Chapter One

Personal Log. Earth Calender: March 22nd, 2287

This past month of shore leave has been a God-send; Cruising the Citadel, having lunch on the Presidium, practising in the Spectre firing range and in the Armax Arena near home, perfection – I finally beat Aria T'Loak's high score! But earlier this week, the Councillors called me into their chambers: not only am I to evaluate a potential Spectre candidate, but we're both going to on an exploratory mission through a newly discovered Relay – talk about being thrown back into the fray. But just think; the possibility of discovering a new race, seeing into the unknown, I can't wait!


"I'm sorry guys, but Council's orders," Andromeda sighed, staring at her comm-screen,

"Ah man! That's bogus!" Miko snapped, her biotics flared a moment in anger,

"But you promised to come," Rafael whimpered, he had wanted to see their old friend again,

"I know and I'm sorry," Andromeda didn't like letting her young friends down. And yes it had been sometime since she had seen them, almost 6 years since her last visit, "How about this, I'll try to stay in contact but where we're going I might drop out. The moment I get back I'll come to the academy personally…I might even bring you souvenirs," she smiled as Miko began jumping about excitedly, Jack and Raf though kept their composure,

"Promise you'll come back?" Jack asked, his tone hopeful yet imploring the Spectre wasn't lying for their benefit,

"I swear on the Galactic Peace, I will return intact," she smiled. "By the way, don't you guys have exams to get to?" their reactions were priceless as both Jack and Raf began fretting the time they had spent talking, Miko on the other hand was very laid back on the matter. "Tell the others I say hi, Andromeda Out," closing the connection as the boys dragged Miko away, she wondered how well they would do.

Grissom Academy had brought out the promise in all their students, not once having to flunk any for poor test scores. Especially when they linked with the newly formed Military Orphan Initiative, where she had begun. But recalling her promise, she only hoped she could keep it.

With her footlocker packed and gear collected, she called a Sky car and made her way to the Docking bays. Stepping out, she met with a docking officer, who immediately directed her to the ship. The SR1-Legacy, a beautiful cruiser made in homage to the century-old SR2-Normandy. Though not strictly of Turian and Human craftsmanship, it has a collection of technology from every council species and then some. Since the Destruction of the Reaper forces a century ago, all races involved in the conflict have united for the sake of peace.

With the Citadel now orbiting with Earth, at first many had argued the arrangement but there was no other way of returning the Citadel to it's original place. But that didn't hamper what was achieved; Krogans were cured of the Genophage and were recuperating and colonising. They even made peace with the Salarians, with the help of Chief Warlord Urdnot Wrex and his wife Urdnot Bakara. Thessia, Palavern and many other homeworlds were under mend and thriving again, especially the Quarians and the Geth. They were now able to roam among other races without the concern of weakened immunity; many were entranced by the intricate and stunning look of their newly strengthened allies. The Geth came as a surprise as they began to interact almost like an organic race. Another surprise came with the Rachni, they too became more involved in Galactic Affairs though largely wishing to remain alone on their newest homeworld.

Many who died in the conflict were idolised and recognised as heroes to be retold throughout the ages, especially Commander Shepard. Though she had survived the ordeal, living the remainder of her life with her wife Liara T'Soni – who is still alive this day – she was a model to all who joined the Alliance and Spectres. It would be hard to live up to such an ideal but Andromeda aimed to try.

"Spectre Connors, welcome back to the Legacy," an Ensign saluted as she came aboard,

"Thank you," she smiled, returning the salute, "Is there anything I need to be briefed on before we depart?" watching as the Ensign shook his head,

"No, Ma'am. I am to show you to your quarters along with informing you that one..." he pulled out a datapad and scrolled the contents until he found a picture, "Lt. Daveth Quademus will be accompanying you, this datapacket was left by a Council attendant for you to review." Taking the data pad, she followed the officer to the top level of the ship, where the Captain's cabin was found. Confused as to why she was taken here, as well as surprised to find a second and a third set of living quarters, "Asari design ma'am, they design their ships so First, Second and Third in command have their own quarters, this is yours for the remainder of the mission," nodding, she took in the small quarters – larger than what she was used to in a Citadel frigate but still homey. Moving her locker to the foot of her bed, she glanced around the room. Her own terminal, desk and communication screen, there were also smaller aesthetics like a fish tank and an armoury/weaponry terminal.

