[A/N] Okay, revised and updated this one a bit, chapters slightly modified and corrected as per your suggestions.
Okay, a few ground rules: I'm going to try and avoid going into which ending of ME3 this would have occurred after and just say it's 'after the end' and try to be as generic as possible without confronting that particular kettle of fish. The only thing I'd recommend is that you've watched End of Evangelion and know about the events of the Omega DLC from ME 3, though you could probably still get by without paying the additional £12 to play that, though it would help as this Aria is based upon the one with Paragon choices made with a few years to dwell all that's lost on top of that, Shinji on the other hand, has had substantially more, but..spoilers. UPDATE: Now rated M due to events in later chapters.
Alpha and Omega
Chapter 1: Impact
The atmosphere on board the bridge of Aria T'Loak's personal craft was tense to say the least. Backs were rigid in their seats and the crew; Asari, Turian, Human or otherwise, were all on edge.
Why was this?
It was because Aria herself was in a good mood. She stood in the centre of the bridge, arms folded with a smirk on her face, rocking gently on the balls of her heels.
And while the conscious minds of the crew told them that the reason for the de facto ruler of Omega's delight was not something to be wary of in this case, their instincts had long burned into them the association that anything that made Aria happy often meant something bad for someone else, and she rarely let that person know who they were until just before she killed them.
Aria regarded the endless field of the mass-free corridor as it ferried them between Relays. The ship was a former Cerberus cruiser named the Elbrus, and had come into Aria's possession after she liberated Omega from the shadowy organisation and expelled their forces from her home.
The surrendered soldiers had known better than to ask nicely if Aria minded letting them keep their battleship, and were instead content with the cargo containers they had been shipped back to Alliance space in.
They were just frankly shocked that they hadn't been loaded into an airlock and literally expelled from Omega in a far more direct fashion.
Needless to say, like she had done with the Krogan Patriarch, Aria had taken great delight in assuming control of the ship and making it another trophy; a constant reminder of what happens to those who dared cross her.
Aria watched with anticipation as the field from the relay gave way to black as the ship emerged back into normal space.
The Pirate Queen's smile widened as the darkness was lit by a familiar orange glow in the distance.
The helmswoman, a young human woman with mousy hair, looked up from her console, "Jump complete, ma'am. We'll be docking with Omega in a little under ten minutes."
Aria nodded, "Splendid," the Asari replied, her eyes locked on her station as it closed in on them.
It was finally time, thought Aria with glee, finally she was returning to Omega, for good this time.
Since Omega's recapture, Aria had allowed herself to remain in voluntary exile whilst reconstruction went on.
The Asari had once said this was due to it being 'easier to direct things whilst she wasn't there', and whilst this was a bizarre thing to say, it had indeed been at least partly true: Whist Aria could've dealt with things just as easily if she were on hand, her rising tendency to issue (and carry out) death threats toward contractors who she felt were overcharging or falling behind schedule was starting to affect workplace morale and staff turnover.
Let it never be said Aria T'loak wasn't considerate toward the feelings of her subordinates.
Aria's focus was pulled away by the murmuring of her comms. officer, "Hmm, that's odd…"
Aria's attention turned to the officer, a serious looking Turian Talon whose name escaped her, "What is it?" she asked with borderline impatience, her eyes flicking to him out of her peripheral.
The stoic Turian seemed startled that he'd accidentally drawn her attention and quickly focused intently on his display, "O-oh, I'm sure it's nothing, ma'am. Just picking up some…strange activity coming from the relay."
Aria's brow furrowed slightly. She indeed hoped this was nothing. The last thing Aria wanted was something marring her triumphant return; there was a vintage bottle of Noverian Rum waiting for her on Omega that the Asari could swear was screaming out to her across the void of space, and she really didn't want to keep it waiting a second longer than necessary, "What kind of activity?"
The Turian shook his head, "I'm not sure. For some reason the corridor has yet to close, but there were no ships within sensor radius before we entered it, so I don't know what could be holding it open like this."
Aria turned her gaze back forward, "It's probably nothing."
"As you say, ma'am," replied the officer.
Aria's eye twitched slightly. That was one of the prices you had to pay for domination through both fear and respect: people tended to agree with you a little too much, even if you might be wrong.
"Ma'am!" said the officer, a loud note of urgency in his voice.
