LP's Note: As with the first Broker report, everything in this document will be entirely in-universe and usually with edits only to stylistic and linguistic elements and not to content. I've been able to give Xabiar a free hand to create because frankly in canon the Terminus is an illogical mess that has zero detailing.
Part of my interest in the Terminus is that by the very nature of FTL in ME, something like 99% of the galaxy is unexplored. While relays connect vastly distant points of the galaxy, the actual FTL range from said relays is tiny. 200 light years is nothing in the terms of galactic measurement - indeed, this is why the Reaper scam works so well. But these blank spaces in the tapestry also leave a great deal of room for... other things to emerge from the underbrush. In the bright lights of the main Citadel races, those might have been dealt with long ago, but in the shadows of the Traverse they remain.
Xabiar's Note: The Terminus Systems have been an aspect of the Mass Effect universe in general, beyond the PV, that hasn't really been explored in any great detail. Of course, there is Aria, but I've always found it interesting that a place with so much potential is often just left unexplored. It is for this reason that this series exists.
This will be one part of three main supplementary pieces that will cover the Terminus Systems. The one you are reading now will cover the major powers, which are fewer, but will be given more attention. The others will cover minor powers, which will likely be one per chapter, similar to the Opposing Forces Cerberus files, and the final one will cover the criminal and terrorist forces within.
The goal of all of these is to present a more comprehensive and complete picture of the Terminus Systems that brings the region to the same level of quality as the rest of the series. Thank you once more to LP for letting me pursue this project, and I hope everyone enjoys it.
Ilium was a good place to retire.
Or at least, take a vacation for a long time.
Verona Xis hadn't decided if she wanted to retire yet. If the years had taught her anything, no one truly seemed to retire from the work of information brokerage and intelligence work. The most one could do extract themselves from the dangerous game without making permanent enemies.
She'd paid attention to those who'd successfully gotten out – and those who hadn't. She'd taken all the proper steps one needed to take to remove themselves. Debts repaid, amicable partings with all previous colleagues, some promises to old friends, peace offerings to her few rivals, a few good investments and a healthy credit account…
Yes, this was close to retirement as she was going to get.
So why, she wondered, did she felt so unsatisfied right now?
Don't lie. You know why.
She grumbled under her breath to herself. No matter how much she tried to forget, or tried to move on, the memories stuck with her like a virus. Or perhaps an animal nipping at her heels, always reminding her that it was there, demanding attention, and whenever she thought about it, it ran away, mocking and taunting her with answers outside her grasp.
She wished she'd never seen the cursed inverted pentagon. That single clue had been all she had, and she had never learned. Years and years, and nothing.
Move on. Everyone else had. Some things were destined to remain mysteries. Everyone had their own share of unexplained events that happened to them in the Terminus. It came with the territory.
Even if most of them were eventually solved.
It seemed she was just one of the unlucky ones.
One prosthetic arm with steel-tipped claws picked up the glass, and she took her time enjoying the brandy, pushing thoughts of pentagons and strange symbols out of her mind. The future was more important now. Her retired future. Admittedly, her retired life was unlikely to be traditional – she figured she might do some light side work for people who needed it. She had no desire to return to the Hierarchy, or go anywhere near Citadel space, frankly, and there were plenty of places, here and in the Terminus, where one could consider reasonably safe.
She was old for a turian – at least one in her line of work, and had the scars to show it, but she wasn't decrepit yet, and there was no shortage of wealthy clients around. Otherwise, she had more than earned a few easy years before she got bored.
Years. At this rate I'll be bored of this in months.
"Message for you, ma'am."
Verona cocked her head to the side – she was in the VIP part of the club; the part where she expected to not be accosted by unwanted guests. The asari attendant admittedly did look slightly nervous, her blue cheeks were tinged a slight purple. A young one then, probably her first gig. If she wasn't indentured, which you couldn't usually tell around here. Nonetheless, she presented the small letter in her hand.
Her mandibles flared, as she wondered who was stupid enough to be reaching out now, after she'd made it clear she was done. She supposed there was a chance that there was a client group that hadn't gotten the message, but she found that unlikely.