"Do you require assistance, Spectre?" came a disembodied voice, looking to a terminal near the door; Andromeda found a holographic interface projecting a small image of a Geth,

"No, just taking it all in," Andromeda replied, approaching the terminal, "Could you please alert me when Lt. Quademus' arrives…uh…" now she recalled she had not been introduced to the Geth stationed on the ship, feeling awkward for requesting something from one she had not been acquainted with,

"We are designated Hunter, Spectre, an easy analogy to our hardware's basic functions as a Geth Hunter unit, a pleasure to meet you," the little hologram bowed, as he couldn't really make any facial impression,

"The pleasure is mine Hunter, I hope we can get along," Andromeda smiled, having enjoyed the company of more than 1 artificial being, Geth being among them,

"We hope so too, not many on this ship feel the same," Hunter replied, "Should you wish to speak with us more directly, our main platform is located in the cockpit – We have been outfitted to be the Pilot for this mission,"

"Excellent, at least we have a significantly reduced risk of crashing now," Andromeda smiled, "I can't tell how many times I wonder how most pilots passed their training with the way they fly,"

"We acknowledge this as a great compliment, Spectre, Thank you," Hunter smiled, his hologram flickered a moment before turning back, "Captain Douglas Coyle on deck and requesting your presence for a debriefing, Lt. Daveth Quademus on deck, all crewmen, medical and engineering staff all present, we depart in 0100 hours,"

"Again, Thank you Hunter, I hope we can speak again in person," she smiled, moving to walk out of her quarters,

"We would like that, Spectre, logging you out," the hologram disappeared as Andromeda made her way to Deck 2. She thought a moment before leaving that it would be best to change out of her dress blues and into her armour, with the way she recalled how Coyle manned a ship she would need the extra protection.

Pulling out her footlocker, she removed her prized armour: it was the full Armax Arsenal armor set, won from one of her Arena sessions. It had a black and purple detail along with her N7 red and white stripe and emblazed with both the N7 symbol and the Spectre logo. Securing each clasp and buckle, running a systems check to ensure her suit was sealed and operational. She turned to securing heat sink rounds; lift grenades and her weapons to their magnetic holsters. Having an N7 background allowed even one in her class to train with all weapon types, the added strength in her suit allowing her to carry her small arsenal. All were N7 grade weapons; collapsing and hitching each one to its own magnetic clasp, reaching the bottom of the locker she smiled at the last weapon: a Spectre Issue Black Widow sniper rifle; a gift from her Spectre mentor Riddick Cadmus, a veteran of 50 years.

Smiling, she easily collapsed the heavy-duty sniper and secured it to her back, moving about to test their connections, finding they were secure and wouldn't disconnect by accident. Feeling prepared and ready for anything, Andromeda headed out to meet with the Captain.

Using the long elevator trip productively, she read through the datapad left for her. Andromeda never expected to be mentoring a potential Spectre so soon in her own career. The Council had really been pushing recruitment to bolster the number of Spectres since the Reaper Wars.

Reading his history, Daveth had an interesting method of command as well as a compassionate viewpoint in leading. A good military background and a Primarch's son no less; a tricky combination, but if his service record spoke anything of him, he definitely had promise.

Stepping out, she was directed by the Yeoman to head back to the briefing room behind the CIC. Heading there, she came to find the Captain of the Legacy and Lt. Quademus in a heated glaring contest, but it dispersed once she stepped in,

"Ah, Spectre Connors, so…good of you to join us," Captain Coyle drawled, his tone had been heavily masked but she still caught the hint of distain in his words, "I hope you're quarters are…fitting,"

"Yes sir, Hunter has been very helpful and enlightening," she replied, "But I was under the assumption that this was a mission brief, and time is of the essence before we embark,"

"Indeed," turning to the conference table, a holographic display of a Mass Relay appeared, "Joint Alliance and Alien engineers stumbled across this Mass Relay while repairing another in a near by system. Its deactivated as far as we are aware but both the Council and Systems Alliance want a team to make the jump through the relay and explore what is on the other side," Coyle explained, and though not been formally introduced, Andromeda could see Daveth was picking up the same vibe as she was, "We have a prepped science team ready on standby once we make the jump,"

"And what of encountering new life, Captain?" Daveth enquired, receiving another glare from the man. "Galactic protocol dictates when approaching a new life form is to assume hostile, I doubt a science team or many on this ship could do so otherwise,"

