This is my first go at a fanfic, or any story of this type, so please bear with me. Constructive criticism welcome, any suggestions as well.

UPDATE 28/09/2012: Based on reviews, I am going to dial back Homeworld Command's power and provide more detail. Also on the appearance of naivety of the humans, I'll try and fix that as well.

Mass Effect timeline: The Mass Effect timeline will remain the same as in the original game. (might make a few tweaks, such as having the Salarian and Turian councillor that is in the game alive a 150 years earlier, just for namesake. If anyone wants me to out a Mass Effect timeline up, just ask)

Stargate timeline:
2009: Event's of Enemy at the Gate takes place. With Atlantis now on Earth, priority is now placed on analysing entire database and developing the technology found. This leads to major breakthroughs, such as faster hyperdrives, improved shielding, viable method of constructing drones used in the Ancient weapon platforms.

2011: Lucian Alliance is defeated. Stargate is removed from Lucia and satellites placed in orbit to monitor situation to prevent repeat of the costly guerrilla war that they had carried out against the Tau'ri.

2012: Using newly gained technology, and with relative stability in the Milky Way, the Tau'ri build several bases outside Earth's solar system. The reason for these bases is to build up Earth's forces before disclosure, but without having to put strain on Earth's resources.

2020: Policy of outsourcing resources for military has had impressive results. Several new class of ships have been developed along with a large increase of fleet strength, thanks in part also to using Asgard matter conversion technology on an industrial scale.
Tau'ri fleet now stands at: 2 Atlantis class city ship.
40 BC304's 200-300 metres long
15 BC305's 750 metres long
3 BC306's (twice the size of Aurora ships)
4 Alteran Aurora class ships. 3km
40 Altered Ha'Taks (captured from Lucian Alliance)

2021. A previously encrypted gate address is finally accessed. This turns out be another 8 chevron address, this one leading to the Andromeda galaxy. Although an expedition is approved, fearing a repeat of first contact with the Wraith, a fleet is made available to the expedition, which departs for the system once a foothold is secured. The Ancient "outpost" turns out to be, nothing short of a fortress. The planet had been developed also in the same fear of the Wraith, with multiple satellite weapons, shipyards, automated mining systems and battle ready Aurora class warships, along with a planetary cloaking system that also covered the orbital defence grid. It is assumed that the Ancients based here either ascended or died out due to the plague.

Admiral Harridan stared out the viewport of the Shadow Knight, watching the fleet move into a defensive formation around the planet. Most thought he was being overly cautious, considering the extent of the Ancient defences that had been left behind, but Harridan hadn't been put in charge of the fleet to take chances.

"What's the status of the defence grid?" Harridan asked.

"All orbital satellites are manned and awaiting orders, 4 Aurora cruisers are joining the fleet now, but we don't have the personnel to launch anymore, not without repurposing crew from other ships sir!" a nervous ensign answered.

"Hmmm, it will have to do. Get me the Captain of the Liberty." ordered Harridan. Almost immediately the connection was established.

"Admiral, to what do I owe the pleasure?" Captain Lehmon asked.

"Captain, I want your battle group to do a sweep of the local cluster, see what you can find. Oh and check up on sector 5, long range sensors are getting some strange readings, and to be quite honest I'm getting sick of a certain breathing down my neck on the bridge." Harridan replied.

"Of course Admiral, right away. If you wish, we can take the scientist with us, as long as they don't mind waiting in the brig of course till we get there. I like a nice clean command deck myself." Lehmon replied with his usual casual tone.

"Never a big one on formality or making friends, were you Lehmon? I think I'll take you up on that offer, will be over shortly."

"You can read me like a book sir, Lehmon out," and the transmission ended.

Chuckling to himself, Harridan walked over to a man who seemed to having a fit. If it were not for having to put up with him for several days in hyperspace, Harridan would have sent for medical team. Now that he knew Dr. Arkavel, he would have sent for a straightjacket, but having only found out about the Stargate program two weeks ago, that tends to keep anyone on a high mood for a while.

"Dr. Arkavel, I'm sending you over to the Liberty" Harridan statin, bracing himself for the coming onslaught.

"What?! Admrial with all due respect, all my equipment and research is here, and your ship is equipped with the best of the best. The Liberty doesn't even have a proper lab!" spluttered Arkavel.

"That may be, but this ship is staying here, and the Liberty is going to take a closer look at what we're picking up in sector 5. Since you're our resident expert, I thought you were the best choice." Harridan stated calmly.

"Sector 5? That's the gravitational fluctuations… I suppose I could take a closer look." Arkavel replied grinning broadly, but just as quickly it turned into a frown.

"You wouldn't send a ship out to get some readings so soon Admiral, what's the catch?" Arkavel asked.

"The Liberty, along with its battlegroup, is going on patrol in the local sectors. All you have to do is put up with it until they get to sector 5. It's either that or wait a few days until we can clear a science ship to investigate. Your call Doctor."

"Hmph, I guess I've no choice, some data from the sensors is better than none," Arkavel stated begrudgingly.

"Perfect! Lieutenant, beam the good Doctor over." Harridan ordered.

"Wait wh!" as the transporter cut him off and Arkavel was gone in a flash. Sighing, Harridan watched as the Liberty, Leshinik, Illustrious and the Dia Duit entered hyperspace.

"Now somebody put me through to whoever is in charge of taking that blasted planetary cloak offline!" Harridan shouted at his crew.

Onboard the crusier Altakiril's Fist, Admiral Vegrull Uril stood at the CIC grumbling to himself.

"How could the Hierarchy put me on relay patrol?! Just because it's an independent colony, doesn't mean I can ignore a plea for help!"

"Admiral sir!" came a frantic voice from the bridge.