I swear, if it's a message to bail someone out…
She sharply plucked the letter from the hands of the asari who practically squeaked at the speed, and waved her off with an irritated gesture. Inside the letter was only a single sentence.
IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS. MEET AT THE USUAL PLACE.
She narrowed her eyes.
Oh no, he was definitely not doing this to her. They'd had this conversation. A conversation which had been no small feat. She had no fewer than six papers, all quite clearly acknowledging her retirement from the Network and amicable separation. The amount of paperwork needed to divest as a freelancer was ridiculous enough, but she'd jumped through all the hoops so she wouldn't get messages like this in the middle of the night. Or broad daylight, as it turned out.
She was torn between throwing the letter in the trash, or going to meet the hapless Broker emissary and give them a piece of her mind. She'd done far too much work for the Broker – and made it explicitly clear – that she was done. Something she'd thought the Broker - in his infinite wisdom - had understood.
At the same time…
She was admittedly somewhat curious. Her damned curiosity that had been more a liability than not sometimes, and her mind had issues with letting things go.
The Broker wasn't stupid, even if he was single-minded to the point of parody at times, and he should know that she wouldn't come back – not without good reason. It wasn't as though she could be pressured or blackmailed - she had no family, lovers, or children to threaten. She had an established reputation with a wide net of contacts. She had a criminal record, but who on Ilium didn't? She had no loyalty to her species or government, and if she lost every credit she had, well it wouldn't be the first time she had to start over.
It would be annoying, but she was in quite the privileged position of not being able to be pressured by the Broker Network.
Her mandibles flared, and a sigh escaped. Curiosity won out. She knew for a fact that if she walked away now, it was going to bug her for the rest of her life, and one unsolved mystery was more than enough.
If there was one thing she'd learned, it was that closure was always important, no matter how big or small it ended up being.
Fine, you win. Let's see what you have.
Setting the empty glass on the table, she stood and decided to see what all of this was about.
The meeting place was a non-descript building that was in the poorer part of Ilium – and even the "poor" part of Ilium was still significantly better than most other worlds. The Broker had a number of safe houses on the planet, and she knew she was being tracked the moment she started walking onto one of the connecting streets. There was probably a sniper tracking her as well, if she hadn't already been tailed from the moment she left the club.
She didn't bother knocking, and instead jabbed a talon into the button that opened the door. "I thought I'd made myself clear," she didn't bother hiding her irritation, wanting to make it explicit how annoyed she was. "I am finished with…"
She trailed off once she saw who was waiting for her. Red mechanical eyes glowed from under a black hood, atop a black cloak which covered the turian underneath - if such a word could be applied to the being it covered.
Metallic claws shone in the lighting, as she heard the pistons and gears moving and whirred as the turian cyborg appraised her with malevolent amusement. She'd heard the stories, even watched some of the grainy holovids, and none of them did justice to the towering turian machine before her.
"Verona Xis," Tetrimus greeted, his voice a metallic baritone. "A pleasure to finally meet in person."
Verona swallowed. This was not what she'd expected.
In her entire career for the Network, she'd never met either of the hands of the Broker. There had been some communication with Tetrimus for larger tasks, but never anything substantial beyond that. She was very good at what she did, but only a few times had it warranted the attention of the Mouth of the Broker. This was not for something minor, that was abundantly clear.
"What do you want," she said, in a far more subdued voice. "I don't work for the Broker anymore. I'm retired."
"You are," he said, taking a step forward. "And I would request a stay of your retirement for a little while longer. For a good cause, of course. The Broker Network will make it worth your while – you have his personal assurance on that."
Her mandibles flared, hoping there was something more substantial. "I have everything I want now. I don't need credits, starships, or men."
Tetrimus seemed amused – or she wondered if she was projecting onto his mechanical face. "I wouldn't insult you by assuming you're motivated by material desires. I assure you, I'm well aware of your own assets. If you wish, you will have even more than you desired. The Broker is generous to his favored tools. But I'm not offering just this. I can give you something better."
