Happy Monday!
The polls have spoken, and you all wanted the update ASAP. XD
There will
more than likely not be a back-to-back upate like this for a while, I have yet to stockpile chapters, like I did [And am still doing] with Hearing the Call.
Yeah, that's a confession, I pumped this bad boy out in a few hours.
Don't worry, I'll spend a
lot more time on future chapters.
Also, I don't quite have a fixed length for the story as of yet, nor do I have an outline prepared.
I know what I want to happen during the First Contact with the Quarians, and I know what I would like to happen after that, but getting from point A to point B has been a bit of a challenge, as I am already struggling to make a good transition from one situation to the other.
Anyways, enough ranting,
And without further ado, we're off!

Chapter 1
August 19th 2201

"Captain, we've received a response." The SSV Reach's resident AI declared, glee evident clearly even in her cybernetic tone.

The ship's captain's head snapped up in an instant, looking to the holographic display in front of him, surprise evident in his face; an entire childhood of growing up against hostile first-contact war movies had dictated he would receive no response, lest it be down the barrel of a gun. "Play it immediately!" Ordered Captain Connor, allowing himself to be optimistic, "What's the word on reinforcements? A peace delegate?" The standard scenario for First Contact, be it true first contact or, after Humanity has made contact with other races and summarily discovered a new one, was to report to Earth's Alliance HQ immediately with all available news.

"The Alliance has declared Summer Contingency until further notice. A single delegate ship has departed from Earth, but they are making a stop before moving here." The AI responded without hesitation, her tone going back to its customary formal level.

Damn it! The Captain silently cursed, They called the Summer Contingency? Without warning us!? Forcing himself to calm down, the Captain thought for another moment, and realized the wisdom in Parliament's actions, this could go either way, after all, they may as well plan for contingencies. "Tell them they need to book it, otherwise we'll have to be the ones they talk to." Connor told the AI.

"Understood. Playing response." And with that, the response from the aliens appeared.

"Nir shlore das sniaarn Sri'Zoran Vas Morrule. Stier zool nit du zten, ahn shnel sor sleef." The alien spoke, its language was smooth and, though Connor would never admit it openly, slightly musical in tone; the Human assumed the speaker was wearing a hazardous materials suit of some kine, because the captain couldn't see any skin, only two glowing orbs behind a frosted black mask. There was every possibility that it was a type of synthetic life, it certainly would explain the bits and bobs the Captain saw sticking out of its armor.

"Anyone here speak alien?" Asked a navigator, breaking several seconds of complete, petrified silence, a few people broke out into chuckles as a result of the navigator's joke.

"Alright, this is good." Said the Captain, more for his own benefit than that of his crew's. "They don't seem angry -" A thought occurred to him, "wait, Rosenda, do you detect any weapons charges?" He asked, shifting his dark brown eyes to the star chart in front of him.

"No sir. I have refrained from initiating Cyber Warfare, but preliminary scans show all of the vessels are armed, but none have activated their weapons." A few holographic scans of the alien ships appeared in the air, and the AI's dusty hologram flickered slightly.

The Captain had led this ship and known its AI construct long enough to notice its nuances, something had just occurred to it. "What is it?" He asked the sentient machine.

"Permission to speak freely?"


"The ships are... For lack of a better term, ancient. Without a DS/C to connect to I cannot get fine details, but... Simply looking at their hulls, scanning their systems and doing even the most preliminary of structural scans on their vessels tell me all I need to know: The ships floating on the other end of the system are ancient... Some are over four hundred years old, some are just a few decades old." The AI explained, her holographic form shifting its 'gaze' from the hologram to the Captain. "Curious."

"What are you suggesting?" The Captain asked, his face setting in a scowl as the implications dawned on him.

"There could literally be any number of explanations, Captain... But the two most likely are... Well, they destroyed themselves through warfare and we are seeing the last of their kind, searching for a new home... Or they are on the run from something." The AI supplied.

Connor nodded, "Alright… Prepare a new message, we need to keep them talking until the delegate gets here." He said, firmly. "Greetings -" The captain hoped the shot in the dark would pay off - "Sri'Zoran, I am glad you have yet to attack us. We are merely a scientific flotilla, a peace delegate is on his way and will arrive in an hour's time." He said, before nodding, the AI promptly sent the message.