"Damm slavers, now look what I've to put up with" Uril thought to himself. "What is it private?"

"Sir, I'm detecting a distress signal from a vessel in orbit just outside the relay's range and I…" the Private drifted off.

"Spit it out Private!"

"I uh, the relay sir, it's active!" Answered the Private, who clearly didn't believe what he was saying.

"What! Helm, signal the rest of the patrol to jump to the relay and dispatch a message to the nearest Citadel warships, code 5, be advised possible condition Delta!" Uril barked.

The entire bridge froze. Condition Delta hadn't been declared since the Rachni Wars.

"Sir, surely that's an over-reaction?" XO Captain Ruso Tyzuris asked.

"Captain, we have an active relay which is already in violation of Citadel law, and we have a ship transmitting a distress signal, and I honestly doubt they shot themselves! Which part am I over-reacting to?" Uril said threateningly.

"I.. Of course sir, you absolutely right!" Ruso replied.

"Good, now get us to that relay!" Uril barked.

What felt like hours later to Uril, but in reality was about 30 seconds, the patrol arrived at the relay. Heavily damaged didn't even describe the ship, it was barely holding together, in most places by a few beams, and Uril could have sworn some fibre cable was holding the airlock in place.

"Barriers up and I want the patrol in a blockade formation now! Anything that comes through that relay, I want it within every ship's weapon range." Uril ordered. "Give me a status report"

"Sir it's a merchant vessal, IFF and SOS transmission states it's an Elkoss Combine vessel." Reported an ensign.

"When will the Terminus systems learn not to do everything the Citadel says not to. Open a channel" said Uril.

"Unable to establish a line sir, but we are in range for radio, transmitting now."

"This is Admiral Vegrull Uril of the Altakiril's Fist, can you please tell me what the hell happened here!"

"Thank the Goddess! My name is Kormia Caron. Please we need help, the ship is venting atmosphere, and we're stuck in the escape pods." Kormia replied.

"Caron, give me one damm reason why I should help you? Not only have you opened a relay which is illegal in Citadel space, but by the looks of your ship, have attracted the attention of a volatile species!" Uril roared.

"No, no, you're mistaken! The captain is dead, killed by pirates. We were in the sector when they jumped us, our FTL drive was damaged in the first hit, according to our engineers, so all we could manage was to make a relay jump. However , just as the relay came online our ship was crippled, but the pirates scattered after, they probably guessed you would show up soon. Please, you have to believe me!" Kormia pleaded.

Uril could practically hear the Asari crying on the other end.
"Sir, reinforcements have arrived"

"How many?" Uril asked.

"3 frigates and a cruiser." Ruso answered.

"Does anybody even know what a code 5 is anymore! How do they expect me to hold a relay with that?" Uril wondered. "Anymore en route?" Uril asked to nobody in particular.

"We received a burst transmission saying an outer Citadel fleet unit is being diverted, it should be here any, I mean it's here sir!"

"Finally somebody takes action, what have we got?"

"2 dreadnoughts along with their escorts, which brings the total fleet to 15 frigates, 7 crusiers and 2 dreadnoughts." Ruso summarized.

"SIR! THE RELAY IS ACTIVATING!" a private roared from the front of the ship.

"WHAT! I thought I ordered our ships into a blockade formation!" Uril barked.

"It's being activated from the other side sir."

For the second time, twice too many in Uril's opinion, everyone on the bridge froze. Nobody had gone through according to the Elkoss Combine vessel, so it could only mean…

"Hail all the ships, be ready for anything." Uril ordered.

Everyone ran about their business, but everyone was also sneaking glances out the observation window. Finally a ship came through the relay, however to general surprise it just drifted, almost like an animal being stunned. Uril laughed to himself, this ship, it was barely larger than a frigate, and he had not only more ships under his command, but more powerful too.

"Still," Uril thought, "First contact is first contact." Gathering himself Uril shouted,

"Well? What are you all gawking at?! Get me the Feridae, they should have the personnel onboard to deal with protocol. Dispatch shuttles to that Elkoss Combine vessel, place the entire crew into custody."

On board the Liberty, the crew was in chaos, none more than and Captain Lehmon.

"Well Doctor! You wanted a closer view of the artefact, now we've no idea where the hell we are! Plus staring down the barrels of 24 warships isn't exactly how I planned my day!" Lehmon roared.

"Oh yes blame me! I'm always the cause of the problem, never the solution!" Arkavel retorted.

"Remind me why the Shadow Knight was stuck at half speed in hyperspace for 3 hours again?" Lehmon asked

"Never mind" Arkavel muttered.

"Alright. Lieutenant see if you can hail any of our ships, requesting reinforcements, contact has been made, possible hostiles, strength at 24 warships and we've no idea of their ships capabilities, but they're attacking what appears to be a civilian ship considering they have no cannons sticking off the front of their ship and have taken a beating, please advise." Lehmon ordered.

"Yes sir, the Dia Duit is in range, it has a hyperspace burst receiver. They're en route, and command is also sending the Moskova, twelve 304's and 2 Aurora cruisers. Ummm Admrial Harridan says that if you scratch the paintjob he'll kill you personally." Lieutenant Griffith said perplexed.

"Oh Harridan, you always knew how to keep the situation in check" Lehmon said to himself. "What about the civilian ship?"

"Since we've picked up what can only be an SOS, we are cleared to engage, but the Admiral says it is up to you." Lieutenant Griffith replied.
Harridan gazed around the bridge, knowing that his next words could easily cost hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

"Lieutenant, raise shields, and get me a targeting solution on the nearest ship, also target those boarding craft with the point defence grid, let's show these fella's why we're the Fifth race!" Lehmon ordered.