She paused for a moment. Thinking long and hard as to what that could mean. "Explain."
He withdrew a datapad from a briefcase he'd set on a nearby table. "This will explain why I am – at the direct request of the Shadow Broker – reaching out to you, despite your official divestment from the Network. We honor the agreements made. We would only reach out under extraordinary circumstances – and you will see why now."
She took the datapad, and began to read – or rather watch. It seemed to be from a drone, one which was following a ship she immediately realized as one of Aria's – one of the larger ones. A chill seemed to fall over her, and a familiar foreboding feeling crept inside. She had a feeling she knew what was coming.
That planet looked familiar. The nebula was the same color.
Then the ships appeared. One. Three. Twelve. Her breath caught at the sight. Black ships, of designs both alien and familiar. Ones that bore no insignia, followed no convention, and had no explanation.
Ships that had haunted her since the ill-fated trip through the Hangman's Relay.
Ships that opened fire against one of the Pirate Queen's flagships without warning or mercy. The ship never stood a chance, as the unknown weapons of the fleet fired. Pods shot out from the largest unknown vessel, likely carrying soldiers. The video went black a few seconds later, with the final shot being static.
It was all-too familiar.
It didn't matter that it had happened almost two decades ago. It was almost exactly the same. The alien ships, the speed and firepower they'd possessed. The swift, surgical, precise nature of the attack which had killed everyone on that ill-fated ship. Everyone except her, who had only survived by sheer luck - and an empty cargo container.
Little made her fear in life any longer. Yet that old, primal, and distinct fear of the unknown manifested when she looked upon these ships now.
The datapad lowered, she met Tetrimus' red eyes. "Where was this taken?"
"The Broker has been looking towards the Terminus of late," Tetrimus explained, ignoring the initial question. "Observing and analyzing trends that are taking place. Within the Circle, within Aria's empire, and within the Terminus Clan. Its importance is growing, and teams were dispatched to all known relays and locations within the Terminus. Everyone is reexamining the status quo – and going to places that were once off-limits."
"The Hangman's Relay."
"Aria took the risk, and paid for it," Tetrimus indicated the datapad. "She wanted to believe they were a myth. She still might not have – were this not sent to her."
"Sent? Not recovered."
"Correct." A pause. "We sent our own teams. Only one of those returned. Of those that attempted to go further, none returned. There was one more thing."
He flicked the screen and it showed her the symbol that she'd been unable to ever find again. The inverted pentagon. She looked up at him. "You found it."
"We went through and recovered the description you provided," Tetrimus said. "Despite your description, we can attribute the recovery to luck than anything else. We found it on a dead quarian on the Citadel. From your reaction, I assume this is the same one?"
"Yes, well…" she took a closer look. "The glyph in the center is not the same. But it is the same style. That's it."
"Good, that is something," Tetrimus said, as if making a note to himself.
Verona was silent for a moment, processing the conflicting swirl of emotions. The confusion at now, of all times, the mystery of her life coming back to haunt her. "I thought this would feel more vindicating."
"Vindication is not always worth savoring," Tetrimus said grimly. "But yes. In short, you were correct."
She released a sigh. "Better late than never. I warned the Network of this years ago."
"Yes, and the evidence was too scant to follow up on," Tetrimus reminded her. "Nor was the region of interest. It is now. The Broker wants a comprehensive understanding of everything in the Terminus – and that includes these ships – especially since they are clearly becoming more aggressive."
Verona crossed her arms, thinking. There had been something else which had given her the same feeling when she'd seen it first. "Are you thinking they're connected to that 'Geth' capital ship Saren used?"
Tetrimus paused for a moment. "That is something we need to determine, but it has not been ruled out. You are one of the best operatives that has ever worked for the Network. Which is why the Broker wants to entrust you with compiling everything we can on the major power brokers and players in the Terminus. Aria. The Circle. Along with whoever is behind these ships."
She nodded briefly. "The Terminus is more than just them."
