On board the Council exploration vessel Seloria
Liara and Tali exited the elevator and made their way to Seloria's CIC. For once, it seemed as if the control center of the ship wasn't in complete turmoil. Yes, everyone carried themselves in a brisk hurriedness, but the demeanor of the room was one of calm professionalism - not the panicked chaos that was present during the Geth attack. With the Geth gone and a dozen Council warships in the system, people were gradually beginning to feel safe again, even with two unknown alien vessels in the system.
Liara looked around the CIC for Captain Alenna but couldn't find her. Instead she and Tali headed for Professor Mordin Solus, who was having a rather animated discussion with another researcher sitting at her console. Liara still wasn't sure if the Professor was brilliant or mad. He could recite the most complicated theorems and algorithms with ease, yet spoke in a disjointed, sometimes incoherent manner - as if his mind was in ten places at once. Of course, she had to remember that despite his quirks, he knew more about life in his diminishing 40 years than she did in her still youthful 100.
"…No. Not practical. To create black holes would require energy of a star. Even small ones. Not feasible."
"Well a black hole is the closest analogue to what we see when one of those ships enters the system" the Asari researcher said in response. "If not that, then what?"
The Salarian rambled on more mathematical and theoretical concept in rapid session, earning a bewilder look from the Asari who was clearly struggling to follow along. "Most likely trans-dimensional in nature" Mordin finally finished.
"Professor Mordin?" Tali said, grabbing his attention.
Mordin turned around to face the two. "Ah, Miss 'Zorah and T'Soni. Was just discussing FTL possibilities with Sellis. Did you learn anything new?"
"Not as much as we would like, given all that has happened since the Geth arrived" Tali said. "Actually, we were just looking for Captain Alenna. Have you seen her?"
"Yes, in the comms room" Mordin replied. "Speaking with Council members. Asked not to be interrupted."
"Is…she okay?" Liara asked.
"Of course, why would she not?" Mordin asked.
"Well" Liara responded, "A lot of the crew seems to think that she is troubled. Since you asked to see her after we received the first contact message some claim she has acted…strange."
Mordin's demeanor seemed to change ever so subtly, but Liara could sense that the subject made the Salarian uncomfortable. His posture loosened as he made a speedy reply. "Differently? Wouldn't know about that." A few seconds of silence dragged on before he spoke again. "Are you aware that another transmission was sent to us?"
"Transmission?" Tali asked. "What did it say? More undecipherable alien words?"
Liara got the sense that Mordin was conveniently trying to change the subject, but did not press further. Something was defiantly unsettling to the Captain, but she doubted that Mordin would tell her. The Professor's uneasy posture shifted back into jubilance as he responded, clearly happy to talk about something else. "No, much more. This was a video transmission. A presentation on how to proceed with further contact. The video shows two ships meeting in a neutral location. Based on the vid, we expect more of their ships to arrive soon."
"More ships?" Liara asked, both intrigued and a little nervous. "I presume these ships will be carrying their diplomats with them?"
"That's the assumption" Mordin agreed. "I'll be part of the diplomatic team. Will be intriguing to finally meet them in person. Have many questions."
"As do I" another voice said behind them. The group turned to find Captain Alenna walking towards them. "Though if I'm honest, I do not believe that I'm the best suited for diplomacy."
"Captain" Liara said in greeting as she bowed. "How was your talk with the Council?"
"Frustrating" Alenna replied. "The Councilors each had their own separate agendas, and all expected me to take their side." She turned her attention to Mordin. "Are there any new developments?"
"No, not since the last transmission. How long must we wait to initiate further contact?"
Alenna knew that Mordin, ever the impatient one, was growing frustrated at the virtual standstill that they found themselves in. He was a frontier researcher, and remaining idol in the face of discovery did not suit him well. "The Council doesn't want to take any risks. They want the aliens to make the first move."
"And so we wait longer" Mordin said in annoyance. "It's almost been two standard galactic days. If the aliens wait any longer than at least we know they share the patience of the Asari as well."
"As well?" Liara inquired.
Alenna gave Mordin a sharp look, though the true meaning behind those words seemed to be lost to Liara and Tali. "They're just being cautious" she said. "Our record for meeting new species hasn't been exactly stellar. The last time we tried to make first contact with another race it got our diplomatic delegation killed and forced us to quarantine an entire world."
"The Yahg" Liara said, remembering the brutish pre-space flight species that was barred from interaction with Council space. They were massive creatures whose size and aggressiveness put the Krogan to shame.