"A marine squad, known as the Hell Raisers – a collective initiative hired by the Council to accompany as support in case we come across hostile life. An added bonus, they called on the support of Aralakh company, a small band or Krantt or whatever they call it with a Battlemaster," he replied, though refusing to look at the Turian Lieutenant,

"Very well, though the discovery of life would be an excellent find, we need to remember hostilities can be diffused with a more…diplomatic approach Captain, which is why the Council place me on this mission," she added, "I would like to meet the Science and Marine teams before we make the jump into the unknown, if you please excuse us," making a small 'come' gesture to Daveth, they both turned to leave when,

"I assure you, Spectre Connors, they are adequate in their fields," Captain Coyle interjected, "Besides, you are here to advise," his tone was hard and harsh, "Why not retire to your quarters and inform your council we are set and ready to depart," she had guessed he would've added 'like a good little girl' but he was otherwise holding his tongue, if barely.

"As true as that is Captain, I am still a member of the ground team once we land beyond the relay. I would rather know who is guarding my 6 then go in blind, a practise I would hope you express as well," she returned his glare before leaving, "Should you require me again Captain, you need only call," but before he could reply, both the human Spectre and Turian Lieutenant had already left.

"Ma'am, I don't mean to speak out of turn but…" Daveth glanced back toward the briefing room before stepping into the elevator with her, "Did Captain Coyle come off as…bitter to you?" he asked, seemingly relaxing as she smiled back,

"Personally I would've said racist or sexist. That's a good eye Lieutenant, no wonder the Council deems you a potential," she replied, "And I read your file, some good work you've done,"

"Ah, thank you ma'am…might I speak freely ma'am?" he asked, surprised when he pulled a chuckle from her,

"Please Lieutenant, we're going to be spending the next few months or even more in each other's company and service. There is no real need for formality with me; I'm rather laid back for Spectre standards. You can call me Andy," that was surprising, "And yes, you may,"

"Well…um…well I am glad to able to prove myself as a Spectre but…I ask you not take into account my…origins," he stated, "I know I am the Primarch's son but I don't wished to favoured because of that fact," looking to Andromeda, he noted how her expression matched a human phrase he had come across, 'You're kidding right?'

"Daveth, I will be blunt; had you been here solely because of your father, you would be a Spectre already and a poor one at that," she stated, crossing her arms and looking directly at him, "Or it would be your father taking this evaluation on your behalf. You are here on your own merits, your own accomplishments and because you deserve it," her scowl turned into a genuine smile, placing a hand on his arm as his shoulder was slightly out of reach. "I know you will do your father proud, because it was through your own powers that brought you here,"

"I…thank you ma'am," he smiled, whether he didn't expect such a response or was touched, what mattered was that she meant every word. From there, they headed to the science and marine teams to get a feel of their capabilities; the heads of each team came to speak with them and leaving the impression they would follow orders and adhere to the mission objective without concern.

They had already taken over the shuttle bay, leaving the workspaces for the armoury techs and shuttle engineers but began to set up bunks, workstations and even sparring mats and shooting ranges. Andromeda was happy to find they were only using dummy rounds filled with paint so no one blew out a bulkhead by accident.

2 in particular caught her attention; an Asari and a juvenile Krogan were already sparing on the mats, almost on Par with one another. They were already accumulating a crowd; whispers of bets and competition were rife among them as they watched the pair go at it.

Andromeda was pleased and decided to rest up before they make the jump. Daveth wished to remain on the Crew deck and, if very stereotypical of a Turian, see if he could calibrate the forward cannon to maximise its effectiveness. Shaking her head, she headed back up to the elevator when a small squeak caught her attention, glancing toward the starboard observation deck. She just caught as the door closed, a male human crewman advancing on a timid Quarian girl.

"Man, the mission hasn't even started yet," she sighed, making a beeline for the observation deck. The door opening as she approached, revealing the crewman boxing the scared Quarian against the wall,

"Come on, love, pretty thing like you, half the crew would be after you, let me…help you," he smirked, trailing his fingers over the poor woman's arms. Since the Geth and Quarians united during the Reaper wars, the Quarians would nowadays have no need to where helmets yet their environmental suits remained an intricate part of their culture. And she doubted this was one of the reactions they wanted,

"Is there a problem here, officer?" she asked, watching as he jumped and turned to her. The poor Quarian looked scared out of her mind which gave Andromeda another reason to beat this guy sideways,

