It was not long after the Normandy had returned from its trip through the Omega 4 relay. The battle had been won, and Shepard's team had beaten the odds and survived. However, there was one team member whose company Shepard was especially enjoying.
"I will give one thing to Cerberus, Shepard, they do know a thing about proper accommodations," said Tali softly.
"I wouldn't get too attached," replied Shepard, "Who knows how long until the Illusive man wants his ship back."
Before the two could continue Joker rang over the intercom "Commander, EDI has picked up something you should see."
Shepard immediately got up from his seat and headed towards the elevator to take him down to Normandy's Communications room. EDI was already online ready for him when he entered.
"What is it EDI?" asked Shepard.
"Commander," said Normandy's AI, "I have detected an unusual transmission being broadcast. It is in Prothean."
"How is this unusual? It wouldn't surprise me that there wouldn't be some Prothean communications chatter bouncing around."
"The signal does not have the degradation inherent with over fifty thousand years of stellar travel. This signal is newer, much newer."
"Can you play the transmission for me?"
EDI played back the contents of the transmission, her systems could not discern any spoken Prothean, and however, EDI did not have the benefit of the Cipher that Shepard obtained on Feros. The message was a distress call, but the syntax was not entirely correct, as if someone unfamiliar with the language were speaking it. Whoever sent it, it was worth further investigation.
"Can you get a fix on the source of this transmission EDI?"
"I have determined that the signal originated somewhere in the Voyager cluster. Shall I have Jeff plot a course?"
"Do it," said Shepard as he headed towards the Normandy's CIC, "I want to find out who would be sending out a distress call in a language that's been dead for fifty thousand years."
The Normandy completed her Mass Relay jump near the source of the unusual distress call. Everyone aboard was at the ready in case they had not earned the Respite they thought. Joker brought the ship just to within scanning range of the unknown source, well outside the range of detection.
"Commander," said EDI, "The signal appears to be originating from a large vessel. It does not match any known profiles or energy signatures in my database."
"Is there any resemblance to Reaper or collector technology?" asked Shepard.
"There is no similarity with known Reaper or collector technologies. It also does not match known Prothean energy signatures." EDI paused a moment as she continued to go over the scans of the unknown ship. "The ship's hull is difficult for sensors to penetrate however; I am detecting signs of life on board."
"Joker," said Shepard, "Bring us in closer."
The Normandy eased closer to the unknown vessel, as she approached the fifteen hundred meter length became highly apparent. The hull bore score marks, as though it had been in an intense battle, a few stray spouts of gas could be seen emanating from obvious hull breaches. Obviously the ship was designed to take a fair amount of abuse. The unscathed sections of the hull were a bright metallic color, almost too shiny to look at.
"Shepard," said EDI, "This ship appears to have an AI aboard that is attempting communication with my system."
"Is it trying to break in?"
"Negative, it appears to be attempting to simply communicate. It is asking for a linguistic database. Shall I proceed with the upload?"
"Commander," said Miranda over the intercom, "We have no idea who is aboard that ship, or where it came from."
"If they had wanted to attack us, they probably wouldn't ask for a means of communication first." Shepard said.
EDI blinked for a moment as she processed the data transfer. "The ship's computer just thanked us and is working on a translation."
"You mean you can actually understand Prothean now?" asked Joker.
"No Jeff, the other system and I negotiated a communication protocol we could both comprehend."
"Commander, that translation didn't take very long, we have a message from the other ship incoming."
"Hello, this is Shana of the Explorer vessel Conestoga to the unknown ship off our port side. We thank you for responding to our distress signal. Our vessel has suffered heavy damage and we welcome any assistance."
EDI had run more scans since they had closed proximity with the vessel, "Shepard, the damage to the Conestoga is consistent with Reaper weapons fire."
"If that ship faced a reaper and survived, I'd hate to see what the reaper looks like." Jeff said sarcastically from his seat.
Shepard activated the communications to respond, "This is Commander Shepard, captain of the Normandy, what assistance do you require?"
"Commander, thank the Prophet, we have several systems down aboard our ship. FTL, sublight engines, long range sensors. We have several critical parts that are irreparably damaged. Unfortunately we lack the raw material to fabricate replacements."
"I can come over with a team of tech experts; maybe they can be of some use to you."
"Thank you Commander, that would be most appreciated. We are uploading a suitable shuttle bay location to your ship's AI."
"EDI," said Shepard, "Have Tali and Legion meet me in the cargo bay."