"This is different" Mordin said, still agitated. "We're not dealing with vicious primitives incapable of reason."
"I'm sorry Mordin" Alenna said. "But the Council has already decided." As Mordin shook his head in frustration Alenna turned her attention to Liara. "Miss T'Soni, I need to speak with you in private."
Liara raised a brow. "Me?"
Alenna nodded. "If you'll excuse us" she said to a bewildered Tali and an irritated Mordin. She made her way to her usual spot overlooking the entire command floor, Liara on her heels.
"Captain, is everything okay? Some of the crew seems to think that you're…distraught."
"I…honestly don't know" Alenna answered truthfully. "Some startling data has arisen recently and the consequences may be enormous."
Once again a wave of uneasiness washed through Liara as she noticed that the normally calm and confident Captain looked unsure of herself. "Captain, what is it?"
"I'm sorry Liara, I can't say. The Council wishes this to remain classified for the moment."
Liara frowned. As a researcher she hated having inadequate information. And she hated it even more when others were withholding knowledge from her. "Is it bad?" she asked.
"Not necessarily, just shocking" Alenna said, arriving on her favored spot in the CIC. "In time you'll understand. But that's not why I wanted to talk to you. Liara, I want you to accompany me with the diplomatic meeting."
"What!" Liara's eyes widened in disbelief. Never in her 106 years had she thought she'd ever be among the first to encounter a new species. Realizing that the dumbfounded look on her face was ill-suiting for her new task at hand, she quickly tried to recover. "I...of course Captain. I would love to. Thank you" she said as she bowed her head. "Though if I may ask, why me?"
"You're an expert on extinct alien races" Alenna responded. "You know better than anyone how to understand alien culture based on subtle clues and minimal physical evidence. When we engage them, I don't want to end up unintentionally causing offense or insulting them. It'll be hard enough figuring out how to meld with one of them without causing an incident. If there's anyone who can give me helpful ideas, it's you."
"I…" Inwardly Liara felt like a bashful child being praised by a revered teacher. Outwardly she tried to sound confident. "Thank you. I'll do my best."
Alenna nodded. "The diplomatic delegation will consist of you, Professor Solus, General Fealix, and me. Don't worry, Fealix and I will do most of the conversing." She gave a brief pause of thought. "Actually, I'll probably do all of the conversing, considering I'll be melding with one of them…if everything goes accordingly."
Liara nodded in understanding. Including herself, there would be four individuals, with all three Council races being represented. She was certain this was not incidental; no doubt each Council member went through great strains to ensure at least one of their people would be present during the meeting. First impressions meant everything after all. "So, just the four of us then" she concluded.
"Actually, there'll be five" Alenna said, earning a bewildered look before continuing. "The SPECTRE Saren will accompany us. He'll provide security for the delegation."
Liara's eyes narrowed. "I don't like him" she blurted out bluntly. "I do not think it is wise to bring an armed soldier with us."
Surprised by her harsh outburst, Alenna responded sympathetically. "I argued the same point with the Council, but the Turian Councilor insisted. I cannot deny a direct Council order." The young maiden before her still seemed very nervous, despite her best efforts to hide it. Alenna put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her. "Relax Liara. Everything will be fine."
Liara nodded reluctantly, feeling a little more at ease. "Thank you Captain. I'm just a little anxious. I'll be fine."
"Uh, Captain?" Forbin, the ship's Salarian navigator said aloud, grabbing Alenna's attention. "Something's happening. You might want to take a look."
She quickly made her way to his console, Liara following her. "What's happening? Are the aliens making a move?"
Forbin nodded, bringing up the visual of the two alien ships on view of the main CIC screen. The ships were hastily moving away from the planet and debris field, in the opposite direction of the Council ship's current position. So far, the Council ships had not reacted, remaining stationary just outside the debris zone - weapons ready but not aiming towards a target.
"What are they doing?" Liara asked. "Do you think they're leaving?"
Before anyone could answer, the Seloria's sensors operator, Lenora, shouted over the CIC. "Captain! I'm picking up those strange fluctuations again; the ones that occur when one of those ships enters the system." She tapped on more haptic controls. "Except…this is different. It's…Captain, the energy readings are off the charts!"
