Authors Note: this epilogue is a preview for my new story, The Heavens Shall Tremble, which is out now. A few readers pointed out that they were unaware of the fact that I'd published it, and that if I'd put up a notice on Meek they could have found it more easily. So here is that notice. Heavens is up, and on chapter 4 already!
Utopia System, ILS Reykjavík - Captain Aresh Aghdashloo
March 15th, 2183
Garrison duty was not a post that helped a captain and his crew gather glory. Still, it was an important duty, Captain Aghdashloo knew. The League and her colonies were always under threat, especially in the current galactic climate. The Citadel was fragmenting minor races, and its power and prestige were diminished. Normally, that wouldn't have been anything to break Aghdashloo's heart. He'd seen the elephant in the Vular system as the XO the frigate Cannae under admiral Dresher. A lot of good men and women had died that day fighting the turians. With the waning of the Citadel's power had come the massive influx of mercenaries, pirates, warlords, and dozens of other problems.
For at least a few years, the League and its extensive colonization of the Terminus systems seemed a ripe target for tinpot dictators and their ilk. A few krogan crusades lead by the armies of Warlord Urdnot Jak had convinced most of the races to stay away, but garrison fleets were still a fact of light. The Utopia system was home to Eden Prime, a major agricultural center for the League. The rest of the system also supported a major fuel depot for the fleet, another favorite objective of raiders. All of that had to be defended from external threats, which meant Captain Aghdashloo had a volume of space more than 50 AU in diameter to defend, with only a single cruiser and half a dozen frigates, along with two hangers of drones. If garrison duty was not glorious, it was still hard work.
While Eden Prime itself was the most obvious target of raiders, the most obvious point of entry to the Utopia system was its mass relays. The first was the ancient mass relay, the one that some claimed was built by the protheans, and others by the Reapers themselves. Aghdashloo had never faced killed batarians or reaped like cannibals, but he'd seen enough after action reports to know that the Reapers were bad news. One of the drone hangers orbited the ancient mass relay, and was where the Reykjavik spent most of its time. The other mass relay was built by the League, and had been put in place only a decade ago. It was shorter range than the older relay, and connected to a series of relays to complete its transits instead of the single, long range jump like the older relay. It also only connected to League systems, and only had a pair of frigates to monitor the traffic that came through.
The rest of Aghdashloo's units were scattered about the inner system, monitoring traffic and keeping the peace. So far, the only incidents this year were cases where civilian systems had failed and the military came in to offer assistance, but last year there had been two counts of piracy in the Utopia system, and one incident where all hands aboard a vessel had disappeared along with their ship. The galaxy was still a dark and dangerous place, even in League space.
"What news have we today, XO?" Aghdashloo asked as he sipped his morning coffee in his quarters.
His XO, Quash Hurgott, passed a data slate over and gave Ashdashloo a tombstone grin. "The special delivery is coming through today. Maybe if we're lucky, the Council or some pirates will make a grab for it. Hasn't been any excitement since that raloi pirate ship tried to take one of our traders last year."
"Do you really want to see the war reignited that badly, Hurgott?" Ashdashloo demanded.
The krogan shrugged, still grinning. Ashdashloo grimaced. Of course Hurgott wanted the war reignited. He was young by krogan standards, only 42. Hurgott was a good officer, with plenty of tactical sense and the ability to inspire loyalty and courage in the crew, but he was one of the many in the League who hadn't gotten his fill of Council blood. For himself, the captain had seen enough dead in the first war.
"Let's hope they don't anyway. I don't need to see any of my people killed today, or any other day."
"Fair enough sir. Your orders for deployment?"
"Bring in the frigates from patrol and concentrate around the planet itself. Put the drones on high alert and have them guard both relays. You never know where trouble will come from. The Reykjavik will keep watch over the inner system. If anything makes a break for Eden Prime, I want to know about it, and early on. Concentrate on the paths from Council space, I think that's where we're most likely to have trouble coming from. There are rumors of a turian being spotted dirtside."
"Aye sir, we'll make sure no metal heads run off with whatever the hell it is they found down there," Hurgott stated, standing and saluting before he departed.
A few hours later, Aghdashloo stood upon the bridge, watching as his units all slotted into place. They had excellent coverage of the mass relays and of the most likely approaches from nearby Council held systems. None of the units were so scattered they couldn't reform and give battle if necessary, but Aghdashloo didn't think that would matter. Either an enemy force would be so small that his independent units could handle it, or so massive that-
"Multiple unidentified relay transits from the old relay! There 12, 28, 39...many transits! Ancestors, they're still coming!"
Aghdashloo's head snapped to the main display, and his jaw dropped as fully 50 ships, all of them at least as large or larger than the Reykjavik. He had to-
The geth ships had come in on a ballistic course, cruising in on momentum only. They had waited until Reykjavik was within range of their mass accelerators, than opened fire. Captain Aghdashloo and his crew never even saw their killers. As the last defenders of the Utopia system were reduced to expanding clouds of gas and rapidly cooling hulks, the geth ships turned towards the planet. They had been given purpose. They would serve the Old Machines.
Authors Note: Did I mention that The Heavens Shall Tremble, the sequel to Meek, is out? Because it is. Check my profile for the link ;)