"No, no nothing wrong here ma'am," he tried to cover his tracks, looping an arm around his little victim in the hopes it would put her at ease,

"Oh but I think there is something wrong here, if I catch you harassing her again, then the Captain will be the least of your worries," Andromeda hissed, approaching him, seemingly growing as he shrank, "Return to your post, officer," he wasted no time in running off like the devil was at his heels. "Are you okay?" turning her attention back to the Quarian, she seemed to be calming down,

"Oh yes, thank you ma'am," she replied, hastily saluting her,

"At ease, and you're very welcome," placing a hand on the shorter woman, Andromeda still couldn't get over how the Quarians really looked; a rather human face though lacking a human nose and ears, replaced with a more serpentine nostril cavity and covered hearing canals. Their eyes were also otherworldly with their iris colours being vibrant and bold while the rest of their eyes were black or a deep purple. A trident crest darkening to a royal ruby purple grew out from their faces. Though males seemed to lack, woven spines resembling thin dreadlocks starting from under the crest to over the rest of her head, tied in a small pony-tail or some intricate design. "I'm Andromeda by the way, Andromeda Connors,"

"Oh yes, you are the Spectre overseeing the mission. I am Medical officer Lea'Haren nar…I mean vas Legacy," she saluted again, though Andromeda picked up on her correction,

"Were you going to say nar Rannoch?" she asked, watching her new Quarian friend slump, walking out with the Spectre in tow as she explained,

"Yes, only because I'd rather be there or even the Citadel than here, Captain Coyle is…a very difficult man," she was surprised when her Spectre visitor snorted a laugh,

"That has to be the nicest thing anyone has ever called him," she smiled, taking a seat on one of the Medical berths, "Some would say he's harsh to get the best out of everyone, but I've known him long enough to think otherwise, if he causes you anymore trouble, come straight to me okay?"

"Okay, Thank you Spectre Connors," Lea smiled, before turning back to her work,

"Just Andy to my friends," she added before leaving. It was going to be a long trip, and with Coyle as Captain, it was going to be longer.

Once back in her quarters, she felt it necessary to call the council and confirm everything was in order. Setting up the call, the screen darkened then sprung alight with the 6 councillors; Tevos, the Asari councillor; Rowland Howe, the Human Councillor; Urdnot Ladmia, the Krogan Councillor; Vrolik'Tethas nar Rannoch, the Quarian Councillor; Leviticus, the Turian Councillor and Edreon, the Salarian Councillor.

"Greetings Spectre Connors, We hope everything is in order on the Legacy?" Tevos asked, smiling to the young Spectre. Saluting, Andromeda stood at rest,

"Yes Councillors, all crew members are present and accounted for, supplies stocked and everything is in order…" she paused a moment, debating whether to make note of her concerns or not,

"Is there something you wish to discuss, Connors?" Leviticus asked, looking at her sternly,

"I…Might I ask why Captain Coyle was called on to undertake this mission?" she asked,

"Captain Coyle is a respectable Alliance Captain," Rowland stepped in, "The decision was unanimous to place him as Captain of the Legacy, his service record proves his capabilities," he argued, but that didn't convince Andromeda,

"With all due respect sir, but Captian Coyle's restraints towards non-humans can only go so far, he is known for his…dislike of working with Alien crewmen," she explained, hoping the report would come as a surprise to the other councillors, but they remained quiet if it had or not,

"Be that as it may Spectre Connors, Captain Coyle was the only choice at our disposal, what ever other concerns there may be will need to be put aside for the sake of the mission" Councillor Edreon stated, all the Councillors agreeing,

"Very well, I apologise for bringing up any undo concerns," Andromeda nodded, their discussion coming to an end, but not before a small message was sent, marked by the Council with the exclusion of Councillor Howe,

"Watch Coyle carefully. Should his prejudice jeopardise the crew or the mission, you have the authority to supersede him – signed, Tevos, Leviticus, Ladmia, Vrolik'Tethas and Edreon" She was happy to know the Council had her back in the matter. Now all she had to do was send a quick message to the kids back at the Academy before retiring for the cycle.

AN: I've been wanting to write something like this for a while now and, thanks to my besties PixelTheLittlestFemme and Cotton Candy Dream and my younger brother, I have found the inspiration to write this fic. I will make note, yes it is a MExTransformers crossover but once we get to Cybertron, I'm mixing elements from the TF novel EXODUS as well as the games WFC/FOC. Enjoy!