"I'm picking up the same thing" Korven affirmed. "We're getting massive energy fluctuations by the 7th quadrant near those ships." The room, once a flurry of activity, had grind to a tense halt. Everyone seemed to stop what they were doing as the main CIC screen now commanded their attention. All of Seloria's visual sensors were focused entirely on the two alien ships and the point of origin of the fluctuations. Alenna noted that the Council ships, being tracked by one of the monitors to her left, were now starting to maneuver into defensive positions.
Liara spoke. "Either they're leaving, or…"
"More of their ships are arriving" Alenna finished.
Just as she said that, a bluish rift appeared roughly 100 kilometers from the two alien ships. The strange rupture - a tear in the very fabric of space itself - was identical to the other ruptures they had witnessed twice before, with one glaring exception.
It was absolutely enormous.
"That rupture looks a lot larger than before" the Captain said. "Lenora, give me an analysis."
"Visually it's the same as before, except larger…like fifty times larger." Her fingers flew across the haptic interface. "The diameter of the rupture measures about 40 kilometers, and as before it has no discernible width. We can measure the gravitational disturbance and time dilation caused by the warped space around it, but all other sensors are…wait…Captain, something's coming through!"
Liara saw it too. A spot of solid metal came jetting through, a tiny speck among the spiraling blue haze. That speck quickly grew larger, into what she could identify as the front of a ship. The ship exited the rupture at a relatively slow speed, until finally emerging completely through. Forward oriented and bulky, Liara instantly recognized it as nearly identical to one of the ships already in the system. And then another ship came trickling through, followed by several more. And then suddenly nearly a dozen ships punched through the rupture. And judging by the scale, some of them were enormous. Liara's eyes widened as one ship in particular caught her eyes - this one dominating all others around it. Judging by the murmurs, everyone else was equally surprised. Everyone instantly recognized it, but seeing it in one piece, in all its glory, and moving…that was something else. "Goddess Captain. It's another Leviathan ship." How many of these things do they have?
"This must be the diplomatic fleet" Alenna quickly said. "Lenora, about half of those ships are obviously not of these humans. Tell me everything you can."
Lenora listed off statistics in a blazing speed. "Eleven vessels, four are clearly of the human make, but the other seven seem to be from the other unidentifiable faction. The ships are massive Captain. Two ships are Cruiser-sized like the other ship in the system, measuring 480 meters. There are six Dreadnaught-sized ships, ranging from 1000 to 1500 meters. And three exceed dreadnaught-size. One of the human ships measures 3000 meters, and the other two are 5300 meters and 28 kilometers respectively."
"Look at that thing" Alenna said in an affirmation of disbelief. "Twenty-eight kilometers. The amount of resources needed to keep it functioning must be ridiculous."
"Wait, Captain! Something else is coming through" Korven said. "It's…spirits, it's massive."
"Massive? Is it another one of those…of those…"
"Goddess." Liara's eyes continually grew wider as this next ship came hurdling out of the rupture. It didn't at all seem possible, but this ship, this behemoth of a vessel, was even larger than the Leviathan ship. All other vessels, some larger than even the largest Council ship, was dwarfed by this monstrosity. Even the Leviathan ship looked small in comparison. There was hardly a sound in the CIC, save for the quiet hums of the computer terminals, the crew itself too entranced to make a sound.
Focus Liara. You are a scientist. Analyze. She pushed her shocked thoughts aside and attempted to do what any good archeologist would do upon discovering a new object. Classification. The ship didn't seem to be part of the unidentified faction, which preferred swooping curves and smooth surfaces. It looked more along the lines of the human make with its angular design and hard edges, except it was lacking the bulkiness of their other ships. And the size…it was staggering. There was nothing to compare it to, except maybe the Citadel. But the Citadel wasn't a ship, it was a space station - a space station that housed a population of 13 million and functioned as the heart of galactic civilization. She wondered, what is the purpose of this construct? Why build something so large? How could a society, an advanced society capable of such engineering feats, not have made contact with the Council yet?
Maybe they didn't build it. Maybe it was some Prothean construct they stumble upon like the Citadel? One look at it and Liara dismissed the idea. Whatever it was, it wasn't Prothean. There were too many sharp edges, and too many geometric patterns. The Protheans found elegance in simplicity. Thinking hard, Liara felt a gloved hand touch her shoulder, retrieving her from her thoughts. "Kheelah Liara", her Quarian friend whispered. "Tell me I'm not the only one seeing this."
"Lenora, h…how large?" Alenna whispered, seeming almost afraid to hear the answer.
"Fifty kilometers Captain. That ship is fifty kilometers long." She turned towards Alenna. "It's larger than the Citadel!"
