amounts of energy to do what it does, if we destroy it, we could release that energy into our solar system. We do not know if even with our planetary defences if we could survive that amount of energy. If we wanted to destroy this thing, I would advise doing it at the other side, where ever it connects to."

"No," The Cerberus representative adds, "The devices are evidently interlinked, destroying either one could have repercussions on the other. We do not understand them enough to tamper with them - yet."

"Could we move it out of Sol then?"

"We are dealing with constructs far beyond our understanding," Cerberus responds, "The best I could advise is we place a guard on the far side to buy us three hours warning notice before any war fleet could enter our home system."

"We could send some additional Ultron Platforms," UNSC says, "We're pushing 50 of them out every 2 hours, and we don't have the ships to spare otherwise."

"Send fifty." The President decides, knowing that the 50 could deal some serious damage if used correctly, "But I don't want them discovered unless they absolutely need to make their presence known."

"I'll see to it," The man in charge of UNSC says.

The President turns back to Cerberus, "Anything else to report? How is our Ava doing?"

The woman quickly reads a few notes from a notepad before responding, "We have some interesting discoveries. First of all two new species," The woman pushes two photos to the Presidents data-pad, "One we are unofficially calling 'Four Eyes', and the other as simply 'Suits'. They have been discovered by Ava on a world 1 and a half days travel from Earth, at the aliens velocity. We are not entirely sure where this world is, however. From observing what Ava has been experiencing, we are almost certain she has been brought to a society that enslaves others." Once more some photos taken from Ava's vision appear on the Presidents data-pad. "I've highlighted a few interesting features which makes us believe this is the case."

The President looks over the data and grimly nods, "So, on our door step there is a species willing to enslave others." Bringing a hand to his forehead, the President rubs his skin in a soothing motion before saying, "And they now know where we are. I don't think we need to revisit the history books to know what could come next if they are more advanced." The President blows out a sigh before saying, "This information does not leave this room until we have compiled a robust plan on how to deal with this. Is there anything else from our robotic friend?"

"Nothing important enough for this meeting."

The President nods before refilling his coffee cup and directing his attention to another man, "How is the Civilian response?"

"We are mass stocking food, water, energy reserves and medicine as we speak and evacuation plans are being taught on local news channels. A lot of locations are struggling though, people are raiding stores for their own supplies, and frankly, a large percentage of the population do not believe we can contain this situation resulting with law enforcement being bogged down against people doing stupid things in the name of defending their families against potential invasions. The mass drive for military recruitment is not helping the situation, it is making a lot think the government is scared."

"Then they are not wrong," The President replies grimly, "Is there anything we can do to help? How are the latest videos going down?"

"The images of the aliens playing with the puppies and monkeys are helping," Admits the man in charge of the civilian response, "The video of the blue Alien and the monkey hanging off her is currently one of the most viewed videos going, with a lot of positive upvotes, we need more like it. It shows they are a little like us and I don't see any harm of showing some more of that on the TV. I also wonder if we can get them to answer questions from the public, get them to tell us where they are from, why they are here, and what on earth they are doing with a fleet above our home planet."

The UNSC representitve speaks up at this, "It has been a long time since we had a good parade, could show off our troops and let the people know they are well equipped, have the latest heavy armour front and centre. I imagine it would help with recruitment too."

Both the man in charge of the army and the civilian response shake their heads at the idea, but its the Army representative that speaks, "No, as much as I would love to have our heavy armour rumble down a city centre with waving flags like from times of old, we can't spare the manpower at the moment."

The man in charge of the civilian response nods in agreement before adding, "I also do not think this would go down well, the last time tanks were seen in a city on Earth was during the War."

The President places his coffee mug down before nodding and saying, "I concur, I will not have tanks on our streets. I do like the idea of having the public ask the aliens questions, however. Get me videos of people asking questions, and we will sit some of the aliens down and play the questions for them. Also, get them to ask about slavery, and see if we can direct questions relating to this newfound species."

"I've already done it, Mr President. Had some kids from a local school record questions for the aliens. Had them ask in Prothean too. I'm sending the questions to your data-pad now. I will need an hour or so to get some new questions relating to the new developments, however"

"Good, good, get them to me as soon as you can." The President says, wanting to get the aliens to answer the questions as soon as possible. "Economics, any advances or developments in your department?"

