Obligatory disclaimer:

Mass Effect is the property of Electronic Arts. Evangelion is the property of Gainax Studios.

This story and concept are a property of Марк Бессмертник, who gave his consent to translate and publish Lilim Effect on this site.

Excerpt from the memoirs of a Turian Hierarchy General - Desolas Arterius

... You might ask me of legendary defense of Palaven, of courageous sons and daughters of the Hierarchy, who, with weapons in their hands sacrificed their lives to stop the advance of the Perpetuals.

Yes, we didn't know what we were dealing with back then. No one knew. In fact, we didn't know anything about our enemies. Only the name - Lilim. And only because they told us themselves.

... It's not the code to talk about the cause of the conflict that was more devastating than even Krogan Rebellions. Throughout the war, Citadel's mass media painted our enemy as a horrible monster that seeks to destroy everything it lays its eyes on.

I can't say that this statement is far from objective. Instead, I will tell you the truth - we started this mess.

Yes. We - the Citadel Council. All the species, that rule this Galaxy.

Rule... Our might was but a mirage - an illusion, that shattered like a house of cards in a gentle breeze. Even I was intoxicated by it. Before the war, I thought that we, Turians, were a great species, whose destiny is preservation of this Galaxy.

Our army is the strongest in the Galaxy. Our soldiers know no fear and the fleet knows no defeat. In my illusion I even thought my species to be superior to others. For our might, discipline and virtuousness.

I love my people and feel proud of them, but as it turned out - we are naught but insects, who fuss in their miniscule hive on the very edge of the galactic void. We shouldn't have ventured into the darkness of unknown. Rather, we would have better stayed in our space and tried not to attract attention of beings we can't hope to comprehend.

Maybe, you will say I reek of cowardice - so be it. You weren't there. You didn't see oceans of Lilim, releasing new Seraphs from their depths. You don't know how it is, when invisible tentacles of Perpetuals reach into your brain and turn your very soul inside out. You didn't see your soldiers slaughter their friends and loved ones under Perpetuals' control. You didn't stare into God's eyes and see indifference. I did.

But before you write me off as yet another deranged lunatic - know, it all started with a simple patrol mission on the fringes of Citadel space.

As you know, after the Rachni Wars, Council has officially banned activation of dormant relays, rightfully afraid of what might loom on the other side. We, the Turian Hierarchy, vigilantly upheld this law. And during one of such patrols, we discovered that someone has activated a previously dormant relay.

We don't know who or what were those, who have violated this ban. But we couldn't ignore this occurrence either.

Soon, an expeditionary force was formed, set to explore Relay 314. It consisted of two research ships, one from the Asari Republics, the other one from the Salarian Union. Backup was provided by the Turian navy: ten cruisers, one dreadnought and twenty frigates. This amount was considered adequate to fend off most threats. I also was a part of this "escort".

We expected to see a new civilization, which could be integrated into galactic society or curbed, if it turned out to be too aggressive. After all - no one wanted a repeat of Rachni Wars. I also believed that it is better to show force once, than to defend your life and freedom later.

What we discovered on the other side was something horrible and incomprehensible. The system didn't bear any signs of sentient life. No radio communications, no ships - nothing. Only a single habitable garden planet.

Green forests, oceans, clean atmosphere and a sea of red substance, which took up a third of the whole planet.

We didn't know what it was. Didn't understand.

Further scouting revealed other worlds in adjacent systems. Some were habitable, others - not so much. But every single one had this red ocean. Some it consumed fully, some partially. On others it occupied up to 90% of surface area.

Back then, scientists were baffled. They researched said substance, but couldn't give a solid answer as to exactly what we were dealing with. One was clear, the composition of said "substance" reminded that of blood.

Of course, blood and its composition were different from species to species, but it's functions are always the same - transportations of essential nutrients, for example.

This "substance" had all the functions of blood, but it also was independent. It was an independent life form, capable of reproduction.

On the other side of relay 314 we discovered oceans of blood that devoured planets. It couldn't be a coincidence. Basic analysis suggested that someone sentient was behind all that. At least because "blood" couldn't travel between star systems on its own.

I still call it "blood" despite knowing the truth. Or maybe because I know the truth?

In any case, the Council has been deciding for a long time what to do with this phenomenon. On one hand, there clearly is a mastermind behind this. On the other, "blood" still continues to consume habitable worlds.

Since no signs of sentient life were discovered by the Council, it was decided to conduct an experiment - "save" one of the planets from being consumed. After all, habitable worlds are few and in-between.

For the experiment, Salarians engineered a new strain of bacteria, which should've "eaten" the red oceans and harmlessly die afterwards. To test this, a planet with a third of its surface contaminated was chosen.

It was our gravest mistake. The moment thousands of capsules with aforementioned bacteria hit the surface, concentric waves took form. As if a beast felt something wrong and awoke from its slumber.

Waves and vibrations continued for about twenty minutes, after which ocean subdued and they started to appear. Seraphs.

You have probably seen these ships in military reports. They all were of different shapes and sizes, but all looked as if they were alive. And they were alive, if we exclude some components like their "core".

In fact, Seraphs were living creatures. Living bio-ships made of "blood" and sized like a cruiser.