"Merciful Goddess." Liara wasn't sure if she said it or the Captain.
Fifty kilometers? How is that even possible?
"Fifty kilometers? How is even that possible!"
General Fealix's CIC was in a state of disarray. Or at least, what qualified as disarray among a species of professional soldiers. Since the Geth attack his contingent of twelve ships were in a constant state of preparedness; shields up, cannons primed, and combat ready. There were several surveillance drones now drifting in various parts of the system, mostly within orbit of the planet, providing a very thorough and detailed map of the area. And comms had quickly been reestablished with the Citadel and three Council homeworlds. Still, how does one prepare for something like this?
As the Commander of this potential combat theater, his first task was a threat assessment. This 'welcoming committee', if one could call it that, consisted of eleven combat vessels, as well as that massive…thing, now designated as U-0. Fealix briefly wondered if it was by pure incident that the number of ships these aliens arrived with consisted of the same number of vessels of his own patrol fleet, before rebuking himself. Of course it wasn't. Fealix was never one to believe in coincidences. If these people were smart, they would have planned every moment of this meeting down to the last microscopic detail, using both subtle and in-subtle cues to impress upon him the image that they desired. The fact that said image was wrought was such excessive size and firepower was disconcerting. The message was clear. We're bigger than you. We can harm you if we wish.
The ships themselves were drifting roughly 250,000 kilometers from his position, not too close to raise serious alarms but close enough to cause discomfort. Fealix assumed that the ships all had their shields raised, but couldn't verify this since these people didn't use element zero, and therefore didn't have standard kinetic barriers. His ships were picking up plenty of energy signatures and other sensor data, data that was constantly being transferred to the Citadel and three major homeworlds, but still no eezo. How they could keep all that mass from flying apart without a speck of eezo was beyond him. While his sensor analysts were gleaning every available scrap of data, his combat tacticians revealed to him that the alien vessels didn't appear to be readying weapons, nor were their main cannons oriented towards any of his ships; a small relief, though not enough to enlighten his spirits. Facing another U-1 leviathan ship - 28 times his size and still intact - was one thing, and it was as every bit as intimidating as he feared. But even that was insignificant compared to the hulking citadel-sized mass that all other ships surrounded.
Fifty Kilometers? That's insane.
"I don't know Sir" was Tritus' solemn reply. "The only other construct of comparable size is the Citadel, and it requires massive element zero capacitors and mass effect fields to keep the ward arms from flying apart."
"General?" one of Fealix's analysts spoke up. "This is interesting. The human ships are mostly made up of titanium alloys, and the ships we marked as belonging to the unidentified faction are made of that same unknown material in the debris field. But the material of the U-0 construct is identifiable. It's the same resilient material as the Citadel and Mass Relays."
Now that was interesting. In the thousands of years of space travel, the super-resilient material of the Citadel and Mass Relays had always remained a mystery. They knew that the high grade metal was not made of any natural element or combination of elements that could be created by traditional means. It was instead created by super condensing an element, theorized to be Carbon, on an atomic level, rearranging the molecules in a hexangular-shape that was resistant to all but the most devastating of impacts. It wasn't indestructible - nothing in the universe was. But it was the hardest material known in the galaxy, and try as they might, the council races had failed to reproduce it.
And now that he thought about it, that thing did bear some resemblance to the Citadel, in more than just its size. The fact that it was made of the same material, the only other object besides to the Mass Relays, was one thing, but it also shared the same general shape. Elongated and cylindrical with the command center clearly at its stern, it looked remarkably similar to the Citadel when it had its ward arms closed. Very curious. "I want every last detail transmitted back to the Citadel. And we stay in constant contact at all times. If this turns sour, I want them to know exactly what happened so they can prepare. And I want more information; defenses, weaponry, possible shield and armor strength, probable firing solutions and ship maneuvers. We need more details."
His officers complied, scouring over their consoles and filtering raw data into useful Intel, all of which was simultaneously being relayed through the comm buoy to expert analysts thousands of light-years away. "Not quite the welcome I was expecting" Tritus murmured to Fealix, earning a snort in return. "I mean, all this excessive force? In a First Contact protocol? What kind of people does that?"
Fealix thought for a moment, and then remembered the destruction around him; the destroyed debris field, orbital bombardments, a devastated bio-wrecked planet. "A paranoid kind. Whatever happened here must have made these people distrustful of others."
"Sir" his comms officer said. "We have in incoming message originating from the U-0 construct. It's a vid animation. Playing it now."