"Sir, the flotilla reports full halt." Reported a communications officer aboard the Morrule. "The remaining ships from the Heavy Fleet are locking down the system on the other side of the Relay, they won't be taken by surprise if the unknown contacts prove hostile." He expanded.

"We've gotten a response." Said another officer after a momentary pause.

"Play it." The Admiral ordered, sitting down in his captain's seat.

A few moments passed, before the same dark-skinned 'Human' from before appeared on the screen, "Greetings Sri'Zoran, I am glad you have yet to attack us. We are merely a scientific flotilla, a peace delegate is on his way and will arrive in an hour's time." The video cut off after this, for several silent moments the Admiral expected there to be another First Contact video, but there was none.

"What should we do Admiral?"

Zoran thought to himself for several moments, eventually he made his decision. "It seems that they are biding their time, it should be obvious to any civilization that can travel to space, that alien species won't speak their language." He said, "If I should guess, one of two things are about to happen. One: They are sending us casual, peaceful messages as they wait for an elected official to arrive and initiate true contact… Or…"

"OR!?" Demanded a communications officer.

"Nothing. Never mind. Send a reply…" Of course everyone knew what the 'or' in question was, but no one wanted to admit it.

Or they are waiting for their battle-fleets to arrive. Thought the Admiral.

The 'game' the two flotillas were playing with the responses neither could understand went on for an hour and a half, the messages were all casual conversational pieces, Captain Connor had gone into the general specifics of his mission, including a brief history on Humanity and the Tuning Gates, and the alien spoke about alien things. This went on for over ninety minutes before the Humans registered a spacial anomaly, which coincided with a new human ship arriving on the scene.

Connor, upon looking at his scanner, immediately recognized the arrival for what it was: An Alliance Naval Flagship, a massive, three-kilometer long mobile command and control center that completely dwarfed his own and all other ships in the area, including the aliens. Connor saw the wisdom in the decision, but had no time to reflect on it as a voice - immediately recognizable as one of the other twenty plus billion Humans in the galaxy - greeted him.

"Captain Connor, are you the one who initiated First Contact?" Asked the deep, gravelly voice.

"Yes, mister…"

"Call me Locke. Send this file." The man stated quickly, before the Reach's AI picked up where he left off.

"Video File Received. Should I play it, Captain?" Asked Rosenda.

"Play it and send it." Ordered the Captain, whose head was slowly spinning at the speed at which things were suddenly progressing.

"Admiral, we've received another message, this one came almost immediately after the new ship's arrival." Said a communications officer aboard the Morrule.

"Did you detect any activity from the relay?" Admiral Zoran inquired.

"No sir, it's odd… Actually, the relay's not activated." The officer explained, confusion evident in his voice.

"So they used conventional Faster Than Light to arrive here? That sounds… Wasteful, why do that when they could just activate the Relay?" Asked the Captain, who couldn't honestly believe it, was the ship's arrival a coincidence, or something else? Because, if the ship arrived in response to the alien ship, then the alien's empire had to be extremely tightly packed, because even the most advanced Citadel FTL Drives could only travel eight light years per day, so unless the 'Human' empire was so tightly packed that even the Migrant Fleet could make the journey to the nearest Human world, there was something else going on.

"Maybe it's a council species, they know not to?" Suggested a navigator.

"That is unlikely, if they were a council species we would have been able to identify their ships. Perhaps they have a relay activated, and were trying to turn this one on?" Said another Quarian.

"I doubt that, Relay travel leaves a slight hint of Element Zero, there is none in the portion of the system next to these… Humans, they are called? All Eezo concentrations are behind us, with the rest of the fleet." An engineer reported.

"They are traveling without FTL? How is that possible?" Asked the Admiral of the engineer.

"I do not know." Said the engineer, "these are aliens, after all, they may be using their alien technology to conduct their travel... Perhaps if we can secure an alliance with these people, or maybe even an exchange of technology, we can ask." He finished.

"I see… Toral, how large did you say that ship was?" The admiral asked.

"I... I didn't, sir." Said Toral, it was obvious through her tone that she was hiding something.

"Well how large is it?!"