"We have other teams working the lesser players," Tetrimus answered. "None have your connections, experience, and reliability. The Broker wants this done. You will have everything you need. Manpower, resources, credits, you ask for it, you will get it."
She considered. It was tempting. So very tempting. She had the one thing that had remained unanswered for decades now. Being involved in one of the largest projects under the direct commission of the Shadow Broker? That was something most only dreamt of. Unlimited resources, credits, whatever she wanted.
Possibly even answers.
It was so tempting.
"And in return?"
"Your price, whatever it may be," Tetrimus mused. "But you are past being motivated by credits. I can give you a challenge, one final job that will demonstrate your skill over the entire Terminus. I can also give you something that has only been offered four times in the history of the Broker Network. Complete and total immunity. You will have the Broker's protection, if you so wish. Anyone who wished to strike against you would be seen as a strike against the Network. No one will be able to use the Network against you. Useful, for those who wish to retire in peace."
He paused thoughtfully. "But perhaps more relevant to you, I am giving you the chance to learn the truth. You are unique, Verona, in that you are motivated to learn of this in a way others will not. That is why the Broker determined you were the ideal candidate to lead this effort."
Verona was silent afterwards, a confused mixture of emotions roiling inside her. A part of her past that she had tried to bury, yet continued hounding her, had emerged in such an unexpected way. She'd told herself she'd moved past it, that the answers would never come. But she'd never been able to forget - and now she had a single, unique opportunity to learn the truth.
Did she want it now? All these decades later?
There was a rational part of her that wanted to say no, step aside and let the Broker find someone else, no matter the offer. The challenge called to her, and digging into the intricacies of Aria's empire was appealing – but that alone couldn't be enough. She'd had more than enough challenge for one lifetime, but the opportunity to learn the truth, no strings attached…?
She'd be lying if she said it didn't interest her.
And she'd be lying if she said she hadn't already made her decision.
She hadn't been retired that long after all…
"Fine," she finally said. "One last job. Then it's over. For good."
Tetrimus extended a claw, which she grasped firmly. "It's a deal."
A shake, and it was sealed. "Out of personal curiosity," Tetrimus mused as he prepared to leave. "Where will you start your investigation for this...fleet?"
Where indeed. Verona was already thinking of who she had to reach out to, where to go, how many operatives and credits this was going to cost. Back to the work that she'd built her reputation on. For most of this, she had a fairly good idea of how she was going to go about it.
For that fleet though…
She didn't have a good plan, but she had a place to start. Because if there was anyone who would be able to get her a lead, it would be him. He wasn't going to be happy to see her - or rather, he wasn't going to be happy she was still with the Broker.
However, she had a good idea of what would get him to cooperate.
"I have a contact on Omega," was all she said. "I'll start there and see where it takes me."
Life on Omega was never easy, hardly glamorous, and most good folk of the galaxy were wise enough to avoid it. There was a certain innocence everyone possessed, a certain understanding of how the galaxy worked. A certain honor and decency the innocent expected of living, thinking creatures.
An innocence that was lost the moment one stepped onto Omega Station, and beheld what the galaxy was like when reduced to its absolute worst, when it was at its most degenerate, selfish, violent, and indulgent state.
Golo'Mekk var Omega liked it.
Well, he didn't like the criminals, rapists, and cannibals that roamed the station. He didn't like the filth which covered the streets, the muck and congealed gunk composed of blood, pus, and gore. He didn't like the factories that belched toxic foul-smelling smoke into the air. He didn't like the shoves, threats, and sneers from the aliens who called him all manner of slurs and names... although the days in which that happened were far behind him. He didn't like the mind-numbing, repetitive music that pumped through the clubs.
There was so much on Omega he did not like, and in its own way, that was something he appreciated.
Omega was many things, but it did not lie. Omega was a stark, fundamental truth about the galaxy and those within it. In the end, this was what the galaxy was. This station revealed the true natures of people and the depths to which they would sink. There was no crime or vice too vile for this station. He had seen it all, and participated in it himself.
