Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect or its characters. These belong to Bioware and EA.
AN: This story will explore the life of a mostly ignored character in the Mass Effect Community, Councilor Tevos. There is a lot of potential for Tevos in fanfiction, but unfortunately it seems she has been overlooked and forgotten. In this story I hope to give her a descent back story, more characterization, and explore what motivates her and her decisions. Make no mistake, she is an extremely important character in the ME universe, and it is my opinion that without her insistence, Shepard would never have become a Spectre (at least not as quickly). We will start long before Tevos is ever Councilor, though most of the story will take place in more modern times (2150's - current). Again, thanks for reading and I will be looking forward to your feedback.
Esan, Farthar System, [sic; translate] 1913
She was nervous. She was actually nervous. Strong, defiant, bold, rebellious Cecillia Tevos - Nervous.
Quelling her subconscious behavior to bite her lower lip when anxious, she addressed the Salarian Skycab driver. "How much longer?"
The well dressed Salarian smiled tentatively, though he did not turn back to look at Cecillia when he spoke. "We're entering the outskirts of the Capital now, Madam Tevos" he answered in a professional, if not brisk tone. "We'll be arriving in the Thera-Tevos Estate in approximately ten minutes."
Cecillia nodded as she gazed out of the skycab window, once again trying to prepare herself for the upcoming excitement - and dread - that awaited her. The Capital of Esan, Thereba, steadily grew larger as they approached, and for a brief moment Cecillia was taken aback by how much the colony had changed since her last visit nearly two centuries ago. The independent Asari colony, founded just 150 years prior, had undergone extensive economic development, and many believed it would soon become the next Illium of the Terminus. Seeing how much growth the Capital has undertaken, it was easy to see why. The last she remembered, Thereba was but a small, newly established community; an indistinguishable colony on an indistinguishable world. That had changed.
When Cecillia left her mother and sister on Esan to travel the galaxy, the largest structure on the then newly acquired planet was the seven-story City Assembly, surrounded by hastily built structures and Asari-made prefabs. Now, a seemingly insurmountable number of towers pierced through the Esan skyline, as if fighting for supremacy of height. The circumference of the city must have increased a dozen-fold, so much so that the Tevos family estate, which was once located near the outskirts, now rested closer to the center of the Capital due to the city expanding outward overtime. Heavy traffic could be seen weaving through the buildings as vehicles large and small, from private sky cars to deep space cargo vessels, methodically moved from one place to another. The entire Capital seemed to be bursting with activity; it didn't look much different from a major city on Thessia.
Cecillia tore her eyes from the city view, once again reminiscing over the events that brought her back to Esan. Her mother, Matriarch Therrisa Tevos, was integral in the acquisition and establishment of Esan for the Asari, and for good reason. Esan was a harsh world, but plentiful in resources. So plentiful in fact, that the Thessian Council was willing to overlook the fact that the planet was located perilously close to the De facto capital of the Terminus Systems - Omega. Simple economic opportunity outweighed the political instability of the region as Thessia increasingly looked to worlds on the edge of the Terminus to help fuel the seventh expansion wave. This made Esan a prime target for development. The planet's highest export was in rare and heavy metals, and it just so happened that Matriarch Therissa had built her considerable fortune upon the refining and selling of these raw metals. Because of this, Cecillia's mother had quite a bit of influence on Thessian politics - not an unexpected occurrence given that the Tevos Refinery Corporation was a major catalyst for continued Asari expansion. And Cecillia, as the eldest sibling, was to follow in her mother's footsteps, as was expected of her in Asari society. Indeed, all through her life Cecillia had been trained in the necessary skills, economic and political, needed to run a corporate empire.
But she wanted more than the determined path laid before her all her life. Always the more rebellious of the two siblings, Cecillia wanted to live her own life the way she wanted. And so after two and a half centuries of uninspired corporate positions in her mother's business, strenuous economic, political, and societal studies in top universities on Thessia, and endless coaching, lecturing, and training on the political discourse of Council and Thessian law, Cecillia had had enough. After suppressing her biological Maiden tendencies to explore and experience for well over a century, she finally decided to drop everything she had and find her own way in life, leaving behind her mother and sister to explore the greater galaxy outside Asari space. Her mother, though frustrated, had shown leniency, casting it off as rebellious youth. Her younger sister, Talia, had begged her to stay. Just 86 years old at the time, Talia was little more than a child by Asari standards, and leaving her was the hardest thing Cecillia ever had to do.