"Three... Three and a half kilometers."

The admiral was stunned into silence, almost completely unable to cope with the information just given to him. That's thrice as large as the largest Turian Dreadnought! He realized. How could they possibly have a large enough Drive Core to allow it to hit FTL? He wondered, saying mechanically, "Play the response." In a subdued tone.

A video appeared on screen, very similar to the one that had been played when the 'Humans' contacted them the very first time. It showed a Galaxy Map, which zoomed in on their position, and had two ships on either side of a Garden World. One ship [Labeled by the word Admiral Zoran identified as 'Human'] moved to the Garden world, and shrunk. This repeated three times, before the Quarian ship's depiction did the same thing, one of the eleven ships followed the 'Human' ship, and it was followed by a green symbol, and a ringing noise, very similar to, if not exactly the same as a bell chime. However, immediately thereafter a video was played where all Quarian ships attempted to follow, this was marked with a red cross symbol, and a loud buzzing noise.

The image switched to the planet, and depicted the humans and Quarians on either side of a field. The humans had five soldiers with them [Marked with poorly drawn outlines of guns], and the Quarians had five guards with them. The green symbol appeared over each of the Quarian Marines' heads, followed by the ringing noise. However, a moment later, a large amount of Quarian Marines replaced the small amount, and immediately following the red symbol and the blaring noise, scenes of a battle were played out on the video screen, making the humans' intentions clear.

It is acceptable for one ship to follow theirs. Thought the Admiral, going over the glorified conjecture in his head. If several ships attempt to follow there will be battle. It is acceptable for five guards to accompany myself, but if any more than five attempt to follow they will treat it as an act of war and will attack myself and my men. He slowly concluded, with solidarity and a gut-clenching sense of fear. Ancestors... If I mess this up... My species may go extinct. He thought, shakily, before he turned around, hands clenched tightly behind his back as he exited the bridge.

"We are to depart via shuttle to the Garden World's surface. No more than five guards are to accompany me, any more and we may start a war." Zoran ordered firmly, as he made his way toward the shuttle bay, his orders being broadcast throughout the ship.

Human Systems Alliance Director of Extraterrestrial Affairs 'John Locke' was not having a good day. Relative to where he'd been woken up, it had been one in the morning, and the first thing he'd been told was that the Summer Contingency had been declared. That statement alone woke him up faster than a shot of hot coffee, and the statement that followed it nearly gave him a heart attack: "Sighting Confirmed. We are not alone." He had to make a very hasty, easily called upon excuse to his wife, as to why he had to leave the planet and head across known space so early in the morning; granted, the point he made to her was time was relative, so one in the morning to him and her may be two in the afternoon on Eden.

Being the Director of ET Affairs, mister Locke was the very first choice when it came to who would represent humanity on this new galactic stage. As he flew across the void - fresh from his stop on planet 'Sparta' - he was being debriefed on what he should expect when it came to these aliens. The very first and very foremost fact is that the aliens have a naval fleet like none humanity has ever seen. The Alliance Destroyer 'Reach' was reporting upwards of twenty thousand ships were pouring into the star cluster, and these numbers were still rising. This meant that, in a naval engagement, the aliens' fleet had an immediate numerical advantage, with their estimated twenty five thousand, and humanity's seventeen thousand ships. Even with the orbital and ground-to-space defense cannons humanity was at an extreme disadvantage. This meant that Locke would have to play his cards perfectly, he would have to bring a major show of force, and bring Humanity's best and strongest soldiers. To achieve this, he was traveling in Humanity's newest Flagship, the 'SSV Piked Shield'.

He smiled as he thought of the sheer size and power of a Flagship-class vessel. At three and a half kilometers long, with thick armor and advanced weapons, the ship itself could do major damage to an enemy, simply by ramming right into them. Aesthetically, the ship resembled a 'wet-navy' submarine, but it was much longer, and thicker. It also had enormous plating on it's outside that gave it a more robust, brutal, less circular and more mechanical appearance. With it's armor, the Alliance flagship was impenetrable, immovable object, and with it's weapons the Alliance flagship was an unstoppable force. It boasted Mk. IV Rail Guns - which were capable of scarring a continent the size of Eurasia at half charge, - point-defense and long range Laser Cannons, a multitude of ballistic cannons designed for space combat, and even an armament of nuclear-based weaponry for last resort defense.

