The Day the Arms Closed
This is a little side thing I decided to do. It was actually just a random idea in my head that started out only days ago, but I felt like I really wanted to write this, so here you go.
Read, review, and as always, enjoy.
He could feel the eyes all focused on him.
Turian, salarian, asari, volus, elcor, and whatever other species that had eyes, all were focused on him.
Here, he was the alien, the interloper. An intruder.
Security mechs lined the walls, every so often a turian honor guard or asari commando waited between the robots. Guns waited in their gray claws or blue hands, fingers brushing against the triggers ever so slightly. One could almost see the animosity that lingered in the Council Chamber's air, as if all the human who stood upon the raised platform had to do was breathe the wrong way to start a gunfight.
He was more worried about the honor guards than the commandos, honestly speaking. Asari as a species and military were dangerous, but nothing compared to the turians in terms of pure militaristic might.
The Council had been in deliberations a long time, nearly an hour. And he was forced to wait, standing there like a moron.
But, such was the price for humanity's last chance to gain acceptance aboard the Citadel.
Adjusting the collar to his suit, he stared back up into the upper levels. Politicians, or at least what passed for politicians, lined the railing. Their hands were locked on the metal barrier as they scanned the waiting human cautiously. He could make out a Spectre or two, loaded to the teeth with weaponry. Above and in the rafters, the human could spot the murky outline of snipers, C-Sec most likely.
It didn't make him feel any better that a police force was here in some respect. No humans were in Citadel Security, and if he blew it today, there would never be. Of course, this visit to the Citadel Station wasn't one for humanity's entry into security forces.
No, no, no… this was humanity's attempt at gaining access not only to the Citadel itself, but Council-controlled space, after years of being forced to wait outside like a dog in the rain. A pissed-off dog at that.
And it all made human Ambassador nervous as hell. He coughed into his sleeve as the long-awaited Councilors finally returned from their chambers and onto their respective platforms, high above and in front of the human, separated by a ten foot drop onto a glass floor where some sort of oasis waited on the other side.
The turian Councilor, dressed up in expensive clothes and face paint, eyed the human with his cold gray eyes. He scowled at the human, displaying his spiny teeth. The asari glanced at her comrade, as if her calm demeanor would spread to her avian friend.
It didn't, at least not at first, but his austere look diminished into a simple disapproving glare.
The hooded salarian just watched him with narrowed eyes, one hand tucked under his chin as if he was a thinker. A million things were probably going on inside that salarian's head.
The crowd responded to the Council's return, the dull murmur that filled the chamber before was now replaced by a low wave of conversation. Thralls of different voices reached out across the chamber, wrapping themselves around him.
He didn't like it.
"Ambassador Harland Rowe." The asari Councilor began, silencing the crowds immediately. The human straightened up, placing both hands behind his back while ignoring a bead of sweat that trickled down his left cheek.
"Ma'am." Harland said back politely, offering a respectful nod to the woman. The asari and salarian returned the gesture, the turian didn't. All he did was roll his eyes and cross his arms as his harsh glare refused to subside.
"As you are aware," she began with an icy-calm voice, "humanity's relationship with the galaxy is a tentative one, at best. The Relay 314 Incident was only the beginning of mankind's interaction with the other species of the galaxy."
"And was by no means the last." The turian interjected, voice laden with venom.
Harland was well aware of every conflict that followed Relay 314. The Battle of Tel, the Killing Fields on Kishinev, and the Siege of Shanxi. All of these conflicts were mashed up into what is now known as the First Contact War by humanity, while the turians simply dismiss it all as the Relay 314 Incident.
Hundreds of thousands died on Shanxi alone, and when the Council finally stepped in to stop the bloody fighting, the final death toll was staggering.
The following twenty-eight years have been a struggle for humanity. A fragile reputation was stained with the blood of turians and its own kind, portraying the species as a whole something to that of barbarians. Others had the audacity to claim humans were even worse than the krogan.
The conflict also shaped Earth's view of things, the turians as trigger-happy, murderous pigs.
All the animosity that had been bubbling for nearly thirty years dripped from the turian Councilor as he continued, "We," he motioned to his fellow Councilors, "have reviewed your kind's requests for Citadel inclusion and an embassy to represent your species."
Harland nodded, "Yes, and as you can see, through the test groups of a hundred thousand humans allowed temporary asylum on this station have shown peaceful interaction with the other Citadel races, even the turians."
"Hmm." The salarian murmured at first, hand still tucked under his chin. "I have read the reports, Ambassador Rowe, and you do speak the truth. Peaceful interaction was attained."
The turian turned his gaze from the human to his colleague. His mandibles flared as a scowl appeared.
"Then you have also read that from these reports," he quickly said, anger hastening his speech, "have shown a rise in crime by nearly thirteen percent." His glare returned to Harland, as if blaming him, "Violent crime, ranging from rape, assault, and murder."
Harland's hands went out, palms up, "But you can't argue that-"
"I can argue, human, and I will."
The crowd reacted, some cheering for the disgruntled Councilor, others watching on nervously.
