[This fic contains spoilers for all seven seasons of DS9, all three Mass Effect games, and quite a few other things (see the end of the chapter for a full continuity listing).
Chapters 19-30 are currently in need of formatting and misc. stylistic fixes. I will get to this eventually, but new chapters take priority. The length and pacing of early chapters is also rather irregular.
Some readers have expressed disappointment with something revealed in Chapter 4. I would encourage reading to that point and then deciding whether you want to continue. This premise is not for everyone and I understand why some people might not appreciate a fic in this direction.
Having said that, this is a major plot element, not just an attempt to be cute.]
"OK, EDI, how long?" asked Shepard, resigned.
"Approximately 20 hours until the IFF is ready, Shepard," the AI responded.
"Still stuck in Citadel traffic?"
"Yes, Commander. The Eagle and Minos relays are both heavily congested, apparently in response to the conclusion of the Destiny Ascension's victory cruise. I estimate at least 2 hours until we reach the bottom of the holding stack."
She sighed and sat down on the bed, considering the day's events. It was supposed to be "just another supply run." Instead...
"EDI, can I talk to Miranda from here?"
"Commander, what can I do for you?" Miranda's accent was unmistakable.
"Considering what just happened on the Citadel, I think we should revise our 'Illium shore leave' plans."
"Agreed. I'd recommend sending people down in small groups, supervised by more experienced officers. No more than two or three groups on the ground at a time."
"Sounds about right. I don't think 'experience' is going to cut it, though. I'm certainly not trusting Zaeed with that."
"Of course, Commander."
Shepard thought for a moment, and then said "All right, I want you, me, Garrus, Tali, Jacob, and Samara rotating in and out of chaperone duty. I also don't want you and Jack or Tali and Legion coming within a country mile of each other for any reason."
"I thought Tali and Legion were getting along well, for a quarian and a geth," Miranda said quizzically.
"I'd like to keep it that way."
"We're approaching the wormhole," said Nog.
"Well, thank the Prophets for that," added Kira.
"Slow to impulse, Ensign," said Sisko, giving Kira an amused look. "Begin our approach."
The Defiant dropped out of warp and began moving along a path through the wormhole.
The scouting run hadn't exactly been a success. Originally, they had intended to observe several Dominion outposts in the Gamma Quadrant, but a malfunction in the cloaking device had forced them to turn back. They had since repaired it, but Sisko knew better than to press the issue. The crew was tired and worn out from weeks of cloaked travel behind enemy lines. No good could come of doubling the length of the mission.
The wormhole opened as the ship drew near. She entered it. For a few minutes, everything was normal. And then...
"Captain, we're accelerating!" said Nog.
"The helm isn't responding!"
"Yes it is," said O'Brien. "The engines are stopped."
There was a moment of silence.
"Whatever this is, it isn't fooling around," noted Dax. "Warp 5, exponential acceleration curve."
"Reverse, full impulse," ordered Sisko.
"Aye, sir." A moment later, "No effect!"
"Chief, stop this vessel!" demanded Sisko.
"Aye sir," said O'Brien. "I'll be in Engineering." He left the room.
"Why haven't we cleared the wormhole yet?" asked Dax. "Warp 7."
Worf spoke up. "Sir, we'll exceed maximum warp shortly. The Defiant wasn't designed for those speeds."
"Divert auxiliary power to structural integrity fields," said Sisko.
"Warp 9, still accelerating," said Dax.
"Bridge to engineering," said Sisko. "Chief, tell me you have something."
"Sorry, sir, I haven't even figured out the problem yet."
"Warp 9.9," announced Dax. "Benjamin..."
Another moment of silence.
Sisko sighed. "All hands, abandon ship. I repeat, all hands—"
"We're through!" Nog beamed. "We've reentered normal space and dropped out of warp."
"Belay my previous order," said Sisko, sinking into the chair.
The fic is definitely in-continuity with the following:
Everything on Memory Alpha except the 2009 reboot (i.e. the live-action Star Trek TV shows and films)
The three Mass Effect games, including all DLC except Pinnacle Station and the Genesis comics.
The first three Mass Effect novels
The Blasto comic (interpreted as an in-universe publication: "Hey Garrus, did you read the latest Blasto comic?")
All Mass Effect comics which appeared (will appear) in either volume of Mass Effect Library Edition, except for Mass Effect: Evolution (this includes the Blasto comic, but I've listed it separately to avoid confusion). So far as I'm aware, this covers everything but the Genesis interactive comics.
The fic is definitely out of continuity with the following:
The 2009 Star Trek film and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (which is spelled with no colon for reasons understood only by J. J. Abrams), as well as any other materials set in that continuity.
Any Star Trek material which is not included in Memory Alpha (i.e. licensed works, novelizations etc., basically all EU stuff)
Star Trek: The Animated Series (was officially non-canon when this fic began)
Mass Effect: Evolution - If you're going to claim Palaven has "civilian rulers," you don't get to call yourself canon. I will regard TIM's involvement as true in broad strokes.
Both Mass Effect: Genesis interactive comics (superseded by the actual games)
Any other fan works, including game mods, fics besides this one, etc. In particular, the mods various people have created to alter the canonical ending(s) of Mass Effect 3.
Any small and internal contradictions or inconsistencies in the source materials (particularly numerical discrepancies)
The following things are indeterminate, mostly because I have not experienced them (yet):
Pinnacle Station (ugh, I don't really have to play that, do I?)
Mass Effect: Deception (at least until Bioware's mythical fixed version is on the shelves)
Anything not listed above (particularly things which have not been published as of January 2015)
The Star Trek and Mass Effect universes are of greatly different sizes, so it was hard to be fair here. Bioware runs a very tight ship in the Mass Effect EU, whereas even Star Trek's primary 'verse can get weird at times. The other issue, of course, is that the Star Trek EU is not officially accepted as canon, while the Mass Effect games make frequent reference to their own EU (until I read the books, I had no idea who "Grayson" was supposed to be). Including the Mass Effect EU and excluding the Star Trek EU was the path of least resistance. Thanks for reading.
Updated 2013-09-19: Clarify and fix technical errors w.r.t. warp factors. Thanks to Narf the Mouse for their review (of Ch. 9) pointing this out.
Updated 2015-09-25: Reformat the author's notes on chapters 1-18 and apply minor stylistic fixes throughout.]