Omega was fundamentally honest in a way the Citadel was not. Sure, the streets would be clean, the petty criminals would be few, and one could walk outside without fear of accostation. But it was all an illusion of civility, an atmosphere that masked a society that was as corrupt and decrepit as Omega, but merely hidden.
The criminals were not in the streets, but in the penthouses and towers; dealing and stealing to the clink of champagne glasses.
The murders came not at the hands of the petty thugs, but assassins and bounty hunters directed by councilors and states against the dissident and threatening.
None dared utter the slurs and names to his face as he walked, but anyone who paid attention would see the disgust and anger in their eyes as though they were dealing with someone unclean.
At one time such behaviors had bothered him. Now he had just come to accept it. This was just the way things were, this was who he was, and that was something he had come to terms with long ago. He had made something of himself on Omega, even as he was reviled, hated, and his name cursed by the fools on the fleet.
But the galaxy knew of the name Golo' Engineer of Omega.
The names of a thousand quarians who submitted to the domination of the fleet would die forgotten, having made no impact on the galaxy. For better or worse - that was a fate he had escaped.
And yet, why am I bothered now?
He was in his room now, sitting on the edge of his bed. His furnished living space within Afterlife itself was quiet, the highest levels of the club reserved for Aria T'Loak's most valuable subordinates, advisors, and officials. No expense spared for the best of the best, but in the end, he found that there was very little he really desired. A clean room, some basic furniture, and an armory was all he really felt the need for.
Distaste for luxury was something he'd never really grown out of, even away from the fleet.
Still, he usually didn't reflect like this, even if he found it relatively calming as of now. Something to distract his mind from what had prompted this thinking in the first place. He looked to the comms suite in the corner, and sighed to himself. By all rights he should just ignore the message and move on.
But he was never really good about moving on.
He rose from the bed and walked over to the pedestal, and tapped in the frequency to establish the connection. While it was likely pointless, the comms suite was capable of scrambling his location and outgoing traffic. Even though everyone knew he was on Omega. The form of the familiar turian manifested in front of him.
"Golo, in the flesh again. I was worried you were going to leave me hanging."
Golo smiled under his mask. A thin, humorless smile. "Hello Verona. And how is my favorite Broker hitwoman today?"
Her mandibles flared slightly at that. "At some point you need to let things go, Golo."
"Perhaps, perhaps," Golo waved a hand dismissively. "Speaking of that, I hear that congratulations are in order. Not many get out of the Broker's service alive."
There was a very long, very telling silence that followed. Her mandibles flicked again, a sign of discomfort. Golo's smile widened. "You're not actually out yet, are you?"
"I put a stay on my retirement." She said slowly.
"And here I thought you couldn't be bribed."
"Yet here you are." Golo crossed his arms. "Well, you didn't call to catch up, my dear Broker asset, so if you have something to ask me, please say it."
She glared. "Please let me finish. This is serious."
"And so am I," he answered easily. "It's a bit rich for a Broker rep to ask for things when you know full well I'm on his hit list."
"I can get you off of it."
Golo chuckled at that, though it wasn't a pleasant one. "No you can't. You don't know it, but there's a reason the Broker's tried so damn hard to kill me. So unless-"
"I'm serious," she interrupted him this time. "I can get your name cleared. Probably a few extra things, depending on how helpful you are."
"And who even put you on this...whatever you're doing?" Golo asked. "One of his faceless administrators?"
She was deadly silent for a few long moments, as if debating what to tell him. "What I'm working on was on the direct request of the Shadow Broker himself. Tetrimus approached me personally. He gave me whatever I needed or wanted. He wants this done. No questions asked. So yes - if you help me, you will never have to worry about the Shadow Broker again."
Well, if this wasn't the surprise of the month. Or year. He was, surprisingly, inclined to believe her. Even if she'd almost gotten him killed (though technically by accident), she was a relatively honest actor by the standards of the Network. His curiosity was truly piqued now all the same. "Well then, do tell what you're working on."
"Not relevant to you," she said. "I do need your help though - even if it's pointing me in the right direction."