It had taken Locke a silver tongue to convince the Alliance to release the Piked Shield, despite being held under the Summer Contingency. His reasoning was that if he showed up in a ship that dwarfed the others and was obviously capable of mass destruction, any hostile intentions by the aliens would be reconsidered. The flagship's immense size when compared to the single kilometer Destroyers, and the four-hundred meter Frigates also gave him a unique opportunity: If push came to shove, and he needed to, he could pull Humanity's biggest bluff and say that those vessels were Civilian ones with substandard weaponry, and that the Piked Shield was a frigate-class ship, and that their Dreadnoughts and heavier-class warships were twice as large, and thrice as deadly.

"Exiting Warp Space." Declared the ship's AI, whose words accompanied a sense of rapid deceleration in the guts of every Human aboard. "Human representative and SIGMA Operatives, please make haste for the docking bay."

It took Locke several minutes to go from his quarters, to the elevator that would take him to the ship's docking bay. When he exited the elevator, he was greeted with a sight that made him much more confident about an alien military conflict. Dozens upon dozens manned and unmanned fighters, and ground-attack drones were being prepped for possible contact; and Orbital Dropping Death Dealers were equipping themselves and running basic drills, such as timed pod-entry and the like. Locke moved to the shuttle he'd been told to report to, upon arrival he took a moment to enjoy the simply beauty of said shuttle.

It was, aesthetically, a tilt-wing helicopter, a standard modem of military transport. However this aircraft was designed for space and terrestrial flight, the engines were capable of bringing the vehicle hundreds of kilometers per hour in atmosphere, capable of reaching escape velocity in less than thirty seconds. When in atmosphere, rotor wings - a characteristic of a helicopter - would extend from the thrusters to allow easy terrestrial flight. It carried a heavy-caliber turret and several missile pods, and it's main engine was capable of creating a limited warp jump, meaning it couldn't travel to far on each jump, but it was warp capable.

"Sir, you're the one we were told to protect?" Locke looked to his right, and saw a seven and a half foot tall human wearing advanced powered infantry assault armor looking down upon him. He wore a tan-colored tactical vest, which contrasted with his armor cleverly. His helmet was a fusion of a standard-issue army helmet, and a steel gas mask reminiscent of an SCBA. The suit was obviously designed to be versatile, and ready for combat in all environments. This man - and the four others that accompanied him - easily towered over Locke, and they were carrying enough weapons and ammunition to arm a small militia.

"Yes, John Locke." Locke extended his hand.

"John Doe S-1," John accepted Locke's hand and shook, "This is SIGMA Alpha Team, Bryan Howe S-29, Jonathan Sanders S-96, Jessica Nogor S-62, and Joseph Ducard S-99 ." Said the giant, as he indicated the rest of his team.

They were all armored similarly, their armor was non-reflective black, but had a blue stripe running down each arm, and each had a light grey symbol on their chest, the symbol for the Greek [If he remembered it right] letter, Sigma, 'Σ'.

"Good to meet you Alpha team, I assume you understand what's going on here?" Locke asked.

"First contact scenario, our delegate needs the very best protection." Said Bryan.

"Absolutely right. You're here to protect me, and as a show of force. These aliens have all of our fleets outnumbered, and we have reason to believe that there are more, just waiting to show up, which is why we're arriving in a flagship, and why we're bringing you down onto the planet with us." Explained Locke, "If we can convince them that we are a force to be reckoned with, we will make them reconsider any possible battles with us."

"We understand sir. We'll look tough for the new kids on the playground." Said Joseph, Locke nodded, and the four entered the shuttle.

"Alright, keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times, any attempt to leave the cabin during spaceflight will result in your untimely demise. Keeping that in mind, sit back and enjoy your flight on Alliance Airways." Said the Southern American accented voice of the shuttle's pilot, as the shuttle took off and began hurtling through the void.

Admiral Sri'Zoran was partially surprised at the lack of a hectic, panicked environment as he progressed through his ship, on the way to the shuttle-bay. He'd truly expected to see some form of limited chaos: children running, parents trying to catch them, and crew-men frantically wondering about the current situation with the aliens. What he saw was the exact opposite, everyone was keeping order and nothing was falling apart. At least, nothing societally, was falling apart, the ships were all but coming apart at the seams, but the people inside weren't.