The vid was displayed on the CIC, and for a moment Fealix thought it was the same vid as before, but realized this was a bit different. Like the previous one, it consisted of an animation of two small shuttle crafts meeting together. Except this time it displayed a specific marker for the exact location in space, and both shuttles had colored dots overlaid on them; their side red and his' blue. A larger difference, Fealix saw with both fascination and unease, was that that marker point clearly was not the meeting point, but merely the pick-up point. Once both shuttle came together, the blue dot overlaid on his side moved to rest by the red dot on the alien shuttle, which then made its way to the U-0 construct. Clearly the aliens wanted to bring his people to their ship for further contact.
It was smart, he admitted, though he didn't the least bit like the idea. Symbolically it would be as if he was meeting them at their request - that they had complete control over the events and proceedings, as well as the security and safety of his diplomatic team. In unfamiliar territory and forced to accept whatever hospitality these people offered, he would be seen as a 'guest', rather than an equal. And he had no doubt they would attempt to make his visit as grand and memorable as possible, as to display their power and prestige. In short, it put them in a position of power over the Council. Fealix almost smiled at that. It was the same thing the Council did when meeting new species - parading their diplomats around the Citadel for days before official negotiations started. Clever little pyjacks.
"Orders General?" Tritus asked after the vid ended.
"Prepare one of our shuttles in the hanger deck. Contact Seloria and tell Captain Alenna and her team to prepare for the meeting. I'll bring the shuttle to dock with her ship and then we'll head towards the pick-up point."
"Yes Sir. What about the surveillance gear from the STG?"
Fealix nodded. "I'll initiate the systems into out suits once I'm onboard the Seloria." When additional Council forces arrived in the system after the failed Geth attack, the Council thought it wise to bring some of the most advanced recording devices for any meeting that might occur with the aliens. Although most were just video and sound recorders nearly impossible to detect, there were some that had limited infrared and thermal sensors, as well as signal receivers. They would fit seamlessly into the team's suits and clothing, undetectable and out of sight. "Tritus, you are to assume command once I leave the ship."
"Yes Sir, and good luck."
Fealix nodded, and then made his way to the hangar deck.
"…Your actions might result in something good, which means you might not get court-martialed or even executed" Admiral Hackett said with cold bluntness.
Captain Miles felt small and insignificant under the Admiral's stern, icy-blue stare. Even through a holo-projector, it was a bit intimidating. "Sir, I make no excuses and take full responsibility for my actions. I did what I thought was best at the time."
"You don't have to explain yourself to me son. I know why you acted and your reasoning behind it. Hell, ONI probably would have something similar, though with plenty of contingencies. Fact is, your actions, as rash as they were, may actually pan out for the better." The Admiral quickly read something on his datapad before continuing. "More importantly though, you're in a position of trust. They owe you their live and they know it."
"I understand Sir. But are you sure my ship is best suited from bringing them to dock with Sol. My crew and I are hardly in a position to play diplomats."
"Son, like it or not, you've made yourself the official liaison between these aliens and the UNSC. That means that, for now, you're valuable. Consider this a chance to keep your career intact" Hackett said earnestly.
"I'll be honest with you; there are powerful people in the UNSC, UEG, and ONI who think your actions deserve nothing but a life-long prison sentence. But they also realize how precarious this situation is. They need you. Let that be your saving grace." Hackett could see the nervousness seep through the Captain despite his best efforts to hide it. "Don't worry Captain, I'll keep the wolves off your back. If everything goes smoothly you'll have nothing to worry about."
Miles thought hard for a moment, before replying. "Sir, as I've said before, I'll take responsibility for whatever results of this. But I have to ask, what do you think of my actions?"
The Admiral didn't hesitate. "I've been in enough engagements in my lifetime to know that decisions on the battlefield must be quick and decisive. You were there; I trust your judgment."
"I…thank you Sir" Miles replied. He re-examined the data-pad he was holding. "I'll take my ship in position now. The crew has cleared the hangar and any sensitive technology has been moved to secure rooms. Atmospheric conditions shouldn't be an issue. Based on the data package sent by the aliens, we assume that most breathe our same atmosphere. And those that don't have pressurized suits like the Unggoy. I'm still not sure what to say to them once they arrive. We don't even know how to communicate with them."
"Like I said, ONI has contingency plans for everything. Your ship's manifest says you have a Huragok onboard?"
Miles nodded. "Yes. Heavier-than-Others. Crew goes by calling him Hev" he replied, not sure where the Admiral was going with this.