They ascended from the floor of the "blood ocean" and sped into the skies, to punish us fools for our hubris.

Their strike was horrible. Seraphs utilized a main gun which was some kind of directed energy weapon, against which our shields were useless. Bright lances of energy just went straight past them.

Of course, every modern ship is made with some degree of protection against DEW (directed energy weapons) in mind, take ablative armor for example. But weapons Seraphs employed were incredibly powerful and long-range. Every hit meant that the hull earned a through hole and part of the crew met the Spirits, if not the whole ship. Seraphs themselves had some kind of energy field that didn't lag behind kinetic shields in effectiveness.

Their wrath was dreadful.

The Asari tried to establish contact with them, to sort this out peacefully, but it was useless. Only one ship managed to escape. And I am inclined to think that we were simply allowed to escape, as when all other ships have been destroyed, we received a message. Short and simple - "We are Lilim. We are Perpetual".

This is how we met them.

The next day Hierarchy announced full mobilization of their military assets. Council, however, wasn't so uniform in their opinions. On one hand, the expedition has landed the first strike with their experiment (no one doubted aliens could consider it to be an act of aggression), on the other - Lilim killed important officials in the mission. Among which was Matriarch Benezia.

It all resolved itself when Seraph armada has appeared in Citadel space and began to attack civilian colonies.

It was the moment a terrible truth was revealed - the enemy doesn't use mass relays. Everyone came under attack - Turians, Asari, Salarians. It was a total war.

Seraphs were unbeatable. Sustained fire or dreadnought's main gun could destroy them despite their superior shields, but Council didn't have any protection from their weapons. Of course, researchers and engineers have shifted their ship design priorities to increase protection from concentrated energy beams, but these designs still had to be built.

… How exactly did Lilim fight?

It's easy. Their ships (we thought those were ships back then) suppress orbital defenses and then land, continuing to wreak havoc, but now in form of a giant mech.

How can one fight a walking cruiser? Only if you hit them with something hard, something that can punch a meaty hole through a ship. Something like a disruptor torpedo. While it didn't penetrate Seraph's shields, unstable mass effect fields they create can damage their flesh.

When they had to flush civilians or military from a bunker - Seraphs released Executioners. Asaroid creatures clad in chitin with weapons fused into their bodies. Later we discovered that these creatures are biorobots with same internal structure as Seraphs, just different form.

But the most dangerous foes were those who had special powers, and could directly target your mind or slice through infantry and armor alike with their invisible blades.

The Council had sent their everything, but the enemy was still too numerous. We lost contact with outer colonies in the first few days of war. Only a couple months passed before Lilim armada started to assault Palaven, Thessia and Sur'Kesh.

Enemy knew everything about us. We knew nothing about them. Last stand on our homeworlds lasted for much more than a few days. At first, we could hold back the enemy at the orbit. A month later we lost Menae - satellite of our home planet, which housed respectable amount of Turian forces and military bases.

Afterwards, Lilim came to Palaven.

In my records you can see horrors of war vividly. But I want to tell you about something else. Tactics of our foes have changed. They didn't take prisoners before, now though - Seraphs built entire concentration camps and in the middle of every single one of them was a lake of Blood.

It was in one of such camps I was destined to find myself in. And it was in such a lake I was thrown into by Executioners.

Back then, I still though we could win. And it was when I saw The Truth. I was shown a multitude of worlds covered in blood in which Seraphs were born. I was shown how from a single cell an embryo appears, and how it matures into a huge biological cruiser. I was shown, that Blood - is but a vessel for a single superbeing whose name is Lilim. A being that exists in multiple places at once. I was shown particles of said creature floating in the blood, controlling Seraphs and other puppets. These particles call themselves Perpetuals.

I was shown an invisible connection that binds MY people together. Every single one of us Turians - is a part of a spiritual entity, currently dormant. We are all united in being a part of a greater whole. The same applies to other species, which are a part of their respectable spiritual creature. But we don't understand that. We are blind and asleep, we look onto the universe and think it belongs to us.

It doesn't. We don't even belong to ourselves as we are a tiny part of something bigger. Something we can't hope to comprehend.

Lilim is an awakened being. It is similar to us. To all of us, but it is not asleep.

Perpetuals - now I understand the meaning of this word. After all, nobody dies. As long as our spiritual essence is alive - we will live. All of us. We - are Perpetuals.

You will call me a raving lunatic, but then, drowning in blood, I saw our future. What will happen if we don't stop to tread the path we do now. Council, Hierarchy, Asari, Salarians - we lived without seeing for so long. Erased the truth ourselves.

All of us are different, we never will be truly united with aliens (no matter what they say about "Big Galactic Family") and yet we are so similar.

When half of Palaven was under Lilim's control, it just left. Left the camps, entrenched positions, stopped all fighting and departed into the dark abyss of space.

Council called it a victory - all understood it was a lie. But everyone so desperately wanted to believe in it. Except those who swam in blood. We knew the truth but were labeled as "psychically unstable". Said, that the enemy used some kind of weapon on our brains.

They think we are insane...

Translator's note

This is my first semi-serious work as a translator, so any feedback would be appreciated.

Apparently, this site does not allow to place links anywhere at all, so I had to mutilate it a bit. Original work can be found at:

ficbook net / readfic/3937565