The woman in charge shakes her head, "The universal credit is continuing to drop, we are now anticipating it to stabilise at 1.6 Kilo Joules."

The President grimaces, with the credit dropping so low, vulnerable communities will need aid.

"Have we got anything in the works to help people out who are hit the hardest by this?"

"Yes," The advisor immediately responds.

"Good, I want the first draft of our response on my desk by Monday morning."

"I will make it so."

The President then turns to the last man in the room who has yet to say a word, "Energy sector, how are we looking?"

A man who looks far older than the rest leans forward in his chair, the President imagines if he listens hard enough, he would hear the squeak in the old man's bones. "Our energy reserves are being finely managed, but the production of Ultron Defence Platforms is proving to drain the reserves quicker than anticipated. We will need to start limiting electronic applications if we can't reinitialise energy deliveries from our mines around the sun."

The President sighs and nods, "Any objections if we reinitialise deliveries?"

The UNSC advisor speaks in response, "Yes, from a military perspective, those energy deliveries are highly volatile and have already been identified as vulnerabilities, if one was hit in combat it could do some serious damage. I would far rather not be able to use my sonar shower and automated toilet cleaner than have to provide a heavy escort to the deliveries, never mind deal with the consequences of a detonated energy delivery."

"I'm convinced," The President replies before turning his attention back to the old man, "Start thinking of implementing restrictions on the use of energy, and have a plan of action on my desk in two days time."

"If you do not mind, Mr President, I am not convinced." The person in control of the civilian response interrupts, "Rationing energy should be a last resort, it is a commodity that many will not take kindly to having restricted."

"And it will be a last resort," The President retorts, "But we need to be prepared."

/.../

Back at the hotel, Benezzia and Tevos blink to one another, both agreeing with their next set of actions. Leaving the holo-suite the duo move through the building till they find someone who can help them - the green mane soldier. Approaching the soldier who is currently doing some sort of exercise in the hotels' gym Benezzia clears her throat before saying, "Can you help?"

The soldier puts down a heavy-looking slab of metal before standing from her position. "With?" The soldier asks.

"I show," Benezzia replies before moving with Tevos to the holo-suite, there the T'soni gestures to a control panel, "Yesterday, people sparring. We want a try."

The Human narrows its eyes before approaching the control panel and tapping a few buttons, which results in a man in bronze armour and a helmet with red feathers appearing from thin air. "This is a Spartan." The green-haired human tells Benezzia, "Famous warrior, very dangerous."

Benezzia quickly turns to Tevos and translates, before asking, "Shall we?"

With a blink of confirmation, Benezzia approaches the warrior, who has now dug his spear into the sandy floor, allowing it to stand erect on its own, his shield has also been disbanded. Benezzia eyes the warrior in his eyes for a moment before bowing her head in its direction, a sign of respect. She then takes a moment to take a defensive posture. "How do we start?" She asks.

The human says something in a foreign language, and without a second pause the holographic figure is on top of Benezzia, laying into her with incredible strength and ferocity - it is only by the Asari's extraordinary experience that she does not immediately sub come to the entity. The inevitable eventually happens, however, and the Spartan kicks her to the floor, its strength being able to overcome Benezzia's skill. The computer-generated figure quickly returns to a neutral position, but its eyes constantly follow Benezzia as she stands back up. Accepting defeat the Asari allows the Councillor into the ring and stands back, only to witness something similar happen a short time later.

With Tevos defeated Benezzia turns to the human, "Wish to try?"

The human raises a brow before stepping into the sandy ring, and as soon as the battle commences the green haired human slams into the Spartan, where her inhuman strength and speed gifted to her through her augmentation process allows her to pick the man up like a rag doll and slam him into the ground - Benezzia has no doubts this human would have torn the Spartan into shreds had she not stood up afterwards instead.

This sequence of events continues multiple times, till an aid of the President comes in, with a proposal for Benezzia.

/.../

1 hour later

Tevos perks up when Benezzia re-enters her room, and shows a curious raised brow when the Asari collapses into a chair, "I hope it was not that bad." Tevos quips as she turns the human entertainment device off that she had been watching.

"No," Benezzia replies, "But there were some interesting questions that required a lot of thought."