"We did not call this Council to argue statistics!" The asari sternly settled, her voice still calm, not truly yelling. She gave another glare to the turian, who returned it. His hands were at his sides now, trembling with rage. Slowly, she turned back to Harland, her voice cool to his ears, "We are here on terms of your species' request of Citadel admittance."
Harland's heart began to race. This is what he'd been waiting for. Five years of hard work coming down to this. All the petitions, all the promises that the Alliance fleet would come into Citadel space only when requested, and all of the attempts at melding mankind into this alien society.
The turian Councilor brought different news as he stepped forward, "We as a Council have deemed humanity too violent a race to be permitted within Citadel and Council-controlled space."
Harland froze, his blood turned into ice.
Cheers and claps erupted from the crowds above.
Mankind was being treated like the goddamned batarians and krogan, and the Council races were cheering on!
His blue eyes found the asari, "Madam Councilor, this cannot be the right decision! We are nothing like the krogan or… or…" Eyes falling to the floor, the Ambassador tried to find the appropriate words. But the salarian cut him off.
"Your species has a very violent history, Ambassador Rowe. Our own studies have shown history repeating itself throughout mankind's existence. You fight for some reason or another, ranging from war to religion to resources. In the end, mankind will be doomed to bury more of its own than raise it."
This was an outrage! A goddamned outrage!
They had no right to make a glaring generalization of humanity like this.
Anger began to seep into Harland's otherwise calm demeanor, "Well if you're going to treat us like this, then maybe you should look at yourselves and your turian allies." The man began to pace, as the crowds above began to get uneasy, "The turians fired on us first, starting the war! They nuked half of Tel, killing millions in the process… and you!" His finger flew up to the salarian, the amphibian taken aback by the human's outburst, "You developed the genophage! You helped neuter an entire race, and you're calling us humans the ones with a violent history? You've buried more unborn krogan than you could imagine!"
"Look at your homeworld!" The turian yelled, losing the political etiquette that came from being a Councilor, "Nearly eighty percent of that spirit-forsaken rock is covered in nuclear fallout, fallout coming from your own bombs. Its condition is comparable to Tuchanka! Your species is even more self-destructive than that of the quarians."
Harland could feel the C-Sec snipers take aim, ready for him to make a stupid move so they could blow his head off.
"Be assured, Ambassador," the asari interjected, trying to play the mediator, "this decision was not made lightly. We believe this is for the benefit for the whole galactic community, for every species, including your own."
"But, but…" Harland couldn't believe this. "Where will humanity go? If we can't colonize within protected Council space, where do we go from here?"
"There is always the Terminus Systems." The salarian dismissed quickly.
"Pirates and raiders teem from that sector!" Harland pleaded. "Our colonies would be attacked relentlessly! Humanity will be singled out as a whole, other races knowing that we wouldn't have the Council's protection."
The turian huffed, a grin on his face as he spoke over the crowd, "You have your so-called Alliance. Use them to defend your colonies."
The Alliance couldn't be stretched that far out, their numbers too few to protect any new colonies that would eventually pop up.
But as the turian finished his words, the cheers erupted into a full-blown symphony of approval. Harland turned to look into the upper levels, seeing the smiling faces of asari, turians, and salarians. How would one cheer on when a crime was unfolding right before them?
Then the lives of over a hundred thousand people came to Harland's mind, "Councilors, at least let them stay! Those have built lives here for the past five years."
Shaking his head, the salarian adjusted his hood, "That would defeat the purpose of our decision. Rest assured, those who have stayed here will be sent to border worlds for temporary housing."
They were going to deport an entire species from the Citadel. This went against everything this so-called Council stood for, this defied basic sentient rights.
Facing the Council again, the Ambassador pleaded with the asari, "Madam Councilor, please. Rethink your decision; humanity can meld with the rest of galactic society if you let it! Humanity needs this!"
"I'm sorry, Ambassador, but our judgment is final." Her eyes went to the upper levels, towards her cheering masses. "This Council is adjourned."
Harland felt the large hands of turian honor guards grabbing each of his arms, guiding him towards the exit elevator of Citadel Tower.
The symphony of exuberance from the crowds subsided only a little, before giving way to a thunderous wave of applause.
Defeated, Harland stared at his feet as the guards guided him into the elevator. How was he going to explain this to Alliance Command? His back was against the wall here, specifically told that this was his final chance to secure mankind's future among the Citadel races.
And now he had to go back to Arcturus Station and tell them the news.
Groaning, the elevator came to life as it began its long descent. The human stood in silence with his two turian guards, until about halfway down.
Clearing his throat, the turian to the left of Harland spoke in a low voice, as if worried his comrade might hear him, "If it makes any difference, sir. I think the Council made the wrong choice too."
The alien anxiously shifted from foot to foot, making his bright orange combat armor rattle slightly. Harland kept his eyes on his feet, staying quiet. There was little point in starting a conversation now, Harland didn't have the energy nor did he really care anymore.
The next thing that was most likely going to happen was his head ending up on a pike.