Note: Welcome everyone to a new segment of the SRC-mediated introspection of the Mass Effect universe~ Oops.
Note 2: This chapter has been sitting on the beta subreddit for two months while I agonized about a different story, so it's better to get this out there, ahahaha. This is not the end of this particular crossover, but I've been buried by the other one trying to get out of my head, so we will play with the AU universe before coming back to finish this one.
Note 3: Having said that, please look forward to an AU version of SRCxME coming soon, to ... the same website where you read this!
| [The Solar Research Council x Mass Effect Beta](r/MinimalistMusings/collection/8c229702-4e70-44af-8392-68df4c49ff19) | [Chapter Icon](r/MinimalistMusings/comments/pbdm8w/20210825_circular_logic/) |
| I was ... ... heavily sponsored to sing a bunch of old Chinese and Japanese songs... I'm not sure this should be clicked on... | YouTube: 2f8bc6PgKW4 |
The Social Network
Saami'Zorah nar Rayya watched her new home in awe. When she first brought to the Admiralty Board the Human offer of safe space, engineering support, gigantic hulls, and even a potential future of safe Dextro planets, she could never imagine that there would be such a breakthrough just five years later. Yet here she was, on an unnamed planet in System 316, about to watch in pride as the first Quarian-built prefab rolled off the massive engineering ship, which itself was also Quarian-designed and built (albeit at a Human dock).
Of course the constituent members of the Admiralty Board had not simply given up their privileged lifestyle for no reason; a combination of factors had worked out very well in her favour. The most important was a series of dispatches from pilgrims across Citadel space; many of these forward scouts had found a sudden and persistent withdrawal of Citadel forces from the front lines. While this would normally not concern the Migrant Fleet, it coincided with the start of low-intensity Batarian raids across all of Terminus space.
It was later discovered that the Hegemony had signed an Asari-mediated peace with the Citadel Council. And while these new types of raids were infinitesimal compared the organized piracy of the past, often involving less than ten ships, it suggested that the Hegemony was using the new methodology to spread out their piracy across more time and space, to minimize big shocks while still reaping the same rewards. Even more importantly, because they were no longer in a state of cold war, the Batarian raids had become more targeted, and extracting ever more egregious fees from transiting pilgrims.
The escalation continued until Admiral Jira'Xen vas Moreh, a descendant of the Daro'Xen that made Grandmother Tali's life so difficult, herself was captured in a surprise raid. In the end, it was bravery of the Quarian Marines, launching multiple diversionary attacks in a series of rapid manoeuvre-heavy space battles, who prevented the situation from spiralling out of control. After her return, the shaken Admiral became a fervent supporter of the Human offer, going so far as to volunteer to be the Ambassador to a species she had never met before.
In addition, pressure also came from the grassroots; the Human proposal had been leaked to all major ships in the Migrant Fleet. Almost overnight the final text of the Human offer became common knowledge, with all elements of Quarian society weighing in and finding their own spin of it. Of course, during a cursory hearing upon her return Saami had no idea how it could have happened, but since every Cruiser-sized ship and above received the same message she could only assume that it had been an organized effort.
But the one idea that was overwhelmingly supported by all levels was the existence of the three Live-Ship Hulls. Every Quarian, no matter how political, was dedicated to the continued existence and safety of the species; to double the capacity to feed their people was ultimately more important than any petty personal quibbles. So, even as she was still weeks away, the rumour mill on the fleet was in full-swing, filled with anticipation at her return, and pressure on the Admiralty board to accept the offer.
In the end, the combine pressure of Quarian society, and an internal push spearheaded by Admiral Jira'Xen ensured the complete passage of the motion. Cumulating, five years later, to Saami being put in her current position. As the Inspector General of the first Quarian Planetary Colony in generations, her task was to make sure that the settlement started right. On this task, she was more confident than anything else she had done in her life because she had proper Quarian engineering support.
Even as she was supervising the work on adapting the massive Human Carrier hulls into Flotilla Live-ships, Saami had already scouted out another hull, only slightly smaller, that she wanted to convert into a mobile engineering base. When she brought up the topic at their monthly meeting, Harper, with whom she had quickly become friends, proved to be very agreeable. The only concession that the Quarians had to negotiate was the permission for Human understanding of all non-classified technology that was going to be implemented in the Engineering support ship.
