The Thorian knew from the beginning it was the Cold Ones' sole purpose to control the growth of the organic species, to ensure they did not destroy themselves with their foolish creations. It had learned early on in its existence that this would be necessary and had set in motion the cycles, creating its own self-limiting mechanism that would watch from the outside as it watched from the inside.

More than a billion years ago, those who scurry had come within a hair's breadth of destroying everything in their arrogance to become creators. Only one species had prevailed, so the Old Growth had established symbiosis with them and commanded them to build the first army of Cold Ones out of the wreckage of their civilization; to program this army's sole function, and to send it away to wait.

The Old Growth had commanded them to build the means for the army to return when it would finally be necessary for it to fulfill its purpose of maintaining balance. It had commanded these small symbiotes to remain as Keepers of this network and had rendered them incapable of any more detailed tasks aside from maintaining the network and watching for the advent of each cycle.

As they were wont to do, more scurrying creatures eventually dragged themselves out of the muck and began anew, and the cycles had begun as it had predicted not long after.

The cycles had continued for millions of years, but only a brief span by the Old Growth's standards. But now it seemed something had finally shifted among those who scurry. They were behaving differently, they were banding together as never before, and were learning to co-exist with the machines they had created. The cycle could finally end, and none too soon.

This cycle had seen the Cold Ones' armies grow so widespread that the Old Growth feared it had finally brought the reaping upon itself. For while the Cold Ones' destruction was focused, they left only desolation behind, destroying civilizations and salting the earth behind them, which made its own reach shorter each time. It would still take another million years of cycles to severely affect it, but it wished to witness this new path the flesh creatures called "Humans" made possible, through the one they knew as Shepard.

It could always begin the cycles again if it became necessary.

A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read and enjoyed this story since I completed it. If you've gotten this far, keep an eye out in the coming months for one more short installment that will connect this story more closely with my other one: Second Skin. If you enjoyed the character Mason Black, I'm rewriting his story "Second Skin" as a contemporary romance series, the first installment of which should be published at the beginning of 2014. Please take a look at my profile for a link to my website and author blog where I will be posting updates on the publishing progress. Also, when I say "publishing" I mean as in bona-fide print published with a cover and everything. It will not be a fan fiction, but my own original writing from start to finish (though it may include an easter egg or two). So no Mass Effect references, no space ships, only a tattooed bad-boy and the women who love him.

In between, take a look at some fun dragon erotica shorts I've been writing here: opheliabell dot com