"I'll need some details."
"It has to do with a recent incident in the Hangman's Relay."
And just like that, things had become more problematic. That particular incident was...among the more disturbing, more so because of how utterly and completely unknown that entire force was. There were only a few groups that could stand against Aria's fleet and wipe them out with such ease. The Collectors were one, but these were not Collector ships.
He sincerely hoped that they wouldn't end up connected to whatever Saren's flagship had been. Unfortunately, nothing had been ruled out yet.
What he found notable was that it seemed the Shadow Broker was now taking an interest. He'd have to mention that to Aria later. "I'm afraid I don't know anything more about the mysterious fleet than you do."
She nodded, seemingly not surprised. "Have you seen this symbol before?"
He was only idly waiting for the image to be sent, and when it showed up on the holo - he experienced a rare moment of surprise. An inverted pentagon, the color of the void, with silver outlining its edges, giving it the look of a metallic badge. Stamped into the center, as if imprinted into metal, was a glyph. A glyph of intersecting lines and circles, as if from a language that was ancient and forgotten.
He hadn't thought about it in a very, very long time. "I...have."
Verona immediately picked up on the hesitance in his voice. The uncertainty - no not uncertainty. Wariness. And coming from him, she knew it was bad, even by his standards. "What does it mean?"
He waited a few moments. "This is connected to that fleet?"
"Yes. It...took me a long time to find what it looked like. An image. I also had an encounter once. I never forgot it. That seal was the only thing I remember. The only clue I had. Where did you see it?"
"It's not a badge, dear Verona," Golo said without missing a beat. "It's a brand. One emblazoned into the chests of slaves. And without fail, those particular slaves always come from beyond the Hangman's Relay. If that is tied to this fleet…" he trailed off.
"You know something."
"Maybe," he needed to think on his own for a bit, unwilling to commit further. If he was right, then...yes, answers were needed. "But I do have a lead I can follow."
"Then will you help?"
"Let's say yes," Golo paused. "And I want my immunity, in writing from the Broker himself before I share anything more. Deal?"
"I'll see it done," she promised. "Let me know when you have something."
"Of course." Golo stepped back. "I'll be in touch."
He ended the call, and returned to his bed and sat on the edge, for a rare time in his life, uncertain. Verona didn't need to know the truth, not yet, and she'd believed the story of the brand easily enough. It was fairly common in the Terminus, and which she wouldn't have been able to debunk unless she was a slaver.
He reached into his pouch and pulled out the small token that had been given to him a very long time ago.
"Seek us when you wish to be something more."
Golo fiddled with the token between his fingers. He'd dismissed it of course, the entire encounter as one more strange event on Omega - but there had been something telling him to hold onto it. It was a curio, a unique memory, and now he wondered if it meant something more. Inscribed onto the back of the token was a series of numbers. He'd never tried to figure out what those meant.
Well, let's see where this takes me.
Aria was no doubt going to find all of this very interesting.
But first, he had to unravel this mystery himself.
INTERNAL BROKER NETWORK
THE TERMINUS SYSTEMS – MAJOR POWERS
Report Category: Organizations | Regional | Comprehensive
Report Classification: Level 10
Report Author: Special Field Director Verona Xis
Report Requisition Official: The Shadow Broker
Region of Interest: The Terminus Systems
Regional Capital: Omega Station
Regional Government Type(s): Authoritarian | Criminal Syndicate | Democracy | Totalitarian Dictatorship
Date of Foundation: N/A
Date of Collapse/Dissolution: N/A
Within the Terminus Systems are often the forgotten places of the galaxy. Lawless frontiers, criminal empires, pirate fleets, and simplistic narratives applied to a section of the galaxy that is as complex, diverse, and with as great potential as the Citadel – if not more.
However one thing should be made clear – the Terminus Systems will never be able to challenge the Citadel Council again. That chance was lost when Terena Terminus was killed, and the character of the Terminus itself has turned into something that is inherently hostile to the necessary alliances, centralization, and forgiveness that would be necessary for the Terminus to rise.