"The Huragok are excellent at deciphering languages. Hell, it was a Huragok that deciphered the major human languages in mere minutes for the Covenant. The aliens are bound to have some kind of computer tech with them when they arrive, either on their persons or on their shuttle. Try to convince them to allow Heavier-than-Others into one of their systems." Hackett leaned forward, as to stress a point. "But again, use your best judgment. If the aliens are unwilling to allow this then don't push it. Remember, we want to appear powerful but friendly. Your primary objective is simply to ferry them to us. We'll handle the rest."
"Understood Admiral" Miles replied.
"Don't screw this up." The holo-projector vanished, leaving Miles alone in the comms room.
"So, you think you're up to it, diplomat?"
Well maybe not alone. When an AI is onboard, you're never truly alone. "I suppose it would be too much to ask for privacy, Athena."
"I'm just watching your back Captain. It seems that our little rescue has created quite a few enemies." She moved her voice tonal to a softer pitch. "Are you okay?"
"Is everything ready?" Miles asked, ignoring the question.
"Yes, we're approaching the designated pick-up point. Now all we have to do is wait."
Miles nodded. "Have the entire crew meet me in the hangar deck. I want you to pilot the ship while the meeting is taking place. Is Hev informed of the situation?"
"Now he is" Athena replied as she transmitted all of the data to the Huragok's pad he was currently holding in the engine room. From the camera in the engine room she could see that Hev received the data, placed a tentacle in the haptic controls, and 'absorbed' the electrical data through his microscopic cilia. It took the biological super-computer no more than a fraction of a second to absorb and understand the data. He stopped what he was doing and headed for the Hangar deck, no doubt eager for the chance to put his tentacles on new alien technology.
Athena's many cameras picked up Miles' subtle body clues. Her thermal sensors showed an increase in body temperature by half a degree. His respiration intake quickened and his perspiration increased. Miles was nervous. "Lighten up Captain. It's not every day you meet a new galactic civilization."
"It's not every day you put your career in jeopardy either" he responded wryly.
"At least you'll have a chance to board the Light of Sol."
"Hmm, you think they'll have decent coffee onboard?"
"The ship has its own agricultural production facility. I wouldn't be surprised if they grew their own coffee beans."
For the first time all day the Captain showed a hint of a smile. "Maybe this was worth it after all."
"Do you know how lucky you are?" The Quarian grabbed Liara's shoulders. "You'll be boarding the biggest ship in the galaxy! I would kill to be in your position."
"Tali, I'm glad you're excited for me, but…I can't put on my suit with you shaking me like this."
"Oh, sorry." She let go. "I'm just…you have to understand, ships are everything to me. I want to see their design layouts, command decks, and engine rooms. I have so many questions to ask them."
"Right now I'm just hoping I don't do something stupid or embarrassing" Liara said as she snapped her helmet on. She didn't expect to wear it much during the meeting. But until they verified that their ships atmosphere was suitable they had to wear the clear-visored helmets.
General Fealix yelled across Seloria's hangar. "Mordin, Alenna, Liara! We'll be heading out soon. Come aboard the shuttle as soon as your suits are secured. You too Arterius."
Liara saw Tali almost cringe at his name. She frowned. "Here's hoping he doesn't do something stupid either."
"Don't worry, everything will be fine" Tali tried to reassure Liara. "So, are you going to…you know?"
Liara raised a brow. "Do what?"
Tali whispered. "You know, mindmeld."
Liara instantly blushed. "Goddess no! I'm not prepared for that. Tali, you're not doing a very good job of calming me."
Liara sighed. "Captain Alenna will have the honors." She gave Tali a reassuring smile. "And yes, I'll have Alenna ask about the engines."
"It's time to go!" Fealix yelled out again. Mordin and Saren were already in the shuttle, and Alenna was standing next to the General.
"Alright, I have to go."
Tali nodded. "Good luck Liara"
Liara joined the rest of the diplomatic team on the shuttle. The alien ship was already at the pick-up point waiting for their arrival - the same one that destroyed the Geth ships. After what seemed like an eternity to the past few very long days, it would be nice to finally meet these people in person. Liara couldn't help but smile at the prospect during the shuttle ride there.
AN: I know, I know. I'm delaying the meeting by a chapter. Don't murder me!
If any of you are interested, I've put together a simple chart showing the ship sizes (all in appropriate scale). *Update* The link to the chart is on my author's page.