But leave she did. During the past two centuries, Cecillia had travelled the galaxy, from Council space to the Terminus systems, from the Citadel to Omega. While wandering, she occasionally stayed in one place for a few decades before packing up again. She had several times fallen in love, or at least thought she had. Her romances always ended the same, heartbreak and bitterness; so many failures prompted her to cast aside love for later years. Naturally gifted in the art of biotics, she had joined several mercenary groups, though never for long. Although less virtuous than her younger sister Talia, Cecillia could not condone the kind of actions that mercenary groups regularly took part in. She had discovered very quickly that the entire mercenary mantra - being hired to protect clients from danger - was all but a farce. Masquerading as 'legitimate private security', they were in fact the leading partakers in galaxy-wide organized crime. Drug trafficking, hit-and-run raids, theft, illegal weapons trade, bought off politicians, and so on. But while she found each one of these things reprehensible, the most sickening aspect, the one that caused Cecillia to quit mercenaries for good, was that of slavery. To Cecillia, and indeed to most Asari, slavery was nothing short of an abomination, a disgusting practice that went against everything that Asari were taught to believe.
So she left mercenary life, and put her considerable combat abilities to better use by joining the planetary police force of Illium. It was there, in the Capital Nos Astros, that Cecillia had spent the majority of her time during her travels. For over one hundred years Illium was her home, and to her own right she had acquired quite a bit of fortune in the Nos Astros Stock Exchange. Although she hated to admit it, her mother's excruciating demand for intellectual excellence and understanding on a fundamental level had served her well. And so there Cecillia lived, rather content, until just a few weeks ago, when she received a surprising message from her mother. It was an invitation, asking her to celebrate her 500th birth year Entera - the Asari celebration of one reaching mid-life - with her family on Esan, as well as an offering of Secondary Head Manager of the entire Tevos Industries - a position second only to her mother.
It was a tempting offer.
Apparently, her mother's long time friend and prior occupant, Matriarch Erses, had unfortunately passed away. For whatever reason, her mother was willing to extend this trusted position to Cecillia, instead of one of her more experienced followers and advisors. And Cecillia had to admit, she rather liked the idea. Those restless Maiden urges were no longer pushing her to move, feel, and experience. Now in the prime of her Matron stage, settling down in an executive position while influencing policies with galaxy-wide implications seemed extremely enticing. An oddity, considering this was what propelled her to seek a new life in the first place. Cecillia smiled at that. Sometimes life was perplexing.
But there was more to her considerations than simple biological impulses. She originally set out to explore, discover, and prove herself, and in many ways she did. Leaving everything behind, she had carved out a respectable title as one of Illium's foremost police chiefs, and had accumulated enough wealth to at least last to her Matriarch years. And she did this on her own accord. In fact, Cecillia often contemplated if it was this ability to thrive that prompted her mother to offer the position. Or perhaps Matriarch Therrisa was just growing old and wanted her family close, a comforting thought, though Cecillia had learned not to wallow in such naivety.
In truth, having accomplished what she set out to do, Cecillia simply wanted to be with her family again. Save for a few brief visits, she had been separated from them for nearly two centuries. The last time she saw her sister was during a short two day visit to Thessia 80 years ago, and her mother on the Citadel 120 years ago. Even in Asari terms, that was a long time. And although she had carved out a successful life abroad, she never truly felt happy. Her 'friends' were more along the lines of acquaintances, and after constant failures, she had slowly come to accept the painful realization that finding love was simply not her forte. Indeed, at times her loneliness felt unbearable. So after much contemplation, she returned the message, agreeing to celebrate her Entera on Esan while still claiming to be undecided concerning her mother's generous offer.
Cecillia exhaled deeply. After two centuries, she was finally coming home.
"We must assure that everything will be ready in time Balsik. There can be no mistakes."
