Standard disclaimer goes here.

So people I'm back with what will hopefully be another enjoyable chapter for you all as the games continue to spiral about between the Citadel and the USA.

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Back aboard his vessel, Lord Hood sat patiently in the command chair with his fingers stepled before him as he looked at the Citadel floating out the forward view screen, serenely spinning with its defense fleet tucked protectively around it as if to fend away some monster.

Which of course they were.

Clustered about the mass relay were the Arbiter and Hood's personal battle groups with more than enough firepower to vaporize everything gathered before them without a single loss. Still, in a way the longer they waited, the more likely it was Hood and the Arbiter might lose this battle of wills as they waited for the Citadel Counsel to crack and reopen negotiations.

"How long do you think it will take before they wish to speak to us again?" A voice asked from his right.

Hood didn't even bother to turn to face the semi solid holograph of the Arbiter as he replied, "If they were good politics like that Tevos, the entire week. But with Sparatus there...no...I say six hours at the least a day at the maximum."

"Why do you say that?" The Arbiter replied, a hint of curiousity in his reptilian tone.

"Because he's never going to crack and give up. He won't surrender, period. Either they'll reopen negotiations for a better deal that will let us take care of the batarians, or someone will assassinate him and then the replacement will surrender. Or the one after that. People like him were common once on Earth, and to a degree during the war too, though we also realized that winning didn't have to mean fighting. We're fairly sure there's a couple of human colonies out there that will never open lines with anyone again to avoid detection on any scale."

"You refer to Cole?"

"You read that report Arbiter?" Hood asked, mildly surprised.

"Of course, one of our greatest foes, how could I not be curious as to what became of him. The idea that he is still alive is...tantalizing." The Arbiter replied with a chuff of noise that Hood had come to know as a chuckle from a Sangeheli.

"That it is, but back to the situation at hand Arbiter. Have you gotten any reports back from your team?"

A dip of his head was the initial response before the Arbiter began to speak, "So far we have yet to locate any form of controlling artificial intelligence inside their 'Citadel' rather there are a large number of extremely primitive programs, all of which so far are greatly inferior to even the UNSC's 'dumb' AIs. There is a heavy civilian security force present throughout the station, but they would be woefully inadequate to defend against any sort of proper military force."

"I see..." Hood murmured in reply, "Our teams have found much the same with the addition of a few blueprints and maps to the station's sections. It seems that most of the civilian presence here, nearly thirteen million, are spread across the arms of the station. The command and control along with vital infrastructure all seems to be concentrated towards the center."

"Are you considering any actions?"

Hood shook his head as he said, "No, not right now. If this does become a fight though, I would like to see an effort to keep the civilian casualties to a minimum."

"Very well, we will continue to coordinate with your teams to ensure proper responses."

With that the video link cut off and Hood was left to himself in the command chair, his junior officers working in a frantic calm to maintain the massive vessel.

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Eight Hours Later.

Fleet Admiral Lord Terrance Hood found himself sitting opposite a slightly nervous but surprisingly composed Salarian Councilor who had made the trip out to the UNSC/Sangeheili fleet in a line shuttle. From the private communique the Councilor had sent, he was approaching them with the purpose of attempting to establish a better deal for Council space. As the Arbiter took a seat to his left, Hood couldn't help but reflect on the bravery Councilor Gelor was demonstrating.

"Thank you for accepting my request," Gelor began, "I understand I am negotiating from a position of weakness, but I wish to see the situation resolved peacefully if at all possible.

"And what terms do you offer, Councilor," the Arbiter growled softly.

"The complete cessation of Batarian slavery. The rise of all client races to full member status. Reparations for the deaths of your citizens at Relay 314, paid by my government if necessary," Gelor offered, "Are these terms acceptable.

Idly, Hood brought a hand up to his chin and stroked it as he said, "In addition to those, we would like reparations for the expenses of mobilizing our fleets, and to have any surviving Turian commanders who gave the orders for the attack on our people to be handed over. They will be tried for war crimes as they issued an unwarranted assault on our peoples, without any form of warning."

"I will do what I can. Would you also be willing to back down on the demand of a genofage cure?"

Hood shared a look with the Arbiter before the alien nodded slightly as he said, potentially however we will recquire stipulations that will ensure the rehabilitation of their species."

Gelor gave a jerky nod before he stood and took a breath. "Thank you," he said with a tiny sigh, "I appreciate that you are willing to negotiate upon these matters. Within two hours, I will call a live broadcast from the council chambers in order to announce this. I will ensure the treaty contains nothing but the terms we have discussed here, after peace has been made, details may be haggled over."

"I would agree to this." Thel grumbled.

"As will I." Hood added.

"Then let us add our signatures to an initial composition I have prepared," Gelor replied, relief in his voice as he produced his onnitool.

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An hour and a half later, an infuriated Sparatus, a relieved Tevos, and a proud Gelor stood before the the people of the Citadel as they announced that peace had been made with the newly contacted alien species, calming the waters after the violence that had marked their first encounter at the 314 Relay.

Within minutes of the announcement, and confirmation of the authenticity, the joint UNSC and Sangeheili fleets that had deployed over dozens of Turian worlds, including Palaven, withdrew. They vanished into slipstream portals and disappeared without a trace as they returned to friendly territory, their presence and thankfully their weapons unneeded.

Already diplomatic parties were being assembled for every member species to meet with the Council for the purpose of initiating full diplomatic contact with the Citadel species.

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Alright a horrendously short chapter, but a chapter nonetheless. Exactly one year since the last update, I finally managed to beat myself into getting this chapter rolled out, so I hope you like it. I'll be posting more chapters soon hopefully, most of which will be a Codex-ish in style and covering everything since the treaty till the start of the Saren Arc that is Mass Effect 1.

So I just hope you're willing to keep up with me for a bit longer after the time that I've dragged this on for.