The Migrant Fleet. Zoran remembered from a quote from Quarian History class, an age that seemed so long ago. Our great savior and our perfect prison, if we ever wish to prosper again we must leave these ships and their charted waters behind, and brave the new frontier.

Hopefully... Thought Zoran as he entered the elevator to the shuttle bay, if everything goes absolutely perfectly... We may be able to do just that.

The elevator took off after his five hand-picked Migrant Fleet Marines entered the elevator with him. The Migrant Fleet Marines were an honored and respected branch of the Quarian military, and the few factions in the Galaxy that had gone up against them knew them as ferocious fighters, loyal to the core to their cause and their people. Unlike - say - the Batarian Hunters, or the Krogan Battlemasters, the Migrant Fleet Marines knew what they were fighting for: The continued existence of their species. As such, they fought with everything they had, and would give everything they have to ensure the survival of their species.

The needs of the many… The admiral grimly reminded himself, as the elevator came to a halt, and he and the marines exited it.

"So… What do you think they will be like?" Asked one marine, "Will they be militaristic? Like the Turians? Scientific, like the Salarians? Or creative, like the Asari?"

"I just hope they aren't as idealistic as the Batarians, as disgusting as the Vorcha, and as tough as the Krogan." Responded another.

"I still can't believe how massive that new ship was! It had to be bigger than a Turian Dreadnought… Had to be!"

"Let's hope we don't have to engage that thing… I shudder to think about how strong it's kinetic barriers are."

"What do you think, Admiral?"

Zoran was silent for a few more moments, "I think this is an incredible opportunity for our species. We have initiated first contact with another, and if we place our credits correctly, we may be able to secure an alliance, and maybe even colonization rights with them. Imagine, if they can build ships larger than Turian Dreadnoughts, imagine what they could do for our fleet." He said, slowly and solemnly, silencing the marines as they considered his words.

"Or to our fleet?" Asked one, a younger man, fresh from his Pilgrimage by the sounds of his voice.

"I doubt that will be the case, seeing as how the first message they sent showed images of peace and camaraderie. But if they prove to be hostile, we have a fleet of fifty thousand starships, and seventeen million people ready to die to protect them, if we cannot kill these 'Humans', we will severely injure them." The Admiral said, as they exited the elevator and entered the shuttle; one marine took the helm and guided the shuttle to the specified point on the planet.

"So… Admiral, you saw the First Contact message, what do the… 'Humans' look like?" A marine asked, breaking the silence that had built ever since take-off.

"They look strikingly similar to Asari, but they have varying colors of skin, and no crests upon their heads… Some are brown, some are pale white. They also have hair on their heads - but the elderly do not -, and hands with five digits."

"What in Keelah's name would you need with five digit hands?" Joked a marine, the others laugh.

"Well, I can think of something that five digits are very useful for." Laughed another, as he recieved jeers from the rest of those present, but only a grin from the Admiral, who was thankful that the marine was doing his part to break the tension.

"Do you think they could be a threat?" Asked one marine, silencing the shuttle.

"It is impossible to know. For all we know, the ship is a standard-issue frigate, and it is among the smallest they have in their navy. Or, the ship that just arrived is the paradigm of their development, and it isn't even a military ship, but rather a live-ship. We've no understanding of their military capacity, only that they can build massive ships." Zoran explained to them, "If the latter is true, and the ship that just arrived is merely a live-ship, than we should have little to worry about. But we would be very wise to assume the worst, and believe it is a military ship capable of mass destruction."

The shuttle stayed silent for the rest of the trip to the planet. A half hour would pass before the Quarians would find themselves the first to land on the planet. As he and his marines departed the shuttle, Zoran took the time to observe his surroundings, as the sun began beating down on his dark blue suit.

The area nearest them was bare, there weren't many trees around them, and only a few mountains in the distance. The ground was littered with grass in odd places, but apart from that it was a desolate, desert-like landscape. Zoran found it an odd place to have true first contact, but he understood why they would choose this planet and not a colony planet. In case things went bad, this planet would be much more expendable than a homeworld, or a colony planet.