Balsik sighed, his irritants apparent in both eye sets. He currently resided in one of many of the Hegemony's safe houses spread throughout Thereba - this one an unassuming apartment building in the lower slums, where a Batarian could easily blend among the other impoverished non-Asari. As with other safe houses, this one had the necessary equipment for secure communications among others within the Hegemony network - communications he was currently using to give yet another status update. Balsik, a normally calm, logical thinking man, was beginning to get annoyed at the State Security Commission's (SSC) ubiquitous intrusion at every moment within the past few months. It was to be expected of course; the Hegemony had been planning for the upcoming days for nearly a decade. And Balsik, one of the SSC's top agents, had remained on Esan for over two years, ensuring that the stage was set, and the pieces in place, for the grand moment. The stakes were high, and everything had to go according to plan for the operation to succeed.
So Balsik fully understood the Security Commission's extreme precaution, but that didn't mean he enjoyed giving monotonous debriefings to some SSC underling half his age with only a tenth of his experience. He addressed the agent on the secure channel. "Do you think me an amateur Selkiv? I have never failed the Hegemony before. Why do you think I would fail now?"
Selkiv, the current agent assigned to communicate and collect data from the Shaksu team, made no effort to hide his displeasure as well. "Why do you insist on making this personal Balsik? We both know how important this operation is to the Hegemony. Success is paramount; anything less would have vast consequences."
Irritated, but realizing there was no point in arguing further, Balsik continued with the debriefing. "As was the case yesterday, today, and will be tomorrow when you ask me again, yes, the Eclipse and Blood Pack mercenary groups are ready to strike on our command. Agent Devka has assured their loyalty through means of monetary payment and increased weapons trade. With both groups working together, as well as Batarian agents providing support, Thereba's police force will be unable to resist. As we speak, Eclipse and Blood Pack soldiers are gearing up for the offensive using top of the line military equipment provided by the Hegemony. The local police should be no match; they are trained to stop riots, not a military invasion."
"There are a lot of police officers on Esan Balsik" Selkiv scornfully reminded him. "Even the most well equipped soldiers wouldn't be able to overcome such a numerical disadvantage. Are you so sure that this 'distraction' you speak of will work?"
"You have never been to Esan" Balsik responded accusingly. "The Asari place themselves in high places, reaping the benefits of the planet's wealth while everyone else wallows in poverty. The sentiment among the general population is increasingly working in our favor. The percentage of those who view the exclusive Asari government as an enemy has exploded, thanks in no small part to our subterfuge propaganda campaign. Additionally the Asari no longer represent the majority of the population, in fact they now hardly represent a third. And with a strong immigration push by the Hegemony, Batarian's are now the second highest in number.
The number of anti-government riots and protests has increased dramatically in the past few years too, many of them instigated by our team. And the next one will be no different. Through our various contact with popular leaders among the non-Asari, we have managed to orchestrate a city wide protest set to begin two days from now. During this time, the Thereba police will have their hands full with 50,000 angry citizens protesting against the government."
"This is when we'll strike?" Selkiv asked.
"Yes. The police force will be caught off guard, too busy managing the protests while we take action. Before they realize what is happening, it'll already be too late to respond. We will have control, and the majority of Esan's citizenry will welcome it."
"Are you so sure? Taking control is only the first step. We must maintain control."
"Yes" Balsik said, his irritation returning. "Two thirds of the population is non-Asari. Anti-Asari sentiment is at its greatest height. They will welcome our control." He left no room for debate.
Selkiv looked thoughtful for a few seconds before responding. "Well, assuming the ground operation goes accordingly, that just leaves the planetary orbital patrol."
Balsik aloud a rare smile to cross his face. "That should be the least of our problems. The planet's patrol force is relatively weak, consisting of a single Cruiser and eight Frigates. Esan's fleet is used to dealing with pirates, not warfare. They'll be easy targets for our much larger, more experienced patrol fleet awaiting orders to strike. Once we establish orbital supremacy, we can then start inserting Hegemony soldiers onto the planet, solidifying our control of the independent Terminus world. Esan will be ours, and with it all its wealth."
"If everything goes to plan" Selkiv said.
"You worry too much" Balsik said while leaning back into his chair. "Sometimes you have to take risks. With agents like you we would never get anything done."
Instead of an angry response, Selkiv only smiled, much too Basic's surprise. "No Balsik, it is not I who should worry. Need I remind you who will be blamed if this operation fails?" Basic's discomfort became apparent as Selkiv continued. "Not only will you lose your job, you'll lose your head."
"That's not going to happen" Balsik said darkly.
"For your sake I hope not. I will require another update tomorrow." And with that, the communication ended.