All of this presuming that the Citadel would permit such a thing.
There is little use in repeating the known history of the Terminus, because to cover every single origin story of the powers, factions, and individuals within the Terminus would take far too long, and largely be useless to those seeking relevant information on what matters in this overlooked section of the galaxy.
This report is intended to primarily cover the major powers of the Terminus Systems. There are other reports which delve into smaller factions and power bases, but this will focus specifically on what the Terminus politics revolve around. The politics of the Terminus is one of the most underestimated and misunderstood things about it.
There is no one who truly "owns" the Terminus Systems. There are only those who have managed to hold onto power, and if there is one thing that has become abundantly clear, it is that the balance of power that has so often permeated the Terminus has begun to shake. The end of empires is inevitable, and the Terminus stands on the brink of a collapse that will plunge the region into complete and total war.
There will be four sections to this report. There are few major powers that are worth considering, and while this may be shorter than other reports, it is in the hands of these powers that the future of the Terminus will be decided.
SECTION 1: Omega: The empire of Aria T'Loak, often simply referred to by the name of the station she has claimed as her capital, faces existential and internal threats. Everyone believes that they understand the dynamics, capabilities, structure, and cult of personality that is driven by the infamous Pirate Queen. All of them are wrong. The misconceptions about how Aria derives her power, manages Omega, and against all odds has managed to maintain the largest power base in the Terminus for centuries have simultaneously resulted in the common uneducated individual over-exaggerating or misunderstanding both her appeal and power.
And that is why no one understands just how close she is to losing all of it. This section will cover the rise of Aria, the establishment of Omega, how Aria maintains her forces, her close allies, the Omegan Illusion, and the intricate dynamics and politics that allow Aria to maintain control when by all rights she should have lost it long ago.
SECTION 2: The Circle of the Fallen: An alliance of the most powerful criminal affiliates and Terminus factions is one which is assumed to be of significant importance and power. And this basic idea holds true – with numerous caveats. The Circle of the Fallen is far from the Citadel of the Terminus.
But in many cases it is a dark reflection of it.
The Circle of the Fallen lacks the cohesion, trust, logistics, and capabilities of its superior counterpart – but make no mistake, there is no others outside of Aria T'Loak herself who has the power to drive influence and power within the Terminus. This section will cover the history, organization, infighting, capabilities, and motivations behind the Circle of the Fallen – and if such an alliance will withstand the future.
SECTION 3: The Terminus Clan: The legacy of Terena Terminus lives on. Despite numerous attempts to wipe out the remnants of the project she started, the Terminus Clan has continued to endure as the largest beacon of democracy in the Terminus Systems. One which stands in full defiance against the machinations of the Citadel, Aria, and the criminal factions that would want nothing more than to see the Terminus Clan destroyed forever.
Nonetheless, they persist.
However, the Terminus Clan is reaching a point in history where decisions must be made. The Circle of the Fallen is unstable, Aria's empire begins to wane, and other factions begin to rise. Yet the Terminus Clan is beset with infighting, muddled visions, degrading organization, and an intelligentsia which has begun opening questioning the democratic path the Terminus Clan has adhered to.
This section will cover the rise of the Terminus Clan, the many times they were nearly wiped out, their unique influence within the region, their internal politics, organization, military, and leaders – and the fascist movement which is rapidly spreading in the halls of universities and government institutions.
SECTION 4: Special Report T-1138Z: The galaxy is something that has not, and almost certainly never will be, fully explored. It is estimated that only a single percent of the galaxy has been explored, and of that, even less of the Terminus. There are many mysteries in the galaxy, and often such phenomena often become legends spread among fleets, pilots, and planets that take on a life of their own.
Very often, such legends turn out to be exactly that – legends. Few are prepared to consider if legends true, and if they are – what it means.
One of the most famous legends in the Terminus Systems is no legend at all. It is real, and it is almost certainly planning to return. The Terminus is unprepared for it, and should they remain so, if the various maluses that have weakened the major powers above do not shatter the terminus, this new power will.
This section will detail exactly why.