Zoran saw another shuttle off in the distance, and heard a noise, it was a whomping noise, it sounded as if something was repeatedly beating against the air. As the shuttle neared them, he realized it was some sort of rotary-wing aircraft, that sent the dust and sand underneath it flying into the air as it landed on the ground. Zoran found himself questioning how advanced these people were, if they still used aircraft as opposed to hover-based thrustercraft; there wasn't a single species out there in the discovered galaxy that still used aircraft as opposed to hover and thruster-craft. After it touched down, the wings slowed and a ramp opened, five massive human soldiers rushed outwards, their weapons raised, and made sure the immediate area was secure. They wore a non-reflective black armor, with tan vests that made an odd contrast with said armor, and each arm had a blue colored stripe running down the middle. Their masks reminded him much of ancient Quarian face-masks, before the change to face-pieces had been made for comfort and for safety.

Zoran raised his hand towards his marines, as he saw them raise their weapons, "They are going through standard procedure, you would - and did - do the same thing when we landed." He said, the marines lowered their weapons but kept tight grips upon them.

"Area clear!" Said one alien, the others reciprocated.

"Director, you're clear to exit." Said a human, a moment later a new human - this one significantly shorter than the armed ones - descended the ramp. He passed the soldiers, who got to their feet from their kneeling positions, and followed the human. He wasn't wearing any sort of armor, but rather a suit much like the one Zoran had seen on the first contact video.

"No wildlife on the sensors." Said a human, this one's voice was much different than the first soldier's voice, it was significantly lighter, and more feminine sounding.

"Skies clear of aerial predators." Said another.

The short human stopped a few yards away from Zoran, keeping a respectable distance between the two. Only two of the soldiers kept their eyes on the Quarians, the rest were actively scanning their surroundings with their weapons raised.

The human placed his arm on his stomach and bowed low, before coming up again. Zoran noticed how the human's short brown hair didn't move as he bowed, and assumed it must be rigid, like an Asari's crests.

Unsure of what to do, Zoran repeated the gesture, silently praying to the ancestors he wasn't insulting the human.

When Zoran came up, the human spoke in a slow, loud, and clear manner, "Human." He patted his chest, then gestured to Zoran with an inclined head.

Zoran was amazed how the gestures his and this species had were so similar, "Quarian." He said, patting his own chest.

The human nodded, before he muttered something and looked to the sky, a moment later his head snapped on a specific section of the sky; he pointed to it and said, "Earth.", before looking back to Zoran.

Zoran assumed the human issued some sort of command to the spectacles he wore on his tan white face, Zoran looked to the sky and pointed in the same direction, "Earth?" He wondered if the human wanted him to repeat what he said.

The Quarian was, apparently, wrong, as the the Human proceeded to shake his head, "Earth, home of Humans." He said, pointing at the region of the sky again, "Where is the home of the Quarians?" He gestured towards a wide birth of the sky.

Zoran frowned, as he tried to understand the odd language with which the humans spoke, he remembered that 'Earth' was the human homeworld, he assumed that 'home' meant home, due to it's proceeding 'Earth', and preceding 'Humans'. When the human man gestured to a random area of the sky, and said 'Home', and 'Quarian' in the same sentence, he assumed the human wanted the name of the Quarian's adopted home, the Migrant Fleet.

Admiral Zoran looked to the sky, trying to guess where the Relay - and thus, the fleet - was. After a few moments, he pointed in the general direction of the system's star, and said "The Migrant Fleet.", Zoran knew that this wouldn't be translated at all to the Human's language, and would mark the first time he spoke in Kehlish to the Human.

The human nodded after a moment, and then stepped forward and extended his hand, "Friend."

The admiral looked to the hand, then to the human, what was he trying to do? This didn't seem like a violent gesture, but he couldn't discern its purpose at all, and as such he inclined his head to show his confusion. The human understood this, smiled, nodded slowly, kindly, then looked to the soldier to his left.

"Shake my hand." Said the shorter human, the soldier nodded, turned to the human and the two clasped hands and shook. The shorter human patted the taller one on the shoulder a few times as well, before he turned back to the admiral, and repeated his previous gesture, "Friends."