Balsik wanted to curse the other agent, but he knew that what was said was true. If this operation failed, he would be black-listed. If he returned to Batarian space he'd be executed, his only hope of survival would be a sad existence on Omega. The thought put a bitter taste in his mouth. He shook his head. It didn't matter; he had planned this for years. He wasn't going to fail.
The skycab touched down in the front courtyard of the Tevos Estate. The courtyard was a wide open expanse, made up of smooth white stone surrounded by lush gardens and carefully trimmed trees. To the left of the compound was an artificial pond, accompanied with many exotic fish from across the galaxy. Directly across the pond stood the many tall Ancrea trees, forming a cool shading canopy that blocked out Esan's intense sun, now just beginning to set. The main residence, designed by the famous Asari architect Calpri Sestors, was nothing short of a work of art, its gracefully curved architecture beautifully assenting the surrounding nature. Walls encompassing the Estate, each six meters high with native Asari Shubil trees equidistantly lining the perimeter, provided much needed privacy from the busy city beyond. It was a little slice of nature resting in the center of the otherwise industrialized and restless capital.
But Cecillia paid no attention to this, her sight drawn to the two figures standing but a few meters from the skycab. Her little sister, Talia, had her hands grasped together over her heart, a look of joy and anticipation upon her face. Her mother, Therrisa, stood with her hands clasped behind her back, as graceful and beautiful as ever. A tear rolled down Cecillia's cheek as a soft smile crossed her lips.
As soon as she opened the skycab door and stepped onto the pavement, her sister immediately took off towards her. "Ci-Ci!"
Talia ran into Cecillia's arms and they embraced tightly, tears beginning to trickle down both siblings. Even though Talia had matured considerably, now 238, she still held that child-like innocents and naivety that Cecillia had come to miss so dearly. "Talia" she said, wiping away her sister's tears. "It's been too long."
"Yes, but you're back now. With us. Where you belong." She hugged Cecillia again. "I'm so glad you're home Ci-Ci."
Cecillia was about to respond when she felt a hand rest upon her shoulder. Talia released the hug and Cecillia faced her mother. Even after so many years her mother's grace seemed infinite to all others. Her face was as she remembered - beautiful with a disposition of serene calmness. Cecillia tried to keep her emotions in check, to remain resilient and resolute, but could holdout no longer. She burst into tears as she embraced her mother, crying into her shoulder as she did so many times before as a child.
Matriarch Therrisa could sense that her daughter's tears were not one of joy, but of suffering. "Come dearest" she said, drawing her child closer to her bosom. "You have no need for tears of anguish. This should be a joyous occasion. Smile." She lifted Cecillia's chin so that their eyes met, and a smile slowly crept onto her daughter's face. "That's what I'm looking for."
But that smile quickly vanished. "Mother I…" Cecillia looked down again, shame evident on her face. "I'm sorry."
Therrisa looked genuinely confused. She clasped Cecillia's cheeks, once again lifting her head to make eye contact. "Dearest, sorry for what?"
"For abandoning you. For abandoning Talia. You've invested so much in me, had such high hopes, and I only succeeding in disappointing you." More tears began to flow. "I was being arrogant and selfish…and rash, and…I'm sorry." Unable to contain herself, tears once again flowed freely.
"My dear Cecillia" Therissa said in a motherly tone. She wiped away the tears as her daughter took control of her whimpering. "When you left, I was not disappointed. Sad yes, for I would have to bear separation from one I love so dearly. But I was also happy. You sought to make your own path, to live and prosper by your own brilliance and beauty. And now you've come back to me, more resilient and stronger than ever. I have never been so proud."
The tears stopped flowing and Cecillia could only smile at her mother's calming words. She had forgotten what it was like to have family she could lean on to alleviate her fears and suffering, always willing to comfort and support her no matter the circumstance. For over a century she had kept her emotions locked away, hidden under a pretense of firm seriousness.
Therissa beckoned her towards the home entrance. "Come, let us reminisce over dinner."
Cecillia smiled as the three made their way into the residence, where many of Therrisa's acolytes were undoubtedly waiting to greet her. For the first time in a long while, she felt truly at peace. She was home again, surrounded by people who loved and cared for her. She knew that everything would be different now; this was the beginning of a new life.
But she did not know where this new the path would lead her to, or that the next few days would be the last time she would ever see her family again.