The Quarian delegation, at this point mostly Saami and whatever group of senior Engineers she just happen to grab that day, discussed this at length and agreed to the offer from Cerberus with very little disharmony. An engineering ship of this magnitude would give the Migrant Fleet even more sustainability, and the trade-off, in the case of Technology transfer, was almost negligible. She had full control over what was transferred, Marissa had insisted on trusting it to Saami; and perhaps more importantly, technology was useless to the Quarians if they had no way of building it.
Three years after her first meeting with humanity, when the time came to plan the launch of the new Live-Ships and the Engineering Support vessel, the situation around system 314 had changed dramatically. With the KSSF active on multiple fronts, the possibility of chartering a Krogan escort for the ships back to the Migrant fleet had become a reality.
This was possible because the success of the KSSF under Warmaster Urdnot Wrex, a new title specifically created for the leader of the KSSF, had gained the attention and respect of ever more Krogan clans. She discovered all of these facts during the monthly drinks that Battlemaster Grunt had, to her own incredible surprise, invited her to. These new clans were slowly filling out the ranks within the KSSF and learning the way of the new Krogan, and very soon a full second Fleet of the KSSF was to be incorporated.
On one of these drinking parties, Saami had tentatively floated the idea of hiring the KSSF to escort the Live-Ships back to the Migrant Fleet. At first she was hesitant, not knowing if that would take up precious resources for the Krogan, but booming laugh from Grunt reassured her. According to the Krogan, with the Warmaster embedded deeply in the Terminus systems with the First Fleet, the boys were "quads-deep", a term which Saami blushed heavily at, in the formation of the Second Fleet. Everyone was itching to get out into space, to follow the heavy footsteps of the Warmaster for even greater glory.
According to Grunt, the second fleet would complete, serendipitously, the same month as the Live-Ships were due to be launched. Saami did not necessarily believe in coincidences, and this was one of those events that she had trouble accepting as happy circumstance. Instead, she saw a carefully organized plan to build up and support two species abandoned by the Citadel and Galactic society as a whole, and give them a renewed opportunity to ease back into inter-species foreign policy with each other, and with Humanity.
She did not believe that this was altruistic in any way, the Marissa Harper that she considered her friend had very specific ideas hiding behind that almost vapid smile. But she did not mind that altruism was not the first goal, for both the Quarian and Krogan, this was an impossible chance that they would simply not be offered even a millennium into the future. She knew, even without asking him, that Grunt was fine with the Krogan becoming a buffer state for Humanity in the Attican Traverse. Foreign policy was transactive after all, but not zero-sum.
When the time came to actually negotiate the charter of the KSSF second fleet, Saami was in for a large surprise. She had expected to meet Grunt, or one of the other top-level Krogan that would be leading the fleet itself. Instead, waiting for her in the meeting room was a delegation of female Krogan, from the cohort that were the first to answer Wrex's call. Interestingly, since her own group was also all female, the Krogan decided, almost as one, to remove their veils, allowing them to converse more freely. Introducing herself as Takmar Rakora, the leader of the Krogan negotiating team quickly understood Saami's slight hesitation and confusion, meeting it with a smile and a short bow.
Responding with a giggle of her own, Sammi thought she knew why. Seeing the male Krogan working hard on bettering themselves and the species's future was driving the females' competitive spirit to aim higher than ever before. During their drinking parties, Grunt had spoken about the cultural separation between the males and the females, and how it was a core tenet of the Krogan Condition. She was unable to wrap her head around the complexities then, but seeing the female clans in action made things slightly clearer now.
To Saami, it appeared that the Krogan, having witnessed the Galaxy rush by them, were no longer in the mood to wait. With Warmaster Wrex showing them the way, the entire species would grab this opportunity by their massive hands, and leap into the unknown with the bravery characteristic of their people. In this, the females seemed to be of the exact same mindset as the other half; in fact, Saami would not be surprised if there developed to be female-only-ships that took part in the KSSF fleets in the future.
Rakora summed this up rather succinctly before she could speak, "With Warmaster Wrex's recent success in teaching his brethren a new way to live, and a new definition of victory, we have also decided that we must do our part for the future of the species. That is why the Warmaster graciously allowed us the task of seeing to the diplomatic and political matters of the KSSF." At this point, Rakora stopped for a moment and grinned a proud, though still fearsome Krogan smile,
"You know, while the boys do what they do best."