"Do expand," Tevos says, having now fully turned her body to fully face the Asari Matriarch.

"They started easy," Benezzia admits, "Where are we from in the Milkyway galaxy - pointed out on a map, what is our species name, how many intelligent space capable species are there, those types of questions. Then they got probing, wanting to know what type of government we have, what do we think of the other species, so what did I think of the Turians and Salarians, what did the Turians think of the Salarians and Asari."

"Smart." Tevos interrupts, knowing that getting others to express their thoughts on yourself would more often than not get more honest responses, "What was the general response to that one?"

"For the Salarians I said the studious and curious, the Turians were inevitably the peacekeepers. The Salarians asked me to tell them that they viewed the Asari as communal, and the Turians as uncalculated risk-takers - I removed the uncalculated in my translation - and the Turians labelled ourselves as thorough, and the Salarians as calculating."

"Not the most appealing of descriptions," Tevos says as she blows out a sigh, "But not too bad. Anything else?"

"Yes," Benezzia replies, "They asked a few seemingly aimed questions, not something children would think of."

"Wait," Tevos stops Benezzia, "Children?"

"Yes, the Humans used children to ask the questions."

Tevos frowns at this development, using children in such a way could be seen as deceitful in Asari space - you would never use children to ask political or important questions. "Hmm, what were they asking?"

"They wanted to know what type of government we operated, if the Mass Relay in their space was our own creation, what is the current state of galactic affairs, and what are our thoughts on slavery."

Tevos grimaces at the last part, "Please don't tell me we have another advocate of slavery,"

"No," Benezzia says, "They seemed a little repulsed by the idea."

"Then they will not get along with the Batarians, which is a little concerning when we think of how close the nearest Batarian colony is," Tevos says, "But it is an unusual question to ask."

/.../

Meanwhile

Urdnot Wrex looks in the eyes of the little creature that is trapped between his fingers, its efforts to break free from his fingers will prove futile, and its attempts to make him feel guilty with its droopy eyes staring into his soul will also have no effect - its fate was sealed the moment he handed over the credits to the merchant.

Hearing more than a few chairs screech along the floor as their occupants rush to leave them, followed by a quiet commotion as people begin to leave the room Wrex begins to wonder who has entered the fast food restaurant, maybe it is the blood pack, or possibly that new Turian group that has been terrorising the lower levels of Omega recently. Either way, he does not care for them too much, not many are stupid enough to get in the bad books of a Krogan with obviously modern armour, a claymore shotgun strapped to their leg and more than a few scars on their muzzle.

Hearing the click of some heels approach Urdnot Wrex gains a small grin on his face, it has been too long since he and Alena T'Vos crossed paths. Wrex does not turn to face her; instead, he waits for the Asari to come into his line of vision - he will not grant her the satisfaction of having himself turning around to face her.

When she is stood in front of him and in his line of sight she says "Urdnot Wrex," With a cold voice; a voice which would typically have most others worried, but Wrex is not most others.

Placing the squirming animal between his fingers down on the table he is sat at, Wrex then sits back on his chair and adjusts his armour plates slightly before saying, "Long time no see, Alena. I hope you weren't dragged down to this stench of a restaurant for little me." The Krogan has a little chuckle after saying this, knowing it will grind on the Asari's gears.

Alena does not seem to be in a playful mood as she cuts straight to business, "Fifteen thousand credits if you leave immediately."

Wrex begins to laugh before bringing his hand down and capturing the escaping creature by its tail. "I know you Alena, better than you would like to admit. If your offering 15 thousand, the jobs worth 25, maybe 30. Who else is on your payroll?"

"Vasair, Bray, and myself."

Wrex tilts his head slightly and squints at the Asari before saying, "35 then." The fact Alena, or is it Aria now? Didn't dispute the price means that the Asari is willing to pay.

"Your lucky your game is as good as your talk. We leave now." As Alena turns to leave the restaurant Wrex stands, bites the head off the small creature, spits it onto the floor and then eats the body; had he consumed the head, he would be hallucinating vividly for the next hour, two at the worst. Most likely, the local vermin would eat the head, and Wrex chuckles a little at the idea of a pyjak hallucinating for the next year, having just eaten something strong enough to make a Krogan hallucinate.

Cheers