Aria hissed a curse under her breath and crossed over to him, "What is it?" she demanded.
The Turian seemed far too concerned with his readout to care about the Asari's displeasure. She noted the graphical displays on his panel were going wild, "I'm detecting an energy surge coming from the relay! It's off the scale!"
"What?" she said, her eyes turning to the opposite window where the relay still loomed in the distance. The three rings around the Element Zero core were spinning rapidly; the orb of energy within glowed almost angrily.
She noted the swirling spot of light between the relay and the ship where the corridor emerged.
Both she and the crew flinched and looked away as a blinding flash of light was released from the relay core and the corridor end seemed to erupt outwards in a plume of ethereal light.
"Shockwave incoming!" called the comm officer.
Aria gripped a railing tightly to stop herself from being thrown across the bridge when the translucent wave hit, several of the other officers being hurled from their chairs.
"Report?" demanded the security officer.
"Minor casualties reported on three decks. Sensors are currently disrupted but no other damage reported." Responded the helmswoman hastily.
"Ma'am," said the Turian again, his voice still urgent.
"Oh, what the fuck now?" snarled Aria as she pulled herself back up.
"I've got a proximity alert! Something's emerged from the breach!"
"Through the relay?" asked Aria quickly.
"I'm not sure where it came from, ma'am. All I can tell you is that it's hurtling right this way!"
"Engaging evasive manoeuvres!" shouted the helm officer, her fingers flying over her console.
The ship veered violently off to the side and Aria found herself thrown over again as something clipped the side of the vessel, a huge mass of dark purple skimming by the viewport just above her.
Aria's hand shot up and she clawed herself back to her feet, "'The fuck was that?" she demanded, her return now officially marred along with her ship's paintjob.
"I have no idea, ma'am. Sensor readings are still being distorted by the energy release," replied the comm officer as the ship righted itself.
Aria leaned over the railing in front of her and watched as the orange light of Omega's underbelly caught the shadowy form.
"By the goddess…" came the stunned voice of Aria's chief of security, "What is that?"
Aria was silently thankful for her subordinate voicing her own shock as she regarded the giant humanoid form as it tumbled gently through space at high speed.
"Omega is sending a collision alert! Their targeting sensors have been disrupted by the shockwave, they're requesting we open fire!"
"Well?" she snapped at her science officer.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, tactical systems are still coming back online! There's nothing we can do!"
Aria could do nothing other than curse and watch. She winced in sympathy as the humanoid shape impacted the side of her station, sending up a great cloud of debris.
Silence descended for a moment as the crew looked on.
"Damage reports are coming in!" shouted the comm officer, "Impact registered in cargo containment section 13B…" the Turian's voice suddenly relaxed, "which was currently not in use at this time. No immediate reports of any serious injuries or fatalities."
Aria permitted her shoulders to sag with relief. She was infuriated beyond reason at the scarring of the most important thing in the universe to her, but there had been no serious damage, nor loss of life.
She paused to wonder why she felt that was important, she had expected herself to be more concerned with the structural damage.
The face of one particular human flashed through her head and a rueful smile tugged at her lips. She was right: that person's influence really was like a disease.
"I'll begin docking procedures now, ma'am."
"No," said Aria, raising a hand, "Bring us in closer… I want to get a look at this thing."
The officer inclined her head and complied, veering the ship around until it hung in space facing the darkened shape.
"Engaging forward spotlights."
Aria blinked in surprise as the giant form was lit up in front of them.
Purple armour with green highlights encased a massive humanoid form, the still head topped by a single horn.
"Ma'am, look," said her security officer, pointing to the arm of the large form, "That writing, it's…"
Aria's eyes trained in on the words painted on the arm in large, bright letters:
EVA-01 TEST TYPE
"Human…" growled Aria, her lip curled into a snarl as she turned to her communications officer, "Get me councillor Tevos on Tightbeam. I wish to register…" Aria paused to grit her teeth and take a breath, the sound of her knuckles cracking was audible as she gripped the railing in front of her, "…a complaint."
To be continued…
[A/N] All I'm going to say is the events of this fic happen after the end for both sides. In one case long after the end. A brief opening chapter I know, but It's just a prologue to get the ball rolling. So I hope you'll bear with me as this fic is, to say the least, treading on experimental ground. Hope you enjoyed it so far.
I'll catch you all in Chapter 2: Right of Salvage.