Sri'Zoran suddenly remembered the word from a segment from the First Contact video, and remembered - at one point - seeing the gesture as well. He associated Friend with friendship, brotherhood and compassion, so he assumed the human was trying to make some kind of an alliance between their two races, however temporary it may be, at the moment.

Zoran stepped forward and grasped the human's hand in response, and patted it's shoulder, "Friend." He said strongly, as they shook hands.

The human smiled widely, and as the two separated back to their groups, the Quarian spoke.

The single most important historical moment in the history of the human race was going wonderfully, if Locke would say so himself. Despite the obvious language barrier between the two species, the 'Quarian' seemed to be understanding the meanings behind his words and gestures, and was repeating them to great effect. Locke did wonder what 'Keelah esht dahs fleeran shleit' meant, though he assumed it was the name of the Quarian homeworld, given the context behind the conversation.

The Quarian flicked one of the fingers on his - Locke assumed it was a man - wrist, and an orange holographic device appeared on it. He heard one of the operatives raise the rifle, but quickly placed his hand upon it and made him lower it.

"If he was here to kill me he would have tried, already." He told the soldier, who nodded.

"Veer spleidan nust lanvag, stilt in esht?" Said the Quarian.

Locke tilts his head to the side, indicating confusion, the Quarian recognized this and gestured outward from his mouth as he spoke, "Lanvag… Laaaaanvaaaaag…"

"Language?" Asked Locke, mentally smacking himself, the Quarian wouldn't be able to associate his Quarian-speak with English.

"Lanvag…" The Quarian proceeded to make odd noises with his mouth, then said again, "Lanvag."

"Language!" Realized Locke, nodding, and making the same gestures, "Lanvag, is Language." The Quarian nodded, evidently happy that his attempt had worked. "Human Language is English." Said Locke.

"Spleidan nust lanvag stilt in esht." Said the Quarian into the orange device on his arm, he presses a button on the device, and the same phrase repeats itself.

Locke's eyes widened and a smile formed as he realized what the Quarian wanted, "You want me to give you a record of my language!"

The Quarian stays silent for a moment, before repeating "Lanvag… Language… spleidan in snor-tole."

Locke nodded and held up one finger, as he fished in the pocket of his suit's pants, and retrieved his phone, and a small circular device.

"Nikola, time to wake up old timer." He said to the AI Disk in his palm.

"What can I do for you, John?" Asked the AI, as its holographic depiction - having changed from a young scientist to an old man over the years - appeared above the miniature disk-shaped object. Locke didn't notice the sudden silence coming from the Quarians, though the soldiers behind him did, and they tightened their grips on their rifles in response.

"The Quarians need a record of English, copy every word and it's meaning and transfer it to the DSD on my phone."

"Understood… Done." Said the AI, "Anything else?"

"No…" Locke extracted a small chip from his phone, "That'll do for now, but you may be introducing yourself soon, they seem curious."

"Got it, logging off."

"That can't have been…" Muttered a Quarian marine, so the Humans and the admiral wouldn't hear him.

"It was just a VI, Sjor, don't over react." Urgently whispered another.

"It spoke with a simulated personality, and not with the singular tone that most VI's would use! It was an AI!" The Marine urged angrily, almost frighteningly.

"Shush, marines! The Human is moving."

"Language, data for you." Said the human, to Admiral Zoran, as he presented a small chip, most likely filled with data, though the Marines present knew that micro-explosives came in sized much smaller, and thus tensed for combat.

It was just a communicator. Breathed the Admiral, it was just a communicator, it wasn't an AI. The Admiral assured himself, though something in the back of his mind was telling him the exact opposite.

"Language." He said, absently accepting the chip, and struggling for a moment before finding a place to insert it into his Omni-tool.

A few minutes passed, before the translator VI in the Omni-tool managed to make a key between the two languages, and create a translator for the human, as the Quarian could just use the speakers and voice modulator in his helmet to translate. Four more minutes passed, before the VI told him it was done, Zoran removed a combination microphone/speaker from one of the many pockets in his dark blue and black suit, and moved the data from the tool, to the device. Once finished, he presented it and the data chip to the human, who moved back to his group of soldiers. The admiral quickly activated the translator software and routed it through his helmet.

"It's a translator… Speak through it." Said the Admiral, knowing his words would be translated through his helmet; though unfortunately, the program couldn't work fast enough to translate the human's words through the speakers in his helmet, thus, the need for the device. As a precaution, the admiral sent the translation software to the marines as well.

"It's a translator, speak through it."

"Hoooly shit.." Said one of the soldiers, aloud.

"Quiet, Ducard." Said John.

Locke looked at the device in his hands, and found - what he assumed to be - the microphone.

"I can understand you… What is this?" Asks Locke, before the machine makes a few beeps, and the same words in the Quarian's language were spoken from it.

"As I said, it is a translator, I used a Virtual Intelligence program in my Omni-tool to create the key and the translations." Says the Quarian, after a slight delay.

It was only a single misunderstanding on Locke's end, as he thought instead of 'Virtual' the alien had said 'Artificial', setting into motion events he wouldn't be able to predict. "That's amazing… I guess we should thank god for Artificial Intelligences like Nikola here." Said Locke, with a smile and a nod.

When the machine finished translating the words, and the marines in behind the Quarian registered the words he'd spoken, they moved as one.

"GETH!" Screamed one.

Codex Updated:

Summer Contingency:

In the summer of 2146, the first Human colonists departed for Eden, and the Alliance drafted the 'Summer Contingency'. A theoretical exorcize, meant to be called into play if Earth is under serious imminent threat. Such threats could include an apocalyptic event, a full-scale invasion or attack upon Earth, or all out warfare between the Earth Governments, [In which case the Alliance would step in and end hostilities on their terms]
Named for the season in which Humanity took to the stars, the terms of the Summer Contingency are simple: Once declared, any and all naval vessels [Aside from Planetary Defense Fleets] under the System's Alliance banner are henceforth ordered to return to Earth to prepare for, or counter an, imminent threat.
Once declared, the 'Rug Protocol' is also initiated. The 'Rug Protocol' is, simply put, akin to sweeping Earth's location under a rug. All references to Earth's location are to be destroyed completely, immediately upon compromisation. [It is generally assumed that the Rug Protocol will be abandoned when/if Humanity enters a Galactic society, as Earth's location would more than likely be required; though many conspiracy theorists and civilians believe that Earth's location should be kept a secret regardless.]

Rail Guns

The primary weapon of Alliance Naval vessels, Magnetic Accelerator Cannons [More colloquially called 'Rail Guns] are incredibly powerful, void-effective weapons. Rail Guns were not common-place military hardware until the 22nd century, post World War 3. Rail Guns consist of two parallel metal rails (hence the name) connected to a power supply, which creates the vast amounts of electricity needed to give the Rail Gun it's 'oomph'. When a conductive projectile is inserted between the rails (at the end connected to the power supply), it completes the circuit. Electrons flow from the negative terminal of the power supply up the negative rail, across the projectile, and down the positive rail, back to the power supply. Once the 'trigger' is 'pulled', the projectile is launched at break-neck speeds, and slammed into it's target. Explosives are not required for a Rail Gun's projectile, due to the immense speed at which it is launched. [The fasted speed a normal, standard-issue Rail Gun has launched is six percent the speed of light, subsequent Rail Guns {Mk. 3 and above} have exceeded that speed twofold.] Rail Guns are the standard modem for Ship-based weaponry, though ballistic machine-guns, cannons, and laser weaponry are still used on ships as point-defense weaponry.

Human Systems Alliance Naval Vessels: Flagships

The Alliance Flagship is the paradigm of military space-vessel development. Measuring over three and a half kilometers long, with incredibly thick and tough armor, and the most recent, hyper-lethal, up-to-date arsenal to date, the Alliance Flagship is a marvel of lethal military vessels. Going at full, non-FTL speed, the ship itself could do major damage to an enemy by just ramming right into them. Aesthetically, the ship resembles the 'wet-navy's' submarine, but it has enormous, octagonal plating on it's outside that gave it a more robust, mechanical appearance. It is carrier capable, boasting fifty manned and unmanned aerial drones and fighters, several dozen AI driven Ground Attack Drones, and even a Frigate ready to be deployed from the ship's belly at a moment's notice.